Green and Growing


John in the brush (can you find him?). The cows will be in this paddock tomorrow.

So, spring has sprung completely at long last, and is headed fast into summer, with rain coming down and temperatures rising up. We were in a drought situation just two weeks ago and now, with four plus inches of rain - slow and steady over a series of nights - ta da! no more drought. Grasses, forbes and legumes have jumped into high gear and are growing fast, quickly subsuming anything left lying on the ground. (We nearly lost Snooks the dog one day when she spent too many minutes lying on one place).


Beth with an armful of oyster mushrooms.

The cows, in their eagerness for the new growth, hoover the green stuff gleefully, knowing that I will be letting them into a new paddock full of fresh deliciousness each morning. They are spoiled already and Heaven forbid that they spend two days in a row in a paddock for any reason.


I must say that they have been a bit cross with me the last few days as I finally got around to weaning the calves this week. This requires separating mother and calf (all of the calves are over 6 months old now, some over a year) until the cow stops producing milk. After this period, the herds will be kept separately, and we will give the calves the best pasture to grow as quickly as they can. Now, 4 days in, the bawling has stopped and the cows no longer come to visit their calves. Each herd will go their own way, forgetting quickly that the other ever existed.


Tiny sainfoin shoots break out of the mud

John seeded the land around our house to a mixture of sainfoin, meadow brome, orchard grass and clover the cattle will be able to graze and it has begun sprouting a fine down of green. Beth is excited to see our land producing a beautiful, healthy crop, instead of the usual high input chemical laden corn or beans. Soon the rich but barren soil will be covered with plants and we can begin growing the microbiome and topsoil that has been depleted over many years of hard farming. I am especially interested in the sainfoin because it is supposed to be a great plant for feeding bees and is quite beautiful.


The best thing that has occurred since we last spoke is that our sons came for a visit from San Francisco. Both are busy working in the food business, but took some time off to come to the farm and see us. We cooked and ate great food, worked around the farm and recreated when not working, fishing and shooting clay pigeons. Snookes was in heaven, having two extra people to wheedle for attention.

The goats are getting used to us and some are super friendly

We haven't had any reoccurrences of goat rodeos, and the goats continue hammering away at the multiflora rose, poison ivy and honeysuckle, making everyone happy to have them on our team. Now that we are getting to know them, we can't wait for the kids that should magically appear sometime in March (once we acquire a young buck).


Beth's book is now in the final stages and she is ready to have it out in the world. Soon, we will no doubt be inundated with avid fans and tv interviews, but until then, we are enjoying the general peace and quiet still afforded by our oasis.


That, in a nutshell, is what has been going on of late. Sorry that we missed you all the last couple of weeks, but time in spring is precious, and sometimes blogs get put off.


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