Thursday, July 20, 2017


I've had a fascinating week down the deep dark rabbit hole of Homesteading.  Still no houses/land that we're interested in but when we do move I'd like to be a bit more self-sustainable.  I'll start with a vegetable garden, which I've done before, and then add some chickens and eventually goats or maybe even a cow for dairy.  Because thanks to the magic of YouTube I've discovered mini Jersey Cows.

Their big brown eyes and sweet faces melt my heart.  Plus they are supposedly a reasonable size to handle, have nice gentle temperaments and their milk has lots of fat.  I'd be foolish not to get one.

There is a lot to learn about raising your own food, animal or vegetable.  The good news is that it appears to be a rule that once you start homesteading you must also start a YouTube channel.  There is a LOT of info. out there.  SO much info.  My personal favorite is Joel Salatin and his Polyface Farm.  Joel is a great public speaker, YouTube is chock full of his lectures, just go over and search his name, so many I wouldn't even know which one to post here.  Joel fascinates me.  He's a genius systems engineer, passionate public speaker, savvy businessman, generally full of creative and innovative ideas.  Has zillions of books out.  A true visionary when it comes to how we can feed the world in a healthy, humane and sustainable way that makes money for farmers.  He makes me optimistic for the future.  But he does larger scale, commercial type farming and while the general concepts scale down to what I'm hoping to do, there aren't a lot of details.  But there are many many folks out there with YouTube channels and little farms for just their family and maybe they sell some eggs or whatnot on the side.  My favorite so far is Guildbrook Farm.

Here's a good example of the volume and level of detail of the information they provide on a given topic plus the good sound and video quality.

I like that they're beginners because they understand what a beginner needs and wants to know.  And they link to many other experienced homesteaders for more information.  They provide really good, well researched and detailed information in an organized way that's easy to understand.  Their farm looks well organized and the animals look happy and healthy.  There are also videos that are more personal, showing aspects of their daily lives on the farm which are great for beginners like me who wonder what it's like.  Some of the other folks putting out videos are not so well organized and don't have such great audio/video quality to put it politely.

Another good channel is Justin Rhodes.  He's doing a Great American Farm Tour and putting out little mini movies about farms he visits.  He even has a visit to Joel Salatin's place.

I'm sure there are many many others, these are the start of what I've stumbled on and enjoyed so far.

I've learned that raising chicks is a lot more complicated than I thought.  I'm also learning about permaculture and how to can and how to make Pemmican.  Because there is a YouTube channel out there that shows you how to cook food from the 18th Century.

It's funny, or maybe not so funny, how in a couple few generations we've lost all this knowledge and are currently suffering a huge, perhaps insurmountable health care crisis brought on largely by our consumption of processed food.  I remember watching my grandmother can and thinking it was crazy.  She was always scalding herself and it looked time consuming and exhausting.  And why?  The grocery stores are full of food year round.  But of course the food isn't seasonal and it was pretty fabulous to pull out a can of her tomatoes and enjoy their awesome deliciousness in February.  Plus how cool to be able to cut down trips to the grocery store?  And if you have a garden and a bunch of your stuff is ready for harvest in the fall, what do you do with it all?  And the convenience of it if you do want to pull something off a shelf and have quick ready made food without eating the processed crap from the grocery store. 

So much cool stuff to learn.  I never realized how much science and math and systems engineering is involved.   I think I have a lot of basic skills that could be helpful, especially the structural engineering and engineering mechanics background.  Was watching a video of a guy building shelves and cringing at the poor design.  Lots of stuff to build on a homestead.  Much different scale than what I'm used to so there will still be lots to learn but again I think I have some good knowledge that will be useful - math, science, chemistry, engineering.  Lots to learn though.  LOTS.

Now if only that perfect place would come up for sale.

Tess has been to two agility classes, more on that later.

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