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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Princess of Swoope Goes to DC to See President Obama

Jeanne, the Princess of Swoope and I had the privilege of attending the League of Conservation Voters annual Capital Dinner on June 25th.  It was held in the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in the nation’s capital.  We were there with the Virginia delegation. President Obama and Senator Tim Kane were keynote speakers. […]

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 […]

Swoope Almanac: October 2013: Quail Release on the Farm

  “Just because the problem seems unsolvable doesn’t give us the right to give up”.   I can’t remember who wrote that but it sticks in my mind.  And just like the people trying to find that one blight resistant American Chestnut tree, Bobwhite Quail lovers keep hoping that maybe someday one mating pair from […]