Know Your Water Source

I’m not quite ready for the quick change in weather. It all seems to be happening at the speed of light. This transition from summer to fall needs to be a bit softer! It’s already in the 30’s on the farm. Slow down!

changing pastures


I’m loving being back in the field working with the herd. I’m not sure Michael feels the same way! Sometimes it’s hard keeping up with his pace. But I will get there. With the less than two months on the ground, (grass) it’s likely that I will catch up this week.

Happy Herd

Trevor, Alec, and Jake took over this summer assisting Michael with the herd. It’ not a difficult job, and it’s not an easy job either. Water. You have to know your water sources, be able to move large water tanks, prepare fence lines for each move which means you have to know how many acres to give to the herd, feel capable of  carrying a battery and a charger to spark the fence line, and figure out where (if) there’s a short in the fence if you don’t get a charge. The last thing you want is for the herd to get out or break through fence lines.The best part of all of this for me is not only being outside in nature but spending time with the herd.They have a way about them that’s so fun to observe.

Takes time cleaning eggs when hens follow the cows and its wet and rainy

Fall colors almost ready to peak

The gravity fed water source on this farm is astounding. It took Michael a year to master it. It’s terribly frustrating when there’s a leak in the system and the cows are a few miles down the road.  Michael hikes the through the forest looking for a leak  while I follow him in the truck tracking his steps.

I’d like to think I could hold this job down by myself but it takes man power and mechanical ease. Knowing your water source is crucial.  Did you know Polyface has 13 ponds for gravity fed water resources? That’s a lot of water catchment. At Buxton we pump water from our local stream uphill to 2 holding tanks and then out to 300 acres of pasture. I’m still amazed how far water travels on this farm. We do not irrigate and that’s another wonderful thing about Virginia. This year we’re getting a decent rainfall. As weather patterns keeping changing, farmers in other states are feeling the pain of drought. After living in a dry climate before Virginia, we know personally the longing for raindrops.

Streamlining water from the creek to the pump house

Last week marked  two years at Buxton Farm. The first year was incredibly new, challenging, but exciting. The second year we learned how to “allow,” and things seemed to work out with a sense of ease. Besides all that we have acquired with learning how to manage a farm, we’ve also come to understand that living (too) rural isn’t good for the soul, which helps better understand the current attraction to urban farming. It makes perfect sense for the right person.

Buxton is a very very special beautiful farm. Falling asleep to the sweet sounds of the Cowpasture River is a rare luxury.

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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."

3 Responses to Know Your Water Source

  1. Cyndi Lewis says:

    The color here in Michigan this year, at least in my area, has been amazing. Unfortunately, my family has been fighting sickness for weeks now. One gets it then we all get it and then the first one gets something slightly different. Anywhoo… I just haven’t been able to enjoy the fall like I usually do. Fortunately we have some beautiful trees on our property that I can see from the house. The funnest thing this season has been my 3 year-old seeing the leaves change colors from green to red, yellow and orange. She is totally amazed! As for your water situation… I’m jealous that you have hills. We are blessed with flat land which is great for many things but not for gravity fed water. We are trying to figure out the best way to get water to where we need it. We have a stream we can pump from but we need to decide what we are going to pump into. Build ponds, irrigation, water towers? Decisions to be made this winter. Luckily we only have small acreage so the project is not vast.

  2. Cindy says:

    I’ve recently moved to a VERY rural area. Having been a “city girl” all my life it’s a challenging experience but well worth it. I’m not sure my kids but I’m loving it. Prior to this I had an acre with a garden, fruit trees, berry vines but being in the city I was limited in the animals I could raise (No Farm Animals!). I am now starting over with about four 1/2 acres. We just moved in this past month but it is slow going, it being fall. Im so excited about the prospects of being in the country, having the freedom the choose what to do with my land.. without the restrictions of living in the city and all the restrictions, city ordinances, worrying about neighbors. Here in Texas it is possible to keep a fall/winter garden through most of the winter, unless we have an unusually harsh one. I’ve planted spinach, lettuce, broccoli, garlic and greens. I want to build a hen house, a rabbit hutch but am a little hesitant to as it is fall and having had no experience with either I maybe should wait unitl spring??? I’ve read and read and read and done as much research as I can on raising both but I guess there is no substitute for experience. What would you say is the biggest danger to hens? Disease, predators, weather? I dont know why I’m so nervous about starting a henhouse? I guess with other animals you can bring them into your home and they are protected. With hens, it is so foreign to me I’m a little nervous. any suggestions?
    Your Blog has been an inspiration, I love reading about your farm in Virginia. (And of course the other ladies blogs at Polyface) I hope to incorporate these practices to my much smaller piece of heaven here in Texas.

    • Grace says:

      Sounds like it’s time to put some delicious homegrown eggs on your table! Start. Start small and don’t worry about diseases. Build their shelter first, then decide what kind (or color) of eggs you want for your family. If diseases come up, there’s plenty of people who can help you and a ton of books! Not to mention the internet. I would build and purchase asap, but that’s me. I love chickens and eggs! It’s a win win. Sounds to me like you’re more than ready. Enjoy your new home, it sounds like you found your place.