Three Weeks

The past three weeks have been totally consuming, for moving from one house to another. Few tasks are as dreaded as emptying one's house to move to another. The house being moved from was the one in Batavia, supporting Susan's law practise (or vice versa.) But now that she has retired, it became time to move to the farm full-time. We recruited movers to do the heavy lifting and family to help with the moderate, while we executed the rest. The rest included emptying and unpacking endless closets, cabinets, drawers, appliances, basement, and tools. Many, many trips to the truck and many in the truck to the farm. The task seemed relentless and far more tiring than when last performed ten years ago. We had such a good time, however, that we are going to do it again over the next month, emptying our past residence at the farm, Lark Hill, to make way for the arrival of Clark's family in June.

Magic Jack

This set of tack was a pride and joy of Magic Jack. Jack Cadam lives on St. Joseph Island in Ontario. When our family would visit there during summer months, he would take us for rides on his stone-sled, pulled by four beautiful black Percheron draft horses, named Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire, and Jewel. The horses were bedecked in the handsomest tack imaginable -- silver-studded black leather, from head to tail and wither to belly. It was always stunning to witness these magnificent horses in their finery, driven by Jack, bursting with pride.

Sacred Cycle

The sacred cycle of life and death is vitalizing. Some caring people find it disturbing to harvest animals for human consumption. They turn to harvesting vegetables instead, allowing animals to live on. This point of view feels compassionate, but the case can be made it is the product of urban living, reflecting disconnection from elemental cycles of life and death, so vivid in the countryside.

Wind & Rain

The wind brought one and the rain the other. As I left the bank in Hillsboro one day late in November, amidst a downpour of rain, a strapping young man stepped forward to introduce himself. He explained he raises pastured hens and has been selling eggs to restaurants and CSA's in Columbus. He had heard about our farm and wondered if he could come for a visit to learn more about what we are doing. He had seen the truck and trailer pull through town, followed it to the bank, and waited for me in the rain to introduce himself. After giving him my card and driving away, I couldn't help being impressed by the initiative.

Rocky Mountain High

Despite intense polar air of recent, a welcome warm breeze is coming our way from Colorado. It is very difficult to find partners aligned with the realities of living on a beautiful but isolated farm, who can perform the hard work of producing grassfed foods, and have capacity for the challenge of marketing. Three summers ago, a strapping, articulate young man approached me at the Hyde Park Farmers' Market on a busy day, and shared that his greater family owns a farm near Hillsboro, and that he is interested in coming back to the area to participate in the production and marketing of grassfed foods. He mentioned he was working as a soil scientist out West somewhere. By the time I finished helping yet another customer, he had disappeared back into the crowd.


This mobile hen house arrived from Lancaster County, Pa. on Wednesday. It was 40 degrees and raining as we received this impressively designed piece of equipment, built by Cliff Stoltzfoos. This hen house is designed to accommodate 600 hens, which we expect to fill by summer's end. It supplements the one we built five years ago, which is great, but is limited to 100 hens. We hope this will solve our problem of running out of eggs this winter. It will also allow us to service some wholesale accounts, developing larger scale, which is essential to sustainability.


Landis built this 10 foot tall snowman, with son Cameron. How inspiring it is to have a two year old son. The two year old inspires the father to build a snowman that requires a ladder to complete. Isn't it great how one's heart responds to the eagerness of the child?

Mischievous Beavers

Within this peaceful landscape, beavers are always at work and play. We don't interact with them much except when we graze next to our wetlands. The constant flow of water out of our wetlands attracts beavers, especially during a year like this one past, during which we received over 80 inches of rain, twice the average amount. Our wetlands never dried up, and the constant flow of water created ideal habitat for our busy friends.

The Giving Earth

This pasture hasn't been grazed since the end of July, enjoying four months of rest and regrowth. We moved cows into this field this past Friday, after sorting through them one last time before breeding starts this Saturday coming. Tall frosted fescue is a high-protein and high-energy feed, which cows savor. Fescue can be infected with a fungus during the heat of the summer that is rather unpalatable. But once frost arrives, the fungus dies and sugar levels rise in the plant, making it highly palatable and nourishing. Abundant grass thankfully stands in this field, and it will probably supply the herd of 80 cows and calves with feed for 15 - 20 days. The power of soil to provide so much nutrition for so many animals is inspiring.

Coyote Blossom

This past Sunday morning, a beautiful coyote sat where this white post stands and stared at me intently. I was putting up the hot-wire and posts in the background, when a distinct presence appeared over one shoulder. I turned to experience a sensation never before felt -- a coyote calmly sitting 30 yards away with ears perched observing my every move. Once I caught my breath, I stood and watched, and she watched back, so I watched some more, and she kept doing the same.

Foggy Bottom

Foggy Bottom is not only a neighborhood in our nation's capital but also on our farm. The precipitation we have received this year is close to double normal amounts. This has made for frequent flooding and foggy mornings, even a snow-covered one earlier this week. Our bottom ground is susceptible to flooding, so we have to be vigilant about which animals are where during such times.

Rainbow of Life

Rainbows appear when we need them. In midst of cold rain, grey skies, concern over inventory, and wonder about transitions, a rainbow graced our farm this morning such as we have never before witnessed. It was a full rainbow visible from one end to the other, with a great arc and a complete, thick spectrum of colors. It was magnificent, breathtaking, and instantly inspiring. It filled the heart with vitality and a sense of purpose, thus warding off the day's woes, to enable us to continue the great and demanding journey.