Monday, October 9, 2017

Tonight's menu at the pig table

Tonight for our produce fed pigs, we have the following:

Fresh vine ripened whole pumpkins served on a bed of pumpkin vines with roots. For a savory side dish, a collection of whole kohlrabi. (They had watermelon as an appetizer!)

posted from Bloggeroid

Friday, October 6, 2017

Largest turkey ever!

This year we started offering bird processing for customers as a service. The other local bird processing service shut down, so we stepped in with our equipment to fill the gap. And wow there is a large demand for processing this time of year!

One of the most surprising was this guy, a Tom raised by a location family. The biggest turkey I have ever seen!

This guy was so heavy it took both Hunter and I to handle him! We didn't have the opportunity to weigh actually, but I am sure it was close to 70lbs!

Amazingly, it was healthy! It could walk well, unlike most commercial breed turkeys. It had a good layer of fat inside and the liver (nature's window into health status) was beautiful! Everything was just... Big!

Honestly, most turkeys (and chickens for that matter) are not healthy when we see them. They are suffering from various degrees of malnutrition and toxic exposure, mostly due to highly selective breeding and poor quality Feed of mostly soy (horrible food source!) Often the organs are not even useable due to poor health.

But this guy... Healthy and huge! So naturally we were curious about the Feed. Opening the gizzard showed the vast majority of intake was grass! This was a truly great fed turkey. What a difference it makes!

The moral of this story is... Be careful which feed you choose. Just because it has a popular name on the label does not mean healthy. About all soy containing feed, and anything without organically raised ingredients. But there is more... Keep in mind that feed companies are motivated to add no more nutrition than necessary in order to increase their profits. Yes, the trade-off is between their profit and your health. They must draw the line somewhere to compete on price.

This is why we have turned to using our own produce to raise animals. Skip the commercial feed completely. Plus, designing our own feeds to our own quality standards. That way we know what's in there, and what it provides for the animals, and ultimately for you.

This turkey was a great lesson in "doing it right"!
posted from Bloggeroid


Hunter headed out to do his harvesting of the Frost bitten plants for pig feed today only to find a sad sight. A group of a few neighbor dogs had slipped into the garden through the squares in the fence and we're actively attacking the chickens. Not chasing, attacking. He soon discovered several dead chickens laying around. They are"sport attacking".

What does that mean? Well, like it or not, birds are the natural food for dogs. A dog's natural instinct is to attack birds in some form. A pack of dogs, easily falls into natural herd behavior to hang up on birds and attack for the sake of attacking, not for food, but for sport.

It's not the dogs fault, it is their instinct. It is what a dog is. Sure, it's possible to train it out of them, but puppies come with a natural desire to Chase and kill birds. It's just reality.

Today, Hunter succeeded in chasing the dogs off, but damage was done. 3 dogs had already killed 3 chickens, wounded 4 more unrecoverably, and 2 more were simply missing (feathers but no body). These same dogs had killed 2 or 3 more chicken earlier. A total of 12 birds.

Birds and dogs are a challenge, because dogs kill birds unless their training is stronger than their instinct. That's just how it is. But don't get me wrong.. I love dogs. Yet with any animal we must keep in mind that they are animals, driven by instinct that is molded by training. Still, down inside, they are dogs.

posted from Bloggeroid

Early and unexpected Frost

Farming is a dance with nature, a dance where we are but performers, not choreographers. We might at time think that we write the dance, but no... We don't. This week reminded us of this truth. It is the unpredictable laws of nature and batteries God who is in charge. Our part is to dance within the musical score as it plays out, in harmony with nature, not controlling it but honoring it.

This week reminded us of this truth. A few days ago, first week of October, brought an early deep Frost. Without warning, or summer plants writer and died overnight. Zucchini, Melons, Pumpkins, tomatoes, all reduced to leaves of frozen must on softened stalks. The leftover fruit that survived oddly on display, proudly glistening among the dark plants.

So... First emergency is to gather what is good and store it. Left out unprotected on dead vines, the fruit will disappear to the elements. So we spent a few days collecting it all up, clearing a spot in the garage and safely storing it.

This is important because, the second coming emergency is, we will now run shot in animal feed for the winter. The seasons here is Southern Oregon mean no real growth in the winter. The last month of October is important to allow the summer fruity to gain size and ripen the sugars inside. But that month is gone now for this year. The harvest is likely half what it should be. Definitely not enough to provide free through the winter. That's is the coming emergency... Feed.

This year's dance with nature is a difficult one. Timing issues sand equipment problem prevented is from getting the winter tires crop in the ground as weirdly as we should, and now the loss of much summer fruit means... A tough winter.

Our process of growing feed from produce raised on farm has served us well, providing most of the feed we need for almost free year round. But farming is still a dance to an unpredictable song of nature and sons have highs and lows, passion and sorrow, smiles and tears. This year ends with more of the later than the former.

Bottom line is, we will need to switch to a backup feed, likely the organic barley sprouts. Difficulty there is that we lost the greenhouse in the last storm! Sprouting barley in winter without a greenhouse is possible, but labor intensive!

Oh well.... God is in control and if he calls for extra labor in the winter.. so be it! Here we go!

posted from Bloggeroid

Sheep coming home

The first of the sheep are home. They spent the summer out at another property with lots of lush green grass. But with summer over, it is time to come home for lambing.

They seemed to remember this pasture. As soon as they exited the trailer, they happily ran to the trees and started grazing on the dried heads of the wild grasses.

We have 2 more loads to bring home as time permits. Then they will all be together again.

It's so good to see the sheep here again. We deeply miss them when they go off on vacation. Sheep are the life of the farm, the steady calm that keeps the storm of life at bay. Their personalities are each unique but similar, they are sheep. They are so like us as humans, their behaviors and natural tendencies so similar to humans, it's amazing. I can spend hours just watching these guys be.

Hopefully the rest of the herd can come home before the weekend.

posted from Bloggeroid

Sunday, October 1, 2017


They are finally ripe!

Remember those 1000 tomato plants that were donated to the farm? Well... They did good. Very good. They have been growing quietly in the back all this time. We got a few ripe. Tomatoes here and there, but finally... The harvest arrived!

What initiated this was sort of.. well... Embarrassing. The pigs discovered that there is no live electric wire around them... And they simply walked out. Pigs in the yard. We put them away and 10 minutes later... Pigs in the yard. Then... I saw a pig in the tomato patch! Yep.. she was enjoying a tomato picnic. Didn't really want to leave either. Her and I went in a few circles through the plants.

After the pig / tomato dance... There were quite a few tomatoes knocked to the ground. We decided it was time to do a major harvest, even the slightly green ones, because the pig had knocked a lot of tomatoes to the ground. Normally we would not have harvested on a Sunday, but it seemed prudent to save the fruit. God blesses us with this huge harvest... Can't let it go to waste!

And wow... What a harvest!

There are plenty more green ones. Not sure if there is enough heat to ripen them, but if they do... We will get this much again. This harvest will produce probably 15 to 20 gallons of sauce/ salsa/ etc.

Nice to end the day with a successful harvest, a bumper crop. Now.... What to do with it all!?

posted from Bloggeroid