Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas and End of the Year Special

"Pa rum pum pum pum...Born is the King of Israel....Be near me,Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay...."  Don't you just enjoy the songs of Christmastime!  Especially those that glorify Christ.  He is indeed the sole reason for this season.  Let's spread the Good News to people wherever we are.

One of the goals our family has is to encourage families to spend time together regularly around the dinner table.  Of course we encourage you to serve healthy, locally-raised food products.  :)  We want to partner with you to make that possible.

If you are anything like us, we love to find a good bargain!  For a limited time we are offering a few specials:

*Chicken - Buy 3 get 1 free (whole birds $4.00/#)

*Turkey - Buy 1 get 1 free package of pork bacon ($8.00 value)

*Pork package for $22.50 (a $30.00 value).  
   Includes: 1 Ham shank or butt
             1 pkg. bacon
             1 pkg. rib chops (2/pkg.)

These prices are valid December 19-31, 2011.  Call 765-414-9352 or email to order.

May you enjoy a special time together with your family this Christmas season and all year through!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Thanksgiving revisited!

I woke up this morning with a verse out of the Bible on my mind.  It goes like this, "I thank my God for every remembrance of you."  This is exactly how I was feeling this morning.  I found myself thanking Jesus for so many things that I had forgotten about or hadn't thought about for some time.  Here are a few things that I gave thanks to God for:
  1. That He saved me out of a pit, loves me and accepts me into his eternal family as an adopted son.  Heir to all the blessings of full sonship and life eternal in HIS glorious presence.
  2. 15 years of married blessing to my wonderful wife and the fruit of our love in our 5 lovely children.
  3. The beauty of His created earth seen in the everyday things of nature like: a sunrise, new born calf, or how a rooster knows to crow in the morning.
  4. Our friends!  People like you, people who encourage us.  Friends that give a smile or a pat on the back at times when needed.  I think of many of these friends that are spread all over this nation, folks that we love, those who are our friends in nearly every state of the nation. 
  5. The great harvest that we have been blessed with another year.  Fruits, grains, vegetables, meats, all stored up for the cold winter months.  Canned apple cider or apple butter that will be enjoyed by giggly children and the smell of fresh bacon frying in the pan. All given to us by God's gracious hand!
I realize that "official" thanksgiving day is past by a few weeks, but I find it a blessing to stop again and think about some of the things that I am thankful for.  And I find that indeed I thank my God for every remembrance of you!  God bless you richly!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Rogue Chicken

If you had followed Mark into town this morning, you may have done a double take.  Perched on the straw in the trailer rode a chicken. 

Mark and the boys climbed into the truck to head to the farm.  As they were piling in, a chicken hopped onto the trailer.  Thinking it was a good place to sit, two of her friends decided to join her.  When the truck started to move out the drive, two hopped off.  Racing to the front window I saw that one stayed on for the ride.  Her feathers were blowing so much in the wind I wasn't sure she would stay on.

Imagine Mark's surprise when someone at the gas station commented on his passenger.  Those folks enjoyed a good laugh this morning.  If the gas station owner can catch the chicken, he gets to keep her.  Or maybe the town has a new mascot.  You never know.  Keep your eyes open when you drive through.  You may just find our hen ruling the roost.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Hmmm....looking at my past blog titles, it seems all we thought about for a few weeks were farmer's market.  That's not so in real life.  We have been busy with life, just as you.  A few weeks ago we were challenged with a calf getting out of the pasture every day for a week or so.  The hot wire just wasn't bothering him a bit.  It gets really embarrassing and aggravating to get phone calls from people passing by who call to tell you your calf is by the road.  I'm very grateful, though, that people care and try to help.  We were just weary of running to the farm every day to put a calf in.  Actually, every time we got there, the calf was grazing innocently inside the pasture.  That is, until one day my mother-in-law and another gentleman stayed at the farm until I got there.  They watched where the calf got out and back in. 

That day second son and I worked on the hot wire for several hours.  We left and wouldn't you know it, my husband called before we made it home and said the calf was out.  Now you can be assured I was not a happy momma!  Z and I went on home, ate some lunch, and loaded the rest of the kiddos up again to head back to the farm.  This time we added a third wire between the two around the front of the property.  Whewww!  Thankfully that solved the problem!

Normally Mark and the boys are the fencing specialists.  I know enough to irritate the boys with my suggestions.  =)  They do a really good job with the farm work.  We rely on their help so much.  Like when I have to take a trailer somewhere.  They know what size ball we need to use, and they put it on the truck.  All I do generally is back up to the trailer, and they hook it up.  Mark has indeed taught them well; they are our right hand helpers!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Special Farmer's Market for Thanksgiving

There is one last farmer's market day of the season.  It is a special one just for farm-fresh food for your Thanksgiving feast.  We will be at the Sagamore West market Wednesday, November 23, 2011, from 3:00-5:30 pm.  Read about it here.  If you have pre-ordered turkey from us, we will have it thawed for you.  For those of you who have never purchased from our farm before, we look forward to meeting you!  It is always a pleasure serving friends.  Just look for the booth with the Double M Farms banner on the table.

In case any are interested, we also will have pork products with us for sale.  If you have any special orders for pork, call us or email, and we will make sure we have your order ready.

Remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God who has blessed us with more blessings than we can count.  Let's live our lives in thankfulness every day!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Fall/Thanksgiving Special

Historically people would slaughter pigs in the fall and winter time.  Now is the time to fill your freezer with winter pork.  To give you added benefit in stocking your freezer, we are running a promotion for a limited time.  If you purchase a half hog, we will give you a whole chicken (value approx. $20.00).  Purchase a whole hog and we'll give you your choice of a turkey or 3 whole chickens (value $60.00-65.00).  Click here for our price list.  Consider buying a whole hog with a friend.  If you do that, you can both save on price/pound.  We'll leave it up to you to divide the turkey or chicken. =)  Any who choose a turkey will be able to get it before Thanksgiving.

There is a limited availability of both products.  This offer ends Monday, November 21, 2011.  Act now to insure that you get your order in before we sell out.

Phone # to order:  765-414-9352

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Pre-order Turkey

Our wonderful holiday, Thanksgiving, is coming soon!  Have you purchased your turkey?  We have broad breasted whites and a few heritage turkeys still available.  Call us to reserve your holiday bird in advance.  1-765-414-9352

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rainy, cold, dreary market day

Ok, so we discovered that you really need rain boots and a rain coat for days like yesterday.  The weather was drizzly and windy, not exactly the kind of weather I normally choose to be out in.  Zach & I loaded the van and headed to the farmer's market.  It appeared that our tent didn't want to be outside either.  With several vendor's help, we finally got the tent so it would not break with the wind.  After braving it for an hour, I called it quits.  My socks were totally wet and discolored and people were not coming to our booth.  I don't blame them.  They were on a mission to get their veggies/baked goods and leave. =)  Zach & I loaded back up and headed home.  We did enjoy the camaraderie with the other vendors and market employees though.  They are great people to work with!

The moral of this story, learn from the pros.  Observe the other vendors and do what they do.  They know; they have "weathered the storm".

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A chilly, rainy day for the market

Today is market day with rain.  We won't be serving ice cream in this chilly weather.  Instead, we will be serving hot coffee made from the locally roasted coffee beans we sell.  Today's brew is Costa Rican decaf.  Stop by for a hot cup of Joe as you browse the market.

If you have a specific order of meat you want, call before 12:30 pm and we'll make sure to have your order available.  Looking forward to seeing you soon!

765-414-9352 Phone number to place your order

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Farmer's Market

Today we won't be at farmer's market in West Lafayette.  We are snowed under with baling hay and moving animals to another farm.  Thank you for your continued support of our products!  We aim to serve our customers and to provide quality products and service.  Look for us next week, Lord willing, at our booth, Double M Farms.  May you enjoy a blessed day in this beautiful fall weather!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Market Day

Yesterday was farmer's market.  We sold pumpkin ice cream.  The day was a lot slower with the rain and with coming to the end of the season. 

Before we went to market, we picked up a new batch of chicks.  There are now a shy 200 peeping in the barn, growing for fresh winter meat.  It's time to pull out those good ole' chicken noodle soup recipes, made even better by fresh, free-range chicken.  Nothing tastes more delicious on a cold snowy day than some hot soup.  It's a comfort food.  It has also been learned that chicken noodle soup is beneficial for you when you're feeling under the weather.  Hmmmm, makes me hungry for some just writing about it.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Price List for meat products

Several people have asked about our farmers market prices for our farm products.  We currently sell our products at the West Lafayette market on Wednesday afternoons and our products can be pre-ordered and picked up at Java Jo'z on Creasy Ln. in Lafayette.  Order at 765-414-9352 or

Natural Chicken
Whole chicken                    $4.00/lb                 3-5 lbs.
Whole chicken cut-up        $4.50/lb                 3-5 lbs.
Necks                                 $3.50/lb                 1-2 lbs.
Liver or Hearts                    $3.50/lb                 1-2 lbs.

We will have chicken available for a limited time through the winter.  Reserve yours today to be sure to have all the chicken you may need till next market season. 

Pastured Pork
Pork chops                $7.00      (2)                   Ham steak        $9.00
Tenderloin                $6.50      (2)                    Ham Roast       $15.00 
Spare Ribs                $9.75   roughly 2 lbs.     Ham Hock        $5.00
Loin End Roast         $12.00   2-4lbs.             Bacon              $8.00/lb
“Catfish” Loin         $7.50   roughly 1 lb.           
Ground Pork         $5.00      1 lb.                
Sausage                   $5.00      1 lb.
Whole Hog  (150-200 lbs. of meat)        $3.50/lb.  Hanging weight
Half Hog  (75-100 lbs. of meat)          $3.70/lb.  Hanging weight
Customer responsible for additional cost of processing and wrapping

Thanksgiving Turkeys
Reserve your “fresh” pastured turkey for this Thanksgiving season
Heritage Breed bird (7-15 lbs.) $6.00/lb limited quantity
Broad-breasted White bird (15-25 lbs.) $3.50/lb limited quantity
$25.00 non-refundable deposit to Reserve your bird, remaining balance upon delivery

Monday, September 12, 2011

Bull calf

Daisy had her baby, finally.  She seemed ready to calve for a while.  The last month I kept thinking, "Surely it will be born today."  Here are some pictures of the cute little guy.

Daisy gving him his bath

The little fellow is skittish.  He hid behind his momma when I would try to take a picture.  His colorings are beautiful like Daisy, a pretty cream and brown.

The cows are at another site than our home place.  When we go to do the chores, we drive slowly up the lane with the window down calling, "Heeere Bossy!"  Our little toddler has picked up on that and calls for them too.  It is a delight to watch her learn and grow at a rapid speed.

Doesn't she look ornery!  She has her big brothers wrapped around her little finger.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Farm tour and Educational visit at the farm

Recently we hosted a family that wanted to learn more about small farm management and some of the farm systems that we use to support our sustainable farm.  We enjoyed getting to spend the time together with our visitors, hearing and answering their questions, walking the farm, and talking over a home cooked meal in our dining room.  I have posted a "Thank You" letter that we received from our visitors:


I just wanted to write and let you know how much we appreciated your family's hospitality during our recent visit to your farm. Meeting your family and sharing that wonderful home cooked meal made for a very enjoyable afternoon.

When we set up our visit with you, we were not sure what to expect or just how much we could learn about operating a small farm the natural way.  The experience was not only informative but a very pleasant and enjoyable.  You shared with us, a wealth of knowledge, which quite honestly left us simply overwhelmed and excited about all the possibilities.  We discussed changes and additions to our farm non stop for the next several hours.

Since neither my husband nor I where raised on a farm , up to this point, we had only the books we had read and conversations with the local feed store owners to base the operation of, as we call it, our micro farm. We left your farm with the confirmation we had hoped to gain, that we were on the right track; plus our heads full of new ideas as well as answers to all of our questions and concerns. The discussion we had with you about the farm plan, started us thinking about what, when and where our next step will take us.

The one fact we both agree on now, is that will be taking our operation to the next level from hobby farm to a money making operation. The healthy food source we create, the personal satisfaction we both derive from what was just a hobby has grown to an enthusiasm and desire to share benefits of naturally grown food with a larger community and make everyone aware of the alternatives out there.

We would highly recommend to others in our position to take time to meet with you discuss the benefits and options that can be incorporated into a family farm. We hope to follow your efforts via your blog and if you do start a radio program or web cast we will follow accordingly. The simple truth is good down to earth experience and information is just to hard to find and we appreciate the time you spent with us.

We welcome others to come and visit if you want to experience a small farm, visit the animals, or to learn more about sustainable small farming.  We offer folks an opportunity to get away from the city, stress, or the daily grind to spend a half day or full day on the farm.  Contact us for more information about our farm tours and for scheduling a day on the farm!    1-765-414-9352

Friday, September 2, 2011

The ice cream success

The ice cream was a huge success!  With a very hot and humid day, people were glad for a cool treat.  We were so busy getting it made and then serving it that we didn't get pictures taken.  Next week will be a different flavor.  Stop by to see what we are serving.  It's sure to be delicious!

Wednesday was also Mark and my 15th wedding anniversary.  It was enjoyable spending the day together.  As always, we like to work together.  :)  We're a team.  Thank you, Lord, for a godly mate!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Visit us at the West Lafayette Farmers market

We are now selling our farm direct goods at the West Lafayette farmers market.  You can find the market on Salisbury St. in West Lafayette.  The market is on Wednesday afternoons starting at 3:00p.m. and is over at 6:30p.m.  Come out and visit our booth, we have pastured pork & poultry on hand, roasted coffee (roasted by Upbeat Coffee located out of Lafayette near Flora), and our famous old-fashioned homemade ice cream.  We have different flavors each week, so be sure to stop by each week. 

p.s. Come by early, before all the ice cream gets sold out!!!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Happy Pastured Pig's

I was out yesterday working on the farm and noticed that the pigs kept following me around.  Our pigs were out enjoying the sunshine and beautiful weather.  They decided to feast on the growing grass instead of spending the day laying in their favorite waterhole to keep cool.  Pigs are amazing animals that humor me so much.  We get more laughs from the pigs than any other animal.  It must be a grand life to be a pastured pig!  While talking about pigs, I would like to mention that we have hogs that are ready to be processed for your families freezer.  If you have never had fresh pastured pork, here is a great opportunity to taste the difference while supporting local farmers, eating healthy natural raised food, and feeding your family.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Food for thought! The Lunatic Farmer - Joel Salatin

This may be a stretch for some of us, but it is good food for thought.  I think that Joel has a good point, his understanding of agriculture was held by nearly all American farmers up till the late 50's.  There are still a few old men that farmed pre-1960's that tell me about how for generations they farmed.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate some of the modern progresses in machinery and other tools that make things easier today, but we have forsaken most of the attributes that made America great for so many years.  Some being a strong family unit, things done with integrity, less regulation/legislation, hard work and stewardship vs. environmental extremism. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Grass-fed beef sample pack (80lbs.)

We are offering an 80 lb. sample pack of grass-fed beef for our customers to purchase.  If you would like to experience the benefits of eating grass-fed beef for the first time or already know how flavorful, tender and heart healthy our beef is, this is a good opportunity for you.  In this sample pack you will get a broad list of cuts including roasts, steaks and ground beef.  This meat is $5.00/lb, a total cost of $400.00, for your own taste of local, grass-fed beef.  Our cows have not been fed any antibiotics, gmo's, hormones, or animal by-products in their feed ration.  These cows run on grass through the summer and hay in the winter.  Contact us at 765-414-9352 or to place your order.  This is a limited quantity item.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

"Pasture raised meat chicken" NOW TAKING ORDERS!

Many of our customers have boughten our farm fresh, free range meat chickens in the past, and we continue to get great feedback on satisfaction.  We will have a fresh batch processed in the next two weeks for any customers that need to restock their freezer or want to enjoy a fresh flavorful chicken.  These birds ran on free choice grass, no hormones, gmo's or antibiotics.  These birds are not pumped full of water when processed like the birds that you buy at the store.  You will also find these birds are full of flavor and once you taste them, you will not want to go back to the factory farm chicken you get at the store.  Call us at 765-414-9352 or email for your orders.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Future food?

Saw this article on FoxNews and thought our followers might find it interesting what scientists are trying to do to our food supplies.

You will never find support for practices such as this from us!  It is a blessing to know where your food comes from.  Buy fresh from the farm!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Beef Consumption in USA hits record low!

WASHINGTON:  Beef consumption in the USA has hit the lowest level since consumption records began in 1958.  Beef consumption fell by 1.4 pounds in 2010 to 59.7 pounds per capita.  Pork consumption fell even more at 2.2 pounds to a per capita consumptions of 48 pounds.  The fall in per capita meat consumption reflects the decline in the available domestic supply due to falling animal numbers and growing export sales.  Chicken consumption rose in 2010 in large due to slowing export sales.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Crops are planted!

We just wanted to praise the Lord for allowing us, and all of our family and friends to get their crops planted this spring.  It has been a very difficult year to get in the fields due to the heavy rain and storms.  The Lord gave us nearly 10 days of weather that allowed the tractors to roll out of the shed and plant all those little seeds that in time will hopefully reap a bountiful harvest come fall.  These farmers put in huge days, some working around the clock to get their livelihood planted into the rich Indiana soil.  Many having mothers and wives bring them lunch and supper out to the field, each making the sacrifice it takes to complete the task.  God bless each one of you for contributing to feed families all around the world and those right in our own neighborhood. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Chicken, Turkey, and Geese coming soon!

Many of our farm customers have enjoyed the difference between our farm raised chicken, and store bought chicken.  You can taste the difference!  We are still raising chickens and have decided to bring you pastured turkeys, geese, and ducks.  These birds will be ready for your family to enjoy coming this fall, just in time for all the great holiday gatherings.  Place your order, to be sure and have a bird reserved just for you!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


We have had several of our customers ask when we would have some beef and pork ready.  We are currently taking orders for grass fed beef, and pastured pork.  The grass fed beef and pork have been raised on our pasture, and have been raised to our strict requirements.  You will find the beef lean, flavorful and very heart healthy with only 2.2 grams of fat, Cholesterol 35, & Calories at 144 based on a 4 ounce cut of beef.  (Results taken from a comparable Corriente beef animal tested at BodyCote, Inc. food science lab)

The first beef will be processed towards the end of May, with Pork being ready the first of June.
Call us at 765-414-9352 or email Monica at for any questions or to place your orders. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

God's Fertilizer

With the ground getting firmer this spring we have been busy spreading God's gift of natural fertilizer.  We get this from all the different types of livestock that we raise.  Each is different in fertilizer value, but all is invaluable to keeping our farm sustainable and our cost down.  We have been spreading cow manure most recently, loading with one tractor and spreading with our 1952 John Deere A.  The old A seems to be doing what it enjoys, working on the farm.  We utilize as much of our own manure as possible to fertilize our fields.  Each ton of manure is loaded with nutrients and organic matter which helps build our soil health while feeding our plants the valuable elements they need to thrive.  In turn our animals eat the healthy plants and create more nutrient rich fertilizer for the soil.  God's design in nature was to be a complete cycle that works together to benefit for the common good of the whole.  Historically farmers have been stewards of this cycle of nature, carefully managing each area that was put under his dominion.  Farmers have done relatively well at this until really the last 50-60 years.  With the creation of petroleum/salt base commercial fertilizers, pesticides, and now GMO products, farmers have been sucked into $$$$$$$ and have turned from a steward into a profit driven corporate structure.  Most farmers today are largely influenced by their commerical fertilizer salesman/fieldman who went to an Ag college that is given millions of dollars by Pesticide/Fertilizer corporations to train future fieldmen.  This cycle can be changed one family at a time as future farmers recommit themselves to being good stewards, and by local consumer's as you support and encourage healthy, local food that is raised by conscientious growers.   Thank you for your support!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Everything is growing!

Well it appears that spring has finally arrived.  I am so excited about seeing the grass green up and start to grow.  The animals are even more excited about finally having fresh garden green food everyday for their diet.  The lambs love to run and frolic in the pasture, while the chickens scratch around to gather worms in the sod.  Our cows are ready to get off of winters dry hay and begin their feast of fresh, high energy green grass.  This grass is God's natural provision for these grazing animals, and it is such a blessing to see them enjoy the very thing that God created for them to grow and thrive on the best. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


The weather is so pleasant and spring like.  A slight breeze is blowing that is refreshing.  I decided to go outside and take a few pictures of the sheep grazing.  They were all laying down when I headed out.  

It is hard to take a picture of them relaxing because as soon as you get close they get up.  That's why the first picture is so far away. 

After waiting for a while, they relaxed and a couple lay down again.  One of the older babies was out of the fence.  I let it stay out because it wouldn't run off by itself.  They stay together.

 As I was trying to post this, the doorbell rang.  I went to the door.  A very kind gentleman had stopped to warn me that our sheep were out and had been by the road.  Shelly and I thanked him and dashed outside to try to corral the sheep.  I grabbed my phone to snap a few shots of the wayward animals.

They were grazing in our backyard by the time I got out there.  Thankfully I had Shelly to help block them from running back out to the front.  We were trying to get them in their fence when Mark got home with the boys.  Whewww!  Saved once again by my knight in shining armour!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Normal day

Today was a normal, busy day.  On Monday we have guitar and violin lessons in Lafayette for some in our family.  Between lessons we stop at Java Jo'z, my parents coffee shop, to deliver any chicken or eggs that people have ordered.  It makes it nice to have a pick-up point for those in town and for us to get the product to them.  Today we delivered a whole chicken for a customer.  If you are a first time buyer from us, we give you a dozen eggs at no charge. 

On a side note, our little 17 month old is so busy that it is taking twice the time to get this post uploaded. =)  She runs from one thing to the next, her eyes always scanning what she can get into next.

Some random pics for you to enjoy.....

Well the random pics aren't happening.  The blog isn't "working" correctly so I guess I'll have to add some on a different post.  Plus my alignment won't move to the left.  Have a blessed day!

(Written on Monday and posted on Tuesday.)

Thursday, March 10, 2011

All we like sheep!

As I came out to the kitchen this morning, I noticed one of the sheep was beside the bin.  This means that at least one was out of the fence.  I called Ben to go get the sheep back in.  When he went out the door, the sheep heard him and started running up.  There were 3 mommas and 3 babies loose.  They are so amusing to watch. Actually all our animals are.  Anyway, Ben walked to the barn to get their feed, and they followed right up to the door.  The problem is, he shut the door in their face.  Ohhhh, what a let down!  Immediately they ran behind the barn to the pen area.  Seeing he wasn't coming, back they came.  Ben came out the barn at that time and they trotted right behind him back to where they belong.  Maybe we'll start calling Ben, Mary.  (Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb......)

The sheep got out yesterday, too.  Mark had the boys put up electrified woven wire fence so the sheep could graze more.  This would allow for more flexibility in our rotational grazing system.  The problem we've had has been to keep this kind of portable fencing standing in the corners.  Who wants to stay in when there is complete, unhindered freedom?  This time I found the sheep grazing by our front porch.  I was a little alarmed by this because we live close to the highway.  It wouldn't be good for the sheep to get spooked.  Thankfully they followed Zach as soon as he came around the corner.  As for now, Ben put them in their regular pen until the fencing problems are resolved.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Eggs Galore

This is Ben, our chief egg cleaner and sorter.  He informed us that he processed 5 dozen eggs today.  At 13 yrs. of age he is our oldest right hand man.  The others are right behind him in learning to work.

We have eggs piling up around here.  They are $3.00/dozen.  We go to Lafayette every Monday afternoon so if you place your egg order, we can easily meet you there.  Thanks to our neighbor friend, Phyllis, who puts in a good word for our eggs.  We know they're good but it's always nice to have someone else say so too.  =) 

Our chickens are enjoying the warmer weather as they roam.  We see them wander in the field by the woods, in the pasture, and wherever they desire to walk.  They are quite independent and like to go where they please. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011


On one of my first posts I told you that on our property we have a forest.  This area has been unmanaged and allowed to grow up into a dense, uncontrolled forest system.  We have some unwanted species of invasive plants like honeysuckle.  Some of the forested areas had been productive pasture in the past 25 years, but with lack of management they have produced honey locust trees and wild cherry trees.  Our vision was to create a productive forestland that is managed and to reclaim some of the pastureland.  We wanted to create more of a savannah atmosphere, using grasses to control erosion and provide a controlled grazing area.  We also have a rather large "creek" flowing through our property.  This is a wonderful added bonus to the tranquility of the place but does cause issues with erosion and flooding.  We are consistently losing trees along the bank to the swift waters of a flowing creek.  Taking all this into consideration, I met with the local district DNR forester this last week and came up with a workable plan to create a managed forest.  I also met with the local Soil and Water Conservation officer and discussed some of our erosion problem.  He made some suggestions on the best ways to stop soil erosion in the creek and our driveway wash out area.  I am thankful for the encouragement, advice, and help that these two fine gentlemen have given us. 

In Oregon we worked on similar projects and found excellent counsel from our local extension and SWCD agents.  These folks know your area better than most people and can help you in invaluable ways.  Upon the advice of our district forester we began last week to log trees that are sitting on the bank of the creek.  Most of these trees were leaning over the water.  They created quite a challenge to drop and retrieve from the flowing water.  Some of the trees were able to fall onto dry ground while others fell into the creek.  Those in the creek required the use of our small dozer to pull out.  We had a rather large cottonwood (see top picture) that after many attempts to pull out of the creek, still rests there waiting on a larger dozer to get it out.  I often call myself a farmer or livestock owner, but never before have I called myself a Lumberjack!  I always have enjoyed watching, with respect, the Oregon lumberjacks that would work day in and day out cutting, clearing and hauling logs.  These men were a tough crowd of folks.  After working just one day at our forestry project, I can see how these men became tough and rugged laborers of the forest.  Now our 26 acres will not make me a fully experienced lumberjack, but I have a feeling that it will toughen me up and give me an even greater respect for those homesteaders and pioneers of the past.  Those folks labored hard to clear some land to raise a few acres of food and run a few head of stock.

 The work may be hard, but it is enjoyable.  Here is my dad who worked as our dozer/skidder operator, dragging logs and dropping trees where we could best work with them.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Grass-fed beef vs. Grain-fed

Here on our farm we raise our beef on a salad bar of grass and other forages.  Some people ask us why we insist on raising our beef on a forage diet instead of corn.  Since we live in the corn belt, and corn and soybeans are readily available right out our back door, shouldn't we feed them grain.  The answer in NO!  We believe and research shows that God created cows to be ruminants.  This means that they are not carnivores nor were their digestive systems created to consume large amounts of grain.  The cows digestive system was designed to extract nutrients from the grasses and hay by utilizing the multiple compartments of their stomachs.  This multi-step process accomplishes not only the extraction of important nutrients, but also leads to an increase in saliva production which naturally buffers the animals digestive system.  This buffer works against excessive acid and facilitates a harmonious level of beneficial microbes necessary for proper digestion.  Grain-fed cows are generally fed a diet high not only in concentrated feed stuff like grain, but given GMO grains that are found to trigger inflammatory response in both animals and humans.  In short, grain is not the natural feedstuffs for cattle.  God created their digestive systems to function at their best when they are fed a forage based diet.    Also another difference between grass-fed and grain-fed beef is the way in which the animals are raised.  Being natural foragers, how much sense does it make to raise these animals on concrete lots, competing for feed in an environment that promotes disease, land pollution and the dissolution of the family farm that cannot compete with the corporate "big agri-business".  In future postings I will go into the health benefits of grass-fed beef.  I will explain why beef animals raised on a forage based system are healthier to eat than grain-fed beef.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To bottle feed or not

There are a lot of opinions whether you should bottle feed triplets or not.  The lambs have done well from birth, but we thought maybe we needed to help supplement the momma.  Ben tried with one of the lambs, but she wasn't interested.  Mark talked to Jared, the farmer we bought the sheep from, and he said we probably won't have to bottle feed.  Jared has had mommas deliver triplets before, and the ewes have successfully raised three babies.  We will be keeping a close eye on them to make sure they continue to do well. 

a couple more lamb pictures

Yesterday Mark went and bought some 6 month and 9 month old layers.  We are needing to increase our flock.  A little here and a little there accomplishes that.  It takes 24-26 weeks for chicks to mature enough to start laying.  We plan to buy more chicks this spring.  As for now, it is nice to have chickens that are already laying to increase our egg production.

Speaking of eggs, this morning for breakfast I fried eggs and ham for breakfast sandwiches.  Add a slice of cheese and a couple pieces of bread.  Yum!  My family really enjoys hot nutritious breakfasts.

Monday, February 7, 2011

They're here!!!

Friday morning Ben came in from doing the sheep chores and told us he thought the momma was in labor.  He guessed we would have babies within 24 hours.  A short while later he snuck out without his siblings knowing to check the ewe.  He came in quite pleased.  The momma had birthed triplets.  They are each doing well.  She took all three, but we are going to supplement them with bottle feeding. 

Of the three, one is a male, and the other two are females.  One of them keeps jumping out of their makeshift pen, noses around, and then jumps back in.  The boys are really enjoying them.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Moving the ewe

She's in the barn.  Whewwww!!!!  It's no small task to move a very pregnant momma sheep into the barn.  We haven't had the sheep very long, and she was not so sure of us.  The Bible talks about leading sheep and that all we like sheep have gone astray, every one to his own way.  Well, we were seeing how she wanted to go her own way!  With the help of a rope, some feed and the Lord, she is now safe inside.  No matter how much snow we get, her babies will be able to be warm when they arrive.

Mark had several ricks of wood to split and deliver yesterday.  Thankfully he was able to get that done before the expected winter storm.  Hopefully if the storm comes as forecasted, we won't lose electricity!  Enjoy your warm cozy homes and warm tea/coffee/hot chocolate!

Thursday, January 27, 2011


It's snowing again and it's......chore time.  Mark is off doing chores elsewhere so the little ones get to check the chickens.  Their daddy said to go out and collect the eggs and check the chicken's food and water.  My guess is they will ask for some tea when they get inside.  The children are thinking the milder Oregon winter sounds nice about now.  They miss the early spring flowers, daffodils.

We have a ewe that is about ready to lamb.  That will be exciting to have a baby animal or two.  New life is amazing!  Isn't our God creative!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A cold week

Brrr!  We have had some chilly days this past week with the temp sometimes below 0*F.  The animals are faring well in spite of the cold.  They flock to the food at the morning feeding anticipating their meal.  Having plenty of food and water keeps them warmer and better able to withstand the cold.

The chickens continue to lay eggs, much to our delight.  They taste so much better than the store bought ones.  The eggs are still small, but we are starting to see some bigger ones come in.  They will continue to get bigger the longer the hens lay until the eggs are standard size.  It's amazing, but even the small eggs can have double yokes. 

Two of our younger children normally do the chicken chores.  They are learning to work together.  To water the chickens, they each get on one side of a 5 gallon bucket and carry the water to the chicken tractor.  As I watch them through the kitchen window, my heart smiles to see them learn good life lessons in teamwork.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Local agriculture Predicted to get Huge in just eight years

NEW YORK:  A group of futurist experts and authors convened by the politically conservative business magazine Forbes predicted that by 2018, only seven years from now, 20 % of the food eaten in major urban areas of the USA will be grown close to, or in the city itself.  The magazine noted that this is a huge dollar number and would really shake up modern American agriculture, which is currently built around a small number of large-scale farms and long distance shipping.  "In addition to making our cities more resilient, the health benefits, for both our bodies and our planet, of consuming food that is grown within a small number of miles of our homes or workplaces are significant."  the magazine said in the October 25th 2010 edition.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Smoked chicken for company lunch

As I had told you before, Mark is a great chef!  He prepared smoked chicken for company after church.  We were planning on 20+ people, with some of them children. 

Since our family can eat 1 chicken in one sitting, we thawed 4 chickens to smoke.  On Friday evening, we soaked the chickens in the salt water while we were at a friend's house for New Year's Eve.  When we got home, the chickens were rinsed from the salt water and refrigerated overnight.  Saturday morning Mark smoked them in 2 shifts as the smoker holds a max of 2 birds. 

Brushing and injecting the marinade

We baked the chickens low and slow all afternoon, deboned them in the evening, and put the chicken pieces in a 9 X 13 for easy heating during church.  The guests enjoyed the pasture-raised poultry, and we even had enough leftovers for chicken sandwiches on Monday. :)