Tuesday, March 9, 2010

spreading sunshine, by which I mean manure

The neighbor who manages our hay field talked to John in church on Sunday, and wondered if it would be all right if he fertilized it to get better yields this year.


I hate this part. The part where someone who's been farming since before I was born wants to do something that has always worked, and I say, "Dur, let's not do that because I saw on the teevee that it's bad. Also: dur."

So we have some options.
1. Option the first, spread manure.
a. Pro: It doesn't make the fish and birds cry.
b. Con: We don't have a manure spreader or vast quantities of manure.
c. Pro: We could probably find someone with a spreader and more manure than we could ever want fairly easily.
d. Con: That someone is probably a little busy doing his own farming.

2. Option the second, rotate with a different crop like wheat, oats, or corn.
a. Pro: When we replant it in alfalfa it will be much more healthy and productive.
b. Con: To completely kill the alfalfa in order to rotate, people say we have to Roundup the field first.
c. Con: If that's true, no thanks.
d. Con: Buying that much new seed sounds expensive to me.
e. Con: Who is going to do the killing and replanting?
f. Con: Who is going to harvest the wheat? I know the good-for-nothing pig and duck aren't going to help.

3. Option the third, start a baby Polyface farm.
a. Pro: A completely sustainable and responsible way to manage our land.
b. Pro: A farm that could support our entire family and then some.
c. Con: Is grass farming possible in our climate?
d. Pro: This is my dream.
e. Con: It is a lot of work.
f. Con: I don't like work.

Right now the manure solution is in the lead, but I think I'll get Joel Salatin's book all the same. Baby steps to agricultural freedom.

Speaking of which, last night I planted some seeds sent to me by the lovely, talented, and seditious All8 (she saves her own seed, the recalcitrant!). This is why the internets are awesome. Can you believe my luck? I am particularly anticipating the Sungold Selects. And did you notice her handwriting? It is beautiful and neat, the kind you don't see anymore. Kids today with their txtng, harrumph.


All8 said...

Besides Salatin, I recommend 'Grass-fed Cattle' by Julius Ruechel. His farm is in Canada and his book is full of how-to, not so much why-fors like Salatin.

Becoming sustainable is a process, so if the local fish grow a few extra eyes this year, so be it. Next year you'll have a workable plan ready to begin your next step.

(blushing) I'm so glad that they made it. Hope that they weren't too damaged. Also hope that they do as well there as they do here. I'm curious to see how they do. If there are any others on the list that look interesting, let me know and I'll either send them or bring them this late June/early July. I have plenty of eggplant too.....

Melissa Cunningham said...

This sounds like a lot of work. I don't like work either. Especially the kind that builds character and muscle. Good luck with what ever you do.