November 14, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
The last of green and the advent of brown remind us how fleeting each moment is. Bo and I sojourned to our wetlands last week and came upon this scene of rich colors, which by the end of the week was covered in white. We know the only constant is change, but late fall is particularly full of transitions.
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November 1, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
We are ready to ship product to you, out the drive and onto highways and byways. We have resisted this effort, but finally realized we were resisting the inevitable. So, instead of choosing obsolence, we choose enhanced service, which we are very pleased, finally, to provide to you. You can now order most of our products on-line and we can ship them anywhere east of the Mississippi! It has taken time to find the right software with which to do so, but we believe we are in good hands for this effort. That being said, we are new to the endeavor, and there will be a few wrinkles to iron out. With supportive customers providing feedback, we will climb this learning curve quickly. We are very fortunate to have Paula Harshbarger offering both the leadership and back-up for this service. She keeps the devil out of the details, and we are most grateful for her skillfulness.
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October 25, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
You and we have written a book! A Farmer's Almanac is finally ready to go, a year later than envisioned, but slow publishing seems to come with slow food. This book offers a nearly random assortment of our newsletters -- 71 of the 300 or so that have been written. You, our customers, are the protagonists, for without you these would not have been penned. Without you, none of the considerable effort undertaken on our land would be underway -- we would be lost in a sea of commodities. But you are blessedly present, supporting and encouraging us. This book represents some of the tale of the journey you and we have been on together.
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October 18, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Turkeys are readying themselves for you! We are peased to be raising two different breeds of turkeys for you this year - Broad Breasted, as featured above, and Bourbon Red, as below. The Broad Breasted is what most of us are familiar with, except these are raised on grass, rather than in a feedlot, which adds both flavor and nutrition. They love clover, so Mike moves them daily to new grass. They take 4 - 5 months to mature, and will typically range in size from 15 - 25 lbs. Ours will be at the low end of that range.
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October 11, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
These woodlot hogs enjoy their environment. We strive to provide the best environment possible for our livestock. These hogs love the shade and nuts provided by walnuts, hickories, and oaks in this wooded glen. We keep the hogs moving so they don't do undue damage to soil and plants, generally giving a group of 15 about two weeks in two acres.
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September 27, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
We continue restoring our streambanks. We are gradually restoring and transforming a shallow but steep canyon back to a soft valley. About 100 years ago, this stream was straightened, or channelized, and the banks were mechanically carved to present a vertical drop to the water, in order to maximize acreage for crop production. Trees have since grown along this vertical drop, and regularly fall into the stream. Seasonal flood waters then carry bare soil of steep banks downstream, leaving behind eroded conditions.
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September 13, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
We think we have been struck by cocklebur toxicosis. In the past month, we have lost 5 healthy cows to poisoning from... cocklebur seedhead maybe, we believe. But we don't know. It is very confusing. We have had cocklebur on the farm indefinitely, but never to this extent. Eighty inches of rain last year, followed by a very wet winter, while cattle moved across the landscape, created conditions for explosion of this annual forb this summer. Cattle on wet pastures create mud, and open ground attracts annual weeds, like cocklebur. The seedhead is toxic, but not the leaf. Cattle and sheep like the leaf, but avoid the prickly seed. Perhaps the odd bovine, however, ingests the seedhead by accident, and then suffers fatal consequences. But why only 5% of the herd and why only mature, seasoned cows who should know better? Leaves of wild cherry trees are toxic, when first cut. Stinging Nettle, Milkweed, and nightshades can also be poisonous, all of which proliferate in pastures.
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August 30, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
What are platforms upon which success is built? What is success anyway? Isn't it the uneven, chaotic process of stumbling around and somehow falling forward? Perhaps the question is better put -- What helps us stumble in the right direction? On this farm, a number of factors seem to keep us upright, heading more or less in the right direction.
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August 17, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
What does it mean to be male? On our farm we have a handful of studs who work about one month a year and lounge in shade othewise. We also have a handful of men who work seven days a week 12 months of the year, despite the elements. Both roles are invaluable and carry their own dignity.
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August 2, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
We all familiar with the poem Mending Wall, which explores the meaning of fences. The opening line in Robert Frost's poem is: Something there is that doesn't love a wall... The closing line, in contrast, uttered by the crusty neighbor is: Good fences make good neighbors.
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July 19, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
We are discovering clouds, and marvel at all they witness. Our new house offers a panoramic view of clouds, almost like being near the ocean. We are starting to learn basic formations, such as cumulus, stratus, and cirrus. Cumulus is puffy and soft looking; stratus is thick and dense, like fog; cirrus is wispy, like a horse's tail. The story offered by clouds is always changing, as if gods in heavens are improvising the narrative, like a jazz ensemble. The world of nature offers so much to observe, and clouds are one of its wonders.
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July 4, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
As we celebrate the national day of freedom, this team gives us ours. As tanks stand in the streets of Washington, the meaning of freedom is on the minds of us all. Glaciers melt, sea levels rise, storms intensify, droughts persist, people migrate in desperation, and fears arise throughout the world. What happens to national, local, and personal freedoms, as a result? Freedom is all most of us have ever known, yet we are learning it is susceptible to undue influence and is fragile by nature. These issues are so powerful and complex, they are hard to fathom, but they are upon our heads.
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