I know right, back to wondering, what the heck? I thought I understood hay and straw, but what's this? What are all these round bales on corn fields for? Well, my dear friends, these rolled up bundles of corn stalks will be used this winter for bedding in the big cattle sheds. Some of these bales will be used at dairy farms and some for steers on the way for jobs at McDonalds. Farming these days is all about the beef. Conventional farmers around here grow corn and soybeans for beef and dairy feed, and the field residue can contribute to that end as well.
In our neighborhood, there are a number of these old farmsteads where the tillable acreage is rented out to large-scale conventional farmers who use the land to grow corn and soybeans. In the old days, the farmer needed to use some of that land for pasture, some for hay, some for grains like oats or barley and some for vegetables like potatoes, cabbages, onions, etc. The farm needed to be diverse to provide for the animals, that provided for the land, that provided for the humans. Not many farmers in the U.S. are farming to build diversity and this type of symbiotic relationship, because not many folks are practicing small-scale animal husbandry. Homesteaders, folks who aim for self-sufficiency, who grow and produce in a more old-fashioned, small-scale way are keeping these practices alive, but they are a small piece of the puzzle. I can see that this pandemic has driven people to appreciate the beauty in living a self-sufficient lifestyle. Folks are snapping up properties in our area before they even get to market. It is understandable in times like these that people may consider a different style of living. Just pondering as I walk this morning....what a beautiful part of the world!
If you are from Minnesota you may remember the band The Suburbs? They were big when I was in highschool and I loved nothing more than an insane mosh pit of dancing to their song, "Cows." (Take a listen with the link.) It goes something like this..."I like cows, I like to watch 'em eat... I like their friends the sheep....they got the skinny feet." Living in a city at the time surrounded by college-bound teenagers made that song seem so silly, but ringing out what is true for most of us... we like cows! William refers to his steers as "The Buddies."
Speaking of buddies, we have shell corn for sale in the store, ($15 for a dang heavy bag - 70 pounds or $5 for one you can lift) that we call "Backyard Buddy Chow." This stuff is great for distracting bully birds like blue jays away from the bird feeders, enticing deer to linger for your viewing pleasure or for feeding that small flock of your friends the sheep...or goats...or chickens. Get your homesteader on! Everybody needs some backyard buddies.
Other than that, the store has goodies for gifts, I've been making wool felted bags and bowls, there are CBD balms, butters and lotions, an assortment of spice blends from our gardens, grass-fed beef, sunflower oil, maple syrup, DELICIOUS CRANBERRY VINAIGRETTE and JAM, and, of course, for all my fellow soup fiends, dinner in a bowl! We are starting the weekend with two soups: a Chicken Peanut Massaman Curry and Ginger Pumpkin.
I do hope you will stop out to visit. The COVID curse is keeping me very socially distanced from my guests, but I pop out to wave and disinfect surfaces in the store between visitors. My phone number is posted on the chalkboards in the store, so please feel free to ring me with questions or a quick hello. If I don't pick up, blame it on the vacuum cleaner!
Stay well, love the one you're with and be kinder than kind. It's what we all need right now.
Sending LOVE from the farm,