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!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Build an egg mobile in less than a week..part 1

This morning I laid the floor bracing onto the trailer. As you can see in the pics..I chose to use metal brackets to make things simpler. The boards extending out the left edge will be used to support the nesting boxes later. Overall this gives interior dimensions of 8 feet by 16 feet.
The trailer frame itself is already a carved wooden beam that provided a flat surface onto which to place the brackets. That was on when I purchased the trailer and I am very thankful!
Later today we will last the flooring and raise the outside walls.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Science Lesson while collecting trimmings

While we were out collecting tree trimmings for the goats, I ran across this little ribbon snake hiding among the leaves.  Kaelyn took a liking to him so I showed her how to catch him on a stick. She was so proud that she could catch him and hold him there for everyone to see!

The pictures tell the story:

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Turkeys roosting

If you look closely you can see one hen with a pear in its mouth running from her neighbor.

More pears for feed

Here is todays gathered pears. They will be used for hog feed.. Turkey feed, plus goats and chickens.
plenty more to collect if we can find the time!

The new egg mobile!!

We found this trailer frame today. Perfect to build our new egg mobile!

We realized that we really needed to get moving on the new egg layer coop, since the chicks will be here in just a few days. After a few dead end phone calls we placed an ad in craigslist, and browsed all the craigslist ads between Medford and Portland.  With only a few possibilities, things didn't look too promising.

Then we took off to go collect pears for the animals at an abandoned pear farm near us. On the way we noticed an older flatbed trailer. The owners were outside stacking hay so we stopped to ask if they would be interested in selling it. Very nice people.. but they were still using the flatbed so the answer was no. However they remembered a neighbor of theirs that was building a chicken coop form this trailer frame and stopped. These guys were nice enough to stop their work, run to the house and get the neighbor's number, and even call him to see if he was interested in selling. What a blessing to meet such generous and welcoming people.

The neighbor was interested in selling so we headed over to look at it. It seems perfect for our egg-mobile! We struck a deal and I promised to return before dark to pick it up. So... we ended up finding the perfect trailer frame,  at the price we were willing to pay, not 10 minutes from our house.  AND  we found it on the very day we realized we needed it.

The world is filled with good decent people who care about others and want to help.

So stay tuned, over the next week or so that old trailer frame will be transformed to portable home for about 200 chickens.