There Are Snakes Under The Floorboards! - Farm Life Begins
This year marks our 10th Anniversary at Ozark Akerz Regenerative Farm. Before Sue and I moved here, we spent 2 months fixing leaks, mending all manner of things and cleaning the farmhouse to make it livable. It had been abandoned for over 10 years. Little did we know what we had gotten ourselves into!
The following are excerpts from emails we sent to Sue’s mom, Lou, during the first couple months on the farm. It has been amazing to relive the beginning of our journey in detail, much of what we had forgotten. We both remembered the day we moved in as Feb 1, in fact it was Jan 27. All the joys and challenges came back to life when reading the emails. Lou suffered from dementia and would forget what we told her over the phone. Daily emails were a good way to stay close to her even though she was 2100 miles away. She kept the printed emails and photos we sent her in a binder. She would re-read the emails over time. She eventually filled 3 binders with our emails.
How Dung Beetles Improve Health Of Regenerative Farms
Dung beetles are the strongest animals in the world. They can pull 1,141 times their body weight. That’s like a human pulling six fully loaded double-decker buses. They are found on every continent except for Antarctica.
Unlike the dung beetles I watched with curiosity as a kid in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) that would roll a ball of elephant dung much larger than themselves, the dung beetles in North Carolina are mainly tunneling (lay eggs in the soil beneath the cow pat) or dwelling (lay eggs in the cow pat). Tunneling dung beetles are the most beneficial to soil and pasture by acting as living feritlizers. By burying cow poo as food for their young, they aerate, introduce organic matter, and cycle the nutrients that are present in cow dung to the soil. The dwelling beetles have the additional benefit that they compete for manure with horn flies that can irritate the cows.
Why Grow a Food and Medicine Forest?
A Food & Medicine Forest attempts to mimic nature. It provides bio-diverse, perennially growing food and medicine and tools. The benefits of growing a Food & Medicine Forest range from carbon capture to self-reliance to increasing biodiversity. We have started started converting an old hay field intoto a Food & Medicine Forest. This area of the farm contributes heavily to our health and is one of the reasons Sue, who is a cancer survivor, has not taken any prescription or over-the-counter drugs in 8 years.
We’ve allowed wildflowers and ‘weeds’ to grow and added native species of shrubs, trees and flowers, and perennial food plants. Our goals have been multi-fold. In no specific order, these include:
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