Eggs–What’s Going On?

This is going to be a dual purposed post. We’re going to be exploring eggs and the different birds we have who lay eggs as well as their contribution to healthy balanced meal. In light of recent news spreading on social media about all this different food (not just eggs) being recalled due to e. coli or salmonella, I felt there was a need to explore how this happens and why we’re seeing several recalls from pretty large distributors of this food.

Let’s start off light. Eggs are generally fantastic. Different eggs have different nutritional values and although all of the eggs we sell are edible, I do use them for other purposes.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

We’re going to go over chicken, duck, and goose eggs.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Pictured above are the various types of chicken eggs we use and sell from our farm. I love gathering them because they’re just so pleasing to the eye. Aren’t they gorgeous? I cannot get over just looking at them. When I have to cook several I also use as varied colors as possible. It makes no difference in taste. I just can’t help it. I use chicken eggs very frequently. If I am cooking eggs just to eat, this is the egg I use because I am a rare breed of person who cannot handle duck or goose eggs. We’ll go more into that later though. One of my favorite quick meals to do at home is omeletts. We have eggs from our chickens, often homemade cheese, and fresh produce from our garden. So it’s all very quick, delicious, and healthy.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Ducks are fun creatures. We have mostly Pekin and we have two types of layer personalities. We have the “leave them where they drop” layers and the “I might want to be a mother some day, but I’m unsure” layers. Duck eggs that are isolated and/or in weird out in the open areas are the “leave them where they drop.”  The picture above is the “kinda-sorta-maybe-wannabe-mama.” She does what nature says she should do. She gathers the eggs (in this case, a perfect circle) and she gets the eggs dirty to try to blend in with the environment. This is an important task because it allows the eggs to stay camouflaged when the duck leaves to eat, drink, and wash. We have only ever had one broody duck. All of my others, even after beginning what looks like a nest, quit pretty quickly. In fact, my one broody girl isn’t even a Pekin. She is an Appleyard mix. Duck eggs have more nutritional value than chicken eggs. This is how they contrast in daily value percentages (keep in mind, there is no way this can be EXACT because eggs are created in different sizes and sometimes shapes):

Chicken Egg Duck Egg
Iron (mg) .9 (5%) 2.7 (15%)
Phosphorous (mg) 95.5 (10%) 154 (15%)
Zinc (mg) .6 (4%) 1 (7%)
Selenium (mcg) 15.8 (23%) 25.5 (36%)
Vitamin A (IU) 244 (5%) 472 (9%)
Vitamin E (mg) .5 (2%) .9 (5%)
Thiamin/Vitamin B1 (mg) .02 (2%) .1 (7%)
Riboflavin/Vitamin B2 (mg) .2 (14%) .3 (17%)
Vitamin B6 (mg) .1 (4%) .2 (9%)
Folate/Vitamin B9 (mcg) 23.5 (6%) 56 (14%)
Vitamin B12 (mcg) .6 (11%) 3.8 (63%)
Pantothenic Acid/Vitamin B5 (mg) .7 (7%) 1.3 (13%)
Choline (mg)* 126 184
Total Omega-3s (mg)* 37 71.4
Total Protein (grams)* 6.28 8.97

*No current daily value percentage.

Click here to view the nutritional value chart this is adapted from and read further on.

Duck eggs are also great for baking cake and bread items. The extra fat in the yolk and extra protein in the whites help create a fluffier baked good.

Most people who have difficulty consuming chicken eggs can enjoy duck eggs with no issues.

People who are allergic to chicken eggs can sometimes consume duck eggs without problems. This can also be true the other way around. My family loves duck eggs. They are richer and pack more nutrients than chicken eggs. I love them, and although I can and do bake with them, I cannot eat just duck eggs. Within 30 minutes I am severely ill and trying to keep myself hydrated, with no success–if you catch my meaning. It’s very sad.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Goose eggs! These are so cool! They’re huge! They’re around 266 calories per egg, with almost 20 g of protein. And you generally only need one for an omlette.

Now onto a serious topic. April has been hell on recalled food items, including eggs.

We’ve seen it on social media and other resources like the National Food Safety Foundation. The FDA posted details about the egg recall here.

Many people believe that they are less likely to get ill from a store-bought egg than buying from local farms or homesteads. The treatment factory farm eggs and hens is not how we handle our eggs and hens, and with several good reasons.

Just to sum up this article, chicken fecal matter is a huge cause for concern. Birds kept in cages all day, with nowhere to go, end up crapping where they lay. Without proper attention, eggs can be contaminated. Egg shells are porous, but do have a protective bloom. However, if it’s sitting in crap all day, the ammonia will eat through it.

People buy “free range” eggs thinking they’re getting better eggs, but they’re really not. “Free range” is not the same as “pasture raised.” Free range birds have outside access to food and water, but it’s still a relatively small enclosure, shared with hens.

Pasture raised eggs the chickens are actually out and about. We are pasture raised. The hens have shelter, and they use it at night or to lay eggs, but they have free access. We don’t actually lock them up in their enclosures, unless there’s a hurricane coming. They are outside. Although they’re fed and given water, they have access to plants, bugs, small reptiles and amphibians, fish (the ducks and geese hunt and eat these), and leftover produce. They get exercise and have opportunities to socialize with their friends (yes, they have their own groups they hang out with).

Then there’s the cleaning process these industrialized farms use. An egg that has not been sitting in shit all day and has not been washed can stay on the counter for a couple of weeks (they never last that long here–they’re too yummy). They don’t need to be kept cool unless you need to keep them for long-term or you wash that protective bloom off. Factory farms use chemicals, such as chlorine, to “clean” the eggs. This also means, since the shell is porous, that the chemicals then enter the egg as well. During the harsh cleaning process, if the eggs are not totally dry in the end, bacteria thrives and can penetrate the shell as well because the bloom is gone.

We have had an increase of consumers seeking us out to purchase eggs after getting sick from store bough eggs recently. Truth is, most people handle salmonella well if they’re generally healthy. They’ll fall very ill, but most recover. Anyone with compromised immune systems, or the elderly and young, are most affected and can die. Even without salmonella, long-term exposure to the chemicals used in cleaning the eggs from factory farms is harmful. And I cannot imagine any of my birds, even the ones raised for meat, being kept in such harsh and stressful conditions. It’s understood that these birds have a clear purpose for humans, but it does not mean that their lives should be that dreadful. Whether they’re living for eight weeks or five years, it’s unacceptable.

We’re happy to see an increase in others doing their own research and making their own decisions in purchasing food. Knowing where your food comes from is so important. Raising happy and healthy animals, even if it’s just for food, matters.

Want to learn more about the animals we have on the farm? Click out here.

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Refrigerated Ginger Pickled Carrots

We had a reader request to see our recipe for ginger pickled carrots. Truth is, I have two recipes. One is a refrigerated recipe and the other is a canning recipe. Today, we’re going to go over the refrigerated one because:

  1. It’s a great beginner recipe if you’re new to canning and/or pickling.
  2. People who are used to canning can do this if there is no need to make a huge batch.

Although I’m pretty comfortable canning, I do the refrigerated version of this often because the only ones who eat this are my daughter and me and this is something she can easily do with me nearly independently, being that she’s five.

The process is simple and tasty.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

First you’re going to add anise. You can either add two anise stars, or one teaspoon of anise seeds. I opted for the seeds this time because that’s what I had handy, but I LOVE using the stars because they’re appealing to the eye.

Then you’re going to mince four fresh garlic cloves.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Now, this part is completely optional. We do it because we don’t mind the kick (yes, my five-year-old daughter likes a little heat).

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Next, you need to mince ginger. I use about a 2 inch piece, but you can adjust according to your taste here. I chop mine in a Ninja.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Then, you add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes to the jar.

Then you want to peel and slice carrots. Carrots come in different shapes and sizes, so saying exactly how many you put here is just an estimate; this time around, I used six carrots.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Next, you take your carrot tops and either feed them to the chickens, or the pet rabbit.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

You add your carrots. You add a splash of toasted sesame oil, then top everything off with seasoned rice wine vinegar. You let it sit in the fridge for two weeks and then it’s ready to eat.  It’s very tasty and easy to make!

What do you like to can or pickle?

Glorious Ginger

I am not going to lie. I am obsessed with ginger, and not just for its medicinal properties. I. Love. Everything. Ginger. And my family does as well.

I use ginger to make ginger dressing and ginger sauce–you know, the kind they use in Hibachi style restaurants. I use ginger in decoctions and tinctures. I heart candied ginger and I devour ginger pickled carrots. Any chance I get, I add ginger. Did I mention we love ginger?

Nausea and Digestion

Putting the indisputable fact that it possesses the best taste in the world aside, ginger has several properties that are very beneficial in our lives. Many know ginger for its digestive assistance so we will start there. Ginger teas and decoctions are helpful for any type of stomach upset. Chronic issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are also relieved by ginger consumption. It’s a safe way to combat morning sickness while you’re pregnant and motion sickness. Nausea caused by chemotherapy can be treated with ginger, too. Some people use ginger ale for these ailments, but I suggest the tea. Ginger ale tastes great and all, but there are far more cons to drinking pop than your own healthy blend of ginger tea. If ginger tea is too strong, add honey. If adding honey doesn’t help, making a candied ginger to store for just in case can help, too.

Heartburn

Ginger could block heartburn, by stopping the lower esophageal sphincter from loosening, which blocks acid regurgitating back up.

Menstrual Cramping

Ginger is also a great help for menstrual cramping. I like to combine mine with dark chocolate. Don’t knock it till you try it. And stop judging me. It’s amazing.

Anti-Inflammatory

Ginger does so much more though. Ingesting it and using it topically as a salve can assist with arthritis inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties. This also works for inflamed airway passages and can help make breathing more regular. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger can also help treat inflamed skin and help heal rashes and treat acne. Just be mindful if it is too strong as it can irritate your skin.

Circulation

Ginger improves circulation, which is very important for natural energy. It also opens up your vessels and can warm you internally. This is most felt during cold weather.

Cancer

Compound 6-gingerol (known for cancer stopping abilities) is found in raw ginger. It has anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor properties. This can prevent new cancer cells from forming and destroy active cancer cells.

Breath

Ginger cleanses your palette and therefore freshens your breath.

So, there you have it. Ginger is amazing both for taste and its medicinal properties. It’s very easy to grow, I have taken roots from the market and just stick it in the dirt to grow. You can harvest what you need and replant and before you know it you’ll have an abundant supply of this magnificent plant.

If you want to see what else we’re growing on the farm, check out this page.

Interested in continuing your education or career as an herbalist? Check out the Herbal Academy.
Whether you are just getting started in herbalism or have been exploring this natural path for some time, you might realize that there are several directions to take as an herbalist! Perhaps you are interested in opening up an herb shop or selling your own natural body care products. Maybe your passion is for people, and therefore your desire is to become a community herbalist. Or maybe you wish to study herbalism to benefit your own family’s health and wellbeing.
Follow your calling, and match up your personal or career goals with the Herbal Academy’s unique Herbalist Paths. These discounted training packages are designed to help guide you in your journey and your educational needs! Infuse your life with your herbal education when choosing the Family Herbalist Path, prepare for a business start-up in the Entrepreneur Herbalist Path, or learn how to work with clients professionally through the Clinical Herbalist Path.
All Herbalist Paths are offered at a discount and with a payment plan option! Learn more about the Herbal Academy’s programs and paths here.

Meet the Crew!

When we first moved out into the country, I was more excited about the idea of NOT being a part of an HOA than building up a homestead. Before moving out here, we already had a decent hydroponics set up and I was perfectly content with just improving our produce.

We began buying local farm fresh eggs from other homesteaders. If you have never tried a fresh egg versus a grocery store egg, you simply have no idea what you’re missing out on. And if you are anything like me, eggs are life. Fresh eggs turned into fresh eggs AND raw dairy products. Fresh eggs and raw dairy products turned into fresh eggs, raw dairy products, AND homemade goat’s milk soap. You get the idea. When we would go to the market to purchase these weekly needs, we would stop by the local Tractor Supply.

Well, one day they had chicks and ducklings. I HAD to have ducklings. my husband wanted chicks. You had to buy a minimum of two ducklings and/or a minimum of six chicks. We went home, talked about it, then built a brooder for future babies.

Fast forward a couple of years and we went from two ducks and six chickens, to processing meat birds on a consistent basis, ten ducks, several free range (REAL free range) laying hens, a few roosters, four geese, eight goats, and two miniature donkeys. Each animal has a purpose (other than being loved). Here are just a few of our lovely farm members:

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

The geese and their new goslings.

This is Brownie. She is around four years old. We had originally bought her daughter when she was two hours old with the understanding that her daughter would be coming home with us at 6 months old. About a month later, the farm contacted us saying the mother would be for sale and we could go pick them both up that day. We really liked the idea of keeping them together so we picked both of them up that weekend.

This is Merida, Brownie’s daughter. Although she is calming down quite a bit now, she has the complete opposite personality to Brownie’s. Brownie is very reserved, but seeks the attention of those she knows. Merida is very curious about everyone and everything. That may change as she ages, but everyone loves it right now.

Donkeys are sentry animals. Their purpose on the farm is to protect everyone else. Their presence is enough of a deterrent to dogs, coyotes, and bobcats. We haven’t had missing birds since we got them.

And they FREAK out over mice… every mouse the donkeys have seen has been squished.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Some of our birds. This is their favorite hangout place.

Jerky McJerkface Jaime. Jaime and I have a love and hate relationship. This is our oldest accidental rooster. We got him and his sister from a 4H group. He was just done with physical rehab. He actually would have died if nature was allowed to take its course, but the kids were bonded so they tried everything they could and he made it. We were told they were both hens. So, we named on Cersei and this one Jaime because of the limp he had (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones lost his hand and “Jaime” is unisex, so it was perfect). Jaime turned out to be a boy. One day he started crowing. Jaime has these humongous spurs. Around once every three months he bats his wings at me and charges. I just kind of kick him back and he backs up. One day he got me and I responded like I always do. I was irate so I swore a bit and kicked him back. Our normal. Until I started to walk. It’s comical now thinking back on it. I was by myself and when I took a step I wobbled and I said aloud, to myself “That’s not right” and I fell. I looked at my leg and there was a giant pool of blood. I went into the barn and took a minute to mentally prepare myself for what I was about to witness, immediately thinking of all of my first aid equipment I was going to need (it was really starting to hurt at this point). I pulled back my pant leg and it was such an embarrassment. I had the tiniest hole in my knee. He stabbed me! Long story short, it never got infected and I couldn’t alternate steps on the stairs for a month. He is the best rooster for our girls though. I have seen him chase off snakes and squirrels for them and he respects all the other roosters and our male goose. I’m sure part of it is because no one wants to mess with him, but he really is a good jerk rooster.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Meet some of the goats!

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This is Lyris. She was one of our first goats and is a Nigerian Dwarf. She loves to nibble on everything, but is very sweet and loves everyone.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This is Sally, our first goat who is also a Nigerian Dwarf. She is very calm and loves nothing more than to be close to the people she loves.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

I love my Lulu. She is a mini Lamancha (Lamancha mixed with Nigerian Dwarf). She rubs against me and gives me kisses. She is also my best dairy goat. She has a grace with everything. She kids quickly, has never had health issues, has no issues letting people handle her kids. She is great and we love her dearly.

This is Darth Vader, Lulu’s son. We are keeping him for breeding purposes so we don’t have to have some of our girls travel for breeding. He’s very sweet and loves to cuddle.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This is Pixie-Rey, Lulu’s daughter. Our daughter named her Rey (from Star Wars), but I felt like she looked very spritely so she got the name Pixie-Rey. She is dainty, quiet, and loves to be held. She will also be staying with us so we can have alternating milking pairs.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This is Buttercup and she doesn’t sit still for pictures well. She is a mini Nubian (Nubian mixed with Nigerian Dwarf). She is one of our dairy goats, though Lulu has her beat in milk production. Buttercup is more reserved until you’re alone with her on the milk stand. Then she really kind of opens up to whoever is handling her. She loves to have her head scratched.

This is Leia, Buttercup’s daughter. We’re keeping her for future milking. This girl is very attached to me. She cannot stand the others getting love from me and will make every effort to get my attention any chance she gets.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

This handsome boy is Snoopy. He is another one who is very attached to people and he will follow my husband like a dog. I love his coloring and he will be used for breeding as well.

Some of our ducks. Ducks eggs are actually great for baking.

A teacher at my kids’ school hatched eggs and needed to find a new home for her chicks. We took them home.

We love our farm life and I especially love coming home to “work” with the animals. It may be a lot of work, but it is very therapeutic as well.

 

Mullein

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Hi, guys!

Ready to talk about one of my favorite plants in herbal medicine? MULLEIN!

I had posted about mint during a time where my son had some pretty bad congestion. I steeped mint tea for him, but also mixed it with some steeped mullein once the minor congestion turned into an awful cough.

Mullein on its own would have worked, but the mint tea helped with flavor. Mullein is far from the most bitter thing we’ve used (I find it rather mild), but he’s seven and he was sick, so adding something tasty with it made him happy.

This “herb” is actually a weed. There are several types you can find out in the wild, with similar benefits. What’s known as “common” mullein is what we have growing in our garden. It’s a type of mullein that is easy to buy from nurseries due to availability (though not every nursery carries this) and the type most commonly used for its medicinal properties. I have mine confined in a pot right now, but it can spread. I can easily spread these myself in an area and expect success. I can just as easily let nature take its course and expect to see some growing here and there (ground, adjacent pots, etc). I’m waiting for the day one accidentally makes it onto our hydroponic deck. It happened once with some random nightshade that decided to take residence where a bell pepper was supposed to grow. Nature always wins.

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Photographed by Amanda Harman

Bronchial Tract

Mullein is one of my absolute favorites because it’s awesome for cold and flu seasons. Actually, it’s pretty phenomenal for most bronchial problems where the biggest need is to really knock out that congestion and phlegm nastiness. Mullein is an anti-inflamatory, which can assist with inflammation in the chest, throat, and sinus areas. Many herbs and plants possess this characteristic. What makes mullein different from some is that it’s also an expectorant. A medicine or herb that’s an expectorant helps with coughs. An expectorant helps get rid of what’s called sputum, which is a combination of phlegm and spit that you cough up when you’re sick. This is very beneficial because the more time phlegm is stuck in there, the higher risk you have of it turning into an infection. Another awesome fact is that mullein doesn’t have sedative properties. If you want relief, but still need to be on the go, this is a very helpful plant.

Nose and Throat

Mullein is anticatarrhal, which means it aids in the breaking up of mucous in the nose and throat. I’m going to be gross so bear with me. The way this works is that it makes mucous a thinner liquid so that it’s easier for your body to get rid of it. It’s gross, but it does work. You begin draining, and that’s pretty disgusting, but you know what Shrek says: “Better out than in!” This is a great trait to share with being an expectorant.

How to Use It

It’s most often steeped into a tea. I find the taste is not as overwhelming as other medicinal plants can be. When I get headaches from pressure and congestion I often steep this with white willow bark (DO NOT CONSUMER WHITE WILLOW BARK IF YOU CANNOT HAVE ASPIRIN; DO NOT GIVE TO CHILDREN). I find for mild cases of a cold I drain for about a day (without drowsiness unless I’m seriously ill) and then bounce back about the second or third day. Here and there while letting the cold run its course I’ll feel a little run down, but the discomfort from the colds are greatly lessened and I notice the cold doesn’t often progress into something more severe, like an infection. There are those who smoke dried mullein leaves. Everything I have researched states it is quite effective. I have not tried it yet, but I will update the day that I do.

Interested in continuing your education or career as an herbalist? Check out the Herbal Academy.
Whether you are just getting started in herbalism or have been exploring this natural path for some time, you might realize that there are several directions to take as an herbalist! Perhaps you are interested in opening up an herb shop or selling your own natural body care products. Maybe your passion is for people, and therefore your desire is to become a community herbalist. Or maybe you wish to study herbalism to benefit your own family’s health and wellbeing.
Follow your calling, and match up your personal or career goals with the Herbal Academy’s unique Herbalist Paths. These discounted training packages are designed to help guide you in your journey and your educational needs! Infuse your life with your herbal education when choosing the Family Herbalist Path, prepare for a business start-up in the Entrepreneur Herbalist Path, or learn how to work with clients professionally through the Clinical Herbalist Path.
All Herbalist Paths are offered at a discount and with a payment plan option! Learn more about the Herbal Academy’s programs and paths here.