Farm Life

On The Desperation of Drought, and Flushing Ewes Anyway

On The Desperation of Drought, and Flushing Ewes Anyway

It rained this morning. Big, beautiful drops of water fell from blackness and for an instant I could almost hear the soil rejoice. Drought on a farm can be a terrifying time. Last week the sky opened up and dumped as much as two inches […]

Pin It
The Tao of The Fall Cilantro

The Tao of The Fall Cilantro

Spring cilantro is difficult in Michigan. Even with slo-bolt varieties — those that can withstand higher temperatures for longer periods before they begin to “bolt” or set seed, which makes the flavor of the leaves bitter even to those of us who otherwise love the […]

Pin It
To Build on a Hill

To Build on a Hill

To live on a hill is a beautiful thing. The way the light spills over the horizon during the golden hours morning and eve; the way the dew and frost settles and then burns off again in pockets; the way the wind dances through the […]

Pin It
On The Practice of Life & Living Creatively

On The Practice of Life & Living Creatively

“To do writing practice is to ultimately deal with your whole life.” – Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones I’m not sure people understand how much a small-farm life depends — completely, utterly, wholly — on creativity. Or how quickly it collapses in the absence […]

Pin It
Rural Roadways During Harvest: A Guide

Rural Roadways During Harvest: A Guide

Life is hectic. We all have places to be, people to see, and a revolving list of things to do. Rarely however, are those places, people, and things urgent. Sure, we have schedules to keep as closely as we can. And, certainly, it’d be nice […]

Pin It
For Every Loss a Lesson

For Every Loss a Lesson

We lost a bottle lamb this week. It hasn’t been a good year for us as shepherds. We lost the bottle lamb we had at easter, too. And last week, the sole remaining ewe from our original flock of four. At least those two were […]

Pin It
On a Rarity of Firsts

On a Rarity of Firsts

We don’t enjoy many firsts here anymore. We’ve raised at least a few of all the common types of poultry, we’ve farrowed thousands of pigs, a couple handfuls of lambs, we’ve been putting beef steers by in the freezer for years, we’ve raised everything from […]

Pin It
When Pigs Won’t Eat: Keeping Show Pigs Growing

When Pigs Won’t Eat: Keeping Show Pigs Growing

Summer has arrived in Michigan. It’s been in the nineties here for the better part of a week. And, like any time it’s hot in the middle of June and July, I’ve spent a not-insignificant portion of that time begging pigs to eat. Contrary to […]

Pin It
On Batch Work

On Batch Work

2017 will go down in family history as the year we survived two months without a dryer, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. One day a few years ago our then-eleven year-old washer kicked the bucket. It wasn’t a good time. I was […]

Pin It
On The Annual Marathon

On The Annual Marathon

I planted peas this weekend. On Saturday night, in a moment of weakness and unrealistic hope, I dumped a quarter pound of seed leftover from 2012 in a mason jar, topped it off with water and left it on the windowsill overnight with the intention […]

Pin It