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Terra Dei Farm - A Life of Stewardship

Kidding Around

As you can see in the above video, kidding season is in full swing here at Terra Dei Farm.  We are about halfway done, with 52 kids on the ground.  As always, the cuteness factor is overwhelming - especially when they leave their first few sleepy newborn days behind and begin jumping and playing all around the barn lot.  Like all proud parents, we can't resist the urge to share a few baby pictures: 

 kid james 2 

 Kid 4 

 Kid 2 

 Kid 3

Facebook Freebies

I wanted to share some infographics I made this week of some of my favorite agriculture quotes from one of my absolute favorite people, Thomas Jefferson.  If you like them, feel free to share them on FB, Pinterest, etc!     

Also, we're running a naming contest for one of our goats.  It would thrill me if you entered and and make my week if you shared her picture on FB and Pinterest also (if you're into that sort of thing.)  :)  The contest ends Saturday, January 26, at 11:59pm. Click here to enter. 

 Name that Goat Contest 2Ag Quote 3 Ag Quote 2 Ag quote 1 

A Little Wisdom For Your Weekend

2012 went out like a lion and 2013 came in like a lion here on Terra Dei Farm.  No lambs in sight.   (Nor any goat kids quite yet - though a sow just farrowed a new litter yesterday...)  The loss of a grandmother the week before Christmas, and the loss of another on New Years day as kept us on our toes around here.  Though loss is always hard on a family, both incredible women had led long productive lives and our sorrow at losing them is tempered by the joy we find in knowing that they are finally released from their earthly suffering and reunited with their husbands.

So, in the last remnants of holiday spirit, here is our family Christmas picture:

 Terra Dei Farm Family Christmas Picture  

As you may have guessed from this picture - our Christmas photo taking session was a debacle.  We scrubbed the kids, filed up to the barn, I handed the camera to my sister and said, "Just keep shooting."  Chaos ensued.  The air was frigid, the sun was glaring in our eyes, the barn cats were swarming and attention in anyone under the age of 6 was absent.  You're welcome to view some "outtakes" from the event, here.

Here also are a few thoughts for your weekend, along with a wonderful "Farmer's Tribute" video.  (I don't own any rights to the video, simply sharing a gem that I discovered on YouTube.)

Aristotle Excellence Quote Terra Dei Farm Aristotle Excellence Quote  

Benedict's Brittle

 Benedicts Brittle 

High on bluff in Atchison, Kansas, overlooking the winding Missouri River sits the steadfast monastic community of St. Benedict's Abbey.  In 1857 three monks established the community and as it grew they spread the gospel to the wild American west and co-founded the schools that are today Maur Hill-Mount Academy and Benedictine College. Today, St. Benedict's Abbey continues a 1500 year old monastic tradition of prayer, work and hospitality.

I will quickly admit that St. Benedict's Abbey is one of my absolute favorite places on Earth.  And the rich yet simple "Rule of St. Benedict" is handbook of wisdom that applies not only to those of religious life, but a "rule" that we attempt to adhere to on our own family farm.   We especially strive to follow the St. Benedict's motto of "Ora et Labora" (Prayer and Work)  And, it's funny where the work can take you.

A few years ago, right before Christmas, Brother Leven Harton found himself needing to raise funds for a mission trip to El Salvador.  Fueled by creativity, inspiration and a sense of humor he sent his friends and family Christmas cards accompanied with homemade peanut brittle - made with his own hands.  Attached was a note, gently (no....blatantly) pointing out that with all of the hours of sweat and labor he had put into their small gift, wouldn't they like to give a small gift of a few dollars in return?  And you know what?  It worked.  It worked well.

From those humble beginning a cottage industry has grown.  And grown.  I'm thrilled to introduce you to, Benedict's Brittle:

Pretty cool, huh?  The video is a couple years old now, but the essentials are still exactly the same.  Even though their numbers and production have impressively grown, the handmade personal touch is still apparent.  As I embark on my personal review I should start by saying that I've never cared for peanut brittle.  However, the gorgeous modern and minimalistic packaging absolutely stole my heart.

Perfect Peanut Brittle Benedicts Brittle  

Pretty snazzy, huh?

The great care and attention that goes into each step is obvious.

Careful packaging of Benedicts Brittle 

They also include information on the intruiging Carolina Black peanut variety explained in the above video.

Carolina Black Peanuts Benedicts Brittle

Carolina Black Peanut Br Leven Harton OSB

And, since I admitted that I've never cared for peanut brittle, I will now admit that I almost singlehandedly consumed this entire tin of brittle...within a shamefully short period of time.  Apparently, I love Benedict's Brittle....  And seriously, I think everyone would!  Where else can you find such a mix of history, spirituality and good eats - all wrapped up, canned and placed directly in your hands? 

Perfect Christmas Gift Benedicts Peanut Brittle

Br. Leven and the rest of the monks are now taking orders for the 2012 Christmas season.  You can find more information, or order your own tins or as gifts for loved ones, through the following venues:

St. Benedict's Abbey Website:
Telephone: 913-360-7906
Facebook: (Be sure to like them!)

Mulefoot Hogs - Recessive Genes?

Okay, I'm going to put my pride on the shelf and adopt utter transparency here.  We had a new litter of Mulefoot hogs born on the farm recently.  Both parents are registered, traditional black stock.  Here is the litter:

 Striped Red Mulefoot Pigs Bad 


Sorry the picture is black and white, but you can see which 3 pigs I'm talking about.  In color, they are a reddish gray, with stripes.  Kind of like a chipmunk.  Has anyone else had any experience with this?

I've done a good deal of searching and researching since they were born.  Or, I should say that I've tried.  There is a scant amount of information to be found online.  For good reason, nobody wants to risk their reputation as a breeder by admitting that this recessive gene has shown up on their farm.

But, for the good of the breed, I think it might be time to start talking about it.  What I've found is that it is a recessive gene in some bloodlines. But 3 pigs in one litter?  I question whether it is recessive enough.

This was this sows first litter.  Her mother and other close relatives have always had entirely black and traditional litters (including her full sister, bred to the same boar.)

So, comments?  Experience?  Opinions?

Mike Rowe and the American Spirit

None of my words can express the wisdom in this video, so I'll keep it short.  The above video features Mike Rowe in a celebration of Dirty Jobs, hard work, and the American spirit  (my summation.)  It is a bit long (20 minutes) but worth every second to watch.  Seriously, pull out your planner and schedule yourself time to watch it ASAP!  

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