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.