Thursday, November 29, 2007

Canadian Shopper

Deals this week for those who live in Canada:

- Superstore has their $30.00 off with a $250.00 purchase order.

- Sobey's is offering a $20.00 gift card with a $100.00 order.

Just in time for Christmas!

- And I noticed that "The Nosegay" just off Broadway (Broadway & 9th)in Saskatoon, SK. is advertising 1/2 off of cut flowers each Friday afternoon after 2:00 PM.
Go ahead, spread some cheer!

A Gift for You

The new book"Passionate Housewives Desperate for God" by Jennie Chancey & Stacy McDonald has been on my wishlist since it's debut. I've also been interested in a subscription to Homeschooling Today magazine. Now, we can get both for the price of a subscription only. What a gift!

Go to Homeschooling Today to claim your own gift of "Passionate Housewives Desperate for God" with a new or renewal subscription to the magazine. Subscribe before December 24.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Farming in the Freezing Cold

Living, as we do, in Canada, we face farming in the freezing cold. This week we're experiencing below-normal temps and having kept our older laying hens longer than usual to supply our growing market demand, we are now experiencing the difficulties of winter. Our little coop is not insulated, therefore not winter-proof. We keep our larger young layer flock in an insulated barn where they easily keep each other warm.

The water, in the coop where the senior layers live right now, is easily kept thawed using an electric heat tape. The chickens keep each other warm enough to survive, but their laying production rates definitely go down if the temperature in their coop gets too low. In addition, the eggs need to be collected every hour or two if we hope to salvage any because they freeze and crack allowing contaminents into the egg and rendering them inedible for human comsumption.

Thankfully, most of our senior layers have found retirement homes on various local acreages. A few remain, headed for the stew pot or an unfortunate demise with the local friendly fox that's been lurking around...maybe they'll help us snare the fox?! Better to catch one now than six in spring!! Can't let those critters multiply around a chicken farm...been there, done that! Not pretty!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Labels on Product

This week we faced the challenge of finding out that we will need to get new labels for our eggs. We cannot use the word "natural" to label our eggs ... unless we also have the dislaimer somewhere on the carton stating "all eggs are natural". How silly is that? We had chosen the label "Sunview Acres All-Natural Eggs" to put on our label because, you see, we are also no allowed to use the word organic in any way unless we go through the expense of certification. That is not really an option for us as we intend to remain a small operation.

Where has free enterprise gone to in this country? Since when can anyone have a moratorium on the english language?

Which words would communicate to the consumer the top quality of our eggs? Any ideas?
If you have a suggestion, please post a comment. Much appreciated.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Tips to Save Money

Being a good steward of all that God has blessed us with is an integral part of a Christian's life. Crystal at Biblical Womanhood Online and through her blog, Money Saving Mom,
shares many ideas that can help us reach the goal of good stewardship.

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Friday, November 16, 2007

Pictures of Wood Crafts & Gifts

A set of the cedar nativity ornaments made by our boys using a scroll saw. They are also nice as a holiday ornament hung in a vehicle on the rear-view mirror.

A testimony of Jesus, the Reason for this Season.

Pyrography, or better known as wood burning, has been a new interest this year and quite a common interest it is. We found that out when we went to purchase a quality "Razertip" wood burning tool at Lee Valley - they had sold 4 just that morning and we had to wait to get one ordered in. Wow!

For these frames, the boys have used character qualities, depicting animals that demonstrate them and a Bible verse that encourages us unto Godliness.

Gift tags cut from veneer business cards, pyrographed & cut (we cut the hole later with a hole punch). The business cards can be bought at Lee Valley as well, 50 for $3.25.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dreams DO Come True

We have a current wonderful success story to share about small farming:

July ’07 Dad came HOME. Praise Jesus! A dream come true for us. Our six boys will be able to learn from their Dad how to be men of God.

How? A small organic layer flock and a few cherries and … pasture raised poultry! Yup, that did it. We’ve been working towards full-time farming for seven years now – starting with 25 layer hens in 1999 (one of our ds came down with Type I Diabetes & we wanted organic for our family then realized there were others wanting the same). It grew to 70 hens the next year, then 100 and in 2001 we built a bigger barn to house our regulation limit of 300 (with 2 sq.ft./bird).

In 2003, we were found lacking – we needed to grade/candle in a REGISTERED & Federally INSPECTED facility in order to sell in the stores we were selling in (a sad, jealous person reported us based on a 75 yr. old by-law … not that our Canadian Food Inspection Agency really minded our prior set-up, but they had to pursue the complaint…btw, this only served to secure our market as we took up the challenge and set-up the regulation facility … in a little storage shed we had on the yard).

We are NOT certified organic – the cert. officer suggested because of our small numbers we should remain “transitional organic” which is not a special certification just that we treat the birds/eggs like organic in all ways. We call our eggs, “All-Natural”.

Our market continues to grow and though we choose to stay within the 300 layer quota, we’ve found a way to circumvent the law – legally. We have off-farm growers contracted to produce eggs for us – they feed the same feed we do and treat their birds the same etc. We buy, clean, grade, pack & market all the eggs. We’re now selling 425 dz. to steady markets weekly.

Last summer our flock suffered at the same time our off-farm producer’s were in flock change – for three months we could not supply the local demand (we supply six Health-Food stores & three restaurants in our local urban center, Saskatoon, SK. – pop. 250,000). Through this time, the retailers brought in certified organic eggs from out of province and when we were ready with new supply, our market was ready, waiting & growing!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two years ago, we started with the pasture-raised poultry too. Last year we sold 550 birds and again the same this year (we tried more, but had many losses). Next year, we expect do have more with dh being home full-time – the demand is certainly out there! The profits this year went to our oldest three sons, ages 17, 14, 12.

We have also begun a Saskatchewan Cherry orchard – being one of the first local sour cherry orchards in production, we picked, pitted and sold 1500 lbs. this year @ $4.00/lb. I also used these cherries in baking which we sold alongside the frozen pitted cherries at our local farmer’s market as part of the “education/publicity” of our amazing “prairie cherries”.

This year dh was down-sized at work & offered a small severance. It was better than getting nothing & quitting to go full-time farming, so he decided to step-out in faith. With six sons to raise, his heart was at home already anyway. The boys all want to farm with their dad, the plan being for each of them to own/manage one venture while helping with the whole business. To date, in these four months, the farm has been our sole income since July – all bills up-to-date – the severance pay still socked away for emergencies … and we bought a $5000 farm truck (pd. Cash). I share these details to show it is possible to live THE LIFE.

We are just now reading through the Joel Salatin books: “Family Friendly Farming” (which affirmed our beliefs/convictions exactly) and currently reading the “Pastured-Poultry Profits”. Though we are already going the Salatin route, he offered many tips to stream-line the process and add to the whole picture.
(I read-aloud to dh & three oldest. The interest is common among us all and it sure benefits family unity … brainstorming, being on the same page etc.) With time, we hope to pursue passive income streams, but for now the farm is our home, our base, that which keeps our hands busy & provides the income.

We will buy the Salatin books, but we have been reading these books from the local library (brought in through inter-library loan) – saves $$ to begin.

Maybe our story will be an encouragement – follow your dreams!

In Christ,

Darlene Klassen & Family
...who are all enjoying living THE LIFE!

To GOD be the Glory!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Handmade Gifts

My love of crafts has passed along to my ... boys?! Yes,BOYS! They do crafts their way ... mostly with sticks and stones, metals & ... bones? Yes, that too(Antlers etc.). They make me so proud! But, before I fall(Proverbs 16:18) I must redirect the glory for all ingenuity and talent back to their Father in Heaven Who has gifted them with everything, in fact their every breath. And I ... am blessed to be their mother.

In past years, wood has been their medium of design. Using a scroll saw they have cut many intricate nativity ornaments using teak. (Look for pictures - I'll post them another day). This year they are making more of those ornaments, this time out of aromatic cedar which has beautiful qualities of color and aroma, but the disadvantage of being a little more fragile. They are hoping to sell sets of these (in fives) nicely packaged in an organza sachet or as singles (the individual ornaments are also VERY nice to hang on the rear-view mirror in vehicles).

Which reminds me, they're also using the tiny scrap pieces to make aromatic cedar sachets - packaged in smaller organza bags.

A new interest for them this year is pyrography, better known as wood-burning. They have literally spent hours with this new hobby making beautiful picture frames, name frames, artfully decoating wooden spoons, transforming veneer business cards into holiday gift tags and gift cards ... the ideas are endless. The pleasures are worthy. The work is purposeful.

I'll let you know how their first sales transpire at my Craft Table on Saturday! Then we'll try other venues ... maybe an Esty shop?

In all we do, we try to honor our Lord - most often best done by quoting His Word in art as well as in voice. God's Word will not return void. We believe that and stand on that truth to send out His Word through the work of our hands.

Ah, the benefits abound: the boys are busy - purposefully, entrepreneurially occupied (hoping to pay off the wood-burning tool with their proceeds), the Word is being planted in their hearts first as they seek it out & then burn it into the wood and again as it goes forth through sales or as gifts.

This Mama heart is blessed, humbled, thankful,

Monday, November 12, 2007

Are You Ready for ... THE SHOUT?

The rapture is the next great event in God's kingdom fulfillment.
Are you ready to fly?

1 Thess. 4:16 "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a SHOUT, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord." (emphasis mine)

Everyone's invited on this trip free of charge... "Whosoever will may come":

John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."