Bakers Green Acres

Your Pastured Poultry People

21
Oct
2012

We have a new site address–same stuff just a new location. 

Please click on this link to go to the latest information about Baker’s Green Acres.  Thanks!

WWW.BAKERSGREENACRES.COM

 

 

Have a great day.  See you soon in an Anyone Can Farm Course.

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11
Oct
2012

Charcuterie is the art and science of preserving meat.  Pork is especially suited for this purpose.  This is your chance to learn how to process a heritage hog from oink to ham with Mark Baker, farmer, and Aaron Butts, Executive Chef of Joseph Decuis restaurant where he has produced a variety of sausages and cured products for use in the restaurant, and a 2010 James Beard Award nominee.  At this hands-on offering on our working farm, you will have the opportunity to  learn:

*How to feed and care for a hog for optimal charcuterie processing.

*How to slaughter a hog on-farm, including scalding and scraping.

*How to use seam butchery techniques  so you won’t need a huge meat saw.

*How to utilize many of the organ meats.

*How to make your own lard and sausages.

*How to cure your own bacons, hams, and other cuts.

Take home meat and some tools available for sale.

Cost: $250/person for this 2 1/2 day event, with lunches and dinners provided.

Date: November 2-4, 2012

Get more information or RSVP by calling 231-825-0293 or emailing bakersgreenacres@yahoo.com

Remember, anyone can farm

Baker’s Green Acres

1579 Brinks Rd.       Marion, MI  49665

231-825-0293

www.bakersgreenacres.com

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8
Oct
2012

This past week I once again faced the “legal defense” bills.  These included the costs of the depositions.  The depositions were costly, but revealed so much.    All this was made possible by the passion and generosity of American citizens, along with passionate and discerning folks around the world, who have donated anything from $1.00 to a couple hundred dollars to stand with us against this Goliath.  Food sovereignty is a cause worth fighting for, whether it’s seeds, milk, or pigs.

Mark had a great conversation with Dr. David Janda this weekend.  Listen to the podcast here.

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4
Oct
2012

September is not a slow time on the farm.  It’s still within our harvest season, so we add the challenges of school rather than dropping activities.  Add to that a weekend trip to Polyface Farm (Joel Salatin) for a Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund event, a couple of birthdays, and a visit from the Colbert Report (yes, the real deal all the way from New York), and September’s been kinda hectic.  It’s all good stuff and has been a blast, but I’m ready for a couple of quiet days in a row.

On the plus side, we only have about 3 more harvest weeks with the chickens.  This year we’ve been playing squirrel and storing the chickens off the pasture in a big way.  Our goal is to be able to take a good break over the winter.  Other years we’ve raised them in our clearspan building in small numbers, adding “dry pasture” to their diet.  It’s good, but no where near as good as “fresh pasture” and outdoors.  They beat Tyson any day, but pasture is premium and we want to make only the best available to our customers.   We’ll be hosting the MSU organic farm students at the end of the month to give them the “down and dirty” (really dirty) hands-on poultry raising and processing class.  Our kids don’t know yet that they get to teach, but they have done it enough times that it’ll be  fun to play the part of Tom Sawyer and get someone else to do the hard work.

Stuck in the middle of this month is OCTOBER 15.  Sorry for the bad pun, but that would be part of the irony of the pig thing.  That is the date for the trial up in Marquette.  The judge will be hearing the arguments regarding the Constititutional issue of due process.  We are arguing that the law outlined in the Declatory Ruling should be void for vagueness.  If you, as an average (if you are reading this you are likely above average, I realize) citizen, can not read a law and determine whether or not you are in compliance, you are denied due process of law.  If I were to have to ask a policeman to explain a law about going through intersections because it was written such that only his/her subjective interpretation helped you know if you get a ticket and pay lots of money or not, it is a bad law.  Good intentioned perhaps, but a badly written law, and in violation of the protections of the Constitituion.  That’s the basic premise of our argument.  It got lots of bolstering in the depositions of Rodney Stokes, Nancy Frank, and the two MSU vets who all helped shape this thing.  Statements from the former Director that tell people if they look at their pigs and can’t tell from comparing their erect eared, curly tailed, solid black or spotted hog to the Declatory Ruling checklist if it’s legal or not, just ask the enforcement agency (DNR), who will be happy to subjectively assess your situation and give you, oh, say, a week to depopulate any illegal feral pigs living on your farm.   Pigs in the woods are bad.  Are pigs on farms also bad?  Senator Darwin Booher has been crafting legislation that will go through the people’s representatives (unlike the DNR’s law) to establish more tangible guidelines for farms with pigs and consquences for not controlling your animals.  I’m not for more rules and feel simply enforcing the nuisance animal laws on the books would suffice, but this will help diffuse the situation and Senator Booher is working hard to defend farms of all sizes and his constituants of all types and I commend him for his commonsense approach.  In the meantime, our pigs are doing what pigs do on a farm (eat, sleep, raise babies) and we are off to Marquette on the 15th.

If all that isn’t enough, we are planning a hog butchering class for November 2, 3, and 4.  You will get to scald and scrape a couple of pigs, be introduced to the art of seam butchery (ie: how to cut your pig at home without an expensive meat saw), and get a feel for the art and science of curing pork.  We’ll feed you and make pork available for you to take home at the end to finish curing.  This will be the third such class we’ve had and it’s always a fun learning time.  Stay tuned for more details, or contact us if you are interested.

As I write I hear the patter of rain on the air conditioner.  It’s supposed to turn cold tonight, so I guess today will include winter prepping.  The air conditioner needs to get stowed away–no more use for it for a while I’m thinking.  I’d like to pull the tomatoes and hang them during the day.  Usually that’s a in-the-dark-and-chilly-damp-no-fun activity and I’d like to enjoy the harvest for a change.  We are supposed to go on a birthday/color tour kayaking and canoeing expedition with our friends from Missaukee Paddle Sports today.  On Monday the prediction was nice weather today.  Yep, it’s fall in northern Michigan!

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2
Sep
2012

Two great stories came out this week:

Dan Collison and Elizabeth Meister did a great piece for NPR.  We were pretty proud of their listenership for picking up on the due process constitutional issue even though Dan and Elizabeth didn’t talk about it especially.  Note the Rodney Stokes quote where he tells listeners that if they aren’t sure from reading the law if they are in compliance or not, they can ask the DNR to inspect their animals–or just send in a photo–and the officers will be happy to help.  If an animal is deemed illegal they’ll give you a week or so to depopulate it–or face heavy fines and felony charges.  The story is well balanced and truly fair to both sides, well worth 12 minutes of your time.

The other article was by Tracy Sutton Schorn in Acres USA magazine, September issue.   It is not available online yet, but the magazine is available where such are sold.  Tracy talked to Micheal Bodenchuck, Texas Wildlife Services state director and consultant to the MDNR.  Mr. Bodenchuck feels that there is no such thing as a pig proof fence that will contain pigs (tell that to Ron McKendrick who never lost a pig in 10 years until someone helped his pigs escape).  He believes the ONLY way to raise hogs is on concrete in barns with biosecurity.   Pasturing pigs is akin to raising tigers on a farm.  Tracy did a great job of presenting the problem in its complexities and the issues surrounding the solutions.  If you can get hold of the magazine, it’s a good read.

 

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20
Aug
2012

Mark just did a radio broadcast with Dr. David Janda.  You can hear it here.

 

He also has a new video update on youtube.

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18
Aug
2012

‘Tis the season!  The farm is in full bloom and production.  The garden is feeding us, the animals are in full production turning sunshine into sustainance, and the children are suntanned and bright eyed with cucumbers in hand.  Here are a few scenes from last Sunday:

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Jim and Rachel playing by the pig pasture.  Mark rotates the pigs and plants various forage crops behind them.  Jim is enjoying the perks of being a “country boy,” while Rachel is having fun running, dancing, and playing in the buckwheat and turnips.

 

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We’ve recently added some beef to the mix.  They get fresh pasture every day, while the laying hens follow them a few days behind.  Dorothy’s heritage roosters provide diners a totally unique chicken experience at Cook’s House in Traverse City.  The chicken tractors housing the broiler chickens spread across the field and under the old anchor tree.  That is  a tree that the settlers would leave to provide an anchor point for stump pulling.  Very often then they left that tree in the field.  It provided a roost for the birds that helped care for the crops and gave shade for resting men and horses.

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Keith is now the guy in charge of the brooder.  He’s borrowed his Dad’s hat and grabbed a popsicle to stay cool while burning the packing crates from the week’s chick delivery.

Volunteer plants are my favorites.  I guess I like to root for the tough, persistent underdog.  This sunflower is one that the little birds planted last winter.  They’ll enjoy the seeds in a short while!

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18
Jul
2012

We had two pieces of news come across the cloud wires this week that were of note for small farmers, for hunters, and for citizens who care what the government thinks.

This first one gives you an idea of where the DNR folks are getting their information.  Officials from Texas helped craft the ISO and Declatory Ruling.  This e-mail from Tracy  Schorn, a freelance reporter,  gives you an idea of what they see as the possible “characteristics not currently known to the MDNR at this time.”  Told you so….

Not much to tell you on Texas. I got ahold of the director of Wildlife Management for the state, and he’s actually gone to DNR in Michigan to consult on feral pigs. Feral pigs are an issue for the environment, unquestionably. I just don’t understand how they link that to small farmers and pastured animals. It’s the fear that  they will escape. Or mingle with other wildlife and pick up disease. 
So I asked, do you think pigs should be on pasture at all? And he replied “Hey, the state of Texas won’t let me keep tigers. I might be a very conscientious tiger farmer, but the threat to the public is too great, so I don’t get to farm tigers.”
Wow.  So pigs (no specified breed, just any farm pig) on pasture are akin to tigers.
Then, last night, we saw an article the DNR put out on MIRS, the newspaper to the lawmakers.

Feral Swine Sighted In 90% Of Counties


The feral swine issue has been running around the Legislature this session. It looks like the pigs, themselves, have running around the Michigan ‘s landscape in greater numbers, too.

That’s according to Dr. Nancy FRANK, a veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD).

“As of April, we now have reported sightings from 75 counties in Michigan , so that’s getting to be pretty widespread,” Frank said.

She presented the Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development with their first update on feral swine since November, and a lot has changed. Between October and June there were 116 new contacts with people that had sighted swine around the state.

Public awareness has come a long way since 2002, when wildlife experts predicted feral pigs couldn’t survive harsh Michigan winters.

So has technology.

Frank showed the commission a picture from somebody’s trail camera in Mecosta County that managed to fit 14 wild hogs in the frame. The herd there is estimated to be between 40 and 50, with one porker topping 500 lbs. People are also sending in cell phone photos.

The sightings have covered the gamut of circumstances. Some have been found dead hit by cars, while others were seen rooting through agricultural fields.

Commissioners asked whether things like aerial shooting and bounties had been considered.

“The aerial shooting isn’t probably very practical at some of those areas,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Steven HALSTEAD.

He said that, in fact, some states don’t even have the shoot-on-sight permission for residents, because it tends to build a sport species culture and then people want them around to hunt.

“Is this something we’re going to live with for the rest of our lives?” asked Commissioner Don COE.

Unfortunately, it looks like that may be Michigan ‘s destiny. Younger herds have been located, and the pigs are clearly reproducing in the wild.

“When you look at other states, no other state has completely eliminated them. So our efforts really are at assessing the population and controlling the population,” said Frank.

 Let me get this right, the legislature passed a law dealing with pigs in the woods, but the DNR says it won’t work because YOU, the citizens, WILL GO CRAZY and exacerbate rather than fix the problem.  Also, they know of no workable plan other than killing all of one breed of pigs behind secure fences that will solve the problem of pigs in the woods.  We can’t effectively trap them (after all, of the 1000′s out there, they’ve only trapped dozens), we can’t aerial shoot them, we can’t let the citizens who hunt know where they are, all we can do is learn to live with the nightmare.  THIS IS THE MDNR’S VIEW OF YOU, THE CITIZENS AND THE LEGISLATORS.  

I also need to point out that Commissioner Coe raises Mangalitsa pigs on his Blackstar Farms.  The Mangalitsa is the only breed given a written exemption, even though they have striped babies which means they meet at least 7 of the 9 characteristics that describe a feral hog.  Hmmm……

Remember, anyone can farm!  (As long as you ask for permission….)

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11
Jul
2012

“Back in the Revolutionary War days, when this country was founded; every farm had to be Red Meated pigs. What we’re talking about here, how the State of Michigan is making it illegal to own pigs that every farm in this country had up until refrigeration was invented.”

“It’s no longer about pigs, it’s about constitutional rights; and the pendulum is swinging right now. It’s the same thing we did over 200 years ago. We said “One group does not take away the constitutional rights away from the people.”

The Government of the state of Michigan has taken action against hog farmers through the unlawful use of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. By means of implementing an unconstitutional ISO (Invasive Species Order); all breeds of swine that are raised outside or on pasture are subject to be depopulated as of April 1st, 2012.

Mark Baker, a twenty year Air Force veteran, Roger Turunen, Greg Johnson, and Matt Tingsted are the only remaining hog farmers in Michigan outside of the corporate pork industry who have revolted against this order. Roughly 2,000 farms have been affected and many farmers have been threatened with felony arrest and large fines to massacre their herds of heritage swine.

These men are fighting for your freedom to be able to choose what you feed to your families. Currently, the DNR has Bakers Green Acres and the remaining farm warriors under siege, as the Invasive Species Order eliminates all possibilities to sell or to transport their animals across state lines.

Visit www.bakersgreenacres.com for updates on the situation and to show your support by donating a few dollars to the cause.

Kyle Miron
The Frontiersmen Media Group

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19
Jun
2012

In my homeschool wanderings, I recently picked up some books by Richard Maybury.  He proposes two basic principles upon which all religions and cultures agree.  These are the two principles of common law upon which our Founding fathers based our country’s foundations:

1)      Do all you have agreed to do.

2)      Do not encroach on other persons or their property.

We teach these basic principles to our one and two year olds, ie: “you can’t take his truck,” “you may not hit her,” “you need to ask before you take that.”  As in my “Thoughts on Law” blog, these are principles everyone is held to both individually and collectively because they involve basic human rights granted by a Higher Power (our Creator, as the founders put it).

The government does not grant these basic human rights and responsibilities and thus have the power to exempt itself.   That government would adopt this Read the rest of this entry »

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15
Jun
2012

Remember the mantra from the movie, Ratatouille?  “Anyone can cook!”  Around here, we say “Anyone can farm!”  That’s the premise for Mark’s videos on hog butchering and raising chickens.   One of the best ways to have alternatives to big ag’s idea of food is to raise your own.  The hard part with animals is transitioning from pen to freezer.

I was helping a customer load his birds into cages for us to process tomorrow and realized that custom processing is a huge part of “anyone can farm.”  We’ve taught many people how to do it themselves by letting them work on the line with us.  But if DIY butchering isn’t your thing, we can help you.  The more people who are feeding themselves and a few family and friends, the more food security we have.  It’s a great feeling to be an enabler in a good thing.

Whether it’s starting chicks, managing a problem you’re having, or wanting to put your project in the freezer, remember,

“Anyone can farm!”

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10
Jun
2012

There are those who say that we are making a mountain out of a molehill about the DNR’s Declatory Ruling.  They say the Boar pigs are not that big a deal, we should just switch our cross breeding to a different heritage breed and move on.  They say the legislature is at fault, not the DNR, because the legislature failed to act on the feral pig issue.

“They” do not know the foundations of law in this country or understand that American citizens have a great many rights concerning our property and our activities that the government would just as soon ignore.

“When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,….”   Declaration of Independence, 1776

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9
Jun
2012

Even though I haven’t written lately, don’t think we have been on vacation.  We don’t even wish we had, because we’ve been having fun.  Working, but at this point in the season, it’s still fun.

Chicken is our primary occupation right now.  Boneless skinless chicken breast and tenderloins remains the retail favorite.  That comprises about 25% of a chicken’s total weight.  That leaves us with 75% of the bird.  We do sell some legs and thighs, whether as legs and thighs, drums, thighs–bone-in or boneless, ground, or sausage (a little creativity goes a long way).  However, we have lots of wings, bones for broth, and dark meat cuts in the freezer.  Last week we got inspired and made confit from the legs & thighs we had left over.  Wow.  My favorite recipe comes from Brian Polcyn’s book Charcuterie.  Confit is a method of cooking and preservation.  With meat, you salt and season the meat–essentially cured–then poach it in fat.  Way back when, the meat could then be stored in the cooled fat as long as the fat stayed solid and kept air away from the meat.  We don’t need that now, but the flavor of confit is exquisite.  It’s a favorite treat around here, and a great way to use the extra legs & thighs.

The other big excitement was the addition of “Penny” to our milking cow operation.  We expected her to calve in July, but about 10 days ago she hopped the fence and found a cozy place in the tag alders to have her calf.  She was bred by a Longhorn bull.  The calf, a nice little heifer, is spotted like a Longhorn.  She is a cute little thing–but then, what baby isn’t?  Penny’s been a good mother.  Sam goes out to make sure we know where the calf is and to handle her everyday, but Penny comes up to milk and then hangs out with her calf all the rest of the day.  We’ll dry up Rosie soon as she’s due to calve the end of July and it’s good to give the cow a month to fully dry up and convert her supply for the new calf.  We’re going to be in the milk soon!

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25
May
2012

In case someone still thinks the issue of farmers vs. MDNR is about a certain breed of pigs (which it isn’t), this story was forwarded to us by a friend.  Incidently, an Oregonian hog farmer contacted Mark because his Pork Producer’s Assoc. came to him to reassure him that the Michigan story was blown way out of proportion and the farmer was way off base, and, by the way, they were backing their state’s wildlife division in similar action.  This isn’t about a breed of pig or a certain activity.  This is about freedom to feed people without burdensome and overbearing governmental meddling by non-elected and unaccountable agencies backed by the big agribusinesses.  It’s about saying “no taxation without representation.”


Dear Friend,

A beekeeper of 58 years wants to know how an unelected state agency, which appears to answer to no one, can come in and destroy years of research, equipment, and bees without due process and even without a search warrant. Has recent loose interpretations of the Constitution and the power of the federal government spilled over into state governments, who now think they can act with impunity and shut down any business that happens to question an agency’s validity, credentials, or findings? Is the era of big bully government upon us?

Those are the questions in Illinois right now, and Terrence Ingram would like them answered. This organic beekeeper has been subjected to searches that he was unaware occurred, to inspectors and their illiteracy when it came to knowledge about bees, and to the destruction of years of research that he says proves that Roundup is a major factor in Colony Collapse Disorder. In addition, he had successfully bred a queen that appeared to be resistant to Round-up, having survived three summers and winters where other queens and colonies died.

However, according to the Prairie Advocate, a newspaper in northwester Illinois, the most troubling aspect of all this was:

[T]he State Department of Agriculture came in and inspected their hives when they were not home and without due process, took their bees and hives. At the time of the theft the Ingram’s [sic] had not yet had their day in court to prove that their hives did not have foulbrood. Ingram knew that the inspectors could not tell what they were seeing and had warned the Department that if any of them came back it would be considered a criminal trespass. Yet they came back when he was not home, stole his hives and ruined his 15 years of research.

“What was the value of that 3-year-old queen?” Ingram asked. “It could have been that she would have a resistant trait that we could expand into the whole bee culture to help them survive this Round-Up thing. How can you place a dollar value on that potential?”

Considering the fact that Ingram’s queens, bees, and hives were taken off his property on March 14, rather than being “abated,” as was the “requirement” stated in the notices from the IDofA, the dollar value of such a queen cannot be disregarded as a major motivation for such an act.

Please join Bill Heid and Terry Ingram on today’s Off the Grid Radio program as they discuss this latest atrocity of Illinois state government officials. Bill has personally done business with Terry since the early 80s, and this is a matter that strikes close to home. As Terry Ingram asked the Prairie Advocate, “Is Illinois a police state, where citizens do not have rights?”

Unfortunately, it would appear so.

Click Here To Listen To The Interview Now!

Regards,
The Off the Grid Radio Team


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2200 Illinois Route 84
P.O. Box 487
Thomson, IL 61285
Email us at info@solutionsfromscience.com

 

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17
May
2012

Two days ago there was a farm break-out of Chicken Run proportions.  In fact, there is evidence that Ron McKendrick’s intelligent and resourceful pigs had hidden bunkers and planning rooms.  They had begun construction on at least 3 tunnels out of his farm and finally finished one during the night a couple nights ago.  They had developed a sophisticated system of digging beneath ground while co-conspiritors did pig-like things above ground, including digging wallows, eating corn fed them by the farmer, and sleeping.  There was evidence they were redistributing the dirt on the ground and disguising it by rooting it into existing areas.  Apparently, despite a 16 year record of secure containment of its residents, a few of the hogs were inspired by the recent DNR inspections of their facilities.  They’d heard rumors of 1000′s of their kind running rampant through the woods, destroying farmland and farm equipment, spreading at least 30 different diseases, and terrorizing small children.  They thought perhaps they’d missed out on something and so, despite relative contentment in their current domicile, they hatched this plot to go find their fellow feral pigs and inflict mayhem on Michigan.

Unfortunately, rumors of the “Shoot on Sight” rules hadn’t also reached them.  As soon as word of their escape reached the farmer, help was quickly mobilized.  One pig succumbed to the farmer’s enticements and returned to the farm.  Five were taken under the shoot on sight rule.  Two made connection with their outside accomplices and are resisting capture.  They were tracked by dogs to a nearby road, where the trail ended.  It is hypothesized that they made their escape in a homemade, methane powered vehicle–or were assisted by aliens.

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Tongue-in-cheek fun aside, the irony of contented pigs of any breed digging a 3 feet deep hole overnight (Renegade Ranch’s fences are buried 2 feet) and all leaving their beds to roam the woods, and the implication that the farmer allowed them to do so (see Ed Golder’s comments in the second article), is a bit much.  The two unaccounted for pigs were tracked by the dogs to a nearby road–and there the trail ended.  At a road.  These are the two pigs for which Ron McKendrick will be charged with violating the judge’s order that no pigs leave his property.

Here’s the report by MIRS:

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Pigs On The Lam
The Cheboygan County hunting ranch that is being sued by the state for not letting conservation officers check for illegal swine on it property, had an eight-pig breakout Tuesday afternoon, and owner Ron McKENDRICKisn’t convinced they were acting alone.”Somebody helped us get a hole under our fence. I think a person started it and the pigs finished it,” said McKendrick of the Renegade Ranch Hunting Preserve.In total, eight pigs escaped. Five were shot by neighbors and surrounding property owners. One was captured alive, and two are still unaccounted for.
Read the rest of this entry »

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14
May
2012

For those of you who are just hearing about the pig situation, I thought I’d offer a quick recap.  Mark’s interview with Dave Janda was informative.  That link is in the next post.  Here are a few more links to check out:

Mark’s testimony before the Senate Ag. Committee

MDNR’s Declatory Ruling (read it for yourself)

Wild” Pigs-- one of my early blogs that lays out the issues at hand.  You can also read up from there to read the story as it has unfolded.

Check out Mark’s videos on our video page

 More FAQ

If you have more questions and don’t see the answers, please contact us!

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14
May
2012

Mark talked to Dr. Dave Janda on the radio yesterday about the latest on the pig situation.

Play

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11
May
2012

It seems like a while since I’ve written a post.  It isn’t that there isn’t much to say–there is.  It’s just that we are a family farm in the springtime trying to get everything done.  The pigs are only part of what we do on our slice of the Earth.  Here’s a sample of what’s been keeping us busy:

We raise the tastiest, healthy-for-you chickens in Northern Michigan.  The secret?  Grass.  Our chickens, like our pigs, are raised in outdoor pens where they can scratch in the dirt, eat grass, chase bugs (if they are so inclined, which meat birds rarely are), and bask in the sun.  This rewards us with chicken that has firm texture, enough fat to keep the meat tender and tasty but not greasy, and a reputation for higher levels of vitamins D and E and Omega 3 fatty acids.   We process the birds ourselves right here on  the farm.   We pick them up off the fields at night when they are not alert.  They are handled for processing by people they know, who are invested in taking good care of them.  The kill is quick and as drama-less as possible.  This keeps the birds from getting stressed and releasing adrenaline and other stress hormones into their bodies–ensuring, again, a better quality meat in your freezer.  We hand eviscerate, ensuring cleanliness without needing chlorine baths to kill spilled bacteria. The whole system, from day old chick to the freezer is focused on producing premium quality food for the culinary and health conscious folks we serve.  It is labor intensive, but we all work at it together and make it happen.  That’s one thing we’ve been doing a lot of these last few weeks.

This past weekend the kids performed in a play with a school group.  It was quite a production and they all performed marvelously.

Keeping up with the regular bookwork and management details that go along with running a business is always a challenge for me.  Balancing the farm accounts while boiling noodles for lunch and filling sippy cups with milk is probably unique in the business world–though not so much for other farm families we know.  That is one of the special challenges of a small family farm: the family.  The business involves managing a labor force (at age-appropriate levels) that is not adult in their skills and thinking.  They are years in the training mode.  The egg collector requires daily reminders.  Water spigots get left on by accident when the operator goes to shoot his slingshot at the sparrows.  The smallest family members require someone to fill their sippy cups, read them stories, and ensure they get naps.  Recently Obama’s Dept. of Labor was set to make a ruling (in the DNR’s fashion) that would prevent farm kids from working on the family farm unless they passed a 90 hour government administered curriculum.  What a tragic theft of family, values, work skills, and business training from our children–not to mention the government’s assertion that they are more competent than the parents!  Fortunately, due to public outcry, they decided to postpone action until they can gather more information.  I’m leary of that work “postpone,” but am trying to keep up with it through our Congresswoman, Debbie Stabenow.

I finally ordered my garden seeds this weekend.  Mark made me a broadfork and I’ve started working on fluffing the beds, pulling weeds, and generally getting ready to plant.  I always have high ambitions and then have to settle for reality in the garden, but one must start somewhere!  I found several carrots that I planted last year.  They are doing fine already this spring–much better than they did all of last summer.  There are also onions poking up, turnips sprouting, and the everlastingly prolific rat-tailed radishes sprouting.

The pig issues continue to keep Mark busy.  Defending our rights to keep our property and feed people good, wholesome food against a not-so-wise and frugal government is not an easy proposition.  There are a few well done videos that explain the issues well that came out recently.  Russia Today did two videos: Piggycide (hear Dave Tuxbury interviewed), and Revealed.  Rep. Greg McMasters talked with Rep. Ed McBroom, who’s been involved with this legislatively all along, and gives you a good picture of the political arm twisting and gun-to-the-head attitude the DNR approached the elected representatives with.

 

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9
May
2012

Thought all you serious pig situation followers might like this humorous piece:(No it it not true)

Pigs Sought After Elk Kill

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2
May
2012

Here’s another great petition:   Campaign for Liberty–MI

Petitions remind me of the Whos in Whosville from Horton Hears a Who.  It took every last single voice, all making noise to be heard and save the day.  It’s not hard to make your voice heard with a petition, and when everyone who’s concerned signs the cumulative voice can make a difference.  I offer as an example the Obama administration’s recent initiative to limit how a farmer’s own children can work on his/her farm–”limit” being an magnificent understatement.  Due to the amount of feedback they got, they Department of Labor dropped the rule (it was to be a Ruling much like this feral hog Declatory Ruling with far reaching impact but no representative input).  We all raised our voices and were heard.  No matter how the governor and his “Quality of Life” trio of advisors put their fingers in their ears and sing la-la to ignore us, we have to keep being heard.  They have to keep singing louder and louder to drown us, so it is working.  Keep making your voice heard!

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