Monday, December 7, 2009

How Does Rural America Measure Up?

As the quote and link below indicate the researchers were surprised, they must have been overwhelmed by their own vast conventional education. People in rural America have been making due with far less than their urban counterparts since urban became a word.

For many people "rural" is synonymous with low incomes, limited economic opportunity, and poor schools. However, a recent study found that much of rural America is actually prosperous, particularly in the Midwest and Plains.

Researchers just had to look at things differently to see the prosperity.

The study - announced today and based on data from the year 2000 - analyzed unemployment rates, poverty rates, high school drop-out rates, and housing conditions to identify prospering communities. The result: One in five rural counties in the United States is prosperous, doing better than the nation as a whole on all these measures.
source: Rural America Surprisingly Prosperous, Study Finds

Sign of Things To Come?

Many people indicate the what happens in Europe in an indication what will be come to the U.S. in a generation. The exception I would make for the below linked article is that instead of the European Union we will continue down the path of the North American Union until we are full fledged members.

At midnight last night, the United Kingdom ceased to be a sovereign state

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Slow Down or Stop

Texas Sheriff vs New York Lawyer

A lawyer runs a stop sign and gets pulled over by a sheriff's deputy.

He thinks that he is smarter than the deputy because he is a lawyer from New York

and is certain that he has a better education then any cop from Houston , TX .

He decides to prove this to himself and have some fun at the Texas deputy's expense.

The deputy says, "License and registration, please.."

"What for?" says the lawyer.

The deputy says, "You didn't come to a complete stop at the stop sign."

Then the lawyer says, "I slowed down, and no one was coming."

"You still didn't come to a complete stop," says the deputy. "License and registration, please."

The lawyer says, "What's the difference?"

"The difference is you have to come to complete stop, that's the law.

License and registration, please!" the Deputy repeats.

Lawyer says, "If you can show me the legal difference between slow down and stop,

I'll give you my license and registration; and you give me the ticket.

If not, you let me go and don't give me the ticket."

"That sounds fair. Please exit your vehicle, sir," the deputy says.

At this point, the deputy takes out his nightstick and starts beating the daylights out of the lawyer and says,

"Do you want me to stop, or just slow down?"

God Bless Texas

Friday, August 21, 2009

Drilling a Water Well Cheap

If you are a DIY type here is a good idea for drilling your own water well. Our water table it too deep here but I would try this in short order if we lived somewhere that had water closer to the surface.

An Inexpensive, Do-It-Yourself Water Well

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Got Goat?

One of our goats demonstrating their constant curiosity.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

When Goats Eat What They Shouldn't

Got this recipe from this post over at The Self-Sufficient Life.

"I Really Shouldn't Have Ate That!" For goats
1/2 Cup Veggie Oil
1/2 Cup Very Strong Black Tea
1 Tsp. Ginger
1 Tsp. Baking Soda
* Drench goat with mixture one time. Watch goat. If goat is no better, drench again the following day. You will not want to use this too much...and you will want to use a mineral/vitamin drench while they are not eating.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

What To Plant Now

If you are trying to figure out what to plan this month. Month in the generic sense of March or April or May or June or July or August or September, not the month as in the month of this post then go no further than this little helper from Mother Earth News.

What to Plan Now (by Region)

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Learning About Farming - Internships

If you would like to learn about sustainable farming through an internship program check out the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service Internship website. This is one of those times when I wishes that we could afford for me not to work so I could do this for a summer. Unfortunately that is one of the sacrifices being the sole income earning for the family.

Go sustainable agriculture!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Feed Mill Pictures

As promised in the post, Saving Money on Feed, here is a slide show of the old feed mill.

Monday, July 13, 2009

First Chickens Hatched The Old Way Update 1

If you have not read the previous post, First Chickens Hatched The Old Way, read it is okay I can wait.

We moved the hen and her 3 chicks out to the coop with our younger hens. For a short background we currently have two coops with approx 40 chickens each. One coop has chickens that are approx. a year old and the other has hens that are between 3-4 months old. Back to the story, so some of the hens/roosters come out to check out the chicks and mom immediately goes into attack mode. It has been made clear to all comers that investigation and curiosity are not appreciate. She has been out there with the chicks for approx. one week now and had zero problems. It is amazing how the Lord designed nature to work, no heat lamps or special setup aside from the coop and she is doing a great job and keeping them warm.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Clean Water

Next to air the most important thing for our bodies is water. In today's world trusting the water that comes directly out of your well or rural/city water supply is dangerous. It can be fine one day and needs to be boiled the next. We use a Royal Berkey however there are even cheaper solutions that can cut those costs even more.

Here is a DIY Water Filter that uses the Berkey Black Elements however it significantly increases the volume and decreases the price, enjoy.
Home Made Berkey Water Filter

Monday, June 22, 2009

Rehydration Recipe for Chickens

If you cannot locate electrolytes or rehydrating solutions for chickens at your local feed store and are in a bad bind needing it now (like injuries or extreme heat) here is a home made recipe that is simple. It does not replenish everything a properly balanced solution like Durvet Vitamins and Electrolytes but it will cover in a pinch.

1 cup water
2 tsp sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda

Remember not to use this solution over the long term and it would be best if you made a new batch every 24 hours adjusting the batch size to your needs.

If using Durvet use the following ratio:
4 oz. packet - 1/2 teaspoon of Durvet per gallon water
8 oz. packet - 3/4 teaspoon of Durvet per gallon water

Sunday, June 21, 2009

First Chickens Hatched The Old Way

For a little background a few of our evolving principles for developing our property are:
- Do things the way that is the most effective and closest to nature as possible.
- Keep it sustainable

As part of that process we have been closely watching our hens for the one or two that demonstrate the most broody behavior and it appears one of our banties is the clear winner. She has been trying to be broody for months but the other hens either squeeze into her nesting box pushing her out or we had an unfortunate issue with having the mobile coop she was in crush the eggs she was on during an extremely heavy rain with significant wind. So this time we put her in a large dog carrier and moved her into the house since we have no barn, yet.

It has been 21 days and 3 of the 5 eggs have hatched and we are closely watching the other 2 although she still seems to be working hard at keeping them warm and under her (Update: they never hatched). She appears to be a wonderful mother and is keeping the babies under her and doing an unusual throaty sound when they get out from under her for too long. We are now doing research on how to handle her and the chicks and when to incorporate them into the hen house. Unfortunately some of our hens are pretty aggressive and so we will probably take a more isolated approach till the chicks are older.

This is good news and if we can successfully replicate this we will be well on our way to a self sustaining chicken flock. We will be marking the original group of hens and using the younger ones for our meat flock to prevent inbreeding. We have so much to learn but thank the Lord for His blessings on our homestead.

Getting Started with Goats

Here are some things that we think are essential for having dairy goats. This list is not all inclusive however it is a good start and covers what we consider the essentials. This list does not include first aid supplies however we will cover that at a later date.

Fencing - If you throw a bucket of water at the fence and it any water makes it through, fortify!
Milk Stand - There are a variety of milk stands just make sure it is sturdy, example.
Stool - This will be used for sitting on while milking, obvious but we thought it would be helpful to state.
Stainless Steel Milking Bucket - It does not need to be a goat milk bucket but just a stainless steel bucket. Some can get expensive so look around according to your budget. Another option that we recently read about was buying a stainless steel composting bucket with lid....cheaper.
Fast Flow Milk Filters - Coffee filters can be used but the fast flow filters are nice since they do a great job filtering and it doesn't take nearly as long as the coffee filters.
Strainer - A funnel, just something to set the filter in.
Milk Storage Containers
- We like to use glass mason jars.

The site we would recommend where we have purchased most of our goat supplies is Hoegger Goat Supply

A good site for information about goats that we reference often is Fias Co Farm.

As a side note the good looking Alpine on the post is our buck, Hellboy.

A few goat terms to get you started.
Latching - pulling the babies from the mom for some period of time so you can milk prior to allowing the boys to milk from their mom again.
Disbud - removing the horns, usually on a baby.
Kid - baby goat. Having human kids we completely understand why they used the term kid ;)
Buck - male goat.
Doe - female goat.
Weathered - male goat that has been 'fixed', why do they use the word fixed? Was something wrong with him in the first place? Must have been thought up by a woman.
In Milk - c'mon now, you can figure that one out.
Teat - think juicy part of the udder. See wikipedia entry if you are still confused.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Homegrown Revolution

Having checked in on the Path To Freedom website occasionally for the last couple of years it is impressive. 6,000 pounds of fruits and veggies per year on a 1/10 of an acre! Our family has sooooo far to go. Here is a movie which is a short introduction to their homestead. Below is a 10 minute clip but the entire movie is only 15 minutes.

Favorite Quote: Don't look for others to change, you start by changing yourself.

Saving Money on Feed

If you are buying more than one bag of feed at a time one place to seriously consider that is horrible at advertising itself is a local feed mill. We found out from a new acquaintance about a place that sells un-medicated feed and when we got there we could not believe their prices. We have always considered TSC reasonable but this place was cheap. The layer crumbles and rolled oats were between 20-40% cheaper than TSC. As usual this place has no website and is listed on some other sites but these places really need to get into the 21st century. Maybe they figure that everyone that buys from them is enough but if they do not get on the ball they will be another place that closes down as the older farmers that are die hard customers are no longer alive.

This place is huge and in their prime days must have been an awesome sight to behold. We will try to get some pictures of the old feed building and such next time we are out buying feed but if you are north of Dallas I would recommend you give them a call.
Alan Ritchey Inc Farm

Busy with Animals

Things have been so buy with work and the animals updates have not been coming often so here is our current inventory.

Approx. 80 chickens: 40 or so we have had for over a year and the other 40 we have acquired in the last few months. Some were ordered from Cackle Hatchery and others we 'egg returns' from a class project a friend of a friend did at school. They high an extremely high hatch rate and the teacher kept 3 and returned the rest to us.

5 goats: 2 Alpine and 3 Nubians.

1 lamb

2 ducks: 1 was a 'gift' and we ordered 4 from Cackle Hatchery, 1 was DOA and two were lost when we had enough of their nasty ways and put them out on the pond.

5 turkeys: All ordered from Cackle Hatchery

The biggest comment is we definitely over committed to too many animals at one time. We had goats, more chickens, ducks and turkeys arrive within a couple weeks of each other and were not prepared. This would not have been so bad but we got almost non-stop record rain and without a covered, dry area to build could not complete the goat/sheep shelter and get everything done for the poultry. We are slowly catching up but we are developing a consideration checklist when contemplating adding more animals in the future. We have agreed as a family not to consider any more animals for a minimum of a year however I am not holding my breath on that one. The checklist will include things like necessary first aid items, shelter, fencing, etc. Since our property boundaries are not fenced we use the temporary, movable electric fencing which will be addressed in another post.

Good evening to you.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

An Old Farmers Advice

* Your fences need to be horse-high, pig-tight and bull-strong.
*Keep skunks and bankers at a distance.
*Life is simpler when you plow around the stump.
* A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor.
* Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled.
* Meanness don't jes' happen overnight.
* Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads.
* Do not corner something that you know is meaner than you.
* It don't take a very big person to carry a grudge.
* You cannot unsay a cruel word.
* Every path has a few puddles.
* When you wallow with pigs, expect to get dirty.
* The best sermons are lived, not preached.
* Most of the stuff people worry about ain't never gonna happen anyway.
* Don't judge folks by their relatives.
* Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
* Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll enjoy it a second time.
* Don't interfere with somethin' that ain't bothering you none.
* Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a Rain dance.
* If you find yourself in a hole, the first thing to do is stop diggin'.
* Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got.
* The biggest troublemaker you'll probably ever have to deal with, watches you from the mirror every mornin'.
* Always drink upstream from the herd.
* Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.
* Lettin' the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin' it back in.
* If you get to thinkin' you're a person of some influence, try orderin' somebody else's dog around.
* Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly. Leave the rest to God.
* Don't pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he'll just kill you.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Farming in Romania

When doing some research on processing sheep I stumbled across this website. It is apparently a photographer that went to take pictures of the farmers of Romania while out and about doing their travels.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Swine Flu Anyone? Bueller?

If this turns out to be true, whoa boy. You would hope at least 2 people would get a clue and start buying locally.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Monsanto - Friend or Foe of Rural America

Unless you are a cool aide drinking member of everything the MSM passes your direction or are new to rural life you might have missed that Monsanto has been continuing to use their significant financial resources to crush American food freedom. One of the most shocking pieces of the Monsanto puzzle is there are people in smaller towns unaware of this. To help you in your journey to build more and more love for Monsanto I have included a few resources.

As of last night, a US marshall, 2 state police and a county police are all over Mr. Hixon's area, serving notices to farmers that they are being sued by Monsanto. They arrive in pairs, with two cars parked a quarter mile and half mile down the road. They've served 3 so far and said "a bunch more are coming." No telling how many will be served since Hixon has between 200-400 farmers he cleans seeds for and these farmers have been repeatedly threatened by Monsanto thugs for the last two months, getting "visits," letters, and calls daily.
source: Monsanto Investigator in Illinois Laughs They Are Doing 'Rural Cleansing'

Their business motto - “We can’t afford to lose one dollar of business.”

Monday, January 19, 2009

Buy Trees In Bulk - CHEAP

If you don't mind buying 1 year old trees and like to buy them extremely cheap then this is your post. We found out from a new friend that owns a Christmas Tree Farm that we could buy them through him using his supplier.

We got approx. 600 pine trees about 24 inches long from tap room to tip for ~$60. He said they have ones you can buy that are older and obviously cost more and he is also going to bring us their catalog so we can order some of their other trees next year. We're probably going to plant about 300 of them and give the rest to some neighbors down the road.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Contaminated Milk

Remember this next time you think about starting to raise more of your own food but keep procrastinating.

Former chairwoman and general manager of Sanlu Group testified in court on Wednesday that she knew in May that her dairy firm's products were contaminated but notified the authorities only in August.
source: Sanlu ex-boss was aware of tainted milk