Tag Archives: Memphis

Porter Pond Farm – Past, Present, Future

It was about this time last year that my husband told me he had figured out what he wanted to do with this piece of ground we had bought about six years earlier. He proceeded to tell me we were going to raise chickens and that we were going to move them – every day. Then, he told me about the cows and how we’d move them every day, too. And the pigs – well, the pigs wouldn’t have to be moved until they emptied their feeder. I don’t remember if I laughed or cried, maybe I cried from laughing so hard. Perhaps I laughed when he told me we were going to move all these animals daily, and I cried when he told me how we were going to “process” the chickens ourselves, right here on the farm. He finally wore me down and well, you’ve been following the rest of the story.

While working our full time day jobs this year, we raised and processed about 220 chickens, 40 turkeys and 4 pigs, as well as building a flock of 80 egg layers. I have continued to laugh, and cry, throughout this entire experience. However, the sense of personal satisfaction is tremendous in this accomplishment! I don’t have the talent with words to describe it.

As the year comes to a close and we start thinking about 2013, we have realized a few things:

1. We love what we are doing!
2. We can raise good products that are more nutritious and tasty than anything in the grocery store
3. We can even make a little money doing it, but not enough to give up the day jobs anytime soon

But the most important things we learned are:

1. We started this business about 20 years too late in terms of our physical capabilities to keep up
2. We want to live closer to our kids and grandkids

So we have decided we are going to sell the farm and make another move. We will find good local farmers and work hard to be their best customers because we now know how hard they work!

We are so grateful to our family for their help and support this year. Our customers are the best and we were honored to meet their needs. Thank you for reading my silly posts! But most of all, we thank God for giving us this wonderful opportunity! He is so good to us and all the glory goes to Him!

We wish all of you a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2013!

Yes, we are still here…..

Yes, we are still here and are still farming. But it has been all we could do to care for the animals while planning and hosting a wedding for our youngest son. He and his beautiful bride were married here on the farm last weekend. It was beautiful!

We have been working on our fall birds since mid-August. Our Thanksgiving turkeys have been on pasture for several weeks, as well as 150 broilers. They are all doing well in spite of some cool evenings. We will be setting our processing dates soon. An email will be forthcoming with specifics if you have ordered from us. We still have about 30-40 broilers available if you’d like to reserve some.

This is a picture of the turkeys and their new shelter. They are fertilizing the orchard area for us.

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New turkeys…

The turkeys arrived today. It is so frustrating to open the box and see that all of them didn’t survive the journey and a couple more don’t look very strong. They will need lots of TLC the next few days. Turkeys this week, 150 chicks in three weeks – let the two-a-days and worrying begin!

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We have a logo!

We decided that we need an official logo to print on business cards, our sites, product packaging, etc. Many thanks to Hendricks & Co Art  for their help!

To market, to market – get connected to your food!

We took our first hogs to the processor Thursday. It was very much bitter sweet for me, and not just due to the injuries I received in the battle to get them loaded. I had become attached to one of them – surprise, surprise. I enjoyed seeing them grow and learning about them. Pigs are intriguing animals with smarts and personality. But I understood from the beginning that we were raising food for ourselves and other people.

Except for the few tomato plants we raised and a small garden, I had become disconnected from my food. Somewhere deep in the recesses of my mind I knew from my childhood experiences with my grandparents who had a small farm outside Springville, AL., meat was once a living, breathing animal. I knew that some farmer labored to bring the lettuce, tomatoes, onions and other produce to the market. But I had allowed myself to almost totally disconnect from exactly what goes into bringing that food to market. (don’t EVEN get me started on the regulatory purgatory that exists for farmers!) In just the nine months or so we’ve been working to raise food, I’ve learned so much. I have a great deal of respect for farmers who labor to bring us our food. Regardless of their methods, it’s hard work!

However, I must say that I have a new found admiration and sense of awe for those farmers who work to bring clean, natural food to the tables of their family and neighbors without chemicals and fancy equipment. To raise meat animals with respect and regard for their well being is honorable. To raise produce in ways that minimize the risk of contamination is hard, hard work. Their days are long, their financial reward is not going to make them rich, at least not in a financial sense. Matter of fact, most that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting still hold down off farm jobs just to pay the mortgage and make ends meet. Therefore, I find their motives to be pure and deeply rooted in their desire to make a difference in this world, both for the land, the animals and for their fellow man. I’m learning that many of these farmers are Godly people and have reverence for all that He has given us. I aspire for Porter Pond Farm to make its place among them, as they are the true stewards of the earth!

To my non-farming friends, next time you are in the market, think about what went into producing whatever it is you are buying. Remember that someone, somewhere put their blood, sweat and sometimes tears, into that product in order to get it to market! I encourage you to go out and buy local food products, get in your kitchen and cook something! Put at least some of your food dollars back into your local economy, and by that I don’t mean Walmart, Kroger or Publix. If you are one of my Alabama friends, go buy some Blount county tomatoes or Chilton county peaches. If you are one of my Mississippi or Tennessee friends, go buy some Ripley tomatoes, Nesbit blueberries or delta catfish. Wherever you are, go buy something local today. You will find it more flavorful and nutritious, I promise. If you need help finding local sources, check out the sites below. It’s time we all get connected with our food and support our local farmers!

Eat Wild
Local Harvest
Mississippi Market Maker
Poultry Direct To You

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Happy as a Pig In Slop!

For those of you who have been following us for a while, you might remember that we had our pigs in a pen until we could complete the fence around the woods through which we hope to rotate our animals. With the heat and a sidelining shoulder injury, the fence was not ever finished. We’ve kept Bacon, Pork Chop, Ham Hock and Petunia well fed and watered. We’ve been sure to put plenty of carbon in their pen each day, as well as making a place for a mud hole so they can stay cool. They have seemed mostly happy in their home, especially since they discovered “each other”. (that’s a post for another day 😮 )

But better late than never, we decided to secure the small paddock outside their pen for them to spend their remaining days with us. We put cow panels and a double strand of hot wire around and we were able to turn them loose today! They will have to get used to the hot wire, but they’re learning quickly. We are thinking this small paddock will be good for our young pigs in the future until they are ready to go in the large pasture. Here are some shots of them in their new home as well as pictures of the turkeys in their new paddock.

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Sunshine!

We’ve had clouds and rain for the past week. I’m not complaining because we needed it and still do. But the sun is shining today and it’s a glorious morning! Hope you all have a great day!

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Trying to beat the heat

Man, oh, man is it hot! We’ve had triple digit temps for the last week. After losing two hens and a turkey, we decided we had to do something for the animals. We’ve moved the baby barred rocks and turkeys out of the brooder into chicken tractors in the shade. And we put up a shade structure on the back of the Eggmobile to give the layers some extra shade in the hot part of the day.

The pigs have been getting sprayed a couple times per day. They L-O-V-E it!

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We’ve had no rain since June 11. I sure hope the weather breaks soon!

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Morning on the farm…..

Just a few shots from this morning…

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Hatched turtle eggs????

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Sunflower field

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The mushroom inoculation is complete…

We’ve decided to add shiitake mushrooms to our crops. Are mushrooms considered a crop??? Anyway, we ordered the spores/spawn which came on small wooden plugs. You drill holes in the logs, insert the plug into the hole and then cover it with beeswax. This process is called inoculation. The logs are then stacked in the woods or an otherwise shady place. (see pictures below) Regular watering is necessary to keep them moist. We think it should take about six months to fully incubate. This should be interesting, as it’s a whole new glossary of terminology, which I’m sure I have and will misuse.

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You can see the holes covered with the wax in this picture.

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Did you know…..

1. They have been used for medicinal purposes by the Chinese for over 6,000 years
2. They are considered a symbol of longevity throughout Asia
3. They support our immune system
4. They support good cardiovascular system health
5. They are a good source of B vitamins
6. They are not a vegetable, but actually a fungus with no roots, seeds, leaves or flowers.

For more info on these amazing little fungi and their health benefits, click