So thankful to be back

Friday night, I came home for the first time in almost 3 weeks.  Regular readers know that I was up in Rugby, North Dakota, the geographical center of North America, installing this gym floor at the Armory.


Absence makes the heart grow fonder, I've heard, and it certainly seems true.  It was just so good to be back with my little family and spending time together again.

Elias getting ready to tear into some delicious grilled maple smoke chicken, and fresh tomatoes and zucchini from a neighbor that Allison sautéed.

Elias getting ready to tear into some delicious grilled maple smoke chicken, and fresh tomatoes and zucchini from a neighbor that Allison sautéed.

Isn't it crazy how fast you fall behind on things when you're not around for a while? I feel like it'll take me another 3 weeks to get everything in order again.

Which, by that time I'll be really close to processing my last batch of chickens for the year.

These guys were tiny little yellow fluff balls when I left, they change so quickly.

These guys were tiny little yellow fluff balls when I left, they change so quickly.

Poor Allison was taking care of Elias, her store, her marketing position for the Farmer's Market, attending two Farmer's Market events a week, tending my baby chicks in the brooder, and rotating my pigs through their slough.

Thankfully her mother could help out a bunch with the store and Elias, but still, Allison was absolutely swamped.

I'm very proud of my wife for keeping the ball rolling while I was gone, no one else could have handled everything so helpfully for me.

I love my family and my animals, being with them is just the best place to be. Don't you agree?

Taking a quick trip

On the 1st of May, Allison and I are headed to Missouri and we'll be gone about a week.

I've got a grazing school to go to (learning all kinds of cool things about healthy farming practices), and Allison will continue further south to visit her family.

Our plan is the swing up through IL on our way home to see some of my family.  Can you believe, I haven't met my little niece Elwynn yet and she was born way back in November!

Meanwhile, for those of you who ordered, your chickens are enjoying their first week in the outdoors! I moved them outside on the 28th of April.

I hope you're excited to see for yourself how my little chicken farm works, I want my customers to know exactly how things are going.


Here's my plan for the year on how I will run my chicken sales.

If you want whole chickens(significantly cheaper), you need to order before I butcher. I do have a few left, if you're interested and haven't ordered yet.

I plan to turn any unsold birds into legs and thighs, wings, boneless skinless breast, and soup stock packages.  You are welcome to purchase your preferred parts anytime throughout the year so long as they are in stock. (I'm still working on pricing)

Remember: I will only have whole chickens for you if you pre-order and pick them up on the butcher date.

This is my new strategy trial for the year, hopefully it's one that really works out well for everybody.

I'm hoping to raise a second batch this fall, but I'm not guaranteeing it at this point.

Already a year of changed plans

Back in December, Allison and I were certain that we'd be moving from Cavour to Carpenter as the next step up the ladder.  And, we thought we'd be there by the end of February.

Reality hit us as time passed faster than we got things accomplished, and we figured out that we'd be lucky to move by April.

Then suddenly, my father in-law Vaughn came up with a pile of work here on the family farm and needs help.  So for now it looks like we're staying at least one more year, perhaps longer depending on how things go.

So much for our grand scheme that we were so sure of just two months ago.  I've heard that life is full of changed plans, so I guess I'd better get used to it.


Continuing Education

Meanwhile, I received about 22 hours of Dr. Elaine Ingham recordings and have been listening to them as fast as I can.  I've nearly made it all the way through.

Elaine is a Soil Micro-Biologist and has discovered a multitude of really helpful information for farmers.  She says that putting biology (bacteria, fungi, protozoa, and nematodes) back in the soil (because it was mostly lost in the 1930's dust bowl) typically increases crop yields by 50-300%.

Not only is there higher production, but the nutritional quality is better too.

Since I'm a young man who needs a competitive edge in the agricultural world, learning her methods would be a major influence in putting my farm together.

I've determined that I need to take her courses and maybe even become a certified Soil Food Web consultant.  I've got to learn how to balance soils and make them healthy again by using nature's tools.

If I can get signed up by the 28th of February, I can save $2488 in tuition.  Their price for the four classes right now is $2500, and I need to find some financing.

If you would like to pitch in and help me out, give me a call and I'll gladly answer any questions you come up with.  (605) 350-5659

This is the website with the courses if you want to take a look for yourself: environmentcelebration.com

Thank you very much!

Have you noticed this too?

Lately, I've been struck by the numerous billboards, and TV/radio commercials featuring promotional soda pop schemes.

They're absolutely everywhere and I can't help but think of the expense of their campaign for publicity.  I did a quick web search and discovered that in 2014, Coca-Cola spent $3.499 billion on advertising.


Here's the part that's disgusting to me.  I discovered that kids are often the most targeted group for this ginormous marketing plan.  Kids.

I'm beginning to understand my role as an educator to my children regarding the realities of things they might find attractive.

My theory regarding the multitude of soft drink ads, was that these companies are losing business and are trying to insure their future.

I found an encouraging article in the NY Times that said between '03 and '14, children drinking a pop on any given day dropped by 20%, and fell 11% in adults.

Another site said that bottled water sales surpassed soft drink sales for the first time in 2016.  They also mentioned that we simultaneously hit a 31 year low in soft drink consumption.

How's that for some uplifting news?  It seems to me that we're moving in the right direction as a society in this area anyhow.

Finally, A Day to Relax

Not long into December, I lost my construction job due to a slow winter ahead.  Thankfully, my prayers were answered, and within a week I had a new one.

I've been working with Gleeson Constructors and Engineers for just over a month now, finishing the addition to Dakota Provisions' refrigerated warehouse in Huron.  I love my job, I enjoy being with my co-workers, I only have a 20 minute drive every day, I've been working long hours at better pay/hour, etc...  

Also, I sold my truck and was able to pay off the last of my debt on it, besides putting a healthy chunk in the savings account.  Allison and I are hoping and scheming to have all of our debt paid off this year!

One other thing I'm excited about is that we may be able to afford some poultry processing equipment this spring.  Most specifically a plucker, but perhaps a temperature controlled scalder too.  These additions will be absolute dynamite when it comes to slaughter day for our birds.

I'm looking forward to ordering chicks this spring, I love raising those little puffballs.

Remember, this year I will only have chickens and turkeys available if you pre-order them, and I must have $2/bird deposit before I can start raising your order.  So, please be looking ahead to see what your poultry needs are for the coming year!

Have a great week, spring is just around the corner!


Turkey Experiment

In past years of raising turkeys, I've had several customers tell me that my turkeys had more meat on them than did commercially grown confinement birds of similar weight.

So, I've decided to perform an experiment.

Step 1: I plan to purchase a turkey from Wal-mart that is approximately the same size as my own.  

Step 2: I will cook them both according to the instructions on the Wal-mart turkey, so as to keep everything as comparable as possible.

Step 3: Once cooked, I will let them cool, de-bone them, and then weigh the meat.

Step 4: I will divide the final product by the original weight to come up with a percentage.

I expect the Wal-mart turkey will have a lower percentage of meat on it than mine, due to water weight cooking off.  If this is the case, I would say that the butchering process is the difference.

Another thing to think about, is that my turkey may be more nutrient dense.  Pastured turkeys that get to consume a myriad of different goodies, could result in meat that satisfies your hunger faster.

Perhaps a combination of the two points above are the reason I've had reviews saying my turkeys had more meat.  I am excited to try this out and see what kind of results I get!