BRICK HOUSE FARMS
by Jim Lyle
October 20, 2006 dawned bright and sunny, full of promise. I had been a father for only a few hours at that point. Little did I know the life changing ramifications of our first child's birth. Nothing we had ever seen or done prepared us for the sight of our first born son, Hart. He was born three months premature and weighed just two pounds. Hart's brother, Luke, arrived fourteen months later. At that point, Eve and I had become very concerned about the attendant problems of raising our children on "junk" food. In our quest to provide safe, clean food for our own growing family, we determined our way of living and eating might prove beneficial to others. So we decided to begin providing others with the quality products we produce to feed our own family.
A resulting benefit is that we are able to spend much more time with Hart, Luke and their new sister, Mackenzie, than we would ever be able to if we were leaving every morning for a "real" job. Many times they tag along when we make deliveries, pick up feed, and move animals. The first time Hart noticed an airplane flying overhead, I asked him "Where do you suppose those people are going?"
"To the processor," he said, without a moment's hesitation.
Having our children near us, with us, reminds us constantly why we chose this undertaking, and it reaffirms our determination to provide wholesome food for them and for other families like ours. Quality is essential. Believe me, if I wouldn't feed it to my family, I certainly wouldn't feed it to yours.
We are a very small cog in the wheel of the burgeoning "local food" movement. And we want to stay small enough to give our customers the individual attention that they deserve. Everyone wants to know the main differences between Brick House Farms and commercial "factory" farms. To paraphrase well-known "farmer extraordinaire" Joel Salatin, we try our best to let each species of animal under our care to express their "-ness". In other words, a pig manifests its "pig-ness" by rooting in the dirt with its snout. Chickens express "chicken-ness" by scratching for worms and taking dirt baths. When the production model is corrected, a lot of the "crutches" of contemporary industrial agriculture become unnecessary. Baby pigs raised on the ground get their iron supplement from the dirt, not a hypodermic needle. Chickens ranging on pasture with plenty of sunshine don't need vitamin D supplementation. Cows eating a natural diet of grass don't need treatment for acidosis.
If you have questions about our farm, we are happy to answer them. If you've thought about providing some alternative foods for your family, something raised a different way, as God intended, call or email us!
We'll be glad to help you.
Farm News 2012!
Well, I still haven't started some of those projects. And I'm behind on our garden for this year. I will get to them all soon, I hope. Hart is now waking up and wanting to start homeschool lessons. We have been having fun with this. The grass on the farm is green and lush and all the animals are doing well.
As I look out our front window onto the porch, I have noticed there are at least 8 varieties of wild birds. Some I don't think I have seen before and many I don't know the types. But almost all are very colorful. What is so great about this?? Well, there is not even a bird feeder around. I think perhaps the farm is getting restored to species that were here long ago.
I am allowing again this year for wild birds to use my porch for their nests. Last year, we had a pair on the back porch that seemed to use mud to build their nest. I wasn't real thrilled with those. But the ones on the front porch this year, are a different breed. The white clover here is hiding the boys toys in the front yard. I really hate to cut it but it is getting a bit deep. Perhaps when I cut it I can rake some it and give to the chickens and pigs. Or I just may add to my compost pile.
We have certainly been blessed by an easy winter. I know Jim is most grateful as it makes it easier to care for animals etc when weather is not so bad. And we are thankful for the rain as that is always needed for the grass and the creek. All in all things are looking great for 2012.
Is it really 2012?? But I'm not ready. There were so many projects I wanted to get done in 2011. I didn't always feel this way about the New Year. When I was younger it was exciting and I didn't feel rushed. Now that I'm older, I don't always appreciate the New Year as I should. It usually means I'll be getting older and so will the kids.
Now is our "slow" time. Since Christmas, we have been able to slow down a bit, but not altogether.
Hopefully, within a few weeks we will be making some NEW announcements concerning the farm. We feel you will be glad about these new developments. No, I'm not pregnant again. Come on, I do need a break.
I applaud those who have large families and continue to add more to their flock. I love it for them. I would not mind having more, but in God's Time.
Farm News 2011!
Sometimes I have big ideas, they just don't work. So far, I have made 6 loaves of wheat bread and none have been that good. So out to the pigs they go who don't mind if I mess up. I going to give it another try to today and pray it works out, I'm getting the blahs on making bread. I have never until now grinded my own wheat, so maybe I'll have to adjust some receipes. I am tempted to just make banana bread, it would be much easier. It is hard to believe the year 2011 is almost gone, only a few weeks left.
Christmas and Thanksgiving have always been my favorite time of yr. I do miss getting together with my grandma and extended family, we always had fun. Seems once folks get married and add kids, and move off, it is hard to do. Of course, I miss my Mom...she passed from cancer 7 years ago. Mom wasn't here for my wedding and my kids births. Neither was Jim's mom.
On the brighter side, Mackenzie is 19lbs and 18 months old. She is cruising while holding on to things, she doesn't want to fall therefore, she is not walking on her own. She is still fast when crawling. She will push her doll stroller with her bear in it and turn around and wave-bye-bye. I must say, even if she is mine, She's a cutie.
Hart turned the BIG 5 in October. Luke will be 4 Dec 16. So my babies are growing fast. But that's ok, they are doing it well and are bunches of fun.
After Christmas, we hope to slow down a bit but we will be working on plans for next year. Nothing ever really stops on a real working farm. If it did, just think, we might get bored and that would never do. lol
We are planning some very good and new things for 2012. However, you'll have to wait until we post it on the website. I can't give you an exact date we'll make the new announcements but we think you'll definitly appreciate the new ideas. I think most of the new plans will be announced late January or February. We will see.
I have now made the following things:
Kefir, lard, laundry soap, and auto dish detergent. I have started getting our bulk grains like wheat (for bread) and oatmeal from The Grain Loft. They are a local family owned business and they deliver!! Check out their website. I have also started making bases for Chicken stew and cassaroles. In the long run this will save me time and effort. The turkeys are all doing well, and growing. It will not be long before Thanksgiving is here. I am also making things like chicken stock, beef stock for our winter meals. I hope to finally get both wheat bread and sweet banana breads made. Won't that taste good with coffee or even some hot cider.
Well, it has been quite awhile since I last wrote and updated, so this may be a long note.
I recently made my first batch of homemade laundry detergent. For years now I have heard about this stuff but never tried it. It has worked great on all types of dirty clothes, even Jim's work clothes, so I think unless something changes, I will be making it from now on. I currently have a five gallon bucket full of laundry detergent that will do at least 600 loads of laundry. And it is CHEAP!
I also made homemade mayo(too simple) and so we don't plan to buy any more of that either. And I made homemade lard in the slow cooker(again too simple).
I have been reading several homesteading books etc, that have influenced me to be more economical and to want to take charge of what I use and make for my family. So that being said, here are some other things I plan to make soon: all homemade of course:
- Beef Tallow(slow cooker)
-Tomato Sauce(spaghetti, chili base etc)
-Grind our own grains for bread
Make soour cream, cream cheese, feta, ricotta, kefir, and yogurt too.
Well, you get the picture. As you can see, most of these items can be done in one day or less, and some things can be "working" while I sleep. I try not to give up any sleep if at all possible. I am considering adding the receipes to this site and perhaps offering items like laundry soap and lard for sale, maybe before Christmas. I am certainly not a professional homesteader but I am going to try very hard to do better for my whole family. I know some of you reading this already do quite more than I have started to do. Hats off to you. I think for the most part, all of the items I have chosen to do can be done by those with little or no cooking expertise and even if you feel you have no more time to spare on such, I feel, if you try just one item from the list above, you might find yourself "hooked" , just as I have. Right now, I have made notes on my calendar to try to make
1-2 per week. It seems a good manageable number so far. Even if I started making the dairy items, I think it will be simple enough. On some of these items, it would most certainly, make things less stressful ( not really a good term), to have the kids taken care of by someone else so that I do not forget to add the items necessary to each receipe. However, that generally is not what happens at THIS HOUSE!..lol well, maybe I'll discover some new recipes(maybe not).
Now for updates on the kids. Wheew, they are constant motion and the boys ALWAYS have questions. They even move in their sleep, just not as fast. All 3 kids are growing fast, sometimes too fast. I don't have any tiny newborns now. And I kinda miss that, but i'm glad they are doing well. Mackenzie is about 17lbs now and is standing up(while holding on), she can crawl although she'd rather stand. She is also trying to walk but she doesn't always remember to move her feet when she moves her upper body and then she falls face first, and then she screams. I am not sure that part of the crying she does when she falls is just from being hurt but I think she is somewhat "mad" that it didn't work for her. She has a temper like me although she doesn't display it much. You will not have to wonder if she is mad or not.
Hart would do homeschool all day if I had the time. But we do a little here and little there. He doesn't offically start til next year. And now that doesn't seem far off at all. Hart looks much bigger than his age. He won't be short like his mom. Luke, is growing too, and is showing more interest in books and has questions like Hart. Having an older brother that has so many questions, allows Luke to soak up all this new knowledge without having to ask as much.
All 3 kids have such good and funny personalities. It is a great joy to me and Jim to see them develop. No, we don't miss having a TV or renting movies or newspapers. Watching our kids is the absolute BEST entertainment we've ever experienced. Had Jim and I met when we were in our 20s, we just might have had 12 or more of these. You never know, God might send us some more one day. Until then, we enjoy the GREATEST BLESSINGS EVER!
BTW, Mackenzie is having physical therapy every week(no surprise there), and will start Speech therapy as soon as they have an opening. As for Occupational therapy, she still has to have an evaluation for it. But you know, I really am not worried about any of it. I fully believe Mackenzie will do well. She is certainly a happy baby and she is growing. The Lord has been so good to us in so many ways. What would make me think anything different.
You may notice some changes to the website in the next few weeks and months. May you have a Blessed day and I plan to write again soon.
March 30, 2011
It is almost April and I've just gotten to update this page.
Mackenzie is doing well and has almost reached 14lbs.
That's a big jump from 1lb 15oz. Hart and Luke really enjoy playing with her and she laughs so at them.
Hart is 4yrs old and thinks he is ready to "try" school, so I will be beginning homeschool for him and we will see if Luke wants to join in. I'm sure all these things I'm to do will work out...but how....
Red Wattles, Red Wattles.....it has been a great year again for these Rare gourmet Heritage pigs. Demand has been great and it has been hard to keep up. Get on the list now for this pork!
Turkeys: Broad Breasted turkey cuts and sausage will hopefully be available by July. We will keep you updated.
BBQ season is here! We've had some really nice days. If you are planning on having a BBQ this Spring or Summer, contact us now. We will be offering whole, half and individual cuts for the grill.
Mackenzie has been home sice 9/21. That's 1 day before her actual due date of 9/22. It has been an amazing journey. Some low times as well as highs. Most babies eat alot. Mackenzie has been eating about every 4 hours. Not a bad schedule compared to our boys, who ate every 2 hours.
She weighs as of today a whopping 7lb 11oz. She no longer wears preemie clothes. We truly appreciate all the calls, emails, cards, prayers etc. I have tried to save as much of these things for her, so that as she gets older, she can better understand all the prayers and concern for her. Mackenzie really weaned herself off the O2. Therefore, she is not on any monitor or oxygen. We praise the Good Lord for all these blessings. We apologize for any mixups on orders, but feel with less of the stress, things will be smoother. With things going somewhat smoother, we are taking orders..this time of year is especially busy with upcoming holidays. I'm not always able to get to the phone with 3 kids, so please leave a message on the phone or email us.
Mackenzie is finally coming HOME!!!! We're excited and nervous. She will be coming home on O2 and will have an apnea monitor. Have experience with the apnea machine (don't like it) but not O2. Our Hearts are full of joy and as usual we're already tired. Mackenzie is 5lb 1oz now. So much bigger than when she arrived at 1lb 15oz. We will not be at the Sept 15 drop sites. We will be back on Sept 29. Since that's a while for those that need items, we are offering a meat sale (details on FArm Meat sale pg).
Pray that Mackenzie will soon be off all meds and machines. Even if she has to ride to a doctor, she'll be on O2. Will keep you all updated. Thank you all for the prayers, phone calls, food, emails etc. We greatly appreciate it all. Praise to the Lord for giving us another baby and answering prayers.
8-15-10 Mackenzie is off her last IV. Her breathing machine is down to #1. She still is on a feeding tube but now takes 30cc thru her tube. Her weight has been up & down. Mackenzie's lastest reading is 3lbs 6 oz. There is still a long time (to us) before she can come home. Thank you for all the prayers and understanding. Please email us at [email protected]
Mackenzie has been taken off the ventilator and put on the Vaportherm, which is a step down from the Vent. She is not on any meds at this time and she is taking 7ml of milk thru her tube at each feeding. She still has not hit the 3lb mark yet. Mackenzie is doing better but has a ways to go. Thank you all for your prayers and patience with us during this time. We hope to be back up to speed/inventory by end of August. Email us for more info on products/deliveries.
7-6-10 Mackenzie developed an infection yesterday. Blood work was sent in, so we are waiting to hear what she has. They have started her on antibiotics. If nothing else shows on her blood work they may be able to take her off the meds and start feeding her milk. Please pray that they will be able to start soon. Mackenzie now weighs 2lb 4oz.
Sorry I'm just now getting back . Our Mackenzie was born by emergency c-section on June 27 at 8:30pm. Mackenzie weighed 1lb 15oz and was 13" long. She was just over 27 weeks old. Mackenzie is now in the NICU and doing as well as she can given the circumstances. We appreciate the thoughts, phone calls, prayers etc during this time. Mackenzie has a long way to go before she can come home. Jim and I have only been able to touch her 2 times with our fingers. Please keep us in your prayers, we make 2 trips each day to try and see Mackenzie. God has blessed us with a little angel again! Please email us again if we have not responded. Thanks.
I am in the hospital with severe preeclampsia. We have no idea how long I will be here, it is an hour-by-hour, day-by-day waiting game. I don't feel bad really, but have been ordered bed rest due to high blood pressure etc.
We have named our little girl(yet to be born)
Mackenzie Shayne Elizabeth Lyle. Mackenzie is healthy but only 26 weeks along. That is quite early to be born, so I am trying to behave and keep her as long as my body will allow.
Jim is doing double time as I am not home. He is taking care of the boys and farm etc.
I will keep this page updated for any changes with the farm (orders) and lil Mackenzie. I try to check emails daily (except Sundays) from the hospital.
We truly appreciate all the prayers. We are at an excellent hospital to handle any crisis. We thank the Lord He led us here.
Thanks so much for your concern and support during this time.
Jim, Eve, Hart, Luke and Mackenzie
We are having computer troubles. It may be several days before we get your emails or are able to get back to you.
We always like to start the New Year with a bang!
Guess what is going on HERE?
We're adding to our family. We're expecting our third baby in September!
We are all excited! Will keep you updated.
We've added new products to our offerings. Pastured Duck eggs are now available. Please see New Products page for more info.
3/23/10 I am now at 14 weeks with our 3rd baby.
I'm now 5 month along and doing great!
5/31/10 We're having a Girl! Just a few more months to go.