Homestead News, Volume 17

We are still working on our antenna project. The rains have softened the ground enough that we can’t get in the garden to work on raising the first of three towers. We attempted to raise the first one as the rains were coming, but found out we need a stouter pulling pole to get this tower up. We’ll give you a lot more details in an article dedicated solely to this project when we’re closer to completion.

Our young hens are starting to lay and we get varying sizes of pullet eggs everyday now, and that is great. We were blessed with eggs from Grace and Faith to tide us over until we had enough.

October 29th

The garden is history for this year. There are still a few potatoes that keep coming up out there, but we already have two pots in the greenhouse. I may add another one or two but it will have to be tomorrow if I do since the low tomorrow night is supposed to be 24 degrees. This will be our first hard freeze of the season. We’ve had a few dustings of frost so far, but haven’t even made it down to 32 degrees yet.

Easter & Patch

We brought home a buck this evening that we are borrowing from Faith. It was dark by the time we got him unloaded and settled, so no pictures yet. Faith and her husband have been gracious enough to provide us with an opportunity to add some new blood to our herd, and we haven’t been able to find a permanent replacement buck for our herd yet. Victor, the borrowed buck, has four does to breed while he is here. Our plan is to keep him for 60 days to make sure all of the does are pregnant, especially our two young does, Patch and Easter. Young does don’t always ‘take’ the first time they are bred, so we will be counting days to see if they come back into standing heat 21 days after breeding. If not, it’s usually safe to say they are pregnant.

We tried the pear sauce this morning on some sourdough biscuits and it is very good. To us it seems very sweet even though there is no sugar in it. The very ripe pears I used worked great. Very nice.

The outdoor kitchen work has been on hold because of the wet weather. We need to spray down the plywood walls and let them dry for a day or two so we can paint them before we start setting up the stove, smoker and sinks. Maybe next week it will be dry enough to get the painting done.

We cleared out the stuff that had accumulated in the livingroom around the woodstove so we can get it ready for use. When we paint the outdoor kitchen we’re also going to paint the concrete board that goes behind the stove and get it fastened to the walls. We plan to paint the exterior doors on the house, too. I hope we can finish off the painting soon, neither one of us like to paint, and really don’t look forward to that chore.

The Survival Radio Relay Net continues to slowly grow. There were two new people on the net this week. Our ability to communicate has been somewhat limited with the towers down, so Frank has been calling the net from one of our vehicles that has a CB and a VHF/UHF in it. We are all learning how to be more effective in contacting each other and relaying information between different people. It is a great learning experience and we get a little better at it each time we meet.

Life is good. It has slowed down a little with the coming of winter, but not much. We’re hampered a bit by the weather, but still making good progress. 

The events of the world continue to unfold with increasing speed and TEOTWAWKI comes more into focus each passing day. I often think of Ol’ Remus’ advice, “Avoid crowds”, especially in light of holiday shopping. Be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, there are wolves in sheep’s clothing among us.

Until next time – Fern

14 thoughts on “Homestead News, Volume 17

  1. It's okay having a visiting buck, but we really need a new one since right now we are without except for the loaner. It's interesting we both did pear sauce and have new pullet eggs. I guess there are many things that are similar on lots of homesteads, Leigh. It's always good to hear from you.Fern

  2. Hi, Pete. You are right. There is only one problem. About two feet behind the pole is my neighbor's property. We have to make due with what we have, so it's going to be a bigger mast or pole. Good idea, though, just not possible. Thanks.Frank

  3. Since Frank and I taught special education for years, we especially like to hear about what you are doing with your students, Grammy. I know they loved these activities and you can share being prepared as they learn. Blessings.Fern

  4. You dont need a stouter pulling post to raise that tower – you need a cable brace at a 45 degree angle from the top of the pulling pole to a post in the ground to support the size pole you are using. Think sailboat with standing rigging supporting a mast in a vertical position.

  5. Our pullets are laying too! A nice blessing indeed. And here's hoping you are blessed with abundant kids in the spring. It's nice you can have a visiting buck rather than having to take your girls somewhere for an extended stay. I canned pear sauce this year too but we've yet to try it. Last year's applesauce was very sweet without sugar. I hope it's the same for the pears!

  6. I teach K-4 special education in a public school. We just finished reading another Laura Ingalls Wilder book, and made a medicinal salve. The kids loved experiencing how pioneer life was, and still talk about our disastrous cheese-making last year. Well, I got goats' milk from someone in my beekeeping club, and tried her recipe today. It worked! I'm so excited to have made my own cheese! I can't wait to make another batch on Monday with my kids. They'll love it. Thanks for your blog. It is encouraging to me. May God bless us all in these difficult times.

  7. Your preparations sound much like ours here in middle of nowhere north central Texas. My husband and I are in our early sixties and moved to where we are about ten years ago. Our home is a double wide, and perfect for our needs. I am certain it will outlast us. Zince we have been here, on our 12 plus acres, my husband has fenced off about half an acre as orchard and garden, and we have peaches, pears, apricots and plums, two 50 feet long asparagus beds that provide much more than we can eat, and a strawberry patch. We live in a frost pocket that can be as much as 20 degrees colder than the surrounding local are, but only in the cool weather. That doesn't seem to work in August, of course.We have 6 dairy goats, mostly Nubian/Alpine. Six chicken coops and two outdoor brooders all built by my husband. We have a solar panel on our well which operates a Simple pump, should the electricity fail, and when it rains we catch rainwater to filter through our Berkey. It makes the best tea imaginable. We have solar powered lamps and kerosene lamps, and a wood burning stove that heats the house in winter. We have central electric but we have almost never used it, except when we had small grandbabies crawling around during a cold weather visit. In addition, we have portable indoor approved propane heaters, one usually resides in the master bath which faces northwest and is very welcome in cold snaps!I would love an outdoor kitchen such as yours, but finances prohibit that at this time because of job loss 14 months ago. Been looking, but not getting many interviews, but we are doing ok for now. I have an apothecary cabinet in our bedroom filled with herbs for different health issues, as well as the more concentrated essential oils for bigger issues.I've always subscribed to having extra food on hand, which has certainly turned out to be a blessing. Last spring our area was hammered by softball sized hail in mid April. My husband's vegetable garden never quite got over it, especially the potatoes, he said he planted more than he harvested. We had fruit on all the fruit trees for the first time in years, normally we have late frosts here, as late as May 5th in 2014! The hail stripped the trees of fruit, leaves, bark and branches, but they survived. There was good that came from the hail storm, we had our house re-roofed as per insurance, but changed tomaterial from asphalt shingles to steel. Much better roof, and it cut down on the a/c running so much this summer.I see I've written a book here. Oh well, maybe someone will enjoy reading it. Love your blog, your musings, your insights. Our best preparation is in trusting God. He is in control, and only by His grace do I draw each breath. Best wishes!

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