Saturday, March 28, 2015

Why do animals fear humans?

Interesting observation to share, about the universal fear of man found within animals in nature.

We moved the sheep back to the foothill property friday to allow them access to the fresh green grass of spring there.  But something interesting happened in the process that brings this topic up.

There was one late born lamb, only a week or two old. S single lamb born to a new mom.  As expected, she is very aloof. Moms usually keep their young away from everyone, even the herd, for a few weeks. This protects the lamb from abuse from others in the herd fighting for food, etc.  This new mom was very good at protecting her young, and even herself.  We loaded 2 trailers of sheep and older lambs quite easily , lured by alfalfa and grain.  But not this mom. Nope! she stayed far back and even took a dozen or so of the sheep with her, all refusing to load.

We ended up separating her from teh rest, and successfully lured the others into the last trailer load. But then we tried to catch her and the lamb. No way! even with 5 of us out there she refused to be cornered or driven or lured. She kept her baby right at her side and together they eluded capture repeatedly. At one point, the baby took a wrong turn and ended up separated. We thought "Great!" now just catch the lamb and the mom will follow.

You see, new lambs, just born, have zero fear of man. in fact the problem is often the baby responding to interaction with humans by identifying with them instead of sheep, causing the mom to reject the lamb!  A new born lamb will walk right up to anyone and snuggle. They are NOT born with fear of humans.   But within a few days, that a week or so they run away.

This little fellow was no exception, he ran feverishly like a world class sprinter and.. in the end.. we gave up. They can stay at the farm for a while. We couldnt risk over stressing the little lamb in trying to catch him further.

So here's the thing... we also have this little lamb named Nephi. He was a bottle lamb, rejected by his mom. Grandma took him in and hand fed him, then the kids took over, so he was raised by humans.  This little guy LOVES people. he will always leave the flock to be with any person within sight. He much prefers humans!

So here is the odd thing. Lambs are born with zero fear.  If you keep them from their moms, they never develop fear and actually prefer humans  But send a week with mom, separate from the herd, and they are deathly afraid of humans.  It must be that mom is teaching the lambs to fear humans. I see no other explanation! How she does that, I have no idea. whether this applies to other species is hard to say, but it is true in sheep.

We know that part of the result of the global flood in noah's day was that animals would "now fear man" at the same point that noah was told he could eat meat for the first time ever. How did God put that fear into animals? Thats what I ponder now. It does not appear to be something genetic, nor inherited. It is something taught by parents. Amazingly it is taught even in the absence of humans during the teaching time.  I find this amazing to ponder.

Some things we just dont know.. many things actually, in the miracle of nature. The complexity and awesomeness is unmatched by anything man could conceive.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Bacon is in stock now!

Starting.... NOW... the bacon is back in stock and available in the online store.  You can feel free to order at will.

You do not have to wait until your delivery is near. to make sure you reserve some, you can order right now for your next delivery as much as 2 weeks out.

Remember that bacon is a members only product, so if your currently not a paid full farm member we will just upgrade your membership when you order.  The charge is $6 for 3 months of membership.

And  by the way... we had some as a test the other day and I must say... this is the best bacon yet! But not just flavor and texture... this is pure ONLY hardwood smoked bacon. NO salt, no cure, no flavorings of any kind. It is pure smoked sliced pork belly. Smoked long enough to get the smoking effect from edge to edge and a nice rounded smoky flavor. Just add salt, pepper, and any other flavorings you desire when you cook it or the night before.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

First taste of new bacon batch

Today is the day!  Our first taste test of the new bacon batch.  

Impatient perhaps...  This block was smoked only 24 hours (the usual is 48) but...  Who can WAIT?

The chosen flavor for today is a simple salt,  pepper,  and dry mustard.

Can you smell it cooking???

Missing the window...

Weather...  One thing for certain about weather is...  Its unpredictable.  The forecast were calling for rain today,  starting around late afternoon.  So we worked for the last few days getting the pasture ready to plant,  hoping to get seeds in before the rain hit.  It was all planned out so beautifully until....  We wake up this morning to the sound of rain on the roof.  One early rainstorm had to come visit us early!

Too wet already to plant,  the newly tilled area will have to wait another week.  It does look good though!

Our plan is to transform a good part of the pasture,  now mostly bare ground from over grazing the pigs last year,  into vegetable area.  We will grow the larger vegetables like squash,  pumpkin,  melons,  etc on that pasture.  Doing the math shows that we can produce more nutrition for hogs through large veggies growing with drip lines than open pasture of grass and weeds.  At least for the breeders that need that dense nutrition.

But..  Delayed...  One more week.

The end of honey products.. For now

Sad news.  Little sprouts farm is forced to officially shut down honey products made here.  This is not our choice,  but our duty.

As you may know..  There was a gmo ban put into place last year for our county.  This happened right about the time local farmers could have planned gmo alfalfa.  (although I can't imagine any reasonable businessman deciding to plant gmo alfalfa in a climate of potential ban,  but that's another story).  Up to now,  our farm had been far enough away from any gmo flowers to ensure that our bees never touched gmo pollen.  That has now ended despite the ban.

One farm,  only a mile from us,  has not only planted but now sued the county for the right to continue growing gmo crops or get paid some ridiculous amount of cash.   (another story). 

The bottom line is,  we now have gmo alfalfa grown within the flying distance of our bees,  so we can no longer say that honey produced here will be gmo free.  In keeping with our promise to you,  or integrity,  or business and health goals,  we can not continue in the honey business.  We have been effectively shut down against our will by this farm's exercise of choice against both the law and public sentiment.

While we contemplate our options, we wanted to explain why honey products are not on our available list anymore.  The future is of course undecided,  but for now...  We will not take any chances of selling an interior product.  I can not speak for other honey producers in this area...  Please inquire yourself when looking for an alternate supplier.  Our commitment to you stands firm,  we will not sell a product that we can not honestly say is the best,  and for now  honey produced in sams valley is contaminated  when the alfalfa blooms. 

It is sad to see this happen,  on many fronts.  Our own investment of time and money is potentially wasted due to their actions.  A health product is now not capable of being produced locally.  People loose part off their livelihood,  and others loose a necessary local product. Yes,  it is sad. But it is reality.

Hopefully this farm will see the impact they are having on their neighbors  and decide to stop this inanity.  But until then,  we all pay the price for their actions.  Hopefully no one will be physically harmed through their own backyard hives feeding of this genetically altered pollen,  only time will tell. 

Thank you for your support.