This Farm’s Future is Evolving

Black Sun Farm has been the product of my heart and soul for over five years now. I poured myself into building this small property into a working homestead. I can’t even tell you how many plants I’ve put into the ground here. And the birds I’ve raised for eggs and meat over the years were all spoiled rotten and given the best food and care possible.

Last weekend I found a new home for Cabbage, Onion, and the few ducks I had left. Feeding them all winter with virtually no return of eggs is simply unsustainable at this point. This year was hard for me—if you noticed, I started the year off strong with lots of Events, but I only went to a few markets and festivals over the season. I’ve been working my other farm job, growing food here for my family, and my business necessarily took a spot on the back burner of importance.

There are now no longer any farm animals on this farm. I still have three cats (one of whom is a great barn cat that I may need to find a home for soon as well,) but no more poultry. It’s a sad week for me. I’ll have to buy my eggs someplace else. The gardens produced a lot and my freezer is full, so at least I have that much.

If you’re still reading this far, THANK YOU for your support!

Whether or not I keep this place, or keep farming is very questionable right now. I will always be an Herbalist and a farmer at heart, but this business doesn’t make nearly enough to pay all my bills on its own.

Check out the links in my sidebar and below to see a few class offerings you can learn from any time. Also remember that I have lots of GARLIC available at $2/bulb if you want some for eating or planting.

People tell me constantly, “Keep farming, there are food shortages coming!” or “I’m so envious of all the things you know about and know how to do!”

Want to know the truth? I LOVE knowing how to grow and forage my own food. I LOVE knowing how to raise and slaughter my own animals for meat. I love knowing all I know about medicinal plants, nutrition, and keeping the body healthy.

But LOVE does not equal money. And I need money to survive.

So if you want to keep me going please seriously check out the things I sell through my website and Etsy store.

Also: I spent all of 2022 making foraging videos on TikTok. Why don’t you follow me and start learning a few things for free?

@theoriginalmealchan

Hopefully this explains better why you should be trying to grow some of your own food or at least buying food from a farmer’s market or local farm. It’s not as hard as you think it is and it will save you money and health in the long run! #farmtok #farmfood #foodismedicine #eatrealfood #buyfarmfood #supportyourlocalfarmer #sustainablefood #sustainablefarming #foodsource #savemoneyonfood #buylocal

♬ original sound – Amelia from Black Sun Farm

Heart Health is Vital!

Keeping your heart healthy is about more than just supporting an organ. Yes, you can’t live without your actual physical heart. It pumps blood throughout your entire body and is the powerhouse of your system. Herbs like Hawthorn, Shepherd’s Purse, and Rose can help heart and circulation health on a physical level. But what about your emotional heart?

Women have mostly been interested in my Rose Elixir: a special blend of rose hips, rose petals, brandy, and honey infused over many months. A few drops of this helps heal your heartache over a loved one (whether that be a death or a relationship.) I only have a couple of bottles left, so Contact Me if you want some.

But for men? Whether you are a man or know a man in your life who has suffered heartache over and over, or is sick of the ghosting and frustration involved in Online Dating, there’s little help for you. Every self-help or coaching program I’ve seen online claims to teach a man how to catch a woman or how to get into her pants as if sex will solve all his problems.

I promise you this: it won’t. Men have emotional needs too! One of my closest friends is a man who has had a lot of life experience with relationships and can show you how to find, meet, attract, and date a quality woman for a real romantic relationship that could make you happier than you’ve ever been before.

He learned his lessons from the School of Hard Knocks… working at Chippendale’s and then becoming a bartender in Hollywood for 14 years!

If you’re a man looking for help to end your loneliness, check out The Redfield System. If you’re a woman, please share this with a man you KNOW needs help finding a woman for something deeper than just a sexual fling.

Quick Guide: Raising Ducks

You should know based on my farm website that we raise chickens and ducks on our small farm. We have two geese, but they’re more like pets so I can’t really say we “raise geese,” but goose needs are basically the same as ducks so you can probably take my advice on their account as well.

I’m writing this post because we got another batch of ducklings last weekend and want to brag about them while they’re still cute.

Duckling of 2021

Disclaimer: I don’t hatch my own ducks. I have tried and failed a couple of times, so I need to get better at using the small incubator we have. These ducks we bought from a local feed store, because I keep getting requests for duck eggs and just can’t keep up when most of the flock stops laying in winter. Pekins lay through the winter, so while I’m not a fan of white ducks, that’s what I got this year.

Ducklings are ADORABLE. And the sound they make is exactly the same sound you hear when you squeeze a rubber duckie. THAT SOUND IS REAL. And it’s second only to the sound of their little webbed feet slapping across the kitchen floor.

Rule number one: do not think that just because you’ve had chickens before means you can handle having ducks. Ducks are ten times as messy as chickens/chicks. We have to clean the ducklings’ box out every day when they are tiny, and every other day the bigger they get (when they end up in the basement pen we have set up, between being babies and teenagers.)

Rule Two: Unless you plan on spending every waking moment with that duck, DO NOT just get one duck. They need friends to socialize with. Chickens are not good duck friends, but they can get along well enough if that’s all you have.

Rule Three: Ducks, at every stage of life (this goes for geese too) NEED a water bowl. Those red and white plastic water jug things may work for chicks, but ducklings have to submerge their bill/face into the water to properly clear their nostrils for breathing, several times a day. They really do need a bowl. They will also swim in or bathe in this bowl, which is also necessary for getting their oil gland working properly for when they have feathers. If you can’t handle this mess, don’t get waterfowl.

These work great and are cheap

Those are my biggest concerns with most people. I raise ducks for eggs and meat, but we treat our birds very well and keep them clean and well-fed. Ducks have slightly different nutritional needs than chickens, so I like to give them a duck feed while they are young to help make sure they get the right nutrients. Once they are grown, they have no problem sharing the chicken food, and they do a great job hunting for bugs around the yard to supplement what I feed them.

Ducklings WILL poop on your sofa, just FYI. Also Nik is in love with ducks

Some crazy people even have a pet house duck that they put diapers and a leash on and treat like a dog. I’m not at that point yet… saving that for my crazy old lady years. But it can be done! Anyway, don’t get ducks if you can’t handle a mess or don’t have enough space for them. They are excellent at helping keep your yard insect-free (especially from Japanese Beetles!) and are all around a real joy to have. The slap of duckling feet running across my kitchen floor is literally my favorite sound in the whole world. And duck butts are adorable, no matter what age they are!

You can find all kinds of guides and books online about how to raise ducks. I wanted to give this short PSA since Easter is coming up and I’d rather not have to rescue more ducks that people dump after not realizing the care involved in raising them.

I also wanted to show off my ducks…

This was me with my very first duck ever back in 2017

Giant Squash 2020!

I just had to make a quick post about this. I am SO bummed that all the fairs were cancelled this year because LOOK WHAT I GREW!

I think Boston Marrow winter squash are just the coolest. I have NEVER grown one this big before though. 42.4 lbs of pure enormous food! I can’t wait to cut her open and see how many seeds I have. This, and the 6 other squash I have already, are from ONE little plant!

The smaller one was 28 lbs

I am super proud of this! I had to do vine borers surgery on the vine last week to save it, because those little bastards really love this squash. But I am gonna make pie and soup all winter now! Woohoo!

Do you think I should take any with me to market?

Learning and Changing

I don’t know if you know this, but my husband is about 1/8th Menomonee (Ojibway tribe) and I know of some Osage ancestry on my father’s side of the family tree. Between these facts and the journey that I’ve been on bringing me closer to Mother Earth and the plants that live on her, I have been trying to learn as much as I can about Native American culture and ways of life. I know that white sage and sweetgrass are sacred herbs, meant to be burned in thanks to the earth and to help one’s own spirit.

Much as I wish I could always only give my plant medicine as gifts, I must feed my family and pay my bills in the modern world. That is why I sell my herbal medicines and incense. I want to help people as well, but I still have mouths to feed in my home and that has to come first for now. However, after reading (or at least beginning to read) the book Braiding Sweetgrass, I now know that I should not be selling my sweetgrass braids. I was very careful before to whom I did sell the braids, but now I will barter or gift only, as the plant is not meant to be exchanged for money.

Moving forward, I have decided that I will no longer SELL my sweetgrass braids, but I will still make them for my own use. If you or a Native American friend are in need of a braid, please contact me and we may be able to work out a gift or barter exchange based on your need.

On a similar note, I also experimented with growing native tobacco this year (Nicotiana rustica) and I may be able to share small amounts with those in need.

Masterful Mullein!

Mullein is a common herb in North America, though just like dandelion and plantain it is not native to this land. You have probably seen it in a ditch on the road side, or growing near your favorite walking path, or by the fence at the baseball field. It’s soft, fuzzy leaves have been snuggled by children and used as an alternative to toilet paper for many a year. It is a biennial herb, which means there is a thick rosette of heavy leaves the first year, followed by a huge, tall stalk with flowers the second year. The seeds spread off this stalk and the cycle begins again. You can pronounce it “Mullen” or “Mully-in,” or however you like!

Mullein is one of my favorite herbs because the leaf, once dried, can actually be smoked to clear the lungs. SMOKED. I don’t smoke anything, but I tried this once just to test the BS factor of the claim and I swear to you, inhaling mullein smoke actually cleared my lungs!

Mullein is a perfect remedy for that dry, scratchy cough you can’t seem to get rid of with just a few sips of water. A squirt or two of the tincture does so quickly and effectively for me.

A lovely tea blend for helping a cough, full of mullein leaves

Mullein can be made into a tincture, which is the easiest way to take it and what we generally turn to at our house. You can also make it into a tea, though you may wish to consider pouring the tea through a coffee filter before you consume it, in case any of the tiny hairs off the leaves have strayed into your cup. Mullein can also be smoked for its benefits (seems counter intuitive, but it actually works!) which is why I add it to Nik’s smoking blends and to several of my home health incense blends. The yellow flowers of mullein are infused into an oil and are a great remedy for ear aches, and help clear up an ear infection if you catch it in the early stages.

The roots of mullein are also helpful in healing muscle and tendon injuries. Check out this post on mullein by famed herbalist Jim Macdonald to learn more. This whole plant is an amazing piece of work!

I have plenty of this herb available and make medicine with it regularly, so feel free to ask if you need any help working with it.