Family Friendly Farm

The Farm

We just love our farm and want to share it with all of you. Many customers want to feel connected to us and the farm. Sometimes, a tour isn’t practical but if you are a customer we strongly encourage it. Until then here are some articles sharing our practices and philosophies. Please be patient as we will be continually adding to these pages. To have them sent to your inbox, sign up for our newsletter.

If you are a day-dreaming farmer, then you will appreciate these pages too.

[lg_slideshow folder=”The Farm/”]

 

The Farmer

Matthew carrying egg basket.

Matt spend his whole life dreaming of farming. As a youngster he would make tracks in the carpet as he planted his “fields” with his John Deere tractor. However, as he entered school he received the pat response “you don’t want to farm; your smart”. It seems there is an...Read More »


 

The Animals

Our Hens

We receive the pullets when they are just one day old. For two and a half weeks they are on a deep wood shaving bedding in the brooders. We then open up the house and the pullets get to go out on pasture. The pullets circle around the house on different paddocks. Before the pullets start laying we move them to their Eggmobile.

Hens walking on the hoop house.

The Eggmobiles are moved every two weeks to a new paddock in the pasture. In the winter we have to move them off the grass so they don’t ruin it for next year. For winter we put them in a special paddock that is covered in wood chips. The wood chips capture the manure allowing for a perfect start for compost next year. Drive by if you get a chance as the winter paddock is right next to the highway. We collect eggs and quickly process them to maintain the quality.

Barbara Gorski tested laying hens in cages versus raised on pasture. Her findings are not surprising less fat, less cholesterol, more vitamin A, and more omega-3 fatty acids. The yolks are a wonderful orange color indicating the vitamin content. You can read more about her experiments in Jo Robinson’s book Pasture Perfect.

Laying hens are very curious creatures. The will often come right up to you to get a better look. Many of our hens are friendly allowing you to hold them.

Each year we watch in amazement as the weeds decrease and the soil fertility increases. We have focused on putting the chickens on the “problem spots” and watched them over the years turn to our “most productive” places. We think that is awesome!

Come by and see the remarkable green grass!

Our Broilers

As many of you know we raise our chickens on pasture, here are a few details…

We receive the chicks when they are 24 hours old. They need to be kept warm so we have special brooders. The chicks are moved to pasture at two and half weeks old. After that their shelter is moved every day to a fresh spot in the paddock.

Hungry broiler, scouting for some dinner.

Many customers enjoy watching the pens as they move up and down the hills as the summer months go by. This continuous rotation allows the grass a chance to rest after the heavy manure application from the broilers–the benefits of which can be clearly seen a month after they have moved by the lush green grass growing there!

The vitamins in the grass allow for a healthier chicken which does not require antibiotics to survive. A study by Barbara Gorski showed that when compared to confinement chickens, broilers raised on pasture had less fat, fewer calories, more vitamin A, more omega-3s.

Legally, in Missouri, we are able to process chicken on the farm and sell it. This gives a major benefit to the chicken and the consumer. The chickens are handled carefully to minimize stress. Our processing is done to maximize cleanliness (in a way large processors can’t), leaving our chicken “squeaky clean”. Unlike industry, our chickens don’t need a bleach bath.
We continue to expand the number we raise each year but are having trouble keeping enough in the freezers. We encourage you to consider the amount your family will use and reserve it. This allows us to do a better job estimating the number we need to raise.

Broilers are not curious as laying hens are–they are far to practical for that. Their lifespan is short and they focus on eating whether it is grass, bugs, or feed.

 

Our Cows

We are beginning our fourth year of milking and have learned a great deal! A big thank you to all as we work out the details so we can provide the highest vitamin milk and cream possible. Please bear with us as we continue to learn.

The key to quality milk is in the grass. Our goal is to raise the most nutrient dense grass so the cattle ingest the maximum vitamins and minerals with each bite enabling them to pass this on to their milk and meat. We use a technique called Management Intensive Grazing (MIG). The philosophy is that you allow the cattle to graze a small paddock, just enough for one day. Then move them to a new paddock the next day with just enough grass for that day locking them out of the previous days paddock.

This gives the grass a chance to rest and spreads out the manure fertilizing the fields further enhancing the quality of the soil and grass. We make every effort to move the cattle frequently, up to three times a day in the summer. In the winter, we have a “sacrifice” paddock with wood chip bedding to capture the manure during heavy rains. We buy the best alfalfa hay in southeast Missouri for the wintertime.

Keeping the milk clean is one of our utmost concerns. We use a portable milking machine to keep the quality of the milk high. We quickly bottle and chill it to maximize the ‘shelf life’. Customers report to us their milk is fresh three weeks after it was milked!

We invite you to try a jar. Grassfed, unhomogenized, unpasteurized milk with the cream on top in a glass jar! What better food is there?

The following is a partial list of the beneficial “Safety Systems” built into unpasteurized milk to help your body:
B-lymphocytes (kill foreign bacteria; call in other parts of the immune system), T- Lymphocytes (multiply if bad bacteria are present; produce immune strengthening compounds), Macrophages (engulf foreign proteins and bacteria), Neutrophils (kill infected cells; mobilize other parts of the immune system), IgA/IgG Antibodies (bind to foreign microbes and prevent them from migrating outside the gut; initiate immune response), Bifidus Factor (promotes growth of Lactobacillium bifidus, a helpful bacteria in gut, which helps crowd out dangerous germs), Medium Chain Fatty Acids (disrupt cell walls of bad bacteria), Mucins (adhere to bacteria and viruses, preventing those organisms from causing disease).
Source: Scientific American, Dec. 1995 and Lancet, Nov. 17, 1984.

Our beautiful 100% grassfed Jersey herd provides rich, creamy milk. We milk only once a day and do not feed grain in the parlor. This practice allows for maximum nutrients in the milk!

Alisha

Beautiful Alisha at sunset. Dudley, our bull, chewing his cud in the background.

 

Blog Articles

Trials, Blessings & Farm Update 5/21/15

Have you ever read the book of Job in the Bible? He suffered greatly with one trial, then another, then another, then another, then… you get the drift. It was the devil’s attempt to get him to turn his heart from and blame God for all his problems. It...Read More »


Prayers needed & Farm Update 5/19/15

From time to time a cow will put too much calcium into her milk and not have enough leftover for herself. We all need calcium for our muscles to contact and release properly; so the momma became paralyzed and couldn’t get up. It is called Milk Fever. A simple...Read More »


Laying hens on pasture

Laying hens on pasture at Family Friendly Farm

Look at these happy hens!

Our laying hens can not be on the pasture in the winter. They would tear up the grass and roots when it is so wet and soggy. You can see it’s still a bit bare...Read More »


Missouri's Constitutional Amendment #1

by Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund

Vote NO and Protect Missouri’s Family Farms

Links to More Details
 

Milk Supplies are UP!!

Finally, milk supplies are high enough again everyone should be able to get what they want!

We are able to buy two cows and two of our cows had calves so milk is plentiful right now. Pray the rain keeps coming so the grass stays high quality.

Thank you all for your...Read More »


The Courage of Farmers

Matthew carrying egg basket.

Last night, I endeavored to do chores with my husband Matt. We filled buckets of feed, fed chickens, collected eggs, etc. We had a good time catching up and problem solving. As we were leaving I realized I hadn’t spent time with my first pup, Daisy. She isn’t a pup...Read More »


Milk Supply and Ideas

Hello dear farm friends,

As many of you know we have been short of milk lately We have been looking at the different options and settled on what we feel will work best for everyone.

We searched high and low for cows that will work on our system. Sad part is,...Read More »


Half Hogs Coming Soon

It is time. The hogs are ready plump and ready. They go to the butcher shop on Tuesday! 

For those of you who enjoy choosing your own cuts, deciding on the thickness of your pork steak or bacon we have just the thing for you. A half hog is just exactly...Read More »


Pasture of Puddles


E.E. Cummings wrote, “The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful.”

This is not a universal opinion in southeast Missouri at this time. I think many are tired of the rain, the wet, the slop.

Some of the animals are suffering from a lack of dry places to go....Read More »


Kittens are so sweet

Last year, our kittens were afraid of us all the time. They didn’t start to like us until they were nearly adults.

This year, the kittens want to be near the house all the time, they are friendly with everyone. What a delight!

...Read More »

Thank you for your support

Last week, we sent out a sale notice explaining our tight finances. We figured by discounting the cost you could buy more (good for you) and help clear out our freezers raising money (good for us). A win-win situation if ever there was one.

We were touched by how many...Read More »


Egg-stra Special Discounts & Deals for the Thrifty & Kindhearted

As many of you are aware our egg supply is nearly non-existent. In our ten years we have not experienced a winter so early or so severe. We were not prepared. The early winter caused 85% to molt at the same time. Usually we have some molting here and there...Read More »


Farm hodgepodge update


The aquaponic garden had some setbacks but we are rolling again. Our family has been eating salads all week. Very good stuff. We have seven varieties of lettuce to compare and we like them all.

Not too late to order turkey for pick up in STL. More...Read More »


How much is 1" of rain?

Wow we’ve need rain and now we are getting it!

So far from Tuesday to Thursday at noon we have gotten over 4″ (with more to come)!

So Matt mentions how much rain it is! Our son, Darrell comments that isn’t a lot. So homeschooling dad that he is, he decides...Read More »


Puppies are Coming

The Puppies Are Coming!!!!

Yes, we expect to have puppies early December. They won’t be ready in time to go home for Christmas but should be ready to play with!

They should be ready for their forever home around Valentines day! Just perfect timing.

Very exciting.

I haven’t even told anyone yet and...Read More »


FDA at it again - Action required

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is up to their old tricks.  They have the mistaken notion that keeping wild birds and mice away from chickens will stop the transfer of Salmonela to eggs. Did I just hear your jaw drop?

Read more about it. The proposed guidance is...Read More »


It is still an "I" year for names

This week we had to chose names for the calves. The hardest one was located at another farm. We always try to use personality traits or characteristics when naming see the Name Game.

Since we hadn’t met her yet it was hard to imagine what we could name her....Read More »


Duckweed Production

I love learning! It really is a driving force for me. Ooo! Something new. I have always been eager to jump in and try it myself. So I learned how to drive tractor and butcher chicken with gusto. Manual shift car, a necessity. College education – just another challenge....Read More »


Newest Adventure on the Farm

If you are new to our farm family you may not realize how adventurous, challenging, stimulating it can be to have a farm. Though we do the routine things day after day there is also variety. We are never bored! Add in a sense of drive, independence, curiosity and viola!...Read More »


Chicken supplies

Fresh chicken is still plentiful throughout the summer. Then fall arrives and it’s mostly sold out. Get your chicken in the freezer while you can.

...Read More »

Milk Supplies Are On The Rise

20130225-221436.jpg

We had a long awaited calf this last week so we are pleased to announce milk supplies are going up.

I’m going there will be enough to separate cream. It’s ice cream season here. Also, when the cows are grazing sorghum sudan grass it is very sweet – makes the...Read More »


Sad days - Chicken Processing Dates to be Moved.

Three week old chick checking out the camera.

In the recent storms over the last weekend we lost nearly half of the chickens for the first round of chicken processing. The 60 mph winds blew the small hoop houses around and just ran over the little chickens. It was a sad day to find that on the farm....Read More »


Movies at the Farm?

Since our new store will have so much space we are considering having movie night at the farm. Maybe after the store on Tuesday or Saturday evenings? Would any of you want to hang out here, have some popcorn or maybe even a potluck while...Read More »


It's a wonderful life!

During a recent conversation it was mentioned how other people kids love coming to the farm; some don’t want to even leave! In contrast, our son thinks we have a boring life. Here is a list of things we do, not everyday of course but throughout the year.

What is farm...Read More »


Puppy Aptitude Testing Day

Today is the day we learn a bit more definitively what homes the puppies will be most suited for. I have my suspicions as I have been watching and interacting with them for weeks.

We test for many personality traits to allow us insight so we can place the dogs in...Read More »


Puppies, Puppies and Kittens--Oh, my!

When it rains it pours! We have had two litters of puppies and now a little bundle of kittens. Oh, how I love birth and young life!

Puppies

Smiling Great Pyrenees Puppy

Just two months ago we had a litter if puppies from our dog Tundra....Read More »


Who gets whom

We did the Puppy Aptitude Testing this week. All went well. We will be selecting just the right dogs for each companion, family and farm.

I will call each in turn to make arrangements.

...Read More »

How to be Alpha for your Great Pyrenees

Each pack has a leader, the Alpha. Being the Alpha is more of an attitude than anything else. You need to establish yourself as the top of the pack. The hierarchy of a pack is similar to the life of ROYALTY.

Consider yourself the KING (male Alpha).

Kings are often married, they...Read More »


The Name Game 2013

We are expecting a calf soon. Seeing that the new year is quickly approaching we need to get a new list of names started. We will keep adding to it all year long as new ideas pop in our heads.

It is so much fun naming the animals that are born...Read More »


The Name Game 2013

We are expecting a calf soon. Seeing that the new year is quickly approaching we need to get a new list of names started. We will keep adding to it all year long as new ideas pop in our heads.

It is so much fun naming the animals that are born...Read More »


Training your Great Pyrenees Puppy

So many things to cover, I will get to as many as I can. This is not a comprehensive manual rather a  few of my thoughts and observations. Please know I am not an expert and there are so very many more qualified people than I am on this topic....Read More »


FAQ about Great Pyrenees Puppies/Dogs

Can I get the gender I prefer?

Sometimes. We feel the most important thing to pet owner happiness is to match the puppy’s personalities with family/farm needs.

We use a three step process to match puppies with owners.

  1. We first test each puppy using a Puppy Aptitude Test. This helps us know more...Read More »

What Kind of Dog Owner are You?

As I meet all the people interested in one of our puppies I seem to be categorizing them based on what they are wanting out of a dog. Some want a companion while others a guard dog. Here are the groupings I have so far.

If you are considering...Read More »


Pups see the world

Wanting to mimic nature, we have made a cozy den for Tundra to raise the pups. Inside it is rather warm and dark so the pups get to adjust to their surroundings more naturally. Up until now they have only been concerned with sleeping and nursing. So it was exciting...Read More »


Puppies Arrive

Just one day before Thanksgiving our puppies arrived. Tundra and Flash are the proud parents of four boys and four girls. All healthy and doing well. All of them have the badger markings. Some of them have spots on their rumps. All are adorable.

Planting For The Future - An Orchard

I am having a nagging feeling that just won’t leave me alone. I’m sure you know the kind. It just keeps popping into your head making you feel guilty. I am wanting to make a difference with our food choices. I feel like I’m not doing enough and should be...Read More »


Happy birthday, Happy!

Look who showed up for my birthday! A heifer calf. How is that for a present?

Choosing a name is always one of the best things. Sometimes we spend weeks to find just the right one. But, naming this heifer was a piece of cake, Happy. For Happy Birthday, of course....Read More »


2012 Puppies!

The puppies are coming! The puppies are coming!

Oh, so exciting. It really is one of the highlights of our style of farming. With so many tasty, pasture-raised chickens in the field (near all those coyotes, opossums, racoons, owls, rats, and such) we need a livestock guardian dog or two. Although...Read More »


Wildlife on the Farm

 

 

...Read More »

A Beautiful Place

We love our farm and are thrilled to share it with you. Here are some photos taken over time so show some of the variety we get to see each day. Enjoy!

 

 

Dudley on grass looking at the camera.

Milk volume is down. Everything that we do revolves around grass. We go through the extra work to produce 100% grassfed milk because of the many health benefits. If we...Read More »


Adding to the Flock

Laying hens in eggmobile.

Each year we try to guess/estimate/forecast how many hens we will be needing.

It takes 5-6 months for a hen to be laying regularly so we really are just trying to predict the future of how many new customers...Read More »


Such a beautiful day!

With weather like this you just want to be outside! A cloudy day in the 70s. After the heatwave summer this is such a welcome relief. Matt is out planting for fall grazing.

Matthew sitting and relaxing.

...Read More »

Chickens Week Three

The chicks are now three weeks old. They are so cute as they scamper about. They know where to go to find food and water. They are curious explorers. Now, they are ready for their next adventure.

This week they move out to pasture where we have movable houses waiting for...Read More »


Chickens Week Two

The are now two weeks old. They are moved to outdoor “rooms” with Ohio brooders. The “rooms” are in a hoophouse so there is a fair amount of air movements and temperature fluxuation. The Ohio Brooder is a box with light bulbs for heat. The box is up on legs...Read More »


Chickens Week One

Oh, we all just love when the chicks arrive! They are so sweet and adorably cute! It just brings out the motherly instinct in me.

You see, they arrive by mail in a box. Since they have no mother, they need some guidance. We give them their first drinks of water...Read More »


The Farmer

Matthew carrying egg basket.

Matt spend his whole life dreaming of farming. As a youngster he would make tracks in the carpet as he planted his “fields” with his John Deere tractor. However, as he entered school he received the pat response “you don’t want to farm; your smart”. It seems there is an...Read More »


Family Friendly Farm Brings Nutrition Back to Soil

I would love to give each person a personal tour but our time is so limited these days. Its always fun to be in the news and blogs count these days. So I will be sending you to check out what Amity Downing wrote in her blog titled Family...Read More »


Farms and Droughts

I am thinking this week about farming and droughts. The Dust Bowl that we have all heard about seems to becoming our reality. So I went to studying it. Here is what Wikipedia had to say about it:

The Dust Bowl, or the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe Read More »


Chicken Processing Class

We recently gave a class teaching future farmers and homesteaders how to process chicken organized by the Southern Illinois Farmers Network. What a joy to share the skills so people can be more independent.

Maybe someday I’ll get some videos up. Until then I encourage you to seek the...Read More »


The Meatrix

The Meatrix

The Meatrix

Watch the movie that started it all! The Meatrix spoofs The Matrix films and highlights the problems with factory farming. Join our heroes Moopehus, Leo, and Chickity as they help save family farms!

Winner of the 2005 Webby Award and viewed by over 15 million people, The...Read More »


The Name Game 2012

Sunshine had a heifer (girl) calf today! Now we get to play the Name Game.

Every year we get to name the calves, cows, dogs, etc that join the farm. This is one of our favorite things to do. We always consider many attributes to properly choose the names. You can...Read More »


2 Responses to The Farm

  1. Susan Stanze says:

    I’m having a difficult time navigating your site as you already know by how much help I needed getting my order processed! I’m trying to find when the chicken processing days are in the fall. If you need help, Art was going to see if he was available. If you can help that would be great. AND, we made butter this weekend. Very fun! Susan
    sastanze@gmail.com

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The farm, the food and the myriad of connections to health.