Saturday, October 30, 2010


I had always wondered which states allowed raw milk sales and which ones didn't. This map was neat to see....

Friday, October 29, 2010

Seems like yesterday

I can't believe I've had Poppy for almost one month now. It seems like I brought her home just yesterday!! I have definitely learned some lessons since that first fateful day of bringing her home.... But over all, I have had so much fun with this little gal. I am truly blessed.

Saving Seeds...

Ta da!! this was my first year ever to save seeds from my garden!

The foundation stock is from Baker Creek heirloom seeds, and this particular variety is called 'Bean Contender'. Inside the packet, there were only about 30 small seeds. But from those 30 seeds, we got many, many yummy meals, and enough seeds saved to fill the packet 2 1/2 times over! 

The beans themselves are very tender and delicious while small, and have an ever-so-slightly fuzzy feel to them. (Which makes it perfect for throwing at people because then they stick!) 

I am so excited to save more seeds next year!! :D

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A starving nation?

Third world countries aren't the only places with starving people.

Sometimes, starvation shows different symptoms than what we would normally think of....

Americans these days suffer from many illnesses and diseases that third world countries rarely have problems with: Cancer, heartburn, heart failure, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, chronic obesity... What is going on here?

America is a starving nation.

"Wait a minute!" You say, "How can you call us a starving nation, when we have such a bounty of food! The grocery stores are packed! If you're hungry, just go and get something to eat!"

And you are right; our stores are filled with foods of every kind. We are very blessed.

It's not that we are eating too many bad foods, that is making us prone to so many diseases today; It's that we aren't eating enough good foods! Our bodies are starving for good foods that will nourish us. Heal us. Boost our immunity. We aren't eating those foods that would do us worlds of good, and consequently, we are are suffering needlessly for it. 

But, lest you think that I am some sort of person who only eats healthy foods and condemns anyone who so much as whispers the word "chocolate", ;) I really like Reese's Peanut butter Cups. :) Second to that, I think I would choose a raspberry 'Zinger'. I'm human too, and I have quite the sweet tooth. 

My motto is "It's not what you eat every now and then that gets you, it's what you eat every day." I won't die if I eat a candy bar every once in a while, but if I started eating them everyday, I really only have myself to blame when I start having health problems.

Living the life of a farm girl can be overwhelming for me at times. In my hands I have the power to grow and raise clean, nourishing food that will help people. Wow. I may not be able to save the world, but I can help those around me by providing for them good food that will help, rather than harm. I can provide raw milk that will lower the chance of getting osteoporosis, strengthen bones and muscles, enhance the nerves and boost the immune system. I can offer clean meat that contains no hormones or arsenic. Meat that will nourish and provide much needed vitamins and minerals needed for optimum health. I can provide pesticide/herbicide free heirloom vegetables and fruits that will also provide vitamins and minerals, lower chances of getting cancers, heart diseases, etc...

And it's not just me! I only live on 1 1/3 acre of land. If I can raise good food on this bit of land, then you can surely do it too! Do you have a backyard? You can raise chickens and/or turkeys in a "chicken tractor". Do you have a window? You can grow vegetables pots! Have a garage, shed, or some other sheltered place? Rabbits make excellent eating! 

We can make a difference. We can provide good food to those around us. Some nights, I dream about being able to start giving away food, or animals to people. You can give a man a fish and feed him for a day, or, you could teach a man to fish and thus feed him for life. I would love to be able to give cages and rabbits to people, so that they could begin raising their own food too. Then they would give away some of the resulting rabbit offspring, and it would continue on, and on.... Same thing with chickens and chicken tractors. Or goats, or cows.... What can I say? I'm a dreamer. ;D 

Took the words right outa' my mouth....

A few days ago, a friend of mine and I were discussing the prices of pasture-raised turkeys, which we have seen range from $15 a bird, to a whopping $330 for a 30 lb. turkey!! :-/ I would love to start raising a few turkeys come spring 2011, but I think I will keep my prices at $15 per bird, regardless of weight. Am I the only one who thinks $330 might be a weeeee bit extravagant for a thanksgiving meal? ;) Anywho, below is my friend's reply, and I liked it so much that I asked her if I could put it on here...

"As for the $15 turkeys - you get what you pay for. I'm about to cry right now, thinking about how terrible and huge the commercial confinement turkey operation has become. We are paying for those cheap turkeys with denuded land, neighborhood stench and wastes, exorbitant fuel use, toxic chemicals which cause allergies and Auto-immune diseases in over half the population, and being propped up by medications is no answer. You bet I'm raising free-range turkeys again next year. And you bet I'm thankful that this Thanksgiving we get to eat food which didn't kill anyone or depend on government intervention during its production! Salatin wrote a new book called 'The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer', and he's totally right. It is absolute joy to realize I'm doing what is right, even though 99% of farmers are doing what is wrong. It makes me positively giddy to think that my family's freezer is full of grass-raised beef, pork and chicken, and we have the freedom to drink real milk out of glass jars and bright yellow butter created straight from yesterday's lush green grass. And that by God's grace I'm investing in the future of my children and grandchildren, and those of my siblings by the choices that I make right now. And the knowledge that I can heal the pastures on this farm so that in the near future, by careful management they can become living active storage units of biomass and health. There is so much to being good stewards of the earth as God has commanded us."

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

And now -- Pot scrubbers!!

I found this small article on the 'Eat wild' website and half of me wanted to laugh, while the other half wanted to cry...
"In the "what will they think of next" category, feedlot nutritionists have been experimenting with substituting kitchen pot scrubbers for hay. Feedlot cattle need some roughage in their diet in addition to the grain concentrate or they will become sick and gain weight more slowly. But why bring in all that bulky hay, reasoned investigators, when pot scrubbers might do the trick? To test this novel idea, the scientists fed a group of steers a high-grain diet and then inserted either zero, four, or eight plastic scrubbers into each animal's rumen (stomach). The experiment appeared to work. "From day 113 to 152, steers provided with pot scrubbers had 16% greater average daily gain than those fed the 100% concentrate diet without pot scrubbers."
Wouldn't it be gratifying if the money spent on this questionable study had been spent on exploring the health benefits of raising animals on pasture?"


Saturday, October 16, 2010

Last of the season....

This is a picture (a rather blurry one at that) of the last of our heirloom tomatoes for the year...

I was surprised at how late our tomatoes ripened this year; in fact only about 10% of our plants actually ripened at all. All of the tomatoes I was most looking forward to, stayed an emerald hue... 'Goldman's Italian/American', 'Striped Roman', 'Big Month'.... I had so hoped to get to try them out and save seeds from them. :( 

Our garden did pretty poorly this year, due to a wet, cool summer that had sporadic heat waves. The plants just couldn't seem to handle the weather variations. I did however learn this year, that our soil is deficient in calcium, magnesium and sulfur, by seeing what weeds were growing (ahem, yes I did get a little behind in weeding).

Next year, I'm hoping to use raised beds with a hoop house over it. The raised beds will allow me to use good fertile soil for the plants, and the hoop house will raise the temperature within. Hopefully it will raise it enough that our tomatoes will do better! 

I think tomatoes and pumpkins are my two most favorite plants to grow.... They're so fun! ;)


Friday, October 15, 2010

Meet the farm hands

Welcome to Mennagerie Farm! The first post is always the hardest it seems, so I thought I would make things easy on myself and introduce y'all to our "farm hands"....

First stop would be our Wascally Wabbit, whom has been dubbed 'Coinin'. This big fella' is a 4 month old, purebred Champagne D' Argent and will be our herd sire for our rabbit breeding program once he reaches breeding age. Our goal for the rabbit world? We are working towards a strain that will grow well on pasture forage, using Joel Salatin's "Hare Pen" technique. I'm still hunting around for some good does for our herd; I would love to either have some blue American rabbits, or maybe some Beverens; but we'll see what happens....

Rabbits have got to be the hardest thing to get a good picture of....                                             


Next stop, the egg producers....

These ladies are only about 2 weeks old, so it will be awhile before we begin getting eggs from them! This year, we decided to try raising Delawares, which are a rare, heritage breed, rather than sticking with the more popular breeds such a Rhode Islands, or Plymouth Rocks. In the past, we have always raised our chicks in the spring, but when they reached laying age, it was almost winter time; so they never seemed to lay very well. This time we are experimenting a little and we are raising them in the fall, so when they are of laying age, it will be spring time, which is when birds do best when laying eggs anyway!

Other reasons for choosing Delaware hens, is that they are good producers in extreme temperatures (both heat and cold), they're excellent foragers, which is a huge deal for us since their diet will be mostly forage to heighten the nutritional value of the eggs. They are good, old fashioned, broody hens! We will be using a New Hampshire Red rooster to breed these gals with, and the resulting chicks will be sex-linked. Meaning all the male chicks will be white and female chicks will be red. So these little chickies will be hatched out from the hen and raised by the hen; no more brooder boxes!! Whoohoo! ;)

Here we have rodent control. Best mouser we have ever had; in fact, he's a little too good. Rodent population is practically nil, so we actually have to give this guy cat food!

Ahem, now we come to Quality Control (QC team)

These ladies are very proud of their official title and never lose a chance to check out chicken feed, cat food, garden produce.... Gotta' make sure it passes the standard. They take it upon themselves to eat whatever does not pass. Very little passes their standard. They want to eat it all. ;)

At the moment, we only have two goats, but they keep us in good supply!

This is Ivy, our 2 yo. Nubian doe. She is a sweetheart; whenever a kid on the shyer side wants to pet a goat, I bring Ivy over; she knows to be gentle. She is lovely to milk, very patient, and at her lactational peak (around spring time) she was giving 3/4 gallon a day, which isn't bad at all for a goat so young.

At the other extreme is Capri. 

Half Oberhasli, half Nubian, weighing in at 175 lbs. This girl is a goof ball.
She too is gentle, but perhaps not quite as much as Ivy. I often think we should hang a sign around her neck that says: "Warning! I might lick you to death!" She loves to give kisses, and is enamored with small children. Capri is our top milker right now; when we first got her, she was half dried up and giving 3/4 gallon a day. Her mother is giving 3 gallons a day on grass alone. We are praying that Capri has inherited her mother's milking ability!!

Last, but NOT least is our newest lady here on the farm...

Mennagerie's Poppy Patch. But we just call her Poppy.

Cows don't get any sweeter than this!!

What a total love. This wee lassie could melt a heart of stone.
She is a purebred Jersey, and with luck, by spring of 2012, we will begin getting milk from her!
So along with offering goat milk to customers, we will also be able to offer raw cow milk!

Congratulations for managing to read this whole post! I will admit that is was very long... ;)