Wednesday, January 28, 2015
Raw Milk, The Vaccination Debate, Probiotics, Babies, Farming, Leaky Gut... how it all fits together
Sunday, January 25, 2015
The irrigation ditch is flowing decently through the property... like a small creek. Plenty of water to keep the pigs happy. What we needed was a no electricity way of getting water from the ditch to the waterers. What makes this a tad tougher is that the pens and therefore the waterers move all around the 60 acres weekly!
What we did was a combination approach. Each pen has a water holding tank with a spigot. These tanks are metal and hold around 40 gallons of water. Thats enough for several days depending on weather. The pigs drink from the drinking spigot installed on the lower edge, so these are power free and need no pressurized water. Plus they can freeze / thaw with no damage!
What we needed net was a way to get water to the waterers out on pasture. The answer for now is... our homemade water trailer. This is a little metal trailer frame from Harbour Freight with a 65 gallon water tank mounted on it. There is also a 12v electric pump and a small AGM battery and a small solar charger panel. The panel keeps the battery up the battery provides enough power to run the pump to move a few hundred gallons. There is a check valve, faucet, and a well pump pressure switch connected and installed on the trailer. The end result is a easily moveable source of water up to 65 gallons that can be drain that tank in several minutes from solar power under pressure.
Only one problem left... how to FILL the water trailer without power.
What we decided to do is install a large plastic water tank on a tower of pallets. The tank is jusst over 500 gallons, and raised up on the pallets allows to gravity feed the water into the water trailer through a regular garden hose.
To fill the storage tank, we bought an inexpensive "trash pump" from harbor freight that runs on gas. With a quick hookup today, we have a system where the storage tank can be filled by the water pump within about 15 minutes on minimal gasoline. That water can then be used to fill the water trailer up to 10 times! Seems amazingly easy and straightforward!
Here are some pics from putting this together today:
|Here is the water tank sitting on the pallet tower. Hunter helped stack all these!|
|Water pump connected to the feed line, sitting on a plastic pallet and ready to go!|
|Everett loved to man the vinyl 2 inch hose! ITs just like a fire hose dad!|
|Toby had the most important job of all.. guarding the sleeping theodore!|
|Here is Levi getting ready to hold the pressure hose to fill the water tank|
|Can he handle this?|
|Yep! He is doing a find job! A bit heavy though.|
|Back to the drawing board... who says you cant cut 1 1/2" PVC with a pocket Leatherman Tool!|
|Now its so easy, levi and Everett can do this by themselves!|
|And there is the finished setup. You can see the water starting to fill the tank already.|
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
That's right... If you are panicked about global warming, climate change, or whatever it is called today,, then this is extremely important news for you!
If you dont care about global warming or man made climate change, then this is extremely important news for you!
Bottom line.. CO2 in the atmosphere can be successfully , inexpensively, and quickly sequestered from the atmosphere and placed back into the ground. No rocket science necessary. All we need to do is... grow food!
Yep, once again farming done right is the answer to the world's evils. Through proper farming the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere can be lowered to pre-panic levels within a couple years. No need to spend money, no need for new rules and laws and life changing mandates. All we need to do is feed the world. Simple.
What is farming done right? It is farming where the soil is a precious commodity, and the farmer does all he can to increase the life and vitality of the soil . through this three things happen:
- production of food increases
- plants naturally turn huge amounts of CO2 into carbon and oxygen
- The earth improves in many ways
So you see.. it is not burning of fossil fuels that produced the excess carbon dioxide.... it is the altering of farming practices in the industrialized world! That's the bottom line... modern farmers are responsible for more of the imbalance of CO@ today than factories, manufacturing, driving, energy production, etc. the biggest single reason for the imbalance IS ... commercialized farming.
So, next time you feel like complaining about a gas guzzler on the road, think about the conventional veggies or meat you just purchased. By purchasing in-organic products you have become part of the biggest reason for excess CO2 in the atmosphere. Yes, YOU, not the other guy... you. Because YOU are supporting the industry responsible for placing the carbon in the air and preventing natural routes of cleaning that through plants and soil. Instead of buying that hybrid car... just buying all organic would do enough to not only stop but reverse the perceived effects of global warming.
Bold claims? perhaps, but supported by many studies.
A quote from an article in the huffington post:
According to the latest research from Ohio State University's Rattan Lal, Texas A&M's Richard Teague, IFOAM's Andre Leu (as reported in the UN paper "Wake Up Before It's Too Late" (UN) and the Rodale Institute anywhere from one-third to one-half of manmade CO2 in the atmosphere comes from industrial agriculture. That's more than all the emissions from the burning of fossil fuels worldwide. How is it possible that with the entire planet focusing on reducing CO2 emissions we're not even paying lip service to the single largest contributor? (Rodale)
You can follow those links to find the details behind the statement... in short, it is modern agriculture that is responsible for the CO2 imbalance that gives rise to the warnings about global warming or climate change. I will quote a bit more from the article here:
But that's only half of the story. To makes matters worse, industrial agriculture compounds the problem by preventing soil from reabsorbing that carbon, thus trapping it in the atmosphere.
To understand how, it's important to remember a few simple facts: There is no waste in nature (she reuses everything); We don't create carbon (we just move it from place to place); and, nature is literally dying to take back the excess carbon we put into the atmosphere and reuse it to grow us more stuff.
So why isn't nature doing this? Turns out that our mistreatment of soil is preventing nature from doing what she does naturally and cycling carbon back from the atmosphere. We are literally disrupting the process of photosynthesis -- where plants break CO2 molecules apart, release the oxygen and take the carbon underground -- by killing the life that should exist in soil that needs that carbon. We do this by spraying it with chemicals, tilling and killing the latticework of fungi, and growing one plant in a field when nature needs variety the same way we need proteins and fats and fruits and vegetables to remain healthy.
Those same studies report that transforming even a small part of industrial agriculture land to healthier, regenerative methods can lead to sequestering more than 100% of current CO2 emissions in just three years. And everything the soil sequesters that's above what we're currently emitting will come from -- you guessed it -- the excess in the atmosphere. That means we are literally beginning to reverse climate change in just a few years. Re-open the pathways, draw down the carbon. (Drawdown)
So there you have it. Global Warming / Climate change / Phrase of the day sourced in CO2 imbalance is laid at the feet of the modern farmer, the conventional chemical based AG. Do your own research and you will quickly see the following facts:
1. Natures method of returning excess CO2 to the ground is through green plants
2. Modern conventional farming blocks this natural process
3. organic farming supports this process
4. intensive grazing of animals encourages this process tremendously
So a return to organic and traditional small acreage farming will do the following:
1. Reverse the CO2 imbalance at the heart of climate change within a very short time
2. Drive disease down in humans, improving health and thereby solving hte healthcare crises by removing most of the need for health care.
3. Build the fertility of our soil for future generations
4. Stop the chemical poisoning of our land, air, and water
5. Produce more food than we do currently
6. Provide more jobs than agriculture does currently
7. Bring farming back into a profitable, attractive, and respected profession to attract new entrants.
8. Provide a work environment for young people to learn the american work ethic and ingenuity.
So bottom line: the single biggest thing you can do to stop and reverse global warming is to stop buying inorganically produced food from large farm operations. Find a local small farm that does things right, and buy all that you can there. Its truly that easy.
Good news.. Our first test for raising pigs at the foothill property is going amazingly well! The first 11 pigs spent their last 2 weeks rooting around and gaining weight in the pen. They are visibly larger, happy, healthy, never escaped the electric, and are consuming about half their diet in bugs and grass.
We decided to move another set over, another 20 pigs on various sizes. For now we simply expanded the existing pen. Tomorrow we will split the herd into two pens by size.
The ground is done... 80%is well tilled and eaten. The math involved is... 11 small pigs, pen 150 to 180ft per side, 2 weeks. Moved now followed by a little flattening should mean even better ground recovery. Any more time and it will be overdone.
So now there are 31 pigs. We loaded the 20 in about an hour and a half. Still room for improvement in the loading pen. Pigs like corners... They feel safe stuck in a corner "hiding", so I want to use that to make loading easier. Soon wet will pay pictures of the arrangements we ended up with.
For containment at foothill we are using 3 stands of electric rope on a solar charger. Plastic step in posts at 6 paces each. The original pen had our special wooden portable corners, the new one is t posts with porcelain insulators. Still working on making that part easier.
When this is settled we will be publishing our containment and moving system for pastured heritage pigs. We have learned a lot... But still a ways to go.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Life on a farm..... Waking up to the pitter of little hoofs. Here is levi taking his adopted lamb for a little early morning walk through the house at sunrise.
Life. We all have it for a time, but what is it? How does a collection of raw materials become "alive"? This is perhaps the greatest mystery of... Life.
A recent experience brings me to wonder at the miracle and mystery of life. I was feeding the sheep, two bales of alfalfa. These bands are heavy, about 150 lbs each. I had them on the tractor forks one a top the other. To get these heavy bales into the sheep pen, I lowered the forks over the fence as far as they would go and let them slide off the forks.
Now, usually I arrange them one in front of the other, so they can slide off one at a time.... But this time I forgot and placed them one on top of another. This is a drastic and almost deadly mistake! But I realized it too soon. As I tilted the forks forward the top bale leaned over, but so did the one underneath. They both slipped enough to start falling the three or so feet to the ground.
Yes, I had made sure that the sheep and lambs were moved back before starting. But now the bales blocked my view from the tractor seat. When the bales hit the ground, I noticed they did not fall flat, but sat at a weird angle.
Oh no! Panic time... I could think of only one reason for this,.... A lamb underneath! I jumped off the tractor, ran around to where I could climb the fence, and pulled the bales back from all the feeding sheep. Sure enough... A lamb was trapped underneath. He was laid at an odd angle, between both bales, crushed under 250 lbs of alfalfa and several full grown sheep standing on top.
My heart sank. As I pulled his still body out, he wasn't breathing. His body was already cool from the wet ground he had been mashed against. It was an awful moment of realization. I watched, no breath. No movement. No signs of life. His eyes were rolled back.
Heartbroken that I cause this.... I started vigorously rubbing his chest. Hard enough to shake his entire body. One way, then the other. Watched... Nothing. Then I prayed to the creator of life itself.... Saying, "Lord, please don't let this little one die from my mistake". Let me be specific here.. I didnt "say a prayer", but I prayed. It was from the heart.
And.... The little ram gasped! He started choking, coughing, breathing hard. After 20 or 30 seconds he started moving. His eyes rolled straight. Slowly, ever so slowly, he woke up. Eventually he weakly pulled his legs under himself and stood up. Then, as if that wasn't miracle enough.... He looked around and walked stiffly between my kneeling knees and rubbed my leg, looked up at me.
That, my friends, will make a grown man cry. Period.
I watched him for maybe a half hour and he seemed to make a full recovery. His Mom, Dusty, accepted him back, all is good. Life continues.
What is life? It is breath. The breath of life that our creator breathed into us to kick start these bodies we live within. Breath, the sign we look for to know. Breath is life. Something so simple but so profound.
There is a little lamb alive right outside tonight, because the creator breathed into him once again. A second chance. Some might say "geez, it's only a sheep" but no... It is life. Every life is precious. Every life is special. This little lamb, breathes.
The breath of life....
Sunday, January 11, 2015
These three little kids just couldn't resist... They had to peak in and see what was happening in the mysterious "milking room". Of course... They needed a lift to see.
Saturday, January 3, 2015
Kaelyn is very happy to adopt this year's first bottle lamb! This cute little ram was one of two born yesterday and unfortunately the mom choose the other. This happens occasionally in sheep for various reasons and in the wild, the rejected lamb would die within a day or two. Historically we have given away rejected lambs to save them. This year we decided to raise the rejected lambs instead of giving them away.
Kaelyn is loving her new job as you can see!
Thursday, January 1, 2015
We are in the process of moving the growing pigs over to the foothill property. Last year we tried the sheep and goats, but it was a frustrating experience with containment. Neither would respect the electric enough to stay put. So we decided to change approaches, and move the pigs over instead.
This week we got the infrastructure ready. There is a test pen, about 180 feet on each side, with 3 strands of heavy electric rope. The corners are heavy wooden corners with rolling insulators. We wired each side as a seperate run, connected across at the corners. The remaining corner is a double wide (2 pallets) wooden door. The whole setup is powered by a 15k solar electric charger.
In theory, we can keep the growing pigs contained, and rotate the whole setup around the pasture. This keeps consistent fresh ground under them, and limits the over dug damage of constant rooting. They have a barrel waterer and a new sprouted feed setup. (more on the details later)
So the plan is to move all the growers over at weaning time, and keep the breeders at the main farm on dodge rd. A much better arrangement for the land available.
More details to follow on the new sprouting / feeding system.
Seems we are blossoming with holiday births this year! First Christmas lambs, now a new years lamb. Fortunately they all look healthy and are handling the sub zero weather just fine. Love Jacob sheep! We hardy!