Thursday, February 28, 2013

Example of misrepresentation in Raw Milk Control and Debate

This is an ongoing debate.. raw milk products. The federal government position is that raw milk is a hazard and should be banned as a food product nationwide. Their jurisdiction though does not cover in-state sales. States themselves vary in the decision and approach. Nevertheless, raw milk has a reputation for being the most deadly food on the planet.

Let's lay aside for a moment the argument that say "raw milk has been consumed for as long as [people knew it existed without serious consequence", and the history of pasteurization itself as a means to counteract pooor animal husbandry (money saving at the cost of health).  Lay all the debate aside on the value of the milk itself as a nature perfect food, full of unique nutrients and microbes   Instead I'd like to share a simple fact, the government lies about this openly.

Perhaps this is a shock to you, but it is absolutely true, and I present a case in evidence.  Lets take a closer look at the best known and most deadly "raw milk pathogen outbreak" in recent history. I am referring to the 1985 Jalisco Cheese Company incident. This was a horrible incident where pregnant women dies, many along with their unborn children,  birth defects abounded, children died, it was a truly tragic event.

The investigation ensued as did dozens of lawsuits. The official government position as of today is  this:

The source of the pathogen was "Mexican style cheese made with raw milk".

Point #1.  let me point out something... while this is quoted as a "raw milk" problem, the product sold was soft unaged cheese.  It is not referring to raw fluid milk at all. Soft cheese is made from slightly aged slightly fermented milk. This in itself makes the end result more dangerous than the ingredient of raw fluid milk.  It is foolish to say that an ingredient is as dangerous as a processed derivative   Logic blocks you from making that foolish assertion.

Point #2. Even though the government agencies openly quote this as a raw milk statistic, there was never any proof that the milk itself was to blame. The reality is that there were 26  million gallons of milk produced at the same time from the same dairy and ONLY the cheese from jalisco showed any problem. Now I ask you, how is that logically possible? How can one very tiny operation like Jalisco purchase ALL of the raw milk, not once for consistently for months, that had the bacteria in it ? Defies logic to assume that. And there were no tests on the raw milk, nor the dairy, nor the cows that showed any presence of the pathogen.

Point #3. There WERE in fact multiple tests showing the exact pathogen found in the sold cheese that was present in the Jalisco plant, in the refrigerators, the ants crawling around, even the workers themselves. The evidence obviously shows that the plant and workers themselves were infested with the pathogen.

Point #4, there are confessions that unlicensed employees (presumably untrained) were operating the pasteurization equipment. the one thing that would have kept such deplorable conditions within the plant from infecting customers was improperly handled itself.  In fact, the cheese sold was made from PASTEURIZED milk! IT is NOT a raw milk product!

So all the test done showed conclusive evidence, the pathogen was well established within the jalisco plant, but no where to be found in the dairy nor the herds producing the milk. One would think this is pretty conclusive evidence of where the source lied, and in fact not related to raw fluid milk in any way.

But .. alas,  Jalisco itself as a small company  did not have the funds to properly compensate the victims. So, the only options. the only option for prosecutors and lawyers in these many cases was to attack the money behind the ingredients... the dairy itself. So unfortunately they did, and the victim of that decision and approach is ... raw milk.  Raw milk was yet again falsely implicated in something that it had absolutely to do with.

How many more of hte "cases" listead on the government statistics are like this? I do not know. I know that this is one, a highly prominent one, and one that is pointed to today as proof that raw milk is too dangerous to exist. The government officials, the CDC and the FDA know the truth, they know the reality, they know they are lieing. And yet they do.


Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Day old lamb needs a good home

We have one little lamb that is in need of a good home. He was born yesterday but for some reason was abandoned by his mom. We stared bottle feeding him today but he needs a new home.

He seems totally healthy, and is being fed raw fresh goat milk.

The breed is a jacob sheep, a small traditional breed that is unusually hardy.

If you or anyone you know is interested, please contact us asap.

Moving coop inspiration!

Farming today seems to be based on a continuous stream of ingenuity and downright inspiration. This week was another of those moments. While lamenting the difficulty of the auto creeping solar power coops in driving the stakes in to anchor the winch (fine now but come summer, impossible), a moment of inspiration hit.

It is totally unnecessary to drive stakes or even use stakes to anchor the winch!  There is a perfectly suitable anchor in every pasture, easily moveable with little effort.  What is this? Sorry but you will have to wait to find out. Wanna try this out before we announce it. Hopeing to get this set up this week or nest and see if it works as expected.

You are always welcome to come out to the farm if you want a preview!

Lambs everywhere!

We are up to 14 lambs born now. These little guys are soooo cute! So far all are healthy, happy, and leaping around the pasture with mom. Its so refreshing to see all this new life!

We are about halfway done with this years flock increase. Hopefully we will hit 30 lambs born. If so, we will finally be in a position to start selling soy free pastured heritage lamb at the end of sumer.

This breed is perfect for anyone wishing to "try" lamb as an alternative to beef. The meat is mild and tender, and comes in relatively small quantities that fit in most freezers and within a budget. Average weight will be only about 30 to 40 lbs packaged meat each.

We encourage you to make plans to come out for a visit soon and enjoy watching these little guys leaping around in the sunshine.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

7 more goats born this weekend

Seems that we are exploding with baby goats now. Seven more born this weekend!

Cute as they are... the males will be up for adoption. Over the next couple weeks we will be posting these available on craigslist and here. Be sure to stay tuned if you want some very cute little boy goats.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Do we need industrial agriculture to feed the planet?

Quick answer? A resounding NO!

This video does a great job explaining why.

Watch "Food MythBusters -- Do we really need industrial agriculture to feed the world?" on YouTube

Egg production for the week

Its Friday, and it looks like egg production is climbing back to normal as expected, but won't catch up to demand in time. We will be able to fill all existing subscriptions but no additional orders nor those waiting for a subscription. Our sincere apologies!

By next week we should be back to normal.

Broken winch :(

First problem shows up in our auto creeping solar powered coop moving system. Looks like the cable piled up on one side of the winch pulley, slipped over the top, and wrapped around the shaft. The pressure pushed the shaft out of thw winch body, potentially breaking the winch motor itself.


Not sure how to prevent this one. The cable was apparently a little off center, causing the cable to collect on one side of the pulley till it got too thick. I suppose the basic winch design assume,e someone is present and watching for this. It did work for a week though, so the problem must be surmountable. Seems like a smaller guide in front would prevent this.

Back to the drawing board!

Anyone have a trailer to donate?

We are making good progress in setting up our farm internship now. Some good candidates to choose from. One missing thing to do yet is set up living arrangements. What we need is a rv or two.

Perhaps this a long shot, but if anyone has an rv in reasonable shape that they are willing to let the farm have through donation or borrow for the season, please contact us. The intern season is now through november.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Living Rogue Community Dinner!

We are proud to be a sponsor of the upcoming Living Rogue Community Dinner in Ashland. This is a great time to come out and explore the food produced by your local farms (like Little Sprouts!) and enjoy a fun evening.

I am unsure whether we will be present in person and selling items (will decide as it gets closer) but our foods will certainly be there for you to enjoy!

Living Rogue Community Dinner

Living Rogue Community Dinner - Local Food, Live Music, Fun for the Kids, and More!
Come one, come all, to the first Living Rogue Community Dinner, Saturday, March 9th, 4:00pm to 10:00pm, at the Bellview Grange in Ashland, at 1044 Tolman Creek Road.
The purpose of these quarterly dinners is to promote a lifestyle which supports local farmers, helps enhance local food security, and creates an ever greater experience of abundance and sense of community in our region.
Fine chefs from Ruby's Restaurant will prepare a delicious meal with locally grown organic produce.
A local favorite, "Sweet Malloy," will provide live music and entertainment throughout the evening, and there will be a silent auction on great items donated by local businesses. 
This event is hosted by Rogue Produce, and all of the proceeds of the event will be donated to Rogue Valley Farm to School, a local non-profit organization.  Their mission is to educate children about our food system through hands-on farm and garden programs, and by increasing local foods in school meals.  
Rogue Valley Farm to School works to inspire an appreciation of local agriculture that improves the economy and environment of our community and the health of its members.
Join us for a great time!  Proceeds will go to Rogue Valley Farm to School.
Make sure to come if you love:
  • Local Food
  • Live Music
  • Silent Auctions
  • Supporting Local Businesses
  • Community
Purchase your tickets before February 28th, and receive a significant discount.
Early Ticket Prices:
$20 per person ($5 off door price)
$35 for two ($10 off door price)
$10 for kids, ages 7-14 years
($5 off door price)
Kids under 7 are free!
Tickets can be purchased at the following locations:
Rogue Valley Farm to School
233 5th St.
Ashland OR 97520 
Vitalist School of Herbology
340 A St. #7  
Ashland, OR 97520
You can also purchase your tickets online by clicking on the link below:
More about The Living Rogue Benefit Dinner:
Along with Rogue Produce and Rogue Valley Farm to School, The Vitalist School of Herbology is helping to organize these events.

The Vitalist School of Herbology has been providing transformative education since 2003.  They provide a full curriculum integrating botanical medicine into the holistic health paradigm: herbal therapeutics, anatomy/physiology, pathophysiology, materia medica, clinical nutrition, constitutional medicine, diagnostics, medicine-making, plant identification, ethical wild-crafting, and habitat awareness. 
We will have booth spaces filled by other local organizations and small businesses as well, giving you the opportunity to purchase local goods and services, and to find information on how to support local farms in our area.  If you're interested in filling a booth with your small business or organization, give us a call at 541-301-3426.
Silent Auction
A silent auction will be held for various prizes donated by local businesses, including CSA memberships, gift certificates to local restaurants, gift certificates for massage and acupuncture, and much much more!  
For more information about these events call:
or visit "Events" on the Rogue Produce website:


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sold out of eggs this week, till friday

alas, sometimes things dont go according to plan on a farm. This week is one of those weeks. I have spent the better part of the morning answering emails and phone calls asking "where are the eggs??  I cant find them in the store to order this week".

Unfortunately, they do not appear in the store because we are currently totally sold out. There "should" be a few dozen available on friday to order for saturday delivery. I will send out an email announcement when we post the new stock in the store on friday.

what happened? Two things:
1. increased demand - we have had a influx of new customers the last month, increasing demand for all products faster than we were prepared to increase supply.

2. decreased supply of eggs - yep.. something went wrong. Egg production fell to about half over last weekend and is just recovering now.

What happened is disturbingly simple and frustrating. Last week sometime the chickens in the main coop knocked loose the electrical wire going to their automatic chicken door. As you recall, we have automatic light and doors on the main coop. The lights turn on early morning before sunrise to extend the daylight hours, increasing hormones, and producing eggs through the winter. Then the door opens at sunrise to le the birds forage and roam for the day.

Well, the knocked loose the wire on the door, not out, so it wasnt noticed by any humans. The door was then stuck open. So... the chickens wake up with the lights before dawn, see the door open, head outside. Then it's "oh my its dark.. time to sleep" and they stop dead in their tracks awaiting the sun. By sunrise they have missed the extra artificial daylight and .. well.. stop laying.  Unfortunately the most active birds that are most likely to do this are also the best layers.  production drops.

We found the problem and fixed it, but it takes a week or so of proper lighting to get back into production.

Watch for the email on friday to announce eggs available in the store.

One thing this highlights is the difference between weekly orders and subscriptions. Since we always fill subscriptions first, those customers that have subscriptions are getting eggs as normal. The extra orders are what is in jeapordy.  So, if you wish to ensure eggs, try adding an egg subscription instead of weekly orders.  Of course we limit subscriptions to the quantity that we can comfortable guarantee (short of extreme catastrophes).

By next weeek I hope the crisis will be over and back to normal. Plus, out next flock has just started laying,  which will help much.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Seed giants vs US farmers

Definitely worth reading and sharing. Here is a publication documenting the history, reasoning, and legality around seed patents. The seed patent is at the root if the success of gmo seeds. Without patent protection, there would be no financial benefit in producing gmo seeds. Therefore the ability to patent seeds is the single most important enabler for biochemical companies producing them.

Its quite lengthy, but well worth the time.

download here

Can we be gmo free?

This blog post is not about the evils of gmo agricultural, there are plenty of posts about that here and elsewhere. Instead is liked to focus on the debate itself. I often perceive a missing element in listening to conversations on this.

Three gmo free supporter generally focuses on health dangers of gmo crops, in the permanent and irreversible damage caused by gmo farming. There is certainly plenty of evidence to support this.

The gmo supporter generally focuses on the need to feed the world, farmers to make a profit, stoping world hunger. This is certainly a  noble cause.

The ani gmo supporter counters back with the evidence of farms who have successfully switched away from gmo and survived, even prospered... Pointing out the studies showing that gmos don't actually increase yield as promised, at super weeds and bugs threatening to devastate crops.

The gmo supporter pulls out his evidence of goodness brought about by gmo science.

And on it goes....

But wait. There us a debate beneath the debate. If we step back a second, this isn't really about gmo or not. Gmo is just the next logical and necessary step in conventional agricultural. This is actually he same old debate, never settled, that i watched my dad waged in the seventies. It is the organic vs chemical debate.

You see, conventional (chemical based) agricultural has failed, and in a desperate attempt to keep that entire industry alive, comes gmos. Originally gmo science was created because the crops could not withstand the growing levels of chemicals (poisons) necessary in chemical farming.  Every decade of conventional farming has brought more resistance in weed and insect, requiring higher application of poisons. The biochem companies recognized this trend and set about to solve it by undressing the desirable plants ability to withstand  poison. While stronger plants might at first seem a good thing, one must ask the question what are the consequences? This gives birth to the anti gmo movement.

But... Removing gmo science and option from the toolbox of the conventional farmer is a problem. Remember why gmo as invented? Because conventional (poison chemical) based farming failed. It is not sustainable. Weeds and bugs gain resistance and poisons no longer work. The ground becomes devoid of nutrients and yields drop. Changing the nature of plants (genetic modification) us the only way to sustain chemical farming because nature resists poison based approaches.

So, reality is.... Removing gmo option does mean failure UNLESS there's is a return to nature based organic farming. Therefore thus debates is really about organic or conventional. Trying to force a return to noon gmo conventional farming is pointless and does in fact mean lower yields and higher costs without returning instead to organic methods. The very existence if gmo is evidence if this fact.

Am i saying that we must have gmo crops to survive? Heaven forbid! I am saying that we must recognize that this debate has only two successful outcomes: increased poison based agricultural through gmo OR a return to traditional organic agricultural. Non gmo conventional agriculture is just not a viable option.

One of the necessary elements of success in a battle is understanding the battlefield as well it better than the opposition. we would be well served to remember this.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Sprinkler fun

Hunter wanted to give the ducks some fun.... so he hooked up a sprinkler in the area they are in. And wow was he right! They loved splashing around!

The little shepherd

Well, ok.. these are goats, but the title sounded better as shepherd.

The kids took the goats out for a picnic in the beautiful weather. Even little everett got in on the act! Good thing these goats listen fairly well, or this could have been a looong day!

New medford drop point stocked and ready

The new medford drop point at wise women care is gaining in popularity. Here is it stocked for only the second time since we announced it.

We have made this drop point available to anyone that is outside of the normal medford delivery area and wishes product delivery on the medford day. For example, those south of jacksonville, or in ashland desiring an additional delivery.

Oddly enough, we can't grow this site much more, because only so much will fit in a fridge! One of the considerations for delivering perishables :)

We want to thank the people at wise women, especially Augustine, for making this possible. We appreciate your generosity!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Another delivery day dawns

Its Saturday, time to prepare for another dayof home deliveries!  This is certainly a blessed day when we get to gather our whole family and spend the day meeting and chatting with customers, handing over the foods we have worked so hard to produce, and connect with those that rely on our efforts for food and health. What a blessed day indeed!

Farming is not just about crops and animals, feed and manure, life and death, paperwork, profits and cost.... no.... farming is about people. Farming is about keeping people healthy, providing for the most basic of mans needs while careing for gods creation. Delivery day, for us, is the culmination of all this hard work and responsibility. It is the payoff in the greetings, smiles, and stories we are blessed with at each house.

So... suns up... here we go! See you in a bit!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Two more cute little goats and another lamb arrive!

Spring is in full force here even before the calendar says it has arrived. Today was a beautiful spring like day and we were blessed with another lamb AND 2 little baby goats. There is new life everywhere!

We are quite pleased with our goat herd these days. The girls are doing wonderful work making ample milk. In fact they are doing so well that we are able to expand our goat milk herdshare plus offer some new products.

We are introducing smaller packages of flavored yogurts and kefirs. These will be half pints and pints of yogurt flavored with organic fruit and such. If all goes well these will show up in the store next week.

If you'd like to try our goat milk, this is the best time to do so!

Function over form

pretty isn't always necessary in farm life... in fact somethings function (ability to provide value) is more important than its form (aesthetic beauty). Today Hunter and I built another example of this principle. We built a portable area light for the ducks.

As you can see from the picture, this is the following:

An old tire and wheel
An old 10 foot wooden post
A few leftover 2x6
A broken extension cord
And a metal halide area light

Combine all this together and you get a sturdy yet portable light 10 feet in the air with a nice long cord. Add a outdoor timer and presto it becomes a automatic area light for the ducks.

Hopefully this will suffice to get them back to laying. A couple extra hours of daylight should do the trick.

So... it might not be pretty, but its certainly functional!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Babies on the Ground!

Spring is such an exciting time of year on the farm, full of new beginnings and new life. Today , even before spring hits, is full of joy! We have our first lamb on the ground!
Twins born early this morning, both seem healthy and happy hanging out with mom in the pasture.

They look a lot alike, even both have a black patch over their left eyes. 

At first we had a little trouble from this mom-to-be. She seemed to not care for the new babies and was roughly hitting them down to the ground. I had to chase her away so that mom and babies could bond and nurse.  We will keep an eye on this for the next few days to make sure the babies dont get hurt,. 

Solar Powered AutoCreeping Lighted Hoop Coop - IT WORKS!

Finally Success!

Our new design for the turkey / chicken solar powered AutoCreeping, lighted, Hoop Coop Works!

I had to beef up the back bracing with 2x6, and design a new "stake system"  for the wench to pull against, and it works. The pictures below show the finished product in more detail.

Why spend so much time and money on this setup? Well, it should pay for itself in the first season.  The reality for our area is, the birds are in danger when loose, so must be locked safely away from predators most of hte time. In the past we have accomplished this by using hte hoop coop and pulling it around the pasture to gain access to fresh grass and bugs. The problem with this, is frequency. Turkeys are large and heavy. They can quickly compact down the grass in an area and run out of forage. When I say quickly  i mean QUICKLY! within a couple hours, there just isnt much grass left to eat. Moving the coop manually every couple hours just isnt practical. Eve if it was, we would mash down the grass from the tool used to move it anyway.

So, enter the self powered auto creeping coop.  Using only solar power, this coop can pull itself along a flat pasture with no outside help, for several days! IT gives a fresh patch of grass to the inhabitants on an hourly basis, all throughout the day.  Healthier, cleaner, and better fed birds result. In fact, the cost savings on feed should pay for the equipment in the first season. Turkeys prefer grass to feed most of hte time, so offering fresh grass constantly throughout the day should cut their feed consumption in half, while keeping them safe from predators.

Why not wheels? Well, have you been to our farm? There is one constant in the winter... MUD and lots of it. the ground here is mostly clay so as soon as a decent rain comes in fall, the ground turns to jello till it dries out in spring.  Wheeled coops are useless for about 6 months of the year. With this winch setup, we have a year round ability to move without causing ground disruption (ruts). More grass, more movement, less mud... its all good!

So, here are some details on the final setup:

The stake setup. Much like what is used in off roading for winch usage. The winch cable enters at the left and  hooks around the first pipe. These pipes are hard iron, driven about 2 feet into the ground at a 45 degree angle. The second pip is driven in about 2 feet behind the first. The S hook on the chain connects the top of the first pipe to the bottom of the second. Ther eis a bolt through the second, just above ground level, to keep the chain from riding up over time. The second pipe holds the first pipe at the proper angle using the chain. Together they make a very sturdy stake. 

You can see the distance able to travel without resetting the stakes. This is 150 feet of cable. We removed the stock winch cable for one size smaller to enable longer runs. this gives about 3 days of movement before it runs out of cable. 

Inside you can see the hanging 12v CFL tubes for lighting. The unit we start with has 5watt lights, but I can replace them with up to 25watt lights if necessary. 

Here is hte winch mounted to the winch plate and bolted with 6  lag screws to a 2x6 across the back (now front) of the coop. There is an additional 2x4 screwed to the end of the 2x6  to provide vertical stability as well as wide enough top area to mount he winch plate.  There is just enough room on the winch plate for the deep cycle battery and the electronics, all in a nice neat package.  the final step will be enclosing this into a wooden box for rain cover, and cutting the back panel so that it can fold down around hte winch assembly. This way, we can still safely open the entire back of the coop for herding birds in and out while not disturbing the winch. 

Heres a view of the assembly on the back of the coop..The 2x6 extends all the way to the outside of the runners so that it can be secured to all 3 runners on each side. 2 screws in each runner make a total of 12 screws holding the back brace to the runners. 
 For electronics there are 3 timers used. The 24 hour timer allows setting of 20 different on/off times per week or day with a minimum of 1 minute on time.  The other time is a event timer that can be set from 1 second to 60 seconds.  I use the one 24 hour timer for the lights, to provide extended daylight for egg layers. The other 24 hour timer is set to give a one minute on time at the top of each hour from 6am till 6pm. Each time it clicks on, the event timer is triggered giving the winch 10 seconds of run time. That pulls the coop about 14 inches. 

I discovered that moving for longer time was much more effective with less battery drain them more frequent shorter run times. Getting the coop moving at first is the bulk of the electric drain. Once it moves, keeping it creeping takes way less. So, we are seeing maybe half the battery drain with this new system. 

After a few days of verification, we will be ready to move hte turkeys to their new home on thicker grass, add the nesting box, and start collecting turkey eggs for the 2013 turkey harvest!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Very first egg found!

Drum roll please!

Today we found the very first egg from the new laying flock! Exciting! This means we will very soon have enough chicken eggs to expand our customer base and meet the rising demand!

It also means I need to order the new rollaway nesting boxes and finish this coop.  We need two nesting boxes and a solar light setup plus winch. Time to get these girls in production!

A very exciting part of this is that this flock is totally unique to little sprouts. It is our own mix of heritage breeds interbred. There is an incredible variety of birds, and the eggs should be the same.

Stay tuned!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Testing a new "rollaway" nesting box

Today I finally found the time to assemble and hang the new nesting box in the front chicken coop. This is a test, if it works well and does what we hope, we will replace all the nesting boxes with this type.

This is a "rollaway" nesting box. It is designed so that when the hen lays, the egg rolls away into a hidden compartment. This keeps the eggs cleaner, fresher, and easy to collect. Does it work?  We shall see, there are mixed reviews.

The particular box we chose is all metal (except a wooden perch) and quite sturdy. It is made from decent guage sheet metal, assembled with real screws, and quite a nice design. It is designed and built by the amish, and came in a small flat box.

Assembly went pretty easy even with very simplelistic instructions. I had a couple times where some5hing was wrong and had to remove and redo it, but not too bad. It weighs about 25 lbs only, and is amazingly sturdy.

I hung it in the front coop and removed the other old turkey size nesting box. Then I moved most of the hens to that side. By noon tomorrow we shall see how this works out.

Here are some pics:

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Update on fruit trees

Well, bad news. You may remember the incident with the fruit trees and blueberries a short while back.... the one where horses took down the wooden worm fence and let the sheep into the orchard? We took a close look at the trees and none except maybe the fig are saveable. The rest have ALL of the bark eaten off, 100%. Without some bark the tree has no way to function since the bark is the "circulatory system" of a tree.

So we have started replacing all the trees. 10 are in so far with another 10 to go. Hopefully next week.

The types chosen so far are:


We also decided to add


We made sure to not get any hybrids and the oldest varieties we could find.

Its sad to start over... but glad to have it half done.

First delivery with our new little sprout

The day comes to a close, and what a day it was! Under the beautiful weather we are currently blessed with, we completed our first home delivery route with or entire clan. This includes our new little sprout, Oliver. Everything went well, but perhaps a tad challenging. There were a few obstacles to overcome by adding a fifth little sprout to the mix, especially at two weeks old.

Fortunately Oliver did amazingly well, sleeping through most of the day. It was a long day, matching the largest delivery on record for little sprouts.  All the kids did admirable though. Mom was a little tired, and took an hour off buying us all lunch at the Ashland food coop.

We wish we would have more time to visit with each of you, but time was short today. We hope you understand.

Now the talk of the family is... What can we trade up to for a vehicle?! Or beloved  extended Yukon is actually a bit cramped with a family of 7 plus a dog. Extended van maybe? Small bus? I don't know what the future might hold!

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we worked through the last few weeks. Things are finally getting back to normal around here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Shining some light on turkeys

Today we installed the solar lighting on the turkey breeding hoop coop. We will soon see if a mere 10 watts of flourescent light is enough to trigger egg production. Honestly I have my doubts but... it would be very beneficial if this worked.  We should know within 2 weeks.

We wanted to get these lit first of january, so we are behind by a month. But hey... better late than never as the saying goes. There is still just enough time to give the next flock of turkeys that extra time to grow for an impressive thanksgiving delivery.

Let's hope for the best!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

5 Reasons to not buy meat at the grocery store

This is a great blog post to share. Simple, straightforward, accurate. Nothing to add except.... Like i always say.... Know Your Farmer!

5 Reasons I Don’t Buy Meat at the Grocery Store | The Well Fed Homestead

Ducks get a new home and new job

The ducks are moved again, this time to our garden area. This area is totally enclosed, and covered with grass. There are lots. And lots of worms just below the surface.

These ducks have spent a month or two in the original pig pen, finishing off all the forage left from the pigs. They did that admirably! There is not a single blade of grass left! You may have noticed that the yolks of the duck eggs have turned a bit lighter yellow in color over the last month as forage disappeared.

This new area is full of forage content for them. The yolks should turn deep orange within days as they hunt and clean in this new place. In the process they are pre-weeding our garden and fertilizing.

We also moved a set of predator eyes in with them to deter the predators. So far we have no trace of fights or lost ducks! Maybe these predator eyes work!

Chicken egg production down

One bit of good / bad news.

Bad news, our chicken egg production is down this week. We may need to cut off orders before all are filled. It has been declining all week, and our inventory is totally sold out.

Good news is I fixed the problem. The chickens had knocked loose the wire to the auto door. The door was stuck open.  So when the lights turn on at 4am... the ladies head outside through the open door.. but its dark! So the freeze still and go back to sleep until sunup. That shorts. Them enough light to slow egg production.

Usually it only takes a few days for production to climb back up, so this is a temporary problem. Nevertheless we may be short for this week deliveries.

Replacement fruit trees purchased

Today we purchased our replacement fruit trees. If you recall... we planted these trees 2 years ago. They were just due to fruit nicely this year but... also as you may recall, they were... well... eaten. The horses took down the worm fence and the sheep followed. Soon half the trees were eaten down to the dirt.

So today we got replcements from shooting star nursery. We also are adding some raspberries, boysenberries, and blackberries.

The trees are:


They are scheduled to be planted on Friday afternoon.

Our goal is to use these fruits to enhance our current products (flavored yogurt, kefir, kombucha, chocolate) and if there is any leftover sell as preserves.

Auto crawling solar hoop coop ... version 3

We just finished the wiring for version 3 of our own design for a solar powered automatic crawling auto lighted hoop coop. As you may recall... version 2 sort of "exploded" when the winch broke loose from the mount and ripped the wires apart. That was back in december. With the holidays and then new baby arrival the coop project took a back seat. But now it is rebuilt and ready to install!

Version 3 has the winch mounted on the coop like version 1 did. It just isn't practical to pull more than coop, so mounting it on the coop itself is more secure. The winch cable will pull against a series of stakes as those used in off roading.  Overall a more secure and easily movable system.

Another change is I swapped the dual stage countdown timers for a 24hr timer and single countdown. This provides a burst of power to the winch for 1 to 60 seconds, and repeats with minute accuracy for up to 6 periods per day.  Version 2 had a nonadjustable runtime of 1 second. The longer run time will save battery power, since it is startup that drains most power. A longer runtime let's the coop cover just as much ground per day but use maybe half the battery power.

Another change for version 3 is wiring. Now power for everything except the main winch circuit comes from the charging unit. This allow the charger power switch to. Kill everything instantly if necessary.

The lights are powered from another 24 hr timer just like the winch. the wiring is brought out and back in through the charger cig lighter plug hole (which served no purpose here). This powers two 5 watt 12v flourescent bulbs. Hopefully this is enough for the birds. If not, its easy enough to add more, or switch to led lights.

So there it is... version 3 ready to go. We just need to mount this to the coop, cover the electronics, connect the solar panels, hang the lights, and set the timers. Hopefully this will happen tomorrow!

Here are some shots of the electronics and winch assembly.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

So... God made a farmer

Now this is a superbowl commercial!

Brought tears to this farmers eyes.

Watch "Dodge Ram Trucks Super Bowl Commercial Farmer - God Made A Farmer" on YouTube

Artificial flavors bring artificial life

Id like to point out a fundamental difference between farm fresh natural foods and factory produced artificial foods. That difference is... artificial or natural flavors. Yes... let's consider what  flavoring means.

First... let me point out that I am referring to both truly artificial (chemical based )flavors as well as "natural flavors". The difference is the source, and granted chemicals are always worse than real foods... but the core problem is the same.

Here's a question.... why flavor something? Factory foods is produced to make a profit.... so they don't spend money on ingredients without a solid reason. What is the reason for flavorings of any source?  There is only one obvious answer.... the stuff they are flavoring doesn't taste right or good, so they add flavorings to make it seem right and pleasant. THAT is a real problem! Why doesn't it taste right? What is fundamentally wrong with their "food" that makes it need added flavors to taste like the "food" it is mimicking?

Think that through and you quickly realize that something that needs flavors, natural or chemical, is either not food, not the food it says it is, or simply not good at all.

The problem here is that our taste and smell are our built in mechanisms to determine what is good to eat, and what our body needs at the moment. However, this ability is specifically what the flavor industry is "fooling" by adding foreign tastes and smells to their "food". Therefore people living on foods filled with flavors, of any source, are being fooled, their built in protections for health bypassed in the seeking of pleasure and profits.

Judging food based on flavor ONLY works when NO flavors, artificial or natural, are added. Let's judge the food on its own merits. Let's step away from such a manipulated food system and return to real foods with real flavors. This is what farm fresh food is... real.

Our foods have no added flavors. It is all real the way nature intended. The aroma, taste, texture is real, not induced through manipulation of any sort. It is food, not a chemical mix.

A word of warning and encouragement. If you have existed on flavorings, your taste mechanism is corrupted by them, and getting back the ability to enjoy and judge real foods takes some time. You truly do have to shun artificial foods and flavors for a while in order to be able to follow your nose and taste successfully. Cravings then can represent a true food need, and can be followed willingly. A craving for a taco bell taco is not a healthy craving, your body crying for the ingredients it needs. A taco bell craving is more like that of an addict craving his addiction. On the other hand, a craving for a real natural food like avacados or raw veggies is one to be followed.

The bottom line? food that must rely on flavorings, natural or artificial, should be avoided. They not only can add toxins, but fundamentally the corrupt our method of eating healthy.  Instead choose fresh real whole foods from a local farm. These are the foods that bring true enjoyment, health, and natural responses.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Deep into predator season

Winter is a risky time here at little sprouts. Predators are on the prowl in a big way. It seems everyday we find new tracks of coyote, cougar, racoon, fox, skunk, you name it! (No bears yet thank goodness!) So far losses have been minimal with the new coops, but not at zero.

The world of nature is filled with diversity, beauty, peace, and balance, BUT also a harsh reality that life in the wild depends on death. It cannot be avoided completely. Whether we approve or not, nature uses death to maintain health and balance. Some species of animals control populations of others through consumption. It is an intricate system of balance and interdependence that has worked since the beginning of life as we know it. But it is still harsh to the individual in the moment.

Nature is beautiful, but real. It is more awesome than any photo or painting can ever capture, more complex.... more simple. But nature is real, it is life and death. It is a circle the repeats each season.the incomprehensible balance between all living things is in fact the most beautiful aspect of nature, making music like a fine orchestra under skilled direction, each individual following the musical score to add a tiny piece to an overall performance of vast diversity and beauty. But alas, the enforcement of that balance is a harsh system of survival of the fittest, population control through death, and an order of top to bottom. The same system of nature has both sides.

This is why, in my humble opinion, man must stop trying to alter this intricate balance for his own short sided gain. It is such a complex interdependence that we are just beginning to understand how vast it is. Anything we change, anything, has wide and deep consequences in ways we can not predict or manage. The man made practices I refer to are conventinal farming based on chemical support, factory animal production based on chemical support, and of course genetic alteration of organisms, the epitome of permenant imbalance. These three together represent the pride of mans accomplishment and his downfall.

as you know, we work very hard to follow natures rythmn at little sprouts. To shun the use of any chemicals, offer protection to our animals through natural means, and to support the diversity and balance of life from bacteria to plant to animal.

So... we spend the cold winter months with one watchful, eye on everything, guard animals in place, fences constantly mended, and a good amount of prayer for protection. This year we have added "predator eyes" to this mix, which seem to be helping. That's another blog post in itself. Coming soon!

Home deliveries paused for today

We have decided to take life a little easier today while the family gets a little much needed rest and welcomes little oliver to the group.  Instead of the usual door to door home deliveries, we will deliver all orders on the medford route to our new medford drop point for pickup. This is the wise women care office at 400 crater lake highway.

The orders will be delivered to the drop spot at noon today, which is a white fridge behind the building. Perishables will be inside the fridge, nonperishables will be stacked in a box or two outside.

If you have not received the email with the gate code, please call us today. This area is locked but accessible without going into the offices for 24x7 access.

Two avoid any confusion, there is a printed list of everyones orders on the fridge. Please mark off your name when you pickup. Payment should NOT be left there! Just drop it in the mail.

We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, but appreciate your understanding. We will return to regular home deliveries hopefully next week for ashland.

Mommy and baby oliver are doing fine (except for the usual new baby lack of sleep). We surely appreciate all the kind notes, calls, and emails! Your celebration with us has been very touching! Thank you!