making the grass greener

IMG_6963We’ve all heard the old adage ” the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”, right? While the phrase can have connotations far more nuanced than the literal implications of desire for green grass, I tend to prefer the pining for greener grass over, say, lusting after my neighbors fancy new car, someone else’s spouse, or a sprawling suburban McMansion. I don’t give a hoot about those things. Green grass, however? That’s where it’s at!IMG_6935Green grass grows cows and sheep. Perennial grassland protects our precious soil and if managed intensively with livestock, can sequester more carbon from the atmosphere than anything else. This is where the healing of the planet can come from, if we could just shake this belief that we, as a populace, have to grow more food in the form of annual crop production. And for crying out loud, let us stop growing annual crops for cattle! Let us grow grass. Not only is grass (or harvested and stored as hay for winter consumption) all a ruminant animal needs for its existence, pastures provide habitat and shelter for all sorts of birds, turtles, toads, insects, and small mammals. And one cow eating from one acre produces enough manure to make two acres fertile. But it’s not just a simple math equation, there’s an untangible symbiosis between the ruminant and the grass that is hard to explain. I like to think of it as magic. (I don’t feel the need to have an explanation for all things.) They are called “holy cows” for a reason. My eyes have seen firsthand this very farm that I call home grow verdant and lush under our care.IMG_6960Years ago when Eric and I moved to this farm we were struck with the realization that, indeed, the grass was greener everywhere else we looked. This farm that we so fondly call home had very depleted soils. The pastures, which at some point or another had all been cropland, yielded sparse stands of broom sedge peppered with a few sprigs of fescue. But instead of casting our gaze longingly over the fences, we set to making the grass greener right where we were. And years later, as our herds and flocks have proliferated, so has the grass. Eric has been an incredibly devoted grass steward, moving the livestock in their pasture rotation at least once per day and up to as many as six times per day. The transformation has been remarkable. I know in my heart that what we are doing is right and good.IMG_6932And now we’re rolling. The pastures still have a long ways to go but every day we draw nearer to the tipping point on the scales when the fertility spills over and gushes everywhere. Won’t that be a sight to see? And even when the moon is high and night is upon us and I am snug in my bed, the cows and sheep keep on working their magic and making the grass greener.IMG_6954

2 thoughts on “making the grass greener

  1. Excellent post. For a number of reasons, we will be growing as much of our own produce as possible this year with non GMO, organic (is that redundant) seed. We don’t have a large yard, but I am determined to make the average sized suburban plot grow as much for us as possible so that I can put it in the freezer for this winter. I have some health issues that seem to be made much worse by all the additives in our food supply. Thanks to people like you who started thinking about all of this long before it was cool, we hopefully turning the tide some. I always look forward to your posts! Take care! Cindy

    • Thanks, Cindy… You will be amazed at how much you can grow in a small space. It really does not take that much space to grow your own, and that way you can rest easy knowing what is (or is not!) in the food you eat!! Blessings to you and here’s to a bountiful season! Cher

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