August 10, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Jocko worked with steel and was able to impart to it an uncommon lightness of being. That fire pit weighs close to 100 lbs, but it looks like it weighs no more than five. What grace and perfection it displays, as it dances in the air. Jocko had an eye for aesthetic and practical possibilities within basic elements. He could turn logs, stones, and sheets of metal into sensual artifacts of beauty. In that sense, he saw himself within the world of nature, where he found his inspiration. His most commercially known product was his mailbox, of which we have four at our farm. It is perhaps the perfect mailbox - simple, strong, balanced, and beautiful... And we have two of his fire pits.
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August 3, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
This field hasn't been grazed since April, so chicory and Queen Anne's Lace are in full expression, four to five feet tall. These plants are pretty mature by now, so cows don't pay much attention to them, but they are interested in the fescue, orchard grass, and clover closer to the ground. In pursuing their feed, they trample mature plants, creating a mat of mulch. This keeps soil moist and cool, and brings plant-matter in contact with soil to feed microbes within - perhaps the most important species on the farm. An active population of microbes is at the heart of creating organic matter.
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July 28, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
a bouquet of: milkweed, Joe Pye weed, chicory, cattails, Queen Anne's Lace, and sunflowers. In addition, we pay homage to her adopted birthday-flower - wild hibiscus, in the wetlands, which begins to bloom just at this time.
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July 19, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Within an hour of this picture being taken this morning, the cows headed for the trees. Everything heads for shade in weather like this. The cool of the dawn is rewarding during these dog days of summer...
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July 13, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Our friends, Steve & Janet Roedde, manage a "sugar bush" on St. Joseph Island in central Ontario. Their business is complex, sophisticated, and sustainable, harvesting one of nature's sweetest and greatest offerings. In contrast to large-scale commercial operations, theirs is powered entirely by wood and solar energy. Extensive networks of blue tubing snake through the forest at waist height, transporting sap from tree to larger underground pipes and then to the processing barn, under pressure from vacuum pumps. Sap enters the barn at 2% sugar content, is subjected to "reverse osmosis to bring it to about 8%, and is then brought to a wood-fired boil. Once syrup reaches 67% sugar, it is filtered and bottled. A 40:1 ratio exits between sap and syrup, and each tree offers about 15 gallons of sap per year. It is not uncommon for 100-year-old trees to continue to give sap at this rate.
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June 22, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
The alignment of the head of Serpent Mound, in Adams County, points to the setting sun on June 21. Beautifully undulating coils of the serpent's body align with the winter solstice, the spring equinox, and the fall equinox. This fascinating earthen structure was built around 300 BC, by sophisticated native Americans, upon land thrust upwards by the strike of a meteorite, rendering it dense with astronomic power. Serpent Mound is over 1,300 feet long and three feet tall, and is the largest serpent-effigy in the world. It is a powerful site, full of concept, dignity, and magic, on par with the cathedrals of Europe and the pyramids of Egypt.
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June 16, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Cole Hidy and Kathy Kipp bring strength and depth to our team. Kathy has served many roles for us over recent years, primarily as a good neighbor. She has also performed extensive work with Jacob Bartley in our wetlands, being quite a naturalist herself. This past winter, she provided invaluable assistance feeding animals and chasing down water-leaks. She is also handy with equipment and mechanical problems. There is not much she can't do.
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June 8, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
She has been in residence for a number of years to determine whether we meet "certifiable" protocols for management of land, animals, and food. She is a demanding negotiator with exacting standards, so much so that she has nearly turned us Libertarian! It is tempting to exclaim, "Enough with all these regulations! Let customers do their own inspections." But she has convinced us that meeting painstaking standards is good for business.
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June 2, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
We moved the ewe-flock today out of their nursery field, where they have resided for the past six weeks. That area is a large 30-acre field in which ewes are free to roam, give birth, and bond with newborns, without interference. We disturb them as little as possible during that time. We used to worry about every newborn finding its mother and made extensive efforts to provide surrogate parenting. But over the years, we began to suspect we were doing more harm than good. We now practice laissez-faire management at lambing, which is a lot less stressful on all parties.
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May 25, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
Most of the month of May is turkey-hunting season in southern Ohio, and this shimmering, elegant tail was recently offered to me by neighbor, Kathy. Several weeks ago, she enticed a "tom" to present itself closely enough in the woods, to feed her family on Memorial Day. The colors of the tail are breathtaking in their muted, silken flow of browns, reds, and yellows, which most of us don't witness up-close. Some of nature's greatest artistry seems to be expressed in the plumage of birds.
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May 11, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
In anticipation of the most exciting two minutes in sports, those with blood of Kentucky in their veins faithfully prepare, so their counterparts may Run for the Roses. The stories, pageantry, excitement, and equine beauty of the Kentucky Derby is unsurpassed, always making for memorable impression. Susan rises to the occasion each year, to celebrate her home state and its many glories. The highlight of the Kentucky Derby for her is singing My Old Kentucky Home, with the race itself placing second, and the ensuing meal for "show".
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May 4, 2017 • 0 comment(s)
With the advent of agriculture in the Middle East around 10,000 BC, surplus commodities enabled producers to begin bartering for goods to improve quality of life. Marketplaces began to be formed to facilitate such transaction, and amazingly they continue to this day, throughout the world, in nearly identical form. Vendors arrive at dawn with surplus goods in hand, set up shop with tent and table, and spend the day exchanging currencies, hopefully for the better by dusk.
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