Working with Nature

Themes of working in harmony with Nature or emulating natural systems such as agro-ecology, bio-mimicry, conservation, ecosystem considerations, permaculture, stewardship, and living with wildlife.

Last week marks the second birthday of the first animals born on our farm. The steers (castrated males) Beardo and Little Will were born April 24 and 22 respectively, and Siibi the heifer (female who has not yet had a calf) was born April 12.

It has been a juggling act ensuring that the cattle get enough to eat as they rehabilitate our depleted fields, but as you can see below Beardo has grown into a fine young fellow eclipsing his mom, Koko.

Beardo far left, his mom far right

Given that the cows weigh about 500 kg, I would guess Beardo is closer to 600 kg -- a very respectable weight for a Black Angus steer, and that is before finishing him (fattening him up) on the spring flush of grass.

Beardo with Rob

To paraphrase the schoolyard taunt "bet my two year old can beat up your two year old" :-). Looking forward to 100% grass-fed Black Angus beef this August.

It has been 30 months since my last blog. I thought I should do something grandiose, but that was a year ago. So today's post is just a quick slice of life on the farm.

This is our second winter with cattle. Last night was surprisingly snowy, given that the temperature only rose from -17C to -10C. A steady wind kept the wind chill about 7C colder, so I figured the cattle would spend the night in their shelter.

Here is how they greeted me this morning.

Snowing, windy and -10C (-17C wind chill) and the cattle chose to spend the night outside their shelter.

They also know how to take care of themselves: staying outside in the cold reduces parasite and disease pressure versus stabling them. Ee! Bah gum, they're all champions! I wish our old farm house was as well insulated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Humanity, despite its artistic abilities, sophistication and accomplishments, owes its existence to a six-inch layer of farmable soil and the fact that it rains."—Anonymous

Think about it: our food supply is measured in days, weeks and, at best, months. The oceans are over-fished and hydroponics can't scale up. Lose our ability to grow food on the land and this is how long we have to live. Because of their importance, the UN has declared 2015 as "the international year of soils". Read more about the issues and what we are doing at Better Together Farms below. ...continue reading