Homestead Happenings ++

++ Why this is the greatest Apocalypse ever!

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?!

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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!

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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.

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Ladies, check out my Fruitful package! (her girls named him Kiwi, hmmm)

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.

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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.  

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Got some great heat-loving greens going: Arugula, Oak-leaf lettuce, Malabar spinach
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What else is growing on? Tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, peppers, herbs, okra, eggplant, etc.

A lounge in the hammocks.  A full scale effort to exhaust the dogs.

Mission accomplished.

  

Interviewed by Crrow777

This is a revisit from over a year ago, because, I still really love these guys.  I was nervous as all hell, I can hear it clearly in my voice, they were the smooth professionals at every level, trying to help me along.

What a humbling pleasure it is and was to have had the opportunity to be honest and awkward before two real gentlemen doing their best to make me look good!

The present crisis is no mystery to them, or to us here on the wee homestead.  This is what we’ve been preparing for and maybe now a few more understand how crucial is self-reliance and local sovereignty.  I repost it because I suspect more will be understanding now how much we need to get back to basics.

Never been a better time to get growing! 🙂

Where’s Your Food $$ Going?

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!

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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.

20 Ways EAT Lancet’s Global Diet is Wrongfully Vilifying Meat

Am I Less “Woke” Because I Eat Meat?

Film Update!

Lab to Table – The Weston A. Price Foundation

Find Nutrient-Dense Foods – The Weston A. Price Foundation
TAKE THE 50% PLEDGE!
Help us celebrate twenty years of accurate information on diet and health by strengthening your commitment to support local farms. Spend at least 50% of your food dollar purchasing raw milk and raw milk products, eggs, poultry, meat and produce directly from local farmers and artisans. info@westonaprice.org.)

Slow and Low

Not only do I show my age with this line, I also show my very poor taste in music during my university years.   But, I did always love that line from the Beastie Boys:  “Slow and low, that is the tempo.”

I repeat it to myself now because I know after a year like we had last year, this year for us on the wee homestead needs to be less work, no new projects, and more deep diving into those tasks, learning and activities we deem most necessary for the critters and the gardens, and most conducive to our own personal well-being.

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This old fart agrees—slow and low!

This morning I stood for a while under our beautifully-blooming old pear trees bursting with lively buzzing—so much noisy activity was actually soothing, peaceful, motivating— there’s such a calm diligence in the bees’ seeming frenzy.

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Now there’s some happy worker bees!

Winter’s not over yet, and we had what seems to be now the new-normal of continual weather whiplash, still I’m thrilled to report all our hives have made it so far, on a completely treatment-free program. Yippie!

In slow and low tempo we make a big stink of every success, small, medium, or large. 🙂

This is my favorite time of year for making pesto and chimichurra from foraged ‘weeds’.  Making pesto in summer when everything else in the garden is demanding attention is not nearly as pleasant as crawling through the flourishing green beds snipping chickweed, violets, henbit, and more.  Here’s an old post with links and recipes, if this is the year you want to try it for yourself.

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Don’t see weeds, see pesto!

Handy Hubby is soon on vacation for six weeks—the best time of year for us here!  He’ll be wrapping up the fencing for the second pasture, and helping me redo the garden drip irrigation (neither being his preferred jobs by a long shot, thanks lovey, our greatest and most necessary trooper!)

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Downed trees from the spring ‘tornado’ opened up our view to the corral, a definite silver lining.

In tough times it helps me to focus on the big picture; it helps Hubby to put his proverbial nose to the grindstone—that’s a damn good recipe for wholesome collaboration, and the perfect environment for talking past each other.  All the more reason that slow and low will be the tempo.

Philosopher-homesteaders, don’t know this man yet?  Appalachian wise man for deep thinking.

 

Do You Kombucha-cha?

I realize it’s already a thing, considering it’s now a $600 million annual industry, but I thought I didn’t like it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong, I’m happy to say.  I haven’t been this excited about a new thing (for me!) since I started making cheese.

In fact, it’s not at all new, just popularized and mass marketed these days.  Kombucha has an ancient and fascinating history and far more uses than just a really healthy and delicious beverage.  I’m just learning about them all, but I’m keen to incorporate this little miracle into our homestead lifestyle.

Sally Fallon, my favorite cookbook author, believes as I do that, “the craving for both alcohol and soft drinks stems from an ancient collective memory of the kind of lacto-fermented beverages still found in traditional societies.”

And it’s so much more than just a wonderful beverage.

Kombucha’s numerous applications make it a natural component of ‘closed-loop’ systems, in which its waste products can be converted into toxin-free commodities.  Whether as compost or foodstuff, there is some way to turn every by-product of the kombucha brewing process into something useful. The Big Book of Kombucha by Hannah Crum & Alex LaGory

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If you’ve only tried commercial Kombucha you might be like I was and think you don’t like it either.  My home-brewed version taste nothing like the store-bought brands I tried.  And, the first time I tried home-brewing I was doing it all wrong.  I’m so grateful to a friend who gave me another SCOBY and insisted I try it again.  Following the tips and tricks from several great resources, I’m hooked.

A SCOBY (Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast) is kind of like a sourdough starter, shared among friends and self-replicating.

There’s far more information available than the first time I tried home-brewing many years ago.  The key to my new love is the 2nd fermentation bottling with flavors, when the tea becomes carbonated.  Even if you’re not a tea-lover you might be surprised, I think it tastes more like a mild, flavored soda.  Some Kombucha lovers have claimed it helped them kick their cola habit and replace it with something far healthier in every way—for the body, the paycheck, and the environment.

Besides the excellent book mentioned above, these sites are also great resources to help you get started, learn more, or stay addicted.

Cultured Food Life

Cultural Revivalists

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just Do Better

Happy Holidays, y’all!  The passing of this year is quite welcomed for us.  It’s been our toughest year on the wee homestead by far.  There were even a few times we discussed giving in and packing up.

We moved here in 2009, after Hurricane Ike, having purchased raw land in 2006, after Hurricane Katrina.  It’s the new normal, I guess, that our memory is set by weather disasters.  Now 2019 will be marked as the year of the manufactured storm bombs: crazy tornado and giant hail.

Judging from the amped-up geoengineering agendas, who knows what next spring will bring—floods, fires, more ‘tornados’, unprecedented lightening storms, maybe a land cyclone or two—certainly continued weather whiplash will remain on the menu.

I don’t imagine it’s possible to prepare for every potential catastrophe, but still, we’re staying put.  It’s not that we’re gluttons for punishment, or like to live dangerously, or are too stubborn to see the writing on the wall.  It’s not even that we’ve come too far to turn back now, having learned so many of the essential homesteading skills, having devoted so much blood, sweat and tears, not to mention $$, into this lifetime project.

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We bought the neighboring property that had a nearly abandoned cottage, hauled off the old junk and then the real work began—paint, windows, doors, siding, deck, etc. And after the tornado, a new roof.

It’s for love.  Love of the land, the nature, the work, the critters, the learning, the lifestyle, and of course, love for each other.  Where else would two such misfits fit except in the woods, I wonder?

When there’s no turning back, and as we’re too young yet to sit still, but too old to start over, the best option left is to up-skill.  So, that’s what we’re doing.

Handy Hubby has transformed his butchering talents from mediocre to practically professional with the help of the Scott Rea Project.  It is truly impressive, especially considering  what big jobs he makes work in our very small space.

I’m following his lead by upgrading my own culinary crafts to include more traditional fare, like offal, which really isn’t so awful at all!  This’ll be my last bad pun in this post, I promise, even though I find them offally hilarious.

I don’t really follow recipes, but I’ve been finding guidance and inspiration from Of Goats and Greens and Weston A. Price.  I recently made a rather delicious Lamb Liver Loaf and an offal salad of heart and tongue. (FYI, it does not taste like chicken.)

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The upturned oaks have become the perfect microclimate for Jack-O-Lanterns (Omphalotus olearius), not edible, but an appreciated gift for a friend who dyes her own yarn.
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The hedgehog baked and the pulcherrimum as centerpiece
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An edible favorite: the hedgehog (Hericium erinaceus). And a ‘steccherinum pulcherrimum’ which means ‘appearing beautiful’

I’ll also be doing more foraging with the help of The Forager Chef  and a bookshelf full of expertise on mushroom hunting, wild plants and herbs, traditional cooking and healing.  I’m more committed than ever in holding space for, and gaining knowledge of, the ancestral arts and crafts that were missing from my childhood, and indeed for most of us for many generations in this country.

I’m not going to share any lame platitudes about silver linings and growth opportunities, because that’s slave-speak socially engineered by the faux-authorities to assure the rabble don’t complain about their lot in life.  I intend to continue my fair share of complaining, and then some.

But, I will offer this cliché instead—It ain’t over ‘til the fat lady sings!  And this lady’s got no plans to plump up any further, or join the choir.

May all your storms be weathered, and all that’s good get better.  Here’s to life, here’s to love, here’s to you . . .”

 

Food Freedom & Noncompliance

When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed.”  Ayn Rand

The age of noncompliance is at hand, dear fellow Americans.  Where will you stand, or fall?

This looks like an exciting event I wish I could attend!  It’s too far for me, but I thought to repost it in the hope it will attract others who might be interested.

Rogue Food Conference – Circumvention not Compliance

First-ever Rogue Food Conference, innovative solutions to over-regulation in the food and farming space

January 25th, 2020
Marriott Hotel at the Cincinnati International Airport, Hebron, Kentucky
Snag your seat here:  https://roguefoodconference.com/blog/registration/

Does your lack of food choice bother you? Then come see us, Joel Salatin and others at the one-day Rogue Food Conference.

Here’s more about the conference from Joel Salatin himself:

For the few of you who are unfamiliar with food regulations, be assured that the time has come in this country, unfortunately, where circumventing the law is more doable than complying with the law. Price, availability and safety all hinge on consumer choice in the marketplace. Right now, consumers do not have freedom of food choice. But numerous innovative folks have figured out loop holes to gain neighbor access to food options.

So it is with extreme pleasures and gratitude that I can announce this 2020 ROGUE FOOD CONFERENCE, which will explore and publicize the numerous work-arounds within our heavily regulated food space.

We’ll hear from people who sell pet food. Some have created a food church. Some operate under a non-public co-op country club arrangement. These schemes are highly creative, hated by the food police and loved by people who, as consenting adults, gratefully enjoy the empowerment of food choice freedom. When people lament the deplorable state of American food (we lead the world in junk food) too often their only solution is more regulation, from nutrition labeling laws to food temperature requirements to licensing plans.

But another alternative exists: it’s called freedom. We’ve tried top down regulatory oversight to change the food system, only to see it become nutrient deficient, sugar laden and sterile. It’s time to try a bottom up approach with some freedom instead of bureaucracy.

I hope everyone comes.

 

To learn more, go to www.roguefoodconference.com

Nature’s Wisdom

When you realize you’ve made a wrong turn, you stop.  Maybe you turn around, maybe you ask for directions.  Maybe you find a detour, or forge a new path through the unmanaged brush.

Won’t you don’t do is continue on in the same direction mindlessly.

The Technocrats have made a wrong turn, over a century ago.  Some of them probably meant well, I’m sure.  Despite this obvious error, they are doubling down, like addicts at the roulette table after midnight.

Here’s a courageous woman taking the journey of a lifetime, following in the footsteps of Dr. Weston A. Price, many decades later.  What have the indigenous cultures to teach us about living healthy and in harmony with the natural world?  We have silenced their voices to our detriment and I cheer every effort to realign with their wisdom.

Yay Holistic Hilda, You GO GIRL!

Free Tea!

I had a bunch of ladies over from our community stitching group and offered them a taste of our homemade wine and foraged tea.  The wine was hit and miss, most of the ladies being teetotalers.  The tea though was a big hit.  Much to my surprise, while most of them were country-raised, none of them had ever heard of making tea from two of the most common sources imaginable: pine needles and yaupon.

Foraging health
The Amazing All-Purpose Pine Needle Tea – Dave’s Garden

A sure cure for scurvy; a remedy for cold, flu, obesity, dementia, bladder, and kidney issues; antidepressant; anti-hypertensive; anti-tumor; render chemotherapy less toxic to patients, and many more potential health improvements and nutritional benefits, can all be found in the Christmas tree you dispose of yearly!”

5 Incredible Benefits of Pine | Organic Facts

The most interesting health benefits of pine include its ability to boost the immune system, improve vision health, stimulate circulation, protect against pathogens, and improve respiratory health.”

The yaupon surprised them even more than the pine, because around here it’s so prolific they are treated like annoying weeds much of the time.  (Maybe that’s because they don’t realize how much the bees love them in their early spring bloom period.).

In some areas you’ll need to be sure not to confuse yaupon with Japanese privet, which is a popular landscaping shrub, but poisonous.

Benefits of Yaupon Tea

Yaupon tea is a tea made from the dried leaves of the yaupon holly tree, which is scientifically known as Ilex vomitoria. This type of holly tree is native to the southeastern region of North America and was once used as an emetic and a ceremonial tea for numerous Native American tribes. The tea is also closely related to yerba mate tea and has many of the same active ingredients and nutrients.

I also make tea with sassafras, mullein, rose hips, elderberries, sumac, and lots of other foraged goodies. Healthy and delicious, especially after you add the local honey, of course.

Foraging Texas has a great list with lots of common plants not just in Texas.

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Earning My Mid-Wife Badge

The Girl Scouts was as close as this suburban girl ever got to learning any kind of traditional skills growing up.  I quit it early on, considering ‘badge earning’ to be well beneath my expanding “cool kid” facade.

But if there’s a badge worth earning, midwifery would be up there with the loftiest of them.  I’m humbled and proud to say I got to experience it last night for the first time.

I bit of critical background:  I’m squeamish.  Considering we didn’t have children of our own and I didn’t have my own dog to take care of, let alone any pet previously to our dear Papi, at about age 42, it seems to me squeamishness pretty much comes with that territory. 

It’s because I was well aware of this personal limitation that I NEVER imagined we’d have so many animals.

Chickens, for us and many other clueless homesteaders, are the Gateway Livestock.  Then came ducks, turkeys, sheep, pigs, and more dogs.  But we both swear we’ll never get cows or horses.  (Ahem)

Considering my penchant for ‘Too Much Information’ I’ve now been acclimated to loads of poop, vomit, blood and morbid sounds of all sorts.  It also got me scared, very scared, about all that can go wrong with pets and livestock.  And how painful that is, and knowing this truth in advance is useless.  It does not help the pain by expecting it.  It does help though to be prepared.  So far I give us a C+ on that when it comes to the critters.

My TMI penchant leads also to so much online and in books about serious diseases and awful complications and the myriad very dirty deeds endemic in the farm life.  Talking to others more experienced will also always bring sad stories and sometimes tragic ones.

 Maybe I don’t quite deserve my badge just yet, but I’m fairly certain I saved our ewe and her young lamb last night by being at the right place at the right time and doing my usual C-level work.  🙂

When our ewes have lambed in the past I was not there to witness the actual event, only woke up to find the lambs delivered, sometimes successfully, sometimes not.  On one occasion I found one mutilated by our young puppy and I had to kill it.  I cannot speak about this moment still today a year later without tears.  It was the most confusing, stressful, tragic, sorrowful day of my life.  Like most in the so-called advanced economies, we grew up very sheltered from death and from the act of killing.  Hubby would’ve handled it far better had he been home.  I was alone and a basket case.

I was alone again this time when Buttercup gave an unusual and very loud bark audible from inside the house that clued me in that something was going down.  I went to the stalls and saw mama was in labor.  I was determined to watch it all and learn. 

I was hoping and intending to remain a bystander to nature’s miracle.

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Take a bow, Buttercup!

As it happened I could tell something was wrong right away.  Then I doubted myself.  Then I went back and forth a dozen times, yes, no, yes, no.

Then I concluded, no, something’s really wrong here, get help.  Help?  Like from who?  I called two friends with more experience and they didn’t answer.  I looked through our book on sheep, panicky by that time.  I call Hubby.  He calls his folks and searches online while I pace waiting for the bread in the oven to finish so I can go back to the stalls. 

I muse, even in this stressed state: “Oh, we’re both waiting on buns in the oven.”  Yes, that’s how I cope with stress, and most things really, goofy humor.

It doesn’t occur to me again that the fetus that the ewe cannot seem to push out is in fact dead until hours later.  Yet, I felt it, even considered it immediately, instinctually at the very first moment I saw it.  I just tried to over-ride that feeling with too much doubt and reasoning and wishful thinking.  

On the phone with Hubby we decide there’s really nothing I can do alone in the dark with no experience and no equipment and no nearby vet.  Then he calls back and has changed his mind.  He urges me to go back out, put on some rubber gloves, and see if I can help her.

And he was right!  As soon as I touched the fetus it was obviously dead and my foolishness at waiting hours to “realize” this washed over me.  I strained, along with mama to get it out, knowing if not she would surely die as well. 

At last it came free, followed by another smaller, but wonderfully alive little treasure!

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We did it!

I’m happy to report as of this writing about 16 hours later, mama and babe are doing well, eating and drinking and getting to know each other.

Yes, I was alone, but really, it was very much a team effort.  Thanks y’all!