Celebrate What You Want to See More Of

“Celebrate what you want to see more of.” – Tom Peters, author, In Search of Excellence

This is exactly what we are about at Big Oak Ridge; our “talking points” include Microeconomics, Locavoria, “Voting with your dollars”, Sustainability, Education, and Joi De Vivre! – all things we believe in strongly, and enjoy celebrating and sharing with others.

While we are willing to fight for things we believe in passionately, we also like to accentuate the positive – whether in the foods we eat, the activities we promote and participate in, the way we spend our money and our time, or the organizations and causes we support. There is still a lot of good, positive stuff happening out there!

I am reminded of this every time I visit the barn, and see our young goats leaping and doing back flips – just for the fun of it, I assume.

We can all learn a lot from goats. Think of something you can do that has no real purpose – something you can do just for the joy of doing it – and then go do it. Celebrate what you want to see more of!

Thanks, everyone, for another great Game Night!

Tonight was the last game night of the season; thanks to all of our friends and family who came and enjoyed the evening with us.

We’ll be hosting some events through the summer this year, so watch this space!

Last Game Night of the Season

When: Saturday, March 16,

What: Game Night at Big Oak Ridge.

Contact: Paula 814-437-1920

If your last name begins with A-J, bring a “salty” snack to share, if your last name begins with K-Z bring a “sweet” snack to share.

Please RSVP if you are coming!

GMO – You’re not supposed to know

This article discusses the fact that Whole Foods Market, a major grocery retail chain, is going to require all foods sold by the chain to be labeled with regard to GMO content.

The reaction from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the trade group that represents major food companies and retailers, is telling. “These labels could mislead consumers into believing that these food products are somehow different or present a special risk or a potential risk,” Louis Finkel, the organization’s executive director of government affairs, said in the statement.

What Mr. Finkel is really saying is that, as a consumer, you have no right to know what you are consuming – especially if knowing might influence your decision to purchase.

So much for freedom of information, eh?

Know your food. Know your farmer.



New additions in the barn

With the influx of new babies and the need for some increased safety, we have recently made some improvements to our barn.
 I previously mentioned Basil’s new apartment.

He seems to be adjusting to bachelorhood and is actually calmer being in his own space.
This past Saturday we created a new pen for our bottle babies. The twins were getting seriously pushed around by the triplets and the two mommas. We also anticipate having more bottle babies as the dairy does kid so we realized that they needed a separate space. Their new home is 6 x 8 feet with lots of room for frolicking.

The mommas and triplets pen also needed a bit of refurbishing as the big girls had abused the wire pretty severely. We removed the old 2 x 4 wire, installed an upright post and used 2 x 6’s to make a study secure space for the meat mommas to raise their collective brood.
We still have a pile of rough cut lumber to finish the board and batten siding…that will have to be another day.

The first of the dairy babies is here!

Our first dairy doe has kidded. Begonia had an enormous buck kid in the early hours of last Wednesday. We have named him Chives. He is a frisky little guy and has a beautiful blond coloring…he reminds me of a Charolais calf. We were hoping to milk Begonia but being a first time freshener, she has very tiny teats…coupled with a slight accident I had involving a large knife, we are having a difficult time.
I ordered a Henry Milker yesterday. I received an email last night that it has already been shipped. We are eager to see if this will help us with Begonia and also prevent the issue we had when Lucky refused to feed her kids.
We have three more dairy does in waiting. Every morning we anticipate a new arrival but so far everyone is just looking fat and bored.

We have fertilizer!!

We made arrangements to get some Amsoil fertilizer. This will be available at our seminars or for local pick-up only.

Peach Trees

Last Summer I posted about growing your own peach trees and discussed the process.
Today I opened the jar of dirt that has been languishing in the back of my fridge since August. Lo and behold, the peach seeds were sprouting. Out of 10 seeds, there were 9 healthy looking sprouts. I planted them in paper cups and put them under the grow lights with the tray of Amish Paste tomatoes that I started for my upcoming Seed Starting Seminar. I’ll keep you posted on their progress.

Why I live here

Doyle Rice predicts in this USA Today article that drought conditions will continue across much of the midwest in the coming year.

I have traveled all over the USA on business, and I am fond of saying that I’ve only ever visited two places I thought I would like to move to. I like North Carolina (the Charlotte area) and I like Tennesee (Particularly the area around Chattanooga.) Other than those two places, I’ve never been tempted to live anywhere but Northwest Pennsylvania.

I like the fact that we have trees – LOTS of trees. I like the rolling terrain here in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains. I like the fact that we have very few tornadoes, hurricanes, or earthquakes.

But I especially like the fact that we have water – lots of water. I am surrounded by lakes, rivers, streams, and springs. In fact, we have two springs on our own 20 acre property. We have two wells that have never gone dry (and we’ve lived here during some pretty dry summers.)

A person can live for three days without food, but without water a person will die pretty quickly. You can’t raise crops or animals without water.

I’ve always found it amazing that anyone lives in places like Arizona and New Mexico where there is such a scarcity of water. I would not want to live somewhere that a ready source of water could not be identified.

We’ve talked about purchasing a water purification system of some kind, just to make sure we always have safe, potable water – even if we have to make it ourselves.

I’m sure, if the drought continues, it will put further pressure on food and commodity prices. Another reason why it’s a good idea to raise as much of your own food as you can, buy local, and keep a storehouse.