Animals · Chickens · Ducks · Turkeys

It’s a Baby Explosion!

This time of year can get chaotic with all of the new arrivals on the farm. Between the dozen lambs, 100 meat chickens that have been here for a month or so, 100 turkeys coming this week, 100 meat chicks coming next week, and an unknown number of turkey poults, chicks, and ducklings recently hatched by broody moms, there will soon be more babies here than we will know what to do with!

We have several broody birds right now, most notably a turkey and a muscovy co-nesting under our front porch. Just over a week ago, they hatched seven sweet little turkey poults. They are mostly black, but we have one pretty little blue bird as well. These will grow up and either be added to our flock, or become delicious holiday dinners. Heritage birds are different than broad breasted in many ways. One of which is that they grow slower, and develop more even muscling. If you are a fan of dark meat, heritage is what you want to eat. They still have quite a bit of breast meat, but it isn’t as huge as what you’d find in the store.

Over the last couple days, the porch moms and the barn muscovy have hatched over 15 ducklings. We don’t even remember the actual number! Every morning, one of our additional chores is checking in the nest for more little puffy babies. It was really cool that they started hatching the majority of their clutches on the same day!

This is such a fun and exciting part of farming that we didn’t really expect to enjoy so much. All of the moms have easy access to food and water, so this extended broody period is not an issue for them. The next time we catch them off their nests, we will be candling the eggs and making sure we don’t have to worry about any exploding.

This post was sponsored by our Patreon supporter Melina. Find her gorgeous hand dyed yarn on FacebookInstagram, and Etsy, and find her knitting patterns on her website and Ravelry.

Animals · Meat · Production · Turkeys

Let’s Talk Turkey 2020

Despite 2020 already being… well… all of this… we assume time will continue to tick on, and Thanksgiving will eventually get here. We’ve placed our order for turkey poults, which means it’s time to start taking deposits! We will be modifying how we do turkey dispersal this year, to make things a little easier on us, and make sure everyone can get what they request.

First, there will be a non-refundable deposit of $25. This helps us afford the cost of acquiring the poults, and paying for part of the feed. Turkeys eat a lot and take a lot of work to grow them out. If you do not show up to pick up your turkey on the date you decide upon (we will send out an email later on and you will choose your pickup date and location), you will forfeit your deposit.

This deposit will obviously go towards the total cost of your turkey. The turkeys will be whole birds, with the neck and giblets included, and will be priced at $4.00/lb. We will also offer the option to purchase a half turkey, which will not include the giblets, and will be priced at $4.50/lb. If you would like to purchase a half turkey, let us know when ordering.

Turkeys will be sold frozen. We choose to sell our birds this way to allow more flexibility for the processor, and to be able to process birds over the course of a few weeks, which means we can have a wider range of sizes available. Contrary to the belief of many, turkey that is frozen properly is practically indistinguishable from fresh, never frozen turkey. We rent a commercial freezer that is set to -4 Fahrenheit (or lower!), which allows the meat to freeze quickly, keeping the texture and flavor intact. To thaw a turkey, allow approximately 24 hours for every 5 pounds of bird. Stick it in the fridge a few days ahead of time, and you’ll be ready to go by the morning of the holiday.

If all of this sounds good to you, you can head over to our fancy new online store and place your deposit. If you have any additional questions about our turkeys, feel free to contact us! We appreciate your support and trust with such an important part of your holiday dinners. We look forward to feeding all of you!

Chickens · Ducks · Geese · Pigs · Production · Sheep · Turkeys

Exciting News for 2020: Pork, Lamb, and More Poultry

This post has been rolling around my brain for some time. But there have been many other things rolling around up there, and it’s been hard to string together coherent sentences. Finally, I have found myself at a point in Coronatine where I feel like I can adequately describe what we have planned for this year! And it’s a lot!

Chicks from 2019

Up first, we will be raising MORE pastured chicken! We have 100 chicks arriving this week, and an additional 100 arriving in May. We are modifying how we will be raising them ever so slightly, so they will have more space to roam and find tasty snacks. This will result in more flavorful meat, and happier, healthier birds. We will do at least one more batch of 100 birds before the end of the season, possibly two.

We will also be raising more duck! We have a muscovy hen setting a nest in the barn, and we are pretty sure there is one under one of the coops (the same one who set a nest under there back at the end of summer 2019). We will raise these ducklings in the barn to start, and then move them outside with the rest of the flock once feathered. This gives them the best start on our farm. Because of our mixed flock, little babies can’t really keep up with mom amongst all the turkeys and geese and other bigger birds. The girls will join the ranks of the layers, and the boys will be destined for the freezer. We will also be getting some pekins to raise for meat.

In July, we will welcome 100 turkey poults. These will be a broad breasted breed, which is the same as what we raised last year. We are also hoping to have a handful of heritage turkeys to put on the table. Our friend Alyssa, from Tall Grass Farm, is incubating some turkey eggs for us, and so far they are developing well. We will have a post soon about how to order turkey for this year. It will be similar to last year, but with a few modifications based on things we’ve learned from our driveway mini market. They will be processed a little bit before Thanksgiving, and frozen so they can be served for other holidays as well.

It’s lambing season, and as of when I’m sitting down to write this, two of eight ewes have lambed. Janus gave us a sweet, beautiful ewe lamb. Tanka gave us a pair of robust 4 horn rams, one a gorgeous dark lilac, and one a lively black. And both those boys have the prettiest blue eyes. We will hopefully have lamb available before the winter holidays. It will depend on if the lambs grow fast enough to make it profitable to send them to the butcher at that point in time. We are planning on giving them minimal grain, and allowing them to grow on the rich pasture that grows here.

Here is the Tall Farmer with the beautiful ewe lamb

Finally, the thing SO MANY people have been asking about: PORK! We will be working with our friends at Ham Sweet Farm and starting with some American Guinea Hogs. For at least this first year, we will be raising them as feeders, and not breeding them. These are a delicious lard breed that is known for rich red meat, and melt in your mouth lard. Depending on their growth, we are hoping to process some before the winter holidays, and perhaps grow a couple of them out longer to allow for the most flavor to develop. We will be working with a couple local produce farms, getting their scraps regularly to enrich the diet of the pigs, as well as the rest of our animals.

In addition to all of this, we are going to hopefully have our yarn back from the mill in the next couple months. And we have the wool from this year’s shearing in the barn, waiting to be processed. Plus, we have our usual eggs and meat happening. If you want to buy into all this goodness, we have our Farm Share CSA available here.

If you would like to follow what we are up to, our Facebook page and Instagram are the best spots.

2020 Uberlist · Animals · Chickens · Ducks · Geese · Goals · Goats · Not Farming Related · Sheep · Turkeys

Our Goals for 2020

Finding inspiration from a bunch of other blogs, we decided to work on an “Uberlist” for Frontière Farm House. These are mostly my (Nicole) goals, with some that are for both of us to accomplish together. I am hoping that by sharing them with all of you, I will keep myself more accountable, and follow through on them. I may not update about the progress on each one, especially the more personal ones, but I will do my best to keep everyone updated on the ones that are farming related

My four categories are Self, Farm, Fiber, and Home. Those are four areas that I would like to see more personal growth this year. I will give more information on why we chose a goal, or what exactly it means, when we start updating. So, without further adieu, here is our 2020 Uberlist:

  1. SELF get a drivers license
  2. FARM blog 2x/mo for the farm
  3. FIBER share another free knitting pattern
  4. SELF/FIBER/HOME get her office functional
  5. HOME put up closet door curtains in her office
  6. HOME get his office functional
  7. FARM get all the rest of the business licensing squared away for selling other meats
  8. FARM get lamb in the freezer
  9. FARM get another meat consignor
  10. FIBER keep one Jacob fleece to play with
  11. FIBER start playing with a spinning wheel
  12. FIBER knit something for me with OUR YARN!!!
  13. FIBER knit something for Bob with OUR YARN!!!
  14. FIBER get other fleeces processed in a timely manner
  15. FIBER make dryer balls
  16. HOME get all the freezers organized
  17. HOME get rid of upright freezer and replace with chest freezer
  18. SELF go on at least one good walk with Luna weekly
  19. FARM get to ??? posts on Instagram
  20. FARM continue Tomorrow At The Market posts every week
  21. FIBER finish up as many unfinished knits as I possibly can
  22. FIBER frog any unfinished knitting projects that don’t spark joy/lost their needles/etc
  23. FIBER knit enough items to do shows in the fall/winter
  24. FIBER do at least two non-farmers market shows
  25. FIBER consign knitted stuff somewhere
  26. HOME get garage park-able
  27. HOME get saws back to Todd
  28. HOME organize spare barn stall
  29. HOME/FARM get shelving in barn organized
  30. SELF get eyes examine
  31. SELF get teeth cleaned
  32. SELF get tea cupboard under control
  33. SELF drink tea at least once a week
  34. SELF make cold brew coffee at least a handful of times in the warm months
  35. FARM sell gravity wagon
  36. FARM sell hoop house OR put it up
  37. FARM get birds in movable layer coops
  38. FARM re-seed south pasture
  39. FARM/HOME build raised beds for personal gardening
  40. FARM/HOME grow herbs on front porch in pots
  41. FARM build new shelters for fuzzy beasts
  42. HOME clean all the crap out of the attic
  43. HOME insulate the attic
  44. HOME fix moldy spot in ceiling from leaky roof
  45. HOME finish painting the spots we never finished
  46. HOME acquire baseboards and install them
  47. HOME get all the art framed/mounted
  48. HOME get all the art on the walls
  49. HOME investigate new trash collector options
  50. FARM get round pen cleaned up
  51. HOME get two stupid trees in front of house cut down
  52. HOME get junk pile at end of driveway cleaned up
  53. HOME use gravel to repair driveway
  54. HOME get new mailbox
  55. FARM raise 20+ meat ducks
  56. FARM raise 80+ meat turkeys
  57. FARM raise 200+ meat chickens
  58. FARM raise 5+ meat geese
  59. SELF earn $1000+ through Amazon Affiliate marketing
  60. FARM do another CustomInk campaign
  61. FARM order another batch of StickerMule stickers
  62. FARM figure out how to package and sell smoking wood bundles
  63. FIBER attend two or more fiber festivals
  64. FIBER vend/co-vend at one or more fiber festivals
  65. FARM add at least three videos to YouTube
  66. HOME get garbage disposal wired in
  67. HOME get outlet on kitchen island fixed
  68. HOME get kitchen wood shelf cleaned off and organized
  69. SELF go on a date once a month and pay attention to each other instead of our phones
  70. SELF see a therapist at least 4 times
  71. FARM run some sort of giveaway on Facebook
  72. HOME get thresholds installed throughout house
  73. HOME get that stupid piece of trim attached to the kitchen island thing
  74. HOME get dining table cleared off consistently
  75. HOME/SELF eat dinner at the dining table 2x monthly
  76. HOME/FIBER empty out current yarn storage
  77. HOME sell/donate all the current yarn storage I don’t need
  78. HOME make 1+ bread pudding a month while we are overwhelmed with eggs
  79. FARM find a business to work with regularly to collect food scraps for the chickens
  80. FARM/HOME organize all the egg cartons
  81. HOME get vent grate for dining room
  82. HOME get hutch into office if it fits/works with layout
  83. FIBER knit at least five items with scraps
  84. FARM get all the animal’s profiles up on the website
  85. SELF get a tattoo
  86. SELF go on a mini vacation (at least one night away from home)
  87. FARM plant garlic
  88. FARM/HOME harvest raspberries from patch/property perimeter
  89. HOME/SELF make something with those raspberries
  90. HOME can tomato sauce
  91. HOME can apple stuff
  92. HOME make five+ batches of sauerkraut
  93. FARM investigate camelid acquisition
  94. FARM have Doctor Walker out to the farm at least twice for general herd health
  95. FARM/SELF write at least one article to be published elsewhere
  96. HOME sell lawn sweeper
  97. HOME clean all the windowsills/windows
  98. FARM get gate wheels under gates that need it
  99. FARM put welded wire on gates that need it
  100. FARM figure out pasture rotation and stick with it
  101. SELF join Jodi in some creative endeavor
  102. SELF get personal email inbox under control
  103. FARM/FIBER register the farm with JSBA
  104. FARM register original three sheep
  105. FARM register this year’s offspring
  106. HOME clean out lazy Susan and re-organize it
  107. SELF attend ??? DCFC matches
  108. SELF intentionally hang out with a friend at least 10 times
  109. SELF bake bread at least once
  110. SELF ride a horse
  111. HOME fill all the holes in the baseboards and trim
  112. HOME fully organize master closet
  113. FIBER make 5+ things on the weaving looms
  114. HOME repair/replace downspouts as needed
  115. FARM get Facebook page to 2000 likes
  116. FARM get Instagram to 1700 follows
  117. SELF take Luna to a pool/lake at least once
  118. SELF read 10+ books
  119. FARM/SELF milk a sheep/goat/cow by hand
  120. FARM/SELF make soap/candles/something similar at least once

These goals may be removed, replaced, or modified at any time. If a goal will no longer assist in moving us forward, we will make adjustments as needed.

As you can see with goal number 2, we plan on blogging more in 2020. I already have a loose idea of what I want to share more of, and I am working on a posting calendar. We look forward to sharing this progress with all of you! And I would love to see your goals for 2020, please leave a link in the comments!

Animals · Meat · Turkeys

Happy Thanksgiving from Frontière Farm House

As we approach Thanksgiving, we are being bombarded with ads for Black Friday. Which started… before Halloween? It seems so wrong that the day after we are expressing our thankfulness, we are expected to go buck-wild in a retail store and spend all our hard-earned money to show our loved ones how much we care. This is something I’ve seen repeated time and time again, so I will stop there.

But, at Frontière Farm House, we are very thankful for all of you. We are grateful for the support you’ve given us during this growing season. We have had more people ask us for our pastured turkey than we were able to provide. We have a few turkeys that have not been claimed, and we will be bringing them to the market this Saturday. They will be available first come, first served. This is the only way we can offer them fairly, and not risk going home with a truck full of turkeys because people haven’t shown up.

We have one request from all of you fine folks. Don’t forget about us. And we don’t just mean us as in Robert and Nicole. We mean “us” as in all the small farmers in your area. Follow them on Facebook, and Like or comment on a photo now and then. Like their photos on Instagram. Give them a retweet if something you enjoy comes up. And a big one that we love to see is when people tag us in the photos of their meals. For many of us, we are entering the slow season, even with freezers and coolers full of meat and produce. People get busy with holiday parties and preparing for family get-togethers. Going to the weekly farmers market becomes a task that is pushed to the back of your mind. But we are still out here, feeding our animals, growing veggies in hoop houses, and caring for our soil. We still need you.

Pick up another turkey for Christmas. Or get a duck, or a chicken and put it on your smoker. Get a ham from your local pork purveyor instead of one of those spiral sliced ones full of MSG and other weird preservatives. Get a bag of onions from the farmers market, because they will keep for a while. Get your honey and jam made by someone you’ve met, instead of off the shelf in the grocery store. There are so many ways to support your local farmers. And I promise that they ALL still need you.

Our friend Greg Gunthorp, of Gunthorp Farms, made a Facebook post today suggesting that folks make a 2020 New Years Resolution to purchase from their local farmers more often than they did in 2019. Or to sign up for a CSA. Or to become a regular at their local farmers market. Or to purchase a freezer bundle of tasty, high quality meats. And we would absolutely love if you did this. We are changing up the way we are doing things this year, and we don’t want to make any promises we can’t keep. But the one thing we can and will promise is that we will continue to provide the best quality meat and eggs for our customers that we are able to raise, for as long as we can. With your help and support, this will be for a long time to come.

Happy Thanksgiving from Frontière Farm House. We are thankful for you.

Animals · Chickens · Ducks · Product Review · Turkeys

Bugs for Birds! Black Soldier Fly Larvae for Backyard Chickens: A Review

We raise our animals as livestock, but we still enjoy spoiling them with tasty treats now and then. Recently, we were asked to review Bugs for Birds! and our flock was more than happy to oblige.

First thing’s first: Do you know how hard it is to photograph a bunch of birds? I swear this is 80% luck, 15% skills, and 5% avoiding all the beaks and bills. For every photo I share on the blog, Instagram, Facebook page, or elsewhere, I have probably taken an additional 15. I am picky when it comes to the photos I share. When I have fistfuls of treats, this makes it more difficult, because everyone wants to be all up in my business even more than usual. These snacks were no different. The birds seemed especially aggressive once they all got a taste for them.

First off, I started with the whole bag, hoping to get this awesome photo of the birds surrounding it. Something Instagrammable, you know? And then the turkeys did what turkeys seem to do best… acted dumber than I thought possible. “What’s this? Can I eat it?” to literally everything. And the cute logo didn’t stand a chance.

PECK PECK PECK! Please deliver snacks!

So I quickly gave up on that idea. Thought I should put them in a feed pan. Maybe I’d get something nice of a few of them pecking from outside the bowl… That was a big nope. They actually ended up flipping this onto themselves, and freaked out. I left the pan there for a minute while I put the bag down on the outside of the fence. By the time I got back, the two birds that were trapped under it had eaten every last crumb!

Fine, I will just throw them on the ground and let the birds go to town. Well, you can barely see them in the grass. And I didn’t want to waste these treats. They’re too precious! That concern was pretty much pointless as the birds scratched and pecked to find every last morsel of these weird little bug larvae.

Finally, I settled on dumping some out on the dirt. The turkeys went ballistic, and squeezed out most of the chickens. This was fine, because I could make a second pile for the rest of the birds. We wanted to make sure the layers got some, as these little snacks have a TON of calcium and protein to help produce delicious, healthy eggs. They also have added probiotics which help keep birds healthy. And clearly, the birds loved them, considering I was concerned I would lose some fingers at certain points.

Overall, we really liked these treats. They come in compostable packaging, ship quickly, are affordable, and the birds love them. If you have pet chickens, a flock of layers, or any other birds, these are a great way to spoil them and give them extra nutrition. You can learn more about Bugs for Birds on their Facebook page. If you order some, be sure to let us know what your birds think!

The four pound bag of Bugs for Birds! BSFL was provided to us in exchange for a review. This is our honest opinion of the product, and we were not compensated beyond the cost of the product. This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through that link, we make a small percentage of the sale which helps us keep a roof over our heads. Thank you for supporting a small farm.

Animals · Meat · Production · Turkeys

Let’s Talk Turkey

As I sit and write this, Thanksgiving is the furthest thing from my mind. However, we run a farm, and we are constantly thinking about the next seasons, and following years.

A couple weeks ago, an acquaintance of ours found some turkey poults for a great price. He contacted me and let me know. I contacted a few friends to see if they would want to get some with me. A couple friends were available, but the first person to jump at the opportunity was Janice. She is part of the fantastic family of folks who came to install our high tensile fencing, Sitting Bull Fencing and Agriculture Solutions. She finished up her chores, and we, along with her twin daughters, headed to Family Farm And Home.

The girls found some pretty Plymouth Blues, and we decided to get the rest of them. We split them between us, and we are all quite happy with that. They also picked up a few Cornish X, which were discounted pretty heavily.

Finally, we got to the turkeys. Initially on the phone, the employee told me they had about 40. Once we got there, there were only 30 in the bin, but he was willing to honor the discounted price for as many as we wanted. We came to the conclusion that it would be irresponsible to not take all of them. So into the boxes they went! All 100+ of them.

Janice was VERY happy about what we picked up!

We did split the turkey purchase, and they took home about 30 turkeys, in addition to their Plymouth Blues, and Cornish X. They will have some full freezers and lots of eggs soon!

Unfortunately, we did lose a few of the poults early on. We couldn’t get the temperature of the brooder to stay consistent, and we think that stressed them out. Once we got that worked out, they’ve been doing really well.

Twelve juvenile broad breasted bronze turkeys crowd around a feeder at Frontiere Farm House
The bald “elbows” are normal on Broad Breasted varieties of turkeys. A week and a half after taking this photo, they are fully covered.

As with all of our animals, they are eating a feed ration that is from a local grain mill. They use locally grown grains, so this helps strengthen our local economy, and reduce the carbon footprint of our animals. This is something that is very important to us. In addition to being fed the feed ration, they will be on pasture, with access to grass, bugs, seeds, and fresh air. They will be free to be turkeys and do what turkeys are supposed to do!

So now, onto the exciting part for all of you! Turkeys for the holidays! We will start getting these processed in late August or early September. We plan on staggering the butchering dates so they are a variety of sizes. They will be priced at $3/pound, and sold as whole birds with the giblets included. It will look a lot like what you get in the grocery store, but not pumped full of preservatives, water, salt, sugar, modified food starch, or “Sodium Phosphate to enhance tenderness and juiciness”.

This was our personal holiday turkey last year

If you are interested in ordering one of the turkeys, please send us a message and let us know about how large of a bird you would like to purchase. Since this is our first year, we are anticipating a wide range in our weights, and we will do our best to accommodate all size requests. Please understand that raising poultry in small batches is not fool-proof, and we cannot make any promises on sizes.

As we get nearer to the holidays, we will share some suggestions on how to enjoy pastured turkey.