Sunday, October 28, 2018

Time to build!

We picked up all this prime building wood Saturday, for free! A local trailer dealership needed to get rid of their packing... Mostly 2x8 and 2x12 pine lumber. All I'm prime shape except for a few nails to remove.

Combined with the free pallets, we can now build some animal shelters for the winter!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

All pallet animal shelter

Today we built the first shelter for the coming winter, and totally out of pallets! It was a lot of fun to design.

We picked up over a hundred free pallets from a local business and put them to use as portable animal shelters. This is the first design. Worked out pretty well!

It measures about 10 x 14 by 4 feet tall. The materials are 20 pallets, a little scrap wood, and 2 lbs of torx screws. That's it! Total cost about 5$.

It has a slanted roof and 4 doors, one in each corner. The floor is a set of close rung pallets. There are no supports in the center.

And fortunately it works to move this on our little tractor! With a chain to hold it on the forks, the while unit picks up for easy relocating.

For rain protection we will cover the roofs with canvas, old tarps, whatever we can scrape together.

We plan on building 5 more before the next rain.

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Early Access Available to the Newest Little Sprouts Offering! Life Abundant! Village

We are pleased to announce the availability of early access to the newest offering from the Little Sprouts. It is called:

LifeAbundant! Village

Life Abundant! Village is an online village, a community of like minded people all seeking health. Inside the village there is information, support, advice, friends who help each other along this journey to rediscover health as our creator intended.  

This isn't just another "health" site... it is truly something unique. 

We have learned that this is an incredibly complex journey to health. It seems every year we discover new insights, now areas where previously accepted knowledge is tweaked or just plain wrong. It is a constant learning adventure! But, we tend to do this alone, everyone relying on their own small circle of experts and friends and THAT makes this journey almost insurmountable for newcomers. 

Where can you get the big picture? How can we fit all these individual parts and pieces together into an overall understanding and plan? There are so many details, so many approaches. Who can you trust? 

That's the purpose of Life Abundant! Village. 

We are looking for the first few to move in, those interested early adopters who will support us in feedback to perfect the offering. At this point we have the framework set up, and are building the content. It will take some time to get enough content entered to be fully valuable to first timers. A village isnt built overnight! So we are looking for a few interested members to kick this off and help us finish building it before official release. 

Is that you?

If so, please email us and we will send you the link.

These are exciting days! together we can change the world into a healthier place, bringing this wealth if information to those who are hurting most. 

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Major setback - Tragedy Strikes

Last week was, well... in a word... tragic. Things had finally begun to settle down, and we are getting close to announcing the new path for the farm, and then something totally unexpected. It left us reeling for a few days to regain our footing.

We found our three largest, healthiest, best genetic, pregnant  breeding sows dead.

No warning, no sign of struggle, sickness, or problem of any type. They were found laying peacefully in their favorite mud puddle as if they all three dies in their sleep. Absolutely NO indication of why. The other dozen pigs are perfectly healthy with no signs of any trouble. It occurred within the space of a few hours, literally one nap!

This is devastating on two levels. Not only did we loose a large source of planned income and investment, but without any conclusive cause of death there is no way to prevent more! That is a scary thought. Until we can come up with a way to prevent further occurrence of whatever happened, the entire pig operation is at serious risk. If whatever it was, happened that quickly to the healthiest pigs, it could take out the entire herd.

For several days we searched for an answer. Even exploring the notion of foul play. Nothing made sense! There just was no evidence of anything unusual.  Now that is a scary thought for a farmer, animals dropping dead in batches with no cause of death. Yes, it was a stressful week scrambling for some sort of answer and path forward.

After long consideration, we have come up with one and only one plausible answer.  Mushrooms. The timeline goes something like this:

Rain had just started on a regular basis, mostly from the storms in the gulf. That rain was suddenly keeping the surface of the ground moist full time, especially in the trees.  The heat also calmed a bit, although not a lot. Perfect mushroom growing conditions. We had noticed a few days prior to this event that in fact lots of interesting mushrooms had sprouts all over the forest.

Next, it was time to move the pig pen. The easiest way to move the pigs is to let them loose to forage while we move the fence panels. We have done this dozens of times previously. The pigs would lounge in the forest consuming old nuts, plants, whatever they could find for a couple hours. It is a great way to supplement their diet with natural feeds.

It was two days later that we found the three dead.

At first the timing seemed impossible. How could a pig consume toxic mushrooms, then be perfectly healthy for 2 days and suddenly all drop dead during a single nap?  Seems implausible at face value, but research has brought to light a few mushrooms that do exactly that, and grow wild in central texas.  These mushrooms create an initial illness that only lasts for a short time, minutes to a few hours. We could easily have missed this being gone most of that particular day. Then a day or two passes as the toxins invisible destroy the liver  and other organs irreparably, and the animals literally drop dead. The timeline matches.  The symptoms match.

In addition, there was a few patches of new mushrooms sighted in the forest which are now totally gone. We took pictures of what types were left to check on toxicity, but that in itself is inconclusive since the ones eaten are obviously gone now. So, we must conclude that they pigs found and consumed a patch of toxic mushrooms while the pen was being rebuilt, and then died silently in their sleep a couple days later with no symptoms.

That accounts for a loss of about $30,000 of income since they were pregnant.  Not insignificant!

The plan forward? The rest of the herd seems ok. So, we moved them again (while keeping close guard on them) and beefed up security. Now the pen is hard panels with electric on the inside to keep them from digging or laying on the panels. That should provide that extra bit of security to prevent accidental escape. When the pen needs to move, it will require some measure of temporary containment. It is not a guarantee of safety, but an extra level of protection. Mushrooms do grow out in the pasture but much less prolifically. That means we will not be able to move the pigs into the shade during mushroom season.  That means more shelters need to be built.

Bottom line? Tragic and devastating. We have to dramatically alter the pig management procedures and while recovering from the loss of investment and income, we must invest in more infrastructure.

A tough week indeed.  But, with God's help, we will survive.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Portable Washing Station

Here is a quick look at a project in process. We decided to utilize the stainless steel 3 compartment sink from the milking room as a portable washing station, complete with hot and cold running water. The whole setup is mounted on a extra large pallet so that it can be moved easily with the tractor.

this can be used with the chicken processing, near the milking, or even for veggie cleaning as required by simply picking it up on the tractor and going!All it needs is an electrical cord (for the water heater control) and a water connection. The electric power will become a battery to eliminate the

need for extension cord in remote locations.