George's Blog

Weekly stories from the farm

Sh!tloads of Work. A New Idea.

11 June 2022

Neverstill, Oregon

During the deep months of winter, we house our livestock in the majestic timber framed barn we have inherited here at Neverstill.

This allows us to keep the animals off of the pasture during the heavy rainfall of winter. If we were not able to do this, the pasture plants would suffer from the intense trampling by the hooves of the livestock combined with the incessant precipitation. In the barn setting, we are able to provide the animals with a reprieve from the winter rains. But in order to support this arrangement it is necessary to deposit copious amounts of "bedding". In our model, this consists of straw which we lay down for the animals every day. They trample and deficate and urinate upon the dry grass bedding which builds up over the winter months into a deep, composting pack of fertility. In the spring, we release the critters back to the lush green pastures and then begin the laborious process of "mucking out" the deep pack of straw and manure. The good news is that this composting material is incredibly fertile and full of nutrients for the pastures.

We are fortunate to have kind and generous farming families as neighbors here in the Nehalem River Valley.

On Tuesday Rose asked our good friends, the Johnstons, if they could bring over their manure spreader because she “likes to stay on top of her shit.” Alan and his son Kevin got a good chuckle and showed up the next day ready to get shit done! Essentially a big wagon towed behind a tractor, the spreader is equipped with a chain like contraption and a paddle wheel at the rear both of which are actuated by the power take off of the towing tractor and effectively scatter the clumpy chunks of composted material across the pasture. This particular unit looks to have been made in the 1950s or so. The brand name is “New Idea”, which caused me to reflect on how the advent of powered machinery and tractors must have been such a welcome reprieve from the many backbreaking tasks which are common on a farm. Using our powerful excavator I scooped shitload after shitload into the waiting wagon and Kevin dutifully drove out and deposited the fertile material upon the hungry pasture plants. It was an immensely satisfying feeling. Rose and I spend most of our time and energy feeding and preparing nourishment to man, beast and plant. It is our humble honor to do so. I was filled with a deep sense of satisfaction as I pondered the cyclical nature of this process of feeding the soil which feeds the microbes which feeds plants which feeds the animals which feeds us which feeds all of the above all over again. 

Rose, the kids and I are eager to see you all on the Magic Meat Truck this weekend!

Rose has a beautiful selection of smoked bacon, hocks, sausages and duck breasts. We also have Boerewors, lamb provence and boudins canards, spring chickens, dry-aged porterhouse steaks and a full selection of lamb cuts. We will be at UD, Vashon and Ballard this weekend on our regular schedule as detailed below.