Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Christmas Break (12/18/2012 to 01/16/2013)

Christmas break included time with family, a quick trip to Darlington WI Christmas eve returning Christmas Day to celebrate Christmas with family.  Back to Stillwater for another family Christmas and then one kid was off too Mexico and the other to Colorado.  We were home alone.  School break also meant back into work into the office for work.

My big present was an All-American 921 - 21 Qt. pressure canner.  This bad boy is made with the engineer in mind. As you can see in the picture it is structurally over designed, is able to can 19-pints at one time and even has redundant pressure measurement.  Best of all it is made in the USA in Manitowoc, WI at the Wisconsin Aluminum Foundary.
The All-American in use.  I used the camper stove since it was gas.

13 pints of freshly canned beef and venison.

I did also manage to work in a few sustainable agriculture related items:

On January 7, I went to the North Dakota Grazing Coalitions Winter Grazing Workshop in Bismarck  and the next day attended the Burleigh  Co. Soil Health Workshop also in Bismarck.  Put on by the Burleigh County Soil Conservation District.  This group is on the cutting edge of innovation in building soil health and they are in demand all over the country and world to speak on the subject.  Their website contains a wealth of information, and case studies on how farmers and ranchers are building soil health.  And the farmers are very profitable as they do it.  Several of them have reduced their comercial fertilizer and herbacide applications to practically zero while increasing their yields by over 40%.  This really helps the bottom line.  Paul Brown son of Gabe Brown was one of the speakers.

On the way back home I stopped in at Paradox Farms, checked out the winter greenhouse and tried my hand at grinding feed and straw.

The big trays are trays of fodder being sprouted and the narrow
trays are various winter salad greens that have recently been planted

Here is the set-up in the "Reality Greenhouse".  We feasted on the salad
greens for lunch, they were very good.  The greenhouse gets into the 80's
and then a fan turns on to vent some of the heat outside so it doesn't get too hot.

I believe the trays of fodder where wheat and/or rye and field peas.
We fed some to the cows, goats and chickens and they gobbled it up.
The milk from the cows was back to summer quality and I am told
the eggs where also back to summer orange yolks. 

Chopping straw for bedding.  This makes the straw more absorbent.
It also gives you a greater volume of bedding material so a bale goes further. 

Here I am grinding shelled corn with a roller mill.  The mill was
re-purposed from a silo unloader set-up.

Goat Boys checking out the action
This is a Hero seed cleaner.  The video below shows it in action
The cleaned seed comes out on the right..

Thursday and Friday I took in the Minnesota Organics Conference in St. Cloud.  This event is organized by the Minnesota Department of Ag.  There where a lot of very informative workshops from chicken processing rules livestock genetics and field crop weed control, and a great tradeshow floor.  The food and snacks were all organic and very tasty.

On Saturday one of our instructors, myself and another classmate were interviewed on AM950 Food Freedom Radio, regarding the Colleges Plans to mothball the Sustainable Food Production Program at M-State Fergus Falls.  If you are interested in listening to the interview go to the AM950 website and search for the Saturday January 12, Freedom Radio Program podcast.  It takes a little bit of effort to find it.

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