Bones & Hay

Included are beef shanks, lamb shoulder, lamb ribs, and beef knuckles. In addition, celery, carrots, thyme, bay leaf, garlic, and onion are roasted and carmelized to add flavor. The process of making bone broth takes most of a day, as it is continually reduced and skimmed. The result is a rich, clear, and deep broth, that nurtures the soul and heals the gut.


They are being fed non-gmo grain and have access to outdoor living and fodder. We are looking forward to tasting their bounty this fall and sharing it with you.


Wars have been fought over land since aggression first arose. Land harbors minerals and organic matter that generate wealth on one hand and demise on another. Civilizations have risen and fallen upon the stewardship of their soils. Above all, land produces food and water, and thus is central to well-being of civilizations. Land mismanaged creates misery; land well-managed fills the heart and pocket.

SWEET NECTAR: As locust trees bloom and sweet nectar begins to flow, the mysterious work of bees pollinating plants begins yet again.

Bringing this to your backyard, Susan and I have discovered a great pollinator of local food and fine-dining in Julie Francis, of Nectar Restaurant, on Mt. Lookout Square. For the past several months, Julie has been serving a Grassroots Burger, created with our lamb and beef. Her renowned Sunday brunch goes until 2 PM, so after a farmers' markets last month, we stopped in to sample the fare.


This is a subscription service, like a CSA, which delivers to you a monthly menu of prepared meats, consisting of two meals per person per week, at an average cost of $9 per person per meal. Payment is made in advance, for either a two-month or six-month period of time. All products are hand-made in Susan's Soulful Kitchen with Grassroots meats. The eight items currently on the menu are: Bolognese Sauce, Grassfed Chili, Rio-Grande Beef Barbacoa, Roma Meatballs, Shortrib Burgers, Tar-Heel Pulled Pork, American Sliders, and Ground-Beef Patties. The menu will change incrementally, as new products are developed, such as Chicken Pot Pie.

New Arrivals

We are strengthened by new arrivals at our farm. As our veteran border collies slide into golden years, they seem to be developing a penchant for observation above action. So, several weeks ago we brought new strength to the team in "Bo", hailing from Cynthiana, Kentucky. Bo was trained by Vergil & Annemarie Holland, and is the third dog we have acquired from them. Bo is short-haired with brown coloring, while Nick and Dally are long-haired with black & white coloring. Bo is strong in nature and we are learning how to work with him, so he can work with us.

8,000 Trees: Planting The Imperceptible

... nestled 8,000 seedlings into the soil of the 100-ft. buffer-zone around our wetlands. This picture shows the newly created buffer carved out of pasture-land and seeded into wheat last fall. The planting crew has just begun installing trees into the buffer. The seedlings range in size between 6 inches and 2 ft, and are generally imperceptible at this point. 125 seedlings were planted per 1/4 acre over 17 acres, with 8 ft. spacing between trees. This took 225 man hours, which reflected a team on-the-move, taking less than 2 minutes per tree. Species included: swamp white oak, shummard oak, pin oak, white oak, black walnut, red bud, Kentucky coffee, paw paw, shagbark hickory, and wild plum. We expect a 75% survival rate. Though barely visible today, imagine the forest these 500-trees-per-acre will create over coming decades. It will be protected by a conservation easement and thus will never be disturbed by man.


We employ both on our farm, with preference for the latter. Dairy cows and calves, however, have to be under roof at this time of year, because cows are lactating heavily and calves are newborns. Exposure to wet, cold mud creates significant problems for both. So, for several months, they are sheltered and kept off pastures. The trade-off is a lot of bedding has to be spread in the barn, eventually collected, and then spread back on fields, which is a cost.


We had been intending to replace this aged fence this winter, but frozen ground prevented the work. With the recent thaw, however, we spent Tuesday pulling 60 - 70 posts, leaving me plenty fatigued. Despite essential help from equipment and partner, Brenden, the posts had to be manually handled several times. They are deceptively heavy, with some weighing in excess of 100 lbs. The in-ground portion is usually saturated with water, providing weighty reluctance to clearing old in favor of new.


The past few days of highly variable weather have presented extra challenge for humans delivering feed and water, but the livestock always seem comfortable, as long as we do our job.