Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Interesting Article on Industrial Chicken Operations

I found this OpEd article in the LA Times very interesting. This is certainly a view point that does not get a lot of air time on the nightly news. But, as time goes by, I believe industrial ag will be exposed more and more as the culprit behind many disease problems in both humans and animals; both wild and domestic.

The Price of Cheap Chicken is Bird Flu
By Wendy Orent, WENDY ORENT is the author of "Plague: The Mysterious Past and Terrifying Future of the World's Most Dangerous Disease."March 12, 2006

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Small Steps

When we first started this blog, I had an early post that discussed our plans for our family farm. I discussed then that we had a vision for our farm, but that it was nearly unobtainable at this stage in our life. So we broke our vision down into pieces and began to focus on the individual parts that make up the whole. We looked at which parts were highest priority, which were obtainable now and in the near future, and which were the most benefit to causing the whole vision to materialize. We decided that the two parts we would pursue were #1, eliminate debt from our life, and #2, provide as much of our sustenance as possible here on our farm.

It has been about 5 months since I posted that discussion. God has certainly blessed us in that time. We completed a couple of investment projects in that time that have eliminated considerable debt for us. Though we still have plenty remaining, that mountain is not nearly as high as before. Additionally, we have began to budget more strictly and track our financial condition more often. We have found that ignoring the bottom line of the checkbook is a recipe for disaster. It's much easier to spend when you "think" there may be more there than there really is. We are thankful for the opportunity that God provided with the investment homes, but also thankful that we aren't doing any more. Projects like those take a great deal of time away from our home, farm, and family. Once in a while that is fine, but living a lifestyle that way is no way to successfully raise and care for your family.

On to our second priority; providing more of our own food. Here too, we are making progress. We established a small stand of blueberry plants that I posted on earlier. We have a small plot of cold hardy vegetables in the ground in our new garden location. In this same area, we are currently establishing 4 new 4'x30' raised beds. Our goal is to eventually do all of our vegetable gardening in raised beds, with a few exceptions, such as corn, potatoes, and pumpkins. This morning we received our order of laying hens in the mail. My wife picked them up a the post office around 9am and they are being heavily cared for by my 9, 7, and 2 year olds. We've got them tucked away in a cozy little box in my shop because the temps here in East Tenn have decided to drop to freezing on the first day of spring. We've had hens pretty consistently for the last 5 years, but had recently removed them from the farm temporarily. I'm glad they are back. We will be increasing from 2 bee hives to 4 this coming week, as well as planting a variety of fruit trees. We will have more to say on that next week, when we decide what we are planting for sure.

Well, that's our update, more posts to soon follow as we hope to share our experiences and spiritual revelation with you more and more. Until next time....

God bless,

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Three Fold Cord

Three Fold Cord

Hey ya'll. I am the other third of our Three Fold Cord. My name is Julie, and my husband Michael had this great idea to become a blogging couple. Well, I have been a bit slow to join in on his fun, but decided today that I would give it a try. I have so enjoyed reading everyone's blogs that I decided I would add my 2 cents worth today. I am also trying to avoid going back upstairs to finish spring cleaning the living room!!! I even cleaned out the cat box to stall for a bit more time.

I do not mind cleaning, but today there just seems to be so many other things that I would rather be doing. I am itching to get outside so I decided to clean out the fire place to use the ashes around our blueberry bushes. We are making many plans here on our little farm. We will be ordering fruit trees in the next few weeks. Michael and I have been pouring over different varieties and trying to decide which would work best here. We are also getting ready to add some raised beds to our garden. Actually, we moved our garden this year. The garden area was at the edge of our property close to the road. It was fine until our youngest turned 2 yrs old this past Friday. We decided that we wouldn't get much accomplished if we spent our time chasing him, so we moved our garden to the back yard. We put up fencing over the last few months to keep the horses out and the dog in the yard. That was a very l-o-n-g project, but we finally finished. Our goal is to add raised beds over the next few years, and eventually we will add a gazebo in the middle of the area. We are planting fruit trees in the area as well. I envision a place that is lush and beautiful with trees and flowers and beautiful raised beds. We have a plan that will take several years, but at least we are starting. I have a problem with patience, and I know the Lord is using this life style to work this out in my life.

Well, I must get back to schooling our children as well as finishing that living room! Hope you all have a blessed day!

grace and peace,