Entries in Farm Life (117)


Farmers on Vacation

This will be a short and sweet email because we just got back from a several day vacation.

Yep, you heard me right.  Farmers on Vacation!  It almost never happens - for good reason.  It is tough!  We are extremely fortunate because Gary - Jeff's Dad - is integral in the farm, he is able to take over farm care while we are gone.  It is a full time job for an entire family, so it's a triple hard job for him.

We took a train trip to St. Louis and really enjoyed ourselves.  So many great things to do.  One of the very interesting things of our trip was that we stayed in an AirBnB and used Uber rides to get around.   We felt great that we were supporting individuals directly.  Reminded us of all the people who support our farm.

Enjoy some pics of the farm instead of a longer post.


Our Summer litter of piglets and why we had a piglet in the kitchen

We had a great litter of piglets born this week.  Laura and I went on an overnight camping trip with the girls to a nearby lake to celebrate 14 years of marriage.  While gone, one of our sows had her piglets.  Luckily, Grandpa was dutifully watching the farm and took care of everything.  Saturn, mama sow, had 8 piglets that survived the birth and they are doing great.

We did have a sad emergency on Sunday -- day 3.  One of the piglets had a small wound on its side that had opened up its abdominal cavity and organs that are supposed to be on the inside of its body were hanging out on the outside.  It was walking around like nothing had really happened.  We decided to give this little fella as much of a chance of survival as possible.  So I brought the piglet inside, calling for Laura to come help.  We laid our new baby piglet out on the counter and began the delicate work of carefully cleaning each square millimeter of tissue to ensure what we put back inside was what came out -- with no extra dirt or other foreign substances.  After we had it all cleaned up, we began the process of gently trying to push the insides in a hole way too small.  How did they ever come out?  During this process, a good friend and neighbor stopped by.  This was fortuitous because she had some experience as a vet assistant and was a very nice gentle set of hands to work alongside with.  After getting everything put back in, we sewed him up and laid him in a basket to be safe, rest and heal.  Sadly, he only lived about 1 hour after the surgery, but passed away peacefully.  The shock of the event ended up being too much for his body to handle.  

Some people would be surprised to see the care and sacrifice we give to our animals.  The very animals we know later we will be eating for dinner.  The truth is, it's about respect.  We strive to make every day up until the very last day the very best for that animal it can be.  Sometimes that means doing surgery on the kitchen counter.  


Chicken Harvest, a day of community

We processed our first batch of chickens - our slow growing, pasture raised Prarie Rangers.  These birds had done fantastic on pasture and as a result had grown exceptionally well.  We had several birds in the 7-pound range and had nearly zero under 5 pounds.  We were very happy with this because we know several of our very loyal chicken customers like for the birds to be exceptionally big.  One of our customers commented they were more like small turkeys than chickens.  She was excited to possibly have leftovers for her large, healthy family.  

One of the greatest things about processing chickens is the community feel it involves.  We have our core team of Laura, and I and both girls helping along with both Laura's and my parents.  We were able to get our 100 birds processed and the area cleaned up in good time.  


Prowling Predator - Sasquatch maybe?

Our farm has considered itself lucky that we have had very little problems with predators in the last five years. This is impressive when you consider the hundreds of birds we have free ranging on our property.  This month our luck has worn out, though.  When putting up our flock of around 150 layers, we do not count the hens every night when I close them up safe and secure in their coop.  However, I had thought they seemed a little more roomy than normal on the roosts one night and after a few nights of noticing the same thing, I decided to count beaks.  What I found was alarming -- we were down to around 70 hens.  This is a huge part of our flock and they had disappeared in less than a week or so.  And unfortunately, subsequent days have resulted in continued losses despite our attempts to relocate the coop, increase visual checks and install game cameras.

The problem is we have seen NO evidence of dead birds anywhere to give us a clue what type of predator we are dealing with.  It appears we are losing them during the day since the coop shows no signs of entry and removal.  Often, if you find the carcass you can surmise the type of predator because each eats its prey in a certain way.  However, without a body, it is hard to convict.  The evidence at this points seems to be pointing to a clear case of a sasquatch living somewhere on our property and taking the chickens with extreme stealth.  

We have set up game cameras to automatically shoot video when they detect motion  One big issue that has contributed largely to our predator problem is last summer we lost our male guardian dog and now just have Mara patrolling the property.  With only one dog, she is not doing as good a job patrolling the property and instead sees guarding the house as a more suitable job.  We are working on remedying that.  

The direct impact on you is that we are experiencing about an 80% drop in egg production, so many people will be disappointed to not be getting eggs.  We will rebuild the flock -- but realize in our world of real food -- that is a 6-month proposition from the time we get chicks to the time they are laying.  We're sorry for not being able to provide the eggs that so many of our loyal customers are ravenous about.  Our family has been skimping on eggs lately too, and it's no fun.


Sprummer is HERE -- Did you know?

How quickly the seasons change.  It's now Sprummer (that's the in-between time from Spring into Summer) -- Wonder how I know? 

1) My pants are wet every morning ----  from walking through the tall seedheads in the pastures drenched in the morning dew.  What did you think it was from?

2) We rarely eat dinner before 8pm -- because there's always a little more farm fun to have while it's still daylight.

3) Chicken Processing starts this weekend?  Over the next several weekends we will process hundreds of chickens getting them ready for your dinners.

4) The pigs are making GIANT wallows.

5) Mara - our Great Pyrenees is STARTING to shed.

6) Eggs are already starting to reduce from their Spring flush.

7) I keep running into things while driving through the pastures with the super tall grass.

8) Working after dark with a headlamp is excruciating -- your face gets covered with 10,000 bugs almost immediately.

9) We are having our Farm Tour June 5th --- 4pm Click here for all the details


10)  I'm on break from teaching which means I don't have to drive 2 HOURS a day!!!!

Do you know how to buy our meat?

We try to make it as easy as possible.
  1. SEE WHAT WE HAVE! The right hand sidebar of our emails show you our current availability.  Or use this link to see an up-to-date list anytime.
  2. TELL US WHAT YOU WANTUse the order form to order online or just send us an email at jeff@synergisticacres.com with what you want to eat.
  3. GET YOUR FOOD!  Visit the farm to pick up your food or meet us at one of our weekly deliveries on Wednesdayafternoons/evenings in the Lenexa and Overland Park areas.  
Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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