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.

Moving Stones

We are relocating stone on the farm from outdoors to indoors. It is difficult to move stone effortlessly. Here a stout hoist and the backs of numerous men move this mighty slab of sandstone into place. This slab is seven feet long, 8 inches thick, and 30 inches wide. It spent the first 400 million years of its life in the immediate neighborhood, first at the bottom of a sea and then as the face of a quarry in the nearby hillside. It spent the last 150 years as the protective cover to a cistern next to this house being renovated. It accompanied a twin slab, now situated on the hearth of a second fireplace in an adjacent room.

Fattening Hogs

Life in Hog Heaven is Enviable.These hogs have spent the past five months in this 3 acre paddock, benefitting from grass, grain, and mud wallows -- the latter being their favorite. The wet summer has enabled them to create mud to their heart's content. Their attraction to mud partly serves as a cooling mechanism, as they don't have developed sweat glands. Evaporating water within caked mud cools them off. In the heat of the summer, mud also serves as a sunscreen. It further protects from insects and external parasites. So, pigs and mud are age-old and happy companions. Those confined to sterile indoor housing are not able to express natural inclination toward playfulness, mud wallowing, and curiosity.  These Berkshire hogs arrived from a reputable breeder weighing around 50 lbs. in mid-May. After 5 months, they are close to 300 lbs., gaining over 1.5 lbs per day, and are ready for the next step in their journey. We will take the largest two to the processor on Tuesday. Mud-wallowing by pigs is a challenge to manage, if one cares about keeping soil and pastures in tact. The picture below shows fairly extensive damage, due to pigs and wet weather. This area will erode throughout the winter, unless we do something. We will spread a fast growing annual like cereal rye or winter wheat on it momentarily to stabilize the soil. We have moved this group of hogs to an adjoining lot, and have put the smaller group into this one. After reseeding this area, an electric fence will protect it from incursions by porcine friends. We have been out of pork chops for the past month and are looking forward to a fresh batch. We will keep you apprised. Susan produced a remarkable meal this past week featuring veal chops, which is a rare treat. These were two inches thick, and were pan-fried, followed by 5 minutes in a 400 degree oven. They were delicious. Our neighbors raise pastured turkeys, which we offered last year for Thanksgiving for the first time. The turkeys were very successful, and it time again to consider if you would like a 15 - 20 lb frozen turkey for Thanksgiving,  delivered the Sunday before to Clark Montessori in Hyde Park. Please let us know, as we are taking reservations.  Our Farm Tour is next Saturday the 13th, and in the next few days, we will be responding to all who have signed up, providing confirmation, directions, and more detail. As fatted hogs head to market, we are grateful for the turning season.

Paw Paw Power

Paw Paw trees fill the Appachian forest. Here cows are taking refuge from the last heat of summer within shade offered by Paw Paw trees. These prolific, slender tees bear wild fruit, which seems tropical in taste and texture - like a cross between a mango and banana. They don't grow more than ten to fifteen feet tall, but thrive in the understory of mature trees, like locusts, walnuts, and oaks.

Calving Season

Calving has begun! This is our second calf, and was born to #806 a few days ago. #806 is one of our orginal cows, and is an Angus, as one would suspect. She was bred to a pure Red Devon bull, so the calf is half Red Devon. This is a bull calf, so he receives the same number as his dam, only with an s before the number. This bull calf will be castrated at six months of age, so the s stands for steer. Thus at a glance we know the sex and lineage of the animal. Year of birth is written at the top of the eartag, and is currently hidden by the ear. We write the same information on the back and put one tag in each ear. Periodically animals loose eartags, and we have to replace them.

Farm Tour - Saturday, October 13, 2018

We Will Offer a Farm Tour on Saturday, Oct. 13, from 11 - 3.We will visit cattle, sheep, hogs, and laying hens, in their elements, on a hay wagon. We will observe Bo herding the flock of sheep, will inspect pastures, and enjoy a light lunch. $25 per person; children under ten are free.Learn more about the farm you are supporting and the food you are eating. Sign up online by October 1. Farm Tourarm TourPart of the journey of owning a farm with buildings is keeping them in repair, also known as servicing depreciation. We recently painted this barn, making it the ninth building to receive paint in the past three years. Hopefully these efforts will last for ten years or so. As remnants of Hurricaine Gordon prepare to inundate us, we will be moving laying hens out of the flood plain. Doing so requires stealth technique at night, when hens demobilze. So if anybody would like to join us this evening, bring your headlamp and rain jacket. 9 PM sharp. Susan's latest culinary foray is into Lamb Barbacoa. Her Beef Barbacoa has been a great success, so we are experimenting with lamb to bring it to the same standard for serving with tacos. So far so good! Weather permitting, we will see you this Sunday at Hyde Park, on Wednesday at Blue Ash, and on Thursday at Bexley. Drausin & Susan

Moving Dirt

Creating an Authentic Life Requires Moving Dirt! If you are concerned you have not yet moved enough dirt for your life to cyrstallize as you would like, fear not, for we have just moved 200 truck-loads (3,000 tons) from this creek-bank to where our new driveway intersects with the state road, in quest of authentic living... And in quest of safety, so we aren't run over by unseen logging trucks!

Hay Barn

This building was recently constructed to store hay. Erecting a new building like this calls for more complicated deliberation than renovating old ones. This is the first new building we have erected in 35 years. New buildings claim footprint and change the landscape for an indefinite period of time. Productive ground is foregone for the structure, which will bear ongoing costs of maintenance and increased real estate taxes. So, new construction on a farm can be somewhat of an aggressive action.