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Tuesday, August 9, 2016
Bats and Zika Over the years, we have installed about nine bat houses on the farm. A single bat box can house about 300 bats and collectively, the residents of just that single house can consume about 1,000,000 mosquitoes per night. Multiply that by nine and it's easy to understand why we don't...
Friday, July 1, 2016
Shipping Container Greenhouse It's an exciting time of year here at Greenfire. When the dust of the springtime bustle settles, we get the opportunity to turn our attention towards mending our infrastructure, regrouping for next year, and finally completing projects that have been on the back bu...
Wednesday, June 1, 2016
Give Us Five Minutes, We'll Give You $35 We are growing here at Greenfire Farms! And as we grow, we need your help figuring out ways to improve our business. We are especially interested in improving our customer experience. So, that means we need to hear from YOU, our customers! If you take fi...
Friday, April 1, 2016
Fifty Five Flowery Hens We are now accepting deposits for our June release of the incredible Fifty Five Flowery Hen. This autosexing breed lays super large, round tinted eggs, and, as most of the other Swedish breeds we’ve worked with, they are incredibly friendly. If you’re looking for a super...
Tuesday, March 1, 2016
Queen Silvia Price Reduction!!! If you have not checked out one of our most recent releases, the Queen Silvia, you need to! This compact, ace free-ranger has just about out-performed any of our other breeds in the spring lineup. In fact, we are so inundated with chicks that we just reduced the ...
Monday, February 1, 2016
Flowers, Flowers, and More Flowers Greenfire is known for it's most popular original import: the Swedish Flower Hen. Well, now we have added another flowery breed to the lineup: the 55 Flowery Hen. This is a remarkable but little-known Swedish breed created by Martin Silverudd in, yes, 1955. Th...
Friday, January 8, 2016
New Release Our long-awaited spring release will be available very soon! This spring, we are featuring a Greenfire Farms Original Import, the Chocolate Partridge Wyandotte. We are hoping to begin shipping this breed at the end of February. If you’ve had your eye on them, now is the time to orde...
Saturday, November 17, 2012
We're pleased with the way our cream legbar breeders are shaping up for the 2013 breeding season.  By importing new stock and selectively breeding our older lines we're developing birds that are inching closer to the UK standard for this breed.  Our 2013 breeders address some of the cosmetic flaws i...
Saturday, November 10, 2012
As you may recall, we crossed jubilee and gold laced Orpingtons.  We then bred these F2 hybrids to produce F3 chicks.  Theoretically, about 25% of the chicks should express the mottling gene.  We are now beginning to see mottling in some of our F3 chicks and we see some chicks with the correct color...
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Feed has skyrocketed in price, and losing feed through rain spoilage and waste is an increasingly painful proposition.  So, we look around for an engineering solution to the problem.  We found a nifty little device that goes by the questionable marketing name of the Poultry Pecker, and allegedly whe...
Monday, September 24, 2012
If you'll recall, about a year ago we bred a gold laced Orpington with a jubilee Orpington to produce an F2 generation of birds.  They looked like this: An F2 Hen Then, we mated the F2s with each other.  Theoretically, 25% of the offspring of the F2s should have the genetics we're looking for in t...
Friday, August 3, 2012
The other day I was reading a post in a popular online chicken forum in which someone was expressing horror and outrage at the idea that male day-old chicks are by the millions fed into machines that chop them to pieces while they're alive.  (This claim is true, by the way.  The commercial chicken i...
Sunday, April 22, 2012
We're growing out the gold laced Orp x jubilee Orp crosses that are the F2 generation of the tolbunt project.  Quite a bit of uniformity among the chicks.  They all seem to have some variation of black and gold markings.  It's also noteworthy how robust they are.  Here's a typical juvenile:  
Monday, April 9, 2012
Greenfire Farms was recently featured in an excellent article in the Dining section written by New York Times reporter Julia Moskin.  You can see it here.  Thanks, Julia!
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
Okay, so the drywall got a skim coat and a finish sand.  The walls and ceiling were painted,  and a bamboo floor (renewable and cheap when sourced online) was installed.  Metal pans were bent and installed to finish the interior of the container doors.  A perimeter deck was built.  A super slick spl...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
At Greenfire Farms we’ve embarked on an ambitious project to create a tolbunt Orpington.  If you’ve been to the tolbunt Polish page on this website you know that ‘tolbunt’ is a recently created color pattern from the former East Germany that combines brown, black, and white to dazzling effect in the...
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Drywall completed.  Next up:  paint and flooring.  
Monday, February 20, 2012
The wiring and electrical were installed in the studs of the container.   Plenty of outlets and eight 4" recessed cans in the ceiling. The container was then completely insulated using Icynene spray foam, one of those wonder chemical concoctions that saves the environment, eliminates acne, and turn...
Wednesday, February 15, 2012
Today we completed the interior framing and insulated subfloor.  Tomorrow the installation of electrical begins and hopefully ends.  The next day:  spray insulation.  
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
The major drawback to using shipping containers as habitable space is their thermal conductivity.  Studies show that containers can reach an internal temperature of about 140° in direct tropical sunlight.  To neutralize this effect in the Florida heat we are employing a number of strategies.  Chief ...
Monday, February 13, 2012
If you're interested in experimenting with creating new chicken colors from existing varieties, one of the best written guides to this arcane subject is by the British poultry expert and author Grant Brereton.  At Greenfire Farms, we purchased these e-books several weeks ago and have been educated a...
Saturday, February 11, 2012
The crane landed, and the container flew this morning.      
Friday, February 10, 2012
We stripped the forms for the concrete pilings today.  Tomorrow we fly the container onto these pilings with a crane.  
Thursday, February 9, 2012
Okay, so today we poured the four corner concrete piles for the Temple of Consumption and installed steel plates in the piles.  Here is one of the steel plates welded to a rebar "J" hook.     First, the concrete was poured into the hole and form.   Then, the steel pad with rebar hoo...
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
To be honest we've been diverted on other projects for a few months, but now we're back to working on the solar barn.  The first module --a larger Greenfire office-- needs to be completed and operational by March 5, 2012, so it's crunch time.  We did a little creative permitting for the electrical h...
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Let me ask a simple question: Why don't rare chickens have a registered pedigree? Breed registries are a critical tool in promoting and preserving any type of rare or valuable animal.  If you want to buy a purebred puppy for a common breed you’re likely to end up with a dog registered by the America...
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
It will soon be Valentine’s Day at Greenfire Farms, and with the lengthening days our thoughts turn to the cyclical explosion of new life all around us.  Curiously, this brings to mind a place not too far from our farm in the sketchy section of the nearby town where police cars outnumber SUVs by a w...
Friday, January 13, 2012
Early one morning a few days ago I was gassing up the pickup truck at a local convenience store, and I saw a sleek black pitbull mix skirting the edge of the parking lot.  Behind him only dark woods, ahead the bright lights and sharp corners of the fuel island, he seemed content to live along the th...
Thursday, December 29, 2011
Okay, so what's up with calling a snowman 'Parson Brown'? It's that lull between Christmas and New Year's when the vital signs of corporate America drop to an anemic, thready pulse.  But, chickens don't read calendars and cows never go on vacation so farm life rolls on.  It's been an unusually mild ...
Sunday, November 20, 2011
It's always exciting to import a new chicken breed into America, but if we're serious about saving breeds from extinction we need to think about how the breed will survive a decade...or centuries...in the future.  If a breeding population is too small and isolated then inbreeding begins to exert its...
Sunday, October 30, 2011
People frequently ask about the size of the these birds. Here's a picture of an adult hen next to a normal-size apple.      
Thursday, October 27, 2011
As consumers, it's easy to lose sight of the process.  When I pick up eggs at the farmers' market (which I do since Greenfire can't support a weekly $600 omelet), I often catch myself forgetting about the birds the eggs came from.  And I'm a chicken farmer!  Sure, I've made a connection with 'my far...
Friday, October 21, 2011
This week we picked through the orts and leavings of the grand military feast and scored a good deal:  A slightly used 12,000 BTU air conditioning unit painted in the classic Army olive drab and stored in a super-slick Hardigg plastic case.  If it worked in Iraq, it should work in Florida, too.  So,...
Sunday, October 16, 2011
So, you ask, is our current Greenfire office really so small that we're willing to live in a shipping container and view it as a major upgrade?  A picture is worth a thousand words.   The container has now been accepted into the pineywoods cattle herd.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Temple of Consumption has landed. After a short career of transoceanic service schlepping Happy Meal toys from China, the 8'x20' shipping container that is the first module of our solar barn has arrived on the farm and will be repurposed for a more historic role:  the ultra-luxe global headquart...
Monday, October 3, 2011
Bantam breeds are not for me. I’m not being sizeist here. Okay, maybe I am. But when you have to get on your hands and knees and track a tiny bird around the farm in the full Florida sun just to snap a few good pictures, you start to get the feeling that their smallness, their flightiness, their ...
Sunday, October 2, 2011
If everything goes according to plan we should be receiving a used cargo shipping container on the farm this week.  The purpose:  to become the first 'module' of a solar-powered barn made largely from recycled materials.  The final product will likely take years to build, but the idea is to piece to...
Monday, August 15, 2011
There is much debate and confusion on what consitutes a distinct "breed" of chicken.  There are several definitions --some of them not particularly helpful-- that seek to bring clarity to the issue.  The one that I've found to be the most practical is this:  A breed is a group of animals whose indiv...
Friday, May 13, 2011
92,400,000,000:  Number of chicken eggs produced in the United States last year. 37,000,000,000:  Number of chickens raised globally last year. 23,000:  Number of genes in the chicken genome.  (Humans have about the same number.) 8,000:  Number of years ago chickens may have first been domesticated ...
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
We all know chickens love to free range in the yard during the day, but I'm interested in chickens that can hop oceans in an afternoon.  When it comes to the way a chicken looks and behaves, geography is destiny.  What started 8,000 years ago as a small and crafty bird in the jungles of Southeast As...
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Imagine that you live in a nation gutted by war.  You've lost almost an entire generation of young men in a cataclysm unprecedented in the annals of violent conflict.  Every available resource  --iron and steel, oil and  coal, food and cloth-- have been diverted to the war effort.  Ultimately, you e...
Monday, December 20, 2010
Sorry, I just had to embarass myself with actually calulating their age. Time moves on a farm. Time moves on double-speed according to my conversion, apparently. Honestly, the week of Christmas, really?????? So, I know you will all be shocked to see the precious tufts of tail feather that weren'...
Friday, December 10, 2010
 
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Okay, and we're back! I'm sorry I've been so delinquent on blog posts. Winter has arrived. In a smack down sort of sense. It's never a subtle transition for anything here in Florida. We had some frozen pipes and some winterizing to do this week. Staying busy. These chicks have been growing li...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
I thought it'd be nice to post some portrait style pics today. Here they are:
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Quick here. It's a busy day. I have to say, though: check out the awesome coloring coming in on Button's wings. Beautiful. Super cute, gangly Spud.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
This has been one of my favorite days to shoot pics thus far. I really tried to capture their personalities to impart how unique each one is turning out. Nan is becoming fearless. She flits around with serious attitude. She's the only one that explores the studio regularly without chirping for t...
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Okay, I'm coming up off of all these darling photos I've been hoarding. I've been waiting for a copy of Photoshop to come into my clutches and so I haven't been posting the past couple of days because of the embarassing yellowishness of the photos I have been editing. The program I have right now ...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
Busy day. I'm about to hit the road to drive to Gainesville and really want to beat the traffic. So, I took one shot each. They all turned out super similar! See you tomorrow.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Rainy afternoon here. I hope it will bring some cold. It has been so unseasonably warm. We got teased with a little cold-snap a few weeks ago and I'm ready for some more winter action. So, the pics are a little blurred out today. You must forgive me. The photo shoot was action packed (except f...
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It's a lovely, warm Thanksgiving here in Florida. I'm holding down the farm for the day which has been so peaceful. I peaked in on the chicks today and was really astounded by how full their wings are beginning to look. Especially Spud. Here he is caught in the act of preening himself. Here i...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
It has occurred to me that it's becoming so easy to pick out Nan and Spud and Button from the other chicks we're brooding them with right now. Usually, all the little chicks seem about the same to me. But discerning them from the other Swedish chicks that we've hatched out is becoming easier and e...
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
So, we had an internet outage on the farm yesterday and I wasn't able to upload these. Power up today so I will have double posts. Nan was pretty uncooperative yesterday. I finally made the smart decision to photograph them separately so that they're not all trying to cluster up with eachother. ...
Monday, November 22, 2010
Okay, okay, day four, technically. A warm day. The chicks seemed a little sleepy. Nan was trying desperately to join the other two near the halogen. Here she is looking over at them trying to dart past the makeshift partition I created to keep them separate. Spud has got to be a roo. He is g...
Saturday, November 20, 2010
Chilly morning right now. Scooped up Nan, Spud and Button to get some photos. They seemed pretty sleepy and were totally digging the heat from the halogen. Spud was fighting a nap with little resolve. Everytime he fell into it (with one leg tucked closely to his belly), he would lose his balanc...
Friday, November 19, 2010
[gallery columns="4"]Yesterday was a very momentous day for us here on the farm. Every morning, first thing, coffee in hand, I tour our brooder shed to see how the chicks have fared through the night. With temperatures dropping steadily, it's important for us to closely monitor the environment of ...
Friday, May 14, 2010
Both my wife and some of the greatest evolutionary biologists of our era have wrestled with the same vexing question:  Why, exactly, do males exist?  When you think about, from a resource perspective, it is very expensive to have males around, and not just because we waste money on sketchy pay-per-v...
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
With financially stressed farm budgets, how do you satisfy the insatiable appetite of a herd of pigs?  The answer, of course, is the time-honored strategy that has long served the down and out:  by desperately begging. Processed feed is expensive.  A hundred-pound bag of locally milled feed (mostly ...
Sunday, March 28, 2010
As a culture, Americans don't handle death very well, even when it's not our own.  I recently read of a whole-pig roast in a Los Angeles backyard.  When guests were confronted with a complete and identifiable dead animal slowly cooking over the coals, about half of them refused to eat the ...
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
There's a quiet revolution going on in America.... Let me start over. There's a noisy revolution going on in America, and the noise primarily involves roosters crowing and hens clucking.  The desire to 'eat local' and connect to our food has spurred an interest in homegrown eggs, and all over our co...
Saturday, September 5, 2009
Today in a rare fit of responsible reading I picked up a copy of the Wall Street Journal.  There, in the inner section that addresses something livelier than bond trading, was the lead article that proclaimed the summer of 2009 to officially be the most boring summer  --and therefore by their calcul...
Friday, May 15, 2009
How will your children eat? That is to say, how will your children, when they are your age, get food on their table?  If you guess that they will drive to the grocery store once a week and buy bananas from Central America, pork from Iowa, and a salad mix from ...
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Meet Dr. Hubbert In the 1950s, M. King Hubbert, a far-thinking scientist who worked for Shell Oil, postulated that one day oil production would peak and then begin a predictable decline.  He guessed that this would occur in the United States in about 1970 and would occur on a global basis in the 199...
Monday, May 11, 2009
A few days ago the federal government borrowed another $300 billion or so that will one day have to be repaid by Americans who are now approximately three years old --hey, they never objected-- so the money could be applied to help alleviate a little mortgage debt across America, or, say, in the Veg...
Thursday, April 30, 2009
The tongue-frying, lip-scalding, eye-watering heat from peppers is measured in something called a 'Scoville heat unit.'  In 1912, seeking to come up with a standardized system for measuring the piquancy of peppers, American chemist Wilbur Scoville devised a method for measuring capsai...
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
Bugs never sleep. They mount an ongoing assault, wave after pestilent wave, against the cornucopian paradise lying within our garden's boundaries.  And yet, despite their highly evolved abilities to find and take our food, we are not without our defenses.  What appears to the unschooled observer to ...
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Farms grow more than just food.  They grow ideas. Farms seem to provide just the right balance of ingredients to inspire practical innovation:  Lots of time alone with an unending string of minor (and sometimes major) crises and the everpresent demands of hard work.  These forces seem to move creati...
Thursday, April 16, 2009
No lawn worthy of that name in the South is without its contingent of azaleas.  If you've traveled through our area in the spring you can never forget the breathtaking explosion of color afforded by the hybridized, domesticed cultivars of those shrubs.  They're beautiful, but not unlike the colors o...
Sunday, April 12, 2009
We have a basic pattern with our red wattle breeding program:  We sell all the baby females because there is a high demand for registered breeding stock, and one boar can service many sows.  Every now and then we sell an exceptional baby male for breeding, and these lucky few are destined for a long...
Sunday, March 8, 2009
It was simply a beautiful weekend with mild nights, a light breeze, and the thermometer approaching 80 degrees in the hottest part of the day.  The new litter of red wattle piglets, barely a week old, took advantage of the balmy weather to explore their new world with a focused industriousness while...
Saturday, February 28, 2009
One of our cotton patch geese laid an egg.  Here's a picture of the goose egg and a chicken egg.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I've been asked by several people about how we build our chicken coops that we use for holding breeding groups of birds.  I thought it might be helpful to walk through the construction of a row of breeding pens.  They're fairly easy to build although they are a little spendy.  Our goal is to build a...
Friday, February 6, 2009
Today Chowder, our white pineywoods heifer, gave birth to her first calf.  Chowder has always been a little more aggressive than the other cows; a bit standoffish and only sometimes able to suppress a slightly maniacal gleam in her eye.  She has the confidence to stare down man or fellow beast, incl...
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Is there a scientific explanation for what happened yesterday?  If so, then science is the art of explaining the highly improbable. For starters, we have only five ewes that could potentially get pregnant.  (The remaining three are too young.)  As we've said in the blog, one ewe gave birth a few day...
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Count on one the Gulf Coast native ewes to begin lambing on one of the coldest days of the year.  Yet, despite overnight temperatures in the low 20s, all parties seem content to bask in the warmth of the afternoon sun.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Not too far from our farm lies a small settlement that can only aspire to be, but never actually qualify as, a town.  It has a single blinking traffic light, a general store showing at least a half century of deferred maintenance, and a few scattered houses.  But, it's here that the productivity of ...
Thursday, December 25, 2008
History is replete with examples of financial bubbles, those unique moments when excitement trumps logic and prices overshoot the intrinsic worth of a thing.  The first recorded bubble involved tulip mania in the 1630s when the price of tulip bulbs in Holland exploded in value.  Eventually...
Friday, December 19, 2008
We're diversifying a little beyond livestock and trying our hand at selling vegetables to upscale restaurants in North Florida.  Our first modest attempt is to raise winter greens, an endeavor made easier when the cold weather beats back the insect pests for a few months each year. Our talented appr...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Christmas is around the corner, and with it come daily reminders of a year's growth at Greenfire Farms. I am thankful to live with my family in such a beautiful place, and to be a small part of such an important project. Slowly but surely the promise of something much bigger than ourselves has taken...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Although unfortunately taken on an overcast day, you can still see the incredible orange color of the pumpkin Hulsey rooster.  And, if you pay close attention to the first video you can see him flare his hackles when he gets close to a hen.  He looks like a miniature of the frill-necked killer Dilop...
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
A little video clip showing our pineywoods relaxing in, well, the piney woods, on a nice December day.  The bull is the lazy black and white behemoth bedded down in the hay.  His harem and calves are scattered around him.  Bull-wise, life is good.  You should use the HD format option in the lower ri...
Monday, December 15, 2008
At the top of our property sits one of the largest live oaks in Florida.  A carpenter who helped build our house became intrigued with the monster tree, and he measured its circumference.  (When you measure trees for the record book, you take the measurement at 'standard breast height.'  Naturally, ...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Here are some videos of our red wattles.  In order to better see the video, select the HD format option and the bottom right hand corner of the screen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gNs0rjhz__A http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQjmXCZM8ZY
Sunday, December 14, 2008
This is a video of the cotton patch geese.  Note the color differences between the males (all white), female solids (solid gray body), and female saddlebacks (gray upper, white lower).  To see the detail in this video, go to the lower right hand corner of the frame and choose the HD format option. h...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
We're working on several new projects in anticipation of a busy spring in 2009; chicken pens, small field coops, and a new livestock and equipment barn. This week we completed a new row of breeding pens for our chickens; nine new pens in all.  Each pen holds just a few birds, between three to six de...
Sunday, December 14, 2008
This is a video of a pair of light Sussex.  To see more detail, go to the lower right hand corner of the frame and choose the HD format option. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glVk5jrncqA
Sunday, December 14, 2008
These are videos of a silver Sussex rooster.  To see more detail, go to the lower right hand corner of the frame and choose the HD format option. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fdQEr5blLM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SN_EASnmLM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqJhSaVb2F8
Saturday, December 13, 2008
This is a six-month old coronation Sussex rooster.  You can see the size and grace of the bird even at this young age.  To see more detail, click on the HD format option in the lower right hand corner of the picture frame on Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uO_FKfOSJ00
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Just back from a “viewing” of the newest addition to Greenfire Farms.  And no, I’m not talking about a new calf or lamb.  I’m referring, of course, to a used manure spreader that can apparently do everything we’ve ever needed and more.  All I’ll say after watching a brief demonstration in which my h...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Welcome the Greenfire blog!  There's always lots going on at the farm, and we look forward to hearing from you.  Let us know your thoughts, comments, questions, or suggestions.  Thanks for your interest in Greenfire, and let's go farmin'!