Saturday, June 27, 2015

Life Moves On

I can hardly believe it has been over a year since I've posted an update...  We have been very blessed in many ways.  We are privileged to live in a land of plenty and enjoy the beauties of nature and the joys of family.

We are well on our way into the growing season this year.  The pastures are doing great thanks to all the rain.  The sweet corn is coming along and the broccoli plants will soon be ready to transplant into the field.   After taking a break from cheese making for a year, we are again up and going and hope to have some to sell in August.  There are also quite a few grass fed steers that will be ready to process as the season continues.

following are a few pictures from the last year...
The dairy herd on spring pasture.

Beef cows enjoying fresh grass.

The Broccoli field last fall.

Mowing a field of red clover for hay.

Yes, it is That good!

Monday, March 17, 2014

where is spring?

It seems as though winter wants to keep it's icy grip around us reminding us that it is not yet spring.  The daffodils are pushing up and the grasses are greening up and now all have again been blanketed with snow.  The cows and I are both eager and a bit anxious to enjoy lush pastures again.

As of last September, we began making cheese to sell.  In November, customers at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market had the first opportunity to give it a try.  I've been pleased with the response and feedback.
Why cheese?  We love cheese. We also believe that raw grassfed dairy products are both delicious and healthful.  While it is not legal to directly sell raw milk in VA, raw milk cheese that has been aged at least 60 days is allowed. The main reason that we operate the dairy as  100% grass (no grain) is for our own use.  Research is continuing to reveal that milk from grass fed cows has higher levels of important fatty acids.  Our farm is also certified Organic and that mean no artificial hormones or pesticides are used.

For the milk to be its very best, the plants the cows are eating must be healthy.  For the plants to be healthy, the soil they are growing in must healthy.  We are making substantial investments in trying to regenerate our soils so that the food we produce is what our bodies really need.

While we still have cheese to sell that was made last fall, cheese making is on hold at this point until the cows are again consuming the all important green grass that puts the yellow goodness back in the milk.

"While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, Winter and Summer, and day and night shall not cease."  Genesis 8:22

That's all for now.....

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sweet Corn Time

We picked and sold the first sweet corn of the 2013 season today.  I enjoy meeting the customers at the market after being gone for several months but it sure adds to the busyness.  This year, all the corn is being grown without any herbicides or synthetic insecticides.  I sure enjoy not being exposed to all the toxins that happen while spraying.

The dairy herd is plugging right along. The consistent rains have kept the grass green and plentiful, but also make it hard to harvest feed for winter.

It has been rewarding to make a little cheese from our milk and enjoy even more diversity of nourishment from our own farm.

God has truly been good to us.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Fall Again!

Another year has past since I last updated this 'presence'.  A lot has changed in our lives and that of the farm but much is also still the same.  The biggest change was the decision for Portwood Acres to enter the Organic dairy business.  December  2011 brought approximately 35 cows to the farm.  This decision did not come lightly, but we have felt the leading of the Lord in this venture. 

We were growing some organic cash crop as well as the vegetables for the last few years.  Because the processes of nature are cyclical, cash cropping was not going to be sustainable for us.  Nutrients that were sold of the farm in the form of hay or grain had to be replaced.  Cows help us to keep the nutrient cycling happening right here on the farm.  Grass in, manure out - What a novel idea!!!!  This is the process that God created to work in nature.  Other than a small amount of purchased molasses we are feeding no supplements or purchased feed, just grass, hay and mineral.   
The canola oil processing is currently on hold.  The processing room was a retrofitted milk room and has now been returned to its original purpose.  A new room has been in process most of the year, but......other things have taken priority. 
The fall broccoli season is well under way for this year.  I planted a lot less produce this year due to the added dairying schedule. 
I guess that is all for now.  We are looking into the future of unknowns with a lot of questions, but with a blessed Hope and peace because we know Who holds tomorrow.

Monday, September 26, 2011


The rays of sunshine are no longer as direct, giving the greened-up hay fields and lawns that unique glow that only happens in the spring and fall.  Cool mornings, leaves changing color, sweet corn is over and the first broccoli picked: yes, Fall is here!  The Lord has blessed us with much needed rain over the past several weeks for which we are very grateful.  Being too busy with other things means there are more weeds in the broccoli field than should be there, but the crop looks pretty good.  The wonder of the seasons always amazes me.  The sweet corn, tomatoes, and other crops that love the heat of summer wither and die as fall approaches, but the broccoli, romanesco, cauliflower, brussels sprouts and cabbage flourish in the cooler weather.  So with the season, our diet must change too.  The yellow of corn, the red of tomatoes, the green of beans on the table is replaced by the green of broccoli and the orange and yellow of winter squash.  What wonderful bounty and diversity we enjoy!  God is truly good to us.

I have added a few pictures of some of the sights and activities of the last few months.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet Corn!

Sweet corn season is in full swing.  Customers keep telling me it's some of the best corn they have ever had- which is part of the reason I keep growing it.  It is always nice to be appreciated:)  It is also time for planting the fall cole crops i.e. brussels sprouts, romanesco, broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage.  The heat and dry weather have made the last few weeks a challenge.  It is hard to get things growing and keep things growing when the temp is near 100 and no rain.  I hope to post a few pictures soon. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

spring is springing

Spring is quite under way- with surplus moisture, for this year at least.  Last year we were very dry at this time.  The Lord knows what we need and always provides.  The canola bloom is now over and the seed pods are developing.  Most of the first cutting of hay has been made and the field corn is just peeking through.  With sweet corn about a foot tall and customers at the Harrisonburg Farmers Market asking for it, we are eager for the first ripe ears.  Now we need to catch up on a number of things that have been neglected the past months and get a few more things in order for the up coming vegetable marketing season.  With plans for a roadside stand this year, there are a few more things to think about and prepare for.