For more check us out at http:/heritagebreedsfarm.com
Category Archives: Nutrition
I am not sure about how to start new fruit trees. Does that seem like an odd way to start a blog on new fruit trees, or what? Hang in there and let me explain……I have never started new fruit trees (unless the 30 foot tall tree that grew from the abandoned peach pit counts). In my quest to get inspiration for plate, I stumbled a cross a topic in my daily Bible devotion
- Leviticus 19: 23-25
“When you enter the land and plant any kind of fruit tree, regard its fruit as forbidden. For three years you are to consider it forbidden, it must not be eaten. In the fourth year all its fruit will be holy, an offering of praise to the Lord. But in the fifth year you may eat its fruit. In this way your harvest will be increased. I am the Lord your God.”Did you catch that recipe? The first three years the fruit is forbidden. I take this to mean….remove the fruit and the fruit buds. This allows the tree to focus its nutrients toward strengthening itself by building better roots, a stronger trunk, and to strengthen its generalized health.
The fourth year the fruit is to be a praise offering. I am not sure what this means for today. Perhaps donating the food to a local food bank? Though this has no purpose that I can think of for the tree….tithing the “firstfuits” is definitely a great Biblical principle. In the fifth year, we may eat.
God promises a reward for this recipe stating “In this way your harvest will be increased.” (Tangent alert….tangent alert: this makes me think of the 10 commandments when God states: honor your father and mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord is giving you.” This is the only commandment with a promise).
I would like to get some new dwarf fruit trees this year. I will try to recall the principles from above as I try to get our fruit trees off to a solid start. I am interested to look and see if there is actually a recommendation that follows the outline above.
Using a cold frame is relatively simple. The basics involve lifting the transparent cover up a few inches on day that are sunny and warm. A good temperature guideline is 55 degrees. If left shut on a 70 degree day, plants will get overheated and die. The lid should also be kept shut on cold days and mild days that lack sunlight.
A few things that I have learned about cold framing. First of all, cold frames come in many shapes and sizes. A frame can be made from wood, cinder block, or even be a floating row cover elevated with hoops. I even visited a homestead that used white plastic 55 gallon drums that were cut in half length wise. Whatever the material, size or shape; a cold frame must have the ability to seal well and to allow light in through the top. The clear covering can be any material, including plexiglass, plastic and glass
Second, I learned that something should be used to prevent the lid from flying open during heavy winds. I have not decided what to use to stop this with mine as of yet. Ideas that I am pondering are baling twine, a notched propping stick, or a chain. As you may have noted in a previous post, our clod frame blew open in some high wind and the glass shattered all over the ground.
It is vital to place the cold frame where it is convenient and easy to see. That way it will be ever present within your mind. I have lost two tomato plants because I did not open the cold frame early enough in the day. I would suggest that the cold frame go near to the garden or close to the house. Ours will get moved down near the house, where it will be seen every day and night in the fall.
A weed barrier should be placed underneath the plants, otherwise weeds will be encouraged to grow along with the desired plants. The plants can be grown directly in the soil. They can also be grown in containers. (If transplanting is desired later on, containers would be the best way to grow the plants.)
The only other key is to water the plants regularly. Stressed plants do not grow well. The plants tend to dry out if they are in containers, so monitoring is key. If in containers, the plants likely will need to be transplanted to larger containers as they grow to a larger size. Root bound plants also tend to become stressed.
Hopefully this is helpful. There will be more tips and tricks added as we discover more information through research and trial and error.
I covered a great way to help with allergies in a previous post. I now want to focus on another natural form of allergy control: honey. I was talking to my doctor that other day and the topic of natural health came up. He asked me if I had tried honey as a method of allergy control. I told him that I have been eating a lot of honey, but that I was unsure of how much I ate per day. He stated that the suggested amount of daily honey is 1 tablespoon per day.
The thought behind honey is that bees feed on pollen. By eating honey everyday, you are essentially taking in a small amount of pollen. This concept is similar to the method of allergy hyposensitization (allergy shots.) One key is that the honey must be produced locally by free ranging bees. This allows the bees to collect the pollen from sources that are likely bombarding your histamine cells.
So is there any science behind the claims that honey helps to alleviate allergy symptoms or is this simply a false claim?
There does not to be a peer-reviewed study that has been conducted on this treatment/ theory. As a veterinarian, the premise makes
sense in that you are introducing very low amounts of the allergens into your body over a long period of time (the same concept as immunotherapy). It appears that the pollen should be a local as possible (within three miles is generally recommended.)
One informal (unfunded) study on allergies and honey conducted by students at Xavier University in New Orleans produced positive results. Researchers divided participants into three groups: seasonal allergy sufferers, year-round allergy sufferers and non-allergy sufferers. These groups were further divided into three subgroups with some people taking two teaspoons of local honey per day, others taking the same amount of non-local honey each day and the final subgroup not taking honey at all. The Xavier students found that after six weeks, allergy sufferers from both categories suffered fewer symptoms. The group taking local honey reported the most improvement.
The good effects of this local honey are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season. There are a multitude of success stories online to back up these claims.
Some allergists rebel at the concept of honey relieving allergies. Their claims are based on the thinking that most allergies are caused by plants that are fertilized by the wind and not insects. As a result, the bees do not collect this pollen and it does not show up in the honey that they produce.
- Benefits of Honey (farmfoodieandfitness.com)
- Natural approach to Allergies (heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com)
- Allergies? Some Pollens Are Much More Aggressive Than Others (myallergysupport.wordpress.com)
- Can Local Honey Help My Allergies? (webmd.com)
At this point, you may be ready to start planning for and thinking about animals. (I probably start here rather than with plants, since animals are my profession and plants are my hobby). You will ultimately assess your own needs, wants, desires and capabilities. I will go through a few types common farm animals and give what I see as the pros and cons. I will take this moment to push for heritage breed animals (see where the farm name is derived from?). By using heritage breeds, you are able to preserve the past and also capitalize on some of their better traits, such as having dual purpose animals. Heritage breed animals may benefit you as well by being more likely to mother their young better than some of the more popular breeds on large farms nowadays. For instance, a heritage chicken is much more likely to “go broody” than a factory leghorn would.
CHICKENS: I have already written a post about why you should start with chickens, but I will lay out my thoughts again here. First of all, Chickens are rather inexpensive to obtain. We purchased our first six pullets (who were 17 weeks old and about to start laying) for $5 per bird. So we were out about $30. The second reason is that I feel chickens are very adaptable. You can make a small chicken tractor or use an old outbuilding (like we did) and the chickens will do just fine. Third, chickens are small. This means that they don’t need a lot of space. Fourth, chickens are easy to feed. We feed our table scraps to the girls. We are also fortunate to be able to purchase organic all mash at a local elevator fairly easily. Fifth, Chickens provide a very nutritious product…..eggs. Wait until you crack open your first farm fresh egg, especially if the chickens have access to grass and fields. The yolk is almost orange, it is so dark.
The nutritional components of free range chicken eggs is incredible, nearly unbelievable in scope. Sixth, chicken are fun to watch. Seventh, you are unlikely to get hurt very badly by a chicken. Eighth, a chicken that is no longer laying is still good for something……the pot. You can make your own chicken stock, chicken foot broth, and many other stews and soups with the “retired” old girls. (A side note: we utilize Delaware Chickens as they are docile, go broody, produce eggs well, are dual purpose, and we think they are pretty) (Other heritage breeds to consider are Buff Orrpingtons, Barred Plymouth Rock, Buckeyes, and many others)
Goats. perhaps second on my list would be a dairy goat. Though goats can be very frustrating because they do try to eat everything, goats are still rather small and readily available.
A decent dairy goat will probably cost you between $75 and $200 depending on age, breed, and time of year. A nice thing about dairy goats is that they can produce a decent amount of milk. When allowed to go out on pasture, they are good at cleaning up brush and unwanted plants, since they are more of a foraging animal and less of a grazer. A downside to this is that various weeds can change the flavor of the milk. Another good reason to consider a dairy goat is that the milk tends to be easier for some people to digest. I believe that this is because the fat droplets are smaller than that of a dairy cow (or is it the protein droplets, I can’t remember at the moment) We do not currently have a goat, so I am uncertain of a specific breed recommendation. (we like the San Clemente Island Goat, but simply because they are very rare and are very cute)
Pigs: Again unchartered water for us at the moment. We are considering pigs for their versatility. We are looking into pastured pork, so out focus is on breeds that do well in a foraging and pasture based management system. Once again, pigs are reasonably priced. Another good argument for pigs is their varied diet. These are yet another animal that you can feed table scraps. My understanding is that fencing pigs is not to difficult. They apparently train to electric fencing very easily. I have read that pigs will train uickly to two hot wires. One at about 9 inches off the ground and another at about 30 inches off the ground. They will train so well in fact, that it is hard to get them to cross an area that previously had a fence across it. Most articles I have found simply use polywire or another form of electrified temporary fencing like those used in rotational grazing systems. (We like Tamworth and Gloucestershire Old Spots for pig breeds. Red Wattles get an honorary mention)
Sheep: I suppose sheep are in the fold here too. Sheep are again easy to obtain and not too expensive.
Uses for the sheep would be meat and wool. We do not have sheep at the moment, as we do not see spinning our own wool. Sheep are grazers, so now we are starting to look at more infrastructure. They will likely need a barn, a yard and fencing. This adds to the cost of them of course. (We have yet to select a breed, though I am intrigued by the Romeldale breed.
Cattle: I would recommend a good dual purpose breed, but you could have a dairy cow and beef cows. Most true homesteads likely have a good old dairy cow on hand. A dairy cow will likely cost about $1500 or so, depending on age, breed and quality. Some decent cow can be purchase through sale barns for less money, but beware that the farmer is likely selling her through the sale barn for a reason. Cattle require feed and infrastructure as well. You will need a tie stall or other location for milking. You will need fencing for the pasture, or else be ready to push a lot of hay and grain around. (We think the the Red Poll cow is the perfect breed for this, as they are good foragers. grazers and they are dual purpose) (Other breeds to consider would be Milking Devon, Shorthorn, Kerry, and Dexter)
I would once again recommend a good old farm dog. They are great companions, good for security and even can help with some of the wound up of the critters if trained to do so. They can also be helpful with pests, such as the infamous “whistle pig” A.K.A. Groundhog.
Hopefully I have touched on the main animals for homesteading. If I have left any pertinent ones out, please let me know. I am sure that some are fond of Llamas for guard animals protecting their flock of sheep. Some may like Alpacas for the hair production. I suppose that I left turkeys out as well. They have their place too, just not at the top of my list. Their place, to me, is on the thanksgiving table.
- Red Poll Cattle (The perfect breed) (heritagebreedfarms.wordpress.com)
I always wondered exactly what a cold frame was when I first heard the term. I will try to get an official definition below from Wikipedia, but here is what I would define it as:
So I got close off the top of my head…..anyways, why would you want to add a cold frame?
- Extend the growing season
- Allows you to grow crops that would otherwise not do well in your area due to the shorter growing season
- Start Seedlings in the dirt
- Satisfy that early spring itch to plant something
- Easy to Use
- Can serve a double function of being a raised bed
- Nice project to do with the kids
- Can be made out of materials that many people have laying around
- Very versatile/ flexible design
These are just a few reasons that I can think of to build and use a cold frame. We look forward to using our new one and seeing what other benefits that we discover along the way.
I oftentimes keep my opinions to myself throughout daily life. This is likely due to the fact that my farming beliefs and eating beliefs lie outside of what is commonplace. I deal with traditional farmers every day. These farmers work very hard and are very wise in their ways. The traditional view of farming is geared for maximum profit and maximum output. In order to accomplish this, expenditures are a must. These expenditures can be justified by the bottom line of increased production to a level above that of the expense. This has to include time on my humble opinion.
Traditional farming is centered around the idea of maximum yield. In order to do this, fertilizers, growth hormones, daily antibiotics, daily dewormers, daily coccidiostats and production hormones are given. I worry about the end result in the food chain. What are all of these chemicals truly doing to the people that consume all of these end products?
I watch as little girls mature at an earlier age and wonder why.
I watch the cancer rate increase and wonder why.
I watch the rate of ADD and ADHD increase and wonder why.
I watch the increasing rate of Autism….especially among males skyrocket and I wonder why.
There has to be a reason for the increases in these diseases and concerns that I can raise off the top of my head. Many things could go into these issues. It could
be the increase in nutrition has allowed young ladies to mature at a faster rate. It may be that there is more radiation in our daily lives due to cell phones, electricity, microwaves, and supposed reducti
on of the ozone layer (whatever happened to that concern by the way?…..o yeah I think it was replaced with the rabid religion of global warming if you ask me). Could it simply be blamed on hormones, glyphosate, GMO products, antibiotic usage, fertilizers and other factors that we have attributed to progress?
Again I will reference Dr. Don Huber as far as the concerns about GMO products and glyphosate application at an increased rate. In fact, he states that he would rather drink DDT than glyhposate. What is glyphosate you ask? It is the ingredient in ROUND UP that basically kills just about every living plant that it comes into contact, except those that are GMO products. GMO stand for Genetically Modified Organism. A lot of information can be found using google.com.
I will stop with the questions for now, but back to the title of the post. This makes me a bit of an outcast. I am okay with that title. I will take being an outcast if it ends up being for the betterment of my family and friends. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t like having to be against the grain, but it is fine in this case. I figure it this way: They defend the practices stating that there has never been a problem with these practices and that “science” has proven that all of it is safe….I, however, am not going to drink the stuff, so I will strive to provide my family with food that is free of all the garbage. In the end, the result is that I may have wasted some time and money, but if I am right….I will be standing strong in the end.
So Stand Strong and Live life to the utmost!
The past several years have seen the United States, as well as many regions around the world, experience a recession, depression, economic downturn, call it what you will. Various media outlets cover the world’s economic status differently.
- Glenn Beck warns his listeners and subscribers to GBTV.com to continue to prepare. In fact, a recent radio show of his featured a $50 bet with Bill O’Reilly that there will be a lot of chaos this coming summer.
- More traditional media outlets continue to preach an economic recovery that is upon us. They cite decreasing unemployment numbers and increases in the manufacturing sector as evidence that the economy is healthy and vibrant
- Pundits of the traditional media question the validity of those numbers. Some questions linger about how unemployment numbers can be accurate when the numbers do not include those people who do not have a job, but have quit looking for one.
- Greece and Europe continue to struggle, but talks are underway to bolster those countries that are at risk.
Regardless of which scenario you adhere to and which philosophy you choose, one thing is certain is that the United States economy is not as strong as it has been at points in the past.
With this as a backdrop, where will the recovery and stability come from? May I suggest that farmers and producers may hold the key to recovery, as well as preservation. Farming is one of the main things that has made the United States the great nation that we are (or have been). We are one of the leading producers of the world’s food supply.
There is also an increasing demand for food throughout the world. There have been food shortages in many countries, such as Greece. A 2008 article out of the UK suggested that Great Britian could face a food crisis due to many factors. (Global Food Supply is Growing Problem 2008 the Telegraph)
This article pointed out that food is being used in increasing amounts for alternative fuels. Perhaps the saddest part of this is that we are spending more in fossil fuels to produce a gallon of ethanol than we actually produce in ethanol. This is sad as many in our world starve due to lack of food, which often times is restricted for political reasons.
Another trend that hits the food supply hard is the urbanization of the planet. More and more people are moving to the cities and suburbs. This not only means less people to do the farming, but more houses built on what was previously farmland. This sometimes seems a “win” for the farmer who sells the land for development, but is ultimately a huge loss for the potential production of food. We can only get so efficient with what we produce per acre and the means of increasing that production can be downright scary (BST in Milk, GMO laden products, Increased fertilizers, increases in the amount of glyphosate used, hormones in animals, coccidiostats in poultry feed….the list goes on and on)
So I feel that the US is poised to remain the world’s economic and military superpower if we take heed. It will take a lot to shift the thinking to increase farm production, as a large portion of our population moves to more and more urban areas. Some creativity may be needed as well. There have been some recent strides made as far as “vertical gardening” goes. There has also been a huge increase in the amount of people raising backyard chickens for egg production. (MyPetChicken.com and Backyardchicken.com)
Why the economic Revival from Rural Areas?
Well this seems simply a game of supply and demand. The demand in the world is rapidly growing as the population grows in what seems to be an exponential fashion. In the aforementioned article, it was estimated that it would take t $30,000,000,000 (that is thirty BILLION) a year to relaunch agriculture in the developing world and avert future threats of food conflicts. That is a ton of cold, hard cash.
The United states still has a large amount of acreage in rural areas. With improving technology, we may be able to farm even more acreage than in the past. This can be attributed to larger and more specialized equipment. There are also constant developments that allow us to provide better drainage. This opens up previously wet areas to a better potential to be farmed. I am not suggesting we drain out wetlands, but rather talking about smaller areas that are simply prone to flooding.
What can you do about it?
I suggest you start by supporting local farmers. This can be done in many ways. The first of which goes to my previous post of supporting your local farmers markets. Another way is to buy meat from a farmer in your area. Many farmers are beginning to focus on selling animals more directly to consumers. In fact, many offer to ship to customers. We at Heritage Breed Farms hope to someday be able to market more directly to local consumers. We plan to focus on the quality of our products in that the animals are given no hormones and are either grassfed or free range. Keep in mind that buying from a small local farm may be a little more expensive due to the economy of scale, but you dollars not only go for more nutritional products, but also support the local economy.
I also think that gardening on whatever scale that you can is a great way to help with the global food supply. The more you grow, the less somebody else is forced to produce. This allows larger farms and companies to export more food overseas. This will help to bolster the overall economy of the US. You may be thinking: “yeah, right I grow a few green beans and help the economy?” Well think of it this way, if everybody grew enough green beans for their own use, all the other green beans that the US produces can be exported. Also, farmers may see the decreased need for green beans and plant other cash crops in their place. The result will either be lower food prices here, or greater exports abroad.
Well I think that is enough rambling for one post. Hopefully, that makes some logical sense to our readers. Hopefully you are encouraged and inspired to help in any way that you can.
It is vital to support local farmers markets. It is beneficial to the consumer and the producer. Locally grown food has many benefits. Oftentimes products are sold at the local market for a similar price to that of the larger retail stores. The difference is that more profit goes to support the farmer, the one who is actually doing all of the hard work to produce the food.
One benefit of buying from a local farmers market is the freshness of the food that you buy. The products at the local farmers markets are not shipped long distances and are likely picked that day. The fresher the product, the better the nutrients. I do suggest trying to buy organically grown and GMO free products. There are many websites and much information regarding the potential negative effects of GMO corn and soy. (Organic Consumers Website) (Dr. Don Huber)
Another benefit is that locally grown food tends to have fewer preservatives than food that has been shipped to a supermarket. Having worked as a produce clerk in high school and college, I have seen firsthand that supermarket food is sprayed with preservatives. The bananas are a good example. Bananas are sprayed with something to slows down the ripening process during shipping, then treated with high levels of nitrogen to get them to soften and turn yellow once they are close to their intended market. This is not a natural process.
Interestingly enough, Dirk Benedict (the actor that played “Face” in the great 1980s television series the A-Team) has a theory about eating local foods. I attempted to research further after hearing an interview years ago on the radio. My conclusions of what he said appear to be consistent with the macrobiotic theories of traditional Chinese medicine. To find out more about the Macrobiotic Diet, click on the highlighted words. I took his interview at “face” value (LOL get the pun there?). What I heard him say is that Eskimos should not eat tropical fruits such as oranges. Why not? I am glad you asked. The reasoning is that oranges and related fruits tend to thin the blood, where as whale products (meat and fat I guess) tend to thicken the blood. Thickening the blood keeps you warm per Mr. Dirk Benedict.
So now that I have let out the fact that I am a traditional A-Team fan and digressed, I hope that you find shopping at local farmers markets to be of interest. This supports the farmers and benefits you.
If we don’t help in some way to protect our heritage, we will lose it.
I contacted a local friend today to inquire if they had made their final seed order yet. She is checking into it and thinks that I may yet have some time. We order from Fedco Seeds. I generally like their selection as they offer a wide variety of heirloom vegetables. I often wonder if heirloom vegetables will adapt (notice I did not say evolve as they don’t change into something, just s regional variant) to the soil and local area to which they are planted. I think this is the case personally. During the soil seminar that I attended, the speaker mentioned that they had noted the same plant growing in different local areas that had better resistant to pests and disease. He noted that one form of the plant was virtually pest free, while the other plant (which was located within 1/2 mile) was infested with pests. Same plant variety, different soil and local environment. Perhaps the second plant was stressed due to lack or water, lack of sunlight or poor soil nutrients.
Back to the seed ordering. I am after a few varieties to add to our garden this year. The big one that we recently discovered is brussel sprouts. They are ugly and stinky, yet delicious if cooked up the right way. These are a great source of nutrition and supposedly easy to grow. The yield per plant is very good as well. I am looking forward to expanding into this newer vegetable.
My other desire is to begin to replant our pastures to provide a more well round forage. In order to so this, I am going to take soil samples and try to increase the organic matter and soil substructure. I am not going to purchase enough seeds to replant the entire pasture, rather I am going to plant a small plot from which I will collect my own seeds to sow into the larger pasture. I will take any left over seeds and spread them sparsely around the fields, in the hope that they will begin to drop seeds as well. I will probably get a few types of grasses, maybe alfalfa and several types of clover to try out. Each of these helps to supplement the grasses that we currently have. I also would like to use legumes to help fix more nitrogen into the soil. In subsequent years, we may turn over and replant some or all of the various pastures, but this will take some time and money to do. That is why I am hoping to grow my own plots of seed crops.
Well that is all for now, other than to say that our (Red Poll Cattle) heifers are getting nice bellies on them. Babies due in April or early May. We are eager awaiting.