Monday, June 30, 2014
Saturday, June 21, 2014
We just finished the first batch of an exciting new product... Locally and organically grown plum preserves! Yum!
There are two flavors, tart or semi-sweet. The only difference is the amount of sugar added.
The plums are soft but still mostly intact. The flavor is bright and strong. The aroma is heavenly. You can use these as a topping, as runny jam, maybe as a pie filling or even as a snack!
Watch for these to appear in the store this week for sale!
Hunter was assigned the job of raising food for our new bug project (which is food for the chickens). Turns out that an efficient food source is potatoes! They carry enough moisture for the bugs to live without a water source, and are long lasting sources of food. So, he is growing potatoes as bug food.
Instead of rows of potatoes to dig up one at a time... He is building a vertical garden,. A box made of wood, that expands upward as the plants grow, causing them to produce layer after layer of potatoes from the original plants. Much more efficient than waiting for a plant to grow big and pulling it out.
The idea is to plant potatoes on the ground inside the wood box with a single greatest 2x6 as a bed. Once the plants are tall enough, another layer of 2x6 goes in and the plan5er is filled with more dirt, leaving the plant partially under the new dirt. A new layer of potatoes is created at this layer, and the layer below can be harvested without killing the plant.
Hopefully with a few of these boxes, he can raise enough potatoes to feed a hundred thousand mealworms in a small spot of real-estate.
Another freezer accident. In the confusion of moving 3 freezers around and getting a new one... one box of product got left out, sitting quietly to the side at room temps... all night. I have no one to blame but myself. I clearly remember setting the box off to the side myself, planning to get right back to it... but didnt.
So, end result. We have lost all of our for sale pig organs, and most of the turkey parts. We will be shuffling through whats left to see which orders if any we can fill, but alas, I suspect we will have none left. If you ordered pig or turkey parts, we will be cancelling that off your order.
Unfortunately, there wont be replacements any time soon.
Sad, costly, frustrating.
But, when there is nothing possible to do about the past.. you move forward.
Well.. Our first attempt at a moveable pasture watering fodder system failed miserably. Time for a few changes and take 2!
First, higher sides. Turns out the turkeys could reach through the chicken wire in the top and eat the grain. We raised the top another 6 inches.
Second, lower slope. This design has water dripping at one end and exciting the other. The slope of the trays was to steep so that the grain would break lose and slide down the tray. Now there is a very gentle slope.
Third, sides on the pallets instead of the top. This makes the top lighter and easier to handle.
After the first day this design looks better. The grain is in place, soaked from bottom up nicely and evenly, and no missing chunks from tried snatching a meal.
Ducks are perhaps the hardest small animal to contain! We have tried numerous types of fencing to keep them code enough to collect the eggs, and all have failed. So... Here we go again!
This time we use 16 foot hard panels, arranged in a zip zag walked square, and lashed together tightly with baleing twine. Hopefully this will work.
Duck eggs anyone?
Friday, June 20, 2014
Remember just a few weeks ago we suffered the loss of most of our sellable meat products by the storage freezer failing? Well... Believe it or not, it happened again! We just filled the new freezer with new chickens, turkey parts, organs, lard, broths, etc.... And the new freezer fails! Well, not new, it's a second hand freezer. But still... Really!?
Fortunately we discovered it this time before anything defrosted. We were able to save the products by packing the freezer witn bags of ice to keep it cold, and go back on the hunt for another freezer.
Amazingly, through the magic of craigslist, we now have a shiny almost new freezer holding the products just 6 hours later. There are so many freezers on Craigslist at any time that a person can find just what they want and grab it within a few hours. It's often faster than store shopping!
Amazingly, on a Friday evening at 5pm, we were able to find the perfect freezer, but then how to pay. These days we don't have cash laying around... In fact we don't have cash! But the Lord provides in amazing ways. On the phone with the seller, she was generous enough to come down quite a bit on price, but her final offer was still over our budget.. I agreed to her lowest price, and amazingly when we pulled our our cash, we had the amount she asked, plus a couple dollars extra for gas!
We rely on Craigslist quite a bit for both buying and selling, and are seldom disappointed. We rely on our Creator constantly for all things, and are never disappointed!
Thursday, June 19, 2014
Copied here from another farm blog, too good to pass up:
The Well Fed Homestead: How to Bless a Farmer
How to Bless a Farmer
Posted: 19 Jun 2014 08:00 AM PDT
Typing this up made me cry….For us, and the fact that our “farm dream” didn’t work out….and for other farmers who are struggling. They work SO hard. Trust me, I know. Treat them well. Do you want to see a change in our food system? BE THE CHANGE.
How to Bless a Farmer
1. Visit the farm and buy something
Most farmers will welcome visitors, unless it is a really busy season. We had to limit visitors to one day per week because we needed to get work done on the farm. Ask your local farmer when it might be a good time to stop by. Some farms will have a “farm store” with goods in them. Some farms will be taking orders for their CSA, or meat that will be ready in a few months, etc. Ask for any information the farmer might be able to give you about the food that he or she sells. Buy something that day or make a deposit on a future purchase. Make your visit profitable, and hopeful for the farmer.
2. Go to the farmer’s market
The farmer’s market is a lot of work for the farmer. It’s where they get to show off the fruits of the labor, in hope that you and others in your town will re-direct your grocery money to support their farm. It is so depressing for the farmer to go to all of that work, and have a “slow” day at the market. Go to the farmer’s market often, even in poor weather. Your farmers will be there, rain or shine, trying to make a living. Go!
3. Become a regular customer
Visit their booth or farm frequently. Let the farmers know your face is familiar, friendly, supportive, and that you want their farm to be in business a year from now. Sign up for the farm’s email list. Go to the same booths at the farmer’s market over and over. When you find a good farm, support them!
4. Spend a Saturday helping on the farm
Giving up ONE Saturday won’t hurt you. Chances are good that your farmer is spending every Saturday working the farm and rarely gets a break. Are you spending your Saturdays vacationing, doing fun activities, enjoying hobbies, or working on house projects? Think of all of these things that farmers have to sacrifice, in order to provide good food. Ask your farmer what he or she needs help with, and do it with a cheerful heart.
5. Recommend the farm to others
Your recommendation to your friends and family is powerful. Spread the word that you’ve found a good farm! Help the farm thrive.
6. Don’t complain about the prices
Don’t expect farm-fresh food to cost the same as grocery-store, government-subsidized food. Farmers are not rich. Think of how many $4 heads of lettuce they’d have to sell to really be bringing in the dough. Now think about how many hours it would take them to grow all of that lettuce, weed, and work at the market. It comes down to simple math–growing food does not make people rich. Support your farmer and pay the price without grumbling.
7. Tip the farmer
YES! Farmers don’t get tips, bonuses, health insurance, paid time off, bank holidays off, hourly pay, or even consistent pay. Tip your farmer and tip them WELL!
Can you think of other ways to bless a farmer?
We found another injured piglet in the newest large black litter. Not nearly as bad as the first, but bad enough to need attention. The cut was in the same place, in front of the rear leg. We glued this one together and sterilized it... And away she goes.
Can you see the little one hiding in the straw?
Here is one we have been waiting for.. Our first large black sow just gave birth again! Aren't they cute!
Thursday, June 12, 2014
She had dug a nest in a fresh mud puddle to give birth, but the mud was just at the wrong consistency. It was very sticky clay. Two of the babies had wandered far enough to get themselves stuck in clay quicksand. They were submerged up to their necks and struggling to breathe. I dug one out and cleaned the mud off of it (mom wasn't too happy with all the squealing right near her, which made things interesting) and that piglet seemed ok. took a bit for it to find the ability to walk again, but eventually it was nursing with the clan. The other piglet was not so lucky.
The second piglet, when i got it out of the mud, was slashed open from the backbone to the belly right in front of the right rear leg. It was surprising that she could walk! But she seemed oddly unaffected, except that her skin would open wide with each step to expose the inner workings. MY best guess is that while submerged tight in the mud up to her neck, a larger pig came along and unknowingly stepped on her, hoofs sinking in and slicing her side open.
She seemed strong and plenty mobile, so we let her nurse for two or three cycles to make sure she was strong.. then went to work. I gathered her up in my shirt and ran to the kabota (more squealing) where brenda waited to whisk us to the "hospital", meaning the stainless steel processing table in the bird processing tent. It felt a little like a scene from MASH tv show!
Some careful flushing of the wound revealed surprising little damage below the skin. We flushed it out well with warm water, then iodine, then hydrogen peroxide, then sprayed a little vetricine. Once all that dried and the wound was clean and reasonably sterile, out comes the super glue. A farmer's best friend! I have glued many a turkey together after overactive breeding with high success. So while brenda held the baby pig warmly, i glued away a little bit at a time until the wound was closed. Another layer of iodine, and spray of vetricyn and she was patched up as well as we could. Back out to mom!
In the mean time, we had moved a shelter nearby where mom was, in hopes she would choose the shelter over the mud home to prevent further injury. Mom did go in, but never laid down. I suspect the problem is that early on the tamworths were pushed away from the shelters by the large blacks, so mom was scared to claim it as her own. Instead she decided to lay down just outside the mud hole to nurse. The situation seemed safe enough, so we left her alone with babies.
Fortunately she didn't seem to mind the medicinal smell of the hurt piglet. she accepted it right back in and let it nurse. So for the evening, that is all we could do. The family is together, 6 piglets and mom.
|First attempts at flushing the wound with warm water to remove the mud. Fortunately this was fresh clean mud.|
|Here you can see the wound, it extends from her backbone to belly.|
|She was a great patient. Held still and quite through all of the procedure.|
|Wound mostly clean, flushing with hydrogen peroxide now.|
|The emergency team!|
|Starting to "stitch" it back with superglue.|
|All stitched up and ready to go.|
|Heading back to mom in a warm blankie.|
|From a distance we watch to make sure the siblings accept her new smells. No troubles seen. She can even walk normally!|
|And finally back nursing with mom!|
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
NOTE: some items require a paid food membership to purchase.
Here is a list of the items just now available!
HONEYFrom our own top bar hives, the purest, most natural, minimally processed honey from bees never fed sugar or seen any chemicals
STOCKMeat stock from our pastured, soy free, heritage breed, organically fed chickens! This is unlike any chicken stock available in the stores. Thick, rich, flavorful for drinking, soups, stews, whatever!
NEW: Chicken Head and Feet stock! There is nothing more medicinal than traditional stock made from the heads and feet of our chickens. Now you can enjoy the benefits and flavor of this magical stock without the mess and trouble. We slow stew the stock for hours, then cool and freeze in ice cube trays. The end result is 2 oz frozen chunks of stock that can be added to anything. not enough to change the flavor, but enough to add nutritional value to any meal!
MEATSNEW: Pig Organs!
We now offer organ meats from our pastured, soy free, organically fed, heritage breed hogs. Each is vacuum sealed individually and frozen. Chop these to add to any meat dish for super nutritional value!
Available: Hearts, Livers, Kidneys
Ground Pork - available in 3 packs of one lb packages
Whole Stewing Chickens - Pastured, organically fed, soy free heritage breed chickens, older birds perfect for slow cooking and making stocks. Incredible flavor and often loaded with fat!
Chicken organs and parts - From our stewing hens, there are heads, feet, gizzards, necks
Turkey Feet and Heads - from our own pastured, soy free, organically fed heritage turkeys
Monday, June 9, 2014
So, we took the tractor and gave it a go! Here's the pics:
|Getting ready to hook the straps over the tractor forks|
|The safety / supervisor crew watching closely|
|Hunter likes to get up close and personal in his work|
|Is it going to lift straight?|
|Slowly now.. moving to the new spot|
|And there they are! fresh grass and ground!|
|Everett filling the waterers again.|
Sunday, June 8, 2014
Saturday, June 7, 2014
Thursday, June 5, 2014
First, heres how this device works:
The milk flows up the middle pipe, entering the chamber at the top in the center with force. It splashes against the dome which has a ring on the inside. This ring serves to direct the milk down. On one side is a square pipe that captures 2% of the milk and sends it down to the measuring tube. The rest of hte milk exists at the bottom back towards the vacuum.
|From the top you can see the center tube, the ring around it in the dome, and the tube on the left (the front) that captures the milk|
|With the dome removes you can see the center tube and square milk capture tube.|
|View of the "adapter"|
So tomorrow morning we shall see if this works!
Tuesday, June 3, 2014
Finally our shelves are filling up again. Last week we made available whole chickens and chicken organs, then honey and our special recipe plain kombucha. Now this week we bring to you chicken meat stock, some turkey organs, and frozen cooked chicken chunks, and lard. Plus, another harvest of honey. ( the first honey harvest sold out within hours of posting)
These products will become available in the online store as they are put in the stock shelves, and you can order them for delivery on your next delivery cycle. They are offered first come first serve, so order early!
We are happy to finally starting to recover from a tough spring of mishap after mishap. We are committed to building up our variety of products again and even expanding. We appreciate your patience and hope it was worth the wait.
What do you do when you really pregnant and just can't seem to get satisfied with food?? Climb in with it!
- Hobby farms
- Family owned for profit farms
- Corporate owned big ag
Monday, June 2, 2014
This teenager pig decided to sneak in on the babies nursing! He made it in without mom noticing, and got quite a snack before she realized one of the little mouths wasn't her baby.... And she was not happy!
Exciting day! We have put first litter of black Tamworth piglets on the ground! This is a cross between the large black and the Tamworth. She had 12 healthy piglets, and all seem to be doing fine.
Unfortunately.... A couple of the young boars in the community pasture decided to be a tad overly eager and started chasing the new mom trying to make already. In her efforts to fight them off, a couple of the piglets got stepped on! So we quickly ran in to seperate the bunch. It took a bit of convincing (read farmer vs pig fight) They were determined!
After getting the boys away, we stationed a guard, Josh. He got a quick lesson in pig control, a chair, and guard duty. Levi decided to pull up outside the pasture supervising. Today we will provide a quiet post for her to raise these babies without being bothered, and it's time to process some boars! But for the moment, Josh stands guard.