Our cows and sheep celebrated First Grazing Day in early May, their favorite day of the year, when they get their first taste of lush forage. I can tell it’s their favorite day by how animated they are. They leap in the air, kick their legs, and dash across the pasture with joyful abandon. I’m … More Deadly Pastures
It’s the time of year when our lambs are coming off pasture and heading to “freezer camp.” It’s a terrible euphemism, I know. But farmers–like cops, coroners, and other professionals who deal with the nastier parts of life–have our own brand of gallows humor. We’ve been raising animals for meat for 12 years now, starting … More Little Packages of Meat
Loving Animals, Eating Animals Recently at Shelterbelt Farm, we harvested our first beef. The two steers were shot on-farm, which avoided all the stresses of transport. They lived the high life until the very last minute, content to graze with their herd, free to do as they pleased. But I have had several people express … More Loving Animals, Eating Animals
“If you have livestock, you’re going to have dead stock,” a wise farmer friend told me when I was getting started. This depressing statement has repeatedly proven accurate. In our first year on this land, we were trying to beat back the brush that had encroached over 3 decades of neglect, and then use the … More Circle of Life
After 6 years of planning, working our tails off, and investing most of our savings, Shelterbelt Farm is finally starting to resemble our vision. … More Settling in for the Long Haul
There’s nothing that can brighten the gloomy final weeks of winter like the arrival of a baby lamb. Especially when it’s the first baby born on our farm (unless you count our son, who was born here 2 years ago!) As new farmers, we started our farm by bringing in young animals in the Spring … More Our first lamb is a big milestone!
In farming–as in the rest of life–the best-laid plans often become good fodder for future stories. Our sheep plan for this first year was to keep the ram separate from the ewes until early December, when we would allow them to commingle, producing a spring crop of lambs in time for pasture green-up in May. … More Reflections on “Working with Nature”