Building a profitable and ethical sustainable farm is a journey. This is not a system that can turn on a dime. Read along as we learn, educate & introduce our amazing grass fed beef and pastured pigs & poultry.
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation [The Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante, Deborah Madison, Eliot Coleman] on...
Before we can take back our Country we must take back our lives! Let's start today!
Sour cream and cottage cheese have a short shelf life, usually 7-10 days after being opened. But if you want to store one of them for longer, then all you need to do is invert the container and keep it in the fridge, says the One Pot Chef.
Nicholas Kristof, a New York Times columnist and former farm boy, says: "The central problem with modern industrial agriculture... [is] not just that it produces unhealthy food, mishandles waste, and overuses antibiotics in ways that harm us all.
The tolls on human health and our environment from pesticides are horrendous and completely unnecessary to boot! After many years of trial and error, while trying-out a multitude of natural pest-control agents, Boogie’s own highly recommended bug-battling formula involves the use of two crucial ingredients: by using Dr Bronner’s Sal-Suds Soap & Clean Neem Oil, (mixed together and ideally applied with a Hudson Atomizing Fogger machine, or at the very least a high-quality pump/back-pack sprayer),any grower can achieve astounding success in their garden against invasive bug species all at ZERO cost to human or planetary health. Use these two outstanding items together and on a regular basis, (weekly or more often for serious pest pressure problems), and you too can win just about any bug-battle, in a simple, non-toxic and ultra-safe manner!
Get your ingreidants here:
Dr. Bronner - Sal-Suds Biodegradable Cleaner, 32 fl oz liquid by Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
My wife and I are interested in Homesteading our 3/4 of an acre. We plant a garden inside and outside. We recycle. We compost. We’re gonna get into worm farming which is called Vermiculture. We are back to the Earth people. We are also non-believers of religion. What we noticed in talking to fellow Homesteaders is the fact that many are religious and/or spiritual. That’s really sad as we are often ignored and uninvited to events because of our atheism/humanism. I’m an atheist antitheist and my wife is a humanist.
When the talk turns to a second subject away from Homesteading it usually turns to religion and/or spirituality. What a bummer. Intelligent Earth loving individuals turn into sick twisted people loving sick twisted things. My wife and I take part in the Homesteading part of a conversations and exit when the religious/spiritual bullshit enters the discussion.
I’d like to start a Homestead Independent Living movement in the atheist community. As sovereign independent individuals Homesteading is a perfect fit. Grow our own food, worm farm, plant gardens outside and inside. I finally convinced our daughter and her husband that they could grow a small portion of their own food on their apartment stoop. Now they grow a few herbs, a few strawberry plants, green onions and more including a couple tomato plants which they grow vertically. You can grow a lot of food plants vertically. It’s rewarding.
Our daughter and her husband live near San Francisco California so they have their very own stoop garden year round! They love it! It’s as awesome as can be. We highly recommend some small space gardening regardless of the limited area you might have. One stoop tomato plant will yield a bushel lot of tomatoes!
It would be great to have a atheist homesteader movement. Growing our own food & living the independent sovereign individual life is a perfect concept for atheists!! Let’s engage ourselves in the wonders of nature and science. Grow your own food!
We’re also into natural native habitat landscaping. You plant plants that are native to your area. Wild animals are losing their natural habitat and food sources. We started replacing ornamental landscape plants with natural native plants especially berry plants that provide winter food for birds and other animals. Natural native plants that provide shelter is a great way to bring nature back to your home. Native plants need less water, less feeding. These are native plants that have learned to survive on their own in your area. They’re tough just like out of the closet atheists! The Homestead Movement along with using Native Plant in our yards is a great match for sovereign independent individual atheists.
Looking forward to more atheists in the Homestead Native Plant Movement.
My wife brought home from work 2 dozen free range eggs. She's gonna get 3 more dozen tonight. We're buying direct at $1.50 a dozen. ;)
Homesteaders, Contract Farmers, Urban Homesteders growing things in plant pots etc. We have our own plant pots of herbs, vegetables, etc growing in our northern windows! We love it. We have a giant Basel plant that I brought in from the garden. It iis doing great!
Love growing our own food as much as possible. Learning how to prepare [fermenting, etc] and preserve [without refrigeration]. Learning to homestead including wildcrafting.
We can't take back our country till we take back our lives!!!
Sorry about the photo. The snow outside is reflecting a lot of light. The sun is shining bright. Although our area is suppose to get more snow today...
I got a sunburn a couple days ago and I’ve been telling everyone, because I am super proud of it. Not proud I got burned, of course (always wear sunscreen!), but proud that it was warm enough and sunny enough that I could be happily working outside without a sweater, sifting totally-thawed-out compost to incorporate into a potting mix (you may recall from our newsletter updates that our compost piles were frozen solid for a good portion of the winter).
We’re using this potting mix to fill the seed trays where we’re planting seeds for most of our spring and summer crops. We are planting from seed rather than plant starts because seeds are much more affordable, and there is a much wider variety of crops available in seed form. Why plant in seed trays rather than directly into the spot where the crops will grow to maturity? There are a couple reasons. It’s too cold to plant outside right now, so a short growing season like we have here necessitates taking advantage of indoor space to get a head start on our crops. Seed trays are ideal since they fit a large number of plant starts in a very condensed space that is easy to monitor. We get an average of 75 consecutive frost-free days here, which is about two and a half months, so utilizing indoor space in these early spring months is essential if we want to grow any tender crops that take longer than 75 days to reach maturity and continue producing. And though frost-tolerant crops are a wonderful way to extend the growing season, we like our tomatoes and melons here, too.
A good potting mix is important in getting seeds off to a good start. It should be well-aerated and light so that the seedlings aren’t smothered in heavy, wet soil, but should still be able to retain moisture. It also should have nutrients available for the seedlings, and the ability to retain those nutrients (note that potting mixes are not the same as soils and often don’t contain any soil at all). Water-holding capacity is especially of concern when planting in seed trays, since the cells tend to dry out rapidly. If the potting mix is too dry, it can become hydrophobic (this happens with soil, too), meaning that water just pools or runs off, but doesn’t absorb into the soil no matter how much you water. It’s easiest to just avoid this by never letting your soil or potting mix get that dry.
However, the topsoil we used in our potting mix hadn’t been used in years and was completely bone dry, so we added some water to the mix and squeezed the parts that actually absorbed moisture together with the dry parts. This forced moisture into the pores of the dry elements, and the mix will be able to absorb water much better in the future. If the potting mix can’t absorb water, the seeds won’t germinate, and if they do, they’ll wither fast. At the end of this post, I’ve provided the potting mix recipe we used this year, but you can easily buy potting mixes at garden supply stores, too.
The precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States has led to a dramatic decline of insect populations.
ON the first of November, when Mexicans celebrate a holiday called the Day of the Dead, some also celebrate the millions of monarch butterflies that, without fail, fly to the mountainous fir forests of central Mexico on that day. They are believed to be souls of the dead, returned.
This year, for or the first time in memory, the monarch butterflies didn’t come, at least not on the Day of the Dead. They began to straggle in a week later than usual, in record-low numbers. Last year’s low of 60 million now seems great compared with the fewer than three million that have shown up so far this year. Some experts fear that the spectacular migration could be near collapse.
“It does not look good,” said Lincoln P. Brower, a monarch expert at Sweet Briar College.
It is only the latest bad news about the dramatic decline of insect populations.
Another insect in serious trouble is the wild bee, which has thousands of species. Nicotine-based pesticides called neonicotinoids are implicated in their decline, but even if they were no longer used, experts say, bees, monarchs and many other species of insect would still be in serious trouble.
That’s because of another major factor that has not been widely recognized: the precipitous loss of native vegetation across the United States.
“There’s no question that the loss of habitat is huge,” said Douglas Tallamy, a professor of entomology at the University of Delaware, who has long warned of the perils of disappearing insects. “We notice the monarch and bees because they are iconic insects,” he said. “But what do you think is happening to everything else?”
A big part of it is the way the United States farms. As the price of corn has soared in recent years, driven by federal subsidies for biofuels, farmers have expanded their fields. That has meant plowing every scrap of earth that can grow a corn plant, including millions of acres of land once reserved in a federal program for conservation purposes.
Another major cause is farming with Roundup, a herbicide that kills virtually all plants except crops that are genetically modified to survive it.
As a result, millions of acres of native plants, especially milkweed, an important source of nectar for many species, and vital for monarch butterfly larvae, have been wiped out. One study showed that Iowa has lost almost 60 percent of its milkweed, and another found 90 percent was gone. “The agricultural landscape has been sterilized,” said Dr. Brower.
The loss of bugs is no small matter. Insects help stitch together the web of life with essential services, breaking plants down into organic matter, for example, and dispersing seeds. They are a prime source of food for birds. Critically, some 80 percent of our food crops are pollinated by insects, primarily the 4,000 or so species of the flying dust mops called bees. “All of them are in trouble,” said Marla Spivak, a professor of apiculture at the University of Minnesota.
Farm fields are not the only problem. Around the world people have replaced diverse natural habitat with the biological deserts that are roads, parking lots and bluegrass lawns. Meanwhile, the plants people choose for their yards are appealing for showy colors or shapes, not for their ecological role. Studies show that native oak trees in the mid-Atlantic states host as many as 537 species of caterpillars, which are important food for birds and other insects. Willows come in second with 456 species. Ginkgo, on the other hand, which is not native, supports three species, and zelkova, an exotic plant used to replace elm trees that died from disease, supports none. So the shelves are nearly bare for bugs and birds.
Native trees are not only grocery stores, but insect pharmacies as well. Trees and other plants have beneficial chemicals essential to the health of bugs. Some monarchs, when afflicted with parasites, seek out more toxic types of milkweed because they kill the parasites. Bees use medicinal resins from aspen and willow trees that are antifungal, antimicrobial and antiviral, to line their nests and to fight infection and diseases. “Bees scrape off the resins from the leaves, which is kind of awesome, stick them on their back legs and take them home,” said Dr. Spivak.
Besides pesticides and lack of habitat, the other big problem bees face is disease. But these problems are not separate. “Say you have a bee with viruses,” and they are run-down, Dr. Spivak said. “And they are in a food desert and have to fly a long distance, and when you find food it has complicated neurotoxins and the immune system just goes ‘uh-uh.’ Or they become disoriented and can’t find their way home. It’s too many stressors all at once.”
There are numerous organizations and individuals dedicated to rebuilding native plant communities one sterile lawn and farm field at a time. Dr. Tallamy, a longtime evangelizer for native plants, and the author of one of the movement’s manuals, “Bringing Nature Home,” says it’s a cause everyone with a garden or yard can serve. And he says support for it needs to develop quickly to slow down the worsening crisis in biodiversity.
When the Florida Department of Transportation last year mowed down roadside wildflowers where monarch butterflies fed on their epic migratory journey, “there was a huge outcry,” said Eleanor Dietrich, a wildflower activist in Florida. So much so, transportation officials created a new policy that left critical insect habitat un-mowed.
That means reversing the hegemony of chemically green lawns. “If you’ve got just lawn grass, you’ve got nothing,” said Mace Vaughan of the Xerces Society, a leading organization in insect conservation. “But as soon as you create a front yard wildflower meadow you go from an occasional honeybee to a lawn that might be full of 20 or 30 species of bees and butterflies and monarchs.”
First and foremost, said Dr. Tallamy, a home for bugs is a matter of food security. “If the bees were to truly disappear, we would lose 80 percent of the plants,” he said. “That is not an option. That’s a huge problem for mankind.”
Jim Robbins is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of “The Man Who Planted Trees.”