Bindel Farms

  (Spencer, Ohio)
Life on our farm
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Sunset on our farm

 

Here is a sunset I would like share with you which was taken on the farm.

 

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So much to do in so little time!

Can you believe October is almost over and the snow will be here before you know it and we have so much that still needs to be done on the farm.  Some of our projects include a desperately needed expansion on our chick coop so that we may have a place for my expanded flock of chickens.  We will also need to get fencing up and our hoop houses built for the two sows which will be giving birth in about 3 weeks from now.  Also on the list is to repair the 8x8 mobile pig structure.  The breeder pigs were so rough with it this summer that it is at risk of falling over if repairs aren’t carried out soon.

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My life as a farmer!!

After several of my customers mentioned this, I got thinking about how hard I work on the farm and decided to give you an example of my typical day on the farm.

My week days normally starts off when the alarm clock goes off at 5:00 AM and I head out to feed the pigs and chickens their breakfast.  Sometimes it also includes watering if the water troughs are low from night time drinking. 

After feedings are done, I then get ready for work.  Luckily even though I work in an office setting, I am able to wear pretty much anything to work including jeans, tee-shirts, and shorts, so I can go dressed as I am from the farm with the exception of muck boots.  Though, I do end up wearing those to work in the winter. HAHAHA!

The mornings can be pretty hectic here and involves me usually running out the door without breakfast so I can get to work on time. I will normally eat breakfast once I am there at work.

During the day, my wife makes sure the animals have water, especially on hot days.  This usually includes watering 6 or more chicken tractors around her schedule.

Most people come home from work to relax but not me!  I usually come in one door and head out another so I can get busy collecting eggs, feeding, and watering the animals.  This usually takes about an hour or so depending on if I am rushing.  Late fall and winter-times are the worst because of the lack of sunlight and freezing conditions!

Depending on the time of year, and if we have CSA orders going out the next day, Friday nights might also include processing 20 or more chickens but that is normally reserved for Saturday mornings.

Weeding the gardens is also a chore that needs to be fitted in the day's time frame. There are of course other chore and things that need to be done which I don't mention here because they are not done all the time.

After all this is taken care of, usually it is time to make dinner. My wife would make something if she is home from work but that means coming out of a box which I am not cool with eating since we have all this good wholesome food available on the farm.  I am slowly changing her ways on this but it will take time and more persuasion from others.

After dinner, it is usually time to check and respond to emails that I did not get to earlier that day.  Then off to watch a few favorite TV shows before heading to bed around 11 PM to sleep and start the cycle all over again the next day.

It would be great to work on the farm full time but right now it is not possible until we expand our customer base.  That is one of my goals for the farm in the near future!!

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New egg layers arrived today!

Today we are stopping out at the local hatchery to pick up a new batch of heritage layer chicks for our farm for next season.  We have raised all types of chickens in the past but have decided to go with the Rhode Island Reds and Americauana Breeds this year. 

We decided on the Rhode Islands Reds since they are a dual purpose bird and an excellent egg layer.  With feed prices at an all time high, we need a breed that has good laying to feed ratio.  Thew Americauana breed was chosen for their colorful blue/green eggs that they lay.  We figured that it will add a variety of color and interest to our eggs since all of our eggs are different shades of brown right now.

I always like starting chicks in October and growing them over the winter so that by the March arrives, they will be ready to lay and our customers can start to purchase eggs from us around Easter from the new batch of layers instead of waiting until August or September.  This also helps as I like to thin the flock in the winter and soup chickens always sell better in the fall and winter than in the summer.

 
 

Upgraded internet service

Country living has a lot of benefits from city life but it does lack certain amenities that many take for granted.  One of these amenities happens to be the lack of a high speed internet connection in our area.  Until recently, we were stuck with a dial up connection and I don’t have to remind you how bad dial up is.  It was almost impossible to build my websites and post pictures of the farm and it was completely impossible to watch videos or even post videos.  Luckily, we have been able to upgrade with the new installation of a cable line installed in our area by the local cable company. So with the new upgraded service, I will be able to post videos of our farm in the near future.

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Pigs on the loose!!!

Like any other farm across the country, we have occasional stories of animals which have escaped out of there fences.   

One story which comes to mind is the day that I came home and found that all seven 200 pound pigs had escaped and had a field day while I was away.  You don’t know the feeling I felt in my stomach when I noticed that they were not in the pasture where they should have been. After looking around a little, I notice that they were of all places in the neighbor’s garden!!  I was very lucky as it was fall by then and they were finished with their garden.  We are lucky that we get along with our neighbors around us so it was not much of a problem.  Here on the farm, we use electric fencing which works great but we also use wood gates so once the pigs realized that post that held the gate closed was push over, they were out.

It did not take much time for me to get them back to the pasture.  A little feed to entice one pig back and the others followed right behind him.    

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To castrate or not to castrate

To castrate or not to castrate! That is the question I am asking!  The main reason to castrate animals is to prevent breeding or to control male  behavior such as aggression and mating. In this article, I will focus on male pigs also known as boars. The main reason a farmer castrate boars is to prevent what is know as boar taint.  It is said that once a boar reaches maturity, they produce chemicals which makes the meat smell like urine and not taste very well either.  Only 25% of people most of those are women can detect the taste and scent. According to some farmers I have talked to and the articles I have read, this can be prevented almost totally by slaughtering the animal before maturity.  It is also well know that only about 20% of boars have boar taint which means that 80% are fine for eating.  It also depends on the breed of pig, how the pig was raised, and whether it was raised in a calm environment on pastures or a very stressful environment such as in a CAFO.  Their diet also has a lot to do with it according to one farmer I talked to. Whether the pig ate a total corn/soy diet or did his diet have fiber such as grass included in it.  This one farmer has been doing this for years now and rarely if ever did he get tainted meat and he does not castrate any of his boars.  He has raised them past maturity and still did not get boar taint. I also found out that there are many different types of taint such as hormonal, bacterial, and stress which all of them automatically gets associated with the boar taint.  

 

So where am I going with this article.  Up until now I have had all my boars castrated but unfortunately this year, three of them did not get castrated because they escaped at the time. I thought that it would not be a problem but  you will be surprised to find out that there is not a butcher shop in northern Ohio that will be willing to accept the animal for slaughter.  They all refuse to process them claiming boar taint and that the state of Ohio will condemn the animal, if odor is present.  I referenced information that it is a myth and that no pigs raised in European countries are castrated according to all the articles that I have read and it does not seem to change their minds. I guess that this boar taint issue has a lot of uneducated people convinced that since one pig may have it that all pigs will have it.

So this leaves me with two options at hand.  1) Process these three pigs for personal consumption or 2) sell them at market for under the value of what I have in the pig. 

 

So what are your opinions of this issue of boar taint?

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The accident that changed my life!

With the two year anniversary fast approaching, I figure that I will take a little time and tell the story about the accident that changed my perspective on life and taught me to live each day to its fullest because you never know when it is your last day alive.

It all started like every Friday does, I normally go to work and sit around in an office all day.  But that week, I was hit with a nasty stomach bug and by Friday I decided to call the day short and leave work at 11 that morning, heading home to recoup. 

I also decided to take a different route than I normally would figure traffic would not be as heavy that time of day.  Yes, in the country, on some state routes, “country traffic” can be a bit heavy at time.

Well as the story goes, I was traveling at the speed limit of 55 mph when all of a sudden a full size work van turns in front of me into an alpaca ranch’s driveway.  The only things I could do at the time were to slam on the brakes, try to steer around him and the shout out that four letter word! There is no time for my life to flash before me as this all happened with in seconds.  I do remember thinking, why me?  Can’t being sick with stomach cramps be enough.

I don’t remember much of the crash except the loud sound of crumpling metal and the very loud explosion from the air bag.  Mind you this is fall time and I had the window closed at the time.  After the crash, I remember realizing that I had just survived the accident unscathed and decided to exit the vehicle but unfortunately the only way out was to repeatedly kick at the door until it freed up and opened just enough for me to escape. 

I remember that the women at the ranch were very nice and gave me water and a phone to use to call loved ones and tell them that I was involve in a severe crash and would need to be picked up.

Most of the safety personnel, which included the volunteer fire department, on scene could not believe that I walked away from this crash without a scratch on my body. Everyone told me that I was very lucky as I should have been dead or at the very least serious injured and headed to the hospital-not sitting and walking at the scene of the accident. Maybe someone was watching over me, maybe it was just sheer luck, we will never know for sure.

I do remember that the other driver was a 26 year old guy completely stoned out of his mind and I remember he said to me, “Sorry man, I didn’t even see your truck coming towards me.”

You would think the story would end there and everything would be paid for by the insurance companies but that is kind of hard when the other guy was driving a truck that was not insured and you don’t have full coverage on the 14 year old vehicle. Yes, he had personal insurance but the company truck did not as it was suppose to be in storage at the time of the crash.  The guy who really owned the vehicle could have file a stolen vehicle report and sent the kid to jail for both stolen vehicle and of course he went for OVI, but the vehicle owner did not want to, so that made a real mess of tying loose end up and getting paid for my vehicle loss.  That all finally did get taken care of and I was finally paid out of his pocket for the price I was asking for the truck.  But the story does not stop there.

 

One week after the crash, I believe that it was a Thursday, I was headed home and was almost involved in a other accident, this time it was a van driver trying to pass a semi on a the state route just about a mile from the last accident. That was a very close call which left me shaken.  By Friday, on my way back to work, there was almost another accident.  This time another work van had stopped at the intersection and I had the right of way as I did not have to stop, but would you know that he pull right out in front of me and I almost slammed into him again at 55 mph. By Saturday, I was heading to the in-laws house on the same road of the accident and again, this time a car had stopped at the intersection and did the same thing, pulled out in front of me.  If it wasn’t for me swerving into the left lane, I would have t-boned her at 55 mph.  By then, I really started to think that maybe I should have died in the crash.  Who wouldn’t think that? Everyone that I have told this story to always comes back to the movie Final Destination.

As strange as this all sounds, it is the full truth with no elaboration on the details.  They say sometimes truth is stranger than fiction!

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Logo Contest date extended

We have extended our farm logo contest until the end of the year.  The new date is December 31.  We whave done this for several reasons.  One of which, it has been brought to my attention that summer is a very busy time of year for people.  Vacations and other family activities makes it difficult to find time to sit down and create something.  The other reason is that the pork which is the prize won't be ready until mid to late December.  So get your thinking caps on and start creating a logo.  Maybe your design will be the winner.

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