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Archive for May, 2011

Today we hosted the first pasture walk of the summer sponsored by The Granite State Graziers. Steve gave a tour of the farm and explained our system of using our cows, pigs and chickens to nurture and maintain our pastures. If there had been a door prize, it would have gone to George Hamilton of the University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, who identified the weed that the cows happened to be chowing down today: White Cockle (Silene latifolia).

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We finally let the cows out onto the pasture this week, and all is right with the world again. Here is a shot of their first day out—we put them in a paddock next to an embankment covered with garlic mustard. Garlic mustard is a state-listed invasive, but it is edible and nutritious. We thought that the cows might have a taste for it, and we might take credit for inventing a solution for this troublesome weed. No such luck. The cows waded deep into the stand of garlic mustard, and ate everything but. Still, we are not giving up hope. We might try Kathy Voth‘s technique for “educating” the cows. If it works, I might also see if I can use it to get my kids to eat their vegetables.

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Meet Patrick

Patrick Fournier is a freshman at Alvirne High School in Hudson. About a month ago he approached me about working part time at the farm. He now collects eggs, he waters and feeds the laying flock, and he uses his own ATV and trailer to take feed out to the broiler chickens and pigs, avoiding the compaction of the soils from heavier vehicles. What’s more, he also monitors and records the weather from a little weather station he and his Dad set up. I hope you will join me in welcoming Patrick to the farm, next time you stop by to see us.

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I mentioned last week that our grass is late this year. My wife, Anne, never reads my blog posts, but she read that one and asked what I meant. I meant that usually by May 1st, our cattle are out on the pasture grazing grass. But today is May 2, and our grass is still not tall enough, so the cows are still eating hay. Everybody is tense while we wait for the grass. For most people, watching grass grow is the ultimate in boredom. For us it is maddening. It’s kind of like that episode of Northern Exposure when everyone went crazy waiting for the ice to break—except without Janine Turner. (Note: Anne, if you are reading this, that didn’t mean anything at all.)

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