The Scoop View All →

Reader Question – Should I Continue Rotational Grazing When the Grass Dries Up?

By   15 hours ago

Hello, On Pasture Community! We have another question from one of your fellow-community members. We all have this issue of grasses going dormant for part of the year, so we bet you’ve got some experience and some suggestions for Pete: I have a 40-acre ranch in California, in the Sierra foothills below Yosemite. I also […]

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How to Help Farmers and Ranchers Hit by Fires and Flooding

By   1 week ago

This summer hasn’t been a great one for farmers and ranchers across the country.  Fires cover almost a million acres in Montana alone, and hurricanes and flooding have hit Texas and Florida hard. People have been pitching in to help, like the police and cowboys driving cattle through the middle of the town of Dayton, […]

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Advertise Your Event for FREE in the On Pasture Calendar

By   2 weeks ago

As we head into fall, we’re also headed into conference season, the time when you can go out and learn new things to help you make your operation better. Want to learn more about stockdogs and how you can work with yours? There’s a workshop for that.  Want to meet up with Greg Judy and […]

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Reader Question – How Do You Manage Fence Line Vegetation?

By   3 weeks ago

Another On Pasture reader has a question and we need your help! How do you manage the vegetation under and around your permanent fence lines organically? We raise hair sheep and Angus cattle together in one flerd, and use electronet fencing for daily moves. Our perimeter fencing on our land is high-tensile 5-strand fence powered […]

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Share Your Experience With On Pasture Readers

By   4 weeks ago

This week we’re celebrating the birthday of Rachel and Kathy’s Louisiana Dad, Don Ashford, by sharing a Special Collection of all the stories he’s written for On Pasture so far. His stories represent sixty years or more of experience – mistakes, successes, relationships and philosophies. They serve as a reminder of what On Pasture is: […]

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Help Answer These Questions From On Pasture Readers

By   1 month ago

One of the good things about the On Pasture community is since there are so many of you, there’s probably someone out there who has the same problem you have. Even better, they may have already found a solution! So this week, we’re celebrating our well-read, very smart Community by sharing some reader questions we’ve […]

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It’s National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!

By   1 month ago

Get out your camo and your excess zucchini and celebrate “National Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor’s Porch Day!” That’s what August 8 is, and I’m taking full advantage of it! To heck with May Day baskets. This is my new favorite holiday. You get to “Ring and Run” or “Ding Dong Ditch,” which is […]

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People Doing Good Work for You Are Facing Elimination

By   2 months ago

For almost 100 years, the Fort Keogh Livestock and Range Research Laboratory has been helping ranchers be more effective and profitable. The Lab’s research has changed how we manage rangelands, starting with studies in the 1930s to figure out optimum stocking rates for cattle and sheep on rangelands. What they learned helped reduce soil loss […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    Results-Oriented Grazing for Ecological Resiliency

    By   15 hours ago

    Government agencies are relying on ranchers’ expertise to help guide federal management of plants and wildlife. In turn, ranchers are seeking flexibility in their federal livestock grazing permits. Together they’re working towards healthy sage rangelands and economically viable livestock operations.

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    Do You Have These Traits of a Successful Grazing Manager?

    By   1 week ago

    The ten concepts and principles outlined here are all employed daily by successful farmers and ranchers.

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    Time Grazing to Increase Warm Season Grasses

    By   2 weeks ago

    This project focuses on increasing big bluestem. But similar management could be used to promote other forages as well.

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    Utah Rancher Is Sold on Rotational Grazing

    By   3 weeks ago

    Darrell Yardley of Beaver, Utah started rotational grazing when drought reduced the amount of forage he was producing. Now he’s sold on the system saying, “If you want to get more out of your pasture, and you want your animals to look better and do better, this is the way to go. If you want […]

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    What Should You Charge for Prescribed Grazing?

    By   3 weeks ago

    Note from Kathy: I get this question a lot from folks who’d like to make money running livestock to manage vegetation. What they’re hoping I’ll give them is a solid dollar figure per animal. But it’s not so easy. Here, Dave Pratt tells you how to figure the right dollar figure for your business. There […]

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    Winter Grazing and Weaning Calves

    By   4 weeks ago

    The ranchers in this 4-minute video don’t bring their cattle in and feed them over the winter. They’ve found that bale or swath grazing is a much more economical, low labor way of carrying their stock through the winter. Here they talk about when and how they wean and feed their calves as pat of their […]

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    Greg Judy Talks Fencing, Leasing, Cow-Size and More

    By   1 month ago

    What are the best reels, fence posts and wire you can use for your temporary fences? What are some rates you might offer for leasing a farm/pasture? What size cows winter well on pasture? How do you set up your watering system? What are your secrets to success? These are just a few of the […]

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    Dairy Cows Head to Pasture for the First Time on Providence Farm

    By   1 month ago

    Vermont’s Providence Dairy is transitioning from a tie-stall barn to pasture-based dairying. Here are some of the challenges the Connors faced this first spring and how they’ve solved them.

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      Pasture Health View All →

      Easy Ways to Figure Out Your Pasture’s Forage Quality

      By   15 hours ago

      Last week we told you why we don’t use Brix to measure the value of forage in pasture. Our primary reason is that it’s not a very reliable tool for looking at the nutritional value of a specific plant. Another reason is that so many people have measured forage value for so long, that you […]

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      Here’s Why We Don’t Use Brix to Measure Forage Quality

      By   1 week ago

      If you want to find out whether a change you’ve made is making a difference on the ground, you want to use a  measurement technique that will give you reliable results every time. Brix is not that kind of measurement technique. Because Brix measurements are so susceptible to change based on weather, time of day, […]

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      What About Tall Fescue?

      By   2 weeks ago

      I sometimes get in a hurry when I sit down to write.  That sometimes causes me to have a bit of tunnel vision and I don’t get in enough detail due to lack of time or space in the article.  That happened in August when I wrote about tall fescue and I heard about it, […]

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      Time Grazing to Increase Warm Season Grasses

      By   2 weeks ago

      This project focuses on increasing big bluestem. But similar management could be used to promote other forages as well.

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      When Can You Start Grazing A New Planting?

      By   3 weeks ago

      Here’s a response from Genevieve at Kings Agriseeds for a reader who asked: “When can you start grazing a new planting? What if it’s an oats/peas combo, or some other mix? How do you know it’s good to graze? What is a good way to manage it?” Timing to start grazing varies for each species […]

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      Bale Grazing for Improving Pasture and Rangeland

      By   4 weeks ago

      Bale grazing is a good tool for improving soil health while reducing costs. This 4:49 minute video from the Natural Resources Conservation Service gives some great tips for setting bales, managing cattle, and getting good results. As you’ll see, the farmers and ranchers using it have found it to be very beneficial to their soils, […]

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      Start Stockpiling Pasture for Fall and Winter Grazing

      By   1 month ago

      Tall fescue is great for stockpiling. Here’s how much you need to lengthen your grazing season, along with tips on managing grazing now to get the most out of your winter pastures.

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      Saving a Chicken Saves Cattle and Ranchers

      By   1 month ago

      What do cattle and lesser prairie-chickens have in common? They both love grasslands. But grasslands are in trouble. Thanks to decades of fire suppression, redcedars, shinnery oak and mesquite are progressing steadily across the prairie. Open grasslands can become closed-canopy forests in as little as 40 years. And that’s a big problem for the bird, […]

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        Livestock View All →

        Raising Your Own Replacements? Maybe You Shouldn’t

        By   15 hours ago

        We get a cross-section of livestock producers at the Ranching For Profit School. A session can include outfits with more than 10,000 cows and others with less than 100 attend the course.  When it comes to enterprise selection and structure, most of the small places look like miniature versions of the large ones.  That’s a […]

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        Success with Stock Dogs

        By   1 week ago

        Stock dogs can be an incredible asset to a livestock producer or they can be cause for frustration. It has been a struggle to learn how to use stock dogs but it has been well worth the effort. The dogs save me thousands of steps and time, making all my work with stock easier and […]

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        Could You Make Money by Adding a Ewe For Every Cow in Your Herd?

        By   2 weeks ago

        Recent Dickinson Research Extension Center sales caused me to ponder the concept of adding a sheep for every cow. The center sold market cows on March 9 for $68.24 per hundredweight (cwt), or $995.58 per head, and a market ewe on March 13 for $71 per cwt, or $113.60 per head. When adjusted for body […]

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        Stable Flies Can Be a Problem Even If You Don’t Have a Stable

        By   3 weeks ago

        Fly season may be coming to an end as summer draws to a close, but it’s never too early to get ready for next year.

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        Four Teats, Two Teats, No Teats at All – A Story of Three Cows

        By   4 weeks ago

        “Boy, those cows could surely use some more milk.” How often have we all heard that old line? Truth be told, we’ve spent the past fifty years breeding more and more milk genetics into America’s s beef herd, and the results have been stupendous, or maybe stupid, depending on where you stand. There are some […]

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        Winter Grazing and Weaning Calves

        By   4 weeks ago

        The ranchers in this 4-minute video don’t bring their cattle in and feed them over the winter. They’ve found that bale or swath grazing is a much more economical, low labor way of carrying their stock through the winter. Here they talk about when and how they wean and feed their calves as pat of their […]

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        How to Guide and Turn Cattle When Driving Them

        By   1 month ago

        Here’s another step in Whit Hibbard’s series on good stockmanship using techniques developed by Bud Williams. You can see all the parts in the series here. For this article, you’ll especially want to refresh your memory by looking at “The Moves You Need to Know for Low-Stress Livestock Handling,” “Low-Stress Livestock Handling Dance Steps,” and […]

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        Cow Poop Analyzer App Estimates Forage Quality

        By   1 month ago

        You can use your Smartphone and a pile of poop to figure out your forage quality! With the “Cow Poop Analyzer” app, you take a picture of a manure pile, and then compare your picture to file photos. Each file photo comes with an estimate for the crude protein and digestibility you can expect from […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Can Wildlife Improve Your Bottom Line?

          By   15 hours ago

          This comes to us from Jimmy Doyle, South Dakota State Natural Resource Management Field Specialist, and iGrow a service of South Dakota State University Extension. As the fall harvest wraps up and this year’s calf crop is weaned, many producers may be nervous about what their paychecks will look like for 2016. In tough market conditions, […]

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          Land Contracts: Owner Financing With a Twist

          By   1 week ago

          In the spirit of examining ways to acquire land through seller-financing, it is time to take a look at land contracts.  The land contract is a variation of the owner-financed sale, with both mechanisms being a way for a farmer-buyer to come to terms with an owner-seller, independent of third-party bank financing or complementary to […]

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          A Primer on the Owner-Financed Farm Sale

          By   2 weeks ago

          There are fewer farm acquisition arrangements more attractive for new farmers than the owner-financed sale.  It can be a win-win situation for both the farmer-buyer and owner-seller,  as long as both parties are well aware of the risks before entering into an agreement. In an owner-financed sale, title is passed to the farmer-buyer, and the […]

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          What Should You Charge for Prescribed Grazing?

          By   3 weeks ago

          Note from Kathy: I get this question a lot from folks who’d like to make money running livestock to manage vegetation. What they’re hoping I’ll give them is a solid dollar figure per animal. But it’s not so easy. Here, Dave Pratt tells you how to figure the right dollar figure for your business. There […]

          Read More →

          Before You Start, Figure Out How Your New Project Could Die

          By   4 weeks ago

          Once something is dead, a post-mortem analysis can tell you why it didn’t make it. A Pre-Mortem Analysis can tell you why a project might fail, so you can adjust before you start, and hopefully save your project from a gruesome fate.

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          Why Do the Big Guys Win?

          By   1 month ago

          A recent Ranching For Profit School graduate sent me a link to MSN Careers.  It had a list of the top 10 “dead-end jobs.” Number one on the list was Farmers and Ranchers. The author concluded that large farms would get bigger and that smaller, independent family farms, that didn’t rely on off-farm income, might […]

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          How to Work Successfully With Non-Farming Landowners

          By   1 month ago

          A successful, long-term farm tenure arrangement between farmer and non-farming landowner depends on good communication, and can help you decide whether or not you, as the leasee can realistically meet the non-farming landowner’s goals and expectations, and whether or not the land can realistically meet your goals and expectations. Good communication can also be used […]

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          Planning For, and Managing Through Drought

          By   2 months ago

          Some readers are in the middle of a severe drought, and it comes for all of us at some point. Having a plan for how to respond and manage through it can help you survive, and even thrive.

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            Consider This View All →

            How to Learn From Each Other

            By   15 hours ago

            Half of the Ten Traits of a Successful Grazing Manager that Jeff Goodwin shared last week are about being a life-long learner. His survey of well-respected ranching and industry professionals showed that having inquisitive and passionate minds, being flexible and adaptive, understanding ecological principle contributed to their success. Goodwin also pointed out that “Most producers […]

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            This Man Has Collected 44 Years of Weather Data. What Did He Learn?

            By   1 week ago

            “One winter, billy barr started collecting data from his home in the Colorado Rockies. Four decades later, his 12,000 records are a climate scientist’s goldmine.” – National Geographic billy barr (he doesn’t use capital letters for his name) lives in Gothic, Colorado, one of the coldest places on the planet. He moved there as a […]

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            Conservationist Rancher is Part of the Ecosystem

            By   2 weeks ago

            “Ranchers are not outside the ecosystem managing it,” says Grady Grissom. “They’re in the ecosystem trying to survive. And if you make successively bad decisions on a piece of land, you will go away. Your genes will no longer be in the gene pool and you wont’ be part of the generational ranching population.” It’s […]

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            Do You Have a Good Agronomy Doctor?

            By   3 weeks ago

            Six months ago, I went to the doctor for a check-up.  The doctor was blunt.  He told me I need to eat more fruits and vegetables, and exercise more. And most disturbing to me, he told me to lose weight!  At the time, I wasn’t very thrilled with his advice.  But I listened.  Since then, […]

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            Add Sixty Years of Experience to Your Knowledge Base

            By   4 weeks ago

            This week we’re celebrating Don Ashford’s birthday. We’re not going to say how old he is because you’d never guess it by looking at him. Let’s just say he’s old enough to have six decades of farming experience behind him. To celebrate, we’ve put together a present for all of you: a Special Collection of […]

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            Farming as a Second Career – Secrets From Folks Who Made the Switch

            By   1 month ago

            Thanks to Suzy Hodgson of UVM Extension’s New Farmer Project for this story! On average, people change careers three times in their lifetimes, and that’s not counting about ten different jobs across those careers. Whether through choice or circumstance, people are on the move to different employment opportunities, and it’s not surprising to find a number […]

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            Does Lack of Affordable Health Insurance Threaten Farm and Ranch Viability?

            By   1 month ago

            Worries about health care coverage prevent farmers and ranchers from working full time on their operations, and create barriers for young and beginning farmers and factor into farm succession issues, potentially denying young people access to land to farm. Those are the findings of a U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded study says that lack of access […]

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            Haying With Wildlife in Mind

            By   2 months ago

            This comes to us from Jimmy Doyle, South Dakota State Natural Resource Management Field Specialist, and iGrow a service of South Dakota State University Extension. Anyone who has spent time cutting hay knows that hayland can be a magnet for wildlife in late spring and early summer. Hay fields are often considered an “ecological trap” for […]

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              The Classic by NatGLC View All →

              Low on Forage? Early Weaning is a Good Option.

              By   15 hours ago

              Here’s something to think about this winter as you’re planning for next year’s weaning. Who knew that early weaned steers gain better?! That’s just one of the things ARS scientists found when they looked at early weaning as an alternative when forage is limited.

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              Rules for Starting Your Own Farm/Ranch, Or For Making the One You’ve Got Work Better

              By   1 week ago

              You’ve dreamed of becoming a farmer, growing food not just for yourself but for your greater community. You yearn to work with the soil, and are prepared for a life of physical toil, intellectual challenges, and uncertain finances. All that’s left is to trade in your suit and tie for sturdy boots and a dilapidated […]

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              Fall is Coming – Prep Your Pastures

              By   2 weeks ago

              This advice from August 2016 never gets old! My dear Mother always said that the older you get, the faster time goes, she was right. I really don’t know what happened to the summer. But here it is, September already. We have just a couple more weeks for seeding of permanent vegetation, early planting of […]

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              Cattle Can be Good Brush Managers

              By   3 weeks ago

              Cows can do every bit as well on brush as goats. How do I know? I have experience using both for managing vegetation. And this week Dave Pratt tells us how to figure out how much to charge for prescribed grazing services to manage vegetation. He hints that livestock besides goats could be good tools […]

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              Stockpiling Encourages Pasture Legumes

              By   4 weeks ago

              Stockpiling pastures for winter grazing is a great way to allow legumes to naturally reseed in your pastures. Most of the commonly used legumes such as red, alsike, or strawberry clover and birdsfoot trefoil will produce enough seed for stand rejuvenation with 60-75 days of recovery time. Some native legumes will take longer. Most of […]

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              Solving Seasonal Electric Fence Problems

              By   1 month ago

              A season of managed grazing can be hard on your fences and changes in vegetation and soil moisture take their toll. Here are some suggestions for figuring out what’s wrong and fixing it.

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              Lease Agreements You and the Landowner Can Relate To

              By   1 month ago

              Farm lease agreements can be complex legal documents, but they don’t have to be.  Behind every legal provision there is a meaning, a purpose and a potential benefit to both parties of having such language in the lease.  I sometimes work through lease agreements with farmers or landowners, and witness their eyes glazing over when […]

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              Ideas to Reduce Winter Feeding and Increase Your Profit

              By   2 months ago

              Winter is still a few months away, but if you’re going to feed less this season you need to start planning NOW. For some ideas, check out this piece from August of 2016. Winter feeding accounts for 40+% of the cost of producing a calf, so reducing or eliminating this bad habit can help keep […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Vocabulary for National Talk Like a Pirate Day

                By   15 hours ago

                September 19 is National Talk Like a Pirate Day. Rachel loves this holiday, so this one’s for her (and all her scurvy mateys, ARRR!) Are you ready? Here’s more pirate vocabulary. Save

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                Lawn Flamingos vs. T-Rex

                By   1 week ago

                You probably didn’t know this important scientific fact. 😉

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                Here’s Your Fortune

                By   2 weeks ago

                A foolish man listens to his heart. A wise man listens to cookies.

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                Teacher Coping Mechanism

                By   3 weeks ago

                It’s that time of year when kids head back to school. Here’s how some teachers cope according to one Jeopardy contestant. Save

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                Deep Thoughts From El Arroyo Restaurant

                By   4 weeks ago

                This Tex-Mex place in Austin, Texas lures guests in with funny signs. We’ve heard the queso and margaritas are good too!     Save Save

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                How Many Problems Do You Have?

                By   1 month ago

                Anyone else have this problem?

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                Unbelievable Footage of Loch Ness Monster

                By   1 month ago

                We didn’t expect Nessie to be this color!

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                Ode to a Cow

                By   2 months ago

                Some self-help from the 1936 Old Farmer’s Almanac.

                Read More →