Thursday, November 3, 2016

Please don't waste your Tuesday!

Let's set the mood first...

Okay... for those of you who don't know, I am a conservative Christian.  I have mixed feelings about the Republicans and have generally (in the last 10 years or so) lost faith in them... but I'll give them one more try and here's why:

Please take 5 minutes to look at the comparison between the Republican party platform and the Democratic platform...


 Trump is a gross, disgusting and perverted man... but he has surrounded himself with greatness and the platform reflects it! 

So I ask that you consider what you will do come Tuesday... my future and the future of my children depend on it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

"Mommy, I don't want plantain, I want comfrey"

Today I got a call from my wife around lunch time, which isn't unusual.  But the story she told me sure was! 

For those of you who are not aware, a great deal of our medicines from from plants... or at least they started out that way before we figured out how to make the chemicals ourselves (i.e. Ibuprofen used to come from willow bark - or something like that).  Two of the many different weeds you will find growing on our property are comfrey and plantain.  These two plants have similar actions, but they would probably be better used in slightly different applications... but before we get into it, the story!

The story

Upon looking out the window to see what the kids were up to (or if they were even still on our property), my wife noticed my eldest scooting across the backyard on his third point of contact... okay, boys do weird things, but this was strange, even for him!  Upon investigation she learned that he had somehow cut his foot on something (yes, we let our kids play barefoot outside).  To remedy the problem he had found some plantain leaves, chewed them up and applied them to his wound.  Unfortunately the cut was on the bottom of his foot and if he stood up and walked, the poultice would fall off... so he was scooting along up to the house to get a bandage...

Next thing my wife knows, my other son announces he cut his foot, but insisted "Mommy, I don't want plantain, I want comfrey."

<Instructions to the reader: insert mental image of proud father here!>

So which child was right?  Is it plantain or is it comfrey?

In the past, when I got stung by a bee, I have chewed up the plantain and put it where I got stung.  Within a half hour (or faster) it didn't hurt a bit!  A few days later it did swell up, which was a problem... a problem I'm still trying to find a natural solution for.  But needless to say, plantain works wonders on bee stings!

Plantago lanceolata - This is the first type of plantain I have in the yard...

Plantago major - The other kind of plantain...

Comfrey on the other hand is a great healing herb.  I've been told that it is extremely important that you clean out any wounds before you put a pultice from these leaves on a cut, as otherwise the wound will rapidly heal over and entrap any dirt or bacteria that got into the cut in the cut... and that's not a good thing!  You can also make a tea out of it and drink it, although the government prohibits it's sale for internal consumption based on a study where they force fed it to rats and they got cancer... to put the study in perspective, you'd have to eat like 30lbs a day of this stuff to get the equivalent body weight percentage of it into your body each day... good luck with that and don't take the government's warning too seriously...

A comfrey plant.

The answer...

Well I have to be honest, I think they were both spot on.  If my eldest put the plantain on his wound because it hurt, great job!  If the other wanted comfrey because he wanted it to heal quickly, great job!  If they wanted to use those plants because they've seen daddy do it, well... how many times did you really need triple antibiotic ointment and a band-aid on all the cuts you've gotten? 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Livestock Fencing: Hack #1

Well it seems all the rage these days to talk about hacking things... things ranging from Hillary Clinton's private e-mail server down to a cigarette lighter!  Well I don't know how to hack a computer and all I do with a lighter is adjust the flame and get rid of those child proof things... or harvest the flit for my zippo!

A zippo lighter...

Well instead of talking about Hillary Clinton or lighters, I wanted to do a quick post on another work around that I have come up with.  So let's get to it and I'll do my best to make it quick and informative!

If you mosy on down to the premeir1supplies web site, you can find a product called the PowerLink 4.0.  Now I have had good success with these guys and am happy with everything they have sent me.  That said, this PowerLink 4.0 costs $4.50 (plus shipping if you don't spend over $100).  Now I have one and it works great, but now that I need another one, I'm not dropping that kind of money when I can do it myself!

These things are basically alligator clips with a wire connecting them.  The plastic handle is such that it should keep you from getting zapped if you grap them, carefully, while they are energized by the fence... but in reality, I won't touch them without turning off the fence charger (you can call me a wimp, that doesn't bother me).

Step 1 - Get some gator clips!

Gardner Bender 2" clips

Here's the box of the ones I got... they look like the ones above.

Any old clips should work as long as the wire you have will fit inside them!  These clips came with a screw terminals, which was quite helpful!

Step 2 - Wire

For the wire I used about a 2ft strand of wire I got from extension cord I got from somebodies trash can a few years back!  It had some issues, but I threw on some ends and I still use part of it for different jobs around the house today... this scrap was just right and didn't cost me a thing!

Step 3 - Connectors

For this job, as mentioned above, I crimped on some connectors and screwed them to the terminals on the clips AFTER I put the dust covers over the wire!  I didn't do this at first and later had to cut off a connector and crimp a new one on to get the dust covers on... for connectors I used one of these... and for $12 it is completely worth it!  I should get another one...

This basic kit can allow you to fix so many things!  (Get one!)
Seriously, I've used it to fix my circular saw, make these clips, fix a ladies laundry dryer... these things are really useful!

Step 4 - Put it together

Again, put the dust covers on, crimp on the connectors (I used the red ring connector) and screw the ring connectors to the gator clips... slip the dust covers on and you are done!


Gator Clips - $1.35
Wire - Free
Connector - $0.05?  It was cheap enough that I don't really care what the cost was!

Price from Premier 1 Supplies - - $4.50

Total Savings: $3.15 and I have it now, not in a few days!

Hope this was helpful to somebody!  Please ask any questions and share any comments.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Trying to fit one more thing into my crazy life... Youtube!

Well for those of you who read my blog, you mgiht notice I haven't done any posts for a long time.  Well I thought I'd share with you all what I have been doing... and yes, it's related to food...

Well this is my second attempt at this video, so hopefully you like it!  I now know that filming a video is the easy part... editing it takes a lot of time and work, wow...

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Brooder Pic's

We got our chicks, all 104 of them, from Meyer Hatchery on April 29th.  We lost about 8 of them in the brooder, but I didn't realize it till a few weeks later as the dead would be covered up with wood chips, only to be discovered as I was stirring them up... but regardless, I thought I'd show you guys some pictures, those are always fun!

*I had about an inch between the lights and the boxes... please don't bother telling me about fire hazards, as I could hold the light by the aluminum reflector without burning myself... I wasn't worried about the boxes catching fire.

The chicken nipple gaskets leaked, so I built a catch basin underneath.  I emptied it once or twice in 2 wks.

My neighbor let me borrow this thing.  It has a 250W heater element underneath and worked great!

There wasn't an overabundance of heat, so I cut these boxes to help insulate a smaller space for the chicks.

Looking in on the chicks in the half box...

I need to find some better feeders... those are nice, but don't work as well at 2-1/2 wks old...

The trash can held feed...

Table scraps... they went crazy over that stuff!

Hope you enjoyed them!

Two weeks yesterday!

Well here's the big announcement... today, we have had 3 lambs on property for one week two weeks now!  (It's taken me a while to make the time to write this post.)

The 3 newest members of the team!

I typically make a better effort to observe memorial day, but I also think I remember the cost more regularly then most people... but on Memorial day this year, I drove about 2 hours to go look at some Katahdin lambs.  They were being housed in the basement of an old barn on some of the most beautiful land I've seen in Ohio... it reminded me of the Lexington/Georgetown Ky area!  But after learning what I could, I bought the most expensive flat of vegetables I've ever bought, and the owner gave me 3 little lambs... okay, maybe I paid for the lambs and the veggies were free...

Since then we have spent a good bit of money on apple cider vinegar for their water, Redmond salt for trace minerals and salt, and we are getting ready to spend a whole heap of money on another mineral kit from Advanced Biological Concepts.   A guy nearby raises sheep, hogs and some cattle and uses their products and is real pleased with them.  So now I'm still trying to figure out if I want to buy the complete kit or just pick and choose what I want... if any of you have any experience with these products, please leave a comment letting me know how it's worked for you!

The basic idea on the minerals is that if the animal is deficient in a certain mineral, they can go get some of that specific mineral.  No sense consuming an entire generic salt and mineral block just for that one limiting element the animal is missing!  The goal is that the animals would then be healthy enough that they wouldn't need so much attention... keep in mind, I'm trying to be lazy here!

94 broilers out on pasture!

So now in addition to the 3 lambs, we are down to 94(I think that's where we are) chickens.  Two of them ended up with a broken leg, I assume it was due to them not moving when I moved the chicken tractor.  It's a little frustrating, but it's probably my fault somehow.  Anyway, they graduated to the compost pile.

 So one thing that we tried when we first got our electro-netting from Premeir1supplies, we tried putting the chickens in it... it worked great, until they walked underneath the bottom electrified wire... doh!  Later on when I called Premeir1 to report a problem with my purchase I mentioned I was frustrated with myself for not realizing the poultry netting version of what I had ordered was only 10$ more.  The nice lady on the phone informed me that I could send the first netting back within the first 30 days and they would refund my purchase.  Then go buy the poultry netting!

Wow, that's great!

So I ordered the poultry netting, a gate for the netting (that was a complete splurge, but will probably be worth it in the end) and some support posts (the poultry netting is heavier, so it can use a little more support.)  I've yet to move the chickens in with the lambs, as the tractor is in the back of the yard... but it on the next move for the lambs, I will be sure to pull the tractor into the paddock and fence it off with some poly-twine and some posts (to keep the lambs out of the chicken tractor).  That's the plan anyway...

The birds (Red Rangers) will be 7wks old this Friday... butcher in one month, hopefully I have enough feed to make it that long!  Hopefully if I let them out into the paddock during the day they won't need as much.  Anyway, after we butcher then, we'll be able to something like this once again, as we ran out of the 60 birds from last year a few weeks back...

I call it 3 Bird Soup

3 Bird Soup

Take 3 of your pastured chickens and put them in the pressure cooker and cook at 15 psi for 45 minutes.  Take all the meat off the bones, saving the water/juice/fat (worth it's weight in that yellowy golden gold!) and throw it into a stock pot... add sauted onions and other mics veggies and fruits (tomato's and okra for me) and some spices and praise God for good food :)
Here's a few more pic's for your viewing pleasure...

Cooking in progress...

I have come to appreciate the flavor of onions

 I can't believe I hated onions growing up... but it's true!  The last thing I did was can about 7 quarts of this stuff... that should come in handy some day...

Okay, I'll see if I can't put together some reviews for the fencing stuff I bought.  Till then, take care and God bless!

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Living Lawn Mowers... Part III

Earlier this week my wife stopped by our favorite local grass farmer for some bones (bone broth) and liver (for baby food) and called to tell me that he got more sheep and we could come over to buy a couple.  He had previously told me he'd let me know when he got them, but perhaps he forgot?  Anyway, he got them for $150 and is selling them to me for $175... okay, I guess he's a full time farmer that needs to make a living too... I haven't seen a better price around anyway.  Hopefully the genetics aren't trash!

This is what Katahdin's look like...

So I called him up and he asked when I'm coming to pick them up.  That's a great question to ask... as soon as I have fencing up!  So that day I jumped on Premeir1's website and ordered some equipment.  Here's what I got:

.357 Magnum with a 20in octagon barrel!

Oh wait, that's what I could have gotten instead!  Hopefully raising sheep will provide more benefit than scratching up a nice rifle going hunting...  Okay, this is a little better... here's what I got:

Looks good... but no, I didn't get horses!
I got two 164' section of the netting along with the above fence charger and it should come in the mail today!  Combine that with a small stock tank from the local feed store and by Saturday night I should have 3 ewe (female) lambs mowing my lawn!  (Hopefully the yotes don't feel like jumping over a 42in tall electrified fence between the world and my lawn mowers... that wouldn't end well.)

On another note, this is week four of raising 100 red rangers from Meyer Hatchery.  They sent us 104 birds and in the first week we lost 9, so we are now down to 95 birds.  We only got a refund on one, as I didn't discover the rest of them until days later when I was kicking around the wood chips and founds some mummified chicks... <sigh> oh well! 

I picked up 2100 lbs of non-gmo and soy free feed the weekend before they got here, based on the 2014 results with those birds, and sure hope it's enough!  I put them out on "pasture" on Sunday and so far it's been pretty dry... that's great for the birds, but hopefully it's not too dry this year, as I'll need to buy hay for the lawn mowers is it gets too dry! 

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Book Review #4: Hands On Agronomy

My Book Review Disclaimer:  I am not going to waste my time or your time by writing a review about a book that stinks.  Likewise, I am only going to bother reading it if it's not a waste of time and I am learning from it.  If it's good and I think it's a worthwhile read, I'll put it up on here and tell you why.
If you see this at a garage sale, get it!

Well I have to be honest and tell you that I am not going to do this book justice.  While this book was a great resource and taught me a lot, I don't remember as much as I wish!  So that said, let me throw some things out that I do happen to remember.

Get a soil analysis done on your property!

Any questions?  Well there should be... you also need to consider what lab you have do the test.  For me, I paid $16 to have the local agricultural extension office do my analysis... which was a mistake!  How could that be a mistake?  Well the basic test was only $12, but I wanted more details, so I paid a few dollars extra.  What did I get out of it?  Well I got my basic soil analysis with a few extra details that probably won't help me.  The problem is that I was hoping to figure out what the boron levels were in my garden, and the extra special test that I pad extra for didn't include it!  Sorry for the rabbit trail, but make sure you are going to get out of the soil analysis what you think you are going to get!  For general garden testing, maybe it was good enough... but next time I'm getting my soil analyzed by Logan Labs.  Oh, once you start using these things, try to stick with the same lab... there are different methods that give different results... don't chase different results just because it's a different lab!

Okay, back to the book...

Let's start off talking about the author.  Neal Kinsey went to school in Missouri and you can find his company here and he has a great Q & A page here.  While in school he was quite fortunate to study under a guy name Albrecht (Wikipedia has an article on him), who was something of a pioneer of logic and (un)common sense and had a profound impact on who Neal became.  

William Albrecht, one smart cookie!
Albrecht was outspoken on matters of declining soil fertility, having identified that it was due to a lack of organic material, major elements, and trace minerals, and was thus responsible for poor crops and in turn for pathological conditions in animals fed deficient foods from such soils.[14]
He laid the blame as:
"NPK formulas, (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) as legislated and enforced by State Departments of Agriculture, mean malnutrition, attack by insects, bacteria and fungi, weed takeover, crop loss in dry weather, and general loss of mental acuity in the population, leading to degenerative metabolic disease and early death.[14]

Hopefully Wikipedia doesn't mind that quote, but I think it summarizes this book fairly well.  

The book... remember the book?

From this book I took away a better understanding of how the elements in the soil effect how things grow.  Similar to Soil, Grass & Cancer (see my post on it here - it talked mostly about livestock and humans), this goes into detail about how the crop yields are impacted by the soil elements.  The big take away for me was that the calcium levels in the soil need to be 60-70% saturation and the magnesium needs to be 10-20% saturation.  Saturation?  

Cation Exchange Capacity

 Okay, another thing I learned about is called CEC, or cation exchange capacity.  This measures the soils ability to hold onto the different elements.  Think a garage for a moment.  The more bays a garage has, the more cars it can hold.  If you fill up your garage with Chevy's, there won't be any room for Ford's.  That's fine if all you want is Chevy's, but that's not how the soil works.  So the CEC is like how many bays your garage has, the more the better!  If you only have one bay and you put a Ferrari in it, your Ferrari saturation is at 100%.  If you have two bays and one Ferrari, your Ferrari base saturation is at 50%, and so forth.  So when you measure the CEC for your soil, you naturally want larger numbers.  The bigger the number, the more elements and nutrients the soil can hold onto without it leaching away with the rain and snow!

So we have the 60-70% calcium target (aim for 70% for clay soils) and 10-20% magnesium target (aim for 10% with clay soils - sand is the opposite) and the remaining 10% is made up of your fertilizer nutrients like Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus, or NPK.  BUT WAIT!!!!  This is where things get interesting... if the N-P-K values are not in the right ratio's, you are going to have some issues still.  If you put down too much phosphorus (think manure), weeds like bindweed will take over and thrive!  (I think it's phosphorus...)

The Premise

If you get your soil balanced, you can grow the healthiest of whatever it is that you want to grow on your soil!  If it is balanced, the PH will be near 7.0 and acid loving plants wont care... they'll still grow healthier on this balanced soil than anywhere else.

My take away, get my soil balanced.  If I can find the time to throw up my soil analysis, I'll try to talk through it and explain it better... but at the end of the day, I need about 4ton of calcium per acre... which is a lot!  My calcium saturation is at 35% when the target is 70%... hopefully I'll be able to grow healthy tomatoes, squash and pumpkins if I get that fixed... because it hasn't worked yet!

Okay, my lunch break is over... back to it!  (I really need to buy this book and read it again...)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

A quote for you

I'll hopefully post a review on it soon, but I'm currently still reading a book called Grass, the Forgiveness of Nature.  In this book I came across a quote that I wanted to share with you.  I have not looked up the person quoted, so I can't provide any background information, but hopefully you can still benefit from it.

"When you go to studying nature, you find that there is a master design.  It is beautiful.  It is perfect.  In my insect program, I show that every insect on earth is designed to do something for nature.  Every living this on earth is programmed to do what it does and be what it is, except human beings.  Human beings have a free will.  We can be inert, we can be stupid, we can kill each other, we can live in harmony.  Every creature was designed for a purpose, to show us something, to give us something, tell us something.  Study, and all of a sudden nature opens her books to you."

I don't know about you, but I find that amazing.  Why?  Well perhaps it is my world view.  I am one of those people who believe there is an all knowing God that created all things by His design and made mankind in His image.  I believe that we as humans are special, for that reason, and this quote seems to back that up.  If you replace the word nature in the above quote with God (and "His"), it fits my view of the world quite amazingly!

Now for those of you who have not done so, this is probably a good time to point you towards a video I had the privilege to watch the other night with my wife... actually, it was spread out over a whole week, as we had to break it up into segments to fit into our "free time", which is the time between after the kids go to bed and after we finish cleaning up the kitchen and before we go to bed... it's called Back to Eden and can be found at  I highly recommend you watch it!  It had the effect of making my wife excited about gardening, so you are now warned about what the consequences may be!  (We moved over 8 yards of wood chips last weekend... I sure hope it works for us like it did for him!)

Okay, here's the teaser we watched first, in case you don't have 2hrs to devote to watching the full length version... (you have to watch it at youtube apparently)

Book Review #3: All flesh is grass, The pleasures and romises of pasture farming.

My Book Review Disclaimer:  I am not going to waste my time or your time by writing a review about a book that stinks.  Likewise, I am only going to bother reading it if it's not a waste of time and I am learning from it.  If it's good and I think it's a worthwhile read, I'll put it up on here and tell you why.

So I hit a craze of books from the library on grass fed and rotational grazing... in light of my future plans to turn my 3 acres of grass, which currently requires 3+ gallons of petroleum and 3+ hours of my life to keep it looking nice, into food for my family via livestock... and this book was one of the results.  So without any more chit-chat, let me tell you more about it.

Gene Logston - this guy has an opinion and isn't afraid to tell you what it is.  If you disagree with him, I get the impression he wouldn't mind telling you that you are wrong!  But I also think if you want to learn, he might be pretty happy to teach you whatever he can... this could be a blessing, as I hear he lives not too (relative term) far from where I am!

What Gene has to say in this book is primarily focused on the Ohio/Kentucky region of America and cites numerous examples from around these two states, including one you may have heard of before... Bob Evans?  Yea, he was a real guy who apparently got famous selling sausage, but his heart was in grass and grazing animals.  

What can you learn?  Well one thing that Gene and Mr Evans both seem to agree on is that if we would stop doing so much useless work, we might be a little more efficient!  Stop tilling, stop planting, stop harvesting!  With the exception of frost-seeding, all those efforts are a lot of work that isn't needed!  Take growing cor for example... farmers spend a lot of time preparing the land, planting, spraying, cultivating, fertilizing, harvesting, drying, transporting and grinding the corn.  What if they just planted it and let the livestock do the weeding and the harvesting?  He makes some convincing arguments, I'd love to hear what the naysayers think.

Another topic covered is grass types.  You can probably get a doctorate degree on this topic, but I think Gene did a good job laying out the pros and cons to different types of grass without one.  One thing that struck me especially about this topic was his admiration for bluegrass (maybe he likes the musical style as well, I don't know) as well as "weeds" like lambs quarters, dandelions and wild amaranth.  Most graziers wouldn't care to see that in their pastures, but perhaps they should, as they are very nutritious!  (Don't believe me, ask the hippies!)

At the end of the day, this was a fun read.  Gene's writing style is fun and thought provoking.  It covers a wide swath of information, but doesn't get bogged down.  I hope to meet him some day and, shake his hand and maybe even pick his brain!  I highly recommend checking this one out!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Book Review #2: Soil Grass Cancer

My Book Review Disclaimer:  I am not going to waste my time or your time by writing a review about a book that stinks.  Likewise, I am only going to bother reading it if it's not a waste of time and I am learning from it.  If it's good and I think it's a worthwhile read, I'll put it up on here and tell you why.

Current Amazon Price as of writing this review: $238.98

In a previous life (of employment), I worked at (not for) a pharmaceutical company where I got the impression (no surprise) that their goal is to treat every American for diabetes, not heal them.  From that standpoint, it makes sense why this might be a controversial book... forget the fact that it was written over 60 years ago!

This book covers a broad spectrum of diseases and disorders that we humans (and livestock) find ourselves encountering.  This takes the approach of food as medicine and breaks it down a little bit at a time.  Ever wonder why race horses come from the bluegrass regions of Kentucky?  I'll give you a hint, it's in the ground! 

When the soil that livestock are raised on is deficient in something, the animals can get sick and die.  Even worse, you can get sick and die!  This ties in wonderfully with my next book review, which covers in great lengths the connection between the magnesium saturation and the calcium saturation in the soil that our food is grown or raised on. 

I will admit that after about the first half of the book, I began to loose interest, as it began to go deeper than my mind was able to follow.  He was using medical terms that went over my head and I just plain lost interest.

That said, I plan on reading through this one again in the future!  I highly recommend it... but please take it back to the library when you are done, as I can't afford to buy my own copy either.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Fedco Seeds - A cool little company!

Well some of you who know me better understand that I am a little strange... one of the many ways is in my passion for growing things - more specifically growing FOOD! 

If you can't eat it or something that eats it, what good is it?

Being of the mindset of a freedom and liberty minded individual, I am making all attempts I can to minimize my government (the department of making you sad - D.O.M.Y.S) footprint!  I'll get to that in a minute... but first, another personality trait that I really like to eat, and I want to do my best to make sure that I won't run out of food if anything bad happens... and bad things to happen to even good people!  Just ask Job...

Anyway, back to minimizing my gov't (D.O.M.Y.S) footprint... one way to do that is to minimize the taxes I pay.  Now, what can I do to reduce my property tax?  I can try to get an agricultural exemption!  (I'm working toward it...)  Can I reduce my income tax?  Maybe I can start a business and claim a few expenses that I couldn't otherwise claim... I'm working on that too!  But think about it a little more... how else does the DOYMS get money?  Every single time you spend money, it get's taxed.  Maybe not on food, for some states... but the person who works at the grocery pays income tax, the person driving the truck pays income tax, the truck had a sales tax, the fuel to drive the truck had a sales tax... etc.  Get the point?  I'm becoming a bigger and bigger fan of keeping it local...
Note - The Bible tells us to pay to Caesar what is due Caesar.   I'm not advocating illegal activity, just working within the confines of the system to your fullest advantage!

Starve the monster!

So that said, there are things that can be done to provide us better wealth without being taxed (at least not yet).  Now to deviate for just a moment, lets talk about financial world views.  There are some out there who subscribe to the Limited Wealth concept.  This takes the opinion that there is a limited number of resources around us, and those who have only have at the expense of those who do not.  On the other hand there are those who subscribe to the Unlimited Wealth concept... as do I.  This basically says that there is as much wealth surrounding you as you are willing and able to create.  So what does this have to do with Fedco Seeds?  I'm almost there, I promise!

Being a subscriber to the unlimited wealth concept, I look at my backyard (and front yard - as the wife will permit) and wonder how I can utilize those resources to increase my wealth.  Currently one goal is to raise sheep... time will tell on that venture.  Another venture is my garden... I spend some money, time, energy and I get food in return.  I could go to work and spend some time, money and energy and get a pay check, but that gets taxed!  Instead, the garden provides me with organic food that I can eat!  As of yet the IRS (DOMYS) has not yet figured out how to tax me on the produce grown in my garden - double win for me (food and minimizing my footprint).  The same thing is going on with my fruit trees.  Now I'm using a holistic management method (click to read my book review here) with organic spray ingredients, so I pay some tax on those, but nothing compared to the total value that I will get out of my trees when they start to produce!  (I planted them in 2014-2015 with a few more going in each year.) 

So now why do I mention Fedco Seeds?  Well I was looking for some cherry scion to graft onto a piece of cherry root stock that survived when the tree on top of it died (it sent up a sprout, I can only imagine I cut a root when I put the T-post in) and somehow ended up on their site.  What I found was some really cool catalogs you can download as a .pdf. 

The orchard catalog is full of all sorts of great information that Ive not seen elsewhere in all my research!  You can just click here to open it.  Hopefully they don't get mad at me for posting it here, but one piece of information I thought was really cool was this recipe for using chives to protect your fruit trees!  (If you guys are mad, I'll be happy to take it down... hopefully you are cool with it as I'm providing some free advertising... I hope to business with you guys in the future!)

Who would have thought?
Needless to say, I need to plant some chives around my fruit trees!  I also need to plant some comfrey and daffodils around them... oh, and garlic too!  So this is one of the little jewels that is scattered throughout the catalog.  I highly recommend you check it out, and perhaps buy a tree or two from them!  If you do, let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Living lawnmowers... an update

I had mentions before in my post Living lawn mowers... that I had a mind to raise sheep.  Well apparently I misunderstood the farmer and the prices are not quite what I had expected.  Now the cost is up to $200 for lambs... ouch.  Well, so be it... we thought we were going to have to pay the gov't department of making you sad on our tax return this year, but it turns out we are getting some money back, so that helps!

....and thanks to a guy named Darby Simpson, I've got a new plan on the fence charger...

Premier PRS 100

Yea, its a little bit more than I wanted to spend... but it's a little bit more than I need too!  If Darby gave it his approval, I'm willing to drop an extra $60 for it.  Throw in two 164' sections of electro netting and away I'll go!

I'm sure you'll hear more about this in the future!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Can you guys give me a hand here?

So this is something of an unusual request, but I'll make it anyway...

Hmm... I'm not so sure...

So this book has been recommended to me, but I'm not really sure about it and it's not in the local library's system.  So today I'm asking if any of you have read this book and wonder what your feedback is on it.  Yea, I can read the Amazon reviews, but wondered if any of you have read it... before I drop $25 for it (I don't have prime).

Okay, well as usual, no feedback... I bought the book and will now have to give it a full review at some point... hopefully it's a keeper!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Well what do ya know about that? (Probiotics)

Aren't they cute?  (Keep reading)
Some of you may know that one point in my professional career, I was doing some work for a pharmaceutical company... I learned a few things there.  In addition, I've listened to a guy named Gary Collins, a former FDA special agent (for the government) and his comments back up what I've experienced... call me tin hat if you want, but I heard it and so did he: 

The major pharmaceutical companies want you to be sick.   Why?  Well if you are sick, you need their medicine!  If you need their medicine, they get your money!  They don't necessarily want you to be healthy, then you might stop taking their medicine... they prefer you feel good and stay sick.  

But what if there were an alternative?   I subscribe to the "you are what you eat" club, and a healthy digestive tract is mostly bacteria, to the extent that it makes up 90% of the cells in our body!  Where does the bacteria come from... well if you were not fortunate enough to be born (you pick up some good bacteria in the birth canal on the way out if it's not a c-section) of a mother with a healthy digestive tract, then you have to eat them.  You can buy them or make your own... you guys know I    prefer to make my own, as you can read about here (click here for a list of all my fermenting articles).  
So my manager at work recently announced he's moving on to another company and has since been, well... coasting, just ever so slightly?  The other day he sent out an e-mail with a link to an article on 3D printing body parts for medical research.  Interesting stuff, really... but what I found more interesting was at the bottom... this article goes well with all of the things we are doing to try and be healthy... check it out yourself!

Probiotics dramatically modulate liver cancer growth in mice

Interestingly enough, that wasn't the only one at this site... which goes against what I've typically seen.  Yep, back to the tin-foil hat conspiracy stuff again... if you are a company that wants the public to think something is good, one way you can control that thought process is to "donate" lots of money to a university and have them publish a study that says your product is safe and great for everybody and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid!  I think the medical, pharmaceutical and big agriculture industries have all done this... but I'm getting side tracked.  The point I raise here is that this type of research doesn't seem to have any strings attached.  It doesn't have anything to sell... so what's the point?  Could it be that it is nothing more than true research for the benefit of man kind?  (I honestly can't tell... but I'm open to ideas and suggestions!)

Regardless, here are a few other articles from the same site that I found to be very accurate, considering my understanding of the human bacteria relationship...

Microbes in the gut help determine risk of tumors

Gut microbiota transplantation may prevent development of diabetes and fatty liver disease

Bacterial imbalance contributes to intestinal inflammation and carcinogenesis

Study finds link between liver cancer and gut bacteria in obese mice

This one rings home for me... considering the issues my son recently had with his blood work!  Researchers find link between intestinal bacteria and white blood cell cancer

Collaborative effects of multiple bacterial strains in the gut may help prevent onset of certain inflammatory diseases

Need any encouragement to breast feed your baby? Breast is best: Good bacteria arrive from mum's gut via breast milk

Well that should keep you busy for a few minutes...

Monday, February 8, 2016

Bone broth... Look at the bones!

First, let's start off with something fun!

In my recent post, Lately, I talked about how things are going with the family and how we're going to a lot of extra work in an effort to heal.  One of the things I spoke about was bone broth... I'd like to dive in a little deeper on this topic.

There's a lot of good stuff inside those bones!

 The goal is to heal our digestive tract.  It could have been made unhealthy by a wide variety of things, like stress or antibiotics.  Whatever the cause, it doesn't matter so much... what matters is fixing it!  If you want to learn more about this stuff, a highly recommended book is Nourishing Traditions, but there are enough articles out on the net that would also help.

See the bone marrow hiding in there?  Yep, that's good for you!

Let's get to the point, shall we?  Here's a basic explanation of how we have found is the easiest way to do bone broth.  Get the biggest one you think you can handle, we actually use a 20qt turkey roaster after determining two crock pots were too much work.  We'll pour in about 2-1/2 gallons of water, a cup of apple cider vinegar (it helps draw the calcium out of the bones) and some salt in with approximately 5 chicken feet (yes, it's gross... but they make the most amazing broth!) and a couple pounds of bones (we got our from a local grass fed cattle farmer).  Throw in any veggie scraps for flavor with a little salt and let it cook.


I know... it looks disgusting...

Chicken bone marrow... yep, it's good for you too!

Grand Central Bone Broth Station!
In the bottom right of the pic above you can see a canning funnel, a ladle and a sieve.  We pour the broth into the sieve over the funnel that puts it into our mug for drinking out of... it's messy and I pray it is making a difference!

Maybe if I ever figure it out I can make a youtube video and show you how we do it...

Till then, this looks like a good one....

Keep your powder dry...

120 HOURS?

A common companion this year...

Well if I did the math right, I spent roughly 120 hours trying to put some venison in the freezer this year.  The season ended last night with the kickoff of the Superbowl... whatever that means... I didn't watch it and if you read my blog much, I'd be willing to bed maybe you didn't either!

Thought: this post will probably get me the most comments... angry ones!

Well that picture up there summarizes how things went.  I got skunked...  every Friday night (till the time changed) and every Saturday morning and evening since the beginning of October, with a few exceptions, has been spent trying to put meat in the freezer. 

But why do you have to hunt, why not buy your food from the store?

A valid question... I could buy it from the store, but did you know that chickens, cows and pigs are animals just like deer, and before you eat them, somebody kills them?  Further more, do you know what kind of living conditions those animals live in that are a sold (in nice little packages with happy pictures on them of red barns and wind mills to make you feel warm and fuzzy about your purchase) at the store grow up in?  Look up the term CAFO... better yet, here's a pic for you!

A modern poultry raising operation...

There is nowhere for the chicken to go where they are not sitting in their own poop for their miserable 7weeks of life...  compare that to the following picture from my back yard...

Just introduced into the chicken tractor...

Almost full grown!
 Now those chickens are limited in what they can eat... mostly whatever is growing in my lawn (some people would disagree with me calling it a lawn) and whatever feed I put in the feeder.  But deer on the other hand are browsers... they eat a little bit of this, a little bit of that.  If there become too many of them, a bunch die of starvation as their isn't enough food!  Sure, they eat some of those EVIL GMO crops that I prefer not to eat, but they also eat a lot of grasses, leaf buds on tree's, a little of this, a little of that...

I'd much rather eat wild venison than some cow that spent that last 3 months of it's life standing up to it's arm pits in it's own manure eating nothing but GMO corn.  By the way, I'm told that you can't pasture pigs because they don't have the stomach's to digest the grass... why then do we feed the cow and the pig THE SAME STINK'N CORN?

Well this year it looks like I'll be forced to get some of that standing it's own poop meat from the store, but it wasn't for a lack of effort...

As I said, I hadn't seen a deer since December 1st... this was a rough year...

Also... please don't write me asking if I washed my clothes in the right detergent or used this cover scent... I put out a camera and I know the deer had moved into different areas.  Besides, I didn't do anything different this year from the past couple years when I got 2-3 deer each year...

And just for the note... you people that like to tell stories about how many does you had under your stand last week make me sick!  I'd be ecstatic if somebody put me in a stand where I could shoot a doe...  and yet they won't let anybody hunt their property because they want a bigger trophy.  I get it... but it you people still make me sick!  (It's illegal to sell wild game... but it's not illegal to give it away or to buy the broken arrow and broad head used to kill the deer from the person that shot it...

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Well I never expected that!

So it's lunch time and I don't have a lot going on... I was checking out the different functions of blogger can came across the number of page views I've recieved sorted by country... I can't help but wonder what it is that makes me so interesting to, of all places...

It would be really nice if blogger would let me sort by country AND post so I could try to determine the correlation, but alas it is not so...

But while I'm thinking about it, maybe it has something to do with this?
"Most food in Russia comes from backyard gardens"
- I wish we could say that about America... but I don't think the "eco-village" movement mentioned in the article is the driving force behind the fact that in 2004 over 50% of Russia's agricultural output came from backyard gardens!  

Interesting to think about!  As if I didn't have enough things running through my mind...