Tuesday, December 30, 2008
The Joppeck Family
Thursday, December 18, 2008
What we mean by "beyond organic" is that our production methods are held to higher standards than the organic industry. Because all of our animals are pastured, the products are much more nutritious and tasty than those raised in confinement. The animals also have a better life. For example, our free-range hens actually have free-range to eat grass and bugs like chickens should, instead of merely getting a dirt yard. Because of this, the quality of our eggs and meat is far superior to anything else. Quality hinges more on the production methods than on the feed.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
All of our animals are moved to fresh grass every day or two. This is absolutely key to maintain the health of the animals, pastures, and, ultimately, the products we produce. Moving the animals often maintains lush and productive pastures, perfect for creating top-notch products. This keeps the animals healthier by moving them away from the parasites they leave behind. Natural sanitation then occurs through sunshine and decomposition, leaving a clean plate, so to speak, for the animals the next time they come by. By taking these simple measures, we are able to produce the cleanest, healthiest, safest, freshest, and best tasting products for our customers.
Not as much happens here on the farm during the winter but this was to be the week that we moved all the cattle up to the house barn. We needed to do this to get everyone separated out for winter as the stock-piled grass that we had was now close to running out, the calves need to be weened and those being butchered needed to be close. We then needed to send half of that herd back out to the pasture barn. This is the biggest herd we've had since we started raising beef, so it was going to be a bit of an adventure.
Today was the chosen day because the forecast called for Tuesday being the nicest day of the week. The barns had been prepared for its new occupants and we were all given a heads up that everyone needed to be free to help. This is not an enjoyable task as cattle can be unpredictable and there is a chance that the herd could have their own agenda for that day and decide that they want to tour the neighborhood while they are out for the trip.
John asked us all if we were ready for 'Cattle Romp 2008". He headed over to the barn while Nathan went out to the pasture to herd everyone up. I arrived to get my instructions. I was told that I had the north line (electric line that is) and was to hold that line and not to let it be breached!! If that did happen, I was to fall back and keep the perimeter fence secured.
The cattle arrived into the selected barn pasture with the hopes they would follow the funnel system that was set up (with me on the north and Chad on the south of it) and all go into the barn as planned. Of course, with their now new scenery, came excitement. We hoped they would stay 'calm' enough to keep making their way forward.....and to quit playing around!!
The older, bigger cows, steers and bull made their way into the barn as planned (they had done this before) but all the little ones (the ones that we really wanted in there for winter) did not like that idea. There were now too many bigger animals in there for them to feel safe to go in plus they had never been into anything like that before in their life. Now what to do? As Chad and I kept an eye on the little ones to make sure they didn't bolt anywhere, John and Nathan discussed Plan B.
Plan B was for Nathan to single out those now trapped in the barn that needed to come back out and we'd hold them in the barn pasture until they were all out. After that, they would drive them back out to the big pasture and then come back to deal with the little ones that had been been contained into a separate area. This separate area would keep them from mingling with those coming back out.
All went well and when everyone was in place, Chad and I were told to guard the calves while they moved the other half back out. A lot of complaining was starting to transpire now as mother and calf were starting to realize that they were in 2 different places. When they finished that and came back, we tried to cokes the calves to go in the barn with those that were still left in there. After some prodding, finally our mission was accomplished and we breathed a sigh of relief! The boys had to go back out to the big pasture to secure that area better as some of the cattle had managed to get out and were making their way back up to us. The barn for the little ones was secured and I was told I was relieved of duty.
This next week we will have to keep a very close eye on things so that no one breaches the area they were put into. It will be a louder than normal week, as well, as both parties (mothers and calves) go through the separation stages as calves are being weened. It is a good thing that it is cold outside and everyones windows are closed.
So all in all "Cattle Romp 2008" went well--thank the Lord!
posted by Louise
Monday, December 15, 2008
I can't say that we have ever had a terrorist hen before BUT we have had a few terrorist roosters....what they usually terrorized was us though. You carried something big in your hand and never turned your back for long.... we were also glad to bid them farewell. Enjoy......
"We now have three backyard chickens here at home. Until very recently, we had four. Pipi (pronounced pee-pee) is no longer with us, and good riddance! You might think of us as cold-hearted and uncaring for saying so, but we are really just bad farmers. We didn't choose for Pipi to leave us, she did. She is a murderess chicken, and slightly neurotic. Sure, she's an A-class layer, and her eggs are tasty and purdy, red-shelled and freckled, with a deep golden yolk. She's a great looking, healthy Rhode Island Red hen with a beautiful full comb and rusty-colored feathers. But, she's mean! Pipi was attacking our dear Prima, our golden chicken, aiming for the back of her neck and out for the kill. Our peaceful little team of chickens was in a state of terror, so the terrorist, Pipi, had to go.
Most farmers (good farmers) would kill her and enjoy a healthy homegrown chicken soup afterwards, and Guillermo was partial to following this course, but frankly, I have to say that I'm a "bad" farmer. I've grown attached to our homicidal hen, so what to do? Give her to a rescue ranch! Yes, there are chicken rescue ranches. It's funny, isn't it? There is a sweet lady with a bigger heart than ours who rescues unwanted, unloved chickens, even if they are murderous. I was quite honest with her that Pipi was insane, and that she takes the pecking order very seriously, but Cheryl (the chicken whisperer) didn't seem to mind at all. She thinks that Pipi will be an integral part of her flock of abandoned chickens at Black Hen Ranch. After all, she is a good layer. Cheryl sees the glass half full...
Farewell, Pipi. Prima, Pearl, and Negrita will not miss you. But we sincerely hope that you are enjoying your new life at the chicken sanctuary. You've got a lot going for you, ol' girl!"
posted by: Louise Joppeck
Saturday, December 13, 2008
For example, by running the cattle and the chickens on the same pastures, we create a symbiotic relationship. In nature, birds follow behind herds of herbivores and sanitize the prairies of flies and parasites. Our chickens, in our eggmobile, serve this purpose in our the pasture, creating the best eggs available while they are at it! This relationship in turn creates healthier pastures and animals, which translates into healthier products for you and I. Diversity is what makes nature healthy and vibrant, and it does the same for our farms and food.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
What makes this multi-generational aspect so significant and exciting is that for the first time, a living could theoretically be made on this property. The fact that a family could survive on only 60 acres in our day and age is quite amazing. This is considering that many farmers run thousands of acres and still need off-farm jobs to survive. It is only because of the gracious support of our customers that this is even possible. Thank you all!
posted by Nathan
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Family farms are disappearing quickly in our country. Sustainable Table has a good article about this, to which I have provided a link if you click on the title of this post. Globalization and corporate competition are making it increasing hard for family farms to be economically viable. As consumers, you can do make a difference by voting for the local family farm with your food dollars! Without the support of consumers, our nations small family farms will be replaced by corporate owned farms. This is frightening to think about, considering where this has gotten us already!!
Thursday, December 4, 2008
In the next several posts, I will explain little bit about our farm and our philosophies. As I mentioned before, our farm is a local, family owned, third generation, multi-species, grass based, responsible, beyond organic farm. In consecutive posts, I will break this down and explain the significance of each of these attributes. Today, I will talk about what it means to be local.
Local is, or should be, the life-blood of our economy and society. Small, local businesses are what drive our economy and provide a majority of the jobs in our country. Big, multi-national corporations can't begin to offer what the baker, farmer, or mechanic down the street can. They don't provide the personal relationship afforded by friends and neighbors. This is a key for our farm. Knowing our customers, as well as their needs is what drives our business. It keeps us responsibile and accountable.
Supporting your local businesses can be highly beneficial and rewarding. We make that effort every day. Keeping jobs and goodwill within your local area can only bring good to all!
Posted by Nathan