April 21, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
These ewes are about to engage in a great spiritual event - giving birth. Animals, unlike humans, do not seek spirituality. They own it, are part of it, even create it. Giving birth is an extraordinary experience, and it is in the extraordinary that the spirit lies. A mother delivering a child is clearly in an exceptional dimension, which feels sacred to most witnesses. As these ewes bring forth new life over the next month, we honor them, pay homage to them, for the great miracle they propagate.
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April 13, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
This week we assessed the cow herd. We "palpated" cows, fixed eartags, vaccinated all, castrated bull calves, and dehorned calves needing such. We worked about 150 head, requiring four hours of time from seven people. It was quite a process. Being that close to such large animals is transporting. You feel their immense power of body and soul. You can touch them, which they won't let you do in the field, and look into their eyes.
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April 6, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Views of landscapes are so seductive, it can be tempting to ignore what is happening up-close, such as beneath the bark of trees.
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March 31, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Landis Weaver and I worked side-by-side to construct this sorting corral. It took several afternoons to do so, and then we tested it out. A number of remarkable aspects to the experience surfaced. First, the metal panels employed (made by Priefert, out of Texas) come with chains, high and low, at one end, which hook to slots, high and low, at the other end of the next panel. Thus, hooking panels together works readily, creating a solid stucture. It is gratifying how quickly one makes progress, chaining one 15-ft. metal panel to another.
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March 16, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
The Rodale Institute has developed a model facility for managing pastured hogs. I was able to visit the Rodale Institute in Kutztown, Pennsylvania last week on the drive back from Manhattan. This beautiful structure enables hogs to be indoors during inclement weather and outdoors otherwise. Pastures can't support hogs every day of the year, so having a hard surface for bad weather becomes advisable. Otherwise, they will root and destroy their outdoor area. This facility allows for simplified delivery of grain and water during adverse conditions. Animals and caretakers are much happier with a facility like this as home-base.
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March 6, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
How do we cultivate values, which endure over the ages, like this magnificent house in Lancaster County, Pa.? The founder of a successful group of restaurants in Ohio recently described the company's values as: high-quality food, high-quality service, high-quality environment, and good value. High-quality food is to be: delicious, consistent, familiar, attractive, and healthy, in that order of priority. This is a growing company that has been around more than ten years, so is standing the test of time, in perilous waters of the restaurant business. This company has found success, with food being: delicious, consistent, familiar, and attractive before specifically being healthy... It is hard to argue with this formula for profitability, as results speak for themselves. It seem this founder is indeed building a house of stone rather than straw.
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February 26, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
After two inches of rain fell onto saturated ground Wednesday night, these cattle felt stressed. When they are bunched-up like this, they are registering discomfort. We have received so much rain over the past two weeks, that we have had to change strategies on managing cattle. We had been unrolling hay behind the cows, so as not to drive equipment onto ungrazed pasture. But animal impact on grazed, saturated pastures is rendering them too muddy to support a tractor loaded with hay. So, we are now unrolling hay in front of cows. We have to drive over new feed, which is not optimal, but hay is distributed on clean grass, and impact from the tractor is minimized due to untrampled sod.
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February 17, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Concentrated groups of ruminants are uniquely effective at massaging the landscape. Land needs to be massaged, just as do hard-working bodies. Herds of wild or domestic ruminants are the only effective means to release tension within landscapes and stimulate life. Mother Nature has been perfecting this interplay between land and animals over millions of years.
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February 8, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Icicles of grass are hard to chew! The cows were very restless yesterday morning, because the "break" of grass offered was encased in ice. They'd put their heads down to graze, extend the tongue to grab plants, and then quickly raise their heads in wonderment about the lousy meal before them. How were they supposed to eat something that is hard, cold, sharp, brittle, and tasteless?! They just stared at me, exclaiming I can do better. And they were right, on that morning, so the feed-man returned with tractor and hay.
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February 6, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
As last snow departs, we both miss the beauty and welcome the change. Feeding hay on snow-covered ground works well for plants, livestock, and machinery. Snow provides insulation to plants, keeping fescue and clover protected from freezing temperatures. As long as ruminants receive hay and water, they are quite content in cold weather. Machinery rides well on hard surfaces and the ground is not torn by heavy loads. The landscape also takes on an unusually serene and inspiring tone when covered with snow, very distinct from other times of the year. As we seem to be realizing less snow than in decades past, interludes of mid-winter serenity are particularly precious.
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January 16, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
She would cook for gatherings of the civil rights movement, during the late 1950's, donating proceeds back to the movement, as it resisted segregated busing. She was so successful at raising money, for the cause, through cooking, that others began emulating her model. This was all done within the African-American community, out of sight of authorities, and was referred to as "money from nowhere". But she was a fearless woman, who was willing to testify in court, and was willing to lose her job at the National Lunch Company, as a result, in pursuit of justice. She would not back down from tyranny, and subsequent to losing her job, opened a restaurant in her house to continue the quest for freedom.
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January 11, 2018 • 0 comment(s)
Is that a good thing? Do we want to replace labor with capital? Employment of people is central to well-being of society. What kind of work for people is enduring and constructive? What is the balance between labor of the back and labor of the mind, that sustains the laborer? In how much equipment should the "capitalist" invest to replace labor? Employees represent an appreciating investment, whereas equipment is always depreciating. How does one strike a balance between the two? Clear answers don't present themselves. Often theory and reality diverge, and one can be forced into decisions because of circumstances.
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