Fearing that the topic of low-till weeds and mulch-loving slugs may not be of general interest, we have made an extra effort to select material on this esoteric subject which demonstrates the problem solving skills necessary for the success of any sustainable farm system. We begin this column by looking at our own problem solving efforts to reduce the population of cool season weeds and high moisture mollusks in the bioextensive market garden, and how we have integrated the resulting cultural practices into the new and improved version of our cover crop/tillage rotation.
Sheep naturally inhabit areas that are high and dry. The animals, however, will thrive on any land except that which is wet and swampy. The fine-wool breeds of sheep especially exhibit a preference for the lands that are drier, whereas there are one or two of the British breeds that are particularly adapted to the lowlands. The industry of raising sheep has been carried on with success in areas that have tropical temperatures with low rainfalls, but rearing the animals in regions of high temperatures and high rainfall has not been generally successful.
Before we began farming in earnest, and while I was still teaching school, we bought a house in a little country town on an acre and a quarter of land with a beautiful willow lined canal running through it. We put up a greenhouse and planted a big garden. Someone gave us a lamb in the spring of the year, and when he grew up and the time came to butcher him, my wife Liz said to me “You can’t kill that sweet thing.” I said “Okay,” after all he had looked up at me that morning with such innocent eyes, “but if we are not at peace eating an animal we know and have raised, how can we, in good conscience eat animals we know nothing about.” We decided that we needed to be in full accordance with all that eating meat entails, and so began our brief foray into vegetarianism.
On March 1st of last year, I lost my best friend and hilarious sidekick, my joy, my precious mom, Betty Gilman. This issue features a few of my mother’s recipes that I grew up with. Mom was never a gourmet cook by any means, but her heart and soul was in loving and caring for her family. After meeting my Dad in college, she chose wife, homemaker, and mother over the accounting career she was pursuing at the time. Keeping a home and preparing a meal for her family was not only a necessity, but an expression of love.
PFERDESTARK is the European version of the U.S. Horse Progress Days. Nowhere else in Europe can be found more modern horse drawn machinery and equipment than at Detmold, the shop window of draught horses at work on the field and in the forest. Working demonstrations and international competitions in ploughing, logging and driving are part of this two day event, as well as an international draught horse show.
When my husband, Steve, showed the request for a pen pal to my daughter, Addie, five years ago, I could never have envisioned the experience that has just taken place. There in the SFJ “letters” section was a request from Owain Price of Wales for a pen pal. He was an 8-year-old, home schooled, farm boy, looking for someone to write to. Addie was experiencing a similar lifestyle across the Atlantic. Both sets of parents looked at it from an academic viewpoint, thinking what a great opportunity to practice writing.
After a year old, a seven hundred pound (each) steer pair can be worked slowly up to an eight hundred pound stone boat load. Remember, if you want them to pull heavy loads, or work long hours, they must be slowly brought up to speed. You are training an athlete and must work up to the heavier loads, and always start out a training session with a lighter load and “warm-up” your athlete. No runner in high school ever started out running the four-minute mile, it takes years to work up to their maximum performance.
“Heads up!” and a whistle from Head Teamster, Neil Dimmock, and 44 head of Percheron horses lean into their collars to pull in a field a 26 foot cultivator expressly manufactured by Ezee-On Manufacturing of Vegreville, Alberta. This feat set a new World Record for the Largest Hitch of Percheron horses on May 24, 2003. The next day, two more horses were added to the third team from the rear for a total of 46 horses that were hitched to set the World Record for the Largest Agricultural Hitch.