Entries in Jeff (107)

Tuesday
Jun142016

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.

Tuesday
May312016

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

AND

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.  
 
 
 
Monday
May162016

Saved from the Mouth of the Serpent

Typically, a little after dark or so I go out and close up our two hen houses.  The hens will all have taken themselves to bed and I simply go and close and lock the door.  One is the mobile coop that houses our largest flock out in the pastures. Since it moves around every week, it can be close or as far as 1/4 mile away and across the creek.  The other hen house is near our house and houses our 'front yard flock.' 

This 'front yard flock' hen house is the one that had all of the excitement the other night.  I had actually already closed up the hens this night but needed to go back out and do some work on the brooder which is inside the hen house.  As soon as I opened the door, I knew something was amiss.  The normally quiet hen house was aflutter with little chicks and a very annoyed mama hen.  She was pecking a large, coiled up, black snake on the head that had one of her newly hatched chicks in its mouth.  Her chick is in the snake's mouth and she is pecking it mercilessly, but ineffectively, on the head.

I grab the snake and pull the still, lifeless chick out of the snake's mouth.  As soon as I pull the chick out of the snake's mouth, the snake wiggles loose and retreats into a hollow spot under the wall.  Since it now has the advantage of being in a tight spot, it is not going to let me pull it out of its hole without a fight.  So, I go inside and get our snake tongs (thanks, Mom) and easily grab the snake and pull it out.  The snake ends up being an almost 6' long Western Black Snake. 

Generally, these are very good snakes on the farm eating primarily rats and mice, and only occasionally eggs and chicks.  So, I transport it to the other side of the property by the creek and let it go to continue its varmint hunting in a more acceptable space.  

When I got back to the brooder I had A VERY PLEASANT SURPRISE.  The lifeless chick that I had set to the side was now up and running around with its mother!  Sonata (the mother hen) has wisely chosen a different sleeping spot away from the wall that apparently allows snakes to come visiting!   BY THE WAY, the girls have named the lucky chick -- Survivor.  Sonata, Survivor and her three chick siblings happily explore and forage together.  

Tuesday
Mar222016

Family's Coming, what are you serving?

LAST CHANCE TO HAVE A DELICIOUS PRECOOKED SMOKED HAM BROUGHT TO YOU BEFORE EASTER


If you are fond of traditions and great food with loving family, then you'll agree that a ham raised on our farm would be the perfect centerpiece to your family feast.

 


A lot goes into creating our hams.  It starts, of course, with the pig.  We raise our pigs outside, on grass in pastures that are rotated every fourteen days to ensure a clean, healthy environment for the pigs.  The pigs we raise thrive in this pasture based method because of their rare Heritage genetics that have changed little for hundreds of years.  Large Black Hogs are known for their ability to convert pasture forage into gourmet meat.   

Next is the feed the pigs receive.  In addition to natural forages they get from the pasture, they are also fed hundreds of gallons of whey from a local, organic dairy, thousands of pounds of apple pomace from a local cider mill, thousands of organic sweet potatoes from another local farm and a nutritious mix of organic grains.  This diverse diet provides a complex and delicious flavor profile to the meat that makes our hams incredibly special.  

The last step is the curing of the ham.  Ours is cured by the award winning meat artisans at Paradise Meats in Trimble, Missouri.  They start with a Maple Sugar brine in which the ham is soaked before getting smoked to infuse a sweet, savory flavor.  The hams are just the right amount of sweet deliciousness without being overly flavored to cover up the fantastic pork.  The ham is fully cooked, so will only need to be reheated and served. 

We would be honored to share one of our hams with you.  Just reply to this email and let us know what size works best for you.  They range from 3 - 9 pounds and are just $10.75 per pound.  They are available for pick-up from the farm by appointment or we would be happy to bring one up to the city for you.  

Our deliveries this week are:
Wednesday, March 23rd
3:45 91st and Metcalf
4:30 95th and I35
5:30-6 Bulk it in old Lenexa

Thursday, March 24th
4:15 151st and 69 hwy
5:00 151st and 69 hwy

Tuesday
Mar222016

Spring is a time for lots of work, er, excitement on the farm!


Spring is an exciting time as we change from the slow, intense pace of the cold winter to the frantic and chaotic pace that often comes with spring.  It never fails.  We feel very prepared, rested and rejuvenated after Winter.  However, as soon as the grass starts turning green (and man is it turning green!) suddenly that feeling of preparedness evaporates and we immediately feel that we are suddenly behind.  That's because green grass is a very tangible signal that many things are about to get busier.

The first and very busy thing that has changed is our first batch of chicks arrived in the mail.  Each year at this time we start receiving new chicks that we will grow on pasture to butcher in early summer.  The first batch we got was our Prairie Rangers.  These are our slowest growing broilers, so they are the ones we start with.  Before they arrived, we had to get the brooder prepared after a long period of inactivity over the winter.  Equipment had to be checked, supplies cleaned and things arranged.  Once they arrive, a whole new list of chores of feeding, watering, and checking get added to our daily routines.  However, chicks are more than just work.  They are also a celebration.  Our girls love getting a few chicks and playing with them in the yard, in the sandbox sometimes even in the house.  These chicks will be out of the brooder and into the pasture in just a couple weeks - and then our next batch will arrive. The brooder will be kept busy with chicks and turkey poults for the next several months.  

The cows have also started causing us a little more work.  They LOVE the return of green grass.  They seem to get tired of the dry, crunchy hay and yearn for the lush, soft, green grass.  It seems to instill a certain amount of orneriness in them and we have spent several days lately readjusting the cattle from the pastures they think they should be in -- to the paddocks we have assigned for them.One very nice thing about spring though is the return of temps above 32 degrees. This has meant we have been able to start using the watering system again, at least for the cattle.  This means that now water is brought to them automatically and on-demand at any time instead of us having to haul water out to them in large several hundred gallons tanks.   This saves us time, is best for the cattle and is also more gentle on the land -- a win for all.  Now if we can just have guessed right and can avoid below 20 degree temps for the rest of the season.

Overall, Spring is more excitement than work and any work involved we are ready for.  Our farming is very connected to nature and the natural cycles of the seasons.  This natural cycle seems to be well suited to keep us excited, invigorated, and ready for the challenges of the farm.  

Synergistic Acres - 21733 Iliff Rd, Parker, KS 66072 - 913-735-4769
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