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Fox Valley Berkshire is located east of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin atop the Niagara Escarpment and a fertile glacial lake bed with abundant, clean waters below of it.

About Fox Valley Berkshire

 

 

 

 

 

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About

In Edward Behr’s essay, “The Sweet Orange Carrot”, found between the covers of The Artful Eater we find a citation from Joseph Harris’ 1882 Gardening for Young and Old. We’ll take a little liberty with paraphrases and substitute for Mr. Harris’ “horses” our “cows”.

““The carrot is not a popular crop. Cows are very fond of carrots, but then they never had to weed them. It they had been obliged to get on their hands and knees, so to speak, with the sun on their backs, and had to weed and thin carrots, when Tom and Dick were gone fishing, they would have been satisfied with hay. Boys ought to know better than cows. (Still,) cows that cheerfully do all that we ask of them are entitled to a feed of fresh juicy carrots…””.

While our hands and knees tell us to know better it is that obligation to cheerful work which drives the provision of living vegetable fodders over the Months of Dormancy. But the obligation also goes to building high quality soils for high quality crops in the first. Here we’ll cite Sir Albert Howard in An Agricultural Testament, 1940, “Soil fertility is the condition which operates from the operation of Nature’s round, from the orderly revolution of the wheel of life, from the adoption and faithful execution of the first principle of agriculture- there must always be a perfect balance between the processes of growth and the processes of decay. The consequences of this condition are a living soil, abundant crops of good quality, and livestock which possess the bloom of health. The key to a fertile soil and a prosperous agriculture is humus.”

 

Cabbages at transplanting with waterwheel planter. These three inch three leaved plants about 100 days after. And dined on.

Planting CabbageOctober CabbageFox Valley Berkshire Cows DiningCow in barn

Following topping, carrots and beets are mechanically lifted, hand gathered then washed, stowed and monitored.

Harvesting CarrotsTransporting CarrotsCarrot Mother LoadCarrot WashingBeetsBeet Washer

Still fresh food. Kale is scythed then gathered up with a fork. A wheelbarrow a day will satisfy 20 hogs. Powerful stuff kale is. Along with swiss chard, their next favorite green.

Kale Harvest

Cows turned out on fresh alfalfa and grass pasture. The pullets share the same manner of pasture but theirs is mowed before grazing. Hogs love these rich eggs and wish they all were cracked.

Fox Valley Berkshire Cows in FieldFox Valley Berkshire HogsFox Valley Berkshire EggsFox Valley Berkshire ChickensFox Valley Berkshire HogFox Valley Berkshire Hogs Roaming Freely

When the cows and hogs would as soon be inside, clean, dry, sunlight housing is waiting for them. The hogs like to sleep inside just about any night the temperature is below 68 F. And they spend many a long morning snoozing in the glass block light.

Fox Valley Berkshire Hogs in the Barn

As the Summer season wears on and the leaf matter is converted to compost by the hogs it will be Fall applied to those fields designated for next season’s fodder crops. The stable manure is also composted along with more leaf matter in a windrow unto itself and isolated from the hogs, cows and pullets. This is another aspect of farm hygiene and farm fertility.