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
Two years ago I helped my then-5-year-old son plant a sunflower seed in March. I told him was much too early. Undaunted, he tucked the seed into a small pot filled with soil. I was sure his attention would not span the months it takes for a seed to grow into a large, healthy plant, … More Growing Transplants Without Fossil Fuel Heat
If you’ve ever grown fruit in this part of the world, you already know it’s not as easy as putting trees in the ground and waiting a few years to harvest perfect, supermarket-quality fruit. But still this myth of easy orcharding persists. The comedian Jim Gaffigan does a skit about u-pick orchards, saying what a … More Just Plant a Tree and Wait for Fruit?
My pig-headedness (I prefer to call it persistence) has been a useful life trait in some ways: it supplies me with energy to carry on when all signs suggest I should have stopped miles ago. But it can also get me into trouble, as when I set my sights on something that is not actually … More From Pie-in-the-Sky to Pragmatic
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
We bought our abandoned, thin-soiled, poorly-drained acreage not for its value as farmland, but for its proximity to a community of people we love. Now we are faced with the daunting task of getting it to be productive enough to support a farm business. I confess I occasionally feel pangs of envy for farmer friends … More Growing Soil as Our Primary Crop