PURE GRASS BEEF
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Obscurity and a competence. That is the life that is best worth living.- Mark Twain's Notebook
We made this site because we are dedicated to the future of small farm local food production.
To rebuild an agricultural economy shaped by landscape, we must look to the farming methods and animal breeds of the past. When we began looking for information about old types of beef cattle it was hard to know where to look. Now that we have explored the tangled brush of digitized nineteenth century farm literature, we wanted to mark the trail for others who might find it interesting or useful.
e-mail us or write a letter any time
Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know.
So, friends, every day do something
that won't compute. Love the Lord.
Love the world. Work for nothing.
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it.
Denounce the government and embrace
the flag. Hope to live in that free
republic for which it stands.
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers.
Invest in the millenium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.
Say that the leaves are harvested
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion - put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come.
Expect the end of the world. Laugh.
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts.
So long as women do not go cheap
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep
of a woman near to giving birth?
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn't go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front" from The Country of Marriage, copyright © 1973 by Wendell Berry, reprinted by permission of Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc.
A road separates that part of the park of Hamilton which surrounds the palace from another portion, still more extensive, more picturesque, and whose undulating grounds render the prospect as pleasing as it is varied. This latter takes the name of Chatelherault. On its highest point is situated the castle; the shooting lodge inhabited by some of the Duke's gamekeepers. Therefrom extends an immense horizon which carries the eye over widely extending sheets of verdure clusters of immense trees. rich hillocks and smiling valleys. The park encloses an extent of twenty miles in circumference, but what constitutes its chief beauty is the river Avon, which rolls its rapid waters betwixt abrupt and woody declivities...
At a distant point of this immense park, far removed from human intercourse, dwells a wild herd, which likewise has its own laws, its own customs and its primitive virtues; a singular remnant of those ancient races that wandered formerly in the majestic forests of old Caledonia as in the prairies of America; these cattle left to themselves, emancipated from the yoke of man, exempt from the hard toils which render their life so laborious and so useful, enjoy the unalloyed sweets of liberty and fatten on the grassy pasturages abandoned their roaming herds...
In order to reach them we had the assistance of their keeper, the only man whose near approach they will permit. ..Scarcely was the game in sight than he sounded forth with all the strength of his broad Scottish chest. "Come come my lads; come my white Angus." Half suppressed bellowing made reply to him for, strange still, they are docile to the voice where of any past kindness reminds them. We drew nearer. Not one of them was disturbed at sight of us. The guide informed us that songs, the sound of a flute or of the bagpipes, attracted this entire band fond of harmony. He sings a Jacobite air. Immediately their heads are turned round their looks firmly fixed, their ranks close serried and their savage auditory becomes as if suspended at the hoarse and discordant accents of the Highlander. We then gave them out the songs of our own beautiful country, those echoes which on a summer night resounded on the balconies of Toulouse; and as at Burns' artless notes, the cattle seduced and charmed, slowly follow our steps as if these foreign sounds possessed an irresistible power over them.
Polled and speckled,
Speckled-rumped cattle, speckled-white,
Four fields of broken-speckled.
The old white-faced,
And the belted blue roan
With the white bull
From the king’s court
And the little black calf,
That’s on the hook,
Come you as well, healthy home!
The four blue bullocks
Out on the meadow,
Come you as well, healthy home.