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Fall brings harvest time, and it is time to harvest your larger pasture raised animals! It’s hog harvest time! You can butcher and process your pig at home, and we can show you how. This hands-on agri-class gives you an opportunity to learn how to “seam butcher” your pig, a technique that requires very basic equipment and a good table. You’ll also get to make sausage, homemade ham and bacon, and learn about special charcuterie products you can make at home. Coppa and proscuitto are within your reach!
Contact us today to reserve your spot in this three day class that starts Friday, November 11 and finishes Sunday November 13. For more information, click HERE.
Anyone who’s raised animals very long can tell you that sometimes things go wrong. They aren’t really “Acts of God.” Things were designed to work a certain way and when it goes wrong it usually involves nature, as in “the nature of the beast” (literally). Animals have a way of looking at the world, and when they become difficult it’s usually because we aren’t understanding their viewpoint and meeting their needs. (Temple Grandin is a proponent of this if you want to read about it elsewhere.)
Last night was a case in point. Our youngest group of chicks is about 3 weeks old now. They needed to transition out of the brooder, but Joe didn’t have space until Monday and needed to let the next pen dry off before he moved them. They had sustained a couple of losses, but were generally doing well. Then, Tuesday morning, Keith came rushing in: “I have a BIG problem!” Apparently the thunderstorm the night before, or the humidity of the storm, or something caused these easily stressed birds to panic and they “piled.” They climbed on top of each other seeking comfort, suffocating the ones on the bottom. It can be ugly, but it’s their nature.
This started out as a group of 600 chicks. By the time Joe and Keith got it sorted out and various ones had revived once rescued from the pile, Keith counted 169 dead. Ugly doesn’t begin to describe the feeling.
They cleaned up and Joe moved the chicks into the next pen. The chicks had been very stressed by now—big storm, moving, new and unfamiliar surroundings. Then dark descended. By their nature, they wanted the comfort of their big, solid walls and low ceiling. This big, open pen scared them. So they started to do what they do when looking for comfort. They started to pile again. The “Act of God” was that Joe, contrary to his nature, decided to check on them again after he was nearly in bed for the night, and came back over at 11:30. We lost about 10 or so birds, but that’s all. We gave them walls and a ceiling and rigged a heater. That was all they wanted, after all. We put more wood shavings over top of them once they settled in, shut the lights off, spread the last few who were determined to pile out to the edges, and said goodnight. By their nature, they don’t move much during the night. We’d provided the security they desired, with a little extra warmth to boot. That was all we could do.
I’m happy to report that we lost zero chicks during the night. At 6:30 this morning they were running around, chirping happily, drinking and eating and dust bathing. They were in and out of their security area and generally looked very happy with life. It doesn’t take much to be happy when your brainstem is bigger than your brain. Those of us with the cognitive capacity just need to slow down sometimes and consider the nature of things, and go with it.
Now, Kimi the bull-who-climbs-through-small-holes-in-the-wall is a story for another day.
Intro to Permaculture and Soils, this Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday. Come learn a new way to look at your “farm.”
More in a garden grows than what the gardener sows.~Spanish proverb
Our children like to help us in the garden. Really. When they are about 2-4 years old. That’s the age when they plant corn seeds in the green bean bed, hoe up the fledgling lettuce, and weed out the carrots by the handful. They aren’t exactly helpful, but as they tend my garden I am planting seeds that I plan to cultivate over the seasons. These little starts will bear fruit eventually.
I know this because I see it when I look at their healthy little bodies. I know it when they proudly serve their Dad the carrots or zucchini they helped pick for supper. I know it when they distinguish between cucumbers and pickles. I know it when the older children team up to make sure the green beans get picked and ready to can so we can eat them in the winter.
We’ve found that some of our most enthusiastic visiting helpers are kids. They are curious about life. They are able to really do things and understand that what they are handling–plant or animal–is life, is food, is a part of things. Kids love life. They like to help with the baby animals. They enjoy learning where the food on their plate comes from. They even often like the processing, seeing how an animal is put together, how it works, why it does what it does.
Some of the lessons in Nature’s garden aren’t so enjoyable. Perseverance when you face of a row of weeds. Gentleness when you’re in a hurry to move the chicks. Patience when the calf won’t suck off the bottle right and butts you in the stomach and slobbers all over your back. Courage when the chickens you tended twice a day for two months have to be slaughtered. Compassion when the family dog is old and sick and suffering and needs to be let go. Self-control when the pigs get out for the third time and won’t go back in. These are the hard lessons.
Our children are our future and the investments we make in them by connecting them to their food is beyond measure. Even if it’s just a planter or two, or only for a season, the experience of growing and eating real food plants seeds beyond lettuce and tomatoes. We feel strongly about this and invite kids who are capable to attend Anyone Can Farm classes. We want to grow farmers!
Contact us if you are interested in bringing your children along with you. Help make this available to the next generation by sponsoring someone on this website or through our Indiegogo Challenge. Thank-you in advance for investing in the next generation of food producers!