Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Self Sustained Living = Survival

I read something this morning that disturbed me a little. No, it wasn't something about the new Swine Flu(Mexican Flu), it was on the economy and spending trends for the first Q of the year. The title of the article is Economy Shrinks 6.1% in 1Q. The article goes on to state that people have spent money on big-ticket "durable" goods, including cars, furniture and household appliances led the increase. That spending rose at a 9.4 pace, the most in a year. Consumers also boosted spending on clothing, shoes, recreation services, medical care, gasoline and other energy products. But not on food, where spending dipped slightly.

Not on food? This article tells me people continue to be oblivious to the obvious. I guess 12.1% unemployment isn't worrying those that still have jobs for now. Those people aren't worried about eating, they can still pay to eat out every night.

The report still has dire warnings on overall economic performance. When will we (our government) admit that the billions of tax payer dollars they spent did nothing to help us? The gov keeps saying "just wait, it'll be good", how long are we supposed to be deceived by this? Have any of the unemployed found gainful employment yet? I'm not talking about a job that pays substantially less than what you used to make so you can get by...

Living self sustained will help you live healthier and happier. It takes some work but it's worth it. I have the option of having a bit of land. I can bale hay for my large animals but for my family and my small animals, I grow what we need on a spot roughly equal to a standard Chicago suburban back yard. The spot I grow feed in for the large animals is about a 1/2 acre. So there's no reason why anyone can't feed themselves in the city. Whatever you spend on food each week will be money you can save for things such as your house payment.

This is not hard to do. This is actually quite simple. The containers can be purchased for less than the price of a movie ticket. You can even use water caught from the downspout from your gutters. Set it in a sunny spot, keep it watered and eat. Even your backyard chickens will appreciate them, they'll gladly eat them too!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Chicken Coop Project

ROFL, I swear, the level says it's level!!!! Here's what I got done today on the chicken coop. Notice the evil cat with the glowing eyeballs guarding it! I think it's big enough to hold my 30 laying hens. It will have a wire enclosure out the front, the man door is on the left side, windows for venting heat etc on the front and back. I'll probably put a 3 degree roof on it and catch the rain. Speaking of rain, the weather report says isolated storms tomorrow thru Thursday! That figures....

Saturday, April 25, 2009

This weekends Pictures

A little bit of happenings this weekend, some work getting done with the warm and dry weather.
The last few days since I've been out and working slowly but surely on the farm, I've turned the goats and the sheep loose to run around. They've all behaved rather well, checked out the whole farm and even without fully functional perimeter fencing they've stayed close. I've got a duck that has decided she needs duck and chicklings, she's taken over a chicken nest, laid herself a few eggs and gone broody on them. Maybe she'll get s few hatched. I've got a bit done on the chicken house, being down on the ground is causing me some discomfort so it's going slower than I want it to. I also can't seem to find that whole bucket of 10p nails, guess I'll need to go pick up more. I hate going to town tho. The bunnies ae growing like mad, I've got some
New Zealand whites out of the box and those cute little smoke grey ones about 3 days from coming out. Hard to see them in the box, they blend in with Mommas hair so well.

I feel exhausted today for some reason. A trip around the barn lot and a little work on the barney mobile and I need a rest. I've got cheese going on the stove too.

Speaking of cheese, I visited some Amish neighbors that make cheese and learned tons watching them prepare a wheel of Gouda this morning. I look forward to the wheel I'm working on now.

Gardens are coming along and as stuff gets established and isn't getting pummeled by 25mph winds, I'll share some pics.......

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Global Recession and Forclosures-Self Sustained Living

Global recession is worse the the Great Depression, so says the IMF.

According the International Monetary Fund,"by far the deepest global recession since the Great Depression." To cushion the blow and head off further damage next year, the IMF is calling for more stimulus projects from the word's governments, including major spending for public works projects.

ROFL, yah, that'll work! Throw good money after bad guys, that always fixes any problem!

California, Florida, Arizona and Nevada are reflecting the highest foreclosure rates, the areas in those states hardest hit are discussed in the story. Why those areas tho? Is there no industry to support it's population? With economists all over the world projecting another 15 to 25 million people unemployed by the end of 2010, that's kind of painting an ugly picture for our future.
What happened to President Obama's assurances that the recession is over and we all need to go out and buy a new car?

I leave the farm once a week for fuel. I frequently go 3 weeks to a month at a time without having to "shop" anywhere. When I do have to shop, I do whatever I can to avoid Walmart. Hate the place with a passion. The farming allows me to be out in my rural area and see what's going on around me. I don't much like what I see. Tons of for sale signs on houses, plenty of vehicles and boats with for sale signs on them. Farmers in the area are feeling the pinch, Im seeing half the work acoss the board, less tree removal/cleanup, less garden tilling work, less misc livestock work, nobody has any money to spend for help. So, they are either doing it themsleves or not doing it at all. The price of animal feed is still way up even tho grain prices have fallen. Fertilizer is outrageously priced, most farmers locked in when the prices were really high for fear it would go higher and now that it's dropped some, they're stuck in their contracts. Some of the smaller farmers in the area are talking about leaving the fields fallow. Hard to plant ground that's costing $300 an acre to farm when you will only make a $150 return. Then I read this story about the dairy farmers industry which also worries me. If this keeps up and dairy farmers do like some of the farmers around here are thinking, what will happen to the availability of milk products? Of course, the government is right there to bail them out with a dairy buyout program. Big government making sure there's nowhere to buy your milk or cheese unless you buy it from a corporate(government controlled) run dairy!

What's wrong with people? Why doesn't every single person in this country see what's going on? Why do people still, every single payday, run out to Walmart and spend every single dime they made? Why are people still eating out every day, buying big screen TV's and watching biggest loser?

Well, I'm going outside to plant more potatoes and onions while the weather is still nice. They won't plant themselves!

Don't forget to look thru the post archives, tons of stuff there.........

Monday, April 20, 2009

How to be an Economic Survivalist thru Self Sustained Living

Okay, my rant is out of the way for those naysayers that think it's easy to do what I do because I've got land. The amount of land you have should not stop you from feeding yourself.

Let's get down to some stuff my city dwelling friends can use. I did a post yesterday for Illinois Prepper Network and it has pictures of backyard gardens on it. Check it out for ideas on what you can do with your backyard to feed yourself. After you get your preps in order, you need those to eat while you garden is growing, you need to get things growing. Starting seeds is simple, I have excellent luck using ziploc bags and peat pellets. It can even be done with a little soil in a bowl and some plastic wrap over it. Once the seedling is an inch or so tall, I remove it to a sunny spot to grow some more.

Then, after it grows for a while, I transplant it to a cut off pop bottle to develop roots while I'm waiting for the weather to get warmer. If you start seeds right now, by the time they are a decent size, you can skip the pop bottle and go right to outdoors with them, in the ground or in the container you plan to use. Now you're well on your way to surviving anything the economy throws at you and your ahead of the curve for living self sustained! Anytime you don't have to spend your hard earned money on something to eat, you're ahead. Wouldn't you like to not spend that 2 or 300 hundred dollars a paycheck on food? Think about all the money you spend eating out. What could you have if you saved that money?

Let's face reality, no matter how much money our government throws away, it will not magically create jobs out there for us. Life will not be improved until our country realigns itself. All we can do now is wait and make it thru the unemployment etc the very best we can. Having something good to eat right from home is so much nicer than the alternatives.

Here's my last years garden spot, it's roughly 30x40 I guess, maybe a little smaller and I planted potatoes elsewhere on the place. That garden would have fit in my backyard in Cicero, or in any of the places I lived in the city before moving down here to the country. Every plant in it will grow in any part of the USA with the exception of Alaska. Not sure if their growing season is long enough for a couple of those plants.

Anyway, my point is, everybody can do this. It will make a serious impact on the amount of money you have left over each payday and you'll be eating healthier than you could ever imagine. This is how you become an Economic Survivalist.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Sheep Shearing

I really thought this was going to turn out differently than it did. Another adventure for us. The clippers we have for the horses didn't work out quite like I expected so we did it the old fashioned way more or less. With a pair of scissors, we found out the "Copper" the sheep isn't copper, he's black! Well, we didn't know, this is our first sheep. Copper went off his feed 2 weeks ago and I have been concerned with him losing weight since he's going to be supper one of these days. So, I did a little reading and decided he was hot. 3 hours later, here is the naked sheep. I am absolutely covered in lanolin. His wool was drenched with it. At least my hands are soft now! I think Copper is happy, he's been wagging the tail we never knew he had ever since we turned him loose.....

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Happy Thursday on the farm

Today was a good day. Not too warm tho, plenty damp still. More like still sopping wet! Everywhere is muddy so I didn't even think about doing anything resembling gardening today. Nope, today was a clean up the messy farm day. As you can see, Pudge the cat was not helping. My son helped me all day, we got a ton of clean up done. First we had to round up our wayward Alpines, they have become masters of escape. No worries tho, both John Boy and Molly are gentled down and follow like puppies. So, we worked on fixing their pen in the pole barn so they'll stay put until we turn them out. Hauled out all the straw and set it aside for the gardens later on. Used cattle panel we had laying around and now they're where they are supposed to be! On to the old barn where there's an entire winters worth of loose hay, corn cobs and general trash to clean up. While we were knocking that out, I noticed my little grey rabbit was pulling fur. So a quick grab up job and move her to a bigger hutch with a nest box and this evening we have more bunnies!

On to the barn yard and cleaning up the misc hay strings and general junk that always seems to get left laying around. Got a bunch of the branches from our recent storms picked up and all the hubbys beer cans and mowed around the yard where it isn't swampy from all the rain.

I checked out the spot where we plan on building the new chicken coops and runs but it's pretty soft over there so no constuction in that spot for now. It'll just have to wait. Found a new batch of kittens, 3 of them and they're all grey.

Finished up about dark and just in time to pull the new batch of cheese out of the presses. This round was a new recipe for an herbed cheddar. It's Caraway seed cheddar. It smells awesome and I hope I can show some restraint and actually let it age for 30 days.....

Monday, April 13, 2009

Swimming Day

While we've watched it rain bucket loads over the past week, our ducks have swam all over the entire farm in places that should never have water. Now the farm is complete with ducklings in the bath tub! My kids thought the ducklings might need a little swim time, filled the tub a little bit and turned them loose. It's still too cold around here to put them outdoors with the rest of the ducks but their time will come soon enough. So, we'll just keep humming the rubber ducky song.......

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Happy Easter from the farm

Well, it's that time of year again. For those of you that celebrate it, Happy Easter!

There he is, one of the 3 banty chicks still going strong in with some unknown chicks hubby brought home for me.

Wicked storm rolled thru here yesterday afternoon, drown us again with hard rain. I found a flooded spot on a backroad south of the farm, mine subsidence low spot filled up quick with water. Once again the ducks were swimming in the circle drive. Today is a balmy 42 degrees but it's sunny. Soggy barnyard, muddy horses and chickens and a runny nose! Sounds like a normal day around the farm. At least I don't have back spasms!

This week I plan on starting some coffee beans and some tobacco plants. I'll share pics when they sprout......

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Disgusted and disappointed

You all know from reading this blog that I am an old hand at homesteading and living the rural farm life. I've got multitudes of animals and crops here. Monday I received my replacement order of chicks in the mail. Of course, par for my luck, instead of it being nice and warm like last week, it has to be 34 degrees and snowing! 6 dead chicks at the post office. Overnight to Tuesday, 11 more died. Thru the day yesterday, I lost 2 more. I about hate to go look at them this morning, the rest should be dead if my luck holds. This is the exact same tank, same light and setting I used last spring to raise 50 chicks at once I bought from Rural King. All lived and thrived. Brooding chicks isn't very hard, keep them warm and provide feed and water! Why are all my banty chicks dying? To add insult to injury, the door of the coop in the old barn where I was keeping the mature bantys blew down in the storm we had Saturday and they are all out. Yesterday I found the roo and 3 of the 5 hens but could not catch them. At dark, I could not find a single one. So, I may not even have any mature bantys now. I am down to 6 mature mixed laying hens now and hubby still hasn't brought home a single pallet from the coal mine for me to build the chicken house. We simply do not have the money to buy new lumber.

But on a brighter note, today is the first day since last Saturday that I woke up without back spasms! Still really stiff but not a single spasm yet and I've been up an hour!

The goats found freedom yesterday, they were running around in the barn lot. Still not sure how they got out unless they simply climbed out. They ran right up to me and followed me right back in the barn. They aren't quite gentled down yet, I didn't play with them all last week with my back misbehaving but they know who feeds them! The sheep is still alive, I moved him in the barn before the storm and realized we've not been feeding him quite enough. Under all that wool is a skinny sheep! So, his feed has been increased and we're aiming for 2 weeks to butcher. I need the time anyway to get my back going in the right direction....

At least the cheese wheels are drying a rind like they are supposed to. Something is going right!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Monterey Jack day

Well, I been at it again. Since this wacked out weather has me down in the back and stuck in the house, I figured I might as well do something constructive. Not being able to bend down or sit down limited what I was going to do so I made a few batches of Monterey Jack cheese. So fa it looks right, LOL. Ya never know tho.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Marking an Anniversary

It was on this day in 1882, the low down dirty dog Bob Ford, bushwacked and killed Jesse James. Jesse, age 34 at the time of his death was the most famous member of the James-Younger gang. Already a grand celebrity when he was alive, he became a legendary figure of the wild west after his death.

On April 3, 1882, after eating breakfast, the Fords and James prepared for departure for another robbery, going in and out of the house to ready the horses. It was an unusually hot day. James removed his coat, then declared that he should remove his firearms as well, lest he look suspicious. James noticed a dusty picture on the wall and stood on a chair to clean it. Robert Ford took advantage of the opportunity and shot James in the back of the head. James' two previous bullet wounds and partially missing middle finger served to positively identify the body.

I'd like to say "thanks" to Mrs Hoppes for her kind words and Jennifer, I'm right there with you.
I don't often have too much to sale at the end of the day but the occasional extra bunny but I'm working on it. Good job on saving the apples! I wish Craigslist and Freecycle were "good" in this area but they aren't anything but filled with scammers and beggars.

Stay safe and get growing!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Are you kidding me?

I was just reading this story from yahoo news... it says 1 in 10 Americans getting food stamps. The title of the article is Food Stamp list swells to record 32.2 million... How depressing is that? I have a chip on my shoulder when it comes to welfare, I could rant for hours. Here in rural southern Illinois, I see the program abused and I see lazy ignorant people reaping the benefits of others' hard work. I also see the government not doing anything about the abuse, they turn a blind eye to it here. I'll quit this subject now or I'll go off on a 2 hour rant.

Here's something else I read today I'd like to share with you today. It's also from yahoo news, it's about how Wall Street could be indicating a bottom to the recession. It's called New Signs Emerge That Recession may be Near Bottom. I read the article and it seemed to me that the author contradicted himself all thru it. If the wealthy spend some money but the jobless rate keeps going up, how is that a bottom to the recession???? If those of us that qualify as "working poor" (anybody making less than $40,000.00 a year) can't buy food without foodstamps, how is this a sign of things getting better? I just don't get this at all. 10% of the workforce in this country is collecting unemployment. There's no count of the people that have exhausted their benefits and are still out of work.

My family is working poor. We work hard for what we've got and I do my very best to make sure we eat well without the aid of the government. With the help of my son, I provide our food with blood sweat and tears. I am disabled as well. We do not collect any type of government aid. If I can do this, anybody can do this.

We've got a storm headed our way, due to run over the top of us any time now. My back is so stiff and sore, I can hardly breathe. I look forward to it passing us by so I can get back to business as usual. I'm milking cows for my neighbor for the next couple of days, they're out on a calf buying trip. I love the calves, if it's not pouring rain, I'll get a pic or 2 for you all to see.

Stay safe and get growing something!