Homestead News, Volume 11

Outside of butchering seven of our ‘teenage’ roosters a couple of days ago, there isn’t much new to report. We were glad to get five of these roosters in the freezer since our meat supply is literally down to nothing in there. We have quite a bit of meat walking around on the hoof or foot, but the freezer is looking very bare. It reminds me of stories about folks that went out and grabbed up a chicken when meat was needed for a meal. It was killed, dressed and cooked for that day’s food. Refrigeration has really changed the way we are able to live. I have given quite a bit of thought to what it will be like to live without refrigeration again. It sounds much more difficult and not near as convenient as we have it now. Something to ponder. How will you keep things cold or cool that need refrigeration to prevent spoilage and extend the life of your food?

We’ve had a nice little rain today which has helped cool things off. We had planned to butcher the last seven teenage roosters today, but it was 96* by 11:30 this morning. This evening we will have a cold front come through that will make the temperatures much more comfortable, thus it will be easier to work outside.

Our dear friend Faith, that bought some of our goats, took a very bad fall last week. She will be undergoing some reconstructive surgery to her face this week and we would appreciate it if you would keep her and her family in your prayers.

Frank and I have had many conversations about how to set up the greenhouse and all of the possibles that go with that process. As the temperatures start to cool down, it will be easier to work in there. It’s very interesting to see how quickly the temperature rises once the sun reaches over the tree tops and touches the walls. Very interesting. 

We have had a question or two about the exterior sheathing on the greenhouse. When Grace came to visit after we had the sheathing up she looked at it, looked at me and said, “What are you going to put over it?” She explained that she wasn’t sure what she was expecting, but it was something more than what it is. The exterior of the greenhouse is a product called Tuftex. Frank did a lot of research on this product before we decided to use it. The type we chose is called Poly Carb which is described on their website like this: “TUFTEX PolyCarb corrugated panels are our toughest building panel. Made with a polycarbonate thermoplastic polymer in an octagonal-wave profile, TUFTEX PolyCarb corrugated panels are 20 times stronger than 5 oz. fiberglass corrugated panels and are designed to withstand a wide range of surface temperatures: 270° F to -40° F.” Lowe’s carried some Tuftex, but we had them order what we needed to have enough of the right type, colors and lengths. We used the translucent white on the roof and clear on the sides. Until we put the barrels in there, from some angles you couldn’t tell the walls were up. It will be very exciting to look at it and see plants inside, especially when we get it full of plants! I know I have said this before, but it will be a real treat to walk out there in the winter and pick something to eat. I think I will be worse than a kid in a candy shop.

It’s about time to make cheese since the frig is filling with milk. It will be mozzarella this time since the cheese frig is full of cheddar. We still haven’t tried to make cottage cheese again yet, but we will. It’s about time to make bread, too. I have set out the whole wheat sourdough starter to feed and lower the acidity level before I use it. Now days after I feed the starter for a few days, I pour half of it into the pig bucket instead of the chicken bucket. The chickens never did like it much, but you know what they say about pigs, they’ll eat just about anything. Except jalapenos. They don’t like them very much. Or really big, hard okra pods. Either they don’t like them, or they are just too hard to eat, I’m not sure which.

Since I tried our milking machine and didn’t like what it did to the goat’s teats, I haven’t tried it again. What I have done is really pay attention to my milking technique. Over the years I had developed a certain rhythm that was comfortable and seemed to be effective. Now I pay more attention to making sure I get as much milk out with each squeeze as I can. This is causing me to slow down some, but requires fewer squeezes per doe. I don’t know if this has made a difference with the arthritis in my hands or not, but I do know that I can straighten my bent finger out more than I could without working on it to do so. Interesting. I have also been told I have trigger finger on the same hand and same finger. Does anyone know of a natural way to deal with this? Grace told me her sister had it and wore a finger guard for a week and that fixed it. I haven’t tried that yet.

I have also started drinking apple cider vinegar with the mother in it, with local honey in warm water. This should help some of the sinus issues I have been having, as well as the arthritis. I hope. I used to do this everyday for years until it made my teeth hurt. The vinegar I used back then didn’t have the mother in it, though. This time I will make sure I rinse my mouth well with water after I drink it to protect my teeth. I’ve even thought about adding a bit of the canned garlic we have to the mix. Vinegar, honey and garlic are all very good for the body, so it couldn’t hurt any. I don’t mind the taste of vinegar and honey at all, I’m just not sure how the garlic would taste with it. Probably pretty good if you ask me.

We continue to eat our sauerkraut everyday. The portions are bigger than they used to be, and if there is a day we don’t have any, we miss it. When we first started eating it, there were several people that commented about how our taste preferences would change and that we would really enjoy fermented food. You know what? You were exactly right. We do really enjoy the sauerkraut and the health benefits it provides as part of our daily diet. 

We will be starting another project later on in the week that I will be showing you before long [it’s not the outhouse]. It is very exciting to have so many long term plans coming together. There is also a feeling that time is short to get some of these things completed. Frank and I talk about making plans as if there isn’t a collapse coming also, just in case. But at the same time we know it is coming, so we have to plan for that eventuality. Like I said last time, wishing won’t make it so. Just the other evening as we were getting ready for bed I asked Frank, “So where are we going to put the outhouse?” Another one of our recurring discussions. We still haven’t decided on a location.

Hello everybody, Frank here. The immigrant issues that are happening in Europe will soon be knocking on our doors here at home. There have been mass forced immigrant movements all through history. One of my grandfathers came to America around 1900 as a very young boy. His family was forced out of Russia. It has happened for centuries, and it could happen here just as easily as it has happened there. It’s easy to be cynical, but the fact is, people are being dislocated and they are willing to die or drown to escape wherever they are. It has to be horrible. Don’t kid yourself that it can’t happen right here. As we speak, there is a quiet exodus from the drought ridden areas of California. Towns there are shutting down. No joke. We are about to see many people, many more than are already coming here, from the areas affected by this forced relocation. It’s just one more thing that is happening. Is it a diversion? Could be. You decide. But you’d better get prepared. Frank

Now take Frank’s commentary and apply it to a collapse scenario where thousands of people are trying to escape the riots and starvation of our major cities. People that are desperate for water, food and shelter for themselves and their families. What happens when there are hundreds of them walking down the road where you live? I see the pictures of the Syrian people walking through Hungary, and that’s what I see. Hungry people, desperate to escape the carnage behind them, with hopes of assistance awaiting them at their destination. In a collapse situation there is no assistance awaiting them. I really think some people in smaller towns will actually go to the cities in search of government assistance. We’ve all heard the stories about FEMA camps and the rounding up of people to ‘keep them safe’. Don’t get on the bus. 

What I keep seeing when I look at the Syrian refugees are groups of people at the gate demanding water, food, shelter and assistance. There is no way we can feed them. We’re far enough off the beaten path that there probably won’t be many folks walking down this road, but I can see it happening all over the country. What are you going to do if a group of demanding people show up at your door or gate demanding the things you have prepared for your family? If you turn them away angry they will just come back with reinforcements. It is something Frank and I discuss regularly. If you feed one group they will tell the others and the next day there will be 10 groups, then 20, then 40, then 100. Before the last group arrives you will be out of food and desperate yourself. Then what? We can only pray we will never be faced with this situation. But part of being prepared, probably the most important part, is being mentally prepared. You need to have an answer to that question. What are you going to do?

Frank will be doing another article before long that will address some of this mental preparation. What he will discuss is a very difficult topic that will require very difficult decisions and actions from all of us, but one that should be discussed and thought about. Do all you can to have your family ready for what is about to befall us all. Remember, we would rather be prepared fools than unprepared fools. One minute too late, is just that. Too late.

Until next time – Fern

19 thoughts on “Homestead News, Volume 11

  1. We've often pondered the effectiveness of a root cellar around here, Sandy. I've read about keeping things down in the well. Ours is the standard pipe that you can't get anything in, so the next best thing is fresh, cool water from the well in an ice chest or other insulated container.Over the last few days we received 2.3\” of much appreciated rain. I actually picked green beans yesterday since our vines are starting to produce again. That was a pleasant surprise since I hadn't checked them in a while.Apple cider vinegar and hot flashes? I haven't heard that one. I've had hot flashes for almost 10 years now, but I don't see any differences when consuming vinegar. Very interesting.No, we don't know where the outhouse will be, but we have some good ideas. Thank you for the prayers and well wishes.Fern

  2. How cold does it stay at the bottom of your pond? I have heard of people running a coil of PVC pipe on the bottom of a deep pond and pumping water through the coil to use as coolant for their homes. I can not remember the depth but IIRC it was a spot about 20 feet deep.

  3. Fern, and Frank,A root cellar (in a cooler location) may help with keeping items relatively cold.Some people will use a lift system, and place their refrigerated items in a sealed plastic bag down in their water wells. When living up north in Michigan we would just keep food outside in the snow, in a container protected from any animals. It rained here last night in central Oklahoma, just under 1 inch and the temperatures lower a tad bit. This weekend were expecting a cool front, making the temperatures nice outside. Saturday morning is suppose to be 56 degrees!I've tried taking the Braggs apple cider vinegar before, and end up with severe hot flashes. Apparently, my body while going through the change can't handle the vinegar straight up. I know apple cider vinegar has so many positive benefits for the human body but can't deal with these extreme hot flashes.Have you and Frank come to a decision on where you'll be placing your outhouse?I'm sending prayers for your friend Faith for a speedy recovery from her fall, and prayers your recovery on your sinus' are still coming along fine.Hugs to you both,Sandy

  4. Fern, I think I could turn people away.(I think anyway.) But the husband? Well, I think he would be one of those people that bring people in. Right now he would help other people instead of helping himself. It could get interesting……..

  5. We use a garlic/honey mixture. I think I wrote about it somewhere on here. I take about 3 cups of local honey, peel and add a whole head of garlic, all of the cloves, then let it sit for a couple of weeks. When you open the jar and the smell knocks you down, it's ready. It works great for colds and coughs. I think your honey, ginger, lemon concoction sounds pretty good. I would probably substitute the Braggs for the lemon though, because I seldom buy lemon. Sounds like you have a good recipe that is healthy and effective. Thanks for sharing, Grammy.Fern

  6. I don't think it gets cold enough here to make an ice house. There are many December days when it is 70* and sunshine, and we can sometimes work on winter projects in t-shirts. We do have some colder stints in January and February, but they seldom last more than a few days. The infrequent snowfall we get usually melts before the day is over and isn't more than a dusting. I think the best we can do for cooling things would be fresh well water. In the heat of summer it would be the coolest thing around. Thank you for the idea.Fern

  7. Thank you, Anchorage. Sometimes in the morning it does catch and click more, but there has only been one time I had to straighten it out with my other hand. More a nuisance than anything. Thank you very much for the technique!Fern

  8. Yes, Kathi, we had rain yesterday and again today. It looks like you may have gotten some today, too. Yes, it has been horribly hot and humid. We are glad this cooler weather came in today. It will make it much easier to work on our projects, won't it? Thanks for being jealous. (-:Fern

  9. Hi Pat. If you would look toward the top of the right hand column of the blog, under the title \”Things To Read\” and find \”Cooking with Fern\” it will take you to a page of my recipes and tutorials. There are several sourdough recipes in that list. I think the first one was called \”Adding Sourdough to the Menu\”. I got my starter from a relative, that got it from a friend in Alaska, that got it from someone that had had it for years. I think by now it is over 100 years old, which I found to be very fascinating. The sourdough cookbook \”The Art of Baking with Natural Yeast\” comes with an offer of a free starter when you buy the cookbook. I tried making my own, but it didn't work. I was happy to get some from my relative.Sounds like you already have things ready for your greenhouse. You're ahead of me, but we brainstorm greenhouse ideas almost everyday. It won't be long before we are planting things in there. Then the fun will really begin. Thank you for sharing.Fern

  10. Thank you for the link and information, Lori. A neurosurgeon told me I could have the tendon (I think) cut that was causing the trigger finger. I asked him if it would reoccur, considering my life style of farming, milking, etc. He said it probably would. So what is the point in that? I hope to find a solution, or remedy that I can replicate if I can't buy anything ever again. For now, it isn't really painful, just inconvenient.It is nice to hear from you. I'm glad you took the time to comment and share. Lori, we are living in really scary times and they could get much worse at any time. Not only are they scary times, but very uncertain times. I know that adds to the stress that many people are under. It's very difficult to plan when the future is so uncertain. Do all you can to be ready. Thank you again for taking the time to comment.Fern

  11. Everette, I am grateful you were put in the path of this woman. You just never know what results a chance encounter may bring. You just never know. Thank you for sharing your experience.Fern

  12. Fern, I make a cough/cold syrup with honey,ginger and lemon. I got 'creative' this last batch, and added Braggs ACV and garlic. The garlic is rather strong, but I don't mind it. I just wanted to 'up' the antiviral/antimicrobial aspect.

  13. I think I may have mentioned it on your blog before, but you may want to make an ice-house. An underground, insulated (as much insulation as possible) room or cellar you can pack with snow in the winter to keeps things cold all year. When I do my setup, I plan to have an elevated water tank I would use to fill a trough in the winter to make ice for the ice cellar. You might think about doing something like that.

  14. Trigger Finger relief! I learned this little trick from my Physical Therapist, and he is just wonderful. I have 'trigger finger\” in every finger and both thumbs from time to time, and he said it is related to carpel tunnel syndrome. Don't let your hands curl up at night by wearing the carpel tunnel hand/wrist supports at night. Then during the day if the joint starts to 'catch' all you do is press down on a hard surface (counter top, or even your other hand) on the tip of that particular digit a couple of times really hard, and it straightens right out. Just use this little trick whenever, it really works. I have been using this technique for over a year now, and with nearly instant relief. Anchorage, AK.

  15. You had rain today? I think I'm jealous. It was just horribly hot here.We too are working frantically on some projects that we want finished quickly.

  16. Fern, could you share your recipe for sourdough bread. Also, did you make your own starter or order or get from a friend. If you made it, can you share that recipe too. The greenhouse looks like it will be ready for use as soon as cooler weather gets here. I have lettuce started in a big flower pot that will be ready to pick soon and a few tomato plants in pots that came up in the soil for my compost pile. I will probably move the flower pot into the greenhouse when I have too. Don't know how long I can keep lettuce growing but will give it a try to see. Pat B.

  17. had trigger finger for a few months. I was told I would have to have surgery. After 3 weeks of taking one capsule a day my thumb started to unlock. I continued to take it for a couple of months and I've never had a problem again.BTW…I truly enjoy reading all of your posts. I've been a reader for awhile, just have not commented. We are in very scary times and I worry what the outcome will be with so many unprepared people.

  18. Being isolated on an Island has some advantages besides all the disadvantages. Our electricity will go down within a few days. No boats, no diesel fuel for the generators. So we won't be getting the hoards that you may get. But still there are loads of people who outright laugh at my dire predictions of what is coming down the road. I asked a 30 something young lady the other day if she had ever heard of Keyenisian (sp) economics she looked at me as though I had two heads. So I took the time to give her the brief explanation, and that is the model we are following now since at least 2008 and actually before. Asked her if she knew what the national debt was and had no clue. \”A few million?\” she postulated! Explained that to her also. Now she began to look at me with some concern and asked me how we wold get out of this predicament. SO I asked her another question, How many countries have you ever heard of that used these methods have ever prospered and lasted for long times? When I told her the answer, she was getting paler by the minute.So now she wants to know what she can do to ward off this coming disaster. Took another half hour to get her started but they are way behind the curve and without the finances to really get caught up. Well there is one convert but with two very young children, for whom I fear greatly.Thank you very much our education (DISeducation) system for killing our country with dis-information and progressive bullschize!

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