Sharing our small farm stories and skills along our farming, gardening and homesteading journey. Visit the farm for an informative and sometimes irreverent tour through our garden, livestock pastures, chicken coop and greenhouse as we live - pasture to plate. Farming topics free range around pastured heritage pigs, broiler chickens and pastured eggs, heritage breed turkeys, an heirloom vegetable CSA and garden, high tunnel / hoop house / green houses, organic and traditional gardening, farm infrastructure, tractors, sustainable energy, permaculture, food preservation and even fence mending.

Farming stories and skills from our small farm, gardening and homesteading journey -

pasture to plate.

As the year draws to a close, we share some thoughts about life that has transpired since our last episode on March 31st...

Farming has been a lot of fun and a lot of hard work.  We have shared some of our highest highs and lowest lows as a result of our farming endeavours.

We hope we have cultivated some ideas and new farmers and look forward to the unknowns a New Year offers!

CHEERS!

Direct download: CoopCast_163.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:10pm EST

The fine legslative geniuses in MD keep the bees safe - http://readersupportednews.org/news-section2/318-66/35978-maryland-to-become-first-state-to-ban-bee-killing-pesticides-for-consumer-use

Soon your bacon will be genetically engineered - http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/scientists-breed-pigs-resistant-to-a-devastating-infection-using-crispr/

And we review the piece of movie garbage known as Batman vs Superman

Direct download: CoopCast_162.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:04pm EST

Want to get people fired up and yelling for no reason - mention raw milk...  which we did here and this episode dissects the fun that follows.

But before we got to that conversation we talked about spring planting plans and the beehives!

Direct download: CoopCast_161.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:14pm EST

This episode is mostly listener questions that we answer about our hoop house, construction methods, and gardening inside the hoop house.  We also touch on garden planning and winter beekeeping.

Hoop house hoop bender - http://www.lostcreek.net/

Hoophouse book - http://www.amazon.com/Winter-Harvest-Handbook-Deep-Organic-Greenhouses/dp/1603580816/

 

Direct download: CoopCast_160.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:35pm EST

This entire episode is dedicated to the 2016 Farm Meeting where we discuss the vegetable gardens, seeds, chickens, pigs, ducks and all things farm related.  After deciding we were going to cut back on the farm in 2016 this meeting helped us put it all into perspective in terms of what we are and are not going to be doing.

CHeck us out on social media to join in the conversation - facebook.com/chickenthistlefarm, @chickenthistle on Twitter...Or - follow Farmer Andy @farmerandyman on Twitter and Instagram!

Direct download: CoopCast_159.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:40pm EST

From the farm this week we share a few updates (but it's a slow season for a slower year).  We also discuss our seed order, country of origin labeling of meats (WHO), beekeeping and review Star Wars

Links that matter include : 

We ordered from Burpee Seed - no special link or promocode...  but if you DO order from them - tell them you heard about them on our show - we put our name in the link to maybe get some attention from their web people!!! (at this time looks like new visits get 20% off!)

http://www.burpee.com/?cid=coopcast

Forbes (Teeve Torbs) link about the change in country of origin labeling of imported meats

http://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyhuehnergarth/2015/12/21/quashing-consumers-right-to-know-congress-repeals-country-of-origin-labeling-for-beef-and-pork/

Local Harvest:

http://localharvest.org

Kelli's StichFix signup link - do it - she appreciates it!

https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4959509

Direct download: CoopCast_158.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:55pm EST

This episode is the last broadcast for 2015.  So Merry Christmas everyone!

We talk a bit about update around the farm and how it's a bit strange to not have so much "farm" to worry about.  We also answer some Facebook listener questions about the trees we planted, the fields, the berry patch and other things left unsaid around the farm.

Then we conclude with a mention of a few of our favorite things - things for the farm, things in our personal life and favorite wines and spirits.

Farmer Kelli's list includes offering this signup referral to any and all listeners who want to try out her new favorite service - https://www.stitchfix.com/referral/4959509

Direct download: CoopCast_157.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:53pm EST

After the Thanksgiving turkey wore off we decided to get back to the farming podcast...  and we talk about the most recent pork cuts we picked up.  We then talk about some of the food we made for Thanksgiving and deer season and Farmer Andy shares the Thanksgiving morning story of his big buck!

We wrap up the episode with Farm U on E. coli O157:H7, what it is, where it comes from and Dr. Farmer Kelli shares a resource (cdc.gov) to learn more about infectious diseases and foodborne diseases.

Direct download: CoopCast_156.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:23pm EST

This episode we talk about the taking of the pigs to the processor, some updates from around the farm and about deer season... and the highly anticipated tomato round up from the vegetable garden.

Direct download: CoopCast_155.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:24pm EST

After posting that we were taking a pig to the processor and hurting some folks feelings...  we decided we didn't really care.  Toughen up folks.  So we make fun of them.

Then we talk about the deer season to date and update people on the honey harvest from our first year of bees.

In general - it's a bunch of farm updates.

Direct download: CoopCast_154.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:50pm EST

In this episode we just shae some udpates and clarification about the fate and future of the farm.  We also talk a bit about some of the veggies we discovered still thriving in the gardens.

Direct download: CoopCast_152.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:53pm EST

In this episode we return to the coopcast to discuss the future of our farm and all the different enterprises we have in play.

 

Direct download: CoopCast_151.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

In the first ever solo recorded Coopcast Farmer Andy shares the events of the last month that have put our farm and future plans on hold.  This is a candid and honest monologue about where we are and what decisions we have ahead about the farm.

Direct download: CoopCast_150.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 11:07am EST

Since we are in the busy time of year it's just another update show around the farm!

We talk about the process and the reasons why we castrate our piglets.  We also share the history of why we are so sure to do the castrations when we do them.  Then we talk about the pastured chickens, the egg layers and the vegetable gardens.  We wrap up with the latest beekeeping / bee swarm update.

Direct download: CoopCast_149.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

This weeks episode is a short "SPROUTCAST" where we just tell the story of pig farrowing and the outcome of pigs on the farm this year.  It's recorded in the truck - but even lor fidelity is better than nofidelity, right?

Direct download: CoopCast_148.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:02pm EST

This week we walk arounf the farm and update you on all the things going on.

We captured a wild honeybee swarm and talk about what the process was and how we managed things.  We discuss the Cornish Cross chickens that are not being liek regualr chickens of past years. Then we talk a bit about the pig we are expecting to farrow any day now.  Then we finish up in the vegetable garden discussing some of what's been going on there!

Busy time of year and a lot going on.

Direct download: CoopCast_147.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:04pm EST

This episode sorta wanders all over in terms of updates.  Farmer Andy started a new way of eating and by cutting sugar out of his diet he's found a whole new way to live life.  We discuss some of our favorite wines (from boxes) and other cocktails...  then we move into the farm updates.  We talk about the chickens (broilers and layers), a exciting night with a critter in the coop, the pig getting ready to farrow, the greenhouse, beekeeping and more.

It's a lot of updates - but we have a log of farming activites to update you about!

Direct download: CoopCast_146.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:15pm EST

I this episode we talk about where we have been the last 2 weeks and why we haven't coopcasted.  We share the story of the chickens arriving early this year and their bad attitudes.  We talk about the moved pig, planting the vegetable garden and what's going on in the greenhouse (like fresh strawberries).

Direct download: CoopCast_145.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:42pm EST

After getting our new beehive we have checked in on their progress and the hive is growing quickly.  We update everyone on the status and happening in the hive.  We then talk about the trees we have been planting as well as the early spring gardening efforts.  The potatoes are in, the peas and asparagus is up and the greenhouse is full.  Tune in to hear all the latest updates!

Direct download: CoopCast_144.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:16pm EST

This is the first low qulaity audo episode we have produced as we were driving in the truck to pickup our beehive and still wanted to produce an episode.  So we talk a little about bees, the seedlings for the vegetable garden and the animals.

It's 15 minutes of free content recorded ina truck - it's gotta be great!

Direct download: CoopCast_143.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:43pm EST

This weeks episode tells the story of the Great Hedgerow Fire of 2015...  but it wasn't that great.  

We then just field a bunch of listener questions from a Periscope session!

Questions range from pig updates to tractors to beekeeping...

Ohh - and you can leave us a voicemail now too for the podcast! :)

Direct download: CoopCast_142.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:21pm EST

Recorded on April 1st 2015 - this episod of the CHicken Thistle Farm Coopcast focuses on some lofty farm plans for 2015 that have all come together today.  Check out the episode all the way to the end to get all the details about the vegetable CSA and pig operations (and so much more) @ Chicken Thistle Farm.

Direct download: CoopCast_140.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:07pm EST

Back from vacation in Florida, Farmer And puts his pants back on and sits down to talk with Farmer Kelli about the long list of springtime tasks ahead.  We refer to our community and how great almost all our listeners are...  and how cool it is to watch them smack down the weeds that crop up!

Still waiting for the snow to melt we talk a little about beekeeping and a local supplier we came up with for our frames, gear and starter hive (Nuc).

In the Community we share our thoughts on a small farm in NY that has been in the news for some not so positive reasons.  We also talk about how changing the food system is achievable when you vote with your wallet.

Direct download: CoopCast_139.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:26pm EST

This week spring appears to have made an appearance and the snows are slowly receeding!  Still things are slow on the farm and in the vegetable gardens so we talk a little about the tough decisions of a small business when it comes to firing a customer.  We also celebrated the fact that our AI was successful and our gilt is with pigs!

Then in the community we talk about the farms newset adventure - raising bees.  Beekeeping was somethign we had thought about but the kind gift from a listener of ours has started us down the path to our first hive (and likely trip to the ER).  So we talk a little about the process we are taking to start up bees on the farm.  We are also excited about the impact on the vegetable gardens the added polenators should have!

Finally in the community we talk about a great question a listener posted on our Facebook page about treated seeds and what that means and what our thoughts and practices are on using treated seeds in our vegetable gardens.

Direct download: CoopCast_138.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:23pm EST

In this episode we discuss the crazy weather around the world and give our hopefull update on the AI situation with our gilt.

In the Coopcast Community we discuss a new tractor and what implemnts we reccomend for that tractor.  Frontend loader, tiller and rotarty mower come to the top of the list...  but that's not it.

In the Veggie Patch we circle back around to the Rowboat of Goodness from our listeners and list off some of the explicit varites we have selected.

Direct download: CoopCast_137.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:37pm EST

This weeks episode shares our issues with a trio of cottontail rabbits that have been terrorizing our landscape and what we did to solve the issue.  We also complain about the snow and the cold on the farm.... because...  it feels good to complain.  We quickly throw in a mention of wood shavings and the chicken coop as well.

Then in the Veggie Patch we talk about some of the notable varieties of seeds that we purchased this year and where we got them from.
Finally in a the prototype hunting / fishing / land management / rural  lifestyle segment...  Farmer Andy talks a bit about a new part discovery that lets you move a scope and rings between different rifles a lot easier!
Direct download: CoopCast_136.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:30pm EST

The updates this week are short as the cold weather has mostly kept the farming inside.  It's also hard to do much with over 3 feet (that's a meter for our international listeners) of snow on the ground.  We do take some time ot tell the story of Farmer Andy and his boxed wine tho!

In this episodes Farm U we talk about the hard and factual science behind vaccines and the debate about vaccination.  We look at the mechanisms of the immune system and the research behind the methodology.  Farmer Andy and Dr. Kelli have a round table discussion clarifying the real science of vaccines.

Finally we wind up on the front porch to share some of our closing opinions about the vaccine "debate" that's out there from our perspective.

Direct download: CoopCast_135.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:47pm EST

This weeks updates include our struggles with a new gilt and artificial insemination this winter.  We also talk about the other challenges of the deep snow and our chickens.

We then look forward to warmer days in the Veggie Patch segment where we talk about the process we go through ordering seeds for the vegetable garden.  Who we have ordered seeds from before and what we look for in a seed company.

Direct download: CoopCast_134.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:53pm EST

** There's one bad word - so for the kids ears this is marked "EXPLICIT" **

This weeks episode was a tough one as we talked about the loss of one of our first pigs ever - our favorite sow Hermione.  We talk about the stuff that led up to her passing and then how we managed things after she was gone.  That includes how our one lone pig Snow White is doing this winter.

Then we have some Ruminations about the farms online that don't share the lows of farming and only seem to like to share the positives.  We talk a bit about the following article - http://modernfarmer.com/2013/05/picture-imperfect-the-side-of-farming-you-wont-see-on-facebook/

Direct download: CoopCast_133.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:16pm EST

In this episode we review the happenings on the farm (and gardens) over the last few weeks. We talk about the chickens finally starting to lay eggs again (and the impact of extending their days with lights). We talk about some of the food we ate and made of the holidays and we discuss the missed opportunity with artificial insemination and our pigs.  Andy complains about the cold weather and then warms up while telling a hunting store from last deer season.

Direct download: CoopCast_132.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:36pm EST

Our final episode of 2014 is dedicated to our listeners and fans around the globe this holiday season.  It's our huge thank you for making us the #1 farming podcast on the planet!

We talk about emails, tweets, Face book comments and posts as well as personal interactions and phone calls we haven't gotten to but have most deffinately read!  Thanks to everyone in the community for listening and be a part of the CoopCast in 2014.

For those of you who know how to use search engines we do talk about moving electic netting and moving pasture pens. :)

Merry Christmas from Chicken Thistle Farm!

Direct download: CoopCast_131.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:04pm EST

This episode brings us back from a few weeks off and updates about the events we had around here on the farm that kept us from coopcasting last week.

We talk a little bit about farming and health care in proximity to the farm (given the recent events).  We also discuss our sick pig and the course of treatment we underwent to get her back to being a healthy girl again!

In the Farmers Choice segment we share a few simple gift ideas for the holidays that might make your shopping easier!

Direct download: CoopCast_130.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:34pm EST

We are calling this the "We eat good episode" since we are talking about simple, fast and delicious farm recipes including:

Pressure cooker chicken

Frozen veggies in chili

Pre-made frozen cookie rounds

Easy ways to help you can / freeze more food.

In the Veggie Patch we climb on board the Rowboat of Goodness and discuss a few winter squash varieties and some of our favorite non-lettuce greens in the garden.

Direct download: CoopCast_129.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:20pm EST

This weeks updates are around the pick up of the smoked pork (and we have customers coming as we are recording).  Farmer Andy shares a bit of a bow season update and we talk a little about the status of the hoop house.

We close with a review of the local fruit CSA we were enrolled in and all the goodness and a little of the stuff they could have improved.

Direct download: CoopCast_128.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:55pm EST

This weeks updates include a hunting season short session.  We talk about bo season so far and the only arrow this season to miss its mark thus far.  We also talk about the pork that's back from the butcher and the impact of the seasonal reduction in eggs.

In Farmer Kelli's Choice, we take a trip down memory lane.  Visit our Facebookpage (login not needed) and scroll back through the pictures to our first post in 2010...  we walk through 2010 and 2011 remembering several of the highlights in photos!

Direct download: CoopCast_127.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

This week's update is really an episode discussion around the end of the pork season for us - the moving of the pigs to the USDA processor.  We talk through what we did to get the pigs comfortable wit hthe trailer, how we use sorting borads to move the pigs on pasture into the trailer, our holding pen strategy, fencing and dropoff.

It's really a retelling of the stories and some of hte skills we used to get this little piggie to market! 

Direct download: CoopCast_126.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

In this episode the Updates include Farmer Andy's pants free romp becasue of the warm weather, Hermione moving back to pasture with the piglets and preparations for taking the pigs for processing.

Then in the Veggie Patch we discuss an overview of our tomato varieties for 2014- what will stay on the rowboat of goodness and what gets tossed overboard!

Varieties discussed:

Juliet

BHN624 cherry

Sungold cherry

Piriform

Valencia

Pink Beauty

Cherokee Green

New Girl

Brandywine

Cherokee Purple

Defiant

Celebrity

Martha Washington

San Marzano

Direct download: CoopCast_125.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:57pm EST

This week the CoopCast becomes a HoopCast! We spend the episode looking at photos of our greenhouse / hoophouse / high tunnel and talk through the design and the how nad the why.  We both share our thoughts and opinions on the evolution of our enclosed vegetable garden area and what we like about gardening inside a controlled structure.

If you are following along all the images can be found on our Flickr page in the album How We Do It : Hoophouse

Also an indepth discussion when we built it is on our farm blog as well.

Direct download: CoopCast_123.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:24pm EST

This week our farm updates are simple as the season is slowing down to just the basics.  We talk about the plantings in the gardens in the greenhouse since frost is now in our area.  We are hoping to extend the season and keep harvesting vegetables and herbs for several more months.  There's also updates about pigs in pasture as well.

In the Ruminations discussion this week we talk about businesses and how so many let opportunity slip through their fingers.  We share the details of a cheese making class we took at a local winery and the missed opportunities that were everywhere.  There's lessons to be learned in bad expereinces and this one was rife with them.  Although - making your own cheese is cool!

We also talk about a business that asked us for input and HOPED we might mention them - FlexTrailers.  It's a cool concept on modular trailers.  It's a much better approach to a business than the first one (they asked us clearly for feedback and hoped we would mention them).  There are still some lessons to be learned here as well.

The final business we talk about is Adams Holsters - the makers of the BEST leather holsters you have ever seen - Adams Holsters - and one of the best gifts we have ever received from a coopcast listener!

Direct download: CoopCast_122.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:23pm EST

Back from a break we talk aboutthe pigs in the pasture and how well they are growing, the late blight that got the tomatoes, the success we had with straw based potatoes and a whole lot more.

We also go over the 500th iTunes review and answer some listener feedback on topics ranging from keeping stock tanks fresh to predators to game cameras.

Direct download: CoopCast_121.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:55pm EST

This weeks updates start with the pigs scheduled for butcher, their pasture and their rapid weight gains after worming.  We moved the chicken netting fencing for the layers and have been busy in the vegetable gardens and kitchen.  Farmer Kelli has been canning and freezing all sorts of fresh veggies as well as baked, roasted, blanched and parboiled treats!

The vegetable garden is producing and we are expecting be offer an end of summer share full of goodness - including a pasture raised chicken.

The Farm U is part of a series we are starting called How We Do It - where we take things that have had lots of questions from listeners and do our best to show with pictures and explanations how we do things around the farm.

This weeks episode is all about "Containment" - our fencing setup and why we made the decisions we did.

To follow along with the images we are discussing - visit our flicker page and the album How We Do It : Containment

Good ole Flickr link - https://www.flickr.com/photos/chickenthistlefarm/

We are off for 2 weeks over Labor Day - so enjoy your celebrations and be safe.

Direct download: CoopCast_120.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:24pm EST

After taking a week off for a trip to Empire Farm Days, we return with an update from the farm show.  We also share the story of a sick pig on the farm who contracted weaning swine meningitis and what we did to get Mr Green Beans back to health.

We tour the Veggie Patch to talk about all the harvested and put up foods Kelli has been making / freezing / canning as she's enjoying a greate vegetable garden season this year.  The homestead is certainly going to be prepared for the polar vortex this winter!

There's also a bit of fun discussions around the farm this week too!

Direct download: CoopCast_119.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:15pm EST

This episode won't go down as one of the most exciting or passionate - but we do talk about the status of things mid-summer around the farm.  We continue to prep the pasture for the piglet weaning, the layers are laying and the vegetable garden and green house is producing LOTS of fresh produce this time of year.

In the We Eat Good segment Farmer Kelli talks about some of her favorite recipes for the fresh veggies that are piled on the counters this time of year.  They are all paper printed recipes so no links - but pay attention and she tells you where to find them or what to Google.

You might find some things here:

http://www.chickenthistlefarm.com/blog/tag/recipe

or here

http://www.chickenthistlefarm.com/blog/category/recipes

Direct download: CoopCast_118.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:14pm EST

This weeks farming updatesinclude our experience this week processing chickens on anotehr farm as helpers.  We also moved the pigs to fresh pasture and are getting ready for weaning.  Finally the vegetable garden and the greenhouse are producing all sorts of fresh veggies...  so Farmer Kelli takes us through what they are and what she has been doing with them.

In the Coopcast Community segment we catch up on the listener backlog of emails, posts, tweets and all sorts of other forms of questions.  From a solider in Afgahanastan to listeners in Europe to the ever popular Doctor Who and Star Trek questions - we try and answer them all.

In a Coopcast produced and directed by Farmer Andy...  things in this episode don't follow any stinkin agenda! 

Direct download: CoopCast_117.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:18pm EST

This episode discusses the setup and work that goes into chicken processng BEFORE the actual chicken processing event.  There's a lot more than just catching and plucking involved on a well run chicken processing event and we thought it might be worth while sharing those stories and preps as well.

We then share a bit of a retrospective on the actual events of the chicken rocessing day and how we run the event.

Finally we have a Farmers Choice segment that answers so many of the continual questions and misinformation out there about the Cornish Cross chickens we raise.

Direct download: CoopCast_116.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:02pm EST

After a week of on farm vacation and frozen fresh fruit libations enjoyed on the deck, we are back with a bunch of updates around the pastured chickens, a recent hoophouse project and the vegetable gardens.  We also talk about the pigs and some general happenigns around the farm.

In the Veggie Patch we talk a lot about the success of the peas, the success we have had training and pruning the tomato plants this year and an update on our mulching.

This week on Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch - we talk about a seemingly non-farm thing...  The recent firing of "shock jock" (what a stupid title) Anthony Cumia from Sirius XM's Opie and Anthony show and why EVERYONE should be outraged.  Not at his tweets and not at his show...  but becasue it appears anyone, anytime, can be fired for their opinions when not at work if they are unpopular, unaccepted, not politically correct or whatever.  Think this has no impact on you - what if there's "outrage" becasue people don't like you promoting an "unsafe" food - something, maybe, like raw milk?

Direct download: CoopCast_115.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:07pm EST

This weeks updates are pretty simple.  We talk about piglets and names, the chickens in the pasture and some a la carte CSA shares.

Then we jump into the Farmers Choice that Kelli sprung on Andy - "are you a part-time farmer". What does that phrase mean, if anything. What decisions are impacted when you are "part-time" or not deriving all your income off the farm.  There's a bit of debate and some good conversations around this topic.

 

Direct download: CoopCast_114.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:11pm EST

The updates this week start with the farming weather - and the fact it's been unusually "normal".  We have moved the chickens to pasture on a solid growth of clover andthey are loving it.  The pigs are gowing well and weaning is a few weeks away. In the vegetable garden the peas and eveything else is growing and healthy.  Even the weeds are under control with the mulching effort we have undertaken this year.

In the CoopCast Community we wanted to take a bit to thank all the listeners and farmers who shared their thougths and good wishes with us following episode 110.  We talk a little about some of the questions people asked and share some of our thoughts about raising pigs going forward in the future.

Direct download: CoopCast_113.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:00pm EST

This weeks updates include the latest on the 7 surviving piglets and the status of their name selection.  We talk about the pastured broilers in the brooder and how they are doing as well. We also check in on the laying hens and the egg eating issues.

In the Veggie Patch we talk about the status of the garden and fencing.  We talk about a great find at a local garden center to help with the soil quality and quantity in the green house and we also talk about this years potato patch plans.

Direct download: CoopCast_112.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:06pm EST

This week we are just doing a bunch of updates (since there's a lot to share).  We talk about how the piglets are doing well even after the traumatic events covered in episode 0110

Then we tell a story of how great and helpful the United States Postal Service </sarcasm> was when they seemed to have lost our box of broiler chickens. But have no fear, we found them and we share how they are doing in the brooder.

In the Veggie Patch we talk about the progress and planting of the vegetable garden now that the official growing season has begun. We got in the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and a bunch more over the long weekend.  We also talk about a listener inspired mulching session around the asparagus and rhubarb in the garden.

Direct download: CoopCast_111.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:08pm EST

This episode is a frank and honest retelling of the harrowing farrowing experiences of 2014 on our small farm.  From the highs of hand delivering piglets to the lows of losing a breeding sow, this is as honest of a farming story as you may ever hear.

Direct download: CoopCast_110.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:09pm EST

This weeks updates are all over the place after skipping 2 weeks of episodes!  We talk about moving the pigs to their farrowing paddock, moving the egg laying chickens to fresh pasture and how the weather this spring has changed things a bit.

We talk about the vegetable gardens and the progress of potting up plants in the greenhouse as well as some of the first plants of the season being planted in the garden itself.  Not having a full season CSA this year has made both the farmers a lot more relaxed and we had a chance to really enjoy our big annual nursery auction.

We talk about the new firearm on the farm and why we chose what we did for "on farm carry".  We also discuss the joining of a fruit CSA and what we hope to get out of a CSA as customers!

In this Farm U we talk about the science behind testing for the presence of GMO's in your food and the results that show that the folks at the Non GMO Project http://www.nongmoproject.org/product-verification/process/ appear to have yet another "pay for" certification that appears to mean absolutely nothing to the consumer.

Direct download: CoopCast_109.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

With a bit of warm spring weather we have been able to get to some overdue chores.  The joy of the springtime Coop clean out is completed and the compost is on the garden.  We have more hydrant troubles and talk a bit about the YNN TV crew that was here to learn about how we produce eggs.

In this weeks "We eat good" segment, we talk about the joys of cooking an Easter Ham...  kinda.  Rather how to simply prepare a ham and the unloved ham steak.

Out of the kitchen and back on the front porch we discuss an NBC news article about the declining number of farmers and the long term risk to the country.  So - read the article - be concerned and buy lots of food from your local farmer!

http://www.nbcnews.com/business/economy/shortage-farmers-creates-dangerous-situation-u-s-n78251

Direct download: CoopCast_108.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:49pm EST

This weeks updates are finally more than just worrying about the weather.  We got a springtime break and took to the outdoors!  The asparagus patch got a cleanout of last years fronds. The chicken coop got a bit of a cleaning too. There was fence mending and happy pigs as well.

Then in the Veggie Patch we discuss the seeds we have started for this years vegetable garden and why we liked them.  We also talk a bit about some challenges with a soil block recipe change this year - a bit unexpected.

Then we have some Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch as we discuss a recent quote from the Shark Tanks's Mark Cuban...  and how it's about YOUR farm too! http://www.businessinsider.com/mark-cuban-nfl-tv-2014-3

Direct download: CoopCast_107.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:59pm EST

As Spring comes to the farm (with another snow storm too) we took a walk around the propery at the end of March to try and come to grips with what this late Spring means to our garden plans.  We discuss the winters impact on our plans and the things we typically got done that are not on the to-do list.

We also talk vegatable gardens - specifically what we have been doing with regards to seed starting and preparing the greenhouse.  Speaking of the greenhouse, we talk about the issues the cold weather has spawned and some solutions we are considering.

Direct download: CoopCast_106.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:31pm EST

This weeks updates include more cold weather and some updates about the animals around the farm. The pigs and chickens are doing well but all of us are done with this cold weather. We also talk a bit about the business of farming and what we still need to do on that said with regards to customer emails and notifications.

In the Coopcast Community we have a breif tutorial on searching old coopcast episodes so you can find things you might have missed or are interested in.

  • Brent had a question about worming pigs and we answer it and point to Coopcast 091
  • There was a listener who asked about deer fencing and food plots to keep the deer out of his garden.
  • Rebecca had a question about turkey feed and turkey poults
  • Gail blew in with a question about finding half a pig to purchase and what goes into that decision
Direct download: CoopCast_105.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:38pm EST

This episode was recorded live during the Vulcan Blizzard event!

THe updates of course revlove around the blizzard and how we prepared for it. We also talk about the coldest day ever recorded in March and the frozen pipe it casued.  Farmer Kelli talks about these events and her CSA decision.

In the CoopCast Community we talk about some iTunes reviews, listener emails and some general questions we received.

Direct download: CoopCast_104.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:23pm EST

As the bitter cold continues to make #farmerandy rage, we discuss the weather... We also talk about a "major award", a new Tractor Supply store and living life on a frozen farm.

Actually we detail a day in the life of the farm in the middle of winter around here.  It's not overly exciting but it's honest.

Then this week we have a Farmers Choice segment talking about what we are eating and why this time of year.  We discuss the balance of food we have put up vs what we buy from the store and what is still left in the root cellar.

Then #farmerandy regails the episode with tales of calorie counting using Lose It on his iPhone and how crazy the notion of barcoded food strikes him.

Direct download: CoopCast_103.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:44pm EST

This weeks updates include a folloup about the eveil seeds <sic> that Johnny is selling and why we will continue to buy from Johnny Seeds.  For your reference, here's the list of seeds they get from Seminis as of Feb. 2014

We discuss how the endless cold this winter has impacted the pigs and chickens and how we deal with cooped up critters on a free range farm.  Kelli gives an update on the Ag assessment while Andy complains...

In the Veggie Patch we pretned that it's gardening season and talk about artichokes, 
managing mice and voles in the greenhouse, and how we heat (or dont) and water the greenhouse.

Farmers choice is the conclusion to the 2014 farm meeting.  The agenda items include our plans for:

Egg layers

Pigs

Broilers

Turkeys

Direct download: CoopCast_102.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:29pm EST

The updates are a little thin this week as we watch temps falling and the snow piling up.  Mostly we talk about keeping warm and the successful insemination of our pigs.

In the community we pick up on the Monsanto conversation last week and some new comments about companies like Johnny Seed and Territorial and the internet myth that they buy their seeds from Monsanto.  We also talk about our process for selecting seeds and why we pick the seeds we do. (http://www.nwedible.com/2012/12/a-brief-history-of-monsanto-and-seed-houses-who-got-screwed.html)

In the "We eat Good" segment this week we talk about making pie crusts from lard and how great they really are! 

Direct download: CoopCast_101.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:28pm EST

With 100 episodes behind us we thought it was appropriate to look back at the thoughts and opinions of our farming podcast (farmcast)? and spend most of the episode focusing on the reason why we do what we do - it's all for the listeners!

We talk a bit about some listener favorite topics and some recent ones like Monsanto's decision to use some conventional crossbreeding techniques.

While this isn't a giant 100th episode extravaganza, it's a fun look at the whys behind why we do what we do and why we live pasture to plate.

Direct download: CoopCast_100.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:20pm EST

The Updates around the Farm this week focus on the big event of artificial insemination and the unexpected surprise we had with the "scheduled" standing heat. We also share our thoughts on FreshBooks as an accounting tool for farming (short version - run away).  We discuss out first free range Cornish birg from last years day ranging experiment and share the experience thus far with the tax related agricultural assessment.

In the Veggie Patch it's seed ordering time.  We continue the discussion from Facebook with those veggies we can't live without.  The best of the best on the Rowboat of Goodness (better than the silly Ark of Taste)

In our Farmers Choice segment this week the Annual farm meeting part 1 - CSA plans and how we are not doing a CSA like in the past...  this year will be different!

Direct download: CoopCast_099.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:48pm EST

We are back at the coopcast in 2014.  We enjoyed our break but are glad to be back.  While we were gone we had the coldest weather we have ever had while farming as the polar vortex descended on NY. We also had our annual farm meeting and other fun events.  Tune into this farm fresh coopcast for the latest news from the homestead!

In the Veggie Patch (which is frozen over) we are going to talk a bit about some seed starting tips and techniques as people are looking towards spring already.

Farm Fresh Recipes in our food segment include two new dishes we made over Christmas and thought were delicious:

Kale and Brussels Sprout Salad - http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/kale-and-brussels-sprout-salad

Mario Batali's Arista alla Porchetta - http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/Arista-alla-Porchetta-Mario-Batali

Direct download: CoopCast_098.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:37pm EST

This is the last CoopCast of the year!  We expect to be back with another episode January 8th, 2014.  So on with the farming updates and the bitter cold and endless snow here on the farm. We talk a little about how the pigs and chickens are doing in this brutal cold. If you haven't checked it out - visit our Facebook page and see the story of the #elfonafarm... https://www.facebook.com/chickenthistlefarm

To celebrate the holidays we have a community segment where we talk about:

  • The recent FDA and antibiotic use ruling brought up by Daniel- http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm378100.htm
  • We pick on Nancy (again) for calling Andy, Randy
  • Pam asked us about reusable canning lids that we discussed in episode 030
  • Tori has a question about electric fencing, goats, moose and bear
  • Kyle asked a good thinking question about predator control

In our last segment we discuss all the people and businesses who make what we do possiable.

A special thanks to Pine Creek Feeds, Joe's Meat Market, Welp Hatchery and of course Farmtek (if you listen to the episode you will get a coupon code good for $25 off $75 or more!)...  and of course we thank our customers!

Finally - it's that time of the year to nomiate your favorite podcasts - so please take moment to give us your vode on Sticher Radio here - http://stitcher.promotw.com/

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Direct download: CoopCast_097.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 1:12pm EST

The Farming Updates this week are few and far between.  We do celebrate the fact we got our 1st Easter egg just in time for Christmas.  We talk about Belle standing or not and the challenges of a new gilt in heat as well as Kelli's plans for the farm undergoing an agricultural assessment.  We also discuss some simple online accounting packages for managing our farm - from Quickbooks (bad) to Freshbooks (great).

In the Farmers Choice segment brought to you by FarmTek (check out the segment for a coupon code to save you $25 off any order of $75 or more!) - we talk a few Christmas gift ideas as well as recipies and how we approach getting things from the pasture onto the plate.

Direct download: CoopCast_096.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 10:16am EST

This weeks updates talke a bit about the winter weather and the snow we had here on the farm and the impact on thep igs.  We move them to the winter paddock - finally!  We talk about Tahnksgiving turkeys and why we love ours so much.  One farmer is getting tired of deer season so we give an update there and close with some thoughts on our pork sales.

This weeks Farmers Choice segment is sponsored by FarmTek.com.  Check out the segment for a coupon code to save $25 off orders over $75!!!

We also talk about farming and farmers use of social media. There's a lot to using social media correctly and we just scratch the surface and share some examples of how it has and has not worked for our farm and others.

Then we put our feet up and head to some Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch to discuss - raw milk.  Mind you - these are our opinoons about raw milk...  because so many of you have asked. Take them or leave them will all the discussion out there on this hot topic.

Direct download: CoopCast_095.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:43pm EST

This weeks's CoopCast is a batch of updates and a bit of community.  We talk about getting ready to move the pigs to their winter area and the fencing preparations that gointo that move. We give an update on deer hunting and pork sales (whihc are unrelated). We also are looking forward already to spring farrowing...  and figuring out when our new gilt is in standing heat has been a challenge.

In the community we just answer a bunch of questiosn for our Facebook page!

Direct download: CoopCast_094.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:30am EST

This is a coopcast unlike any other... it's our first foray into an immersive multimedia experience.  We play the video "Modern Trends in Swine Production" from 1961 produced by US Steel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CcqxI7a6wSM).  It's really cool to look back over 50 years to how pigs were produced and how we stack up today. So join us as we walk the fields with a true swine specialist!

From there we free range over to some more contemporary farming topics like "how do I get started" and "I know how to farm better than you". There's a lot of people out there who think they are the person to change the way the world grows food... meaning they think they are smarter than all the people in agriculture over the last 10,000 years. Beware of them!

Then we talk about deposit based farming. We explore the why's and how's of what we do. This was a great question by Tyler and we do our best to explain the risks and rewards of this approach.

Finally we respond to listeners that asked us about the legal world around small scale farming. Don't you think we all need some common sense laws around agriculture, food production and direct to consumer farms? Who doesn't think that some common sense controls around things like,  ohh, raw milk make us all safer?

Join in on the discussion on our Facebook page @ facebook.com/chickenthistlefarm or hit us up on Twitter @chickenthistle and let us know your thoughts!

Direct download: CoopCast_093.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:43pm EST

In the CoopCast Updates we talk about the big smoked pork pickup and the fact the second batch of pigs did not have the USDA inspectors reject their livers.

On a nice night out on the town at a super fancy resturant the farmers ordered a dish called "pork two ways" where they were served pork loin medailons and laquered pork belly.  While the meal was delicious somethign very interesting happened... Farmer Andy confirmed that he is deffinately sensitive to the "mythical" boar taint. There is no doubt that it exists and that it was in the pork belly... Farmer Kelli was grateful and ate it all!

On the Front Porch we talk about our listeners a LOT.  We talk a bit about our UK following with Trevor and Robert.  We share the "comment" from Tilda the Swede living in Argentina... she was astonished that anyone with our accent would have anything interesting to say... A rather awkward compliment, ya think?!  We also respond to the questions from Steve and others asking if we a preppers or not. And what exacly is a prepper? Farmer Kelli redefines it to us as "being a responsible adult".

Direct download: CoopCast_092.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:42pm EST

The updates this week include our last major on farm pork pickup by our customers. It's always nice to see customers and experience the coolness of local foods through their eyes. We share some of the challenges in delivering pork to customers as well. This week was also the consolidation of laying birds and the culling of the old flock.

In Questions, Conversations & Ruminations we talk openly and honestly about pigs and worms. We learned the hard way that we need to be more proactive in deworming the pigs as we had the first batch of livers rejected due to worms. We also saw a decrease in expected hanging weight... although there were no signs of worms in the pigs, we had them and share the experience.

In Farm U, Dr. Farmer Kelli talks about hand sanitizer here on the farm and how it's used in our day to day farming activites. Farmer Andy is generally full of bad humor and sci-fi puns.

Direct download: CoopCast_091.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:23pm EST

This weeks farm and garden updates include the farmer anniversary and dinner.  We talk about getting batch 2 of pigs to the processor and getting the fresh cuts back and to customers from the first batch. We have a new freezer to house the butcher cuts we will be selling from the farm starting in November (stay tuned for pricing and information). Finally we put the veggie patch to bed as we closed up the vegetable garden brining almost all of our gardening season to a close.

In the CoopCast Community we answer some listener questions about:

  • Why we choose seed vendors we do
  • How many people listen to podcast- trends dipping in Oct
  • Listener john- paying us $1 million for 80 more episodes... the check is in the mail...
  • Josh- chickens on pasture but no grazers

On the Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch segment - here's the Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake #hashtag clip that's totatlly worth watching - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA.  We talk about the movie Gravity and it's a strong recomendation to go see. Finally we discuss the season premier of The Walking Dead and if sustainable famer types are drawn to that type of tv.

Direct download: CoopCast_090.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:36pm EST

This weeks updates are a bunch of "end of the farming season" things...  Turkey processing is complete! It always goes very slow but we had all of them sold.  We were very suprised by how small these heritage birds were this year.  We also took our first batch of pigs to the processor and have the second bacth scheduled for next week.  In taking the pigs we have chosen our new gilt as well!

This weeks Veggie patch segment is sponsored by farmtek.com - listen to the coopcast for the coupon code to sahev $25 on orders of $75 or more.

We talk about what we are harvesting in the gardens right now and from the green house.  The cold and wet spring that stunted the plants seems to have been a blessing for our late season harvest.  Tomatoes, zuchinni, and winter squash top the gardn and greenhouse lists.  Andy laments about how gross eggplant is and discusses a new use for them (hint - pistols are involved).  We also tak a little about the question we get asked a lot about the CSA or other farm enterprises - "is it worth it?"

Direct download: CoopCast_089.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:48pm EST

This weeks updates really sound a lot like the end of the season is upon us.

We have turkey processing this weekend and are planning the changeover of chickens in the chick wagon and the coop. We also talk about the pigs to processor:

  • trailer in place -1st batch Monday
  • 2nd batch- following Monday
  • receiving final cut sheets, etc
  • our cut sheet decisions

This week the CoopCast Community is sponsored by FarmTek - listen to get you FarmTek promotion code / coupon code today!

First off, thanks for get well wishes last week. Still, Farmer Andy is better this week and should be out hunting tonight!

Second, thanks for making your questions and comments public for otehrs to learn from.  Now on to the listener questions...

  1. Karen- asked have we tried free range Cornish yet?
  2. Christy- wanted to know if we have written what's in the row boat anywhere?
  3. Tim- grilled first of his own chickens - felt good to be part of the solution that we inspired him to take acton on!
  4. Rebekah- asked if we make enough $ w/ CSA to make it worth it...
  5. Chris - asks about "free help" on the farm

In a new Farm U segment - we talk 1/2 pig cut sheets

What is a pork cut sheet and how do we set ours up to help customers make decisions.

Visual element to this segment - (Cut sheet here)

Direct download: CoopCast_088.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:32pm EST

Updates this week are around the continued sale of pork butcher cuts and the decisions we are considering around actually carrying some inventory (something we have thus far not done).  We also got our first egg in the chick wagon as the current laying flock slows way down with molting and the change of seasons. Finally we review the status of our sold out turkeys and the questions we get all the time about the difference (or perception of difference) between fresh and frozen meat.
Check out the link about some science of frozen meat! http://blog.doingsciencetostuff.com/2013/03/22/frozen-vs-fresh-rib-eye-steak/

This episode of the CoopCast was sponsored by Farmtek.  Check out Farmtek.com for over 30,000 different products to make you home and farm run smoothly.  If you visit now and use the promotion code we give you in this episode you will save $25 on any purchase of $75 or more...  that's like a 33% savings!  So support this podcast by supporting farmtek.com.

This week in the Veggie Patch we talk about the end of the CSA and discuss the Rowboat of Goodness from this year in our Rowboat Roundup! (The Rowboat of Goodness is our far less snooty take on the Slow Food "Ark of Taste").  So tune in to hear how some of our favorites like Celebrity, Costata Romanesca, Sultan Green and Sultan Yellow did in the 2013 season!  Be inspired to add some of our favorites you your farm or garden next year!

Direct download: CoopCast_087.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:02pm EST

This weeks updates on the farm include our ongoing saga of selling pork sausage :)  Want some?  We als otalk pre-deposits and our business model as well as some of the lessons learned in appraoching farm sales with a deposit model. We have turkey orders coming up as well on the last day of the 2013 CSA! Ohh, and there was an areal predator strike on one of our chickens too...  but she's fine!

Hey - if you haven't visited FarmTek.com yet and shopped their great selection of items - now is the time.  By using the promoton code (listen to the episode for the code) when you check out you can save $25 on an order of $75 or more...  and to help you do that we spend some time in this episode talking baout some of the great FarmTek poultry products we use on our farm.

In the CoopCast Community we answer a pair of questions from Scott and Maggie about dual purpose chicken breeds and telling if a gilt is pregnant.

In the "In The News" segment we talk about the USDA decision to let US grown chicken leav the country, head to China, get processed and then sent back to the US as a food product.  Sounds like another well thought out government program to us!

Chicken from China reading includes:

http://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/c3dab827-151d-4373-917f-139db6a2466d/China_2013_Poultry_Processing.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-205_162-57601738/officials-say-okay-to-processed-chicken-from-china/

Direct download: CoopCast_086.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:06pm EST

With only a month left for the pigs on pasture we are still selling a bunch of sausage...  and now bacon too! We also discuss the options we are considering around keeping the mom's like we have before vs selling them after a single farrowing and keeping smaller gilts over winter to save on feed costs.

We welcome our new sponsor to the coopcast - FarmTek!  We have talked about their products several times over the years and think we have found a terrific partner with them.  As a listener you can visit the FARMTEK.COM website and save $25 on any order of $75 or more by checking out with the code mentioned in the episode.  This is your chance to support us by supporting our sponsors!

In the CoopCast Community we talk a bit about listener messages and questions and how YOU can help US help YOU!  We also answer a listener question about bartering bunny meat for pork on a neighboring farm. This broaches topics like determining value of your farm products and goods in a bater situation.

We officially launch our new segment called Close Encounters with Free Ranging Farmers on the Front Porch...  where talk a bit about the name, the new iPhone next week, the use of social media by farms and what our

Direct download: CoopCast_085.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:07pm EST

With a bit more relaxed schedule the CoopCast takes a bit more of a relaxed discussion of an injured pig and how amazing animals are with injury.  We talk about Hermione and piglets as well as a grower piglet with hemorrhoids!

We talk a bit about selling our sausage to folks and the process around that since we got over 240 pounds back from the USDA processor last week.

We then take a late season walk around the Veggie Patch and talk about what did well in this crazy growing season and what didn't.  Since it's late summer there are tomatoes galore now and we did a taste test of the best tomatores in your garden.  Kelli also talks about some of what she has been canning and freezing.

Direct download: CoopCast_084.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:03pm EST

This week we have been challenged for time so we share a week full of pig centric farm updates.  We moved out lone sow back to in with the piglets and it's been a little exciting - both the move and the post move drama.  We talk a bit about all the work that goes into settin up a new pasture space for the pigs and the challenges that came with it. We share a piglet injury and a decision to move thigns inside the padock around after it was set up. We also update on turkeys and chickens...  and mention something big is happening to the podcast in the near future!

Direct download: CoopCast_083.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:15pm EST

This weeks episode discusses our sleuthing around a dead turkey inside the fencing and what might have happened. We talk about bringing Katniss to the butcher and the plans for the rest of the pigs.

In the CoopCast Community we talk a little about Robert's post on Facebook about soy in food and spend more time talking about how science gets done as opposed to the paper on the subject - here.  Kelli updates folks on her hand treatments and we make a plea to try and move the needle over on Stitcher Radio - head on over and give our show a "thumbs up"! Our show on Stitcher!  Ohh - Go rate us on iTunes!!!

We are introducing a new segment that we need YOU (the listener) to give a name to.  It's kind of a near the farm, homesteading, farmsteading, rural living, country living segment.  A place to talk about all the OTHER questions we get about hunting, cooking, sweet tea and "what do you have in your barn" kinds of things.  You guys keep asking things that are not "farming" specific - so we figured we needed a segment to fit the bill...  but we need a name!  This episode we talk at a high level about hunting!

Direct download: CoopCast_082.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:18pm EST

We are getting things ready to move Katniss off the farm and into the freezer. Part of that process is getting the rest of the pigs ready to move to a new pasture space in the next week or so. We talk turkey about the pastured birds as well as a brief CSA update.  Kelli reviews some suggestions for her chapped hands and considers alternative to gloves.

Farmer Andy reports from the field in this weeks In The News segment sharing the trends he noted from Empire Farm Days.  We talk tractors, alternative heating on the farm and other trends.

Finally the Food on the Farm segment returns with rave reviews.  This week we talk about (and share recipes) for eggplant nuggets and the best smoked ribs you have ever had in your life!

Direct download: CoopCast_081.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:55pm EST

This week we share some updates about the pigs on pasture and how well the not so little guys are doing.  Katniss and Herm are in heat and lovin on Andy something awful. We talk a little about the new turkey shelter and the heritage turkeys - have we clipped their wings, find out! Finally we talk about how nice the chick wagon is!

In the Veggie Patch we talk about Fall planting and the staples of cooler weather late-season plantings like radishes, greens, bok choy, beans, and beets. In the greenhouse we are also testing an observation we have made about lettuce that sprouts in there. Farmer Kelli needs advice on some gloves.

Then we spend some time Cooking on the farm and share some of our favorite farm fresh recipes for eating seasonally.  Delicious recipes for Bruschetta, a grilled romaine BBQ bacon salad and gourmet pork based burgers. Delicious and simple summer concoctions to make your mouth water!

Direct download: CoopCast_080.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:57pm EST

This weeks farm updates are short and sweet so we can get to a bunch of our listeners questions.  We did more pig castrations - not on ours, but super small mini-pigs.  It's a great example of how going slow on a farm make a lot of sense.  We also got the turkeys out on pasture - finally - with a redesigned mobile turkey shelter that ROCKS!

In our CoopCast Community section we talk a bunch of listener questions like:

Are we planning for fall planting?

Erin wanted to know about her NC property as a blank slate for a new farm.  How would we set things up to start in terms of the barn, the green house, and the animals.

Adam asked about our feed mixture for Cornish x and turkeys on pasture

Brent (who brought us the phrase "worm worshipping hippies") Asked about chicken processing and how soon after processing do customers pick up?

In our Ruminations we share our thoughts on food safety article regarding farm market chickens and their bacteria. http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2013/07/study-finds-raw-chicken-from-farmers-markets-more-likely-to-carry-pathogens-than-those-from-groceries/

Direct download: CoopCast_079.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:57pm EST

This week the rain has stopped and the farmers are much happier in their daily chores.  We also are finished with our pastured broilers this year and introduce a visual element in this episode for you to follow along in our discussion of chicken processing. (http://www.flickr.com/photos/chickenthistlefarm/9300657106/).  We then talk about the day in general, the size of the chickens this year and the financials of pastured poultry.  We then have a quick update on the pigs and the vegetable garden and CSA.

We then have a Rumination continuing on with last weeks whine-cast and talk about the things we have done that made the swampy weather just slightly more managable. Things like our drainage ditch, hut placement, round bales, checking during rain and how we need to improve our soil!

A new segment called the Chicken Thistle Nugget

This segment is a chance to share something small, a nugget of wisdom, if you will.  And this week Kelli talks a bit about a farm blog post she found to be very interesting... http://www.thoughtfulfoodfarm.com/2/post/2013/07/money-money-money-money.html

Direct download: CoopCast_078.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:22pm EST

This is not our happiest coopcast...  we have been struggling with endless rains this year and it shows in this episode.  We talk about the weaning process of the piglets as well as catching some of them for selling as growers.  We do share some good "how to" ideas / lessons regarding moving and catching piglets.  But mostly - we use the coopcast as a chance to vent our frustrations with how difficult the weather has made things.  We avoid talk about the gardens as things are just not looking good.

In our Ruminations segment we talk about knowhing when to say when - when have you taken on too much and when does burn out kill the joy of farming.

WARNING: This episode may be a bit of a downer.

Direct download: CoopCast_077.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:06am EST

Last week we responded to a listener question with a little bit of good natured humor about a non-conventional mode of transportation - the tricycle.  We learned that 99.9% of trikers are funny people and, well, let's just say - if you are going to ask us a question and are looking for an answer...  you should expect the same humor and standards we apply to ourselves to also apply to you.

We talk about our decision regarding Katniss on the farm and why / how we got to that decision.  It's been hot and the pigs have been managing it as we head into weaning time. The broilers are enjoying the pasture more than Farmer Andy is and the chickens in the "chick wagon" are now enjoying foraging outside.  We talk a little about the electric netting use this year to "secure" the pens and how it's been working out so far. We also talk about our new tumbler composter.

In the Veggie Patch we talk about the tomato ICU we set up after the extraordinary rains caused a bunch of losses. 

Remember when we had our last farming "Remember When" segment? That's OK, we don't either. This week's remember when talks about the things listeners have asked and we keep forgetting to give updates about.  We talk about our concrete pig waterer, that chick wagon post to our blog that never got done and an update about Nugget the chicken.

Direct download: CoopCast_076.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:32pm EST

In our updates this week we lament about the nedless rain on the farm, the wet pastures and the sorggy gardens.  Our pigs have even taken to finding new places to walk and eat since thing sare so muddy. On the upside we have a lot of them sold with our pre-order process. We took advantage of a break i nthe rain to get the pastured broilers out and the pens are moving across fresh (but wet) ground. In the vegetable garden the tomatoes have not been so happy about the endless rains but the greens are gowing like weeds - absloute extremes in the garden for sure.

This week we also ruminate around a great question from one of our listeners about how you know you can / should trust the quality of a local farm based on things you see on the surface.  Does a dirty farm mean a bad farm? How do you know how a farm operates? Som really good questions posed and we we talk through the question at hand.

Direct download: CoopCast_075.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:58pm EST

This week on the farm has been marked by more rain than we need - over 2" above average for the month.  Becasue of that we have been trying to find a time to get those Cornish X chickens out to pasture.  We also discovered an old layer hen that the weather made blue - so she started eating eggs.  On the piglet front we have noticed a big differnce in sow nursing capacity Katniss vs Hermione nursing 6vs 11.

Part of farming is then selling the good you raised - so we talk a little about the pork ordering and our approach this year.  We also talk about the gardens and the rain... and the fact we have decided to start the vegetable CSA this year (remember to check out www.chickenthistlefarm.com every Tuesday on the Farm Blog for the latest fresh in-season vegetable recipes!)

In the CoopCast Community we field an indepth question about the decisions behind our greenhouse.  We answer the questions about why we chose a dirt floor vs cement. Extra heat vs. no heat. And home built vs manufactured.

Direct download: CoopCast_074.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:35pm EST

Updates this week include a discussion about the new piglets and the genetics / lineage in them and what decisions we migth be making in the comming months.  We talk about the Cornish X broilers and the efforts to line up chicken helpers for the July processing day.  The heritage turkeys are doing well in the brooder and Farmer Andy loves the chick wagon - dreaming of a farm of all mobile wagons.

In the Veggie Patch segment we wander all over the gardens - from the greenhosue to the pasture to our haying operations.  We also share some of Farmer Kelli's tips and tricks; like using a whiteboard for lists, using an iPhone for lists, using scraps of papers for lists and then making lists of lists of things to put on lists on the farm!  Things like using a pencil to write on old mini-blind tags, the usage of mulching and how we are going to try and maximize our broiler fertilizer this year.

This coopcast is a little crazy - just like life on the farm!

Direct download: CoopCast_073.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:19pm EST

With the farrowing behind us this week we can talk about the 17 piglets running around the pasture and the mayhem that ensues!  Mama pigs are doing great and we also share the final castration update for the season as we finish off that chore.  We also talk about the broiler chickens that are here.  Our Cornish X chicks arrived early and we're not ready!!

In the CoopCast Community we give a nice thank you to our listeners who helped us by sharing their experience and letting us know we were not alone.  It was a cool feeling!  We also mention a great comment from a US Veteran on our Memorial Day post on Facebook. Ohh, Andy shares a gun range story about some not so savvy pistol shooting (smack talk - the shooting was great!).

Finally we tour the veggie patch and talk about row covers and hoops.  Kelli shares some of the pros: Protect from cold sun and bugs, Better growth on some stuff and some of the cons: Hard to see in-Need to check in on plants, Blowing off, Getting torn

Direct download: CoopCast_072.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:49pm EST

This has been a week of extreme conditions on the farm physically as well as one of the most emotionally challenging weeks of farming yet.  The vegetables have had to deal with a freeze of 28F one day and 90+ a few days later... any way you look at that, it's a challenge.  On top of the wild weather we had to navigate piglet castration when the mama wants nothing to do with humans and icing on the cake was a proven sow who has issues while farrowing and needed help delivering 8 more piglets!

While we try and keep it clean it's been exhausting and the description of farrowing a castration topics made us thing the "use caution around small children" label was appropriate for the "more sensitive" listeners.
One resource we mention in this episode is the Perdue livestock "Difficult pig farrowing" guide here - http://www.extension.purdue.edu/pork/health/farr.html#exam
Anyone who ever said farming was easy should live a week like this then come back and see us :)
Direct download: CoopCast_071.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 10:48am EST

This was a busy week on the farm.  In fact, we don't even have time to talk about the vegetable gardening this week!  Our gilt, Katniss, farrowed her first litter of pigs and we take you through the experience from noticing her first signs of farrowing all the way through dealing with mom and piglets post-farrowing.  We reflect on this farrowing experience versus our first farrowing with our sow last year - and there's quite a difference!   Share in our joy and disappointment as we deal with an aggressively protective mom and how that behavior is affecting our ability to care for the animals.  We await the next farrowing coming later in the week.  We also briefly touch on the arrival of turkey poults and egg layer chicks this week as well.

Direct download: CoopCast_070.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 10:02pm EST

This week we talk about our new YouTube series we will be publishing over the next several months called "Five Minutes on the Farm".  We set up some new fencing for the pigs and Andy longs for more permanent fences on the farm. We are getting ready for piglet farrowing in the next week and we talk a little about the new pig waterer we built. We briefly stop by the veggie patch to talk gardening and asparagus and raspberry plants.

The CoopCast Community has a followup on the "Milk Rant" from CoopCast 067 and the listener response in CoopCast 068.  We also respond to a suggestion from a listener regarding farm tours and interns.

This weeks concludes with a Rumination about GMO's.  We challenge the listener to consider that the concept of a GMO is not categorically bad - there are some really good things that come from GMO's in the world and we touch on a few of them.

Direct download: CoopCast_069.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:11pm EST

Things around the farm have been getting busy as the vegetable gardening season is off to is start.  Finally we have the peas planted - sugar snap and snow so far.  We have also been picking from the asparagus patch and enjoying some fresh spring vegetables. We talk about a trip to the Amish greenhouse and Amish WalMart.  At the same time we have been fighting rats in the barn with increasing urgency as we are just a few weeks away from chicks and poults brooding in the barn.

Then in the CoopCast Community we tease a little bit about the fact we are building something that we hope will really help out on the farm...  to see what it is check out our Facebook page.  We talk about some "quiet criticism" our last CoopCast received and rant a little.  We also answer Luke's question about owning vs buying pigs for meat production.

Finally we conclude with a Farm U all about GMO's and the testing of food for the presence of genetically modified organisms.  This segment is not opinion or discussion based noise about GMO's rather a factual "from the lab" discussion of how Dr. Farmer Kelli is actually testing foods for GMO corn and soy.

Direct download: CoopCast_068.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:17pm EST

This weeks farming updates show that things are quickly picking up speed as spring marches on.  We started last week offering our pastured broilers up for sale and had them all accounted for in 2 days.  We also have been fixing some of our permanent fencing that winter was not kind to.  As part of the fencing work we opened a spring pasture for the pigs and will be moving them for farrowing in another week or so.  Updates include a quick stop in the vegetable garden section of the farm where we have been busy making soil blocks and starting seeds in the greenhouse.  Up next is actually getting peas planted in the garden!

The CoopCast Community this week is a rapid fire segment...  Where we discuss how "nice" it was that some of the Boston police brought a homeowner with children some milk...
http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=national&url=http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57580635/photograph-of-boston-police-officer-delivering-milk-to-family-during-lockdown-goes-viral/&feed_id=1&videoid=37&catid=57580635
We respond to a listener that asked about the new names the pork and beef producers are putting on meat.
#farmerandy riffs on customers who ask the question "is there soy in your feed".
Brent from CT is happy we aren't "worm worshipping hippies" and so are we.
And Jon pointed out that  taping farm cruelty is now a crime here in NY.

Our final segment is a Rumination on balancing transparency with privacy.  Where do you draw the line when you farm is also your home?  It's a more difficult question than you might think.

Direct download: CoopCast_067.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 5:29pm EST

This weeks farming updates include a lot of rain and finally a little warmth.  We were about to get the snow fence down and watch the pastures start to turn a little green.  We started allowing customers to pre-order pastured chickens this week and we are almost already sold out.  We found a dead chicken in the coop...  looks like a heart attack.  In the green house we have been potting up tomatoes and making soil blocks.

The Farmers Choice segment this week answers the question we posed in CoopCast 065 about how do manage a sick pig. In the segment we:
Follow up on pig illness
Share some of the thoughts our listeners had like call vet, ask Walter, check poop
Share what the farmers did which included emailed Walter, posted on boards, called who we bought from, talked to large animal vet
We found that the Pigsite and Merck vet manual were quite helpful
Penicillin and tetracycline - when antibiotics and the farm work together.

In a Farm U segment we talk about the notion out there that you can "breed resistance" to disease into your animals and how that's not really accurate.
Resistance to disease/ building a better herd has a role in breeding but genetics isn't the whole story.  The stauts of host- Nutrition, stress, normal flora, etc all impact the likelihood of an animal getting sick when exposed to the pathogen.  In most cases it's less about genetics and "resistance" and more about infectious dose of the organism.

Direct download: CoopCast_066.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:50pm EST

Our farming updates this week suggest that maybe just a little Spring is on the way here at Chicken Thistle Farm. We took some time to clean out the chick wagon. We have also spent some time cleaning up the asparagus patch and getting the greenhouse ready for some seedlings. Then there's an update on the pigs and their gestation progress.

We then move to the Veggie Patch and talk a little vegetable gardening as the seasons slowly turn. We talk seedlings, seed starting and soil blocks. Getting things ready in the greenhouse is a challenge as it seems to have been taken over by rodents following the cold winter. We also answer a few questions about starting peas in the springtime garden and discuss our seed starting worksheet in our project library on the chickenthistlefarm.com website.

Our last segment is The Farmers Choice where this week we share part of the story of when one of our pigs went down sick and ask you, the aspiring farmer, what would YOU do?

Direct download: CoopCast_065.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:46pm EST

Our farming updates this week include several things.  Like the new animal on the farm, our new Border Terrier puppy Cricket.  The Brother to Watson. (get it?).  Kelli shares her adventures from last week while Andy was away on business and the "while traveling" farm emergency she had to manage.  We complain about the fact it's early April and there's still snow on the ground.  We also have a discussion around pricing your products (pastured meats and other naturally farmed goods) and making sure you ask what you should be getting.  A little farm marketing advice about how discounting your brand isn't a good idea.

If you haven't check us out on Facebook, Twitter or our web site...  the fact is we are NOT raising Ostriches or Gators...  that was an April Fools joke.

The "In the News" segment we talk about the big uproar in the media about the fact that dairy producers want to add sweeteners to their milk and be held to the same labeling standards as the rest of the beverage industry (gasp).  Then we turn our attention to the "Monsanto Protection Act" and not so much about how it will impact food safety but rather from a bigger picture of how government behaving like this isn't necessarily in the best interest of it's citizens.

 "Monsanto Protection Act" primer - http://investorplace.com/investorpolitics/the-monsanto-protection-act-only-in-america/

Direct download: CoopCast_064.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:29pm EST

This week our farming podcast talks about how we (the farmers) manage to get away on a vaction while entrusting the farm to capable hands. Who says farming needs to be all work and no play. There's a set of steps we undergo to ensure the farm is ready to be watched and we share a bunch of those.

We share our story about a farmers market we visited while on vacation in sunny Florida.  It was interesting for us to deal with how the farmer becomes the consumer.

There's a new segment this week called "Remember When"... where we talk about how we start off little chicks to grow them into healthy birds.

Finally, our last segment this week is an "In the News" where we discuss how China, Russia and otehr countries have banned the import of a bunch of US raised meats because of the usage of a chemical called Ractopamine. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ractopamine

Direct download: CoopCast_063.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:20pm EST

This weeks farming updates include our final decision on how we are managing our turkey order of midget white and Bourbon reds in the coming farming season.  We talk about moving a pig feeder to get it out of the swampy mud the spring has brought and finally we are starting some seeds for the vegetable garden.

In the CoopCast Community we answer a question about washing eggs.  We also followup on the geothermal system and how it's been working through the first real winter it's been online.

Finally we spend some time on the farm with a rumination pertaining to the questions we often get from new farmers.
We often are asked about advice and information with regards to getting into farming.  One thing that we have seen very often when talking with upstart farmers is sometimes they ask questions that they don't want the answer to.

Direct download: CoopCast_062.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 3:51pm EST

This week's farm update were kind of all over the place since we missed an episode last week with #farmerandy being down for the count with a nasty lung bug.  We talk about sickness on the farm when it's NOT an animial but a farmer, living through mud season on the farm and dealing with mud and pigs.  We hase how the chickens onf the farm are doing with the Spring thaw and chickens and the challenges with their coop and netting and muddy eggs.

In the Coopcast community this week we spend some time raging in general... must be the sickness and/or the drugs.  We respond about a post where some folks were worrying about the CoopCast podfading away...  We spend some time answering listener questions about a modibe pig tractor in Grit magazine and some other questions about chicken pasture pens.  Sorry all you iTunes reviewers - no drama like high speed chases this week!

Direct download: CoopCast061.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 6:17pm EST