Yesterday’s paddock on the right, todays on the left.
Today we had another cool start to the day, 54 degrees and sunny. The temps are to climb a bit this week but I am keeping the wood boiler going anyway since SWMBO likes having unlimited hot water. It means when its time to go to church the girls can fill the tub and Spork and I can both get showers and SWMBO can still take her normal scalding hot shower. I think I will have to do a post on the boiler to show how that works. I will put that on the list.
Back to cows. Everybody was up and ready this morning for fresh grass. They continue to graze well and the inmates have the paddocks sized very well for our current conditions. We added another bag of phosphorous to the mineral feeder as the cows continue to chow it down 10 to 1 over all the other minerals. I need to go back and look at my soil test results and see if the results can explain why I am so short on Phosphorous. Something else to add to the list. In case you are wondering, yes the list is long and no it’s never done.
Yesterday we had a visit from two very nice young ladies who are interested in our food system. Daniella Uslan of dinnovatesfood.tumblr.com and Beth Hopping from the doctorate program at UNC Chapel Hill came by to visit. They were interested in all things farming but specifically in how to take food waste from our farmers and turn it into something valuable. I showed them our farm and how we use the product we get from the farmers market to feed our cows and pigs. They were able to hand feed the cows, especially Benjamin and Spunky who are always at the front of the line.
We ended the day with a visit to our neighbors where we opened a bottle of vino and debated and discussed the state of the food system, business models, and life in general. Except for the fact that I missed dinner, it was a good visit.
While visiting with Daniella and Beth we discussed our pasture management process and how we are building soil. I know it seems strange that I haven’t done this lately but I haven’t actually dug any soil test holes in many months. While discussing our soil I dug a small hole with my finger and what do you know, about 1/2″ of loose organic material and about 3/4″ of good looking topsoil. This compares the the 1/8″ of topsoil we had in April. I was really encouraged. I need to dig some holes in other places but it looks like what we are doing is working and working well.
In my years I have gone from rotary phones to the iPhone. From smoking is good for you to smoking is bad. That eggs are full of cholesterol and will kill you to eggs are healthy. All I know at this point in my life is that the more sure the general consensus is of something, the more sure I am it is going to be changed in the future.
I don’t weigh in on global warming. I just have a healthy skepticism. While on the plant delights nursery tour yesterday, Tony showed us the above chart that’s shows the average worldwide temperature back to the time of the dinosaurs. Current averages are the far right data point. I haven’t independently verified the chart, but it makes for interesting conversation. If we are getting warmer, based on this chart that would mean we still have a long ways to go up and still be normal. Tony had petrified palm trees he had found on his property that were growing 10s of thousands of years ago naturally. Clearly we have been much warmer in a natural cycle. I have heard this before but seeing it with my own eyes, on land 5 minutes from my house makes it a bit more real.
So besides my other 3 full time jobs, I also serve on the Wake County Agri-business council. Today was our combo monthly meeting and our annual meeting where we tour an agri-business in Wake County. Somebody had already picked Plant Delights Nursery. I wasn’t jumping for joy because I am not a big plant guy. I can identify grass and trees and that’s about it. By that I mean I can tell the difference between grass and a tree (hint, the tree is taller :). At least this place is only a few minutes from my home.
So after some missed turns I get to the meeting and get the chance to meet Tony Avent, the President of the nursery. I was hooked the first 5 minutes he spoke. This is my kind of guy and he knows his stuff. He isn’t constrained by tradition and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I don’t know what in the world I would buy that he sells, but if I come up with it I will be buying it from Tony. I recommend you look at Plant Delights. They are making people very happy all over the US and we have them right in our backyard.
This is first a and foremost another test post. It looks like the ethereal connection between .coms is back up and working despite my best efforts. Thank to Brian out intern for sending over instructions despite being flat on his back with back problems, something I know way too much about personally.
Anyway, as I returned this morning from dropping Gran-SWMBO off at the airport I noticed that my odometer was coming up on a neat mileage. I don’t know if its just me but I think its cool when you have something like that happen. I never thought much about it though till one day I mentioned to Spork and The Princess that some neat number had passed. They immediately thought it was cool and asked me to take a picture next time. Well kids, here you go.
The reason there are no cow, chicken, pig, pictures this morning is due to Gran-SWMBOs departure, Spork and I did everything in the dark this morning. No big deal since we’ll be doing that the rest of the winter anyway. I guess the pictures this winter will have to be on weekends or when we get another milk cow.
So just as we retrieved the eggs this morning a storm cell came up and dumped a bunch of water on us. We decided to hide in the barn since it was just an isolated cell. Spork decided that he would go get Gross, our Peking duck. After some squawking and quacking, Spork emerged with the duck in hand and brought him over to the gator to sit in the pasture seat. I was busy petting him (ducks are SUPER soft) when I realized I should be putting a picture up of this. Its not every day you have a duck riding a gator.