Monday, June 24:
The old truck is painted a toothsome blue, and spun a trench in the gravel as it came up the hill from the barn tonight. A hot, hot day, with some of us still working on the Massey Ferguson, that cranky old man, and some of us working with hoe and rake to get another planting of sweet corn in the ground. In the normal way of things we might have put in the corn with the Earthway seeder, but this was being squeezed in between hills of winter squash, and we had to do it the hard way. Two pickup loads of grass clippings are being spread in the big garden and on the raised beds, thus to conserve moisture and hold down the weeds. We have practiced deep mulching for so many years that when we have to pull weeds more than once or twice we start to feel put upon.
The sheep and steers have a loop into the woods so they can get out of the sun; we try to include a tree in every paddock at the monastery so the cows have some shade, too. We are finding we have to throw out a bigger loop for each paddock now; as the grass matures, the fiber content goes up, and the cows are more selective about what they will eat; consequently, although each paddock has more forage in it, a smaller proportion is utilized by the animals. This is reflected by a thinner cream line in the milk as well. All good; by giving the animals what nature untrammeled by man would have given them (less a few packs of wolves) we are confident they will give us their best as well.
And the forage they trample is our future soil, father of the next season’s grasses.