Material Handling

When trying to change some aspect of the farm it’s usually better to use animals than machines. Putting cows and sheep or pigs onto a patch of goldenrod will turn it to productive pasture over the course of a couple grazing seasons. While not as fast as plowing and planting, this approach also doesn’t require machines, diesel, and expensive seeds. …

Garth BrownMaterial Handling

Organic and Grass-fed Fraud, or, Let’s Just Call It Farming

Back in August I got a call from a fellow farmer who lives a few valleys over. We chatted about cows and grass, and when I mentioned that our vegetable garden was having a rough year, she said, “It’s hard, but you have to grow your own. You can’t trust anything from the store.” Such suspicion of the food system is …

Garth BrownOrganic and Grass-fed Fraud, or, Let’s Just Call It Farming

Why Buy from Cairncrest Farm?

When you purchase grass-fed beef, lamb, or pastured pork from our farm, your support makes a difference: ~Fertility goes to feed healthy, verdant New York pastures instead of hypoxic dead zones in the Chesapeake Bay and Gulf of Mexico. ~Cows live in a herd eating fresh grass and hay instead of finishing their lives on a dirt feedlot eating corn. ~Pigs root, …

Garth BrownWhy Buy from Cairncrest Farm?
pastured pork

The Coming Fall

The plants prepare for winter with an enviable complacency. The goldenrod and grasses store up energy in their roots for next spring even as their leaves begin to desiccate. The early frost started the trees turning, but a scorching hot September held them in a yellow green stasis that finally gave way to orange and red a week ago. The annuals …

Garth BrownThe Coming Fall

Ungrounded Earthing

I am by nature a somewhat skeptical person. Send me an article about how Basque sheep farmers in Wyoming are actually a fifth column seeking to undermine the existing political order and I’ll shake my head condescendingly! Call saying you’re from the IRS and that I must immediately send you a $2000 wire transfer if I don’t want to be arrested and …

Garth BrownUngrounded Earthing
pastured pork

Fall Piglets

A newborn piglet usually weighs about three pounds. The natural way to pick one up is to reach down and grab it one handed, the way you might scoop up a dropped beer. Though even the smallest piglet has a surprising heft and solidity, it is hard to believe that something so tiny will grow into a market hog in less than a …

Garth BrownFall Piglets

Tool Review: Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

In his essay “Why I Am Not Going to Buy a Computer” Wendell Berry lays out a utopian standard by which to assess the adoption of a technology. A new tool should be cheaper, at least as small, and demonstrably more effective than what it replaces. It should use human power if possible, be easily repairable, and it should be produced …

Garth BrownTool Review: Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

Identity Politics

This blog’s primary author (Garth) writes posts on a wide range of topics. One of the beauties of farm blogging is the plethora of examples and metaphors one can find in the daily work of farm chores, animal interactions, weather, and land. In his writing I’ve come to expect philosophical mental wanderings and insights into both the human condition and …

Edmund BrownIdentity Politics

Utopia, Lard, and Many Questions

I read this New Yorker article about a failed Utopian reality TV show with great interest. In it a group of strangers was confined to about 600 acres on a peninsula in western Scotland, with the intent of establishing a new society from the ground up, at least for a year. Boredom, bickering, factionalism and cheating ensued. First, I had …

Garth BrownUtopia, Lard, and Many Questions

Drowning Berries

For the first time this year the ground has gotten hard enough that sinking a shovel takes a bit of weight. But the current dry spell is too little too late for our raspberries, which are suffering from what I assume is stress caused by the sodden soil that’s been soaking their feet all year. After starting the summer with …

Garth BrownDrowning Berries