St. Croix, the largest of the Virgin Islands in the Caribbean, is one of the toughest environments cattle have faced. People have tried for over a hundred years to find just the right breed to thrive in the tropical heat.
One of the first major successes was the N’Dama from West Africa, imported to St. Croix in the mid- to late 1800s. This hardy, horned breed was originally pressed into service as a draft ox on sugar plantations. But the people of St. Croix wanted more than just pulling power—they wanted beef, and the N’Dama was a little too bony for that job.
In 1918, Bromley Nelthropp began an experiment. He had seen other ranchers test a variety of beef breeds, but all of them hailed from cooler climates and suffered terribly in the tropical summers. Perhaps crossbreeding was the key. Nelthropp bought several Red Poll bulls from nearby Trinidad and began crossing them with his father’s N’Dama cattle. With rigorous selection, Nelthropp worked to created a hardy, heat-tolerant breed with a good yield of quality beef. By the mid-1940s, he had succeeded.
Continue reading Senepol
We all know why there are thistles and other undesirable weeds in the world, right?
And to Adam He said,—Genesis 3:17, 18
“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
and have eaten of the tree
of which I commanded you,
‘You shall not eat of it,’
cursed is the ground because of you;
in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
and you shall eat the plants of the field.”
Thorns and thistles were part of the curse mankind brought upon himself all the way back in the Garden of Eden. But there’s a little more to this than meets the eye.
Continue reading Why Thorns and Thistles Grow
Unlike terms such as organic and grassfed, heritage has no official definition when applied to livestock breeds. The main idea implied by the term is that these breeds have been around for a while, before the days of industrial agriculture. In a sense, they are walking pieces of history.
Continue reading What are Heritage Livestock Breeds?
So what if you only have an acre or so to work with, but are eager to grow a little bit of your own food? A garden and maybe even a small orchard are two options you may want to consider.
And if you need some advice on growing fruits and vegetables in the small space you are limited to, consider reading The Home Acre by Edward Payson Roe.
Continue reading The Home Acre
Like most of the old British breeds, the Red Poll’s history is a matter of conjecture. Its earliest ancestors might have come to the island with the Romans, or they might have come with the Vikings.
In either case, the ancient cattle of Britain developed over time into a variety of breeds specially adapted for different areas and different uses. Two of these were the beefy Norfolk Red and the dairy-type Suffolk Dun, both now extinct.
Several cattle breeders in the early 1800s had the idea of crossing the Norfolk Red and the Suffolk Dun to produce a new dual-purpose breed that would be well suited to the climate of eastern England. The result was a hardy, versatile animal known by 1846 as the Improved Norfolk and Suffolk Red Polled (polled meaning “hornless”).
Continue reading Red Poll
Asparagus can be a delicious addition to your dinner and a great way to start the year’s harvest. But there are only so many times you can eat asparagus cooked as a side dish!
Fortunately, asparagus can be fairly versatile. Cooked asparagus as a side dish is just the beginning of the possibilities.
Here are three easy and delicious ways to use this unique vegetable:
Continue reading 3 Easy Ways to Use Asparagus
Hopefully by now you have decided to reap the benefits of keeping a farm journal. You may even have a journal to write in and a time to write in it. There is one last question to answer: What are you going to write about?
There is only one important rule to remember here, and that is that there is no such thing as a right or wrong way to keep a journal. The journal is your record, your learning tool. It should be flexible enough to meet your specific needs. You have a lot of options.
Here are just a few of the things you could write about in your farm journal:
- Egg production.
- Planting dates.
- New goals.
- Total precipitation.
- Providential circumstances.
- Ideas that you want to remember for later.
- Mistakes that you learned from.
- Advice that you picked up from a book or a friend.
- New methods that you are experimenting with.
- Cause-and-effect relationships that you don’t understand yet.
And this is just the beginning!
So how do you customize your journal? First remember why you are keeping one. What are you hoping to accomplish? Make sure the information in your journal matches your reasons for writing in it.
As you write, you will start to learn what type of information you need to record. You will look back over your journal and find some gaps in the record as well as some superfluous details. Adjust accordingly.
It is this kind of customization that makes keeping a journal meaningful. Writing a record of events you don’t care about is a chore; writing about events that are relevant to you is invaluable. Suddenly your farm journal is not just a set of blank pages to be filled—it is the best learning aid in your toolbox.
The Farm Journal
Many birdwatchers enjoy keeping journals of their finds. Skimming through past entries can bring back memories of great moments with nature.
Although you can easily make your own birdwatching journal, the All-Weather Birder’s Journal made by Rite in the Rain has several advantages:
Continue reading All-Weather Birder’s Journal
The modern Lineback has often been criticized as a breed based solely on color. Once a versatile amalgamation of every kind of cattle in New England, this breed is now all too often just a flashy version of the Holstein. No one can tell for sure what valuable genes were lost in the upgrading process.
But there is still a breed of cattle that represents the original American Lineback. That breed is the Randall.
Continue reading Randall
If you have a greenhouse or cold frame, you may already be pulling the first radishes of the year. That crisp, fresh texture and mildly spicy taste is a real treat after the long winter.
Once you’ve had your fill of radishes served plain or with a dab of vegetable dip, try something different. This radish salad is really simple. The most time-consuming part is slicing the radishes.
Another advantage to this recipe is its flexibility. You can make it with as many or as few radishes as you have on hand. You can also use different flavors and quantities of dressing and cheese to achieve a perfectly customized salad.
Looking for a suggestion? Try sharp cheddar cheese and balsamic vinegar dressing.
- Your favorite salad dressing
- Shredded cheese
- Wash the radishes and cut off the tops and bottoms.
- Slice and place the slices in a bowl.
- Add salad dressing and shredded cheese to taste.
- Mix thoroughly. You’re done!