Archive for the Homesteading Category

Teaching Kids To Farm?

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I was flipping through Good.com the last night and in their post they talked about if students should learn to farm?  It’s an interesting question and I can see so many arguments for and against it.  Growing up I was fortunate enough to take 2 year of shop class and 2 year home economics.  This is quite rare for even my age, in an time of fast food, I literally have no friends who know how to cook, sew, build something from wood.  At one point the fact that none of my friends cooked struck me quite hard when I had to show my girlfriend at the time how to boil pasta!  Life skills such as these are so important for men and women, young and old; I mean you gotta eat right?

One thing that I did not get was how to grow food, obviously in line with such tasks of cooking, woodworking, welding, sewing and child care.  This is a true gap in my knowledge, up until my grandparents, almost everyone gardened to some degree, but today very few do now.  What is interesting that now as an adult and growing in my pursuit of self sufficiency and environmentally consciousness, I find myself lacking a green thumb.   What is missing is the cultural knowledge of how to grow, to make our own food with our bare hands.  Back 2-3 generations everyone knew a little about it, if you needed advice, you could ask your neighbor.  Better yet, you could ask the farmer himself, because he was local.

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All of these reasons are certainly defensible, but at the same time I know we also need to be hunkering down on the core subjects of academia.  Working in the non-profit sector, I am working within the schools to solve issues that impact the bottom line.  We are in need of a change, of a plan that will take our schools to the next level to achieve a high quality education for all students, does gardening have a place in our schools?

Ridgeblade Turbine

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One of the many issues of using alternative energy sources is simply getting permission or working around laws which had never perceived an instance where a person might put a windmill up, or a solar panel.  I know in the neighborhood I live in now, regrettably so,  they can force you into foreclosure (even when nothing is owed) if you put solar panels on your roof.  While there are some that question the legitimacy of such neighborhood covenants when it comes to solar and wind, there is often strong position.   Here is a concept that just was awarded 3/4 of a million dollars to take it to production.  This simply is a cap that goes on your ridge line and generates a power that way.  It is rather unobtrusive and you could probably get it past most home owners associations. ridgeblade2

Instead of creating a free-standing turbine that sticks out for all the neighbors to see, The Power Collective designed its long-bladed turbine to fit in along the ridge of a roof, where wind currents are strongest. The Ridgeblade packs a powerful punch, too — it has the wind-capturing potential of a medium sized turbine.

 

Goat Patrol

So I have to say this is one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time. Goat Patrol is a company that comes to your home, they set up fences, then unleash a herd of goats onto an area that needs to be cleared. goat This is ingenious because if you have ever seen kudzu, which you can eat by the by, this stuff has a habit of taking over in an unreal way.

The biggest advantage to this method is of course it’s pretty ecofriendly and the goats will truck through some really dense stuff. Its basically an all you can eat buffet for them. The appeal to me is if you have poison ivy or poison sumac, they love it! The owner says they seem to specifically seek it out and if you ever had to clear this stuff yourself, you know how much of a godsend this would be.
I think it would be interesting to see if you would be able to pool your neighbors goats (if you live in a farming area) you could get 100 goats going and make serious headway.

 

 

Inspirations For Change

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So I have been inspired by the folks at Path To Freedom.  While I don’t ever think I will go as far as they do, I really want to bring in allot of things that they do into my life.  I have recently just installed a new raised bed, which I planted Lima Beans, Snap Peas, Mustard, Spinach, Rosemary and Lavender.  I of course want to expand this, but I will have to wait till next season.

The next thing I tried to do is to have chickens.  I wanted 3 Hens to get my own eggs, after researching, choosing a coop design, finding out where I can get chickens the Home Owners Association shot me down.

Apparently someone had hatched 50 chicks from eggs for an activity with their kid, then realized “aww crap I have 50 chickens” and let them go amuck in the neighborhood.  Needless to say, the Home Owners Association were jaded and my hands tied.

Just tonight I tried baking my own bread, with aspirations of never needing to go to the grocery store and knowing what was in my bread, I was excited!  As it turns out this excitement was justified!

 

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

These are the first three loafs I made myself, a lil odd shaped, but they tasted so good!

Even better, it takes only 4 ingredients, all of which you might already have and are really cheap to get anywhere.  I found this great recipe that is stupid simple and taste great too!  The best part is from start to finish, it took 4 hours including proofing, rising, etc.

 

I actually made this!

I actually made this!

I had a bit of trouble with the dough being so sticky then I found the video below.  So basically use the recipe and directions at this website here.  But incorporate the techniques of the video below to overcome the stickiness.  The final product was below, nothing fancy, but for a first time it doesn’t look bad and it tasted amazing!