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Archive for September, 2010

Rent-a-Bull


This handsome Devon bull of New Zealand Rotokawa ancestry is the new Big Man on Campus at the farm. We are renting him from Don Minto of Jamestown, Rhode Island for a month-long love-fest. Hopefully we’ll see some devon-ish calves next June. Rotokawa Devons are known for growing nicely on grass alone.

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The value of weeds Part1

This spring, I seeded in some grass with a no till drill on about 25 acres. By the time I had my pasture walk in July, I had a beautiful stand of Rag weed, lambs quarter and a number of other so called weeds—and very little grass.  I was very concerned until I noticed that the cows seemed to eat these weeds. Then I noticed that despite a very dry summer, the soil beneath the weeds was cool and retaining moisture. Later, as the weeds passed their prime, the grass I had planted started to take hold. This has been an incredibly dry year and it is amazing to see this grass growing after a dormant stage when I thought it had been heat killed. I am always humbled when observing the way nature tends to correct imbalances in the ecology and find ways to protect the ecosystem’s resources . The weeds acted as a “nurse crop”for the grass and they were able to keep the soil cool by providing shade. Had I mowed these weeds earlier in the season, this would probably have resulted in the young fragile grass being killed off by the heat.

I’m definitely hoping to manage the pasture in a way that increases the more palatable grasses over time. But this year, I’m feeling lucky for what I already have.

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Eggs!

Today I discovered the first two eggs laid by our Rhode Island Reds–a feeling that took me back to the Easter-egg hunts of my childhood. Eggs for breakfast tomorrow!

The hens are only nineteen weeks old, and we did not expect them to start laying for two more weeks. Now we have to scramble (so to speak) and set up their laying boxes and adjust their feed from a growing ration to a laying ration. OK, I promise that will be the last egg pun.

Once the hens are laying in full swing, we will post pricing and pickup details on the “To Order” page, so please check back in a couple of weeks.

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Nadia Shira Cohen for The New York Times

In the Fields of Italy, a Conflict Over Corn

There was an interesting article in the New York Times last week about a conflict in Italy over genetically modified crops. Attitudes about GMO crops make Europe seem like a parallel but opposite universe to America. European governments and the public generally oppose GMO crops, and a few maverick farmers buck the trend by planting them. Here, of course, it is the reverse. One wonders who is ahead of whom.

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