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In my last post, Where Do Eggs Come From?, I talked about how important we believe it is for kids (and adults) to know where their food comes from. To help with this education process, we are delighted to have folks come out and tour the farm. Gives us a great opportunity to show people around and share what we’re doing.
Unfortunately we know not everyone lives close enough to be able to stop by for a visit, but no worries. We’re still here to help. The author of a farm blog I follow, Righteous Bacon (gotta love that name), has written a book called The Cow in Patrick O’Shanahan’s Kitchen. The Kindle version is only $4.99 and would be a great way to help educate younger kids on where their food really comes from.
In addition to the book, another great resource to use with children comes from the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom folks. They’ve developed a curriculum, complete with lesson plans and activities, to go along with the book. Here’s a link to it. Definitely something that can used in the classroom, or by home school parents.
We hope these are some helpful ideas and remember…Eat fresh, eat local!
Almost from the beginning of our discussions about starting Hill Family Farm, Lynn and I talked about how neat it would be having kids and families out to visit the farm. Now a days too many kids (and adults) have no real idea where their food actually comes from.
Have to admit, up until a few years ago I didn’t give it much thought either. That changed when we got our first chickens a little over two years ago. I think most folks thought we were a little crazy to have chickens in the suburbs, but more often than not, they would be curious and start asking questions.
The question we heard the most was “do you have to have a rooster to get eggs?”. Of course the short answer is no, but you’d be amazed how many people don’t know that. I think one reason for this lack of biological knowledge is most of us are a couple generations removed from the farm.
Our parents and/or grandparents know the answer to this because they probably spent time around a farm growing up. Kids today don’t get that opportunity. Hamburgers come from McDonald’s and eggs come from Kroger. We want to play a small role in changing this perception.
So, kids are always welcome at Hill Family Farm! We enjoy showing them around and letting them meet chickens and pigs up close. It’s cool to see which ones are brave enough to hold a chick or touch a pig’s snout. Even just touching a chicken is a big step and something most kids around the country will never do.
If you live around Nashville, gives us a shout and bring the family out for a visit. I’m pretty sure you’re kids will be glad you did!
I don’t know about you, but we love eggs here on the farm. If you haven’t had farm fresh eggs, you are definitely missing out. There’s just no comparison with anything you can buy at your local grocery store. Healthier, creamier, richer, firmer…these are just some of the adjectives I can think of to describe a farm fresh egg.
In honor of the 2nd day of spring and the fact our “girls” are really getting into the swing of laying these wonderful eggs, I would like to share 9 deliciously different egg recipes I came across today on “Living the Country Life”.
Here at Hill Family Farm, we are big supporters of the “eat fresh, eat local” mantra. When you eat fresh, locally grown produce you’re not only getting healthy, great-tasting food, but you’re also helping support a local farmer and your local economy. Definitely a win/win!
To take the eat fresh, eat local concept a step further, have you considered growing some of your own vegetables? Don’t get me wrong, we definitely want you buying fresh chicken, eggs and produce from us! However, we also want to encourage you to give growing some of your own a go. It’s not that hard and it can be a great family activity.
An easy way to get into vegetable gardening is by using raised beds. Do you have a relatively flat area in your yard that gets at least 6 hours of direct sun? If so, then you can put in a raised bed and start growing tomatoes, squash, green beans or whatever vegetables are your family’s favorites.
Raised beds offer numerous advantages over traditional gardens. Here are just a few:
Building your own not your thing? No worries! A simple Google search of raised bed gardening will make your head spin with options. Want to avoid the shipping charges? Check out your neighborhood Lowe’s, Home Depot or Walmart. They all sell raised beds kits of various sizes/prices that you take out of the box and assemble in your yard. Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention you can buy 3’x6′ raised cedar beds from us. (If interested, just shoot me an email for more information.)
Once your beds are set up, the most critical step is selecting the soil to fill them with. Just filling them with bags of top soil is not the answer, as top soil has very little in the way of plant nutrients. It needs to be a combination of top soil, compost, manure, sand and organic matter. I’ve tried mixing this myself and have had so-so results. If you live in the Nashville area, I recommend you check out Holy Cow Garden Mix. I’ve used it in the past and it’s hard to beat. Open the bags, pour it in and start planting. It’s that easy!
Hopefully reading this post will be the gentle nudge you needed to start your own raised bed garden. Give it a shot and let us know how it goes!
Most days life on the farm is pretty routine. Head outside around dawn and spend 20-30 minutes opening up coops, fetching water and scooping out the feed. The chickens and pigs are always happy to see me and it’s fun to spend a little “quality” time with them. Of course, to them, I’m just the food guy, but I try not to let that bother me…
However, winter weather can play havoc on the farm and create days that are far from routine and definitely not fun. This has certainly been the case with this latest blast of winter. Don’t know about you, but I am so ready for spring!
I think what made this winter event worse was all the rain we got yesterday afternoon and last night. We had moved our meat birds back out to the chicken tractor earlier in the week and thought everything was ok. Boy, was I wrong! Went outside late yesterday afternoon to find the poor birds soaked to the bone and the ground under them a muddy mess. Of course, being meat birds, most of them were still eating!
My attempt to fix the problem was to hang a couple more tarps, place 2 pallets on the muddy ground with boards set on top (to get them up off the ground) and hang a heat lamp. Did I mention it was pouring down rain while I was doing all this? Anyway, thought I had fixed the problem and everything would be ok. Wrong! Again!
They were still soaking wet and not really getting the idea behind all that I had done for them. Go figure… Anyway, while I was stressing over what to do next, Lynn went out and moved them all into the garage where they spent a warm, dry night. Have to admit, had she not done that, we probably would have been short a few birds this morning. Of course last night all I was thinking about was how big a mess 36, 4-5 pound pooping machines were going to make in the garage. I know, not very caring of me, right? Anyway, thanks to my better half, all survived the night.
This morning we woke to the scene above. All the ice made for it’s own challenges. Had to get hot water just to be able to open gates and get to the chickens in their coop. Once I could get to them, had to change out all their waterers as they were frozen (this is something that has to be done throughout the day when temps are this cold). My normal 20-30 minute routine took about 90 minutes as we also had to move those “pain in the rear” meat birds out of the garage. They’re sharing a covered, outdoor coop with 37 other chicks who were none to happy about sharing their space. Oh well, they’ll get over it.
All in all, just another day in the life of a small farm. Not necessarily fun while in the moment, but it’s a life we’re happily embracing. Stay warm and dry, our animals are!
PS – Forgot to mention the pigs. They don’t seem to care about the weather. Just as long as they get fed!