Grass farming

So, after a long hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot this blog. When doing so, it’s often hard to know where to start, so I decided to start with the question we get asked most often: Why don’t we mow our grass? … Continue reading

So, after a long hiatus, I’ve decided to reboot this blog. When doing so, it’s often hard to know where to start, so I decided to start with the question we get asked most often: Why don’t we¬†mow our grass?

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The short answer to that question is that our “messy” “ugly” yard that makes our “farm look abandoned” is what real sustainable stewardship looks like. Because we’re not mowing our yard, we’re not spending money on grass mowing, not producing the byproducts of grass mowing, and are providing habitat for all sorts of native species.

But, honestly, the answer is more complicated than that. Yes, we are doing all of those things, but it turns out we’re also grass farmers. Our primary occupation at Innisfree is raising animals for food, and it turns out most of our animals eat grass. When I see a yard, I see a pasture, even if it’s one right up next to my house.

In a manner of speaking, we do mow our grass. We just do it sustainably with animals instead of mowers and gas. For us, the results are worth the “mess”.

DLH

Pallet fence

I needed to fence off the beehives from the rest of what used to be the chicken yard (soon to be re-fenced as a small pasture for animals), and wanted something that would provide a nice windbreak from the sometimes strong west winds we get. Pallets, t posts, and some sweat equity (always part of the equation around here) got the job done.

I still need to build a gate (where the big hole is!), and will most likely reinforce the fence by screwing the pallets together, but the nice weather over the last few days was just enough to keep the ground soft, making it much easier to drive the posts. I was able to lift most of the pallets over the posts myself (no easy feat when it’s breezy, and I’m shorter than the t posts!), and Denny assisted with the heaver pallets. Some of the t posts aren’t quite as far in as they should be due to roots and rocks, but reinforcing the pallets should help keep everything upright.

It works well as a windbreak, which will keep the bees happy, and any animals we put in that pasture won’t be able to bother the hives.

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Hay season

A couple of times a year, I mow lots of grass. Not in the $40-billion-make-my-lawn-look-like-a-golf-course sort of way, but in the make food for animals sort of way. We mow and bale about 30 acres of grass hay every year … Continue reading

A couple of times a year, I mow lots of grass. Not in the $40-billion-make-my-lawn-look-like-a-golf-course sort of way, but in the make food for animals sort of way.

We mow and bale about 30 acres of grass hay every year to hold our cattle and goats through the winter. There are a lot of things that make hay a chore, like the heat and dodging the weather, but despite my complaints, I actually look forward to it.

While so many people slave away in cubicles or at cash registers, I get to spend days outside in the sun, in near contact with the abundance of nature, using big machines. In the hours I spend mowing, raking, and baling, I find a unique opportunity to contemplate and formulate this path of life I travel.

And sure, things go wrong. Equipment breaks. The weather doesn’t cooperate. I see these things as opportunities to grow stronger. To develop fortitude. To solve problems.

For me, hay season is the peak of my year. That’s not to say that it’s downhill from there, but I look forward to this every year even as I dread it. Hay season encapsulates farming as a whole, and I love it all.

DLH