Monday, March 26, 2018

Getting Ready for the Bees.

Two years ago, i decided to get bees, but at the time, it was going to be a part time hobby, to produce a little honey for ourselves and family.
However due to changing circumstances,  I have decided to make it a more prominent endeavor on the farm.  Unfortunately,  the hive that i had died last winter. I may have been partly my fault due to my inexperience in beekeeping.  I was going off the presumption that i knew enough from raising bees with my Father 35 years ago, but many things have changed since then. The rampent use of pesticides,  new diseases,  and new pests., most notably,  the Varroa Destructor.

That being said i decided it was time to get more knowledgeable about modern beekeeping.
I found out  at the February meeting pf the West Sound Beekeeping club thst they were going to be offering a 6 week course in beginning beekeeping.  I decided that if i was serious about beekeeping tha i needed to get my butt in that class.  It's been 5 weeks now and WOW, have i learned a lot.  Two more weeks to go, and several weeks after that, I'll be getting tow new bee hive packages, from improved bloodlines from California.

Saturday, March 10, 2018


We are now on Agrilicious

welcome if you have found us from the link on Agrilicious
Please keep reading past post to check out what we have been doing and a little bit on our
farm history Thanks for visiting!!

Saturday, January 13, 2018


Well, as you can maybe surmise by my previous posts is the pig project mostly failed. but not for trying.
After spending time reflecting on just went wrong I have distilled it down to 3 conditions

1. Expensive feed: I was not able to procure enough cheap feed like many other pork producers do.

2. Got in to Pig Breeding/ Rasing instead of starting slow and just rasing feeders.

3. Transportation. After the Truck broke down, I was spending so much money on feed that I could never get enough money to get the truck fixed... Everything spiraled down from there.

On the upside, the pigs did a fabioulous job of clearing the land so there's that.

I have now decided to get started (slowly) into the garden market business.
I just started learning the strategies from Curtis Stone, you can find out more about Curtis on
I am currently taking his online course and hope to replicate what he has done but on a smaller scale
his plan is based on a 1/4 acre..... more to come

UPDATE: After much pondering i have decided to get back into the bee business.
With the continued detorating health of my wife, and the limitations of still having a full time job, i believe that raising bees for pollination and honey, it is the best option for me at this time.....

Monday, February 13, 2017

Herd Reduction

Due to Health Problems I must Reduce my Herd size to a more manageable number.




Curley Joe 2-9 (intact Male) was born on March 17th 2014
He Sired 4 litters last year He is already proven and can
be registered, great for someone who wants to
continue breeding Registered Stock
ASKING $ 700.00
Reduced to $ 500.00

Spot- (intact Male)

Spot was born July 17 2015, Spot is very Friendly he
will come up to me in the field just to get a
scratch behind the ears, He would make a great herd
sire for someone who wants to X-breed possibly
with a Herford, GOS, Large Black would be
my suggestions
ASKING 200.00

 Unnamed intact male
 ASKING $ 200.00

Un named  INTACT male
no picture yet, coming soon
Litter mate of Spot,

Guinerevere , one of our orginal herd sows
she is Regestered with Tamworth Assn.
ASKING $ 200.00

Savanna, the other original  herd sows,
she is a older sow but in the right conditions
could produce you a couple litters
ASKING $ 200.00
Lucy, Curley Joe's Sister, she had one litter of 11
last year in June
 ASKING 350.00

Ruby, Curley Joe's and Lucy's Sister and litter
mate, She Farrowed 13 Last year, a excellent mother
will produce many litters for you, keep her for
several litters and still sell her for the same as
you Paid  ASKING $ 400.00

This is Pickeles and Grapes, I sold them last August to a local farm
They are from Lucy and Sampson they will be butcherd next week
we will see what the weigh out to be... Just a example of what
you will get from Lucy

Born in July 2015 Probably is
2-9  Asking $ 250.00

Unnamed Female, Dark Red born July 2015
2-9  Asking $ 250.00

Friday, November 27, 2015

More of My Family's Farming History part 3, Paul S and Edna Bean

In my Last Post, I spoke of my Great Grand Father Charles Bean, in this post I will tell you about my Grandfather Paul S. Bean Sr.

Paul was born in Omaha, Nebraska, USA on Nov. 13, 1889.
Paul S Bean in Cotati, Ca

Paul was born on Nov 13 1989, in 1901 Paul Moved with his family from Ohoma, NE. Paul took to Farming quite naturally and like most farming families started at a young age.

Paul went to school and helped on the farm until he was 15, he then quit school and helped his family run the farm, as they were tenant farmers they had rented farm land in several locations in Sonoma county, so often times, Paul would "camp" at the "other" farm and take care of the livestock there.

In 1915 he married Edna Simmons, together, they had eight children, My father, Wallace, was the next to youngest.

In 1929, the family fell upon hard times, not due to the Depression, but due to the fact that
the land they farmed and lived, was sold. As it turned out the woman who owned the land
died, and her sons did not want to keep it. They did not waste any time evecting my grand parents, so short of notice was given that they were forced to sell all their prized herd of Dairy stock.

Shortly there after the great depression hit making things much worse.
The family was broke up, found jobs, Paul spent many months away
from the family, Edna moved to Petuluma, starting a daycare.
Eventually Paul and Edna divorsed.

Paul worked as a ship builder in the Naval Ship Yard in Vallejo,

In 1945 things started to get better, and Paul took a trip to Oregon to look
for land to buy. Ultimately they purchased 160 acres in Drain, OR
With the help of his eldest sons, they were able to build a small home
before  winter set in. At some point in the construction, Edna, came to
Drain, and Paul and Edna reconsiled, and remarried.

Bill of sale for Drain Ranch
Partially finished Home of Paul S and Edna Bean

A year later his son Paul jr (kick) was discharged from the army, and in a letter
to his suprise most of the Bean family was no longer living in california, however
two of the daughters had married one, Elenoir was living in Oakland with her husband
Dallas, and Francis, was in Palo Alto with husband Paul.

Paul jr briefly visited with both and then made his way to Drain

Happier times in Cotati

Edna's daycare business card

In 1948, Wallace moved to Drain, with his wife Virginia, and 6 month old daughter
Claudia, having tired quickly of city life. 

Both Paul jr and Wallace were given one acre each, subdivded off of the original
160 acres.

With the continued support of his newly returned sons they quick work of building
building barns, milk parlors etc.

They soon had a fully functioning Dairy, selling milk,
butter, heavy cream and sometimes ice cream to the local
residents of Drain, Yoncalla, Scotts Valley and Loraine

My grandfather, my father Wallace, and uncle Paul, wife Edna
ran a successful dairy, a realization of a dream started in
Cotati, CA 18 years earlier.
Two of my cousins in front of main barn/milking parlor

The dairy continued until Grandpa Bean fell ill in 1965. Unfortunately,
he was not able to pass any of the land to either my father or uncle
thus ended the legacy of the Bean dairy.

Next chapter, My Father Wallace Bean

Saturday, November 21, 2015

How We Farm and More

Many Have asked what are our farming Practices are and why?

First I''l try to answer the "why" First,

As many of my blog readers may know, (see my Posts, My Family's Farming History") I come from
multi generation farming family, But Unfortuineatly, due to family disputes etc. I have not have had the luctury of other Family Farmers like Joel Salatin, (Polyface Farm) who's farm has been in the family for 3 generations now. or like Craig Floyd of Footsteps Farm in Stonington, CT who's farm has been in his family since 1712, however, those setbacks have not deterred me.
In 2006  i purchased 5.5 acres in Packwood,Wa 1 acre is wooded and the other 4 is flat grass land.

Main  4 acre Field
Since Purchasing this property i have agonized on how best to use it. At First it was to just a place to
pitch a tent, build a Fire Pit and use it a jump off point for other Recreationl activities with my Family
and we have used it for that, at least a few times, but clearly not to it's full potenial, primarly due to it's distance (3 hr drive). Now that my children are grown, we don't camp as a family as much which leads me to it's secondary purpose. A FARM !!. But there again, being a 3hr drive from home base it's hard to manage. hence the aganizing I have had many ideas, one was to plant corn, but then came the issue of the hoards of Elk that roam the area and i fugured corn would be just a appetizer for the Elk.
Next came Blueberries but  it takes 5-7 years to start getting a profitable crop and  although not as tasty as corn, elk would still most likley like blueberry plants as a nice browse also. As of this wrighting, I am now considering considering planting pumpkins, other types of squash etc.

but i digress...

When I first decided i wanted to get back into farming, I decided early on that i wanted to have a grass based, pastured  based farming model. Much like the one my grandfather use on his dairy farm. Once i made that decision i need to re-educate myself

Read the artcle, on grass based Farming

I started researching  breeds of animals that thrived the best  in that type of system. that is why  we are using hardy old-breed animals, or more commonly know as Heritage  Breeds and we are following farming practices that my ancestors followed in the 18th century Grass Fed systems.

Our farm is not certified organic but we think of Phoenix Farm as  (read about what this means). All our animals have free range all day, every day. We do not use herbicides, antibiotics, nor other chemicals on the animals or the farmland. We believe that because they are giving their lives for us, we owe it to them to see they lead happy, healthy, stress-free lives.


Half pig share- how much

Recently some of my new customers have asked? When I buy a pig half or whole, how much do i get?  Below is a typical break down of what comes with a half a pig share. Double it for some idea of what a whole pig would yield. This is most likely more info then you ever wanted to know about a pig and its parts but if you have questions about something just ask!  We Normally Reccomend 
Farmer George in Port Orchard his basic Butcher Cost is $30.00 plus he charges a .55 per / cut and 
wrap fee. We can you get you his Price sheet for all his services or you can just stop in in his shop
in Port Orchard, Their Address: 3870 Bethel Rd SE, Port Orchard, WA 98366
Phone:(360) 876-3186  or you can use any other butcher if you want as long as the other party buying the other 1/2 pig agrees to that butcher and his or her fee schedule.

The short answer
There are about 23 pork chops from a half pig, 2 roasts, 1 ham, 8 lbs of bacon slab, 3 lbs of spare ribs, 9 lbs of ground pork, totaling about 75 lbs in the freezer for half a pig. The chart below gives you a quick graphic view. Click on the image for a larger graphic so you can read the small print. This can vary with the individual pig as well as how thick the pork chops are cut and such.
Do be aware though that you are able to grow out your pig as large as you like it with in reason. Butchering a 1200 pound pig could be quite costly! Pay attention to butchering costs...they generally charge by the pound. Most butchers are reasonably tooled for about a 300lb pig. 

The long answer

As a pig gets larger there is more fat to trim off. A typical slaughter weight is between 250-300 pounds. A 250lb pig will yield on average about 180 lbs of hanging weight. If you just take the prime cuts you will get about 120lbs of meat in the freezer. If you take the whole pig home - nose to tail - you will get about 160lbs of meat in the freezer. Nose to tail includes: hocks, soup bones, lard, liver, jowls (like bacon), head, trotters (feet), and other bits. If you do your research up front, or watch the videos on our butchering page you will see that you can use the blood and just about every other part of the pig to make something edible out of.

The joy of having a big ole piece of meat in your hands is that you can have it cut up any way you like! If you take a look at the chart below a sampleof different cuts available. Different butchers might offer different cuts. But you can ask for things like sausage in links or paddies with all sorts of different seasonings which will be created from all the left over bits of your pork. Perhaps you are interested in more ground meat and less big hams. Or you might want a tenderloin instead of pork chops. 

No matter what cuts you ask for, you are most likely going to be asked by the butcher how much sausage you want. Left over bits become sausage. This is sausage in bags of around a pound each - not links. You can get links but that costs a tad more. This can be used for meat balls, chilli, American chop suey, spaghetti sauce, breakfast susage patties with fresh pastured chicken eggs, etc. Most butchers offer several options such as: plain, sweet Italian, mild Italian, hot Italian, or maple. For a standard cut there is only about nine pounds of sausage so stick to one type of seasoning.
Here is a rough break down of what you might expect in a half a pig share. 

Pork chops 1″ – total of 23 pork chops, 7 packs of 2 + 3 packs of 3
Spare Ribs
Hamburger/Sausage ground meat in 1 lb packages
Fresh Ham – easily brined or sent for smoking
Fresh Bacon Slab – brine & slice or send for smoking
Shoulder Roast
Butt Pork Roast

Stew Bones – good for dogs if you don’t make soup or stew

Fat – you can render this or feed it to dogs or chickens

Total pounds of cuts in the freezer

A typical pig will yield 60 to 70 pounds of cuts. Since our pigs are pasture raised, heritage breed animals, they are real live createus - thus they have some variance rather than the cookie cutter uniformity of factory farmed products.
Two other terms around pig weight that you might have is hanging weight and live weight. 

Hanging weight

The hanging weight is the combination of both the left and right side of the pig. This is usually measured without the skin, the head, or the feet. Some places measure the hanging weight with the head, skin, and feet which yields a higher hanging weight. Without the extra parts you lose some meat, pork rinds, etc. But with all the extra parts your hanging weight is higher. It is important to know how the hanging weight is determined at your butcher and how they calculate the hanging weight as it will impact your bill.

The processing is a big part of the cost of a pig. If you process the pig yourself, the butchering or both the butchering and the slaughtering, you save yourself a lot of money. It's not too hard to do.  it's not a task most folks are up to but if you are up to a challenge and feel you may have the know how for example if you come from a Hunting background and have dressed out a deer before then you may be up for it. And the tools needed are relatively cheap! You can processing a pig with just knives. But having a low cost bone saw is certainly helpful ($20-$30). If you want fancy cuts such as having bone in pork chops you might want a meat band saw and possibly a grinder.

If you weigh your pig with the skin, head, and feet attached, the hanging weight will be much higher than the total cuts weight. The difference is somewhere between 10-20lbs. If you don't intend to use the head, feet, and skin - that is up to 20lbs of trash that you are paying for!

Live weight

The live weight concept is buying a whole, live, breathing, snorting, pig. They tend to weigh more than any other variants.

The Advantage to buying a Whole Pig

Pigs can be raised to any size!

Pigs can be raised to just about any weight. You just need to ask the farmer that is raising the pig. If you want more or less pork for your freezer you can ask the farmer to grow your pig for a bit longer. The farmer will be happy to do this for you as they make slightly more money on the already sold pig. Most local butchers are not big industry workers. They are not held to the same tight tolerances in their animal processing methods. If they have a bigger or smaller animal to process they will figure it out! Got a big family like big pigs for your freezer!