October 13, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Daughter-Mary and her new husband, Leighton Zema, were betrothed this past Saturday at our farm. 180 people attended from all corners of the continent and one even from Dubai. Lodging was secured 40 minutes away in Chillicothe, and buses transported guests back and forth. We held a hog-roast on Friday night, a farm tour on Saturday morning, and the wedding ceremony, in dramatic shadows, Saturday afternoon. The ceremony was officiated by Mary's brother, my son, before the stone altar, bedecked with stunning flowers, and heralded by a flock of soaring, black, turkey-vultures against a clear blue sky above. Dinner was held under a large tent, sporting banners, peaks, and sloping sides, that might have been staged in the sands of Arabia. Michelle Vollman, of La Petite Pierre in Madeira, supplied an excellent dinner, delivered by 24 servers who arrived in a school bus. A band from Atlanta arrived in their own bus at noon and departed at 3 AM, leaving behind the most professional presentation of inspired dancing-music most of us ever witnessed. The weather was perfect, the farm looked beautiful, the guests were so appreciative, and spirits were high.
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September 30, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Magnificent cows are now giving birth to beautiful calves. It is an exciting time of year, when a harvest of life rolls in. Most of the cows are faithful in their maternal duties, persisting year after year. Two of our best are 13-years-old. Note in the pictures below their good body condition - in full flesh and with shining coats. This indicates health and high butterfat in milk, enabling calves to thrive. Calves that don't receive enough butterfat during their first six months, never do well their whole lives.
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September 23, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Thirty people walked, talked, and dined with us. The weather was beautiful, grass green, livestock in full form, and many good questions posed, resulting in very engaged discussion. We appreciated the time invested by those who made the journey to see our landscape, its animals, and its people, in order to witness the philosophy by which we operate. We viewed cattle, sheep, hogs, laying hens, and guard dogs. We also walked through pastures and talked about grass, organic matter, water, sustainability, and food!
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September 15, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Two weeks ago, a stranger spent an afternoon and evening with us at the farm, disguised as a friend of a friend... She turned out to be an angel... Here is her report on the visit.
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September 8, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
This is the first year we have seen the tall plant in the middle of the picture - Big Bluestem, in this pasture. The pasture is typically dominated by fescue and clover, but in this picture, one also notes Ironweed, Cocklebur, and Johnsongrass. We seek as many diverse species of plants as possible in pastures, so livestock can choose among a buffet of calories as to what suits them best at that point in time. We also offer plants at different stages of maturity, for the same reason. Further, diversity of species is insurance against disease and adverse weather, with each species responding differently. It is often repeated that in Nature, "diversity breeds stability". The more complex an eco-system, the healthier it is. Thus, we welcome the arrival of Big Bluestem into our fescue pastures.
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August 26, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
In early October, she, the intended, and a troop of friends and family will descend upon our farm. We are recruiting ancient forces from the "Devonian Period", of 400 million years ago, to produce this alter, so she and he may successfully tie-the-knot. Now that is commitment!
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August 19, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Midsummer heat brings this gorgeous flower to us, provoking sense of tropical paradise. This shrub was seeded into our new wetlands eight years ago and becomes more prolific with each passing summer. It is also known asSwamp Rose Mallow, and makes a home for itself throughout the tropical and sub-tropical world. Our latitude is fortunately its northern reach. It thrives in moist areas, needing to maintain wet feet.
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August 4, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
If you have always wondered how to stack a pile of brush, it is easier said than done. The doing is in flipping the branch or sapling, which you have just dragged to the pile, so the trunk ends up at your feet and the splayed branches just beyond, upon a relatively contained and growing vertical pile. One needs head-room for these acrobatics and the branch needs to be light enough to flip, which is a matter of cutting it to size. If you just drag the branch forward and drop it in open space, the pile quickly becomes dispersed horizontally, creating more of a loose, meandering hedge-row than pile. This takes up much more space, makes eventual burning more difficult, and looks somewhat chaotic, with inaccessible weeds that will grow up between branches. Even when you create a pile, the pile never looks terribly organized, but it certainly feels a lot better than branches strewn all over the area.
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July 28, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Goddesses inspire the unusual, provoke new directions, expand horizons, pick up their collaborators, see around corners, are tireless in the quest, provide endless support, are fertile with ideas, and can be totally entertaining. At times, they can be ever-so aggravating, for they are usually right in concept and not always subtle in delivery. They often operate in their own dimension, creating protocol as they proceed, rather than adhering to the company line. Their inherent fearlessness can alternate with high caution, for reasons unexplained. They are thoroughbreds, who win races. If you have big arms, a goddess is a powerful ally on the team. You may wonder what you wished for at moments and you will need to hold onto your hat during the journey. They are not to be tamed, which is why they are goddesses!
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July 15, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
This pasture was three feet tall just before grazing. Half was grazed and half trampled onto the ground, creating a mulch that enhances the carbon cycle. The carbon cycle is the movement of carbon from the atmosphere to soil (and oceans) and then back to atmosphere. This cycle, when unimpeded, is at the heart of healthy ecosystems. It keeps our soils rich with biological activity and the food therefrom dense in nutrients. It has been refined by Mother Nature over the millenium. Humans are about 18% carbon, and all animal life is dependent on the movement of carbon through their systems. When this elegant cycle is interrupted, problems arise.
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June 10, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
Two years ago, we poured a cement slab next to our dairy, located on a rise of land beside a stream. Two months ago, I learned the operator of the Bobcat, when excavating the slab, found a "stone tomahawk" in the dirt, which he put into his truck and drove away with at the end of the day. Two weeks ago, I told his supervisor the "tomahawk" belonged to the property from which it came. Two days ago, the supervisor recovered it and returned the artifact. As he laid it into my hand, I felt dumbstruck to be holding something so ancient and powerful...
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May 27, 2016 • 0 comment(s)
On our farm, we are constantly managing water, so it may provide life for our animals, people, microbes, reptiles, amphibians, grasses, and trees. All of these combine to create a resilient ecosystem, in which to raise grassfed foods for delivery to you.
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