October is here, the apples are falling, leaves are beginning to change, cows winter coats have grown in, and the days are noticeably shorter. We have over 50 new calves running around the fields with more on the way. The sun is rising later and setting sooner. We all love Spring here on the farm as the Earth is awakening after a winter, but autumn is a very special time for us, too. It brings about a time of reflection on our previous growing season, ensuring our winter preparations are on track, and perhaps catching a breath and a few hours off!Read More
The sisters crossed nursed and raised their piglets: I couldn't even begin to tell you which piglet came from which mother from the very first 5 seconds of life. They all spent the next couple of months nursing (lots of that), sleeping (lots of that), rolling in mud puddles, and playing in the tall grass. At one point they were with the sheep, cattle, and goats all in the same field and what a beautiful sight to see all species napping together under the shade.
At the tail end of August, we are finally seeing some summer-like temperatures. Creeping up towards 90 with bright sun and humidity. As incredible as the weather has been to date this summer, it has felt nice the past several days to have the strong sun on my back and beads of sweat confirming the tireless work we've put into our farm this year. Our bodies are very aware of the progressions of the year, too. By this time of year our backs ache, joints creak, hands are calloused and filled with dirt, muscles are sore, and the bags under our eyes are deep. All of this signifies that the sun is setting earlier, rising later, and our bodies will begin to heal with extended rest as the temperatures begin to cool this fall.Read More
August arrived softly: soft gray clouds, soft temperatures, and the softness that comes with the realization that summer is lightly floating across the farm. This past month was filled with multiple visits from family living out of the area (find aerial photos of the farm from one of the visits with Mike's dad & his WWII biplane on the Facebook page!), smiling faces coming through the farm store door, a handful of tours from those interested in seeing first-hand who we are and where their food comes from, and the final trip for Molly's book travel.Read More
The Fourth of July holiday is to celebrate true freedom of this country -- so as we reflected upon that a couple of things came to mind: often, farmers have a tie to the farm seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, year after year -- we are in a "no matter what" arrangement with Mother Nature and those in our care. And, to be very honest, sometimes that doesn't feel very liberating or full of freedom. At the same time, however...Read More
Weeds. Yes. Weeds. People love to hate 'em. They're, to most, unsightly, unneccessary, and...did I mention unsightly? And they were to me, too.... until very recently. It is funny to me that it took me so long to realize it;......Our job as stewards of the land is to listen to it and help find that harmony.Read More
I long to be in the poem. Under the stars, with the tall grasses swaying back and forth in the moonlight, completely connected to the Earth that I'm sitting on. So much so, that my feet feel weighed down as they too are connected to the Earth. Oftentimes I'm caught up in daily tasks, that I need to remind myself that this is my life. This bucolic existence is what we've created. It needs to be enjoyed. The craziness will be there waiting.Read More
What kind of question is that? Almost as crazy as me asking if tomatoes are in season. Wait a minute, that’s a valid question.
The tomato plant has a very short and specific growing season. As does grass. Is your lawn mowed year-round in Virginia, New York, or Illinois? How is it that grass finished beef should be available year round when grass is dormant from November through April? Granted, there are specific forages that can be planted to extend the grazing season beyond typical grass dormancy, but if we are truly expected to sustainably produce beef and lamb from forage alone, are we expected to produce them year round no matter the conditions? Or should we be raising and producing these animals with what would be as close to native forages that are available? I’m not sure, that’s why I’m asking.Read More
Through your own trial and error, many of you have undoubtedly stumbled upon grassfed beef that you absolutely love and other grassfed beef that was nearly inedible. (I hope the latter wasn’t ours!) Have you thought about why that might be happening? Once you begin looking into the subject, it begins to snowball. Genetics, forage quantity and quality, time of year, handling methods, how the animal is put down, and weight gain over the course of it’s entire life all play a part in the quality of the meat that ends up on your table.
This month, we will focus on the genetics that we use to produce the meat that we sell and why we choose to breed our own cows and calves.Read More
The last month we've had several family members in town and have been very busy gearing up for this much anticipated Spring green up, which appears to finally be upon us.
This past week involved us turning both cow herds out onto Spring grass. It's an incredibly exciting time for us as we are able to firsthand witness the fruits of our labor. All of the work and methods we put into place last year with our grazing practices are coming to light this year. Just as the practices we are putting into place this year, will not bear their fruits for another year or two. There is no single task I can think of that pays short term dividends. Everything we do is always with the future in mind.
Last weekend Molly and I took a quick trip to Texas for my cousin's wedding. It was a chilly, blustery day, but a beautiful ceremony surrounded by friends and family. Molly and I are both from Illinois and we don't get home often enough. I come from a large family. My Dad is one of 8 children. I have very fond memories of when I was younger, playing with my cousins on the farm. We were a very close family growing up. I have 18 cousins and 7 Aunts and Uncles, so it was a busy, crowded house especially around the holidays. We were all back together for this one weekend aside from my brother in law and one cousin who couldn't make the trip. Being together with everyone again even for a short time brings up a lot of emotion and makes me think about getting back home more often.Read More