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.

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Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Even more bacon

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Today the inmates and I processed the rest of the bacon. It was another 47 pounds bringing us to the 110 pound total. We used a mix that Brian came up with which was 2.4 ounces of pink salt, 3 pounds of kosher salt, and 1.1 pounds of white sugar for our salt rub. We skinned the pork bellies, then rubbed the mix all over including the sides and any crevices. We then put the pork on racks in sheet pans and covered them with Saran Wrap.

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Here is John trimming out a pork belly. Everybody got their hands dirty today.

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Here are most of the pork bellies prepped and ready in the walk in. 7-10 days and we will pull them and smoke them for a few hours. Then we will pull the bacon, put it in the freezer and get it sorta hard. Then it will be a field trip to Angie’s restaurant where she is kind enough to let me borrow her meat slicer. Once sliced, we will bring the whole lot back to the house and sort it out into 1 pound packages and vacuum seal them, label them, then freeze them.

It sounds like a lot of work, and it is, but this should be totally worth it. Plus this will be our first product from the new smoke house. Mmm, smoked bacon.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Bacon!

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Is there anything better than bacon? Maybe the love of your family. Of course, I make bacon with my family so I get a double dose. We ended up with 110 pounds of bacon from these hogs. That’s a lot of bacon! Last night we salted 60 pounds and put it in the walk in. Tonight, after I buy some more pans and racks, we will salt the remaining 50 pounds and then begin the daily process of pouring off the liquid, resalting, and testing for cure for about 7-10 days. At that point, Brian the intern and I will get up extra early one morning to take advantage of the overnight lows and fire up the smoker for the first time.

Mmm, farm fresh, non-GMO, never seen or heard of grain, home smoked bacon. Since breakfast is my favorite meal, and bacon is my favorite food group (it is a food group, you know) I am kind of excited to have this bacon done.

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Speaking of the love of my family, I did have lots of help.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

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.
Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Sward

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The grass continues to do its job. The dry matter continues to build up on the ground, creating a healthy environment for all the life, seen and unseen. I am looking forward to the next soil sample, not so much for the lab results but for the process of digging the hole and seeing what the topsoil layer looks like. Last time there was almost no topsoil and the ground went almost immediately to clay. 30 years of grazing will do that, as will living in this part if NC. If I go and dig up my yard, it’s almost immediately clay so you wouldn’t be blamed for just throwing up your hands and saying its impossible to build topsoil but if I go to the forest and dig, it’s rich loam. Hmm, looks like its possible then so we keep forging ahead.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

Grazing update

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Yesterday’s on the right, todays on the left. The grass continues to look good. Cool weather and rain should make the fescue jump now. We cut off the side pasture for winter grazing so we are back on this pasture weeks earlier than normal. Even with wide paddocks the grass is very grazed but with the fall flush starting I think we will be fine.

Dan Moore on EmailDan Moore on FacebookDan Moore on GoogleDan Moore on Twitter
Dan is a dad, a husband, a business owner, a pilot, a sailor, a scuba diver, a machinist, a gunsmith, a welder, a woodworker, a day laborer, a teacher, a mentor and a writer. The short form of all the previous is he's a farmer.

7125 Old Stage Road Raleigh NC