Calving Season: Swoope Almanac – March 2017

Calving Season Begins March 1st Green grass emerges from its brown, dormant cloak of winter. Northern Harriers glide and teeter, close to the ground in search of anything that moves. In the vast grasslands of Swoope, Virginia, the headwaters of the Shenandoah River it’s voles they hunt. American Plum pushes forth its white blooms, and […]

Sipping Africa, Mandela and the Reality of Trump – Swoope Almanac 11/16

Journal entry 11/15/16: Sipping Africa Charlottesville, VA: We ordered a bottle of Bayten, Sauvignon Blanc. It’s from the Constantia wine region in South Africa, the oldest wine region in the Southern Hemisphere.  It’s Cape Town’s wine region, at the Southern tip of the African continent. I raised my glass and gently swirled the soft golden […]

Fueling Stations for Monarchs – Swoope Almanac September 2016

I had to stop and smell the Marigolds, the native ones in our riparian buffers called Bur Marigolds.  As I was putting up a new solar fence charger for one of our livestock exclusion areas, I had to just stop to watch.  What froze me in my tracks was the sight of so many Monarch […]

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 […]

Solar Panels Radiate Hope in Swoope

He said, “Solar panels are only 40 percent efficient.” I thought, “Are you kidding, it’s free.” The sun shines and “Zap”, you have electricity, isn’t that 100 percent efficient?  Well, not so fast smarty pants.  The 40 percent rating is true, if one thinks about how “they” measure efficiency – the actual amount of photons […]

Swoope Almanac May 2015 – Bobolinks, Bobwhites and Black Locust Blooms

May might be my favorite month. The energy of spring swells in every living thing. I remain in awe of all the energy. A Catbird sings all night outside our open window. Robins begin their singing at 5:15am. That’s the warm-up for the avian symphony that will last all day.  I heard a Black Poll […]

Swoope Almanac – March 2015, Winter Storm Thor and a New Border Collie Pup

The sun’s energy has transformed our brown pastures into green carpets of food for our beef cattle. The surge of spring is upon us. Red Wing Blackbird males are singing their shoulders off, “Concareeee”.  Meadowlarks are singing, “Spring of the yearrrr”.  Because of the vast grasslands in Swoope their populations are not declining here.  Elsewhere […]

Swoope Almanac January 2015: Ode to Dexter, a Snow Goose and Virginia Wild Rye

Winter in Swoope.  I walk along the banks of Middle River on our farm in search of treasure. Dexter, our Border Collie usually walks along with me but he passed on and I sure miss him.  Cold air seeps through the opening in my collar; the brown, frozen grass crunches under my feet.  The water […]

Swoope Almanac – Summer 2014: Tomatoes, Bobwhites and Middle River Flowing Like Chocolate Milk

I love the smell of hay…and putting it away for the winter.  It’s a good feeling; knowing all the winter feed for the cows is ready. Jeanne is now in the throws of bush hogging the pastures with her new fifteen foot wide “bat-wing” mower. We mow the pastures to cut the seed heads off […]

Swoope Almanac May 2014

May fills my senses as I walk our “river field”.  Life’s energy surges this time of year.   The avian migration is at its peak.  All the birds that want to be here have arrived except for the Dickcissels.  They will arrive when the peonies and day lilies open. The cool nights and warm days […]