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Cows 101

January 18, 2013

dairymaidA class finally!  Actually 4 classes in one.  So much to say about cows, and so little time.

A little back story, for the past year I’ve been working with a new farm that is starting up in Sherwood Oregon, called Community by Design.  Community by Design isn’t just a farm, it’s a an idea for a farm built on community, and small streamlined foodways.  A blend of permaculture and biodynamics, introducing cattle to this former blueberry and crop form is a step in restoring fertility to the land.

These workshops held this spring at Community by Design will mesh with the arrival of cows to the farm, and a large step in the healing process for this beautiful piece of farmland.

For more information about Community by Design visit their site here, and for more information about the cow classes click the Workshop tab at the top of the page or this link to register.

23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2013 11:48 pm

    Fantastic! Jenny, Josh, Doug and Dave, Toby and Nita! Some of my favorites!

  2. January 19, 2013 2:46 am

    That sounds like a wonderful project! Congratulations! I hope you’ll be posting more about it – so many of your readers have cow-questions.

    By the way, nice portrait…but don’t you find it hard to keep that apron so white? 😉

  3. January 19, 2013 2:56 am

    love the picture, that’s me with my jersey cows, except I wear gumboots, I wish I could do your class, but its too far to travel….

    • January 19, 2013 11:51 am

      Liz, couldn’t find a picture with Guernseys so I had to settle for those pretty Jerseys, as if that would be settling…

  4. January 19, 2013 4:09 am

    This is sooo cool!! I wish you were on our side of the world!! We’d jump at these classes in a second. Just reading the workshop descriptions made me want to go right away!!

  5. Clare permalink
    January 19, 2013 10:02 am

    Great news! I will follow this project with interest. I also followed the links and had a hard time finding the info on your classes, which were linked only through their newsletter. Here’s the link to the page with class details:

    • January 19, 2013 11:45 am

      Thanks Clare, I added the link to this post and it also appears on the workshop tab at the top of the blog.

  6. Trish permalink
    January 19, 2013 11:31 am

    I really like that picture but I wonder how the cows like being led around by their horns! Just seems like they would be leading the milkmaid instead!

    • January 19, 2013 11:48 am

      Trish, I can’t imagine milking in a dress! Jane’s mom had nice horns and they made great handles, strangers could be a little unnerved by her though, she would walk right up to you and present her horns for a big itching session. I sometimes wish I had left Jane’s on, sometimes…

      • Trish permalink
        January 21, 2013 11:59 am

        I know people who are really into Steiner insist on leaving the horns on, but since I had 2 very painful cow attacks as a teenager with our cows, I’m a huge fan of dehorning. Every time my cow presents her head for me to scratch behind the nubs, I think how glad I am that she doesn’t have horns. I agree about a dress while milking! The first thing that would happen is I would step on it while standing up- riiiiippp! I’m very thankful for modern times.

        • January 21, 2013 12:31 pm

          Trish, I left horns on Jane’s big sister…she’s now in the freezer, too dangerous to sell or keep and I liked her enough to not subject her to adult dehorning. Some cows are fine with horns, other not so much. And in close quarters, the cows with horns can be pretty cruel to their pasture and barn mates.

          As for the dress, I love pants! I’m old enough to be scarred for life from having to wear a dress to school no matter what the weather! Nothing like going to school in 80 mph winds in a dress to make you want to dress differently when you have a choice.

  7. Craig permalink
    January 19, 2013 12:09 pm

    These classes look incredible! Wish I was close enough to come. Here’s an idea: Why not have someone video tape the classes and put them on DVD. You could sell these and make some money on the side. You’re such a good teacher through this blog, I’m sure they’d be a big hit! Too many people that didn’t grow up on a farm are wanting to learn these lost skills, it would be like having your own private instructor.

    • January 20, 2013 3:24 am

      Here in Mass we have an organic farmers organization called NOFA/Mass. They do a lot of workshops/seminars (Jerry Brunetti, Joel Salatin, Sally Fallon, etc.) and they tape them. Then they put the audio up online free with the PowerPoint. The PowerPoint has a section under each slide for notes.

      I’ve utilized this tool many times, making notes under each slide as the speaker talks on the audio. (I can stop the audio to get all my notes on and restart, not an option at the original presentation. This is a real help for someone with bad cognitive issues.) I can then more esily refer back to the information.

      This might be an option to consider also.

      • January 20, 2013 7:56 am

        Well I’ll be darned! I live in MA and I didn’t know NOFA did that! How fantastic that I would learn about it via a comment from a “neighbor” on a blog form the PNW! Sometimes I really really LOVE the internet.

      • Craig permalink
        January 20, 2013 10:26 am

        Thanks for the heads up Pam, I’ll check it out. Sounds like what I need!

      • January 21, 2013 12:51 pm

        I just moved to MA and this is just what I’m looking for! Thanks for the info.
        Can’t wait to learn more about Community By Design; it sounds like something I would love to be a part of. Too bad I’m on the other side of the continent, but who knows???

  8. wildriver/akaangrywhiteman permalink
    February 1, 2013 9:12 am


    might be worth a look.

  9. Matt & Lauren permalink
    February 2, 2013 5:29 pm

    Just signed up for this and can’t wait! My wife and I have been following your blog ever since the Varma’s introduced us at the beginning of last season when Community by Design was kicking off and we’re excited to be integrating cattle into the learning!

  10. February 25, 2013 9:04 am

    Hi from my WP blog (although you usually hear from me as Zephyr Hill). I’m nominating you for the Versatile Blogger award! I understand if you don’t care to accept since it’s kind of time-consuming to fulfill the obligations (which I’ll be posting shortly on my WP blog), but I did want to let lots of people know about your great blog which has been SO helpful to us in our farming endeavors!

    • February 25, 2013 9:43 am

      Hey Susan, thank you so much! I doubt I can keep up with the obligations, but thanks just the same 🙂

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