Sunday, February 28, 2010

We Collect Used Egg Cartons!

I want to thank everyone who saves us their used egg cartons. I know not everyone purchases eggs from our farm or all year round. I really appreciate that you are still saving them for us. We are able to sell eggs “on farm” in used egg cartons, but not at the Farmer’s Market. We do not use them when selling from the L-Bar-T Bison Gift Shop either.

Please feel free to bring them to church, or drop them by the gift shop or our booth at the Farmer’s Market. It is a great way to do more than just recycle them. They just keep cycling over and over and over and over and over…until they get dirty, wet, stained, etc… Please bring us your Styrofoam cartons too. These are not recyclable with curbside pickup. We make a point of reusing them with fellow church members because if they don’t get back to me to use again, they will be dropped off at church at the beginning of the month to be recycled by our BEST (Be Earth Stewards Today) team.

Something we do with a few every year is make fire starters. For fire starters we use pine shavings and used candle wax. Melt your wax with a double boiler method (pot with wax in pot with water) and mix with pine shavings. Pack into the egg carton holes and allow to cool.

We also will use them for plant starts. Instead of buying plastic plug trays we use the cardboard fiber cartons. They are recycled so the fibers are pretty small and will break down in the soil when planted directly in the carton. Perfect for starting tomatoes inside and then putting into 4 inch pots in a greenhouse or just their first stint outside before going in the ground.

Once again, thank you. Feel free to use either of our ideas for uses with your cartons. I personally appreciate any effort to be a bit greener in day to day life.

Gotta run. The chickens, they are a cluckin’


Monday, February 22, 2010

My Little Garden Plans

Last year we were pleasantly surprised when we were told we’d be moving into our home and the chickens would be moving from my mother’s farm to our very own. It was a blessing to walk into our home June 1st. But we had just planted a beautiful garden. We didn’t realize how much work it would be remodeling the house, so when we finally remembered the garden was continuing to grow, we went to check on it. Oops, you’d think we were growing grass not herbs and tomatoes. We started a lot of seeds in the ground so they didn’t even have a chance with the lackadaisical weather we had last spring. It never really got warm enough for things to sprout, and then it was too late for them to.

Well this year we mean business! Literally. We hope to grow enough to feed ourselves and sell at the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market May through October.

We are going to plant lots of tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, cucumbers, squash, lettuce, the works, this year. I have a home canner and will be putting up a year’s supply of tomato sauce, beans, jelly, jam, and anything else I can can this summer. We want to have enough that we can share with family and sell some at the Farmer’s Market. If you go to the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market, we intend to have fresh produce as well as our usual quail, chicken, and duck eggs. We even have a strategy of planting so we will always have fresh, delicate lettuce and salad greens available. Hope to see you there.

Gotta go collect eggs,


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Best Little Farmer’s Market

The Forest Grove Farmer’s Market is the best little market I've ever been to. Hosted by Adelante Mujeres, it has been running for going on 4 years. This will be our 3rd year selling eggs at the market. It will be our first year selling turkeys (not at the market but to people at the market) and produce. We sell the quail eggs in counts of 10 eggs. We also sell duck eggs in season, they will be very large as our girls are several years old and still laying their little hearts out. We sell them as XL and jumbo duck eggs. The chicken eggs are broken down by size too. We get a lot of XL and Jumbo eggs that just can’t fit in regular cartons.

We set up right next to my in-law’s buffalo booth. You can try the jerky, pepperoni and summer sausages they make as well as pick up fresh and frozen USDA cuts of bison meat. My father-in-law has such a wealth of knowledge regarding bison he can probably answer any questions about the animal or the meat. We’ve raised all of the bison on our ranch in Forest Grove and in Eastern Oregon. Visit their website at

If you’re in the area we have everything there! From 4pm to 8pm Wednesdays on Main Street. I love the pulled pork and brisket burritos from Cousin Kenny’s for dinner and of course shopping for the week’s groceries.

I won’t assume that you’d get all of your produce from us at My Little Sister’s Farm’s booth, but hopefully you’ll stop by and get some eggs, or at least say hi!

Filling the 'bator with eggs today,


Sunday, February 14, 2010

Quail Baby Hatching

Unfortunately I can't get blogger to take the video. Please view on facebook.

Trouble finding it? Copy and paster:!/pages/Forest-Grove-OR/My-Little-Sisters-Farm/307090850803?ref=search&sid=19718919.3122863204..1

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The Quail Are HERE!!!

So far there are 15 hatched and another 5 pipped. I can't believe it. I was all prepared to have to tell you something went wrong. I didn't want to "count my chicks before they hatched." But 15 is a great number from the eggs seeing that we were warned the fertility would be pretty low because of the age of their parents. The really cool thing is that this is 1 day's eggs, so each of these chicks has a different mother and father than any other in there. They may be closely related but not exact siblings, so the problems you get from inbreeding won't effect these little guys or their offspring.

Now the count down is to egg laing. 6-8 weeks from now we should be posting we are getting quail eggs. And I thought it was hard to wait 16-18 days for them to hatch!

In these pictures are the chicks in the incubator. They are kind of dumb, they kept putting their heads into the wire and getting stuck. They say quail and sheep are born looking for a weigh to die. It's a good thing their so stinking cute!

Here they are in their brooder tub, sitting on the feed. CUTE!!!

The next post will include a video of one hatching :)

Check out more pics by becoming a fan on Facebook:!/pages/Forest-Grove-OR/My-Little-Sisters-Farm/307090850803?ref=ts

Gotta go enjoy the pees,


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Shoppe

We have the most amazing chicken coop ever! It is a 2 car garage with an attic for storage. We divided it in 2 so we could raise chicks and the turkeys on one side and have the other side with full access to outside. In both we built roosts for the chickens to sleep at night on. It is the coolest chicken roost, fitting all 104 chickens and roosters as snug or as spacious as they prefer. The roost could actually comfortable fit closer to 200 hens, but don’t let my husband hear me talking like that ;)

We are south of Forest Grove and right off of B Street and Hwy 47, we have some pretty brazen coyotes. They come right into the buffalo barn sometimes. Oh yea, I didn’t mention the buffalo. Check out . This is my family’s farm. My husband, Tom, grew up raising buffalo and we still do. They have a gift shop where you can buy every cut of buffalo you can get from beef. We sell our eggs year round at the gift shop. Back to the coyotes…

We knew we’d need to protect the chickens from coyotes and even feral cats. (I will be posting a plea for people to not abandon their dogs and cats in the countryside sometime in the future as well.) Sitting chickens make easy meals for hungry wild animals. So the hens are completely fenced into their yard. We do let them out to wander the entire farm and to “mow the grass” when we are out there. This fall we found cracking a pumpkin open in the pen worked well to get the hens to come back in from roaming, if only we had pumpkins year round, it’d never be a problem.

The coop has electricity so we can regulate lighting inside. This is great for the laying hens as they will lay more in the winter time. It’s also great for me because I don’t have to collect eggs in complete darkness. Without 16 hours of daylight we can go a full month without 1 egg. We were down to getting only 1 or 2 a day during the darkest days, but someone was always trying.

We like to allow the girls to go broody and with the second pen, we may be able to let a few of the hens actually set a clutch this year. You have to be careful as hens get jealous of each other and steal chicks. Also the roosters become aggressive towards the chicks so you have to keep them away from them. With the second pen, these hens and their chicks would be safe.

Many small chicken farmers can relate to the countless hours spent chucking poo out of their coop. Trust me I have done this over and over again, for YEARS!!! But we don’t do that anymore. The Shoppe has 2 garage doors we swing up and we just drive the smallest tractor we have right in. My husband on the loader and me with a pitchfork can clean the coop out in ½ hour tops. The most labor intensive part is getting behind the roost to throw all that poo forward. However, we use bark mulch so the carbon to nitrogen ratio is fairly perfect for active composting in the coop. We brought in a lot more shavings than I thought necessary to begin with, but it turned out to breakdown over the course of 3 months so there were no recognizable bark pieces left. A local landscaper/pruner brings loads of mulch for the farm, win-win as he gets rid of it and we get to use it. We plan on using this compost for our garden this year. It broke down really well so there isn’t really that much of it, but a little dab will do ya. The circle of life starts with the poo and never ends.

We are working on several ideas including growing veggies for our family and the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market. I’ll let you know when we get that up and running as well.

Thanks for checking in on the chickens,


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Quail Day 7

Well the eggs have been in the bator for 7 days now. I candled* the eggs. I know for sure 3 are infertile** and 1 died in the shell. I can tell it died because there is a distinct blood ring^. With 32 eggs still in the bator and many definitely growing and strong, I foresee a great hatch day in our future.

Not gonna count my quail before they hatch,

*Candling eggs is where you shine a light on the egg to see the development inside. Very easy on white eggs, almost impossible on spotted quail eggs I've found.

**If there is no development of blood vessels I can see that the eggs are not developing embryos. When broken out I can see there is no development and it is defined as infertile, even if it developed up until the blood vessel stage.

^Blood rings form around the outermost part of the shell when the embryo dies. This is common and has many reasons. There could have been a lethal gene not allowing the quail to continue to develop, it could be bacterial or viral. It is hard to say without further testing, that I don't do. I do make sure to clean the bator as best as I can before the next hatch reducing micro causes.