Farm Life

Winter Pastured Hogs

I just got back in from feeding hogs.  It's windy and 18 degrees outside.  It's supposed to get into the single digits with high wind tonight.  When it's cold like this we haul warm water to all the hogs and poultry.  (I guess it's not too big of a deal in Kansas but in Wisconsin we had to worry about dehydration in livestock during prolonged periods of bitter cold weather.  Old habits die hard.)  The warm water enables them to get a big drink of water without getting chilled or develope a huge brain freeze.  The cattle have insulated waterers so we don't worry too much about them.        

The hogs are still out in their 6 acre pasture paddock.  We made a U shaped line of round bales for the hogs to burrow into for warmth and protection from the wind.  Pigs are herd animals and like to sleep in groups.  20 big hogs can generate quite a bit of heat.  Hogs are also masters at composting.  They will pee in their nest of hay.  This sounds gross but the combination of moisture and organic matter will start up the composting process.  This generates a lot of additional heat in the pig nest.

Since the pasture is dead and brown right now, we'll feed the hogs alfalfa until things green up again.  This is fed in addition to a grain based hog feed and any extra/skimmed milk from the dairy.  

   

Cow Families

While venturing out to the mobile hen house this morning, I noticed a couple of different cow families hanging out together. 

 

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This is Red and two of her daughters. The white heifer is Red's 2013 calf and the larger heifer was her 2012 calf. Red is due to calve again in December  I'm hoping for another girl! Her older daughter will calve this spring. 

 

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These two heifers are sisters. I didn't get a picture, but I also have a mother/daughter pair that always enter the parlor together during milking. I love having a small enough milk herd to be able to see the different cow families. Of course I have my favorites! 

Winter Hay

Fall is here and we're transitioning the cows to their winter diet. During the winter we like to feed the cows all the prairie hay they want. We also supplement their diets with alfalfa and a little bit of ground milo. I'm happy to say that our alfalfa supplier has NOT jumped on the GMO band wagon. Alfalfa is a crucial component to producing lots of sweet milk when there is no fresh grass. During the grazing season we can eliminate feeding grain. In the winter a little bit of grain is necessary so the cows can maintain a healthy body weight. 

Fresh load of alfalfa. 

Fresh load of alfalfa. 

Lawn Mowing Delay

So I haven't mowed the lawn yet this spring.  It's entirely too long so I decided I needed to get the job done.  (In my defense, the young pullets in the chicken tractors are really enjoying eating all the long grass and weeds in the yard.)  I went out to the garage to get the mower and this is what I found!

Needless to say, I didn't get the lawn mowed.  I guess I'll wait a couple of days to see if the rest of her eggs hatch.        

It's alive!

Last fall I had a bit of an incidence.  I was putting out round bales with the big tractor.  I had just opened up the gate so I could drive the tractor into the pasture with a big hay bale.  Before I had a chance to scoot through, the cows had stampeded the gate and got into the yard.  The yard with all the baby fruit trees!  My poor apple tree didn't fair so well.  Before I could get out of the tractor, a cow had chomped on some branches and then commenced to rub on the tree until it snapped.  Before she was done with it, it was laying flat on the ground.  I had spent so much time and effort to make sure my apple trees were happy that I was heart broke that the cow had destroyed it.  When I investigated a bit further I could see that the tree wasn't 100% broke off.  There was still about 1/4 of the tree trunk that was still intact.  I thought there was a tiny chance I could save my tree so after I was done chasing cows back into the pasture and feeding hay I grabbed my roll of duct tape.  I jammed the tree trunk back together as best as I could and then duct taped around the wound.  Mark later drove a t-post and bungied the tree to it for further support.  I got online and googled my predicament.  Asked for advice on Facebook too.  After consulting and research I figured I handled my tree situation the best I could.  

Jump forward to this spring.  My tree never shriveled up last fall and it greened up beautifully this spring.  I recently took off the duct tape I had put on last fall and it's healed!  It's a bit rough looking and I'm sure I will have to continue to baby along this tree but at least I'm not buying a new one. 

 

Cheep, Cheep, Quack

All the poultry have gone broody!  We're having fun seeing what hatches and stuffing eggs under anyone who will set on them.  

A day ago, two hens and a turkey hatched a whole bunch of baby chicks.  The turkey hen had been laying her eggs in the egg boxes in the coop.  We kept on picking her eggs with the other chicken eggs.  I didn't think the turkey would go broody so I didn't keep her eggs.  When she did go broody I put a whole bunch of hen eggs under her.  She seems to be happy with her odd brood.       

I have four more hens setting on eggs.  They should be hatching around the first weekend in June.  I also have another turkey hen that I stuffed a bunch of hen eggs under.  I even found a peacock egg and put that under her as well!  This second turkey had hatched some turkey poults but since she was fighting over a nest with a little banty hen they goofed up the eggs and got a bad hatch.  Out of a big clutch of turkey eggs, five hatched. Three out of the five died from different reasons.  I grabbed the last two and put them in the brooder with the meat chicks.  The turkey hen still wanted to set on a nest so that is why I put the hen and peacock eggs under her.

A few weeks ago we went to our first swap meet.  We couldn't pass up these pretty little girls.  These are Indian Runner ducks.  They are an upright standing duck.  They have the special privilege of being lawn ornaments because they make us smile.

The dark spot in the middle of the plants.  Mamma duck is brooding a clutch of eggs!  Hopefully we'll get a good batch of baby Cayuga ducks.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What Comes Naturally

Since it is the slow season here on the farm I was having fun perusing the internet.  I came across this article on the use of gestation crates.  I would like know.  Who looked at a tiny metal cage and thought it would be a good idea to lock a pregnant pig in it?  Who thought that this pig would produce better and be healthier never seeing the light of day?  I would like to know, how did this person become so removed from what comes naturally?

Sometimes I get caught up in my own little world and forget what's going on about me.  This was just one of those things that jolted me back to reality.  Luckily it's not my reality!

 

Fall Newsletter

Another hello from Faye Farms.  Fall is in full swing here at the farm and I can't believe another summer has flown by.  The end of September marked our one year anniversary of going direct with all of our farm products.  We feel very blessed to be able to provide wholesome, healthy food to so many people.  We have grown a lot in the past year but feel our journey has just started.  Our list of projects and improvements is still quite long!

Farm Happenings
October 16th was the last day of Farmers Market for the season.  A day of mixed emotions.  I'm glad I'll have my Saturday mornings back but I will miss market and have already been making plans for next year.  Thanks to everybody for such a great season!  

We finally finished planting our north field to permanent pasture.  This was a huge accomplishment for the future of the farm.  We planted fescue and a mix of clovers with a cover crop of winter wheat and turnips.  The winter wheat and turnips will enable us to graze the cows on lush green pasture through part of the winter.

Milk News
Effective November 1st we will be raising the price of our milk to $4.00 per gallon.  If you were not aware, we do pay sales tax on everything that we sell.  To keep things simple in the sales room and at farmers market we just include the sales tax in our pricing.  On July 1st the state sales tax was raised by 1%.  Due to this and increased production costs we feel it's necessary to raise our milk price at this time.  
 
We milk our cows year round but I recently had to dry off a large portion of the milk herd.  All the girls get a 2-3 month vacation in preparation for their next calf. When a bull is in charge of the breeding sometimes all these pregnant mommas end up due around the same time.  Most days I have been able to meet every ones milk demands but if milk gets in short supply for the next 6-8 weeks you will know why.  We will soon have lots of calves to look forward to and the abundance of milk that comes along with it.  We thank you for your patience in the meantime.  

Meat News
We hauled a lovely group of hogs to the processor this morning.  By the end of the week our sales room will be fully stocked with pork products again.

We are currently sold out of ground beef.  I anticipate setting a butcher date for additional cows around the new year.  I will send out another news letter when we have a butcher date set.  I plan on running a pre-sale at that time.

We anticipate having a small number of turkeys available for Thanksgiving this year.  We will post pricing and a sign up sheet in our sales room in a couple of weeks.  The turkeys will be fully dressed ranging in size from 8-20 lbs.  All the turkeys that we are raising this year are heritage breed turkeys.  They do not have the typical broad breast that grocery store birds have.

Thanks!
Mark and Heather Faye  

    

Beef

I have been getting a lot of inquires about where to acquire different cuts of beef besides ground beef.  Our ground beef comes from dairy animals that no longer meet the needs of our dairy.  While our ground beef has excellent flavor and is extremely lean, which many of our customers love.  Cuts of beef from these same dairy animals just wouldn't be up to our standards.  We would love to eventually add a small beef herd to our business to further meet the needs of our customers but for now we need to stay focused on the dairy.  In the meantime, here are the links to a few local beef producers that I know of.  Many of these producers sell at local farmers markets so you can sample some of their beef before committing to larger quantities.  I hope this helps folks get their freezers full!

Janzen Family farms is located north of Wichita and is ran by Norm Oeding.  

http://www.janzenfamilyfarms.com/

Barry Barber runs Turkey Foot Ranch located in Winfield.  He just sent out an email saying that he is taking whole and half beef orders right now.

http://www.localharvest.org/turkey-foot-ranch-M3804

Julie Bachman has a beautiful ranch out by Augusta.  

http://www.jbranchkansasllc.com/

Kevin and Cherie run Schenker Family Farms out by McCune.  While this isn't as close by as the other producers I know they make regular deliveries to Wichita and they can also be found at the Old Town Farmers market on Saturdays.  

http://www.schenkerfarms.com/

 

 

June 18th Update

We've got some chicken stocked in the sales area freezers.  The roosters are butchering out to 5-6 pounds and the hens are around 4-5 lbs.  Chicken is $2.85/lb.  Today I'm also going to pick up some more pork.  We'll have chops and steaks back in stock.  We are also adding some new items.  We will have pork cutlets and unseasoned ground pork.  I'm excited about the cutlets.  They are a lean cut of meat that is perfect for grilling.    

Steam, Don't Boil

I learned a great cooking trick from one of my Udall neighbors recently.  Being born and raised on a farm I can't believe I had never heard of this trick.  For years I had been plagued with the problem of peeling FRESH hard boiled eggs.  It's impossible!  Here's the trick my neighbor told me- Steam fresh eggs, don't boil them.  Here's the reasoning behind it.  Store bought eggs always peel well because they are old.  Those eggs sit around for weeks before they ever hit a store shelf.  Those eggs have had a chance for moisture to evaporate out of them.  This pulls the membrane away from the shell of the egg making them easy to peel.  Fresh eggs have not had a chance for any moisture to evaporate out.  This is where steaming a fresh egg comes in.  When you steam a fresh egg moisture can leave the egg during the cooking process.  Boiling doesn't accomplish this because the egg is surrounded by water.    

This Summer's Farmer's Market Schedule

This year we are splitting our Saturdays between Old Town and Walnut Valley Markets.  We will be at each market every other Saturday.  Below shows where we will be throughout the season.     

Old Town Farmer’s Market-Wichita

Saturdays 7am-Noon

May 8, 15, 22, 29

June 12, 26

July 10, 24

August 7, 21

Septmeber 4, 18

October 2. 9, 16

 

Walnut Valley Farmer’s Market-Winfield

Saturdays 7:30am-Noon

June 5, 19

July 3, 17, 31

August 14, 28

September 11, 25

 

Central Park Farmer’s Market-Andover

May 12th-September 29th

Wednesdays 3:30- 6:30pm

We will be attending every Wednesday of the market season.  

 

*please note, due to state law, we cannot sell or deliver raw milk at the farmer’s markets.  Don't worry though, our sales area at the farm will still be open 7 days a week.   

 

 

Ssshhhh, Don't Tell Mark!

Mark's birthday is next week.  I wanted to get him something special that was made locally.  I contacted Mark Horst in Yoder, KS and he made me a custom handcrafted mug.  I just received it today and I absolutely LOVE it!  Mark H. did such a fantastic job I just had to share it with everybody.  Just don't tell my husband!  You can check out more of Mark H.'s work on his website or Etsy


 

 

 

 

Our March Newsletter

 

Even though winter doesn't seem to want to loosen it's grip we are thinking spring here at the farm.  I've been really excited about planning for the upcoming farmer's market season.  Mark is itching to get some sweet corn and watermelon planted.

 

Poultry

Our group of Rhode Island Red pullets are coming along nicely.  I'm hoping they will start laying eggs this month.  I've had a lot of people asking about chicken.  I plan on getting some meat bird chicks to raise up towards the end of this month.  I'm waiting for overnight temps to warm up so that I can raise the birds in our portable poultry pens. 


Pork/Pigs  
We are working hard on expanding our hog operation to meet the growing demand for our pork.  Our next batch of whole hogs will be ready sometime in June or July.  Then we will have another big batch for sale this fall. For those folks that prefer to buy pork by the cut we just stocked our sales area freezer with plenty of it.  This is what we are offering:


BREAKFAST SAUSAGE $4.00/LB 
Normally $4.50/lb.  We will have breakfast sausage on sale until April 1st.  Comes in one pound packages. 

PORK CHOPS $6.00/LB 
There are 2 chops per package and they are cut 1 inch thick.  Packages weigh approximately one pound each. 

PORK STEAKS $5.00/LB
2 per package.  Packages weigh approximately two pounds each.  

PORK ROAST $4.75/LB 
This includes shoulder, loin and fresh hams.  Roasts are around 3-4 lbs each.

FRESH SIDE PORK $6.00/LB 
Fresh side pork is uncured bacon.  

HOCKS/ORGANS $3.00/LB

Beef
We recently ran out of ground beef.  We have plans to have more made but we are waiting for the animal we have scheduled for this to put on a little more weight.  I"m hoping we can have more made within the next couple of months.  

Dairy
Raw milk sales continue to grow.  So far we have been doing a fairly good job making sure the milk fridge is well stocked.  We have only run out of milk a few times in the last 5 months.  This mostly happens after a stretch of bad weather.  When the weather turns from crumby to nice everybody decides it's a good day to come out to the farm.  I do ask that if you are planning on getting 6 or more gallons at once that you let me know a day ahead of time.  This helps me make sure everybody gets what they need.    

My family and I are big kefir drinkers.  Kefir is a cultured milk drink loaded with probiotics.  Would this be something that folks would be interested in buying here at the farm?  Let me know.    

Soap
I'm working on getting some new soaps listed on our site.  I have added some requests such as Lemongrass & Clary Sage and Clove soap.  I have also been having fun trying out some new scents.  Carnation, Jasmine, Amber Essence Nepal, Monkey Farts, Twilight Woods  and Wranglers.  I made up a couple batches of shaving soap filled with all sorts of lovely oils.  There is a batch made with a scent called Parsley Water and a batch scented with Black Vetyver Coffee.  For those folks that love my Sand Plum scented soap I have found anther supplier for this fragrance oil.  As time allows I will be making up more of this soap. 

Odds and Ends
If anybody is in need of boxes or packing peanuts I have plenty to share.  I keep some extra boxes in the sales area so feel free to grab one if you want.  Let me know if you need some packing peanuts.   

Thank You for supporting local!
The Faye Family 

Milking Time!

I've had many folks curious how my milking parlor works.  I took a little video of milking this morning to show how the parlor works.  Before I start milking I gather up all the cows and put them in a holding pen on the south side of the barn.  When they are done milking they exit on the northeast side of the barn and then they can go out to pasture.  

What Do I Do With All This Cream?

I've had many people ask me what they should do with all of the cream on their milk.  I've also had many inquiries about making butter.  

The first thing you can do is simply shake your jar of milk before each use to mix the cream back into the milk.  Because whole raw milk is not homogenized the cream rises to the top.  If you shake before use, all of that creamy goodness will be evenly distributed throughout the milk.  Your second option is to skim your milk.  After your milk has sat overnight in the refrigerator, take a soup ladle and slowly dip it just below the surface of the cream.  Keep doing this until you have all the cream ladled out.  I like to use straight cream in my coffee in the morning, to make butter, to make ice cream or use it in some decadent soup recipes.  Cream also freezes well so you can put it in the freezer to use on a later date.  When you defrost frozen cream, you may notice some separation but it will mix back together just fine.

I've had many people ask me about making butter so I put together this little video.  I've never made any sort of instructional video before so I hope people find this useful.    

  

Season's Greetings

Happy Holidays

Enjoy the Season


Season's Greetings and Happy Holidays from Faye Farm's!  We would like to thank all of our family, friends and patrons who have supported and encouraged us in 2009.  Your business and friendship mean a lot to Mark and I and we are looking forward to all that 2010 holds for us.  

One of the great things of living on a farm is that we can celebrate the joys of the season all year long!   At Faye Farms we do not seek to standardize our production to eliminate seasonal and artistic differences in colors, textures, or flavor.  Rather, we celebrate the differences!  The milk produced from dry hay in the winter will naturally differ in flavor, color and butterfat content from milk produced by grazing the lush green grasses of spring.  The hog harvested after grazing down green cornstalks will be different than the hog harvested following an autumn of gleaning windfall nuts, fruits and garden vegetables.  One batch of homemade soap may vary in color and fragrance from another, as every batch is an artist's creation.  

We hope that you will enjoy celebrating these, and many more, differences with us. Please know that we are working hard for you to produce healthy, natural products and will continue to grow to meet your needs in the coming years.

Have a safe and happy holiday season!
Mark and Heather Faye   

Chicks

We have added to the chicken flock!  I only have around 70 hens right now and that is hopelessly inadequate to supply all my customers with eggs.  To make matters worse my hens have just gone through a molt so there has really been an egg shortage at the farm.  So 6 weeks ago I had some Rhode Island Red chicks shipped to me through the mail.  I have never raised this breed before but I figured many of the hybrid laying hens come from RIR foundation stock so they must be really good birds.  So far the chicks are proving to be very hearty, fast growing little birds.  They are already almost all feathered out.  They soon will be outgrowing their brooder (a.k.a old stock tank) and will have to be moved to their own special room in the chicken coop.  I always take joy in watching little baby chicks. They have very comical antics.  From what I have read RIR's start laying when they are 5 months old.  So that would put the first eggs coming from this group sometime in March.  

I'm also seriously considering starting another batch of chicks once this group is moved out of the brooder.  It is much easier for me to raise chicks in the winter.  Every spring I try to hatch out as many of my own chicks as I can but it is always a challenge.  You see, the snakes come out in full force right about the same time that all my hens decide to go broody.  The snakes are very smart about their dining practices as well.  They leave a nest of eggs alone until they are just about to hatch.  It's very frustrating to check on a clutch of eggs, get excited because the chicks are peeping in the eggs, and then come back the next morning to find them all gone!  Right now all the snakes are hibernating so I don't have to worry about my chicks getting eaten.  

Another thing that I have figured out is that hybrid laying hens just don't work in our particular situation.  When we moved down here I bought a huge batch of chicks.  Half were Black Australorps and half were a hybrid called Golden Stars.  After a year and half I only have a handful of the Golden Stars left.  It seems like all the sense was bred out of them.  They were all picked off by predators.  The Black Australorps had sense enough to keep themselves safe.  So I will continue to try the different heritage breeds of chickens to find what works best on our farm and stick with those.  These birds take a bit longer to mature and may not lay as many eggs but a live bird will give me a lot more eggs than a dead bird.  Not to mention, the heritage breeds make for nice stewing birds when their egg laying careers are done.  

 

Xi Upsilon Craft Show

On November 21st I will be at the Xi Upsilon Craft show in Arkansas City.  It is in the Agri Business Building at 712 West Washington from 9:00-4:00.  Support local crafters and get your Christmas shopping done early.  I'll have lots of soap and gift baskets available.  Come try out some of my new scents!