It’s Time For The Frontière Farm Stand!

We have been working away at an awesome new project with the farm for the last few weeks. Starting Tuesday June 15, and every Tuesday for the foreseeable future, we will have shopping hours on the farm!

An old photo from our first batch of chickens!

Visit us between noon and 6:00pm on June 15th to for our grand opening. We will have some of the goats near the farm stand area so you can say hello and take pictures with them. We will have treats for the poultry that you can feed to them. There will also be a few giveaways, special pricing on some items, samples of some of our meats, and more!

In addition to our regular market offerings, we will have some handmade artisan products, a few vintage pieces, maple syrup, and some other farming adjacent items for sale. This selection will be added to as time goes on. Support other small business owners in one easy place.

Here are the rules! They are quite simple, but we want to make sure everyone has a good time, and stays safe, including our livestock.

-Please park in the grass on the north side of the driveway (towards the cornfield), there will be vehicles to help guide your parking. The cornfield is not ours, please respect our neighbors and fellow farmers and stay out of it.

-We will have areas marked out where you can explore the farm. We ask that you do not leave those marked areas, both for your safety and the safety of the animals. Please remember that this is a working farm and you will see, hear, and smell things that are a normal part of farming.

-We will not be offering farm tours during the Grand Opening, however in future weeks, we may be able to accommodate small groups for tours. Please contact us in advance if you would like a farm tour during your shopping trip. We will do our best!

-We ask that you leave all pets at home. This is a working farm with livestock, and we don’t want your animals to scare our animals. Service animals are welcome.

We will be keeping this post and our Facebook event updated with all the pertinent information. Find the Facebook event page here! We are looking forward to offering our farm raised products for all of our customers twice a week to make things easier for you.

2021 Lambing So Far

Way back in early November, we put our breeding ram Limerick in with eight girlfriends. Seven Jacob girls, and one Romeldale kept him busy for some time. It’s now been over 147 days since we first put them all together, and we are seeing the results!

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Late at night on Saturday April 3rd, I couldn’t sleep, so I decided to go and check on everyone. Citra surprised me with a little ram lamb! I moved her and baby into the barn, gave her some hay, grain, and water, and let her bond with baby. When I went out in the morning, two little baby faces greeted me! I was quite surprised, as she wasn’t very large, but there were two babies in there! Citra and Limerick produced two brown eyed, four horned ram lambs. And they are already so much bigger than the other lambs, just being a week older!

Citra and her two ram lambs

We then had almost a week between births. Finally, on Friday the 9th, one of our other four horn ewes went into labor out in the pasture. I managed to catch that one on video! You can watch that here. Once Janus got that baby cleaned up, I could tell she had a second one coming. You can see the bag hanging from her in the video. I convinced her to walk up to the barn by carrying the little ram lamb in front of her, and we got the two of them settled. She wasn’t making any progress on her own, so I got some lubricant (we use vegetable oil) and helped the little ewe lamb out! Momma was very intent on keeping me as far away from her babies as possible, so once I made sure baby was breathing, I left them alone so they could get to know each other.

Janus is cleaning her ewe lamb who needed a little assistance. With the ram lamb nearby.

After two nearly perfect births, Cascade decided to throw a wrench in the gears. Last year, she had twins, and one was massive for some reason. That one didn’t make it. This year, she had triplets. The first one was a ram, and he unfortunately didn’t make it. The second, a ewe, came out with assistance, and she is doing well. The third, another ewe, was tangled up in her legs, and couldn’t get out on her own. She needed a lot of help, and unfortunately also didn’t make it. This was a huge blow to me personally, and even though I KNOW these things happen, and there was little I could do, I still felt like I failed my animals. Cascade will be retired from breeding, and live on the farm as a pet. I’m not sure why she had issues two years in a row, but after talking it over with our vet, it seems like she may have a narrow pelvis, making it difficult for babies to get out. After giving birth, Cascade was having issues feeding her single lamb. Her body was ready for three babies, but she only had one, and appeared to be over-producing. This made it difficult for the baby to latch on and nurse. We milked her out a couple times, and that seemed to help things. We are still cautiously optimistic about this ewe lamb, and keeping a close eye on her and mom.

Cascade and her baby girl, who looks and feels like a calf. Zero curl in that wool!

Yesterday morning I went out to do chores, and found Hallertauer with her baby all cleaned up and dried off. We like to give the moms and babies a little privacy, so we move them into the barn so they can spend some time without goats and chickens bothering them. This also allows us to check mom over to make sure she is doing alright, and we give her some extra nutritious food for the first day or two, to help with milk production. Her little ram lamb has quite the silly looking facial markings, but he’s cute as a button! They are back out on the pasture today, because Halle was tired of being apart from her friends!

Another ram from Halle!

We still have four girls to go, and we are looking forward to what those babies all look like! Keep an eye on our Instagram to see photos of them as they arrive.

We Hate F***book

Intense title? Yeah, probably. Is it needed? Yeah, definitely. We hate Facebook, and unfortunately, we need to use it to run our business. This post is not about farming specifically, but about the marketing behind it. There will likely be some “strong language” but if you know the two of us in person, this language is our normal form of communication.

This is my comment, on my friend Sara’s Facebook post about moving into a home that had a pool table. Her partner Jason commented saying he knew how to re-cover and re-level pool tables. Jason is wicked smart, and immensely skilled at like… a lot of things, including lasers. He is Canadian, as am I. Hence the comment! Sara is also immensely talented, and has written about me previously. Now it’s my turn to write about how absolutely infuriating Facebook is. I am not nearly as skilled a writer as Sara, and I am not following the “rules” of writing. This is off the cuff, unedited, and just being thrown into the ether.

After leaving this comment, I was informed it goes against Facebook Community Standards. Apparently, “fucking Canadians” triggers the bots to put me in jail. Previously, “all except the white dude are sheep” put me in jail. Never mind the fact that I was talking about LITERAL LIVESTOCK, referring to anything as “white” or “sheep” completely fucking breaks Facebook’s bullshit warning system. So now I find myself in Facebook jail for a week, and I have some time on my hands. Hence, this blog post. I have received death threats, been told to un-alive myself because I told someone to Google something, and been told to go back to where I came from. None of those people were ever suspended, or penalized. Does Facebook have it out for me? Seems like it.

So now, what do I do? I need to use Facebook to market the farm. We have over 2500 followers on our Facebook page, and over 2000 on Instagram, which is owned by the Zuckerberg network. Many customers find us on both of those platforms, and now I cannot use the one that drives the most sales. I can post as much as I want here on our blog, on Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube, but that’s not where our customers are.

I Want To Be Where The People Are GIFs | Tenor
I’m like Ariel

Facebook is unfortunately the main place MANY farmers and small business owners do their marketing. Unfortunately, that means we are at their mercy. Some know it all marketing “experts” will say “Use your mailing list.” Which is, to be honest, some of the dumbest fucking advice ever for micro businesses where one or two people are doing all the work. The industry standard email open rate is 18%, and click through is less than 3%. The amount of work involved in writing an email versus the number of people who will see it is just completely not worth it. (This is one of the reasons we send out very few emails). Facebook posts stay there, and can easily be linked back to. I can use a years-old Facebook or Instagram post to illustrate a point, share more information, or provide cute animals as entertainment. Unless I’m in Facebook jail…

So where do we go from here? Who knows. I am frustrated and worn out. We are heading into a season that is normally very busy for us, but we are dialing things back quite a bit this year. (There will be a post about this at some point) While we wait for my Facebook jail sentence to end, I’ll be scrolling through TikTok and sharing cute videos of our animals.

We Have So Many Fluffy Helpers

Our day started with a hay pickup to a farm about a half hour away from us. Fifty-some small squares were loaded up in the truck and trailer, and brought home. The farm we picked up from has some beautiful sheep that I had a chance to say hello to. Once we got home, our critters were happy to tell us what they thought of this new hay!

Hay gets expensive. If you would like to support the farm, purchasing one of these pins covers the cost of one bale. Limerick and all the other sheep and goats appreciate your support!

Freezer Sale! Build Your Own Bundle

Our freezers are still a little full, so we are running the freezer sale for one more week! Purchase 25 or more pounds of our meat, excluding bacon and ground products, and save 10%. If we can sell two more bundles, I think we will finally have space to get a batch of stewing hens processed. We would love if you can help us reach that goal.

If you would like to get one of these bundles, feel free to email us or message us on Facebook, and let us know what you would like in your bundle. We can be sure to have it ready for you this Saturday at the market.

Pre-Order: Limerick Enamel Pin

We have some exciting news! We are big fans of pins and buttons as accessories, and we decided to have our own made! Our handsome Jacob ram Limerick will be made into an enamel pin! Pre-orders are available in our online shop. The pins are currently in production, and will be mailed out as soon as we receive them. This could take a month or so, but I promise they will be worth the wait! They are made of a silvery metal, and four colors of hard enamel. This will give them a smooth professional look.

If these sell well (we are starting with 100) we may get other pins made of some of our other animals. We also have a few other items available in our shop, and we are considering adding my knitted items as well. Let us know if there is anything in particular you would like to find in the shop!

Recipe: Aunt Bea’s Baked Beans

This post contains affiliate links. Clicking those links means we earn a little money, which we use to help the farm grow!

Any time I start writing about a recipe, I convince myself I need to keep it short and to the point. I hate scrolling through pages of a back story to get to the recipe. I will be brief with this. Aunt Bea was my mom’s aunt, and she passed away in 2004. I don’t remember a lot about Aunt Bea, other than her kindness. One additional thing I remember is the baked beans that were on the hot plate at every family gathering. My Aunt Jan gave me the recipe for the delicious baked beans a couple years ago, so we could make them at an event, where they were very well received. I decided it was time to make them with our own pork today.

I did modify the recipe ever so slightly, and I hope my family can forgive me. I reduced the sugar, and used apple cider vinegar instead of plain white vinegar. I also modified the cooking method to account for how fatty our bacon is sometimes.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound smoked bacon
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 4 cans (15.5 oz each) white beans, we used Cannellini
  • 1 quart canned tomato sauce, we used home canned, but store bought is fine
  • ​1⁄2 cup loosely packed brown sugar, to taste
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp yellow mustard, to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
Obviously this isn’t all of the ingredients. But it’s a start!

To begin, open up that pack of pasture raised bacon you got from us (hopefully!) and enjoy that smoky smell. If you got bacon from elsewhere, you may find you need a little more of the seasonings to get enough flavor. Pre-heat your oven to 325F.

Notice that our bacon is not a weird, unnatural pink.

Chop the slices of bacon, and throw them in a heavy bottomed pot or Dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Cook the bacon for a couple minutes. If you got a particularly fatty pack of bacon, you can scoop out some of the fat and use it to cook something else in. This is totally optional. Add the chopped onions, and cook until softened slightly, just a few minutes.

Add in beans, tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, and some salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly so everything is distributed evenly. Put it in the oven, uncovered, for 2 hours. After 2 hours, remove and allow to cool. Taste, and add salt and pepper if desired. If your bacon is not flavorful enough, your beans may benefit from the addition of a little bit of liquid smoke, or Worcestershire sauce.

Serve it in a bowl. Or portion it out and freeze it. These beans are incredibly easy to put together, and can feed a crowd. If you are on a budget, double the amount of beans, and it will still be just as good. Enjoy.

Frontière Farm House is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. When you click on one of our affiliate links, we earn a small commission, which we use to help the farm grow!

Farming is a Never Ending Cycle

Just a couple days ago, I posted on Instagram saying we are officially “On Vacation” until the new year. What I meant was that we don’t have any farmers markets until January 9. There is nothing even close to resembling a vacation happening in our lives right now, however, I didn’t expect to get right back into it the next day!

We placed our first order for meat birds yesterday. The plan right now is 600 chickens on pasture this year, and we didn’t want to leave things to chance with getting all the birds we need. We are hammering out the details with our brooding and tractor setups, so we don’t have to scramble to find them toasty places to grow. We will also be ordering 150 turkeys for meat, and at least 50 ducks. In addition, we will be adding 50 ducks to our laying flock, and 100 to 150 laying hens. Who knows, some little goslings might find themselves joining the farm as well.

Limerick is probably done his job with his girlfriends. Initially, I thought we would put him back with the boys this past weekend, but that wasn’t a high priority. So that will happen this upcoming weekend. Lamb Watch starts April 7! We also have to contact our shearer to get everyone their haircuts before then. And then this summer, we will be adding at least one more sheep to the flock. More on that later on. There are so many fun things with the sheep happening in 2021.

We haven’t made any concrete plans as far as pork is concerned. Our only decision made so far is that we absolutely will be raising them again. We have heard tons of positive feedback from our friends and customers who have tried the pork, and that is always nice to hear. As soon as we make that decision, we will update everyone.

In 2021, we are going to make a greater effort to keep in touch with y’all. This may include more email newsletters, and will definitely include more blog posts. If you would like to stay up to date, sign up for our mailing list here. I promise we won’t send out a million emails, and annoy you! We hope you enjoy these last few days of 2020, and we look forward to feeding you and your family in 2021!

From Bacon Bits to The Whole Hog: Our First Experience Raising Pastured Pigs

Giving the pigs some scritches in their final week on the pasture.

It’s taken some time for me to figure out what I wanted to cover with this blog post, but I finally decided I should just start writing and see where it takes me. Many of our friends, family members, and customers have asked us how it feels to have raised our own pork. The question isn’t always phrased in that way, but that’s the information most folks are seeking when they ask. This blog post will hopefully answer that question, and a whole lot more.

Back in March, we decided pigs were something we needed on the farm. Bob installed a hot wire around the perimeter of what would become the pig pasture, and we started picking up the supplies we’d need.

At the end of April, Christian, Kate, and Luca from Ham Sweet Farm delivered our first three American Guinea Hog bacon bits, with the intention of us picking up two more from another litter once they were ready. As we thought about it, we decided to get some pink pigs to raise alongside the heritage breed, so that we could have pork ready sooner. We also wanted some pigs that weren’t as lardy for the customers who would not be interested in a super thick fat cap.

The pink pigs struggled at first. Going from being raised in a barn to being out on pasture was definitely an adjustment. They all ended up with “dippity pig”, despite our best efforts to avoid it (shade, mud wallows, and lots of fresh cool water to drink). Dippity pig is a weird thing that happens when pigs get sun burnt. Generally, the darker breeds don’t deal with it as often or as severely. It took a little while for them to heal up, but they got better and their skin got tougher. Once they got through that, they didn’t have any other issues being raised outdoors. We did learn that we want to stick with pigs that were born outside, as opposed to pigs that were destined for life in a barn. Some individual lines of pigs just end up doing better raised outdoors.

Shortly after bringing them home, we built them a nipple drinker to make watering them a little easier. Many people have issues with water barrels, but we were quite lucky that the pigs chose not to destroy it. They did however really enjoy carting around their feed pans, and hiding them from us. This is one BIG change we are going to make for next year. No feed pans, and instead we will use a feed trough, or a more standard style hog feeder.

In addition to their regular feed ration, we picked up extra food for them on an almost weekly basis. Bread, apples, pears, sweet corn, pumpkins, tomatoes, and walnuts made up a big part of their diet. We are so grateful to our friends and farm customers for helping us acquire all these snackies! Several market vendors were giving us bags and boxes of food after the market, and none of it went to waste. We are hoping that with our next batch of pigs, we can actually manage to decrease our overall feed costs per hog with all this food. Some of the items are very seasonal, but some can be stored for a few weeks before being fed out, so we are going to figure out how to make the most of the abundance we get.

Our farm vet took a look at them on the few farm visits she made for other animals. We are very lucky to have an awesome working relationship with our vets, and they have become good friends of ours. Any time any of our animals has an issue, I can text her pictures and whatever questions I have, and she is always so helpful. The hogs stayed healthy the entire time they were here, other than the four that got dippity pig. We made sure they got extra care while they weren’t feeling their best, but overall, they did very well. We know that this isn’t always the case, and some people have not so good luck with pigs, and we know that will probably happen to us one day as well.

Leading into the final weeks of raising the pigs, I was sure to give some extra scritches and extra snacks to all of them. We wanted them to have a happy life until the last possible moment. We borrowed a stock trailer from our friends Rita and Tess, and got up dark and early on a Friday morning for the pigs final day. Since we spent time with them daily, it was really easy to get them to follow us where we wanted them. Until they realized it was somewhere completely new. Once they got past the small fence we took down, all bets were off. They wanted nothing to do with us. Except for the first two who loaded up, ready for anything! After some cussing, and sweating, and having to lift little fatty Warthog onto the trailer by hand (she had short legs…), we got them all loaded up with a little time to spare.

We got changed into less sweaty clothes, and hit the road, with Gunthorp Farms as our final destination. We were VERY lucky to get in with them for processing. They are just over an hour from us, USDA certified, and just generally pleasant, helpful folks. We chatted with Greg in the road before Evan came with the trailer to move our pigs into. The pigs gave us just as much of a fight to unload them as they did to load them up. We’ve learned… And we know how to do it better next time.

A week after dropping them off, it was time to pick them back up. In a slightly different shape. We loaded up over 1200 pounds of meat and brought it home. Then a week after that, we brought home another few hundred pounds of bacon, ham, and other smoked parts. Let me tell you, their smoked products are incredible. Many of our customers have already made a second trip to pick up more bacon, ham, and hocks. We have already sold a ton of pork, and we are so excited to share it with everyone.

Overall, raising pigs was relatively uneventful, and simple. In the end, we decided to get all nine pigs processed at the same time, just to simplify our lives a little. When we do this next year, I think we might stagger our processing dates, and get two batches of pigs done. This may make our precariously over-full freezer situation slightly less scary. We both thoroughly enjoyed raising hogs. Our customers have been enjoying the meat. And our soil will see the benefit from their natural rooting and tilling action. We are looking forward to raising more next year!