Monday, May 7, 2012

More Than One Way.......

 To Skin A Cat....
 No I am not actually skinning a cat... Promise!Lol..  Okay bad joke(sorry serious cat lovers just a hillbilly term of more than one way to do things)..
What I am talking about is farming in general.. There are several ways to farm.. Big, Little and all the in between sizes... There are some definite wrongs in my opinion..
 1.Confinement factory style is not what I would call farming but it comes under the umbrella of Agriculture.
 2.The drenching of crops in pesticides and chemical fertilizers to help them survive long enough to produce..
 3. Genetically Modified anything...
But after that there are MANY ways to successfully and sustainably farm...Whether you are raising animals, crops,fruits, veggies or all of the above.. People who think their way is the only way are arrogant and narrow minded. Of course being overly optimistic and thinking you can feed 1000 people off of a few acres may not be the most common sense based thought.
 Take our farm as an example. We are not self sustainable.. Very few people I believe are completely Self sustainable.. But we provide a good amount of our food. We are on less than 5 acres. We can do a lot of things on this small area. Thanks to rotational grazing/managed intensive grazing.. That's one thing I liked about Joel Salatin he was Very encouraging to Everyone interested in farming..
 The rules change the bigger or smaller your acreage is..  Here we cant raise cows or pigs from birth.. Simply because they are large animals and to raise the Boar/Sows or Cows/Bulls take a lot of room.. BUT I can buy a couple of weaned piglets at about 8 weeks old and raise them for a few months. We of course are still working on this and working out the kinks Bar & BQ are showing us in my plan..  They learned they liked grass and whey or milk soaked wheat mids and oats. Gaining well I think too.
 We could also raise a bottle calf to butcher.. It could eat some of the grasses the goats don't care for.. I haven't put this plan into work yet.. But I do have the goat's milk when it happens..  Rabbits and poultry take little space to raise naturally.. We are working on feeding the rabbits more naturally because most of the pellets are now soy based.. Soy usually means GMO and We are trying our very best to avoid that all together.. Besides rabbits don't do as well on soy.. The pellets we had used to be Timothy hay based.. The company changed it with out any notification...
  I do buy grains for the goats. I use no corn for them or any of the other animals we raise.. Except some we raise ourselves which is mostly the stalk they get later in the fall after we pick ours. Their grain is oat based with wheat mids, barley and a little GMO-free Soy drizzled with Sunflower oil. The milkers get the bulk of it. After they have their fill while milking I put the rest out for babies and non-milking does. They also get a little at night.
  I also like friendly animals! Even if we are eventually going to process them.. If I have to chase an animal to far or wrestle  it for some reason its no fun.. If they are difficult to load up its aggravating. If they are threat to you, your family or visitors to me they have no place on the farm.. But that goes back to the size of the place and the set up..
 Thanks to the internet you can find examples of the many many ways to set up a farm successfully... I like to recycle as much as I can and use already existing things to make something new.. My husband would tell me my Hippy side is showing!Lol I tell him its my Frugal side! I also like to approach things as naturally as possible. But I also believe that Antibiotics and some chemicals have a place to be used. Its the Overuse  of these that has put conventional farming in the bind its in that and mono-cropping .
 Giving an antibiotic because You MIGHT get something is like putting a band-aid on because you May cut yourself.. I give antibiotics if the natural alternatives are not working or not working quick enough. I have very few animals and cant afford to lose the ones I have.
 For example I have 5 milking does.. If one dies from something that drops my milk supply for the year and I may not be able to feed whatever else I may be using Goat's milk to feed and not put up cheese for my family. Not to mention the milk we drink or use for cooking.  So if I can use an herb to help them heal GREAT.. If I have to give a little antibiotic to make them better Its not my first choice but the alternative is not good either...... Same for using chemical wormers.. IF I have to I will use them.. Trying to figure out herbal worming though is a little like banging your head on the wall.. Especially for a DIYer like me... but I am getting there.
  Different things work for different people. God did not create us all the same.. We don't think the same or work the same.. There are definite rights and wrongs. We are to take care of this earth and everything it contains. Society in general is Far from that now but some are still aware of it.. We are to be good husbandmen to this earth, the animals,the plants and each other.. Meaning we should take care of it..
 In talking to people who don't have any connection to farming or even a garden you would be surprised (well some of you may be) at how disconnected people are from where their food comes from. I know that is part of the issues that face us now. People have no clue where milk  and meat come from, or veggies or fruit! We live in a small rural area surrounded by farms.. And even here some people have no idea what it takes to grow your food.. Bakerscreek May Festival happened this weekend and a local person said she was surprised so many people are into that "stuff"... You know gardens and all that.. WHAT?...Okay I was a little shocked when I had this conversation. Which by the way from the rumors its been a record year for Bakerscreek festival...
 Sooo instead of criticism we need education and encouragement..
Instead of My way or the Highway, we need how can we figure this out for the best of everyone and everything involved.
 Instead of you are wrong and I am right, how about does this work for you like it works for me?
 Instead of Nope that wont work.. Ask questions and see how you can help a person make things better, you just may learn something..
 When I see other farms I don't automatically say well you are doing it wrong because you don't do it like me! lol Sooooo now that I have typed all this out.. I really have no idea where it all came from.. If you are looking at farming or just starting up I encourage you to read, research & visit then read some more and jump into it!! Life is learning from trial and error and so is farming. To me its so very rewarding and challenging all at the same time.. There have been tough times which if you have read my blog for very long you know I have had some terrible losses.. But at the end of the day I know God has us here for a reason.. His perfect will in our life is the most important thing....
Proverbs 27:23-27 - 
"Be you diligent to know the state of your flocks, and look well to your herds. 
 For riches are not for ever: and does the crown endure to every generation?  
The hay appears, and the tender grass shows itself, and herbs of the mountains are gathered.  
The lambs are for your clothing, and the goats are the price of the field. 
 And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance for your maidens." 


small farm girl said...

Great post!!!! I couldnt agree with you more! Oh by the way, we use the " cat" term too. Lol

Queenacres said...

We've raised our meat rabbits on left over feed from the goats for over a year. Plus since their pen is near the garden I toss them whatever weeds I pull and any garden scraps I pick up. They have done really well, and there's no mystery food since I mix the goat's feed myself.

Becky said...

Love love LOVE everything about this post!!

OurCrazyFarm said...

HAHA! Had to laugh at the "sustainable farmer" part! A craigslister was at farm the other day to buy some chickens, and after looking around asked if we were striving to be a self sustaining farm~ I told her we were probably going backwards rather than forwards after tallying all the feedbills:)) But I guess you get what you pay for, and at this point we are able to provide our own meat and veggies, as well as eggs, milk, and soon fruit.

Good post Tonia! And like always, I appreciated the verses.

Julia said...

I think the esssence of any sustainable existance is to work wiothin your means, explore your options and make choices that are in your families best interest...a little like home-schooling.

For example: I don't have 5 acres...I live smack-bang in the middle of town. But should that mean I eat only supermarket-supplied food? No, I have a's it doesn't feed us exclusively...but I grow what I can and use what's seasonally available. I'm a vegetarian so I don't eat my animals (we have bunnies and guinea pigs)..they are my mini-mulcers, my waste-disposal composters :0) I'd love to grow my own grains and legumes but because haven't got room for them I do what I can, purchase what I need, to grind and make or bake, etc etc etc..I guess, that is my way of being "sustainable"

Brenda said...

Great post, Tonia! Very well said. And, I appreciate the scripture too. :D