Friday, March 30, 2012
We have been plagued with a thief and killer at the farm for a while. The boldness of his crimes increasing. Each time, even though there was an eye witness to his attacks, the perpetrator got away from justice. Until last night.
He was spotted last night, just after dark, planning the night's mayhem. When he realized he had been discovered, he took cover in his usual hideout - the drainage pipe under the neighbor's house. It became a waiting game. thankfully he had no hostages holed up with him. It became a waiting game, me and him. I tried to flush him out shining bright flashlights in the opposite end of the pipe, see he loves darkness I thought perhaps this would rustle him out. But no, he apparently had built a barrier in the pipe middle so the light wouldn't reach him. One hour goes by, then two. Every so often I can see his beady eyes peering out from the pipe in my night vision scope. Still, he wouldn't emerge from safety.
Finally, just before I was ready to give up, he pops out and darts up to the road. I saw him in the night vision plain as day. Unfortunately when i put the night vision down to raise the shotgun, i couldn't see a thing in the shadows. I was unwilling to shoot blindly at a moving target with innocent others around (our cats were with me). Foiled again.. he disappeared.
My nose confirmed that he had returned to the safety of the pipe, but this time I was determined to not let him get away. His record of broken eggs and dead chickens etched in my mind, an idea developed. A quick trip to the farm store, 2 fresh eggs, and I reutned to the gun to set up an ambush. Crouching behind the wooden fence, shotgun and nightvision both in hand, I carefully adjusted everything for quick uninhibited movement. After making sure all the cats were accounted for, I tossed the eggs out onto the street right by the pipe opening. Then readied myself. Sure enough, he emerged not 5 minutes later.
He obviously smelled the aroma of fresh eggs broken and waiting for the taking. In the night vision i watched quietly as he cautiously made his way to the remains of the first egg. When he stopped and held still enjoying the spoils of his find, i raised the shotgun. This time I felt confident because he was still and even though i couldn't see him in the darkness, I knew he couldn't move far in the second it took to switch the night vision for the shotgun. a quick pull of the trigger and the night was shattered with sparks and a blast of noise.
Now the flashlight brought to the spot whee the blast was aimed showed the guilty himself slowly limping across the road. This time aiming in the light was easy, and one more blast stopped him in his tracks. IT was over.
Cruel? Not if you consider he had been eating the heads of chickens to gorge himself on the blood. He had been stealing eggs daily, leaving the empty shells for us to find. When the new baby turkeys hatched he would gladly dig his way into the brooder to enjoy a Vegas style buffet of baby birds. I dont consider stopping him cruel, but justice. Skunks do not belong and can not be tolerated on a farm that raised large amount of baby birds.
Farmer 1 : Skunk 0
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
We have reached the point where we simply can't keep up with all the projects ourselves. It is time to find a farm intern.
We will post more details soon, consider this a pre announcement.
The person we are looking for will meet some very stringent guidelines of personality, drive, work ethic, respect, life goal, lifestyle, etc. This isn't for everyone, but it may be for you.
We want someone who has a heart to learn sustainable farming, connect with history and nature while creating the most nutritionist food possible. Someone who cares about people, our nation, and gods creation more than themself. Someone accustomed to hard labor and soft handling of new life.
The deal will be a work for room, board, and education. Think of this as boot camp. ... not a vacation. You will learn by doing, hands on, and you will touch on every aspect of farming.
If this sounds interesting, if you want to do what we do on your own farm someday , if you want to trade long house of work for a real education, if you want to steward a tiny piece of gods fabulous creation, email us. Let's talk.
The mealworms are finally hatching from their pupa stage in a big way. Thee are now dozens running around in the laying box. Time to get organized with egg boxes, worm boxes, and nestle boxes. Stay tuned for updates and pictures.
Our goal is to reach 10,000 woman per day to feed the layers and turkeys. That's 300,000 worms per month to grow, plus the breeders to sustain that rate. Sounds like a challenge!
We candled some Turkey eggs last night and could just start to see the young birds growing. How exciting! Our 2012 Turkey flock has begun!
So far we have 90 eggs incubating , adding 6 to10 per day. With a decent hatch rate we should have a nice flock this year.
All I need now is another incubator!
Brenda ordered a new flock of ducks today, 170 to be exact. This will allow is to have a larger stream of duck eggs available year round for sale. Right now the demand for duck eggs is surprisingly high.
We chose a heritage duck breed that is endangered, as usual. I forget the official name but they naturally lay year round without extra light and are great foragers.
So. .. more duck eggs coming in about 6 months. All I have to do now is figure out where these can live. ....
Today we received the shipment of 200 mosquito fish for our ponds. These Hardy little fish serve two purposes: eating mosquito larva and producing the best duck eggs ever!
That's right, ducks eat small fish, and that makes their eggs absolutely dense and rich. No grain can come close to the nutritional benefits of true seafood! In fact bird food worth feeding has fish meal of some sort added. Why not just use fresh fish?
We planted the fish in both ponds and mafraid sure enough rocks were at the bottom to provide protection(survival of the fittest ) then dumped the little guys in to do their job of filling the pond.
Hopefully they can reproduce faster than the ducks can eat them!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
I ran across this article about how genetically modified organisms are being presented to our children in schools. It is quite appalling. Under the guise of science, outright lies are fed to children as fact, in an apparent effort to create acceptance of these failed practices in the next generation. How sad. These young people have no way to discern the truth on their own.
Little sprouts is dedicated to children. We offer our humble farm to any and all youth groups or schools as a field trip destination. We invite you to bring your little ones out to see the real animals, truly natural methods of producing food, and learn the truth.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Weather is both a blessing and a curse. Saturday it became evident that the predictions for an unseasonably cold and wet start of week were correct. Unfortunately we were not ready. The details of getting ready for the two most important shows of this year back to back overshadowed preparations we need to make for such weather extremes. Here's a rundown of our day of rest.
Hogs: They were cold, very cold. The recent abundance of rain left the hog pen area a swamp of water and mud. If you recall, they are not allowed in the pasture yet due to replanting so the hogs are confined to the hog pen area. The back shelter was completely flooded with water, and about half of the area was a swamp too deep to walk in. Right now there are too many hogs to fit inside the front shelter which was mostly dry. So one younger boar was pushed out and forced to try to find a place to sleep. We found him saturday evening during chores, cold and shivering half in half out of the mud by the feeders. He was already too weak to move. With the sun going down again and more cold forcast, our options were limited. We took a tote of fresh wood shavings and started covering him and the mud around him with shavings. These both soaked up some moisture from the mud and provided some insulation. After a dozen shovels of shavings he managed to get up and move around. Then we placed one entire hay bale on the feeder platform and opened it. He managed to make his way there slowly and nestled into the 2 foot thick hay. That was just enough insulation for him to recover and make it through the night.
On Sunday we attached the small flatbed and headed out to find a ton of straw. Straw is a bit hard to find around here in the winter, so we ended up at the local farm and feed. As a snow storm with blistering winds blew through the boys loaded about one and a quarter tons on the trailer. Back home we pulled the trailer next to the hog pen and went to work. First we laid out a base of the rest of the shavings from that tote in an area about 10x10. This provided a nice base. Then straw bales one after the other to cover the mud. We kept throwing straw until about a quarter of the pen was covered a foot or two thick.
Now let me say.. if you have never done this particular task, it is quite the workout.Walking around in mud where you sink almost to your knees, pushing around 100 lb bales of straw, occasionally getting a boot stuck so deep you cant do anything but fall over into the mud, now that is a workout! no need for a personal trainer.. it is a full body experience!
We spread over half of the straw out and got a couple bales into the front shelter too, covering the most used areas enough to walk through and leave no mud showing. Next we moved in one of the new turkey shelters (oh yea, forgot to post about that one). These are built like a minimized version of chicken hoop housed we build. IT is a frame of 4x4 and 2x4 with reinforced corners and a shell of livestock panels to create the hoop. These are 10x10 and about 6 feet high in the middle. With the tractor and a chain the shelter lifted right over the hog pen fencing and we could pull it into position in the front corner over where the shavings made a base. Then the hoop gets covered with a 10x12 tarp to make a roof over 80% of the hoop. The final result is a very funtional covered shelter for the hogs on a nice bed of straw and shavings.
Next project, Hunter's new rare heritage chicks arrived at the main post office today. Who knew mail runs between offces on sunday? I had assured him they would not arrive on a sunday, right up to the phone call from the sunday manager letting us know he had the chicks! Ok.. so a flying run into town to retrieve them and buy a few supplies to start caring for day old chicks again.. We decided to put these into the small "nursery" brooder outside by the chicken shelters. We hooked up the lights, waterers, freshened the shavings, and in they go. My biggest fear is the extreme temps (low 20's forcast) freezing the waterer lines and creating a fountain in the morning when it warms up.
During all this, the goats continue popping out babies! With show blowing through the barn doors in a frigid blizzard we through it best to supervise and keep the babies warm. The moms can only do so much in this weather, especially with 2, 3, 4, or even 5 babies per mom. So far this weekend has 3 moms giving birth in the blizzard. I attached a 4x8 sheet of plywood over the door to block the wind and hung a 3 way heat light inside hte stall, now filled with straw. Before we made it around to all this we did loose a few baby goats to the cold. Being wet from birth was just too much for these little guys in the weather.
It is alwasy sad to loose animals, but especially so with baby goats. Milking animals we tend to bond with more than animals used for meat, because they are more partners.With everything going on it was tough but we manged to save all the babies from the third mom. Next year we will be better prepared to provide a warm place to birth these tiny creatures.
So, all in all, not a bad day's work, there was a few hours left at the end of the day to relax before sundown. Well to make dinner actually. Some might say this farm life is pretty crazy, but you know... even sitting here with sore muscles reflecting on the muddy, cold, hectic day of hard labor and enough chaos to stretch the best manager... I would not want it any other way! We pulled together as a family, worked hard, and got things done as a team. We worked both with and against nature, battling the elements to save lives that would not have made it without assistance. There is no better feeling than successfully caring for God's creation. Yes it is work, yes is is dirty, yes it is something often considered lowly labor, for those unable to do anything else. BUT in truth, it is the most fulfilling job in the world.. being caretaker for of this fascinating creation and creating nutritious food that keeps people healthy. We have no complaints!
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
Thursday, March 15, 2012
Little Sprouts will be there giving out samples of our brined and smoked heritage turkey, available this year for thanksgiving. We will also have available samples of our new line of nutrient dense soy free animal feeds !
Joel Salatin is especially important to us because his books have formed the foundation of our farm here in the rogue valley. Joel's approach to farming, animal care, business, and caring for the earth have influenced and driven our own efforts immensely. We owe him and his family a lot, and appreciate all that they have done to further local sustainable farming across america.
If there is any way that you can, please come out to the medford armory tomorrow to show your support for local farmers, and meet all the wonderful options you have in the rogue valley. and be sure to stop by and taste our incredible smoked heritage turkey!
Saturday, March 10, 2012
This article explains some of the background behind our desire to become the first southern Oregon Camel milk farm.
Progress on this is slow but steady. We did just order and receive special milking equipment designed to not damage the animal as normal commercial milk equipment does. More on this in another post.
Friday, March 9, 2012
This month's issues presents us on the front page in a photo working on the Sussex coop :)
UPDATE: The edition is now online, HERE IS THE LINK
Thursday, March 8, 2012
Turkey season officially started today at the farm! We discovered the first two Turkey eggs in this makeshift best in the barn
|Looking a little bored with Daddy's picture taking.... where are those animals again!?!|