Where Does Your Meat Come From?

   Recently the United States Department of Agriculture passed a law suspending the requirement for “Country of Origin” to be included on meat labels. This opens the door for meat to come into our country from anywhere in the world without we, the consumer, knowing where it was raised or processed.

    This statute also protects American chicken operations that are sending their birds to China for processing. Yes, you heard correctly. Some American companies are now sending their chicken to China for processing and then back to the US for retailing.

Now, when we go into the grocery store to purchase chicken, we won’t have a clue where it came from or where it has been. This is of great benefit to foreign and international companies. They will be able to increase their profits through cheap labor while we, who desire healthy, safe meat, will be left with no guarantee of anything.

It’s kind of like playing Russian Roulette. But instead of the six shooter having one bullet in the revolver, the gun is fully loaded!!! ​

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   My Dad & Me Family Farm raises pastured, organically-fed, non-GMO, soy-free Broiler Chickens. We process them ourselves and hand them to our farm friends the same day.  You can’t get them fresher than that! You not only can be assured of the best tasting bird you have ever cooked, but the chicken is nutritious to your body as well.

    We are proud to announce the “Country of Origin” as the United Stated of America. God please help America get back to it’s roots of One Nation Under God and stop this politically correct nonsense!

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Country of Origin:  My Dad & Me Family Farm ~ United States of America

 

Watch our 3 minute Chicken Video below to learn how easy it can be to serve up a delicious chicken for dinner! 

 
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Morning Chores

Chores here at our new farm in Alabama were kind of helter-skelter for the first few days as we brought three loads of cows, and then a fourth a week later, but all the Jerseys have settled into life in the new barn at Pike Road. We are so thankful to have a barn full of dry hay, plenty of room for all 12 cows & calves, fresh spring water piped right to the barn, and a solid milking stanchion.

Papa (as the kids call me) tends to the water, hay, and manure while Mama (my sweet wife, Tina) milks Beulah. Willie is learning to help me with the water and Ellie loves to pet the cows and feed them hay.

We’ve got 150 laying hen chicks and 120 Freedom Ranger chicks for meat coming in just a few weeks, so for now chores are confined to the cows, but Springtime is approaching fast!

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Hanging out our Shingle

Hanging out your shingle was quite a literal term years ago. Folks used to make a sign for their occupation from a slate shingle, then hang the shingle outside so people would know they were open for business.

We actually made a sign for my brother from an old slate shingle from the Mable House in Mableton, Georgia when he graduated from vet school. Check out my brother at Willow Run up in North Carolina. He and his wife, Madeline, are newly weds and we’re just hoping they’ll come back home soon; we miss them!

But the phrase “hanging out your shingle” is also synonymous with simply putting out any kind of sign to let folks know you’re starting a new business. My dad and I just painted a sign for the farm here in Alabama. When I was working on setting the poles to hang the sign our two neighbors, Lawton and Bill, came and gave me a hand; it’s good to have great neighbors!

Here’s a gallery of us putting up the new sign; what do you think? Come on by the farm and check out our new sign and the Farm Store!

 

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Three Reasons Why We Never Play the Lottery

Recently, the Georgia lottery boasted nearly a billion dollars to a lucky winner. Folks that had never purchased tickets before found themselves tempted by the chance to become mega rich!

I remember when gambling was illegal in Georgia. When the state felt that it was not behavior consistent with the values once revered in this country. Citizens were arrested, prosecuted, and jailed for such activity.

So, in order to win over opponents to the idea of our state running a gambling operation, Governor Zell Miller promised that the earnings would go to education. The lust for a power ball of funds pouring into government proved successful and the lottery passed.

But just because 51% of the people voted for it, does not make it necessarily good. There are three reasons why my family will never play the lottery and the size of the jack pot has nothing to do with it!

The first reason we choose to never play the lottery is because we do not want to further fund government education.We believe that the education of our children should be done by their parents. Fathers and mothers promoting an environment of love, encouragement, and discipline. Teaching their little ones God’s world view of creation as opposed to man’s  fairytales of monkeys growing up to be men.

By refusing to play the lottery, we help starve government’s socialistic propaganda while simultaneously availing ourselves of the dollar to feed tomorrow’s entrepreneurs.

The second reason we choose to never play the lottery is the danger that we might win. Yes, that’s right, the danger of winning is actually greater than the danger of losing. If you lose you are simply out a mere dollar, but if you win, you lose something far greater.

Gambling for free stuff teaches us to be dissatisfied with what we have and what we can earn. It does not promote a thankful heart before God for all that He has provided. When we yearn to have something for nothing we dishonor God’s plan for us to work to make our living by “the sweat of our brow.”

So, if we should be so unlucky as to win the lottery, we would actually lose our ability to earn our living the way God instructed.

The third and final reason we choose to never play the lottery is the huge conflict of interest it would create. When our family put their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, we gave Him everything! In return, He has given us salvation from our sins, an abundant life here on earth, and a home with Him in heaven for all eternity.

Why would we jeopardize all of that for a chance to win the lottery when we already have everything we will ever need!

“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4: 19

 

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Coming Home

Beulah is our first milk cow here in Alabama. My Daddy has been milking her for years. In fact, we milked her mother and raised Beulah as a baby calf. Interestingly, Beulah has come back home; her mother, Buttermilk, was originally from the Cedarcrest Dairy in Faunsdale, Alabama. And I guess I’m coming back home too; my Daddy’s parents spent some of their early years in Talledega, Alabama. It sure feels good to be here. The pace is so much slower out here, the nights are quiet and the sky just explodes with an amazing array of stars. Two of our adjacent neighbors keep cows, horses, and donkeys so the days are filled with bellowing, braying and neighing, which has been quite enjoyable.

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Back to Beulah. She was different from day one. As a little calf she would march straight into the milking parlor while my Daddy was milking and demand attention, nuzzling right up to him. Most calves need a little halter training or bottle feeding before they want that much attention from people rather than their mother!  Here is Beulah with her mother:

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Over the years we continue to assess our genetics and for one reason or another we haven’t kept any of Beulah’s heifers as future milkers. But as she has mellowed and aged a bit we think we’re going to change that. She has become a very solid cow, and not too long ago she became the herd leader.

Every cow herd has a boss cow. Sometimes they’re quite vocal and adamant about being boss, but sometimes, like with Beulah, it’s more subtle. If you watch the herd a little while, you soon realize that Beulah eats first, drinks first, and well, sleeps in the prime spot in the barn, wants to be milked first, and certainly keeps young, unruly heifers in line. But, she does it without the angst and fury that some of the cows we’ve had that try to exercise their authority constantly, and as a result the friendly, little calf has become our favorite lead cow!

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It’s been a wonderful three weeks here in Hokes Bluff. We’ve met a great many friendly folks and have generally enjoyed what I think of as an old-time, country community of people. I’ve forgotten the number of churches we’ve been invited too, and the local hardware store has already been a breathe of fresh air. Ben and Jackie in ‘downtown’ Hokes Bluff have a great selection of all those necessities for a farm and house; we were really pleased to find them and their store.

We had a few issues with the house in our first few weeks here, but they’ve all turned out to be a chance to meet some of the locals. The plumbing and septic gave us some trouble early on, but Greg Pollard, the plumber, and A.J., the septic man, were very kind and helpful. Our transformer blew out, and the Alabama Power crew had us up and running shortly.

We look forward to all that the Lord has for us here in Hokes Bluff, and we hope that any of you that can will come out to see us and Beulah! I can attest to the quality of her milk being made on the fine grass hay made right from this property; I’m drinking the milk, eating yogurt, and enjoying ice cream from her, and boy is it fresh, cold, sweet and wonderful. It’s sure good to be home!

 

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6,000 miles to Alabama

I guess I’m setting a record for quarterly updates here, but since my last post in November we’ve been working like crazy to move to Alabama! Here’s my wife, Tina, and our little girl, Ellie, with our newly acquired donkey that Ellie named, Buddy.

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We closed on the farm at the end of October and it took us into December to take 13 stock trailer loads of farm supplies, equipment, tools and supplies. In that same time, some new friends, T.D. and Chip, hauled our Ford tractor and another load of stuff to Alabama for us. From early December to early January, my Dad, and I drove to Pike Road three to five times a week working on the red hay barn on the property. It needed a lot of cleanup and remodeling to get it ready for our Jersey cows and laying chickens. We installed a chlorine filter on the water line coming from the road to the house, and ran a water line from this filter to the hay barn. And finally, just last week, we hauled our family’s belongings in the cow trailer, and now 6,000 miles of driving later my wife, two children, and I are full time in Alabama!

It’s been an adventure already, from shooting at (yes, at…) a coyote the first day on the farm, to milking by flashlight, stumbling over boxes (boxes are everywhere!), trying to remember to stop and eat, and working on the business end – contacting possible customers, printing things (first we had to find the printer and set it up), cleaning up the store, and setting out product.

Here’s our humble milking stanchion in the hay barn:

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Our little family is having a blast with all the crazy challenges and new beginnings. We waited for over two years to close on this piece of property and start this new chapter in our lives, and it’s already better than we thought! Here’s a few pictures from Thanksgiving when we did stop for some fun with the extended family:

And one more group of pictures. This is the four of us milking Beulah for the first time and then two days later when we headed out to milk in the snow flurries!

 

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Wooden Tops and what happened to the blog?

I’ve had several requests for wooden tops lately, so I’ve turned a few and they’re again for sale on the back porch. Thanks to everybody who has bought them; they’re lots of fun! I think my wife has the largest collection and our kids love watching them spin…

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And what happened to the blog?! Life I guess. This summer has been pretty normal on the farm actually, not even super busy. Good steady work, but not crazy. Right now is a different story mind you, but that’s why I’m writing this update. The farm may have been simply steady, but our minds and hearts have been in overdrive, praying and hoping for land in Alabama. Most of you know our farm in Georgia has been for sale for nearly two years. We’ve also had our eye on a particular place about 80 miles away in Etowah County, Alabama for the same length of time. We hope to share more details about the property and that two year journey soon, but for a simple update, we just closed on the 62 acre property last Friday!

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Although we’ve toyed with scores of ideas and scenarios, this one is different from anything we’ve considered before. In short, Tina and I (and the kids!) will be headed to Alabama, Lord willing, before the end of the year. My folks and little sister Anna will be staying here. Honestly, that’s about as far was we’ve gotten! In the short term, the farm in Alabama should relieve some pressure with the number of cows and the two five acre satellite farms we’ve run here locally. We hope the Alabama farm can augment the back porch and all of our wonderful Georgia customers, and from there, who knows where God will take us!

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We really appreciate everyone who was reading the blog, and while we can’t promise steady weekly entries here, we will try to keep everyone updated with pictures and stories of this amazing new chapter in our lives here at My Dad & Me Family Farm.

God Bless!

David

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Visiting the Farm

I recently had the privilege of staying at the farm for several days, to catch up with my childhood friend, Tina (we hadn’t seen each other in 16 years!), and experience farm life first-hand.

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One of my first adventures was accompanying Tina on some of her evening chores: collecting eggs from the henhouse, replenishing feed and water for the baby chicks, and holding and petting the baby rabbits.  Ok, maybe that last one isn’t exactly a chore 🙂

Tina and I are both avid birdwatchers, so in the morning we set out to see what we could find.  Many beautiful wild bird species live and nest on the farm, including Eastern Bluebird, Blue Grosbeak, Pine Warbler, and Great Crested Flycatcher.  In just a few days we cataloged over 50 species!

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One of the greatest joys was playing with Willie and Ellie.  How wonderful to grow up surrounded by delicious fresh food, sunshine, and a loving family–not to mention baby chicks and rabbits!

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Probably the most memorable experience I had on the farm was Chicken Day.  I didn’t know exactly what to expect going in–though I knew it would be no minor operation, as we were to process almost 150 birds.  It was truly educational to observe the entire process, straight from collecting the birds in the morning from their foraging area in the pasture all the way to handing a cleaned broiler to the customers that same afternoon.  Meat doesn’t get much fresher than that!

One of the things that struck me most about the process was how nothing was wasted–all the usable parts of the bird were carefully separated, cleaned, and saved.  In general, it was marvelous to see how all the different operations on the farm supported and connected to each other.  Extra cows milk and kitchen scraps go to the hogs, leftover chicken parts are eaten by the dogs, spinach stalks from the garden nourish the rabbits, etc.

Another thing I learned is that there’s always something new happening on the farm…like the morning we woke up to find a newborn calf!

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The morning before I left, we squeezed in my final farm chore: helping milk the cows.

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And, of course, sampling some of the fresh, warm milk…deliciously sweet and flavorful!

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I am deeply grateful to the Hammond family for their generosity, and for warmly welcoming me into their household for a few days.  It was a wonderful and eye-opening experience, and I can’t wait to visit again!

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Busy Spring?!

Whew… I don’t guess I need to say ‘I’ve been busy;’ the lack of posts makes that fairly clear. The worst part is though, we’ve been so busy the camera has almost gotten dusty. We have caught a few things though, of our recent flurry of Springtime activity, so here’s a run down of the farm happenings for the past few weeks:

Pigs! This has to be one of the most exciting things to happen this Spring. My sister Leah and her husband Michael were planning a trip to Tennessee to buy a weanling piglet and we made plans for them to bring us two piglets as well. Leroy and Petunia are 3/4 Gloucestershire Old Spots and 1/4 Berkshire pigs, and boy, am I dreaming about the bacon already!

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The gardens have taken much of our time and we’ve had a blast planting potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, squash, cucumbers, green beans, okra, field peas, peanuts, butternut squash, pumpkins, watermelons, cantaloupe; oh my, I’m hungry again!

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But, thankfully springtime isn’t only planting time, we’ve been tending the strawberry patch and the asparagus bed and those two must be some the nicest things to harvest. Just as soon as winter is over, you’ve got sweet berries and tender spears!

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The cows have been racing around the pasture with the electric fence trying to keep up with all the luscious ryegrass that has done great this spring, thanks to all the rain the Lord sent. This is the first paddock in our big pasture:

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And here the girls are finishing up the last paddock in the big pasture before moving to the neighbors grass:

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We’ve already processed the first batch of broilers and batches number 2 & 3 are marching along just fine. We also have new laying hen chicks in the works. I’ve been practicing with my austrian scythe as well, mowing some ryegrass we couldn’t get the cows to, so I took the grass to them!

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I’ve also built a peening bench, but I’ll have to explain that in another post. And to add to the busy schedule of farm work, my brother gets married this weekend so we’re hosting the visiting folks for a drop-in meal on Friday before the wedding… And with all of that, I think I must go back to work! Thanks for reading.

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Pedal-Powered Grinder

I didn’t even know these existed. When I was assessing my shop for ‘tools with tails’ (electric motors…) that needed eliminating, I saw my grinder sitting quietly in the corner. Without a grinder, sharp is not possible. Without sharp, well, nothing is possible. At least nothing in woodworking anyway. So I began looking for the hand-crank grinders like Roy Underhill uses on his memorable and still current television show; I think Roy is in the middle of his 34th season of The Woodwright’s Shop!

This is a hand-crank grinder like Roy uses. But he has more coordination than I do! Holding a chisel or plane iron with one hand and cranking with the other is more than I thought was reasonable…

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But I started hunting on eBay for hand-crank grinders anyway, determined to get rid of the need for an electric grinder in my hand tool shop. Low and behold! I saw a couple of listings for a pedal powered grinder like this on eBay:

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This was the ad for the grinder above, and yes, it did sell for that much! So, after seeing sold ads like that I was terribly intrigued, but figured they were out of my price range. And how would you ever find one local enough to avoid some ridiculous shipping charge for something that crazy big…

Enter: Craig’s List. I have a love-hate relationship with Craig’s List. There’s more scams and dead-beats on Craig’s List than anywhere I think, but I’ve found a bunch of great deals, too. Like the huge stainless wash sink we put in our mud room that cost us all of $30 (it was a $300 sink!). I couldn’t help but try looking for a pedal-powered grinder, and bang! One popped up in good shape, local, and then the guy proceeds to say he’ll deliver it to me for no charge! That was just a gift from the Lord I suppose, because you could hunt an awfully long time for one of these and pay a whole lot more than I had too – I paid the fellow $150.

Now, the grinder was in good shape, great shape even. But the shaft was a 1/2″ bolt rig job, and the wheels were unbalanced and pieces of junk. Remember Mr. Hood from this post? I was definitely going to need him for this. I had an old electric grinder from my years of learning to turn on a lathe and the motor was completely shot. I disassembled the grinder and stole the shaft out of it. I took the grinder, shaft, and washers to Mr. Hood and in less than a weeks time he called me and said I was ready to go. While I was waiting, I ordered two new wheels for the pedal-powered grinder; nice soft white wheels that wouldn’t burn the steel when I was grinding.

It took a little fiddling, like any old equipment does I guess, but with Mr. Hood’s work, a little tinkering and the new wheels I was thrilled to hop on and go to grinding!

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There’s no silver bullet for moving away from dependence on our throw-away society, but if you start to take those first steps, before you know it, you might find yourself using pedal-power for more and more jobs on your homestead; after you grow a few veggies, you’ll want to grow more and more of your own food; you might even contemplate milking a cow! We’re having a blast and we hope you’ll work with us to be less and less dependent on the big government-crazed, Made In China, disposable society we’re in!

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