Monthly archives "May 2011"

piglets, soap class, spring thoughts

Goatmilk Soap Making Class is this June 5th @ 1:30pm. Please let us know if you’d like to come out for this fun event and a full farm tour afterwards. Learn all the tricks we use to make a long lasting, gentle on the skin batch of soap, which will make you 30 bars of soap for gifts and your own soap needs. Class is $20, and you get a bar of soap to take home with you too!

learn how to make pretty soaps like this!

lil’ schmagoos

 

We picked up our last installment of 4 piglets for 2011. These cuties are half Hampshire, 1/4 berkshire 1/4 Black poland china. A good mix, and really pretty babies. They are about 35 lbs, and immediately started rooting and eating grass. The 4 yorkshire piglets we’d gotten last month, who are not bred to browse, root or anything normal for a good pig have been learning the ropes here on our farm, and are now happily rooting and eating grass like maniacs. We have the two groups side by side, and when the new babies came the 4 yorkshires were so excited to see them.

Last week was the pig harvesting of the two big girls: Penny and Squeak. It went very smoothly, but it is always hard to say goodbye. These pigs lived such gleeful, joyous lives with us on LTD Farm. They helped us get new vegetable garden patches tilled up, and wild bramble patches under control, and they got to fufill their natural instincts while doing this, which made them SUCH happy pigs. That’s what our mission is- raising small numbers of animals in a way where they get the best life possible. We can’t make a difference beyond our own sphere of influence and our abilities. This applies to everything in life you care about. DO the best YOU can do to change the things you don’t like!

the beginnings of head cheese post pig harvesting This is headcheese. You pick meat off the slowly simmered and seasoned pig's head. I know, gross sounding, but this is a way to show ultimate respect for a life that is taken- USE IT ALL!

our baby broiler chickens---growing by leaps and bounds for the Chicken Shares! Thanks to everyone who signed up early, these birds will live such a good life with us until harvesting day.

the fantastic turkeys, foraging maniacs who we adore!

We’re going to be doing some Duck Egg demos in June at Seward Co-op and both Mississippi Market locations. See our events calendar for the dates and times. Come have a snack and say hi!

 

spring is really, finally here!

Happy happy joy joy, we have warmth and sun, finally. The animals feel it, the plants, the soil…quite magnificent in the glorious turnaround. We’ve been busy busy busy planting seedlings, seeds, asparagus crowns (all 500 are planted now!) and setting up new paddocks for the growing turkeys, the meat chickens on the way and the new piglets.

blooming bush cherries, which the hummingbirds have adored!

The worst thing about this spring was that the plastic cover on the hoophouse came off- it was a terrible day May 9th. The gusts of wind coming right at it in the wrong direction caught a loose end and the continuing gusts just kept pulling harder until one side was nearly off and we tried in vain to hold down the plastic with our whole bodies. But two people trying to contain a 40×60 parachute that wanted to go with the wind, it was quite a sight, we’re sure. Then the huge plastic sheet went off and got impaled in a tree. Arrrrgh……..There was yelling, cussing, screaming and some dumbstruck tears. The day before we’d put out tomato plants in the raised beds in there, and now we had a convertible style hoophouse, with no cover, no shelter for the ducks or the plants. Right away we ordered a new plastic cover, but this could happen again. We’ve put in extra reinforcement baseboards, so the securing areas will be doubled. On a side note- the company we got this hoophouse from, Farmtek, was absolutely horrible in their dealings with us after this incident. Terrible customer service, no apologies or commiserating, nothing.

The ducks don’t mind the new skeleton hoophouse. Their routines are such that they just keep going out and in where they are used to. Such sweethearts! Now that spring/summer is upon us we may just leave the hoop up and cover it later in the season. Too much to do in the meantime.

We got our 4 piglets for the fall group of pigs. These are all sold already. We really like mixed breed pigs who are different colors since they seem to be more suited for the outdoor life, but we could only find Yorkshire piglets. These poor little guys never saw the sun before and immediately got sunburns, as they are pure pink! We’ve had to be on top of getting them extra shade, as well as stop worrying over them because pigs are really robust beings. As our friend Angelica says, as long as they are eating and pooping, they’ll most likely pull through anything. This year it was incredibly difficult to locate anyone with piglets for sale. So we’ve decided to try our hand at raising pigs on a very small scale. With some encouragement from our pig raising friends, we’re going to be keeping Rosie as our first gilt-turned-sow. A gilt is a young female pig, and a sow is a gilt who has had at least one litter of piglets. Details. Our friend Harvey at Carlena Farms is going to rent us one of his Tamworth boars for Rosie to have a boyfriend for a month or so. She should have piglets 3 months, three weeks and three days after their successful meeting (…Fingers Crossed.) Looks like September or so. Raising our own piglets will take self sufficiency to a new level, our own LTD blend too! The majestic heritage breed pigs out there are just completely enrapturing, we’d love to raise them all. But the prices for babies are too high for small scale farmers. Some day we’d love to get Large Black Hogs, an especially intriguing tall, huge, beautiful pig who’s very good at grazing. Some day…….but take a 1/2 Duroc gilt and a Tamworth and we’ll have some nice piglets. If everything goes ok with the farrowing (piglet birthing) which is the biggest variable with raising hogs. We’re going to do our best, as we always do, and see how it goes.

Rosie's the red hugey on the right, our future momma!

The greens are finally growing bigger, the radishes fattening, green beans sprouting, and the transplanted planties thriving in the new thick soil. Our summer turkeys are galloping around in their new pasture, foraging very well and loving the sun. Penny and Squeak are eating so much they leave leftovers after feeding time, so they are nice and fat and their time is coming up on Wednesday. They have been an absolute joy to raise and we’re honored to have had their beings here, living a good life with us, each other, and the land. The bounty of meat coming from these pigs will sustain 4 families for a LONG time.

arugula, china choy........

open house next Sunday, the 22nd

We’re ready for visitors! Come out for a day on the farm Sunday, May 22nd. 1pm until 5:30pm

Our new workshop pavillion

Come on out and see what we’re all about at LTD Farm! We’ll be giving tours of our farm, the animals and the beautiful land here. The first walk (we have 39 acres to explore!) is at 2pm, the second starts at 3pm. Feel free to bring something delicious to share, as we are working on building a wonderful community with our friends and customers. Thank you! Email us (farmers “at” ltdfarm.com) to RSVP and for directions.

new pink piglets!

soft boiled duck eggs atop ramp aioli on hemp bread toast!

 

Intro to Permaculture & Permaculture in Action

On May 14 we will be offering an Intro to Permaculture workshop here on the farm, 10 AM to 4ish. Come learn the basic principles of Permaculture, a comprehensive design-centered approach to all aspects of sustainable living. Andrew is a certified permaculturalist and he will teach you the basic design principles and methodologies of this world-wide movement. A large portion of the day will be reserved for field work. We will spend a couple hours in the morning talking about the basic design principles of permaculture, have a delicious farm lunch, then discuss the concept of berms and swales in the landscape. We will then build a berm and swale, discuss how to design  a polyculture of perennial and useful plants, and finally plant and sheet mulch the berm and swale.

Be prepared to get your hands dirty and your mind full of new ideas.

This is a unique opportunity to learn about this exciting new field on a real working permaculture farm. We are learning and growing here every day!

We will provide a basic lunch and beverages.
Please bring gloves, bug spray, water container, hat, work boots, shovels, snacks, and any other gear that will keep you comfortable outside.

Please RSVP today, so that we can plan the day out in advance

$50 per attendee

pig huts…DIY project

This simple and quick animal hut is easy to build with no wasted wood and is versatile for use with other animals as well. After perusing all the designs out there for pig huts, I realized I wanted something that was easier to build, using 2x4s and no plywood if possible. This shelter has worked well for raising two and three pigs at a time.

You need:

 

6 each 8 foot 2x4s

2 each 6 foot 2x4s

2 each 8 foot long by 3+ width metal roofing panels

a box of 2 1/2 inch screws

That’s it.

A.Take 3 of the 8′ long 2x4s and mark the 4′. find the middle of that mark, and bisect the mark at a 45 degree angle. Cut these 2x4s with a saw. You’re almost done!

B. Take the uncut ends and overlap and join them with 3 to 4 screws.

C Put them all up on their sides and lay an 8′ 2×4 on the corner and attach with 3 or 4 screws.

D. Attach the 2 8 foot long 2x4s on the bottom of the of each side.

I forgot to add it in the sketch but you can see in the picture that you then add the two 6′ on the bottom of both openings.

E Then add one metal panel, overlap one rib over the top and screw on down the sides. Repeat with the other panel on the other side.

 

So far our pigs have not destroyed this structure and we have had two groups of over 300 pound pigs, so it is a strong  structure. The one thing I would do differently is to use a 10′ long 2×4 for the top brace so as to have two handles to move the thing. One person can drag this structure and two people can easily lift and move it. Hope this helps!