The blog of Hope Grows

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Friday, October 15, 2010

Here comes the Pasture Clearing Brigade

So our back pasture was...well...a bit...well...A LOT...weedy. Pig weed, dill weed, goldenrod. Anything that grows tall and fast in the summer heat--we got it. For a while we fretted, especially around June when things really started taking off. And since we don't own a lawnmower, and the one that we do use is broken more often than not, we were overgrown--past our knees, then hips, then shoulders, then heads. Turns out, however, the problem is sometimes the solution (attention: little golden nugget of permaculture wisdom ahead). Just when we were about to let the weeds get to us--mentally, emotionally--the laying hens rotated into the back pasture. We learned very quickly that without the shade and protection offered by the overgrown foliage, the laying hens would have suffered severe heat and predation. Voila! Let 'em grow we did--realizing that nature is smarter than we are, and if we just watch and listen we can catch up to the connections she already has in mind for us.

But now the temps are cooling and it's time to clear everything anew--to start with a fresh slate for next year's grass growth. Enter the GSU Pasture Clearing Brigade. They descended upon our weedy pasture en masse with good attitudes (only one exception--and we made good fun of him) and work gloves to help with a task that would have taken Elliott and I...well...weeks. Why not use a tractor and do it in five minutes? Why use hand labor? Well, first off Elliott and I are too averse to debt and mechanically challenged to invest in a tractor. Secondly, when you drive repeatedly over pasture with heavy machinery, you inevitably compact the soil, which makes it difficult for roots to sprawl, inhibiting pasture growth and diversity. So we made an event of it--us and 10 new friends from GSU--and cleared over half the overgrowth in a few hours. Many hands make for fast, drastic, yet ecologically sound results. Thanks again, y'all. You're welcome back any time.


  1. I wish we had some local farmers needing a wanting volunteer to help them out. I think Ohio farmers may be a bit weirded out by a wannabe volunteer from the internets.

    I think I should just move to GA to help you thankful folks on your farm! :)

  2. There has got to be some cool farmers in Ohio... keep looking! Good luck!