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.

This weeks farm updates include:
  • A discussion about pork cut sheets and pig preparations
  • Turkey processing starting next weekend
  • Egg layers- who's laying? Dealing with  older chickens and refreshing our flock
  • Last week of CSA
  • Greenhouse - looking good

In the Veggie Patch:

  • Our potato results!
  • Do it yourself- note pesticide levels in store bought potatoes

Farm U: Chicken Processing

This is the first part in a series of Farm U's talking about chicken processing.
  • Equipment and set up, what do you need as the basics to start processing chickens
  • What to buy vs not buy in a basic setup
Direct download: CoopCast038.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:11pm EDT

We try out a new intro on this weeks show based on a listener iTunes review...


Farming Updates this week include:
  • Pigs on new pasture was an easy move,
  • Making a swale for their wallow,
  • New hog feeder feeder in use,
  • Update on O2's limp,
  • Selecting a gilt to keep - what is good conformation?
  • Pork cut sheet designed,
  • Turkey processing dates picked,
  • Turkey ordering form sent out,
  • CSA is ending in 2 weeks.
In the Veggie Patch:
  • We talk tomatoes and blight.  What is it, how do you identify it and what can you do about it?
In Farm U:
  • We discuss what we are doing to manage pasture spaces after moving pigs off of them.
Direct download: CoopCast037.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:49am EDT

This Labor Day week we have a shorter version full of fun filled farming listener feedback!

In the CoopCast Community:
  • A comment from a listener Susan P about her struggling small farm and challenges with regulations,
  • Lucinda asked many questions about chickens,
  • Laurie askes about food saftey and honey.
Then on the In the News Segement:
  • We discuss a recent scientific study about BPA
Direct download: CoopCast036.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:51pm EDT

Updates around the farm this week:

  • Our Daycation here in NY,
  • A new to us hog feeder,
  • O2 and his bum leg,
  • Turkey ordering,
  • prepping greenhouse for fall.


In the Veggie Patch:

  • Fall Succession planting update in the garden and in the greenhouse,
  • CSA spotlight - Edamame.


In the CoopCast Community:
We get mentioned on some blogs (thebeginningfarmer.blogspot.com and empressofdirt.net) where they say we are a good farming podcast - COOL!

And we bundle a bunch of reviews and questions together from the community to have a conversation...
We ruminate about going full time as a farmer and answer the following questions (from James and "farmer on hiatus", amongst others):
  • Is our aim to do this full time?
  • How much land do we have?
  • DO we want farming as primary occupation?
  • Are we "Big enough to sustain" our farm?
Direct download: CoopCast035.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:49pm EDT

A update light week on the farm with:

  • No poultry pens to move,
  • Normal weather for a change on the farm,
  • Turkeys and layers doing well,
  • Pigs have their first weigh in.

In the Veggie Patch we talk:

  • Greenhouse soil fertility and design,
  • Low tunnel greenhouses you can build,
  • End of garden season discounts.
In the Coopcast Community:
  • On a listeners suggestion Andy is trying Oral Ivy.
  • Sheree asked about growing grain for chickens and supplementing them with veggies/greens from the garden.
  • Brice suggested we invest in some livestock guardian dogs.
In this weeks Farm U we learn about the science behind preventing Botulism when canning vegetables.
The bacteria lives in all soils and we talk about terms relating to it and defeating it when canning:
  • Spores
  • Anaerobe
  • Soil
  • Pressure and temp
  • pH
Direct download: CoopCast034.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:31pm EDT

Updates this week on the farm:

  • We learned that Ollie is no more on the farm we took him to,
  • Hay and livestock trailer,
  • The seasons final chicken processing,
  • 5 gallon bucket waterer gauge,
  • And a question - what makes you happy when farming?

In the Veggie Patch:

  • Tomatoes and canning,
  • Succession planting,
  • We discuss the results of the above ground potato growing method (from coopcast 014)

Questions, Conversations and Ruminations:

  • We get asked all the time "Don't you get attached to your animals?"
  • Can you care about the animals you eat for meat? 
  • Is it better to not like them? 
  • Is that why we've gone to a system of mistreatment?

Direct download: CoopCast033.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:57am EDT

Meet the farmers Andy and Kelli and learn how we got HERE on our farming adventure.  We share our first thoughts on the point / audience / reason / format of these things.  There's also a discussion of what’s going on around our small farm and homestead.

This episode introduces our Farm U segment where we share some ruminations about a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) model, discuss what a consumer should look for and expect and talk about what a farmer should consider when starting out with a CSA.  Since a CSA is such a popular (and growing) model to get fresh, local vegetables these conversations help both sides of the equation (farmer and consumer) understand what's involved.

So welcome to the Chicken Thistle Farm CoopCast...  it's our irreverant take on the "farmcast", gardening, livestock talking, homesteading podcast.

Direct download: CoopCast1.m4a
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 1:56pm EDT