Monthly archives "November 2011"

Almost there! and weasel attacks

We are humbled and thrilled to say that we have almost reached our Kickstarter funding goal! It’s been a crazy roller coaster ride, and we need less the $1,000 to meet our goal. You have all been so supportive and helpful, thank you very much.

On a darker note, the weasel that loves to eat our poultry is back and has killed and injured many ducks. We found this out yesterday morning and have been in lock-down mode for the day and night. Andrew sat near the ducklings in the early evening and watched as the weasel crept into the hoophouse and made straight for our flock of ducks. He rose to shoot it with his .22 rifle and got off a shot but in the excitement missed, and then the gun jammed. There was also a light misty rain all day long and it was, all in all, a slightly miserable day. Now, we are going to set a couple traps, and make a VERY secure area in the hoophouse for the ducks to sleep. Apparently weasels are diurnal, which means they have habitual daily routines. This means that maybe our Darth Weasel operates only in the morning and early evening. When the snow comes, we should be able to track it. Meanwhile, Little Blue, our blue heeler, is in the hoophouse barking his head off. This seems to keep most things away.

With weasels in mind, we will be designing our new hoophouse to be predator free, which might take more funds then a simple hoophouse. So we’re hoping to go past the $16k goal if possible. We really can’t let the weasels eat all of our precious ducks, it’s just not an option.

Home economics

Through the years we have learned a lot about community supported agriculture through our involvement in food coops and visiting farms around the Midwest, as well as making friends in the agricultural community and operating our own CSA farm. This year has been an eye-opener to us with so many new connections being made on our new farm with our awesome surrounding community and customers. It has become very apparent to us that building a close network of food producers and customers is the key to building the health of our communities, whether on a rural area, a small town, or a large city. Food is what connects us all to the earth and eating is one of our most important daily activities. To neglect being mindful of our nourishment is really what has created such an explosion of diet related illnesses, such as obesity and heart disease. How do we become mindful of our nourishment? By connecting with our food directly. There is nothing like picking a ripe tomato off the vine and eating it in the garden under the warm sunshine. It is a far cry from the tomatoes sprinkled on a fast food burrito. And that is where our farm can play a part in the health of our communities. We can facilitate this connection, and we feel that this is one of the most important jobs that we could ever have. Sometimes it is exhausting work, with hard labor and heartbreak around every corner, and sometimes it is wonderful sweetness to take care of our animals and vegetables every day and watch them grow and thrive. But at the end of each day we know that this work is important, not only for us and the animals and vegetables, but for our customers. We raise the best food we can not only to sustain us, but also to help them on their journey toward mindful nourishment.

We have also become very aware of the important economic role that small farms can play in rural areas. If you didn’t know this already, rural areas are in the process of slow disintegration, due to the lack of good jobs and opportunities for work out there. We look around and see a lot of large dairy farms, huge turkey factories, beef steers in feedlots, and field after field of corn and soybeans. Well, my friends, this is not a sustainable and healthy vision of agricultural independence. Small-scale diversified farms are few and far between. We are lucky to have a few great examples of small-scale farming in our community, and you know what? These progressive folks are out on the cutting edge of the future of real sustainable agriculture. And our goal is to be on that edge as well. But it’s not an easy place to be, and we are relearning basic small-scale farming practices as we grow and learn here on our farm.

Can small-scale diversified farms be the backbone of a rural economy? We think so, but we have to show the world that it is possible here in our region. How do we go about doing that? The only way to accomplish this is by connecting the customers who crave real good food to the farms that produce it . But even then we are not done, because the art of food preparation and preservation has been lost with the passing of older generations. So we must teach each other how to cook and eat and preserve all these delicious foods that are produced organically and with love and care.

So the challenge in the coming years is not only to support small farms and the food we produce, but also to facilitate the connections between our farms and our customers, wherever they may be. And we can’t stop there, we must also co-educate each other about the joys of cooking and preserving the foods that sustain our very lives through-out the year. For small-scale diversified farmers and real food hungry customers, there is so much to learn about and so much to do that the field is endless. Essentially we are relearning what our ancestors already knew, but this is yet another connection to cherish, our connection with our own history.

It’s gonna be an adventurous journey, but in the end we’re sure we’ll make it there, because, well, we have to.

A comment from our friend Angelica

“LTD farm is the real deal. As a fellow farmer, I’ve watch as Andrew and Khaiti have worked hard building up their farm and making a go of it, when most people would have quit to get a desk job. With my pledge to their duck egg expansion, I’m not just supporting a business, but also two people who are caring for the land in a way that all farmers should. The food they produce is a nourishing asset to any of us who care about what we put into our bodies. Farms like LTD and my own face funding challenges from traditional banks and lenders, because we do not fit into what most banks think a farm is. We also do NOT get farm subsudies like most conventional farms. Supporting LTD Farm is money well spent, which will help these two agricultural pioneers provide more high quality duck eggs to our region.
Angelica Hollstadt
Angelica’s Garden Farmstead Foods”

We are so close to reaching our funding goal, and we have just 9 days to go! Today, we would like to get to $12k on our Kickstarter project. Just $155 more and we will have reached that goal. Then we will have 25% left of our goal to fund. If you were thinking about pledging, now isĀ  a great time!

 

 

Small Food Business Blog Article

We were interviewed for the Small Food Business Blog the other day, and they did a nice little article about us, specifically talking about our Kickstarting efforts! We have 17 days and a lot of funding to go folks! Be part of Duck Egg history! Check out the article here:

http://smallfoodbiz.com/2011/11/10/a-small-scale-farm-tries-to-kickstart-their-funding/

 

 

late fall, where’s winter?

Waiting for snow, can’t really believe it…..waiting for the ground to freeze, waiting for a big, drastic change. Meanwhile, the turkeys eat and eat and eat. The pigs dig and dig and dig. The leaves fall and fall and fall. It’s exhilarating to have had such a nice long autumn, but we’re kind of ready for the big hunkerdown.

Post Halloween is a delicious time for the animals, as we got a load of ex-Jack-o-lanterns dropped off. Thanks Cris!!! The turkeys carve the pumpkins shells down to a gorgeous translucent hull, glowing orange as the sunset hits. Our goats are professional pumpkin eaters and waste no time completely devouring them, not even leaving a headstone for their victims. Even the lady ducks will happily spend hours whittling away at the pumpkin flesh with their rounded bills. They don’t have teeth or a sharp pointed beak to make it easy, but that doesn’t stop them from getting their share of the pumpkins. Our very picky pigs have decided they do not like pumpkins afterall, which is frustrating. These piglets are just so strangely picky!

Fall plantings can be tricky to predict, and seeding carrots in August just seems rather foolish. “Really, you think you’ll get anything bigger than a thick, orange needle?” No, but really, this year, our fall garden blew us away. We credit two things- the long, graceful fall, and the pigs who tilled up the patches for us a couple months before we planted the late veggies there. Pigs remove roots, weeds and their seeds, brush and brambles. It’s unbelieveable. While they are the most picky pigs ever, they did some excellent work for our garden, and had loads of fun in the process.

Food processing is what you do when you have a bounty. We’ve been canning our hearts out, fermenting huge loads of kraut and kimchi, putting carrots, turnips, radishes and rutabagas into cold storage, making country style wine, transforming milk into cheese for the off-milking time, and freezing eggs for winter scrambles.

Soon we’ll have withdrawl from all that kind of work, but right now we’re kind of done with it! Time for planning next spring awaits. Putting in our seed order, after meticulously organizing our planting schedule. We’re aiming for 35 CSA shares next season and that will require alot of thought and planning to provide for. And one always must have back ups if any crop fails. Hopefully we’ll have more goats in milk next year, and be going gangbuster with soaps, etc.

Why do we welcome winter? Well, it’ll be a time to relax a bit! No more 24-7 stress load. A break from the franticness, and the chance to reflect on what didn’t work and why, and how we’ll improve. And winter is an excellent time to reconnect with friends and family who have had to put up with our mayhemic schedules this season. While the lugging of 5 gallon buckets of water from our bath tub to the animals is not really FUN, it is a lot less frantic time of year, and we’re totally looking forward to it.