How do we develop and define our agricultural ethics?
Our personal and community values should guide us to develop a business practice that has social and ecological benefits. I emphasized an agricultural business for three reasons. (1) Agriculture is particularly challenged ethically with the inhumane treatment of animals and workers, and the destruction of the soil and the water. (2) Everyone is involved in agriculture as a consumer, retailer, truck driver, taxpayer, etc. If you eat, you are supporting the ethics of the farm and processors that produced that food. (3) I am a farmer.
On Sunday, November 2, 2014, at the Blackwood Educational Land Institute in Hempstead, Tx., I will be leading a round table discussion entitled “Personal and community values drive an organic agricultural business plan” at the Bioneers Conference. We will not limit the talk exclusively to agriculture because all businesses should evaluate their ethics and define their values. Come join me and check out all the other topics and speakers at http://gulfcoastbioneers.org
I believe our health and our existence require we redefine our farming ethics. Let’s do our part of redefining that.
PO Box 271347
Houston, Texas 77277-1347
A lightning strike destroyed two large trees 50 feet from our house and fried our internet modem on Sunday. Pieces of the tree, weighing 50 pounds, were found 25 feet from the trunk, and that piece in my hand was found 75 feet from the center of the strike. Truly awesome. And scary. I did not move the sheep in their electric net fencing that night. They might never get moved again on stormy days.
When life gives you splintered trees, build a split rail fence.
We had a large tree come down just southwest of our house in May after what looked like a twister. Mother nature is not gentle.
It is 94˚ today, but I have told people for some time now that I would do the fall inventory and post it in October and this is it. We sell at the Houston Eastside Farmers Market on the second and fourth Saturdays and the Home Sweet Farm market on the first and third Sundays. We will be open this Saturday until 2:00pm at the farm. Use the contact page to get in touch by appointment. We have only a few trees each year.
Persimmons on d virginiana $40
Pomegranates $30 the pomegranates are temporarily unavailable because a sheep ate all the leaves off them. They will grow back soon.
Pear on calleryana $30
Fig 3 gallon $28
Citrus on trifoliate $42
Arbequina olive $40
Blueberries. Rabbiteye $25 =
Climax 3 Gallon
Tiftblue 3 gallon
Blueberries Southern Highbush 3 gallons $25 very low chill requirements
Muscadines $28 female vines must be planted within 50 feet of a self-fertile vine
Jumbo black female
Carlos bronze self fertile
Cowart black self fertile<a – For care see my fruit tree fertilization schedule
The next grafting class will be Sunday October 26.
Fruit trees and berries are mostly propagated by asexual methods. It is rare to grow these plants from seed. We use grafting, budding, layering, division and cuttings at the farm. Participants will perform a cleft graft, do stem cuttings of figs, & pomegranates, learn leaf & root divisions & tip layering, air layering, and mound layering. Each participant will leave with a tree they graft and the cuttings they have potted. Sunday October 6, 2:00-4:00 at Laughing Frog Farm. $45 Signup for class
Signup for class
Aquaponics is a method of farming fish and produce that can be done in a greenhouse, a garage, or a backyard. I have built systems out of IBC containers for less than $300, that will raise 40 one pound fish and a small bed of vegetables. With this system you can add grow beds to increase the vegetable production. We will discuss the biological system, various systems being used by others, possible fish and other aquatic life, various organic feed options, pumps, stocking rates and growing bed sizes. We will talk about the types of plants that do best, the nutritional information of aquaponic fish and vegetables, types of media for the beds, and what you are eating when you buy grocery store fish. This class is for the backyard aquaponic operator. We will put together an IBC system. This class will come with a complete parts list and written instructions. Workshops begin at 2:00 in the afternoon and will last until about 4:00. The cost is $45 per person. Most of the class is outdoors. Signup for class
This one is over but I will be presenting this class again in the spring.
Sunday, Sept. 28, from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm I will be teaching a class for those that want to farm and want to make money at it. This class will address the planning of a farm business, including setting your goals, writing a business plan, pricing, bookkeeping, merchandising, promotion, funding sources, and resources available from government and private organizations.
Farmers plan to fight the weather and the insects, but it is usually the business side of the operation that causes the most problems. Many do not really know if they are making progress because they have not set solid goals or have not kept competent records. With realistic planning, good records, niche marketing and special products it is possible to make a living farming. Whether you grow an unusual product or a better product, opportunities in the food production business exist. The key is understanding the three legged stool of business– production, marketing and finance. It will always be hard work, but with planning, it can be financially rewarding. Class is from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm and costs $45.00. You can register by email and pay at the event.
We recently rescued a Karakul ram lamb whose mother died. We named him Ali Baba. We have bottle fed him and raised him with the dogs, which the lamb seemed to think was just fine. The dogs never were too excited about having a ram as their colleague. This week we decided to integrate the little ram into the flock of sheep. We figured that he would have a rough time and monitored the situation carefully. He was sad and lonely but the reaction of the other sheep was the surprise. They were fearful. They escaped their electric fences to get away from this little ram. This ram was 30 pounds and the other sheep averaged about 100 pounds. One of the things I like about sheep is that they are creatures of instinct. If you can interpret their instinctual response you will know what they are doing. I never suspected that they would react the same to a little ram lamb as they react to a dog. Sit! Stay! Baa! He is back with the dogs.