Sliding seasons

Two days ago, it hit nearly 90 degrees. And the humidity – it was awful. It felt as if I was breathing through a sponge.
This morning, the dogs and I walked to the mailbox in a cool drizzle. It was 58 degrees and I was glad I’d pulled on my old denim barn jacket and cap. Although our driveway’s only 600 feet long, my low boots and the hems of my jeans were drenched before I got to the road.
Our driveway ends at a cattle grate that works to keep the cows inside our property (they balk at the light and dark pattern created by the grate’s heavy horizontal pipes).
I put Siggy (my Corgi) on “stay” at the grate and walked the last few yards across the road and to our weathered mailbox. It’s worst for wear because some vandal decided to use it for a piñata a couple of years ago.
I pulled out a short stack of junk mail, and a magazine I was very glad to fold up under my arm to protect it from the light drizzle. Siggy, Parker (Dave’s English Setter) and I made our way back up to the house. Half way, I made a quick stop at the orchard. One of the several fairly young apple trees was bending under its ripe burden. Note to self – pick, dry, freeze and can apples – yesterday.

Fall = applesauce

The dogs ran and romped around me, clocking a couple of miles as they zig-zagged across the gravel, around the orchard and across the open grasses.
Despite their doggy activity, it was quiet. I like that about drizzle.

Contented BueLingos

The driveway slopes up to the house, and as I neared it, I looked East. Most of the cows were reclined on a near pasture, contentedly chewing their cud. A good sign of health and calm.
As I opened the garage door, I began to mentally tick off today’s to-do’s: notify customers of the summer sausage now available for pickup; write up meeting notes from last week: start a batch of French sourdough, contact prospective students for upcoming artisan bread baking classes, contact potential guests for Deep Roots Radio; and schedule our next beef harvest. Because Dave and I farm in rhythm with the seasons, harvests are a sure sign of the shift from summer to fall.
The window of my small home office opens to a southern slice of the farm. I can see some of this year’s calves. Boy, but it’s a healthy group. It’s amazing how some of those steers have gained hundreds of pounds and nearly a foot of height in just four months.
The sky’s brightening a bit, and I can just make out a pair of sandhill cranes on a ridge. I love their call, and the way they slowly wing just 40 and 50 feet above the ground.
Leaves are turning. And even though we’ve gotten lots of rain and considerable sunshine, the grass just doesn’t grow as quickly or as thickly as it did in early July. Despite this annual slow-down, we’re still able to rotate the cattle to fresh paddocks (grazing areas) even now because the pastures are so much more diverse and healthy than even two years ago. This is important for us because our BueLingo beef cattle are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. They grow and fatten on grasses, legumes and herbs. No grain. No hormones. No subclinical antibiotics. This means it takes up to a year longer to get our cattle to harvest condition, but again, that’s what it means to raise cattle as nature intended.

Our third-crop hay is baled and waiting for me to move it off the field and to the storage area. At this time of year, it’s the very heavy morning dew that presents a challenge. I just don’t like driving a tractor really wet ground. On a typical late September day, I’ll often wait until mid-afternoon before venturing out in my John Deere. Given the last two days of rain, I’m going to hold off until we’ve had a couple of sunny days to dry things out a bit.
Drizzle, drenching dews, cooling days and lengthening nights. Every turn of the clock moves us from the growing to the harvest season. Again.
It’s fall.

Jim Riddle on the new Organic Farmers Association – the certified organic farmers voice in Washington, D.C.

Although there are hundreds of environmental, agricultural and good-food nonprofits nationwide, Jim Riddle asserts that none represents the voice and influence of the 16,000 certified organic farmers in the US today. In this Deep Roots Radio interview, organic farming pioneer and policy analyst Jim Riddle describes how the Organic Farmers Association, a new member-driven organization, will represent certified organic farmers in the policy and regulation issues debated in Washington, D.C. Jim heads the 18-member steering committee developing the foundational documents and procedures for the Organic Farmers Association.
A certified organic grower, Jim is a former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, was the founding chair of the Organic Inspectors Association, and co-authored their manual. Jim was instrumental in the passage of Minnesota’s landmark organic certification cost-share program, which is now a Farm Bill program.
I hope you enjoy this interview.
Sylvia

Deep Roots Radio, 91.3FM and www.wpcaradio.org

Three Wisconsin women farmers battle to legalize sale of home-baked goods

In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Lisa Kivirist describes the multi-year battle to legalize the sale of home-baked goods in the state Wisconsin. The Badger state has been one of only two in the entire country that has not permitted the sale of home-baked muffins, cookies and breads.
Lisa is one of three women farmers who sued the state in this effort, and recently won a state Judge’s declaration that the ban against the sale of home-baked goods is unconstitutional.Her sister champions in this effort are Dela Ends (Scotch Hill Farm) and Kriss Marion (Circle M Farm and Bed & Breakfast).
Lisa is an assertive champion of women farmers and their ability to build their farm-based businesses. The author of several books on eco-entrepreneurship, she and her husband run the award-winning Inn Serendipity Farm and Bread and Breakfast in southern Wisconsin.
I hope you enjoy this lively interview.
Sylvia

French sourdough boules

Peace Coffee: serving up great taste, social justice, environmental stewardship cup after cup

Drink coffee? One, two, three cups a day? Now multiply that simple act by several hundred million people every day. It’s hard to imagine the mountain of coffee beans needed to satisfy that thirst. Now, consider that those beans could work not only to create delicious brews, but also to produce a fair wage for farmers half way around the world.

This is the reality for at least a small percentage of coffee harvested for the American market because of Peace Coffee, a firm headquartered in a city you might now automatically associate with the tropical coffee bean – Minneapolis, Minnesota. In this Deep Roots Radio interview, Peace Coffee CEO (and Queen Bean) Lee Wallace describes the business’s unorthodox beginnings in 1996 and its steady growth since then.

Yes, every cup of coffee you buy could help farmers move from poverty to a living wage.

I hope you enjoy the interview.

Sylvia

One of the varieties of Peace Coffee

Audio

The benefits of sourdough breads of ancient grains w Therese Asmus

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with Therese Asmus, of Artistta Homestead, is a long-time baker and teacher dedicated to the nutritional and flavorful benefits of sourdough breads made with ancient grains. She shares research and insights into the nutritional differences among ancient grains and contrasts their digestibility with commercially varieties.

Loaves made with ancient grains


She says many customers who can’t tolerate goods baked with conventional varieties can now enjoy bread again.
Sylvia

Audio

David S. Cargo: community ovens and classes to build portable wood-fired ovens

Always dreamed of pulling crisp, bubbling pizzas from your own wood-fired oven? Whether you live on a city lot or out in the country, David S. Cargo can show you how to build a portable oven in just a couple of hours. No special tools required. You’ll leave the class with know-how, new friends, and having enjoyed some freshly made pizza, pita and naan. Ya can’t beat just-baked artisan breads.

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with David S. Cargo, professional baker, community oven enthusiast, and popular instructor. He’ll be holding his hands-on classes in five states this year, including Minnesota and Wisconsin. You can find his class schedule on his website, here.

Sylvia

A couple of newly constructed ovens

Audio

Rancher Gabe Brown on regenerative, holistic farming on any scale, and profitability even in transition

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio interview with North Dakota rancher Gabe Brown on the principles of regenerative farming that will yield health and profitability even as you transition your operation – large or small.

Gabe will be in Amery, Wisconsin February 9th for a full day workshop in which he will describe how he, wife and son have worked to transform their 2,000-acre, diversified farm to a healthy, profitable business while improving soil and regenerating the landscape. In addition to raising and direct-marketing grass-fed beef and other livestock, Gabe grows and sells cash crops from his sustainable farm.

Go to hungryturtle.net to register for the workshop. I hope to see you there!

Sylvia

Dec. 3, 9-9:30AM CT. Live, why bees matter

We’ve heard about it again and again: the bees are dying off, whole hives collapsing or just disappearing. Recent news stories told us the transplants we buy at local greenhouses contain pesticides that’ll kill bees. And we know that without bees and other pollinators some of our favorite foods will simply not grow. At all!

Join me and co-host Dave Corbett as we chat with Erin Rupp, executive director and founder of Pollinate Minnesota. What do bees do in winter? And how do they communicate with one another? And just what do they mean to the veggies and fruits eat?

What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Erin Rupp, Pollinate Minnesota ED/founder
When: Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016, 9:00-9:30AM Central Time
Where: WPCA RADIO, 93.1FM and streamed live on www.wpcaradio.org
Why: Many fruits and vegetables depend on pollinators, like bees, to carry pollen from plant to plant so that fruit and seeds will grow. No bees, no fruit! Learn how Pollinate Minnesota is working to protect and encourage these critical workers in our food system.

Sylvia

Ben Hewitt on 21st Century homesteading for a meaningful, healthful life on 40 acres or in a 400-sq ft apartment

Author, homesteader Ben Hewitt

Author, homesteader Ben Hewitt

I hope you enjoy this Deep Roots Radio chat with author and modern-day homesteader Ben Hewitt. An engaging storyteller, Ben pulls you right into his books and their characters. His most recent publication is The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills and Spirit. Ben, his wife Penny and their two sons grow 90% of their foods and build their lives on 40 acres in Vermont.
What they’ve learned over the years “is readily transferable to any place — whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.

On November 10, 2016, Hewitt be in Amery, Wisconsin to share a great meal, and to describe his experiences and ideas about the tie between growing your food and quality of life, environmental consciousness and rebuilding local community.

He’s also written:
– The Town that Food Saved: How One Community Found Vitality in Local Food
– Making Supper Safe: One Man’s Quest to Learn the Truth about Food Safety
– Home Grown: The Adventures in Parenting off the Beaten Path, Unschooling and Reconnecting with the Natural World

Enjoy a local organic dinner, and conversation with Ben Hewitt
Nov. 10, 2015, 6:00-9:00PM
Farm Table Restaurant, Amery, WI
For tickets, www.hungryturtle.net

Chinese herbs, acupuncture, spinal manipulation for dogs, cats & livestock. Live, June 11, 9-9:30AM CT

Jody_team_07What: Deep Roots Radio interview with Dr. Jody Bearman, lead in the all-woman, holistic practice called Anshen Veterinary Acupuncture, LLC., in Madison, Wisconsin.
When: Saturday, June 11, 2016, 9:00-9:30 AM Central Time
Where: Broadcast and streamed live from the studios of WPCA Radio 93.1FM and www.wpcaradio.org on the Internet.
Why: Dr. Jody, and her associates, use Chinese herbal medicine, acupuncture, spinal manipulations and other approaches to address illness and disease and to promote wellness in dogs, cats, goats, horses and other livestock. Why? How effective are they?

That’s what we’ll talk about on the show tomorrow morning. I hope you’ll tune in.

Sylvia