Sunday, July 31, 2016

Rat meat passed off for chicken wings?

The fact that this is a news story proves the fact that only local small farms solve the american food system problems. You can't trust a label, regardless of source, even with government oversight. You can only trust the person being the label.

How much did they miss?

Know your farmer!

posted from Bloggeroid

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Floatless Valve Gotcha!

It took me a bit of time to figure this thing out.. so maybe this post will save someone else the trouble.

Typical floatless valve. There are many brands, all work and look exactly the same

Floatless fill valves are excellent for farm use. Originally designed for the tank of a toilet, these things are extremely accurate on water level, and operate with no externally moving parts inside the water tank.  There are, however, a few gotchas!

1. always install near the bottom of the tank, the max water level allowed is about 2 feet. If you need water deeper than that, just move the valve higher up the side of the tank.

2. Use a standard toilet tank water connector to connect hte supply. This will adapt the weird 5/8 inch thing on the bottom to standard male pipe threads. You can then use 1/2 inch nipple and  1/2" npt to water hose adapter.  Simple and dependable.

3. Be sure to install this right!  That is the part that took a while to figure out. This valve work on differential pressure.. it compares the pressure of the water level inside the tank to the air pressure outside the tank. To accomplish this, it MUST be installed exactly as shown.

The valve installes with the top part inside the tank, threads sticking out. It is VERY IMPORTANT to put the black rubber washer INSIDE the tank. It will not work if this washer is outside.  Also, it must be oriented THIS WAY with the wide edge next to the valve.  Do not turn it around, it wont work. 

On the outside of the tank, use ONLY this weird looking washer, and nothing else. See the little hole at the top? This hole is what makes all the magic work. Plug this hole, and nothing! So make sure that this side is the side facing the wall of the tank.  If you turn this washer/nut around the other way and attach, it will RARELY work.  There are tiny grooves in the side of the valve, above the threads, that allow the outside air pressure to leak past this nut into the inside of the valve without letting water out.  This is how the unit senses outside air pressure. 
This is the OUTSIDE of the nut that holds  the valve in place. (the other side of the above pic). This side, with all the little compartments, must face away from the wall of the tank. Turn it around and you will go nuts trying to adjust the level. 
That's it! Installed right, these little jewels can provide years of faithful service, out of reach of animals and whatever is inside the tank. The level is kept constant and it just works!

Auto Fertilizer Setup Added

Last year we had good results with the liquid fertilizer fed into the drip lines. Well.. to be honest, SOME of the fertilizer worked.. some was too heavy and settled out, causing the drip lines to plug a bit.  Lesson learned. BUT, it was expensive!

This year we are cutting corners a bit.. making out own fertilizer tea, right at the garden spot!

It is basically a plastic barrel, with a floatless fill valve mounted at the bottom, and a screened fertilizer injector intake hung through the lid.  That's it! In theory, we fill the bucket with whatever we want to use as fertilizer, and let it run. As the watering happens daily, the fertilizer injector adds the homemade liquid fertilizer at the rate of 2%. The floatless fill valve keeps the water level in the barrel at the preset level so that when the injector sucks out the fertilizer tea, the fill valve periodically opens to add water back to proper level.

This is the complete control area, 6 valves in the center, computer controller at the right, fertilizer injector on the left, filters and intake valve underneath

Here is the fertilizer injector we are using. mechanical and adjustable from 1% to 2% injection rate

The fertilizer tea barrel, water intake at the bottom going to the floatless valve. the pipe out the top is the screened injector intake pipe

This is the floatless valve we used. cost about $10 at any hardware store, and no externally moving parts

 A top view, the brick keeps the top from blowing away.

Lettuce patch in the ground

We managed to get a new lettuce patch in the ground today. Took a total of 3 hours start to finish (well.. the drip lines were already laid out).     Not sure how many plants this will be,  but there is a total of 8 rows of 120 yards each, so about 1000 yards of plants.  We doubled planted these (twice as thick as recommended)  since this is for animal feed.

Hopefully the weather will hold and we will get it all harvested before cold weather sets in. Usually lettuce is ok to plant late since it keeps growing with cooler weather as long as it doesnt freeze.

This leaves one more patch for planting in the summer spot... and then time to start on the winter garden (roots and hearty plant)


Cute pics for the animal lover

Peaceful afternoon!

What a pile of piglets!

Mommy training the little ones to stay close and safe

Mystery Plant?

Does anyone know what this plant is?

A few of these appeared in the garden from somewhere...

beautiful flowers

You can see what might be the starts of a fruit off these shoots

These are some sprouts of the same plant

Sunday, July 17, 2016

This weeks pig harvest - brocolli

Here is a look at collecting this week's pig feed... brocoli!

We rarely use commercial hog feed, preferring to feed real produce to our hogs. When our own garden is between harvests, we volunteer to clear out old plants and such from local organic farms. This load of brocoli comes from Easy Valley Farm in rogue river.

And of course, little theodore... like any good farm kid.... enjoyed a brief snack while pulling plants!

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, July 16, 2016

New Litter of Pigs!

Today we have the arrival of the newest litter of piglets, 13 healthy ones, 2 spotted and 1 striped.

Unfortunately, she chose to give birth right by the fence, so we are working to get her into a shelter before we leave for deliveries today. So.. we might be a tad late!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Selling a Farm

An old farmer reached the point in his life where he knew he could not continue. His farm would have to be passed on. With no offspring, no close relatives, he wondered ... who could he hand this farm over to? He had spent years, his entire life, caring for every spec of land. His long hours of loving labor were in every fence post, every clump of grass he looked at as he pondered this dilemma. Who would care for the fruits of his life's work?

The day came, the farm on the market. Interested parties started coming by to view his home, his life, ready and anxious to take over.  How was he to choose?

Old farmers carry a lot of wisdom....

He made it a requirement to personally show the farm, to spend plenty of time with each applicant walking from end to end. Some seemed sorry that the farmer had not had the time nor energy to clean up. There was bits of trash here and there, items obviously out of place, left where they were last used instead of stored away.  But oddly, all the pictures displayed of the farm showed a different story, an immaculately neat and organized operation. Had the old farmer given up? Was his health failing to the point where he couldn't even bring himself to pick up trash?

Every time another interested party came, they would take the same tour. Some complained of the condition, some didn't  even notice, some talked of all the grand ideas they had, some really had no idea at all.

The farmer continued... waiting... unwilling to compromise his life work.

Then one day a young man came, interested. As they took the familiar tour around the land and buildings, this young man talked, looked around,  but but also discretely pulled the odd weed here and there without comment.  He picked up old dirty bailing twines left out and carried them in his pocket. In the workshop, as they talked, the young man silently hung a tool or two in its obvious place.  The old farmer watched every move, ever gesture the young man made.

At the end of the tour, the young man offered that he loved the place, but just was not sure he could afford it.

The farmer told him, "It's yours, pay me whatever you can".

Astounded, the young man replied, "What do you mean?"

"Son, I have walked dozens, maybe hundreds of people around this place. Many had money, many had grand ideas, a few even made ridiculously high offers.  I turned them all down.  Not a one of them pulled a weed, or replaced a tool. Only you.  .... I will not hand this place over, after spending my life building and caring for it, to a man that hires others to care for it. I will only hand it to one who will get his own hands dirty, pull a weed, and care about the soil and animals as much as I did. In your pocket right now are 7 bailing twines. Earlier this morning I laid out 8 myself, strategically placed along our tour.  You picked up all but the last one... which I now hold in my hand. Take this bailing twine and the place is yours. "

How to sell a farm...