A New Fleece On Life
Progress isn’t linear, but we see the work you’re doing to practice your self compassion. You’re doing just great; keep it up! We love ewe!— Nurse, Puck, Titania, and Baaaah-atrice
Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm
The grass! There’s so much! It’s actually grounding out our electric fence! Luckily, the flerd has a robust enough buffet they haven’t bothered to check if the fence is still on (it’s not!). I could mow and knock down the grass where I run hotwire for our daily pasture rotations, but the whole point of regenerative grazing is to build pastures that sequester carbon. Burning a bunch of diesel to do that seems silly. For now, I’m hoping no one notices the fence is merely a suggestion.
Flies have arrived, and Saul is NOT a fan.
We’re using a multi-pronged approach to fly control, but it’s still hard to keep them in check without chemicals. We encourage tree swallows by building nest boxes for them. In the evenings, the swallows zoom around our farm gobbling bugs as they go—but we clearly need more swallows! I feed powdered garlic in the minerals I offer the critters, because eating sulfur can make cows smell less attractive to flies (insert a joke about pre-seasoning your steaks here). Finally, we order shipments of little beneficial insects called “fly predators” which we scatter in areas with high fly populations. The insects eat fly larva, and it definitely can help reduce numbers, but this time of year there are flies no matter what. Many of the chemical products offered for fly control harm dung beetles, which we have been trying to encourage on our property for the past three years. Dung beetles will pull manure underground, which actually is its own form of fly control because flies can’t lay eggs in manure that’s been buried. But—dung beetles are insects too, so insecticides applied in large doses for flies can harm the bugs we do want. I’m tryng my best to control flies naturally, but of course, welfare is important too. If the flies get overwhelming, we’ll rethink our plan.
Benni is getting close to delivering her calf. She’s technically not due for a few more weeks, but her udder looks so full that I think she may go early. I’m a little nervous about how warm it’s going to be when her baby arrives. It’s not ideal to have her delivering so late in the year, but it’s just the way it worked out. I’ll be so relieved when we’re done with calving for this year—I find cow midwifery to be really stressful!
Here’s What I Loved This Week
We’ve been watching the new “Our National Parks” series on Netflix, which is narrated by President Obama. As many of you probably know, Chris works for the National Park Service, so we have quite a fondness for national parks in this house, and it’s been fun to see gorgeous footage from national parks across the globe. Also: This video of Julia enjoying a bath on a recent hot afternoon brings me joy. I am so glad I can offer her a bit of relief from the heat!