It is so tempting to look for some epic, ground-shaking intervention that will cure the problems we are facing. The reality is that we need to be thinking about all the little things that we can do. Each decision we make is important and the cumulative effect of our efforts will help us start breaking the shackles of society.

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Aug 6, 2022Liked by Andrew Hoffman

Great article Andrew. The counter economy is growing. I just purchased half a cow from my neighbor outside of KCmo.

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Jun 27, 2022Liked by Andrew Hoffman

Good article and podcast, as always. This reply isn't directed so much to your call for action (or the youtuber's) as it is the youtuber's malaise, which I am very familiar with.

I have first-hand knowledge of Grazon, as it is product I have used in the past. I've changed practices since and hopefully any residual is gone or washed into the Gulf. We (the grass farmers) all to often find our self in a weedy situation. When we seek advice to solve it, the conversation usually goes like this:

"Hey, my pasture is getting overrun by X. What can I do?"

"Spray it."

"Spray it? Spray it with what? I've got my cows out there!"

"Grazon. They call it 'Grazon' because your cows can safely graze on it."

We are label-readers to the hilt when it comes to chemicals. We've been self-trained to look for "hold-off" times--the amount of time we must wait after doing X before we can do Y. For medications, they are called withdrawal periods. For example, I milk cows. A very common malady is an infection of the udder. A very common treatment is an infusion of an antibiotic right into the udder. The withdrawal period is 96 hours. Improper administration of a medication or other chemical can be a serious setback to the operation. So we are conditioned to look for those terms in labeling.

So there I was, peeling back the label of the jug of Grazon in the farm store, looking for the hold-off time. Sure enough, I could basically kick the cows out of the way with the ATV as I sprayed that dreaded weed. Did I believe them? No. Did I use it anyway? Yes. I did the dreaded deed but let that pasture rest for a very long time. Did it work? Yes. Did it work too well? Yes. It killed the target weed, as well as every other broad-leaf plant, including some very beneficial ones, in very short order. That includes red clover, a favorite of the cows and mine.

My experience is a bit at odds with the experience of the Youtuber. (disclaimer: haven't watched it, just heard her clip on your podcast). I re-planted clover and it grew back to it's former glory the next season. Really, everything good and bad came back to it's former glory within a year or two. I don't doubt one bit that if I let the cows eat the grass I just sprayed, that Grazon would be in the manure. I also don't doubt the 4-year residual but really lack any good intel on that data point. If it is residual for that long, the broad-leaf plants sure don't notice.

Do I want it in my food? Definitely not, that's why I've changed practices. For starters, I've learned to embrace weeds. Ironically, the cure for the youtuber's dead garden bed is...you guessed it...WEEDS! (and a lot of time). God isn't a dummy. Every plant has a purpose. Secondly, and most important, I've learned to make a proper cross fence. Thirdly, and even more important than the most important cross-fence, I've trained my sheep to respect the fence. Now I can turn loose a flock of natural born weed killers that follow the cows in rotation around the farm--each carrying the others parasite load to a terminal. So to dovetail into your post, that is my 'drip'.

The youtuber triggered a memory when she said "high tunnel". I purchased soil for several of our garden plots from a place recommended by all of my homesteader friends called "Missouri Organics". A word of warning to my homesteader friends: The USDA term "organic" only applies to food--not soil. I am pretty sure that what I purchased was dredged up silt from an irrigation lake that was filled with former topsoil for a row-crop field sprayed with stuff like Grazon or Roundup or both. The soil looked beautiful and black, but was totally dead soil. If I were big ag, growing oats or wheat, I would totally douse the place with Grazon, because it wouldn't harm a grassy plant. And that would certainly deposit in the lake silt which is later harvested and sold to a place such as Missouri Organics, where it then ends up in my backyard. I wonder if the youtuber ended up with something similar? I wish her luck. Crabgrass thrives in mine, but not strawberries or anything vegetative. And that is after a whole lotta goat manure and other additions. I do have a great stand of Barley in them this year. Hmmmm.

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