Swoope Almanac April 2016: Fox Kits, Frogs and Warbler Fallout on the Farm

We live on a farm in the headwaters of the Shenandoah River – a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay. How cool is that? We started this year’s calving season on March 1st with 122 pregnant beef cows. All of them have calved except nine.  Cow #65 and #X6 had twins. I write this on Earth […]

Brook Trout – Environmental Refugees From the Middle River

Middle River flows through our land.  Brook Trout, Virginia’s state fish, used to thrive in it.  They migrated or died long ago, environmental refugees from the sediment laden waters of the river.  The river is slowly being restored and one day, we will re-introduce this native fish to the waters that flow through our farm. I […]

Every Person, Every Tributary

What is it going to take to restore the Chesapeake Bay? Every person and every tributary in the watershed. What will it take to restore the stream where you live?  Every person and every tributary. Elizabeth Buckman, Vice President for Communications with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation asked me to write a “Reflection” piece for their […]

Choose Clean Water Coalition Conference 2014

Wow! That’s what I have to say about the 2014 Choose Clean Water Coalition Conference held at the Stonewall Jackson Hotel in Staunton, Virginia last week. Nearly two-hundred leaders from every non-profit organization with a mission for cleaner water in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed were in attendance including the National Fish and Wildlife Federation, the […]

Harpers Ferry – a History Steeped in Irony

I’m standing in the middle of the footbridge across the Potomac River at Harper’s Ferry looking downstream.   Beneath me flows the nation’s river that at this point in its journey, drained six million acres of land. Just downstream to my right the waters from another two million acres join the Potomac – it’s the Shenandoah […]

“Oh Shenandoah!”

A watershed moment for the Shenandoah River and the Chesapeake Bay occurred on Tuesday the 23rd of April.  Ownership of the former Virginia National Golf Course located on the banks of the Shenandoah River in Clark County was handed over to Shenandoah University .  Dr. Tracy Fitzsimmons, President of the University said during a press conference at […]

How We Live With The River On Our Cattle Farm

This week’s flood prompted this post on how we deal with floodwater from our river with our cattle.  It was an out-of-bank flood event but it didn’t wash our cattle crossing out because we’ve learned to work with the river not against it. Middle River is a tributary of the South Fork of the Shenandoah […]