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sustainable living

Learn How To Live a Simple, Sustainable Life

What the purpose of the Sustainable Living Farm Conference?

To show people how to live with Less Stress and More Joy.  Freedom from the “rat race” can be achieved by learning the benefits of sustainable living, growing your own healthy food,
and creating a simpler life while saving thousand$. 

The 2017 Sustainable Farm Conference will include topics on:
sustainable housing
homesteading
sources of farm income
growing natural, healthy food (without pesticides)
preserving and fermenting food
farm animals (their purpose)
helping pollinators and beneficial insects thrive on your farm
composting and soil testing
marketing your farm
agricultural green belt
networking opportunities
working with a debt free operation
temporary greenhouse production

The Funderburk’s have spent 12 years developing their dream, a small sustainable farm, that produces six different income streams. Their mission revolves around teaching individuals and families to grow their own healthy food, by renting garden plots and offering a summer U-Pick Garden to the community. They also host Educational Seminars, farm tours, and have a venue for local events/parties.

Formerly in corporate sales for a multimillion dollar company, Leigh spends her days managing their 15 acre farm in beautiful Franklin, TN. Olin has been in the construction business for over 30+ years and working toward his eventual retirement.

The One Day Conference schedule is as follows:
9:30 am – arrival and introductions
10:00 am to 12 noon – farm tour with exhibits on greenhouse/garden production, and farm animals
12:00 noon to 1:00 pm – Farm to Table Lunch and networking
1:00 to 2:30 pm – income sources and marketing your dream
2:30 to 4 pm – booth round table discussions on bees, herbs, farm equipment and more

In addition to the conference, each attendee/couple will receive a  free copy of “Dirt Rich“, the Funderburk’s  book on Sustainable Farm Living, and a free download of their online course “Dirt Rich, Sustainable Farm Living“.  

   
Cost $97 per person or $147 per couple which includes lunch and all conference materials. Call/text 615-591-0015 or e-mail stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com for more information.

To register, choose individual or couple and click the “add to cart” button below:

Individual or couple

 



 

    How to Test Your Garden Soil

    Yes, it’s almost gardening time and with all this warm weather, we are all getting very impatient!  But before you test your garden soil, remember to look at a reliable website for the last frost date for your area before you plant!  I personally like the Old Farmer’s Almanac Site, but there are several others:

    http://www.almanac.com/content/frost-chart-united-states

    Soil testing:

    Your state’s Ag extension document will tell you how to collect the proper soil samples from your soil, as well as what tests they will do for a standard fee.  For more detailed information see the following site for UT Agriculture Extension Service for soil testing:

    https://ag.tennessee.edu/spp/Pages/soiltesting.aspx

    There are two ways to test the soil in TN: by acreage or per 100 feet of garden space for a garden an acre or less. We recommend that you test by 100 feet, unless you have many acres and multiple large crops.   In Tennessee, the UT Ag Extension tells us to take ten samples six inches deep around your garden. Place in a five gallon bucket, mix it really well, then take a subsample after its mixed up, take it to your lab, and they will test it for you.

    Standard soil tests provide information on the levels of phosphorus and potassium/potash in your soil. The report will typically include recommendations for improving soil fertility, and you can ask to have the recommendations focus on organic solutions.

    The UT Ag Extension soil-testing document says: “The Basic soil test includes soil pH, buffer value, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium all for the price of $7.00 per sample. The Basic Plus soil test is all the above with zinc, manganese, iron, copper, sodium and boron for $15.00. Pre-side dress nitrate (PSNT), Sulfate Sulfur (NH4OAc), organic matter and soluble salts is also offered.  Soil test nutrients (Basic and Basic Plus) are extracted using Mehlich 1 and are designed for mineral, inorganic soils thus not suitable for bark or peat-based mixes.

    If your growing material is highly organic, a container media analysis is recommended.  The Container Media Test is mainly useful to greenhouse growers in determining fertility of soil-less mixtures. Turnaround is typically 1 to 2 business days (for routine Basic or Plus) and results are routinely mailed but can be e-mailed or faxed.   Test results are used to formulate research-based, cost effective lime and fertilizer recommendations specific to the type of crop or plant and yield desired. To assist growers with their soil fertility needs, Extension county agents are available statewide to help with any management decisions related to soil test recommendations.”

    Side note:  On the top right hand side of your soil test report is the person in charge of the Department of Testing and their contact information.  They are VERY HELPFUL and will explain the report to you.  When you receive your first report, it may seem a little like a foreign language…so don’t hesitate to call.  

    When to Test Your Soil

    For perennial crops – orchards, pasture, Christmas trees, alfalfa, grass seed, and so on, you should test your soil before planting (preferably at least several months before), so that you have time to lime the soil and have it mix with the existing soil before planting your crop.   Limestone reacts slowly with the soil, so it’s important when adding lime to your oil to leave enough lead-time before planting.   For annual crops, such as vegetables, test your soil every spring before planting for the season.

    Happy Gardening!!!

    For more tips on gardening follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/stoneycreekfarmtennessee/
    and Pinterest (‘For the Garden’) https://www.pinterest.com/leighfunderburk/

     

     

     

    Best Sustainable Farm Animal – Chickens

    We are now in week 6 of our 2017 Sustainable Living Topics and it’s time to start talking about farm animals.  Chickens are definitely one of my favorites and provide multiple resources for your (urban) farmstead at a minimal cost: 1. Eggs provide food high in protein 2. Chicken manure (properly composted) provides some of the best organic material for gardens 3. Chickens provide pest control by eating bugs from yards and gardens 4. Chicken meat is high in protein 5. Chicken eggs provide a source of income…everyone wants farm fresh eggs and don’t mind paying a premium for them 6. Chickens provide enjoyment…they are so fun to watch, pet and feed!

    So how do you get started?  That depends on the area you have available for your birds…  If you have a backyard in an HOA or live in the city, then you will need to make sure your HOA rules or city ordinances allow chickens (and how many).  None will allow roosters, because of the noise factor (crowing at 2 am).  Otherwise, you can have a rooster, but be aware that roosters really do crow at really weird hours and you don’t need a rooster unless you want to fertilize eggs for hatching baby chicks. We do not hatch our own eggs; we order our baby chicks from Murray McMurray Hatchery (https://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com )…and have for years.  McMurray guarantees their baby chicks just in case something happens during shipment by the Post Office.  In all the many years that we have used McMurray, we have never had to use the guarantee policy until recently.  We ordered 30 chicks a few weeks ago and they must have gotten cold in delivery or jostled badly, because we had 7 that did not make it.  McMurray credited us for these poor baby chicks…no questions asked.  They have superior customer service, so as you can tell, we highly recommend them (and this is not a paid or solicited advertisement from them).  They are just good business folks. The chicks come in a well ventilated box marked ‘fragile’ and ‘this side up’ and are shipped overnight.  When we order the chicks we do order them to be vaccinated for coccidiosis because we continue to raise them in the same area year to year, but that is a personal preference.

    They keep each other warm with their body heat and they hatchery provides come gel food in the bottom of the box to sustain them until they make it to their new home. Once the chicks get to their new home, you will need to have a waterer, feeder and a heat lamp that will keep the chicks at least 95-100  degrees.  You can reduce the temperature by 5 degrees after the 1st week and thereafter.  It is extremely important that the new chicks are kept warm the first couple of weeks because they do not tolerate cold at all.

    If new chicks are stressed, occasionally, you will see something called ‘pasty butt’.  The vent (butt) will get clogged with poop, turn brown and cake on, which eventually doesn’t allow for little gal/guy to poop very well.  Just as you would clean your own baby’s bottom, you simply use a wet warm cloth to clean off the caked on poop, so that it doesn’t cause problems for the little one later on.  Be sure to be gentle…they are already stressed.  Afterwards, I hold them for a minute and stroke their back to make them feel safe, and put them under the lamp for their little butts to dry.  Ok, maybe I nurture a little too much…. Now, you just play with them and watch them grow.  The more time you can spend with them, the more gentle they will be.  I usually try to feed them out of my hand and hold them at least a few times a week.  If you have the time, it’s well worth the effort. There are many breeds to choose from and it depends on what the purpose is for the farmstead.  If you want to raise chickens solely for meat, there are meat birds like Jumbo Cornish X Rocks, or Red Ranger Broiler.  If you are wanting to raise them for eggs and meat (combination), then the Delaware breed may work for you.   For strictly egg layers you may want Rhode Island Reds or the Pearl White Leghorn. If you are like us and want to raise your farmstead birds for mainly eggs (and end of life stewing chickens) then we suggest a sex link breed called Red Star, which is considered the best brown egg layer of all the breeds.

    Red Star Hen

    A sex link chicken is one that can be identified when hatched whether it is a male or female bird.  For instance, the female Red Star has a reddish tint and the male is yellow/white.  This identification allows for an exact number of hens to be ordered rather than guessing whether it will be a rooster or hen.  On a typical order of Rhode Island Reds I would get at least 3 roosters, so we would have to either slaughter or give away the other 2 roosters…because you only need one for 20-30 hens.

    Next week we will cover more on their Life Cycle:  “Chickens have Teenagers Too…Thank Goodness They Grow Up!”

    If you would like to learn more about Farm Animals and Sustainable Farm Living, check out our book, “Dirt Rich”  available on Amazon, Kindle and www.stoneycreek.farm

     

     

      Waste Not, Want Not

      I can’t tell you how many times while growing up my mom said to me, “waste not, want not“, whenever I didn’t finish all the food on my plate.  She didn’t want me to overeat…she just wanted me to learn not to put more food on my plate than I could eat…so I didn’t waste food.  And her mantra lives on…through me…she’d be proud!

      Here are 7  ‘Easy to Do’ Tips that can help you eliminate some of the food waste that goes on in your family refrigerator and pantry every week…hope this helps you:

      Tip#1  Leftover Fruit
      Freeze it.  Yes that’s right, fresh fruit… put it in a freezer container and freeze it (up to a few months) to use in smoothies, cook and puree to add to muffins or cakes, or use to ice drinks/tea/wine/sangria.  Freeze whole ripe bananas to use for smoothies and banana bread.

      Tip#2  Cereal the kids won’t eat
      You thought they would eat it.  The image on the box looked really good (high in fiber, double good) and it had a surprise toy…oh well.  Most cereals can be made into a breakfast/snack bar with some added chocolate chips.  Here is a standard recipe that works for a lot of cereals, but you might have to adjust some of the ingredients to suit the texture of the cereal.
      2 Cups Cereal
      1/3 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Peanut Butter
      1/3 Cup plus 1 Tbsp Honey
      Line a 9″ x 11″ with parchment paper.  Heat peanut butter and honey until melted, then mix well with the cereal, pour into pan and flatten.  Place in fridge for about 30 minutes to harden.

      Tip #3  Salad Greens that are about to go out of date
      Sauté them in Olive Oil with a little bit of garlic. Chefs do it all the time.  Romaine, Chard, Kale and all types of greens taste wonderful when they are lightly sautéed .  For a little different flavor, add a little red wine vinegar at the end, right before serving.

      Tip #4   Leftovers
      Designate one night each week as “Leftovers Night” to  help deplete waste in the refrigerator and keep your inventory manageable.  If the fridge gets too cluttered, then it’s hard to determine how old it is, so you end up with more wasted food.  Another great tip is using masking tape and marking the date  and description on the package.  Also, immediately after dinner, package lunch size portions of leftovers to save money instead of eating lunch at a restaurant

      Tip#5  Repurpose Meals
      Some meals are easier than others to repurpose, so that the family does not feel that they are eating leftovers a couple of days in a row.  Here are some examples I use on a regular basis:
      Baked Rosemary Chicken (first night), Chicken Alfredo (second night), Chicken Salad or homemade Chicken and Rice Soup (for lunches)
      Crock Pot Chili (first night), Chili nachos with all the fixings (second night)
      Spaghetti with Meatballs (first night), Meatball Subs (second night), baked spaghetti with Ricotta Cheese (third night)
      Sirloin Steak (first night), Black and Blue Steak Salad (second night)

      Tip#6  Stale Bread
      Simply add a little olive oil and Italian Seasoning to any sliced bread, cut into small squares and bake on a cookie sheet at 200 degrees f0r approx. 2 hours and you will have some very tasty croutons.  Thinly sliced cheese melted on toasted stale bread can compliment most any meal, especially a tomato basil soup.

      Tip#7   Preserving – Canning or Freezing
      If you have veggies or fruit that will not get eaten before they ruin, you always have the option of making a jelly or jam from the fruit and  blanching/freezing veggies to use at a later date.  If I have too many onions or peppers, I might dice them up and put them in the freezer to use in cooking (up to 3 months).  I always freeze unused fresh basil to use at a later date, because it is so easy to crush into the recipes.

      Feel free to share any Sustainable Living Ideas that you would like covered in our weekly posts.   Just send me a note at stoneycreekfarmtennessee@gmail.com.
      Thank You!  Leigh

      P.S. Sign up for our e-mail list to receive Sustainable Living Information each week at http://www.stoneycreek.farm.

       

      Start 2017 with a Simple, Sustainable Life

      Over the past 11 years, Olin and I have changed our lives a little at a time by pairing down our “stuff” and being content with less.  We have found that this practice has created an incredible amount of joy and reduced a massive amount of stress from our lives.  We would like to share some of our successes (and things to avoid) in our 2017 weekly newsletters to help you discover new and different ways to live this year simply and sustainably.

      We welcome any suggestions, comments and advice from any of our readers to share with others, so that everyone can benefit from your personal experience!  So please reply back to any of the newsletters this year with your input!  Thank you!

      So here are a couple of tips that we began about 10 years ago for Holiday decorations:
      If it takes more than 2-3 hours to decorate for Christmas, we don’t do it!

      I know…it sounds ridiculous…it did to us too.  But we began by pairing down our decorations to the ones we really loved;  then we only put out the tree ornaments that have memories associated with them;  and we pack everything away in an organized fashion in large plastic bins, so that it’s easy to find and put up the next year (key to success).  And YES, whatever you are not using (after a couple of years), you can give away, donate, or use some things for wrapping gifts (like ornaments, ribbon, etc).  Think about all the people you can bless with your beautiful decorations that you don’t use anymore…

      Another tip we started many years ago which saves money and keeps the wrapping station organized:
      Use ONE Container for wrapping supplies; including all holiday celebrations (with birthday, anniversary, etc.)

      clear-storage-box-for-gift-wrapI know…sounds ridiculous…but it can be done.  You will be amazed how it will simplify the amount of gift wrap you need in your home.  You will not feel the need to go buy oodles and oodles of 50% off gift wrap after the holiday to store for the next holiday, because you will have a manageable wrap station that holds an easy to view inventory.  The only additional bag we have outside the wrap station is a recycle bag full of gift bags that we reuse for the next holiday.  We also save bows and tissue paper (if they are not damaged) to help decrease the landfill for at least another year.

      The lesson we learned about simplifying our decorations and wrapping supplies is this:  Simple and organized makes life easier and less stressful.  Simple living leads to sustainable living…

      Happy New Year from Leigh and Olin!

      olin-and-leigh-norris-dam2

        The Dirt Rich Family Bundle
        makes a Great Holiday Gift!

        Want to support local agriculture and teach families about sustainable living this Holiday Season?  You can do both with the Dirt Rich Family Bundle.  The Bundle contains the following author signed copy books within a red mesh produce bag complete with sparkling bow:

        One “Dirt Rich – How to Experience more Joy and Less Stress Through Sustainable Farm Living” Book
        Two “Dirt Rich Kids Coloring and Activity Books”
        Two farm box crayons

        The bundle is only $25 plus $5 shipping anywhere within the continental US.

        To order your Dirt Rich Family Bundles click the link below:
        Dirt Rich Family Bundle

          Dirt Rich

          Here’s the story of a couple who jumped off their corporate ladders into a small farm…finding a more peaceful and joyful life.  They want to share their journey with you, the difference it made in their lives and how you can live sustainably too, whether that’s in your backyard or on a few acres.

          Dirt Rich Reviews

          “In Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk lay out a beautiful plan for a simple, sustainable life style. Not one that strips the joy and beauty from life, but one that enhances those very characteristics. They guide us through their model of enriching their lives and those of the people in their community, and how you can do the same.”

          Dan Miller

          Dan Miller, New York Times Bestselling Author of “48 Days to the Work You Love”

           

          “Before making the jump to homesteading, you should definitely get the inside “dirt” on how to turn your dream into a profitable reality.  In this charming and insightful book, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, share their journey towards a sustainable lifestyle.  Teachers at heart, you will learn (and laugh) as they share what worked for them, and what didn’t, and the (sometimes surprising) lessons they learned along the way.”

          pic of Cindy

          Cindy Shapton, Herbalist, Speaker, and Author of the “The Cracked Pot Herb Book”

          “If you are interested in a practical guide to sustainable farming, begin with this book.  Nothing beats hands-on experience, and in Dirt Rich, Leigh and Olin Funderburk, owners of Stoney Creek Farm, effectively and succinctly share theirs.  Dirt Rich is one of those rare books that simultaneously stakes out an engaging read filled with useful, real-world content, one which is sure to have you out searching for a farm of your own!  I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a jump-start on the journey to sustainable living.”

          Clark Gaither

          Clark Gaither, MD, Bestselling Author of “Powerful Words”

          To get your own copy of “Dirt Rich”, simply click on the link below:

          Buy “Dirt Rich” Now

          Melinda Hadaway is a good friend and sustainable-minded gal who makes many of her own cleaning and personal products out of all natural ingredients.  I asked her to share some info on herself and the reasons she is living a more sustainable life…

          Melinda Hadaway

          I am currently a homemaker. I enjoy sewing, cooking ,gardening, and creating watercolor art. I am also passionate about healthy living….including exercise, healthy eating, healthy relationship building. My goal is to live to the age of 100 ( and beyond ) and do that the healthiest way possible. I am a wife, mother, grandmother and friend. I embrace simple , sustainable living. Above all I am passionate about living everyday to serve God, and put a smile on someone else’s face!  

          Maybe 5 years ago, I started being interested in sustainable, simple living. I guess mostly I was intrigued with the idea that I could make some of the everyday products that I use around the home using products that I had on hand or could purchase less expensively . I liked the idea that I could simplify my days and create a clean, chemical reduced environment . Honestly, I feel good about using more natural ingredients in and on my body as well as for cleaning. It began as more of a hobby and interest, and now I like the way we feel and hope it contributes to a long happy life. Hand sanitizer, hand soap, all purpose cleaner, shave cream, bathroom cleaner are some of the products I make. I have several more recipes I will try as time permits. They are easy enough for me to make. Once you get the basic ingredients it takes little time to put together.

          melinda hadaway toilet cleaner melinda hadaway shave cream

          It does save some money, but I think the best thing to do is weigh the cost: that means think about the amount of time you want to spend and the cost of purchasing the products.  If you can save time and money….homemade is good. 

          Sustainable Farm Conference at Stoney Creek Farm

          I went to the Stoney Creek Farm Sustainable Conference on April 14-15 this year.  I loved the fact that it was on an actual farm right here I the city I live in, and hosted by two amazing people my husband and I have come to love and appreciate .?  I learned a lot from the conference and here are a couple of “take aways” I got from the : herbs – so many more uses than I had known about before, the book is a great tool for reference.  (The Cracked Pot Herb Book by Cindy Shapton  www.cindyshapton.com).  Because I really like honey, the lecture on bee keeping from Jay Williams, Williams Honey Farm https://williamshoneyfarm.com/ was informative and interesting as well. 

          bee 3

          The most important reason I want to live and share my ideas with others about sustainable living (repurposing, recycling, taking care of the earth) is…for me it makes sense and it’s all connected: simple, more minimal living, creates space, I like to call it margin. You see, even though life is full for me and my husband right now we are not “busy” this life we live is full, full of happy times, simple living, and beautiful relationships because we have created that “space” we call margin.  And here are a few more…

          1. I want to share this with others because I want them to experience the same contentment we have found.
          2. I believe I have found a healthy balance in using natural products, repurposing items around the house. I don’t like to think that I will ever plan to go overboard in any one area just learn the balance and keep it simple. I have recently began reading Joshua Becker’s new book “The More of Less”. He is known for his becoming minimalist initiative . I would highly recommend this book as he explains how to find the life you want under everything you own. Less stuff to manage means more time to learn and share what God has blessed me with.
          3. Also, I find in the kitchen as far as cooking, using foods that are not processed, cooking more at home vs eating out, planning meals ahead( which I have been doing for 39 years), preserving herbs and other things I grow are among the things I do to keep us healthy and hopefully live longer .

          Melinda and I are kindred spirits about sustainable living.  If you would like more information about Melinda and how to contact her…see her card below:

          melinda hadaway business card