News and blog

Posted 9/16/2020 9:59am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Well the weather craziness continues, the area we live in has just had the 125th driest August out of 128 recorded. This was folowed by some much needed rain the first part of September, we have had around 6". So the challenges of 2020 continue. 

As fall is right on the horizon I am reminded of a few things:

I am way behind on getting the greenhouse replanted. Done in a timely manner a greenhouse house can act as a "living" cooler if managed properly. Plus I would get to plant again, I love to plant. Although the heat we had last week was enough I decided to do some of the paperwork I've been neglecting.

I still don't have a shipping container purchased. I need a place to store food for me and you with no electricity. Not flashy foods. We have potatoes, various squash, things that keep people from starving but really are not super valuable during "normal" times. 2020 still isn't normal so who knows.

So I am planning on buying a used shipping container and burying it.  With some ventilation and some good placement it should remain 50-55 degrees for most of the year. Then keeping the humidity levels adequate it will provide a good storage space for food.

I also have the hard red spring wheat we harvested this winter in a wagon. It for sure needs to be "cleaned". To clean grains for milling or seed we have a clipper fanning mill. This machine has interchangeable screens that shake back and forth. They are on a slight angle and the grain will pass through one but not the other typically all the while air is blown up through to help seperate the chaff and other things out. So it is sorted on size and density resulting in "cleaned" grain that is ready to be milled.

The delivery for September will be on the 19th. I have had some interest in fresh chicken and we have some being processed on the 16th so it will be an option for those interested.

The delivery in October will be on the 17th which should allow for more beef to be available if the processor is able to get it done before then.

The nice weather this week will be the window we need to make the last cutting of hay for this year. The last cutting is always the least quantity but usually the highest quality.

There will be some various squash for purchase this month. There will also be potatoes. Eggs are starting to be more limited. There will be a good supply of pork but this pork was raised the last 6 weeks on our farm. Before it was born and raised on a neighbors farm they are born on pasture and have good access to the outdoors but they did get GMO feed. We are eating it and it is very good but I want to be clear about what it is. We raised it because I had an opening at the locker and was going to be out of pork. Next month we should have plenty of pork we raised on organic feed from the time they were 50 pounds or so.

As more is learned about this virus some things are becoming more clear. Proper immune function is critical for the body fighting off covid and other viruses and infections. Immune function can be bolstered with good healthy "clean" foods. Allan had said for years that pastured pork is the best natural source of vitamin D, our vegetables have all been supplemented with Azomite, which we also put in the organic feed for the chickens and pigs has 72 naturally occurring elements. Not only can this lead to better tasting foods but also result in food that are more complete and healthier for people.

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

 

Posted 8/5/2020 11:20am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Normally we are prepping or on our way to Colorado for our family vacation/reset before the school year starts. 2020 is not normal. We did manage to get away to Michigan for a few days. We were right on lake Michigan so we got to enjoy the beach a few days. We stayed with my parents so it was nice to spend some time with them. We also got to tour an orchard that a friend of mine owns, it was very neat to see and it was different being on the receiving end of a farm tour.

I made Elijah stand on the downhill so I would look taller.

The crops are doing well as we have received some timely rains. Most of all the cultivating is done, just a day or so to wrap up. I did some last week that I posted a video on  facebook and instagram. It had been a while since I had done any cultivating and I remembered I really enjoy doing it as long as the days don't end after 2am.

We have been making hay for the winter. Some of Dad's fields are in some forage crop as it is transitioned to organic. This is one of the ways we can transition to organic and have very effective weed control. The cattle have been doing well grazing the different pastures we rotate them through. Doing well as I define it means growing/gaining weight and staying where they are supposed to.

Our garden has been doing well too. We are a little behind on the strawberries as we have been busy with other things. It will be a pain to get caught back up but someday hopefully soon we will. The potatoes above ground have dried up and as they did the weeds came through so i mowed the above ground part off to keep the weeds from going to seed. My plan will be to have potatoes available at the delivery this Saturday. If you would like potatoes this Saturday put a reminder in the notes section as you check out. I am looking into storage options for a root cellar, one idea is to purchase a small shipping container and bury it. My goal is to set up long term storage for root crops that doesn't require electricity.

Green beans are ready and will be for 10-14 days, I will bring what we can manage to get picked for this Saturday. If you are interested in coming to the farm to pick a large quantity to can or freeze send me a text and we will set up a time. 

Chickens! Are finally available. I have grilled a couple already and they are very good. If you have never brined one it is very good. Make your brine taste like the sea, add onion, garlic and other spices as desired. I usually just use salt. Let sit 24-48 hours in the fridge, once thawed, and then grill or bake. They are on the bigger side as Cherie did a good job raising them. You will want to stock up as we don't have extra freezer space to raise as big of groups.

Pork; Two options one the piglets we bought this spring are doing well and will go to the processor in October. Also I will have some for purchase out of the cooler. This is pork that has been on our farm for about a month. A neighbor that raises pigs outdoors had some that he was having a hard time getting fair prices for during the meat crisis, so I bought 12 from him. I can answer any questions at pick up. It is not organic but it is better than what is available at the store.

Beef: again plenty of ground beef if you buy 10 get 2 free, buy 20 get 5 free.

TURKEYS! we will have available for Thanksgiving again this year after not raising them for couple of years. Place your deposit now.

Eggs maybe a little less than last month.

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

Posted 7/6/2020 9:44am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Where to begin? Weeding, mostly in the row crops like soybeans or corn, has taken up a majority of my time. We have good equipment to do it but sometimes it takes a long time if we have to go slow. Let me tell you a younger me would have teased anyone with air conditioned seat, but after spending 18 hours in a tractor that is not as much as a luxury as I once would  have thought. The tractors have very bright light, GPS/RTK, the rotary hoe and cultivators are 40' all become important when 800 acres has to be covered multiple times to control the weeds.

But it isn't just in the corn and beans that weeds grow. Our potatoes look pretty good they will need a few tweeks next year. Cherie has been busy in the green house and in the over sized garden weeding. The strawberries are sending out runners like crazy now and we are trying to keep weeding them and setting those runners in a good spot for next year.

I was able to plant some green beans with the 16 row planter. These I have been able to rotary hoe and cultivate. So the weed control has been acceptable. Not perfect  but pretty good. So I do think we will have a time when we will have a you pick opportunity for green beans this year.  I know SUPER exciting. Not really, but it could give the opportunity for you to be more food secure as they can very well and the also, freeze decent.

Soon it will be time to plant the fall garden.

There may be a limited amount of produce from our garden.

I have added a ground beef selection that is listed as extra lean ground beef it is from a young bull. It is $6.50 per pound. As burger it may be too lean without adding some fat to keep it moist but it will work well in pasta, tacos that kinda thing.

Egg inventory is updated.

Chickens next month.

Pigs are still growing

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

 

Posted 6/10/2020 5:21pm by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

The greatest thing ever raised on a farm was good families. I've told our kids there are two things in this life I can teach you.

How to work hard.

How to raise good food. 

Elijah has been milking Zuzu and/or Cloudy everyday and most days he is milking them twice a day. All three kids have been spending time weeding in the garden. Helping with chickens, eggs, pigs and the goats and household chores. The girls have been making muffins for breakfast from time to time. Some out of necessity I don't want to sound like I'm proud of myself, I am proud of my kids. When I was growing up we milked cows, and raised corn and soybeans or list of work to be done almost got done from time to time. Necessity required we all pitch in and contribute. I will brag on Cherie some if you have met her you will not be surprised but she has impressed me with how she steps up in the garden and with the animals when I'm in a tractor all day.

In this update I will stick to meat, the farm, and what is going on here, mostly. Here on the farm I am insulated from much of the world, but even here I see so many people hurting.  There is a place where the hurting can stop. It is at the cross of Christ.

As restrictions from covid loosen, I have a question, What are you doing about your families food security? What plans can you implement to be more food secure? As fast as the weeds are growing this is a great time to capitalize on the amazing ability of plants to grow food.

The last 2 weeks have been very busy for me getting fields ready, my dad plants the corn and soybeans, and now weeding those fields. We also have planted some green beans, and kidney beans soon. These I will be able to use the 40' rotary hoe and cultivator to weed. The potatoes look really good. As do the strawberries, there are  a few berries even though usually the first year they don't produce much. Next year there should be an abundance. We have also started some sweet potatoes. The hard red spring wheat just started heading out. It is possible there may be some available for next months delivery.

I have not updated the inventories on the website as I haven't picked up meat from the locker. When I do I will get those changed. I don't want to sell more than what I have sorry for the delay.

The locker in Eureka has agreed to process a beef or two for me every month as ground beef. I was able to get one done for this delivery. The chickens are growing, so that is good. Every day we get more milk than we can use. I cant deliver it but it is possible to pick up at the farm. Text 815-303-6226 to see if there is availability. None is really wasted as extra whey or skim milk goes to the pigs who love it. 

This delivery I'll have

Eggs

Ground beef

some greens

I'll update ground beef and egg inventory Thursday or Friday.

Possibly some things from Zuzu and Cloudy. Just today I ordered a cream separator to help with making butter.

The last time I went to the locker i made reservations in March, May and June for 2021. it is weird planning that far in advance. Things here on the farm seem normal many days, but there are reminders that, that is not the case. As I have asked earlier What are you doing to make your family more food secure? Now is the time. Plan B can't be when it is too late and nobody has any.

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy. Cherie, and the rest of MHF

 

 

Posted 3/3/2020 11:34am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

I'm going to try and tackle a big idea, climate change. What can we do about it? One option would be go off grid and off carbon sourced fuels. Others might say we need to plant more trees. Stop eating meat. There are almost as many ideas as there are people. 

So since you didn't ask here are my thoughts.

Vote: with your food dollar. Wendel Berry has said, that every time you eat,  that is how you choose to farm for that meal. Even this idea can be quite polarizing but the way you choose to farm for each meal can make a significant difference.

Fractal Geometry. My favorite speaker in the world of organic farming/ human health was Jerry Brunetti. In one of his talks he brings up the idea of fractal geometry. He Explains it like this; the coast of Maine is 228 miles long when measured point to point or in a straight line. But if a person were to walk that distance and stay right along the shore, the distance is 3478 miles. Then he said imagine the distance a mouse might travel on the same coastline if it were never a bodies length from water. The distance might be 10,000 plus miles.

Or take this tree for instance. It is in our front yard, Diameter at the base about 5 feet. So the surface area of the trunk would be about 20 square feet. What would the surface area of the tree itself be? And the number will be exponentially more when the leaves come out. Now double that to account for under ground surface area as well. 

So that is why people suggest trees as a solution. It isn't limited to trees, it is life. If you've been reading these newsletters for a while I've said it another way Life's offspring is Life. Life is fragile though it needs to be taken care of and nurtured. For sure not abused simply because we cannot see the effects immediately.

There are other examples of fractal geometry on the farm. Ruminate livestock, cattle, goats and sheep all have a rumen that uses this fractal geometry to create almost infinite out of the finite. The rumen of a large cow may hold 50 gallons, but the surface area on the inside uses fractal geometry to make the area unmeasurable. Where the micro-biome population is greater than people living on planet earth. This also the ruminate to utilize cellulose (forage) and turn it into usable energy to sustain life. This is the main reason a vegan lifestyle is not the answer. 

The earthworm even with its very simple digestive tract also uses the principles of rumination on the thatch it digests. It pastes on the walls of its tunnels before consuming the fermented cellulose a few days later. 

The plant life, the animal life and the soil life all have this element of fractal geometry they unitize to make the nearly infinite out of the finite. Each on benefiting and promoting the other tow areas of life as they thrive. Nature and its design already have the answer for the climate change.  The question is will mankind figure it out in time?

Whew that was a lot.

SPRING is teasing us here in the farm. My mind says it won't last but my heart is soaking up the foreshadowing of the season that is coming.

Some of the goats are looking like they will kid soon. Close enough the girls check them when they get up and when they come home from school to see if there any new babies. None so far. Elijah is still wanting a milk cow so we may add one soon.

There are times when the rye seeded last fall is really turning green which is good as the hay supply is quickly going down. Some of the garden seeds I've ordered have been delivered. There is life in every seed and that promise makes an optimist smile. I am better at starting things than finishing so there may be opportunity for a U-Pick with some of our garden this year. We will keep you updated. My plan is also to offer some produce this year if the weather is more cooperative than last year.

Part of why I am not as good at harvesting the food is I plant in the garden as I'm waiting for the right conditions to plant the corn and soybeans. After those are planted life can get very busy.

Monthly specials:

We processed a young bull that had never been handled (castrated) because the pasture he was born on didn't have handling facilities and he was quite wild. He did make very good ground beef and a lot of it so with our freezer capacity less we have a sale on ground beef it is $5 per pound and I don't think it will last long as that is a very good price.

We have plenty of pork still with the sampler still just $100. I will get some feeder pigs soon but that has not happened yet so there may be a time this summer where our pork will be limited.

Chickens will be available this summer I'll aim to have them available for the July delivery. Which will allow the kids to help in feeding and taking care of them. My plan would be that you could preorder them and that would give us an idea of how many to raise. It will also mean you will take them at delivery unless other arrangements are made.

Turkeys there are whispers of possibly doing a batch. Maybe not sure.

Eggs, we are low on hens. And the ones we have are not laying many beyond what we use. So no eggs sorry. I've asked about getting more pullets but have not heard from our supplier.

If you have an order and want to change it just make a note in the checkout section.

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

I'll try and update what the kids projects will entail for this coming growing season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted 2/5/2020 1:57pm by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Winter has been much easier to live through and take care of livestock in 2020 vs 2019. There even have been some days that are a reminder of the growing season on the horizon.

There will be a delivery this weekend in the Chicago suburb area, please place your orders soon if you are needing any meat. It looks as though we will not have any eggs for this delivery sorry.

I will start working on our preview for 2020 and will plan on laying out the year in the March newsletter.

Thank you for supporting our farm,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

Posted 12/9/2019 9:15am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Harvest is complete. Field work for next year has been progressing as the weather allows. We have been applying chicken litter as fertilizer for next year and some of the fields we are also planting rye as a cover crop for spring. 

We are going to run some pretty good specials this month. Mostly on pork as that is what we have the most of. For the past year our walk-in freezer has been giving us trouble. Enough trouble we are going to shut it down. We have purchased some chest freezers to take the place but they will hold less. When we first started selling meat chest freezers worked just fine. So we purchased a used walk-in freezer. It was a smaller one and eventually we out grew it. Thinking back on the juggling we did when it was so full I was the only person that could moved around in there to find anything. We decided to get a medium sized walk-in freezer and used the smaller freezer as a cooler. They both have deprecated to the point where maintaining them has become too expensive. 

So our specials this month:

Buy any 3 of the same pork items get the fourth free. 

Whole hog $2/ pound hanging weight plus processing. Processing is about $225 for a whole.  

Pork sampler $100 save $40

4 pork chop, 1 shoulder roast, 1 fresh ham roast, 4 bacon, 2 sausage, 1 italian sausage, italian sausage link

Whole Duck $30

 

The weather has been a major challenge for the past twelve months. One of the outcomes has been a relearning and strengthening of the idea that  “The Lord will provide.” I won’t go into this too much as I have probably already have turned some people off. As I live out my faith and the struggles that will entail I am also learning it is ok to share the struggles and failures with my family and through sharing they can see the truth lived out that the Lord will provide. 

We didn't move, we didn't quit, although both were discussed. I'm sure 2020 will have its own challenges and rewards. The next newsletter will share about some of our goals for the next season.
 
Thank you for making our farm your farm,
Jeremy Cherie and the rest of Meadow Haven Farm
Posted 11/7/2019 12:02pm by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

I'm late getting this out. We are harvesting.

There will be  a delivery this sat for Elgin, Arlington Heights, and Downers Grove.

December 14 will be the next 

January SKIPPED

February 8 will be the first of 2020

As most of you know we did not raise any turkeys this year, and with the rain we had the farmers were thankful, as it makes taking care of them much more difficult.

We did process some ducks, today in fact I will have them with on the delivery and will be available, just ask me.

Eggs are low again and available by the dozen.

Have a good Thanksgiving,

Jeremy, Cherie and the rest of MHF

Posted 9/11/2019 9:07am by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

September 11, 2001 what a day. There are no words.

Today 2019, what are we doing in our world now on a personal level? Are our daily efforts healing our communities or driving them further apart?

There will be a delivery this Saturday the 14th. 

If you would like something this month please order through the store on the website.

I'm not sure if harvest will allow a delivery in October I will let you know in the next email. November 9th there will be date in November.

Make the world better today,

Jeremy

Posted 7/29/2019 10:14pm by Jeremy House.

Howdy from the farm,

Well it is shaping up to be an average year. Since Thanksgiving of 2018 it has been:

Snowy

Muddy

Extremely cold and snowy

Wet and cool

Now hot and dry.

Put it all together and it looks like an average year that we will never forget. The extremes when put together come out as average but it makes it hard on the farmer, the animals and the soil.

Some of the advantages our management has benefited us during the extremes are:

Less erosion, Less ponding of water, better water holding capacity, cover crops have grown really well with the rain and have been harvested as hay or seed for next year, are some of the many benefits I've seen.

So this year for sure has had many challenges but the system we are using has helped soften the blow of these extremes. We had hoped to offer some food from our extra big "garden" but we picked a new spot this year closer to the house but it has a lot of issues with excess water. As of right now we will probably only have potatoes to offer. We shall see right now we are learning not to count our chicks before they hatch when it come to gardening.

The delivery will be this Saturday August 3 in Elgin, Downer Grove and Arlington Heights. Please place your order on the website meadowhavenfarm.com 

Specials:

1/2 pork is a great deal, lots of great pork for around $400 80-100 pounds in your freezer.

Pork sampler 4 pork chops, 4 shoulder steaks (Cherie's favorite), 4 pounds breakfast sausage, 2 pounds Italian links, 2 pounds Bratwurst, and one package of bacon. For $100 save $25

We look forward to seeing you. And as always we appreciate you, thank you for supporting our farm.

Jeremy, Cherie and family