Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Community Supported Agriculture in 1918!

Illustration from the article.
I was reading the 1918 issues of Farm Journal on and came across an article by Hal Fullerton. He discussed how to sell produce directly to people in cities using 'home hampers.' I hope you find the article as interesting as I did. Here is the link.
I cruised craigslist this morning looking for all sorts of livestock to daydream about buying, but not quite yet. I want to get our pastures worked into a bit better shape before I fill them with my cattle, sheep, goats, and hogs. I've still got quite a bit of beef from my calves I raised two years ago, so I'll probably hold off on finding another batch of calves until next spring. There were a bunch of extremely nice goat kids down at Dinky's auction last Friday, but I didn't watch them sell--if I did I imagine I'd be owning a couple right now. The goats would help knock down the brush, so it's okay to buy them first...or at least that's the excuse I'll give my husband.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Spring is here!

Of course this time of year makes me think of gardening, so for a bit of inspiration I went over to Etsy and searched for garden markers. There were lots of lovely pieces up for grabs. They'd be lovely to put out and then have a garden party so that you could show them off. Which one is your favorite? And what do you use for your garden markers?

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Working on some new pieces.

Grazing Dairy Herd
Forgotten Mailbox
Baby Mule Portrait

I had a few free moments today, so I scanned some old photos I had taken with my film camera around 2003 or so with the hopes of turning them into some sellable artwork after I edit them a bit. I have a huge pile of photos to go through still, but I did get about twenty scanned so far. These are just a few. Also I'll have a post going up tomorrow because I heard back from everybody whose work I'm featuring, so stay tuned for that as well.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


As you've read before I have a big-time goal of eventually being self-sufficient when it comes to my family's food (at least as far as meat, milk, and produce goes). I'm extremely interested in pastured livestock, and I've been reading a lot of articles from the late 1800s and early 1900s about their practices. I'm a bit stumped on the conflicting articles on hogs though. Some say you don't need to supplement with grain (which would be my ideal), and others say that you do, one article suggested having a few pastures sown with grain crops and letting your livestock utilize the whole plant instead of just reaping the heads.

Everybody also is touting the wonders of 'heritage hogs' which in turn drives the price up (insert my rant about Angus beef), so I'm thinking about working on developing a hog that would fit my needs. Blend various breeds of modern hog with some lard-type hogs and perhaps some sort of almost wild hog (Guinea hogs, or Mangalitsa)--pick and choose from the litters the traits I'd like to keep and put the rest in the freezer/sell. Watching what animals do best on my type of feeding set-up and environment and keep those while culling anything that doesn't reach my standards. Eventually I'd think I'd end up with an animal that was bred to thrive on my farm. Just like gardeners achieve with heirloom plants. Perhaps it will be a total wash, but I'd like to experiment and see. It won't happen overnight, and I expect many years to pass by before I start to see results. This idea of self-sufficiency isn't a light-hearted, passing thought, but an extremely serious presence in my life that has been on my mind since as far back as I can remember. So, you can imagine each part of the puzzle has been critically examined from every angle.

I imagine that I'm going to eventually do this with all my livestock. Chickens that are excellent foragers and mothers, with wonderful meat and laying abilities. Ducks and geese that are the same. Dairy cattle and goats that produce plenty of milk for my family, but aren't so productive that they wouldn't be just as easily put to pasture to raise their young. I'd also like the dairy animals to have plenty of fat in their milk and also a good meat quality. The sheep I'd like to raise would be of the hair-type variety and would be extremely hardy. I'd breed for animals that can handle birthing alone and successfully raise lambs. I'd like wonderful milkers with good meat just like the dairy animals. For my rabbits I'd like animals that grow quickly, and finish nicely.

It all becomes a giant web as well--the hogs, chickens and young animals would all benefit from the excess milk produced by the cows and nannies, the rotational grazing will fertilize the fields and the manure from the barn will eventually compost the gardens, the excess produce from the gardens will be fed to the livestock, and so on and so forth. I know it may sound like a Utopian crock of shit, but it is my goal. Many people have tried to make a go of it, and lots have failed, but with as much planning and trial and error that I'm putting into it even a slight success would be amazing to me because I want it so bad.
Just thought you should know what's on my mind.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Joe is five months, and time is FLYING!

Can you believe it's already been five months since this beautiful girl has been in my life? She's absolutely wonderful and has become my perfect little companion on my gallivants. She's already been to a few auctions including a cattle sale, Dinky's, and a draft horse auction. She went to her first artist gallery reception of a dear friend of ours last Friday as well. She's getting quite the education early in life. This is her typical sleeping position--she likes the burp rag over her face and a handful of her hair in her hand.
This was right after she woke up a few weekends ago--she's such a happy thing. Bright as the sunshine--I tell you. She loves that it's starting to be warm enough that she can venture outside some.

I'm itching for spring to get here--the local farm & feed stores have their chick days going on, and that let's me know that spring is just around the corner. I'm dreaming of our garden, all the farmer's markets Joe and I are going to find this year, and all the backroads we're going to travel. Joe is getting ready to get up from her nap, but I wanted to update the blog a bit. I have just emailed a batch of etsy shops about featuring some items in their shop for an upcoming garden post, so stay tuned for that.