Category Archives: News, etc.

Bacon update

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So the bacon continues to do well. This isn’t even all of it. Some is behind me in the cooler. The salt is pulling out more and more moisture, which I drain off every day. I resalted part of the bacon Monday evening with the pink salt mix and plan on hitting it again with just regular kosher salt. I was worried with this blast of fall heat we are having that it would be too warm to smoke the bacon but it looks like we will be fine as there are some days where the lows are in the 40s next week! Winter time, here we come!

So the cure will be in place till about Tuesday, then we will wash and dry the bacon with water and just plain paper towels. Then back into the cooler for the night and into the smoker in the morning early. After a couple of hours of smoke, it’ll be back in the cooler then off to work, after some breakfast bacon, of course.

Grazing update

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Yesterday’s paddock on the right, todays on the left.

Today we had another cool start to the day, 54 degrees and sunny. The temps are to climb a bit this week but I am keeping the wood boiler going anyway since SWMBO likes having unlimited hot water. It means when its time to go to church the girls can fill the tub and Spork and I can both get showers and SWMBO can still take her normal scalding hot shower. I think I will have to do a post on the boiler to show how that works. I will put that on the list.

Back to cows. Everybody was up and ready this morning for fresh grass. They continue to graze well and the inmates have the paddocks sized very well for our current conditions. We added another bag of phosphorous to the mineral feeder as the cows continue to chow it down 10 to 1 over all the other minerals. I need to go back and look at my soil test results and see if the results can explain why I am so short on Phosphorous. Something else to add to the list. In case you are wondering, yes the list is long and no it’s never done.

Visitors

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Yesterday we had a visit from two very nice young ladies who are interested in our food system. Daniella Uslan of dinnovatesfood.tumblr.com and Beth Hopping from the doctorate program at UNC Chapel Hill came by to visit. They were interested in all things farming but specifically in how to take food waste from our farmers and turn it into something valuable. I showed them our farm and how we use the product we get from the farmers market to feed our cows and pigs. They were able to hand feed the cows, especially Benjamin and Spunky who are always at the front of the line.

We ended the day with a visit to our neighbors where we opened a bottle of vino and debated and discussed the state of the food system, business models, and life in general. Except for the fact that I missed dinner, it was a good visit.

While visiting with Daniella and Beth we discussed our pasture management process and how we are building soil. I know it seems strange that I haven’t done this lately but I haven’t actually dug any soil test holes in many months. While discussing our soil I dug a small hole with my finger and what do you know, about 1/2″ of loose organic material and about 3/4″ of good looking topsoil. This compares the the 1/8″ of topsoil we had in April. I was really encouraged. I need to dig some holes in other places but it looks like what we are doing is working and working well.

Global warming

Global warming is a hoax
Temperature chart of the earth, from Precambrian time to current. Current is on the right.

In my years I have gone from rotary phones to the iPhone. From smoking is good for you to smoking is bad. That eggs are full of cholesterol and will kill you to eggs are healthy. All I know at this point in my life is that the more sure the general consensus is of something, the more sure I am it is going to be changed in the future.

I don’t weigh in on global warming. I just have a healthy skepticism. While on the plant delights nursery tour yesterday, Tony showed us the above chart that’s shows the average worldwide temperature back to the time of the dinosaurs. Current averages are the far right data point. I haven’t independently verified the chart, but it makes for interesting conversation. If we are getting warmer, based on this chart that would mean we still have a long ways to go up and still be normal. Tony had petrified palm trees he had found on his property that were growing 10s of thousands of years ago naturally. Clearly we have been much warmer in a natural cycle. I have heard this before but seeing it with my own eyes, on land 5 minutes from my house makes it a bit more real.

Agri-business council at Plant Delights Nursery in Raleigh

Plants Delights Nursery, Tony Avent, President
Tony giving a tour and answering questions along the way.

So besides my other 3 full time jobs, I also serve on the Wake County Agri-business council. Today was our combo monthly meeting and our annual meeting where we tour an agri-business in Wake County. Somebody had already picked Plant Delights Nursery. I wasn’t jumping for joy because I am not a big plant guy. I can identify grass and trees and that’s about it. By that I mean I can tell the difference between grass and a tree (hint, the tree is taller :). At least this place is only a few minutes from my home.

Plants Delights Nursery, Tony Avent, President
Everywhere we went, there were exotic plants growing that weren’t supposed to grow here, plants that weren’t supposed to grow together, all beautiful and thriving.

So after some missed turns I get to the meeting and get the chance to meet Tony Avent, the President of the nursery. I was hooked the first 5 minutes he spoke. This is my kind of guy and he knows his stuff. He isn’t constrained by tradition and is constantly pushing the boundaries of what is possible. I don’t know what in the world I would buy that he sells, but if I come up with it I will be buying it from Tony. I recommend you look at Plant Delights. They are making people very happy all over the US and we have them right in our backyard.

Plants Delights Nursery, Tony Avent, President
The entire property looked like a community garden, which is what it will be one day. Tony shared his dream of turning this property into something for the public.