Monday, December 27, 2010

Exciting day at our place!

Our day started out very exciting today.  We were blessed by our first egg from our free range chickens.  We started our layers from chicks, and after 20+ weeks of waiting we received the long desired product, "EGGS"!!  What a way to learn a few basic life principles like: patience, hope, diligence, delayed gratification, just to name a few.  God provides a lot of opportunities through nature to teach principles of successful living.  That is one thing we love about having our own small farm; everyday we get a new opportunity to go out and see what surprises await us and to behold the awesome handiwork of Jesus.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Blessings from our family to yours!

We want to extend a Merry Christmas blessing to your family!  Remembering the greatest gift that was given to mankind, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, may your home be filled with joy and blessing as you build family memories and  fellowship with your loved ones.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mr. Chef

Mark cooked up a fabulously tasting chicken for supper this week!  He looked online for directions on smoking chicken and came up with a winner.  The meat was so moist and delicious that I could not stay out of it.  The leftovers were just as yummy!  I had fixed rice to go with the chicken but it was too bland from not adding enough seasonings.  That made it perfect for combining the deboned chicken for lunch the next day.  The broth made from cooking the chicken added the right amount of moisture and flavoring to the rice.  This menu has become a favorite in our household!

Step 1:  Mix 1 gallon water and 1 cup salt.  Soak chicken in salt solution for 3 hrs.  Rinse chicken.

Step 2:  Combine 4 oz. hickory bbq sauce and 2 oz. Worchestershire sauce.  Brush over chicken.  If using a whole chicken, use a syringe and put brine in the breasts and thighs.  Sprinkle seasoning salt on the outside of the chicken and rub some on the inside.  Wrap in aluminum foil.  Smoke in smoker for 2 hrs. @ 140*. 

Step 3:  Transfer wrapped chicken from the smoker to the baking dish.  Bake @ 225* until done.  Cover baking dish with foil also.  The chicken will produce its own broth.  When you bake low and slow, the meat is tender and delicious!

We learned that the salt brine causes the chicken to draw in moisture.  No liquid was added to cook the chicken in except for the brine.  After we used the chicken for supper, I deboned the rest of the chicken and put the chicken pieces on top of the "bland" rice in a pyrex dish.  I then strained the broth from cooking the chicken and poured it over the rice and chicken.  The broth made the rice moist and flavorful.  We enjoyed 2 meals from one cooking session.  Who knows, maybe I'll let Mark cook a little more often. :) 

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

21st Century Workhorse

In days gone by, nearly all farmers had a workhorse or mule on their place.  These animals were used to lift and carry burdens on the farm.  Much like the old days, I recommend farmers have a modern day workhorse to help with getting daily tasks completed on the farm.  Here is my workhorse; it is 20 years old and is still paying for itself.  I use this machine nearly everyday doing multiple chores around our farm.  Here are a few things that I use it for:
  1. Hauling hand tools around the farm like: a post driver, bolt cutters, chainsaws, hay bales, etc.
  2. Streching electric fence wire
  3. Moving the chicken tractor
  4. Checking different pasture areas
  5. Pulling small equipment
Now, like anything else a workhorse must be used responsibly and with caution.  If not used with respect, these useful tools can cause heartache in your family and become a curse instead of a blessing.  So ride with care.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Two deliveries

Last night we loaded the chickens in the stock trailer for this morning's delivery.  Since they have to be at the butcher early in the morning, we lessen everyones stress by preparing the night before.  Already our second batch is being processed and will be ready for pickup tomorrow.  Our boys are glad for a few less chicken chores as the days are getting colder.  It is more pleasant to do chores when it's warmer.  The chores won't take quite as long only having the layers to feed and water.

We delivered whole chicken and whole chicken cut in pieces to Java Jo'z in Lafayette so you can pick up some easily as you get your chai or latte' for the day!  It is our goal to make it hassle free for you to buy our healthy, farm-raised meat.  We would love input in ways to accomplish this to fit your schedule.  Share your ideas in the comments below, and we will do our best to accommodate you.  May you count your many blessings this Thanksgiving season!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Our Logo!

Our good friend, Nathan Wright, designed our new logo.  We love the new look and hope that you do too.  We wanted a logo that reflected days gone by......when farming was less industrialized & competative, when things like helping your neighbor was important, taking time to drink iced tea on a hot summer day under the shade of the maple tree, when dad and mom worked directly with the children, and when food products had superior flavor and were produced for quality instead of quanity.  These are some of our goals, and we hope that you too can experience some of the blessings that came with the  "good ole' days"!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Locally Sourced Foods New Hot Trend

NEW YORK:  The latest hot trend in food retailing is local foods.  This trend toward eating as close to home as possible has grown to a $5 billion business in 2007 and is projected to grow to $7 billion business by 2011 according to Local and Fresh Foods, a new report from market research publisher Packaged Facts.  This market is being driven by food safety issues and America's awakening "green" culture the researchers said.  New trends include "food miles," "the Slow Food movement," and "locavores" a term used by Michael Pollan's best-selling book The Omnivore's Dilemma.  "Restaurants, value channels such as drug stores and convenience stores, and even academic foodservice venues are tuning into the fresh and local consciousness that is taking hold in America," said Don Montouri, the publisher of Packaged Facts.  He said the movement is growing beyond fruits and produce into locally produced meats, fish and baked goods.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Projected harvest schedule

Several people have asked about our harvest schedule for our meat products.  Here is a projected schedule for the various products that our farm offers.  Stay tuned to our blog for updates, or let us know if you would like an email notice when we will be processing a specific product.
Sheep: Spring (March-May)
Beef: Spring-Fall (March-October)
Pork: All year, next available harvest will be around the New Year 2011
Poultry: Eggs- season long starting spring 2011; Meat birds- currently avaliable with last 2010 harvest taking place late November 2010

It is our desire to offer our customers the freshest, locally grown, natural meat products available.  Because we are committed to quality and freshness, we like to encourage our customers to place their orders well in advance so we can deliver your meat with wholesome goodness direct from the processor.  You can place your orders via email, or call us at: 1-765-414-9352.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Working together as a family.

One of the greatest joys of farming is the togetherness you have with the most important people in the world, your family.  Our family has been working together cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood over the last few weeks.  We make the whole experience a family event working together to bring in the wood, split it, each taking turns running the hydrolics on our family's 1952 John Deere A that operates our log splitter.  Once split we stack the wood into measured stacks ready for our customers.  Some pick-up the wood, others have us load it into our dump trailer and deliver it right to their homes.  We are select-cutting unwanted trees and cutting up those trees that have fallen over the last few years in our wooded area.  Our farm also has a large amount of locust trees on it.  These trees are not desirable to have around due to the huge thorns around the trunk and on the branchs, but they are one of the best woods for firewood because of the high BTU's created by burning it for heat.  We are coming up with several stacks of a hardwood mix of firewood consisting of maple, hickory, oak, hackberry, and other various hardwood species.  We have sold several ricks and are currently taking orders if you find yourself in need of firewood for this coming cold winter season.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fryer's avaliable the end of this week.

We have a batch of fryer's that are going to be processed this Thursday, so get them while they last.  We are selling whole birds for $4.00/lb or a bird cut into 7 pieces for $4.50/lb. this includes 2 breast, 2 legs, 2 thighs & 1 neck.  Our processor is USDA approved and does a first class job.  Your chicken will come sealed in a plastic bag and ready for your freezer or frying pan.  Birds will be 3-5 lbs each and will not have any water pumped into them to add weight like the ones at the store in town.  Call or email us with your order.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Breakfast at its best!

Breakfast that's worth coming back for!
There is no better way to start out your day than with a healthy, flavorful, all natural breakfast.  Homemade apple butter, eggs from pastured poultry, sage flavored sausage patties from our own pastured pig, and a wonderful cup of French Roast coffee that was roasted by my family.  Not only did it taste good, but it was satisfying to know where it came from.  If you would like to have the same satisfaction of knowing where the food on your plate came from, contact us and we would be glad to be your families personal farmer providing you with these wonderful products.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Why aren't we using GMO corn or soy products for feed?

Here on our farm we have committed to not knowingly use GMO food products for our livestock.  This is not only for the overall health of our animals but also for the health of our customers and our own conscience towards good stewardship of our environment for future generations. I know that there is a great amount of information out there in the world that talks about the pros and cons of GMO (genetically modified organism) products.  I am so glad for the experiences in life that I have had that have helped me formulate my own opinions regarding this issue.  My own personal background in pesticide (herbicide) application along with my farming experience has taught me alot about how plants and animals were created to work together in a beneficial food cycle for man and beast.  I have been "around the block" when it comes to trying new technology that is connected to our food sources and do not like what I see connecting all the pieces together.  It amazes me how many commercial farmers that have bought into the "lie" and are sucked into the vacuum driven by huge multi-faced billion dollar corporations that are only concerned about short term profits.  I recently had lunch with a middle aged multi-generational farmer that has personally seen how all the "benefits" of using agriculture technology (mainly GMO type products) end up creating other issues or problems that have to be dealt with and end up costing more money in the long run while creating more profits for the few big agriculture corporations.  Don't get me wrong; some advances have truly been beneficial to our nation and our feed sources.  Take for instance limited selective pesticide use and some commercial fertilizers used in moderation, advances in precision planting, and faster harvesting equipment.  But any one of these advances can be used as a destructive tool if not used responsibly and carefully by someone who feels a deep desire to leave the next generation with something better.  As the old Native American saying goes "We must always leave our land better than we found it, leaving our children with the responsibility to continue making the land better for future generations."  A heart like this is not motivated by bigger profits and happier stockholders, but by a deep inner conviction that is committed to making the world a little better place for those around them and those to come.   

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Contented Pigs!

Pigs rooting happily in the pasture grass.
Here is a photo of our very content pigs.  These pigs live the grand life rooting around all they want in the green grass, breathing the fresh air and taking a nap in the dirt.  Our pigs are also old verities, Hampshire and Duroc blends, making them well suited for their outside living quarters.  These pigs will put on more backfat than grocery store pigs making for a better flavor when you eat one of their hams or chops.  Our family favorite is the smoked/cured bacon.  Wow!! If you want to have a delicious breakfast meal, fry up some all natural pork bacon with pasture raised poultry eggs,  and finish it off with homemade bread or muffins topped with homemade applebutter and you will have a breakfast meal fit for a king!  We will have pork avaliable as soon as Thanksgiving for your holiday dinner needs.  Also give a half or whole pork for a Christmas gift!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Happy Cows!!

Management Intensive Grazing is a large part of making our grassfed beef program work.  With MIG we can utilize less acreage for grazing with a higher number of animals per acre.  We can also give the grass a rest between grazing and allow it to regrow to optimum grazing height (6"-10").  At this height the animals eat it like candy and it gives the animals the most feed value.  When deciding on our cattle stock we wanted a heritage breed that was old genetics, had disease resistance, pinkeye resistance, and other natural immunities since we are not using antibiotics, hormones, or other medications.  We also wanted a breed that would graze and gain weight on marginal pastures without the use of grain.   This creates a lean, healthy, and tasty meat product that has a proven tract record and is accomplished naturally on a grassfed diet.  That is why we decided on a Longhorn/Angus cross for our cattle breeding stock.  The Longhorn has a tremendous track record in established resistances, good grazers in marginal conditions, great mothers, lean flavorful meat, and a phenomenal heritage.  When you couple the Longhorn genetics with the Angus we feel like you get a winning combination; all the benefits of the Longhorn along with the established marketing of the Angus breed, creating a lean, full flavored meat animal that fits a grassfed beef program.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Wall Street Journal Gives thumbs up to Grassfed Beef

Here is a article I came across regarding grassfed beef.

NEW YORK: A taste-test of beef from five Internet grassfed beef suppliers by the Wall Street Journal gave a thumbs-up to all five saying that "all the grassfed beef tasted fresher and less greasy that supermarket beef."  One taster noted the "purity" of the flavor, saying that supermarket beef sometimes has a livery flavor.  The filet mignon was rated as "superb."  The best New York sprip was called by the Journal as "comparable to a strip at an elite steakhouse."  Tasters  admirred the thick cuts, saying they most looked like a cut fram a high-end butcher shop.

Pastured chickens are growing!

Yesterday we spent time at the farm doing chores feeding and watering the animals.  We got a call from a neighbor that had found our cow that got out of our corral.  She has found green grass and shade and is enjoying her freedom.  We went over and checked her out; she seems to be content and in no hurry to go anywhere.  We took water over to her to make sure she doesn't get thirsty.  We will try next week to bring her back into the herd.  The pastured chickens are growing and having a great time eating the bugs in the grass.  They should be ready to process in 6 weeks or so.  We now have pigs that we are raising up on pasture; they are so fun to watch.  Our pigs love to eat!  Getting vegetables, dropped fruit (apples, pears, and peaches), milk and a feed ration complete with needed minerals and vitamins.  These pigs love to root around in the grass and dirt, creating a natural oasis of cool mud and muck.  These pigs don't have any problem keeping cool in this sweltering August heat.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New chicks arrived today.

Today we got 100 fryer chicks delivered to us.  What fun little puff balls of fuzz to enjoy.  We got the water set, feed put out and the heat lamp turned on.  They are happy chicks!! 

Monday, August 16, 2010

What a day getting started

Cleaned the gutters on our 40x80 tool shed.  Over time they had filled with tree trash and were not working, over filling during our big downpours.  Now they will do their job.  In the future we will work on getting gutter water away from the foundation of the shed, paddock and sent over to the wildlife wetland area.  Getting new boiler chicks tomorrow (100); got our last batch of 29 out in the pasture in our chicken tractor where they can glean out in the grass.  We have a cow that seems unsettled and has gotten out twice, the second time being today.  I am very concerned due to the fact that she is stressed and not settling in well with the rest of the herd.  She should since she is with her original herd that we bought.  We have 4 cow/calf pairs and two bred cows.  She is a bred cow that seems to have a wild hair in her.  We are trying to get her to settle down by not working her hard, but she spooks awful easy.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Choosing our farm plan

Before we bought any animals we had to look at our land, consider what we had to work with and create a workable farm plan.  We have 26 acres of total land, a tool shed, house and creek on the property.  Useable land is only around 20 acres when you cut out lawn, creek, low land areas, and tool shed.  We currently have pastureland, lawn and forestland as our vegetation areas.  The lawn areas will be mowed regularly, the pastureland we will graze livestock and birds, and the forest areas we will select-cut unwanted trees (thorn trees, misc. trash trees) and limb-up standing trees to establish good wildlife areas and additional grazingland.  Wetland areas will be planted to native vegetation to encourage wildlife habitat.  Our farm plan centers around a grass-fed pasture operation, grazing cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry.  Doing this will lower our financial investment in expensive machinery, buildings and other costs that are related to starting a conventional farming or ranching enterprise.

Starting again with our own small farm in the Midwest.

Here we are starting our own small farm in a new part of the country.  My family decided to move back east to Indiana from Oregon where we have lived for the last 9+ years.  We sold the cows, goats, pigs, chickens, and equipment and loaded up what was left, to arrive here in Indiana around mid July.  Whew!!! What a hot time to arrive.  We had gotten used to the mild Oregon weather, and these hot, humid Indiana days about take our breath away.  Anyhow, we have landed here on a 26 acre farm that we plan on making our own, using the principles we have learned and have taught.  We have lots of work to do getting our place ready for cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and possibly some other furry critters.  Here we go; follow along with this blog and you will travel with us through each phase of our own personal journey starting, managing, and profiting from our own small farm.