"Subscribe & Save" program coming soon. Watch for details!

Living Joyfully For Sustainability and Resilience

written by

Sue King

posted on

November 10, 2021

Welcome! I am so happy you are here. Grab your favorite winter time beverage and join me today.

Have you made joy a priority in your life this week?

As the silently falling snow gently envelops our home and farm while we sleep, snuggled under our warm blankets winter is settling in. The rush of spring and summer season slowly slips away. Genesis 8:22 reminds us that "While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. A time of slowing down, a time of dormancy, a time of hibernation and rejuvenation surround us. Do we take these cues from creation and let them sink into our lives?

There are still a myriad of projects that need to be finished, but the pressure that they exert on us don't seem to weigh us down like they do in mid summer. You know, those projects that seem to be perpetually on the to-do list.

But, we made it through another season without them being finished. Does that mean that they are not important? No, not at all. If they were completed , daily activities might be accomplished easier. But, would they really?

Are you building a life that is sustainable and resilient? Or are we on the perpetual "hamster wheel" that sucks all joy from our lives?

I will be the first to admit that following the cycles of the seasons is difficult. In my heart I want this slow time to sweep over me and my family, but reality always says, "no just one more thing to get done."

In this season of natural slowing down I start to contemplate how our ancestors built sustainability and resilience into their lives. They lived life more attuned to the natures seasons. They were not surrounded by technology that constantly demanded their attention.

Do we even know what sustainability and resilience are? Are they knowing how to mend clothes or preserve food? How to garden, save seeds, and wildcraft plants we can use for food and medicine? How to heat our homes without relying on sources that we have no control over?

These are all skills that many of our grandparents and great grandparents knew inside and out. They would not have survived without these skills.

  • Do we need these skills in our modern world?
  • Who is left to teach these skills?

I believe that it is absolutely essential that we revive the "domestic" arts. Traditional skills that include: cooking, housework (making your own non-toxic clean supplies), gardening and seed saving, preserving foods (including canning, dehydrating and fermenting), foraging, fiber arts (knitting, sewing, quilting, crocheting, mending), raising animals for food, carpentry and soap making. This list just scratches the surface.

When we commit to learning these skills we are building resilient homes and communities. We are empowered. We take back control. We are not paralyzed with fear when supply chains that our out of our control break down. We build cocoons around us that protects us, give us peace.

Would you join me as we rekindle our ancestral skills? Lets start with preserving food through fermentation next week.

See you soon!

More from the blog


June Farm News and Updates!Where has June gone?  It feels like just yesterday we were rushing around trying to get the gardens planted, baby calves and lambs were being born and the grass was slow to start growing.  Now all that has passed and we have settled into summer routines.   At the beginning of June, we were concerned that we might face drought again this year.  But thankfully God opened the heavens and sent much-needed rain.  The cows and sheep are not able to keep up with the explosion of lush grass growth at this time of year. But that's ok.  We will be able to stockpile the extra grass for next winter. Our days on the farm are full.  We head out to the pasture every morning after breakfast to move the electric wire so the cows can have a fresh salad bar pasture for the next twenty-four hours. Then it's back to the barn to milk Gail, our Jersey Canadienne cow and feed the pigs before changing clothes and heading into the butcher shop or doing projects around the farm.  There are lots of fences to fix, machines to get ready for haying and daily upkeep of the farm and yard. Have you had a chance to try our NEW Bacon Infused Patties yet?  We love them and so do our customers who have tried them.  Be sure to order yours today at the link below.And, as a side note.  I will not be posting as much over the summer, but you can come on down to the Grande Prairie Farmers Market and we can have a little visit there.See you soon.FROM OUR FARM TO YOUR FAMILY,thank you for caring where your food comes from.  

Pasture versus CAFO: Why Do We Raise Our Animals on Grass?

Why  Do We Raise Our Animals on Grass? I want to start to answer this question.  It all begins with our family's journey to regaining our health. In the late 1980's we started to experience varying degrees of health issues.  We sought medical help to no avail.  The doctors could not pinpoint the causes of persistent rashes, digestive problems and persistent weight gain to name a few of the difficulties we were experiencing.  It was during these challenging times that we were introduced to the concept of organic food.  We were very skeptical that switching to organic food would help these issues.  Part of our skepticism was because it would require us to spend additional money on groceries.  Another issue was that we were in a community of conventional farmers who thought there was no basis for organic claims. So, feeling like we had no alternatives left to explore, we started to make the shift to eating organic foods and pasture-based meat, milk and eggs.  To help alleviate some of the out-of-pocket expenses we started to grow a bigger garden and preserve its bounty to supply our produce.  A small improvement in our health was noticed, but the issues were not alleviated.  We then started to take some courses on raising animals mimicking nature.  We discovered the harmful effects that our conventional agricultural practices had on the animals and the people who consumed them.  In 1997 we turned our backs on conventional agricultural practices and started farming organically.  I want to add a disclaimer here:  We are not totally against the use of medications if an animal or human gets sick and could die without intervention.  We will however try every available natural alternative before resorting to pharmaceuticals.   We started to harvest meat, milk and eggs from our pasture-raised animals instead of selling them and then going to the store to purchase our meat, milk and eggs.  At this time we added pigs to our repertoire of animals that we were raising.  So now we had beef, milk, lamb, pigs, chicken and eggs that we were raising for ourselves.    We believe that our health has significantly improved because we changed our diet to consume "clean" meats, raw dairy, eggs from our healthy laying hens and veggies from our gardens.  Still, more health improvements were noticed, but there were still quite a few lingering issues.Through our connections with other organic producers, we were introduced to a wonderful naturopathic doctor who did some very detailed allergy testing.  These tests finally gave us a very clear picture of what we were dealing with.  So after eliminating the myriad of foods that triggered the allergic reactions daily life became much better.  By eating home-raised, organically grown foods that didn't produce the allergic reactions the health issues just seemed to fall away.  Every once in a while when we cheat and eat away from home the symptoms manifest themselves again.  We then quickly correct the behavior and our bodies go back to what is now normal.  I am not saying that this is a cure-all to whatever ails you.  There are still days that we struggle with health issues that seem to come out of nowhere, but we just backtrack to see if it is something that we can correct. The information that follows is from the website "Eat Wild".  It is very interesting and explains the important health benefits of grass-fed meats, eggs and dairy far better than I can. "Summary of Important Health Benefits of Grassfed Meats, Eggs and Dairy Lower in Fat and Calories. There are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals. To begin with, meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat. If the meat is very lean, it can have one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal. In fact, as you can see by the graph below, grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk.[1] Research shows that lean beef actually lowers your "bad" LDL cholesterol levels.[2] Data from J. Animal Sci 80(5):1202-11. Because meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, it is also lower in calories. (Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared with only 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates. The greater the fat content, the greater the number of calories.) As an example, a 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer can have 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer. If you eat a typical amount of beef (66.5 pounds a year), switching to lean grassfed beef will save you 17,733 calories a year—without requiring any willpower or change in your eating habits. If everything else in your diet remains constant, you'll lose about six pounds a year. If all Americans switched to grassfed meat, our national epidemic of obesity might diminish. In the past few years, producers of grass-fed beef have been looking for ways to increase the amount of marbling in the meat so that consumers will have a more familiar product. But even these fatter cuts of grass-fed beef are lower in fat and calories than beef from grain-fed cattle. Extra Omega-3s. Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain- fed animals. Omega-3s are called "good fats" because they play a vital role in every cell and system in your body. For example, of all the fats, they are the most heart-friendly. People who have ample amounts of omega-3s in their diet are less likely to have high blood pressure or an irregular heartbeat. Remarkably, they are 50 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack.[3] Omega-3s are essential for your brain as well. People with a diet rich in omega-3s are less likely to suffer from depression, schizophrenia, attention deficit disorder (hyperactivity), or Alzheimer's disease.[4] Another benefit of omega-3s is that they may reduce your risk of cancer. In animal studies, these essential fats have slowed the growth of a wide array of cancers and also kept them from spreading.[5] Although the human research is in its infancy, researchers have shown that omega-3s can slow or even reverse the extreme weight loss that accompanies advanced cancer and also hasten recovery from surgery.[6,7] Omega-3s are most abundant in seafood and certain nuts and seeds such as flaxseeds and walnuts, but they are also found in animals raised on pasture. The reason is simple. Omega-3s are formed in the chloroplasts of green leaves and algae. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s. When cattle are taken off omega-3 rich grass and shipped to a feedlot to be fattened on omega-3 poor grain, they begin losing their store of this beneficial fat. Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.[8] The graph below illustrates this steady decline. Data from: J Animal Sci (1993) 71(8):2079-88. When chickens are housed indoors and deprived of greens, their meat and eggs also become artificially low in omega-3s. Eggs from pastured hens can contain as much as 10 times more omega-3s than eggs from factory hens.[9] It has been estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume an adequate supply of omega-3 fatty acids. Twenty percent have blood levels so low that they cannot be detected.[10] Switching to the meat, milk, and dairy products of grass-fed animals is one way to restore this vital nutrient to your diet. The CLA Bonus. Meat and dairy products from grass-fed ruminants are the richest known source of another type of good fat called "conjugated linoleic acid" or CLA. When ruminants are raised on fresh pasture alone, their products contain from three to five times more CLA than products from animals fed conventional diets.[11] (A steak from the most marbled grass-fed animals will have the most CLA ,as much of the CLA is stored in fat cells.) CLA may be one of our most potent defenses against cancer. In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth. [12] There is new evidence that CLA may also reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Switching from grain-fed to grassfed meat and dairy products places women in this lowest risk category.13 Researcher Tilak Dhiman from Utah State University estimates that you may be able to lower your risk of cancer simply by eating the following grassfed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. You would have to eat five times that amount of grain-fed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection. Vitamin E. In addition to being higher in omega-3s and CLA, meat from grassfed animals is also higher in vitamin E. The graph below shows vitamin E levels in meat from: 1) feedlot cattle, 2) feedlot cattle given high doses of synthetic vitamin E (1,000 IU per day), and 3) cattle raised on fresh pasture with no added supplements. The meat from the pastured cattle is four times higher in vitamin E than the meat from the feedlot cattle and, interestingly, almost twice as high as the meat from the feedlot cattle given vitamin E supplements. [14#] In humans, vitamin E is linked with a lower risk of heart disease and cancer. This potent antioxidant may also have anti-aging properties. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E. Data from: Smith, G.C. "Dietary supplementation of vitamin E to cattle to improve shelf life and case life of beef for domestic and international markets." Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1171" Grab your copy of our free booklet, 6 SUPER SIMPLE COOKING METHODS TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION EVERY TIME FROM YOUR PASTURE-RAISED MEATS.  It is a great resource that you will turn to time after time.Join me next week to learn what "grass-fed" means to me.

Making a Difference: Exploring Grassfed/Grass Finished Beef

 Approximately thirty years ago many ranchers realized the adverse health effects that CAFOs were creating in their animals and the people who consumed the meat.  So instead of sending them away to a CAFO, they started keeping them on pasture until it was time to process them for food.  When animals are raised on pasture the animals grow at a natural pace, consuming only foods that were designed for their bodies.  This low-stress life came with the added benefit of virtually eliminating the use of antibiotics and many other routinely used drugs.  Pasture-based farming allows the animals to express their naturally design characteristics while being naturally healthy.  This means that the people who consume the meat benefit from the animal's health.  How can a sickly animal help us to stay healthy?  We don’t believe that it can.    There have been numerous studies done that compared CAFO meat to grass-fed and grass-finished meat.  They all found that the meat from grass-fed and grass-finished beef, lamb, bison and goats has less total fat including saturated fat, cholesterol and calories.  It also has more vitamin E, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and other health-promoting fats, including omega-3 fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid.  Raising animals on pasture for meat also requires more intimate knowledge of your animal' needs than sending them away when they are weaned from their mothers.  Pastures must be managed so that the plants are always at their optimal growth stage.  This provides nutrient-dense forage.  The attention to pasture management details results in succulent and tender meat for you and our family. Well-stewarded animals raised on high-quality pasture provide the opportunity for us to consume the healthiest meat possible without being concerned about what they were fed and how they have been treated.  In 1998 we made the switch from raising our animals conventionally to raising them following organic principles.  In the coming weeks, we will explore the differences in more detail.  Plus I will have some tried and tested recipes you will be sure to love. If you have been searching for locally raised and processed grass-fed and grass-finished meat raised by caring farmers whom you can talk to in person, you have come to the right place.  Every day our family puts great effort into ensuring our animals are well taken care of.   It is simple to order our grass-fed/grass-finished beef and lamb or pasture-raised pork.   Visit our online store where you can browse our large selection of farm-raised products.  When you are ready to order create your very own personal account, fill your cart, and select your preferred pickup location.  We will notify you when your order is ready to pick up.  It is that easy.  What are you waiting for? To help you get started successfully cooking with our grass-fed, pasture-raised meat you can download our 6 SUPER SIMPLE COOKING METHODS TO ACHIEVE PERFECTION EVERY TIME FROM YOUR PASTURE-RAISED MEATS booklet absolutely free. It is a great resource that you will turn to time-after-time. I know I sure do!