Early August Pasture Restoration Update

This year we are working hard to revitalize our existing pastures and to restore some old and unused pastures.  This means we’ve planted 250 baby trees around the entire property in small groves of 3 to 5, we’ve found the old fence line, cleared it, and have successfully re-fenced over half of it in one block, and we’ve been grazing less frequently & refraining from mowing in our existing pastures.

So, how is that working out for us so far?
Great!  Continue reading

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One Hundred Thousand Beating Hearts

There are many things I love about this video and I wanted to point out just a few of them.

Community:
I love that Mr Will Harris has a heart for his community, for the people who live nearby his property.  I love that he saw a need, he had a need, and he found a solution that benefited his community as much as it has benefited his business.  I really appreciate that his focus is his own people, his local community.  “I don’t know that I’m supposed to feed the world.  I’m supposed to feed my community.”

Respect:
I love that he communicates a respect for his fellow farmers and ranchers who do not work from the same perspective that he does.  He’s right, nobody is intentionally doing anything to cause harm!  Unintended consequences are just that – unintended.  I appreciate the honor with which he speaks of his father and his grandfather.
But I also really appreciate that his employees are observed in a respectful manner and that they seem to work together respectfully.  “I get paid for what I was made for.”

Restoration:
I love that he is so focused on restoration of things that you can hear his passionate heart sharing about reviving the land, reviving his herds, and the reviving his community even at great personal risk.

** If you are put off by occasional rough or “earthy” language, note that you’ll hear it once or twice here.

Mr Will Harris is one of my heroes.  He is, indeed, the rock star of restoration agriculture.  May you appreciate meeting him via this video as much as I have.  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below!

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Simple & Fearless Living For Generations

One of our goals is to revive the good traditions of our ancestors that kept our people alive for millennia.  Things like living simply and appreciating life are critical to our mental, emotional, and physical health.  But today it’s so easy to get so caught up in what is good for us and what is bad for us.  It seems like every day we hear something unsettling about something we enjoy or thought was for our benefit.  It sometimes feels like we just can’t win no matter what!  In truth, life isn’t supposed to be that stressful.

There are many young people in our lives who are starting their own families or are dreaming of their future families and they are starting to take a serious look at what they need to learn and do to give their children the best start they can. Part of that strong start includes getting themselves healthy today and learning new, and sometimes very old, traditions.  After all, at conception there are 3 generations being cared for and nourished at once:  Mom, Baby, and Grandbaby.  Have you ever thought about that?  When a baby is born his/her reproductive cells are already formed:  a girl is born with all of the eggs she will have throughout her life and a boy is born with his seed ready for the final transition but the reproductive material is fully formed.  Three generations all at once being nourished and cared for when a woman is pregnant!  Not to put any extra pressure on anyone, but this is a wonderful and incredible thing.  What we do today matters and it matters for a long time.  It’s such a blessing to learn how we can positively effect our families for generations to come, even when they’re only a sparkle in our dreams.

The other day I listened to this podcast and thought it was well worth sharing with our friends here.  Hillary Boynton talks about Simple and Fearless Healthy Living and shares a bit about what she’s learned about health, food, and life from the generation of our grandparents and great-grandparents.  It was encouraging and fun to hear.  She has some encouragement and suggestions for how people can strengthen their health and start new traditions in the family that will benefit generations yet to come.

Enjoy!

 

Weaning Lambs

Our lambs are now between 11 and 13 weeks old and it’s time to wean them.  The mamas have done a fantastic job of caring for their babies and it’s time for their bodies to stop putting so much energy into making milk and reroute that energy into getting back into good shape before we breed again in 3 months.

Once the babies are 8 weeks old their rumen (the part of their stomach that does all the work of digesting the grass) is fully developed and able to support them if they are weaned at that time.  Once they begin to nibble on grasses, their stomachs begin to learn to process forage as well as milk, but they’re simply not ready to survive on forage alone.  Mamas milk is required for life in the earliest weeks.  As the digestive system begins to mature and adjust to the increasing amounts of grasses that the lambs eat, they begin to derive benefit from both the milk and the grass.  We like to leave our lambs with their mamas for as long as we can.

We are weaning at this stage this year because the majority of our lambs are ewes and most of the mamas had triplets with two ewes and one ram.  If we left the babies with the mamas, they would naturally wean the babies on their own.  We are just stepping in this time to make sure that those mamas can get the most “bounce back” time before breeding again.  And the other reason we’re weaning now is that once the lambs are 4 months old, the boys are *capable* of breeding the ewes.  It’s not common, but it is possible.  In years when we have more boys than girls we will wean just before 4 months of age and leave the girls in with their mamas to be weaned naturally.  This year we opted to wean all the lambs together and put the girls back in with their mamas once their milk is dried up, leaving the boys to move together as one group and the ewes (mamas and lambs) to move together as a group.

Once everyone is separated and settled in, things quiet down and are peaceful once again.

 

Thriving Native Grasses Result In Full Aquifers

Here are some points that I just love about this video

~ Mr David Bamberger purchased this property when it was in terrible shape:  overgrown with brush, there was absolutely no water, and just all around useless.  He begins to plant native grasses and remove the overgrowth of certain trees & brush.  And almost immediately he begins to see an incredible restoration!

~ Aquifer Impact!  There is now water where once this land was incredibly dry.  And it happened relatively fast, too!  Only 2 .5 years after restoration began and water began to flow.  46 years prior to this video there was NO WATER, not even a well driller could drill 500′ and find water.  Cavernous limestone was under the surface, created to hold water.  I can think of another hill country in a nation’s heartland that is made of cavernous limestone and is currently being restored in some measure, where water has not been easy to come by.  Mr David Bamberger’s explanation of how native grasses brought about full water reservoirs was excellent!

~ Working with nature and not against it, taking cues from the natural order of things and learning to understand what is natural and what is unnatural, and choosing to partner with nature (the created order that Hashem established) to guard and preserve and nurture the land to bring about abundant life.

~  Ask yourself the same question that Mr David Bamberger did:  “What’s my duty as a steward of this [land]?”  You may not own property, or you might own thousands of acres, or hectares, of land.  Stewardship doesn’t require ownership.  Every human on earth shares a certain responsibility to care for the land under his or her feet.  What is *your* duty as a steward of the land you use?

Stinging Nettle Tincture

 

When searching for a more natural way to manage our allergies we discovered stinging nettle.  Yes, stinging nettle!  There are many positives of stinging nettle:  its leaves are highly nutritious wild food consumed either dried (as a tea, for example) or steamed.    Nettle is high in iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and D, and it is said that nettle is one of the world’s most chlorophyll-rich plants.  Young plants taste best.  Herbalists love nettle as a highly nutritive tonic with a great many uses, some of which are treatment of anemia, arthritis and gout, dropsy, hemorrhoids, swollen prostate and benign prostatic hypertrophy (bph), rheumatism, sciatica, lymphatic ailments, expelling gravel or stones from any organ but particularly the kidneys, infertility and with regard to regulating aspects of women’s monthly cycles and postpartum, as a blood cleanser, to expel mucus from all parts of the body, a treatment for worms, and more.  Plus, nettles do not contain salicylates, which is a boon for those with salicylate sensitivities or allergies.

But our family and friends use nettle primarily for moderate allergies, and part of the regimen for those of us with severe allergies.  The properties of the stinging nettle help to address the histamine response (it is classified as an antihistamine) and it address inflammation which is what is behind things like post nasal drip or a runny nose, sneezing, or watery eyes.  When our bodies are feeling under attack they produce a way to flush the offending particles away from the body, tears or mucus.  When the inflammation is addressed, the symptoms are reduced.

So many of our friends have found relief when they use our stinging nettle tincture that I thought it was a good idea to make a series of short videos to explain the entire process of preparing our nettle tincture.

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Covering

As I’ve been observing how things are growing this year I am often reminded of the concept of covering.  With both the Back To Eden gardening methods and  holistic & restorative agricultural practices there has been a steady stream of complementary messages.  One message is that “nature abhors naked soil”.

If nature is how we describe and relate to creation and the structure & order Hashem created our world to thrive within, then we understand that nature abhoring naked soil has a deeper principle.

When soil is left uncovered it sprouts weeds, opportunistic little plants that seem to come from nowhere. They thrive in the uncovered and disturbed soil.  Some of these weeds have no good use and can be toxic.  Yet many that sprout up in healthy yet disturbed soil have a multitude of beneficial uses.  Nature is trying to quickly cover and restore the uncovered soil by sprouting “weeds” where the grass has been killed or removed.  The purpose of these “weeds” is to quickly provide a covering for the soil and maintain life. Continue reading

Parasite Management & Supplements

Years ago we learned that Native Americans used pumpkin to cure kidney infections and rid the body of worms, and the leaves of the pumpkins may be crushed and rubbed on as a fly repellent. Not only this but pumpkins are safe for livestock to eat.  So we contacted some friends who had a pumpkin patch and asked if after the pumpkin patch season was over if we could buy some of their left overs.  They were thrilled to have someone help clean up the unwanted pumpkins and when we returned home with pickup truck loads of pumpkin we were delighted to find that the flock was equally delighted to have fresh pumpkin!  That winter we made sure they had a steady supply of pumpkins in their feed area.  With each new pumpkin they made games of rolling it around and breaking it open.

But, fresh pumpkin is a seasonal thing.  And what is actually helping with parasite management in the digestive tract is a compound found in the pumpkin seed called cucurbitin.  Cucurbitin affects parasites by paralyzing them so they can no longer attach to the body and they are expelled from the digestive tract naturally.  Continue reading