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.

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 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 EDT

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 -

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

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.

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

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 EDT

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 EDT

Farming updates this week:

  • Our Facebook page hit 1000+ fans - thanks so much!
  • Chicken orders done for the 2013 farming season
  • Turkey decision still pending

In the CoopCast Community:

  • Mark sent us some seeds!
  • Josh helps a neighbor pig rescue in his farming adventures
  • Suggestions posted on FB - for pasture pen plans
  • Kelli's visit to CSA fair

Ruminations continue about farm finances:

  • Farm finances continued as we discuss some of the specifics of expenses and income on the small farm
  • Using QuickBooks and a farm credit card
Direct download: CoopCast_060.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:06pm EDT

Farming updates for the week include:

  • Updates AI - no more updates needed, Due dates on calendar
  • Chick Wagon
  • Hay/straw delivery
  • CSA full

A new segment called "From the ground up" where we discuss the basics for any given project or enterprise on the farm and what we would do to do it again.  THis week we talk about how we would go about starting a CSA

  • Pictures posted of the shares
  • Surveys 
  • Reviews 
  • How to get people to invest that much
  • Make it a community with recipes, posts each week
  • Host events at the farm- potluck, etc. 
  • What to expect and communicate a lot

Questions, Conversations and Ruminations this week (and for a few weeks) are a in depth review and discussion around the farm finances.

  • Income
  • Expenses
Direct download: CoopCast_059.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:16am EDT

Updates from around the farm:

  • AI update - no heat for Katniss
  • Checking Herm this week
  • Snow storm - closed off extended pasture; ran extra line
  • Round bales - more $ and hard to get
  • Farm census
  • Taxes and a financial look back at past year- upcoming discussions
  • A simple soil block question

This week we have a Farm U discussion around TRACTORS!

  • How much horsepower for diffrnt jobs
  • What is the right type of transmission
  • Confusion Solution for hydraulics
Direct download: CoopCast_058.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:01pm EDT

Farm updates this week include:

  • More AI talk- gator sound needed
  • Katniss heat check this week
  • Day 12
  • Cold weather continues
  • Super Bowl = good food from the farm
  • Chicken sitting-new chick wagon & lil eggs

Veggie patch, our vegetable gardening segment we talk:

  • New varieties we're trying this year
  • Seed organization
  • CSA email out to old members- did raise price

Farmers choice segment talks abous our value (or lack there of) in the natural food movement:

  • Our role/value in the food movement
  • Not big, not trying to grow big, not trying to make a living solely from farming- so what value can we bring?
  • Advice on farming abounds and can be annoying.
Direct download: CoopCast057.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45pm EDT

Farm updates this week include:

  • Hermione AI
  • Seed order in
  • CSA - email to current customers
  • Chicken trailer update
  • Bogs boots update

In the "Extended" CoopCast Community"

  • Song used last episode
  • The Facebook discussion of the picture of Hermione w/ Andy and Katniss in back
  • Questions about fencing
  • Feeding pigs "bad" milk
  • Patti and others - how to know if AI worked
  • Heather and Danielle - couples listening

Direct download: CoopCast056.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 10:17am EDT

This week's coopcast has a weather update about a big windstom that caused some damage but spends most of it's time talking about the artifical insemination process we followed with our gilt Katiniss and what worked / dindn't as well as what we learned about doing AI on the farm.

Part 3 of the Farm Meeting discusses the general palns around infrastructure this year and why we made some decisions we did about growtih or processes in 2013.

Direct download: CoopCast055.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:10am EDT

The updates in farming this week include:

  • A Big thaw
  • Planning for artificial insemination with the pigs
  • Finally raised egg prices to $4 / dozen
  • Kelli shares a listener requested update on her Bogs Boots
  • Freezer inventory fun

This is part 2 of the Annual Farm Meeting:

  • A pending plan for turkeys
  • The chicken succession plan
  • Purchase and project in support of the Chicken Plan
  • Breeds that we will be replacing the flock with and why
Direct download: CoopCast054.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:02am EDT

Updates around the snowy and cold farm:

  • Snow and drifting on the farm and the implications to portable fencing
  • Pigs on the loose
  • Electric netting - upright again
  • Chickens in the wind
  • Greenhouse - salad for new years eve, peas, Swiss chard and a warm refuge

The Annual Farm Meeting Farm Meeting for 2013 - Part 1

  • We discussed if we will be doing a CSA this year and the size,
  • The Pig plan and AI,
  • Laying chickens (more on this one next week)
  • The plan for broiler chickens this summer
  • General "farming burnout" that we are trying to avoid
Direct download: CoopCast053.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:03am EDT

Our Post-Christmas, pre New Year 52nd, one year celebration episode.

This week's updates include:

  • Christmas on the farm - yum
  • Let it snow, we say, with over 2 feet and counting...
  • Preparing for the snow - round bales to the rescue
  • Dealing with the fence lines in snow
  • Placement of winter paddock fencing - room for improvement
  • Chickens and snow

In the Coopcast Community:

  • Listener Bill shares his bad experience with CSA's and trying again
  • One of our first listener Jeph talks about getting to eat an egg from Nugget!
  • Frank want's to know about any automation on the farm
Direct download: CoopCast052.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 3:37pm EDT

Updates this week include:

  • #elfonafarm - visit our Facebook Page to follow the adventures of one of Santa's Helpers on a farm.
  • Weather - is this December?
  • Haven't moved pigs to want area yet - fencing ready to go
  • Rats in barn
  • And a listener update from Adam about those VT college oxen

This week in the news we share some thoughts about the horrific tragedy in CT and try to provide some facts about the gun control debate

  • Guns - banning guns and they types of firearms
  • Gun control in New York State
  • Guns on a farm

This episodes Farm U talks about feed storage

  • Why rodents are bad
  • Best practices for small farm feed storage
  • What to do if a rodent gets into your feed
Direct download: CoopCast051.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 10:02am EDT

Updates from around the farm:

  • Chickens - they love the round bales in their area for winter
  • Lower egg production - no heat lamp
  • Pigs- not in winter paddock yet- no real snowfall
  • Cat in a hoop house
  • Snow fence is up- why do we hate doing that so much?

In the CoopCast Community

  • Gaertagang Farm- Bogs boots
  • Maple View Farm- Overalls
  • Nicole- favorite podcasts and online tools
  • Homemade gift idea- seeds or help starting a garden

This week's Farmers Choice is a discussion on different egg layer breeds

  • What we like and don't about: Barred Rock, Speckled Sussex, Buff Rock, California, Golden Comet, Rhode Island Red, and Tetra Tint
Direct download: CoopCast050.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:25am EDT

In this episode we share several of our favorite things from our farm.  From pasture to plate we talk about big and small farming items that we like and that make farming easier for us to manage things.

This episode is a departure from the typical farm updates and other discussions and we hope you enjoy it!

Direct download: CoopCast049.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 9:46am EDT

This "longer than usual" CoopCast includes...

Updates from around the farm:

  • Heritage Turkey for Thanksgiving - yum!!!!
  • Losing a chicken and a farmers "instincts"
  • Prepping for winter by moving chicken fencing (poultry netting) and pig fencing

A trip to the cold Veggie Patch to discuss some HOT tomato choices:

  • Review of our top 2012 tomato varieties
  • A brief lesson on determinate and indeterminate tomato plants as well as heirloom and hybrid.

In the CoopCast Community

  • Josie asked about worming pigs?
  • Lots of people have been asking "when is sign up for X, Y or Z"?
Direct download: CoopCast048.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:39am EDT

This coopcast is a bit of Thanksgiving fun with the theme of "plate" (from pasture to plate) running through the segments.  So pull up a chair, have a seat on the farm and join us for a Thanksgiving discussion!

Farm updates:

  • Customer looking for pastured turkeys the week before Thanksgiving,
  • Pig fencing takes a hit from deer, 
  • General farm updates

CoopCast Community:

  • We just talk more about food... and answer a question from Josh about our breakfasts.

Farmers Choice:

  • We discuss food... In particular how we have noticed that eating good food from the store never seems to taste very good.  Can healthy food taste good?
Direct download: CoopCast047.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:01pm EDT

Updates this week on the farm include:

  • Winter prep continues - fencing for winter paddock and the trouble with fencing in the fall,
  • Tomatoes out of greenhouse after a really hard freeze,
  • Moved pig feeder out of the mud

In the CoopCast Community

  • Prop 37 - didn't pass - is it all about business!
  • Mackaenzie shares a tip to make your Facebook faned pages visible
  • Question on our recipes,
  • Robert asked about our recommendations on poultry netting.

Farm U

Was inspired by a question from Stuart:

  • What are the differences in processing chickens and turkeys?
Direct download: CoopCast046.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 3:35pm EDT

Farming Updates in what seems like a farming soap opera:

  • We were away from our farm when hurricane Sandy came through
  • Being prepared for disasters
  • Lessons from this event

In the CoopCast Community 

  • Response to a blog post about the cost of raising pigs 
  • GMO discussion feedback 
    • Ernest shared a link to a documentary on GMOs
  • Melanie shared her dream product - Andy's Boar in a Bottle

In this weeks Farmers Choice : People always talk about wanting to "eat healthy" but what does that really mean?  How do you really measure healthy?

  • Eating healthy and the definition
  • Nutrient dense food and the difference
Direct download: CoopCast045.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:06am EDT

Just a few Farmining Updates this week:

  • Garlic planting and our technique,
  • A root cellar full of goodies,
  • Our youngest gilt is in heat - Ollie traits!

In the news we discuss Proposition 37 and GMO's:

  • Opinions on Prop 37 and GMOs in general
  • Labeling requirement?
  • What is a GMO?
  • For or against GMOs?
  • Natural selection and pesticide use
Direct download: CoopCast044.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:00am EDT

Updates from around the farmstead:

  • #farmerandy shares his Big Buck story of dispair,
  • We put the veggie patch to bed with compost and the rototiller,
  • Pigs moved to a new section of pasture,
  • Pig pasture maintenance and seeding on the old pasture,
  • From the pasture to the plate we talk about canning chicken in the pressure cooker,
  • Final sales of year and the risk to cash flow

In the CoopCast community:

  • We talk about cooking a heritage turkey (,
  • A listener who didn't know he could raise his chickens on pasture,
  • Some general listener feedback items from Facebook, iTunes and Stitcher.

In the news:

  • We talk about a non-functioning pair of oxen in Vermont and what should happen with them:
Direct download: CoopCast043.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:52am EDT

Updates around the farm include:

  • We were featured on Libsyn's Rockin New Podcasts! -
  • The growing season is officially over with a hard freeze last week,
  • We finished turkeys by processing the last of the Midget White Turkeys,
  • We got our municipal water bill from over the drought months (WOW),
  • Winter preparations are ongoing including cleaning out the chicken coop and starting to put the vegetable garden to bed,
  • Farm stand review for the year.

This week we are having 2 related farmers choice segments about commitment:

  • From the farmers side, what levels of commitment are required to your livestock, land and customers?  We talk about this in relation to a listener email about his journey into becoming a farmer.
  • From the consumer side, what and why are you committed to a farm or farmer? And how do your actions speak louder than your words when it comes to demonstrating that commitment?

(This episode was recorded on the eve of our 13th wedding anniversary, hence the commitment theme!)

Direct download: CoopCast042.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

This weeks farm updates:

  • Special announcement is we are going to be a featured podcast on Libsyn's blog of up-and-comers on October 15th!
  • Pork pickup - happy customers and farmers - yummy pork too!
  • Hermione and Katniss are getting along just smashingly
  • Turkey vs Fox story (a win for the good guys)
  • We eat good - soup - add greens - yum!

In the CoopCast Community:

  • Business info posting on Facebook -
  • Gift from listener -
  • A "postivie" review, maybe, says she can't go to sleep without our voices - hmmmmm!? 
  • And National Lard Rendering Month, maybe?

In the News:

  • Pig farmer eaten by his pigs
  • Farm out of business
Direct download: CoopCast041.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:47am EDT

Even though it's early Autumn we have still been busy farming this week!

Updates from around the farm this week include:

  • Taking the last of the pastured pigs to processor and deciding who was going to stay with us!
  • We touch again on the difficulty of sending respected animals to the processor,
  • Getting ready for pork pickup with customers as the meat comes back from the processor,
  • Dealing with turkeys - everywhere.

We take a muddy stroll through the veggie patch:

  • CSA is done but still harvesting,
  • Late planting reviews and opinions: zucchini, beans, lettuce, bok choy,
  • Dried bean update,
  • Greenhouse plantings update.

In the CoopCast community:

  • Jennifer asked about feeding candy to cows,
  • Constance wanted an update on the poison ivy drops (Oral Ivy),
  • Chad was wondering what we do to winterize farm (waterer, shelter bedding) right now: coop, winter paddock for pigs
Direct download: CoopCast040.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 8:37am EDT

Updates from around the farm:

  • We got some of our pigs to processor and share our feelings on that.
  • Turkey processing of the first batch
  • Frost Warning!

In the Coopcast Community

  • Vivianne shares her experiences raising cornish cross and shares that on her blog.
  • Adalyn Farms shared with us as well and has Kelli wanting a dwarf goat.
  • Paul asked some specific business questions about  a farm corporation, LLC, insurance etc and we discuss why we don't answer those questions very well.
  • John was afraid we were deleting his Facebook post and had some questions about a sleepy rooster and some bad advice he was given.

This weeks Farm U (part 2 of Chicken Processing)

  • Poultry Processing
  • Our set up: what we have and our line set up
  • Some general comments about our HACCP procedures
Direct download: CoopCast039.mp3
Category:farming podcast -- posted at: 7:48pm EDT

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 ( and 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

This weeks updates include:

  • Hermione's move to the pasture reuniting her with her piglets,
  • Club station cool (what is it)... a shade cloth shelter for pigs when there is no other shade around,
  • We are sold out of pork and share some lessons on ordering / selling pork halves,
  • Chicken processing coming up next weekend,
  • Weather has been hot and dry and the rain has come with a price,
  • Shattered window and shredded turkey shelter.

A new segment called The Veggie Patch focuses on the vegetable gardens and gardening techniques we use (because you, the listeners asked for it!)

  • Tomato planting, labels and harvesting,
  • Basil planting techniques in northern climates

Farm U inspired by a listener comment on the use of antibiotics on the farm.

  • Is the meat tainted?
  • Why don't you want antibiotics used in livestock
  • What constitutes safe or good use of antibiotics on a farm?
Direct download: CoopCast032.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:26pm EDT

  • It finally rained some,
  • Turkeys enjoying life on the lawn / pasture,
  • A successful pig move
    • Building a holding paddock / corral in pasture,
    • using the livestock trailer correctly,
    • ready with food to distract and lure, 
    • singing the praises of homemade sorting boards!

In the CoopCast Community:

  • Dive_wombat - emailed a very interesting article along from down under about chicken prices as a result of the US drought
  • Email and package from Steve in VA with a nifty system to monitor water bucket levels buckets
  • The Stewart Homestead had a bit of their homesteading inspired by our talk of Cornish X chickens and pigs.

The Farmers Choice - We had a pig with a problem.  What do we do?

  • What is it the issue when a pig hold it's head to the side and shakes it and what to do and when to do it?
  • Judging and transparency in the natural farm community leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Hear our discussions about what our choices was and why, as well as the details about how we managed the situation and administered antibiotics orally to a pig.
Direct download: CoopCast031.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

  • Fertilizing the lawn with pastured turkeys,
  • We have the barn back and are busy drying garlic,
  • 9 weeks and less than .25" of rain, TOTAL,
  • Nugget, Snowflake and nameless are growing up,
  • Hermione is in heat again and piglets are ready for a move,
  • We eat good: Bruschetta recipe
    • 1 loaf fresh baguette or Italian bread
    • 2-3 different fresh picked tomatoes
    • 2-3 T good olive oil
    • 2-3 cloves garlic (mashed)
    • 3-4 springs each of fresh oregano, basil and parsley all chopped fine
    • Fresh cracked black pepper and salt to taste
    • (optional) fresh grated hard Italian cheese (your choice)

In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir together. Cut bread into slices. Spray with olive oil and place on a medium hot grill until grill marks appear. Spray exposed side of bread with more olive oil and flip.  Immediately place heaping spoonfuls of tomato mixture on the bread and close the grill cover for about 2-3 minutes.  Remove and consume with beer, wine or cold ice tea!

In the CoopCast community:

  • Lisa asks about managing problems with raccoons in corn,
  • Austin is interested in our methods of marketing and growing our small farm,
  • Melanie has a BUNCH of farm business questions which we touch on but will cover more of in the future,
  • Another question about starting a CSA.

On this episodes Farm U:

  • Building your very own root cellar is a lot easier than you think
    • Building
    • Location, location, location
    • Humidity
    • Temperature
    • Storage Options
Direct download: CoopCast030.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:30am EDT

This weeks Farm Updates:

  • Endless heat and no rain at all,
    • What's the impact of this weather on our gardens, our animals and the nations food supply.
  • Pigs and turkeys,
  • Kelli loves the greenhouse (and all the garden spiders)
  • We had one of our big chicken processing days

Questions, Conversations and Ruminations

  • Although it's one of the days of hardest work on the farm we find chicken processing days very rewarding.  In this segment we share some of our thoughts as we reflect back on the first chicken processing day of 2012
Direct download: CoopCast029.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:20am EDT

Around the farm and gardens:
  • Hermione's standing heat and hormones,
  • Piglets are bigger than piglets now,
  • Predator attack on the Cornish X birds in the pasture,
    • Lost 3 birds and now the defense plan
  • Preparing for 1st chicken processing event next weekend

Coopcast Community / Farm U:

  • Susan I. asked: why wean piglets and not just let mama do it?
  • Holly wanted to know what we feed our pigs?
  • Scout wants to know about the low tunnels we use in the garden: Which type of Agribon do you use? Are you primarily using it for pest control or do you have the type that provides frost protection as well? Do you use the manufactured hoops to support it above your plants or are you using some other method? 
Direct download: CoopCast028.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:38am EDT

A very Happy 4th of July to all our listeners (or Canada Day), folks listening in the UK...  sorry :)

Around the farm:

  • Not normal weather for sure.
    • Very hot but the gardens are surviving
    • Rabbits under hoop the hoop
  • Chickens on pasture get processed in 2 weeks
  • Chicks and turkeys in the brooders are doing well

Pigs - a very special weaning story

  • What we did that was wrong in terms of setup, planning and moving large animals
  • What we did that was right and that we would do again when weaning piglets
  • What we did that was desperate and stupid
  • What we would never do again because being smarter would let us avoid that

CoopCast Community:

  • An iTunes review where a listener is going to make some simple changes for healthier chicks and pigs
  • Stewart Homestead likes Andy's humor (and thinks this should be a comedy podcast, ok, not really, Andy added that) but they ARE going to try Cornish chickens and their own pigs
  • Plants between the rocks said this podcast is a "Skillful blending of planning implementing and evaluating", and we decided they are listening to another podcast and accidentally commented on us!
  • MikeE on Facebook posed a question about a rooster when his neighbors are not fans.
  • A plea to remind us of topics we said we would talk about but have forgotten about!
Direct download: CoopCast027.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 9:33am EDT

Updates around the farm and gardens:

  • How to keep cool weather crops happy when it's always over 90F,
  • Keeping broilers cool in the pasture with box fans,
  • Predators and pastured poultry,
  • Still weaning the pigs,
  • Thinking about moving the turkeys out sooner.

This weeks DOUBLE FEATURE Farmers Choice:

  • Conventional farming isn't all bad so don't treat it that way,
  • The difference between researching and just confirming your opinion.
Direct download: CoopCast026.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:50pm EDT

This week’s updates around the farm and gardens:

  • First batch of broiler chickens moved out to pasture,
  • Pig updates,
  • Turkey updates,
  • The new garden shed,
  • Summer heat in spring and its impact on the gardens and the CSA.

This weeks Rumination:

  • Stress of the "uncontrolled" world of farming,
  • How to manage the unexpected and being overwhelmed.

This week on Farm U:

  • Moving broilers to the pasture,
  • Getting the chicks comfortable in their new environment,
  • Tips and tricks to making the move to pasture easier and less stressful on the chickens.
Direct download: CoopCast025.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 8:22am EDT

This week’s updates around the farm and gardens:

  • CSA started and the veggies look great,
  • More unexpected hot weather,
  • Chicken-scaping the front pasture,
  • Preparing to move the Cornish Cross (Cornish X) out to pasture this year,
  • Weaning piglets,
  • Enjoying strawberries pasture to plate.

In the Coopcast Community:

  • A listener with guinea keets,
  • Zach processed his first birds and Chad offers a tip on ice for processing,
  • Someone listened to us and bought a geothermal system!
  • Eddie is looking for tips on getting started.

This week on Farm U:

Direct download: CoopCast024.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33pm EDT

This week’s updates around the farm and gardens:

  • Piglets getting porked up;
  • getting names and getting weaned,
  • New layer chickens now in coop with the rest of the flock,
  • Cornish X chicks in the brooder had some pecking issues,
  • Managing hurt chickens and turkeys,
  • New brooder for turkeys,
  • Veggies planted, seeds planted, mulching has begun - the gardens are in,
  • CSA starting this week!

In the News:

This week on Farm U:

  • Building a chicken brooder,
  • What makes a good brooder,
  • Differences between broiler chicken / egg laying chicken and turkey brooder design,
  • Some tips for managing your brooder to make life easier for you.
Direct download: CoopCast023.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:15am EDT

Happy Memorial Day. A special thanks goes out to all out troops both serving and retired. We appreciate your sacrifices in protecting our freedoms and liberties. This episode and the Pledge of Allegiance is dedicated to you.

This week’s updates around the farm and gardens:

  • The loss of Snow the piglet and what we did,
  • Snowflake the chick hatches,
  • Ollie moves to another farm,
  • Turkeys are growing in the brooder,
  • Broiler chicks arrived,
  • Planting the gardens now that's it's frost free time and 95 degrees and dry!

In the CoopCast Community:

  • Over 100 iTunes reviews - thanks "pickle kicker",
  • Toni asked about maintaining asparagus beds and controlling slugs with salt,
  • What are some general insect control methods we use,
  • Mendy asks "How do you introduce or change the pecking order of a chicken flock when you add / remove birds".
Direct download: CoopCast022.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:21am EDT

This week’s updates on:

  • "Limpy" the piglet is getting better, 
  • Ollie or AI discussions continue,
  •  Turkeys have arrived!, 
  • Gardens going in under row covers, 
  • Roadside stand seems to be a success!

In the Farmers Choice:

  • “What are your thoughts on alternative energy / sustainable farm solutions?”: 
    • Why we selected geothermal over solar or wind, 
    • Rain water collection systems, 
    • Making sustainable decisions for your farm - slowly.

In the CoopCast Community:

  • Shelby from TX asked about pigs and what they do to a pasture, 
  • Amber asked about controlling worms in a flock of chickens,
  • We discuss some of the fun reviews and other feedback, 
  • Melanie wanted to know if when we go out to eat, are we difficult?, 
  • And Mike was inspired by Nugget and used his own broody hen to hatch out his own clutch of 7 chicks!
Direct download: CoopCast021.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:02pm EDT

This week’s updates on:

  • The 10 piglet cohort is doing great, 
  • Hermione gets sick, or, not, 
  • You only get one mistake and that's one too many on the farm, 
  • The farmstand is up and running.

In the Farmers Choice:

  • "How do you eat cute animals?"
  • Can you eat pork that grows from a cute piglet?
  • Do you want to look your meat in the eye?

In this weeks Farm U:

  • Piglet castration - what's involved and why do you do it, 
  • Boar taint - what is it and how do you deal with it, 
  • Unexpected events in the best planning.
Direct download: CoopCast020.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:44pm EDT

This week's brief updates on:

  • New sign for the farm, 
  • Chickens and chicks, 
  • Planting for the CSA has begun (love those soil blocks). 

Instead of doing the CoopCast Community this week we are asking our listeners to post something about us on THEIR sites and social haunts. Post a review on your web site or blog of the coopcast, link back to our Facebook page, share anything to help us grow the CoopCast Community!

In the Farmers Choice:

  • We retell the story of how the week unfolded including the signs and steps of farrowing. 
  • Share some of the magical moments that make being part of raising food so powerful. 
  • The most unexpected event of the entire farrowing process!
Direct download: CoopCast019.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 11:30am EDT

This week:

  • Chickens and chicks (chooks) are all doing fine, 
  • Pigs ready to farrow, 
  • Late spring snow storm, 
  • The hoophouse is filling up with seedlings. 

In the The Coopcast Community:

  • Global reviews on iTunes - how cool!, 
  • The Urban Farmer for a Green Sustainable Living Community, 
  • Guineas, guns and Doug from the Michigan DNR. 

On Farm U:

  • Planning the sequence and timings of starting seeds for production, 
  • Planning the frequency and quantity of CSA harvests, 
  • Tips, tricks and tools for starting seeds and know when to harvest the plants.
Direct download: CoopCast018.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:12pm EDT

This week:

  • An aerial assault by a Harrier Hawk on the chickens, 
  • Moving pigs to new pasture, 
  • Gardening update in the greenhouse, 
  • A system for planting the right seeds, 
  • Observations about what engages people with regards to farming. 

In the The Coopcast Community:

  • Preventing foxes and other predators from getting into a chicken pasture pen, 
  • Growing your own pineapple, 
  • Listener recommendations for great movies to watch about the food movement, 
  • When it comes to food, "Does voting with my wallet work?". 

On Farm U:

  • Moving livestock and chute design, 
    • What NOT to do, 
  • Types of chutes and materials for construction.
Direct download: CoopCast017.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:35pm EDT

This week:

  • Locally acquired chickens (support a local business), 
  • Around the farm updates, 
  • Preparations for pig farrowing, 
  • Limping Andy and animals on concrete, 
  • Pasture to Plate simple dishes.

 In the The Coopcast Community:

  • Chicks in a brooder - Use a red bulb in your brooder, 
  • What is the best breed of pig? 
  • A gift book and visit, 
  • A listener "uses" his broody hen. 

This Week, In The News:

  • The FDA decided to "recommend" that no on farm antibiotics be used without a vets prescription. 
  • While this sounds like a great thing, with less than 10000 large animal vets in the country, what's the real impact to small farms? (CoopCast 002 discusses antibiotic resistance in the Farm U segment)
Direct download: CoopCast016.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:18pm EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Listener feedback on YOUR farming projects (cool!), 
  • Chicken coop chicks updates, 
  • Pastured chicken pre-orders have started, 
  • Status of the gardens and seeds, 
  • The peas are in - must mean spring in NY, 
  • Knitted farm animals (Indigo Moon's Chicken Thistle Farm Collection), 
  • Sugar Mountain Farm's Kickstarter Project - here, 
  • Prepping for piglets in 21 days! 

On Farm U:

  • What is High Tensile fencing, 
  • Basic fencing design, 
  • Electric fence energizer basics. 

Other notes: Up until now we have been publishing the coopcast/farmcast/podcast every week in both m4a (Apple's format) and mp3 (the worlds format). The challenge is only one version can be included in the "feed" and recently we have had several requests for the mp3 to be in the feed. Given that, we are switching to mp3 and unless anyone speaks up we will be dropping m4a altogether starting with this coopcast.

Direct download: CoopCast015.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 7:27am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • 5 on farm hatched chicks in the coop now,
  • Soil blocks and seeding in the hoophouse,
  • The new farmstand,
  • some general small farm / farming updates.

A new segment called The Coopcast Community:

  • What is that picture on Facebook?, 
  • Do you know the breed of your chickens?, 
  • What do coop hatched chicks eat?, 
  • A Small Farm Kickstarter Project worth supporting. 

Questions, Conversations and Rumination:

  • Visiting a pasture pig farm, 
  • Managing our pig herd in the future, 
  • Analysis Paralysis by "Expert" Input, 
  • A plan for farm fencing.
Direct download: CoopCast014.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 12:26pm EDT

On this coopcast:

  • An update of Nugget and other incubating eggs, 
  • Managing pigs in unexpected heat, 
  • Warm spring and it's effects on the gardens, 
  • Soil block frustrations (again)! 

A new segment called Questions, Conversations and Rumination:

  • What is a farm? 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Portable pasture netting for poultry, 
  • Management of netting, 
  • Energizing the netting, 
  • Where to find the netting.
Direct download: CoopCast013.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:33am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Managing a farm while you are on vacation, 
  • Buying produce from the store (gross), 
  • General farm updates, 
  • The adventures of "Nugget". 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Buying / selling meat chickens, 
  • The importance of good "forms", 
  • Pricing of chickens.
Direct download: CoopCast012.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:33pm EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Updates on the coop hatched chicken named "Nugget", 
  • Grade School Science Fair, 
  • Some good listener questions. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Small farm tractors, 
  • Brands and dealers that matter, 
  • Types of tractor tires, 
  • Size and selection.
Direct download: CoopCast011.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 5:04pm EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Thanks for all the reviews and feedback - keep it coming - a great community of listeners, 
  • Andy is losing the guinea discussions, 
  • A soil block love affair, 
  • Good eats with pork steak and preserved vegetable stir-fry, 
  • A new firearm comes to live with us, 
  • Hatched in the coop chickens. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Final part of our Cornish Cross (Cornish X) chicken discussion, 
  • Putting the birds on pasture (tricks and tips), 
  • Pasture pens, Water, feed and other considerations for the pastured Cornish X birds, 
  • A consumer's perspective on pastured chicken.
Direct download: CoopCast010.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:53am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Kelli managing the farm and Andy's business trip, 
  • Crazy weather (really, it never ends), 
  • General animal updates (pregnant pig and broody hen). 

In our Listener Feedback/Questions discussion:

  • Great feedback and reviews this week, 
  • Questions about feed, 
  • Other discussions. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Second part of our Cornish Cross (Cornish X) chicken discussion including; 
    • Where to get the chicks (hatcheries and strains), 
    • Food, feed and feed restrictions for Cornish Cross chickens, 
    • Managing the chicks in the brooder.
Direct download: CoopCast009.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 11:35am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • A Bourbon Red Turkey in the oven, 
  • Soil block germination rates, 
  • Managing mice in the greenhouse, 
  • Broody hen update. 

In our Listener Feedback discussion:

  • A plea for feedback and ratings on iTunes, 
  • Bucket waterer tips for chickens, 
  • Egg prices around the states, 
  • Breeds of chickens in our laying flock. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • First part of our Cornish Cross (Cornish X) chicken discussion including; 
    • How do they breed a Cornish Cross broiler, 
    • A little history, 
    • Consumer demand for the Cornish Cross carcass.
Direct download: CoopCast008.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 8:33am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Soil block update, 
  • CSA status, 
  • Upcoming farm stand, 
  • Our plans for a broody hen. 

In our Chicken Talk discussion:

  • How we set up our chicken coop for our climate, 
  • How we pasture (range) our birds. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Chicken manure management, 
  • Carbon to Nitrogen in manure management (deep litter), 
  • Coop cleaning.
Direct download: CoopCast007.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 10:27am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • What's with this winter weather, 
  • A Pig-noucement, 
  • Super Bowl (big game) foods, 
  • Seed orders and annoying birds in the coop. 

In the Farmers Choice:

  • More memorable turkey moments. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Seed starting suplies, 
  • Lighting considerations for seed starting, 
  • Soil blocking.
Direct download: CoopCast006.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 7:52am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • A thank you to all the listeners and fans around the world (you are the best!),
  • The FIRST geothermal heating bill, 
  • A pig with "the runs", 
  • Seed orders and annoying birds in the coop.

In the Farmers Choice:

  • Stories of our first experience with turkeys. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Alternatives to fossil fuels for heat in the country,
  • Wood vs corn vs geothermal,
  • Sustainable energy as an investment.
Direct download: CoopCast005.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:09am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Winter weather has arrived with a big windstorm,
  • Managing a winter hoophouse, 
  • Ordering seeds (where, what and how). 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • Eggsactly what does egg labeling mean; 
  • Brown eggs vs white eggs; 
  • What would you buy or how should you label if you sell eggs.
Direct download: CoopCast004.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 9:34am EDT

On this coopcast:

  • A followup on “Wheezy” the chicken; 
  • An excited boar and lessons learned; 
  • Being prepared on the farm. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • What products do we keep handy on the farm; 
  • Best ways to be prepared on the farm for the unexpected.
Direct download: CoopCast003.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 2:59pm EDT

On this coopcast:

  • Discuss the latest happening on the 'frigid' farm,
  • 'Weazy' the chicken,
  • A rehashing of the annual Farm Meeting. 

And in this episodes Farm U segment:

  • How to check a chickens health, 
  • Discussion about antibiotic resistance
Direct download: CoopCast002.m4a
Category:general -- posted at: 3:03pm 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

After producing a few episodes we wanted to offer new listeners a quick way to hear what a Coopcast sounds like: Meet Andy and Kelli, Learn why do what we do, Hear how we share our thoughts.

Subscribe to the Chicken Thistle Farm CoopCast for a weekly dose of our informative and sometimes irreverent take on gardening, farming, homesteading and other activites from our homestead/farmstead. Our farmcast, err, coopcast invites you into our gardens, livestock pastures, chicken coop and greenhouse to share the stories and skills from our small farm as we live - pasture to plate. Our 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.

Direct download: CoopCast000.m4a
Category:what is a coopcast -- posted at: 7:51pm EDT