Not so Chicken Little – Part 1

All Natural Raising of meat birds (chickens) was a long time desire for my dear mother Reba Sue Bockman (she remaried after my daddy’s death. She used to tell me of a French TV Program that she saw where the French farmers raised their meat chickens on open pasture. I can recall setting at her breakfast table laughing about how to make it happen: did they round um up every evening to keep the coyote off; did they have a fence around them – you know, how did they do that? A few chickens out on pasture was one thing, but hundreds; now that posed a challenge to my thinking and design mind.

It was not until I married my long tall Texas redhead Nancy Gail that we really got serious about raising those open range meat chickens . . . enjoyed that taste so good and are so healthy for me. Yes there is a constant battle with the preditors, but the results of our success are noticeable in this here short clip . . . FALSTER FARM Red Ranger Broilers raised on pasture, finished on clover!

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If you listen real close you can hear one of our Red Wattle hogs grunt in the background as it enjoys the rich clover as well. Raising livestock this way enriches their life experience and builds our soils to a self sustaining fertility level.

Next time we will discuss the power of Bio Dynamic choices in our farming practice.

Falster Farm Mud Oven Project

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In building this prototype mud oven I (Bo Frick of Sweden) have basically been following the excellent instructions by Kiko Denzer in his “Build your own earth oven” book.

This oven is being built on wheels, to enable Falster Farm to show it in burning action at different markets, baking artisan breads, pizzas and all manner of gourmet foods.

I will here give you a resumé of the building process.

Step 1: Making a concrete slab and running two iron bars through it, this to enable future movement of the oven on and off the trailer. The slab was poured onto a round piece of plywood with a 5″ tall ring of wood, securing the slab. Chicken wire was added as reinforcement.
Step 2: Building a stonewall base that will house empty wine and beer bottles which will capture heat and hold it in suspension for the baking.

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The stones are layered with a lime mortar consisting of ¼ lime and ¾ play sand. The reason for not using concrete is that it doesn’t breathe. The lime/sand mortar becomes rock hard but allows the moisture to travel in and out of the oven, releasing the construction of stress.

 

 

Step 3: Insulating the core of the base.

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Clay was mixed with sand and sawdust producing a mushy

 

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mixture that, after drying; was light and an air-holding insulation material, with the bottles in it.

Step 4: Brick baking floor and the opening arch of the oven in place. 

 

 

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020314_1738_WOOFERMUDOV4.jpgStep 5: Making play sand “casting dome” that the clay layers will be resting against until completed when the sand is removed, creating the oven cavity.
Step 6: Laying the first dense clay layer that will exposed to the actual fire. This process had to be redone with cleaner clay, creating the right texture. The clay was mixed with sand and water and worked in a mixer.


Who said clay wasn’t fun!?

Step 7: Top plaster is applied of a clay/straw/water combination.

 

2012 - December 003 Step 8: The sand mold is removed leaving the Oven in a good smooth interior condition. It is much like the lost sand casting method. The moist sand once holds the clay “cob” in shape until such time as it is set-up. Then the sand is scooped out leaving the fire chamber.

 

oven_finished   The sand is all out now, a visual inspection assures the integrity of the fire chamber.

 

 

 

Step 9: Fire in the hole!
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The oven is being dried slowly with multiple small fires, this to minimize the amount and size of cracks.

Building the Clay Oven was fun and very fulfilling. When I get back home to Sweden, I will be using theis and so much more of what I have learned on Falster Farm in my business and farming ventures – new adventures!

2013 ORGANIC INTERNS ARRIVING

Brage (Bo) Frick of Sweden

As we ended 2012 and started 2013 we have started several projects by the advent and aid of interns and WOOFERS literally from around the world.

1st project is a clay baking oven that was built by Brage (Bo) Frick of Sweden. You can view his project details at: Bo’s Clay Oven.

This hand built clay oven yields marvelous artisanal breads and pizza as well as cooks full meals in a fraction of the time – with such flavor that must be tasted to fully appreciate.

Built from scratch, we plan to have the oven in service at the Winnsboro Farmers Market this Spring in the Winnsboro City Park. In addition to the building of Bo’s Oven he has be an assistant to Chef Nancy on several special chef jobs in East Texas. Bo’s plans are to return to Sweden and enter business for himself as a speciality street-vender in Stockholm.

Bo has a master’s degree in agronomy and has used his time on Falster Farm to actually implement in practice many of the technical theories he learned in university. I believe he discovered that in practice of sustainable agriculture some of the modern notions don’t have much bottom to um. He got to learn how to care and ride a horse as well as build livestock shelters that birth pigs and chickens.

Additionally, he wielded sections of steel and sheet metal on the main barn converting it from a hay barn to a good size shop and headquarters. He exhibits good leadership skills and ran the re-fencing efforts over on the Creed place, a leased property for the Falster Miniature Hereford herd.

 

    Mohamed Jan Jalloh of Free Town Sierra Leon Africa

On Spring break from EARTH University in Costa Rica where he studies for a degree in Agricultural Engineering, Mohamed learned about both diesel and gasoline tractors and how to drive them (even into fence posts.) He too got to burn in some of the class room studies in real time farming, learning about cattle pig and chicken care.

Each individual on Falster Farm gets to work on a project that is somewhat of their design or implementation. For the 1st time we had bailed up 17 2000# rounds of “Inon and Clay” peas as hight protein silage. We need a means of feeding it and our dry hay to the 2012 crop of steers and heifers. Mohamed built a special setup outside the corrals to house the hay and allow the steers and heifers exclusive access to it. Naturally we call this place Mohamed’s hay pen.

He also did a good bit of painting and field fence restoration while with us. He plans on returning to his native West Africa and help local farmers implement sustainable protocols and engineering there.