Saturday, March 30, 2013

Local gmo climate exposed

The best made plans sometimes fail. Such did our winter buying of alfalfa. We attempted to purchase enough alfalfa to carry us through to spring cutting. Unfortunately... We feel short and ran out this week. So.. The scramble starts to find non gmo organic or semi organic alfalfa for the goats and sheep.

Good news is we found some... Almost 3 hours drive away.

During this search, we ran into every imaginable response from local growers. Most, severely disappointing. I'd like to share some.

first let me say that every conversation, without exception, started or with the grower rattling of the list of what they perceive to be important. Things like "looks good", "no weeds", "second cutting", "stored well", etc. then the question start.

Q. Is it organic?
A. Nope

Q. Is it gmo?
A. What's gmo mean?

Q. Where did the seeds come from?
A. I dunno

Q. Is it sprayed with poisons?
A. Of course, it looks real good

Q. Is it organic?
A. No
Q. Is it gmo?
A. You know that organic can be gmo now?
Q. Yes, is yours?
A. I don't know.
Q. Where did you get the seeds?
A. Some place out of state, but this looks real good.

Q. Any organic left?
A. Of choose not, that all sells out in the fall.
Q. Why not plant more?
A. Can't make money with organic
Q. Do you know any one that has any left?
A. No, I get asked that a lot.
Q. Gonna plant more this year?
A. No

So, the organic crop is sold out by end of treat, at higher prices than conventional, people searching for more all winter at even higher prices, yet he would rather just plant conventional which is still sitting in storage unsold at lower prices, hoping he can unload it before this years crop.

But he can't make money on organic?

And on it goes...

Most growers actually were noticeably unhappy, almost insulted by the question of "is it gmo".  On conversation ended with

"if you want not sprayed, put an add in the paper looking for the dirtiest weedy alfalfa possible and maybe you'll find some worthless stuff to buy."

Nice.

But... We found a grower, 3 hours away, that offered pleasantly all the information, even called the owner to determine the source of seeds. It is never sprayed with poisons, no chemical fertilizer applied, and the source checks out to be non gmo! They are considering going official organic soon. Woohoo!

It's a long drive, but if we purchase an entire semi load at a time, the price is good. So we will have plenty soon, perhaps even some to sell!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Incubators warmed and running!

Two incubators up and running. The left is about 3/4 full of turkey eggs, the right hold the starts of our next chicken flock.  That's about 70 turkeys and 140 chickens.  There will be a few more rounds of each, before the season is done and another incubator in on the way to add to the mix.

As you can see we use the brisnea incubators. These have done well for us with precise temp control, ventilation, humidity control and turning. We decided to go with multiple small ones instead of less larger ones, for redundancy. Things always break and we didn't want time "put all of our eggs in one incubator". We need about two more but these guys aren't cheap so we just add one every year. By summer we will hatch close to a thousand birds.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Quite a long day

Yesterday was quite a long day indeed. Delivery to the Ashland area has grown at an amazing pace. The best news is we actually had enough product to fill every order! While we had to substitute different sizes in a few cases, there was enough to go around.

However, the sheer number of customers brings us to a point where we will need to split the delivery routes. The hours required to do all deliveries in one day are just too many. Yesterday we were just exhausted by the time we returned to the farm.

An interesting visual of "behind the scenes" at little sprouts is this... envision 4 children, a 2 month old baby, and a little dog all in the truck for 9 hours doing deliveries, eating snacks, taking turns meeting people, amidst the occasional broken bottles, dropped eggs, paperwork, car troubles, trailer doors left open, etc. Makes for quite a day!

So we are going to be working on dividing the routes to shorten the delivery day back to a manageable number of hours. One of our farm rules is "if your not having fun, your not doing it right". We honor that rule by breaking impossibly large jobs into manageable tasks.

We aren't sure yet what method we will use to split the routes, but anyone affected will be contacted before the next delivery. It should be a painless transition.

Thank you for your support and patronage! And we thank the ultimate  source of all our blessings... our heaven Father, who inspired us, and empowers us to do this work.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Truly Naturally cured bacon...coming soon

Amongst all the other tests we are working on, one in particular has quite a few customers sitting at the edge of their seats...  BACON!

Bacon has to be one of america's favorites foods.  Its popularity is unparalleled  both in health food circles and without. Those afraid of saturated fats see it as the one guilty pleasure they allow themselves. Those embracing the healthy saturated fats in their diets see bacon as the ultimate taste of a healthy fatty food... EXCEPT...

both camps (pro and anti fat)  see a united problem with bacon, chemical nitrates. While there are those that feel comfortable with consuming a steady diet of chemical nitrates, banking on the belief that our bodies can neutralize this chemical and the derivatives  produced in cooking.  Most people, the vast majority,  see nitrates as the one worst aspect in bacon.

Our first answer to this dilemma was to produce "natural nitrate"  bacon. This is bacon like that you commonly see cured with "nitrates naturally occurring in celery powder".  There is solid evidence that suggests this type of nitrate is in fact not as dangerous as chemically pure nitrates so often blamed for cancer causing.  We call this bacon option "natural nitrates" because it uses mother natures nitrates, just in larger quantities than occurring in nature.

The second answer was to produce bacon with NO nitrates... using only salt, spices, and sugar to cure it. This bacon has a decidedly different flavor, and relies on the sugars to offset the saltiness of the cure.  BUT there are zero nitrates. Unfortunately there s also a lot of sweetener in this type of bacon to make it palatable.

So, we are are a mission to overcome that. We are exploring a way to cure bacon the truly old fashioned way, with ZERO nitrates, and little to NO sugar. Our own family is sugar free so this is a personal as well as a business venture.

the trick, we think, is in using dry curing instead of wet curing. In wet curing  you inject the meat with liquids (salt, sugar, etc) to speed up the process. This is the method used in virtually all meat curing today to avoid the long waits of dry curing.  However, it infiltrates the meat so deeply and completely that the saltiness is overwhelming. The meat is similarly flavored through the cut.  With dry curing, the spices and salt are rubbed on the outside of hte cut, to draw the internal juices out while slightly infiltrating the meat from the outside in.  In theory this leaves the meat with a less salty overall disposition, allowing for lower sugar content throughout.

What about preservation of the meat? Well, traditionally salt cures were used to preserve meat  for long voyages (ocean crossings). Here's a reality, meat spoils from the outside in, never the inside out as long as there are no bones in it. Bacon of course has no bones, so it only spoils on the surface. It is the surface the interacts with teh outside world of bacteria, and other microbes.  If the outside is salted and smoked properly, it is protected from spoilage. In addition, the salt draws the liquids from the inside of the meat, drying it to a point. This drying effect further reduces the ability of pathogens from growing inside the meat. So you end up with a protective shell around fairly dry meat... in other words.. preserved.

So.. now have a few slabs of bacon covered in salt and spices slowly curing in the fridge. Within another week we should know how the flavor comes out in the end.  Let's all wish for the best.. so that we can all enjoy flavorful and healthy bacon!

Intensive grazing... a new beginning

Today marks yet another new beginning at little sprouts. After researching and planning for 2 years... we finally start our own version of a pasture management technique sometimes intensive grazing.

Intensive grazing is just what the name implies... grazing on steroids. It is a small scale implementation of a grand plan of nature to build and maintain grasslands... called the herd effect.  Grazing animals (herbivores like sheep, cows, horses) are vulnerable to predators in the wild. Their defense is two things... collecting into a tight herd and moving at any hint of danger. Therein lies natures secret to land management and fertility.

Herding is necessary for survival because the individual is safest inside a large herd. An animal off by itself is easy prey. This effect creates a small tight herd that simultaneously tramples, disturbs, and fertilizes a small plot of land. the combined effects of this for short times are not unlike what we do to prepare a garden in the spring.... tilling and fertilizing combined with mulch.

But then movement... the herd must move on. Either for safety, scared from an attack or simply running low on clean food, the herd moves. This is usually within a few days. From the viewpoint of the land, it is stressed and then left to rest and regrow. The plants react by gaining strength, nutrients, and hardiness. Roots deepen, green spring forth, nature rebuilds quickly after a herd passes through.

This effect is what built and preserved open grasslands around the world for hundreds or thousands of years. Large herds rotating around the land building it up as if coordinates by some master gardener. It is only with more modern grazing techniques that this changed... the math formula of "x number of head on x acres of land" is death to a pasture. That type of grazing neither stresses nor relaxes the land. It remains in a steady state of slow decline.

Intensive grazing is a farm implementation of this natural effect. The animals are held in smaller area simulating a herd, and that is moved around the pasture every day or two. Stress and relax the land to promote growth, fertility, and robustness.

Our own version of this will initially include sheep followed by ducks followed some seeding and rest. Eventually we hope to include hogs in this mix for some extra deep "disruption of soils".  With the ducks will be adding moisture, and then right when the ducks move on, sprinkling of new seeds. This gives is the added benefit of some irrigation at a critical time in a small area at a time. Its not really irrigation though, it is only watering of livestock (ducks) while they happen to be on land that would benefit from irrigation.

This model is inspired by both joel salatin and the savory institute. The latter of which speciliazes in restoring barren infertile desert land into fertile pasture and forests. The research we did into this shows some absolutely incredible results.

So today... here we go! We have our own version of moveable herd containment, and a plan. Surely there will be many modifications along the way but I am confident that in the end we will see results as improvement in these old clay soils.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eggs are back in town!

Yes! Finally all of our egg production is returning and the new flock is laying. This means plenty of eggs to go around! In fact... it looks like we will have enough eggs to hatch our third flock by spring AND bring back those yummy pickled eggs!

Stay tuned!

First turkey eggs in the incubator

Its finally time! The first 45 eggs or so are in the incubator, launching the 2013 turkey season. We are a big late this year, but still within time to offer delicious traditional turkeys for thanksgiving.

The exciting part is this... after thanksgiving it doesn't end this year! We are set up to continue producing and selling turkeys every 2 to 3 months ... year round! Yes.... fresh heritage soy free pastured turkey. All year! We are. Very excited!

Very soon we will start taking deposits for turkeys for thanksgiving. Last year we sold out in early november so reserve yours early!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

White cloud of death

We were driving along a rural road (just at the edge of town) on our home delivery rout when I saw it. The white cloud of death rising from a pear farm. The workers were out in their hazmat suits using the huge fan duster to apply the usual collection of poisons to the pear trees. It is an all too common sight. The white cloud of poison rising tens of feet above the orchard and drifting in the wind.

We of course immediately stopped the air circulation to avoid breathing the remnants of the poison. But then we see the houses along the road as we pass. Children playing in the sunshine, grandma gardening, moms sitting in the shade of a porch.... all unaware of the poisons they consume at the hands of the pear farmer.

But they are not unaffected. We seem to get a disproportionate number of calls from those living alongside the pear farms seeking help for severe medical issues. The issues are varied, but the end result is always suffering. It is ironic that pear farmers enclose their workers in haz mat suits to protect them from poison exposure while the tractor sprayer drives for hours right by several houses, the wisps of poison drifting across yards and children. And this happens year after year.

I pity the poor soul that will one day awake to realize the suffering caused so many families through the ,misguided search for profits in the pear field. How many children have been raised with constant exposure to their applications of poison, accumulating life long health issues.

Will it someday be a crime to purposefully apply poison in a fog of powder that drifts across the land across houses and families?  When will the children start lawsuits accusing pear farmers of negligent actions resulting in permenant suffering? As the need for poison increases each year to combat acquired resistance and tolerance in pests, surely it is only a matter of time.

As we drive by the white cloud of death, all these thoughts haunt my mind... concern for the unsuspecting and trapped residents, as well as concern for the farmer that will one day realize...

Next time you see the non organic pears in the grocery store with their delicious and flawless appearance.... think back to the white cloud of death drifting over children playing in their own back yard. Puts things in perspective.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Nighttime visitor

We have had a nighttime visitor for the last two nights. A very determined if somewhat incapable visitor. He has twice torn open a coop, but failed to capture a single meal from inside.
Our best guess is a juvenile lion (cougar). Perhaps one a bit inexperienced in hunting. The first morning we found a coop with roosters attacked, door half torn and pulled off its hinges. The door is 1/4 inch plywood. No damage to the chicken wire across the front. The roosters were let out but all accounted for and no feathers found.
Sedond night he returned, broke the door in half, pulled the hinges out completely, and broke the 2x4 that held the hinges. No damage to the wire and no roosters lost. There's is but one little pile of maybe 8 feathers.
So we decided to work with the county trapper to set a large live trap. Quite large, big enough to walk in. Whatever this is will likely return as it is hungry and repetitive. As the sun dawn we will head out to see if this was successful.
Cougar? Bear? We will soon see....

Monday, March 11, 2013

Black wattles on their way!

Finally! After 2 years of waiting.... we are back in the pig business!

We tested our oldest large black sow and sure enough.... pregnant! The red wattle boar did his job. The result will be a heritage cross.... black wattles!

The little ones are due either april or may. Pork will be available in december.

We are very excited to see little piglets running around again.  They are going to be soooo cute!

Another first is the pregnancy tester itself. We use an ultrasound device that alerts to the presence of amniotic fluid. There is either a positive or negative tone. For 2 years I've only heard the negative tone and actually wonderd if it was working. But now we know it was right all along!

Important meeting tonight about Jackson County GMO initiative

There is an important meeting tonight about he future of seed and agriculture in Jackson County.  As you may now, there is an initiative to ban GMO crops from jackson county to prevent uncontrollable GMO pollen broadcast that threatens every non-gmo farm in the county.  For more info go to http://www.gmofreejacksoncounty.org/

So tonight is a meeting to discuss stratgegies around the latest move by bio chemical corporations  to bypass local decisions by mandating state control of local operations (SB633). If you can., please plan on attending hte meeting to learn and help form strategy in what is quickly becoming an emergency.

Where: OSU Extension Hanley Road
When:  6 to 8 pm,  3/11/2013
Who Invited: You. 

For more info contact http://www.gmofreejacksoncounty.org/


Turkey Battle!

These guys are just so fun to watch. We let the turkeys out for an afternoon of sunshine and of course the toms gather up and try to see who's top turkey.


Sunday, March 10, 2013

First attempt at growing fodder

Its been just over a week since our first fodder trial. The results so far are below.

Our Fodder is sprouted grains used to feed animals. Not just sprouted but grown to a few inches but without soil.

This is a homemade system. It is in the greenhouse to make it year round. Each section consists of 6 plastic gutters laid side by side. One end is raised 4 inches, middle 2 inches, to provide drainage. Water drips into each tray every 6 hours through drip irrigation lines and emitters. At the drainage end is a gutter end cap with tiny holes in a unique arrangement to provide proper drainage. (Working on this part)

To use, we soaked the grain overnight, rinsed it, then spread about a half inch across all the gutters. It took about 7 lbs of dry grain to do this.

What you see is after about 8 days of cold nights and mostly hot days.

Changes to make:

1. Use single grain. This is three grain scratch and they all sprout seperately, causing some weirdness. There are grains in all states of sprouting

2. Heat... I'm thinking a waterbed heater would be perfect.

3. More precise water control. I'm not happy with the timer used at first.

4. Dry before feeding. The sheep prefer it if we would dry it for several hours before feeding.

First trial... ok. The animals loved the first results, especially since it has lots of grain in it yet.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Living rogue community dinner

Here's a quick shot of our table at the living rogue community dinner tonight. Since this was a rather large delivery day, the table was manned by our current intern.... christian. He set up the table and manned it answering questions and greeting people.

The dinner seemed a huge success from what we hear about it. We appreciate being invited to participate!

First little sprouts interns ever start next week!

Exciting stuff! Next week marks the beginning of a new chapter in this farms story. We have chosen our first ever interns to be living on farm!

Their names are Aaron and Rene. Both from southern oregon ans both with a dream of someday having their own small farm.

After a week long interview and trial period of a wide variety of activities and chores, the unanimous decision was made bring these two on as our first interns. Now they will spend the next few months learning all we do and exploring a real farm life.

Please welcome these two hardworking enterprising trailblazers to the farm.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Jungle gym mom

Lambs are so playful! This little guy decided to use his mom as a jungle gym. Mom just took it all in stride without a complaint.

Water kefir taste test

What a fun day! We are exploring making water kefir for sale and produced several different flavors to taste test.  In this first round there is :

Lemon
Cranberry
Coconut
Pineapple
Black cherry
Plain
Orange mango

We also explored how long to do the secondary fermentation. 1 to 2 days gave it a little fizz while 2 to 3 days was some major carbonation!

We took a vote and decided to concentrate on about half these flavors in the next round. If all goes well we will have water kefir for sale in the store really soon!

Compelling evidence against conventional thinking.

Do we need GMOs and chemical agriculture to feed the world ? NO! In fact, it is exactly that (gmo and chemical agriculture) that is REDUCING food around the world, leaving people hungry and dependent.

So how do we feed the world's growing population? Simple.... nature. The answer is always in duplicating nature.

Please take a moment to watch this video. I usually dont put much stock in TED talks, but this one in particular is extremely valuable.  This is not the first I have heard of this approach, but it is the most dramatic proof of success. Watch and you will be amazed also.

Remember, the secret is nature.

http://www.cattlenetwork.com/e-newsletters/drovers-daily/Commentary-Savory-changes-views-of-livestock-production-195375141.html


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Lamb and Mutton for Sale!

We now have both Lamb and Mutton for sale from our heritage "jacob" sheep!  Jacob are a hearty sheep yielding small portions of tender mild meat, more mild than commonly used commercial breeds. There is limited availability this year, so hurry and reserve yours today!

The lamb will yield about 30 to 40 lbs of meat, and will be available late summer, early fall.  They are all under a year old. 

The mutton available is our male sheep from last year. Their meat will be noticeably stronger in flavor. and are between 1 and 2 years old. These are available now. 

The price is for the meat is paid directly to the farm, and there is an additional fee of about $100 for the kill, cut and wrap by the butcher. This is paid directly. You of course also have the option of picking one up live if you prefer. 

To order lamb or mutton just visit our online store  and look under "meats".

I will say by way of biased testimonial, these lambs yield the mildest tenderest meat I have ever tasted. Head and shoulder in taste above the other commercial breeds. IF you have avoided this biblically popular meat due to the strong flavor of most lamb, please consider giving this a try. You will likely be pleasantly surprised at this other red meat.

Here is a little cost comparison I found to help you compare the cost of buying a whole lamb to purchasing cuts in the store. Please keep in mind that our heritage lambs are roughly half this size!



Oregon Farm Bureau makes astonishing admission

Did that headline grab your attention? Well what I noticed this morning got mine. A seemingly small point, perhaps even a good one on the surface, but when I realized what it meant I was astonished.  What am I talking about?

This morning I was browsing some gmo - anti-gmo stuff and decided to reread the Oregon Farm Bureau Fact Sheet on GMO science (click to read it yourself) . Part of their justification for co-existence is  this paragraph:

The National Organic Standards were carefully crafted as process-based standards to protect farmers. The unintentional presence of biotech material through commingling or crosspollination does not cause a farmer to lose organic certification if they are following their stewardship plan. In fact, USDA has confirmed that:
While the National Organic Program Regulation (7 CFR Part 205 et seq.) excludes the use of products resulting from genetic modifications, USDA-AMS does not consider inadvertent trace presence in itself to be a violation. NOP regulations do not require withdrawal of crops or land in the case of inadvertent GE contamination, but some producers have reportedly done so voluntarily
They are saying that organic certified farms are not at risk from GMOs because unintended contamination will not cause loss of crop value nor loss of certification. The farmer can continue business as usual as long as he didnt intend to incorporate GMO seeds. 

Ok, so that's good right? Well not so fast. What they are really saying is this: (my paraphrase)

Even though cross contamination has happened, and is known to happen, the "organic" crop has not decreased in value

Add in the last sentence above :

NOP regulations do not require withdrawal of crops or land in the case of inadvertent GE contamination, but some producers have reportedly done so voluntarily

What I realized is this :
  1. There is no doubt about cross contamination, it happens regularly enough to be dealt with in the official policies.
  2. This contamination of GMO to organic does not decrease the value of the organic crop
    1. For this to be true, the organic crop must still be sold as organic to get the higher value
    2. To make this possible the crop must not be identified to the public as contaminated
  3. The regulation allows this to continue, not based on amount of crop contaminated as much as intent.  there is no mention in the policy about how much has been contaminated. I hope the actual rules do, but I am unsure.
What is the bottom line and astounding revelation? That GMO FOODS ARE NO LONGER GUARANTEED TO BE GMO FREE! at least not in the state of oregon. If an organic farm is unintentionally contaminated by a neighboring GMO farm, the crop is harvested as usual, labeled organic, and sold at top value. (according to the government regulations).  This, is disturbing!

Instead of confining GMO contamination, the Farm Bureau sides with biotech to ensure that GMO is allowed to spread while the very definition of organic changes. Now the Organic Label doesnt mean "the absence of GMO ingredients" but rather "the absence of intentional GMO ingredients". This is a significant change. The battle is shifting from organic farms worried about loosing their certification through contamination to the public being fooled by the hidden change in meaning of the organic label . The public now pays the price for bio tech contamination. 

This also serves as proof that co-existence within a general area of reasonable size is simply impossible.  The allowance of unintentional GMO contamination into organic produce is evidence of this. Why lower the standard of the organic label if GMO crops can be contained? 

If this sort of hidden policy is allowed to continue  it is inevitable that within a few years, when all organic is contaminated to some degree, the organic label itself will be meaningless.  At some point people will realize this, and hte value or organic farming disappears as people look for the next healthy alternative.  This shift from dedicated customers from organic to some other solution , then destroys the value of organic crops. In truth, this small change in policy to protect organic farms ultimately destroys them completely.  So in the end both organic farms are destroyed and the public was secretly exposed to the big GMO science experiment without their knowledge or consent. Actually this exposure was through deceit because the public believes that organic means non-gmo. Purposefully changing this definition to deceive the public is plain wrong. 

I  do not take a stance on whether the people in charge of such things are evildoers with a selfish purpose of financial greed, or if they are just ignorantly following orders. I this not our place to judge the intent of others  But either way, this sort of nonsense has to stop. 

Choose your reason for supporting your local anti-gmo initiative (ours is GMO Free Jackson County ) from a long list of reasons:

  1. Health issues associated with GMOs by several tests
  2. Lack of official long term testing safety on any GMO foods
  3. GMO farming's extensive use of poisons
  4. Biotech firms attacking innocent small farms that get contaminated
  5. Rising unexplained health issues plaguing nations that consume GMO foods
  6. Loss of hardiness in GMO crops in times of drought, or extreme weather
  7. Loss of soil fertility due to gmo chemical intensive farming practices
  8. emergence of super weeds due to gmo allowed application levels of  herbicide
  9. emergence of super bugs due to gmo toxin adaptabiliy of insects
  10. disappearance of the bees possibly related to excessive use of chemicals on gmo crops
  11. farms being consolidated into large industrial operations under the biotech approach jeopardizing the stability of our food system
  12. increasing cost to farmers through increasing levels of  inputs to continue chemical biotech farming
  13. increasing reliance on petro chemical and other sources for producing food, further destabilizing our food supply.
  14. protection of the natural seed genetics from irreversible contamination
  15. protection for organic farmers and their livelihood
  16. "save the whales"  becomes "save the corn" today as natural corn goes extinct
  17. Common Sense
  18. add your own reason here



Sunday, March 3, 2013

Free Eggs if you can guess what we are modeling!

Here's a fun contest....

We will give you a free dozen eggs to the first person that can guess what Kaelyn and I are modeling  on the living room floor......




The Fine Print: Only one dozen eggs to be given away, to the first person that emails or comments with the correct answer (based on our unbiased judgement). Anyone who has volunteered or worked on the farm is not eligible ! (that would be too easy).  Free eggs will be available for pickup from the farm only (no delivery unless you place an additional order).

How does one build four nesting boxes in a hurray?

Simple... take over the living room and make it a family affair!

Thats what we did. Our new "amish design" rollaway nesting boxes came in this last week and we decided just to dig in one evening and do them all at once! Hunter had his own (except for moments of holding Oliver when he cried). Levi helped the mystery man in the pics and Katelyn floated between the mystery man and mystery woman. I had one myself so I could figure out how they went together and provide a lead to follow. Even little Everett got in on the act with a screwdriver.

Just let me say... this was NOT easy! These things are made from good quality sheet metal, but no pieces marked. The instructions consist of a single sheet of paper with a hand drawing with an exploded view. Quite the puzzle!

But in the end, we are very happy! These nesting boxes are well made and should last forever! They keep the eggs clean and safe from predators, and are light enough to go in our self moving hoop coops.

Who are these mystery two? Well..... stay tuned! exciting announcements coming!

Almost done! Wall to Wall parts!

Hunter had to lay on the ground to get these screws in. Everett was actually a helper!

For the curious, these nesting boxes came from Cottage Craft Works and I highly recommend them!

Boys will be boys... even sheep ones

We put the old ram in the pasture with the other sheep finally. You may remember he was reluctant to go when we moved them next door a few weeks ago and we ran out of daylight. With a few extra hands we convinced him to rejoin his herd. Trouble is... the younger ram had already assumed leadership! So.... what do you think these two boys did but get right to working out their differences.

video

First, you get the usual "I'm stronger than you" challenge. 

This is then followed by a mutual acceptance for the winner.


video

What you didn't see here was really funny! 

Right after I put the camera down, the looser (the younger ram and darker color ram)  decided to take a "sucker punch". He watched the older ram walk away victorious for a few seconds, and then proceeded to ram him in the behind! Knocked him forward a couple feet!  The winner just took it in stride as the looser's way of saving face, and ignored it. Fortunately they seem to be best of friends now. 

Adopt-a-lamb

Here is the proud new owner of a lost little lamb.  We had to put this one up for adoption. He was born last night but mom wouldn't let him nurse with his two siblings. But that's ok, he has a fun loving new home to go  to!


Farmer practicing for twins ?

What a hectic time March is! Babies born left and right, everything sprouting, predators abounding, seems like something new every day. And yet.. sometimes you just have to sit back and relax. Relaxing ... in farmer terms... means practicing something. In this case.. practicing for twins someday ;) Even though this little one is furry, he just joins in like one of  family!


Ok.. hold one steady... get the bottle in the right position on the other side... we can do this...
Looking good! Everyone is happy!

Now he's really getting into it
And of course, the after feeding kiss for a very sweet farm girl

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chicken egg supply is back up!

We have recovered from our lack of chicken eggs the last few weeks and have a bit of a supply back in stock! Today is the first delivery in a few weeks that hasn't drained all the stock. Those on the waitlist can expect to be added to full delivery next week!

Thank you for your patience, and we apologize for any inconvenience.

Now... the ducks are a bit more of a challenge... still working with them...

update on births

The ups and downs of farm life...

The sheep are now up to 14 lambs again. There have been some ups and downs this year. One lamb got stuck in a fence and didn't make it, another seems to have somehow wandered off and got lost. A few more were born. As of last night we are back at 14 lambs. the one that could bond with its mom was successful though. Before we gave it to a new home the little guy made peace with the mom and is doing fine.

It was amazing and touching how many people responded to that lambs plight.... within hour of posting a notice here and on craigslist for a new home, we had literally dozens of calls. People willing to take the little ram in and raise him. Its so refreshing to see such kindness!

The goats have continued birthing. At the moment I lost count of babies born! Somewhere over a dozen. Most are perfectly fine, although we lost one out of a litter of 5 and one out of 4. The saddest news is one of the young first time moms didn't make it. A week after birth she mysteriously passed away with no warning. now we are raising her daughter, an orphan. We do not yet know the cause.

So ups and down.... ironically birth is the most dangerous aspect of life, accounting for most of the deaths on a farm. The irony of nature.

But at the end of the day, life abounds. Lambs and goat kids bouncing around happily as a new generation begins its journey in this world. Its inspiring to see the new life, the excitement, the circle of life continueing.

We invite you to come out for a visit, now is one of the best times of the year!