March 16, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
The Rodale Institute has developed a model facility for managing pastured hogs. I was able to visit the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania last week on the drive back from Manhattan. This beautiful structure enables hogs to be indoors during inclement weather and outdoors otherwise. Pastures can't support hogs every day of the year, so having a hard surface for bad weather becomes advisable. Otherwise, they will root and destroy their outdoor area. This facility allows for simplified delivery of grain and water during adverse conditions. Animals and caretakers are much happier with a facility like this as home-base.
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March 6, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
How do we cultivate values, which endure over the ages, like this magnificent house in Lancaster County, Pa.? The founder of a successful group of restaurants in Ohio recently described the company's values as: high-quality food, high-quality service, high-quality environment, and good value. High-quality food is to be: delicious, consistent, familiar, attractive, and healthy, in that order of priority. This is a growing company that has been around more than ten years, so is standing the test of time, in perilous waters of the restaurant business. This company has found success, with food being: delicious, consistent, familiar, and attractive before specifically being healthy... It is hard to argue with this formula for profitability, as results speak for themselves. It seem this founder is indeed building a house of stone rather than straw.
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February 26, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
After two inches of rain fell onto saturated ground Wednesday night, these cattle felt stressed. When they are bunched-up like this, they are registering discomfort. We have received so much rain over the past two weeks, that we have had to change strategies on managing cattle. We had been unrolling hay behind the cows, so as not to drive equipment onto ungrazed pasture. But animal impact on grazed, saturated pastures is rendering them too muddy to support a tractor loaded with hay. So, we are now unrolling hay in front of cows. We have to drive over new feed, which is not optimal, but hay is distributed on clean grass, and impact from the tractor is minimized due to untrampled sod.
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February 17, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Concentrated groups of ruminants are uniquely effective at massaging the landscape. Land needs to be massaged, just as do hard-working bodies. Herds of wild or domestic ruminants are the only effective means to release tension within landscapes and stimulate life. Mother Nature has been perfecting this interplay between land and animals over millions of years.
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February 8, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Icicles of grass are hard to chew! The cows were very restless yesterday morning, because the "break" of grass offered was encased in ice. They'd put their heads down to graze, extend the tongue to grab plants, and then quickly raise their heads in wonderment about the lousy meal before them. How were they supposed to eat something that is hard, cold, sharp, brittle, and tasteless?! They just stared at me, exclaiming I can do better. And they were right, on that morning, so the feed-man returned with tractor and hay.
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February 6, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
As last snow departs, we both miss the beauty and welcome the change. Feeding hay on snow-covered ground works well for plants, livestock, and machinery. Snow provides insulation to plants, keeping fescue and clover protected from freezing temperatures. As long as ruminants receive hay and water, they are quite content in cold weather. Machinery rides well on hard surfaces and the ground is not torn by heavy loads. The landscape also takes on an unusually serene and inspiring tone when covered with snow, very distinct from other times of the year. As we seem to be realizing less snow than in decades past, interludes of mid-winter serenity are particularly precious.
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January 16, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
She would cook for gatherings of the civil rights movement, during the late 1950's, donating proceeds back to the movement, as it resisted segregated busing. She was so successful at raising money, for the cause, through cooking, that others began emulating her model. This was all done within the African-American community, out of sight of authorities, and was referred to as "money from nowhere". But she was a fearless woman, who was willing to testify in court, and was willing to lose her job at the National Lunch Company, as a result, in pursuit of justice. She would not back down from tyranny, and subsequent to losing her job, opened a restaurant in her house to continue the quest for freedom.
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January 11, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Is that a good thing? Do we want to replace labor with capital? Employment of people is central to well-being of society. What kind of work for people is enduring and constructive? What is the balance between labor of the back and labor of the mind, that sustains the laborer? In how much equipment should the "capitalist" invest to replace labor? Employees represent an appreciating investment, whereas equipment is always depreciating. How does one strike a balance between the two? Clear answers don't present themselves. Often theory and reality diverge, and one can be forced into decisions because of circumstances.
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January 4, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
We are all dealing with this, whether frozen pipes in the basement, burst pipes on the side of the house, or other symptoms mysteriously affecting flow, of the world's most precious resource. It is one thing when one has a household of two or four or six to manage. Alternative solutions can be improvised for a while. It is another when one has 500 animals who need water on a daily basis, and there is nowhere else to go. In winter, their demand for water is less than in the heat of summer, so one has about 24 hours to fix problems that arise.
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December 21, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
TWO WEEKS AGO, WHEN WE TRIED TO LOAD HER IN THE RAIN, IT WAS TOO SLIPPERY FOR HER TO MAKE PURCHASE AND CLIMB INTO THE TRAILER. SO, CLARK (FROM COLORADO) BUILT A CUSTOMIZED RAMP TO ALLOW HER TO SAUNTER HER WAY UP, IN HER OWN TIME. HERE, SHE AND HER MATE COMFORTABLY LOUNGE IN THE CONVERTED HOG-TRAILER THE MORNING THEY GO TO THE PROCESSOR. WE CLOSED THE BACK GATE OF THE TRAILER, AND THEN THE STOCK TRAILER BACKED UP TO OURS. WE OPENED GATES OF EACH, AND LET THE HOGS AMBLE FROM ONE TO THE OTHER.
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December 14, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Three bulls had to give up their idle ways to accompany the ladies for 45 days of breeding. They were easy to move, and ready to comply, once reunited with the matriarchs. Bulls are delicate to manage, because if they start strutting and fighting, nothing moves them anywhere. But ours are docile, and despite some fighting, they do comply, with patience on our end.
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December 7, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Words and language are links in chains that bind together many facets of our business. These include: building infrastructure, managing soil and plants, rearing livestock, maintaining equipment, shipping livestock, having livestock processed, transporting meat, cooking meat, marketing it, and delivering to customers. Those are nine distinct activities to be managed. If performance within and among those activities is "off", impact ripples throughout the line of connection. When things goes awry, it is usually because of communication; someone said one thing and meant another, generating degrees of confusion and unintended outcomes.
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