Monday, October 4, 2010

Scrambled Eggs

Oh my gosh.....this makes me want to drop everything and become a full time egg farmer!!!

Egg Score Card

Check out this awesome site with an "egg score card" to help you identify some important details about the organic eggs you are purchasing. Whether from a regular grocery store or a health food market, see where your eggs score on the "Egg Score Card"!  Some of these "Egg Star Ratings" will surprise you!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dr. Gonzalez Offering Free Webinar

I wanted to let you know that Dr. Gonzalez, MD, a cancer specialist from New York, will be conducting a live webinar, sponsored by the American Nutrition Association, entitled "Nutrition Individuality: One Diet Does Not Fit All." During this webinar, Dr. Gonzalez will make sense out of the minefield of confusing "expert" recommendations for diet and nutrition, showing that each of these experts may have a part of the truth.
I would highly recommend this event which will be held on October 11th, 8pm EST / 7pm CST. Participation is free, but you must register to receive access and participation instructions. For more information please see the American Nutrition Association's website at:

I have seen Dr. Gonzalez speak and have read two of his books. I can't say enough good things about him. This guy is the first call I would make if I or anyone I love would be diagnosed with cancer.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

"Inedible Egg" -

Wow! Sure is a good feeling to know the source of our eggs!!

Monday, August 9, 2010

“Omega-6 is like a fat producing bomb...”

I can't stand it!! More scientific proof that pasture raised animals are better for your health!

“Omega-6 is like a fat producing bomb...”

So said French researcher Gerard Ailhaud, commenting on the results of a new study showing that mice fed the amount of omega-6 fatty acids present in the modern western diet grow fatter and fatter with each succeeding generation. In the picture shown, the mouse on the left was raised on the high levels of omega-6 fatty acids and low levels of omega-3 fatty acids typical of the American diet. In addition to being grossly overweight, it has the warning signs of diabetes. The healthy mouse on the right was raised on standard mouse chow. The two mice got equal amounts of exercise. The mice are the fourth generation to be raised on the two types of diet.
Omega-6 fatty acids are essential for health, but the amount consumed by most Americans increases the risk of obesity, diabetes, inflammatory diseases, and cancer. Omega-6s are most abundant in vegetable oils such as corn oil, safflower oil, and cottonseed oils. (Olive oil is low in omega- 6 fatty acids.) Few people realize that grain-fed animals are also a major source of omega-6s. Meat and dairy products from animals fed a high-grain diet, which is the typical feedlot diet, have up to ten times more omega-6s than products from animals raised on their natural diet of pasture.

This study suggests that if we switch to food with a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids, we will be leaner and healthier, and so will our children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

(Massiera, F; Barbry, P; Guesnet, P; Joly, A; Luquet, S; Brest,, CM; Mohsen-Kanson, T; Amri, E and G. Ailhaud. A Western-like fat diet is sufficient to induce a gradual enhancement in fat mass over generations. Journal of Lipid Research. August 2010. Volume 51, pages 2352-2361.)

Grassfed Milk Lowers Heart Attack Risk!!

Many people have assumed that a lower fat milk is better for them but reports a study published in the May issue of The Journal of Clinical Nutrition said that full-fat milk is actually better for you as long as it is grassfed. The Journal said that the more grassfed full-fat dairy products people consume the lower their risk of heart attacks will be. This is because 100 percent grassfed dairy products have up to five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than conventional dairy products. In this study of 3500 people, those with the highest levels of CLA stored in their body tissues had a 50 percent lower risk of heat attack than those with the lowest levels of CLA. The CLA level in milk is lowered by the feeding of even small amounts of grain so consumers should always specify 100 percent grassfed milk products.

Smit, Liesbeth A, Ana Baylin, and Hannia Campos. 2010. Conjugated linoleic acid in adipose tissue and risk of myocardial infarction. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Published ahead of print, May 12, 2010.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

"....Eating her curds and whey"!

OK fellow raw milk drinkers, help me out with this one.  I had two jars of Jenny Johnson's grass-fed raw milk from back on May 6th that we never drank. I left it on the shelf in the garage figuring I'd feed it to the farm cats sometime. We never got around to that and pretty soon it started to separate or "clabber".  I've heard of clabbering milk for a week or so but what is this that we have three months later? I brought the jars inside to pour down the drain today and discovered this most interesting site.  The top layer is gold, dense and greasy, just like butter. As I opened the jar I was braced for a horrible smell but surprisingly it was mild and pleasant.  I actually stuck my finger in it for a taste and it is VERY sour, but not foul or putrid.  The smell reminds me of kefir. 

The second layer is pure whey. But after all these months can I strain it off and use this whey? Is this the fluid that the pioneer women used to preserve and ferment?

The bottom layer is what has me stumped. Is this cottage cheese curds? Is it milk solids? And again, after all these months, can it be used for anything? Fats rises to the top, protein sinks to the bottom?

Gosh, for anyone who ever asks, "how long does raw milk last?".....just depends on what you want to use it for.  I sure wouldn't try this with a carton of milk from the grocery store!

Saturday, July 31, 2010

First Farmer's Market

Farmer's Market was so much fun today! We were set up by 7:30am and sold out of eggs by 10:45am. We got off to a slow start so I was a little nervous for the kids. I sat them down and explained it was possible we wouldn't sell many eggs this first time, especially considering the competition at $1.50/dz!! But a child's optimism is so refreshing as it didn't even occur to the children we wouldn't sell them ALL. While I was reverting into "sales mode", worrying about the table presentation, reviewing "features and benefits" and what they should say in the "first 30 seconds".....the kids just happily played, greeted the customers and visited other producers to get honey and banana bread samples! I had to chuckle at myself as I settled into the realization that Farmer's Market is not a trade show and the eggs are not medical equipment! They practically sell themselves! LOL

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Chickens

Even with all this heat, the chickens seem to be doing really well and production is ramping up daily. We are so grateful to have the shade and bugs that Grandma's fruit trees provide! Now if we can just figure out what to do with the extra roosters! Out of the four, three have to go but we are having trouble getting our courage up to "process" them.  Maybe YOU would like a pet rooster? Did you know there doesn't have to be a rooster in the flock for chickens to lay eggs?

Keeping the water jugs clean is quite a chore in this heat.

The fallen fruit attracts many yummy bugs!

They're running toward the camera because they think we have food!

Time to lay an egg!

Keeping the feed up off the ground is better for the grass. 6 of our 9 breeds are shown here.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Good Life Naturals, Inc.-It's Official!

Good Life Naturals, Inc. is officially open for business! Below is the sign that you will see at the farm, at farmer's market and on our cartons! Gracie helped me carefully design the label to tell as much of our story as possible right on the sign. Yes! We have green/blue and brown eggs! Yes! The chickens are foraging on green grass! No! we don't use antibiotics or hormones! And yes! The hens are fed organic chicken feed! The labels are hot off the printer so the kids and I are on the way to the farm to label the cartons. Production continues to ramp up so maybe we'll see YOU at farmer's market this Saturday. Call us if you want a weekly standing order!

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Friday, June 25, 2010

The First Two Eggs!

Gracie was thrilled to find our first two eggs inside the mobile chicken coop today! After 5 long months of caring for the chickens and waiting for the coop to be built we will now begin to finally enjoy the fruits of our labor! They are tiny pullet eggs right now (about half the size of a normal egg) but within just a few weeks we'll have full size eggs to eat and sell!

This egg scale belonged to our kids' Great-grandmother, Frieda Beckmann. The tiny egg is not even registering yet. (shown with the bottle of beer for comparison)
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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Luke and "Butler"

Luke is shown here with one of our roosters, "Butler". Amazingly, he can still catch him and Butler shows no aggression. In fact, after putting him down, Butler continues to follow Luke around.
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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chickens In The Yard!

The girls are rangin' all over the place!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Chicken Update!

So whatever happened with those chickens you ask??  Yes, with the birth of Nyla the chickens took a bit of a back seat, so here we are now with the flock at almost 16 weeks old!  We ended up brooding them in our basement until they were about 8 weeks and then moved the entire operation to the garage (got too stinky for the basement!) Scott and the kids built  a pen with high, cardboard walls to contain them until their new home was ready.  The "egg mobile", built by our friend Stefan Penas, was delivered to us in early May and we moved the chickens out to the farm on May 13. The egg mobile has been moving around the farm every 5-7 days since then and the chickens are thrilled to be foraging on pastures with real, live bugs! We should have eggs by the end of July so stayed tuned for news on that!  Let's get caught up with some photos.....
Gracie with the chickens in our garage!

The coop arrives at our house.

Gracie is checking out the inside. There are 8 nesting boxes and 4 roosts.

Gracie is sanding the windows (they are from the old hog house at the farm)

Windows get a fresh coat of white paint.

Coop is complete and ready to move to the farm!

Chickens are loaded and ready to leave. Check out those nice windows!
Egg Mobile arrives at the farm!

Chickens aren't too sure yet.

Luke helps some find their way outside. The rest quickly follow.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Maria Yoder

I'm finally getting to the subject of Maria! Maria Yoder is 18 years old and the second oldest of 12 children!  I met her family in the fall of 2001 when we purchased our first side of grass-fed beef from her parents, Paul and Colleen.  That was the beginning of a most interesting relationship..... one that would change my life forever!  Shortly after the beef, we tried their fresh raw milk. After making the hour drive once about every six weeks (and freezing the milk), I convinced about five other families to share the drive and bring fresh milk back every week.  The next thing you know I was coordinating a "Farm-To-You" co-op with over 150 families picking up farm fresh foods at 7 different locations around Akron and Cleveland!  Oh and did I mention all of this was illegal?

I thought we could just find a nice senator to sponsor a bill to change the law so I led a state-wide raw milk legislative initiative through the Ohio House and Senate.  Silly was I to know that "Big Dairy" powers of Ohio had a much stronger voice than a bunch of farmers and health-conscious mothers? It was not in their best interest for people to start buying milk directly from farmers, especially the kind of milk that caused a person's health to improve!  After the bill failed, we were later thrilled to walk away with a court ruling which recognized our right to drink the milk of a cow we own.......and the "herd share" contract was born.  Here in Nebraska it is legal to buy fresh milk on the farm but in Ohio farmers and consumers still walk on egg shells waiting for the next attack on their rights to consume the foods they choose.

After moving to Nebraska, I've stayed in touch with the Yoder family (you tend to grow close to people on the "front lines") and that's how we were blessed with the opportunity to have Maria come help us out for five weeks!  You can meet the rest of Maria's family at

Maria's sister Audrey made Nyla this adorable baby gift......a dress to match Maria's!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

High Fructose Corn Syrup-New Study

Have you seen the commercials on TV defending high fructose corn syrup and maintaining it to be "nutritionally the same as sugar"..... where the person against it is left looking stupid and uninformed?  Those commercials were a "damage control" effort launched by the Corn Refiners Association to combat the ever increasing bad press as consumers become more educated about the dangers of this modern "franken-sugar". 
In results published online March 18 by the journal of Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity. I can't wait to see what the Corn Refiners Association will have to say about this!! 

For those who hadn't seen this, a new study from Princeton University researchers has found that rats fed high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than a control group that was fed sugar, even though the caloric intake was kept the same for both groups.

A Princeton University research team has demonstrated that all sweeteners are not equal when it comes to weight gain: Rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained significantly more weight than those with access to table sugar, even when their overall caloric intake was the same.

In addition to causing significant weight gain in lab animals, long-term consumption of high-fructose corn syrup also led to abnormal increases in body fat, especially in the abdomen, and a rise in circulating blood fats called triglycerides. The researchers say the work sheds light on the factors contributing to obesity trends in the United States.

"Some people have claimed that high-fructose corn syrup is no different than other sweeteners when it comes to weight gain and obesity, but our results make it clear that this just isn't true, at least under the conditions of our tests," said psychology professor Bart Hoebel, who specializes in the neuroscience of appetite, weight and sugar addiction. "When rats are drinking high-fructose corn syrup at levels well below those in soda pop, they're becoming obese -- every single one, across the board. Even when rats are fed a high-fat diet, you don't see this; they don't all gain extra weight."

In results published online March 18 by the journal Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior, the researchers from the Department of Psychology and the Princeton Neuroscience Institute reported on two experiments investigating the link between the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup and obesity.

The first study showed that male rats given water sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup in addition to a standard diet of rat chow gained much more weight than male rats that received water sweetened with table sugar, or sucrose, in conjunction with the standard diet. The concentration of sugar in the sucrose solution was the same as is found in some commercial soft drinks, while the high-fructose corn syrup solution was half as concentrated as most sodas.

The second experiment -- the first long-term study of the effects of high-fructose corn syrup consumption on obesity in lab animals -- monitored weight gain, body fat and triglyceride levels in rats with access to high-fructose corn syrup over a period of six months. Compared to animals eating only rat chow, rats on a diet rich in high-fructose corn syrup showed characteristic signs of a dangerous condition known in humans as the metabolic syndrome, including abnormal weight gain, significant increases in circulating triglycerides and augmented fat deposition, especially visceral fat around the belly. Male rats in particular ballooned in size: Animals with access to high-fructose corn syrup gained 48 percent more weight than those eating a normal diet.

"These rats aren't just getting fat; they're demonstrating characteristics of obesity, including substantial increases in abdominal fat and circulating triglycerides," said Princeton graduate student Miriam Bocarsly. "In humans, these same characteristics are known risk factors for high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, cancer and diabetes." In addition to Hoebel and Bocarsly, the research team included Princeton undergraduate Elyse Powell and visiting research associate Nicole Avena, who was affiliated with Rockefeller University during the study and is now on the faculty at the University of Florida. The Princeton researchers note that they do not know yet why high-fructose corn syrup fed to rats in their study generated more triglycerides, and more body fat that resulted in obesity.

High-fructose corn syrup and sucrose are both compounds that contain the simple sugars fructose and glucose, but there at least two clear differences between them. First, sucrose is composed of equal amounts of the two simple sugars -- it is 50 percent fructose and 50 percent glucose -- but the typical high-fructose corn syrup used in this study features a slightly imbalanced ratio, containing 55 percent fructose and 42 percent glucose. Larger sugar molecules called higher saccharides make up the remaining 3 percent of the sweetener. Second, as a result of the manufacturing process for high-fructose corn syrup, the fructose molecules in the sweetener are free and unbound, ready for absorption and utilization. In contrast, every fructose molecule in sucrose that comes from cane sugar or beet sugar is bound to a corresponding glucose molecule and must go through an extra metabolic step before it can be utilized.

This creates a fascinating puzzle. The rats in the Princeton study became obese by drinking high-fructose corn syrup, but not by drinking sucrose. The critical differences in appetite, metabolism and gene expression that underlie this phenomenon are yet to be discovered, but may relate to the fact that excess fructose is being metabolized to produce fat, while glucose is largely being processed for energy or stored as a carbohydrate, called glycogen, in the liver and muscles.

In the 40 years since the introduction of high-fructose corn syrup as a cost-effective sweetener in the American diet, rates of obesity in the U.S. have skyrocketed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 1970, around 15 percent of the U.S. population met the definition for obesity; today, roughly one-third of the American adults are considered obese, the CDC reported. High-fructose corn syrup is found in a wide range of foods and beverages, including fruit juice, soda, cereal, bread, yogurt, ketchup and mayonnaise. On average, Americans consume 60 pounds of the sweetener per person every year.

"Our findings lend support to the theory that the excessive consumption of high-fructose corn syrup found in many beverages may be an important factor in the obesity epidemic," Avena said.

The new research complements previous work led by Hoebel and Avena demonstrating that sucrose can be addictive, having effects on the brain similar to some drugs of abuse.

In the future, the team intends to explore how the animals respond to the consumption of high-fructose corn syrup in conjunction with a high-fat diet -- the equivalent of a typical fast-food meal containing a hamburger, fries and soda -- and whether excessive high-fructose corn syrup consumption contributes to the diseases associated with obesity. Another step will be to study how fructose affects brain function in the control of appetite.

The research was supported by the U.S. Public Health Service.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

How GrassFed Cows Could Save the Planet

Still not convinced that grass-fed beef is best?? Check out this article for specific information on environmental AND nutritional differences!

How GrassFed Cows Could Save the Planet

Friday, February 26, 2010

Chicks-Day 11

Quick summary of our first week with the chicks:

1. We didn't read the instructions correctly on the "chick starter" and added way too much to the water! (You try reducing this fraction: 4oz/55 gallons!) Yeah....we know now, it's less than 1/2 t. per gallon!) We're not sure, but this may be why we lost 8 out of 56 chicks in the first 48 hours!

2. Had to travel to Lincoln to find chick feed without antibiotics. Can't get "organic" feed shipped in until March 11th!

3. Gracie and Gemma have done a fantastic job of keeping the area clean and providing fresh water and food every day.

4. The kids convinced me to buy 16 more chicks to replace the 8 that died. Not sure how that math works out but we now have a total of 64 chickens.

5. The kids have spent hours just sitting and watching the chicks. I sneak down there every now and then too and must admit, it is very relaxing.

6. We've had lots of visitors to see the chicks but they are growing fast so if you want to get a glimpse before they get ugly, come soon!

7. Overall things have gone very smoothly so far but the chicks will be able to fly over their 12 inch containment wall in just a fews days, so it's time to build the taller cardboard walls!
Seems like their little wings sprouted overnight!
That's "Longshot" on the right. She's one of the new girls.

She's a smaller breed of chicken but the kids fell in love with her.
Don't write her off just yet. These chicks were trying to intimidate her.....

....but Longshot stood tall and backed them up!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Chicken Adventure Begins!

After nearly 10 years of buying eggs directly from farmers who raise all natural, free range, pastured laying hens in mobile chicken coops, we've decided to try it for ourselves! Not because we want to become farmers, but because we want to give our children an opportunity to own their own small business, learn responsiblity that comes from caring for the animals and to teach them the connection between our soil, the animals and our health. We are excited to raise these laying hens with no antibiotics and no hormones in the most natural environment we can possibly offer them. If you've never tasted an egg from this kind of chicken, get in touch with us in July! You're in for a real treat!

We will brood the chicks in our basement (then garage) until construction on our new mobile coop is complete and it becomes warm enough to move them outside. The mobile coop is being built on a flatbed trailer which we will move around Grandma and Grandpa's farm every week with a 4 wheeler. It will look something like this (ours will be a little cuter of course!):

With chicks on the way, the children were very eager to get started on the brooder pen!

Gracie, in her jammies, is speading wood chips over the plastic.
We got a call at 6:30am this morning from the post office to inform us that our 50 baby chicks had arrived by mail from the hatchery. I don't know if the children were this excited on Christmas morning! We piled into the van and headed straight over to pick them up! I warned the kids that one or two might not have survived the trip but they were all in excellent condition.

At the back door of the post office.

Our friendly US postal worker presents the chicks to the kids!

The adventure officially begins!

We can't believe there are 50 chicks in that little box!


Get set!
Open!! All 50 have made it safely!

Six different breeds and 3 different roosters. Should be a colorful bunch!
It's so hard not to handle them but they are very fragile this first day.

And so the chores begin!!

Kids are little late to school but chicks are happy and the principal says they had a "GREAT" excuse!