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!
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.
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.
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.
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.