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Where Does Your Food Come From?--Eggs




Colonel’s Blog, Earthdate 9 June 2023…

Hey Y’all!


Good morning and happy Fast-Jet Friday! The fast-jet today is…you guessed it, the Mighty-Mighty F-15E flying low in Wales. It finally happened, it rained! We got .3” over the past 24 hours. That’s not enough for the creek to start flowing but it did make a few puddles. The grass is very happy! The rest of the day yesterday was one of those days. They happen everywhere, this one was a farm one. It started well enough, morning chores were good and then I expanded the dairy cow paddock. Still good. As I opened a gap for the beef herd to go to a new pasture, the side-by-side acted like it didn’t want to start, like the battery was dying. Since we just put a new battery in it, I thought, probably the alternator. I thought it probably had one more start left in it, so I shut it off as I got to a gap I needed to close behind the cows. Oh, and it was raining. After putting up the poly-wire closing the gap, the side-by-side didn’t want to start. Projecting all of my will-power, I tried again to start it. I quickly abandoned the attempt as I smelled an electrical fire and noticed smoke billowing from under my seat. It stopped whenever I quit trying to start it. The pic with the neon shirt is me walking back to the house in the rain happy I didn’t burn my tail-end off since the battery and electrical switches are about 12” from the gas tank, both under the front seat! I made it back to the house in time to feed the lambs and then decided to mow about 3 acres of hillside to control saplings; we’ve been leaving them awaiting rain so they could keep the ground shaded. Mowing complete, it was time to feed the lambs again. About half-way through, I heard a chicken squawking and looked up to see Tozer carrying a small chicken away in his mouth. I dropped the bottles and ran, yelling and flailing like a crazy man. He dropped the bird which quickly ran away, apparently unharmed. Back to the lambs. Bottle-feeding complete, I went to feed Tank and TJ, who are still in with the ewes and lambs. I had about 45 minutes before needing to leave to deliver milk to town, plenty of time. When I got there, I immediately noticed a ewe that didn’t look right. Upon further investigation, she was laying incapacitated with one lamb beside her and one trying to nurse. She had flies all around. I looked to see what was going on and found that she had a severe and irrecoverable case of blowfly strike—a situation that can occur if they don’t properly shed their winter coats. These sheep naturally shed their winter coat and thus it is important to ensure they have plenty of things to rub against to remove the wool. (Notice the wool hanging in the pics. It comes off in clumps…normally). They’ve had trees and branches all spring, so I thought they were all good, but this one obviously didn’t do a good enough job at getting it off. I pulled the lambs and put them in the pen with the other two bottle lambs and then went back and loaded the ewe. I quickly put her down, obvious there was nothing to do to help her. I rushed back to the house area in order to try to get a bottle to the lambs before needing to leave for town. I was able to get them to eat about 1/2 of a bottle. Rebekah got home as I was leaving and was able to get them to finish. The rest of the evening was normal. I know it’s not the worst day ever, but it sure was one of those days. Today seems to be going better. Shelley and Makaylah get back this evening and I’m very ready for them to be home!


Continuing my thoughts on where your food comes from, today I want to discuss eggs. A bit different than meat chickens, layer Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) stack the birds on top of each other, typically 6 birds per wire cage and about 4 cages high. Feed is provided via conveyor belt at the front of the cage. The cage is tilted slightly forward so that as they lay eggs, they roll forward. They roll out of a slit in the front of the cage and are caught against a small wire and are stopped on another conveyor belt. I had the opportunity, almost 30 years ago, to visit a layer CAFO when I was working for a waste treatment start-up. The one I visited had 12 houses with 100,000 birds in each house. 1.2 million birds in a single facility. The birds spend their entire life standing on a wire cage. Contrast that to your typical farm-yard egg layer. They spend their days being chickens and their nights cozily protected in a coop. On our farm, the birds are essentially free-range with a huge yard and a guardian dog dedicated to protecting them. They are hand-fed fermented GMO-free feed and have multiple areas they can lay their eggs. Final thought: your eggs don’t come from a grocery store, they come from a CAFO.


Local Farm Report for 7 & 8 June 2023:

Harvest:

57 Chicken eggs

13 Duck eggs

2 Goose eggs

9 1/2 Gallons of milk


Cheers!


Psycho

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Some days will make you wonder about your choices....but hopefully not for long.


When the dust settles and you are able to sit back and contemplate all the benefits of the life you have chosen, you determine the hardships are just a slight, momentary inconvenience.


I just finished lunch....4 Air2Ground eggs with cheese. Yum!! I am thankful for what you guys do!

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Thanks for the kind words, Tim!

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