In the pastures

What we miss in peaches we gain in happy animals. An extra 6 weeks of mild weather grazing is a tonic for the cattle and pigs. More grasses as the winter pastures are sporting the early warm weather grasses and a wide variety of clovers as well. Clovers we have not seen before this year include yellow bud clover and purple vetch, adding to our existing crimson, white, ball and medic clovers. So what do the yellow buds and vetch tell is about nature? She is NOT fragile like some would call her, she is resilient! We have seen this evidence too many times in our nearly 28 years of stewards at JVF. She’s strong! Yes, she will go into hiding when we abuse her resources. But cut out the “fragile” talk. It’s an insult to her.

Clovers are not only great forage for the creatures but life-giving to the soil and its subterranean inhabitants. So there is palpable excitement as we move our creatures from one fresh pasture to another. The creatures know there are good things happening above and below the ground.

The long spring is good for another reason — we have plenty of green stuff to turn under as our winter graaes start to change. We do that by attaching our disks and setting the blades so that thereis just a shallow turn of the soil. We attach the drag behind the disks to accomplish 2 things: the drag breaks up any clots and helps press the grasses into good contact with the turned dirt. Why do this? Because it prevents the surface from getting crusted – a crusted surface sheds water rather than allowing it to be absorbed. Secondly, both the disk and the drag assure that the grass is laid down into the newly turned soil, improving the process of adding to the organic matter in the soil. Good soil is all about organic content and keeping artificials out. We’re making food for the big soil guys – the worms and the beetles – and for the little guys – the ones you can only see with a microscope. That together is what a living soil is all about.

What’s the result? High value food from happy creatures in a holistically sustainable environment. And that’s also what it’s all about!

JVF