Sunday Fried Chicken

This chicken recipe is a little more involved, but always worth it. There’s always extra coating left after I’ve coated the chicken pieces. I put the extra coating in a ziploc bag in the freezer and label it. Then I use it for a coating for any meat I want to fry.

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons dry mustard
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons garlic salt
1 tablespoon celery salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1 tablespoon pepper (optional)
Chicken pieces from Jehovah-Jireh Farm
Cooking oil (I recommend coconut oil)

Combine all ingredients except chicken and oil. Place about 1 cup flour mixture in a paper or plastic  bag. Shake a few chicken pieces in the bag at a time, coating well. On medium-high, heat 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet. Brown chicken on all sides; remove to a shallow baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until done. Recipe makes enough coating for three chickens. Store unused mixture in an airtight container.

“Crazy” Farmers Eat Two Breakfasts!

We eat two breakfasts about five days a week. After learning several years ago that we get 80% of our energy from the air and sun, we realized that we could make a greater improvement on our health by focusing on the 80% in addition to the 20% – our food. After the normal food breakfast, we gather in the living room for about 20 minutes of spirited, four-part singing around the keyboard for our air breakfast. Each of the children have learned to sing harmony – alto, tenor, or bass. We take a hymnbook and start at the beginning and sing each song whether we know it or not. It is amazing how many excellent, beautiful songs there are that are not being sung, and the old “worn out” hymns are the ones that everyone sings. The singing makes an invigorating way to start the day. Cathy and I met while singing on the Rosedale Chorale from Rosedale Bible College in Ohio. We traveled together on two chorale tours in the US and Canada totaling over 12,000 miles.

Singing or playing the harmonica is an excellent way to develop one’s lungs. Dr. Alexander Beddoe, one of Carey Reams’s students, said that one of the best ways to increase our body’s intake of oxygen is to sing or play the harmonica several times a day. He said that it is not the inhaling that is important, but the controlled release of the air that helps the lungs take the oxygen out of the air. When we sing, we take a deep breath and then slowly release the air as we sing a phrase. It is the opposite principle of the lung exercising tool that they give to patients in the hospital that focuses on creating a vacuum by sucking with the lungs and then you give a quick exhale so you can take a breath again.

The concept that people, animals, and plants receive 80% of their nutrients from the air is a revolutionary concept when it comes to how we think about feeding ourselves and feeding plants. I had verified to my own satisfaction that plants receive at least 80% of their nutrients from the air. I shared some of my finding in the article “The Most Important Plant Food – In Your Face and You Can’t See It” http://www.jehovahjirehfarm.com/articles/2010/06/14/the-most-important-plant-food-in-your-face-and-you-cant-see-it/

For people, it was more difficult to verify that we receive a significant amount of our nourishment from the air and sunshine. Some time ago, I read an article and I can’t locate it now, about how the human body radiates infrared light. The article stated that the body uses about 2000 calories to produce the infrared light in a 24 hour day. If a person eats a 2000 calorie diet each day and burns 2000 calories walking, working, and other activities, and burns another 2000 calories producing infrared light; and you subtract off the unused food in the waste that is excreted, we find that there is not enough calories used from the food to provide the 4000 calories that the body burned. We get the additional energy from the air.

An excellent article that explains how air (oxygen) is combined with the atoms from our food to produce the atomic energy that our bodies run on is titled “You, Me and Energy”. It explains how air is as an important an energy source for our bodies as the food we eat.   http://www.medbio.info/Horn/Body%20Energy/body_energy.htm

If anyone has any more information on how much energy our bodies take from the air, I am interested in hearing it.

For more on the importance of air as a food, you can read my article in the newsletter archives: “Trying to Stay Healthy Wrapped in Plastic and Living in a Sealed Insulated Box, Starving Ourselves From a Food We Can’t See”
http://www.jehovahjirehfarm.com/articles/2010/11/19/trying-to-stay-healthy-wrapped-in-plastic-and-living-in-a-sealed-insulated-box-starving-ourselves-from-a-food-we-cant-see/
http://www.jehovahjirehfarm.com/articles/2010/11/27/trying-to-stay-healthy-wrapped-in-plastic-and-living-in-a-sealed-insulated-box-starving-ourselves-from-a-food-we-cant-see-update/

Thankful for an Abundant Harvest

We are thankful for an abundant harvest this year from our two gardens. Cathy, Kara, and Melody canned and froze an amazing 1090 quarts of fruits and vegetables this summer and fall. We also have a bunch of squash, pumpkins, potatoes and sweet potatoes in the cellar and in cool storage. I say amazing because I did not expect that much as we were harvesting things from the garden this summer.

We made a decision at the beginning of the year to try to grow as much of our own nutrient dense food as we could for the health of our family. The fruits and vegetables that you can buy in the stores still look as good and nutritious as they did 30 or 40 years ago. But the nutritional analysis by the USDA shows that the calcium and mineral content has significantly declined and it is showing up in the health of people. 50 years ago there were only a few small drug stores. The “pharmacy” section in the grocery store consisted of basic things such as aspirin, cough drops, and bandaids. Now each grocery store has a full service pharmacy to provide drugs to supplement the poor quality food. Plus, there are a lot of other large drug stores conveniently located around town to keep everyone propped up with their medications. And they keep building new drug stores all over town.

In looking at the statistics for individual illnesses and diseases, the percentage of the population that has a particular illness or disease has significantly multiplied in the last 50 years. Plus there are many new diseases that were unheard of 50 years ago. The health care industry has grown to be the #1 industry in America. People are seriously sick! One Walmart we saw in Virginia had 32 handicapped parking spaces and many of them were filled – a testimony to the poor nutritional quality of their food. Cheap food has led to poor results.

There is a solution, and there is hope. Organic is a step in the right direction, but organic does not necessarily mean that the organic farmer has added any more calcium and trace minerals to his soil than what the conventional farmer has. The solution is to either grow as much of your own food as you can, or buy it from a farmer who you know has added the calcium and trace minerals to his soil.


The open pantry shelves in Cathy’s kitchen hold a sampling of each of the canned fruits and vegetables in the cellar. Everything came from our gardens except for the apples and peaches. A few of the jars are from last year.
Top shelf: Peach Jam, Salsa, Grape Jelly, Grape Syrup, Pizza Sauce
Second Shelf: Pumpkin Butter, Raspberry Jam, Bread and Butter Pickles, Apple Butter, Cucumber Relish, Peach Jam, Pickled Banana Pepper Slices, Pepper Relish, Zucchini Relish, Ketchup
Third shelf: Tomato Juice, Apple Pie Filling, Peaches, Stewed Tomatoes, Dilly Bean Pickles, Pumpkin, Dill Pickles, Pizza Sauce.
Forth Shelf: V8 Juice, Pickled Beets, White Grape Juice, Green Beans, Zucchini, Purple Grape Juice, Pickled Okra, Apple Sauce
Not pictured: Chicken Broth, Chili Peppers, Chunked Tomatoes.

Contrary to popular advice, it is possible to reuse regular canning jar lids if you are careful not to bend the lids when you remove them. We have had a very low failure rate in reusing lids.

Pantry Paratus Radio, Episode 019: Interview at Jehovah Jireh Farm

From homesteading to professional farming
Myron and our son Joel were interviewed for a podcast on Pantry Paratus Radio. It is a good overview of our farming philosophy, teaching children how to work, homesteading, how to produce food in the middle of winter if you don’t have any stored up, principles of growing healthy plants, etc. It runs almost an hour in length and might be something to listen to on your commute to work.

http://pantryparatus.com/blog/podcast_jehovah_jireh_farm

To Plow or Not to Plow, That is the Question!

By Myron Horst

Note: Whether you garden or farm or not, I believe that you will find this article interesting. The subject “To plow or not to plow” is a much more important subject than what most of us realize. There is a surprising conclusion.

In farming and in gardening there are opposing voices, those saying that the ground should not be plowed or tilled and others saying that the soil should be plowed. Both methods appear to work, but which one is the best? One of the challenges in life is discerning the best solution to take.  There are many things in life that “work” and highly educated people promote them as being the answer, but in the end there are consequences or side effects that outweigh the good. It is also important to ask the question: “It is better as compared to what”. For our family, we are not just interested in producing food to eat, we also want to produce the most nutrient dense food that we can.

No-till farming has been growing in practice here in the U.S. The method used by most farmers today is to spray Roundup to kill the cover crop or weeds that have grown in the stubble of the previous crop. The new crop seeds are planted with a special no-till planter through the dead plant mat that is left on the ground. No-till farming has enabled farmers to be able to farm a considerably larger number of acres because all they have to do is spray and plant. No plowing and no cultivating.

For me, the subject to plow or not to plow came up again this past winter when we watched the video “Back to Eden.” It was a documentary of a man who had an impressive looking garden. The documentary had excellent pictures of beautiful plants. Most of the shots were close up and it looked impressive. He did not plow or till, but used a mulch layer on the ground to suppress the weeds and build a rich black soil. He had been gardening this way for a number of years and was getting good results. The method of gardening was presented as God’s method, and as an almost no work garden. I was convinced enough to try it on some of our vegetables.  A lot of Bible verses were quoted throughout the video. But is he right?

I found a website, called “Farming God’s Way”. It is an organization that is teaching African farmers how to farm and to provide for their families. They too advocate not plowing and putting down a layer of mulch. They call the mulch layer “God’s blanket”. They intersperse the teaching on the farming method with Bible verses. It sounds like a very Biblical method. But are they right?

The voices cautioning that the ground should not be plowed or tilled have been around for a long time. Newman Turner and Ruth Stout from years ago both strongly recommended that the ground should not be plowed.

About six years ago, our family went to visit the Rodale Institute’s organic research farm in Pennsylvania for their farm open house. I was very interested in their no-till system that appeared to be a real answer. They had developed an organic no-till system that did not use chemicals. They invented a large roller that would roll the cover crop and kill it by crimping the plants. The roller was mounted on the front of the tractor and a no-till corn planter was pulled behind the tractor for a one pass planting. The cover crop created a mat, or mulch layer that helped conserve moisture and provided nitrogen for the crop. I was impressed with the system and we went back the next year to learn more. That year I was not as impressed. There were a number of problems that they had not been able to fix and the yields were not as good as conventional tilling.

On the other side of the subject is the teaching of Carey Reams. Reams stressed the importance of plowing to reverse the calcium and phosphates in the soil. Calcium tends to move down in the soil which is evidenced by stalactites and stalagmites in caverns. Phosphates tend to rise to the top where they can be washed into streams and rivers. By turning the soil over, the calcium is kept in the topsoil layer and the phosphates are buried back in the soil. Calcium is an important element in producing nutrient dense, high brix food.

So which method is best, to plow or not to plow? For me as a farmer in researching a farming method, I like to go to the oldest agricultural book, the Bible, and see what it says. On this subject it opened a window into a totally new perspective for me, that enabled me to see the collision course that farming is on today.

About the Garden of Eden it says this: Genesis 2:15 “And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.”

  • The Hebrew word translated “dress” means to till. Even in the garden of Eden it was necessary to cultivate.

In Ezekiel 36:34-35a it says that plowing and cultivation was an important part in the land becoming like the garden of Eden. “And the desolate land shall be tilled, whereas it lay desolate in the sight of all that passed by. 35 And they shall say, This land that was desolate is become like the garden of Eden”;

  • Tilling, or plowing appears to be an important part of creating a fertile and very productive field or garden.

Isaiah 28:23-26 It says this: “Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24 Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25 When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26 For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him.”

  • Plowing produces clods of earth. Cultivation breaks up the clods.
  • This passage says that God’s method is to plow the soil – the opposite of what the Back to Eden film said, and the Farming God’s Way states. In my research, on almost every subject, I have found Christians saying and believing opposite things to be true. It can be confusing and misleading if you take what one person says without checking things out yourself.

The oldest agricultural book has some strong words about no-till farming and this is what opens the window to a bigger perspective of the subject.

Proverbs 12:11 He that tills his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that follows vain person is void of understanding.

Proverbs 28:19 He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that follows after vain persons shall have poverty enough.

  • Plowing and cultivation are important for success in farming and in gardening to produce an abundant crop.
  • “No-till” is following “vain” persons who think that they know and have the answers, but in the end it results in poverty.

So, is the old agricultural book right? Is no-till following vain persons? Does no-till result in poverty? There are some interesting things that have come out recently.

Rodale Institute, about a month ago, released the yield data for their 2011 yield trials of conventional tillage and their no-till system. The conventional tillage system yielded 95 bushels of corn per acre and 39 bushels of soybeans per acre. The no-till system yielded less than half the yield of corn even though more seeds had been planted per acre – only 40 bushels of corn per acre. The no-till soybeans only yielded 20 bushels per acre. Only half the yield with no-till is a sure way to poverty. http://www.rodaleinstitute.org/20120627_challenging-yields-challenging-weather

In conventional farming, no-till comes in a package. It requires the use of lots of chemicals – Roundup to kill the grasses and weeds, GMO (Genetically Modified Organisms) seeds to resist the Roundup, pesticides and fungicides to kill the bugs and fungus because the crops are so low brix that the bugs and fungus try to eat it up to return it to the soil. No-till is a method that is promoted by the Monsanto Corporation who gives huge donations to many of the big university agricultural departments. So, of course, the no-till trials show the no-till advantage. But one thing to remember is to ask the question: “No-till is better as compared to what?”. They are not comparing no-till to properly remineralized, plowed, and cultivated soil, and they are not looking at the long term effects of the whole no-till system. They are looking primarily at short term crop yield comparisions.

The no-till revolution has resulted in a very high percentage of conventional soybeans and corn being genetically modified to resist Roundup. A New York Times article talking about GMO Roundup Ready crops says: “Those crops made it so easy for farmers to control weeds by spraying glyphosate [Roundup] that Roundup Ready crops now account for about 90 percent of soybeans and around 70 percent of the corn and cotton grown in the United States. And use of glyphosate skyrocketed, at the expense of rival herbicides.” They go on to say how super weeds are becoming resistant to Roundup, and Dow Corning is looking for approval for their GMO corn that is resistant to 2,4, D (an ingredient in Agent Orange) so that 2,4,D can be sprayed after the corn comes up, instead of Roundup to control the Roundup resistant super weeds.
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/26/business/energy-environment/dow-weed-killer-runs-into-opposition.html?pagewanted=all

We can see, that at the heart of the GMO controversy is actually the question, “To plow or not to plow?” No-till has resulted in GMO seeds being used in a high percentage of our crops. What is the effect of GMO grain? Does it improve health or destroy it? Just released this fall is a French study on the long term feeding of GMO grains to rats. The rats grew huge tumors and 70% of the females died. If you have not seen the pictures of the rats, the pictures are worth a thousand words. You can see the pictures at:
http://www.naturalnews.com/037249_GMO_study_cancer_tumors_organ_damage.html

Last week Russia halted all imports of GMO grain after the French study came out. http://rt.com/business/news/russia-monsanto-corn-ban-005/

We see a progression of following “vain” persons promoting no-till. No-till requires the use of herbicides, such as Roundup. The use of Roundup results in the need for GMO crops. GMO grains have the potential of resulting in cancer. But that is not all. There are more consequences of following “vain” persons:

The United Nations in a report states that the suicide rate for farmers worldwide is higher than for non-farmers. In the Midwest of the U.S. where most of the corn, wheat, and soybeans are grown, suicide rates among male farmers are two times higher than the general population! This is a sad and telling statistic. No-till farming has not resulted in grain farmers becoming more successful. They have become more dependent on the big corporations and the chemicals and seeds that they sell. The more dependent that they have become, the more it drains their wallet. Finally, in despair and financial hopelessness they commit suicide.
http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/csd/csd16/PF/presentations/farmers_relief.pdf

The suicide rate among farmers dependent on Monsanto is highlighted by the suicide problem among farmers in India. The Infowars.com website reports that in India every 30 minutes another farmer commits suicide. Over 250,000 farmers have committed suicide in India alone in the last 16 years! They often committed the act by drinking the same insecticide that Monsanto supplied them with. http://www.infowars.com/monsantos-gmo-seeds-contributing-to-farmer-suicides-every-30-minutes/

The Hindustan Times reports: “India’s Bt cotton dream is going terribly wrong. For the first time, farmer suicides, including those in 2011-12, have been linked to the declining performance of the much hyped genetically modified (GM) variety adopted by 90% of the country’s cotton-growers since being allowed a decade ago. Policymakers have hailed Bt cotton as a success story but a January 9 internal advisory, a copy of which is with HT, sent out to cotton-growing states by the agriculture ministry presents a grim scenario. ‘Cotton farmers are in a deep crisis since shifting to Bt cotton. The state of farmer suicides in 2011-12 has been particularly severe among Bt cotton farmers,’ says the advisory.  Bt cotton’s success, it appears, lasted merely five years. Since then, yields have been falling and pest attacks going up.” http://www.hindustantimes.com/News-Feed/Business/Ministry-blames-Bt-cotton-for-farmer-suicides/Article1-830798.aspx

As I reflect on the above information, I realize that what that old agricultural book said: “He that tills his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that follows after vain persons shall have poverty enough.” is more accurate and not as radical as what it first sounds. The long term results of no-till is not sustainable because of its heavy dependance on chemicals and GMO seeds and the poverty that they bring with them, not only to the farmer, but also to those who eat the GMO grains. Healthcare costs have skyrocketed in recent years and are draining the wallets of the consumer, bringing them poverty and dependance on the government to supply healthcare.

It is helpful to be able to step back and see the bigger picture. In the end, the big corporations such as Monsanto and Dow Corning will fail because their products are not sustainable and end in poverty. It all goes back to a subject that at first appears to be relatively unimportant – To Plow or Not to Plow — That is the Question!

Cathy’s Cooking Corner

Brunch Casserole

3 cups bread cubes
3 cups cheddar cheese
3 cups meat of your choice
6 eggs, beaten
3 cups milk
1 Tbsp mustard
2 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. salt

Layer bread cubes, meat and cheese in a 9 X 13 pan in that order. Mix the rest of the ingredients and pour over the top of the bread, cheese and meat. Refrigerate overnight. (Or bake immediately.) Bake at 300 degrees for one hour.

Cheesy Eggs on Toast

4 eggs
1 Tbsp. butter
1/2 cup cheese
2 Tbsp. mayonaise
1 Tbsp. onion, minced
4 pieces toast, buttered

Mix cheese, mayonaise and onion. Melt butter in skillet. Add the eggs. Fry on one side. Flip eggs and top with cheese mixture. Cover skillet with lid. Cook eggs to desired doneness. Serve eggs on buttered toast.

Pasture Raised Broilers — Dial-a-size with…

by Myron Horst

When you prepare meals for yourself and those who will be eating with you, do you use your computer to carefully formulate the percentage of protein, calcium, sodium, fiber, available phosphorous, metabolizable energy, vitamin A, C, D, etc, and select the right foods and quantity of each food to fit the nutritional requirements for each person? Unfortunately, for humans we do not know what the optimum amounts or percentages should be for each of those nutrients. When we eat, we focus on what tastes good and what we think is “good for us”. The health care industry basically ignores nutrition and focuses on drugs.

What we eat is very important for our health, strength, and vitality. What we eat has a significant effect on who we are and what we look like. That point was driven home for me this year as we discovered the reason why our broilers had been smaller last year and also the first batch this year. Being a small farm, we do not have a professional poultry nutritionist to carefully formulate our chicken feed. Unfortunately, those who are advising small farmers are basing their advice on the advice of others, who are basing their advice on old research.

What I found is that in the 12 years since we started farming, the poultry industry has been improving the genetics of the broiler chicken each year. They have been shortening the time it takes to grow out a chicken by one day each year. That means that the market weight of a broiler chicken at eight weeks of age 12 years ago can now be reached at a little over six weeks! To achieve proper growth, these chickens need more protein.

I was able to find a broiler manual for the breed of broilers that we raise and discovered that our feed was lower in protein than what was recommended. We got a computer program for formulating our chicken feed and can now accurately adjust our chicken and turkey feeds for the needs of the poultry. We increased the percentage of protein and increased the average size of the broilers by about 1 3/4 pounds.

Going back to the title, I realized that it is possible in raising chickens to “dial-a-size” to a certain extent with — protein! If you want an average of 3 lb chickens, feed them a low protein diet. If you want 7 lb chickens in the same amount of time, feed them a very high protein diet. It is amazing what 3 to 5 percentage points can make on the size of a broiler chicken. Earlier this year, another pastured poultry farmer was having a problem with getting too many 7 lb chickens in eight weeks. She was feeding them an incredible 29% protein the first three weeks (the recommended is 22-25% protein). She was feeding a mixture of something like two scoops of feed and one scoop of fish meal.

Protein is not the only factor in the size and growth of chickens. There are many other challenges for pasture poultry farms – hot weather, cold weather, too wet, too dry, stress from predators, etc. At our first farm, we had to set up “tents” over the feeders that were outside so that the broiler chickens would not be afraid of the huge “birds” (airplanes) that flew over our farm on their way to Dulles Airport.

With the hens, we found that they were getting too much calcium and it was reducing the percentage of protein in their diet. We reduced the calcium and increased the protein slightly. The hens have been laying well and have not dropped off as much in production with the hot weather like they have other summers.

Protein is necessary for new cells to develop and growth to occur. Protein and the growth of chickens is an important object lesson for each of us in understanding the role of protein in human health. It is important that children get the proper protein so that their bodies grow and develop properly. Protein is important when our bodies are repairing from an injury. Protein is important so that the cells in our bodies can be replaced to reduce aging and degeneration and to increase strength and longevity.

We started raising chickens twelve years ago, not because I liked chickens—I had said, “I’ll never raise chickens”—but because God had directed us to raise chickens. A number of years ago, I realized that our farm was a protein farm. Most small farms are vegetable farms, but we don’t sell any vegetables, just protein – eggs, chicken, turkey, and lamb. I thought that having a farm producing protein was interesting, but did not see the significance of it. Now with the example of the chickens, I see the importance of having a protein farm for human health and strength.

Chickens and eggs are an important protein source. Chickens are the best fed farm animal. Because of their short life span and rapid growth, scientists have been able to pinpoint week by week the nutrients that a chicken needs. Our chicken feed is formulated with many vitamins and minerals. Add to that the benefits of pasture-raising chickens and eggs and you get a superb protein source for your dietary needs. So now I know the rest of the story — why we were led to have a protein farm!