Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 155 of 365 days of our life on our small family farm in the USA

Welcome to everyone who is joining us.  It has come to my attention that some farm in Florida is using our name and started in the last few years.  Please note they are not a part of what we are doing and do not represent our values.  I just wanted everyone to know.  Now on to fun farm stuff.
Yesterday a sweet little lamb was born, we have named her summer.  She is the baby of my oldest ewe and I and everyone else is keeping a close watch over her.  We lost two ewes this year, one to a terrible shearer and one by cow...It saddens us to have such a great loss and our now forced to keep the very expensive ewes to recover some of our lose.  It will be over a year before they can bred, unlike goats which can be bred at 6 months, but should also not be bred until at least a year old.  Encase you are wondering cows can be bred at 18 moths, though I have seen farmers bred them purposely at 12 months.

Our gardens are producing nicely, I have had to use Diatomaceous earth this season. We had aphids, so if the edges of your plant leaves roll up, you most likely have them too.  The cure or treatment if you will is spreading out huge handfuls of Diatomaceous earth on everything. You can only use it for a few days at a time, as it will kill the bees and other good bugs as well as the bad, also earth worms, if used to often.

For all who do not know what diatomaceous earth is.  Well first off I guess I should start by telling you all that it does have other names such as Diatomite and kieselgur.  It is made up from earth that consists of fossilized remains of  Diatoms, a shelled algae that lived a really, really long time ago.  It has over the years been used as a filtration aid, a mechanical insecticide and a moisture absorbent, in products like cat litter, some people like us, even put it in our flour to keep it from getting buggy.  It can also be used to clot blood and believe it or not is used to stabilize dynamite and is even used in some paint products as a thermal insulator.  Just for fun here is the science name of Diatomaceous earth SiO2·nH2O, by definition it is a type of biogenic silica made up of tiny fossils ( note above ).  How it works as a bug killer and most other things can be contributed to it millions of tiny share edges, that as a bug killer cut the insects to shreds on a microscopic level.  The little tiny edges help it soak up moisture as well as it's ability to help clot blood.  it is all very cool and extremely safe to humans and other animals, but absolutely dreadful to bugs. So there you have it.

On to other things I have to buy flour today, but we have learned how to make a mill for the house from concrete , so we feel we are making progress and shall try very hard to keep you updated as we go.  Flour at a local store that supplies discounted grocery's as well as restaurant supply has 50lb bags of flour for around 18 bucks so the price has not gone up yet, thank goodness.  It is whole wheat flour and will cost around $1.80 for 5 pounds, far cheaper than the $2 super cheap scary flour from unknown sources and much cheaper than the good King Aurthur flour, or Bob's Mill which are both well over $4.00 per 5 pounds.  We go through a lot of flour and the flour you buy in the store - even the whole wheat kind - is dead. Once ground, wheat loses all of its nutrients within 12 hours. leave it out longer than a week will even become toxic.  Manufactures of even the finest wheat and whole wheat flours will add preservatives and vitamins to help preserve it longer. Some of these preservitives over time build up in the body and have been show in some studies to make people very ill.  Thus the reason grinding our own flour is so important to us.

Well I have enjoyed sharing with you, but I have to go and take my Rachael to her job as a 4-H camp councilor...
Know that we love you all and pray for you all often...Be Blessed and be kind to one another, spend lunch with a friend, visit some one who is ill and make there day...just be good to one another...Shekhinah, Michael and all the kids and critters on Mahanaim Farm.

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