Monthly archives "August 2010"

MN State Fair

 

ducklings!

ducklings!

This link is the slideshow is part of an incredible exhibit Laurie Schneider has put together, which will be in the Eco-Experience Building at the MN State Fair this year! I am so honored to have had Laurie choose my farm as one of three she followed through this season. She’s quite an amazing photographer. Thank you Laurie!

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFeor11Ve2

feta-----cut into slabs to air dry for a couple days

feta-----cut into slabs to air dry for a couple days

homemade pizza with feta, eggplant, onions- I'm drooling!

homemade pizza with feta, eggplant, onions- I'm drooling!

three ducklings hatched from my lady ducks

three ducklings hatched from my lady ducks

making a difference, one animal at a time


LTD FarmThis year has been absolutely fantastic, but I have never been so exhausted in my whole life. LTD Farm has had some major ups and some downs, but all in all I’m completely thrilled. I have the animals and my customers to thank. The base of what LTD will be in the years to come has been laid down very thoroughly. I taught lots of classes and shared my homesteading skills, connected with tons of awesome people, made some cool media spots, and had a tremendous response to my favorite thing in the world- Duck Eggs. My 28 CSA shares filled up, and the stores working with my products have been amazing. I sold my first two pigs immediately, the Summer and Thanksgiving turkeys sold out, and I have had more and more requests for other humanely, respectfully, sustainably raised farm products. Chickens and lamb are on the top of the list.

august is hot in wisconsin, metallika chillin' and may's all inquisitive about the camera

august is hot in wisconsin, metallika chillin' and may's all inquisitive about the camera

some of my lady ducks

some of my lady ducks

Thanksgiving turkeys, enjoying the summer on LTD Farm

The Thanksgiving turkeys, enjoying summer on LTD Farm

So, in line with all this goodness, comes a man who sees my dream, and we fall in love. He’s studied permaculture design principles, and has his own business doing stonework design installations in and around the Twin Cities, which is very successful.  He’s been growing organic vegetables, but is not so familiar with farm animals, despite being raised in a family that farmed conventionally: pigs and cattle and soybeans and corn. He loves how I am with my animals, loves my philosophy behind raising them with care, respect, gratitude, compassion. He also loves the intimacy of small scale farming, and he strives for self sufficiency, both close to my heart. We started working on a plan for farming together the following year. Andrew and I have also been friends for years, he is someone I have always respected for his integrity and hard work. 

we're pretty silly together too....

we're pretty silly together too....

Shortly after developing our 2011 farm business plan, a call comes from Cassie- one of my soap class students…her Co-Worker has some land for sale east of Amery. Now- you hear this kind of thing alot. Nevertheless, I call the owner, we decide to go see it that very day. Andrew has a good gut feeling about it even before we see it. My two younger sisters come along for the trip out there, and we are blown away at what we see. 39 acres of pristine land, untouched for 20 years. A little house, a bit ramshackle, but charming and liveable. A couple out-buildings, but mostly, this land takes our breath away. The owners have bought a place in Hawaii, and were just about to call a realtor- the next day in fact. But they are self described “old hippies” and had been focusing on the power of positive thinking and put good vibes out, hoping the right people would come along. And we did. Now we have signed the papers and this place is ours starting September 1st.

An oak amidst the diverse Wisconsin savanna

The new LTD Farm land, with an oak amidst the diverse Wisconsin savanna

I had set up my 2010 farm plans as a single woman, farming on 1.8 acres. I had no clue how I was going to make it happen, but I did. The three most important things to me were (and are): humanely raised and harvested animals, spreading confidence and homesteading skills, and connecting people directly with their foods. The response to these mantras has been so heartening. People do care about their food, about the people who raise it and they care about the earth around them. They make choices and connections to farmers who are doing it right. Not everyone is able to raise farm animals, but they can choose the best, most conscientious farmers to do it for them.

little blue with the giant, joyful pigs, Roxy and Matilda

little blue with the giant, joyful pigs, Roxy and Matilda

When Food Inc. came out, most people were absolutely horrified at the facts that are so clearly laid on in this documentary. The industrial food system is disgusting, for the people who work within it, and for the animals who are merely meat commodities. The majority of farm animals in this country are not treated as beautiful beings who will nourish us. Look at the health of this country- I’ll go out on a limb and say that there is a direct connection between our nation’s terrible state of health overall and the meat that is generally consumed. If you eat miserable foods, you probably will be making a route in your body for that misery.

Next year, we are ready to take on so much more than was ever possible on my 1.8 acres. This week we are beginning the move to our new farm land of 39 acres, and will begin setting up the infrastructure for LTD Farm. Next year, we’ll be raising a few more pigs, a few more turkeys, continue bringing the best, freshest duck eggs to Co-ops in the Cities and, through our CSA, be personal farmers for even more wonderful customers. We’ll be hosting numerous workshops on the farm in 2011, covering a large range topics – permaculture design, fermenting, poultry processing, goat care, soap making, homebrewing, canning, cheesemaking, dry stone landscaping, pickling, humane harvesting, sausage making….and much more. We’ll have all of them posted here on the website, so keep in touch. Let us know what you’re looking for as well, it is our mission to be your personal farmers! Thanks for everything…

turkeys

 

my turkeys and the sunrise

my turkeys and the sunrise

On the way to our new place, there is a terrible turkey factory farm. TERRIBLE. One week we went by, saw the giant turkey house all filled with turkey faces, filled to the brim. And the next week, it was empty….except there were dead bodies of turkeys inside as we drove by, it was so sad. Everything about this farm is neat and tidy and enclosed, but we saw the evidence  (feathers all over the doorways) of what had happened as the turkeys must have been collected to be taken to the processing plant, wherever that is. Terrifying and horrible. I come home to my peaceful, lovely birds and feel so good about giving them such a good life, free from stress, out in the sun and wind and having them able to live a normal bird life.

oh my turkeys, just love them!

oh my turkeys, just love them!

When we drove back home past this horrid place, I wanted pictures, but we were kind of freaked out to take drive-by pictures. But here’s what we saw: an older dude, with a bobcat – and his bobcat bucket was full of dead turkeys he was collecting from the giant factory farm shed. FULL. He was throwing them in right then as we slowly drove past. I hold no anger towards him- he is just serving a market that exists. For sliced, cheap deli turkey meat. And whatever else. The poor guy probably is living at poverty level after all his debts to build these giant barns to house the turkeys. The issue of how to feed the world better meat is still a question up in the air. If there were more small scale farmers raising food for the families they serve, we could do it, but it would require a different approach about meat consumption in general. There is a tendency to look at meat as being THE centerpoint of every single meal. This doesn’t have to be the case. Vegetarian-based food is easier and cheaper by far.

 I like to eat meat, no denying it. I don’t eat meat off my farm, not from animals I don’t know. You can start by being particular about the producers and go from there. Not everyone can raise their own meat, but you can find compassionate people who can do that for you, and support them. You can stop buying and supporting the opposite situation. Like I said, that guy with his little factory farm is only doing this cuz it brings in income that comes from DEMAND. If he knew he could raise less turkeys in a better scenario for them, with more money for him, well, this would make the world a better place. Sort of idealistic, but really though, it only takes the consumers to tell him that. One thing is that the old-school farmers may not be open to new ideas, but they may be. The focus needs to be the new farmers who ARE changing things, doing it right, raising animals correctly and humanely and consciously for you. Find them, support them, and help them thrive= eating better for everything.

milk, the magic substance

Did you know that milk is made from blood?

That is- when a lactating mammal eats, after their digestive system processes it, all those nutrients go into their bloodstream, which runs through their secretory cells, into the milk ducts, and then into the milk gland- which is what I milk out through the teat when I milk the goats. AMAZING! I am constantly flabberghasted by animals, and their contribution here on the farm.100_1677

All this comes to mind because my lovely milk goat Catalpa is having some problems, and I don’t know what the problem stems from. She may have some blunt trauma from one of the bully (horned) goats banging on her, she could have a low blood calcium-which is more often the case post partum, not 5 months after having her kid, or she may have some internal issue with her organs. Nevertheless, Catalpa is off being milked because the vet perscribed her antibiotics. I normally abhore them, but in the case of my dear sweet goat, I am going to try whatever it takes to help her through this.

100_1682

8/11- happy to report Catalpa is back on her feet and acting as if nothing ever happened. She still has abcess issues under her jaw, and I have stopped milking her, but she looks so good and it is such a relief to hear her sweet call to me, her coming for love and scratches again. What a scary experience.