Saturday, May 28, 2016

Personal Challenges - a new chapter

This has been an eventful week for us personally. Something worthwhile to share.

For the first time in my life, at 54 years old, I find myself without a regular income from outside sources.  If you recall, we have been building hte farm while I am still employed part time with an out of state company. That situation has come to and end now, somewhat but not totally unexpectedly, and I am technically unemployed except for the farm.

It is a challenge, as the farm has not grown yet to a size that replaces the outside income... which leaves us personally in a bit of a bind.  All of the retirement funds and investments have been routed into the farm to get it going and keep it going through the last several years, so cash flow is tight!

I dont consider this an "emergency" because, at the end of the day, God is in control.  There comes a time when you have to demonstrate the "I trust in God" claims, and this seems to be our day.  I look at this as more of a "chapter change" than anything.. time to turn the page.

The farm is not expected to change, if anything we will be pouring more energy into it in the immediate future, to increase the income as much as possible.

I recall a part in one of Joel Salatin's books talking about how they started... when he and his wife had to make the choice to end their day jobs and go full time on the farm. It is a scary, dangerous, but necessary choice. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to build a farm to be a full time income, without full time labor put into it.  I can fully relate to this.  The trick though, is doing this at the right time. Too soon and the cash flow wont be there, spelling disaster.  Too late and you miss the window of opportunity.  Just right, and it is a painful but short lived period.

Is this our time to make the switch? I dont know yet. The next few weeks will tell.  At this point we are exploring options and waiting to see which doors God opens to us.

We ask for your prayers for wisdom as we forge through these unfamiliar waters... that our steps are guided by holy providence and we end up in a place meant to be.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Turkey flock growing

the turkey hatching is going ok. There is about 55 turkey hatched now, with only a couple more coming. This batch had a lower hatch rate, probably because the weather back when they were laid left the eggs dirtier than normal. But its not too bad. Almost 50% live birds. The next batch is in the incubator and I suspect we will see more like an 80% hatch rate.

There is one white turkey again! Hope its a female!

Time to get another indoor brooding bucket. These little guys are crowded with so many arriving at once. They will stay inside for a good week before moving to the outdoor brooder this time of year.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, May 20, 2016

Bacon is back in stock! Order yours now!

YES! finally, we have a good supply of our famous Little Sprouts Bacon... heavily smoked uncured unflavored bacon! Nothing added, not even salt! This is all thin sliced, in 10 ounce packages.

Why nothing added?  so that you can do whatever you want with it! Add flavor by just defrosting the bacon, add flavoring either in the bag or in the pan, and cook! It can be as easy as laying out the strips in a pan or tray, sprinkling with salt, black pepper,  and any flavors you wish (mustard, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, red pepper, etc etc.

Bacon usually doesnt last long in stock, so we recommend getting as much as you can when its available.

(Bacon is requires a paid seasonal farm membership to purchase.  We can work with you on this)

To order your bacon for home delivery, just look for it in the PORK section of the online store! here:

First 14 Turkeys arrive!

Here are the first 14 turkeys hatched out and happy for this year.

Aren't They just so cute!!!!

As of this morning, there are a total of 51 hatched and healthy.

After about a week inside, they will be moved to our outside brooder for the next stage...

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Drip Irrigation / Sprouting System - The water delivery system

We have "perfected" our version of a drip irrigation system this year. As you may have seen through the blog posts, we have spent 3 years developing this system, and finally have a complete system we are happy with! We are considering manufacturing these for retail sale for home gardeners and small farms.

What is so special about this system?

  • It is easy to setup  for use, and easy to break down to store
  • It provides a complete system, start to finish.
  • It supports sprouting as well as growing
  • It is easily adaptable to your garden area
  • It is easily changeable year to year
  • It provides up to 6 zones of independent water control
  • It supports full flow to each zone for maximum coverage ability
  • It allows for wide or narrow spacing of lines (rows)  and intermix sizes if desired
  • It is inexpensive!

Here are the components, each explained

Feeder Piece
This is the feed for a zone, or section.  at the far right is a hose connection, for a regular water hose to connect from the automated valve to the zone.  Next is a ball valve, which allows full flow when open but provides a quick easy way to turn off the zone when necessary.  Next comes a pressure reducer. It is important to keep drip lines at a constant pressure, but to run zones far away from the control valve, you want hte valve to work on full pressure. So we put the pressure reducer at the zone inlet, after the valve. This provides much better flow than having a pressure reducer at the source.  It ends at a right angle, which allows for proepr row spacing between zones, and  a nipple to connect to the header pipe. 

Header Pipe
This is the basic feeder pipe. You connect as many as these as necessary by simply screwing them together, to create the length of header pipe required.  You disconnect at the end of hte season for easy compact storage. Each header pipe is the length of a narrow row, providing 2 feet of space between them. The T at the right end has a connector to securely tie into the drip tape. One end of the header pipe is a female 3/4 inch and the other is a male 3/4 inch.  The threads are covered with thick teflon tape to make them not stick when the threads are together for the season. 
 A Completed Zone
Here is the compelte zone of 8 lines. on the far right is the feeder section, then 8 header pipes screwed together, and a simple 3/4 inch end cap to finish it.  The 3/4 inch pipe provides plenty of flow to drive long lines (we use lines about 100 yards long) and yet the whole assembly can be quickly dismantled for compact storage. IT can be changed into any length required by adding or removing header pipes.  Sicne this operates at low pressure (10psi) it doesnt leak even with the pipes barely screwed together (the teflon tapes helps here too)
 The Extension Pipe
This is an extension pipe. It is simply a 3/4 inch pipe with a male connector on one end and female on the other. You use this when you want extra row spacing for those viney things like watermelon or pumpkins.  You can easily have some rows close spacing, and others wide spacing, within the same section. This is a mix and match system to create whatever you need.  Pretaping the male end with teflon makes assembly and dis-assembly easy.

The end result is a quick easy system to arrange to fit your space,  high flow, good pressure across long hoses from the control valves, easy secure connections to the drip tapes, preset spacing that is adjustable easily, and easy disassembly at the end of the season for storage.

We normally use 8 to 12 lines per zone, the number depending on the length of the lines and available water flow. The control valve (covered in a later blog post) provides precise control of up to 6 zones from a central spot, plus fertilizer application, water filter, and water hammer protection. It all runs on battery and is fed by a single 3/4 water hose from your water source.  Each zone can be programmed for independent watering, and up to 2 zones can run at one time. more details on this coming later when we get pictures of this years setup.