Wild Abundance

June 26, 2022

After a morning eating too many sweets at The Dane County Farmers Market, my son and I checked the cattle and foraged for Pigweed and Golden Oyster Mushrooms. Isabel combined with onions and cooked them up and served them with a new product for us, Beef Bacon. Delicious!

2021 Herd Boar: End Zone

January 22, 2021

End Zone, 2021.

Unwanted weight gain. A problem my breeding boar and I share.

I would like to keep End Zone around for a long time to service his contemporary sows. And the best way for me to keep him active and doing his job is to keep him from getting too heavy.

Its important for people as well. I read that losing 10 lbs is like taking 40 lbs off your joints. I’m sure that’s an over simplification, but the principle is probably right.

As I age, I find it easier to gain weight and more difficult to lose. I’m back on the meat and egg diet for a few weeks, but am not losing the weight as fast as I did 12 years ago when I started this blog.

Below are a couple of photos of End Zone from last year about this time. I was interested to see how much he has grown so I used myself as a reference point.

I would estimate he’s grown 2 to 4 inches and 150 to 200 lbs.

I’m curious to see what he looks like next year at this time.

End Zone, 2020.

First Green of Spring: Stinging Nettle

April 21, 2020


Craving fresh greens?  Don’t want to shop?  Look for a patch of Stinging Nettle, (Urtica dioica).  


Wear gloves, or use the tough parts of your fingertips to pinch off the tender tops, being careful to not let your wrist brush against the little stinging hairs which line the stem.  Don’t eat raw!  It may kill you.  But even a small amount of heat renders it harmless.


Saute` in butter.   I missed the next step, but Isabel added mushrooms and onions.  Delicious!


Placentophagy: Mammals Eating Their Own Placenta

June 10, 2010

Cow eating placenta, shortly after giving birth.  Why do they do this?  Many other mammals do as well.  It’s called placentophagy.

It’s becoming vogue for people to eat placenta.  There are purported health benefits.  Have you heard of this?

Here is a funny video of Joel Stein, my favorite writer for Time, watching his wife’s placenta being prepared for consumption.

“You’re not going to kiss me with that mouth, are you Mom?”

Wild Food Foraging/ Sam Thayer’s New Book, “Nature’s Garden”

December 20, 2009

Stinging Nettle, a delicious, wild edible, WHEN COOKED, profiled in “The Forager’s Harvest”, Sam Thayer’s first book on wild food foraging.

I’m excited!  I just received a mailing from Sam Thayer announcing the printing of his new book, “Nature’s Garden.”  This book is the second in his series on wild edibles.

Sam is the leader on wild food foraging for our generation.  I met him a couple of years ago when I attended one of his weekend seminars.  This guy lives what he preaches.

One of my goals for 2010 is to make foraging a bigger part of my life.  I need to figure out a way to phrase this goal.  I recently found Leo Babauta’s blogs and plan on using his techniques for accomplishing change.

Meat Diet-Side Effect

March 26, 2009

I went to the Dentist today to check out the calculus deposits that have sprung out of nowhere while on the meat diet.

“I have never seen this much tartar deposits in the crevices of the teeth!”  Is what the dentist told me.  He has been practicing for over ten years.

What is going on?  One other person mentioned how she noticed more calculus while on a carb-restricted diet.  Has this happened to anyone else?

I am going to question Dr. Eades of Protein Power and Mark Sisson of Mark’s Daily Apple.  I will post any response I receive.

Contest Results

March 22, 2009

I am happy to announce the winners of the Contest.  They will be receiving a Curiousfarmer meat sampler package.  Eat the contents of this package and similar foods for six weeks.  Your cholesterol is guaranteed to double.

Total Cholesterol:  433.  Rebecca predicted 262

HDL, good cholesterol:  106.  Adam predicted 90

LDL, bad cholesterol:  318.  Elvis predicted 180

Triglycerides:  44.  Jane predicted 48

Uric acid:  4.7.  Ray predicted 4.9

BUN:  25.  Dr. Solverson predicted 24

Creatinine:  .98  Jane predicted .98

Congratulations to the winners.  You will be receiving an email so I can get your mailing address to send you the meat.

One other test result which I hadn’t listed is Glucose.  The value at the start was 85.  The value at the end was 112.  Does anyone have any thoughts on this?  I appreciate your thoughtful comments.  Thank you.

Meat Diet: Test Results

March 17, 2009


I want an open-casket wake because as Billy Crystal used to say, “I look mahvelous!”   My cholesterol went through the roof.  I haven’t had a chance to talk to my Dr. yet to see how serious the situation is.  I feel great.  Weigh in with your opinions.  Am I healthy, or knockin’ on heaven’s door?

Total Cholesterol:  225 start to 433

HDL good Cholesterol:  76 start to 106

LDL bad Cholesterol:  140 start to 318

Triglycerides:  43 start to 44

Uric acid:  3.9 start to 4.7

BUN:  14 start to 25

Creatinine:  .89 start to .98

I need time to digest these numbers before I write a conclusion to the meat diet. I will also post the winners of the contest by this weekend.  I am going on a short vacation.  Peace.  Matthew

Meat Diet: Observations

March 16, 2009

Can a person survive on meat and eggs for six weeks?  Yes!  The “meat diet” is finished.  Thank you for your interest and encouragement. 

I will be fasting tonight, drawing blood tomorrow morning, and posting the results by Tuesday evening if all goes as planned.

Until then, here are my observations:

Diet:  Red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, coffee, tea, water.  This is a high fat/saturated fat, moderate protein, very low to no carb diet.

Age:  39 years.

Weight lost:  15 lbs. 166 lbs. beginning weight, 151 lbs. ending weight.   After initial 5 lbs. water loss in first two days, lost about 1.5 lbs. per week.  Weights are taken first thing in the morning.

Body fat at 153 lbs.:  15.6% body fat. 

Circumference measurements at 153 lbs.:  upper arm 12.25″, chest 34.5″, hip 36.25″, abdominal 32.5″, thigh 20″.

Food:  Most cooked on “George Foreman grill.”  No condiments used so as to avoid carbs.

Hunger:  Nothing excessive, less than usual.  Craved variety.  Enjoyed organ meats for the first time in my life.  Ate meat more rare.  Began eating the external fat on steaks.  Had difficulty eating lean meat such as chicken breast.

Amount eaten:  Ate until I was full, but, important to note, I always felt I could have eaten carbs with my meal and would have taken dessert if I could have.

Bowel function:  Less regular, 5 times per week, very dark, never constipated, loose stool 4 times over the six weeks.

Teeth:  More calculus formation.  Bacteria in mouth must have changed.  I brush 3 times per day.

Allergies:  Less, clearer nasal passages.

Exercise:  Walking, farming, played basketball twice.

Energy:  More even, always had enough.

Emotions:  More even.

Mental function:  No change noted.  Writing more than ever.

I plan to introduce carbs back into my diet slowly beginning tomorrow.  I will start a new diet journal to document the amount of carbs eaten and corresponding weight change.

If my blood work is not extremely negative I will stay on a modified version of this diet for the next year and will retest my blood February 2010, God willing.

What’s in a Product? Read the Label

February 11, 2009

What’s in a product?  Do you think you know, so you don’t have to check?  I’ve had two instances where I’ve been shocked by the content of something I thought I knew.

Corn syrup is in just about everything.  Would you believe it’s in bratwurst?  I was running low on different meats and thought I would pick up some bratwurst from our butcher when I delivered hogs last Monday. 

I picked up a package of brats and read the label and put it back quickly.  I was trying to stay away from corn syrup before I started the meat diet.  I especially don’t want any now.

I called Carrie, one of my partners, and asked her, “Do you know Weber’s puts corn syrup in their brats?”

“Yes,” she told me.  “That’s why we came up with our own recipe.  It doesn’t need to be in there.”

I agreed.  I told her I would be over to pick up some brats soon.

The second time I was shocked was when I was negotiating a partnership with Carrie and Eric to direct-market meat together.  We discussed our production protocols and what the consumer wants.  One of the items we discussed was feeding animal products to animals.

“Never have, never will,” I confidently asserted. 

A few days later I was grinding feed and thought to look at one of the feedbag labels.  We put 40 lbs. of a vitamin/mineral premix in every ton of hog feed.  There is a kajillion ingredients on the tag and I guess I had never read all the way to the end before.  When I read the last ingredient I had to sit down.  Animal fat.

I called our feed salesman and asked him if he knew.

“Yes, it’s just a little bit.”

“Why?” I asked.

“To keep the dust down.”

To keep the dust down.  The reason JBS United puts animal fat in their feed is to make the feed less dusty.  You’ve got to be kidding me.  They are a progressive company when it comes to swine nutrition, but massively out of touch when it comes to the ultimate consumer.

I asked if we could get our feed without animal fat.  He wasn’t sure but would check for me.  Turns out JBS United has a natural product line called, Grand Prairie.  All we had to do was ask.  We switched over right away and the hogs have done just fine on the new feed.

What’s in a product?  Read the label, but do it sitting down.