Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Study finds soy protein in chicken eggs and meat

Here is ab article explaining that soy does indeed make it into eggs and meat when fed to animals . Soy is the primary component of virtually all commercial animal feeds  today. 

Soy Protein Found In Egg Yolks & Chicken Tissue | Health Freedom Alliance

At little sprouts we take a two pronged approach to offering you soy free products :

First,  we feed no soy. All our products are completely soy free.

Second we offer you soy free feed for your animals.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Ducky love

Kaelyn sitting alone loving one of her ducks.  He is just eating up the attention.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

First beetle hatches

Today we found our first hatched beetle from the mealworms.  This little fellow  isn't even completely out yet , but will be soon.  If all goes well we will have about 500 breeding beetles soon.  This is the first step to growing enough to keep the chickens in protein all winter for the best eggs money can buy!

First Duck eggs appear!

Kaelyn  found her first duck eggs of the season today.  If they keep laying we will have duck eggs available for the next delivery.  Stay tuned!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Washing Eggs Automated!

We finally have our portable egg washing machine "installed" and working! No more scrubbing eggs by hand :) this little jewel does a fine job of cleaning the eggs with hot water and a soft brush.  It is a recreation of an "antique" egg washing machine originally designed and sold in the 1950's but eventually discontinued. The good folks over at Gibson Ridge Farms  resurrected it, applied modern tooling, and offers an improved model for sale.

The unit sits atop the sink, plumbs to the hot water, and all you have to do it place the eggs on one tray, wait for them to appear on the other tray. If they arent clean in one pass you simply send them around again.  Its so easy even the kids enjoy washing eggs! (just dont let them get distracted or you quickly get  lucy in the chocolate factory!).

Here's a shot of Hunter and Kaelyn washing some eggs as a team.

Special treat for farm store visitors

Hunter took it upon himself to find a taste but healthy chocolate candy,  and he did marvelously.  He came up with a dark chocolate treat that is a health food!

All organic ingredients of cocoa powder,  Carob powder, honey,  coconut oil,  and nuts  or dried fruit.  Mixed well and refrigerated . They are never heated.

You can sample some of these taste treats at our farm store.  Just remember to enjoy while here or being a cooler.  Coconut oil melts at room temperature.

Our complements to our little chef!

Lard rendering

We finished rendering twenty two pounds of lard today,  just in time for this week delivery . The lard is offered  for sale through the farm store and on the delivery route.

We chose to make blocks of half pound each instead of jars.  The blocks seem easier to use,  less waste than digging from a glass jars with a spoon.  Each block is wrapped in chlorine free wax paper. The blocks are then frozen.

This lard is combination leaf and back fat  lard, carefully trimmed of meat. It should have virtually no flavor or smell.  Combining  lowers the cost over straight leaf lard without gaining a heavy odor and taste  of pork like straight back day lard . We hope this is a good compromise for everyone .

One note.. . If you notice a little color on the bottom of the block you can just scrape it away .  That is settling from rendering.  If you like a tiny pork state leave it on!  This is perfect for biscuits,  beans,  vegetable frying,  chicken,  etc.  We will try to  prevent settling  next time.

Feedback is welcome.

But wait you think. .... isn't lard unhealthy to eat?  Well. .. normal lard bought in the store is quite unhealthy,  almost poisonous. Not because it is lard,  but because of how  it is raised and produced.  That lard is from factory raised hogs,  fed a steady diet of soybeans, bred to gain weight incredibly fast,  confined to small concrete stalls,  fed  regular doses of antibiotics to keep them alive, and treated regularly with chemical worm stop.  All this chemical , soybean and stress ends up stored in the fat  and therefore in the lard.  Then to add insult to injury,  the lard is hydrogenated,  creating high amounts of trans fats.  Not a healthy combination.

But what about the saturated fat?  Well lard is actually half mono unsaturated fat . Besides saturated fat itself , if produced right,  is healthy.  The main reason it has gained a bad rap is that most saturated fat is hydrogenated,  creating those trans fats.  Leave it alone and saturated fat is a necessary health food.  It improves skin,  brain function,  mood,  heart health,  bone density,  and lots of other things.  Just Google saturated fat for evidence. Lard is also stable  under high heat so it is safe for frying. But remember,  normal commercial saturated fat is poisonous.

So. . You can freely enjoy cooking with lard.  Lard from a trusted source is a perfect cooking fat , useful for frying or baking. It is one of the healthy traditional foods that our ancestors relied on.

Legal disclaimer:  this lard is not processed for human consumption. It is processed in a very traditional manner.  For this reason we can only recommend it for animal feed or creating non food products.  For details on why this is please contact us directly.

Monday, February 20, 2012

More twins!

This morning these two graced the world with their presence.  That makes a total of eight lambs born this year so far.

If you would like to stop by the farm and hold a lamb in your arms just let us know.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Launching the mealworm farm

Today we put together the mealworm farm.  From this humble beginning will spring hundreds of thousands of little bundles of nutrition for the chickens and turkeys.

We purchased about a thousand live  mealworms from the pet store to get started. These starter worms will grow up,  turn into Beatles,  and lay hundreds of eggs each. Those eggs in the second generation will hatch into more worms and be used for food.

We chose an old three shelf plastic drawer unit for the first home.  This should suffice until the next generation.  We divided the worms into three groups,  each drawer holding about 330 live worms. 

For bedding and food we chose to use chicken grower from scratch and peck.  With the unique nutrient dense apt and corn free formula,  this feed should create the most nutritious worms  possible!  For water we dropped in a leaf  of organic cabbage.

The kids had great fun setting this up and watching the worms burrow and rugged around.  Can't wait till the Beatles emerge!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

People. . . The Best Part of Farming

 Another day of deliveries behind us and it is time to I reflect on the day, there is no doubt that days like today are the high point of farming as an occupation, and as a life calling. Some have questioned the wisdom of starting home deliveries, some even call this biweekly route crazy. They certainly raise good questions, I can't deny that. But still, there is aside to this that warrants a closer look.

What is the end goal of a farm? Sure it is necessary to make a profit to stay inexistence, but "existing" is not the goal. Sure it is an exciting lifestyle full of challenges, births, cute babies, fun times, etc. But having been isn't worth the had work and long hours. Farming is a great way to raise independent children who can make a mark on the world, but even this it the actual goal. What is?

Farming is about one thing in the end. . . . PEOPLE! Feeding people, giving people the nutrition they need to stay healthy, meeting this one basic universal need we all have to find a long and healthy life. . . this is the goal.

Delivery day is the day we are closest to seeing that goal realized. Meeting with our customers to deliver good food while getting to know the families, the struggles, the triumphs is a deeply moving human experience. AN experience that can not be duplicated by selling any other way.

Each family, each persons on a different path and yet this one thing we all have in common, the drive for health and need for good nutritious foods. It is an extreme priviledge to be invited to Fill that need. What higher calling in life is there than supporting life itself? Realizing that we as formers have a significant impact on someone's health is a deeply motivating experience. You don't feel that by reading reports, crunching numbers about sales and expenses, this soul touching moment comes from looking people in the eye shaking their hand, and listening. It is about people.

 I would like to extent a thanks to each andeveryone of our customers for allowing us to be a part of your journey through life.It is both a priviledge and an honor to serve you.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Plenty of feed to go around

Our feed order just arrived!  14,000 LBS of the most nutritious animal feed available,  and all soy free!

Everyone waiting for feed can come by and pick up what you need.  We have in stock:

Pig grower
Chicken grower
Goat feed
Sheep feed
Turkey grower

Now the challenge is to get it all inside the barn before more rain comes.  That's what I will be up to today!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Twins arrive!

We left for a couple hours to go grocery shopping and when we got home with found dusty (one of the sheep) with newly born twins.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mealworm Breeding Begins!

Another new project underway at little sprouts is our own mealworm breeding setup.  We have a need to supplement the birds with a high fat and protein source, when there are not the natural array of bugs available in the grass and ground.  After looking into several ways to create this important aspect of their diet, we have settled on growing mealworms at a large enough scale to feed 300 birds. The end result should be even higher nutrient eggs and meats, and healthier birds.

As the project progresses I will be posting more details on our chosen production method and scale.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Farm store is set up!

We spent the weekend creating or first farm store!  A room that was originally a garage stall,  converted to a game  room , and now converted to a storefront.

Thus will allow us to place for sale products in the store for pickup while we are away from farm.

Just need to make some signage!

Third lamb arrives

Our third Lamb of the season was born yesterday.  Thuis one is mostly dark with white spots.

All three land and the moms seem to be happy and healthy.

Crossbreed chickens start producing

This week the chickens we hatched last summer have stated laying eggs! We started the week with only 6 eggs a day from 60 chickens,  but ended it getting 24 eggs per day. The number should continue increasing daily to about 4 dozen per day.

These birds are very unique,  they are crosses between 5 different heritage breeds. Their colours  are amazing ! Every bird is unique in size,  color,  and shape.

Of course these eggs are small for now,  due to age,  but will increase in size as the days go by.  the  colours of the  eggs are varied,  white,  brown,  blue,  green,  and pink.

Hopefully these breeds will be sturdy,  good producers, and good foragers.  So far all of this seems true.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lamb number two!

This morning we found a second lamb born! 
Time to set up that sheep milking stand!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Taming the sheep

We are starting a project to tame the sheep a bit more to make it easier to milk them this season.  What better why into a heart than tasty food !?

The kids jumped right in to hand feed some peas. About half are comfortable eating right out of our hands.