Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Quick updates

Happy 4th, everyone!  We are blessed to live in this country with so many freedoms, and I am thankful for all those who sacrificed to make these freedoms possible.

I've been working on updating several of the blog pages.
Here's a quick synopsis of some of our updates:

Farm Store:
Our meat 'store' is open for you to come to purchase pork by the piece.  Please text (989) 640-6808 or call (989) 834-2387 to make sure we are at the farm and can serve you.  We will also deliver if you would like that option.

Meat Chickens:
We have a few extra meat chickens.  Please contact us if you are interested.

I've updated the recipes to include several recipes that feature our great pork.

Large Black Hogs:
We have nice looking piglets on the ground right now.  If you're interested in a feeder (not registered) or a breeder (registered), please contact us.  Feeders are $125, Breeders are $300.

Our egg production has really slowed for the past several months.  We are working on improving our flock, and will be adding in new layers soon.  Once they start producing, we should have plenty of eggs for sale again.  Thank you for your patience to those who have been waiting for eggs.

Monday, June 5, 2017

It's been a while!

Hello readers!

It's been a LONG time since I've posted, and I apologize.  I started the facebook page and have been updating that... and neglecting the blog.  In just 16 short days it will officially be summer. Our spring days have been filled with getting the fields ready to plant, planting, fixing equipment, baby chicks, our first school group tour, and several other projects.  Our barn hill and bridge area needed reinforced, so that is one project that has been on the short list.  Here are a couple pictures of getting the concrete blocks in place. We're very thankful for our good friend that has been helping us out the past few weeks. He's made many jobs much easier.

We'll soon have lots of baby pigs (we hope!)... we have 3 sows almost ready to deliver.  Here is Rue resting in the afternoon:

The turkeys are growing and thriving. They are very social and a lot of fun to watch. 
They tend to stick together in a big group all the time. 

Another thing we did this year was get some grapevines in.  My aunt and uncle decided they were done with grapes and let me have their grapevines. They took root and are growing.  I am so happy!  Hoping to fill some canning jars with grape juice this fall.  
All of the crops are in the ground now and starting to emerge from the soil. It's always a good day when you see the crops growing. It's comforting to know that the seed isn't sitting in the ground rotting. Now that the crops are in and growing, Kevin will be going over the fields with the rotary hoe for weed control. Being an organic farm, we do not use chemicals to control our weeds, so, until the crops get too tall for the equipment to get through, Kevin will be going over the fields to stay ahead of the weeds. 

About half of the garden is planted - hoping to finish that up this week. We made the garden a little smaller this year, and I'm trying some new things like planting my rows closer together and planting squash in between the corn rows. I'm hoping that the plants will canopy and have better weed control. I'm also spreading straw between my rows shortly after seeding to hopefully get ahead of the weeds.  I decided against planting carrots this year as well. Sam's has such a good price on organic carrots that it seems my efforts on trying to grow carrots are better spent elsewhere. There's one more way to try to grow carrots that we haven't done yet. Maybe we'll try it yet this year. Do any of you readers have successful carrot growing stories?  

In other food-growing news, the mulberries are starting to form on the trees, so that means it will be mulberry jam time soon!  If you haven't done so yet, you can pre-order some of our jam

We are also looking at getting our meat into some stores, so be on the lookout for that. Our pork products are available for purchase on the farm or delivery. Check out what we have to offer, and let us help put some great meat on your table. Our pork is pasture and non-GMO raised, no hormones or antibiotics, and MSG and Gluten free.  :) We have several cuts in stock and ready to go from our freezer to your table. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Happy New Year everyone!  My daughter asked me the other day if I had put the pig pictures up on the blog yet, and I realized that I hadn't.  Then I realized just how long it had been since I had updated the blog.... maybe one of my New Year's resolutions should be to have a blogging schedule.  :)  

So, when I went to Graham's and picked up our last pigs that got processed, there was a little roadside shop that was advertising MI potatoes for sale - $8 for 50#.  I could not pass that up, so I stopped and bought a bag. They potatoes have been great, and even entertaining.  Here are a couple potatoes that I found with very distinct shapes...
The shapely potatoes.  What do you see?  

Farrowing season has come and gone already... we had 5 girls that farrowed. Some did better than others. They all farrowed within a couple weeks of each other. Here is Charlotte, our new girl with her litter. 
She's a first time mama and ended up having 11 babies. That was an interesting morning. I went out to feed the chickens and decided to look in on the pigs.  Normally Wyatt feeds the chickens, but he was spending the night at Grandma's, so I was filling in. When I went in the barn, I was surprised to see two baby pigs in a stall with the 5 mamas. The mamas had not been separated into their own stalls yet for farrowing, so there were 5 girls sharing quarters. The babies were wandering around and no mama was getting up to feed them or keep them warm. So, I went in the stall with them, picked one up and tried to get it to make some noise. Normally this would make it's mama get up and take notice. No such luck. I finally determined which mama these babies belonged to, and got her up from her nap (she was happily cozied between two other sows). I ended up finding not two, but four babies in there. I got the mama, Charlotte, out of the stall and into her own. Norah helped me move the babies into the stall with her. I tried to get Charlotte and babies settled in the new stall, but Charlotte was pretty restless.  I surmised that she was not done farrowing yet, so I decided to leave her be and let her settle down for a few minutes.  I came back and she had not yet settled down, so I started rubbing her belly. She finally relaxed and let the babies nurse. Whew. Then, after about a half hour, she delivered another piglet. It appeared that the piglet was delivered with the placenta, so I thought to myself, "well, that was efficient of her." After a while longer Charlotte was maneuvering to her other side when she delivered yet another piglet, also appearing to be wrapped in placenta. Thinking she was done, and all was well, the kids and I headed into town to visit some friends. Fast forward to early evening when we return home. I went out to the barn to check on Charlotte and her brood, and now there are 11 babies!  She wasn't done after all.  Charlotte is doing fantastic, and 9 of the babies survived. I am still surprised that that many lived - she must have been in labor for hours. 

The rest of our litters have not been as large or as successful as Charlotte's. There are a couple other mamas who are doing okay, though, so we are thankful for that.

Here are the feeder pigs in their pig pile taking a nap.

While we have lots of new babies on the farm, we have several older ones that are getting ready to leave the farm. We have a group scheduled to go at the end of Feburary, so, if you are looking for some great pork, please contact us to reserve your half or whole hog. We have 5 scheduled for butcher at Graham's Organics on Feb. 28th.

I couldn't help including these random cat photos. The first picture is of our cat visitor, whom we call Mr. Orange. He hasn't let anyone pet him yet. He hides up in the ceiling and usually waits until we leave the barn to come down and eat. 

These cats are Cutie and Liberty, waiting for someone to come out and feed them. I caught Liberty in mid-yawn and thought it was a funny photo. 

Some dear friends of ours have been home visiting from Mexico, and we took a trip to the Grand Rapids Musuem with them this past week. The special exhibit right now is Whales, and they had a whale heart that you could actually go inside. 

Isn't it amazing that humans could fit inside a whale heart?

Wyatt the Astronaut

On the way home we ate at Chick-Fil-A.  A first for all of us. This one had only been open a week, so it was really busy, but we all enjoyed it. 

We are working on getting our year organized and will have chicken ordering information out soon.  We still have pork by the piece available as well as fresh eggs and straw. 

Take care, dear readers!  

Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving Funnies and New Meat

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I cooked one of our own turkeys, and.... it was too big for the roaster pan.  I cooked a beautiful 27 pounder.

I got up at 5:33 (I like setting odd times on my alarm clock) and started the turkey. I used Fannie Farmer's butter basting method. After getting it all prepped, I realized that the lid wasn't going to fit. So, I improvised and taped aluminum foil on the lid to cover the gaps. Then I went back to bed for a while. When I got up again and checked it, it hadn't cooked quite as much as I thought it should have, so into the oven it went. It finished cooking in the oven really nicely, and came out super moist and tasty.

While the turkey finished cooking, I cooked the potatoes for mashed potatoes, and my Mom helped me finish getting those ready. They tasted great. So, we set them on the back burner to keep warm (where the oven vents). Somehow that back burner ended up getting turned on (still haven't figured out how). Sadly, the potatoes got slightly scorched. Mom doctored them up with some extra sour cream and butter. No one even noticed, and they still ended up tasting okay.  Those are my two Thanksgiving funnies.

Kevin found an awesome new recipe for Green Bean Salad. Click here to see it. It was a new hit at the table. It was full of good flavors, and disappeared before I was able to snap a picture. There are no leftovers from that. It was that good. It is definitely a make-again recipe. I am so glad he found it.

For Black Friday today, I went up to Graham's Organics and picked up our new cuts of nitrate free pork by the piece. We have sampled the meat and it is amazing. The bacon tastes like candy, and everything is just really good. We have 12 different varieties of pork cuts for you to try.  Check it out here. This page lists all of our current selection from three different processors.

*********   We now offer gift certificates - please contact us for details. ************

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Down they came

The silos are down, and the barnyard is mostly all cleaned up.  We are so grateful for everyone's help, and God's protection on the day. We could not have accomplished what we did without everyone. Thank you so much!

Here's a video I took of one of the silos falling down.  My dad got a video of the one with the roof coming down. The roof came off intact. :)  I will post my dad's video later.

Here's a sort of picture story of the day:

Kevin taking a swing 

The dust after the one with the roof fell part way:

Working on the one with the roof some more:

The piles, and everyone helping out:

What remains:

Thanks again everyone!  

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fall News and Flash Sale

Greetings, everyone!  We got a zebra!

Just kidding.... we didn't really.  This one is one we seen while on a trip to Anderson & Girls.

While fall harvest season is already a busy time for us, we decided to throw a little extra fun onto the plate and do some rearranging.  :)  We have a few different projects going on amid the field work. The barnyard is going to get a makeover, as are a few other areas of the grounds.

Today is the last day the view of the barnyard will look like this.  Tomorrow the silos fall. 

Kevin's been doing some prepwork to get things ready.
This has involved a lot of moving things around, and prepping the silos.

After demolition, I hope to have a video uploaded of the happenings.

Remember the rock pile I was working on?  I have completed the sorting of that, and now Kevin is preparing to make that into a driveway/lane for our pastures.

Here's a pic of it almost done.

Just one of the piles of fence posts, barbed wire, and woven wire fence I dug out of the pile: 

And some silverware I found in the pile (no kidding!):

Picture of the area ready to be made into driveway/lane:

On the rainy days and in the evenings I have been working on stripping the upstairs woodwork.  I knew there was beautiful woodwork under the paint.
I now have all the paint almost stripped off... more pictures to come when the project is done.

Now, for some fun stuff.  Wyatt is now in band at Ovid Elsie Middle School.  They had their fist concert last night, and were given the opportunity to perform in costume.
Iron Man plays the Horn

We made a trip to Anderson & Girls orchard in Stanton with some friends.  That was a lot of fun!

Camel saying hi



While supplies last, we are running a sale on some of our pork by the piece.  For full details of that, please follow this link.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

 Happy Fall!  :)
I'm not quite sure where September went, but it's nearly gone. Here on the farm, we are ending our poultry harvest season and enjoying the 'break' before crop harvesting begins.  I say 'break' because there is always something to work on on the farm. 

We started school a couple weeks before Labor Day, and since then, the days have seemed to fly by even faster than usual. The weekend after Labor Day the kids and I were able to take a weekend away with my family to a great little campground only 2 miles from Lake Michigan. 
The beach!

Enjoying the water

Lake MI

The cabin we stayed in at the campground.  I'm too much of a wimp to tent camp. 

The cabin was a great option. Reasonably priced, beds to sleep on (unless you slept in the loft like the kids), kitchenette, and coffee pot. My cousin got married that weekend by Silver Lake, so it was a great reason to find a campground and make a weekend out of it. The kids discovered that they really enjoyed kayaking (as did I), so a couple weeks ago we had "gym class" and went kayaking with my parents at Motz park. I see more kayaking time in our future. 

Canning Season
The garden has kept on producing, especially with the warm September weather. We have been enjoying lots of tomatoes, corn, cabbage and green beans, and I've been working at preserving much of it.
My typical every other day haul of tomatoes.

Salsa simmering on the stove

Two ways to cut corn off the cob. 

I tried the option on the right with the corn stuck in the middle of the Bundt pan, just to see how it worked (perhaps you've seen the idea floating around on the internet). I concluded that it really didn't save a lot of time, as I kept having to turn the pan around while I was cutting. I prefer just cutting the corn off into a bowl, so that's what I stuck with.

Funny garden story: 
So, I didn't keep track of what pepper plants I planted... next year I'll write it down. Thinking I had planted the mild peppers like the ones in the salad at the Olive Garden, I sliced into one, and tested it with my tongue (just in case it was hot). Well.... it was hot.  Very, very hot.  My mouth was on FIRE. These were not the sweet little peppers I thought I had. It took coconut oil, milk, and an ice cream bar to finally take the heat off my lips. Later on, one of our meat customers came to pick up some meat, and I was telling him about these peppers and asked if he wanted any. I gave him some, and he looked at them and said, "Jen, those are habaneros." Huh. No wonder they were so hot! I did end up making some (very) hot sauce with them, and a batch of hot salsa, but have ceased deciding that I would like to try a taste of the pepper alone. (I still have some habaneros if anyone would like any...)

New Projects
The landscape is starting to change here at the farm, and will continue to change over the next few months. It's time for the silos to come down and be replaced with grain bins. We also sold one of the corn cribs to make room to widen the driveway. It's kind of sad when the old stuff has to come down to make way for the new. The silos are still standing for now, but the corn crib in the foreground has left. 

The view that was

Corn crib in the process of leaving

One of my projects that I've taken on is the rock/junk pile that sits near where our pastures are. My sister and I started digging through it this spring, and now I have picked up the task again. I am giving the landscaping around the house a makeover and using many rocks to do so (I love rocks). I forgot to take pictures of the pile, and of what I was doing around the house. I've been enjoying digging through the rock/junk pile to see what 'treasures' I can find. Plus, it's a good workout. I was very excited the other day when I found a pudding stone. I'll have to post a picture of it next time.

Although our poultry processing is done for this season, we will continue to offer our pork by the piece throughout the winter, and also have several half/whole pigs available for your freezer. Let us know how we can serve you!