State of the Farm

The big topic this year has been rain, and as I reported in the August edition, we have started to get some. We could use more, certainly. But the cloudiness on a near-daily basis in August has moderated the temperatures down to the low-90's and stilled the winds. It makes a difference because grass growth is a function not only of rain but also of temperature, humidity and wind. Soil moisture does not evaporate so quickly under these cooler, cloudier conditions, and the grasses do respond, albeit slowly as they try to recover from the harshness of this summer. Thank goodness for the decision made 20 years ago to stick with our 15 native grasses. If one variety likes rain, the other likes hot and dry, so they wait for their chance to excel. We have caught a slight break in our struggle to get back to something approaching normalcy. We shall see how it plays out as we go into the fall season.
 
September and October are transitional periods for farmers and the shift is on both in the pastures and the garden. We have planned and will now begin implementing our winter pastures and fall garden, all centered around what will give the cattle and pigs their best and most nutritious diet from fall to winter. For the pigs that means planting in their forest paddocks as well as in the garden. Oats, wheat, rye, turnips and beets in their paddocks; lettuces, chards, carrots, tomatoes, peas and more turnips in their garden (yes, the garden goes mostly to our pigs, while leaving more than enough for Honi and I.) For the cattle, that means more of the rye and oats plus the clovers, including the baled alfalfa we have imported for this dry year.
 
It is a busy but rewarding time of year - rewarding because the tiny seed we put on the ground will bring lush vegetation to the farm in the winter season. The plants then nourish our creatures, who in turn nourish us all. The miracles of nature. It all starts with a tiny seed. So wondrous. Always inspiring. We never tire of it.

JVF