It has been almost 50 days since we were waiting anxiously for our pig to farrow. Checking the camera often and watching her behavior change, I had a rough idea what to expect but didn't expect things to go the way they did. Expecting this glorious birth of little pigs to come into the world but ended up with anything but. Morning of January 10 found me having to go and pull a stuck piglet. A massive one at that and of course the first one to be in the birth canal. Having no experience with birthing pigs, I went on by guidance of a local pig farmer, who ended up being a huge asset throughout all of this. After getting 12 piglets out, I thought I was out of the woods. I had 11 live pigs and one mummy, which is to be expected but she had not passed her after birth. This found me back in shoulder deep, extracting a stillborn piglet. A few hours after that the sow passed, I'm chalking it up to a rupture and hemorrhage. She passed minutes after I called the vet to get input from them and someone out to see her because things were just "not right".
What made you want to be a massage therapist? Short answer, I enjoy helping people heal themselves in a holistic manner. Much to the same focus that I raise my animals. If we treat our bodies well, they will help us lead a life of wellness. I've always been one to push looking into natural solutions before running to the doctor to put a band aid on the problem. Not that western medicine doesn't have its place, I just feel it doesn't always find the root cause and treat it there instead of always treating symptoms. This can be as argumentized as grain fed beef vs. grass fed beef. I, like many, definitely like to indulge in a heavily marbled ribeye cooked to a medium rare perfection but in the back of my mind its mostly corn. And though, corn is great and has many purposes, it has also been so overly processed that literally everything we consume has corn of some form in it. I believe our diet and the diet of what we consume fuels a lot of the things that go on in our health. So, getting my license in massage therapy gave my one more direction that I could offer the goodness of healing oneself holistically. Though, I am quite lucky to work in a clinic that offers not only phenomenal chiropractic care but also nutrition testing, hormone testing and a plethora of other things that help us heal. If you are local to me, I highly recommend checking us out at Long Chiropractic and let us help you start your wellness journey.
*in no way is this telling someone how or what they should eat but instead this is how we here at Cedar Creek Ranch eat
They are everywhere, the next trend the next how to lose weight fad. Some of them make sense and if they work for you, do what works as long as you are meeting all of your nutritional needs, by all means do it. I honestly, never had to do any "diets" but I give a lot of that to the fact that we eat very seasonally and very little processed food. Processed foods are the devil, yet I'll eat a pack of Oreos just for kicks every now and then. It is all about balance, after all. Me and my house though, eat very seasonally and without extensive knowledge in the nutrition world I feel this is something everyone should strive for.
Let's take a step back in time. How did our ancestors eat? Before the age of refrigerators and processed foods that last abnormally long on a shelf. They ate by the seasons, Winters were heavy in starches, meats and other vegetables that could be kept good in cold storage. Squash, potatoes, even apples if in the right environment can handle being stored in a root cellar. I still practice much of the same, canning what I can to have some of that summertime goodness in the cold months and storing what I can in the root cellar. Cold weather months we consume more meats and animal proteins, but history would tell us that it was the same much before. It was a lot easier to keep meat good in the cold of winter then summer. Thanks to refrigeration that isn't much trouble anymore. Summer and the growing season months our diets change to pretty much what is ready in the garden. We eat a lot of vegetables and greens all year but much more so in the summer when all I have to do is walk outside and decide what to eat. Also ends with me sitting between rows of peas stuffing my face with them. We don't consume much of anything that isn't grown in my climate. I love citrus and will take it when I can get it, but it is not something that we eat regularly.
Besides vegetables grown here, our "fruits" come from local berry farms and apple orchards. We do have our own tree that produces gorgeous apples, many of them go into jars as apple sauce and pie filling. I highly encourage everyone to try to eat as seasonally as possible. There are several ways to accomplish this if you don't have the space for a garden or places to raise animals. Farmer's markets and joining a CSA will give you options on what is seasonally available in your area. This is also the most sustainable because you are helping your local farmers and not supporting big stores. Which benefits your local economy more in the long run.
"You have a zoo?!"
And yes, yes, I do but there is a reason for it. Much of today's agriculture is monoculture. Focusing mostly on the growth of one species of plant or animal. Which works phenomenally well but tends to have downfalls. If you take a drive through the country side rows and rows of corn or soybeans cover the landscape, hayfields with gorgeous stands of alfalfa. This type of farming has evolved over the years much due to demand and in large scale this is very successful. But comes with a cost in soil depletion as well as lack of disease and parasite resistance. Though recently, there has been a huge growth in planting cover crops, to help give a little diversity to the land. Which is great and I love seeing it but in the case of small farmers our best avenue is to diversify even more.
This is why I have a zoo. Although, I don't grow much in the means of crops other than my garden which has all the staple plants and some oddballs, like tobacco and artichokes. Diversifying the animals here allows me to help push the soil into what I need it to be to build carbon and grow great pastures. Chickens and hogs are great for tillage and working up compacted ground while spreading fertilizer. This is why I use portable chicken tractors to condense the birds and yet move them about each day to give them fresh earth to scratch and new grass to clip. The Red Wattle pigs are easier on a pasture and produce well, being in that setting. Our Hampshire pigs will be raised differently but offered lots of table scraps and garden leftovers. This helping to produce the end product of delicious pork that ends up on your plate. Cattle graze the fields and what the cattle don't eat the sheep and goats will browse through and eat. Each animal has its place and purpose, except maybe the peafowl. They are more for the aesthetic features than any sort of practicality, but they eat bugs, so I guess they contribute somewhat. Every one of them helps complete the circle, and to be successful as a small farm being able to offer multiple options to customers is our best asset. So next time you hear me say I have a zoo, there's a reason for it. Plus, its growing as we come into lambing, kidding and farrowing season.
Another year done and gone. I say it all the time that it'll slow down soon but I always end up eating my words because nothing has slowed down. If we don't find ourselves updating the barns or remodeling the old farmhouse, we find ourselves always looking for the next thing. The recent cold had put a little damper on the outside projects, but the warmer weather is coming, and this gives me time to sit and update this website. There were some bugs that needed fixing and adding meat reservations for all of the good animal proteins we offer. I am looking to add options to purchase per pound as retail cuts online and offer either local pick up or shipping inside the state of Wisconsin. This will be a learning curve for me, but I don't see it being a roadblock for me at all.
We will be having more pork options than years before as we will be offering pasture raised pork and "regular" pork. Hoping for easy farrowing and big litters from both of our Gilts. This will a new experience for all of us, I've kidded in goats, lambed sheep, freshened in many cows but pigs I have not had before. Thankfully I do have some local people that can help give me guidance.
We are also in the works of potentially holding a few events this coming summer for people to come out and enjoy. I'd like to wrap up with a huge thank you to everyone that offered support or made purchases throughout 2022. Have a wonderful New Year all!
As I was working on tonight’s supper a text message came through that sparked some though. From a classmate in Green Bay, he sent me the nutrition label from a loaf of “keto friendly” bread. Now I’m not much of one to follow diets or how any of that works so I’ve definitely taken time to listen to him as he has and is doing that work. I will say that I could read and I knew what the ingredients were without having to go on a quick google search but the amount of “to retain freshness” ingredients was slightly alarming. This, in my opinion, is the current problem. It isn’t the food, it’s the amount of processing that goes into some thing that used to be as simple as flour, yeast, water and a little sugar and oil.
What is the one thing that I have said is always the constant in our crazy, hectic life? Change. Here we are once again, shifting gears and pushing forward. Some of you, that follow a long on my Facebook page or read the last post already know that we were in the process of moving and now we are pretty much done with that. A few of our things are still at the other house but will be moved shortly. We didn't move far, actually just a mile away from our little house. We bought where we used to milk cows from Dan's parents. Was some upgrades space wise going from a three bedroom to a four, soon to be five bedroom house and having actual barns for the animals. Downfall is the remodeling projects are starting over again.
Let's go back, almost ten years. We were still very much dairy farming and living on the farm. One kid and one on the way looking for a place to put down some roots. We had spent several months looking into available properties in our area. House shopping is not my thing, okay no shopping is my thing but anyway we had ended up making an offer through a private sale on a small piece of land with a little house and some outbuildings. My biggest concern was land, I have never lived on any less than ten acres and I wasn't up to downsizing my goals. The property we ended up buying was located on land we already rented for crops so it made sense to keep that for future farming. Several of you have seen our place in its today state but it was work to get it there. Let me take you back to where we started in 2013.
Messy, sassy and all around comical, I remember saying I will never raise hogs as I watched my sister's fair pigs hot lap the yard growing up. I never showed livestock and never really got into the market animal thing. I've always struggled with it being more of a how well are you known contest than something actually based on what the animal is bringing to the ring. That is a rant for another time, though. Anyway, since I have begun this journey I always manage to have at least two hogs throughout the summer. A few years ago I did raise a couple Idaho Pasture Pigs. Absolutely loved them even though they were sassy and escaped a few times. The downside to them is they are a fairly new breed and really a niche thing. Breeders charge all over the board for just feeder piglets. I love them but to be honest the purchase price affects the end profit.
One of the closest relatives to dinosaurs that is a live today and collected by modern day homesteaders and farmers a like. The chicken is the staple of small farms. Great for pest control, entertainment and suppliers of breakfast goodies. Chickens are one of the first critters I brought to Cedar Creek Ranch. I've been selling eggs for years and fondly remember my childhood with hens around for much of my younger years. Recently, it has been a topic of conversaton with people looking to begin their adventure with these feathered beings. So, i'm going to touch on the basics of chicken husbandry from my view.
Hi, I am Mandy Onesti originally the author/blogger of Ponytails and Cow Trails. Which I had started to bring people closer to the life on the homestead. Running two websites, a house full of kids and a small farm, made me decide to conjoin my websites. I have a lifelong background in Agriculture and have worked on everything from rotational grazing organic farms to large scale dairy farms. I now run a small herd of beef cattle and strive for a sustainable lifestyle. Thank you for joining me.