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...
Jeanne and I recently traveled to the most remote island of the British Virgin Islands—Anegada. Most mornings, we were the only people on the beach at the Anegada Beach Club. The beaches here are the most beautiful we have ever experienced with white sand and crystal clear water loaded with...
I watched it devour a whole nest of tent caterpillars. Yellow-billed Cuckoos, we need a lot more of them - they prefer to eat hairy caterpillars like the eastern tent caterpillar that defoliate trees. The Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Coccyzus americanus, sometimes called the rain crow, nests and forages in the riparian forests along our...
As we drove into the pasture with a half-ton bale of hay for the cows I saw a flock of perhaps thirty small birds fly in a tight pattern away from us. The flying flock turned one way, then another, their white bellies exposed as they turned. This is a...
Over the years they slowly disappeared. And then they were gone. I last saw a Loggerhead Shrike in Swoope in 2014. The Loggerhead Shrike is a "common bird" whose population is in "steep decline". In this post, I will describe the bird, chronicle its population, report efforts to bring the...
The debate between cat lovers and bird lovers is not a new one and steeped with passion on both sides. The debate usually ends in a stalemate: cats kill birds but it's not the cat's fault - it's their nature. Rarely does the discussion deviate from these two fundamental issues....
I live in such a beautiful place – It’s mostly grasslands and forests. In some places, one cannot see another dwelling in any direction. On most mornings in September, mist hugs the hollows and heavy dew blankets the ground.
As summer moves closer to autumn it seems there are more native plants in the various riparian buffers we have around the farm. Butterfly weed, jewelweed, wingstem, purpletop, and many other plants are in bloom now. However; there are many invasive, non-native plants in bloom as well. Invasive Species Control...
June in Swoope, Virginia - The Headwaters of the Shenandoah River June is the beginning of the farm year for our cow/calf operation in America's legendary Shenandoah Valley. It's when the bulls go in with our three herds of cows. June is also when we make all the hay to...
“Bobby is a force of nature! And with this compilation of his blog posts, musings, and articles, we gain insight into farming, family, and the forces that shape the Shenandoah Valley he calls home. I enjoyed his humorous yet direct writing style as he shared personal and professional observations on conserving the natural landscapes that, quite literally, feed and nourish us.”
Blog Post Categories
- Atlantic Coast Pipeline
- Cattle Farming
- Chesapeake Bay
- Climate Change
- Herd Health
- Invasive Species
- Nutrient Management
- Quail Habitat
- Riparian Buffers
- Riparian Forest Buffers Ebook
- Soil and Water Conservation
- Soil Erosion
- Stream Fencing
- Student Required Reading
- Swoope Almanac
- Water Pollution
- Watershed restoration