The Scoop View All →

Why Can We Look at the Same Thing and Come to Different Conclusions?

By   2 days ago

An old friend called me the other day and asked me this very question. I hear it from a lot of folks, so I did what I always do – I looked for science and theories that might give us an answer, and a handle on what we can do about it. One answer, the […]

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When the Fire Came – A Rancher Works Through Oregon’s Holiday Farm Fire

By   1 week ago

On September 9, John Marble’s short voice mail on my home phone said, “We have fire on three sides and we’re evacuating cattle.” He was running from the Holiday Farm fire that had been whipped into a frenzy by gale force winds two days earlier. By the next day, his part of the Calapooia Valley […]

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Why do we do it this way? How can we do it better?

By   2 weeks ago

When I’m up against a challenge, I have some questions that I ask myself: Why do we do it this way? How can we do it better? What is another right answer? That last question, “What is another right answer?” is a principle for creativity and problem solving that I learned from Dewitt Jones. Dewitt […]

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See Me at the CSSRM Online Conference

By   3 weeks ago

This October 27, I’m joining Tip Hudson and Clay Conry on a free webinar to talk about the work we’re each doing to build community and provide support to graziers. You might know Tip from his podcast “The Art of Range” and Clay from his podcast “Working Cows.” Tip, Clay, and I are the third […]

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Want to Get Paid for Providing Ecosystem Services? Start by Lunching With Forages

By   4 weeks ago

Meet Debbie Reed, Executive Director of the Ecosystem Services Marketing Consortium. This Thursday, she’ll be talking about the work she and her colleagues are doing to develop markets that can pay farmers and ranchers for improving soil health and protecting water quality. Reed is the first in the Oregon Forage and Grassland Council’s “Lunch With […]

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Paint Cows Like Zebras to Reduce Flies

By   1 month ago

For years, scientists have tried to answer the question, “Why do Zebras have stripes?” Theories included that stripes were good camouflage, that they were some kind of “air-conditioning” or a signal to herd mates. But lately, there’s growing agreement that it’s all about protection from biting flies. The conclusions come as a result of a […]

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Why Do We Believe Cows Prefer Grass?

By   1 month ago

If you’ve read On Pasture for very long, you know that before I created On Pasture, I was best known for creating a method for teaching cows (or any other ruminant) to eat weeds. Starting in 2004, I developed steps that anyone could use, testing them and then refining, until the process only took 8 […]

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Why Do Farmers and Ranchers Adopt Regenerative Practices?

By   2 months ago

This week’s Scoop comes to us from Michelle Klampe of Oregon State University. Regenerative ranching, a holistic approach to managing grazing lands, enhances ranchers’ adaptive capacity and socioeconomic well-being while also providing an opportunity to mitigate climate change, a new study from Oregon State University has found. Regenerative ranching practices rebuild ecological processes, allowing ranchers […]

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    Grazing Management View All →

    How to Graze During the Dormant Season (Summer or Fall)

    By   2 days ago

    Whether it’s fair or not, people seem to believe that northwest corner of America is a fairly unique place. Folks like to rave about the extraordinary degree of “greenness” in this country, while also whining and moaning about our soggy winters. I always find this entertaining. The truth is, we do have a long, gray […]

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    Want to Know How to Get the Most From Your Pastures? Ask a Dairy Grazier

    By   1 week ago

    When Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen decided Double J Jerseys was going all grass fed in 2017, he faced a challenge. Milk production requires a tremendous amount of energy, so pasture forages really need to pack a punch. He also needed resilience, and feed that would hold up through heat, cold and drought. Finally, milk […]

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    Conservation and Ranching Go Hand in Hand

    By   2 weeks ago

    Thanks to the Sand County Foundation for this piece. I’ve added some ideas about how you can use what you learn here. Craig and Conni French always considered themselves good land stewards, but six years ago things really began to change. They came to see their cattle ranch’s fate was tied to healthy soils and […]

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    Use Good Stop Grazing Heights For Animal and Soil Health and More Spring Forage

    By   3 weeks ago

    It is late September as I write this, and so far this month I’ve had a total of two-fifths of an inch of rain up until today. Some oats and turnips I planted over three weeks ago have barely broke ground. They won’t provide much grazing at this rate. Sadly, there are areas of Indiana […]

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    Greg Judy on How to Use Portable Fence Reels and Set Up Electric Fence Quickly and Easily

    By   4 weeks ago

    Lately I’ve been seeing questions from folks about portable electric fence reels – which ones to use and how to use them. The next question is “Now, how do I use these to set up my fence?” Here are the answers in two great videos from Greg Judy. If you already know all this, consider […]

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    Three Keys to Being a Successful Grazier

    By   1 month ago

    In this video, we take a trip to Nye, Montana to visit the Keogh Ranch. It’s been in the family since Noel Keogh’s folks purchased it in 1947. It may be larger than the operation you run, but his management addresses the challenges that each grazier faces: Managing for good grass utilization with fencing and […]

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    Grazing Through Drought, Too Much Rain, and Fire

    By   1 month ago

    Because Oregon has been in a long-standing drought, John Marble has lots of practice acting on his drought plan and rebounding when it rains. His examples of what works can get you through, rain or shine.

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    Limit Feeding Corn With Forage an Option to Get Through Drought

    By   2 months ago

    OK, I know I’m going to get smacked around just for mentioning feeding corn. But hear me out. Drought has hit a lot of places this summer resulting in poorer pastures heading into winter, and as usual, the cost of hay goes up when precipitation goes down. Alternatives for folks in this situation are to […]

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      Pasture Health View All →

      If it’s so great, why don’t we see silvopasture everywhere?

      By   2 days ago

      I was at a pasture walk some time ago, when the farmer pointed to the few scraggly trees strewn throughout his paddocks. They were close to death, and the grass around them had long been trampled into nothing over the course of a long, hot summer. These trees were the sole relief from the sun, […]

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      Is a Second Dust Bowl on Its Way?

      By   1 week ago

      Thanks to Paul Gabrielsen, science writer, University Marketing & Communications, University of Utah for this piece. Got any spaces left on that 2020 bingo card? Pencil in “another Dust Bowl in the Great Plains.” A study from University of Utah researchers and their colleagues finds that atmospheric dust levels are rising across the Great Plains […]

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      Want to Know How to Get the Most From Your Pastures? Ask a Dairy Grazier

      By   1 week ago

      When Oregon dairy farmer Jon Bansen decided Double J Jerseys was going all grass fed in 2017, he faced a challenge. Milk production requires a tremendous amount of energy, so pasture forages really need to pack a punch. He also needed resilience, and feed that would hold up through heat, cold and drought. Finally, milk […]

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      Farmer Manages Variety and Builds Resilience Through Soil Health

      By   2 weeks ago

      Thanks to the South Dakota Soil Health Coalition for this article! South Dakota is known for its variety, and Don Nickelson’s operation in Frederick is no exception. With the help of his wife, Trista, and sons Aiden, Gavin, and Ian, Nickelson raises cattle and grows corn, soybeans, oats, triticale, alfalfa and cover crops. His farm […]

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      Keys for Successful Corn Stalk/Corn Residue Grazing

      By   3 weeks ago

        Thanks to Brad Schick, Nebraska Extension Educator and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln BEEFWatch newsletter for this great article! Having corn stalks to graze is a great resource for livestock producers. For dry cows, it is a relatively inexpensive feed that can typically meet, or come very close to meeting nutritional needs. Grazing can also […]

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      Cheating Cheatgrass

      By   4 weeks ago

      I got an email not long ago from a researcher who wondered if I could help her find a place to purchase cheatgrass seed. I wasn’t aware of anyone selling the seed, but I did want to help, so I wrote back, “My suggestion is a little odd, but I think it would work. I […]

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      Twice as Many Cows, Twice as Easy

      By   1 month ago

      This piece comes to us from Clarence Kelly,* work unit conservationist for the Soil Conservation Service (now known as the Natural Resources Conservation Service). It was first published in September of 1962 in the Soil Conservation magazine. This rancher faced a lot of the same challenges many of us face today. His solution was to […]

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      Using Trees as Forage

      By   1 month ago

      Spring and fall are wonderful times to be a grass farmer. The weather is pleasant, the livestock are fat and happy, and the forages are lush. But of course, summer comes right after spring, and the lean, dry times can wipe away the memory of those beautiful lush grasses of spring. It doesn’t take much […]

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        Livestock View All →

        How Good Are You at Assessing Animal Temperament?

        By   2 days ago

        Thanks to University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s BeefWatch, and  Jamie Parham and Dr. Ronald M. Lewis, UNL Professor of Animal Breeding and Genomics for this article. Some edits were made to fit On Pasture’s style guide. We also added UNL chute behavior videos so you can test your skills. Temperament is an animal’s behavioral response to handling […]

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        Answers to Temperament Scores

        By   2 days ago

        1. Temperament Score – 5 2. Temperament Score – 3 3. Temperament Score – 2 4. Temperament Score – 4 5. Temperament Score – 1

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        Low-Stress Livestock Handling Part 2 – Observation, Driving and Parallel Movement With a Focus on Sheep

        By   1 week ago

        Last week we shared a video from Boyd Holden about best practices for low-stress sheep handling. Boyd is an animal handling consultant from Australia who covers handling of both cattle and sheep in a series of training videos. I appreciate his approach of starting from the beginning and then sharing techniques in little chunks like […]

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        Low-Stress Livestock Handling – Best Practices for Sheep Part 1

        By   2 weeks ago

        If you’ve been reading On Pasture for very long, you’ve certainly seen Whit Hibbard’s articles sharing the ins and outs of moving cattle and other livestock. But sometimes it helps to see the principles in action. So here’s a video prepared by our friends down under, with the help of animal handling consultant Boyd Holden. […]

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        How to Build a Mineral Program to Meet Your Herd’s Needs

        By   3 weeks ago

        Here are two great videos from our friends at the Beef Cattle Research Council. While they focus on cattle, some of the principles Dr. McKinnon describes can help sheep and goat producers think about and adjust their own mineral programs. If animals’ mineral needs are not met, the results are costly, and can include decreased […]

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        Help Your Animals Adjust to a New Location by Feeding Familiar Foods

        By   4 weeks ago

          One of the challenges your livestock face on a daily basis is picking out something safe to eat without the benefit of food safety labels, or any labels at all for that matter. They’ve solved this dilemma by eating what those around them eat. But when we haul them to a pasture with forages […]

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        Red Clover Hay Supplementation Grows Fat Cattle

        red clover

        By   1 month ago

        To jump right to the end of the story, researchers have found when 15% of the diet of steers in pasture was a supplement of red clover hay/ with about 3 pounds of dried distillers grain, they gained more weight than those on pasture alone – 2.45 pounds a day compared to 1.94. That’s interesting […]

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        How to Choose Your Replacement Heifers

        By   1 month ago

        This is the time of year when many folks are choosing their replacement heifers. These tips from Nebraska Extension Beef Educator Aaron Berger and his colleagues at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) will help you make good choices. First, get rid of heifers whose mothers were troublesome. Send on heifers that are: • from cows […]

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          Money Matters View All →

          Here’s a Tool to Make Farm/Ranch Financial Analysis Easier

          By   2 days ago

          If you’re not a great record keeper, you’re not alone. Most folks I know would rather be outside doing chores than inside filing receipts or going through records to figure out if the latest enterprise is bringing in the expected profit. So, to make it easier, and set you up for success, the Center for […]

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          Is “Tradition” Harming Your Operation?

          By   2 weeks ago

          Agriculture is steeped in tradition. These traditions serve as a source of pride and continuity which help make us who we are in agriculture. However, these same traditions create a paradox of sorts when it comes to managing the business of ranching. Balancing respect for traditions and fostering innovation can be tricky to navigate. Another […]

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          How to Start a Ranch From Scratch

          By   4 weeks ago

          Can’t be done. At least that is what conventional wisdom says. I’d agree that it can’t be done, if you follow the rules of traditional ranching – running cows the way everyone else does and owning everything. If you are willing to break some rules and challenge conventional wisdom maybe you can join the amazing […]

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          A New Meat School Coming to a Town or Computer Near You!

          By   1 month ago

          Are you interested in learning more about production, processing and selling your pasture-finished product to diverse market channels? Would you like new ways to manage risk in your meat business and improve your profitability? If the answers are yes, then you’ll want to check out the Western Meat School. The Western Meat School is organized […]

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          Overcoming Challenges to Create a Successful Grass Fed Beef Supply Chain

          By   2 months ago

          A case study of a regional grass fed beef supply chain that came out this past Spring gives us a good look at how one producer addressed the issues that direct marketers in this business usually encounter. From building a brand and successfully marketing it, to having enough product to meet the demand of customers, […]

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          Solar Panels for Powering Your Farm/Ranch – Here’s What to Consider

          By   2 months ago

          If you’re wondering if solar power is a good option for your operation, this four-part video series from John Hay and University of Nebraska Extension is for you. Though the series bills itself as information for beginning farmers and ranchers, it’s really beneficial to anyone interested in solar power options. I’ve included all four videos […]

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          Rancher Loren Poncia Talks Covid-19 and a Shift to Direct-to-Consumer Sales

          By   3 months ago

          Loren Poncia of Stemple Creek Ranch near Tomales Bay, California is a fourth generation rancher raising grass fed beef, lamb and pork. His goal is to “raise an awesome, wholesome, nutritious product, and, at the same time, do the dance with Mother Nature to build soil health and biodiversity.” When Covid-19 hit, the ranch lost […]

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          These Could Be The Best Cows

          By   3 months ago

          Back in May, John wrote “What Makes a Really Good Cow” where he talked about judging the cows in your herd by blaming them for how their calves turn out and selling the cows that fail that basic test of performance. That’s a great theory, but how does it work out in practice? John shares […]

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            The Classic by NatGLC View All →

            Early Weaning During Drought is Good For Cows, Calves, and Producers

            By   2 days ago

            We originally published this story in October of 2014 and it’s great information as more and more folks face off against drought conditions. It comes to us from the 2013 issue of Agricultural Research, a former publication of the USDA Agriculture Research Service, and was written by Sandra Avant. At the beginning of 2013, cattle […]

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            Grazing Pigs – Fencing Tips

            By   1 week ago

            If you’d like to raise pigs, this piece from the On Pasture archives is a great way to start. Check the end of the article for opportunities to learn more about raising livestock and marketing and selling meat. Of all the animals we have raised (cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, dogs and cats), we like the […]

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            Forrest Pritchard’s Secrets for Successful Farming

            By   2 weeks ago

            Forrest Pritchard is the New York Times best-selling author of three books on his experiences as a farmer, including “Start Your Farm,” Kathy’s favorite book for folks considering taking the leap. Here he shares some of his insights.

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            Do Animals Know Which Minerals They Need?

            By   3 weeks ago

            This is the latest knowledge we have on how animals and their response to mineral feeding. It’s an important part of building a mineral program to meet your herd’s needs. A number of companies in the U.S. sell free-choice or cafeteria-style mineral supplements. Their rationale is that ruminants will select the minerals they need and […]

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            Which Feed Is A Better Value? Here’s a Calculator to Help Figure it Out.

            By   4 weeks ago

            From October of 2016, here’s a timely article to help you get the most for your money. There are a variety of reasons why you might decide to feed or supplement grazing cattle in the fall and winter. One might be providing a little extra for a pasture that doesn’t meet your herd’s nutritional needs. […]

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            Get Rid of Bio-Film and Clean Lines, Tanks and Floats With the Easy “Slug Method”

            By   1 month ago

            From 2018, here’s a great way to keep water troughs clean and working well. Oregon is a funny place. We recently changed our State bird from the Meadow Lark to the Osprey, mostly because several other States were claiming the Meadow Lark, and Oregon likes being….unique. Some would say bizarre. Our State Flower is called […]

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            A Very Helpful Grazing Systems Planning Guide

            By   1 month ago

            From our September 2014 issue, here’s a guide that is still very valuable. Pictures and simple tables – that’s what I like in a book, especially if they illustrate what the author is trying to explain in a way that cuts to the chase. If you like that too, you’ll really appreciate this Grazing Systems […]

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            Livestock Combine With Cover Crops to Build Soil Health

            By   2 months ago

            From January of 2017, here’s why livestock are an important part of cover cropping.

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              Consider This View All →

              Build Your “Room” for Success

              By   1 week ago

              A year ago I listened to an interview with author David Weinberger on CBC radio. The host was asking questions about Weinberger’s book ‘Too Big To Know.’ Weinberger posed the question, “Who is the smartest person in the room?” His answer….the room! In the book, the author talked about how the internet and our access […]

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              Getting Paid For Good Grazing: The Carbon Market of the Future

              By   3 weeks ago

              Oregon Forage and Grassland Council’s free Zoom series “Lunch With Forages” kicked off last week with a look at a potential new revenue stream for graziers: trading good grazing practices for cash. Debbie Reed, the Executive Director of Ecosystem Services Marketing Consortium, was the featured speaker and she described the carbon market and making it […]

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              The Time I Almost Died On My Tractor…Mom Please Skip This One.

              By   1 month ago

              I was sitting here thinking about how I’m glad I don’t wear my mistakes on my person. Like many of my farming kin, I have done some really thoughtless things on the farm. It seems that the end of a long day, under the sun, with deadlines looming, animals needing to be fed, and bills […]

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              Managing Vegetation in Solar Arrays With Sheep

              By   2 months ago

              Last spring we shared a series of stories from the American Solar Grazing Association on the increase in solar developments, and how sheep grazing is becoming an important part of managing vegetation so solar panels work most effectively. The first in the series described the opportunities and potential income for sheep graziers. In Part 2, […]

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              Make Sure Your Equipment Doesn’t Turn Into Just a Pile of Steel

              By   2 months ago

              “I need you to come right away. The driveline just snapped off the baler” “IT DID WHAT?! Shut it down. I’ll be there in five minutes” Click. The heat of the afternoon sun smacks me in the face as I scramble down the steps of the big, blue New Holland PowerStar 120. I hit the […]

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              It Takes a Village (of Insects) to Raze a Manure Pile

              By   3 months ago

              The manure your livestock leave behind in pasture can provide beneficial nutrients. But how do the nutrients get from the pile and into the soil? If you said Dung Beetles, you’re only 1.5 to 3% correct.

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              Rethinking Methane – Why Livestock Are Not the Problem and Could Be a Solution

              By   3 months ago

                Cow burps and farts – that’s mostly what first comes up when people talk about agricultural methane, making it seem kind of silly. So why all the concern? It’s because methane is a very powerful greenhouse gas, about 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide for the decade it lasts in the atmosphere. But, […]

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              Build a Self-Starter Apprentice/Employee With Feedback and Mentoring

              By   4 months ago

              Adding an apprentice or intern to your operation is a great way to add energy and new ideas to your operation while providing training to the next generation of graziers. But, like any new practice, there’s information to make it easier, and skills we must develop to be successful. For the past 6 weeks, Leah […]

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                The Funnies View All →

                Sheep Discovers the Fun of a Trampoline

                By   2 days ago

                No back flips, but it’s a start!

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                Tools Explained

                By   1 week ago

                From some friends on Facebook – these descriptions explain perfectly the way I’ve seen these tools used! DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the freshly-painted project which […]

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                Stella’s Best Leaf Jumps of All Time

                By   3 weeks ago

                Stella the Dog has a thing for piles of leaves. It’s 3:10 of fun – with a cute ending. Enjoy watching her enjoy!

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                Pass the Pepper – Joseph’s Machines

                By   4 weeks ago

                Ok, I liked “Pass the Salt” from last week, but I think this one is even better. Enjoy!

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                Pass the Salt – Joseph’s Machines

                By   1 month ago

                I like how the salt gets distributed in the end. It’s 4:26 of wonder. Enjoy! If you liked this and would like to see out takes and more, you can support Joseph’s artwork here. Next week, “Pass the Pepper!”

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                Man Finds Fabulous Giant Crystal

                By   1 month ago

                You may find these in your own backyard!

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