Summer has arrived; The cycle continues

The ponds in front of the house are now filled with tons of baby frogs
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where there used to be only tadpoles. The yard is filled with baby birds hopping and flying all over the place as their frantic parents try to keep them fed now that they are out of the nest. Even the lambs born this winter are almost as big as their mothers and looking fat and happy!

This time of year is also when we get some surprises. The potatoes we planted too late came up anyway, and they are growing incredibly fast! The prairie nursery that showed no signs of life now has 6-inch tall grasses poking up. And the leeks we planted in the garden (half of which I was sure were going to die) are growing so well that even the weeds can’t compete! Now all we have to do is let the growing things work their magic!

Cacophony of birdsong

As the grass reaches more than a foot tall, the nesting season gets underway for the bobolinks and red-winged black birds.
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Bobolinks in particular need tall grass for nesting and it can be hard for them to find tall enough grass in modern agriculture where everything is mowed or grazed short. Because of our grazing system that recreates prairie-like conditions with lots of tall grass, we have a flourishing population of these little birds.

Walking out to move the fence for the cattle is rewarded with a cacophony of birdsong. The yellow and black male bobolinks can be seen all across the fields, perched on grass stems, declaring their dominion over the land. I’m not sure if having more of them around provides us any benefit but they sure do make wonderful music.

Spring has sprung

This week the woods exploded with green. All of the trees are leafing out now and the beautiful spring ephemeral wild flowers
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are trying to get in a last dose of sunshine before the forest floor becomes dark. The wild edibles and medicinals are also out in force. Yesterday Chelsea went out gathering ramps for the Farmer’s Table on May 25th and the day before Mom scored a couple of morels! Even the oak trees have green buds on them. This tapestry of green made a great backdrop for Molly and Polly’s first horse logging experience. I started dragging logs out of the woods for this year’s mushroom inoculation. Soon with all the leaves out we will be able to walk in the shade of the woods.

Grazing in winter

The sheep are able to graze during the winter and heavy snow.
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They just move the snow off the grass and feed. It's another aspect of the natural and sustainable approach we take.