Life Cycles & Learning

The cycle of life continues, and so does the learning. The first baby goats of 2016 arrived right on time, 3:30 am, January 5th. It was a little chilly that night, and interrupted our sleep, but they arrived healthy and strong, well cared for by their mother, our ‘old lady’ goat, One Stripe.

One Stripe


One Stripe is seven years old this year. She arrived here in January, 2009, at the age of five months, with our first herd of goats at this homestead. Our first baby goats arrived in March, 2010. Since that time we have birthed, sold and butchered quite a number of goats. No two years are quite the same, they each bring their own learning experiences, some successes and some failures.

Copper with 2015 babies

In the past we followed the standard practice of selling our does as they got older. One Stripe has been the exception to that practice, and now we are rethinking the practice entirely. Keeping an older, highly productive doe has taught us that there is something to be said for proven performance compared to new, unknown performance. We now also have one of One Stripe’s daughters, Copper, that is a three year old, and expecting her third set of kids in a few days. She is also a proven performer and will be with us for the foreseeable future.



 

We had the barn built when we moved here. It has been a slow process of getting everything set up in a functional arrangement. We’ve had the birthing and weaning pens set up since we stated having babies, but just this year we now have electricity, lights instead of lanterns, and soon will have pressurized rural water and a rain catchment system, instead of running 400′ of hose from the house or using the hand pump on the well.


Many things on a homestead take long term planning, not to mention money. But even more than that, it takes knowledge, experience and time. Just this year, due to a very, very wet year, which still hasn’t let up, i.e. the recent 12″ rainfall we received, we have had a number of animal health issues we had never encountered before. The goats had a serious issue with barberpole worms and lice, so we learned about copper boluses and using diatomaceous earth. The young chickens have come down with coccidiosis, and aren’t growing well. We usually don’t have chicks growing out for meat this time of year, but we wanted more jars on the shelf, so we thought we’d try it.


Over the past seven years we’ve learned a lot about giving shots, banning young bucks and burning horns. There have been times we waited a little long too burn horns and ended up with scurs. We used to vaccinate all of our goats, but now only newcomers to the farm get vaccinated. We’ve learned about abscesses, and how to deal with them. At first they were pretty scary and worrisome, but since they haven’t proven to be contagious in nature, we just let them run their course until they break open on their own, just like this.

We have had a number of bucks over the years, some good, some too spotted, too hairy, too cantankerous, or too small. We find that if we keep or sale animals based on the attributes we desire, we are much happier with our animals. Since we tend to keep a young doe or two each year, our buck is the animal that turns over. If we had a group of does we planned on keeping for a number of years, we could also keep the buck. It is a common practice to breed father to daughter with goats, it’s called line breeding. Some people don’t mind it, while others wouldn’t hear of it. It’s a personal preference and decision.

There are many goals on a homestead that take long term planning. Some plans you can develop for a couple of days down the road. Some plans take weeks, months, years or decades to develop. It takes the same amount of time to develop competence, experience and knowledge. There are some things you just can’t wait for. Start now. After four years, I have finally figured out how to make a good wheel of cheddar cheese. Most things take time, effort, experience, failure and determination. Take gardening, for instance. I have read many blogs and comments recently indicating that folks are increasing the size of their gardens, most substantially, including us. This comes after a number of years of experience, with it’s trials, experiments, successes and failures. But like the challenges we have had with our animals this year, even the dog had an unusual infestation of worms, most gardeners will tell you that no two years are the same.


The time is fast approaching when failure may be devastating, and our opportunities may be greatly diminished. It is a time to learn as intensely and thoroughly as possible. For the cycle of life to continue to sustain us, whether with animals or plants, we must be able to use the knowledge and experience we have gained to our distinct advantage. I remember stories I’ve seen of crop failures and starvation, and can only pray those times will not come to pass again, but I fear they will, and all too soon. Be ready.

Until next time – Fern

We’re All in This Together

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

A couple of days back, I actually think it was Saturday, Fern published an article entitled, One More Wake Up Call. The article was basically about what happened in Paris, France. It was a horrible event, a tragedy, and according to the President of France, it was an “act of war”. Those words mean something coming from the head of state, it means that his country has been attacked and that his country is going to respond to the attack. I hope he follows up. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the French people.

Back to Fern’s article. We both thought it was a good write, but neither one of us thought it was anything spectacular. Thought provoking maybe, but you never know how the readers are going to respond. We have published things that we thought were zingers, with few to no comments. And then the opposite happens, we put out something that’s fair, mediocre, okay and it seems to flip a switch with the readers. This was one of those articles.

The comments that we received had a depth and insight that caught us off guard. There were responses from ‘Down Under’ from readers with family in Europe. The entire group was focused, articulate and well spoken. A lot of folks don’t read the comments, but this is one time I’m going to ask you to read these comments. These are people just like you and I that have opinions. I think you will be surprised at some of the thought that was put into these replies. There seems to be a general thread, and I for one was proud and honored to read them. I hope you find some satisfaction in reading them also.

I would like to thank all of the fine folks that took the time to comment and share their feelings and perspective. It has given us a great deal to ponder.

God Bless. 

We’ll talk more later,

Frank 

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Anonymous 
Hi Fern,

It is terrible news from Europe and especially the country of France about the muslim bombings and shootings . You hit the nail on the head with the very trying question, where next? The muslim invasion of Europe is a foretelling of what we in the U.S. may be in for in the very near future, especially if the government starts to import ” refugees”, and I use that term very loosely. It should come as no surprise to the U.S. when similar events occur on our soil, remember , we are considered the great satan by the muslims. When atrocities are done in the name of allah and the muslim community makes no effort to show any sorrow, any grief or any signs of condolence I become very distrustful of them to say the least . Their silence speaks volumes to me.

I believe it will soon be a very intense time of difficult questions, difficult answers and and some very difficult decisions for Americans. Yesterday was the best time for us to have the discussions, before things started to get a little dicey. Right now is the next best time to have those discussions, do it now. What will you and your family do when events seem out of control? Can you feed, clothe, protect and provide for your family? Can you afford to provide charity to the young and the elderly?

Martial law is our biggest concern, I can’t fight the government, state, or local police, nor do I want to even consider that option. I love what this country once was, but I know that it will never be the same in my lifetime.

I suggest going to the Lord in prayer for guidance, comfort and direction in all things, big or small.

Bluesman

Hello, Bluesman. Your thoughts are well put, well placed and I concur. Our government is shipping in immigrants from Syria, Somalia and other peace loving nations. I don’t question any more our governments motives. I don’t see this thing turning out well, people have been blinded and most of those that can see stick their head in the sand. I really appreciate your comment. Thank you.

Frank

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Anonymous
Amen….. 
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Vicki

For some time I have been watching with interest the escalation of racial hatred in our country. And then Paris was attacked. It didn’t take me long to figure out that we have threats coming on at least two fronts. Our leaders in government have done everything they could think of to promote hate and discontent between the races. And they roll out the red carpet to “refugees,” including those whose only goal is the elimination of all who do not believe in their god.

We are living in a runaway freight train world. The bridge about a mile down the line is out. A wreck is inevitable. If we don’t do everything we can to get ready, we will go down in flames.

As far as sharing what I have stored for my family, I don’t think so. I will not sacrifice one of my own to appease those who are busy playing while I am working to keep my family alive.

There are no safe zones. Politically correct microaggressions are a crock of crap. If a person needs a trigger warning so they don’t have to deal with anything bad, I have a news flash for them. Nobody is going to give them a warning when something bad is headed their way. Just ask those poor people at the theater in Paris.

Vicki, your comments are well taken. In our house you could not have said it any better. I don’t think it can be stopped. We’re going to have to deal with the consequences that have been put in motion, and we may not weather well at all. I hate saying things like that, but it appears that the writing is on the wall. We are weak as a society and our leaders are traitors. We have been sold out. It’s not that they can’t see. They can. I wish I knew why, but I will probably never be privileged with that information. We all need to do the best we can. Thank you again.

Frank

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Anonymous

Fern, I have been fighting for Constitutional government for 40 years. Our Founders’ Republic has been squandered. Just 25 years ago the world could look to Reagan’s ‘shining city on a hill’. Its lights are now dark. America is bleeding out. Something will replace it. Pray for that.

Getting a grasp of all the battlefronts was overwhelming; a deceitful tyrannical government, treasonous leaders yielding sovereignty to powerful globalists, a media controlled by wolves, an emerging Nazi Police State, Socialists tearing down God’s natural laws to promote deviant behaviors, gun-grabbers intent on disarming Americans, Nazi indoctrination centers posing as ‘schools’, murderers of 3,000 unborn babies every day, warmongering Neocons murdering and harming millions of innocent people in their continuous wars.

Christ distilled them into one word, ‘wolves’. And Christ warned us about ‘hirelings’ who are supposed to be shepherds protecting us from the wolves. They should be willing to lie down their lives to protect us. But hirelings flee when the wolves attack the sheep. (John 8:11-12) Sadly, America’s House of God fell first. It fell to hirelings.

There is hope for the future. But for right now follow Fern’s advice. Take action to protect your loved ones. Parents, that’s YOU! NOW! And give your children the greatest gift, Jesus Christ.

The list of current events you gave us are accurate and heartbreaking. This is where we are and it is unbelievable most days. Thank you for giving us even more to think about. Blessings to you and yours. Be ready.

Fern

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Tewshooz

Islam is the enemy….always has been. Total odds with Christianity. The president is a Muslim and what our enemies cannot do from without, he is doing from within. Divide and conquer and the stupid liberals in this country are too busy being offended and huddling in their safe zones to notice. Even the so called Christian churches are in on the resettling the Muslims here, They are the current temple money changers and Judases, selling us down the river. But, take heart….this has all been foretold and those of us who are awake will know the face of Satan and look away towards our God.

How can people be so blind, Tewshooz? I know what has been foretold, but why is it so easy for so many people to swallow everything hook, line and sinker? And then turn on those that don’t? It’s an amazing world we live in and one I don’t like looking at very closely sometimes. It seems to just ooze evil out every pore. Thank you for your comment.

Fern

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Deborah Harvey

harry flashman at ‘self sufficient mountain living’ reports that moslems stop traffic in atlanta by ‘praying’ in the middle of the streets! arrogance and laughing up their sleeves at those whom they inconvenience.also read that there were celebrations in moslem areas of paris when news of the attack came through. that might not be true, don’t know.


Rumors always abound, Deborah, who knows.

Fern

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Anonymous

I’ve thought about your post today, wanting and needing to reply. My heart hurts for the people of Paris, for the families that lost loved ones. I believe that soon it will come to OUR country, maybe to your town.

Are you prepared? What are you waiting for? Maybe you need to dust off the box that your canner or dehydrator came in, and learn how to use it before it’s too late. I pray that you’re ready.

Grace

Hi, Grace. I don’t believe it’s coming to our country, I believe it’s here. We’re not immune to what happened in Paris, it won’t be long. What are people waiting for? They’re waiting for the government to take care of them. Thank you for your ideas.

Frank

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Anonymous

Hi,
I am from direct German ancestry, I live in NZ , here its a very peaceful country, what sickens me and has me very very hopping mad, is the MSM even here talk about the terrorists ! no one in the MSM mentions the ” I ” and ” M” words ! no one else dares breathe the jihad word !, the PC correct brigade of loony lefties and elite university professors never talk about the violent 103 verses in the koran or the verses in the Hadiths or the Sura that call for the killing of the Jew and Christian, the culpable and traitorous leaders we have in the West are opening the doors even wider two days later, down here they talk about how the ideas promoted by the right are the cause of the problem and how here in NZ we need to let in many thousands more of Islamic refugee’s and must tolerate them because its racist otherwise!

Hello. Thank you for sharing a different perspective. Look at what’s happening in Sweden, they have an open door policy. I guess if the system is not abused, for whatever the reason, then it is a good thing to help those in need. But letting a destructive foreign army into your house or your country is suicide. That’s what we’re doing. We are inviting our enemy into our houses. How stupid are we? No kidding. How disillusioned and blind have we become to not see the enemy looking into our eyes, taking what we have and reconstructing the hell holes where they have come from? We have done this to ourselves, just look at what’s happening in Sweden.

Frank

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Anonymous

Merkel is a traitor, I don’t know what her real motivation is, but its all not good, my Auntie’s in Germany have been told that they must make a room available for a economic refugee , they will be paid 15,000 Euro as a once only payment, if they refuse making a room available then the fine is 50,00 Euro and legal action from the town Burgameister (Mayor) , note this is legally enforceable in Saxony and lower Silesia, the German people themselves have done this by allowing the stigma of being called a nazi tag to stick. Anyone speaks up they are labelled a ” Nazi ” and then immediately shut up.

My prediction is civil war in Germany, it is too late to stop this, firearms ARE available in Germany and many in the country have arms hidden from the end of the war, so many people in Germany are angry and scared, the country cannot cope with millions of Moslem men who are angry with ideas of Jihad , so please if you read this, please pray for the Germans who also prepare and see the storm ahead, many of us will also suffer, I think many Germans will also die when the storm of Islam rises, so America will also suffer our fate, I am fortunate to not be in Germany, but all my relatives are, it will not matter which western country you are in soon, we can but prepare accordingly.
Regards
Wolfgang

Anonymous

Remember back to your 2010 Census form when the Guvmint asked about your house? How many people, how many bedrooms etc. Do you actually think they didn’t ask for this exact situation? How long will it be before the Guvmint will tell you to make room, under the threat of the gun, for some Islamic family in your spare rooms?

Carl in the UP

Thank you, Wolfgang. I am sorry for those countries, as I am sorry for the USA. I was once told that kindness can be seen as weakness. Due to past failed societies, we have burdened ourselves with weakness. There are multiple examples, but I can’t mention them because it’s a hate crime. This is where we are, we are all going to suffer and I don’t know what the outcome is going to be. This is the way it is. Today it is raining at my house. This is the way it is. Thank you for your comments.

Frank

Hi, Carl. I sure hope you’re wrong, but hope is a very poor strategy, isn’t it? But I still HOPE you’re wrong.

Frank

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Calidore

While watching the horrific scenes in Paris on TV my children (20 and 16) commented that they are glad we live in the country as it won’t happen here. It broke my heart but their father and I had to inform them that it could happen anywhere. Yes we live in Australia and yes we live in the country but that doesn’t mean we are totally safe. All we can do is prepare as best we can, hope and pray. DH and our worker where discussing later just what an attack on a country town would mean. It was very simple – it would be a statement that NO ONE IS SAFE. We are at WAR of that I’m totally convinced and my Mum made the comment that every generation experiences war (she is in her 70’s) but each time war is different with different rules and aggressors. This mass exodus of refugees is for a reason and it terrifies me to think of what that reason is.

My prayers are with you all no matter where you live.

Calidore, thank you for your prayers. I believe you are right, we are at WAR. But our western ways show us that we’re slow learners. We as a country and government still think that the might of an aircraft carrier will intimidate and defeat our enemies. How foolish! War is not fought with who has the biggest stick, but we just can’t seem to get rid of that illusion. We can bomb all day long and it will not stop what is happening or what is coming.

I’m not sure where to go with this, but we have got to change the way we see things. We have got to fight on their level, but to do so we’re going to have to change our compassionate, sympathetic, open door ideology. We have cornered ourselves with some of our civil rights laws. It appears that everybody has a right to do whatever, except the majority. Our foundation has been eroded, we are under attack and it’s against our laws to even discuss what is necessary to do to fight this enemy.

Our soldiers are gallant, our leadership are cowards.

Prepare. Thank you.

Frank

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Susan Nielsen

It seems that most of the “refugees” shown coming off the boats and marching into towns are mostly young men. Where are the women, children and elderly? Did these young men abandon their families in war zones to death? Shouldn’t they be trying to defend their country?

Good points, Susan. They are defending their country against the Great Satan because that’s why they’re here. When we send our warriors off to fight, we don’t send their families with them either. And when they send their warriors off to fight, they’re not sending their families with them either. So it’s obvious these are not refugees, this is an army. We are under attack. We are housing and feeding this army so they can bite the hand that feeds them. That’s why you don’t see the women and children, because they are back home praying for their soldiers, just like we pray for ours. Thank you for your observation.

Frank

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The events unfolding around the world affect us all no matter where we live. We are all in this together. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us, from them we learn so much.

God bless you all. 
Fern

Rebuilding Community

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

This morning I was reading SurvivalBlog, as I do daily, and the main post there caught my eye. I’d like to share it with you and encourage you to also read it. The basic premise is how to reorganize, on a community level,

after a collapse. Is it a perfect article? Probably not. Do I agree with everything in it down to the letter? No. I’ve been married for 30+ years. Do I agree with everything my long-term spouse says or does? Well, that answer is obvious. So, if you’re looking for a perfect world, you’re not going to find it here on earth. Nobody is perfect and no plans are perfect, and if you are in touch with reality, then there is no perfect solution. Now, let’s get past this perfect thing.

If you want to be part of a solution after a collapse, then you, me and everybody else are going to have to accept the differences in people. We can either help or we can hinder. There’s no room for those that won’t help. I hope you get my drift here.

I hope you enjoy this first article, it was published today, Saturday, October 24, 2015 on SurvivalBlog

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Howdy Folks, and Welcome to Our Neighborhood!,                                by ShepardFarmerGeek

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The second article is by the same author. It was written a little while back. It’s the same general theme, but it deals with how to set up structure and organization immediately after a collapse, or natural disaster, or whatever the setting is. This second article, follow me here, is the first link in the first article, but you have the link right here.

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A Community Action Plan, by ShepardFarmerGeek

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Ladies and Gentlemen, we are all strongly aware that some type of catastrophe is coming. Let’s take our blinders off and look around our world. I’m not going to go into details here about possible scenarios or black swan events, and I’m not going to try to reference this as being an apocalyptic type event, but it’s coming. 

I think you’ll like both of these articles. The first one caused me to think. It’s well done, and it’s worth the read. Please share your comments afterwards. Every chance you get, read SurvivalBlog, it’s worth the read, too. Take care.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

Fit to Survive

There was a link on Ol’ Remus the other day to an interesting, short letter found on SurvivalBlog. A letter you may not take notice of at first, but after we read it a couple of times, we found a number of messages there. The part that struck us most were the last few sentences.

Being fit enough to survive won’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to harden especially if you are older. Most “tactical” courses are money that is wasted. The way you have been trained to eat will kill you. Prepare for war. Pray for peace. God bless, – Mark X.”

You will have to read the rest of the letter to get the whole gist of his meaning, What You “Learn” Can Kill You.

For some reason that Frank and I have yet to figure out, December 3, 2014 was a day that we decided to change our lives. Why that particular day we don’t know. We had a conversation with the neurosurgeon

that did Frank’s back surgery and he told us about a book called Protein Power. When we left the office and got in the truck, we talked about it, looked at each other and agreed, we can do this. We had talked about losing weight many, many, many times for a number of years. We’d try for a while then go back to eating too much of the things we liked the most. We still wonder why this time was different, but we are very, very glad it was.

Now fast forward 10 months. Frank and I have lost almost 50 pounds each. We feel better and are able to do more than we have in a long, long time. Now go back and look at the quote from Mark X. Being fit enough to survive won’t happen overnight. It takes a long time to harden especially if you are older.” We would have to agree with that. It has taken a while to get in better shape and adjust to the weight loss, and neither one of us has reached our weight loss goal yet. 

Now for his next sentence. “The way you have been trained to eat will kill you.” If you read the rest of his letter he talks about fat, carbs and the popular healthy ways we’re ‘supposed’ to eat. Most people are surprised when we tell them we are eating all of the meat and fats we want, lots of them. We are very careful about the amount of carbohydrates we eat because of how they are metabolized in the body. It was surprising for us to find out that the body, and especially the brain, prefers to obtain it’s energy from protein instead of carbohydrates. We had always thought of carbohydrates as ‘energy’ food. Turns out they are the ‘sleeper’ foods because of the insulin spike needed to deal with all of the sugar produced from the carbohydrates. The book Protein Power explains it much better than I can, so if you are interested, I would recommend reading it.

Last Sunday at church, the preacher commented on Frank’s weight loss and told him he looked very good. Frank told the preacher that he is better shape now at age 65 than he has ever been and the reason for that is because we have a war coming. You see, even though we’re not sure of the how’s or why’s of the life changing events in our diet and life, we do know the purpose. We agree with Mark X, “prepare for war, pray for peace“.

We wrote an article the other day called A Group of Your Own. There were multiple comments, but I want to share one in particular along with Frank’s response to the comment.

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“Even the people I know who do believe everything in America is coming undone are either too ignorant (I mean “not having knowledge”) or are too afraid to admit that everything they have believed in and loved will soon come to an end. They seem to feel that, if they can just keep their heads down and not acknowledge it, the crises will all go away and everything will be okay. While that attitude perturbs me, I can understand it. I, too, am overcome with inexplicable grief for the loss of culture, country, and the bountiful prosperity and liberty America has known. Some days, I just want to ignore what is going on and never read or watch “news” again.

People I love seem to understand what is happening, but they refuse to move a muscle to do anything about it -not even to prepare with a few weeks extra groceries. This makes it all the harder for those of us who have been preparing. It is so hard to trust people anymore, even those who have been friends for years. 
Anonymous”

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“Hello and thank you. We feel the same way, there are days that I just don’t even want to think about it. It grinds on my spirit, soul and heart. But I pull myself up, and continue on with everyday life.

If folks will study history, wars don’t start with a single event, there are multiple divisions and factions that are precursors to war, or what we call the beginning of a war. We are well advanced into those stages right now. We are going to experience war in this country. The lines are being drawn. Our government is actively dividing this country. I can’t speak of the divisions, because I could be charged with a hate crime. This is where we are, and remember, we are well into this process. This process can’t be stopped. Get ready. Frank”

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Now Frank is absolutely not an historian or an expert on war, but then you don’t have to be a meteorologist to see the obvious signs of a storm coming. We have war coming in this country. So what are we going to do to prepare? Continue to talk about it? Or we can wish, or we can hope, but hoping for something is a very poor strategy. Whatever you need to do,

get it done. If you need to be in better health, do what is necessary to take care of yourself. If you need to lose weight, lose it. If your diet is killing you, change it. Do what is necessary. If you watch too much TV, turn it off. If you are on the internet too much, quit reading this, get to work. Do what is necessary. Or, go turn the TV on, get a bag of Cheetos and zone out for a while, that will sure help you get in touch with reality. If you think this sounds a tad bit curt, it is. There is a reason why. You can’t help save my life, if you can’t save your own. Think about it, during the commercials. When this world falls, and fall it will, there will be no commercials, no time to get in shape, no time to learn how to survive and no escape.

Until next time – Fern

Good Trade

Remember this?

Now fast forward to sometime in the not too distant future. Yes, fast forward. Remember when you could do that with a VHS tape? Most young people have never had the pleasure. Anyway, the not too distant future. What will buying and selling be like? How will we get the things we need? Like the things in all of our preparations we overlooked or outright forgot to get? What about all of the physical labor that will be necessary to live a collapse, survival life style day in and day out? Can you do that? 

Good trade. Bartering. I think this will become, and already is becoming, the new way of commerce. Commerce won’t end with an economic or societal collapse. Person A will always need something that Person B can provide. When there is no longer a monetary basis upon which to make that transaction, bartering or trading will be the manner in which commerce will survive.

There was a young man in Frank’s Survival Radio class that has begun developing his homestead. Not only is he interested in survival radio communications, he is starting a flock of chickens for his young family. Since we use pseudonyms here, we will call him Emmet, which is a German name meaning strong worker. The reason his name is associated with work is because that is what he did here in exchange for a flock of young chickens. We struck a deal of chickens for labor, and while he was here found out that Emmet works two jobs so his young wife can homeschool their children, making it an even better deal.

We have more than enough young hens to replace our current laying flock. From the two batches of eggs we incubated, we have already butchered the older set of roosters, still leaving about 40 or so young birds. From that 40 we kept about 8 hens. That still left many birds to choose from. When Emmet arrived, we first picked out 10 hens and 2 roosters for his new flock. Then the work really began.

It has been too long since our chicken house has been cleaned out. We planned to clean it out long before now, but my sinus issues have kept me out of the chicken house except during feeding time, and on a few occasions Frank was left to do everything on his own. When Frank came up with the idea of trading chickens for a clean chicken house, I thought it was a great idea. He contacted Emmet and the deal was struck.

 

It made pretty quick work for the three of us to get the house cleaned up. Frank brought down the tractor to haul the trashcans full of manure to the garden. We have several empty areas in the garden that received this wonderful fertilizer. The parts that suffered the most when the heavy, spring rains really washed away the topsoil now have a good start at renewing the nutrients for next year.

 

As we left the chicken house I looked at Emmet and said, “Good trade. Have you ever seen that movie? Dances With Wolves?” He had and agreed it was a very good trade. You see there comes a time when you have to ask for help to accomplish some tasks that you used to do with ease. Frank and I are no longer young whipper snappers like Emmet and it was a blessing to have his help. For us this was a very good trade, and it also helped Emmet start a larger flock of chickens for his growing family.

Once the chicken house clean up was complete, it was time for water, coffee and more radio conversation. Frank is a natural teacher and enjoys sharing information about setting up a shack, wiring antennas, or general knowledge about increasing the effectiveness of existing radio communications equipment or techniques. While they talked radio, I got the sourdough rolls ready to bake. I had mixed up the dough earlier in the morning so it would have time to ferment and predigest those carbs for us. After I went to the barn and finished up the chores of milking, feeding and watering the animals, it was time to bake and sample the bread.

There are so many different things we can barter or share, whether it is a tangible, albeit live commodity, or knowledge. The last article we wrote about books is another example of learning information and skills that can be ‘traded’ or bartered. As the time draws nearer to a total change in the way business is conducted around the globe, but more importantly in your neighborhood close to home, having tangible goods, skills or knowledge that can be traded for something you need or want, will not be a convenience, but a necessity. So how are your bartering skills coming along? 

Sharpen up your skills and senses. Keep a keen eye on what is in your midst and fast approaching over the horizon. Time keeps ticking along, sometimes almost imperceptibly, bringing us closer and closer to the inevitable. Don’t get caught in a stream of regret where you would ‘trade’ it all for one more day to prepare.

Until next time – Fern

Sinus Dilation & Other Stuff

Last Friday, five days ago, I had a sinus dilation procedure in the office of my ENT (ear, nose & throat doctor). For about six weeks prior to the procedure, I had terrible headaches almost everyday that nothing would help. Not nasal steroids, sinus washes, antibiotics, Tylenol, pain pills, nothing. You should really feel sorry for Frank. One, for having to put up with me and two, because I have just not been myself. I have never been one to have headaches, especially not ongoing, seemingly never ending, headaches. Am I healed? Not yet, but I am well on the way. Has this procedure taken care of my sinus problems? The verdict is still out since I still have some occasional pain from the procedure, but the never ending headache seems to be gone, for which I am truly thankful.

Until recently I had never heard of sinus dilation. Here is a site that explains what it is and how it is done. We have a neat doctor that let Frank stay with me and watch the whole thing. Some things hurt and some didn’t. The doctor dilated both of my frontal sinuses and both maxillary or what I call cheek bone sinuses. He calls it bone cracking, and sometimes it sounded like that was the case. When he got to the left maxillary sinus he poked and prodded and poked and 
prodded and couldn’t get in. He said something about a flap in the way, so he cut it out. I think he actually had to cut a hole to get in and when he did, a stream of white, creamy ick came out, which he expected. The CT scan they did prior to the procedure showed the left maxillary as solid instead of with any air in it. He cleaned everything out of there he could.

So now I am healing. It is still uncomfortable to bend over to do much so the garden is patiently sitting out there waiting for me, just doing it’s thing all on it’s own. I think the aphids are having a hey day. By next week, I hope to diminish their population greatly. We have made cheese a couple of times, it doesn’t take much physical effort, I just had to concentrate more to make sure I didn’t skip a step.

The new online program I am using for my contract work with the school district, which is statewide, is really taking a lot of time. Since it is new, there are many, many data fields that have to be populated for each student, and of course with school starting and families moving around, there are many new students to contend with as well as the ones that are returning. I have spent so much time on the computer today, at one point I had this picture of a ball and chain coming out of the laptop attached around my ankle. Silly, huh? It’s not hard work, just time consuming. 

It’s always good to use your mind to learn new things, but right now it would be more fun to research greenhouse plants for winter. Soon enough the school work will calm back down and I will do just that. Frank and I are already talking about the plants we want to experiment with over the winter. It will be exciting to be able to walk out there and harvest fresh food for the table in December or January.

Since I have been in recovery mode and busy with school work, we are behind on answering the comments and emails on the blog. Please bear with us, we will respond, it just may not be quite as timely as it has been. We really do enjoy hearing from you and appreciate the time you take to share with all of us.

I know you are watching the financial news, the news of yet more hatred and murder being splashed in our faces, the news of countries flexing their military muscles and the news of natural and man made devastation around the globe. Ponder long and hard what you need to be doing for the near and far future. We sure are. We think about it, talk about it, and pray about it every single day. 

Until next time – Fern

Homestead News, Volume 8

Sometimes it seems as if there is not much going on here to report, but once I really stop and think about it, I can usually come up with something. This time the news is full of a number of small things. Take the goats for instance.

Last night I started penning up our two youngest kids again. They are both four months old, but are still nursing. We had separated them into the old weaning a pasture for about a month, but then the pigs came and took over that pasture. Then for a while, the kids just nursed through the fence after we put them in with the buck and wethers. As the young doe approached four months we didn’t want to leave her in the buck pasture, so we brought her back out with the does and hoped in vain that her mom wouldn’t let her nurse. She did. Now the young buck comes through the gate to be with his mom and nurse. We haven’t been able to block off the gate yet, and even

Lady Bug has a nice udder for a first freshener

if we did, he would still nurse through the fence. Both of these moms are first fresheners and we still want to develop their udders as much as possible this first season, so last night I started penning up these two kids again. This morning I got over three quarts of milk instead of one. 

That’s good since we are eating our cheddar cheese a little faster than we have in the past. It’s a great part of our low carb diet. So with this increase in milk, we will make more cheddar to replace the six wheels we have already consumed. The wheel I opened yesterday was waxed the end of April and is quite good. Did you know that room temperature cheese is better than refrigerated? Quite by accident we discovered we like warm cheese better, and it doesn’t taste the same as cold cheese. When we open a new wheel of cheddar, I leave it out on the counter in a bowl. The rind will dry out more and harden, then eventually the oils in the cheese will begin to coat the outside of the wheel. In times gone by, cheese was stored at room temperature, maybe covered by a towel or cloth. In a strange way it seems this is yet another small step we’ve discovered that will be one less thing to change when the power goes out and stays out.

The temperatures here continue to be at or over 100* with dangerously high heat indexes. Any outside work is accomplished early in the day, with very few exceptions. I have been having some serious sinus issues for about a month or more which have greatly impacted the work I do in the garden. The heat and humidity, not to mention bending over, many days make the headaches I’ve been having intolerable. Has anyone out there had a sinus balloon dilation procedure? I am scheduled to have this performed in a week or so. At this point, with the headaches I have been having, I am ready for some relief. The headaches have definitely impacted accomplishing things around the homestead as well as writing here on the blog.

In the last few days we have canned the last of the winter squashes. The bugs have killed all of our squash plants and it’s too late to grow any more winter varieties, so we won’t have any fresh to store for winter, but we’ve ended up with 41 quarts, which we are happy with. I have replanted yellow summer squash which should be able to produce before frost if I can keep them alive and win the war with the bugs.

We also made 11 quarts of salsa yesterday. It’s our favorite way to eat canned tomatoes, and I hope we can make another batch. Even with all of this heat, the tomatoes are still producing very well. Frank just walked by the thermometer and told me it’s 104* outside. We closed down some of the blinds to help the AC try to keep up. Now Frank just told me it’s been 106*!

It’s nice to have a few fresh things from the garden in the crisper. I started chopping and freezing fresh peppers today. We really enjoyed using them through the winter last year and I hope to freeze a number of quarts. I’m also doing an experiment with fermenting a few jalapeno peppers. I took the last batch of sauerkraut out of the crock today and put it in the frig. We started this batch on June 20th. It smells and looks great. When we first started eating kraut, Frank wasn’t very fond of it, but like many people predicted, we now really enjoy our daily portion. He even asks for larger servings of it now. 

We got this plastic strainer spoon to use with the crock to prevent scraping the ceramic finish. It works very well.

After I emptied the crock, I strained off a bit of the juice to use with a few jalapeno peppers. I read somewhere, sorry I don’t remember where, it could have been a comment here, that fermented peppers were crunchy and very good, so I’m going to try it. I added a few peppers to the kraut juice then covered them with salt water. I discovered this small jar fit just right into the pint jar, so I’m using it to keep the peppers submerged. For now, it will reside on the cabinet on a plate. I will be very interested in how this turns out since we prefer crunchy to soft peppers.

I used a half gallon of milk. This bowl wasn’t big enough.

I’ve also decided to take the plunge and try the cottage cheese ‘recipe’ from The Organic Prepper several people suggested. Even my aunt wrote and told me what she remembered about how my grandmother made cottage cheese. Thank you for that email, Aunt A.N. The only ingredient is milk, and all you do is leave it in a covered bowl on the cabinet for two or three days. When the cream rises and sours, it is skimmed off and eaten. That’s it. It’s almost too easy, so we will see how it turns out. I will let you know.

 

Our chickens are doing well. The young hens are blending in with the main flock just fine. The young roosters will be ready to put in the freezer soon which is good since we are ready for some fresh fried chicken. The youngest batch of birds are growing well and will soon need to take over the young rooster pen for more space.

They all like the tomato skins from the salsa.

Young roosters

Youngest flock

I made a new batch of lotion this morning since the last one was starting to turn brown in places. Tewshooz left a comment for us early on about using a preservative to prevent this problem. When I made the last batch I forgot to add the vitamin E, so it didn’t last as long as it could have. This time I wrote vitamin E on the recipe I got from Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream, so I won’t

forget it next time. Since this lotion is made from olive oil, herbal tea and beeswax, I fed this old portion to the pigs. It’s nice it didn’t totally go to waste. The other thing Tewshooz taught me with a comment was to keep working the lotion until it emulsifies, that way the oil and water won’t separate. To do that now, I place the pan of warm oil, wax and tea into a sink of cold water while I stir it briskly with a small whip. It works great. Thanks for the tips, Tewshooz, they have really paid off.

 

Peppermint and lemon balm for the herbal tea ingredients


 

Takes about 20 minutes

Cooling in cold water

For lunch today we had a no taco, taco salad. It has most of the normal ingredients a taco salad would, just no corn chips or shell. A serving of kraut goes well with this meal. We used some of our canned jalapenos from last year, the salsa we made yesterday, a fresh sweet pepper from the garden, some lettuce, spinach, onion, olives, and room temperature, grated, cheddar. It was great! 

Tonight some of the members of Frank’s radio class are taking tests for their ham licenses. We are excited for them and hope everyone does well. We’ll let you know how it turns out and give you an update on how the class went in general. Now that it is over, we’ll see if our hopes of a local communications network materializes. 

By the way. Has anyone been having trouble with their internet service? Our internet service with Verizon over the past few months has gone from good, to a few glitches, to terrible. We get disconnected or ‘frozen’ numerous times a day now. Then we had someone tell us that Verizon and AT&T are having issues nationwide. Then we found out some other folks in this are are having connectivity issues with Verizon. Then we found out a medical clinic in Fort Smith, Arkansas has been having issues for a month. It would be interesting to hear if anyone else knows anything about this or is experiencing any difficulties.

We have taken to carrying a small bat with us into the pig pen for training purposes. The pigs have responded well and no longer crowd around right behind me when I am walking to the feed pan. We will continue to be very consistent in shaping their behavior. So far, so good.

Life on the homestead is good, very good. We continue to keep tabs on the world with a growing certainty that things will not remain as they are for much longer. The stock markets continue to exhibit the roller coaster pattern that many leading economists have been predicting. The media continues to distract the populace with the same mindless drivel they

have served up for years now. Every so often they intersperse their drivel with small tidbits of real news, news of increased violence, intolerance and suppression of the freedoms we once took for granted. Maybe that’s part of the problem. We have taken too much for granted for too long. Now the pursuit of pleasure and recreation is the end goal and the means justifies the end for a large portion of our world’s population. When this pursuit is no longer an option, what knowledge or skills will exist that can be utilized for survival? I’m afraid it will be like looking into the bottom of an empty barrel. There will be nothing there.

You’ve heard this many times before and here it is again. Learn all you can. Experience what you can now when failure is still and option and you can go to the store and obtain whatever it is you will need. Every single thing you can learn now will increase your possibility of making it yet another day when everything around you has changed. If some of the things we read and hear are anywhere near accurate, the beginnings of major upheaval or change may not be far away, not far at all. Do everything you can. Prepare yourself mentally to see and experience the unthinkable.

Until next time – Fern