Off Social - One
Hi there, thanks for looking in!
Instead of using twitter etc hopefully you'll enjoy this update...
The Cow Boys
The Belted Galloway bullocks are 24 months old now. They're quietly proving that it's possible to finish beef animals, grazing pasture plants alone.
That's encouraging; high quality, nutritious, beef is a possibility!
The cattle have grazed the field, see how there are plenty of plants left..?
It'll grow back quicker that way - remember your school biology class on photosynthesis?!
The tube is protecting an oak sapling, probably 'planted' by a Jay. It pays to stare at the ground sometimes!
Find Space in Your Heart
We have to farm with nature, and that includes the spiders... mice... frogs. I see all of these among the tall plants as I walk about the place.
The four spot orb weaver is colourful and it just so happens that Britain's heaviest spider appreciates an electric fence post as a hunting spot.
It's that time of year again.
Mechanical cutting offers access for cattle in the higher parts of the farm over winter - more info on this long term project on my website here.
Getting the bullocks, their pee and poop and related microbial life, on to the higher land kickstarts soil improvement. It'll be worth the effort to store water and carbon!
Few words are required to describe the feeling when I lay eyes on a gap like this.
One of the walls built to try and keep the Swaledale sheep in check, it's a tall specimen; it'll take time to rebuild but the stones are square so should make for a decent end result.
But still, you always wish you didn't have to.
There are plenty of acorns below the oak trees. Some are much fatter than others. I'll collect 20 or so and pot them; I'm curious whether or not the more rotund fellows grow more readily than the smaller ones I've found in the past.
If you try this leave behind those that are marked or cracked for the critters, they won't grow as well, if at all.
I've had success potting acorns in ordinary peat free compost in the past; this time I've bought a tree and shrub mix from a local nursery to try.
Fingers crossed next winter there'll be a bunch of oaks to plant out in tubes around the landscape.
I've never seen the number and different types of fungi here before.
Whether that's down to management, the dry summer or a combination of both I'm not sure but it suggests, in places, a tilt toward a fungal dominence on the fungal/bacterial soil scale.
Observation is a key element of my type of farming; will there be a similar display of fungi next year?
The Magic of Rest
The cattle grazed there 30 days before I took that picture.
I touched on rest in a note above. One specific aspect missing from much livestock farming is one simple magic touch: rest.
Continuous grazing, even the classic quick rotations, don't allow plants to recover and lead to a reduction in root density. Much better to have a diverse mix of stronger, healthier plants.
It'll be months before the field in the picture is grazed again; some of the plants will die back in winter but the soil will be warmer for the cover of that dead material fostering earlier regrowth in spring.