Sunday, April 26, 2015

New Product - Pork Cracklings!

If you like that bacon flavor in foods... we have a quick convenient and healthy way to achieve it. We now offer the cracklings from the rendering of lard. These are small chunks of meat and fat with  the lard removed, that fry up in dishes with an awesome pork / bacon flavor and aroma.  And its so easy! the cracklings come vacuum sealed and frozen in smaller portions. All you do is open a package, cut off a chunk, and throw it into any dish.. beans, eggs, veggies, soups, etc. There is a small amount of lard still in.. good healthy saturated fat from our heritage breed pastured soy free hogs, so the flavor is incredible.

Try some today! you will not be disappointed!

New soaps added - Coffee is magic!

We are back to producing soaps from our own special heritage breed pasture raised, organically fed lard. Quite honestly one of the best and purest soaps on the planet! Lard soap, made from good lard, is something truly special.. Lathers up with a soft thick foam, gentle.. even moisturizing on the skin, exceptional cleaning ability, and pure of any chemicals that can damage health. This is soap as it is meant to be.

Now, we have added something even more special... Coffee! This makes an incredible naturally effective deodorant soap. No.. no deodorant as in stopping body odor... but in the ability to totally extinguish odors on the skin. Coffee soap is great for kitchen, shop, garden, anywhere strong odors collect on the sin The coffee  neutralizes the odor completely leaving the skin fresh, clean, and soft.

We even added some coffee grounds, to make a mildly abrasive soap. This adds a little mechanical action to get the tough dirt and grease off while deodorizing.  Remember the old "Lava" soap your grandparents used? this is very similar but without any harsh chemicals.

There are more soaps coming... different scents and formulations... be sure to orderr yours today!

Tomato and pepper starts are in

The one garden thing we are a tad late on, starting the tomato and pepper plants. These plants do so much better starting indoors. Yes, we could have started them a few weeks ago, but the greenhouse is not operational this year (taken over by the loose chickens.. ugh!) and we just didnt get around to it.  But today.. it happened...

Our kitchen table was covered in organic topsoil used to fill 250 tiny planting buckets in a tray. The kids all joined in the plant the seeds and water them. Now the trays are resting comfortable in a south facing window over a heater. Hopefully we can put them in the ground within a couple weeks.

If this works out well.. we will have lots of Weston A Price Foundation Salsa for sale at the end of summer!

Cabbage Patch is in!

We put the first crop in the pig pasture last weekend, a medium sized cabbage patch. By medium size I mean about 30 yards by 30 yards of cabbage.

We are using the same method as last year... direct sow into the freshly tilled ground in rows using our Hoss seeder, then laying drip irrigation lines over the planted rows. The drip lines fill the rows left by the seeder enough to sprout nicely, then can stay in place to allow for occasional watering as the plants grow.  no sprinklers, no mess, no fuss. Simple!

Today, 7 days later, the first little cabbage sprouts are popping up!  Now I just need a timer on the water line to keep them moist for a couple weeks and we will have lots of heirloom cabbage!

First worms hatch!

No pictures yet... sorry... but great news! our first worms have hatched in the new bug barn! Levi has been meticulously caring for these little bugs for over a month and.. finally it pays off.  I spied the first baby mealworms in the egg buckets!

We will be publishing some pictures soon of the setup... geared to eventually produce about 20,000 to 40,000 worms per day for feeding our birds. In fact, we are publishing an ebook on how to build the racks we designed to make a small space handle a huge amount of worms.

More details to come.. for now lets celebrate the success of WORMS!

The best ever pasture chicken waterer!

We have tried them all! name it, we have used it... chicken waters come in a variety of shapes, sizes and styles. But finally, we have found one that we truly love!

The brilliant things about these waterers are :

enclosed float under the bucket, out o reach
Easy open top to refill
large size
no need to carry to refill
water inside stays clean

Basically there is a float system under the bucket that lets water flow slowly into the lower ring. It is so enclosed that it doesnt get dirty, plugged, or changed by tiny feet, beaks, etc.  There is no vacuum system to maintain with special rings, seals, etc.  This unit just works!

We buy them from teh local Big R Stores, and have converted all our coops over this year. There is a similiar waterer on amazon and other sites with the same design but only 5 gallons of capacity. This one holds 6.25 gallons.

The New Chicken Flock is Growing!

We moved the new chicks from the brooder finally to the pasture coops. Wow were they happy for the extra space! They have grown so much so fast! (must be that scratch and peck starter!)

We placed these little guys on the new leased pasture right next door. The land there has not had any animals on it for quite some time, and really needs some natural stress and fertilizer.  By this time ext year it will be sprouting with green life!

So far we have the hens in pone coop, and the rooster in the other. Once the roosters mature, we will turn most of them into chicken meat, saving a few for breeders to mix in with the hens.  Then... we will have Eggs for sale again!

Here is the hen coop finished and occupied. You can see the area to the lower left that shows the first plot fertilized by the hens.

These little guys are soooo happy!

Here is a view of all three coops (including hens, roosters, and the older breeders from our special genetics flock) . You can see where we watered the used area behind the coop to help wash the fertilizer into the ground. This speeds up and intensifies the fertility of the soil.

Dusting for fun and profit

Its spring, and with a large goat herd as we now have, certain realities happen, like spring goat lice. These little critters are quite common in the spring, and quickly spread from goat to goat, seemingly overnight. This year we had an unusually bad infestation to be dealt with.

Fortunately, an easy fix is diatomaceous earth, food grade.  This magical powder sticks to the fur of the goats and the skin, and thereby the lice. Once on the lice, the microscopic particles of this dust are hard and razor sharp. It gets into the cracks of the exoskeleton of the insects, into the joints and cracks, and literally "wears them out" but cutting their skeleton apart. The parasites die within 48 hours. Other than this physical action, there is absolutely no chemical action from this earth.  In fact it is quite healthful taken internally!

Eggs of these lice hatch in a week or so, which means we repeat this dusting a couple times a week for 2 to 4 weeks, and the lice are gone.  This year, they actually disappeared within a couple weeks.

One session of dusting after milking was handled by Everette and Levi, under Hunter's supervision. They had a ball with the soft white dust (wearing masks to ensure that they didnt inhale too much). Lots of dust got on the ground, which is actually a good thing! but the goats were sufficiently dusted. Good job boys!


Farming with kids

It is always interesting running a family farm with a large family. There are so many interesting situations we run into throughout the day.. some frustrating, but most just plain fun. Like this moment.. when we found ourselves at the milking barn, 4 full half gallons of milk to carry back with a 2 year old, double stroller, and out hands full of stuff.  What do you do?

As Ollie explains in these pics... you use the double stroller! In addition to carrying "little sprouts" around, it works great to carry milk!

Quick to create portable pastured pig shelter

Here's one idea for a quick pastured pig shelter that is portable.

8 light duty Tposts, a old portable shelter top, and a tarp.

We pounded the tposts in at the right spacing, slipped the top frame from an old portable shelter over the tposts, and hung a tarp.  Using the tposts allows a lower height than the shelter allowed, and made it stable in the pig pen.  We left one side down low to provide protection from blowing wind and rain, and more shade in the afternoons.

Next we are building a portable hand operated tposts puller to make moving this easier. check for a later post.

New water trailer for Foothill

With spring here, we need an easier way to get water to the pigs. The little water trailer we had used at the main farm was not up to the task of bumping across the pasture at foothill, and thus fell apart.  Not wanting to string hundreds of feet of hose, we came up with a better idea... a full size water trailer made from the old car chassis that used to hold the turkey breeding coop.

If you remember, the turkey coop went "belly up" in a windstorm last winter, basically totaling it into a pile of lumber.

So, we pulled the old car chassis from the old turkey coop, and built on it to create a water trailer capable of carrying somewhere around 300 gallons of water. After mounting the tank on the "trailer" we attached the hardware from the small water trailer... the 12 volt pump, battery, pressure switch, check valve, and solar panel. With this setup, there is 50 psi of pressure 24x7 from the solar powered pump. We can attach the hose going to the pig waterer float valve. The pressure switch will turn the pump on and off to fill the waterer through the float valve as the pigs drink.

Sure, it would be improved by using a bladder tank to slow the cycling... but that costs a tad more and... I dont have one laying round. So not for now.

Here are some pics of the finished unit:

Here you can see the plumbing and electrical. The feed from the tank is on the left going to the 12 volt utility pump. From there it goes through a check valve, past the well pressure switch, and to a 4 way T for delivery.

Another view showing the feed from the tank to the pump. We left a large 1 1.5 inch pipe for a drain in case we need to drain the entire tank. One thing we forgot is a valve at the tank itself, to turn off the flow to the pump for maintenance. 

Here it is loaded on the trailer for delivery to foothill

The solar panel got a new stand, at about 45 degrees to maximize the sun.

Whats been happening at the farm?


Spring is here, and we are so busy with the stuff of farming that havent had time to post.  I will try to catch up over the next few days...

Modifying a window air conditioner for precise temp control

When we put in the new kitchen,  we choose a single window air conditioner for climate control.  This particular model had both heading and cooling capabilities,  it seemed perfect...  Except for one minor flaw.  It will do hearing or cooling, but only one at a time.  It must be set to heat mode or cool mode,  but it won't automatically switch.  This presents a challenge to maintain a constant temp in a mostly unattended room intended for fermenting,  cheese aging ,  etc.  So finally I decided is time to change it.

What prompted this decision was a nice find..  We also need to expand our cheese capabilities and that requires more automatic cheese vats.  In finalizing plans to build these,  I ran across some really interesting digital thermostat controllers for incredibly cheap!  For about 15 bucks you can get a precise temp controller that not only does heat and cool,  but auto switches between those!
So...  I decided to add one to the window air unit in the kitchen /fermenting room /cheese cave.  Simple right?  Well...  Sort of.

My plan was to simply cut the wires to the heater and compressor,  to write then direct through the new controller.  I wanted to leave original functionality in place and have this as an add on.  So here we go!

First problem...  Find a wiring diagram.  Not easy!  Looking up the model number leaf to the sears parts website where there were no useful manuals,  no diagram.  But...  On one page I found a fuzzy tiny diagram that you could click on to order parts.  I downloaded it,  enlarged it with Windows paint,  and printed.  The keys were barely legible but with some effort I worked it out.  On.  Job one.

Next I tried to slide the air unit it to dismantle it.  Problem...  It was glued!  The installer had used foam insulation around the cracks and effectively glued it to the case.  Wouldn't budge and by this time I was running out of project time.  So..  Pause till I could get help from Bradley.

A few hours latter he had it lose,  not an easy task,  but ready to modify.  Ok.  Back to the project!
Interesting find..  Inside the cabinet is a very nice wiring diagram!  Ok..  Time wasted but no harm done.

Problem...  Checking the plate...  The compressor was within the limits of the new controller of 10 amp at 230 volts...  But the heater was twice that.  Past my comfort zone.! But at this point I had the unit dismantled already and unusable.  What to do...

I realized that I could just hook up the cooling through the new controller and user the existing control panel for heat!  Ok. That could work.   I worked out the wiring for that method.
After some effort wiring this all together...  Time to test.  Exciting!

Well...  Ok.  Problem.  It technically worked but....  The unit controller wad smart enough to turn off the fan when the heating element was off.  So when the extra controller turns on the compressor it runs but no air flow.  Hmmmm. 

Bottom Line is.. I ended up bypassing both coolling and heating relays on the control board, and running the line out to the new thermostat. That way, the air conditioner unit can be left on "fann only" and let the outside temp controller  control the heater and cooler as it needs to

That setup worked great! finally, the kitchen and fermenting room is held precisely at temperature, adjustable on one simple panel, and auto switching from heat to cool as necessary, and hte fan running constantly.

The only downside to this setup is that the outside ambient temp sensor is also bypassed, so the compressor could be engaged to cool when it is too cold outside to run properly.

Oh well, thats as close as I can get for now.

Here is a pic of the finished product:

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Natural bacon back in stock!

Bacon is back in stock!

We just placed a set of smokey natural bacon in the online store and available for purchase.  Not just regular bacon,  but our ever popular "nitrate and salt free double smoked bacon".   We call it nitrate free because we add nothing!  Not even celery powder.   We call it salt free becasue we add nothing!  Not even salt" we call it double smoked because it is smoked for 24 to 36 hours,  much longer than conventional methods.

Bottom line,  there is no substitute!  Just flavor this any way you choose at cooking time,  and enjoy truly natural bacon that is such a delight and healthy!

But hurray...  Bacon usually sells out within 2 weeks.  

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

This year - Gardening by the moon!

Something that has long fascinated me is  time, seasons, and how life interacts with the cycles of nature. One practical example of this is gardening.  Age old wisdom holds that the moon cycles hold the key to optimum gardening. Has it been scientifically proven to be so? I dont believe it has, and I am ok with that! Not doing something because it has never been "scientifically proven" would mean we miss out on a lot of historical wisdom and benefit. Personally I respect what has survived centuries over relying on modern man to rediscover lost wisdom.

enough philosophical talk! What am i referring to?

This year, we are going to follow the moon cycle panting approach.... which simply suggests the optimum days of the season to put seeds  or transplants into the ground for optimum yield and health. A powerful side benefit of this (brenda would say in my case the PRIMARY benefit) is that this gives me a schedule to follow. Admittedly I am horrible at timing. Not a problem that a farmer should have! but its true. I m very must a "just in time" planner. This often causes chaos here at little sprouts as we struggle to keep up with this week's emergency. Having the planting dates pre-planned by a predictable moon cycle is a huge benefit!

But.. this whole process of gardening by the moon is a bit more complex than I wish to master for now.  So I searched and searched the internet and finally found a simple tool  that does what I need.. plan everything based not only on moon cycle but also frost dates!  Thats the thing, at least for me, having the moon cycles charted out is only half the story, becasue then you have to account for frost dates and local rain to actually pick the days.  This software takes that all into account and gives you simple windows of availability for the particular varieties of seed we are planting.  SIMPLE! I love it.

The software we are using is called "Moon Planting Matrix"  available from a website called "Gardening by the moon".   you can find the software webpage at :

The cost is a bit higher than I would like to see, but there seems to be little if any competition in a locally downloadable system that tracks everything for you. That is the key for me.. it has to track everything!

So here we go on another new adventure for the year... Keying in our particular varieties and dates, then printing out the monthly windows of things to put in the ground. If optimum dates are missed for whatever reason, then we just choose the next available date. Simple!

Stay tuned to see how this goes. We plan on growing the majority of vegetables this year for pig and goat food, so we have set aside a large section of pasture for this. If all goes well.. we can start harvesting in as little as 30 days!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Easter Morning Bacon Treat!

What could be better on an easter morning than... farm fresh bacon!

Not one, but both of our favorite recipes!

On the left we have a pan of sweet and spicy bacon:  salt, black pepper, crushed red pepper, dry mustard, and honey

On the right we have sweet cinnamon bacon: salt, black pepper, dry mustard, cinnamon, and honey

Both will be "rough pan fried" which is our own lazy technique... drop mix the bacon in the pan with spices (remember to salt it first and let it sit for several minutes before the rest of the spices), toss the bacon to coat evenly, then fry. Stir almost constantly in the beginning (until the pan bottom fills with lard) to cook all the bacon evenly.  Then stir occasionally until browned as desired.

The advantage for us to this technique is.. you dont have to worry about even slices and laying it out evenly. Just stir and as any get "done" take those out.  works like a charm in a pinch!

Happy easter!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Upcoming local showing of TRACE AMOUNTS, a documentary on the truth about vaccines

Content provided by a good customer :

For the past 2 months I've spent most all of my free time researching and writing about vaccines, and what I've discovered is truly frightening. Please consider joining us for this film, and sharing the information with your friends, especially those of child bearing age and anyone who might get flu shots. Unfortunately, I just found out about the Ashland showing yesterday and 71 more tickets need to be sold by THIS SUNDAY to secure the theatre, so please act TODAY! It's also showing in Grants Pass...links are below.

TRACE AMOUNTS is the 2015 documentary about Thimerosal (mercury) in vaccines. Last month, Oregon legislators were invited by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to a special screening in Salem to see this extraordinary documentary, and so much interest was generated that showings are now scheduled throughout the state.

“We found out that the Thimerosal would be toxic down to – not grams, not mgs, not mcgs, but nano grams – parts per billion – which was almost unbelievable. This was published in the American Journal Medical Society, in the New York Academy Sciences and in the Journal for the Chemical Specialty Manufactures Association and it didn’t make waves, there wasn’t even a ripple – no one seemed to care.” – Dr Frank P Engley PhD – Blue Ribbon Panel Member 1948 AMA meeting regarding Thimerosal’s concerns.

Trace Amounts explores the origin of the use of mercury in vaccines and exposes the continued greed-based decision to keep mercury in the vaccines through several decades. The film is the result of nearly ten years of research and travel in which top scientists, government officials, parents of children with autism, and the average Joe unravel the truths, secrets, and tragedies, of the skyrocketing autism rates.

DEADLINE TO BUY TICKETS to secure the Ashland showing is THIS SUNDAY, April 5th. SO BUY YOURS TODAY! (if the showing is not secured your credit card will not be charged and you can purchase tickets to the Grants Pass showing on April 22nd instead) ASHLAND DETAILS AND TICKETS HERE:  (Grants Pass showing here:  

See the trailer at  


Liz Schmidt
Organic and Healthy, Inc.
Natural products and furnishings
Green America approved for people and planet Please like us on facebook:

USDA pork and lamb available now!

We have made a major shift in our products, starting NOW (actually yesterday). For the first time, we have both pork and lamb available in a variety of forms, by the cut, USDA processed! This means that anyone may purchase this meat in small quantities without a paid farm membership. It is legal for retail sale.

If you have not taken a look yet, browse the online store now. I am slowly adding all the new cuts into the pork and lamb section. The available items will be increasing over the next few days.

Some products, like lard, bacon, cracklings, etc will remain members only, available for the $24 per year membership (billed quarterly).


Friday, April 3, 2015

Pasture Heritage Lamb available now in smaller quantities

Finally! after 5 years of raising our own herd of Jacob sheep from the original 12 breeders, we are now able to offer lamb cuts, lamb organs, and ground lamb. AND... this is available to all farm members, with or without a full paid membership!

In the online store you will find:

Ground lamb by the lb
Lamb Chops by the lb
Lamb neck - bone in
Lamb heart
Lamb kidney
lamb liver

and coming soon.... lamb sausage!

Feel free to browse and purchase at will, if you see it in the store, it is available!

Again.. no need for a paid farm membership, all these lamb products are now USDA processed, packages, labelled, and available to you immediately!