We’ve had a much-needed break from livestock chores over the Winter, and time for reflecting and planning. In that time we have finished redesigning the barn. I’m struggling to marshal enthusiasm about the process of rebuilding, but I am very excited for the structure to be complete! The only similarities to the old barn will … More What’s Next for Shelterbelt?
Of all the strategies farmers could employ to both sequester carbon AND shield their farms from climate-changed-induced weather chaos, what do you think is at the top of the list? I’ll give you a hint: it involves livestock, pasture, and trees. But wait, aren’t livestock one of the big contributors to climate change? That’s a … More Coming Soon to Shelterbelt: The Power of Trees
When I can no longer see my counter through the piles of apples, peppers, and tomatoes, and I’ve stubbed my toe at least twice on the canning pot that is parked for a few months on my kitchen floor, I think about how we’re not so different from wild animals. Putting up food for the … More Squirrel Mode, aka Winter Feed Math
The frigid temps of Winter arrived early this year. That first morning we woke up to a landscape covered in snow and temps in the teens, we shivered just looking out the window, and only left the house when clad in bulky layers. Our house pets, like us, have not grown a winter coat, and … More In Defense of Outwintering Livestock
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
Believe it or not, I actually love winter. But by March I grow antsy, and I start fantasizing about the growing season. So here’s a post to fuel that longing for green: We aim to have diverse, lush pastures fed by healthy, well-balanced soils. But that’s mostly not what we have, yet. As we use … More Using Pigs to Regenerate Diverse Pastures