Results for category "ducks"

August

What a lovely summer on the farm it has been so far. The Lady ducks are doing awesome, my youngest sister Melanie has been here gardening and helping me, Lola had her calf, 2 new Dexter cows came to join the herd, and I added a few lambs to the pasture as well. I’ve been busy setting up fencing while achieving a nice balance of living, working and relaxing. Kind of a rebound year after over-doing it last season.

A couple things to tell you about – If you are looking for something free and fun to do this Thursday in Minneapolis, there is a screening of local filmakers works at the Walker Art Museum at 7pm. The “Dreaming with Lola” film featuring me and my farm, made by Jila Nikpay is one of the films being shown!

I also want to let everyone know that Seward Co-op will have a special price on my duck eggs at both locations for the month of August!

Spring tornado & all the updates

  

Last week a tornado came very close to the farm. It was the most surreal experience, my sister and I watched from inside the house as two enormous pine trees came toppling down, right into the driveway. Somehow, amazingly, the trees fell in the perfect spot, right between the two vehicles. After the storm passed (we didn’t know it was a tornado whipping by, just saw the insane straight line winds happening) we went outside. The barn was ok, the ducks were ok, the cows were terrified but ok, the hoophouse miraculously still had it’s plastic on. Then I saw that the monster maple in the front yard had succumbed to the wind. This tree is ENORMOUS….and it fell RIGHT NEXT TO THE HOUSE, just hitting the very corner of the roof on the rather janky sunporch. What a blessing to not have that tree land in the middle of my house!!!! What a relief that all the animals were unharmed. What a shock. Neighbors from the region were instantly out driving around to survey the damage and check in on everyone and make sure no one was in major trouble. Sadly, the tornado did touch down north east of here and caused many injuries and one casualty. So much heartache and damage, and a completely unpreventable situation makes this tragedy even more frustrating. Feeling totally powerless as a human is humbling to say the least.

Otherwise, spring has been trucking along here at LTD Farm. The lady ducks have been totally joyous rabblerousers taking advantage of the wetness to find spots to sneak out of the pasture rotations! I have been enlarging their pastures and monitoring their fences, but ducks are sneaky sneaksters and they will always find a way to get their way! They are laying eggs like maniacs and this is the most lovely time of year for eggs with all their foraging of spring greens and bugs and worms. I have a special price going on at all 3 Mississippi Market Co-op locations through the end of May as a “Thank you” to all  my St. Paul customers!! You can find my duck eggs for sale all over the Twin Cities, click here for a list of all my locations!  Somedays I wish I could just let them all be out on the entirity of the farm land, but there are just too many predators around to allow that and keep them safe. I just saw an actual wolverine crossing the road just a mile away last week!!

Lola’s calf is due in the next week, she and the two boy calves (Mr. Flash and Shorty) are growing well and flourishing on the lush pasture. How I love cows, my friends! I can’t wait to see if Lola has a girl calf, she is bred to a jersey, so if she has a girl I could have a half scottish highland/half jersey milk cow in a few years. Lola won’t give much more milk than what her baby needs, as highlands are primarily a beef breed nowdays, although they used to be more dual purpose in Scotland where they originated. Someof you who have been following the saga know Lola lost her calf last year and I am happy to report that I am much better prepared this year to raise her baby safely.

I also got two sweet little piggies for my birthday, they are American Guinea Hogs and are helping out enlarging and fertilizing the garden for next year, as well as eating all my extra cracked eggs and surplus kitchen snacks. I named them Tom Tom & Muffin Butt. They are hilarious and gentle, and being heritage hogs, Guineas are known for their excellent fat and flavor. I like their size too, I think this might be the first year I am able to handle the entire processing of my hogs myself. I urge you to find a farmer who raises and harvests meat ethically and then go support the crap out of them! You will feel so good & the meat tastes so much better when you know it’s entire story and have a connection with the people who put in the work and love to raise it right. I am still considering raising pastured broilers and turkeys this summer for fall harvest, so let me know if you are interested.

Winter Stay-cation

2016 at LTD Farm was successful but very, very hard. It was my first year farming entirely on my own at this scale, and I nearly lost my marbles. Being self employed is hard enough; farming is absolutely crazy making. Guess it weeds out the wimps! I had so many balls in the air, irons in the fire, a constantly shrinking bank account, my sales did not meet my goals, and it felt like everything on the farm was constantly breaking or falling apart or not working. I had hundreds of baby birds to tend as well as my lady ducks who laid eggs like absolute maniacs. The name of the game was to “simply” PERSEVERE, I really had no choice but to push through and make it to the end of the season. I’m relieved and blessed to say, now that I am on the other side and it is 2017, indeed I did make it!

So as the ducks and I are currently on our winter “stay-cation,” it is time for some reflection. This year marks my 9th farming, and my 6th year as a fulltime farmer. Honestly I don’t make much as far as an income but I do have an extremely priceless quality of life as my paycheck. My life is full of incredible friends and family, beautiful and happy animals, outstandingly delicious food, and the gorgeous natural world all around me in the rural countryside. Pretty much heaven.

What was it about last year that was not working well? Well, I have come to the conclusion that one element of my farm that is not working is raising a lot of animals for meat. I started LTD Farm as a vegan looking to make a difference in regards to animal welfare on a farm level. I’d raise animals, have the customers come help me with harvesting and see the full circle. This would build empathy and connected-ness. I have some amazing customers who get it (thank you thank you!!) but I truly want everyone to care about where their meat comes from; how the animals who provide that meat live and die. I don’t feel that I have made much a difference in that regard and that’s not a great feeling. I want to quit banging my head against that wall, so I will not be soliciting Meat CSA signups for 2017. If you are interested in Bubsters or a Thanksgiving Turkey, please email me. I will be raising a small number of them for fall harvest.

Chocolate pudding & a NEW documentary!

 

What is it like to “Live the Dream”? Here’s the trailer for a short documentary made this summer on the farm, by the very talented filmmaker Jila Nikpay. Go to her website to watch the whole piece for free! Click HERE. It is very personal and honest and….it made ME cry! Jila was able to collect and capture all this information, all my ramblings, all these images, all the sounds and craft them into such a beautiful piece. I am so honored to have had the privilege of working with her. Thank you Jila and Mike!!

Dreaming with Lola (2016) / Trailer from Jila Nikpay on Vimeo.

The goldenrod has already come and gone and the hint of fall is in the air. This happens every year …What?! Summer’s almost done? If you live in the midwest you probably also “sort-of” like winter.14362436_10153954401246448_8669829185709533780_o

It has been a crazy but hard yet also wonderful summer for me and the farm. My Ducks are absolutely rocking it due to the cool and wet year, the geese are enormous, hilarious and LOUD, so they are ready to for harvesting (please contact me if you want a delicious all organic pastured Holiday Goose!) the broilers and summer turkeys have been harvested, the Thanksgiving birds are growing well, the two pigs are monstrously huge, and the two cows are up to their eyeballs in luscious grass.14188647_10153933162941448_2556383787366049248_o

Lola had her first calf this summer. It went wonderfully and I got to watch him being born, but tragically her calf died after being attacked by something. It was a horrible and extremely heartwrenching experience, but you cannot control everything, ever. I did want to have a Scottish Highland milk cow, so that’s what I now have. I milk her once a day and am making all kinds of dairy delights… my very first butter, melty cow cheese and an absolutely heavenly chocolate pudding which is completely ridiculous when made with Duck Egg yolks! Here’s that link, you are VERY welcome!! Make a double batch, you won’t regret it! A couple notes- I use semisweet chocolate chips instead of the bittersweet baking bar that you have to chop up, maple syrup instead of the sugar, and whole milk instead of the cream and milk. I pour the hot pudding into pint size canning jars and immediately put the lid on to avoid the “skin” forming. This recipe works great for frozen pudding pops too. Yummmmmmm.13937885_10153883152596448_6347625148290197272_o   14124246_10153928190096448_7425627787009195793_o

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Summer begins, and Co-op love

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My days are full of animals, just how I dreamed. While cuteness abounds, I cannot lie – it is very overwhelming at times to manage all these little beings and make sure they are safe and sound and happy. I guess if I didn’t take it seriously, I wouldn’t feel so stressed out, but there is so much to constantly keep on the front burner when you are responsible for caring for animals. So I’ve been trying to figure out how I can simplify some elements of my farming life.

This spring I went to a meeting for a local Farmer’s Co-operative in Amery Wisconsin, thought about joining, but like many farmers, I have a bit of a stubborn and independent streak, and I just want to do it all. I want to be ABLE to do it all! But then after much thought and consideration and grappling with reality, I decided to join in because A) I love co-ops and have been involved with them for most of my life and B) I actually CANNOT do it all! Hungry Turtle Farmer’s Co-op provides delivery services for many of the small scale farmers out this way, they have been primarily dealing with veggies and fruits. I am elated to be working with them to offer my pastured duck eggs to more restaurants, and they are now delivering my eggs to all the Twin Cities Co-ops and Fresh & Natural Foods locations I was delivering to. This means I have one more day on the farm with my animals, instead of driving all over in a panic, just wanting to get back home because I would be worried about my babies the whole time I was gone. Pheww! Thank you HTFC, I am so grateful to have been brought into the fold and am excited about what the future holds for the small scale and sustainable farmers in this region of Western Wisconsin!

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This is my little sister Melanie holding one of the male Muscovy Ducks I raised as an experiment. They are pretty bizarre birds and were a bit too feisty (with each other) for my liking.

 

blow-drying baby geese

Boy oh boy, it’s been quite the time out here. The lady ducks are laying like bonkers and I had all my spring baby birds arrive within two weeks of each other. Broiler Chicks, Turkeys, Ducklings and Goslings! I have had my hands full, to say the least. Meanwhile, you can find my Duck Eggs on special right now at several of the Co-ops in the Twin Cities area, including The Wedge, Mississippi Market’s 3 locations, River Market in Stillwater, and Linden Hills Co-op. 13047900_10153619113551448_6917617099106820175_oWhen the duck ladies lay eggs like crazy, I lower the price as a thank you and to share the richness of the bounty, so go buy em up! Duck Eggs are a magnificent pairing with many of the spring treats arriving in fields and forests- like stinging nettles, green garlic, asparagus, ramps, and wild mushrooms.13086818_10153626683126448_2741124613188181096_o

Never a dull day around here, this morning I was blow-drying my goslings. I let them out this morning even though rain was in the forecast, because they want to be out grazing and I figured they could handle a bit of rain even though they are still down-covered and don’t have their adult (waterproof) feathers in. The broilers and turkeys they share a brooder room with also rambunctiously ran out as soon as I opened up the door. I did my other chores and collected eggs, then it began sprinkling. As I walked to the house, arms laden with heavy buckets of duck eggs, I saw that the broilers were wisely heading back to the brooder, but the goslings and little turkeys were grazing voraciously down the path. Geese, even baby geese, just attack grass, it is quite the sight to see!

I came back outside when I could hear the rain had picked up twenty minutes later. And I am sure glad I did. The goslings were over by the brooder door, but instead of going IN, they were standing out there, in the rain, looking up, soaking wet and making the most pathetic calls. Geese are in my experience very smart, so why didn’t they go back in then? The broilers all had, and most of the turkeys too. So in the pouring freezing rain, I used my arms to guide them in, all 55 of them. They were chilled and wet and a few were almost comatose and barely able to walk. This was not good, hypothermia was a real and sudden threat, so I grabbed the hair dryer and a wool blanket and began to focus the hot air on the most stiff and smallest goslings. If I had been thinking ahead, I would have actually gotten a bucket of almost hot water to submerge their bodies in, this warms up the core of a little animal much more quickly. Of course then they would have been extremely soaking wet, and I didn’t want to stop the process I had begun. The ones who were less wet I grouped in a corner so they could warm each other with their thermal mass, and along with the dry broiler chicks (who make a lot of body heat!) they all rebounded quickly. There were two goslings who were in really bad shape, and I wrapped them in the blanket and kept moving their legs and rubbing under their tummies to encourage circulation as I blow dried them. An hour later, those two were calling to me, back to normal. The other goslings had been enjoying chewing on my boots and leggings as I had sat coddling the two tenderest ones the whole time!

I share stories and pictures from my farming life to show my wholehearted love and dedication to my animals. They are my life! I hope my plan works and I can be one of your farmers, whether it is you purchasing my Duck Eggs at your local co-op, or signing up for some of my Meat CSA shares ( I have Pastured Broiler, Turkey and Goose shares available still.) Just let me know if you’d like the reservation form, shoot me an email farmerkhaiti (at) gmail.com     THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!12931134_10153594946816448_5251871588328481168_n 12496165_10153555311566448_1880718720836337452_o12961367_10153604005811448_7237508116951345717_o

The following photo was taken at Mississippi Market, I cannot guarantee this is the price at any other co-op!12998375_10153623328516448_7123741808120456452_o