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Farmin’ Friday: Environmental sustainability example on our farm – bird nests & cows

There are many measures of sustainability, but I think most of us would agree — if you see more than 2 species of animals (or plants) in one location…that’s a great sign you are on the right track.

This week, I was moving the cows at the Four Sisters Farm from one small patch of grass to another. We rotate them to help aid the grass. Giving it time without cattle grazing allows the grass to regenerate and grow back in a healthy way.

While I was there moving the cows and calves I found not one, not two, but three bird nests!

I think this is an excellent example of environmental sustainability – in a simple, no-fuss, no-drama manner.

It is just birds & cows & grass.

Bird Nest #1: This one must be from last year. It looks worn down, but this smart bird recycled some of the net wrap that we use to hold the hay bales together! No birds live here this year.


Bird Nest #2: This nest is in a silly spot! See it there on the ladder of the truck? John uses this truck to haul corn to town from the grain bin. However, this Robin noticed that the truck hadn’t moved in a few days — so she took over. Her babies haven’t hatched yet. IMG_0216

I risked life & limb to take this photo. (Just kidding.)


Bird Nest #3: I found the last nest a couple weeks ago when I was there taking down some old fence. I’ve been keeping an eye on it. The section that needs to be removed is wooden. But, a pair of Robins moved in on top of a fence post. This fence’s removal will have to wait!


Do you see both parents guarding the nest from atop the fence posts? They were quite annoyed to see me, because their babies have hatched! But, I had to come into the small pen to gather the cows & calves to move them to the next small pasture. IMG_0196

A perfect example of two species coexisting! It is nothing glamorous, just a couple Robins and a few black cows and calves – but still, a spring victory to be enjoyed.

After snapping photos of the nests, I moved the cows to fresh grass. That’s the neat thing about cows, even a pregnant lady can safely move a group of 20-some pairs. IMG_0226The cows are used to being handled in a gentle and non-stressful manner. They know I’m there to bring hay or take them to a new patch of grass.

So, they happily follow wherever I lead!  IMG_0204

Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!


  1. Dilara

    Cute! I volunteered at a wliflide rescue for a little while. They started everyone else out in the mice and rat room (for the raptors), but they put me in the nursery. It was so demanding feeding the baby birds (every 30 min.) and bunnies! It’s illegal in this state to have any wild animals, unless you are fostering them for a rescue. The do look like they are old enough to survive. Good luck!

    • Sierra Shea

      What a neat story! Thanks for sharing!


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Hey, I’m Sierra Shea! I am so glad you are here. 

Where do I start with writing to introduce this blog? At the beginning, I suppose: I’ve been writing on various platforms online since 2013. I started blogging shortly after moving to South Dakota.

I am a mother and a maker at heart. I’m so grateful to be married to John and mother of three: Joslyn, J.D. and Jesse.

I am a self-taught decorator and designer. I am a brand new shepherdess and a Spiritual Director.

I love living in South Dakota, even though the winters & the wind can be a near-daily struggle.

Blogging is a grounding force in my life and it helps get me out of my head, unstuck and moving in the directions I always hoped I’d be going!