There have been some hot debates on the net lately. These debates/arguments have been re-opened because of the recent illnesses associated with the Oregon farm, Foundation Farm. There have been numerous cases of illness associated with the raw milk coming from this farm and several have been hospitalized. The contamination is E. Coli 0157:H7. This is one of the deadliest strains of E. Coli. I am a big proponent of raw milk. Our family drinks our raw milk from our goats. The big difference is sanitation. In every news report of I have read concerning the illness coming from Foundation Farm the thing that stands out the most is the level of contamination on the farm. The levels of this strain of E. coli are high....very high and those levels are everywhere and on everything. You only get those high levels when there is poor sanitation. I am sorry but Foundation Farm was a dirty nasty filthy environment. I am angry at the owners of the farm because they have simply added fuel to the USDA's war against raw milk producers by their need to turn a quick buck. And then I am angry at their customers also for being so gullible and so stupid as to not personally eyeball the source of their raw milk. I say all the time to folks, if you are going to purchase raw milk from someone else you had better eyeball in person how and where they milk and the conditions on the farm. I take great care in sanitation when I am milking because I know that by drinking my milk raw poor sanitation can lead to the death of me and my family. Anyone knows this or at least should. But I also say that raw milk is one of the healthiest things that you can do for your family. Raw milk was one of the first things that started making a huge difference in my own personal health...for the good. For any raw milk producers out there who think they can "get by" like Foundation Farm did...I say you deserve what you get. And please quit making it harder on good producers who do supply a healthy clean product legally to their customers. The ones who suffer are not the ones who should suffer and many good producers of raw milk products around the country are suffering and under attack by the USDA because of farms like Foundation Farm. The best bet for everyone all around is to produce your own and keep it on your farm. Keep your conditions clean and make sanitation your number one priority. Filthy conditions lead to deadly milk, but clean sanitized conditions lead to clean healthy milk. Blessings, Kat
Whisper Wind Country Store
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Well, things are going well this spring around the farm. I might finally be getting the hang of this farming thing after 10 years. The garden is going great, just loads of work. I still can't say enough how I love my bio-dynamic garden. My garden is lush and green and full of yummy food. The weeding is relatively easy. Right now some of the pathways are getting out of hand and the rabbit patches are growing faster than the bunnies can eat. However, that is a good problem to have since I don't have to worry if the rabbits are going to have enough food. I am still having trouble with one chicken getting in the garden. I hate to get rid of her since she is one of my best egg layers and I have lost two hens this year already. One was simply very old I suspect. We don't really know how old she was when we got her as she was given to us by someone who could no longer keep chickens in their town backyard. The chickens are getting to where they range farther and farther away on the property and the other hen looked as if she was attacked by something. We really need another LGD, Dakota can only work so many hours and she does an awesome job at night. During the daytime though she gets rather exhausted and it is hard work keeping up with chickens scattered hither thither and yon. Right now with the farm situation up in the air we really can't justify another dog. On a good note we have had two hens sitting on eggs. They decided to nest right next to each other and apparently are sharing duty. They mixed up their eggs and so both had eggs hatch from the early batch and then there are still eggs from a later batch. One hen is taking on the newly hatched chicks from both nests and the other hen sits on the unhatched eggs. The rest of the eggs should be hatching within the next week or so. The chicks are mutts, but they are ever so cute. It is so much fun watching mama hen teach the little ones how to find food and she is a vicious protector of those babies. Poor Cujo thought he would check out the little fluffballs and say hi. Big mistake as he found himself with a face full of angry mama hen! The rabbit grow out cages are almost full and since it isn't all that hot yet I am hoping to get a few more litters from the colony. I don't really know whether they will take a summer siesta (papa bunny going heat sterile) or not since being in the indoor colony. We will have to wait and see. We can't complain with the numbers though and will truly have a great supply of rabbit meat this year. The bunnies are still very happy with their colony and so far it hasn't been all that difficult to catch weanling bunnies to transfer to the grow out cages. The goats so far are behaving themselves when I let them out to browse and are staying close to home. We still have the perimeter fencing to re-fence, but that is on hold until we know what is going to happen to the farm. I just wish they would hurry up and have those babies. I have a couple that look like they are going to explode they are so big. However, they could wait a few more days until I get the goat barn stripped and the new kidding stalls built. So much to do and not enough time or energy to get it all done.
Since it is spring and the weather outside is glorious we have been doing some hot and heavy cleaning up and cleaning out and repairs of course. We have cleaned out a lot of garbage that the previous owner left and kept saying she was coming to get. Since she held our mortgage we didn't throw it out because she kept saying she wanted it. Now that she has passed away we know that her heir doesn't want rusted old metal and 30 year old batteries. It is nice to be able to finally rid ourselves of all of that garbage. Maybe now we can get in the shed and rebuild the roof since we finally have room to work. I couldn't believe when I gathered up all the old batteries to take to town.....I gathered 20 old batteries from various places around the farm. Yesterday, doing some more cleaning up I found 3 more, so those will be going to town. It sure does make things look better around here to have all this garbage gone. The thing that astounds me is the amount of said garbage that we have gotten rid of over the years. The previous owner never threw anything away and if it was broken it just got pushed into a shed or piled in a pasture. Those mountains of old fence and rusted metal were the first thing to be gotten rid of. They were such a hazard to anything in the pasture and there was nothing of value in them anyway since everything was rusted to bits. Anyway, it is nice to finally be able to get things cleaned up. Now, if the heir will just come and get the rest of her stuff we really will be able to do some things that we haven't been able to because of the mountains of stuff. The ducks are doing a great job of keeping bugs out of the garden. I have seen very little and even though I have some flea beetle damage to my crops it is nothing like in past years.
Things are going well this year with the exception of not knowing what is going to happen with the farm. I just try to stay busy and not think of losing 10 years worth of work. I know if it is God's plan that we start over somewhere else then that is what we will do. Sometimes it is just hard thinking of doing just that when I think of the work, time, blood, sweat and tears of the past 10 years getting to this point. So, I just keep plugging along knowing that what God wants will be and we will adjust and adapt however we need to. He will never give us more than we can handle....at least that is my mantra. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Apparently, despite the lawsuits the Michigan DNR is being allowed to go ahead with their unconstitutional war on heritage hogs. So far this has resulted in two farmer's being wiped out of business and I am sure more are to come. Why is this is sad day for all of us? Because there have been several states watching Michigan closely and are ready and poised to do the same thing. Just another one of our freedoms being stolen from us and the majority of the sheep could care less. I am angry that this could even happen. I am angry that someone who has worked so hard to make an honest living has now had that living destroyed. I am angry that the people of this country allow such a rogue government. Our government was designed to protect and defend the rights of the people. Instead it now protects and defends only the rights of those that can afford to purchase those rights. Watch and see, this will spread and we will see much more destruction. My prayers are with those in the heart of this fight and I will stand with you in anyway that I can. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Article here and here
Sunday, April 15, 2012
I had a rabbit raising and butchering class yesterday and I met some amazing folks. It never ceases to amaze me at how God brings His people together. It is always so nice to meet those that are like minded and working toward the same goals of homesteading and self-sufficiency (God-sufficiency). We take a bashing from the world because of the way we live and the way that we believe. It is nice to know that either we aren't crazy or at least we aren't crazy alone. So many times I have been told that doing the things we do and believing the way that we do is crazy. What I find slightly amusing though is that more and more people are being called to this crazy way of life and finding a happiness and a peace that they never knew existed before. It was good to meet like souls and I sincerely hope that we all stay in touch. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Friday, April 13, 2012
Since I talked about picking weeds for the rabbits in my last post I thought I would post a list of the weeds that I know are safe for rabbits. Always introduce greens very slowly to rabbits and in small amounts. A large change in their feed can lead quickly to enteritis which can and will kill a rabbit. So here is my list of rabbit safe foods.
Wild Cherokee Rose
Honeysuckle (without the seeds)
Apple and Pear branches
Most grasses or grain crops
Sweet Gum Leaves
Each Year I make it my mission to firmly identify at least one more weed to add to the arsenal. Of course, there are many things from the garden that you can feed the bunnies also. When I thin the carrots this week then they will get the carrot thinnings which they love. I thin a little bit each day so that they don't get too much of a new thing at once. I need to thin the broccoli a little more and they will get some of that also. Here is a list of garden safe foods:
carrots (not too much root as it is high in sugar)
bean and pea plants
beets (again not too much root because of the high sugar content)
sunflower (thinnings, seeds, flower heads)
kale in very limited amounts
lettuce (preferably the dark green or red varieties)
sweet potato vine trimmings
herbs (lemon balm, catnip, basil, rosemary, mint, etc.)
So as you can see there is a wide variety of things that you can feed your rabbits and cut down on the feed bill. They are so happy to see that bucket of greens coming also. Mine hear my voice in the morning and come running to the colony door and then dance around my feet until I dump the bucket. Then all you hear is munch munch munch! I think they stay healthier also when they get to eat what they were designed to eat. Rabbits were designed to eat a wide variety of foods, not just one food. I think it keeps a healthier digestive system which is a very good thing in rabbits.
Please make sure that you firmly identify your plants before feeding them and if you don't know what a plant is take it to your extension agent for identification. If you have a plant and want to know if it is safe for rabbits or not then the best thing to do is google the plant name and rabbits. If you can't find information that way then you can have one test bunny to test a plant by eating it for several days before feeding it to the whole herd. Then if the plant is not safe you only lose one rabbit instead of all of them. Another word of caution, please make sure your weeds are safe and come from an environment that is not sprayed with chemicals. Rabbits are very sensitive and do not have the ability to survive eating pesticides and herbicides. If in doubt, leave it and get something that you know is safe. Blessings, Kat
Monday, April 9, 2012
The colony is working out so well, we now have our 4th litter of babies in the colony. I haven't yet done an official count, but there feels like there are a good many in there. I am so pleased at having gone the colony route. My production has definitely increased and the bunnies seem so much happier. It is almost time to round up the first two litters and move them to grow out cages. Then I need to clean out the colony and re-bed it. The new nest in inside an old cat carrier so it won't be hard to work around that nest without disturbing it. Hopefully, that is the only nest right now. I will have to take a good look around before I start cleaning everything out. We are having a good spring with loads of weeds to feed the bunnies. They are getting two 5 gallon buckets of greens a day which means that I don't have to feed too many grains. I must say that having them in the colony makes it much easier to feed more greens. Especially, when I cut roses and thistles for them. I use to hate having to put handfuls of those things in the cages as my hands got torn up. It was also more time consuming to divide the greens for the individual cages and now I just dump the whole bucket in a big pile and the bunnies jump right in. Another thing I have noticed is that they are cleaning up all of the greens, whereas they use to leave some. So I guess if there is something that one doesn't want at the moment then someone else is more than willing to eat it. At the current breeding rate we are going then I will definitely be able to provide plenty of rabbit meat for our family, but I will be able to supplement the dogs as well. That is a great thing that we have not been able to do in the past. And then dare I hope that we will have rabbits for sale as well?! The rabbits have definitely turned out to be the best investment on the farm. They cost me very little in upkeep, yet they are returning so much. I certainly could not purchase meat for the amount of money that I spend on care of the rabbits. I will start dehydrating some greens for feeding the rabbits this winter even though we do have some greens that still grow in the winter, it will be nice to be able to provide more variety this winter for them. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Friday, April 6, 2012
Plant what you will eat and just as much as you can use. We have in the past planted a very large area of corn. We don't eat much corn and we don't feed it to our livestock, so what we discovered is that we were working really hard taking care of that corn for something we didn't use a lot of. This year our corn planting is much smaller and the old corn area is being planted in peanuts, something we use a lot of. If you don't use much of something then don't waste precious garden space growing more than you need. Blessings, Kat
My financial tip of the day is to copy all your receipts that you think you might need at some future point in time. One thing that I have learned lately is that those receipts don't last as long as you think they will. The ink fades quickly and when you need the receipt, it will be a blank piece of paper. Not good when you need to prove expenses. Blessings from the farm, Kat
Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Well, there is so much going on right now that I just haven't had the time to post much other than a couple of short snippets. We almost have the floor replaced in the den which has been a large work in progress and I will be glad to have done. It makes such a huge difference in the room, especially since we are removing carpet that is about 30 years old and way past worn out. Our goal is to get rid of all the carpet in the house, that is if we are still here in the future. We have some legal issues going on with the property and just simply don't know where we stand yet, in other words we might lose the farm. I don't know what we will do if that happens. I can only trust that if the Lord closes this door that he will open another one for us. But for right now I am not going to dwell on unpleasant subjects.
The garden is going well. I think it gets better every year now that we have switched completely over to bio-intensive gardening. The only problem I have is 2 particular chickens that are strongly attracted to the garden. They seem to know exactly what I plant, when I plant it and then they come behind me and dig it all up. I have had to replant so many times this year that I have pure run out of seeds and in many cases have had to buy more. I finally got the peanuts planted and they have them all dug up. So now I have to go and buy more peanuts and plant again. This is really getting old and the only thing that has saved them from the stew pot is that they are two of my best layers. They might have to go though.
Speaking of poultry, the ducks are laying again and as long as I get the eggs before Dakota we are good. Apparently, she has begun stealing eggs and she is much better at knowing where the hens are laying than I am. I wondered why I couldn't find any eggs and why she wasn't eating her dog food. Well, I found out one morning as I watched her go from spot to spot and then caught her with an egg in her mouth. She has been eating at least a dozen eggs a day if not more. So now, I have to check for eggs almost hourly if I want to get any.
The rabbits are doing really well in the colony and I believe that two of my does have shared a nest and caring for the little ones. I think this because there were so many babies in the litter and they all seem very well fed and are growing like weeds. I did lose a couple of bunnies but it looks like I have 18 healthy bunnies that will be ready to move to grow out cages in about a week or so. I will strip the colony down and add fresh bedding for the next round of bunnies. This is so exciting since my lack of baby bunnies for so long. I will also have 6 bunnies ready to butcher in a couple of weeks. Can't wait to have rabbit again, we have really missed it. Moving to the colony set-up was one of the best things we have done for the farm. I think our rabbit production numbers will greatly improve with the move.
All of the pastures are looking good and we have great grazing this year. The one pasture that I have always had trouble with was greatly improved from the pigs. It is amazing at how much better that pasture is this year than every before. Now if I can just divide the large pasture for better rotation.
Some projects have been put on hold until we find out what is going to happen with the farm situation, so our 12 months/12 goals has kind of come to a dead stand still.
Prayers would be appreciated and we will keep you updated. Blessings from the farm, Kat