“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” –Hippocrates

Category Archives: Life on the farm

Tale of Five Turkeys

Tale of Five Turkeys

We have added five turkeys to our farm. We had talked about the idea for a while but weren’t really prepared.  Then one day we were at Murdoch’s (local farm department store where you can get clothing, boots, tools, equipment, fencing, garden items, toys, and in season turkeys).  They were expecting their final shipment of chickens and turkeys the next week, so all the 3 week old birds were discounted.  I bought five.  We skipped the most fragile time of a poult’s life, the first two weeks.

 

My grandson, age two, called these “Grammie’s black birds”.

 

Their new home was a galvanized tub with a heat lamp and screen to protect them from the cats.  They were so small.

 

 

 

 

The turkey cage in the stall. The goats and sheep like to come stare, like they are on display.

 

We had ducklings on order and so we moved the turkey poults into a 4×4 cage.  The cage was built using pieces I found in the barn.  It gave them more room, a perch to roost on, and a view of the curious residents they would be sharing the farm with.  Once they had their feathers I would let them loose in a stall during the day, securing them in the cage at night.

One night we could hear one of our kids (young goat) screaming.  She had squeezed into the stall, but couldn’t get out.  John opened the gate and she trotted out like nothing had happened.  The screen top of the cage was bent, but still kept my poults secure at night.

 

Charming garden helpers

 

I had taken them into my garden one day.  They followed me everywhere, pecking at the ground where I was digging.  When I was done I caught them and carried them back to the stall in one of our cat crates.  The following Saturday I was working in the garden and realized with all the digging and weeding it would be fun to have them join me.  But they were no where to be found.  I had been letting them loose in the yard to “free range” and gathering them back into the stall at night.  I searched everywhere.  I wasn’t concerned a predator had gotten them because all five were missing.  Also they disappeared mid-day.  I did what so many due in this age of technology, I posted my turkeys were missing on Facebook, tagging neighbors.  Friends all across the country commented with concern, and their guesses as to what had become of my birds.  Foxes were a common comment.

 

Several days later a neighbor called, my turkeys had shown up on their porch Sunday.  I loaded the large dog crate (turkeys grow fast!!) into my car and went to collect them.  I secured them in the cage and they were not happy.  They were happy to be let out the next morning and have stayed close ever since, mostly.

 

Roosting up high above all the others

They like to roost high in our pole barn.  Like 6′ off the ground.  They jump up on something, the cage, fence rail, anything will do.  Then they leap while flapping their wings and line up on the top beam.

Often when I head to the barn in the early morning the turkeys run to great me.  My husband said after watching this, he now knows where they got the “model” for the pterodactyls in the movie Jurassic Park.  I might actually watch it just to see if he is right 😉

 

Last Sunday as we were heading to church we spotted them across the road heading to another neighbor’s.  So we turned around and chased them home.  So far they are staying close to home.  But now at least everyone in the neighborhood  knows they are mine.


We added turkeys to the farm because I couldn’t get rid of the grass in my garden.  Turkeys, like chickens, like to scratch the ground and I’ve seen them completely obliterate large lawn areas.  The plan was to confine them to part of the garden where the grass was thickest, then once the grass was gone they would be allowed to free range.

There were several problems with this plan.

  • Turkeys need shelter
  • Turkeys like to roost up high
  • Turkeys can fly
  • Turkeys don’t have the same devotion to my garden as I do

So now I have five turkeys roaming my farm.  They are messy and because they can fly they go wherever they please.  .  When they are in the garden they prefer to take dust baths and peck at my plants. And the grass is still occupying over half my garden

 

Many people approach health like I did getting turkeys.

You have a vague idea what you need/want.

You’ve read a book.

And you charge ahead.

Is this working for you?

 

I have three questions for you.

  1. What are the primary goals you have for your health?
  2. What are your biggest challenges to meeting these goals?
  3. How can I support you?

 

There is an old saying, ” Give a man a fish and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.”  Connect with me and lets go fishing for a solution to your health challenges together.  I have set aside time to connect with you!  Click here to schedule a complimentary strategy session today! 

 

I wish you many blessings of health and happiness,

Karen Hunter

www.pharmacytofarmacy.com

 

Chaos or possibility?

Chaos or possibility?

We moved to our 8+ acre farm May 2013.  I want to be completely honest, the closest we had ever come to living on a farm was a garden.  We moved here with one dog and one cat.

The original motive was to be able to produce more of our own food.  There is more to health than what you eat, but eating a whole food diet is a good foundation.

We bought our farm.  All 8.6 acres of land.  In my mind it was perfect.  But it needed a “bit” of work.  Details like fencing, gates, updating irrigation, learning about pumps.  Reclaiming an area for a garden.  Learning to care for goats and sheep and ducks. And that is just the outside.

The house is unique and there is character in every detail.  (My husband doesn’t use these same terms to describe our house).  The work we’ve done on the house, up to this point,  has been cosmetic.   Painting, updating window coverings, hanging new towel bars.

Until now. We are in the midst of completely remodeling our kitchen.

The kitchen was functional. There were little things that were annoying.  One burner on the stove had to be lit with a match. The counter top formica is separating near the sink from the water that is common next to a sink. The main prep area was in the shadows. There was only a vent on the Jen-Air, and it pulled air down to vent to the outside.

So currently I have a working sink and cook top.  Most all the cabinets are in the garage. The refrigerator is in the dining area.  My table is covered with the items we access daily (coffee pot, supplements, often used seasonings, Berkey water filter.  By Saturday the sink and cook top will be gone too.

Most often used items are on the dining table

Sink and cook top left until the last minute

 

Am I living in chaos?  Or is the empty, non-functioning kitchen a blank slate of possibilities?

 

 

 

 

Yes, I am living in chaos. But, there is a plan and I see the possibilities.

 

Your health is a lot like my kitchen.

You may be functioning.

But maybe not with the energy you once had.

It takes longer to feel awake in the morning, or more coffee.

The days seem long and the nights seem short.

You feel stressed all the time.

 

Are you ready to take healthy back?

Here is a quick video.

I’d love to know your favorite part of the video!

Email me your comments at karen@pharmacytofarmacy.com

Blessings,

Karen

To make life even more interesting we have welcomed two sets of triplet kids and two sets of twin lambs so far this spring.  I love living on our farm but it is a lot of work!!

Lucy’s triplet kids

 

 

Goats, gates and lessons from my farm

Goats, gates and lessons from my farm

I live on an 8.6 acre farm in western Colorado.  Farm life is a lot of work.  There are few days off and even fewer vacations.  

I learn so much about life on my farm.  Today I am sharing what I learned from my kids (baby goats), gates and rain.

I move the goats to a pasture each day so they can graze. Today shortly after I got all twelve goats into the pasture it began to rain.  Goats do not like any water that moves, whether the water is coming from a hose or falling from the sky.  The older goats discovered the open gate and went through to the pasture with a shelter.  They’ve been in this pasture many times before and knew where the shelter was, through the open gate.

The kids did not follow.  They began to cry loudly.  One of the mamas came out from the shelter and stood in the rain, but not at the open gate.  She made her mama noise telling them to follow.  But they couldn’t see the open gate, and stood in the rain getting wet. 

 

I am too often like the kids, crying in the rain.  I only see what I know.  Lacking the courage to search for an open gate. Others have passed through the gate, I can see them on the other side of the fence.  They becken me to follow.  It is time for me to find the open gate and go through it.  Or I will remain in the rain, getting wet, complaining about my circumstances.

 

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Where are you?  Are you like me and my kids?  Crying in the rain.  Unhappy with your circumstances?

Did you wake up this morning and feel exhausted, even though you tried to get to bed early? 

Do you feel burned out and empty?

Is your calendar so full of commitments that you don’t remember the last time you even thought about taking care of yourself?

 

When I first started understanding the information I present in Undress Your Stress, it truly transformed my life and helped me regain my health.

 

Reclaim your energy!  Reclaim your balance!  Reclaim your life!

 

It is time to step through the gate and invest in the most important person, YOU!

 

Which gate are you going to step through?

 

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Helichrysum: essential oil to the rescue!

Helichrysum: essential oil to the rescue!

We live on a farm.  We moved here almost 3 years ago.  I was wanting to be able live sustainably. My dream is still to produce as much of our food as we can.  So far we would be eating rhubarb, garlic and winter squash if we were dependent on my gardening prowess.  During the winter the ducks are laying on average one egg per day (with 7 mature hens). I am so thankful for neighbors who have eggs to share.

This past weekend we needed to weigh our market lambs.  They were scheduled to go to the processor Monday morning.  We ordered a scale and sling with a capacity up to 210 pounds.  How difficult could it be to get the darlings into a pen and then weigh them?  Turns out it was another opportunity for an entry to “America’s Funniest Videos”.

Nothing that has to do with goats or sheep is as simple as it sounds.  That is why I love having Young Living essential oils on hands.

We got the lambs into a stall.  John had already added a sturdy 2×6 to hang the scale from. He had gathered a couple pulleys, rope, the scale and the sling.  It was my task to get the lambs into the sling.  This was going well.  We were amazed how large our lambs had grown.  They were 150# and 140#!

Since we were all set up I wanted to weigh the goats.  It is helpful to know how much they weigh, I’m not good at estimating their weight.  It’s rare but should they need veterinary care some treatments are dependent on their weight. I handle my goats regularly and anyone can approach them if I am there.  They really are gentle. Well, they didn’t think much of the game “weigh the goat”.  As I was releasing the last goat from the sling John released the tension on the rope.  Next thing I know the scale slams against my face. OW!IMG_1946

After we finished with the chores outside I applied helichrysum essential oil to the tender area.  There wasn’t any color yet but a marble size bump on the cheek bone.  Then a damp cloth and ice.  The moisture helps push the oil into the tissue, the ice helps with the pain and swelling.  The picture was taken 3 days after the incident.

John is also using helichrysum essential oil.  It is reported to help with tinnitus. I’ll let you know if it helps, I know many people struggle with tinnitus.

For more information on how you can add essential oils to your family’s first aid kit drop me an email: karen@pharmacytofarmacy.com  I’d love to answer your questions.

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When I first started understanding the information I present in this class, it truly transformed my life and helped me regain my health. Let me help you, too!

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My caprines

My caprines

I had never had goats. I knew nothing about goats. In 2013 my husband and I bought a farm. One of the reasons we bought a farm, one of the requirements for the property we chose, was so I could raise dairy goats.  (I am EXTREMELY lactose sensitive.  Even one tiny M&M can cause me discomfort.  But I tolerate a limited amount of goat cheese,  we cook with goat milk and I hope to learn to make soap & lotions with goat milk.  For our son’s birthday we made goat milk ice cream. Chocolate-Cinnamon-Coffee goat cheese ice cream!  The recipe will be another post, so check back.)  We now have five goats: Rosie, Nutmeg, Y, Daisy and JaiLai.

Y & Nutmeg July 2013

Y & Nutmeg July 2013

Nutmeg & Y  were about four months old when we brought them home.  They and a doe named Blessing.  We knew very little about goats and Blessing picked up on this quickly.  Unfortunately it was very stressful for her and she died less than a week later. (I learned later this is called shipping fever, and is preventable.)  Nutmeg & Y are twins and continue to be inseparable.  During breeding season last year we moved Y & JaiLai to another pasture (JaiLai was too young to breed and we didn’t want her to be alone). Y would occasionaly bawl. As in make a very sad, woeful moaning nise.  At the neighborhood Christmas party a neighbor asked me what kind of animal was making “that loud noise”.  They both love attention and will stand very still like show dogs as long as you are petting them.  If you stop they tug on your clothing.

IMG_2443Rosie was a gift from my neighbor & goat mentor.  My neighbor has had goats for forty years and felt sad we had such a rough start. Rosie is a “homestead” goat (homestead = mutt in caprine terms!).  She had given birth to twins and wasn’t real pleased when I took her to our yard, away from her twins. Rosie & I learned about milking together.  It was definitely entertaining, but we established our routine.  She is the easiest of my goats to get to go where I want them to.  We bred her fall of 2013 and she had twins, JaiLai & Kabob.  I came home one day and all the goats were very upset.  As I approached the goat yard I quickly noticed Kabob was missing, he had drown in the spring.

Daisy with her twin bucklings

Daisy with her twin bucklings

Daisy joined us several months after Rosie. She was one of Rosie’s twins and they reconnected immediately.  She has always been the wary one.  It took months before she’d let us approach her. Last fall she was the only doe of three to breed, even though we had the buck here for a month.  She had two adorable twin bucklings, Brown & Black in April.  I had been coaxing her to the milk stand from the start to get her used to the idea.  When the bucklings were almost 6 weeks old she developed a nasty case of mastitis.  I called my vet and she helped us treat her with homeopathy.  Unfortunately for the boys we had to separate them from Daisy and supplement their grazing with bottles.  I had instant buddies every time I entered the pole barn!  Brown & Black went to a new home, together, at 8 weeks old to eat weeds!  She is a champion milk goat, I get 3+ quarts daily!  The picture at the begining of this post is of Brown & Black and was on the community page of the local newspaper.

JaiLai (pronouced "high ligh")

JaiLai (pronouced “high ligh”). Notice the “scoop”

JaiLai was named for her markings ~ a white ball patch on one side and a white “scoop” patch on the other. The markings reminded John of the game jai alai played in the Caribean.  She has the distiction of being the first goat born on our farm. She is fairly low key and easy to approach, just don’t plan to “lead” her anywhere.  When moving her to a pasture so she wouldn’t get bred last fall I had to literally roll her ~ she’d fall to the ground as I tried to lead her so I’d roll her once or twice until she stood up. Repeat. All the way across the yard. She is very gentle and enjoys attention like the other goats. Her favorite spot to sleep is up on a triangular shelf in the pole barn.

As I mentioned above our primary reason for raising goats is for the fresh milk. This year we have a lot of milk, so I have been making cheese every week (5 quarts of milk make 2 pints of chèvre, taking up less space in the freezer), kefir & yogurt.  I learned through trial & error that goat milk is easier to digest and often an option for individuals who are lactose intolerant. Here is an article comparing fresh goat milk to cow milk.  Kefir has great benefits for your health too! I was recently given some kefir grains.  They look kind of like translucent cottage cheese.  I’ve shared them with another friend.  Everyone should try kefir.  If the flavor is too tart try mixing it in your smoothie, or enjoy with some granola for a snack in place of ice cream.  Here is more information on the health benefits of kefir.   If you live nearby and would like to try some fresh goat milk or kefir just ask!  I will be milking four does (female goats) this spring, so if you would like to try your hand at milking let me know 🙂

I now understand the meaning of the word capricious. It means given to sudden and unaccountable changes of mood or behavior: a capricious and often brutal administration | a capricious climate.”  They each have a unique personality & voice. Goats are inquisitive, always wanting to know what you are doing.  They have taught me a lot about life.They are great at reducing stress. Just being among them is calming. Lessons like laughter is often the best response, responding in anger or frustration does not fix anything and is not soon forgotten.   The reason for something entertaining in the yard is often simply “because goats”.  

Nutmeg, Y and JaiLai supervising my son

Nutmeg, Y and JaiLai “supervising” my son

Nutmeg enjoying attention

Nutmeg enjoying attention from Paula

 

 

 

How many goats do you count on the milk stand?

How many goats do you count on the milk stand?

Nutmeg, Y & JaiLai chilling

Nutmeg, Y & JaiLai chilling

Life on the Farm

We moved to our farm two years ago.  We were wanting to be more connected to where our food came from.  We moved to our farm with some gardening experience and a dream of living sustainably. I’m sitting in our pole barn writing this reflecting on how we’ve experienced the full circle of life several times.  Each loss breaks my heart, each addition of new life brings hope.  Life on a farm is hard, full of lessons but at the end of the day very worth the effort.

This spring we welcomed the first lambs born on our property.  The delivery of the lambs went slow.  The first arrived, Grey accepted it and all was calm.  Too calm we later realized.  As we were getting ready to clean up the area I noticed a tiny hoof showing.  The second lamb was pulled out, lifeless. There was a third lamb pulled, this one alive.

Grey inspecting Thing 2

Grey inspecting Thing 2

The two males were accepted by mom.  But she was weak, very weak.  A friend milked out an ounce of colostrum which I mixed with goat milk and gave to each lamb. The next morning I was thrilled to walk into the pole barn and hear the lambs bleating and Grey responding.

Grey with her lambs, Thing 1 & Thing 2

She was still “down”, but could be encouraged to stand with assistance and she’d let the lambs nurse.  The following day I couldn’t get her up at all, our veterinarian came that afternoon.  She advised several homeopathic remedies, and each seemed to help.  She suggested green smoothies, right up my alley as a health coach!  

I made them in my high speed blender, but with grass, dandelions, plantains, clover and alfalfa. They smelled like freshly cut grass. I had to squirt, 2oz at a time,  down her throat as well as hand feed her whatever greens and hay I could stuff in her mouth.  The target was a quart of smoothie and as much hay & greens as I could get her to eat.

Greens stuffed into the blender

Greens stuffed into the blender

Yum! Fresh batch of green smoothie for Grey

Yum! Fresh batch of green smoothie for Grey

I spent the next several days feeding Grey smoothie and mouthfuls of hay and grasses. Some days she was more receptive than others.  She’d drink fresh water willingly one day, not the next. As I was collecting greens for the next smoothie  the Lord brought to mind  John 21:15-17.

When they had eaten breakfast, Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?”  

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Feed My lambs,” He told him.

A second time He asked him, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

“Yes, Lord,” he said to Him, “You know that I love You.”

“Shepherd My sheep,” He told him.

He asked him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?”

Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you love Me?” He said, “Lord, You know everything! You know that I love You.”

“Feed My sheep,” Jesus said.

 I had been thinking how much effort it takes to feed this one ewe. Sheep are stupid, rejecting what is good for them. They are picky, not accepting what was ok just the day before. They are not appreciative of the effort put forth to feed them.  How often have I been picky, ignoring what God was offering that was in my best interest, not appreciating the blessings I have? Hmm. Food for thought.

By the seventh day I was discouraged.  She still wasn’t getting up and was now fighting each morsel I attempted to give her.    

Grey with Thing 1 & Thing 2

Grey with Thing 1 & Thing 2

   The lambs were still snuggling with her, but getting all their nourishment from a borrowed goat (I had sent out a “I need goat milk” message to friends.  They responded by offering Peanut, a goat that had lost her kid recently but they were milking.) Peanut allowed them to nurse when she was on the milk stand.  I was also milking Daisy (our newest goat mama) each morning to fill bottles while Peanut’s supply increases.  After Grey died I released the lambs into the goat yard. Much to my relief and delight Peanut allowed them to nurse freely in the yard.

Peanut and her lambs.

Peanut and her lambs.

My goals in moving to a farm were to learn to live connected to the land, to raise as much of our food as possible and to deepen my relationship with the Lord. There are many lessons to learn living on a farm and I’m grateful for this opportunity. In our pasture you’ll find goats and sheep grazing peacefully together.  If you look close you’ll see Peanut with her two lambs nearby, she has adopted them and cares for them.  Life is not easy here, but it is simple and peaceful.  If you live in the area please stop by to enjoy the simple pleasure of new life.

Irrigation

Irrigation

Before moving to Montrose water was something I took for granted. I turned on the faucet and clean water flowed. One of the factors influencing our decision to move from the Denver metro area was knowing water was limited. I remember reading how areas that were now developed in the area had rights to the water that had been available to farmers further east. There was a small community that had to have water brought in by truck for household use and many farmers lost their farms. When we moved to Montrose we noticed many yards landscaped with rock, not even qualifying as xeroscape in my mind. Our first home in Montrose had irrigation for the landscape, which meant we had a green lawn. The property to the north did not have irrigation and we learned it cost $600/month to water the yard! Now I understood the rock scapes.

Now I live on a farm. I understand how important water is. Access to irrigation was one of the “must haves” when we were searching for a property. We were planning to have a large garden so water was of greater importance than number of bathrooms, or age of the house. We have 4 acres of hay growing and until this year the hay fireld and two pastures were irrigated with open ditchs and weirs. Simple system really, but labor intensive and not effecient. Every 12-24 hours John would go out and place the next dam, tucking in the orange plastic tarp, move the metal gate to open or close the flow of the water into trenches. It would take 30-45 minutes minimum every day while the irrigation was flowing. We’d flood irrigate for two weeks, skip a week, repeat. Yep, it took two weeks of setting the water every 12-24 hours from the canal all the way across the hayfield, and the two pastures.

View from east edge of field looking from where the water entered our field

View from east edge of field looking from where the water entered our field

Water from the canal flows into this box, then into the buried pipe.

 

Last year we learned of a program through NRCS to convert open ditch irrigation to gated pipe. We applied and were approved. NRCS does the survey, draws up the plans, and they pay for about 75% of the cost. They only cover areas already being irrigated. We decided to extend the irrigation to be able to develope more pasture, that was on our dime. But the beauty of extending the project is the equipment was already on site, the additional pipe is tied into the main line, and we can extend it even further using above ground pipe.

 

The irrigation pipe is all assembled.  John & Matthew installed 492 little gates in the gated pipe and put it into place. Now the hayfield and one pasture need to be remarked.  The front pasture is tilled and will be replanted with a pasture mix (oats, grasses, clover, alfalfa mix).  The area we have added irrigation to will be planted with a cover crop late this summer, then next spring we will plant a forbe rich pasture mix suitable for goats & sheep.  Switching the water will be less labor intensive as it requires opening and closing gates, not moving tarps and metal gates.

Hydrant over an alfalfa valve. We were able to use two butterfly valves to have the option of the water going right or left.

This morning I let the ducks out of their pen.  They quickly discovered the irrigation had overflowed into the “goat yard”.  I had a deep sense of peace and joy watching them waddle as fast as their short legs would allow out to the water wonderland.  Life on our farm is a lot of work but full of rewards.

 

Breakfast is for champions!

Breakfast is for champions!

Breakfast has been called the most important meal of the day.  It is the first meal of the day, breaking the over night fast, presuming you didn’t wake up and raid the refrigerator during the night.  Did you know breakfast is so vital for success in school the first several minutes of the school day are reserved for serving breakfast in the classroom? Unfortunately school meals must follow USDA guidelines and this often means a carbohydrate heavy meal.

Breakfast has long been my favorite meal of the day.  What we have for breakfast has changed over the years. When our children were growing up I always made breakfast  every day before they went off to school. Eggs were usually served on the weekend, cold or hot cereal during the week, some mornings I’d make french toast or pancakes. (I’m embarassed to admit that when they were in high school and running late there was “Carnation Instant breakfast”).  Years later my grown daughter would tell me this routine made it impossible for her to skip breakfast as an adult. Score! Once our kids moved away it was John & I. When I was still working as a pharmacist my schedule was variable, I might not be home until 10:30pm. Breakfast became the one meal we always ate together.

Weekday mornings John usually cooks breakfast, on Sunday mornings I make waffles.  Our typical weekday breakfast consists of eggs, potatoes & occasionally meat.  We try to change it up, but you get the idea.  (I’ve not been a huge fan of breakfast sausage since working food service in college and serving sausage morning after morning after morning, so for me typical breakfast meat is optional).  I love to add greens to the eggs. Our son once asked, “Do you always have greens with your eggs?” To which I answered “Yes!”

It is irrigation season on our farm, so while John goes out to set the water I have been making breakfast.

Here’s the general recipe:

Morning Skillet

  • Onion (red, chopped)
  • Garlic 2-3 cloves, sliced or minced
  • Greens ~ chopped. (we use spinach, kale or chard)
  • Eggs (we prepare two eggs/person)
  • Meat ~ leftover steak, sausage, bacon, chicken (optional)
My ducks are laying 7-8 eggs most days!

My ducks are laying 7-8 eggs most days!

I try to include greens with every meal. I'm ahead of the plan when I include fresh kale as part of my breakfast.

I try to include greens with every meal. I’m ahead of the plan when I include fresh kale as part of my breakfast.

Sauté onion & garlic in coconut or olive oil. Add meat, greens, seasonings. Heat until greens wilted.

Add the eggs. Cook until eggs are done.

Duck eggs with kale and sausage

Duck eggs with kale and sausage

Variety is the spice of life, and I don’t want you to get bored so here are some suggestions to change it up a bit!

  • Cook potatoes with peppers & onions in separate skillet
  • Vary the greens ~ we usually have spinach or kale on hand, but had even used broccoli
  • Add cheese
  • Serve eggs fried on bed of sautéed greens
  • Use salsa as seasoning
  • Serve eggs with leftover spaghetti sauce

I feel best with 12-15 grams of protein for breakfast, which is nearly impossible if I do not include eggs.  Eating a meal high in protein helps stabilize blood sugar. If your blood sugar is stable you are able to focus better.  I wish I’d understood this when our children were in school. Adding leafy greens to breakfast makes eating 2+ cups of greens/day an attainable goal.

I have 8 laying ducks and one drake. I am often asked how duck eggs are different.  I find they taste the same as the pastured chicken eggs I was buying from a friend.  The yolk is proportionally larger (making them fantastic for making Alfredo), the eggs are larger, and they are higher in protein. Here is an interesting article comparing duck eggs vs chicken eggs. We haven’t added chickens to our farm yet, so when you visit I hope you’re willing to try duck eggs.

For local peeps:  If you are interested in trying duck eggs I am selling them for $6/dozen

Spring is here!

Spring is here!

We had a mild winter here, spring just kinda snuck up on us. Last year my garden was not much to speak of. I was thinking it was a total flop, but I grew garlic, rhubarb, broccoli, and spaghetti squash. We like all those so it really wasn’t a total flop. This year I am determined to grow more.

I had watched a video, “Back to Eden”, before we had moved to our farm. “Back to Eden Film shares the story of one man’s lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive growing methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden.” (Be sure to click over to the Back to Eden site to view the video).  Following this formula you cover the ground with cardboard, then shredded bark. Last fall I covered a large area (80’x12′) with cardboard. I had collected large boxes wherever I could find them ~ including from dumpsters of newly opened businesses, moving boxes,appliance boxes. It takes a lot of boxes to cover an area that large. We had collected piles & piles of bark from someone in a nearby community. Free bark to me, though John made six trips to Olathe to load our farm truck, one shovelful at a time. It wasn’t enough to cover the entire area 6″ deep, but I knew a neighbor was having a tree removed. The tree crew was thrilled not to have to haul away the shredded bark. Now I have enough.

Each fence section is 10', I covered the area with cardboard about 12' out from the fence.

Each fence section is 10′, I covered the area with cardboard about 12′ out from the fence.

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Piles of bark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last month John found a small, 3×3, light weight cold frame. Just before St.Patrick’s Day I planted some lettuces, broccoli raab, kale, and spinach. Being a covered cold frame any rain we get does not keep my seeds wet, so I have to hand water it often. I’ve seen a few sprouts starting to grow. The rhubarb and garlic are starting to grow. Now to get ready to plant the rest of the garden!

My 3x3 cold frame.  Hoping it warms the ground so I can grow greens!

My 3×3 cold frame. Hoping it warms the ground so I can grow greens!

What are you planning to plant this year?  Even if you don’t have as much space as I do, you can grow greens in a pot on your patio and enjoy fresh salad.  Tomatoes can do well in containers.  My folks always plant a mini herb garden on their deck.

Update: I wrote this post two weeks ago and since then the wind has destroyed my little cold frame. So I will be starting over, planting peas and leafy greens this weekend.  My rhubarb and garlic are doing great and the season is still early.

Next garden post I will introduce the Tower Garden.  If you can’t wait, visit www.karenhunter.towergarden

 

Meet Cuzco!

Meet Cuzco!

Yes, we have a llama on our farm.  His name is Cuzco!

I was initially interested in getting a llama someday to protect my goats. I learned several years ago llamas were plentiful in Montrose.  At some point they became less popular and many were turned loose on BLM lands. When I first started asking about them I was told I should be able to acquire a llama for free.

One afternoon John came home from refereeing soccer to tell me a neighbor had offered us a llama. (Living in Montrose news travels fast ~ My “goat mentor” has two llamas and knew I was interested in adding a llama to our farm.  The llama had been offered to her, her husband said “No WAY!”)  We went to meet him and he was a sad site.  They had acquired he & another llama 17 years prior with the intent of using them as pack animals while hiking.  Turns out when their boys were old enough to back pack it was easier to have them carry their own packs than tow a trailer with two llamas.  So these two llamas lived in their back yard for years.  Cuzco had been alone for 6 years and they were looking for a new home for him.

This is Cuzco when we first met him. 16 years old and never been sheared.

We added sheep to the farm last summer and moved Cuzco to the open pasture with them.  He’d already shown his protective side when dogs would come on the property, “herding” the goats to a safe corner.  Goats do not “herd” easily so it was quite amusing to observe.  Last December after goat breeding was done we moved everyone back into the polebarn part of the yard.

Looking lighter with 17 years of wool removed.

Looking lighter with 17 years of wool removed.

Cuzco is very friendly and calm.  He likes to meet you up close & personal, sniffing your face.  Many folks back away anticipating he will spit.  He has never spit at anyone.  He likes his neck rubbed, comes when called, and is the gentle giant on our farm.

His portrait is my cell phone wallpaper, I smile every time I see this face!

I love this face! Makes me smile every time.

I love this face! Makes me smile every time.

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration. The information here is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.