Third time’s a charm! Everyone knows that’s a mathematical fact. And when it comes to coops, so what if it takes three generations to recoup your costs in chickens and eggs? What matters more is the satisfaction of the Trifecta: form, function and plenty of time on our hands these days.
Coop needs are going to vary and the portable coops are really popular right now. They make a lot of sense for many reasons that are not of interest here. Mostly because we use our coop for poop.
We throw our compost in there, the chickens process through it, then we haul it to the garden. We also let them free range all day, but need the option to keep them excluded in the run from time to time. We’ve had 8 years of trial and error and here’s a sampling of the adjustments Handy Hubby has made to better suit our needs with coop 3.0. Most of them are for matters of hygiene and convenience.
—No sloping run enclosures, but still fully enclosed with generous head room. Too much stooping and head clunking made this one highest priority.
—Fold-away perches, what a feature! This might be a Handy Hubby unique creation, I’ve never seen it before, nor has he. Necessity is the mother of invention! Snakes curled up in a corner are really hard to get at when you have to crawl under permanent perches. There’s invariably rogue hens who try to nest in the corners too. And for cleaning, of course, with a large back door for scooping poop directly into the tractor bucket.
—Gravity assisted flow-thru composting, impressive! Faster compost processing using scratching chickens. Tractor gates at both ends make it quick and easy to load the run up with leaves and grass, then on the downhill side rake it into the bucket and haul it to the garden after the chickens break it down. Our advancing age was the inspiration there, since we’ve been doing this with shovels and a wheelbarrow. A least favorite chore for sure.
—Storm shutters over extra large windows and an extra large feeder. We need lots of ventilation from all sides in summer, but also extra protection from crazy weather like high winds, hail and tornadoes that are apparently our ‘new normal’.
—A locking hatch, because safe chickens make happy owners.
It’s time again for some fun snaps. Apparently my ‘extremist’ opinions are not nearly as popular as far as posts go. What a mystery! 🙂
As usual, not suitable viewing for vegetarians.
But, our veggie of the year has definitely been the turnip. Not too sexy, I know. Personally I think the turnip is way under-rated. Lucky for us, they were so prolific this year we’ve been giving them away, feeding them to the pigs and eating them ourselves pretty much daily. Raw, baked, stewed, roasted, fermented—don’t knock ‘em ‘til you try ‘em! (And if you have any yummy suggestions for preparation, please do share.).
Our small asparagus bed was so over-packed we created 2 huge beds for them, had to go outside the garden fence and cut down a few trees to do it, and still had enough to give a big box away to a sister homesteader.
I also dug up the ‘naked lady’ lilies, day lilies and iris, replanted a bunch of them and still had loads to give away. I love to spread the wealth! It was A LOT of work, but hopefully worth it. Time will tell.
(Note to new gardeners: DO NOT crowd your asparagus, those crowns are a nightmare to separate once they get over-clumped. Lesson learned the hard way.)
Fava beans and lovely greens and my favorite herb, chervil.
Mama Chop, ready to pop! Papa Chop must be very proud, he got Virginia preggers too, her first time. Loads of piglets coming any day now.
We had to borrow another ram, apparently the last one was sleeping on the job. He’s been keeping very busy.
Handy Hubby’s Grand TajMa-Coop post coming up soon, it’s a beauty, so stay tuned!
As the United Nations, Club of Rome, World Health Organization and various other international ‘public-private’ partnerships try to propagandize the world into their vision of “Global Sustainability” there are a number of crucial variables they’ve left out, which localities could capitalize on, if they were made aware of this potential.
For example, did you know there are salt mines all over place in this country? Salt was the basis of our first ‘trade markets’ — long before exotic spices of the Orient — salt was King of the World.
Salt was, well, worth its weight in gold, as the saying goes. Why do we import tea, the ‘native Americans’ might have queried of the mostly British expats settling here? There’s perfectly good tea all around you, can’t you see? And they might have made a few good jokes about that.
But salt? You’re going to import salt, too? What the bleep for?! That’s not even joke-worthy, that’s just a dumb-ass death sentence! You know it’s everywhere around here, right? And the gold y’all so covet, what’s that for, exactly? Y’all are really so very attached to your adornments, eh? Good choices there, give over your salt, so you starve, for gold, so you can pay your taxes. Brilliant system!
Here on the wee homestead we came inspired to see how long and far a road it is to self and community sustainability. We were thinking like most homesteaders, survivalists, etc., are thinking—food, water, energy. Obvious, these are crucial.
But what about the salt? That, along with the water, was the very first thing either robbed, buried, or tainted by the industrialist-minded settlers. Not the ones who came for a better life more aligned with their God and purpose, the ones who came expressly to profiteer for the pay-masters back home.
Long before our water and air were compromised, our people enslaved to the State and our ranges overrun with slave labor, our salt was “buried” by the Global Regulators. There are salt mines and primal (renewable, sub-surface geysers, essentially) water available all over this country.
That was known centuries ago! But go ahead and demonstrate your loyalty to the State, that tricked and enslaved your Great, Great Grandparents and before, by wearing that muzzle of submission and voting for your next tyrant.
Don’t care where your salt comes from? Next you don’t care where your water comes from, or your food comes from, or your energy, or anything else.
I just wanted to share this fantastic site, here’s just one of their high-quality articles, but there are many more of great value for beginners and old green thumbs alike! I’m learning so much from them, yippie!! 🙂
Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) belong to the genus Rubus, along with other cane berries such as blackberries, boysenberries, lawtonberries, loganberries, marionberries, silvanberries and tayberries. What’s quite interesting is that the whole Rubus genus is part of the Rosaceae (Rose) family, to which almonds, apples, apricots, cherries, hawthorns, loquats, peaches, pears, plums, quinces, raspberries and strawberries also […]
Oh my, I suck again. Of course I already knew goats are notoriously mischievous. And as a habitual novice, I expect mistakes and steep learning curves, but a nearly fatal accident before my new kids are here even a week?
Don’t worry, the story has a happy ending or I wouldn’t be writing it right now. I’d still be sobbing, watching chick flicks, eating popcorn, and overindulging in kombucha cocktails, like I did all afternoon yesterday.
I don’t handle this kind of thing well at all. In fact, even that expression ‘to handle it’ is too generous, because I barely do. What actually happens is I panic, get hysterical, panic some more, act out of sheer desperation, and then sob, whether or not I was successful. I have so much awe and admiration for real farm folk, the kind that grew up with livestock, so that all this life and death drama is second nature to them. But I grew up like most Americans, very sheltered from death and the other common dramas of nature.
I woke up yesterday morning and went directly to the corral where I have the new kids penned up, for their safety, of course. No, not at all of course. Phoebe, once the tamer and more exuberant of the two, had wedged herself in the feeder, she was on the ground not moving, I thought she was dead. Panic ensued immediately. I left the gate open as I rushed to her, and out bolted Chestnut, who then also panicked as the dogs began pursuing her eagerly around the corral.
Phoebe’s neck was twisted in a horrific way, but she was still breathing. And I couldn’t get her out. I struggled for what seemed like 20 minutes but was probably more like 2, absolutely beside myself. I thought for sure if her neck wasn’t already broken, I was breaking it without a doubt.
I did at last get her out, she tried to stand, head and neck terribly deformed, and fell right back down again. My mind was racing and whirling and the very thought that I was going to have to put her down had me collapse in a heap of sobbing.
She barely moved all day. Miraculously though, she’s now recovering. She doesn’t have her voice back at all, she’s more skittish, but she’s eating, and I am so grateful, and so lucky that my ineptitude and panic didn’t cause nearly as much pain as expected.
Something good in fact came out of it—I realized the wild grapes are ripe as I tore at the vines to bring the kids. Today’s a new day and there’s no time to keep crying over milk not even spilled.
Just another loungey Sunday on the wee homestead. And just wanted to share a bit of it with y’all.
Peek-a-boo, I see you, hiding in the geranium!
Handy Hubby crushes again crafting a chute for loading livestock.
I’ve just tried my first hive split of the season, fingers crossed! And I came across this excellent document, for any beekeepers, or wannabes, transferring a typical nuc/ hive into a TopBar. I’ve not tried it yet, but it looks very do-able on paper. I really like topbar, even if it’s for all the wrong reasons, like esthetics, lack of upper body strength and general laziness.
As much as I can appreciate spiders, this one had to be evicted from a bait hive, sorry little fellow, but I know the bees don’t love you like I do.
The garden is looking fabulous, fingers crossed again. With just a bit of good fortune, this will be our most fruitful year yet. After last summer, with almost no garden due to a shoulder injury and gaping miserably at large downed trees all over our property, it’s hard to even express how wonderful that feels.
Two antique roses I planted about 7 years ago and have no time to bother with, yet they still do their thing. On the left is Apothecary, a rambler great for rose hips. Behind Buttercup, our most agreeable model, is Chestnut, needing some serious pruning. Ain’t got no time for that!
Moving to the veggie garden, a friend gave me seeds of cardoon, a great heat-loving alternative to artichokes (which I’ve tried to grow every year we’ve been here, with no success). I’m hoping the cilantro will bolt more slowly tucked tight under the eggplant. I’m trying a new supposed cilantro substitute this year called papalo. We will see if it’s even remotely as delicious as the real thing.
One of my favorite herbs, chervil, aka gourmet parsley, with a hint of anise flavor, already bolting because it’s a cool season crop. And one of my favorite wild plants, mullein, because it’s really cool looking, but survives the heat just fine, not to mention it’s many medicinal benefits.
I’m enjoying a YT permaculture channel new to me, a bit high on the marketing for my taste, but loads of good info for the beginners or the old hats, nonetheless.
This is so hard, because it is so good.Kinda like when Elon Musk says, “It must be real, because it looks so fake.”OK, never mind, hopefully the opposite of that.
It’s just, well, here on the wee homestead things are really good.But, it’s hard to talk about that when I know so many are really suffering.I don’t want to boast, or say I told you so, or wag a shaming finger, because it’s not like that.It’s really not.I don’t want, like, intend, wish, prefer, or otherwise conspire to see others suffer.
Well, maybe once that happened.But he totally deserved it.
But, it’s not hard at all to talk about how good things are with many of those in our local community, because they get it.
(Or with the crew on James True’s livestream, whoever and wherever they are.) Lord, or God, that is the question.
We still greet with hugs and hand shakes.We’re not wearing, or home-making, masks, for the most part.Few noticed the restaurant closings or curb-side only service, because most of us can cook.Folks miss their churches, sure.Some miss the libraries.Some get annoyed at the grocery stores.
But otherwise, those I know mostly think this is all much ado about nothing.
And just as I refuse to pretend it’s good when it’s bad, I also can’t abide saying it’s bad when it’s good.That would be like pathological empathy.Been there, don’t intend to go back.It’s a road to nowhere.
Hubby’s employer has delivered their second round of layoffs, so he’s probably next to lose his job. (Note to self: Be careful what you wish for.)
Our nearest neighbors finally started a garden of their own, and even got St. Croix sheep, like ours.And livestock guard dogs.On our one little dirt road there’s now about 12 dogs, that’s about four per household.How fun is that?!
One local friend just gifted me three high-quality top-bar hives, since she’s decided to go full Langstroph after an overload of frustration. Lucky me!She has the cutest kids I’ve ever had the honor of knowing, homeschooled, unvaxxed, growing their own gardens and whipping through the fields on 4-wheelers at 5 years old. Beat that, Gates of techno-hell!
She also lent us her prize, papered, top-notch breeding ram, for free.He’s just been introduced to his latest harem, ours, and he was ON like Donkey Kong.We’ll have a meadow full of little lambs in no time.
Another nearby friend sold us her little old stock trailer for a good price and gave me seeds of a squash she loves that I’ve never tried before, Trombetta.Can’t wait to taste them.
I gave a SCOBY to another nearby friend, and now she’s as totally into Kombucha as I am, and along with the ram-lending friend, we are trading tips and recipes as excited as girls of the old Matrix trading Charlie’s Angels cards.
Sunday here is same as it ever was.
A walk in the woods. A gander into what’s coming out good this year (berries are abounding!) A dip in the creek. A tour through the gardens.
A lounge in the hammocks.A full scale effort to exhaust the dogs.
I was called a troll yesterday on one of my favorite shows because I’m staunchly anti-vegetarian, unlike the hosts, who are vegetarians.It wasn’t the hosts themselves who called me a troll, because they are not adult-children, and they can stand some backlash from the peanut gallery.
No, it was fellow peanuts in the gallery who called me a troll, and an ugly troll at that!My sin?Stating unequivocally that vegetarianism does not bring one closer to nature.
I could’ve gone on.Vegetarianism is not sustainable.It’s not more compassionate.It’s not more healthy.It’s not how our ancestors ate.And more.
But none of those are even the most serious of the issue.
The vegetarian lifestyle feeds directly into an agenda of Globalism.This is because the vegetarian lifestyle requires massive centralization and vast supply chains.
It’s a question of economics.If folks were closer to nature, and grew their own food, they’d know it’s impossible in most places to grow enough vegetables and grains on a small farm all year long to sustain even a large family without livestock.Certainly there are exceptions in small heavily-populated regions like California and Hawaii.
I understand that vegetarians think they are being more compassionate toward animals and nature, but what about the farmers?How much compassion do you have for them?Vegetarians are making matters much worse for the small farmers, and they are the solution to Globalism.
Of course the industrialized meat system is cruel and disgusting!Yes, please, avoid it if you can!
But the answer is not keep the industrialist food system alive and thriving with veggie burgers and soy shakes.
Without a local market to sell their products, farmers can’t make it without these vast supply chains.The solution really is to buy local and eat seasonal, this is what’s good for the soil, and therefor the soul.
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I couldn’t agree more with Max Igan when he repeats that losing our life skills is assuredly one of the most serious vulnerabilities of modern civilization.
Of course, I can’t agree with his ‘no private property’ stance, but that’s another post.
Igan’s outlook reminds me when I was first introduced to the theory of Spiral Dynamics, when my fellow students (mostly middle-aged women of a relatively superior income class) immediately ‘recognized’ themselves in the ‘highly evolved’ stage of ‘Turquoise’. Big surprise.
I was far too polite when I refrained from pointing out what was obvious to me even as a novice, having already been ploughing away on the wee homestead by then for several years.
“Your Turquoise is built on a house of cards, Madame,” is what was obvious to me immediately, and which I longed to express. If it were built on a house of sand you’d be far safer, I’d then add.
Even my favorite synopsis of this social theory fails to highlight the significance of ‘Beige’ — the foundations of civilization.This stage is considered to be subsistence living, hand-to-mouth, barely advanced to basic tribal existence.
The theorist here, Don Beck, demonstrates respect, even some reverence to their ancient wisdom, but with the assumption, it seems obvious to me, that an evolved civilization has technological immunity to such bio-psycho-social devolution that would accompany this exceptional vulnerability of modern life.
You think butchering and gardening, farming and foraging are skills beneath you, Family Silicon Valley?
Or, in the tolerant, nostalgic age they are, at best, quaint lost skills to pine about and imitate in your Petri dishes? Ya’ll can’t possible recognize your feeble attempts bound to fail as you attempt to fit all of creation into your teensy-BIG Smart World?
Think again, former friends. Here are the real skills armies and resilient cultures are built on.
Me, a cheese-maker? Didn’t see that comin’!
Here’s your reality, Family Turquoise, if the grid goes down, you can’t survive, not even for a fortnight. Psychic breakdown would occur almost immediately, due to lack of any authentic earthly connections or spiritual foundations in your personal or family or community unit.
Then the true reality of your vulnerability would hit home for real. You have NO LIFE SKILLS, at all! Not spiritually, not physically, not emotionally.
Most Americans these days can’t even cook from scratch.This skill was lost in barely two generations.And what’s worse, they can’t even fathom what happens to the individual mind, let alone the family and in turn the collective consciousness, when faced head-on with annihilation.
The more ‘superior’ one calls themselves in the modern world is directly related to how vulnerable they really are.Perhaps that’s what the well-quoted Bible translation meant in claiming, “The meek shall inherit the earth.”
As a wise woman in an era of uncertainty, who are you going to put your confidence in—the wealthy CEO of Fiction, USA with a San Francisco loft worth a few million on paper—or the ‘poor’ man who can trap, shoot, butcher and even cook the meat for your table?
That the ‘A Class’ woman chooses poorly in this situation doesn’t surprise me at all considering our current state of affairs and the fact that of the many supporters as well as volumes discussing this social theory of Spiral Dynamics, I’ve yet to find one who gets the full nuance of Beige.
Modern folk just don’t want to go there.It’s like the old lyrics, “How ya gonna keep them down on the farm once they’ve seen gay Paris?” It’s hard work after all.
It’s not just whistling Dixie in your Tu-Tu, thanks anyway, Grandma.
So we get Soy-Boys who are good at sales, rather than competent men who can bring home the real bacon.The ‘elite-class’ calls this ‘evolution’.This is ‘spiritual’ advancement.
Why might they promote this among the plebs and their entertainers? Heaven knows!
If one isn’t capable of hurting a fly, then we’ve evolved to societal sainthood, according to these shysters. This is their Utopia.
As for the adult-children bolstering these Pied Pipers?How long shall the competent among a functional colony support them, I wonder?