Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Mother's day stresses me out. I think women are wonderful and I want to try to find a gift for my mom and my wife that show them the appreciation I have for all that they do. For some reason, a flower that dies, chocolates that are gone in a day, or breakfast in bed while leaving the kitchen messy just don't seem to cut it. Here are some ideas for Mother's day gifts for that mom that loves her backyard farm.
Get her a cool chicken that you might not already have. Something that will stand out from the rest of the group. The first breed that comes to mind is a but there are a lot of other beautiful birds out there to chose from. I like to peruse my pet n to see some of them and you can order them from there website. The picture is from their website.
Does the Mom in your life like fresh veggies for her salad the whole year round. If so, get her a sprout lid. It is a cheap gift that she can use with a mason jar to grow sprouts all year.
How about those Mom's that like to eat new and exotic foods. I can't think of anything more exotic than Mushrooms that you grow yourself. I know it's not romantic but you can always have a nice romantic dinner. I am thinking maybe some mushroom ravioli. Type in mushroom kit into your browser and you will find a lot of stores where you can have a kit shipped to you. I recommend that you buy as local as you can.
Mom's like to look good, even when they are playing in freshly tilled dirt. Find some garden fashion and make them the envy of all the ladies. I am thinking boots, gloves, aprons and even hats. Whatever you think they might like.
Buy your Mom some yogurt cultures and make them some fresh homemade yogurt for Mothers Day. There are a lot of different kind of cultures but all you need is a packet of the culture and some milk and viola, you have fresh creamy yogurt for your Mom to enjoy.
These are just a few ideas. I wanted to say how much I appreciate and love the female spirit. The world is a better place because of your love and nurturing. You Moms smooth out the roughness of men. Thank you for all you do.
We need more ideas. Let us know what you are all getting the Mom's in your life. What are you buying, or better yet, what are you making for them. Share some ideas so we can make Mother's Day a special day for all mom's.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
What do I do?!?!??!
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Monday, April 26, 2010
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I became aware of the cars as soon as I walked out on the sidewalk as part of my morning routine around 4:30 a.m. and immediately said to myself something is going on, there is too much traffic on Kinzer Road. I was watching and noticed three cars were cruising down Kinzer Road right behind each other, and immediately thought, hey, that looks like trouble. I watched and pretty soon one car came back and parked on my neighbor's farm, on private property, just as the FDA agents had when they came on my property in February; it was exactly the same place.
A couple minutes later, the other two cars pulled up and joined the first on my neighbor's property, where the occupants appeared to be in conference with one another. Shortly after that, they turned their headlights on and drove in my lane - this would have been at about 5:00.
I stood back in the dark barn to see what they were going to do. They drove past my two Private Property signs, up to where my coolers were, with their headlights shining right on them. They all got out of their vehicles - five men all together - with big bright flashlights they were shining all around. My wife and family were still asleep. When they couldn't find anybody, they prepared to knock on the door of my darkened house. Just before they got to the house I stepped out of the barn and hollered at them, then they came up to me and introduced themselves. Two were from the FDA, agent Joshua C. Schafer who had been there in February and another. They showed me identification, but I was too flustered to ask for their cards. I remember being told that two were deputy U.S. Marshals and one a state trooper. They started asking me questions right away. They handed me a paper and I didn't realize what it was. Agent Joshua C. Schafer told me they were there to do a "routine inspection." At 5:00 in the morning, I wondered to myself? "Do you have a warrant?" I asked, and one of them, a marshal or the state policeman, said, "You've got in your hand buddy." I asked, "What is the warrant about?" Schafer responded, "We have credible evidence that you are involved in interstate commerce."
They wanted me to answer some questions, my name, middle initial, last name, wanted to know how many cows we have on the farm. I answered those questions and some more. Finally, I got over my initial shock and said I would not be answering any more questions. They said O.K., we'll get on with the "inspection."
I went to go talk to my wife. As I walked away, they held a quick excited conversation and I heard one of them say, "I'll take care of him." At that point, apparently, they had designated one of the marshals to stick close to me and dog my footsteps. He followed me as I walked toward the house. I went in the house quickly and told my wife a few words to let her know the situation, then immediately came back out of the house before the marshal had time to follow me in. When I came back out, they were inspecting all the coolers sitting out. They spent about a half hour digging through the packed coolers filled with milk and other food - all private property - taking pictures.
At one point during the cooler inspection the state trooper said to me, "You have a nice farm." I responded, "We're trying to be sustainable, but they don't want to let us."
While they inspected the coolers, I read the warrant. Among other things it said that any search was to be conducted "at reasonable times during ordinary business hours." When I exclaimed, "Ordinary business hours!" and pointed this out to the marshal who was dogging me, he said, "Ordinary business hours for agriculture start at 5:00 a.m." I challenged him that the warrant does not say agriculture hours, it said ordinary hours. He replied, "That's what the government told us."
Then they started looking around, as though in search of something in particular. They went up to one door that had a clear No Trespassing sign on it, specifically including government agents, and they did not go in the room, though they shone their flashlights around in it. Then they asked me, "What is on the other side of the door in that [same] room?" Agent Joshua Schafer asked this. I looked him in the eye and did not answer. When they saw I was not going to answer, the other FDA agent said, "Okay, come on," to agent Schafer, and they went into the room and through the closed door on the opposite side. I had another one of those signs on my walk-in cooler adjacent to my freezer, so they went through that door also. They spent probably another half hour rooting around, like a couple of pigs, in the freezer and cooler area and took many pictures.
When they came out, they asked me where I keep my containers and jugs for milk, and I refused to tell them. I figured they could look for themselves. Then they were walking all over the farm, checking everything out, everything except the house. Agent Joshua Schafer even opened my dumpster and inspected inside it, as though he thought I was hiding something in it. At that point I went and started milking my cows - it was way past milking time.
When I was just about done milking, Schafer and the other agent came in the barn and wanted me to answer some more questions. I told them I would not. The second agent said, "Are you gong to deliver those coolers to Bethesda and Bowie Maryland?" I just looked at him. Then Schafer made a gesture and said, "The stickers with those towns names are on the coolers," as through to say, you might as well tell me.
I replied, "I told you I won't answer any questions." After that they said, "We are done for today. You'll be hearing back from headquarters."
Then they got in their car and left. The state trooper and the marshals had left already.
They came in the dark, shining bright flashlights while my family was asleep, keeping me from milking my cows, from my family, from breakfast with my family and from our morning devotions, and alarming my children enough so that they first question they asked my wife was, "Is Daddy going to jail?"
THE NEXT MORNING Allgyer received an overnight, extremely urgent Letter of Warning from the FDA stating that "Failure to make prompt corrections could result in regulatory action without further notice. Possible actions include seizure and/or injunction."
ACTION: Please call and write the number and address below. Express yourself. Tell them that you support Dan Allgyer. If you drink fresh, unpastuerized milk tell them that. Tell them that more people every day are drinking fresh milk and this is going to increase. It's not going to stop no matter how many farmers they persecute. Tell them the government has no placebetween individuals and the farmers from whom they get their food.
Philadelphia District Office
Serves Delaware and Pennsylvania.
Food and Drug Administration
Second and Chestnut Streets, Room 900
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 597-4390 8:00a.m. - 4:30 p.m. (Eastern time)
Yours for real food freedom,
Deborah Stockton, Executive Director
National Independent Consumers and Farmers Association (NICFA)
Our purpose is to promote and preserve unregulated direct farmer-to-consumer trade
that fosters availability of locally grown or home-produced food products.
NICFA opposes any government funded or managed National Animal Identification System.
Friday, April 23, 2010
You might recall a review I did last year of a great movie called King Corn that was made by Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney. Well, they are in the process of making another movie right now called Truck Farm. They prepare a bed of a truck with a garden and then travel around to educate people on growing food at home. Most of us can't grow food in a truck but it gives you some hope that whether you live in an apartment or in the middle of a vast wilderness, you can grow some of your own food. Check out the teaser trailer.
The movie is in the process of being edited and created. You can even donate to their cause by going to the project on Kickstarter. They are trying to raise $15,000 to get the movie made.A mere $35 will get you a cool trucker hat. I am excited to see the movie. They expect to have the movie done this summer if they can raise a little more money.
Share some comments with us about some of the movies that you have watched lately that have anything to do with the backyard farming genre. I would love to get some ideas of other movies to watch.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Start recycling food with a muck bucket
I was introduced to the muck bucket when Michael showed the neighbor my "science experiment" I was growing in the kitchen. The science experiment was a cute counter-top container that I was throwing scraps of food into to later feed to the chickens. I would empty it every other day to keep it clean and fresh, when it went an entire week without being emptied, it turned into the "science experiment" YIKES! I ended up throwing the cute container away. The neighbor then told me about the muck bucket, and we have been doing this ever since.
Start with a plain old plastic milk container.
If you don't have chickens, you can still recycle your food. We have a rule that nothing goes down the garbage disposal, and here is why. Leafy greens, carrot tops, apples and such go out to the rabbit, the rabbit then poops which makes a great fertilizer for the garden. The chickens eat all the meat, breads, egg shells, and any extra food that the rabbit doesn't eat. The chickens then poop which we can then add to the compost bin. If you don't have chickens or a rabbit, you can add almost all your food (except meat and dairy) to a compost bin to make your own beautiful black compost!
Simple Organic has started Make Week, where you turn off your TV and make life happen.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Please check out Paul Gardener's blog at: http://apaetoday.blogspot.com/
Monday, April 19, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Many people debate the merits of vegetarian and omnivore diets. I was a vegetarian for a full calendar year because I wanted the experience. It was good. I was an omnivore because I enjoyed meat. Now I am an omnivore because of a spiritual conversion to this diet. It happened this past year when I made chicken noodle soup from scratch, almost from scratch. I didn’t hatch the eggs but I purchased the chicks and brooded them for four weeks. I moved them across the pasture in a pasture coop twice a day for five weeks and then took them to be processed (See Broilers 101). I didn’t slaughter them myself but I will this year’s broilers. I cooked one of my chickens for my soup. I didn’t grow the wheat but I purchased wheat and ground it to flour for the egg noodles (In my former career as a farmer I raised wheat). I raise the layers who gave me the eggs. I made the noodles (Noodles). I used composted chicken manure to fertilize the onions I grew to add to the soup.
As I completed this ten week project, I set the kettle of soup on the dining room table. I thanked Heavenly Father for it. I was truly thankful. When I put the first spoonful of chicken and noodles in my mouth and watched my family do the same, I realized that I could never be a vegetarian, not because the soup was fabulous but because the entire experience convinced me that an omnivore diet is how mankind should eat – it was a spiritual conversion. I got this year’s broiler chicks two weeks ago. Some people ask “How can you possible think about eating those darling chicks?” They are cute. But I understand our symbiotic relationship. My purpose is to take good care of them and sustain them for their short lives. Their purpose is then to sustain my family. I believe it is a holistic relationship formed by God. Because of this experience I think differently about all my food. I view that top sirloin steak differently than I used to even thought I didn’t raise the beef. I hope to someday raise my own beef. The telling of my experience will probably not convert any vegetarians. But I would ask all vegetarians to withhold judgment of omnivores until you have made your own chicken noodle soup from scratch.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
One of my favorite movies is Shenandoah. I first saw this civil war movie at age 8 when it came out in 1965, the centennial of the end of the civil war. It stars Jimmy Stewart as Charlie Anderson, a gruff Virginia farmer who desperately tries to keep his family out of the war. The movie opens as Charlie Anderson sits at the head of the dining room table surrounded by his 6 sons, 1 daughter, and 1 daughter-in-law. A place is set at the other end of the table for his wife who died in bearing his last son. Before the meal begins, Charlie offers grace:
“Lord, we cleared this land, we plowed it, sowed it, and harvested. We cooked the harvest, it wouldn’t be here and we wouldn’t be eating it if we hadn’t done it all ourselves. We worked dog bone hard for every crumb and morsel, but we thank you just the same anyway Lord for this food we are about to eat. Amen.”
This is the essence of backyard farming. We till our gardens, we plant, and we reap. We raise our chickens and goats. We prepare our meals. We work dog bone hard for every crumb and morsel. We teach our children how to work. Big Macs and Whoppers just don’t cut it. But one thing we realize that Charlie Anderson missed is our reliance on Heavenly Father for the soil, air, rain, and sunshine which is the foundation of our existence.
I want to thank our more than 250 followers. I don’t know most of you but I wish I did. I appreciate your comments. I appreciate your questions. I have enjoyed looking at many of your blogs to see the exciting things you are doing with your backyard farms. Please stick with us and share with others this wonderful journey of backyard farming that we have all embarked on.
Another great line of Shenandoah is when a beaten Charlie Anderson ends his futile search for his 16 year old son who was mistaken as a soldier and captured. He asks his family:
“If we don’t try, we don’t do, and if we don’t do, then why are we here on this earth?”
Thursday, April 15, 2010
For your first entry: Leave us a comment about what your favorite theme here on backyard farming is. Example: recipes, gardening, chickens, current events, organic foods, raw milk etc.
For another entry: Blog about this giveaway on your blog, come back and leave a comment with your blog address. (This will also help promote your blog!)
For another entry: Become a fan of backyard farming on facebook, come back and leave us a comment that says "facebook". If you are already a fan on facebook, you already qualify for this entry.
For another entry: become a follower of backyard farming. You do this by clicking on the "follow" button on the right hand side of this blog. Come back and leave a comment that says "follower". If you are already a follower, you already qualify for this entry.
This giveaway closes Sunday April 19th 12:00 MST.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
We have been busy getting our house for sale lately so our garden has been a little neglected. We finally got around to planting our root vegetables and our leafy greens. Check out this video about planting root vegetables. Watch for the various tips embedded throughout.
Monday, April 12, 2010
by Mike Johnson
I am a fan of modern style architecture. I love the idea of having a modern design home on a farm homestead. Following is a good example of what I am talking about. These are pictures that I got from one of my favorite websites http://www.trendir.com/
This is the first chicken house that I have seen that I want to live in. I don’t think I would fit though. Send us some pictures of your chicken coops and we will post them on our website.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
What is passive solar? It is the use of the sun to help meet a building's energy needs by means of architectural design such as arrangement of windows and materials such as floors that store heat, or other thermal mass. What this means is that you don't need any other heat source like propane, it uses sunlight only.
Instructions on how to build a passive solar greenhouse.
Passive solar barn.
Passive solar chicken coop.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Now that Michael and I have our house on the market, and no home to go to, the sky is the limit when it comes to dreaming. We have had so much fun exploring ideas of a straw bale house, or making our own house from adobe. My parents would flip! We have also enjoyed the Farmhouse Modern Blog. And this post on barn renovations, why can't all houses have so much character and personality? Until our house sells and we are about to get kicked out, I'm enjoying the dream.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Have you looked into food co-ops? If you haven't you might want to. Here is how they work. There is an organizer of the food co-op who purchases large amounts of food from a distributor at the low prices grocery stores and restaurants are buying at. Then you can purchase a share of the food and pick it up on the specified day. The prices are very low since the middle man (grocery store) is getting cut out of the equation. I have been participating in the Bountiful Basket food co-op for the last 3 weeks. The picture above is what we relieved for just $15. When Michael and I priced it out, according to the very best prices at the grocery store, we figured we saved about $25. Not bad! Here is what we got:
There are some disadvantages to a co-op like this. You don't know what you are going to get. We have to wait until Saturday morning to plan our grocery list and menu for the week. Not knowing what you are going to get does help us eat produce we may not have chosen for the week, and has gotten us to try new things. The produce is not locally grown, so we aren't supporting our local farmers. Here in Utah there isn't much growing in the winter anyways, but come summer, we will be shopping our farmers markets and eating out of our garden.
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Our 1400 square foot .11 acre backyard farm is on the market! Our family of 6, dog, cat, bunny, and 5 chickens have outgrown our space. We are looking for something on about an acre or more so we can expand and have goats and bees. After reading Raw Milk Revolution, I think I might want a cow.