Farm Journal

Posted 5/11/2018 8:11am by Renee Savary.

 

Last Thursday, I was very sad the whole day …

You, All, remember BabyGos ?? (ya right !!) .. The little gosling I raised a year ago ?? Even came with me to the FarmStand ??

BabyGos 

At a couple of months old, I tried to get her back to the rest of the Geese but the Geese being geese they were just beating the crap of the poor little one so I took her back toward the house and raised her with the chickens.

Moving here, the setting is very different, everybody is in the same area. BabyGos started to hang at the extreme periphery of the Geese but was going back to sleep with the chickens at night.

Let me make a parenthesis here … We only have one pond here and it all revolve around it … after a few weeks I noticed that when all the Geese would rush to the water BabyGos would stop just at the edge and then walk along the shore. If I was pushing her toward the water she would “escape”, I realized that she had never ever been closed to a body of water and she was scared of it. Little by little, everyday a bit more, I got her in the water, at first she should just swim a few flippers till one day, I swear, she showed me all around the pond … But I am digressing …

Back to my story, at night we have a “routine”. At almost dark I go close the chicken’s coops and lock everybody in. To make it easier to get them in, the ducks and the Geese get a snack. It sounds simple but it is actually a huge freaking mayhem !!! … The ducks run on their little legs, quacking madness, the Geese are screaming death threats, the donkeys get into the party because why not ??? and Praline run after anything moving !!! … How I end up in one piece every night is a little miracle !!! Then, with all the crazies locked up, BabyGos, Praline and I stroll toward the middle of the pasture, where some of the chickens are, to close them in and BabyGos goes to spend the night with them …

A few months ago the Geese ostracized one of theirs, no idea why. So poor Linotte (her name),  started to buddy up with BabyGos. At night Linotte would sleep next to the Geese coop and BabyGos just stop going to the chicken coop and stayed with Linotte. I did not like it at all, it is awfully dangerous at night out there but they are also very close to the water that in case of imminent danger I was hoping they would jump in …

A couple of weeks ago, Linotte got back into the gang and BabyGos was kinda left out again. (no worry, People, she gets tons of treats from me!!) At night Linotte went back into the coop and BabyGos stayed out. I attempted to get her back with the chickens but to no avail … Because I raised BabyGos she is not aggressive like the other Geese, she even got Linotte to be friendly with me when I am feeding or working out there …

… but this morning BabyGus was NOWHERE to be seen …

I look and look and the place is not big and geese don’t go in the forest or roost, I looked at the mamas hog pen because she likes to go feed with them, I looked everywhere and call and call …

NO BabyGos …

It made me so sad …

Tonight, I go feed everybody and all of sudden who is around ??? BabyGos … I could not believe it, I even counted the Geese that were eating in their coop just to make sure I was not mistaken … I gave her some feed and then she went to the Mamas and I kept on going to the next pen … and by then she usually waddle around the tractor hoping for some treats … I looked around and I see her in a short distance and I can not really see what she is doing … weird … so I go see … and here what I find …

babygos

BabyGos is seating on a nest full of eggs .. 5 of them …  how cute is that ???    

She must have been there for a while already; she found a kind of shallow hole, at the base of a shrub and pulled twigs and stuff around … It does not seems she is getting any help from the other Geese. Of course I am super worried at night but I don’t  have many options .. if I touch the eggs, game is over, she will not go back to them. If I put some kind of temporary fencing, predators may get in quite easy but she won’t get out, a goose is kinda clumsy on land … for now I have done nothing, first it was late and actually tonight it took me a moment to find it again … I will see if I come up with some contraption…

My sad little day ended up pretty well …

 

BabyGos when she was really little ...

 babygos

 

 

Posted 4/20/2018 10:10am by Renee Savary.

 

Who said bigger is better ??? ...

In my apiary I am using smaller bees and smaller hives.  

Prior 1893, the honeybee cells were  about 4.9 millimeter in diameter  mimicking what bees would build in the wild . “Man” in its grand wisdom thought that having bigger bees would produce more honey and the cells were artificially enlarged to 5.4mm and larger bees were bred.  

At 4.9mm the cells are too small to accommodate parasite mites. Being smaller it also takes less time to the bees to cap the cell, a full 12 hours less.  Those 2 simple facts made so much logic for me that I decided to work with those smaller bees.  

With small cell bees you will virtually eliminate your Tracheal and Varroa mite problems. The trachea tube of the 4.9 bees are smaller and therefore prohibit  the mites from entering into the trachea’s of the bees.  Another example is with the Varroa mite. 4.9 bees have a shorter capping time of the cells by 12 hours and shorter post capping time by 12 hours. This interruption of the life cycle of the mites means less Varroa getting into the cells and reproducing in them and less Varroa mites will be reaching maturity.  

I am using smaller medium hive boxes with only 8 frames instead of the usual 10 frames. They are easier to lift and handle.

  All the hives use just one size medium box, I don’t have bigger brooder box, the queen will naturally lay eggs in the first 3 boxes eliminating the use of a queen excluder.  

I use of screen bottom boards under which I put a white "tray", the screen bottom board let a large number of parasites and trash to fall out and i can check (with a magnifier) on the "tray" for parasites, bugs etc etc ...

A healthy, striving hive will take care of any pest if pest there is and we are early in the season but this year, like every year in the past, I am committed not to spray or "treat" for anything, so far it has work ... 

To Be Continued …
 
smaller bees
 
See you All ...
 
Shop Small .. Shop Local .. 
   
Beautiful swarm from a few weeks ago 30ft high in a pine tree ...
By supporting our apiary you also support our effort to repopulate the wild bees with healthy thriving bees ...
 Swarm spring 2018
 
 
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Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 4/17/2018 9:03am by Renee Savary.

 

 

Meet The Queen ...

Look at the picture below …
at the end of the arrows is the Queen of the hive and this Queen was created by the bees of the hive … sound like duuhhh !!! … But actually this natural process has become a rarity in apiaries and an oddity in commercial apiaries …
A few weeks ago I split one of last year hive, do to this I took 6 frames from the original hive and stick it in a new box, leaving the original Queen in the original hive. In doing so I “forced” the bees left Queenless to create a new Queen …
By the way, this is what happen in Nature when the bees are left without a Queen they just create a new one !!! …
But in today’s grand wisdom this is not how it is done!!! People just go and buy a new Queen and it is big business ($30 to $40/a piece). They even tell you to requeen every year as like the existing queen is spent !!!
I think this whole process is wrong and very detrimental to the bees and a serious part in their unhappiness.
The hive is a very close organism and think of it: the Queen is the mother of them All !! to just plug some stranger in the hive do affect the bees. When accident happen, like a Queen is killed or in my case here a hive is split, the bees will create an “emergency” queen, that queen will be raised out of a worker bee cell instead of a Queen cell but within a year that queen will be replaced by a real One … All this made by the bees themselves …
I have not always been successful in splitting bees but so far this year all my hives have produced their own Queen …
To Be Continued …
 
Queen
 
Shop Small .. Shop Local .. 
   
Beautiful swarm from a few weeks ago 30ft high in a pine tree ...
By supporting our apiary you also support our effort to repopulate the wild bees with healthy thriving bees ...
 Swarm spring 2018
 
 
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Instagram: twinoaksfarm

Please froward this email to your email list and help us spread the word about Real Food.

Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 4/1/2018 9:00am by Renee Savary.

 

Here ... if you wonder what a day at the farm looks like ...

The other day, for the first time ever, I did load a hog into a trailer all by myself …

It does not sound like much but actually it is really hard to do … In the past I always did it with one if not two helpers … It involves many moving parts: from trailer to uncooperating hog … For a first time it was slightly epic but I considered it a good step toward complete self sustainability and I was all happy about it.

I got a busy rest of the day, gorgeous first day of Spring, and then THIS happen ...

broken pipe

… don’t even ask how !!! … I do have a subsidiary of #homedepot plumbing department here just NOTHING to cap THIS … Stupid installation was done so close to the wall I could not even get in with the tool to cut the pipe … The mud of course and by then it was 6pm something … I had just one thought : I need a shower so I better fix This shit …

As I was dealing with all this mess Miss Praline was baaing on top of her lung, I was not paying much attention, first she does it all the time (yes very annoying), second I was kinda busy, I called on her a couple of time but she would not stop. She was a few yards from me so not like she did not know where I was … The baa keep on going to a point I walked toward her telling her I was going to beat the crap out of her if she was not going to stop immediately ….

And that is when I noticed one of the duck trapped in the cross fence !! the fence is big squares and the ducks are going through it, back and forth, 100 times a day … somehow this little duck got a flipper in one square backward, a wing in another one, body twisted … nothing major and I got her out in no time but has she spent the night there it would have been a whole other story and without Praline there is no way I would have noticed her, it was getting dark and she was all quiet and scared …

Dear Praline … Just another day at the farm …

 seeds
 
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Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 1/10/2018 10:02am by Renee Savary.

Good morning All …

I must sell all my sheep and I need your help to spread the word …

Where I am now, I have very little pasture and I was keeping the sheep around the house, not the perfect solution but, at least, they had some grass to nibble on. All went well till Sunday, New Year’s eve, when they found out that some 100 yards of fence line with my neighbor were just a string of barbwire that they could cross very easily. You know the adage : The grass always greener … The other side is a horse pasture, it is not like they were destroying cultivated fields. Still they were not supposed to be there and my neighbor made it clear. We, the sheep and I, kept the day going back and forth, me getting them out of there, them going back … In the meantime I had called my fence guy and scheduled him first thing after New Year … On New Year’s morning the sheep went back and the neighbor called the police !!! … I am making a long story short here but it became a major drama …

After being severely schooled by the police, I moved the sheep in a part of the farm where they have no food, but for some hay which they don’t really like, they rather snack of dry grass … and that is also very wet due to the intense rain we had recently which is not good for they little hoofs … but I have no other solution for keeping them in.

The situation is not good for them and I am not happy about it. We did fix the fence but as soon as I got them back, this side of the farm, they made a B line for the fence and it is just a question of time till they find a way to go back and the last thing I need is some neighbor crazy drama …

Sheep are easy to keep and mines have been grass fed only, they are not picky and your don’t need a perfect pasture, they can graze on a rotation with other livestock, they are very gentle and have been handled on a daily basis so you can move them easily. They have been professionally sheared every year but for 2017.

I am selling the whole flock, they are all 100%  Gulf Coast Sheep, either registered or can be registered, I had a closed herd for many years.

I have ewes, rams, yearlings and lambs. I have around 40 as of today, lambing season is on …

Ewe are $175, Yearling $150, Ram $250 and lamb $50. Most of my ewes are pregnant, the unborn lambs are a bonus.

I will take $5,000 if sold as a whole.

and this is where I need your help : Please help me spread the word … May be you have a friend that has a friend … I need to get them going as soon as possible … it will be better for them …

Thank you All for your help …

 

3 days old little Frosty ...
Frosty
  
 
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Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 11/10/2017 5:20am by Renee Savary.

Sip .. Shop and Au Revoir ... 

Join us for our Holiday Party
Vin Chaud and Edibles ...
 
Wedneday, November 15, 4pm to 7pm.
 
 
xmas 
 
The FarmStand is open everyday till the end of the month ...  
 
Our Edible Gifts make the perfect stocking stuffers or that "little something" ... Most of them are under $10 ...
Local AND Organic ... you can not beat that ....
Free GiftWrapping with all your purchases ...
 
This week we have a good supply of eggs, the girls finally got back to work !!!!
We also got some nice zucchinis, bell peppers, cucumber and the persimmons are back in stock ... All Local and Organic ...
 
Working Girl 
 
... and much more ...
 
Our FarmStand is open Monday through Thursday 8am to 4pm
Friday and Saturday 7am to 4pm
and Sunday 7am to 2pm .... 
Serving breakfast and lunch on the week end ...
 
See you All ...
  
Follow us :

www.facebook.com/twinoaksfarm

Instagram: twinoaksfarm

We are located 26 Logan Lane in Grayton Beach Fl

Please froward this email to your email list and help us spread the word about Real Food.

Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 10/5/2017 10:05pm by Renee Savary.
 
Letter of resignation from your FarmHer,
 
 
  September 19 .. is the day I decided enough was enough and I was going to stop this nonsense …
 
Early that day we had to move some chickens coops over a few hundred yards passing a flatten cross fence.
 
Usually when we move the coops, every other day, it is for 12ft, we do it with the chickens in the coop with one person, in the coop, making sure the chickens move forward, then we feed them and they go lucky with their day …
If you move chickens more than that or turn the coop around then they have no clue where they live anymore so when we have to do this kind of major move, we leave the chickens in their coops for 3 days after which they remember … as weird as it sounds that is how it works and if you don’t do it that way you get stranded at the end of the day with your chickens scattered all over the place and you do not herd chickens … I got stranded countless of times over the years and  I learned my lesson the hard way ..
 
That day we had to make a kind of tricky move but nothing too complicated either … That is when my helper decided, against my very clear order, to let the chickens out making it easier to move the coops .. I was furious !!! but we could not wait another day to do it as the fence needed to get up to keep donkeys and sheep in …
 
Forward to the end of the day … 6:30pm, the night is falling and I find myself with hundred chickens that have no clue where they live.
You don’t have much options at that point : either let them out and take a chance on wild life being hungry that night or not or get them into something … I went to get one empty coop, moved it to the area the chickens were. 
 
Chickens don’t have night vision and even in front of the door they won’t move in. When they get stranded like that they congregate in small pods pretty much where their coop was, snuggling tight.
The only way to get them in is to hand pick them and put them in the coop. If you are fast you can grab 3 or 4 at a time before the pod runs off and reform a few yards away … it took me 3h to pick them up … 3h at the end of the usual 12h shift … 9:30pm  when I finally got in and could make some diner !!!!!!!!!!!
 
That is when I decided enough was enough,  I just can not keep doing it anymore, I am tired, that’s it … it is over …
 
As for the FarmStand, we lost so much business over the last few weeks that I am obligated to close it …
 
Here we are my Friends … I will produce on a much smaller scale, for those of you interested  I will do delivery once a week, not sure yet how I will organize that but will work on it …
 
The FarmStand is going to be open till December 4, and we are stocking up nicely, think of us for all your Holiday shopping … we would love it …  
 
I am very sad to reach this point … There is much more I could say but I will leave it here for now …
 
Don’t forget, the FarmStand is open till December 4th …  Hopefully I have enough creativity left to come up with another original idea !!! …  
 
Cheers …
 
Renee  
 
 
 
Come see us 
Our FarmStand is open Monday to Thursday 8am to 4pm
Friday to Sunday 7am to 4pm .... 
Serving Breakfast and Lunch Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
 
 
Follow us :

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Instagram: twinoaksfarm

Please froward this email to your email list and help us spread the word about Real Food.

Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Twin Oaks Farm - Bonifay FL 32425 

Our FarmStand is located at

26 Logan Lane in Grayton Beach, Fl 32424

We are open every day 7am to 5pm (Sunday 4pm)

Our kitchen is open till 2pm.

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 12/6/2016 10:07am by Renee Savary.

Our FarmStand in Grayton Beach is getting into

Winter hours  :
Everyday 7am to 5pm.
(we are located 26, Logan Lane, Grayton Beach FL 32459)
 
 
 
PARTY TIME
 
 
Wedneday, December 7, 4pm to 7pm
 
Join us for our 
Shops of Grayton Holiday Party
Vin Chaud and Edibles ...
All the shops will be open to help you with your Holiday Shopping List ...
 
xmas party
 
 
 
Our Friends Annie and Alicia will have their Christmas Wreath and Floral Pop-up at our FarmStand.
 
 
 
Florals
 
Our Edible Gifts make the perfect stocking stuffers or that "little something" ... Most of them are under $10 ... Local AND Organic ... you can not beat that ....
Free GiftWrapping with all your purchases ...
We have a whole line of organic Soaps using the farm products ...
 
 
Free gift wrapping
 
 
... and much more ...
 
Come see us at the market, Saturday 9am to 1pm.
Our FarmStand is open Saturday 7am to 5pm
and Sunday 7am to 4pm .... 
 
See you All ...
 
 
Follow us :

www.facebook.com/twinoaksfarm

Instagram: twinoaksfarm

Please froward this email to your email list and help us spread the word about Real Food.

Thank you for supporting a better way to produce healthy and wholesome food.

Twin Oaks Farm - USDA Certified Organic - Bonifay FL 32425 

 
 
 
 
 
Posted 11/17/2016 10:11am by Renee Savary.

Turkey lingo or what you should know before buying your bird …  

Turkey frenzy is under way and what is on the label will tell you a lot ... or nothing ... here are my 2 cents on it :

Fresh ….

What you think it means : The turkey was slaughtered this morning (or maybe yesterday) and was rushed to my local grocery store.

What it actually means: "Fresh" has nothing to do with the time between slaughter and sale. Instead, it means that the turkey has not been cooled to below 26 degrees Fahrenheit. In other words, it was never frozen.  

Young …

What you might think it means: This bird was killed at a younger age than most turkeys and is therefore more tender and delicious. Maybe it also suffered less.

What it actually means: The bird was likely killed at the same age as most other turkeys at 16 to 18 weeks, compared to the roughly 10 years turkeys live in the wild.  

Natural ...

What you might think it means: The turkeys have been raised in a "natural" environment, wandering around on a farm with a red barn, scavenging food and gobble-gobbling their cares away.

What it actually means: “Natural” is a non regulated term  and means whatever the user wants !! It has nothing to do with whether the turkeys got antibiotics or not, were living in filthy conditions or were confined indoors.

  Which bring us to a basic question : how exactly are most turkeys in the U.S. raised

The majority of turkeys are living in crowded houses,  football field-sized sheds that are entirely enclosed,  by the tens of thousands. Birds typically have their beaks cut to prevent them from injuring or killing one another, and are allotted an average of two square feet of space.

Manure often piles up beneath the birds, and ammonia hangs thick in the air. Many turkeys are routinely given antibiotic to prevent them from getting sick. Plus, modern turkeys have been genetically bred to mature quickly and have extremely large breasts (for more white meat).Many have trouble standing.

To be clear, turkey producers must still meet basic safety standards and the meat should be safe. But terms like "natural" are misleading consumers about how the birds are actually raised. Paying extra for "natural" is most of the time a waste !!!

Let's look at a few more dubious labels :

Free-Range ...

What you might think it means: These turkeys roam freely on a farm, pecking at the lush grass and getting more exercise than you do.

What it actually means: In some cases (on some small farms like Twin Oaks Farm), it does mean what you're picturing. But in the vast majority of cases, "free-range" turkeys are raised in the standard, crowded warehouses and as long as somewhere there is a door it can then be called “Free-Range” …

If the animal never even went outdoors, but you sort of open and close the door everyday then it can be called “free-range” !!!!  

Cage-Free ...

What you might think it means: This turkey had a better life than most, because at least it wasn't stuffed into a tiny cage.

What it actually means: This turkey's life was probably the same as most, because turkeys are not raised in cages.  

Premium ...

What you might think it means: This turkey is a higher grade of meat, and is more delicious and healthy.

What it actually means: Basically, nothing !!! Save your money …  

No Hormones Added ...

What you might think it means: This bird is healthier than most because it wasn't pumped full of the hormones that turn some turkeys into the Incredible Hulk

What it actually means: Once again, this term is misleading. By USDA law, turkeys (and other poultry) are not allowed to be given growth hormones. This said the use of “growth promoter” is common.

Humane/Non-Certified Humane ...

What you might think it means: Finally, a bird that has been raised according to an ethical set of principles. It was probably treated fairly and lived a decent life.

What it actually means: If there is no certifying agency, the label is probably meaningless. That's because the USDA allows companies to come up with their own definition of "humane" . That's most of the virtually meaningless terms. Let's move on to some labels that have at least some significance.

Kosher ...

What you might think it means: The turkey was raised according to a stricter set of hygiene standards. It was probably kept cleaner and healthier.

What it actually means: The turkey was probably raised in the same crowded house conditions as most turkeys. The only difference is that it was slaughtered according to a set of kosher principles.

Vegetarian-Fed/Grain-Fed ...

 What you might think it means: This turkey enjoyed a lush supply of greens and grains, replicating its natural diet.  

What it actually means: The bird probably ate what most turkeys eat: corn and soy. But these birds have not had their diets supplemented with animal by products, which does happen often. The irony, though, is that turkeys are not natural vegetarians. In the wild, or at Twin Oaks Farm, they eat a variety of bugs and worms, along with grass and other plants.  

Raised Without Antibiotics/No Antibiotics Administered ...

What you might think it means: These birds were never given any antibiotics of any kind.

What it actually means: These birds were given drugs only if they were sick, but not for growth promotion, feed efficiency or to prevent disease. It does not mean the birds were raised in more sanitary conditions, only that they were not given routine antibiotics.  

Heritage ...

What you think it means : Your turkey breed hark back to an era before industrial agriculture and genetic manipulation, bread naturally on a sweet red barn farm.  

What it actually means : There is no official certification program for the identification and labeling of heritage birds the way there is for organics. If you get a turkey from any grocery store you probably certain that the term “heritage” was stretched out meaning those birds have some of the genetics of heritage breed … you will find that on the very small print on the label … “Heritage” is the new fad, just don’t be fooled by it …  

Organic ...

 What you might think it means: These turkeys were raised on a steady diet of organic vegetables, green smoothies and yoga.  

What it actually means: To meet the requirements for the USDA Certified Organic, animals must have some access to the outdoors (though there's debate about whether or not most organic turkeys actually go outdoors), be fed only organic feed (non-GMO and grown without chemical pesticides) and must not be given antibiotic drugs on a routine basis. Commercial organic turkeys are a better options still knowing that  are raised in far from ideal conditions.  

Here at Twin Oaks Farm we try to raise it right and it is not cheap … no miracle …

And like everything else in food, cheap come at the expense of animal welfare, the environment and your health just to name a few ...  

Purchasing one of our turkey not only support your local farming but has a much broader impact that you may think of ... to give you an example … yesterday, as we were harvesting our birds, I noticed bees were buzzing on the  wheel barrel full of feathers .. Probably getting some minerals out of it or who knows what but this morning it was covered with bees … yesterday bees must have spread the word in BeeLand that we were running a Thanksgiving special on the other side of the house !!! … I will let that wheelbarrel out an extra day before composting those feathers … yes, composting is another by product  …  

Choose wisely my Friends …  

Turkey pre order

Posted 9/27/2016 3:00pm by Renee Savary.

Our Farm Tour scheduled for

Sunday, October 23 has been cancelled ...

Thank you for your ongoing support ...