Sugar Mountain Farm – Viewed from near Knox Mountain
This is the view of our farm from the hill that we see looking north towards Knox Mountain. In other words, this view is looking south towards our farm. South and a bit west. If you have a high speed connection you might click on the image above to retrieve the one megabyte higher resolution image which you can then zoom in on and look at things in more detail. I can just make out the pigs in the fields, but only because I know that those white specs are not rocks. Looking very closely I can just make out some of the straight lines in the field vegetation where the paddock fence divisions run.
Check out this article for an arial photo showing what things looked like on August 16th, 2009 right after we had finished with most of the field clearing. The change is most dramatic.
This view shows just how much the new pastures have grown up with the grasses, alfalfa, clovers, cole crops and other things we planted since we logged to reclear the fields last year. This particular spot is very heavy in clover. The soil tests said we need to apply $10,000 of lime if we wanted legumes to grow. I didn’t do it. Besides the fact that I didn’t have the money the liming company said they wouldn’t drive on our steep fields. I do not have a spreader. I have been told by an ag extension agent that the inexpensive, although slow, way to raise the pH of a field is simply to graze it. In time the animals manure adjusts the soil and improves it. This certainly seems to have been the case with the 20 acres we’ve been grazing in years past.
So the new fields didn’t get limed and have acidic soils. The blueberries and such love that. The grasses, legumes and other plants grew anyways. In fact, they are doing fantastically. All we did was frost seed in the new pastures – no tilling, no drilling, no disking, nada. Ben and Will simply scattered the seed, by hand, over 60 to 70 acres. A heroic job!
Hope and Puppies in South Field
This is a photo of the south field. It looks almost lawn like with the low grazed clovers and grasses. Rotational grazing of pigs, sheep, cattle and other animals gives what must have been the origin of everyone’s ideal lawn – complete with patties. The pigs leave the spruce alone – providing us with nice Christmas trees. The medium sized trees to the right, 12 year old aspen (poplar) and maple regen, provide shade on hot days as well as a source of temporary fence posts. They won’t last like cedar but are great for three to five years or so.
Last week I opened up a new section of the upper fields to the pigs and they are loving it. I have even seen some of the chickens ranging up that far. We had gotten to the point where we were pushing hard the amount of pasture we had so it is really good to have all this additional grazing area. With last year’s clearing we made enough pasture to sustainably triple our herds which means we can also add sheep back into the mix – we’re currently feeling quite sheepless – as well as cattle someday. There is discussion of goats. We’ll see what happens. As always, time will tell.
East Field Growth
This is a view along the east field on the other side of the road. It is to the lower right in the farm photo. We have fenced all of the new fields on the west of the road but not the east fields yet. That is a project for next year. They are looking lush with new growth and should be ready for sheep and maybe cows then too. Since this field has had no grazing this year, other than deer, the grasses and millet are heavy with seed heads. The wild life is loving it.
Heavy logging opens up dense forest that was once rolling fields. It is along these margin areas of field and forest where we find the greatest bio-diversity. The over story of the forest blocks out the sunlight reducing diversity but occasionally beavers, fire, insects, ice storms or man comes through to reopen things and life flourishes in the shifting shade of the boundary.
Outdoors: 63°F/45°F Cloudy
Tiny Cottage: 70°F/70°F
Daily Spark: “She’s not a vampire, she’s a lawyer.” -Chester in the children’s book “Bunnicula”