Dispatches from the Hill RSS



Regenerative Agriculture and the Dawn of Planetary Engineering

Regenerative agriculture is the dawn of planetary engineering. And that's great news for the future of the planet. Here's how I know. We have five hay fields on our farm. They are the kind of rolling, green, and gorgeous fields that are typical across Vermont's pastoral green mountains. All five of the fields have been incredibly productive over the past forty years using our area's conventional methods for hay farming—frequent tilling, a corn rotation, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides. Our hay was regarded as some of the best in the area. And we produced a lot of it. Then, in 2012, we stopped tilling. We stopped spraying chemicals. We stopped rotating in corn. And, as a result, fields that once...

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Poem: The Farming Father

I don't normally post poetry or any of my creative writing, in fact. But, as this falls along the lines of farming, I thought it wouldn't hurt to post this here for the world. This poem is, of course, a (poor) tribute to Wendell Berry's "The Contrariness of the Mad Farmer."

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First Videos of First Successful Haying for the Year

Despite Saturday's rain, we were able to dry the 11ish acres of hay we had down. It turned out to be thicker than we expected and cleaner than we hoped for after the rain. Overall, it was a successful haying: clean hay, no machines broke down, and no one got hurt. With the help of our staunch crew, we were able to stack 900 bales in the barn in an evening. This hay will feed the horses this summer, and the sheep (and BEN!) over the winter. We're sending some samples out for nutritional testing next week to see how it compares to last year's hay. (During the chaos of haying, we weren't able to pull out the bales of...

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Two Videos of our Baby Chicks and Spring Lambs Springing

July has swept over the farm and everybody is running around like crazy. We're picking weeds, sowing our last crops, mulching the gardens, preparing for hay (if the weather ever cooperates, we'll cut soon), mowing the lawns, selling the chickens, feeding the animals, chasing after Angus (our 1-year-old son), and so on. Even the chickens and sheep are feeling the energetic burst of Vermont's glorious early/mid-summer season. ...Oh, you want proof!? Here's proof! We're now taking orders for our wonderfully happy & productive, pasture-bouncing chickens, turkeys, and lamb. If you have any questions, call us at 802-379-9070. And, if you'd like to come meet the animals, we'd love to give you a tour.

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Our Season's First Lacto-Fermented Garlic Dill Pickles

Holy crap I love pickles. I don't care if Portlandia made it funny and fashionable to bash the brine lovers of the world, I wear my pickle pride ... with pride. And so, when I saw that Cousin Lisa had crates of cucumbers for sale at the Dorset Farmers' Market last Sunday, I blurted out, "Holy crap I love pickles!" She stopped and looked at me suspiciously, and rightly so. I was in a bit of a tail-spin pickle rage. You see, I always knew pickling to be a Fall activity. To avoid late Spring frosts here in Vermont, we plant our garden on June 1st. And so, pickle-able vegetables (cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, beans, carrots, etc.) were never available until August...

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