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edwin lake

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since Oct 07, 2012
My wife and I are homesteading in the Piedmont of western North Carolina, the bottom of Zone 7.
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Recent posts by edwin lake

Bryant RedHawk wrote:hua Edwin, so you're shoats will be ready in January?
We like to pick up babies at 12-14 weeks old, when they are fully weaned.
Where are you located, I might be interested in a gilt but I need to be able to make the round trip in a day or two.

Could you pm me a copy of the pedigree?

We have a good Boar and two gilts right now, we won't be breeding until probably January as ours will be old enough at that time.


B. Redhawk

Ciao Brian:

I bought the gilt (Comfrey) from Cathy Payne down in Georgia. Cathy was on a couple Voices podcasts. Comfrey is beautiful. I put their pedigree at the two links here: Comfrey

The shoat Yarrow we bought from Tamara and Charles Ray out of your neck of the woods, Arkansas. Yarrow

I think we have some good genetics in our offspring. We would be delighted to sell you one of the gilts or maybe we can make a trade. Here's a link to our specific location onGoogle Maps. Maybe we could meet up in Nashville, TN.

We are not going to wean the piglets until they naturally would stop nursing, around 12 weeks or so.

We have an environment with mulberry, persimmon, beech, and white oak trees on 15 acres. We also have about five acres of mixed grass pastures in use with horses, plus space around our homestead. Our plan is to rotate the pigs around our pastures and homestead, including through wooded paddocks and finish them out on the persimmons and acorns around October and November next year. They will be about ten months old at that point. AGH grow slower than commercial pigs and they take that long to reach market weight.

AGH don't need a lot of supplemental feeding. But we have dairy goats and chickens so they get eggs and cheese and souring milk, whey, etc. Also, we have too many deer around here so if any wander around me, I shoot them and use the cuttings for the pigs as well. Our supplemental grain comes from either Reedy Fork farm, or New Country in Virginia. GMO free.

Unfortunately, we don't have any shoats in this group. Only three barrows now.
5 years ago

This litter is from registered AGHs. We are selling some of the piglets for breeding if anyone is in the area.

The sow mother is fantastic. She is exceedingly careful not to crush her babies.

The boar is gentle and friendly.

These are smaller than regular hogs, which is preferable due to our situation on a small scale homestead.
5 years ago
I found this thread while searching for somewhere to buy a raw cow horn. I think the cow horn business is more metaphysical and involves cosmic energy verses science as we call it. Steiner used the term "science" in a broader sense than we Americans do in our modern, closed-mindedness.
5 years ago
What i have noticed in my North Carolina community is that the USDA is becoming very strict with processing meat. A local processor here had to stop processing goats due to inspections. I think that the next angle of the government attack on us will be through the USDA inspections route. The big producers of meat (dairy, swine and cattle) cannot compete with small farmers producing highly nutritious foods. Therefore, they use the U.S. government bureaucracy to make it illegal for the small operations to compete.

Land of the free?
6 years ago
I am continuing to try and infect minds with Permaculture by telling stories on my blog. Please feel free to share on social media if you like.

What a great weekend! All our children were here for T-day. We spent the rest of the time right at home. It was better than a permaculture sustainability conference. Katrina and I learned so much.

As some of my friends know, we are striving to live a healthier lifestyle, including a radically different diet than that prescribed to us by the chem-ag industry. We are quasi-Paleo now, and that means eating more local foods. You don't get much more local than this hamburger. Blessed.

It is hard to put your animals down. That is the most difficult part of it especially when you have taken care of them since they were born. We have three justifications for the process.

First, we remember how we cared for the animal while he lived. He was free to roam on pastures. He lived with his herd and shared comradeship. His pen was regularly cleaned. He lived in a dry, roomy, and comfortable shelter and pen. He was loved and treated kindly by his human care-takers.

The care and treatment of factory farm animals, on the other hand, is troubling. In most cases, the factory-farm animals are caged from birth. There is minimal human interaction. They eat food that comes from who-knows-where with the main goal to drive them to a market weight as quickly as possible. They are killed mechanically in large numbers by persons or machines that do the job without remorse.

If you are a meat-eating human, you eat animals killed in one of the two systems. We think ours is a more ethical one.

Second, the quality of the meat produced in our system is significantly higher. We take care to raise our chickens, guineas, goats, and pigs on pasture and in woods where they can self -regulate and eat appropriate herbs. The animals are periodically rotated and ingest a high mineral content from a polyculture of pasture grasses and browse. The supplemental grain we feed is exclusively organic, soy-free, and non-GMO. Animal de-worming treatment is weekly and consistently herbal (not chemical). No hormone-laced feed was ever used. The meat produced is highly nutritious.

The third justification is that we benefit spiritually. Becoming directly involved in the harvest, strongly reinforces an appreciation of the sacrifice all animals make so that humans can eat meat. I think a lot of people miss that component, detached as much as possible from where their meat actually comes.

In the story of the Passover lamb told in ancient sacred writings, the people were instructed to bring the young lamb (or goat) into the home with them for four days before its sacrifice. A greater attachment to the animal was formed by living with it. And therefore, a greater appreciation of its sacrifice was realized.

The third reason is more intangible and woo-woo than the first two. But it may be the more important of all three. We are blessed by the reminder of a sacrifice that makes our life as a human being possible.
Why I Need to Know if My Trees Are Champion American Chestnuts

My story telling effort to infect minds (thanks Paul Wheaton) with permaculture continues.

We have two large, fruitful chestnut trees on our homestead.

In the early 20th century a lethal Asian fungus infestation (known as the chestnut blight) swept across native habitat of the American chestnut tree and wiped out about 4 billion American chestnuts. In circa 1925, the fungus reached our ecosystem in western North Carolina killing the American chestnuts here.

Most chestnuts growing now are Chinese chestnuts or hybrids. The Chinese chestnut species has an immunity to the blight. However, the American Chestnut Foundation is using science to seek out and restore blight-resistant American chestnut trees to our biome.

The first option for the American Chestnut restoration project is to locate naturally-resistant all American (not hybrid) trees. Champion trees could save the species. A champion would have a natural immunity to the blight, and would be capable of passing that immunity down to her children through her seeds. Here is an article about the ACF restoration project: Restoring the American Chestnut Tree. Another good piece is Chestnut Champions by Meghan Jordan, TACF, Page 12.

There is only a very slight possibility we have American chestnuts on our homestead. There is an even smaller probability still that our chestnuts are champions. But even the faintest possibility of a champion chestnut tree on our homestead creates a duty to check. That is why we must identify our chestnut trees. We owe it to our ancestry and progeny. Stay tuned.

6 years ago
We didn't try the homeopathic drench this month. We still have one 1 year old whether that has a dry cough (lung worms). We treated him this week with the herbal method.

I am a big believer in planting the right set of herbs in our pastures. Unfortunately, our property is still recovering from being over-grazed by horses three years ago. We have installed one swale in one pasture that we planted with comfrey. I do also feed my goats comfrey from time to time.

I would like to start some wormwood herbs and plant them around some of my pasture edges. I agree that animals (horses and goats for us) will use the herbal medicine chest to deworm themselves naturally. Any other herb suggestions?

The story about your friend is alarming. Reminds us that pasture rotation is also a good plan that we must incorporate. We have three pastures of about an acre each and we do some rotational grazing.

Currently we are at the end of our wet season. We get about two months of dry before we begin getting fall rains. I am in the NC piedmont, which gets around 60 inches a year so ours is a wet environment.

The paddocks we work hard to keep picked. We also use DE in the paddocks. I will post more updates later. Thanks for following the thread and keep the comments coming. Love them.
My blog post, Questions about Worm Cycles in Goats, has pictures and links to my research. I copied and pasted it here for comment and information purposes. I would love to hear what others think and maybe see any holes in my analysis.

The Story

We love our small herd of American Alpine dairy goats. Edna, pictured to the right, is a fantastic Momma goat. She likes to move slowly and has her own pace, which can sometimes frustrate impatient human beings.

Edna is a kind, gentle, and loving goat. She generously provides our family with 1/2 a gallon of milk every morning. She has been producing this milk for more than 18 months. We are thankful for Edna and love her. As her human caretakers, we are also responsible for the care of Edna and her goat family. That means it is our job as the human to do research and learn as much as possible about goat husbandry.
The Problem

Amicus is a dear American Alpine goat-raising friend who lives nearby. One of Amicus's goats became ill with a runny nose. She invited a Veterinarian to her property. The Vet ran fecal tests over a two week span and told Amicus the worm count was increasing. The Vet suggested the data argued that Amicus' herbal deworming treatment was failing that she should consider the traditional chemical deworming methods.

I was not surprised that a Vet, trained at a Chem-Ag university, would quickly advocate for chemicals. Amicus already told me the Vet was surprised when Amicus told her (on the Vet's first visit to Amicus' farm) she did not use them. However, I was not buying the Vet's fecal test conclusions yet. I already knew that research published at Fias Co Farms (where we buy our herbal dewormers) had convinced Amicus and I of the efficacy of herbal deworming. Comparing Alternatives for Controlling Internal Parasites in Dairy Goats Herbal vs. Chemical, Chrissy Orr.

BioDynamics and Lunar Cycles

When Amicus and I were talking about what to do, I wondered if the Vet's assumptions about the cause and effect of the increase might have been associated with the lunar cycle instead of Amicus's herbal treatment method. I took to the Internet to confirm my hunch by researching internal parasitic worm life cycles. (Oh, the fun!!!)

Turns out my speculation was confirmed by biodynamic farming researchers. First, I found an article by Jean Duval about de-worming goats.

"According to a traditional French practice, deworming treatments are performed preferably when there is a new moon. The worms are more active at this time and therefore easier to dislodge. On the other hand, Rudolf Steiner, the father of biodynamic agriculture, recommends performing deworming treatments during a full moon."

Ecological Agricultural Projects, AGRO-BIO - 370 - 04E, THE CONTROL OF INTERNAL PARASITES IN RUMINANTS, Jean Duval, agronomist, M.Sc. (Jan. 1994)

Next, I found a biodynamic website, BIO-DYNAMIC ASSOCIATION OF INDIA (BDAI), The Rhythms & their recommended Farming Activities, that recommended de-worming animals homeopathically for parasites beginning three days before the full moon.

Drench animals for internal parasites, on an empty stomach with, for example, garlic and cider vinegar. (48 hours before Full Moon)

Then, I found a horse husbandry site that cited homeopathic veterinarian C. Edgar Sheaffer, VMD. It advocated for worming in harmony with lunar cycles. Quoting Sheaffer:

most parasitic conditions can be addressed best with a natural wormer, used between the new and full moons.

The Holistic Horse, Worming in Harmony with Lunar Cycles

Dr. Sheaffer confirmed that the lunar cycle must be considered when evaluating fecal samples in horses:
Attention to lunar cycles is also important to fecal samples, Dr. Sheaffer says.

"We can't get lulled into a false sense of security with fecal counts." The most successful assessments collect fecal samples between . . . the new-to-full moon phases, when parasite egg-laying is at its peak. Samples taken between [the full-to-new moon phases] may not show eggs because it may not jibe with a parasite egg-laying cycle. Daily fecals, and quantitative egg counts could perhaps best document this cycle in an individual horse.

Id. It stands to reason that the same consideration applies for goats husbandry.

The Vet's assumption about worm count in Amicus's herd was premature and unscientific. Depending on when the sample was taken, the lunar cycle would have influenced the fecal test data. To reach an accurate conclusion, Amicus should analyze fecal samples taken at the same time during the new-to-full moon cycles.

In addition, individual worm species may have different life cycles. A farmer should identify the specific worm species with fecal samples, a microscope, and photographs before taking definitive actions.

Timing of herbal treatment is important. There is some conflicting information. Considering everything I have learned, the best time to treat is after the new moon and before the full. This period gives the best opportunity to interrupt the egg cycle of the internal parasites.

Finally, our current herbal only treatment may not be the most efficacious way to treat our goats. Maybe Amicus' Vet was right in this respect.

Dr. Sheaffer recommends alternating between herbal and homeopathic worming treatments for horses. Therefore, it stands to reason that we should consider incorporating alternating homeopathic and herbal treatments into our goat deworming plan.
A carpenter friend suggested a third option. Drilling through the 2x4 at an angle into the plywood. That worked well when I had enough wood to bite into. In some areas, I will try the toenail technique.
6 years ago
Thanks for the most excellent comments.
6 years ago