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Sunday, March 31, 2013

First Meat Chickens of the Year

We purchased 20 Cornish Rock Cross chicks at our local Tractor Supply 4 weeks ago. They have been in the brooder but it is time for them to go out into the portable coop. The only disadvantage I see of buying TSC chicks is that they only sell straight run.



I used to keep an electric light (powered with a really long extension cord) in the pen to discourage predators. At Christmas, I found a set of solar lights and added them to the pen. So now our pastured poultry pen is officially "off-grid"!


In about 4 weeks, we will harvest these chickens.  If you haven't watched our chicken plucker video from last year, see it below. We hope to be plucking this first batch of 2013 really soon!




Thursday, March 28, 2013

Gardening Time Again

Yes, it's that time again. The weather has been very cool and wet here. I didn't get my cabbage and broccoli started as early as I'd hoped, but it seems like Spring is waiting on me to catch up! I turned the garden spots weekend before last:


The tractor is a M-F 270 with Howse rototiller. They both belong to my dad. I used to have an old Ford 600 with plow and disc, but I sold them when he got the big diesel. Mom and Dad live just a few hundred yards away and across the road from us.

No, I we aren't "Back-to-Edeners", or even "Organic" (trademark, copyright, rights reserved by big Ag Inc.)  We have been using a modified version of the Mittleider Method for the last 12 years or so and we use no pesticides. I have found that when plants get all their minerals that they are much healthier and pests are not as apt to bother them. I do add back all of the chicken and bunny poop that I can as well as some of the animal bedding. Check out the Mittleider Method at Food For Everyone. It's guaranteed to make you into a good gardener. 

Anyway, I tilled up 3 spots: our regular garden, a new small fruit patch, and a potato patch. I also plan on planting about 1/2 acre of field corn but that comes later.

After the garden spot was tilled:


The kids couldn't resist running around barefoot!


Friday, March 22, 2013

Joy in Driving a Clunker

I drove the new/old farm truck to Tractor Supply in Brevard today. It's a funny thing - when I HAVE to drive a clunker and it is all I have, it's not very much fun. But when I am driving a clunker on purpose, joy fills my heart! It was also very funny to be seen by some old friends - I could tell they were feeling sorry for me and thinking I was probably in pretty bad shape for driving a rusty old truck. I just drove on and grinned. I have been so blessed!


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Maple Syrup

Yes! It is possible to make maple syrup down here in the southern mountains! We are so excited and blessed because we didn't think it would work. Anyway, we will post some more pictures later, but here is our sap take from Saturday:

Our gathering system is as simple as stainless spiles from ebay, and buckets from the dollar tree:


We boiled down about 4 gallons of sap and made 1/2 pint of awesome maple syrup. For Sunday supper we had pancakes with homemade syrup, wild boar sausage, and our own goat's milk! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Homesteading and Politics

 Somehow I stumbled across a post over on The Elliott Homestead through the Barn Hop that I really liked. I thought instead of copying it, I would just post a link. Check this post out:


An independent people are very hard to conquer. Dependent people are conquered already.