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04 September 2007 @ 06:11 am
Recently a few friends of mine have voiced the opinion that the US is headed for a Great Depression-style economic recession. Putting aside the question of whether or not that is the case, here is what I would, ideally, do if that did happen.

1: Expand the garden. I would want to at least double, and preferably triple, the size of the SFG, and get really hardcore about scheduled planting and harvesting, in order to get the most out of the garden. I would also plant more energy-intensive foods like squashes and potatoes.

2: Get some fowl. I would get two or three chickens or guineas to keep in the back yard. I would build a little house for them to lay in,with a roof that hinged open for me to collect the eggs. At night, they could roost in the trees or on the fences. In a depression situation, fowl are valuable because eggs are good sources of protein and nutrients, and if you have a rooster, they are self-replicating. We could trade both eggs and chicks to other people.

3: This probably falls under wishful thinking: Get a Dairy Animal. I would love to have a miniature cow, but we probably don't have enough space or money for one. So it would probably be a pygmy goat. I had a pygmy goat when I was a teenager and found her to be an affectionate and fun pet. We would have our own milk, and could also make cheese for ourselves or to trade. She would have to be kept on a tether to keep her from eating the garden.

This is just where I would start, in our present living situation (urban renters.)

I have thought of learning to can food, but I really don't like to eat canned food, so I don't feel very enthusiastic about that, but I do like putting up cooked food in the freezer.

What would you do?
27 August 2007 @ 05:10 am
Sunday I collected wild elderberries from my backyard. The berries were here when I moved in, they are considered an invasive weed!

I derive a deep sense of satisfaction from wildcrafting. I wish more wild foods grew in my yard! I've nibbled on some dandelion leaves, but they are scrawny and thus hard to see. We also get "Indian strawberries", but they are not very sweet and are very seedy. I am not sure what they would be good for except feeding to my turtles.

I wrote about it here on my food blog.

x-posted a few places.
21 January 2007 @ 04:09 pm
Hi, I grew up without outside animals and am wondering in coastal Maine how does one keep their chickens from freezing in the winter? I have read several books and I do not want to bring them in the house. I hope to have between 4-8 free range chickens with no rooster- I was thinking Guinea hens actually or Rhode Island Reds.

Also most of my books suggest cooking or selling them after they are 2 because egg production drops off, but I can't see eating something that just fed me eggs and was essentially a pet for 2 years. Is that too sentimental of a view and how long would I be running a chicken retirement home for?

Also if one installs a heater do I make it cozy or just above freezing? And has anyone ever done solarpanneling to get just enough electricity to heat and light a coop in the winter?

I just want nice eggs and calm pettable chickens.

Main questions, heat? solar heat? cull or retirement home style?

I do eat chicken but I don't think I could raise a cat to roast any easier than raising a chicken in a flock of 4-8.
24 August 2006 @ 10:14 pm
One of our girls has a naaaaaaaasty prolapse. I feel terribly guilty because it's been that way for at least two days, I thought she was just getting ready to molt and that's why her rear feathers looked nappy. Anyhow, we've isolated her, cleaned her off with betadine and warm water, slathered her parts with antibiotic ointment and preparation H (which several sources recommended) and she'll be kept in isolation with antibiotics in her water for a few days at least.

But, it looked like she had a pretty nasty sore on the prolapse. I cleaned it as well as I could and really covered it with ointment before I pushed everything back in, but I'm wondering if there's anything else I can or should do for her?

So far her behavior and diet have been normal,which I take to be a good sign, but she was alarmingly passive while we were treating her. Any advice, or just good vibes for my poor hen?
12 July 2006 @ 02:24 pm
Being inspired by the PTF oven, we decided to build one as our next big project this summer. I've been collecting information, but so far, I can't come up with how to make cob. I know it's clay + straw + dirt, but where do you actually get clay in the bulk that you need for a bread oven, other than purchasing it?
I have some in my yard, about 6 inches under the topsoil, but I suspect this is not what I should be using.
Has anyone here made their own oven?
Hello everyone!
This is my first post. This looks like a great community. I've always been a little on the rural size, even though I haven't always lived in a rural area.

Actually, the main reason I joined is because I am writing an article about chicken and pygmy goat co-habitation and was wondering if anyone here has any experience with the subject. If so, have you ever had any problems keeping chickens and pygmy goats together? Have you had any sucesses? What sort of housing arrangements do/have you used?

Anything you guys can tell me would be a big help. I'll be sure to give you credit in my article.
Thanks in advance!
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
25 June 2006 @ 10:00 pm
Very interesting...

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Whether or not the eggs came first, a small down in Arkansas has decided the chickens have got to go.

Starting on July 13, Rogers, Ark. will implement a law that puts a cap on the number of chickens residents can house in the city.

That has Linda Bishop, 57, more than a little peeved. She supplements her small disability income by raising chickens behind her home and selling their eggs.

But now that the community has voted 8-0 to place new limits on holding birds in nonagricultural zones within the city, Bishop must find a new home for her 23 hens and a rooster.

The city made the decision after hearing complaints from locals annoyed by the clucking and crowing of their neighbours' chickens and roosters.

Bishop scoffs at the new ruling. "I've never had no problems or no complaints from any of my neighbours," she said in a telephone interview.

"I'm a native of northwest Arkansas and I'm accustomed to hearing a rooster crowing in the middle of the night, and it doesn't bother me," Wright said. "But it's something that to a lot of people moving in here from other areas ... I think it was more of a concern for them."

Census estimates show the city's population is growing at a steady rate, about 48,000, up from 39,000 in 2000.

The new law puts several restrictions into action, including a requirement that the birds are held in a secure enclosure at least 25 feet from the neighbour's home. Owners must now obtain a fowl permit and pay an annual five dollar fee. Bird slaughters also must be performed inside homes.

The rules seem especially strange for northwest Arkansas, the location of numerous commercial chicken farms and poultry processing factories, like Springdale's Tyson Foods, the world's largest meat company.

"It is an unusual ordinance because the city of Rogers was more or less built on the chicken industry," said city council member Buddy Wright.

He said he voted for the measure because his constituents wanted it, but he sees the irony of the situation.

Bishop brought her concerns to the city before the vote, but was told that she would have to rezone her property as an agricultural area if she planed to keep her chicken business. She said she simply doesn't have the cash.

"I think it's fairly unjust that they should put that hardship on me," she said.

20 June 2006 @ 08:17 pm
I work for a delivery service, we are looking to maybe switching all the delivery vehicles to biodiesel. My question for all of you fine people is: Do any of you know if there is some kind of grant available for businesses interested in having a whole biodiesel fleet? Such as, something from the government for reward to changing to biodiesel.
Of course I'm going to do research, but I just thought I could try to hook someone here who might know more about this before I start my search.

Thank you very much and have a nice evening.


I live in Portland, Oregon in the United States. I forgot to mention that earlier, sorry.
12 June 2006 @ 10:25 am
I'm quickly eating through my Bookmans credit. Yesterday I ventured out, and ended up taking home the following:
This morning, I journeyed over the northwest side to the St. Phillip's Farmers Market, where I bought:
  • a bottle of Terra Verde Farms peach tomato hot sauce - the sample was scrumptuous, and the man said it's incredible on scrambled eggs :)
  • a saltena, which is a hot, empanada-style pastry with hot meat or veggie filling - the woman who made them was from Bolivia - they are INCREDIBLY good!!
  • a small habanero pepper plant, already with white star-shaped flowers
I think I've been overwatering the tomatoes. Everything on the back porch is on a 3-day watering cycle; I'm going to try every five days with the tomatoes. Got Ken to put some plastic over my compost bin, to keep moisture and heat in.

x-posted all over the place (see my last post for specific groups)
10 June 2006 @ 11:17 am
Does anyone else listen to the Anthropik podcast? Or know of their website? I'm fairly new to them - but there are some really interesting discussions. They're sort of "neo-tribalists."

What is "afterculture"?

x-posted to _nuffism, aforestwhisper, azprogressives, frugal_tips, living_lightly, microliving, not_quite_rural, off_grid, primitiveliving, wildfoods