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Month: February 2014 (page 1 of 2)

We Have Chickens!

I would think that most people who launch out into homesteading bring on chickens first. After all, they’re relatively low maintenance and can be instantly productive.

We did not follow that path, however, because frankly we had other more important issues to deal with. Issue #1 was tick control. We raised guineas from a couple weeks old to help us eat the ticks. FYI, if you don’t already know this, guinea fowl are your #1 bird for tick control. You just have to accept the noise as part of the package. Read more

How to Build Goat Shelter from Reclaimed Materials

This process is not for everyone. To be totally fair, I’m not saying I invented THE DEFINITIVE method for building an A-frame goat shelter, but I’d say I’m probably in the top 5 ever. In fact, this is what you do when you have a death wish. It involves stripping tin off a rotting roof in the sleet and snow. And hauling reclaimed materials across 40 acres of uneven terrain in an undersized wagon. Which is CLEARLY stated as the preferred method in the how-to-build-an-A-frame rulebook. I checked. Read more

The Recipe That Almost Got Me

We got a little too busy one morning and left some hardened coconut oil on the stove to melt. Heather’s yell startled me to focus. Smoke was rising to the ceiling as a three foot fire leapt up from the pot. Read more

Weighing The Price of Intervention

This is one of those quotes that applies to so many different areas of life, it bears mentioning. This is NOT a pesticide debate. I am unequivocally opposed to pesticides. Spraying our crops is but one example of human intervention and the responsibility one assumes upon intervening in natural processes. Read more

Setting up the Electrofence for the First Time

Setting up electric fencing must take quite a while, right? Turns out it was no big deal. My daughter and I set up 200 ft of fencing in half an hour. Granted, the prospect of properly grounding the fence was a bit intimidating due to the lack of instructional materials provided. But as it turns out, we just connected the solar energizer to the fence and grounded it to a nearby metal fence and DONE. Read more

Valentine’s Farm-to-Table Dinner at Roaring Creek Farm

For Valentine’s Day, Heather and I enjoyed a 6 course farm-to-table dinner at Roaring Creek Farm. Paul Schertz opens his farm house once or twice a month for these farm-to-table dinners. There’s a waiting list, and when a spot opens up, it fills up within 15 minutes of sending out the email. We’d been wanting to go for months, but pregnancy and children and work had prevented us from doing much outside the homestead. Read more

Traumatized by Technology

The solar powered electric fence has been hard for me to adjust to. To not be able to lean against a fence and pet or feed the goats is hard. The fence is holding well and the goats learned after a day to respect the perimeter, but it’s hard on me. I’m dealing with difficult feelings of having infected the peaceful homestead with interfering technology. Read more

Stripping the Tin

I’m not afraid to buy supplies, but when the land already contains what we need, I prefer to repurpose what we already have. In this instance, we have dairy goats on the way and we need a portable shelter. The old broke down shack by the waterfall has enough tin and wood to supply us with materials for both an A-frame and a few outhouses. Read more

Visioneering Part 1: A Future Community

We bought some land that we love. Check!
We built a chicken coop. Check!
We raised some guineas to eat ticks. Check!
We adopted stray cats to control the rodent population. Check!
We brought in two English Shepherds to protect our land and animals. Check!
We began the permaculture questionnaire for our land. Check!
We joined the very local church. Check!
We put down a deposit on dairy goats. Check!
We shared our lives with other local homesteaders. No check! Read more

Wait, Goats Prefer Brush? Time to Modify Expectations

From the time we bought this land, I envisioned a herd of goats and sheep rotating across our nearest pastures which would be broken into small paddocks divided by electric netting fence. The information I’ve read differs between sources. One person writes about herding goats and talks about pastures as a perfectly natural place for them to eat because that is what they want their goats to do. But they somehow fail to mention that goats naturally thrive in forested areas with more leaves, shrubs, and brush. I knew that was what goats preferred, but I was under the impression that our goats would be just fine on pasture regardless and need little to no supplementation. Read more

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