Sunday, April 26, 2015
Try some today! you will not be disappointed!
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!
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!
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!
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 brilliant things about these waterers are :
enclosed float under the bucket, out o reach
Easy open top to refill
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.
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!|
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!
As Ollie explains in these pics... you use the double stroller! In addition to carrying "little sprouts" around, it works great to carry milk!
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.
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.|
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...
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
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
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 : http://www.gardeningbythemoon.com/MoonMatrix.html
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
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!
Saturday, April 4, 2015
Content provided by a good customer :
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
In the online store you will find:
Ground lamb by the lb
Lamb Chops by the lb
Lamb neck - bone in
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!