At Home in Nature

  (Agate, Colorado)
TwoInTents Blog
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Edible and Medicinal Nature Tour!

On December 8, TwoInTents will leading a nature tour of the wild edible and medicinal plants of the I-70 Corridor in Bennett, Colorado. You can feed your family all year long with what nature provides; we always have enough. Please RSVP at 720-833-8795.

 
 

Tire bales make great shelters!

We have built three new shelters in two days out of tire bales!
 
Each tire bale weighs 2,000 pounds, meaning that it not only provides excellent heat absorption during the daytime (keeping animals warm at night), but also that it recycles that much waste.  We are building multispecies shelters so that our animals may be better housed together, and besides 30 tire bales per shelter, scrapwood, recycled tarps and other recycled materials are put to use reducing our costs of production (making food, fiber and other anima products cheaper for people).  More than 70,000 pounds of waste are recycled in every pen.
 
The tire bales are engineered to withstand more than 60,000 pounds of force in any direction, making them the new, hottest material in civil engineering!  The tire bales require a bobcat to move, which is very hard on the soil of the animal pens.  Luckily, we rotate pens, reclaiming them between uses, so that our animals always have good turf to walk on.
 
Though recycling is big money, agriculture is always on the forefront of the industry, developing low-tech methods of recycling.  However, low-tech often inspires high-tech, and we understand that tire bales are going out of style as higher uses for the old tires are found: a new machine just invented will allow recyclers to earn nearly $10 per tire by converting the tire into diesel fuel (about 1.5 gallons per tire), scrap steel (more than a pound per tire) and also carbon black.  That's about 23 times more value per tire than baling them!
 
And baling the tires is about 4.5 times more value than loose tires (which we also use on our farm).  Technology improves, and suddenly, the recycled material which farmers could get for free is rendered into products envied by civil engineers and becomes beyond their ability to buy.  Luckily, there's more kinds of rubbish than tires, and the farmer will find new materials to use: there's always new forms of junk.
 
 

Le Menu (what's available to order?)

Hello from your favorite farm in Agate!

This week we are building up pens out of tires that were donated. This recycling puts tons of waste to productive use, and is sanctioned and encouraged by the EPA. While we do use loose tires, we have just recieved compressed "tire bales," each one weighing about 2,000 pounds. Luckily, the weather's been nice and warm. We are building two shelters inside every pen: one for large or medium sized quadrapeds, and one for birds (usually ducks and chickens). We mix different kinds of seeds in our fields because biodiversity results in greater health and production for our plants. The same is true for our animals. With our plants, biodiversity allows predators to live in our field, and defend our plants, their shelter-homes. It also improves soil microflora, allowing the microorganisms to keep each other in check and not cause disease. With our animals, the birds (who are free to roam, but usually stay at home - except for a few of them) help reduce insects and other pests in the pens, and in numerous other ways keep our quadrapeds safe and sound. In return, the larger quadrapeds keep our birds safer from hawks, feral cats, foxes and other predators, and our medium - sized quadrapeds keep the birds warm at night (a goat is a very warm body in the coop in winter, and produces more heat and better heat than an electric heat lamp or fire). Our animals are so happy at home that we can leave our gates open and our cattle do not even wander out the door: a safe, clean pen with plenty of high quality food and fresh water, adequate shelter and friends (of the same and other species) is a great place to be. Better than the vegetable gardens we plant right on the other side of the fence!

NEW THIS WEEK:
*** Turkey from Thomas Farms, also in Elbert County, a partner farm of Two In Tents. Their birds are naturally and compassionately raised by an ambitious young farmer, still in grade school. Choose white or dark meat to be added to your regular box! Or the whole bird. We are out of turkey right now, but highly suggest trying Thomas Farms turkey.
*** Goat and beef from Albrecht Ranch, also in Elbert County, a partner farm of Two In Tents. Their goat and beef is naturally and compassionately raised by an ambitious young farmer, just out of college. Choose your cut, or get quarters or halves or whole animals in your regular box. We are running low on goat and beef right now, but are proud to work with Albrecht Ranch while our animals do their best to grow up.

READY FOR THE COOK:
Mushroom stuffing - - - Inspired by seeing some beautiful wild oyster mushrooms dried on the tree while out on a walk (they were a little far gone, but the farm-raised articles are still good!). Includes portabello and oyster mushrooms (dry) with wheat and a delicious bean mix, seasoned with pine, cottonwood and rose hips.

Goat rib soup - - - Chevon in the pot with mushrooms, wheat and barley makes for a hearty dinner.

December rose hip tea - - - rose hips, pine needles and cottonwood. This will perk you up, a warm drink on a cold night.

~~~BEANS~~~
Anasazi
Black
Black eyed peas
Canellini
Cranberry
Fava
Jacob's Cattle
Kidney
Lentil
Mung
Pinto
Soldier Beans

~~~EGGS~~~
Next harvest estimated in Spring

~~~FRUIT~~~
Next harvest, estimated in Summer

~~~FLOWERS~~~
Winter bouquets

~~~GRAIN~~~
Barley
Oats
Sunflower
White Wheat

~~~MEAT~~~
Goat
Beef

~~~MEDICINAL HERBS AND TEAS~~~
Pine needles (delicious, nutritious, revitalizing!)
Rose Hips (delicious, vitamin C)
Thistle Root (supports liver)
Winter willow, aspen and poplar (antiinflamatory, powerful painkiller - use like aspirin)

~~~MUSHROOMS~~~
Dried portabello
Dried oyster

~~~VEGETABLES~~~
Mung bean sprouts (early harvest - warm winter!) - planted only upon demand
Coming soon: spinach! Just sprouting.

~~~WILD HARVESTS~~~
Dock Seed
Cottonwood
Tags:
 
 

contest from the fallowfield art, craft and technology guild

AGATE -- A new Fallowfield Art, Craft and Technology Guild is already planning five contests to assist in recruitment, with cash and other prizes. A fine arts competition using recycled materials, a culinary arts competition using pine needles, a motion picture competition for musicians, actors and other performance artists, an alpaca fiber competition for crafters and a dam designing competition for technological scientists. Contact Aaron Brachfeld at 303-335-9952 or brachfeldbrachfeld-AT-gmail-DOT-com for more information, or for an entry application. 

The FACT Guild is forming as part of the Brachfeld Corp.’s recycling efforts. “We seek to empower local artisans in ensuring that agricultural recycling efforts (which are encouraged by the laws of Colorado) are undertaken tastefully and beautifully,” explained Aaron Brachfeld, President of the Brachfeld Corp. “This way, the walls, pens, and numerous agricultural structures of participating farms and ranches may serve not only the economic and practical needs of agriculture, but serve to inspire greatness within the community. Recycling is a thing which must occur. It is undertaken for the benefit of nature and for the economy of the public which cannot afford fantastic trash bills. Agricultural industry can make better use of most trash than any other industry, transforming waste products into lower food prices, affordable medicine, inexpensive fuel, and quality clothing for the poor. We can no longer afford to throw away the greater part of our wealth and it is fitting that our community’s artists should direct this necessary effort.”

The first meeting of the Guild is scheduled for December 10 at the Brachfeld facility in Agate, Colorado, but a second meeting on December 17 will be held in the Denver area.

You can read more at http://twointents.blogspot.com/2011/11/contest-from-fallowfield-art-craft-and.html

 
 

Pumpkins are thoughtful and whistful foods

We are still going through halloween pumpkins, and the birds and goats share them well.  The birds like the seeds and goop best, and the goats like the rinds best.  Nobody likes the stems.  When we were working our ox, Macaucau, he was sorely tempted by the pumpkin storage area when he caught a glimpse of what was inside.  But he kept working, good ox.  Tom and Izzy just stare at the pumpkin storage area almost all day, making thoughtful and whistful noises.  We have in the past given them more, but they are actually very full.  Just thoughtful and whistful.
 
 

Alpaca and Llama cooperative forming!

AGATE, COLORADO - A Fallowfield Alpaca and Llama Cooperative for alpaca and llama farmers and ranchers is being organized that will help members earn more from their animals.  Organizers hope that at the same time they may improve affordability and quality for buyers by helping alpaca and llama farming become more efficient.
 
"Alpaca fiber is a superior fiber, and llamas provide an excellent draft or pack animal; there is no shortage of demand.  However, alpaca fiber and llamas are typically too expensive for most consumers because of tremendous costs of production.  But these costs can be reduced through cooperation," said Mary Choate, of TwoInTents farm.
 
One class of membership will be offered.  "Producers will be able to contribute money, or items in kind such as crias or adult animals, feed, labor or fiber in exchange for shares in the revenues and discounts as buyers.  Buyers will recieve discounts on already discounted group-bought needs (such as crias, adult animals, feed, labor and veterinary care) based on their amount of ownership.  Revenues from sales will be divided by ownership," explains Choate.  By combining resources and teaming with other cooperatives, FALC may be able to reduce costs of production to near-zero amounts. 
 
But FALC will also have community service aspects that differentiate it from a simple buy/sell cooperative.  "We will be donating some of what we produce - raw fiber, blankets, clothing and even animals - to charities, and directly to the working poor, the sick, the elderly and others in need.  This is not only good for the community we are a part of, but it makes good fiscal sense as well."
 
Organizational meetings are scheduled through the end of the year, and the cooperative is expected to begin operations in January 2012.  Farmers interested in becoming founding members may contact Mary Choate at TwoInTents farm, twointents-AT-gmail-DOT-com
 
 

Assembly line farms

Jethro Tull admired one of his neighbors who, not being able to afford horses or oxen or even a plow, took a shovel to the aisles of his cabbage field.  A small field well tilled produces more profit than a large field poorly tilled, and organizing your land - whether it is as small as a patio or as large as several hundred acres - so that you can do your work well is important.  This concept was inspirational to Henry Ford, the manufacturer, who made a new “mass production theory.”  This theory was quickly applied to farming, through the development of tractors and large feed lots. 

However, since Ford, a new “Assembly Line” theory has been developed by leaders such as Edward Demming.  One practical application of Assembly Line Theory may be made to the keeping of animals.  If animals are looked at as sources of manure for the fields (though they usually contribute more than that to the farm!), you would want to organize your fields to be as close to your pens as possible, organizing pens and fields against the same gate and against the same driveway.  Instead of having large pastures and large fields which are easily worked by an expensive tractor designed to easily convey the manure from the pastures to the fields, an alternative is to have numerous small pens (with a handful of animals) and numerous small fields, easily worked by hand.

A further advantage is in disease control.  If one pen gets an infection, it will not likely spread to another pen.  Because manure may so easily and quickly moved from the pen to the field and turned into the aisles, pens stay cleaner: the same farmer who would need to take a wheel barrow 500 feet will have, in the course of 10 pen cleanings, traveled over 3/4 mile further than a farmer who has to only carry the manure 50 feet, saving 3-5 hours of work, long enough to clean a small pen some 6-10 times.  While a farmer may need to make rounds to the animals over further distance, organizing the pens against a driveway in a line reduces this time: feed, water and other provisions are easily provided for along the line, and may even be stocked near to the area of manure production.

Tractors and other equipment are expensive, and while the costs don’t usually outweigh the benefits, the fields may be adapted to facilitate a tractor, with small pens located throughout a field and large connections between fields that can actually be cultivated as well, and if the farmer wishes to drive a truck to care for the animals, a dirt track can be maintained along the line of pens.  A disadvantage to the system is that it requires many more hundreds of feet in walls and fences, and numerous more shelters, but if the farmer is using recycled materials, this results in no actual increase in cost and the line may be built easily. 

A farm assembly line appears in many respects to resemble numerous microfarms, but coordinated to conserve waste.  In most cases, assembly lines are very efficient with labor, so much so that robotics and other mechanization popular with mass production are less efficient than human hands.  As Jethro Tull noticed, the cabbage farmer with the shovel was producing superior work and profit, but the shovel was not adapted to a large field.  We see today that a city garden is more fruitful than some of the best farmland in the exurbs and rural lands.  A farmer needs a large field, but organizing it to accommodate the shovel instead of the plow is smart work.

The system can be scaled back if labor is lacked, and when it is scaled up, a payrolled farm worker or a very used tractor, or an ox and plow may be acquired so that greater revenues are earned from their work than expended upon them.

 
 

Wanda the chicken feeling better, cages and cruelty

After a week of recovery, Wanda is fully recovered.  Her leg, broken mysteriously, has healed straight and she is putting her full weight on it again.  The most difficult part of her adventure?  Being restrained for a week in cage (she is used to being free on the range). 

At least a human can be told why they are being cooped up, and can even help with their own recovery by taking medicine, doing what doctors order, or even laying still.  Confinement for an animal - even for medical reasons - is difficult because they do not understand.
 
It's a time to thoughtfully reflect on how many chickens spend their lives in smaller cages than what she was kept in, and die from lack of veterinary care.  But it is also a time to reflect how, when free, most of our birds prefer the pens we make for them so they're safe. 
 
The fine line between cruel restraint and providing safe places is made by the intention of the fence or wall or cage: is it for the animal's benefit, or for the human's?  Sometimes we all need restrained so our bodies can heal, sometimes even a person needs to be protected from themselves when they are sick or hazardous to themselves or others.
 
 

19 tons of hay per acre

Alternative crops are sometimes better.  Who would turn down 19 tons of hay per acre, if it were more nutritious than grass, 10% protein, and required almost no care except harvest? 

Think cottonwoods.  They even have high palatability. 

Tags:

Need a free dam or windbreak?

As a non-profit, we are happy to help anyone (anywhere in the US or world) who wants to bring their dry, seasonal or active creeks to greater fertility!  Dams and windbreaks are inexpensive to construct, and the extra water can allow for tremendous quantities of human or animal food, or even speciality crops.  Contact Aaron, at 303-833-8795, or at twointents-AT-gmail-DOT-com
 
 

Happy America Recycles Day!

Today is America Recycles Day!  How are you celebrating? 
 
 
Here's the official presidential proclamation!
 
Presidential Proclamation--America Recycles Day
AMERICA RECYCLES DAY, 2010
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION
Each small act of conservation, when combined with other innumerable deeds across the country, can have an enormous impact on the health of our environment.  On America Recycles Day, we celebrate the individuals, communities, local governments, and businesses that work together to recycle waste and develop innovative ways to manage our resources more sustainably.
Americans already take many steps to protect our planet, participating in curbside recycling and community composting programs, and expanding their use of recyclable and recycled materials.  Recycling not only preserves our environment by conserving precious resources and reducing our carbon footprint, but it also contributes to job creation and economic development.  This billion-dollar industry employs thousands of workers nationwide, and evolving our recycling practices can help create green jobs, support a vibrant American recycling and refurbishing industry, and advance our clean energy economy.
While we can celebrate the breadth of our successes on America Recycles Day, we must also recommit to building upon this progress and to drawing attention to further developments, including the recycling of electronic products.  The increased use of electronics and technology in our homes and society brings the challenge of protecting human health and the environment from potentially harmful effects of the improper handling and disposal of these products.  Currently, most discarded consumer electronics end up in our landfills or are exported abroad, creating potential health and environmental hazards and representing a lost opportunity to recover valuable resources such as rare earth minerals.
To address the problems caused by electronic waste, American businesses, government, and individuals must work together to manage these electronics throughout the product lifecycle -- from design and manufacturing through their use and eventual recycling, recovery, and disposal.  To ensure the Federal Government leads as a responsible consumer, my Administration has established an interagency task force to prepare a national strategy for responsible electronics stewardship, including improvements to Federal procedures for managing electronic products.  This strategy must also include steps to ensure electronics containing hazardous materials collected for recycling and disposal are not exported to developing nations that lack the capacity to manage the recovery and disposal of these products in ways that safeguard human health and the environment.
On America Recycles Day, let us respond to our collective responsibility as a people and a Nation to be better stewards of our global environment, and to pass down a planet to future generations that is better than we found it.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim November 15, 2010, as America Recycles Day.  I call upon the people of the United States to observe this day with appropriate programs and activities, and I encourage all Americans to continue their recycling efforts throughout the year.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.
BARACK OBAMA
 
 

Louie the alpaca-duck

Louie the alpaca has made good friends with the ducks.  Perhaps he is spending too much time with the ducks... he is splashing in mud puddles, and when we refill the duck ponds, he likes playing in the hose water, diving through the stream.  When the ducks think its time for a swim, so does Louie. 
 
 

Le Menu (what's available to order?)

The wind and cold snow blows, but it's warm and dry inside.  In the winter it's easy to forget just how many delicious greens are available.  This week, try our fresh sprouts with some wild greens, sip pine tea by your fire while reading your favorite book.
 
NEW THIS WEEK:
*** Mung bean sprouts
 
READY FOR THE COOK:
Wild sprout stir fry mix-in - - - a mix of sprouts, seasonal herbs, organic olive oil and your choice of extra mushrooms, beef or goat.  Just add to your favorite pasta, and cook according to the directions.
 
Pine and willow tea - - - how wonderful this is by a warm fire on a cold night!  Refreshing at the end of a day.
 
~~~BEANS~~~
Anasazi
Black
Black eyed peas
Canellini
Cranberry
Fava
Jacob's Cattle
Kidney
Lentil
Mung
Pinto
Soldier Beans
 
~~~EGGS~~~
Next harvest estimated in Spring
 
~~~FRUIT~~~
Next harvest, estimated in Summer
 
~~~FLOWERS~~~
Winter bouquets
 
~~~GRAIN~~~
Barley
Oats
Sunflower
White Wheat
 
~~~MEAT~~~
Goat
Beef
Pork
 
~~~MEDICINAL HERBS AND TEAS~~~
Pine needles (delicious, nutritious, revitalizing!)
Rose Hips (delicious, vitamin C)
Thistle Root (supports liver)
Winter willow, aspen and poplar (antiinflamatory, powerful painkiller - use like aspirin)
 
~~~MUSHROOMS~~~
Dried portabello
Dried oyster
 
~~~VEGETABLES~~~ 
***Mung bean sprouts (early harvest - warm winter!)
Coming soon: spinach! Just sprouting.
 
 ~~~WILD HARVESTS~~~
Dock Seed
Cottonwood

FREE event: Let's make blankets!

On December 10, 2011, from 10 until 2, we'll be making alpaca blankets, felt and other warm clothing out at the farm!  The blankets, felt and other warm clothing will be given freely to the working poor, the elderly, the sick and others in need.   Come learn a new skill or practice your art while helping your community! More information, call 720-833-8795
 
 

100,000 pounds of rubbish and counting

We are using recycled materials to construct windbreaks, animal pens, animal shelters and more!  Check it out on youtube...

 http://youtu.be/-1sV2PKEup8

 
 
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