Saturday, December 31, 2011

Newest goats arrive

At the end of our deliveries last friday in the ashland area, we stopped by to pick up our newest goats.  This time we found a Nubian that had just given birth a week or two before (a christmas baby?)  The little girl goat was so cute we had to take her too.  This lady will be a nice addition to increase our milk production during the winter.

Here is a shot of the newly separated goat pen. If you look closely you can see the new  fence dividing the milkers from the non-milkers, who now live with george.  At the far right you can see the saneen we got a few weeks ago. She is HUGE compared to the Nigerian dwarfs. 
Here is Hunter holding hte new little baby under the heat light. How adorable are those huge ears??
These two little ones are the bunkmates for the new baby nubian. 
Mom and baby in their day stall nibbling on some leaves. 
Here is some footage of the little lady exploring some leaves with mom. 

Friday, December 30, 2011

Trees! ?

On our way to so delivereda today we passed a pickup loaded with Christmas trees where some had fallen out on the road.   We pulled around at our earliest convenience and raced back to catch them before they left. We did just in time.

Asking them where they were taking the trees,  and if  we could have them.. . they
said yes!

We pulled over and moved all the trees to our stock trailer. What a site we must have been!

Happy with our load of trees,  although my white little sprouts shirt did not fair  so well,  they agrees to bring a couple more loads by the farm .

Great way to start the day!

Delivery day!

<p>Today is a special day!&nbsp; We (the whole family) will spend the day with our customers by delivering eggs and feed. This is the first of many days to come. </p>
<p>We take the children along as a family event in part to share with the next generation the final side of farming.. . People.&nbsp; What we work for day after day is to deliver fresh healthy food to people.&nbsp; We think it is important to show the children this social side of farming. Let them also experience the final goal,&nbsp; delivering good and thereby improve the lives of real people. </p>
<p>Delivered will hopefully become a regular part of our m operation.&nbsp; We are searching for ways to make buying direct from farm as easy it easier than the grocery&nbsp; store. It remains to be seen if we can make the finances work out,&nbsp; especially with the high cost of fuel , but I strongly believe that small farmers must find ways to offer convenience. People are often too busy in their lives to make regular farm trips to buy&nbsp; food.&nbsp; So we are going to bring the food to you. </p>
<p>There is no charge for delivery, and no minimum order.&nbsp; We hope to form a route to each major area once or twice a month. </p>
<p>Toasts route covers Ashland,&nbsp; medford,&nbsp; talent,&nbsp; Phoenix </p>

  As time goes by we will offer more and more products on the delivery route . For now we are bringing pastures soy and corn free eggs and our soy free feed.

We hope o see you soon!  To get on the delivery route just call it email!


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas on the farm

Christmas,  also the darkest and shortest days of the year,  are rest time for us.  Everything except basic chores is put on hold.  This is the time to enjoy family and all the blessings our heavenly Father has provided. 
We wish the very best to all our readers and customers. ... to you.  No matter what your occupation,  your position,  your circumstances.. ... take a weekend to appreciate your own blessings.  As the old saying goes,  stop to smell the roses.

Life is full of good and bad . It is all too east to get out eyes set on the bad and the good fades away.  But the good of life is still there,  in the eyes of a loved one,  in the life of something green,  in the generosity of neighbors,  in the love of God.  Enjoy the good of life.... seek it out,  embrace it,  appreciate it,  cherish it. 
Next week all the unfinished projects will still be there,  waiting for attention.  This weekend,  they are traded to spread smiles and warmth to those we love and those we meet. 

Merry Christmas to you and yours. 
God bless.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Still Think Conventional Ag can feed the world? Think again

For years the buzzline of  agriculture used against organic practices was "organic can not feed the world".  Ironically, only now it seems that on the contrary, not only can organic feed the world, but conventional ag not only FAILS at feeding the world but is also corrupting the world to perhaps an unfixible level.

Here is a story about only one of the problems surfacing in the conventional ag world... superweeds. Years and years of increasing doses of Roundup has created weeds that are nothing short of incredible. "Growing several inches per day"  "unaffected by application of herbicides".  Statements like these should bring fear into any food producer's heart.

These superweeds are a form of permanent damage... weeds that have been genetically changed by years of Roundup usage to the point that they are practically invincible. These weeds cut production, raise moisture needs, and increase cleaning problems for the crops. And... They are here to stay.

So here again we see that ignoring the age old wisdom of working with nature has brought disaster.  I maintain that I have seen not one, not even one, advancement in food production of conventional agriculture that has not brought more damage than benefit. I challenge anyone to bring up an advancement of agriculture science that has helped more than hurt. Sure, it takes years for the damage to become apparent , but it is still there, and it is often permanent.

So.. we end up at a new buzzline... "only intense organic can save the world from conventional".

It is not our own world that will suffer the greatest, it is our children's world. the legacy we are leaving behind is actually a nightmare that they will have to suffer through.

One of the most important points of this article, in my humble opinion, is found towards the end. Monsanto's response to the problem is more "innovation" meaning higher doses of stronger poisons. Now lets look  at this. When a system has been proven to be the root cause of a problem, increasing htat system can only  increase the problem. If Monsanto brings to market stronger poisons, all that will do is provide some immediate relief, and then in 10 or 20 years we have even more invincible super weeds and super bugs. The poison level on our food supply will be even higher than it is today. If you follow this approach to it's logical conclusion... you end up with food unfit to eat, and worse weeds and bug than imaginable.  In short.. food becomes impossible to produce. THAT is what we are leaving to our children to resolve, if we don't return to organic principles today and stop this deadly cycle of using poison to grow food.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Plumbing problems brings catastrophe

Yesterday was a frustrating and sad day.  A simple plumbing problem caused the death of at least 40 baby birds. The number may still rise.
What happened?  The brass connection between the water hose and the water bowl cracked,  spraying dull force 50 psi water inside the suxxox eggmobile. It filled the coop with a couple inches if water and sprayed all over inside.  The cold temps,  the cold water was too much for the little birds.
I walked out at noon to open their outside door and found what looked like a battleground.  We quickly moved all the wet but live birds outside into the sun.  There were about 6 that were too weak to walk. Those we laid in front of a propane heater and Kaelyn massaged them gently.
Then we moved then into the incubator for a few hours,  and last night into their own pen under 2 heat lights.  By nightfall they were all able to stand but still very weak. Not good chance for survival.
We scraped out the wet shavings from the eggmobile and let it dry a bit.  Today we will refill with shavings.
As for the plumbing. .. lesson learned the hard way.  I suspect the stress caused  by the full size water hose on the brass coupling,  combines with daily freezing,  causes the failure.  Brass is actually weaker than plastic under freeze cycles.  I will replace brass with plastic,  and replace the full size hose with plastic tubing.  That reduces the stress and limits the water flow should another break occur.  Never put a full size hose inside a closed coop!
Through a series of events,  our flock of over 200 birds is now down to about 100, a testiment to how delicate baby birds are. 
So we are mourning at the farm.  Even though its just little birds. .. these are OUR birds,  under our care.  The are living creatures,  but numbers nor tools.  We take it very personal any time a unexpected death occurs.  Our job as farmers is to preserve life,  to create life,  to manage the world God gave us. When these things happen  it is a clear failure on our part,  and a living thing pays the price. This makes me very sad.
Nevertheless life goes on.  We learn,  and we commit to never  repeating a mistake. That is the stuff of life,  the good and the bad.   By accepting responsibility for failures,  we gain a true appreciation of success.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Goldens settling in - eggs available now!

The new batch of Golden Sexlink laying hens are finally settling into their new life here at Little Sprouts. The stress from the move, the diet change, the lighting change, all took a toll on them. For this reason we didn't feel right offering the eggs for sale just yet. Instead we have been watching them, and testing the eggs for quality for the last week. Now we feel comfortable offering the eggs for sale.

The birds are producing a good 6 to 7 dozen eggs per day. By adjusting the light slightly and staying on a high protein feed, I feel confident that we can get that up to 10 dozen eggs per day, even in these cold temperatures.

So, now is the time to start picking up eggs from Little Sprouts Farm. Remember that these are SOY AND CORN FREE, free ranged on pasture, heritage breed eggs. They are truly unlike anything you can find in a local store.  Just give us a call, send an email, or drop by during the daytime to give these eggs a try. You will NOT be disappointed!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

automatic chicken coop door opener

Here is a shot of or automatic opener I just installed onto the chicken trailer. It works well!  When you apply power it either opens or closes, whichever is opposite of how it is when power is  applied.
Now i don't have to head  out by 7am to open the door every morning!

Little sprouts offers nutrient dense Soy Free Feeds!

We are proud to announce that Little Sprouts Farm is the new official retail pickup location for Scratch and Peck Feeds.  We are very excited to bring this high quality feed to the Southern Oregon area.

Scratch and Peck Feeds produce a complete line of feeds created specifically to provide only the best available feeds for the specific animals. They offer soy free and corn free varieties. Most of the feeds contain probiotics and nutritional supplements to support optimum health. The base grains are all organically grown, and some of the grain combinations are quite unique, utilizing a wider range of grains than normally available in a single feed. In addition, the feeds are left in cracked form as a mash instead of being compressed into pellets, further preserving their nutritional value.

You can go online the Scratch and Peck website and read the actual feed labels listing all ingredients.

We have tried Scratch and Peck feeds on our chickens, turkeys, and hogs and have been pleasantly surprised with the positive effects on the animals. Each feed has visibly improved the animals health over other feeds we have tried.  I am convinced that we have found the best quality feed available today.

We will be stocking the feeds that we use ourselves. This includes:

Soy Free - Corn Free Layer
Soy Free  - Corn Free Chicken Grower
Soy Free Hog Feed
Soy Free Goat Supplemental Feed

These feeds will be available in 40# bags at any time right from our farm. We will not charge shipping for any product that we have in stock. 

You can also order any other feed from Scratch and Peck, have it shipped here for pickup at a reduced shipping cost.

Please feel free to contact either our farm of Scratch and Peck directly to order any feed that they offer or ask any questions.

The ladies move in - Eggs available soon!

Our new flock of Golden Sex Link Layers arrived over the weekend. they came with their own Egg Trailer, which is a 8x10 storage building converted to chicken coop, sitting atop a standard boat trailer. Inside are two roosts, and access to nesting boxes... all over a screened floor. The nesting boxes are accessible from the outside to easily collect the eggs.

The birds are actively laying. First day we got 84 eggs, second day 74.  We will be offering these eggs for sale soon. Right now we are in quality control, and health improvement for the hens. These ladies have been through lots of stress lately and need a chance to settle in to their new home.  A few days on Scratch and Peck high nutrition feeds (extra protein) will help them.

Here are the ladies spreading out around their trailer. Can you count 150?
Beautiful brown eggs waiting to be collected. 
Kaelyn already has a favorite chicken!
This seems a popular nesting box!

You can see the other eggmobile in the background. The ladies seem to enjoy visiting the youngersters during the day. Wonder if they are sharing secrets?
Some of the eggs have mud problems. A problem we need to resolve. 

Monday, December 12, 2011

Adding roosts to eggmobile

This afternoon we spent in the beautiful winter weather building in the roosts for the Eggmobile.  The birds, now about half grown, need more space to roost and start stretching their wings.  These roosts will offer them a safe, warm, dry space inside the eggmobile itself to rest.

Everett mans the RTV to hand out supplies and tools. 
Need a piece of wood?
Levi, Hunter, and myself work inside to build the roosts. 
Everett takes a break to explore the new pasture.
Levi in charge of nails, Hunter in charge of measuring.
Everett explores UNDER the eggmobile. 
Need a screw Dad?
Uh oh.. These little ladies managed to escape under the fence!
Dont worry, I'll get them!
Levi decides to try his hand at using the electric drill
Here's the eggmobile at a distance. You can see the enclosed pen where the birds can come out and play in the sunshiune.
More screws Dad?
I'll take one!
Here you go Dad

Farming how-to ebooks

We have decided to use the slower winter time productively.  We will be producing a series of single topic farming ebooks! It is time to share what we have learned over the last  4 years .
Our ebooks will be short,  direct,  and inexpensize.  They will cover info on single  topics like:
How to keep egg production through the winter
How to create great compost.
How to eliminate pig pen smells.
How to process turkeys.
How to incubate and raise poultry.
How to choose proper size farm equipment.
How to winterize  a farm.
How to make children enjoy farm chores.
Heritage Turkey roost.
Moveable chicken pens.
Collecting free organic animal feed.
Improving farm drainage, decreasing mud.
Maintaining a gravel or dirt driveway.
Backup farm generator choosing and installation.
Choosing a farm trailer.
Installing field fencing.
There are so many topics,  so many things we learned the hard way because there is so little information out there. It seems that most of the art of farming has been lost,  especially small scale sustainable farming.
So if your looking for pointers, direction,  advice,  on the thousands of questions arising daily on the farm,  stay tuned!  We will be building a library of knowledge for your  benefit  right here in the website.
Please email on your ebook  suggestions!

Chicken eggs arrive!

Well, first came the chicken. .. or was it the egg?  Either way..  both have arrived at little sprouts !

Over the weekend we picked up about 150 laying golden sexlink hens and a home built moveable coop.  The birds are busy exploring a new pasture now and laying dozens of nutritious soy free eggs.

Our first full day yielded 84 eggs total.  Their production is down for the winter and the stress of two recent long distance moves.  We are putting the birds on a soy  free high protein feed to help them recover. We also switched them to daylight type stronger light to extend their day.

As the birds improve and thereby the egg quality improved,  we will be offering these eggs for sale. Sign up now to give them a try!  I guarantee that you wont be disappointed!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

First taste of little sprouts lamb

We finally had put first taste of our heritage lamb.  In a word.. . WOW! The meat was amazingly tender, mildly flavored,  and just plain delicious!
The most amazing thing is ease of use.  Instead of an elaborate lamb recipe with all the preparation. .. it was so easy.  Brenda took the leg of lamb from the freezer in the morning, placed it frozen into a Dutch oven with some water,  sprinkled a little salt, pepper,  and thyme - baked it for the day in the oven. 
It tastes much like grass fed beef. In fact I had to think about it to tell the difference. It was  more tender than beef though.
So we are pleased with our lamb.  It is totally grass fed,  organically raised, heritage Jacob sheep. Healthy,  nutritious,  and delicious.
If you would like to sample some lamb this year,  just contact us.  You can also reserve yours for next year now!

Friday, December 9, 2011

The farm on autopilot

Since Thanksgiving the farm had been running on autopilot.  I got hit with a rather tough bout of food poisoning that has left me unable to do anything for almost 2 weeks.  (Don't worry, the cause was sourced to off farm food! )
This does demonstrate a risk of farming.  With any business of small size,  every employee is critical.  Any absence is felt by all.  The smaller the company,  the greater the impact.  Family farming puts the vast majority of responsibility on 2 people!
I applaud Brenda for keeping thing going during this difficult time.  Not only is she a true saint to put family,  but she managed to ensure that everything critical was done.  Friends and family volunteered to help out with chores under her direction,  and she was seen numerous times hauling Feed sacks.  All the whole caring for our 4 little sprouts and taking care of me.  She is truly the strength of this place.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

French Style Heritage Turkey Recipe

A recent customer has a unique way to cook a heritage turkey, a french style recipe. She was kind enough to share it with us so you can give it a try.


Duo of Roasted and Braised Heritage Turkey
By Alain Sailhac, French Culinary Institute

--For an 18 lb. heritage turkey, legs & thighs removed, and wings removed at the second joint.

The hardest part of this recipe is cutting a raw turkey into 4 parts – 2 leg/thighs, the back that was between them, and the breast attached to everything else. Prepare all the ingredients first as it can take over ½ hour cut up the bird. The turkey comes up to room temperature during that time, but you don’t want to leave it sit out much longer than that.

-- Preheat oven to 350 ˚.

--Make a mirepoix by chopping:
            1 large peeled onion
            1 large peeled carrot
            1 celery branch
            1 small peeled rutabaga
Combine all these, then divide them equally into 2 bowls.
-- Make a bouquet garni with:
            2 bay leaves
            2 branches of sage
            5-6 parsley stems
            A few inner celery leaves

--Stem 25-30 sage leaves, and preserve the stems

-- Chop 4 oz. onion

-- Have ready:
            3 C. white wine
            11 ½ C. chicken stock
            4 garlic cloves, unpeeled and lightly crushed

For the Braise:

§ Season legs with salt and pepper.
§ In a pot just large enough to hold the legs comfortably, heat 1/3 C. oil; add the legs and brown well on all sides.
§ Add half the mirepoix and cook until soft and it develops some color. Remove the legs and strain the contents, leaving 2-3 T. of the fat in the pan.
§ Return all ingredients to the pan and deglaze with 2 C. wine. Reduce the liquid until syrupy and add about 7 C. of the stock. The liquid should come about halfway up the sides of the legs.
§ Add the bouquet garni and 2 garlic cloves, bring to a boil, cover, and place in the oven. Let braise, turning occasionally, for 2-2 ½ hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the inner thigh (not touching bone) registers at least 180 ˚ F.
§ Remove the legs, cover and keep warm.
§ Strain the braising liquid and return to the heat, skimming diligently and reducing slightly.

For the Roast:

§ At the same time you start braising the legs, begin roasting the breast.
§ Rub it all over with about 2 T. of oil and season with salt and pepper.
§ Chop the neck and wings into 1-inch pieces.
§ Place a small roasting pan in the oven to heat it for a few minutes. Add ¼ C. of oil to the pan, place the breast in the pan, skin side up, and distribute 2 garlic cloves, the neck and wing pieces, and the other half of the mirepoix around it.
§ Place the pan in the oven, and roast the turkey for 30 minutes.
§ Baste with one T. butter to encourage browning.
§ If the neck and wing pieces have developed color, deglaze them with 4 ½ C. stock and bring to a boil.
§ Return the pan to the oven and continue basting every 15 minutes for approximately 1 ½ to 2 hours, or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 168 ˚ F.
§ Remove the breast, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm. Let the breast rest a minimum of 15-20 minutes before carving.
§ Strain and degrease the cooking liquid and skim well.

For the Sauce:

§ Marry the braising and the roasting liquids together and reduce them to just under 1 quart.
§ Meanwhile, soften the onion in 4 T. butter and deglaze with 1 C. wine. Add sage stems and reduce by two-thirds. Combine this with the reduced stock and simmer for just a few minutes to meld the flavors.
§ Strain the sauce through a fine chinois and mount with 2 T. butter.
§ Taste for seasoning and add a chiffonade of sage leaves.

Heritage Turkey Reviews starting to come in for 2011

We are starting to hear from some of our customers who purchased a heritage pastured turkey for their thanksgiving table. So far everyone has been very kind and exceptionally happy with their turkey.

Here is an example from Karen:

"The turkey I got from Little Sprouts Farm was superb. Both white and dark meat were flavorful and the skin turned a rich, crispy brown. Heritage breeds make turkeys that have a denser flavor and don't seem to get dried out like mass-produced birds. I got mine brined at the farm, and I think that helped make it very tender. This is the first year that I haven't had to get my heritage turkey from the midwest -- we are so lucky to have farmers in the Rogue Valley like Dave and his family, who really care about raising healthy, delicious food."

If you have an experience you would like to share, please go to our testimonials page by clicking above, and at the bottom of that page you can enter your own experience. 

Natural Flavorings?

Think about something... As a food producer, why do you need "flavorings", even natural flavorings? There is only one answer I can think of... and that is to make something that isnt a particular food taste as if it is. the reality though, is perhaps even more concerning. What exactly IS the thing that is made to taste like food?

This story appeared on 60 minutes recently, explaining a bit about the flavor industry.  It is filled with eye opening facts that most people (at least me) have never thought of.

I think the reality is, the flavor industry is in fact the enabler for the entire processed food industry. The flavor industry makes it possible to put together the cheapest raw ingredients, and make it taste like or better than real food. The fact is though, it is NOT real food! There is no way that these artificially created proteins, carbs and starches can be compared nutritionally to real naturally produced food. BUT.. it tastes as good or better than real food. Therein lies the problem!

It is not the health concern of the flavoring, rather the concern is that the flavoring is USED to make some non-food product taste like food!

Once you can take empty raw ingredients and create cravings and addictions to the FLAVOR placed on it, you have a goldmine for profit, and a nation with a health care crisis.  That is my bottom line, the flavor industry without intending to, is the actual leader of the health care crisis and untold human suffering, because they make it not only possible, but preferable to consume weird "stuff" that tastes great.

So my challenge to you is, next time you buy a "food" look at the lable. If it says "artificial or natural flavors" ask yourself WHY? Why do the raw ingredients not have acceptable flavors? Is the raw ingredient something you recognize? Is it truly Food?

Here again I propose that the solution to your health care crisis is simply... find a local farmer who does things right, buy from them the real food that your body is intended to thrive on, and shun anything that comes in a box, bag, can, or bottle. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

ducklings enjoy duck house

The ducklings are moved to their new house and pen, and seem to really enjoy it! The Duck house has a heat light and deep straw bedding to keep them warm at night.  They have a nice pond to swim in too.
Funny thing is they are small enough to slip through the fencing,  so they can come and go as they please,  but the bigger  birds can't get in.  They can forage for food all over the farm,  and return to the safety of the pen  if threatened. It is fun to watch the entire flock running around the yard in a big group.

cozy warm
bedtime snack

Don't forget the Turkey Stock! Here's how.

Now that thanksgiving is past, there is one more benefit to having a heritage turkey... stock! The leftover carcass from a heritage turkey makes the absolute best soup stock and broth you will ever taste.  Don't waste those bones... use them!

Our own turkey stock recipe  is quite simple. We have a very large stock pot, maybe 5 gallons. We place the carved Turkey carcass in the pot and add enough water to cover. Add a couple spoonfuls of vinegar. Optionally you can add a quartered onion, carrot, celery, a soon of peppercorns and a little salt. Being it all to a simmer. Skim off any scum that floats to the top, then cover tightly and let it slowly simmer for a couple days.

After a couple days take it off the heat and let it cool slightly. Then pack it into hot quart canning jars and seal. Leave them on the counter to cool, then you can freeze or refrigerate.  In the fridge it keeps for a week or so, in the freezer it is almost indefinite. Just be careful to leave plenty of headspace  to freeze (an inch or so should do)

this stock is great for soups, cooking, or just drinking as a warm treat! It is both healthy and nutritious!

Little Sprouts leaps into the Egg Business!

Our plans to enter a consistent egg business just got moved up yet again.

First, we decided to start an egg business with about 70 cross breeds we hatched ourselves. Those birds are now just about old enough to start laying eggs any time.

Second, we decided that would not be enough eggs for us. You can get 3 eggs a day from every four chickens as a rule,  and we wanted more than 70 chickens could provide.

So third, we ordered about 200 sussox chicks. We built the movable coop as you will find on other blog posts. Those birds are now about 6 weeks old. They will be laying next spring.

Now... the plans got moved up again. In addition to the 70 or so cross breeds, and the 200 sussox, we found an opportunity to take on 10 or so laying golden sexlink hens. There is another local farmer that is temporarily going out of the egg business for personal reasons, and they needed to pass their hens on to another farm. We decided to take them in .

So.. Little Sprouts Farm will officially be in the chicken egg business on a regular basis starting sometime next week. We will immediately have 6 to 8 dozen eggs per day. That will increase to about 20 to 25 dozen eggs a day  by next spring.  These will all be pastured, free range chickens supplemented with soy free and corn free feed.

This winter we will be completing our bug farm, the target being to raise about 10,000 to 20,000 mealworms per month to feed the birds, plus an unknown amount of crickets.  That extra pr otein during the winter combined with the soy free / corn free feed should produce the absolute best eggs money can buy.

So, stay tuned! This will be a learning experience.

We will be offering the eggs for sale off farm, at pick up points, and through a new home delivery route. If you are interested in a regular supply of healthy pastured eggs this winter, go ahead and send us an email at and let us know where you are and how many you are interested in. We will be working on the details this week.

Our own Thanksgiving turkey

here is a look at our own family's Turkey roasting in the oven. we prefer to use a cooking method where you start with a high Temp (450) for a few minutes,  then turn it down to roast. this Sears the skin with a nice color and seals the juices inside.  here is the bird after the 20 minutes or so.
this is a brined Turkey,  so all w did was rinse it well,  place an onion inside,  and rub a little butter on the outside. this year we have shiny new roasting  pan to try. even the biggest size pan that was available barely holds the heritage birds!  and this was only 13 pounds!
were invite our customers to share your cooking experience as a testimonial. just click the tab above for testimonial and enter your own at the bottom of the page. if you have a recipe to share please  email it to us at

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011 final thoughts

As the thanksgiving holiday comes to a close here at Little Sprouts Farm, there are a few thoughts left to share.

First of all a word of thanks. A heartfelt thank you goes to each and every one of our customers who purchased from the farm this year. This was our first year in "business" and we dearly appreciate everyone that participated in it. You trust, friendship, and patronage is dearly  appreciated. We realize that there are plenty of options out there and we are grateful that you chose to spend your hard earned food dollars here. We view each of you as a friend and your families as our own. It is a pleasure to serve you.

Also an ever important thank you to our creator, our heavenly Father who has guided us along this incredible path to becoming a sustainable farm. we are approaching our four year mark of leaving the high society city life of southern california. None of this would have been possible without His constant guidance, inspiration and help along the way. We are deeply grateful that he counted us worthy to take on this mission of rediscovering how to feed our friends and neighbors with good wholesome nutritious foods. What greater calling in life could there be than that?

So thank you, thank you for everything.

This is also a great time to reflect on the past season. As we head into the relatively calm winter months, we look back on a summer of  constant activity, ups and downs, and work sun-up to sun-down. We loved every minute of it, dont get me wrong, I am NOT complaining. I will take a day on the farm over a day in an office anytime. Even so, there are plenty of new lessons we can learn from last summer to make our work more productive. I am not looking to eliminate the work, that is what we are here for, but I do desire for the work to be as efficient and productive as possible. This is a time to correct he mistake of the past so that next season things run a little smoother.

One such are is in automation of water. Water is the blood of a farm. It must run through every corner where there is life to keep that life going. Delivery and management of that water  is a key focus going forward. Carrying buckets of water here and there is just not efficient.  A renewed focus on water systems is in order over the winter.

Another point needing improvement is the hog feeders.. again. I am still unhappy with the current setup and in fact it needs repair anyway. The hogs have managed to  break two of the feeders loose already. I may end up purchasing one of those big round field feeders and rigging up a way to dump a tote of feed in at a time. Perhaps this could be mounted in the center of the current pallet based platform.

Both the three point tiller and disc are broken beyond useability.  Welding and bending back into shape is required before next spring. The lesson learned here is that it is NOT possible to till or disc this land unless it is at just the right moisture content and has been ripped deeply. Tilling without ripping broke welds and tore strong thick metal.

 The greenhouse is being rethought. Instead of just growing produce, we are considering installing a high production bug farm in it. We can raise enough mealworms and crickets to keep healthy eggs going all winter. The greenhouse seems a perfect spot to do this while utilizing the sun's heat to warm them.

I do wish I had invested more time in roadway management. The recent rains have turned some unmanaged ares into huge mud puddles which will soon be impassable with the tractor.

Fencing.. as usual... needs to be done. this is a winter project as the ground is too hard to work with in summer. I need to install a ay to enter both pastures with equipment without the residents escaping easily.

So, lots to think about, and some to do. Winter is a great time to regroup and reconsider.. reflecting on the past with the time available to make changes before next season.  Stay tuned! there should be lots of new things going on as time goes by.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

storebought turkey the most dangerous meat available!

in light of information as in this article about the dangers of storebought Turkey,  we are happy to report that little sprouts turkeys are never fed antiobiotics nor any form of arsenic! you can feel safe that your thanksgiving dinner is safe and healthy.
here is the article i am referring to:
What Drugs Was Your Thanksgiving Turkey On? | | AlterNet
at little sprouts, our turkeys are raised primarily on natural foraging for organically grown grasses and bugs. we only supplement as babies and the weeks when weather has eliminated these natural foods. the supplemental feed is organically grown whole grains, and nutrition such as fish meal.
we never medicate our turkeys. instead we use natural parasite control, breeding, good environments, and plenty of fresh air and sunshine. we raise our own poults from eggs each year, from the best of the previous years flock, increasing genetic health naturally using natures method: survival of the fittest.
these turkeys spend their lives much like their wild cousins doing the things that turkeys do.
in contrast storebought turkeys are gentically bread for abnormal and unsustainable growth to increase profits, in tiny cramped space, unhealthy conditions, so that they can not survive without constant antibiotics. yes,  make no mistake, the readon antibiotics are used so heavily on turkeys is that conventionally raised turkeys would die from infection without the cibstant medicine. givingg antibiotics as part of daily diet allows growers to leave the birds in unhealthy conditions. there is no other reason.
conventionally raised turkeys can not forage because it is customary to cut their beaks off whils young to lessen attacks on other birds brought on by the horid living conditions. a birds natural instinct is to remove weak or sickly birds, so when the whole community is sickly, they kill each other off. the conventional answer is to remove beaks to prevent death instead of imoproving health.
i am personally strong on this because in my opinion turkeys are the most mistreated of all farm birds. it pains me deeply to see hiw conventional turkeys are raised. i watch our birds flying and foraging, exhibiting more intelligence and social order than any other farm bird, and wonder why they are singled out for such a sad fate at factory farms. i cant change the world, but i can change my own birds world.
so, emotion aside, you can trust that a little sprouts heritage turkey is the healthiest bird you can put on your table this thanksgiving! you can feel good about changing the world in a seemingly small way that means lots to your family's health and one of natures most awsome birds.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sold out of heritage turkeys

I am happy and  sad to report that we are completely sold out of thanksgiving turkeys for this year.  Our deepest apologies to those that were on the waiting list and did not get a turkey this year. We really did want to accommodate everyone but just didnt have enough grown turkeys to go around.

Next year we will have twice the breeders and thereby perhaps 4 times more turkeys for sale.  Still, based on the response from this year, we recommend getting on the list EARLY! in fact.. w are thinking of starting the order list  next week for next thanksgiving!

Thank you to everyone that purchased a turkey. It was our pleasure to fill your table with quality natural food.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thanksgiving Heritage turkeys - Day 2

What a day!

Day one of this year's turkey harvest was all about preparation... clean the equipment, set up the work area, contain the turkeys, contact all the customers, etc. Well... it all worked great except for one thing. I neglected to actually TEST the equipment, and sure enough... there were issues.

Today started perfect, with a light covering of snow on the ground, and snow falling as the sun awoke us. It was a beautiful scene.  At the crack of dawn I went out to fill and start the scalder. It takes a few hours to get it up to temperature so I like to start early.

The scalder is the device that loosens the feathers so that they can be easily removed. It is really just a metal box about 3 feet cube, with a propane burner and a thermostat. To be effective the water temp must be held between 140 and 145 degrees.  You dunk the turkey in the water for about a minute, agitating slowly, and all the feathers are loose.

Our well water starts out at about 50 degrees this time of year. Lighting the burner on the scalder at 7am would allow us to start about 10am.  I lite the pilot, waited for it to warm up, and turned on the burner.  Back in side to warm up and get ready. When I returned an hour later to hook up the water lines (subject of another blog post) I didnt hear a sound from the burner. Sure enough it had gone out! I relit and waited for a while to make sure it was running, then finished the water hookup and headed back inside.

Another hour went by and I had to run out to see how many gallons our brining buckets held. Again I noticed no sound from the burner. Out again. It was now 9am and the water was only 100.  Not good! Upon inspection I noticed the pilot was a lazy yellow flame! It wasn't even really touching the thermocouple. As soon as a light breeze blew, it cooled down enough to turn off the burner. This wasnt good!

I towed with the pilot adjustment, but no benefit. There was obviously a bad fuel/air mix on the pilot.  With no other choice, I drained out the water completely and turned the scalder over. There was no fuel air adjustment, as the air portion was hard set by the nozzle. That pointed to a gas delivery problem.  Removing hte pipe, I could blow air through the nozzle so it wasnt blocked completely. I removed the pilot unit completely and checked inside the housing. Nothing visible, except it seemed odd to be white inside. Curious i pushed a small screwdriver inside the nozzle. Ah Ha! the white i had seen was NOT the nozzle.. but a very thick cob web! The entire nozzle was full of a thick cobweb.  Humpf. Putting everything back together proved this to be the problem, a spider. Now the pilot was a blue rushing flame.

Problem was, now it was about 10am.  I refilled the tank with cold water and started it up again. Everything worked fine, but now it would be another 2 to 3 hours to reach temp.

The first bird or two was a bit difficult to defeather because we started when the temp was only 130. On thee big birds time can not make up for low temp. Lots of hand plucking resulted. But by 2 or so we were up to temp and running nicely through the process.

the birds themselves look beautiful!  The toms turned out a bit larger than anticipated. The fat was a pleasant surprise. I had some concern that our feeding method this year would result in less fat, but no! In fact for their age these birds had more fat then expected. And the fat had a perfect texture and color. These birds are going to be some of the tastiest ever!

Fortunately the weather was beautiful today! Sunshine, cool breeze, no rain or snow. Beautiful day to spend outside.  Brenda and I managed to process enough turkeys to fulfill the immediate orders. As of this writing the birds are soaking in the brine in a modified freezer. They will sit there for about 2 days, then get washed, wrapped, and delivered.

We might end up processing one more time before thanksgiving. There is still a waiting list. To decide if we have enough I need to examine the toms left to see if we can spare any. It is going to be a tough choice!

A real food Thanksgiving

This blog post is to good to not pass along, especially for or upcoming traditional Thanksgiving meal.
Six Simple Steps for a REAL FOOD Thanksgiving
We are very proud to be offering heritage Free  range turkeys this year. (In fact today is processing day)  here is a little info about or birds:
Truly free range!
Our birds are never caged after a weeks old . They live their lives on pasture and occasionally or yard. They roam free by day and sleep under the stars by night.
Or birds are not genetically modified nor overbred. They are birds as nature intended. The reproduce naturally and exhibit all the natural instincts of wild birds.
Natural feed
First we only fed our birds for the first few weeks of life,  and the last few weeks. The bulk of their life and growth they live on fishing for bugs and green grass. Second,  when we do feed , it is with soy  free, mostly corn free,  organic food.
Long happy life
Our birds are 6 to 9 months when processed unlike conventional birds who are processed at only a few weeks. Conventional birds  Grow  so fast that they can't be allowed to live longer, their bodies are too misshapen to survive longer.  Our birds life long enough to add some good healthy fat to their naturally lean frame.  This result in much more flavour,  moistness, and pleasing texture.
Natural juices only
Or turkeys are available fresh our brined . Or brine is simple with salt,  honey,  garlic,  and herbs. No chemicals nor preservatives.
Natural  processing
We do simple clean hand processing,  unlike automated machine and chemical based processing. We never use chlorine on our birds! We use fresh running water  and careful hand processing under human control.
Overall a pasture raised heritage Turkey is nothing At all like the odd looking birds you find wrapped in plastic and floating in weird chemical juices at the store.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving Heritage Turkeys - Day 1

We have almost everything in place now to do the thanksgiving processing  tomorrow. We spent the day putting everything in place, cleaning, and the fun part... catching the turkeys.   It is actually more "herding" than catching.

It went very well this year. Instead of trying to grab them one at a time, we set up the stock trailer in a narrow spot and created a block on both sides. This made a type of "chute" leading to the open back door of the trailer. Then we added a ramp up to the trailer for the turkeys to walk up. With the whole family helping, we slowly walked half the turkeys into the trailer and closed the first partition. Then we walked the other half in and closed the back door. Quite easily we ended up with all but 2 turkeys inside the trailer! this will make tomorrow so much more efficient.

The equipment is ready, I just have a little bit of plumbing to try a new approach to the slow flow water for processing. I can do that in the morning while the scalder is heating up.

Time for some rest! Tomorrow will be a full day!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving heritage turkeys

It is almost time! With thanksgiving right around the corner,  we are starting to gear up for thanksgiving processing.
If you have reserved a turkey already, stay tuned for more details. We will be contacting each of you about details soon.
If you have not reserved a turkey and would like to still, we might have a few left, so contact us quickly!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Work begins on duck habitat

We finally started work on the duck habitat this week. The ground is soft enough to work with and the ducks are grown enough to come out of the brooder.
Hope we get it done before the storm hits!

Looks like an interesting week!

With the weekend before thanksgiving almost here, and the corresponding focus on processing all the ordered thanksgiving turkeys.... I'm searching the weather. A cold wet storm is blowing in friday, perhaps even with snow.
Yes.. Gonna be an interesting week!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Beware of farmers market scams

L.A. Farmers Markets Exposed - Page 1 - News - Los Angeles - LA Weekly
Here again is evidence that you can't buy food from someone you don't know and trust. Even farmers markets are populated by people who are not the small organic  they present themselves to be.
Bottom line... Know your farmer. He should be a part if your life like your doctor or spiritual leader.
at the farmer market, make sure you know the farm is local enough for you to visit and talk to directly.
Your health depends on it. in fact your health depends as much on the person growing your food as the doctor who fixes the problems often caused by bad food.

Honey officially joins the list of fake foods

Shock finding: More than 75 percent of all 'honey' sold in grocery stores contains no honey at all, by definition (Updated)
Here we go yet again. You apparently can't  buy honey in a grocery store and know that it is honey. According to these tests, if you do purchase something labelled as honey in a store, you only have a 25% chance that it is actually honey. There is a 75% chance that it is  chemically just liquid white sugar.
How do you buy honey today? Simple, the same as do many other foods, buy only from the producer you have met and know and trust.
I contend that it is the modern model of several middle men in the food industry that allows such lies to exist. The public had no means to verify what the label says, and virtually no way to trace the origin. The government is no use, they are way too busy pouring bleach on locally grown food. (recent news out of nevada)
Several thoughts here...
1. Government agencies like fda are eating our time and cash attacking local farmers for supposed violations where no one is harmed, while ignoring situations where health of consumers is damaged by practices of big ag.
2. The fix here is again to change the model to what had historically worked.... Buy food from small local farmers only. look your good creater in the eye and form a trust relationship with him.
3. All the studies that show honey as harmful and nothing more than sugar make sense... Chances are, the honey tested was actually only sugar! Demonstrating why studies that do not cite the source of the food being studied and production methods are worthless.
4. Any good can be healthy or unhealthy based on how it is created and processed. There is no such thing as common nutritional content of modern food. the nutritional content if based more on methods of production than nature and original content. Most labels today do not at all represent this.
Eggs are another example of this. I was appalled to find that labels of most eggs list the content that the government assigns to eggs, not what the eggs in the package actually are. THE EGGS ARE NEVER TESTED! Yet we more for a fact that nutritional content of eggs varies widely, sometimes by an order of magnitude! Eggs, like honey, can be good for your health, or bad for your health.
5. By the same reasoning, nutritional advice that does not specify the source of good to be used is worthless. most of the advice floating around today  is just false for this reason. Again the example of eggs.... Eggs from most producers should be limited in the dirty because they area in fact unhealthy, while eggs grown right actually reduce cholesterol instead of raise it. it all depend on the production. If your nutritionist doesn't recognize this.. Find another that does!
6. it is more implant to understand the production method than to know where the food comes from. JUST BECAUSE IT COMES FROM A SMALL OUT LOCAL FARM DOES NOT GUARANTEE QUALITY!  Sadly many small local farms follow many of the same teachings of big ag, so their product is similar. The only way to know the good is healthy is to know the farmer and find out what he believes and does.
For instance, I recently spoke with a small local farmer about potential animal feed. When asked if it was organic, he admitted "not certified but really the same thing". When questioned further, he explains that he only sprays poison  ( weed killer) once when the seeds are planted, and poison (pesticide) once when the flowers emerge. But he never sprays the produce, so it is "just as good as organic." IF YOU DON'T ASK DETAILED QUESTIONS, YOU DON'T YET KNOW THE SITUATION!
Bottom line... Honey gets added to the list of foods that you can no longer buy in the store... Another reason to find a local farmer, learn about his beliefs, training, processes, and stick with one you trust.
Your family's health depends on it.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Webcam moved to the chicks

We moved the webcam into the eggmobile so that we can keep an eye on the baby birds easier. You too can watch them by clicking on the farm webcams link above.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Portable power!

Finally, after 3 winters, Little Sprouts Farm will not be prone to losses through power failures! We found a good backup generator!

After lots of consideration, I came up with a list of wants about the generator:

1. diesel - engines last longer, overall efficiency higher (more power per gallon of fuel), we store diesel, but not gasoline,
2. easy to move - the kind with 4 little wheels just wont work off a concrete floor
3. at least 5KW
4. electric or manual starter
5. reasonably new
6. under $3000

We found one that matched all these criteria on Craigslist (farmers best friend)  located in Bend. It is a brand new, never started Titan diesel portable generator, 5KW constant, electric start selling for $2K.  We couldnt pass it up!

So we headed to bend. Unfortunately between here Medford and Bend was a rather nasty snowstorm. We ended up driving 30 MPH for about 100 miles in the blowing snow. Prudence encouraged us to spend the night and let the weather clear.  I am a big believer in good tires! The tires we have on the yukon pulled right through inches of snow with a trailer in tow.

We did pass a total of 3 serious accidents on the way there and back... 2 of them rolled off the road.

Nevertheless, we made it fine, and the new generator cranked up perfectly on the first pull.  All that is left is to rig up a connection to the breaker box so that we can easily plug it in and make out own power when it inevitably goes dark here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Collecting leaves and acorns

We finally got our gator vacuum running today.  it is a combination of a debris loader, empty feed bags, wooden frame, window screen, platform, all mounted on a gator. First tests today are promising!
My plan is to use this to collect leaves and acorns for feed, loading directly into the feed bags for easy storage. If all goes well this will be a great use for old feed bags.
You can't sees too well in these pics, but the window screen covers one wooden frame. The other wooden frame is just a square open frame. To load out.. You pull the big end of the bad through the open frame, gold it over, set the second frame (with window screen attached) and use a couple if c clamps to hold it in place. Then you place the outlet of the debris loader into the small end if the bag and your it tight.
The suction if the debris loader in impressive! It picks up leaves, sticks , acorns, pretty much anything!
Having it all on the gator makes it ready to go into pastured and yards without leaving tire  tracks.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Turkey roost improvement

With the turkeys fully grown became clear that the roost in the orchard was too small. It was filled with turkeys each night but write so few foisted on the ground, our roof, our old tv antenna, etc.
To alleviate the overcrowding, we took down the side roost of last years roost in the pasture, and added it to the new roost. That gives about 50 extra feet of roosting space. We hung it under the roof so that it its higher than the main area.
Hopefully this will make for happier turkeys!

Backing a four wheel trailer

Is not easy!  We tried to move the new egg mobile to a more permanent location, and wow thats tough!
The egg mobile is built on a car frame, so the front wheels turn with the hitch. That changes all the rules about backing, and a few about going forward.
After trying to back it up just a hundred feet, we gave up and decided forward was better. I managed to pull it out to the street and around to the front yard corner. Even that was a challenge! If the front wheels get turned the seen to take forever to straighten.
From more on.. The egg mobile goes only forward!
The chicks seemed to enjoy their ride though:)

Accident claims lives of some chicks

Sad. We lost about 25 of the layer chicks. now the flock is about 200.
It appears that during a brief winter storm, a gust of wind blew open the tarp covering the ventilation window and trained in a large splash of water. The next day we discovered a pile of cold soaked chicks, mostly already gone.
I cannot express enough the sadness we feel when such an accident claims lives, even little lives. All of our animals are precious, part of gods creation entrusted to us. It is heartbreaking to lose some.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Pasture planting time

October is our month to plant the cover for the pasture. This year we filled up about 4 acres so far. 2 are already planted in a non irrigated pasture mix. With Oct ending today and rain heading in this week,  it is time to finish. we had another couple of acres ready to plant, do this afternoon we headed out.
Our plan is to plant grazing mix for the sheep , horses, and turkeys. Then for the hogs plant an acre or two of variety. Today it was peas and oats.
Prior to this we worked on making a good seed bed in as much area as we could get moisture into. Using sprinklers on long houses I saturated the ground, moving the sprinklers every couple days. Once enough moisture was in the soil, we rolls up the subsoil as drop as possible... About 1 to 2 feet. that broke up the to layers of hard pan.
This was followed with rototilling. I bought a used 5 foot italian made pto tiller. That did wonders to chop up the clods and prepares the soil. It took a half dozen passes but finally became plant able  soil.
last step was today.. Using a spreader behind the tractor to the seeds. I was amazed that the little book was a set speed, a set rpm, a set seed drop opening, it predicted the application rates accurately. Almost perfectly!
as a last step we dragged a 5 foot chain harrow being the gator to cover the seeds. Brenda actually did this step with baby on lap!
Now we wait... For just enough rain before it gets too cold.
Oh...I should mention.. I broke the disc AGAIN! we just replaced all the bolts with hardened ones and adjusted it. today while flattening some of the sheep pasture I noticed the axle was bent. Trip of the disc had worked lost. But that not when I quite... I quite using it right after I bumped into old turkey roost... And tore through one of the bolt mounts.
Oh well...  Important thing is we have half planted. More if it rains this week.. Perhaps we can plow through the rest of it and plant before the big rains come.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Soy and corn free feed!

We have finally decided what to do in the near term about a base fed that is soy free and sometimes corn free. We are testing done feed from a mill in Washington that looks very promising. More news to come on this.
If this works out, we will have feed available for sale, shipping free, in the southern  Oregon area.  This includes:
Chicken layer and starter
Hog grower
Turkey grower
The nil offers more types, but these are the ones we would carry locally.
This feed is cracked, not pulverized and posed into pellets nor crumbles. We feel this is more natural, healthier, and nutritious. It is totally soy free, the chicken feed is also corn free, and it contains organically grown grains. (although not certified organic). It also contains done unique grains not commonly found in fed, but add for extra benefit.
If you would like to test this feed with us,  just call or email. We have 40 pound bags available for sale now.
So far I am impressed with the feed.
This does not mean we have given up on our journey to create our own feed, just a temporary solution. ultimately we wish to use only heirloom grains grown organically, in a property mix. That is more difficult than we imagined, but still working on it. until we figure this out, the nutrition in this feed far exceeds any other available in our parts.
We will also continue to supplement the hogs with  soaked and sprouted heirloom grains.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Processed first jacob sheep

Of our first jacob sheep are on their easy to the butcher shop. We finally picked out all but one of the new males and called the farm kill guy.
The first set came on about 30 lbs hanging weight each.
Next time perhaps we will do the processing ourselves. 
I HAVE TO SAY... Our farm hand, Trevor, did a fabulous job today. He wrestled those sheep down like a professional wrestling match. It was awesome to watch!

Friday, October 14, 2011

only organic farming can feed the world

I ran across this great article about the grand experiment pitting organic against conventional farming, asking which is ultimately the easy to feed the world. The winner? You guessed through the article then look below for a couple thoughts.
One thing this article lacks to mention is perhaps one of the most compelling reasons why only organic farming can feed the world... Death. People sure from conventional farming. It is not us not like poisoning... But through malnutrition people die. Sound extreme? Consider how many health conditions.. Many fatal... Area positively affected by eating certain foods. I contend that if a hark problem can be lessened by consuming more good FOOD... Then the ultimate cause of that health condition us malnutrition. We simply aren't reading enough good food to prevent disease. Out is a known fact the proudly grown organic foods contain more nutrition than conventional grown foods. Organic are much more nutrient dense to the point that it is impossible to consume enough conventionally grown foods to reach the nutrient levels of organic. files that consuming only conventional foods virtually guarantees malnutrition, thereby causing the conditions caused by lsch of enough good good. Bottom line.. Conventional farming kills people. Why its this so? Simple... Conventional farming is based on the simplistic principle that plants only need 3 elements to grow. It focuses on bulk, not content. So conventional farming drains the soil, throws the system if plant and soil out of balance, creates plants devoid of content, and thereby encourages natures police to destroy the sickly plants (insects). In response to the nature police, the conventional farmer doses the plant and ground with poison to further complicate the failure. Bottom line... conventional farming creates plants that nature tries to eliminate for being too bad to survive, so the farmer lives in a constant battle to keep sickly plants producing against the wisdom of nature. And... The effects are long term.. Requiring years to clean up the hazardous waste dump called farms. In contrast.. Organic farming.. What is known as deep organic farming... Works with nature, focusing on fertility and nutritional content, long term health of soil, plant, and man. Organic farming feeds the soil instead of poisoning it. organic food lowers health care costs and death over the long run through fighting malnutrition. Sad conclusion is this... American farming methods today have put america in the leader of malnutrition. It is hidden under lots of labels, but truth us most of our common health problems can be lessened or eliminated but nutrition, and only organic farming produces that nutrition. So yes... Organic farming alone can fed the world.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Chicks in the egg mobile

The chicks arrived friday morning as expected. Fortunately we were ready! Even though we only started looking for a trailer last was finished enough to put the babies on upon arrival. 4 heat lights provided just enough heat for the 225 birds, 3 waterers, 3 feeders, and a inch our do of home made shavings, and they are in!
All chicks arrived alive, which is surprising considering they were shipped from texas, even by saturday we had only lost one. These suxxos  birds seem quite sturdy!
I hung an old tarp to cover the vent window until they are older. The nesting boxes will be added to the support when up get time. Altogether I am amazed...we built that in less than a week!

Friday, October 7, 2011

Build a egg mobile in less than a week...part three

Day three is done and so is the egg mobile, almost. We put on the roof, wall panels, write screen on the open side, and framed the door. All that is left of is to hang a door, add some great lights and wateres. Looks like we will be able to put the chicks in tomorrow. I can't believe we finished this in less than a week working mostly alone and only part time.
Today I did enlist help. Roofing is not something to do solo!
The pictures aren't great since ec didn't finish til dark. You will notice area where the nesting boxes go is covered with siding until the chicks grow up so bit.

Rendered hog lard

What a beautiful sight! Jars of freshly rendered lard from our hogs. This is a very unique type of lard...being soy free, corn fee,  organically fed, pasture raised, humanely raised, and rendered on cast iron pots,
It will rest in the fridge overnight and tomorrow will be pearl white and hard.
If you have not cooked with this type of oil I encourage you to do some research. Hog lard (properly produced) is actually very healthy. But remember, do NOT use hog lard from the store! That type is a dangerous product!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Salmonella and chicken

I ran across this article, which is a good example of what is upsetting in the way the government thinks about food safety. As you read through you find that the basic idea is that since salmonella is present in all chickens, it is a naturally occurring problem and we must be super careful to not die from the meat.

Well, wait a minute... if chicken is so dangerous, how did people use chicken for a meat for so many years, decades, centuries, before refrigeration. Something doesn't sound right here. And in fact, it isn't.  Here is the article:

Salmonella Stays with Chickens, from Birth to Kitchen

I propose that the problem is not that chicken is inherently bad.. always filled with deadly bacteria. No, I propose that chicken itself is a clean meat, as safe as any. It is in fact the manner in which the chickens are raised kept and processed today in the factory farms that causes the problem with salmonella.  If chickens are raised in such a bad environment that they can not be healthy (i.e. live) without a constant dose of antibiotics, then sure, they are going to carry deadly pathogens.  On the other hand.. place the chickens outside, on pasture, green grass, sun, natural food, fresh air, and they do not have problems with pathogens.

Proof of this is in an old story I read about Joel Salitin in one of his books. Apparently at one point the government guys came in to shut his chicken processing down because he did open air processing. The state claimed it would produce "dangerous" chickens. He proposed that before they shut him down, they should run a test. His just processed chickens against fresh supermarket chickens. The government agreed and ran the test. To their surprise they found that joel's pasture raised chickens had less than 1/10th the legal limit of pathogens for chickens. The fresh "usda processed" supermarket chickens all exceeded the legal limit of pathogens, while sitting in the store!

the bottom line is.. in every situation it is important to evaluate why a problem exists before we consider that problem normal in nature.  I am convinced that nature has it right, it is man's modifications to nature that create problems. 

Build an egg mobile in less than a week... Part 2

Today I covered the floor with 3/4 decking and built the walls. Putting those walls in place was interesting! We just started covering with the siding when it was time to quit.

Hunter using his metal detector to find all the nails and screws I dropped. 
You can see the half wall covered here with CDX, the top will be covered with chicken wire for ventilation
Found another one!
Here is the side that will hold the nesting boxes
Kaelyn devised a nail holder, her own invention (my tape measure). She even filled it with a variety of nails for me :)
Here is how it looks at the end of tonight. 4 walls, a floor, and 1 wall covered with siding. 
One thing Brenda noticed when she took a peak was.. it seemed quite tall. In fat, it will barely fit out the barn door (might have to let some air out of the tires). I certainly cant put the roof on inside the barn. Fortunately the rain should be over for a few days so we can finish it outside!