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Today was the first day of spring and a beautiful one it was. We may wonder if spring is really coming with the wild transitional weather we’ve been experiencing but the chickens seem to know spring has arrived. Eggs have long been a sign of spring and renewal. It’s easy to see why as they are quite plentiful this time of year. Over the past month, we’ve gone from gathering a dozen eggs a day to nearly four dozen eggs a day. Spring has sprung.

Visit us at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, March 22 and take a dozen eggs home with you. We will also have pastured pork and pastured chicken. Betsy’s Kitchen will be bringing Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, granola bars, and granola.

As always, we also sell our eggs and grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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It’s official.  I’m declaring the start of the 2014 Mud Season as Wednesday, March 12.  Mud season is the season between winter and spring when the ground is saturated, the rain keeps coming, and nothing is yet growing and able to soak up the excess moisture.  Mud season doesn’t have an official beginning or length.  We may get brief respites through periodic freezes and dry spells but it won’t completely end until the grass, trees, and other plants turn green and bloom and are able to again drink of the earth.  I knew this season was official when I lost a boot in mud several inches deep and the animals were slogging through as if it were the La Brea Tar Pits.

We will be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, March 15.  We have pastured pork, pastured chicken, and plenty of eggs.  Betsy’s Kitchen will be bringing Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars, Cinnamon Raisin Granola Bars, and Cinnamon Nut Granola.

As always, we also sell our eggs and grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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The phrase “Spring Forward, Fall Back” has always had ambiguous meaning to me.  While I understand we move the clock one hour forward in the spring and one hour back in the fall, we also lose an hour in the spring (backward) and gain an hour in the fall (forward).

Daylight Saving Time begins Sunday, March 9.  I’ve never been a fan, even though this will be the ninth year Indiana has recognized DST in our most recent history.  It’s never made sense to me with Indiana being assigned to the Eastern Time Zone while being located well within the boundaries of the Central Time Zone.  As a morning person, losing that hour of daylight in the morning is depressing.  I also need the darkness as a sign to tell me it’s time to stop working.  With that extra hour of daylight in the evening, I only tend to work longer through the day.  We’ll all make it through though.  We have to.  So spend your extra hour Saturday morning visiting the farmers’ market and your extra hour Sunday evening enjoying your family and looking forward to spring.

We will be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, March 8.  We have pastured pork and pastured chicken and will be bringing Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars and Cinnamon Nut Granola from Betsy’s Kitchen.  We’ll also have eggs again, at least a few dozen.  The chickens are picking up the pace.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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Our taxes are done!  Our bookkeeper is always late getting our annual financial information to the accountant.  This causes our accountant to always be in a rush to finish the taxes before the deadline for college financial aid.  We should fire both the bookkeeper and the accountant.  The problem is the bookkeeper is also the accountant and the accountant is also the chief animal care specialist for the farm.  I guess we’ll have to keep him around and hope he does a better job next year.

Last Saturday I drove to Waveland and traded two chickens for two Pekin ducks.  Hopefully they are a hen and a drake since we are planning for little ducklings.  We already have several eggs.  Time will tell.

We will be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, March 1.  We have pastured pork and pastured chicken and will be bringing Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars and peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars from Betsy’s Kitchen.  We’ll also have eggs again, at least a few dozen.  The chickens are picking up the pace.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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I’ve been a little gun-shy in posting about the lambs after some of our recent troubles.  Things have been better recently though and Monday was time for nursery school graduation.  The nursery was getting more than a little crowded with nine mamas and eleven babies.  The lambs spent lots of time napping, practicing their jumps, and learning to play well with others.  The picture is of graduation day.

We will be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, February 22.  We have pastured pork and pastured chicken and will be bringing Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars and Paleo bread from Betsy’s Kitchen.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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When I walked out in the early dawn this morning to do chores, I turned to admire the near full moon as it approached the western horizon.  As I turned, I noticed a cow standing beneath the moon.  One might think that a pleasant sight to see on a farm, if it weren’t for the fact that particular area of the field is a restricted area to livestock.

The livestock have been stuck in the barnyard since winter began.  This allows them to be closer to food, water, and shelter as well as protects the pasture allowing it to grow more quickly once spring arrives.  Two of the cows managed to push through the temporary fence we use to separate the barnyard and couldn’t manage to find their way back through.  Apparently they were tired of their posh accommodations, hoping for something more amenable on the other side of the fence.  The joke was on them though.  Thanks to a continued covering of several inches of snow, there wasn’t much to be found.  Thankfully I found a gate I could pry from the snowdrifts and frozen ground and herded the cows back through rather easily.  It was a little tougher to mend the fencing but hopefully the patch will last another month or so until they can get back out on pasture.

The farmers will be on a break this weekend attending to other obligations but we will be sending Farm Intern Amy to manage the market stand.  She’ll be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms on Saturday, February 15.  Amy will be bringing pastured pork, pastured chicken, Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, Paleo bread, and Primal chocolate cupcakes with traditional buttercream icing.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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Full Circle Farm is located near two communities that seem to be spreading by leaps and bounds.  That is a good thing in some ways.  The best being that we are close to our market making it easier for our customers to find us.

It’s problematic, however, in building a community.  Neighborhoods of houses too close together with people attempting to escape the city while simultaneously insisting that the amenities of the city follow them to a new location.  It’s nearly impossible to build a farming community in such an environment.  A beautiful farm just one mile south of us is currently on the market for nearly $3 million.  Now, that farm is 131 acres, but even after allowing for the value of the home and outbuildings they are valuing the land at roughly $20,000 per acre.  How is a farmer expected to make a living when that kind of investment is required?

How do we combat this problem?  We must value our existing communities, utilizing them to the fullest extent.  We must also value our farmers and the resources they require to provide the food those communities need.  Don’t expect the city amenities to follow you to the country.  Each locale has its purpose.  Support the local businesses in your cities and towns.  Buy your groceries from them and eat at their restaurants.  Support your local farmers by allowing them the space and affordable land to provide the food the communities require. 

You can support your local farmers this weekend (Saturday, February 8) at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms.  We’ll meet you halfway at 79th and Marsh Road.  We still have plenty of pastured pork and pastured chicken available.  Betsy’s Kitchen will be offering Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, Paleo bread, and Flour-less Chocolate Cake.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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Propane Surplus (Not Shortage)

We’ll be at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms this Saturday, February 1.  Betsy’s Kitchen will be offering Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, Paleo bread, and a return of the Paleo Sweet Potato Donuts.

Now on to my message.  It’s a slight break from my farm messages but I’m really annoyed.  I’m sure that you’ve heard that there is a propane shortage.  There are varying reasons for the shortage.  Grain farmers used more propane than usual to dry a wet harvest last fall.  A pipeline was shut down for maintenance.  Some of us have used more propane in this super cold winter.  The oil and gas companies increased their exports of propane.

Did you catch that last part?  The oil and gas companies increased their “exports” of propane.  The U.S. gets most of its propane as a by-product of natural gas production.  Natural gas production in the U.S. is booming thanks to new ways to extract natural gas from shale formations.  With plenty of natural gas comes plenty of propane.  Propane prices were falling early in 2013 thanks to a plentiful supply and earlier mild winters.  Prices were higher overseas so the oil and gas companies shipped their cheap propane across the water for higher prices.  They bet, albeit wrongly, on continued low domestic use of propane and made some extra money shipping their propane overseas.  Since they bet wrong, and we used more propane and are now facing a shortage, the oil and gas companies are making even more money charging higher prices to U.S. consumers due to the shortage.

I went through all of the ways we, as a society, could reduce our usage of propane.  Don’t grow so much corn that really goes into unhealthy food products and cheap livestock feed.  Don’t raise animals out of season or raise hardier breeds, reducing the need to heat swine and poultry confinement barns.  Switch to more renewable and sustainable fuels for home heating.  The problem with these solutions is that they would all reduce the use of propane, which would again lead to a surplus, which would lead to more exports and then another shortage when we really need the propane again.

Here at Full Circle Farm, we use propane to heat our house and for cooking.  Thankfully, we had a fill up early in the month at reasonable prices.  We can turn down our thermostat, break out the space heaters and extra blankets, and eke through the shortage if we push it.  Unfortunately, others are not so lucky and are already having serious problems heating their homes.

This isn’t a propane shortage.  It’s mismanagement of a propane surplus.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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One of the several things missing in today’s “all about me” society is a lack of community.  A strong community with a full complement of tradesmen and professionals, each supporting the goals of the other, is important even in an individualistic culture.

One of our dreams is to create and surround ourselves with a farming community, a community of like-minded individuals raising their own food and complementing the needs of their neighbors.  We recently found a wonderful example of such a community in Cody and Dawnnell Holmes of Real Farm Foods.  They own a rather large ranch near Norwood, Missouri comprised of several families, each with their own enterprises raising cows, or sheep, or dairy goats, or meat goats, or laying hens, or garden vegetables, and so on.  You get the idea.  Such a community is also a great way to provide the support to get young people and newbies into farming.

Building communities of this nature will add real value to the land and will complement the value of surrounding towns and cities.  A certain Contrary Farmer thinks we may be on the verge of such a community movement.  Your local farmers and business owners are part of that movement, whether they are located out on the farm, in the small town, or in the large city.  Help build a community of value by showing your local business owners how much you value them and the services they provide.

Join some of your local farming community members at the Farm to Fork Market at Normandy Farms this Saturday, January 25.  Betsy’s Kitchen will be offering Paleo pumpkin muffins, Paleo Almond Delight Power Bars, and Paleo bread.

As always, we also sell all of our grass-fed meats at the farm.

Full Circle Farm. Working with Nature.

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Guinea Girl is a new line of organic and natural products available from Full Circle Farm, please check out the new page. Valentines day is right around the corner. If you are looking for a locally made item for your loved one, look no further. Check out the special valentines package with lotion, cinnamon love balm and chocolate lip balm. Why not pair this gift with reservations to your favorite farm to table restaurant? I can’t think of a sweeter Valentines Celebration than that.

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