Bronze Breasted Turkeys

Turkeys were processed this morning. They have led a great life over the past 4 months, grazing clover, scratching for grubs, and being moved every day. They are a fair size, the specifics of which we will know more about when we pick them up on Monday. We are aiming for 16 - 20 lbs./bird, but know a number will be larger. Any bird over 25 lbs we are having cut in half. We also will have a number of whole breasts, which is a small carcass without legs and thighs. Place orders for Thanksgiving here. These turkeys will be frozen, and delivered in October and November to Madtree and Montgomery.

Mythic Rhythms

Wetlands create connection. These are restored wetlands on our farm in Pike County, Ohio. The beautiful daisy is Marsh Marigold or Bidens Aristosa. Over the past fifty years, we have invested work, love, and resources into this farm. We have not only produced grassfed meats and milk, as you well know, but are increasingly restoring wetlands. Climate change is telling us to do this, and in so doing we are discovering ecological connection with lands throughout hemispheres.

Flyways & Byways

We are creating a flyway for water fowl. In so doing, we are learning why most ponds and lakes are created by putting a dam in a ravine, rather than by digging out every inch of the depression. Since we prefer the challenging route to most ends, we are excavating two sites for ducks and geese, by removing soil from the surface down. We are discovering this approach calls on an enormous amount of digging!

Blessed Stillness

We are exploring stillness. As the population of animals on the farm decreases, we find ourselves experiencing a peculiar sensation - stillness. This is new to me, at least, for having habitually strived for ever greater horizons. It is hard to forsake such ingrained patterns, but the art of life is knowing when to change lanes. So, here we are changing from the frenetic to the calm.

Last Call

As the red moon rises and night dawns, we utter our last call to the beeves. About a month ago, it became clear that my managing our beeves solo through the heat of the summer was not a prudent plan. We have a moral contract with livestock to provide the best care possible. This means all matters that arise are tended to regardless of timing or weather. Excuses for inaction are not indulged. Problems with water, electricity, shade mobiles, mineral, equipment, and grass are addressed immediately.

Redirecting Flow

We are redirecting flow of water, by severing and blocking tile-lines. Tile-lines are laced throughout our farm to drain wet fields for agricultural production. Now that we are reestablishing wetlands and hydric-loving trees are planted in specific fields, we are impeding flow of water in those fields to recreate saturation typical of wetlands. This white tile-line emptied into the creek. Mike cut it with his track-hoe and then packed the hole with dirt to block further drainage. Just beneath the bottom of that hole is a layer of blue clay, which holds water and keeps it from dissipating downward, ensuring saturation of the soil.


This Barn Owl has been dispensing counsel. The newsletter written on January 6 about events a year prior prompted a few acute responses. Two readers accused the writer of being a communist, and asked to be removed from the subscription. While such status was neither sought nor earned, it does raise questions about how to go forward in our cultural quest for equilibrium.


Our elders remind us of the importance of affection. This cottonwood tree and its companion behind, a catalpa, were too beautiful to remove, as we reconstructed this section of the stream bank. One can't help feeling their grandeur and special status, that exempted them from the track-hoe. But we can't slope the bank in that spot and rushing water will erode soil beneath the roots, eventually bringing down the cottonwood. As you see in the foreground, Jacob's team has planted live-stakes to stabilize the bank, but they won't protect the cottonwood. So, we are going to place some boulders, carefully, in front of the exposed roots where the stream bends, to thwart erosion. It would have been simpler to take the tree down, but doing so would have taken a piece of our hearts with it.

44,000 Trees

We are transforming part of our landscape to expand wetlands. Last Tuesday, a 50-foot refrigerated truck parked itself in our barnyard. Last Thursday morning, a 53-foot semi with a 15-foot cab arrived from Missouri, with 44,000 three-foot-long tree seedlings on board. Handling that much truck in a barnyard is no small feat, but we are able to have the delivery truck back up to the refrigerated one to unload fairly easily. With some logistical maneuvering, we were eventually able to extract the mega-semi and send him on his way. The refrigerated semi remains, cooling and holding unplanted inventory.

Three Days

I started this communication last Thursday, a week ago, but two paragraphs into the writing was hijacked by an ice storm. I became gently apprised of what lay ahead when the electricity went out that day at 4 PM.

Winter Wonder

Hearty beeves enjoy the snow... ... as long as feed awaits them! We moved them to the next paddock just after taking this picture. It had been conditioned by broilers and layers this past summer, and the beeves quickly found the green grass beneath the snow. The picture below reveals the path of the poultry on the left of the faint fence-line. It is clearly greener than on the right. Poultry leave behind nitrogen and phosphorous, and grass responds quickly, as then do the cattle.

Wolf Tree

A Wolf Tree is the guardian of the forest. This tree and about four or five others in our forest still stand, hailing from hundreds of years ago. They escaped the saw, when pioneers cleared the rugged hillsides, in search of pasture, and are now probably 20 feet in circumference. They have since become the dominant source of seeds, stature, and inspiration for this ecosystem. They are all white oaks and have withstood relentless tests of time.