Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm (pronounced: fruu-lings-cab-ee-na)
Our mission is to live our lives to the fullest by learning traditional skills and techniques in homesteading, farming, and animal husbandry. We plant our garden with all heirloom and organic varieties and use organic, pesticide-free methods of pest control. We raise our animals without the use of antibiotics, hormones, or pesticides and work to raise healthier, stronger examples of their breeds through selective breeding and natural feeding. Every project we attempt is done so with thought towards our mission and using as many recycled materials as possible.
We compile everything we have learned to this website, whether successful or unsuccessful, in order to provide an example of a small farm in its beginnings and to connect with others of like-mind from around the world.
Our farm started, and ran for three years, as a backyard project on a rented quarter-acre lot. We accomplished many goals and proved it could all be done in a small space and on property we did not even own. Now that we have purchased and moved to our own 4.5 acre property, we can further expand and keep the dream of self-sufficiency alive and prospering.
Our Permaculture Garden
Our new garden-in-the-making will be a hügelkultur garden using a German method of creating mounded, raised beds using wood as a core for nutrients and water retention. Hügelkultur beds are built using wood logs, branches, yard debris, compost, soil, and straw layered to make tall hills ready to plant in. This method of gardening is often used in permaculture because a well-built hügelkultur can retain enough water to hydrate plants for months at a time without water input.
Crops we grow: shiitake mushrooms, pomegranate, artichoke, apple, almond, beets, eggplant, cabbage, broccoli, paprika peppers, bell peppers, spinach, Brussels sprouts, butternut squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, persimmon, zucchini, ground cherries, blueberries, potatoes, basil, cilantro, carrots, tomatoes, peas, bush beans, rhubarb, turnips, leek, onions, garlic, various other herbs, chicory, cantaloupe, watermelon, black oil sunflower seeds, and more!
We have transitioned our livestock from commercial pellet feed to a completely natural diet. During the cool months, our rabbits receive 6% of their body weight in sprouted fodder, free-choice hay, and a 1/4 cup of black oil sunflower seeds every day. During the warm months, our rabbits eat a diet of barley grain, oats, black oil sunflower seeds, free-choice hay, and foraged fresh weeds/greens.
Our laying chicken hens receive 3-4% of their body weight in sprouted fodder, free-choice grit, free-choice calcium supplement (oyster shell), and free-range every day.
All of our animals are on a seasonal diet (grains in the winter and sprouted fodder in the summer). Cool weather is perfect for sprouting fodder for the rabbits and chickens while warm weather makes sprouting anything nearly impossible. The main sprouting grains used for livestock –barley, oats, and wheat– are temperature sensitive in their growth. Any temperature outside of 65-75*F will stunt the growth of the sprouts or even foster an environment for mold.
Sprouting fodder takes the idea of sprouting and lets the grain grow until its peak nutrition, right before the sprout gets its second leaf at around 8 days. This amplifies the grains natural proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymatic activity, omega 3s, amino acids, and natural hormones. We can give our animals the great nutrition of being on pasture, without needing the space.
On average, one pound of dry grain grows into six pounds of sprouted fodder in eight days. That means that we can turn a 50-pound bag of barley seed, that costs $14.50, into over 300-pounds of food for our livestock! It certainly doesn’t hurt that the animals love it.
Many people ask us about preventing mold. Mold growth can be a big problem. Clean trays and equipment, clean well washed grain/seed, a 50-60% humidity environment, good temperature regulation, clean water, and good air circulation can all help avoid mold problems. A one-percent (1%) vinegar solution can also be added to the initial 12 hour soaking.
Our French Angora Rabbitry is now located inside a large garage. They get plenty of sunlight, fresh air, and even get to sniff our fodder system all day long and dream about the yummy green sprouts. All of our rabbits are housed in generously sized cages (30″ x 36″) appropriate for their breed and enjoy toys and chew sticks. The rabbits also have a fenced-in play area to stretch their legs and generally act like a rabbit in.
At any given time, we keep five to eight rabbits for breeding and to harvest wool from. Each adult rabbit produces about one-pound (1 lb.) of wool annually. It doesn’t sound like much, but considering how light and soft French Angora wool is, one-pound is quite a bit… two-ounces can easily make a stylish scarf or a beanie.
Our Dairy Goats
We raise dairy-breed goats for milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream products. By keeping our own goats, we have much more control over how our dairy products are prepared and also save money by not needing to purchase raw milk, which can be quite expensive. Currently we have two does, one in milk and one still too young to breed, and hope to have more in the future.
Freyja, our herd queen, is mostly Nubian with just a splash of Toggenburg far back in her family tree. Freyja was born in 2012 and is named after the Norse goddess of fertility. Last autumn Freyja was bred for the first time and kindled three bucklings. She is our sole milk producer on the farm for the time being.
Heidrun (Heidi) is half Nubian, half Toggenburg. Heidrun is named after a goat from Norse mythology who produced never-ending mead instead of milk. She was born in March 2014 and will be bred for the first time this fall.
Our chickens provide ample entertainment with their silly poultry antics, but more importantly, they provide us with fresh, organic eggs. Now that our chickens have been transitioned from commercial pellet feed to all-natural and fresh fodder and free-range, our farm eggs are organic, soy-free, and pastured. It doesn’t get much better than that!
We have a beautiful Americauna rooster and nine laying hens: four Speckled Sussex, two Black Australorps, one Chocolate Maran, one Americauna, and one Black Sexlink. The ladies provide us with blue and brown eggs. Our ultimate goal is to have the chickens govern themselves and hatch their own chicks for additional laying hens and potential meat birds.
The apiary currently has two Langstroth hives and we plan to split them for a total of four hives this spring. Our next hives will be Warre-style hives; an experiment and working comparison of hive styles. We do not treat our hives with commercial medications or treatments and always do our best to find more natural ways to keep the honeybees healthy.
Japanese quail are also known as: Old World quail, Coturnix quail, and Pharaoh quail. We recently stopped raising Japanese quail because of their poor temperament. Let’s just say, we had a bad experience with quail to the point that we will not be raising them again. Extreme heat stress, noise stress, and questionable breeding factored into the eventual cannibalistic behavior that killed half of our covey. After much heartbreak, we decided to cut our losses and processed the rest of the covey for our family’s table. We did, however, enjoy watching their antics and loved our tiny, fresh (yet few) quail eggs.
We love our readers and you help bring a smile to our faces just by taking the time out of your busy days to visit us here. Any donations made to the blog on the right sidebar, will help to keep this little blog going. We do pay a yearly fee to keep the blog running and for more photo storage to give you all those close-up shots of exploded ginger beer and baby bunnies.
If you are looking for the perfect farm-inspired, handmade gift… look no further than our online shop in the main menu bar at the top of the page. We sell all of our best photograph prints taken from around our farm as well as our handmade stuffed animals, original paintings, jewelry, knickknacks, and more!
Frühlingskabine Micro-Farm also has an Amazon affiliate store. If you are ever in search of the materials we use, be it grolsch style brewing bottles, starter cultures, or a book from one of our book reviews– you can find exactly what we use in our Amazon affiliate store. We receive a small percentage of your purchase total at no additional cost to you.
Thank you for all your support and interest in our farm!