Thursday, March 1, 2012


Buddy was a good dog.  I guess that’s the ultimate compliment for a dog.  However cruel it may sound, I’d been praying for him to die for a while.  Almost every night when I would go to bed, I’d pet him on the head and ask God to please not let him wake up.  I begged God to not make me have to put him down.  But things went from bad to worse over the past few weeks and watching him live made me cry more than thinking of him dead.
He was the most beautiful, flaming red, tail-less corgi I’ve ever seen and I’ve looked at quite a few.  He was also part of our family.  You see, since Jon and I have been a family, Buddy has been part of it.  He was our engagement present to each other. Losing him is more than just losing a dear old friend.  Losing him is losing an era in our lives.  Losing him is acknowledging the years, events, and loss in our lives because he was there for it all.
He was waiting for us to take him on a walk when we returned from our honeymoon to our first apartment.  He was a favorite with the youth when we moved to Oklahoma to be pastors.  He was jealous when we brought our firstborn home.  He was anxious when I was in the hospital for so long with my gallbladder out.  When my cousin lived with us for a while, Buddy literally ran the pads on his paws off pulling that kid on roller blades.  The best time in his life is when we moved to Hansen Farm and he could herd goats all day.  He was barking at the door when Charis entered the world there.  He helped us grow our children and I believe he mourned with us when we had to move to Dallas and live in an apartment.  He was so patient with us.  But he rejoiced when we bought our first home with his own backyard.  He was midwife, with Jon, to Caedons birth when he came too fast for the midwife to get there. By the time we lost that house due to job loss, it wasn’t so hard for him in the travel trailer we lived in.  As a matter of fact I think he enjoyed the consistent walks and traveling the country with us.  I’ll never forget the fun he had in the New York snow or chasing love bugs in Alabama.  I could tell when we moved to Oklahoma again that he was getting old.  It was hard for him to get up and down the stairs.  When we finally got here, to our little farm in the country, he really started to show his age, but he loved it.  I could tell. 
I can’t tell you how many times he barked when we laughed with friends and family.  How he ran with the kids all over the yard.  I couldn’t guess the gallons of tears that red coat absorbed.  The comfort he gave when loved ones passed or other loss.  Births, birthdays, moves, funerals, parties, home church, poker, he was there for it all.
 God didn’t answer my prayer.  Sometimes that just happens.  We asked the vet to come out after I read something.  “Can your pet do the things he loved to do?”  Buddy was not a cuddly dog, he was our watchman.  He loved to bark and ward off all evil.  He loved to fight.  He loved to run.  He lived to mark his territory.  He was my shadow, always the protector.  He did none of that anymore.  He didn’t go down without a fight though.  I’m sure in his mind he just needed to make sure we were ok. 
After he was gone I brushed him.  He hadn’t let us do that in months because it hurt.  I thought about that fiery red coat that was now a dull orange.  He looked better though.  I wrapped him in a Noah’s Ark blanket that had been all of our childrens’ when they were babies.  He was our baby too.  We buried him right out front under a tree.  Eythan helped dig the grave with me and Jon. 
As we stood there on the farm on this beautiful spring day I told him I was sorry.  I was sorry that we had not got him here sooner.   He loved this place.   I was sorry we had not been better masters and I was sorry that I had to be the one to take his life, although mercifully.  I told him he was a good dog.  He was a really good dog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

DIY Fodder Pt. 3

Next video:

Ok, three important factors for growing hydroponically are water, light, and air.  In every stage of growth the fodder needs air.  In this video you see me turning the seeds so that they can have better air circulation.  This is not perfect.  In a perfect world I could have a whole green house dedicated to this and the seeds would not be so packed together.  If your fodder starts getting mold or hairy fungus, it may be lack of air circulation.  One of the main causes is putting too much seed in a drawer.  Light is important but any ambient light seems to work.  Our system has a big window and we've mounted a grow light.  This seems to work fine.  For the first three days though, the seeds need darkness.  This mimics the seed being underground.  Water is tricky.  To little water and you don't get enough growth.  Too much water and you don't get enough growth and you start growing stuff along with fermentation.  Err on the side of too little water.  Trust me, your animals and your olfactory system will thank you.  For the first few days, after soaking, while the seeds are still in the dark very little water is needed. VERY LITTLE WATER IS NEEDED.  Once a day is fine.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

DIY Fodder PT. 2

Okey dokey.  This next video will take you through the first part of the fodder making process and show you some of our techniques.

So why barely?  Well that's what all the big, expensive, large scale, commercial companies use.  I figured if that is what they say works best, that's where we'll start.  Not to mention, sprouted barley is supposed to be a human super food too.  There is not a lot of information out there readily available concerning the actual nutritional benefit of sprouted barely.  What you will find is the fodder system manufacturers "research" which is probably part true and part hype.  You will also find some very limited research from big ag.  Here are two links to those trials.

Now, you can read through these lengthy and quite boring research papers.  Go for it.  Here is my take on the above papers.  Feeding pigs and or chickens barley sprouted for 7 days causes them to grow slower than their counterparts when fed a commercial diet or unsprouted barley.  In pigs, this growth difference accounted for about 5lb average less over 4 months.  SO, from a commercial perspective sprouted barley is not ideal.  HOWEVER, I am not growing pigs and chickens as fast as I can and as cheap as I can (although cheaper would be preferable).  5 lbs does not make a hill of beans difference to me.  I want my animals to be hearty AND healthy.  They also say that the chickens wouldn't touch it.  Obviously their chickens never had the taste for grass.  My chickens FIGHT over it along with the turkeys and guineas.  The turkeys usually win.  Take a look at the nutrient graphs.  If that doesn't convince you, I'm not sure what will.  Although the overall calories decrease, the vitamins and minerals double and triple in 7 days of sprouting.   Now, you go read and make up your own mind.

We decided to sprout barely for the winter and when pasture is unavailable. I don't want my animals eating just one kind of anything because that would not be what they did in the wild.  Sprouted barely is a perfect supplement.  We order from Azure Standard.  Their animal barley feed is organic gleanings.  It sprouts wonderfully and is available year round from what I can tell.

As you see in the video, we are soaking our seeds 24 hours in the black tubs.  they were purchased at Dollar Tree for $1.  We drilled small holes with a power drill on the bottom and the sides.  Be sure you drill slowly or the tub will crack.  Buy extra me. 

In our system, 1 1/2 lb of barley is the best amount for each drawer. More than that and there is not enough air circulation and you will start growing mold and fungus.  Less than that and you don't get a good mat.  The mat is really not that important but it's so gratifying when you get it!   In the video, I'm soaking two drawers (or 3lb) of barley per tub.  The seeds need to be dark while soaking and for the first couple of days, so the black tubs are perfect.

I know there are still a lot of questions.  I'm trying to get to them, but it's hard to get a quiet moment to video and blog with all the animals and homeschooling my kiddos.  I really want to share this information.  I wish I had this during the drought last year.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Yeah!....and Oh My!

The Easter Egg chickens started laying!  But I'm slighly disturbed by the blue egg in the upper right.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LGD Surprise!

Now it's time to play every homesteaders favorite game. LGD SURPRISE! It's the game where homesteaders reveal what their thieving guardians brought home last night. The most outlandish surprise wins!

Ummm....we don't have cows......

The base to a potted plant?????

They brought this home as a Christmas gift.  I guess they figured if I had more buckets I could feed them faster!!!

And the winner is..............
HOW embarrassing!!!!  My husband and son wear 9s...these are 13s.  Funniest thing is, they brought them home one at a time about a week apart.  Don't want to run into this large, angry, shoeless farmer!!!!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New and Improved Fodder System

We've been tinkering with our fodder system for several months now and I want to share with you the latest greatest contraption.  Over the next week or so, I hope to address each component so those of you wanting to try it can see the details.  Here is the overview.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Narragansett Turkey Chorus

Caedon was playing with Jon's guitar tuner and the Turkeys LOVED it. We managed to catch the last verse

Clinck here: