Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fava beans are up!

They are here! Our first fava bean sprouts.

It seemed a bit of touch and go with a few sprouts appearing each day for almost 2 weeks, but all of a sudden.. boom! Bean sprouts!

They look healthy and consistent!

The rows are not necessarily straight... But hey... Perfect rows aren't everything!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Quick Update on things for April

Sorry, no pictures on this post. Quite honestly... we have been a bit too busy to keep up with reporting on things.  So here is a quick update:

1. The fave beans are sprouted, reasonably well. Not as good as hoped, but not bad. The week of warmer rains might bring a few more to the surface... hopefully.

2. We did manage to get the entire main garden tilled this week, just in time for the rain. As always, the plan is to till as soon as dry enough, then let it sit through a warm rain (at least not cold) to sprout initial weed set, then a light till when it dries again and plant.  We have the first tilling done, now waiting for the rain, sprouting, retilling and planting. For the curious, the main garden this year is right at 1 1/2 acres in size.

3. We have 2 more areas hoping to get planted before summer, the old goat pen and the present pig pen. Those two are well fertilized and ready to go. But, the goat pen is much too muddy yet and the pig pen is.. well.. housing pigs yet! Plus the pigs totally tore down one side of fencing, held up by a pallet, so that must be replaced.

4. There are 2 more potential areas to plant this year... one has been housing horses for several years, and the other is the original winter garden spot. both should grow well.

5. The goats are almost all into milk now, ready for the season.  It has meant some serious restructuring of the barn to accommodate the bulk of the herd all at once, but it is slowly coming together.

6. We did manage to get the milking barn rebuilt, cleaned up from the winter, and useable again.

7. The new chicken flock is doing well, we ended up with right at 150 young birds that look healthy and happy. They will be coming out of the brooders this week and into their first job of fertilizing one garden area.

8. The new guinea fowl arrive this week, which means we will be retiring the old flocks to start anew, providing some excellent meat and organs for sale.

9. We have tested last year's home made "feed" of dehydrated zuchinni and greens. It stored exceptionally well! opening the buckets after 6 months revealed perfectly dry, aromatic, well preserved vegetables! The chickens were the first recipients of this marvelous free feed and they love it as long as it is ground a bit into smaller chunks. And their eggs... WHOA! the best eggs we have ever produced! Thick orange yolks, well developed whites, perfect aroma and a beautiful soft flavor. These are , in my humble opinion, the best eggs I have ever seen! And that is without the bug barn in operation, just zuchinni and greens! It looks like the experiment is a smashing success!

10. This week with the rains we hope to spend time finishing the barn insides and getting the chickens moved into their spring positions. Then it's office work! We have lots of paperwork to do to support the new may announcements!

I think that's about it for now. Please forgive us for not keeping up with emails this week, the pleasant weather break meant some long days, and enough hours in the sun to build a nice sunburn! The rains means that things will settle a bit and we can get back on top of things.

Thanks for all your support!

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Spring is here! Fava Beans in the Ground!

Spring has finally arrived and we are busy getting seed into the ground for this year's animal feed harvests.  Yes it is a tad early, but some plants are fine germinating in the cooler weather. This includes the new trial crop for 2017, FAVA BEANS!

The beans are a good 1/2 to 3/4 inch across, sometimes as much as an inch! That is the largest bean I have ever seen!

Here is a pile of beans spilled out on the grass

We are trying heriloom fava beans to use as animal feed. They are very starchy beans that grow in HUGE pods with HUGE beans! The nutritional stats look good, and the weather profile looks acceptable for an early spring planting.

So this week we planted 6 rows of 60 yards each in fava beans. There are no drip lines yet,  which is unique for our system. But the weather should see some nice bouts of rain yet, enough to sprout these seeds, so we literally just tilled up the driest spot available and put seeds in. If the rain doesn't materialize over the weekend, then we will install drip lines.

These beans are too large to fit any of the hand push automatic seeders, so we needed another way to avoid the planting backache. The answer? a 3/4 inch PVC pipe! I held the pipe at one end, placed the bottom where I wanted the seed, and dropped one down. It would land in a small impression, and Hunter would come along to bury and compress them. This was quite efficient! Occasionally the beans would not fit, but not too often. Usually they slid right down with a song and a thud.

Our homemade fava bean planter. Just a piece of 3/4 inch pipe. Drop one at the top as you walk down the row and it is easy to space them out without bending over. 

Then just follow along and bury each one by hand.
We managed to turn a 60 yard by 120 yard patch of pasture into a garden, with 6 60 yard rows of fava beans planted, all in one day. We just finished as the sun set.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sheep and grass

The sheep had same quality time with green grass over the weekend! The ground is finally drying out enough for them to graze without mud puddles.

This patch will soon become the first spring garden as soon as it can be tilled, so why waste the grass?  We will let the sheep consume it until it's time to till and plant.

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, March 31, 2017

New Product! Pork Stew Meat

Need a quick meat dish? Try our new pork stew meat. Nothing added, just our highest quality pork cut into tender stew chunks, waiting for your culinary genius.

You can use this in stir frys, one dish meals, eggs, soups, stews, pretty much anything! Flavor it any way you prefer, and enjoy!

New Product! Bulk English Banger Sausage, Gluten Free!

Now you can buy our popular English Banger Sausage, Gluten Free version, as BULK (no casings).

The same great flavor and quality as the dinner links, now in bulk. The recipe variety for this is limitless! Use it anywhere you need a lightly flavored meat. No overpowering herbs or spices, just quality great tasting pork.

New Product! Mild Italian Bulk Sausage!

MMMMM, If i must say so myself.. this is now my FAVORITE flavor of sausage!

Mild Italian sausage, in bulk (no casings)!

This sausage is not spicy at all, it is a pleasant mild italian flavor. Since it is bulk, you can use it an any dish quickly and easily. Think of it as pre-flavored meat ready to cook. Great for meatballs, spaghetti, stir fry's, eggs, etc.  The choices are limitless!

This is a MUST try!

New Package - GF English Bangers

The sausage recipes are going through a packaging change. One by one they get our new three color label!

The recipes have changed slightly, so if you have not tried themyet, please do!

New Product! HOT DOGS!

Exciting new product as just arrived! "UNCURED" All pork hot dogs!

These are VERY unique hot dogs, becasue they are made from Little Sprouts Pork! Which of course is everything you want in a healthy and humane pork:

Heritage Breed Hogs
Soy Free
Organically Fed
Raised on Pasture
Natural Breeding
No physical alterations
No vaccinations, hormones, chemicals, antibiotics

The flavor is delicious! It is sort of a cross between a beef hot dog and a pork bratwurst, perhaps a little reminiscent of a "little smokey".  These are available for immediate delivery, just hop over to the online store and add  a package to this month's order!

Ingredient are: Pork, Water, NonFat Dry Milk, Salt, Dextrose, Spices, Paprika, Garlic, Celery Powder

--- No Added nitrates except those naturally occurring in celery powder---

NOTE: to make this a hot dog, and not a sausage, requires some ingredients that were not able to be sourced organic, so unlike our other products, this has a small amount of milk powder that is not organic.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Chick Days at Little Sprouts!

It's HERE!     It's HERE! 

The chicks have hatched! Right on schedule. Well over half arrived by tonight, and the rest should be hatching tomorrow, at 21 days. So far, there are 109 chicks running around tonight in the indoor brooder, and another 24 drying in the bottom of the incubator.

A veritable sea of chicks!

This little guy seems to be somewhat in charge, keeping watch over his brothers and sisters and cousins.
 This hatching is the first of likely three hatchings this year. This is the start of our new approach to raising chickens for both meat and eggs.  More on that in a later blog post!

These will also serve as the winter egg layers! The eggs were collected in mid February from hens that needed no extra light to lay through the winter. In theory, they should be more consistent layers during short days in winter when they mature.  Next we will do a summer set of hatchings to get hens comfortable laying in the dry heat of summer.

I'll explain more in later posts.

Brooder Setup

We are trying a new "indoor brooder" setup this year. The weather is a bit wet and clammy to send these newborns right out into the night air, so they are going to stay inside for a week or so as they get strong. But by tomorrow night, there will be 200 chicks if all goes well. How do you keep that many little feathered friends warm and dry ?

We used to use the eco-glow heaters from Brinsea.  They are wonderful heaters! But as you may recall, most of ours burned up in the chicken coop fire a couple of years ago. They are quite pricey, so we opted not to replace them. Instead, we switched to homemade brooder heaters using ceramic screw in heater elements.  These elements come in  50 to 250 watt varieties, produce no light, and provide a decent even heat without much waste.

So the design is simple, a plywood base with 7 screw in light sockets mounted underneath. Each socket then gets a 50 watt heater. The base is 34" x 34" with 350 watts of heat. Then we put legs on the corners that are adjustable height.  It is a decent homemade version of the EcoGlow heater.

The sides are 8 inch tall plastic panels from an old bed frame. Underneath is a piece of greenhouse plastic to protect the floor, covered with a few layers of newspaper. Tomorrow we might add a few shavings.

For extra safety this first night, we added Styrofoam panels to hold in heat and insulate a bit. Probably not necessary, but don't want to take any chances!
This little guy looks like she is basking in the sun at the beach in mid summer! The black circle above him is the ceramic heater element.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

New Product! Healthy Hen Supplement!

This month we are releasing another new product, this time for chickens!

Here is a pic of the new mix. You can see the DE covering most of the grain and grubs giving this a frosty white appearance. 

Healthy Hen Supplement!
This supplement has everything in it that chickens need, but it often missing from their feed.... even the best feeds! Anyone can use this supplement to provide better health, but it is especially important for confined hens and hens fed inexpensive soy based feeds.

Turn "cheap feed" into a reasonably healthy diet by adding this supplement to the normal chicken feed once or twice a week. Watch the egg quality to see how often your hens need another boost. The difference should be evident in the eggs within a day or two of feeding!

A closeup to show the individual ingredients! 

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • 3 grain scratch
  • Organically fed Black Soldier Fly Larva
  • Healthy Chicken Herb Mix
  • Oyster Shell
  • Chicken Grit
  • Food Grade Diatamecous Earth

A Run Down of the Ingredients and Benefits

3 grain scratch Organic Wheat, Barley and Oats:
These organic non-gmo grains serve as a base to hold the DE and to create enough volume so that the first chickens do not consume all of the treats restricting the intake of others.

Organically fed Black Soldier Fly Larva:
The chicken's natural source of protein, bugs! These bugs are grown on organic food scraps in the pacific northwest and freeze dried. They make the best source of fat and protein we have ever found! Just a few of these in the chickens diet will improve health and make deeper colored, richer eggs!

Healthy Chicken Herb Mix:
this is a unique mix of organic dried herbs that provide a foundation of health for chickens.  The herbs in this mix are the ones used to treat problems, included at a level that is preventative of those same problems!

Oyster Shell:
Extra calcium is necessary for chickens to create good hard thick egg shells. Most layer feeds have just barely enough calcium for actively laying chickens. Adding a bit more usually improves the egg shells dramatically.

Chicken Grit:
Grit is tiny hard rocks that act as a chicken's teeth, grinding the food within their stomach for better digestion. Without grit, a chicken can not digest food properly at all. Chickens that are contained to a pen will often pick the ground clean in their pin early on, leaving them at a loss for grit as they age.

Food Grade Diatamecous Earth:
 DE is used to treat a variety of health conditions including parasites. Just a little DE every so often will provide a layer of protection and health to keep problems from developing.

You can order this feed supplement in the online store with your regular order.  It comes in 1.5 lb and 4.5 lb bag. The 1.5lb bag will feed about a dozen chickens once, 6 chickens twice. Adjust proportionally for the 4.5 lb bag. We recommend starting by adding this to their feed once a week, and see if you can tell a difference in the eggs. If the egg quality goes visibly up and down (color and consistency of yolk, whites, and thickness of shells), then feed more often. Every set of chickens and feed is slightly different, so explore and see what your chickens need.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Scented Laundry Products Shown To Produce Hazardous Emissions!

This study is a few years old, done in 2011, but very relevant! The University of Washington did testing on common laundry products to see what airborn emissions they created.  The results are astounding!

From the Article:

Analysis of the captured gases found more than 25 volatile organic compounds, including seven hazardous air pollutants, coming out of the vents. Of those, two chemicals - acetaldehyde and benzene - are classified by the Environmental Protection Agency as carcinogens, for which the agency has established no safe exposure level.
The source of the airborn compounds seem to come from the scents and chemicals used in the laundry soap itself, when exposed to the heat of a dryer! These were not off brands, but popular "best selling" brands (although they did not name the exact manufacturer).

And we aren't talking about just a tiny bit... The levels of these compounds in the air seems significant! Again from the article:

 The researchers estimate that in the Seattle area, where the study was conducted, acetaldehyde emissions from this brand of laundry detergent would be equivalent to 3 percent of the total acetaldehyde emissions coming from automobiles. Emissions from the top five brands, they estimate, would constitute about 6 percent of automobiles' acetaldehyde emissions.

That's simply incredible to consider!

THIS is why we stopped using common laundry detergents years ago. Not only do we not want to breathe the carcinogenic compounds with ever load of clothes, but the presence of airborn compounds must mean that some level is actually left INSIDE the clothing itself, which then sits on our family's skin all day.  THAT is a toxic load we prefer to do without!

So we switched to a brand that uses only pure soap, no detergent, no chemicals, and only essential oils for scents. There is nothing in this laundry soap that can cause the unwanted toxins to begin with.  And this is why we add laundry soap to our product list of "what we changed to become healthy". Our mission in 2017 is to offer to you and your family the exact items that we used to overcome our family's health issues. Laundry is a big part of it.

If you have not yet, please look in the online store for the laundry soap we resell. It is the brand we trust and use every day, and we make it available to you, delivered for free direct to your door with your order each month.

Full text of the article can be found here:

Monday, March 13, 2017

New Improved Coffee Soap available now

We have improved our recipe for  lard coffee soap.  the new recipe has more intense coffee effect (in killing odors) and improved coffee grinds. The original recipe had some coffee grounds that were a bit rough and could be irritating on sensitive skin, so for this year we modified our grinding method to make more consistent sizes, softer edges on the grains of coffee, and overall smaller size.

Closeup of the coffee soap. You can see the dark spots that are the coffee grounds. 
The purpose of the coffee within the soap is to stop odors. coffee has the unique ability to destroy most hand odors, including cooking odors (garlic and onion) as well as oil and grease odors. The purpose for the coffee grounds is grit to help clean off stuck on dirt, grease, etc. It leaves your hands soft (because it is 100% pure lard), smelling fresh and clean with no odor (becasue of the coffee), and clean of stuck on dirt and grease ( from the grit of the coffee grounds).

This is a truly unique soap, becasue there are NO chemicals, yet it cleans as if there were! Nothing unhealthy, the ingredients are simply Lard (converted to soap with pure lye), organic coffee, and organic fresh coffee grounds.  That's it! yet... it works with no side effects.

We made the first batch of the new recipe this week, and is ready for sale in next month's order.

Some bars sitting out after cutting. 
This is a must have in every kitchen, garage, workshop. Don't put harsh chemicals on your hands.. trust pure healthy lard soap to do the job without the heavy chemicals that might soak through your skin and into your bloodstream. Simple, effective, inexpensive.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Winter Chicken Flock in the incubators!

Today we put the new winter laying flock into the incubators. a total of 158 eggs!

The incubator on the  right is the one without a working door this year... If you recall, I left them out int eh summer 2 years ago and the front doors warped so they would not seal. We replaced 2 doors and mode those useable, but the third is not working yet.

Unfortunately we had a little mishap.. I washed the incubator egg trays in the dishwasher on the "sanitize" cycle. Nice and clean but.. yes.. warped! Now we can only fit 36 eggs per tray, like turkeys.  The rest we put on the bottom and will manually turn them until the first candling. 

The exciting part is.. this is a winter flock! These hens layed eggs without light. The means their offspring are much more likely to lay in the winter consistently, even without light.  We will have a steady supply of fresh eggs all next winter.  

When summer comes, we will hatch another flock in the middle of summer. The offspring from summer laying hens are much more likely to lay in the heat of summer. 

In theory, we will have a fairly steady supply of eggs year round!

Pure Lard Soap!

We just made our first new batch of the famous but "out of stock" Little Sprouts Pure Lard Soap!

This soap has exactly 4 ingredients, effective simplicity that is hard to match!
  • Pure Pasture raised, soy free, heritage breed, organically fed Lard, slow rendered in stainless steel pots over low heat
  • 100% pure Lye
  • Water
  • Essential oil
That is the makings of an effective, natural, pure soap with a mild scent. Today we chose Lavender as the scent.  We choose 6% excess fat in our soap, just enough to be soft yet effective, but not melt in the soap dish.

There will be many more variations coming, including our famous "coffee soap" for hard working hands. If there is a variety that you prefer, feel free to email us and let us know, we will make a batch for you if possible!

Unfortunately, it will be  a while until these are ready for sale. The PH starts very high in soapmaking, and slowly comes down as the soaponification process completes and the soap "cures". We will be monitoring each batch closely to offer them for sale as soon as practical. Usually 30 to 90 days depending on recipe and atmosphere for curing. If all goes well we will be making a batch every 3 days!

These soaps are another part of the "what we changed to get healthy" list. Commercial soap can have all sorts of unsavory chemicals and heavy scents, each suspect from a health perspective. The source of lard itself (or other oils) is always suspect also! These soaps are pure and natural from before raw ingredient to finished product.

Little Sprouts Deodorant "Scents"

We have The first "commercial" batch of our deodorant done today!

These are small 1 oz samples of two different scent families

Citrus - Orange / Lemon essential oils
Minty Flower - Spearmint / Lavender essential oils
The texture came out quite nice, not too stiff, not to oily, not too dry. It goes on smooth and disappears quickly and works quite well.

If you'd like to sample this important product.. please contact us! We have a few extra samples available now.

Finally - A deodorant that is a health positive instead of negative, and WORKS too!

Perhaps one of the most important things we changed to achieve health is.. the lowly deodorant!

Back in the days of working in small closed offices and living on the standard american diet (SAD), we naturally used the strongest anti-antiperspirant available. We never gave a thought to the health impact of this.. not then.

But consider this:

The primary component of antiperspirants is.. aluminum! The same aluminum that is implicated in a long list of health issues including Alzheimer's, autism, assorted neurological issues.  Why is it in there? because aluminum CLOGS the pores of your skin to block the ability of the body to sweat. No sweat, no unsightly underarm wet spots and stained clothes and body odor.  But there is a problem. Chemicals applied to the skin absorb into the body through the skin. This is now a method of administering many medicines becasue it is SO effective at putting chemicals into the bloodstream! So that aluminum is slowly absorbing into the bloodstream, right next to a lymph node, 24x7.  To add insult to injury, the action of sweating is a primary detox tool of the body, but that pathway has now been totally blocked by the aluminum itself! The only pathway left is into the blood, around the body, and out some other avenue, leaving devastating health problems along the way. 

The other products in antiperspirants as well as deodorants are no less concerning:

Parabens - used to kill bacteria in the product... yes, a poison to bacteria. Parabens have been found in tumors! They seem to have a weak estrogen like effect when absorbed through the skin. 
Polyethylene glycol (PEG) distearates - emulsifying agents found in many cosmetic products including antiperspirants. This antiperspirant ingredient makes it easier to wash off the product. Does that sound like something you want on your skin adsorbing into the body all day?
Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) - a preservative! Only it does not preserve life not health... and has been implicated in many health concerns. 
Propylene glycol - made from petroleum! It softens and gives a sort of slick consistency
Phthalates - a whole class of chemicals used to aid blending of cosmetics. They have been implicated in health concerns especially for women and birth defects.
Triclosan - anti bacterial agent classified as a pesticide by the FDA.  Some countries are now banning triclosan from antibacterial soaps!
Go take a look at your favorite deodorant and see which chemicals it contains, then ask yourself.. do you really want that chemical as part of your bloodstream every day of your life? What could the long term implications be?

What to Do?

We searched for an answer for years... honestly we found that virtually all "natural" deodorants fell into 3 groups:

1. Actually had some of the above chemicals, but by different names so unsuspecting customers would not realize.

2. Were unpleasant to use from stickiness, difficulty to clean, left stains, etc

3. Just plain didn't work!

But over the years we found what DOES work! and it works amazingly well without any bad chemicals. In fact, this "recipe" is a pleasure to use, is a health positive instead of negative, and works so well it can be effective for 2 days from a single application! No really! We were very excited!

Our recipe contains the following simple ingredients:

Shea Butter (organic of course) - a natural plan butter similiar to cocoa butter
Bentonite Clay - Natural pure clay very good at detox, and wetness absorption
Baking Soda - A natural product (not man made) excellent at odor absorption
Essential Oils - Natural fragrance that have healing properties as well as anti microbial

That's it! Nothing else is necessary! And it WORKS!

But wait.. there's more!  Not only is the product itself amazing, but the application is unique and beneficial. You apply a small about of this "stiff lotion" with your fingertips, massaging into the area of the armpit. This action done right is a lymph node massage! Many experts point to lymph node massage as beneficial or even necessary for good health. 

For now, we are offering samples of this product while we decide on the fragrances that we want to produce. Just email or call and ask for a sample. Very soon this will show up in the online store available for purchase along with your monthly order!

New Products! Finally getting back on Track!

It's been a tough winter. By far the wettest muddiest winter since we came to Oregon, and I am told the wettest winter since the 1960's. On top of that, a new baby arrives in December last year. On top of that a fire in the farm kitchen takes out our work area.  Yes, it has been rough. One of the things that dropped off the list is the promised new products coming out monthly. It just was not possible... until NOW! Finally  we have been able to get back to working on new items, in our improvised work space.

The new products coming out are in line with our mission in 2017 to bring to you everything that we used to change our family from standard to healthy.  As I mentioned in a previous blog post, it is everything, literally EVERYTHING about life that we changed to accomplish what was accomplished in health.

Watch for blog posts on the individual announcements! We are very excited to share with you, what worked for us.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Farms should be producers, not consumers

The long flight from Texas back to Oregon after our big announcement at the mother earth news fair, gives time to reflect on the bigger issues. The most pronounced thought that birthed during this weekend is this...

Farms should be producers, not consumers.

Seems self evident, right? Well... During the show I spoke with many people, perhaps hundreds, mostly farmers of some size. Yet, that one simple phrase drew first blank stares, followed by almost instant recognition of the meaning of life. Yea, to a farmer seeking his reason to exist in the world, that praise embodies the meaning of life... "Producers, not consumers".

Farms have somehow become consumers... Often consuming more than they produce. Feed comes into the farm from outside, the bulk of the profits generated pass right along as payment for feed, and then the farmer spends his days trying to make back enough to buy his own food to eat.

That is just wrong!

Farms should be that magical place where raw materials combine with sun and water, to produce life from the laws of nature carefully managed by the magician, the farmer. The proper inputs into a farm are the raw energy of the earth and sun, and the farmers ingenuity. The energy from the sun is thereby harassed to create food and fiber for the world. That is how it is supposed to work.

What went wrong? In a word.. specialization. Farmers have bought into the notion that everything is better specialized. Do one thing, do it very well, and make money on effeciency of that one thing. Perhaps that works in a factory, but NOT in nature! And a farm, life itself, is based on nature.

In nature there is not independent specialization, instead there is balanced codependency. Everything relies on other elements to succeed. This is true within all biological systems, across species, across disciplines, and across the environment. Anything alone or in excess is a negative! No matter how good it is, it's goodness is measured by its balance to the rest of life.

One could say that this is rooted in the theory of evolution, which teaches slow progress through singular specialized changes. But nature does not work that way. In nature, most things could not exist before other things existed. It's not a ladder of progression, it is a circle of dependency that requires a moment of creation to begin.

On a farm, the farmer is responsible for managing his little plot of earth, entrusted to him by the creator, to produce, not consume. The goal then, is for the farm to export way more than it imports. If the export - import balance is equal, that is not nearly enough... The farm is not creating, but changing one thing into another. Only when the farm exports much more than it Imports is it creating! Only then is the farm turning raw material of sin, water, and earth into food and fiber through nature's biology.

Profit comes from value. Create value and there will be profit. The more value, the more profit.

Value comes from the extent of change from import to export. The more change, the more value and therefore the more profit.

It is one level to go from commercial chicken feed or hog feed to eatable chicken or pork. But for the most part, that is not creating, but only changing. Changing animal feed into human food. Farms consume animal feed to offer human food. Not much profit because not much change...

But if a farm takes sun, earth, water, labor and produces human food... Now we have something! No man made imports, human food exports. That is the magic of the farm.... The calling of a farmer, and the basis of farm profit.

So, it is easy to see how "farms should produce, not consume" expresses the meaning and secret of life for a farmer!

And that is what we are committed to at little sprouts... Showing farms how we have been able to create human food in the form of meat, from sun, water, soil, and labor. Ideally, a farm should only buy the tools they can not build, and nothing else. The most obvious change is, stop buying feed!

Produce, not consume.... That is the secret... Sell instead of buy, create instead of change. Let's make our farms the center of creation, exporting life sustanance from the most basic raw materials.

Produce, not consume!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, February 19, 2017

What is a farmer?

What is a farmer?

The lowly farmer takes land, water, nature combines that with his own sweat, tears, and ingenuity to create food for the world to continue.

A what is a farm?

The place where this magic happens, a place where nature rebuilds itself from seemingly nothing... A where life regenerates and migrates into the world.

Somehow, over the decades, we have lost that grand inspired vision. We have forgotten how crucial it is for man to stay connected to the nature that both sustains him and he is appointed manager over. Life isn't about technology, cell phones, Facebook, television, recreation, politics, money... No.... Life is about the basics of nature.

Farms are then, about nature, life being reborn, health, vitality, the future.

A farm should be where sun, skill and water come together under the hands of the master craft (the farmer) to create life for all those around it.

Think of that vision, farms as the center spreading life and regeneration to the world... And all your self, "how is it that farms have become consumers?" Farms have all the ingredients of life right inside, why ignore those resources to go outside to buy feed, fertilizer, chemicals, etc? Why should a farm taken in instead of send out?

Because we lost our way!

A farm should exporty, not import should produce, not consume. If we truly believe that life comes from the sun, water, and soil, then we as farmers should live it! Stop buying more feed than produced, stop buying fertilizer while ignoring the actual source is right on the farm. We have everything we need, on our land, regardless of size... Let's use it!

Farms can be the source of life and health again... We just need to return to old wisdom. We as farmers need to start making out of raw resources instead of being someone's customer.

Farms need to produce, not consume. It can be done... It must be done!

posted from Bloggeroid

Mother earth news fair !

Pleased to report a tremendous response at the mother earth news fair this weekend! Most of the day our humble little both was swamped with people anxious to learn about growing animal feed on their own land. It's very refreshing to see that small farmers of all types really do want to solve this problem!

Most of the morning Saturday we had so many people crowded around our little both that they spilled over to the neighbors... All listening to my little song and dance about making a farm profitable by growing instead of buying.

It is amazing to think... What has happened to us as farmers? Where did we lose the ability to be self sustaining? When did farms become consumers instead of producers? The small farm built this nation... Feed this nation... But somehow along the way that same small farm became a consumer of feed instead of a producer of food. That is sad. Yet.... Being here this weekend, seeing the realization and excitement in the eyes of virtually every one that browses by our signs, is so encouraging!

Farmers want to be producers, not consumers!

Farmers want to be independent again, not tied to feed suppliers!

Farmers want to make a profit again!

This is where it starts... With a spark that lands in kindling... That's all it takes!

The small farm is returning to America!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Book Series Brochure!

Big Launch Just around the Corner!

It is finally here! After years of developing our unique "farm model", followed by months of soul searching and writing, the day has come to take this model to the world! This coming weekend, Feb 17 and 18, we will be at the Mother Earth News Fair in Belton, Tx for the official launch.  Exciting Days!

For those who have received the "executive summary", there has been one fairly major change in the layout of the offering. We spent the last couple months floating this around potential investors and colleagues from the executive world, collecting feedback. This feedback has convinces us to change this offering into a straight "farm franchise" approach. A model that people understand already, accept, and are comfortable funding and using. I had tried to stay away from "franchising" becasue of negative experiences in my own past with franchises (from the franchisee side), but after careful consideration, it just makes sense. At the end of the day, this IS in fact a franchise. Explaining it in any other way just confuses people.

So, Farm Franchise it is...  Lots of work to do, but we are now looking for partners, investors, and initial clients to get this rolling and launch 100,000 farms across america!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Progress on the Book Series - "Save the Children"

It has been a very long weekend!

With only two weeks left before the big Grand Unveiling in Texas at the Mother Earth News Fair, we are scrambling to finish enough book material to meet demand. The goal is to have some books available for sale, and some as "mock-ups" to show the content and depth across the entire series. This will enable "pre-sales" of the series (at a discount of course).

But it is a sizable amount of work to prepare eight books, complete with covers and chapters on short time frame. Fortunately, it looks like we might just make the deadline for ordering books from the print on demand service.

Here is a sneak preview of the entire line of books coming :

Save The Children: Restoring Health Through Grandpa’s Farm

Book 1. Grow Your Own Feed: The Model
                 Stop outsourcing animal feed

Book 2. Grow Your Own Feed: Drip Irrigation System Plans
                 Automate germination to harvest

Book 3. Grow Your Own Feed: Gardening for Animal Nutrition
                 Create Live Feed from Sun and Soil

Book 4. Grow Your Own Feed: Fertilization and Land Rotation
                 Let the Animals do the Work!

Book 5. Grow Your Own Feed: Fertigation
                 Irrigate with Fertilized Water

Book 6. Grow Your Own Feed: Weed Burning HowTo
                 No Chemicals – Low Labor – No Weeds!

Book 7. Grow Your Own Feed: Pest Control with Guinea Fowl
                 Turn Garden Pests into a positive

Book 8. Grow Your Own Feed: Dehydrating the Harvest
                 Storing Home Grown Feed

The theme of this series is "growing feed on farm" to raise quality, save money, and create profits for the farm. This is one of the cornerstones of our model.  Growing high quality produce based feed on farm is the key to raising meat products at low cost without sacrificing quality. The animals are healthier consuming fresh or dehydrated produce, grown in soils fertilized by a variety of species living out in the sun and fresh air. There is just no way to duplicate this in a bag of dried feed bought from a supplier.

Following this series will be additional series on other aspects of small profitable farming and creating nutrition. The key is the synergy created buy combining all the right ingredients.

But for now... It's time for a good nights sleep.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Eagle Attack

Eagles have always been my favorite bird... such a strong majestic symbol of life. Growing up in south Texas, I always wanted to see eagles for real, in the wild...

Now I do. Almost daily! While i still admire the birds deeply, reality is that these birds are predators, very efficient predators.

We have a neighborhood eagle that has been visiting the farm most mornings throughout winter for several years.  This eagle will fly over, looking for a quick meal in our pasture full of delectable goodies. From the air it must look like a vegas all you can eat buffet with the doors wide open.

To date, the losses have  been relatively small... a baby pig, small lamb, duck, chicken. We have often seen this bird or one of it's friends swoop down, grab any unsuspecting young animal from above and behind, head off to the nearby quiet pasture and consume what it can. Occasionally the bird will carry the kill off to .. wherever it lives.

This year, is different. If this is the same bird, it is now HUGE.

This morning we found this eagle perched on our pasture fence, resting after killing and half consuming a nearly full grown RAM! The wingspan on this guy is amazing.  It actually caught, killed, and ate over half of the ram in one sitting.

Unfortunately eagles are very hard predators to stop. The best approach we have found is to provide shelter for the animals to run under at a moments notice and hope that they are aware and capable of escaping.  If one is just a little slow, of not paying attention to the sky above at daybreak, they loose. It is not practical to cover the entire pasture, and our farming model of following nature prohibits keeping the animals in tiny protected pens. So they are at risk not unlike they would be in the wild. Fences do not stop eagles.

This will put a huge dent in our lamb products for 2017 if we can not protect these guys quickly. The birds are smart, and know where the easy meals are. He or she will be back, often.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Update on the Fire Damage, Cost, and Consequences

It is getting close to two weeks since our "kitchen" fire.  Here is a rundown of what this means going forward.

Surprisingly light overall. The actual fire damage is limited to the heater/air unit itself, one light fixture, some wiring and some plumbing. Smoke damage is actually the worst. It appears that everything inside made of plastic is ruined, not cleanable due to the toxic nature of the electrical/plastic smoke. This includes plastic shelving in the fermenting room, plastic devices and tools, etc. Any food items are obviously ruined due to toxic smoke exposure. Wood used in cheesemaking is also "suspect" and must be tested, also the cheesecave itself.

View into the fermenting room where the fire started.

End of the kitchen against the fermenting room, shows fairly severe smoke damage all around

Fortunately most of the pumpkins and melons were already gone, the ones left are now ruined from toxic smoke fumes.

Here is the long view of the kitchen area

The source of the fire is inside this heating unit. Flames were shooting out from inside and caught the plastic front on fire. As the burning plastic from the front grill dripped down below, it landed on the plastic water pipes. As the pipes burned through, water sprayed out and doused the fire, extinguishing it completely.

You can see the smoke on the exterior fins of the heater unit.

Cleanup Cost:
We have an estimate from a local fire recovery business, at $8000 to $10,000 for a complete cleanup.  this is obviously beyond our budget so we will need to do cleanup on our own.

The good news is, cheese season is still a few months away, so there is time to proceed with cleanup without a huge rush. By the time cheese season rolls around, the kitchen should be back in operation.

The biggest consequence, other than the cost of replacing items inside and cleanup, is the delay in announcing our new products. Actually, this is perhaps the deepest cost. We had several products in testing but not yet finished for production scheduled for this year. These are now delayed indefinitely until we have appropriate work area.

Products now delayed:

Non-Toxic De-Greaser based on vinegar, essential oils, and baking soda
Organic Lip Balm from our bee wax
Non-Toxic Deodorant
Organic Oil based Anti-Acne Face Scrub
Frankincense Essential Oil + Full Resin Extract at naturally occurring proportions
Lard and Goat Milk Soaps
Chemical Free Baby Bottom cleaning system (Baby Wipe Replacement)

That gives an idea of the products under development... these are things that we use ourselves and were in the process of developing the packaging, sizing, and consistent recipes for resale. Some of these we can pursue without the "kitchen" work area, and some we can not. We will do our best, but it is safe to say that our schedule of monthly new product releases for 2017 is going to be tough to meet.

The good news in all this is, no one was hurt. Damage can be repaired, things can be replaced. We are prayerfully thankful that no one was around when the fire broke out and ultimately no humans nor animals were injured.

I'd also like to give a SPECIAL THANKS to the kind generous individuals that have donated directly to the farm during this trying time.  We deeply appreciate your gifts and touching words. Tragedy has a way of bringing out the best in neighbors, and we have some very kind neighbors!

Thank YOU!

(If you are interested in donating funds directly to our farm to help recover from this fire, you can do so with the "DONATE" button on the right of this page, under the weather report. If on a phone, click below on "view web version" first.)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Yummy Recipe - Salami in onions

Everyone know that salami is a great snack food. It travels well, has a long shelf life, is tasty (and healthy when made right) and is just quick and easy. But what about cooking with salami?

We tried a dish the other night that came out beautifully....  perhaps this will inspire some unique dinner ideas.

2 Little Sprouts Mild Salamis, sliced thin
1 heaping scoop of Little Sprouts Lard with Cracklings
1 large onion, yellow or red, sliced thick
1 entire cluster of garlic, smashed, peeled, chopped
2 cups of cooked "starch" (we used rice, sub with whatever your acceptable starchy food is)
2 tablespoons of dried oregeno
Salt to taste (always real salt, not white)
crushed red pepper if you like spicy

In a large skillet, melt lard and get hot to sizzling stage
Add onions and cook until almost tender
Add salami slices
Stir frequently, this is almost like a stir fry
When salami just starts to get crispy on edges, add in garlic, oregano, rice, salt
Cook until rice is heated through and soaked up the lard

Sprinkle with crushed red pepper if desired, and serve!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

A Significant Setback Strikes - Fire

This has been a sad week. On wednesday we experienced a small taste of realization of one of the worst fears of rural life.


The heater inside the farm kitchen/fermenting/storage room caught fire. No one was hurt, and the building itself is fine, but lot of cleanup and repairs are needed before it can be usable again.

Best we can tell, some sort of debris got inside the heater unit. It is an electric heating element inside a window air conditioning unit. We had not run the heater yet this winter. We were not actively using the farm kitchen for anything during the off season, and the same unit handles the storage area for winter feed, so we let it drift down to almost freezing.  Then, this week, flipped the heater on to start making soap.

Well, several hours later I noticed water running out the floor at the end. Not good. What we found inside was the front cover of the heater / air unit had burned off from the inside, dripped burning plastic on the water pipes below which burst and thereby put out the fire. It is obvious from the areas burned that the fire started inside the heater unit and flames were actually blown out the vents. Most likely, some sort of debris accumulated inside or perhaps some sort of critter built a nest. Hard to say until we dismantle it all to see whats inside.

Nevertheless, we are heartbroken. The building is fine and no one was hurt, so that is worth celebrating. Yet we have a pretty massive cleanup to do, then some wiring, plumbing, and fixture repairs.

This is going to put a pause on the new products planned for February. We will do our best to stick to the plan, but life just got significantly more busy.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

First Lamb of 2017

Here is the first lamb of 2017, born at the end of a 3 day snow storm!

This little guy will definitely move into the warm dry barn today. With single digit temps due for the next two nights, he would never make it in the pasture with the herd.

Now starts the lamb watch... soon there will be on to three lambs per day till they are all on the ground. Exciting days!

Starting out the new year WHITE!

January 1 of 2017 it started snowing...

                                 and it's still snowing, 3 days later!

Snow covered pastures
If you look VERY closely, past the pigs, deep into the back pasture where the sheep are, just to the right of the makeshift door / motion light, there is a lone sheep by the fence. Turns out she JUST had a lamb! The first lamb of the year.
 At the end of the storm, just as the sun is rising to clear the frozen fog, we find a baby lamb! First lamb of the season. Why do they always come in the worst weather??? Look closely at the lower picture, just to the right of the door converted to motion light holder, way back in the sheep pasture. You can see one lone sheep up near the fence by herself. Sure enough, she just gave birth to the first lamb of the season in the snow.

Today we will move her and the new baby into the barn. There is no way a fresh baby will survive in the herd with snow all around, lots of activity, and single digit temps due for the next two night.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Success!!! Feeding Home Raised Zucchini in the Winter!

It's always a great feeling when something works! This is one of those days... as we sit inside covered in inches of still falling snow... we are able to feed a mix of feed based on zucchini from our own garden!

How you ask? Zucchini is a decidedly summer plant, thriving only in hot weather, surely not growing underneath all that snow!

My reply... have you read the book?   A chapter in this first book touches on growing feed in the summer, dehydrating and storing it, for feeding in the winter.

And the good news is, it works! Today in January we started opening the storage buckets that were filled mid summer, and the feed looks literally perfect!

Click on the picture for a closer look, you can see whole seeds, stalks, roots, leaves, from the fresh plants. the orange color comes from the mature zucchinis. We allowed some to mature to increase the protein content of the seeds. 

This particular recipe looks like a mix of zucchini, dandelion greens, and kale. We ripped up the fruits and plants, roots and all, added some mineral rich salt, and dried the mixture on our special home built drying trays.  After only 4 days in the hot summer sun, the dried flakes are scraped off easily and stored in air tight buckets for the winter.

This 3 gallon bucket of dried feed represents about a quarter of a full RTV bed load (about 4 x 4 x 2 feet) of fresh vegetables and plants.  the compression ratio is immense, which means the storage space required is minimal compared to what the fresh veggies were.

The nutritional content is very high. Unlike feeds based on some "cheap" source of protein like soy (which is NOT a natural feed for any animal) this feed gets its protein mostly from the mature zucchini seeds, which are about 40% protein, plus the protein in the kale plants which makes up about a quarter of this mix.  But besides the protein, this mix contain all the nutrients of zucchinis themselves, plus kale complete with roots and dandelion greens (a super green) and dandelion green roots (highly medicinal). AND these are all heirloom varieties AND grown organically, fertilized with the very animals it is feeding.

From a financial standpoint, this feed is virtually free. It only requires a few seeds, a little water, and some labor to grow, harvest, and dehydrate. The labor is minimal compared to the cash it would take to buy this much high quality feed on the market. That is, IF you can even find such a feed!

So bottom line, it is better nutrition and much lower price than any commercial feed.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

A New Beginning - 2017 is here


2016 was a crazy year in so many ways. It seems that every aspect of life was touched in a deep and earth shattering way during this last year. No stone was left unmoved, none. Little Sprouts Farm has experienced more turmoil in 2016 than any other, and our family has also. 2016 was a year that, on Dec 31, you think, "Really?".  But now it is over.

So now we move into 2017, leaving the turmoil of last year behind, we face a new start, a new beginning.  For this farm, 2017 is a promising one. We have been preparing for this moment over the last several months. Now it is here! Let's take a moment and run through the new changes that start now, jan of 2017:

A One Stop Shop for all your health needs

Instead of just offering great food, we have decided to expand into other areas of life. As you may know, we have personally faced a variety of serious health challenges, and the successes of facing those is what gave birth to Little Sprouts Farm. It is still true that animal products are the central and critical aspect of health, that has not c hanged one bit. We are fully committed to bringing to you the things that allows our family to experience health when medical science had nothing left to offer. BUT, there is more. We not only changed how we eat, but how we live. The things we use on our home, and products we put both in and on our bodies have a lot to do with health. Everything from toothpaste to laundry soap to fish oil to probiotics to snacks. It all matters. So we have spent the last few months making relationships with the companies that produce what we used ourselves, so that we can offer it all to you.. as a package. We want to be the place you go to fill your diet and your home with health.
We are not seeking to be just another retailer.. but a trusted source of both information and products that are personally tested and utilized by our own family. that is our commitment to you, we will only offer what we use.

Focused Food offerings

We have reworked out food offerings for 2017 for a variety of reasons. While we cancelled the milk herdshare, we are replacing it with a upsized raw cheese offering. We have teamed up with Taylor Sausage to bring a variety of meat products like salami, broths, etc. Everything is still made to our exacting specifications, using all organic ingredients and traditional processing, but outsourcing allows us to expand at lower labor costs.  We have added Guinea Fowl and will bring back a steady supply of both turkey and chicken (yes... the famous Little Sprouts Eggs are returning!). We are also investing heavily on our own brans of soaps and other personal care products... most made from our own animals.

Share the Knowledge

Our first of many books was released on Christmas eve on Amazon. We are now in the process of documenting the business and operational model of farming that we have developed, so that others can easily implement the same model on their own. This model is innovative and disruptive, positioned to bring small family farms back into operation all across america. In fact, our goal is to see ten thousand small local farms launched over the next few years. It is time to stop complaining about the food system and healthcare, and do something about it! It is time to rebuild America from the ground up.

Road Show - Complete Package

In February we start the road show, the first even to be the Mother Earth News Fair in Benton Tx.  There we will formally announce the line of books and ebooks, plus open the door for investors to join the movement to restore the american farm.  This is much more than just books, this is an entire program designed to make launching a farm easy and safe. Similar to a franchise, this will be a  pre-packaged model, sized through computer prediction to meet resources and requirements of the individual. We are not just teaching people how to start a farm from scratch, but actually empowering them to do so at low risk and a predicted expected return on investment.

On a personal note.. financially we are extremely challenged. With our source of capital dried up months ago, and our savings gone, we are relying on the month to month income from the farm to exist. Had we been able to prepare for this, it would not be an issue, but the sudden change from cash flow to no cash flow has been quite the challenge to live through. There is no full resolution in site yet, we are taking things day by day and trusting in the God that led us to start this farm to provide. We know if this is an effort in line with His will, it will succeed, and trust in that even when we can not see the road for the fog.

And that is how we end 2016 and start 2017... in a fog. What will tomorrow bring? Next week? next month? Who knows. In my younger days, I could plan everything out clearly... but as the wisdom of age sets in we come to realize that life is a bit more about providence and random luck than it is planning. At the end of the day.. either God is in charge or He isnt.. and if He is, then all that happens is overseen or brought about by Him.

I have finally learned what it means... "We do the work, He brings the harvest."  so....

And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;