Crossing The Cowpasture River

Michael crossing swinging bridge

The Cowpasture River runs through Buxton Farm. It’s magnificent. I’ve heard a few local people say that it could be one of the cleanest river on the East Coast. We take the cows across the river to graze for about 2 weeks. The scenery on the other side of the river is glorious. Buxton Farm is really really beautiful. It’s a bird lovers’ paradise. There are birds here, I’m certain are not commonplace. Their songs  lift our hearts! Nature lovers would really appreciate the dance between farming and the natural world here at Buxton. They do merge.

Cowpasture River

Sometimes it’s hard for to stay focused on work because there is so much to witness on this farm. Breathtaking scenic views from different pastures.  Yesterday a bald eagle soared above us while we worked. We trust he will stay away from the hens now that guard dog Jack is home.

Crossing the river

It’s a little tricky getting things like bags of minerals (they can be heavy), and the water buggy across the swinging bridge. Thank goodness for the tractor!

Feeding minerals

The cows have been consuming their daily mineral supplement. Michael’s been giving them minerals twice a day, more than usual.


sweety (with Piney Mountain in background)

On the other side of the river we’re working on the brooder. After every batch of birds we aerate the brooder. This helps kill off bacteria. Then we add thick layers of sawdust, a carbon source for a thick bedding. We’re getting ready for our third batch of peeps.

Brooder after aerated

On the other side of the plastic our second batch of chicks and turkeys live. About 2 weeks old.

Busy side of the brooder

Sunrise across the river

You get the feeling from this photo, the life that we’re living. Managing a farm comes with challenges. Indeed.  Is there a job, a marriage, a day, a relationship that doesn’t? We do our best to keep up with the expansion challenges bring.  We’re devouring the subtle and extreme colors spring brings. Everyday we’re blown away by something exquisite.

Resident goose (single)

Sometimes it’s the way the hens pull at our shoes strings while we’re collecting eggs. They always succeed at untying one of mine. Or,  the way the geese gather in one of the pastures after they bathe in the pond. It feels like they’re watching us do chores. Maybe it’s the eagle we found perched in a maple tree outside the house by the garden. Or going to sleep listening to two great winged owls hoot, while the stream softly runs outside our window.


It’s definitely completing the day watching the kitties play as we eat dinner and the sun slowly sets. Whatever is guiding this dance, we can sense it is good and we’ll take more!



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About Grace

Grace and her husband Michael manage Buxton a Polyface satellite farm. Her first passion is to align with radiant health. She knows intimately that when you have your health you can do anything. Next, her passion for vibrant healthy food and beautiful landscapes along with her interest in permaculture influenced Grace's decision to align with the Polyface farming model. With 20 years of experience in the healing arts, she feels growing food and pasture raising animals is one of the greatest healers and a true source of personal empowerment. It's been said, "if you're not living on the edge your taking up too much space." Grace lives joyfully on the "leading edge" surrounded by the breathtaking beauty of the appalachian mountains where her and Michael steward 1000 acres with profound appreciation."

17 Responses to Crossing The Cowpasture River

  1. Nice reflection of life on the farm Grace. I think people can feel this way by just living out in the country period. Unfortunately for the moment I live in a rather large city in Sweden and this after living off a large parcel of land on the edge of wilderness up in the San Jacinto Mountains for almost 25 years before coming here. It’s a big change.

    I also find bird life unique this time of year. It seems every place on Earth where I have been has it’s own spring singing birds to announce another year of living anew. When I was a kid in and around San Diego CA it was the mockingbirds. Up in Anza CA it was the Western Thrasher who had his own louder version of a mockingbird’s sining voice. Back down in El Cajon CA where I stayed for a time before moving to Sweden it was the native red headed mountain or chaparral sparrow who sang his heart out. Now just this morning my wife and I were listening to what appears to be a type of medium sized black bird with bright orange beak who sings almost exactly like the mockingbird high up in the pine or birch branches.

    I just completed another article on improper and proper land clearing on my “Earth’s Internet” science blog and have used some of the recorded Joel Salatin YouTube videos done by others to illustrate some of what I have made a part of practical applications to land maintenance. Sure wish your Polyface site had some official company videos detailing specific techniques to various land management componants replicating nature. Though I like the interactions with folks asking Joel questions. Anyway, maybe it’s a future project for you folks over there.

    Thanks once again for the posts, Kevin

    • Grace Hernandez says:

      I have great appreciation for birds too! We worked on an organic farm in Italy, Bologna, way up in the mountains. In the field one day working, we heard the cuckoo birds, the ones that grandfather clocks replicate. It was wild!

      • Three years ago I my wife and I went to a Bed & Breakfast place just outside of Silkeborg, Dänemark. I got up early one morning before the sun came up because I couldn’t sleeep. You know how it is , new place , unfamilar surroundings, not your bed ? Our Bed & Breakfast place was an old Railroad Station converted to a B&B which was just besides the still existing train tracks which ran on old steam engine for tourists on weekends. I walked the tracks for a mile or so down by a lake. Then across the lake I heard the rather loud sound of ‘Cooo coo , Coo Coo’. It was actually quite beautiful as the air was calm and lake water like glass. Only other sound was that of a couple of large Swans swimming by. Most residents in the area were still in bed as well.

        We are going back there at the end of June, but tomorrow we go to Krakow Poland.

        Have a good week.


  2. “Managing a farm comes with challenges.”

    The animals and the unending rain don’t understand that I’m out of clean socks. There has to be time in my day to not only wash laundry but to put it away! We do our best in the spring to keep up with the livestock needs while also maintaining the household, finding time to play catch with the kids and trying to sneak in a nap. But, as you point out, even as busy as we are there is still time to look up from our work and notice the beauty surrounding us.

    • Grace says:

      I can relate! Sometime I relax in an uncleaned house. I’m getting used to making resting my first priority. Some farm wounds from last year have helped slow me down. That’s a good thing!

  3. Charles says:

    Always love your posts Grace. Great pictures (worth a thousand words) and story.


    • Grace says:

      Thanks. I’m so pleased to be able to have time to carry a camera with me. I know some folks will benefit from seeing the life we’re living. For a long time I dreamt of living on land. I want to be certain it comes true for others too. It’s great to be able to share the prosperity. Thanks!

  4. Sofia says:

    I lived in a city for 18 years and now 23 years living on a farm and love to live there. With this change, follow up studies in the area of Agriculture and I’m almost finished. I’m from Portugal and I love to meet the agriculture of other countries. The years went past 2 months to Switzerland to work on a farm of apple orchards and vineyards. I hope one day to go until the Polyface know this work they do.

    • Grace says:

      Yes, looking at agriculture designs of other countries is fascinating. Good for you. Polyface makes it easy for you to visit their farm. There are no locked gates! It’s wonderful.

      I hop to get to Cuba one day soon. I’ve heard they are doing incredible things without any any any chemicals! Did I say ANY!

  5. Melissa says:

    I loved your post. My morning started, feeding my hens, checking the cattles water, feeding my two sows, checking my new baby turkeys and meat chickens. As I stood looking acrossed my farm I saw five deer move up the north pasture, a group of wild turkeys head to the south. The contentment I felt was so deep. The hardships my family faced this past year vanished. Every struggle has been worth it. What a wonderful life I have with my dear husband and daughter, our animals, our FARM. God has blessed us one and all.

    • Grace says:

      I know that feeling! There’s something magical living so connected to nature. For me, it restores my courage. You sound busy busy!

  6. Joe Hernandez says:

    Grace, The pictures are great. The prose flows nicely. Is writing something you’ve practiced/studied? I too am moving “back to the land” next month and feel the pleasure and the pressure it will bring. As a steward of the land and as a teacher to the grandchildren, about being a steward (not just the owner), the pressure to do it right is always present. So many young folks are turned off by the prospect of “doing farm work” by today’s social and economic demands. Some of us Old Guys have fouled the river on that front and it’s long over due that we show Nicky Newguy the fun and rewards working the land can be. A true labor of love, with a LOT of both. Hope to share some good news soon. Best of luck at Buxton.

    • Grace says:

      Just for the record. Our cows are always fenced at of The Cowpasture River. This is crucial. Michael is getting up to speed on water lines for 300 acres. This is a huge part of this job. Water water water.

      We have yet to own land, in the meantime tending to it pasture raising is so neat to witness. Sometime I feel like the land own’s us, but in a great way.

      I think people would welcome farm work more and give up the gym if they give it a try. It makes you so strong and it beats breathing and sweating indoors with a bunch of stinky folks you don’t know!

  7. Kelly says:

    Grace, I currently have one cow that we are milking and was curious what kind of mineral mixture you all are using…what are you finding are the benefits?

    • Grace says:

      Fertrell. Fertrell is very good company with great customer service. We also you Thorvine Kelp. And Salt. 3 ingredients. We’ve been adding in organic iodine, but this is only short term. The pastures at Buxton do not have the fertility that Polyface has yet. But they have improved in the 5 years Polyface has been running cows here. I hope this helps!

  8. Caroline Cooper says:

    Hi Grace,

    Love the photos…. Your Brooders look great, very light and airy. I heard they need to be dark for young chicks to stop the chicks pecking each other. Are the brooders always this light or was this just to take the photos? We are on our second batch of 200 chicks which are six weeks old and going well, however we lost a couple in our first batch to pecking and were told to keep them in the dark. Love to hear your experience of raising chicks.


  9. Katie says:

    Wonderful information and insight! Can you share the brand of the heaters or share any insight into what kind of heaters you recommend for brooding chicks?

    Thank you so much,