This past week we saw for the first time in over a year a very rare and imperiled bird in Virginia: the Loggerhead Shrike, Lanius ludovicianus. The genus name is Latin for butcher and Shrike is a derivative of shriek. The bird doesn’t really have a pretty song, it shrieks. It...
A "backfire" is a slow burn This is a prescribed fire manager's drean. See the smoke moving off to the right? The fire is actually burning to the left, into the wind and into the only fuel left to burn. The flames are low because we prepared the site by...
Phenology is the study of the timing of biological events. February 24th was Spring Surge Day in Swoope. That’s the first day of the year I notice the Earth is really on the move. It’s not necessarily the day the first daffodil blooms or the first warm day of spring. ...
I drove onto a farm in Northern Virginia this week and noticed a row of baled up corn stalks. That’s a red flag for me…I have learned over the past 30 some years as a conservationist that when I am on a farm and see rolled up – baled, corn...
Aldo Leopold wrote eloquently about an ancient log he placed on the andirons of his fire in A Sand County Almanac published in 1949. The chapter was “Good Oak”. Below is my lament for a log I placed on the andirons of a fire we had in the summer kitchen...
Harpers Ferry, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and we were driving back from Wilmington, Delaware. Our route took us through Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia – one of the most spectacular places on Earth. Thomas Jefferson said the view from a high rock in...
There has been a lot of talk about “T” these days because of the Chesapeake Bay TMDL. I hate jargon so here’s a quickie on these two terms. The TMDL is the agreed upon pollution diet for the Bay; it stands for Total Maximum Daily Load. It’s the maximum amount...
Monday I went to see a farmer that was interested in fencing his cattle out of a stream on his farm. He operates one of those down-home, “buy your local meats here” farms. They raise beef cattle, “free range” turkeys and hogs. They sell all kinds of meats, from bacon...
In the Great Age of Exploration, European countries took possession of foreign lands by force. Today rich countries and multi-national corporations are taking possession of foreign lands in a new way – they buy it. It’s called “The Great Land Grab”. China, Saudi Arabia, and South Korea lead the world...
Yesterday I was called out on a job in the Dayton area of Rockingham County, Virginia. This area is intensively farmed with livestock and crops. I was totally amazed at two things: the amount of bare ground and the number of fields farmed up and down the slope of the...
“There’s often a story about cattle, a little talk of environmental concerns, and a mention of his “Princess” and her collaborative work with him. That’s how conversations go when I get a chance to visit with Bobby. He’s easygoing and always has a great story, but there’s a wealth of shared experience, knowledge, and love of farming and our environment in everything Bobby does. This latest book is just like sitting down and visiting with Bobby. You’ll enjoy every bit of it.”
Emmett W. Hanger Jr.Virginia Senator
Blog Post Categories
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- Soil and Water Conservation
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- Student Required Reading
- Swoope Almanac
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