The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Pasturing with nature

Heal gullyWell planned pasturing systems can heal the earth --- and can take advantage of natural systems to keep the livestock healthier.  Greg Judy puts up tree swallow boxes since one adult can eat 8,000 flies per day, leading to happy cows.  Meanwhile, he pays close attention to the critters in and on the soil, watching dung beetles roll manure down tunnels into the earth and counting 462 worms in a single cow pat.  He considers spiders to a prime indicator of pasture health since these predators need to eat lots of insects to stay alive, and insects thrive in rich, organic matter-filled soil.

Other parts of Greg's pasturing ecology seem less intuitive.  He believes that careful mob grazing can heal gullies and riparian areas.  He mob grazes steep sided gullies three or four times per year, knocking the banks down so that vegetation can gain a foothold.  While I'm not sure his system would work in very wet climates (his waterways tend to dry up in the summer), Greg's system has created vegetated waterways that capture his neighbor's eroding topsoil (and precious water) each time it rains.  "It doesn't matter how much rain you get," said Greg.  "It matters how much you keep."

Learn the basics of buying food in bulk, and never run out during snowstorms or personal emergencies.

99 cent pasture ebookThis post is part of our Mob Grazing lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Anna, I am really enjoying your posts of Greg Judy's philosophies. I read his first book a few years ago and loved it. I have gotten side tracked from many of his ideas. Reading your posts has been incredibly stimulating!

Thank you! :)


Comment by Emily Thu Feb 2 20:31:30 2012
I haven't actually read his books (crazy, I know!) I wonder how much is in them that wasn't in his workshop?
Comment by anna Fri Feb 3 10:14:17 2012

I have only read "No Risk Ranching". It covers leasing land and running other people's cattle on it as a way to build wealth. It sounds like a dry, uninteresting topic, however it was FACINATING and incredibly thoughtful. I Just read your e-book on microbuisiness (which I found absolutely wonderful, thank you for writing it), I think you will appreciate "No Risk Ranching" for it's financial insights as well.

Comment by Emily Fri Feb 3 20:04:40 2012

You're right --- I found that part of his talk very intriguing. It felt so all-or-nothing when I was saving for land, and his options of getting on the land without waiting until you can pay for it made a lot of sense.

(Thanks for your kind words about Microbusiness Independence.)

Comment by anna Fri Feb 3 20:36:09 2012

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