Tag Archives: eggs

newbies

Aw, look who joined the farm last night! Eleven sweet little teenager hens and 1 little rooster man were brought home from friends in Cedar Springs to bring our flock back up to speed.  We were down to 11 hens- which is totally fine, but I find that our ladies really do best when there are 20-25 friends to hang with.

Plus, my girls are all on the down-side of laying. Hens only lay for 2 years… did you know that? They start laying at about 6 months and are finished laying at 2 years. They live to be about 7 (or so I’ve heard… ours don’t get much past the 4 year old range thanks to the foxed, raccoons, opossum, and hawks around here). All ours are 2 or older and still laying, but it’s time to add some young ones into the coop to overlap the cutbacks that are bound to happen soon. They would make perfectly fine chicken stock for soup after their laying days are over, but we don’t butcher our older girls.  They get to hang out here as long as they’re happy… or fast.

Gideon was less than impressed. But I’m excited. New animals on the farm are always exciting.

 

Alright.

I finally got all the details worked out for some new sweatshirts!

TEXASnorthSTAR

If you’d like to order, THESE are our 4 options! Super fun, right?  These are all adult unisex sizes and I’ll only be ordering what you ask for, so there won’t be any wiggle room.  The hooded sweatshirt is GILDAN brand and the crew-necks are ALTERNATIVE APPAREL brand, if you want to do some sizing research. Best to order up a size if you’re unsure of shrinking or in-between sizes. I have some plans for youth and kiddo sizes, but I’d like to see where we stand on this order first.

Some things to consider:

  • the logo will be printed on the front in white ink
  • these are all adult sizes
  • there is no XS in the green hooded sweatshirt
  • 2XL sweatshirts of any kind are $5 extra
  • shipping for each sweatshirt is $5 each

 

Clicking HERE will take you to a page that will allow you to order. I’ll respond with an email invoice that will include your total and double-check your order. Let me know if something’s funky. I’ll let you know in the next week if we’ve reached our 25 sweatshirt minimum.

Happy Monday, Folks!

We love you here at TexasNorth!

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longhorns and chickens

So, sometimes cows get out.  You know this.  Miss Bonnie is especially fast when the gate is open and incredibly agile for a, um, hefty woman. She can bob and weave with the best of them.

Fortunately, she is easy to get back IN the pasture… a little sweet talk, a little romp through the garden and she is good to go.  She just likes to make Curt work, is all.  She’s my favorite.

It’s been such a mild winter that the chickens have been roaming instead of penned up.  Usually, I pen them in a smaller yard when there’s snow on the ground because, and let me be perfectly honest here, they stay out in the snow until their feet freeze.  We’re not dealing with the top of the food chain here, folks.

Letting them out to roam 24-7 usually results in the girls picking new places to lay their eggs… they forget to go back in their nesting boxes in the coop and we begin finding eggs in buckets, under hay bales, and most recently in the planter next to my front door.

Talk about home delivery!  Thanks, Ladies!

Hey- we’re headed to Texas tonight.  In the van. All of us.  I am terrified.  Say a little prayer, won’tcha?  For safety and sanity and all things in between?  Thank you so much.  I’ll be here next week with a few postcards from the Mother Country.

Love to you all this weekend!


farmin’

Fall is here, my friends.  Pumpkins are ready, cornstalks are tied to the porch columns, and the Hayride date has been set (October 23).  I loooove Fall.  Love it. Love the leaves changing, love Thanksgiving, love the cool nights.

Fall is also the time when all the single ladies return from the longhorn dating pasture and take up residence on OUR farm again… which leads me to this little story:

The day my finger was re-shaped by our neighbor’s horse, a package showed up on our doorstep.  How?  I’m not sure.  I’m not sure how the UPS man managed to navigate our swamp mudhole of a road, but he does know we love our packages.  I’m sure he was swinging from his open door, that’s for sure.

I was still in shock from being bit, carrying Gideon the Chunk, and stopping to admire every. single. rock. along the path back to our house oh my GOSH RYLIE keep moving.  Rylie shifted gears when she saw the brown box on the porch.  Poor thing… thinkin’ PapPap had sent her more candy.  She went immediately to our silverware drawer and returned with the small paring knife I always grab when opening packages.  Nice.  I asked her to move slowly… last thing I needed was another person missing a finger around here.

We opened the box.  Rylie all-but crawled inside.  She emerged with both hands up in the air as if to say, “What is this?  No candy?”  I was equally confused.  The super-light box seemed to be stuffed with white paper and nothing more.  UNTIL.  I dug deeper (with my left hand) and found a funny little thing you plug in.  And then you wait a second.  And then you set it on some wood.  And then it catches fire (Seriously, is there NO END to the danger in my life?). And then you turn it off.  And you are left with this:

Our brand.  Our TexasNorth cattle brand came.  TX for Texas and the arrow pointing North(East) in the direction of Michigan.  This will be the first Fall we brand any of our cattle, as this is the first year the cattle born actually belong to US.  It’s kind of exciting.  I have never branded cattle before, and we won’t be doing it alone… our longhorn breeding friends are going to show us the ropes so that we don’t hurt any cattle or ourselves in the process.  Who’d of thought 5 years ago I’d be getting ready for a branding party?  Not me.  Of course, at one time I expected to be touring with the cast of Wicked as a chorus girl, so don’t go by me.

Take a moment to read this article this weekend.  I do very much believe in wholesome, organic, local, and happy food.  But, sometimes, labels are simply words.  You do not know anything about your food unless you know your farmer.   Be educated, Friends.

And, finally, I’m putting in a short order for some more TexasNorth ringer tees again at the beginning of the week ($14 or $19 with shipping).  If you missed out on Round 1 and want in, just let me know!


let’s talk chicken

So, some of you know that the other day I had a chicken walk into my house. My living room, to be exact. I asked him to leave. Yesterday, I had two walk through the front door as I was unloading groceries. Me thinks they’re getting a bit too comfortable around TexasNorth.

Having chickens for the past 2+ years has been an unexpected super-fun journey. They’re awesome. We certainly didn’t plan to have chickens, but they’re here to stay now.

Our chickens are free range. This, at TexasNorth, means they are cage-free and wander outside in the pasture from dawn until dusk. At dusk, they roost in the chicken coop and I shut their doors to protect them from things that go bump in the night. This also means, at TexasNorth, that the chickens have their beaks and un-clipped wings. It also means, at TexasNorth, that they are fed a mash supplement to assist with calcium levels (which is needed for the eggs’ shells). I’m not convinced this is necessary yet, but I’m also not convinced it’s not. For now, it’s available to them. It’s also fun for Rylie to throw at them, and that makes it worth it.

I say ‘at TexasNorth’ because not all free-range, organic, cage-free products are created equal. The hobby farmer is not the norm these days, though he is enjoying some awesome popularity again. With the decrease of family farming, bigger farms have taken up the production slack… often resulting in huge specialty farms. Pig farms. Or chicken farms. Or vegetable farms. Or onion farms. And with big farming often comes the inability to control everything the way they’d/we’d like it… because they have to keep the trucks rolling. It’s not their fault. It’s a combination of problems. Space, time, interest, money… they’re all problems. And every farm deals with them differently.

Many of you have a healthy understanding of where your food comes from and its contents. You care. You pay attention to studies and surveys. You enjoy baskets from your local farmer’s market. I love it. I just want to encourage you, above all else, to know your farmer. Honestly. That person behind the market stall is the most important thing you can know about your food. Labels like organic and fair and free are a suggestion of direction, not a guarantee of quality. Wait. Am I talking about polictics here? Hmmmm.

I’ll say right here and now that my possibly non-organic eggs are better than any supermarket’s of equal comparison. I love my chickens. I think they’re hilarious. I like them so much I’m willing to scoop out their stinky coop mulch every couple months to keep it smelling nice (and my flowers blooming lover-ly). I’d be willing to bet they’re happy here. They lay some seriously good, seriously neon-orange-yolked eggs. It will be the same with our cows and their meat. I have no idea, however, whether we will ever be certified organic. I don’t like filling out paperwork and it’s gonna be tough to pass that test with creosote fence posts.

It’s the relationship… the knowing who’s growing the food that’s feeding your family. Meet these people. Walk their farm. See what they’re like. Are they kind? Are they diligent? Are they passionate? Are they funny? Do they dress cute? It’s simply not enough to buy the label. Labels mean less and less these days. They’re a great place to start, but they can tell very little about a product and even less about the people behind it. Be (more) intentional about what you’re doing. what you’re buying. what you’re eating. There are so few things you can control in this world! This is one of them! Go for it.

Some links for you to find good farm friends (yell if you have more):

Just in case you need it, here are some reasons truly free-range eggs (as compared to supermarket eggs) are good for you:

• 1⁄3 less cholesterol
• 1⁄4 less saturated fat
• 2⁄3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
(from Mother Earth’s Chicken and Egg page)

And here’s everything else you’d ever want to know about an egg: egg facts.

And that’s enough (for today) about that.
I love you guys.