May miracles in Swoope Lush, green pastures fill the landscape, here at the beginning of the Chesapeake Bay in the Shenandoah Valley along Middle River. Baby calves form up in groups and run fast with their tails high in the air. The smell of lilacs fills the air. A new...
The riparian buffers on our farm on Middle River are now fifteen years old. Fifteen years ago, the "River Farm" was basically a cool-season grass pasture with a few scattered mature trees along the banks of the river. Now, in addition to excellent forage for cattle, there are hundreds of...
Earth awakens from the cold during the month of March in America's legendary Shenandoah Valley. Days lengthen, migrations begin, chloroplasts awaken and absorb the energy from the sun's photons - photosynthesis begins....pastures slowly turn from brown to green. Life's energy is on the move. March. The end of winter and...
Frozen Water in the Trough A frozen livestock water trough is a nightmare for farmers. Thousands of "frost-free" watering troughs have been installed as an alternative to allowing livestock access to the streams and rivers. Livestock farmers have been excluding livestock from streams and rivers for decades. It's one of...
The downstream and upstream pictures in this post were published by the Bay Journal in William Funk's article "Virginia Faulted for Handling of Cattle Pollution in Shenandoah". Cattle Destroy Streams and the Aquatic Ecosystem. Livestock that have access to streams and rivers pollute the water with their manure and urine....
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...
Several days ago we had "just one more" chore: letting the cows into the hay lot behind Wesley’s house so they could eat the grass down. There is no fence between the hay lot and hay field so we put up some fake electric fence and parked the truck...
Yesterday I went to a farm in Northwest Augusta County to talk to the manager of a farm about fencing his cattle out of the most polluted river in the county – Middle River. The farmer was very receptive and expressed a need to fence them out not only to...
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