Although drought conditions are as severe as anyone has seen in these parts, going back several generations, we’re looking at the glass as being half-full not half-empty. At least right now. Of course, we are all anxiously awaiting the arrival of the North American Monsoon, which the weather service says is supposed to be above-average for our region. The monsoon is the best chance we have to help break the drought.
Through hard work, a team effort, and all the planning and development we’ve instituted on the farm following the instructive drought of 2002, the farm is still able to produce nutrient-rich, healthy food for our neighbors in the region. The following images were taken recently, in part to share farm news with our devoted customers, but also to chronicle the extreme conditions by which we all find ourselves.
- Virgin Pond, as we’ve named it, is full and ready to continue to provide irrigation water to the garden, the intensive rotational grazing pasture and the livestock. For this we are blessed!
A corner of our intensively rotated pasture is showing signs of great fertility after 16 years of livestock grazing. This grass is sequestering tons of carbon dioxide, helping reverse the ill-effects of global warming, one blade at a time!
The roughly acre-and-a-half garden is going strong, thanks to judicious use of water and the hard work of the leaseholder, Anne LeFevre, here weeding in the cool morning air. The produce is distributed through the Fresh Food Hub in Norwood and through a CSA in the Mountain Village created to help disadvantaged households.
As part of our serious water conservation efforts, we’ve always relied on a drip irrigation system in the garden, choosing this water delivery system over flood irrigating or sprinkling. It puts water right where you want it, one drop at a time. In this image, it’s the garlic’s turn to get watered!
Our pastured poultry is rotated onto fresh pasture every morning, where they devour every blade of grass presented to them. They leave behind their fertilizer, enhancing the health and sustainability of the pasture. Humans who consume grass-fed meats or by-products (e.g. eggs, dairy, etc.) are the ultimate beneficiaries, as is the health of the planet’s bio-deversity. It’s a perfect circle, we believe. You can order your pastured poultry online on this website, or see us at the Telluride Farmers Market on Fridays through the first week of October.
Doubt chickens eat grass? This image shows otherwise. The pen on the left is a few days ahead of the rotational grazing done by the chickens in the pen on the right bottom corner of this image. Notice the straight line of grazed versus unglazed pasture.
Can’t forget the eggs, another nutrient-dense food produced by our grass-fed layer hens!
Although 100% contained now, the Mailbox Fire provided a scare to mess residents only two weeks ago. Colorado is dry, dry, dry, with new fires seemingly being reported every day throughout the state.
The 416 Fire near Durango has flared up again in the past few days. This is a pyro-cumulus cloud formation sprung forth from the 35,000+ acre fire as viewed from the farm on Thursday, June 28, 2018. The smoke plume could be seen extending throughout the NW San Juans, including the Telluride valley.
The farm is the recent recipient of a full-scale weather station installed by Colorado State Univ. and sanctioned by the Bureau of Reclamation, which is studying the effects of evapotranspiration on irrigated and non-irrigated lands throughout the state. The site can be viewed on the CoAgMet website.
We’re at the Telluride Farmers Market every Friday, with our grass-fed eggs, pastured poultry, pork lard, chicken bone broth and chicken feet, necks and livers. Come support local agriculture from the many vendors who have committed their lives to providing regional residents with nutrient-dense foods, and artisans who love their crafts. It sure beats shopping online or driving down to Montrose!
We herded our turkeys out into pasture this week. What a happy bunch!
The turkeys made it, after about a 20-minute walk. They will now frolic for the rest of the summer in grasses, and eating lots of grasshoppers and other insects.
Jonah got in on the act of herding the turkeys and did a wonderful job!
Cattle rotate through some of our leased pastures on an almost year-round basis, here “mob grazing” below one of our ponds. When not used for grazing, the pastures are hayed in the summertime, providing feed for cattle on the mesa in the wintertime.