Oct 222009


This is the completion of our summer "Ketchup" so now I’m starting on another series for fall! Things have changed pace a little since a killing frost has done in most of the outdoor crops, but the hoop houses are still going and growing in their prime.With the change in seasons it doesn’t mean work has finished here on the farm, just that the type of work has changed… We’re already getting things ready for this coming year’s growing season!

As mentioned the hoop houses are filled with beautiful produce ready for harvest now. Our CSA season is completed and all produce is available to anyone, you don’t need to be a CSA member to place an order. Please place your preorder by 8:00 am. Friday for Saturday pick up or by 8:00 am. Tuesday for Tuesday evening pick up. To find more information go to our website at: http://www.mitchellfamilyfarm.us/this_week.htm

Currently arugula, several types of lettuce, bok choi, tatsoi, spinach and several varieties of garlic are available first come first served. Great tasting pastured eggs are also available! All this delicious food and it’s raised naturally without any chemicals!

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Remember! Our 2010 CSA waiting list will close the 24th so if you or anyone you know wants to have "second" opportunity to sign up for the 2010 CSA season after current CSA members have signed up be sure and send us your name and mailing address!

Big news from this proud family – there is not a button left on any of our shirts! Jena is now a fully fledged Certified Natural Hoof Care Practitioner through the AANHCP. In order to complete Jena’s training and evaluation, Mom and Jena had to leave Dad and I for exactly 11 full days almost to the hour! Boy did Dad and I miss our girls! We really love and appreciate them and missed them both greatly…not just because we were missing our horse care specialist, both head cooks (we were grateful to G-Jean who kept us feed while Mom and Jena were gone) head dish washer, main laundry ladies, head milkmaid, main shepherdess, flock master (laying hens, fryer chickens and our few turkeys) hay crew hand, farm photographer (the farm camera went along with the farm photographer so there aren’t many on farm pictures from that week and a half) along with Tiny and Tag’s humans. The main thing we missed was our wife/mom and daughter/sister, my it was good to get them back home!

Mom and Jena about took a tour of the Eastern half of the United States before they came back to Dad and I! Ok, so they only hit 8 states, but did travel several miles. We figure by the time they came back home our girls had traveled nearly 2,000 miles.

Heading up to Kansas City for the first leg of their journey Mom, Jena and Leah spent three days in Pat Parelli seminars and demonstrations studying natural horsemanship. Leah went back home with another friend who was at the seminar while Mom and Jena headed to Forestell, Missouri (near St. Louis) where Jena’s first mentor of their trip lives.

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On the way to St. Louis Mom and Jena heard a cracking, popping sound and soon saw a crack forming on one side of Green Subie’s windshield. As they continued on the crack went further across the windshield until it was about 18" long and then it quit growing. That night our girls called home and Dad said he’d like for Mom to find a windshield installation place while they were fairly close to a large city as some one should have those windshields in stock.

While Jena was playing around in a horse’s mouth (her mentor had an equine dentist out that day) the windshield was replaced and they were ready to roll again. Jena was very appreciative of the dentist who took time to explain things about how horse’s teeth can also affect their hooves and what to watch for if a horse’s teeth are needing floated etc. In a nutshell, the Lord made equines (and other critters) so complex that everything needs to work together correctly for maximum health of the animal.

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After their dental experience and windshield replacement Mom and Jena took out with Jena’s mentor to trim some horses. Her mentor offered a few suggestions, but really thought Jena was doing very well.

That evening Mom and Jena traveled a little more than half-way to western Kentucky before stoping for the night so they could finish their drive the next morning to meet Jena’s next mentor. They had never met this gentleman before, but soon found out that he was extremely knowledgeable and helped Jena out tremendously including showing her more efficient and easier techniques for trimming. This was only one of two mentors whom Jena has met that is a full time hoof care practitioner. Most of Jena’s other mentors have had other jobs and only used the hoof care business as a side income. Steve Johnson on the other hand was full time and had everything down to an efficient routine that was easier on human and horse. By the end of the day Jena had sped up approximately fifteen minutes per horse, going from 45 minutes to 30 minutes per trim. Steve, on the other hand, only took about fifteen minutes per horse and Jena said his client’s horses had great looking hooves!

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Since they were so close, Mom and Jena met Pappaw and Mammaw at the Creation Museum near Cincinnati the next day and loved what they saw while visiting. This museum was designed to tell the creation story from the beginning… with exhibits depicting Adam and Eve, Noah (with dinosaurs and wooly mammoths etc. going on the ark) all the way through to showing how Jesus Christ came to earth as the last Adam.

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Over all Mom and Jena were very impressed with the museum and said that it was packed with people even though they visited on a mid week day! Tickets are expensive to get in, but if you can budget enough to visit and have ever wondered what it might have been like back in Bible times this museum may be worth your time and money. Mom said that she’d love to be on the landscaping crew as the grounds are beautiful! There was everything from common wild flowers and shrubs to exotics like banana trees, pitcher plants, venus fly traps and water lilies. I’m sure the tropical exotics must be kept indoors during the winter.

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After completing as much of the museum tour as they had time for Pappaw, Mammaw, Mom and Jena loaded up and traveled back to Pappaw and Mammaw’s home in eastern Kentucky. Pappaw had arranged for them to travel up to some strip mines the next day where people have turned horses loose and there are wild herds that have started running the country. While not truly "wild horses" you can’t just walk up and catch them either…unless you’re Jena!

As they were driving around the strip mines Pappaw, Mammaw, Jena and Mom spotted two herds of horses in separate areas. Jena was able to make her way up to both herds and had several from each heard coming over to check her out! That night when Dad and I talked to the girls Jena was about bubbling over with excitement! Good thing they didn’t have a truck and trailer because one herd even had a mare and colt! Pictures of the two separate herds was taken with an 8x camera zoomed in all the way so you can tell the horses were a long ways off.

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Jena making her way down to the first herd they saw.

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One reason Jena wanted to see the wild horses was to look at their hooves. While not perfect, she was very impressed how well the horses had self trimmed in their rugged, rocky environment despite lush pasture they had access to as well. The main difference between domestic horses and these horses was the exercise level and amount of sandy, rocky ground these horses had to traverse in order to meet all their grazing and water needs.

Next stop for Mom and Jena was in Alabama where Jena was to take her final exam the following day. Jena chose to be tested by a mentor she had been to before in Alabama and was very positively impressed with. Once again he had a couple suggestions, but was well pleased with Jena’s trimming abilities (especially on the two difficult horses he’d chosen for the final exam.) After she was finished trimming he pronounced her a certified hoof care practitioner! Along with her certification Jena’s mentor told her, "make this the beginning of your learning."

Demonstrating skills…

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…checking her work…

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…certified Natural Hoof Care Practioner!

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Jena’s instructor took some extra time to show his "education box" he’s got set up with all different kinds of interesting models and things relating to the legs and hooves of horses.

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Jena and Mom liked Steve Johnson, Jena’s mentor in Kentucky, so well that they contacted him and asked if Jena could spend one more day with him before they headed home. Steve said it would be fine for them to come trim with him Monday so Mom and Jena made their way back up to western Kentucky. After spending another day with Steve and learning yet more, our girls were finally on their way home!

Jena trimming with a "helper"overseeing her work.

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Shortly after returning home from her big trip Jena started trimming a very severely foundered miniature pony. We were shocked how much she could trim off with just the first trim! You can see a side by side comparison of hooves before and after Jena trimmed this miniature for the very first time. The hoof on the right of the photo below has been trimmed, the other has not.

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Jena playing with "T-boy" (Tartan) her Welsh Mountain Pony

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I believe this now catches us up on the summer news… hopefully I can get some "current" (I’m just running one month behind now instead of three months) fall news ready soon!

Enjoy this fall weather while it lasts!

Farmer Josh and the Mitchell Crew

Aug 022009

Greetings from Kentucky!

Jena and I have been away from the farm for a whole week now – and are we ready to get back home! We began this educational trip July 24 about 2:30 a.m. by heading to Kansas City. Our first stop was the airport to drop off a couple of adorable Rhodesian Ridgeback puppies for a friend. We then headed to the Hale Arena anticipating three days of learning and fun at a Parelli Natural Horsemanship Celebration.

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We weren’t disapointed. Jena and Leah gained a lot of new ideas for improving their horsemanship. As you can see they also were able to meet Pat Parelli and have their picture taken with him.

At the end of the three days, some friends took Leah home while we headed on to Foristell, Missouri just west of St. Louis. Jena spent Monday with a certified practioner, Kerry Kirkland. Kerry had Jena trim a young horse for experience as well as an older horse then gave Jena tips and ideas for improving her technique.

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Another highlight of the day was learning from an equine dentist.

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We traveled a few hours toward Kentucky, going through St. Louis that evening and spent the night in Illinois.

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Tuesday we met Steve Johnson, another AANHCP certified practioner for another mentorship day. Steve works full time as a natural hoofcare practioner and has a lot of information to share with students. Our day spent with him was very helpful. Steve has invited Jena to ride along with him on his farm calls any time she is in the area and I’m sure she will take him up on the offer.

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From Louisville we headed up to spend the evening just south of Cincinnati. Wednesday was spent enjoying the Creation Museum with my parents.

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Jena got the highlight of her life Thursday when her papaw took us up to a reclaimed strip mine in eastern Kentucky near where they live. He had heard there were herds of feral horses up at the mines so we went to look for them. We found two herds and Jena was able to get up to the lead mare and stallion in one group and was able to get up to a mare in the other group also.

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Friday we traveled to central Alabama for Jena’s AANHCP Step 9 final exam. Danny Thornburg, the practioner she took the final exam with is another excellent source of natural hoof care information.

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As soon as the paperwork goes through Jena will be a certified AANHCP natural hoof care practioner!

We drove back up to Kentucky today so Jena can spend tomorrow learning with Steve Johnson, then HOME!