Friday, May 29, 2015

Grass Waterways for Erosion Control

It's been a fairly wet May, and some of the fields with heavier soil have been wet. The other day The Farmer decided to add some grass waterways in two soggy spots.

In the photo below, you can see the sogginess near the back of the photo. He worked with the bobcat to carve a very shallow ditch leading to another field ditch, which leads to a county drain, which leads to a creek, which leads to a river, which leads to a lake, which leads to Lake Michigan. See why it's important what we do in our fields? Anyway, he added the soil from the ditch-making to the low, soggy spot.

Here's the same grass waterway/ditch, but facing the other direction.

We will seed this grass waterway/ditch with grass seed. The point of having a low, slow waterway like this is that the water will slowly drain off the field here, and the grass will catch much of the soil that would normally erode into the ditches.

Just doing our part to keep the earth and the water separated.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Spring Grazing

The sheep have been out on pasture for nearly three weeks now. We have seen the absolutely amazing spring pasture growth spurt that surprises us each year. Such fertility and abundance! Here, I'll show you.

Before turning any animals into a pasture, it looks like this.

After turning animals into a pasture (the sheep graze each pasture for one day), it looks like this. Still a lot left, allowing the plants to bounce back more easily from the grazing.

And this is another pasture that was also grazed for one day, but it was before the rapid spring growth kicked in. This pasture will take a bit longer to recover.

We've tried hard to keep the animals moving this first three weeks, having heard that it's best to hit everything once in those first three weeks. We haven't managed to accomplish that, despite our move-them-every-day plan.

Managed grazing is both art and science, and there are so many variables that we are always learning something new.

Friday, May 15, 2015

First Calf of 2015

Tuesday we ran errands and came home to a "Guess what?!" from our daughter. The Farmer guessed. He'd watched one cow stand off a bit, and moo. 

First calf of 2015--a heifer calf.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

A Close Call -- Spraying

About a week ago I was working in my flower beds and heard large machinery noise. We are used to tractors and road graders going by, but we still look up when we hear something big.

This large piece of equipment turned in the driveway. Hmmmm... a spray rig on an organic farm. I set down my shovel and trotted over to meet him.

He'd been given verbal instructions as to where he had to head next. I'm not sure why in this age of smartphones he was told "one street over from _____, west of ____" and not given GPS coordinates, or at least an address on a piece of paper. But at any rate, he was one street over in the wrong direction.

After I headed him in what I thought was the right direction, I mentioned to him that we are a little nervous about spray rigs on our farm. I told him that four years ago we had a field accidentally sprayed by someone who wasn't careful about where he was supposed to spray. And I mentioned that we are an organic farm.

He got quiet and left quickly.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Busy Weekend -- Graduation

Another one graduated. Still recovering from a busier-than-usual weekend.

So proud of all our kids...

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