Thistle Hill Farm – Blog

…doing what comes naturally

A hymn to farming….

….sort of.

We’ve played music from the Peterson Brothers before.  They’re young men of a Minnesota farm family telling their story via rap, funk, etc.  Unintentionally, they often (as in this video) catalog pretty much all the sins of modern commercial farming.

The argument is always that this rape of the land is necessary to feed the world…although almost half the food grown in the world is wasted.  So watch it and weep….and rock.  Thanks to Bob Cain for the link.

3 Brothers Wrote A Song That Left America In HYSTERICS. What It Says About Farmers? I’m CRYING!!

I laugh….

….when I hear people say they’ve given up eating red meat….in favor of chicken!

Thanks to Lois Aylestock of Blue Ridge Meats for the link.

Moving cattle….

….our “grazing guru”, Jim Gerrish, has written an article about the best time of day to move cattle.  We didn’t realize there was much debate but, anyway, Jim recommends mornings.

As always, Jim “nails it” but we particularly enjoyed the picture he used to illustrate putting up temporary fencing on his ranch.

By coincidence the young man stringing the wire just arrived here at Thistle Hill.  Grandson Church Humphreys will be put to work tomorrow morning…moving our herd to new grass.

I’m from the government….

….and I’m here to protect you.  Not!

Awhile back, grass fed meat producers were making some progress with the government in establishing minimum standards for labeling.  Nothing radical; you still weren’t going to be told whether the meat you ate came from cows fattened on hormones and antibiotics.

Well that lasted until grass fed meat passed the 1% point in market share.  Then Big Ag (and Big Drugs) teamed up to get rid of the grass fed label.

The same health benefits of grass fed meat are found in grass fed dairy…and now those dairy farmers are going through the same (futile) process.  Health blogger Dr. Joseph Mercola explains.


Et tu, Vladimir….

….finally, Monsanto has met its match!  (Thanks to Lois Aylestock of Blue Ridge Meats for the link)

Russia Has Decided To BAN The Use Of Genetically Modified Ingredients In All Food Production

It’s become a ritual for the past year….

….to end our work-day with a glass of wine and the latest episode of a lovely British t-v series “Lark Rise to Candleford”.  The show is a lovely profile of an English hamlet and village in Oxfordshire at the close of the 19th century.  Change is coming….”progress”….and it evokes mixed emotions from the residents, who see an idyllic life coming to an end.

The other day one of the visitors to the rural area said “it takes courage to change” only to be corrected by a hamlet folk who said “sometimes it takes courage to stand still”.

We were reminded of that by this story:

When a Devon boy meets…

a Cornwall girl….well Wooz saw that it happened…when she choose a cow of her own outside the Traditional Devon™ partnership.  Ashott Barton Millennium Falcon was the sire, Goldings Snowdrop the dam.

And here, at a year and a half, is their first calf:  Thistle Hill Yeoman.  Wooz was right (again).


No comment….

….tough attack on vegetarianism.  Perhaps a bit over-the-top, but not more than the criticism of us omnivores.

University of Graz Study Finds Vegetarians Are Unhealthy And Mentally Disturbed

A late spring….

….is plaguing our friends in Germany.



Translation:  Germany must shiver until June.  Thanks to our Koenigswinter bureau chief, Gisela Volkert.

Thistle Hill East….revisited….

….the other day we featured our young cow “Bribery” at Bovine Genetics near Cambridge.  Actually the village is called “Bishops Itchington”.  (Much of the fun in England is in the town names.)  Now here is ” Ashott Barton Tulip“, who has also completed flushing.  Scroll down below the picture for more information.

IMG_1276A second shipment of embryos from both animals is flying across the Atlantic as this is being written.  (4.22.16)  All the English genetics we import, for ourselves and for Traditional Devon™, land at Chicago’s O’Hare airport.  From there they’re trucked to Adel, Iowa.

Embryos and semen are stored at Hawkeye Services until we’re ready for them.  Then, it’s back on a truck to O’Hare and a flight here, or South Carolina, or North Carolina or Georgia.   Talk about the “global economy”…..all focused on producing and protecting the best traditional English genetics at Thistle Hill….and Walker Century Farms in Anderson, SC.

We began in 2010 and it was almost too late.  After quite a bit of research, we convinced seven English farmers who had the best pure Devon we could find, to join our project.  Already three of those farms have “gone out”, the herds dispersed, the genetics blended with less pure lines.  We owe a great debt to Essington Park, Garradon and Ashott Barton.

But they’ll live on in the “America”.  We’ve set aside 25 Devon to serve as recips and the embryos will go in next month.  We trust and pray that the English Devon herd  in America will double in size early next year.