Friday, October 31, 2014

Apologies for erratic posting on facebook

To our facebook page readers: I apologize for the erratic posting recently.  I am working on the connection between blogger and facebook to allow for pictures to show up on facebook page. At least thumbnails.  WE switched to a new service (RSS Graffiti) but it isnt working any better in this respect than the old service. Hopefully tech support can help resolve this soon.

Until then you may see mulitple posts showing up on facebook, and suddenly disappear or re-arrange.  This is due to the testing we are doing.

Hopefully it will be resolved soon!

A Growing Concern over GMO labeling

I have a growing fear, growing as I see a trend arising. A fear of a repeat from days gone by, a cycle that seems to repeat at least in my lifetime. The cycle of 2 steps forward and one back. I have watched this cycle repeated over and over in all disciplines and walks of life, across a variety of aspects of life. 

The cycle is simple. There are two sides to an issue. Side A wants to change things. Side B wants to remain the same.  Let's call "the same" level 0.   Side A forces some little change, taking the issue to level 1. Side B objects but accepts, since it is just a small thing.  Side A then waits a bit, and forces a deeper change to level 2. Side B rises up, reacts and pushes back, to level 1. Side B celebrates the win and returns to life.  Side A waits, then forces another small change to level 2. This time it is only a small change from 1 to 2, so side B objects but accepts.  More waiting.  then side A makes another move to level 3.  Side B rises up, rejects the move and pushes back to level 2 again.. heartily celebrating the victory. 

Starting to see a  pattern here?  Who is winning? Side A who is slowly moving the bar one level at a time, or side B who is busy living and working on their own lives, and enjoying celebrating huge wins every so often. Side B celebrations are hollow. They are loosing the war but celebrating the battles they win along the way as if they were ultimately winning. But they are loosing.

What is my point?

Last night, walking through the isles of Natural Grocer here in Medford, A sinking feeling sets in. The isles are filled with packages sporting "non-GMO" labels here and there. It feels good. People are waking up! But wait.... wait a minute... where is the organic labels? There are only a few organic labels visible. 

But I feel good about buying non-gmo!

Do you?  Do we remember only a short time ago when non-gmo meant POISON ?  Non-GMO without organic is what has been sold everywhere for a generation, the other word for it is "conventional"  meaning "raised with poisons and artificial petroleum based fertilizer in barren soils". 

Non-GMO labels without organic are meaningless.  All it means is that the food therein is ONLY poisonous and devoid of nutrients, its not also genetically modified.  In other words, NON-GMO without ORGANIC only means slowly deadly to humans. 

NON-GMO labels with organic labels are almost meaningless.  TO be certified organic, no gmo ingredients can be used.  Sure, its not tested, but the only way a gmo ingredient can be inside a organic product is by cheating or accident. the non-gmo label adds little to the quality assurance of the product. 

So I have a fear. With all the push for GMO labeling, we are going to be successful at taking a step back, after 2 or 3 steps forward.  NON-GMO as a separate classification from organic will create a new class of food in the public's mind. a safe class of food, since it's not gmo. BUT ITS NOT ORGANIC, ITS POISON! we tend to forget that in our battle, because we are focused on winning the battle against GMOs.  But is that truly winning?

If people are going to eat poison (conventional)  then they are going to eat GMO. 

If people are not going to eat organic,  and aare scared off of the gmo product because of the label, then they will eat conventional (poison) 

If people are only going to eat organic, they are not going to even see the non-gmo labels, they are looking for organic only. 

Where is the win? The end result to winning gmo labeling battle is a loss of the conventional vs organic battle. people are going to be justified in purchasing conventional instead of organic, "at least its not gmo".  In other words... they took two steps forward, we took one step back and are going to celebrate?  people are going to suffer and die from non-organic foods. period.  What are we celebrating again?

I say, (at the end of another long post, my apologies) to forget the non-gmo battle. instead lets focus on taking back the ground we have lost over the last 30 years.. the organic vs conventional debate.  If we win that, GMOs are gone forever in the process AND people actually get healthier. Lives are saved, the environment is saved. 

Lets not celebrate a hollow victory.  Lets play their game.. attacking behind their front lines. not the battle they want us to fight. Lets fight the real battle. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

New fencing project started

Today we started on a new fencing project.  This time it is a new containment fence for a plot of land right next to the farm.  We are leasing the land next to us to add a couple more acres of grassland for the sheep / goat rotation.

The land this far has only had electric fencing,  and quite some time ago.  To change it to field fencing means mostly starting from scratch.  Today we installed the first corner post,  on the corner by the driveway.

I think it came out pretty good for mostly used materials recycled to create a sturdy fence.

Here is one end of the brace, cut into the post with a chainsaw
And here is the other end on the corner post.
Last touches!

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weather station back online!

Just in time for winter weather,  we have the little sprouts personal weather station online!  You can now again check weather before heading out to the farm.

As you may recall,  the original weather station (accuweather brand) was destroyed in the chicken coop fire last winter.

This time we went with a little better quality brand,  ambient weather.  We chose the 1200 ip observer.  It adds not only accuracy but also uv and solar power measurements.

The widget on our webpage is updated every few seconds 24x7, or you can use this link to get to the details : 

Weather is one of the most important aspects of farming,  so we are very happy to again have a reliable way to track it!

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One thing almost anyone can grow

Besides radishes,  zucchini seems to be the easiest to grow vegetable on this planet.  Drop a few seeds in the ground,  keep them reasonably wet,  and soon you have something like this...  Monster food!

Kaelyn proudly shows off a prize zucchini
These things grow big all summer long,  and grow fast.  A whopper like this is maybe 4 days from bud to this size!  It's a great way to feed animals or people.
If you haven't tried zucchini,  plant done next year.  They are amazing!

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Monday, October 13, 2014

How to catch a wild llama --- PRAY!

Today we went back to foothill property to load  our newest llama, affectionately called "mama Llama". What happened is nothing short of amazing!

Mama Llama is a female llama we brought on board just a few months ago to help guard the foothill property animals. She was purchased from a farm in bend, and moved directly to that property. Her exposure to any of us was very limited, and almost exclusively at a distance. In fact she has been living alone at foothill for weeks.  She is hte one that was constantly blocking our attempts to load the sheep sunday night.  So, needless to say, she was not going to be an easy catch.

Llamas are inherently different from horses. They are more like camels than horses. Their personalities are perfect for a guard animal... distrusting, alert, aloof, and difficult. We are by no means expert llama handlers either!  To make matters more difficult.. mama was out loose on 60 acres!  So.. yep.. here we go!

At first we tried to just herd her towards the makeshift holding pen we used for the sheep. No go. After running back and forth with 4 of us for an hour or so we decided that was pointless. So I tried to make friends... a bucket of grain and I could get within 3 feet, but no closer. Her hunger for grain didnt outweigh her distrust for me.

So what do we do?

At the moment of not having any ideas left... something interesting happened. I saw a vision. Walking across the pasture wondering if this was possible... I suddenly saw a movie in my head... a movie of us, walking across the pasture, holding a white rope maybe 50 yards long. We were stretched out in a semi circle, with the llama walking peacefully towards the open end.

WOW! What an idea!

So, we grabbed maybe 100 yards of white electric fence rope from the old sheep pens, folded it in half twice to make 4 "ropes" about 25 yards long, about aligned ourselves in a straight line evenly spaced out, and walked behind her.  At first she was a bit spooked and moved away quickly. WE followed, letting her set the pace. She walked towards a corner. At this point i realized the "rope" was too short, so we unfolded once to make it about 50 yards long. We were then able to circle around her at a safe distance with a half circle.  IT was WORKING!

As we slowly walked towards the holding pen, i realized that the holding pen was now behind the parked trailer and 15 passenger van (the "buggy"). I was a bit concerned thinking "how in the world do we squeeze past the trailer like this to the holding pen without loosing her? She seemed to repect the "rope" and wouldn't touch it, but arranging our half circle to get past the trailer looked impossible.
But then, as if hearing a voice in my head, the thought hit me... "Why are you going around the trailer... just open the back door".  Oh. Yea... lol.. why not!

So, here we are... I have one end of the rope, Brenda (now very pregnant) has the next corner, uncle Bradley has the opposite corner to me, and hunter has the other end. While holding the rope I made it to the trailer (we all move together keeping the rope taught at her back level) and open the rear door, then hunter moved to the other side of the trailer . At this point, her virtual "pen" only had one exit.. the trailer ! So we started closing in the pen, ever so slowly, to reduce her space until she was standing right at the open trailer door.

We gave her time.. a few minutes, and every so often closed the space a tiny bit more, everyone totally quiet. Finally, on her own, she just stepped right into the trailer! As we closed the door behind her, I was thinking "wow!" that was absolutely amazing!

SO yea, if you need to catch a wild llama, pray. Through divine inspiration we accomplished a seemingly impossible task in under 2 hours!

We owe so much of our success to our creator. Without His constant guidance, my inexperience would make this venture called farming wrought with mistakes! But fortunately, what He calls us to do.... He empowers us to complete!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The sheep come home

Never a dull moment around here!  

In the middle of Saturday deliveries,  I get a call about the foothill property....  Escape!  Apparently the sheep and goats had found that the grass truly is greener on the other side,  only in this case the other side is the neighbor!

It seems they got out and ravaged the neighbors small fruit trees.  So we stopped deliveries around 3pm to head out and investigate.  Sure enough,  it was true. We will be replacing quite a few trees for our neighbor.

The quickest solution was to pull the herd back home,  which we were planning anyway.  So we gathered the troops,  and spent the rest of the day with a bit of an impromptu rodeo!  By midnight we had all the goats,  sheep and one llama back at the farm safe and sound.

Grandma has the wire ties ready to build the holding pen! Notice her little blue truck in the background making part of the pen chute. Is that redneck?

Here is the holding pen, ready to go!

Ollie  is excited!

Bunch of cowboys herding them to the pen

Follow Uncle Bradley!

Rainey (the Llama) races into the pen to find the grain

Quick! Close the door!


Tighten this panel, open the chute, and ready for the first load into the stock trailer

Ollie misses Rosemary :) 

He keeps her entertained while we get ready

Now remember, when I tell you, pull the rope hard and slam the door shut!

Ok, well, Momma Llama doesnt like whats going in. In fact she was a real problem!  We ended up letting her out after a few hours because she insisted on blocking hte chute so the sheep could not load, on purpose! She is a smart one!

Trying to make friends, but she wast not quite ready

Little Shephards!

And here they are the next morning, happy and home in the pasture on the farm. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The scary world we live in

Sitting in the dark browsing through headline after headline of fear over all the present world dangers makes you realize how vulnerable life is.  Here we are with two new deadly health scares,  Ebola and a rhino virus both responsible for death after a short infection.  Fear.  How do you protect yourself and your family from an invisible enemy that could descend at any time?

I don't have all the answers,  but I can share with you our reality.  There is something you can do,  right now.  Something that can't hurt,  and might help. Something we can all do to raise our chances. 

 Get healthy.  

Not just the normal definition of healthy,  but truly healthy...  Get serious about our lifestyle,  diet,  and reliance on pharmaceuticals.  The only thing we can do today to fight these invisible enemies is strengthen our own immune systems to fight them off if exposed.

What does that mean?  We use a 7 pronged approach to health:

  1. Detox from the poisons absorbed from our food and environment
  2. Increase probiotics through supplements and naturally fermented foods
  3. Increase healthy fats like lard,  raw egg yolk,  coconut oil,  real butter
  4. Eliminate carbs like sugar,  breads,  pasta,  grains of all kinds
  5. Add plenty of real properly produced broth from healthy soy free animals
  6. Eat only from scratch,  nothing from a box or package ready to eat. 
  7. Eat only organic or beyond organic.

Sound like a lot?  Well,  yes it is,  but so is treatment for cancer,  heart decease, or yes...  Ebola.   Prevention or treatment is the choice.  We choose prevention.

I suppose you can add one more item to the list...  Replace chemical medicines with healthy herbs and supplements.  (vitamin d,  iodine,  elderberry tea,  etc)

If you have not made the switch from treatment of problems to prevention...  Now is the best time.  You can then rest at peace knowing you have done all you can to protect your family.  If you have dabbled in the switch to prevention,  but not whole heartedly...  If you have tried this or that...  Now is the time to get serious.  Get committed to preventing problems instead of fearfully waiting to see if you need treatment.  Do something that helps instead of waiting to see what happens.  Act!

That is the path we are taking,  and we offer to you all that wet can produce ourself to help you along the way.  Most of the products we offer on farm are the things we use ourself in this endeavor called health.  It is a lot of work,  yes.  But you can choose to buy instead of make from farms like ours. We offer convenience without compromising quality.

Let's join together and make a neighborhood so strong that enemy if we see a local outbreak of those invisible enemies lurking around...  We are safe and can give instead of be another victim. And in the meantime,  we can enjoy better personal health than ever and the peaceful sleep of one who has done all we can to prepare.

Prevention instead of treatment.  That's the key!

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Friday, October 10, 2014

"My I see your registration please?"

Excuse me?

Your registration...

For what?

your car registration

my car registration? why?

For the iodine

Excuse me?

I need your registration for the iodine

Ok, at this point I am looking for the hidden camera... there has to be one, right? Why else would the checker at the local hardware / feed store be asking for my auto registration? but no.. it wasn't a hidden camera stunt, it wasn't a  joke. She was absolutely serious. I was in total disbelief!

Apparently someone or someones in the government of the state of Oregon decided that plain ole iodine (used extensively on a farm) should be a controlled substance. Apparently they passed a law that states that since iodine (along with a long list of other normal everyday items) could be used to create illegal drugs, and therefore it must be "controlled" .... seriously? So since you can use iodine as a root ingredient in illegal drugs, a normal citizen is no longer allowed to buy iodine without presenting a picture id AND auto registration. If you don't own a car, or don't drive said car to the store, you simply can not buy iodine!

Oh my. What has our country fallen to! Do we really think that drug dealers / manufacturers are going to slow down by having to abide by this rule? There are plenty of ways around it without even thinking hard... but normal people are inconvenienced and ... at least for me.. insulted.  Why should I have to prove who I am to purchase a regular commodity? No crime has been or will be committed. These type of laws are just foolish. They wont do a thing to stop crime.... do we really thing a drug dealer will just say "oh that's too hard, i need to get a real job" ?  sigh...

Nevertheless it is the law. Iodine is now a controlled substance, along with a long list of other household things.  Where does this stop? perhaps we should mandate water be rationed, it is used in virtually every drug manufacture. OR spoons! Spoons are used regularly in making drugs... we need to outlaw these things! sigh.

Iodine is a controlled substance... wow. In america. We are so quick to give up freedoms, liberty, for a fake sense of security. What would the founding fathers say? They risked their lives to create a free nation, not one where the government has to ok the sale and possession of simple things like.. iodine.

What is in real turkey stock?

Bottom line.. I DONT KNOW! But there is all sort of good stuff in there! Let me explain...

We just finished packaging s batch of turkey stock. There is  meat stock (from boiling meat) bone broth (from boiling bones in light vinegar)  and head/feet stock (from boiling those).  All packaged separately and available.

Now, let me qualify... each of these is made from very special turkeys... you simply can not find this quality of stock in the store. Here's the rundown:

  • Heritage breed (Narraganset)
  • Soy Free  (no soy allowed on our farm at all)
  • Organically fed (when necessary to supplement)
  • Pasture raised (80% of their feed comes from pasture grass / weeds and bugs)
  • Free Range (not cooped for the majority of their life)
  • Mature (allowed to live at least 1 year + to build mature meat and fat)
  • Humanely processed (to avoid stress hormone release)

Ok, all that said... this broth / stock is nothing short of liquid gold. It is dense, colorful, flavorful, and full of .... whatever makes this stock.

So.. I wondered.. how much is really in there? Lets find out! I took the same glass jars that  the stock is in, filled  with the same water that was used to make the stock, and measured the WEIGHT.   The results are amazing! It is possible to see the "stock" ingredients with weight!

Every quart of meat stock weights approx 1 oz MORE than the water used to make it!

Every pint of bone broth weighs approx 1/2 oz MORE than the water used to make it!

That tells me (in an unscientific explanation) that  there is 1 oz per quart of "stuff" from the bird held suspended within the meat stock and bone broth!  an ounce for a quart is a lot if you ask me! And all that "stuff" is what makes this liquid do healthy for you!

Here's a challenge.. go buy a quart of broth or stock from the store, and weigh it compared to water... I wonder how much "stuff" is in it. But of course first check the ingredients list to see if ANYTHING is added.. we add nothing, absolutely nothing.  Any takers?

I dont know what that "stuff" in stock is.. but I know it is the basic requirement for a healthy diet. Our own family has a cup of broth with EVERY meal that is not a soup meal.  It is yummy and healthy.  More about our experiences coming soon.... for now.. I encourage you to buy some broth or stock! you will not be disappointed!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Turkey stock!

Turkey stock is coming!  Here is the first 12 gallons of turkey meat stock cooking in the big pots.  The little out has 6 gallons of head and feet stock.  We will start bottling tomorrow and have this luscious health powerhouse available for all by the weekend!

This round wet are going to put all the stocks  (meat,  bone,  and head /feet)  into glass jars of quart,  pint,  and half point respectfully. Those are the proportions most often used for each.

Then...  We will work on frozen boneless turkey,  and finally a variety of turkey soups!  All that health in an easy to use form! Yum!

And it all starts here...

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Monday, October 6, 2014

Are We Winning?

I am going to out on the proverbial limb here just a bit.. at the risk of being misunderstood.  Please keep in mind while reading this post that I fully, 150% support all GMO bans and GMO labeling. In fact, what I am about to share is a means of promoting the end of GMO technology altogether, even if it may not seem so at face value.  That said....

Stepping back and looking over the last 40 years, I sense a large problem, the "elephant in the room" that is not being discussed. Let's for a moment pay a little attention to the elephant.  The reality that we are loosing in our current strategy. It's a loss highlighted by many wins, but no victory. 

I was a child raised by second generation farmers.  My grandpa bought a farm in south Texas and settled down to a life of growing and feeding the world. He embraced all the science advantages offered through the 50's, 60's and 70's.  My dad would tell stories of how they would spend the day spraying the crops, with bars mounted on the front of the tractor, literally driving through the spray in an open cab. At the end of the day he could stand his pants up in the corner, so saturated with chemical that they were too stiff to fold. That chemical, among other things, was DDT.  For 30 years, my grandpa and dad used science, to the fullest. It was a welcome weapon against the evils of farming (weeds, pests, etc). It was not until the 70's when my dad retired from farming to take on a business life, that they realized something was wrong. Common sense kicked in with the realization that every new chemical release was later marred by health concerns, removed from the market, and replaced with another chemical. It was a never ending cycle of promise, failure, promise, failure. 

Ultimately my dad turned to organic farming for our in town 1 acre family garden, but it was too late. While grandpa never suffered serious health problem...The damage was done. My dad died of cancer. My older brother (who used to help on the farm)  died of cancer a few years later. My nephew, just in his 20's, also died of cancer a few years later. No reasonable explanation for any of their deaths except the agricultural science.  

The point is, our world is dying... Slowly... children first. Not from GMOs, but from the very concept of  chemical based agriculture.  Certainly GMOs are the peak of the destruction, and if left unchained these semi-foods will be the nail in the coffin relegating untold millions to health problem for generations to come.  BUT... amidsts all this talk of banning GMOS, there is an elephant in the room... The fact that we are talking about GMOS today tells me we have already lost the bigger battle. 

I remember the 70's when organics  first began making a comeback and a stand. The battle then against conventional agriculture used the SAME arguments as the battle today against GMOs. "conventional agriculture causes cancer" was the cry. A few listened, the government stepped in and defined "organic". And you know what happened? Today virtually every family alive has a family member with cancer.  The prediction of the 70's came true, cancer is rampant today. It is so rampant in america that it is accepted as "normal".  In hindsight.... we lost the battle against conventional agriculture. America has accepted it as normal and acceptable, and accepted the health consequences as a normal part of aging. 

I am not proposing that we stop the battle against GMOs, rather that we go on the offensive instead of continuing on the defensive. Defense has never and can not win a battle. period.  Fighting each new wave of bad from "the enemy" of conventional agriculture says one thing, there are more waves coming. Small battles are won here and there and we feel good about it, But in reality our children are loosing, because there are always new waves of bad coming out!

Instead of fighting the enemy's battle (fighting the latest wave of bad and ignoring the waves before that were once the latest wave of bad) we need to go back to the beginning.  Where is that?  Bottom line.. ORGANIC is not even enough. We need, as a society, to be pushing to go back to "beyond organic" instead of just settling for the government definition of organic. The choices in the store should be "beyond organic, organic, poisonous".  That's it. We should be spending our time explaining to the public how conventional agriculture is killing our children and our nation. How the whole thing has been a awful lie for over 50 years.  Look around you, find ONE family that has no serious health problem.. just one! can you? probably not.  This is not from GMO's, but purely from conventional and heavily processed foods. 

GMOs are bad. certainly. They are more bad than anything ever devised by man. They must be stopped. But stopping them will not fix any existing problems, only prevent things from getting even worse. If we stop all gmos today, our next generation is still lost. PERIOD. It will be a hollow victory. The battle is not only about GMO, it is about 90% of the food sold in the grocery stores today! The battle is about 99% of the food available in restaurants today!

If we realized how sick we are as a nation, we would be picketing every restaurant, every grocery store, that sells non-organic food. We would be pushing with all our might to return to the day prior to chemical and poison based agriculture. Every feed store offering non-organic feeds. Every hospital feeding sick patients non-organic processed foods.  Every retirement home feeding food from boxes, cans, and bags. Every school lunch full of preservatives and poison, devoid of nutrition. THAT'S reality.  

The war is not against GMOs, that's only today's skirmish. whether we win or loose today, the reality of a nation slowly dying , children first, is before us. ONLY a return to small family organic and beyond organic farms will save our future. Stopping gmos would make us feel better inside but still our children die from poison and malnutrition. 

I make no apologies for the long winded nature of this post. This is something I am VERY passionate about. I have watched too many loved ones die horrible deaths at the hands of modern agriculture. I have watched too many children suffer from conditions non-extent a few generations ago.  It is time to take the fight on the offensive, and start reversing the death spiral we are in.  Who will stand up? Who will stop supporting business and organization that offer non-organic foods?  Who will picket restaurants that sell poison food-like substances to our children?  Who will demand local hospitals ONLY buy from organic farms to feed our sickest?


Saturday, October 4, 2014

Home from salmon fest

Wow,  what a day this was!  We spent over 6 hours talking to people,  giving out samples,  and finding new friends at the Jacksonville salmon fest.  It was an awseome day overall!  The cheese was the biggest hit,  just about everyone loved it.  The next most popular was the cultured salsa,  and followed by the kombucha and pickles.

The crowd was steady,  friendly,  interested,  and hungry!  Rarely was there a 5 minute window without someone to chat with.

Hunter was the star today,  he probably personally talked to 300 people,  telling our story over and over with excitement.  Even more special was that today is his birthday! It's something to think back just a few years,  before our journey into truly healthy foods,  when the ASD he suffered from prevented him from completing a sentence.  He has come so far,  so quickly.  He has become an expert speaker,  boldly talking to strangers with exuberance.  We are very proud of him,  and very thankful that the creator showed us how to help him.

What a day.  I,  for one,  am tired. 

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Deliveries delayed to Sunday for Salmon Fest

The ashland area deliveries will be delayed until tomorrow so that we can attend our booth at the Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival today. If you are expecting a delivery today, please remember to put your cooler and payment out TOMORROW, Sunday Oct 4 instead.

We welcome you to stop by the smoked salmon fest and visit our booth. We will have free samples of many of our products for you to try! Wonder what good goat cheese taste like? stop by! we will have at least 6 flavors out with samples. Want to try the Nourishing Traditions Fermented Salsa? Stop by for a taste! Would you like to compare our full flavored fully live Kombuchas to the store bought stuff? Today is the day!

Look for our booth! We will see you there!