Busy Work

I remember hearing my granny talk about busy work. Well if what I do on a daily basis isn’t enough, now I have added “busy work”. Our farm is blessed with acres and acres of wild raspberry vines. They ripen early July and only last a week, two at the most. So when the berries begin to ripen life just has to take a backseat. We pick and pick until we just can’t pick anymore. Making jellies and canning the juice. It is fantastic. It is a lot of work, but it they are so yummy and delicious. Mom makes fried pies with the berries, my biggest splurge. So today I picked, this was my second day of the season to pick berries. They are just beautiful. Our multiple springs are the main reason our berries are so plentiful, large and luscious. The vines love water, and we have lots of that.

I fed the hogs that are on our mountain pasture and the two mama hogs and their babies. I counted everyone and did a quick check, all was good. As I set out this morning over the steep hillside I thought of my granny Ollie. Whenever I pick berries or work in the garden, or can my garden bounty, I think of granny. I believe she would be so proud of me and the little farmer I have become. She would quarrel at me for working to hard and tell me “I worked hard like that all my life and now look what a shape I’m in.” I heard that often as a young adult. She worked as hard as any human could. In her young adult life she worked at a local sawmill, raised children, grew gardens, picked berries and had a multitude of hard, demanding tasks. I hope one day to be as tough as she was.

So I picked berries, alone on the steep hill, with only the chickens as my company. I had one little red hen that stayed with me all morning. I would pitch her the culled berries and she gobbled them up. I try not to think about snakes when I pick. I am terrified of snakes, and in those dense vines and woods they are a problem. I can’t see where I am stepping due to the vast number of vines and berries, so each step is a step of faith. I just pray that I don’t step on anything squishy.

I can usually pick about a gallon of berries per hour and today I made it out with 3 rounded over gallons and a stuffed hen. The pigs visited me off and on, but lost interest when they realized they were not getting the contents of my buckets. I finished just in time to get all the berries packed into half pint clam shell containers and put into coolers for the farmer’s market tomorrow. It began to storm and the creeks are flooded, so I’m really glad I picked this morning.

With the farm there is little time to do off farm activities. The farmer’s markets are the only days that I like to be away. Things get out of sorts and work piles up anytime I leave. This weekend I harvested 10 frames of honey from our newest hive of bees that I purchased last spring. I was very happy & we have some very rich, very dark honey! Really lovely. It is packed for the markets as well. So that’s it, that’s my busy work for the last few days. Life on the farm is busy work, every day, but some days you have to cram a little more in than others.  Now I’m off to enjoy the rain during the evening feedings.

Ready for Market

Ready for Market

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Where’s the Beef?

We have fresh beef available!  Raised to organic standards, our beef are Certified Naturally Grown and Animal Welfare Approved.  Our cows live a charmed life on 500 acres, 80% woodland & the rest in pasture, with plenty of fresh springs throughout the farm.  They receive no antibiotics or hormones. We have many different cuts of packaged beef and also do whole or half beef when available. If there is a particular cut you are looking for please let us know. We are at the Eureka Springs Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays from 7-noon and we are at the Newton County Farmer’s Market in Jasper Wednesdays from 9-noon.

Meet OUR Meat!

Meet OUR Meat!

 

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Rainy Day Work

It started raining after I fed the pigs & chickens this morning.  I had a ton of things to do in the garden after being gone to markets on Tuesday and Wednesday.  The rain kept me inside, so I decided to make the most of it.  I have been wanting to make a new soap with our fresh Jersey cream, so today I did just that!  I planned to make a Creme de Mint, but when I mixed the lye and cream, it turned orange.  So….I made Orange Creme soap instead.  I used orange and lemongrass essential oils.  I made a double batch, and I can’t wait to take it out of the molds tomorrow.  Once I remove it from the insulator, I will cut it into bars, the bars will then cure for 4-6 weeks.

I had all my oils out, and with two markets each week our supply of scrubs and salves were running low.  I made a new batch of sugar scrubs.  This batch is sage and peppermint, it smelled heavenly!  It is ready to be labeled and will be at the Eureka Springs farmer’s market on Tuesday!  I also created a new product, Essential Bath Salts, it is comprised of essential oils and salt.  I used sage and lavender for a relaxing and rejuvenating experience.

I began a new herbal infusion for a batch or two of our very popular Boo Boo Balm.  It takes 4-6 weeks for the oil to be infused with herbs, so I have to keep a batch going all the time.  I used a lot of my tried and true herbs like Comfrey and Plantain, and some new ones as well.  We use a lot of the balm and we sell a lot of it as well.  It really is a wonderful product.

I am ordering supplies for our lip balms today and as soon as they arrive I will make up a new batch of that also.  Well I better get with the ordering and less of the blog updating.

 

Categories: Farm Living | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Updates!

It scares me sometimes at how busy I am.  It seems the blog gets pushed aside because I am in constant farm mode.  I have so many updates, I am sure I will forget some!  We received our acceptance into the Animal Welfare Approved program!!  We have two litters of piglets due in a couple weeks.  We have had two new calves born (they are beautiful) and we are milking a new mama.  We have 150 new baby chicks hatched out of the incubator who are growing nicely and will be butchered in a few months.  We just received our approval for the SNAP/EBT program.  Participants of the program can now purchase our organically raised meat, eggs and produce with SNAP/EBT benefits!  We are very excited to offer this.  You can purchase direct from the farm or locally at a couple local farmer’s markets.  You can find us at the Eureka Springs (Tuesdays 7am-Noon) and the Newton County/Jasper (Wednesdays 9am-Noon) Farmer’s Markets.

We are currently sold out of pork and beef, but will be taking some to butcher in a month or so.  You can’t rush forest/grass fed animals.  It makes planning difficult at times, but it is worth it!  We have chicken, eggs, herb soaps, lotion bars, lip balm, chest rub, boo boo balm, maple syrup and raw honey.  We are making drops in local towns so check in with us if you need anything!  Thanks so much for all your support!

Here is our new banner for the markets.  It highlights our offerings.

Meet OUR Meat!

Meet OUR Meat!

 

Categories: Bees & Honey, Chickens, Cows, Farm Living, Pigs | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Raw Milk Available!

We currently have raw milk for sale. Our cows are Certified Naturally Grown, so no antibiotics, hormones, feed free of GMO, pesticides, herbicides & fungicides. Just fresh raw milk. $8/gallon farm pick-up only. Bring your jug or we can send you home with a glass jar for $5 (bring it back for refills!) We have a Milking Shorthorn with lots of beautiful white milk and amazing cream!!

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Farm Videos

Enjoy some of our latest videos:

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Hauling Piglets

We had a buyer coming down from Lucky George Farm in Derby, Iowa.  They have purchased Large Black hogs from us before and needed a few more, who doesn’t need more pigs????  So with their checkups and health papers to cross state lines needing to be taken care of and a huge amount of ice on the ground, what’s a girl to do??  She loads them in her Jeep.  My Jeep is my “farm wagon” it goes places it shouldn’t have to and hauls things it shouldn’t be required to.  But it’s a great Jeep!  The piglets (3 months old and 60lbs each!) were loaded in the back of the Jeep and away we went, an hour into town and vet appointment done, an hour back home and unloaded.  They were great!  But whew the smell!!  Here’s our video of the day:

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Large Black Hog Updates

Farm life is time consuming.  So blog posts tend to be few and far between. We have had several lovely litters of piglets.  The winter was just brutal.  Cold temps and lots of frozen precipitation made farm life much more difficult.  Carrying water, icy roads and frozen fingers are just a few of the hardships.  We currently have two mama’s & their piglets in the barn.  They are going out of the barn during the day and exploring & playing and at night they go back in the barn.

We have sold several wonderful breeders and delivered two hogs to the butcher.  We had two buyers visit the farm yesterday to purchase and pick up pigs.  It’s nice to have other farmers comment on the way you raise your animals.  One farmer commented that he had been searching for the right pasture pigs for a while.  He had several potential farms and pigs that he had looked at, but our pigs were the first that had actually be out on pasture.  Others had bragged about their pigs being great on pasture, but they were in very small pens-outside.  In my opinion just being outside does not equate to being raised on pasture or woodland.  So it’s nice to get good feedback and have others who are happy to buy our pigs.  He went home with a wonderfully hearty lil boar piglet who has been out in the forest since being weaned.  It is more work raising animals the way we do it, but for us that’s just how it needs to be done.  Happy hogs are tasty hogs!

Our livestock guardian dog, Turk, has been doing fair- a few setbacks, but he is still just a baby and learning the ropes.  The chickens have provided eggs all winter long and are thriving.  The cows are mooing and eating the young grass that is sprouting up.  We work very hard on growing our grasses.  We aren’t blessed with many pastures so what we do have we try to manage very well.  We have been working on re-seeding every field and purchasing and shipping in trailer truck loads of organic chicken litter.  We have had some very nice days in the 60’s and 70’s and the bees are working their little hearts out.  I have checked in on them once and they seem to be doing nicely.  I don’t have a lot of experience with the bees, so that is something that is hard for me, but I really enjoy have the honey and pollination benefits!  I am running behind on gardening.  It amazes me how quickly I fall behind in that area, but the weather didn’t help and everyday farm-tasrophes have kept me to occupied to start my seeds.  I hope to get to work on that later this week.  We finished up our maple syrup season and even had a local magazine visit the farm to do a story on the process and history of our maple syrup making.

Here is a video of our hog Bossy & her babies who are trying hard to nurse Itty (who has no milk).  Click HERE for the video. 

Categories: Bees & Honey, Chickens, Cows, Farm Living, Gardens & Greenhouses, Pigs | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Artificial Insemination

I have been extremely busy.  Anyone who thinks that farming takes a break in winter is wrong!  Everyday chores are much more difficult in the cold weather.  Gloves freeze to gates, water is carried to the barn instead of being pumped in, animals are more hungry due to the lack of fresh green grass.  It’s just part of life on a farm, seasons come and seasons go.

So I did something last week that I never in a million years thought I would do.  I impregnated a pig!  AI, artificial insemination, is a way for our farm to offer diversified bloodlines.  I mapped out the girls estrus on the calendar and the semen was delivered in a nitrogen tank.  I can’t act like I am an old pro, or even give tips on how to AI, this was my first time.  I didn’t video the process as I was afraid I needed to focus on the process and read directions rather than narrate the process.  We have two sows to inseminate and I have been able to work with one.  The next sow I hope to video the process.

Here are the pics that were taken.  They show the supplies and the process of AI.  I know they are not very educational, but hey I’m learning too.  In one picture the sow is laying on me, one of the wonderful traits of Large Black hogs is their willingness to lay down for belly rubs.  This sow is my smallest Matilda, she is dainty.  So fingers crossed that the impregnation worked.  The next sow is very large, my second largest Prudence girl.  I am waiting for her to come into estrus, you can’t rush those things.  So now we wait.

In the meantime, if you ever want to check up on the farm, you can find more on our facebook page.  We have more time to update on facebook.  Here’s the link:  https://www.facebook.com/our.greenacre

 

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Barn Cat

Went in to feed last night & this is what I found. I have never in my life seen a cat that loved chickens at all, much less this much. She is such a sweetie. The other barn cat loves the chicks too, but not to this level of rot your teeth out sweet.IMG_1876

 

Categories: Chickens, Farm Living | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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