Thursday, February 03, 2005

Grass, Walmart, and an Exciting Crop

He causes the grass to grow for the cattle, Psalm 104-14

It has been a couple of years now since we switched our dairy herd over to a grass based system. As long as the green grass is growing our girls are rotated through over 100 acres of pasture. The pasture is divided into 2 acre padocks. The cows are healthier, we make less milk- but more profit, and the work load is alot less. When the idea that perhaps it would be best to let cows be cows started getting attention, all the "experts" had a stroke. "It will never work" they said. "You can't farm without loads of debt, a fleet of tractors, expencive buildings, and a plan to grow by 10% a year." Well my, have they changed thier tune. I'm seeing stories about grazeirs in "mainstream" dairy magazines, the know-it-alls from Cornell are now studying it to death.....thats right, the same crowd over at "Uncle Ezra's Daycare" that brought us the "world according to Galton" now has a army of grazing advocates. News flash.......we got along without you this long, please stay out of our way.

WalMart Cares?

Unless you live under a rock, you have heard all the ads and such. Walmart cares. They are so wonderful that only modesty prevents them from telling you just how great they realy are. Funny thing is....... I still have my memory. When WalMart made the choise to sell only New Zealand lamb, US lamb farmers went to the company on bended knee. They begged and pleaded for shelf space. They didn't ask for any special treatment, just a trial run of being on the same shelf with a chance to compete. The answer was NO. They "cared" more about the mighty dollar then giving their own countrymen a chance.

A way of life

Its no secret that farmers don't do it for the money. Its not that we would not like a profit, its that it is rare treat......and not much more. I don't hate money, I just don't make an idol out of it. I farm becouse I love the life. I like the smell of fresh mowed hay. I love to see a hawk snatch a mouse out of the feild I'm working in. Newborn calves on wobbley legs, sweet blackcaps in the woods, fresh air, sunsets, and being your own boss are just a few things that make it so fun. I always say "I've never worked a day in my life" me its just what I've always done, and Lord willing always will. There are so many little treats to working close to the land. I liked this article by Gene Logsdon,Our Most Exciting "Crop". It highlights just one of the many interesting sidelines in our work as farmers.


At 2/03/2005 5:17 AM, Blogger Rebecca said...

Except the Sunday morning routine, right? hehehe

At 2/04/2005 6:11 AM, Blogger abigail said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 2/04/2005 6:13 AM, Blogger abigail said...

last words.

my friend margaret was raised on a family-run dairy farm, and she's going to Cornell right now for veterinary medicine. i'll tell her to steer clear of Uncle Ezra.

At 2/04/2005 6:17 AM, Blogger abigail said...

[sorry for the's what i wrote.)

Thanks so much for the link!
I called my mom right after I read it to find out where the field was that we always hunted arrowheads in when I was younger, but she wasn't quite sure. My DAD would be able to give detailed directions, because he was the mover and shaker behind us going there to sift our hands through freshly plowed soil. My sister found a nice arrowhead once, and my dad found some arrowheads and a shard of pottery and an old grinding stone, but I always left with empty hands. Actually, I usually left with some cool rocks or flowers, but, alas, never found my own arrowhead. Perhaps my lack of patience was a deterrent. Anyway, the field was by a river outside of Binghamton somewhere, and it holds some fun memories of seven kids and two parents digging earth like woodchucks. Again, not entirely true. I don't remember my mom and a few kids always being as enthusiastic about all the digging as my Dad was...:)

Also, thanks for the news about Wal-mart. Man, and I always thought this sprawling monster of a corporation was interested in me personally. I recently completed a survey in which I was asked to rate, on a scale of something to something, how much I was treated as a valued customer at Wal-mart. Since my only purchase was a package of toddler socks for $2.50, I rated it "not at all" because I'm sure the Big Men weren't jumping up and down about the money I made them.

Although John and I prefer ma and pop places to large chains (with a few exceptions on my part...try finding a ma and pop buffet table outside of your own family's house), we still shop at Wal-mart. Our convictions haven't yet overruled my desire to grasp pennies by saving some from a stupid smiley face. So you can spurn me now....I've a yellow belly.

At 2/08/2005 1:01 PM, Blogger abigail said...

one more thing.

the big guys have shoved out so many of the little guys around here that i have no idea where the little guys who sell a 6-pack of socks are, if there even are any....everything seems to be a link of a Chain.

i need to start knitting socks.


Post a Comment

<< Home