You Herd It Here First
(And we'll keep telling you, because sometimes it's easy to forget.)
The world is beautiful because you’re in it. We’re so glad you’re here. — Peaseblossom, who never misses a chance to grin for the camera
Here’s What’s Happening At Good Spirits Farm
We’re thinking about trees! Management intensive grazing, where we move our cows and sheep every two days to fresh pasture, can help build soil and sequester carbon as the plants’ roots systems grow. BUT: Adding trees into a grazing system helps lock up even more carbon dioxide. Called “silvopasture” (silva is the Latin word for forest), it’s kind of a zag from the old school style of grazing, where farmers ripped out every last tree thinking shade was a bad thing.
The awesome thing is that trees have big benefits beyond carbon sequestration! As summers grow hotter, shade will be crucial for our animals. And grass can actually weather droughts better if it has shade, too. There are even indications that having trees in your grasslands can help draw up moisture from deep within the earth during particularly dry times.
I’m hoping to spend the winter thinking about the two ways we can introduce silvopasture into our farm: by allowing our animals access to existing woods for invasive plant control, and by planting trees throughout our mature pastures. The trick with new trees, however, is going to be keeping the animals from destroying them. Two years ago we got a living, root-ball-attached Christmas tree. About a month after we planted it, I walked out and found Benni and Julia mid butt skritch session using the tree as their own personal scratching post. Every branch but the very top ones had been sheered off. I am honestly shocked it has survived! I see lots of tree cages and portable electric fencing in our future!
The tree! It had such promise! (The guineas supervised its planting.)
They just look so innocent! Do not be fooled!
The result. Even Veli is shocked and saddened at the turn of events.
Here’s What I Loved This Week:
We’ve been watching “Maid” on Netflix and it is so good and so important. (Stephanie Land’s memoir, which the show is based on, is wonderful, too!) Add it to your list!