State of the Farm

There’s nothing to complain about as we maintain our newest global warming trend of big rains followed by prolonged dryness followed by another just-in-time big rain. Let’s hope that continues to work as it did last year.

Meanwhile, we are seeing the same pattern that we saw during the winter - grasses and clovers are making an accelerated comeback following a harsher than usual series of freezing weather this year. We love Mother Nature’s resilience and compensatory values. The weather may cause her to hunker down for a prolonged period of time, but when she sees daylight, she rebounds quickly and with more bounty than usual. We dance with who brung us! She’s a good partner if we just give her a chance.

Bunny rows: we almost always have “standing hay” as we enter winter’s dormant stage. As we enter spring, we shred the old grass in order to bring more air and sun to the coming grasses and clovers but we always left some standing along the fence lines. This gave our rabbits and their spring bunnies some cover to hide in in their quest to avoid predatory hawks. We see the benefits of this practice with a larger bunny population each spring and summer. So we decided to take it a step further - we left wide swaths of bunny rows throughout the pastures. See the photo?
(Tracie, insert my photo here)

So what else do we expect in benefits besides “housing” for the bunnies? The mowed areas get a full dose of sun and air while the standing hay areas grow more slowly. We expect the cattle and pigs to enjoy the grasses in the mowed areas first. When they move to the bunny rows, they will forage a mixture of fresh grasses and dry hay. Spring grasses are “washy”, meaning that it tends to give more water than grass proteins which can lead to watery manure, very much like loose bowels that we sometimes experience. By getting a good dose of dry forage, digestion will improve and excrement will normalize. That means better health for our creatures.

Wildflowers, especially the blue bonnets: Flowers along the highways and many pastures are, of course, having a good year too. You will enjoy your wildflower tours and photography sessions this spring. But our patch of earth doesn’t yield the same bluebonnets like it has in the distant past.

There’s a good reason for that. Bluebonnets are legumes, so just like beans, peas and clovers, bluebonnets improve soil health by imparting nitrogen and adding humus to the soil. So bluebonnets grow where they are needed and as our soil has improved, we have seen a reduction of the state flower. Interesting, don’t you think? She giveth and She taketh away.

Open Farm is pushed to the Fall. April is always our first choice for Open Farm because of the spring flush, cooler temps and the chance for everyone to tour the farm, enjoy some of our meats and our chance to meet you in person. But it also an always busy month for many reasons and that truth is added to this year with a Brenham festival that we are participating in on the 21st. So, we have decided that we will have to push the farm tour back to the Fall this year.

We do invite you to consider the festival in Brenham where we will be found at the Home Sweet Farm in old town Brenham. You can even enjoy dinner with our pork and the produce from other local farms, starting at 5 pm. Contact brad@homesweetfarm.com for ticketed reservations. Hope to see you there.
 

JVF