Sunday, August 4, 2013:
Still we are getting regular rains that have prevented the usual summer dormancy of the bunch grasses. The pastures recover so quickly after being grazed that we can’t move over them fast enough; we have separated the lactating cows from the dry cows in order to provide the former with the best forage, with lots of clover, while the dry cows move across the mature pasture at the back of the farm, eating and trampling. Where they have passed the grasses and legumes grow back again with greater vigor, and these paddocks will not be grazed again before November or December, when all serious growth has stopped. We call this “stockpiling for winter”, and are indebted to our mentors in the Eastern Ohio Grazing Council for the benefit of their experience in this area, and in fact in practically all the aspects of rotational and managed grazing. Kudos to these pioneers in real modern sustainable agriculture.
The spring carrots, after gracing our table since June, were dug and sorted a week or two ago. Split carrots, small carrots, and carrots beginning to rot were fed to the pigs, who thought that was great. About half of what remained in the garden were large, sound, straight carrots, and these we have stored; they will last us another couple of weeks, perhaps longer. After that we will be without carrots until November, when the late summer planting needs to be thinned; thereafter, always supposing nothing happens to them, we will have carrots through the winter and into next spring. What lettuce was still in the garden from spring was pulled, all except a few plants left for seed, and fed to the pigs; this, too, will not appear on our dinner table until cool weather favors it again.
In September we will be making two presentations at the Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, PA (motherearthnews.com/fair/home), one a demonstration of cultured mozzarella making, one to share what we are learning about small farm sustainability and food independence. We will focus especially on managed grazing, dairy animals, and multi-cropping, the principal means by which we avoid purchasing off-farm feeds. We are looking forward to being with so many thoughtful and interested people who are concerned with the stewardship of the planet and the independence of the family. If you aren’t already planning to be there, check your maps and your calendars – it is truly a worthwhile event, and we would love to see you.