The Farm Report, Then And Now

      43 Comments on The Farm Report, Then And Now

Pete Evans emailed to let me know the segment he and the crew filmed on the Fat Head farm when they visited waaaay back in 2015 is now online:

Very nice. My immediate thought when watching was Wow, the girls have really changed. They’re not even girls anymore. They’re young ladies.

Quite a bit has changed since that segment was filmed. The hogs went to the processor soon after and became 500 pounds of pork products. The gazebo where Pete and I were sitting during the interview blew away in a storm. Most significantly, all the chickens are gone.

As I mentioned in a recent post, Rocky Raccoon VII and Rocky Raccoon VIII managed to wipe out what remained of the flock before I trapped them and sent them to raccoon heaven. The last survivor was the rooster, who had clearly been in a fight. He was torn up, but alive. When he became listless and it was obvious he was dying, Chareva conducted a mercy killing.

Here’s a picture of one of the chicken yards, looking quite abandoned:

As I write, we have no chickens. This messes with my self-image a bit, because I’ve gotten used to thinking of myself as a guy who lives on a little farm with chickens. Twice in the past two weeks, I’ve gone downstairs to make myself breakfast and discovered to my horror that we were out of eggs. Out of eggs?! We’re never out of eggs! We have chickens!

Of course, I’m not the guy who takes care of the chickens, so when Chareva said she’d like to take a break, I had to agree.

In the meantime, her gardens are producing quite nicely. In the pictures below, you’ll see samples of her peppers, tomatoes, black-eyed peas and summer squash:

The tomatoes and summer squash were on tonight’s dinner menu, in fact.

This is interesting … Chareva swears she didn’t plant any cantaloupes, and yet we’ve got them growing in the garden. Her best guess is that the seeds were in a compost pile and decided to grow.

She’s also growing heritage corn in one of the old chicken yards. We may eat some of it, but the plan is to grind much of it into homemade chicken feed.

We lost another tree lately, too. Looks like I’ll be spending some weekends cutting up the free firewood, which is fine, but I’m worried that trees big enough to squash a human are snapping and landing in our yard.

Chareva’s break from chicken chores wasn’t long. She ordered 24 chicks a couple of days ago. They should arrive this week. Given what happened to the last flock, we need to reinforce the chicken yards again and replace one of the nets – we’re pretty sure Rocky Raccoon VIII got in by chewing through the old net, which was becoming brittle. I’ll be happy to have fresh eggs again, but I definitely don’t want to serve any more chicken dinners to the local predators.

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43 thoughts on “The Farm Report, Then And Now

  1. Andy

    Is this the same Pete Evans that’s trying to pass himself off as a culinary expert endeavoring to teach the ignorant masses how to eat by putting three measly little eggs in a pound of kale and squash?

      1. Andy

        That’s because you’re both wrong. Humans have a 1 chambered stomach like ALL of the planets carnivores as opposed to the two, three and four chambered stomachs of herbivores and, down towards the end of the spectrum with the three and four chambered stomach, obligate herbivores.

        The mythical omnivores exist somewhere in the *teeny* *tiny* little space between carnivores with a one chambered stomach and the herbivores like horses with a two chambered stomach.

        And I’m not averse to a few vegetables now and then, and have been known to eat a salad once or twice in my 60 year lifetime. As I’m sure you can appreciate with your discovery of a low-carb diet, I just do not make vegetables the major portion of my diet any more than I do carbs, I concentrate on eating concentrated fats and protein foods and try not to dilute them with all kinds of extraneous unnecessary plant matter that adds nothing but water since plants are 95% water with a smattering of vitamins and minerals which are mostly bound by phytates and are bio unavailable to humans without the two three or four chambered stomach to extract them. In fact on the few times I find myself wanting a salad i will often just have a glass of water and a weak-ass cheap multivitamin pill and call it a day, same difference.

        And all I saw going into the pan was three eggs for the lot of you.

        Pompous Pete: How many eggs? 2 eggs?

        Tom: “Go 3. I love eggs, I say go for 3.”

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          If humans aren’t natural omnivores, good luck explaining why most people have more copies of the AM1Y gene than chimps, and why people in primitive societies all over the world ate plants. They’re called hunter-gatherers for a reason. Even Inuits ate plants when available.


          Pete: How many eggs? Two? Per person? Or three?
          Tom: I love eggs. I say go for three.

          I promise you a mere three eggs wouldn’t have gone far in that pan. And since I was actually there beating the eggs myself, you’ll just have to take my word for it.

      2. BobM

        While I think humans are natural omnivores, I’ve been finding better success eating fewer plants. For instance, you have red peppers growing. When I was on low fat, I added hot sauce and other peppers to my food to make it more palatable. The problem is that now I get an allergic reaction to peppers. If I eat any, I immediately start sneezing and get congested. Bell peppers also tend to give me problems, unless they are well cooked.

        So, I still eat some plants, but most of them are cooked (raw plants tend to give me problems, such as cabbage, red/green peppers, for instance), and I eat only selected varieties. I’m not 100% carnivore, but I’m pretty close, maybe 90% or so. Yesterday, for instance, I fasted until dinner, then ate a few Bubbies fermented pickles, some fauxtatoes (mashed cauliflower), and a small salad with olives. That’s a typical day and intake of vegetables, usually none at blunch (don’t eat breakfast except rarely) and some at dinner. (Usually, I wouldn’t have had the salad, either, but my wife already made it.) I feel better this way. (And I have no idea who Pete Evans is, so these comments are not predicated in any way about him.)

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          Pete Evans is a celebrity chef/cookbook author in Australia. He’s also the producer of the excellent documentary “The Magic Pill.” Check it out on Netflix.

          1. Firebird7478

            Great documentary that my chiropractor won’t show in his office due to his vegan bias. Instead we’re subjected to “What the &$^%” and “Dopes Over Knives”.

      1. Kathy in OK

        We’re currently working through a raccoon issue. We have a deck out back, 3-4′ off the ground at the house and 5-6″ at the far edge. The raccoon(s) make a mess of the bird feeders, including knocking the hummingbird feeders off the hangers, and it digs up all the flower pots. We’ve tried the more humane ways to keep him off the deck – hot pepper, sticky stuff because I’ve heard they don’t like dirty “hands”. Now we’re working on an electric fence around/under the perimeter of the deck. If this doesn’t work, trap and relocate (or kill) is next. I refuse to let a varmint ruin my enjoyment of our deck.

        1. Kathy in OK

          And you should be even more determined, since you’re protecting your livestock and food supply.

          Are the dogs no help? Or do you no longer have the dogs?

          1. Tom Naughton Post author

            The dogs have a nice big yard, but it doesn’t extend to the chicken area.

      2. Walter

        Don’t feel too bad.

        The raccoon got a few chicken dinners and paid with his (or her) life. A pyrrhic victory indeed. Now the raccoons can breed faster than you can kill them, so you are fighting raccoons as a class not individuals. You don’t know how many raccoons tried and failed to get into the chicken enclosure.

        Perhaps some some timber wolf scent around the enclosure?

      3. Elenor

        No, no, Tom — you were not out-smarted by a raccoon — you were outsmarted by:

        MOTHER NATURE!!!

        {cue lightning and thunder}

  2. Firebird7478

    I enjoyed that. Nicely done.

    I’ve seen a similar omelet on Dr. David Perlmutter’s PBS pledge drive lecture. Looks really good.

  3. Laura

    Electric poulty netting works great to keep out predators…. besides hawks. And it keeps full-grown birds in.

    Easy to get in and out of the chicken yard since you can just step on it to push it down and go right in. So no gate needed. It stings if you touch it, but it’s not actually dangerous. And easy to move your chicken yard since you put the fencing on step-in stakes.

  4. Stealth

    I’ll bet the worst part of not having chickens is finding out how much it costs to buy eggs from pastured chickens these days–although prices are coming down and they are starting to show up in our mainstream grocery store now.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Even the eggs that claim free-range on the carton also state “all vegetarian feed” — which means the chickens didn’t live on their natural diet. Anyone who raises chickens knows they love to eat bugs.

      1. Lori Miller

        I’ve been “recycling” Japanese beetles for a neighbor who raises chickens. I trap them, freeze them, and give them to her for the chickens, which eat them up.

        1. Patrick Schlüter

          Did you see the T-Rex in that hen? (yeah, a chicken is genetically and temporally closer to a T-Rex than to a stegosaurus for example)

  5. Stealth

    We look specifically for organic “pastured” eggs, indicating that the chickens have been able to roam around on grass and eat bugs, and yes, we avoid so-called “vegetarian fed hens”. That doesn’t guarantee that they aren’t fed some organic soy and corn feed, mostly to get them to go into the hen house at night. We live in a rural county, so we try to “visit” the hens at the farms producing the eggs we buy. We get to see them outside and foraging for food. We have been paying around $9 a dozen (!!!) for these eggs, but lately our local Safeway is carrying pastured eggs from local farms for about $7 a dozen. I think that’s showing some “Wisdom of the Crowds” that they are now carrying pastured eggs.

    BTW, one egg farm we visited uses a pair of trained dogs to watch over the hens in the pasture and at night.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      Fencing in the back of the property so the dogs can be on patrol is on my to-do list. But the to-do list took a back seat to getting the film done.

  6. 3Duranium

    For future endeavors against raccoons, you could enlarge the area for the chickens whilst either using a large wooden fence which is also 3 ft deep into the ground and/or use three lairs of fencing wire. Also, though this may startle the chickens, a great method of scaring away the raccoons and other predators is to inflate some balloons and cover them with peanut butter: one bite and the raccoons won’t be back for awhile.

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I like the idea of sinking a fence into the ground, but it’s tricky around here. There’s a reason the Tennessee theme song is “Rocky Top.”

      1. 3Duranium

        There also methods such as using trained guard dogs and motion sensor lights. BTW how rocky is the terrain? A fence need not necessarily be 3ft deep as 6 in could do well.

        1. Tom Naughton Post author

          We hit rocks whenever we dig, often just a few inches down. Tilling the soil is a real experience here, because the tiller has to rake up a lot of rocks and stones.

          1. 3Duranium

            I believe the effort would be worth the work, as the dug up rocks could also be used as barriers against predators.

  7. chris c

    Thanks for reminding me, I need to tweak the owners of the veg shop to find out what happened to the chilli crop. Usually by now they are selling a bunch of different types, including in the past some which came with a free pair of surgical gloves to prevent skin irritation when you chopped them up.

    Maybe our prolonged drought has carried them off.

    Personally I love my veggies to accompany my meat, poultry, game and fish. Tonight – Gloucester Old Spot sausages (an old fashioned pig variety) with broccoli. By now we should have runner beans (pole beans?) but they seem to be yet another victim of the climate. Some of the cows and sheep are now being fed their winter feed (silage/haylage) because the grass has become a brown frazzled mess.

    SADly (pun intended) the rape(canola) crop has done well and lots of extra sugar beet has been planted so guess what they will be telling us to eat more of . . .

    1. Tom Naughton Post author

      I wasn’t aware of the drought. We had one of those in the Midwest a few years back.

      1. chris c

        Ours has been going on for weeks now. It seems to have finally broken and I am looking forward to not having to stick to the furniture.

  8. K2

    Howdy! Loved the video, even if a couple of years old. Your farm is so lovely and inspiring, Tom.

    The egg-kale-butternut squash dish looks almost exactly like my frittatas! I thought I was weird to use butternut squash – mine is cubed, tossed w/ olive oil and salt, then roasted – with savory dishes, but it is delicious and so good for you. I prefer spinach or dandelion greens to kale, and I often add crumbles of goat cheese.

    Thanks for continuing to share your farm reports and keeping us up to date on the studies out there now that turn convention on its head.

    All the best!


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