Tag: Farm Life

Good Stuff: Winter Comes

Good Stuff: Winter Comes

Winter arrived with the thunder of a runaway freight train shortly after noon yesterday. I was shoulder deep in the freezer in the barn, digging for lamb shanks for the evening’s meal. I pulled my head from the freezer just in time to hear the […]

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Monday Miscellany: All The Colors of the Rainbow

Over the weekend we had a sow farrow during the day. This doesn’t happen often so I took the opportunity to “live Facebook” the births as they were happening. You can read those updates and see the pictures here, here and here. (In that order.)

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Raising Pigs: Why We Use Pastures And Pens

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Recently pastured meats have become quite popular. It’s not just pork either, “grass-fed” which is a different but similar label for beef and lamb products, as well as pastured and even “vegetarian” versions of poultry have been hitting shelves in increasing numbers. Due to the rising popularity of these products and an increasing awareness of pasture-based farming systems one of the questions we often field is why we don’t leave our pigs on pasture full time. The answer is a combination of factors, some unique to our farm and others universal to the art of raising swine. The truth is we used to leave them on pasture full time during the summer, but as time went on we learned a lot about pigs and pig farming and have made adjustments with that knowledge. One of the things we’ve learned is that sometimes what feels good to us is not necessarily the most responsible choice to make for the stock or our land, and that’s pretty much the overarching theme to everything we do here, including the pasture and pen management. Here are some specific hows and whys: (more…)

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Midweek Miscellany: Early Spring

You wouldn’t know it from the howling wind outside my office window, but as I type this spring is on its way into Michigan. The grass is greening, the winter wheat is growing, there’s a small lake at the bottom of the hill where a […]

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Miscellany: Seed Chatter, Sow Teats + Gratuitous Critter Photos

According to my editorial calendar I had intended to share a Cranberry Scone recipe with you today, and if we’re judging by the unused carton of cranberries in my fridge, that sounds about right. Unfortunately, intentions are not nickels. Because if I had a nickel […]

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Thirty Days of Little Things: Innovation

I spent some of my day here… and the rest of it there.

And throughout it all I kept thinking to myself how fortunate we are to get more than a bushel a day. How fortunate we are to be able to do the things we do, eat the things we eat, be the people we are, and raise the children we want. I kept thinking to myself how incredible this all is, how improbable, and yet… possible. And all because of a little thing we call innovation.

Little ideas, tweaks, methods. Tiny changes that catch on and suddenly these truly enormous things are possible. (Don’t believe me? That orange-red rectangle in the bottom right of the second picture is a door. For humans, not elves. That tiny path between the bins? Big enough for a semi-truck. Truly enormous. And figuratively as much as literally. I promise.)

As we stood beside the field towards the end of the evening, one of the guys brought up the “old” manual swing augers on combines. The ones you had to get out of the combine and physically lock into place before you could unload the grain. Get out of the combine?! It seems so inefficient now and we’re not that far removed from the time when they were the only thing available. It seems so inefficient until you remember a man you met just three weeks ago threshing barely by hand in the mountains of a third world country. A man whose day of work would yield him just a bushel a day.

Today, I’m extremely grateful for innovation. Especially in Agriculture.

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Thirty Days of Little Things is the daily incarnation of my (mostly) weekly gratitude practice. It will run everyday throughout the month of November. It also (conveniently) coincides with NaBloPoMo. To join in tell me what you’re grateful for today in the comments, or write your own post and leave me a link so I can check it out. I’d love it. No really. Of course, you can also read about more of my Little Things while you’re here. Because I’d love that, too.

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The Inadvertent Discovery of a Calling

I spent Wednesday morning bellied up to a table in Starbucks, chatting with a lovely reporter from the Lansing State Journal. She wanted to know about ONE and Ethiopia and how in the world a random girl, living in relative obscurity in the Middle of […]

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On Odd Jobs

Lately, the Small Humans have been spending much of their after-school, but pre-practices-and-dinner time on the straw bales that are stacked out back. They’re haphazardly lined up, one after another, in row after row, awaiting the winter season when they’ll be all that stands between […]

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