And I will send grass in thy fields for thy cattle, that thou mayest eat and be satisfied. — Deut 11:15
After a long stay in Pennsylvania we finally started home. The highlight of the trip home was the "Lunatic Farm Tour" that it pleased the Lord to put us on :)
I say this because the tour was for sure, absolutely, sold out... but we called anyway and explained we were from Texas and kinda knew Joel (we met him at the Food Conference in San Antonio after all!) and lo and behold - Brie got us a spot on the tour :)
I have a thing for churches with steeples - Katie took this picture for me.
I always love to see cows crossing the road in front of a car... this however was a mean looking bull.. in front of our car.. but he moved pretty quickly.
we arrived at Polyface and found these cute little creatures all over the place - forage based rabbits! What a novel concept - animals eating what they are supposed to!
and LOVING it!
There were a lot of these structures. Right now they are full of beautiful plants.
from my understanding - at times these houses are the home to rabbits and chickens. In the really cold winter months the rabbits move into the cages and the chickens occupy the space beneath. The chickens scratch the rabbit poop into the soil and create a wonderful rich compost that is then planted later... amazing - no toxic runoff, no nasty smell - and wonderful veggies to boot!
this one even had a heating stove!
There were a number of them on the property - I would guess so with the amount of chickens they have to house during the winter.
ah yes - the beginning of our tour...
130 people showed up in the rain to attend this
Joel was not our driver - he is always all smiles!
Pastured pork. Joel explained how keeping the pigs in this 2 strand hot wire makes the entire thing totally portable. They rotate pastures not based on time but based on when the pigs run out of feed. They have a certain amount of feed they put into feeders and have figured out the ratio of time to feed. When the feed runs out, the pigs move. The pastures here were lush and there was no smell. The animals were helping the environment and actually "working" - using their piggy noses to make better soil and getting to eat at the same time.
now the chicken tractors - these tractors have broilers in them
they are 3/4 enclosed because of the harsh winter here. They weigh about 200 pounds and are moved daily with a hand truck contraption that Joel built. It takes 1 minute to move each tractor (he showed us). It takes 1 hour to move all their birds
all us lunatics out in the rain listening to Joel
the Chicken Mobile - these are the laying hens. They are totally free range and are moved just a bit every day to keep their pasture nice a green. (Sadly chickens are a bit dense and will not range far from their home - or maybe they are smart and know not to get too far away - either way, they have to moved just a bit ever so often so they don't turn the grass into a muddy mess). These chickens are happily cleaning up after the cows that were here a while before them. They love to mix the cowpies into the soil while looking for fly larvae. Helps mix the cowpies into the soil and, after a bit of a rest - it is a variable salad bar for the cows again. With no hard dried up cowpies to mess with.
a chicken being allowed to show her chickeness
I wish some cows would have come up but they were down in the trees out of the rain.. nice that they have a place to get out of the rain huh... but these are a few pictures of where they usually reside.
and Joel's brother runs a few hives with the cows.
This is what you do when you don't have mono farming practices! Your pigs are helping the land, your cows can be raised with bees, your chicken field does not stink and is not a health hazard and your rabbits and chickens work in sync to provide you with meat and vegetables!
this is not a place where you have to worry about your kids playing - they can build forts and play in the fields with the animals.. because the animals are not sick.
the packaged product - now this...I would eat and gladly support. Did you see how nice those animals looked.. if you could have smelled the fields - you would have smelled glorious rain and grass.
and so many folks lining up to purchase it! Did my heart good to see this. His freezers were almost empty by the end of the tour. And I have to say - Joel did not try and sell his product at all. This was not a sells tour. This was a total information tour and a "please go do this yourself" tour. Everyone knew that and just wanted to support a local lunatic farmer.