The reason we don’t eat at home is we don’t know how to cook. Homecooking is a lost art, with an unfair stigma, mainly because it doesn’t produce money but it can quickly turn your life around. It drastically reduces packaging and the pollution that creates, it vitalizes and heals your body, nurtures your loved ones, conserves money and enables you gain control of the security of your food in these uncertain times.
You can’t just turn on a burner and eat. Cooking is a process an ever changing ongoing activity. You have to know how to acquire, select and store ingredients. A necessity as well are the proper tools and the know how to use them to ease with preparation and cleanup. Once you know the nature of your ingredients and the tricks of your equipment, cooking is more a pleasure than a chore.
It is important to cook only with 10/18 stainless steel or cast iron pots with tight fitting lids. Try to buy also 10/18 flatware, as these forks and spoons don’t easily bend and will, like the pots last a lifetime. A tablespoon is the large spoon and the teaspoon is the small one. Use only cast iron frying pans or a good stainless steel wok for frying. Buy them used if you can find them. To use anything else is a waste of your time and money in the long run. Cheap pots and pans are hard to cook with and difficult if not impossible to clean.
A small sharp knife like a paring knife or steak knife makes preparing foods easier. Some knives are made with a “permanently sharp” serrated edge and others come with a sharpener. A knife must be sharp to be effective, it should easily slice a carrot. A dull knife is dangerous, frustrating and requires much more effort to use. A good knife will hold its sharp edge for a long time and hold its blade tight in the handle. The blade should not easily bow or be too heavy as to become tiresome for the user.
A grater is very helpful in quickly cutting fruits and vegetables into small bits. Try and find a good used stainless steel grater the new ones are cheap and bend too easily. The tools you use should be as pleasurable as toys to use.
Stove and oven temperatures vary from unit to unit. For this reason, the temperatures here are only guidelines. You only need to preheat an oven for baked goods. Don’t get burned from the steam or heat while taking off pot lids or the opening oven door. Always use an oven mitt or a folded towel to protect your hand from getting burned on hot pot.
Burning the skin is a hazard in the kitchen, from steam, hot pans or spattering fat. Don’t leave the kitchen unattended while cooking at high temperatures. Always turn pot and pan handles in, so they can’t get knocked off the stove. Keep a box of baking soda by the stove to douse a fire if necessary.
Be mindful of the temperature under the pots to ensure you don’t burn what you are cooking. When food boils too hot it will bubble out of the pot. If the oil spatters out of the pan the temperature is too high, turn it down. Burning food renders it unpalatable. If what you are cooking starts to stick and burn on the bottom take it from the heat and remove as much of the food as possible, without disturbing the burned bottom. If, on the other hand if you have left a pot on a high temperature and smoke is coming from it, remove the pot from the burner, open the kitchen windows, don’t take off the lid and don’t eat it. Not only can burned food ruin a meal, but burnt on food can wreck even the best pots.
On the stove top most food is cooked by adding it to a hot pan or a pot of boiling water. After adding the food wait a minute, then turn down the burner to one quarter heat. Covering pots and pans with lids will help food cook faster using less energy. Don’t use a lid when cooking in a lot of oil or when frying breaded items. A sprinkle of salt in a pot of water will help water boil faster, enhance flavors, and help vegetables retain green color when cooking.
Always have all ingredients cut before turning on a burner to cook. The smaller the pieces, the faster they cook, the sooner you eat. Cut food by pressing a sharp knife through it on a hard surface like cutting board. Respect the damage the blade could do to your flesh, if cut you would be well advised to disinfect the cut immediately with tea tree essential oil.
Most vegetables are easily cooked in a frying pan. Put a cast iron pan or stainless steel wok on the burner, turn the temperature to high, add a couple of tablespoons of olive oil or butter. When the oil is hot, before it smokes, add food cut in bite size pieces. Stir vigorously with a fork, then turn temperature down to medium. Sprinkle with salt and sugar, then stir with fork to blend. Turn off heat and eat.
Steaks, chops, boneless chicken pieces and bacon are easy to cook in a frying pan. Turn the burner on high to get your frying pan hot before adding your meat. Meat closest to a bone will always take longest to cook, so put it in the center on the pan. Make a cut into the fat on steak and chops to keep the meat from curling. Lay bacon in pan slice by slice. Continue on high for a few minutes until you hear the fat spatter.
Turn the burner down to medium. Cook until the bottom turns brown and turn over in pan. You will know when meat is done when you press it with the bottom of a fork and the juices come out clear. Roasted birds are done when the cooked leg pulls away from the body. The meat of cooked hamburger, pork or chicken should not be pink, not even at the bone.
Hamburgers are made by forming plain ground beef into patties. They are cooked in a frying pan the same way. Burgers are only ready to flip when the bottom is firm enough to turn over without loosing the shape of the burger. Remember, once the meat has cooked, use a clean flipper or fork other than the one you used for the raw meat.
An oven roast meal is the easiest. Use an oven to cook larger meals and/or larger cuts of meat. Put the meat in a pot or pan and sprinkle with salt and pepper; cover with lid. With a dry cloth, rub dirt off potatoes (rinse them if you can spare the water) and stab them twice with a knife. Put the roast in the middle of the oven surrounded by the potatoes making sure they aren’t touching each other. Turn the oven to 350F, no need to preheat it. Cook the potatoes until a fork goes in the flesh easily, and the meat until the juices run clear when poked with a fork. Watch out for the steam when you open the pot lid!
Transfer the meat to plate. Let it cool a bit before you cut it. While it is cooling, put the pot on a burner turned to medium. Scrap the bottom of the pot with the bottom of a fork to blend the drippings. Put two tablespoons of cornstarch in a cup of cold water, mix well and add to the drippings, mix together well and bring to a boil. This is gravy! If it is too thin add more cornstarch solution, if too thick just add water.
Put frozen vegetables in a pot will a lid, sprinkle with salt, cover and cook over medium. Watch them carefully, stir them often, they will cook very quickly. Cook the vegetables at the same time as the gravy so everything will be ready at the right time.
Turn the vegetables and gravy off. Cut the roast. The fibers in meat can be long and hard to chew, but if we cut the fibers short the meat is easier to chew. If there are strings on the roast your cuts will be parallel. Without strings, remember the fat will be on the outside edge of each slice. A pork chop or steak is a slice of meat cut against the grain.
When the meal is over, put the bone from the roast in the gravy pot and put in the fridge, this will become soup the next day. Fill the pot with water to cover bone, with the bone, to three quarters full, add three good pinches of salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and slowly good the bone for three hours or so. An hour before you are going to eat, take the bone out and let cool. Add to the broth, either a chopped up potato or two or a half cup of rice, and an onion and some celery chopped up. Cook for a half hour or until soft, then add a cup of vegetables you have fresh or frozen, and herbs like parsley, and a tablespoon of sugar and soya sauce. Taste your soup, it will taste bland if it doesn’t have enough salt; you would be surprised how much salt is in soup.
To make soup stock cover a whole chicken with water, add a few bay leaves and a tablespoon of salt to a large pot. Cook on high until the water boils and turn the heat down to one quarter; cook until all the meat falls from the bone. Let cool, then remove fat off the top, bay leaves and the bones. You will see the soup is a jelly, a concentrate of soup. Use three or four cup of the concentrate of soup to make a full soup by adding rice or potatoes, and any other vegetable available.
It is very convenient to freeze a meal serving size in a bag. Use a cup of food per person per bag as your general guide; it is better to have a little more than a little less. A bag is easier to fill if it is sitting open in a cup when it is filled. Press the seal of the bag until only a small airhole is left, then roll the bag up from the bottom rolling the extra plastic around the soup and pushing all the air out of the bag. Never put warm food in the freezer.
Cream soups don’t freeze well but they are easy to make and a hit with picky eaters. Melt two tablespoons of olive oil and/or butter over medium heat. Add two potatoes and/or broccoli, asparagus, celery, onions, cauliflower, add portion of soup stock. Put a lid on pot. Bring to a boil on high, then turn down and cook at quarter heat until all vegetables are soft when pierced with a fork. The trick is then to use a handheld blender to puree the soup until velvety smooth. If it is too thick add some water. While not really necessary but if you want to add it milk do it here, while adding salt, sugar and pepper to taste.
With basic cooking, milk, butter, cheese and cream should added to the recipe at the end of the cooking time. Not cooked but rather melted into the dish like a condiment. A grater is excellent on cheese because cutting cheese with a knife is hard on your hands and it makes little bits that melt quickly reducing the amount of cheese needed. Avoiding heating yogurt at all as it destroys the friendly bacteria it contains.
Fried rice is an excellent nutrient dense entrée. Put one and one half cups of rice and three cups of cold water in pot with lid. Cook on high until steams, without taking off the lid, turn the burner down to low and let cook for twenty minutes. In a large frypan, on medium put dry spices like tumeric or curry, when warmed add one quarter cup of olive oil, garlic, ginger, mushrooms and fresh or frozen vegetables cut fine. Turn temperature to high and stir vigorously. When the vegetables are hot add hot or leftover rice. Make three holes in the rice, and fill with raw eggs. Quickly stir into the rice, letting the heat of the rice cook the egg. Then turn down to medium and let cook without stirring for a few minutes. Add soya sauce, a pinch of sugar, pepper and salt to taste, then stir vigorously with fork. Turn off heat.
Do not underestimate the impact and nutrition of spice. Store them very close to the stove so they will be convenient to use. The spices you need are garlic, and/or tumeric, pepper, cumin, ginger, oregano, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, cinnamon, and dry mustard. Salt, sugar, soya sauce, apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar and/or balsamic vinegar are also value components of appetizing meals. Use spices liberally, except for sage and pepper, it is very hard to use too much. Start with a teaspoon per meal of each spice, then remember to add or reduce to suit your taste the next time you use that combination. You won’t use all the spices everyday, but each imparts unique flavors which allow you to have a an appetizing, exciting menu.
Tomato sauce is an excellent dish for using dried herbs as spices. Put one quarter cup of olive oil in bottom of large pot and cook at high heat. Add tomatoes and/or onions, celery, zucchini, peppers, and a tablespoon of sugar, a sprinkle of salt, and if lucky a few bay leaves. Stir vigorously. When vegetables are warm, put lid on pot and turn down to one quarter heat. Simmer until all vegetables are soft then remove lid. Continue to cook until desired texture is achieved, the longer the thicker the sauce. When the sauce is ready add oregano and/or parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme and basil then salt to taste. Some years there weren’t enough tomatoes to make enough sauce for the winter. No one noticed a different when some tomatoes were with plums, apples and pears. Tomato sauce freezes well, use the same procedure as with the soup stock.
Salads are combinations of fresh vegetables cut into small pieces. It is very convenient to use a little stainless steel grater here to make little bits from the garlic, unpeeled carrots, unpeeled beets, onions, and unpeeled ginger. Large leafy vegetables are most easily and conveniently cut up with a large pair of scissors, keep them clean and only for cutting vegetables. Mix and match the ingredients available will make salads seasonal delicacies.
Choice salad oils are olive, apricot seed, flaxseed, hemp seed and/or grape seed combinations. This component to a healthy diet should not be disregarded there absence in the body is unforgiving. In much the same way as oil in a car allows it to operate smoothly, so too you should think of salad oil. Don’t skimp using these oils on salads and cooked vegetables oils. These oils loose their effectiveness when heated.
Dressing is made from a combination of two tablespoons of healthy salad oils, a half tablespoon of vinegar, a half teaspoon of sugar and salt and pepper to taste. Apple cider, balsamic, wine, and rice vinegars when used as the solo with salad oils bring excellent flavor to any meal. Put ingredients directly on salad greens in the order given. This is only a base recipe, by adding herbs and spices on hand, use your taste buds to decipher if the flavor will make this salad perfect.
A Mediterranean salad mix includes every kind of peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and onions. The dressing is one part balsamic vinegar to four parts salad oils sprinkled with rosemary, oregano, thyme, and/or basil, and salt and sugar to taste. Feta cheese and olives are traditionally used in this combination.
A family favorite is cheeseburger salad. It is basically all the ingredients of a cheeseburger without the bun. Using leftover cooked hamburger, cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles, and lots of lettuce cut into bite size pieces. The dressing is mayo, mustard, ketchup and relish to taste.
Mayonnaise is easily made if you have an electric blender. In a very clean blender jar whip one fresh egg add a teaspoon each of sugar, apple cider vinegar and dry mustard powder. Then blend on a lower setting while pouring one cup of salad oil slowly through the hole in the lid. Don’t over blend the mayo; once you see the right consistency turn the blender off and stop adding the oil. Transfer to a sterilized jar and store in the fridge. Mark the date on the jar and use within three or four days. Keep mayonnaise in the refrigerator.
Chicken salad is chicken, onions and parsley cut into small bits and mayo mixed with a teaspoon of dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste, served over salad greens. Fish salad is made exactly the same way, although dill is an excellent addition to this recipe.
Egg salad is boiled eggs, onions, parsley, carrot and/or celery and pickles cut into small bits and mayo mixed with a teaspoon of dry mustard and salt and pepper to taste served with lettuce on bread as a sandwich.
To boil eggs will a pot half full with cold water put it on the burner. Add eggs to fill the pot, put on a tight lid and turn the burner on high. Once the water is boiling turn it off, leaving the pot on the burner. After ten minutes, carefully drain the hot water from the pot. Put the pot in the sink on the faucet to pour cold water on them to cool them down. If the egg isn’t cooled fast enough the yolk edge will darken, this does not however affect its edibility. Peel an egg by tapping the bottom and top to crack the shell, peel and rinse. Older eggs are easiest to peel.
A coleslaw salad can include cabbage, carrots, beets, onions and/or garlic grated or chopped up fine. The creamy dressing is three parts mayo with one part salad oil with salt, pepper and sugar to taste. The tangy dressing is three parts salad oil, one part vinegar with salt and sugar to taste.
The tangy dressing works well with bean salad. Combine cooked and cooled beans, with chopped onion and/or parsley and cucumbers. Soak mixture in tangy dressing overnight in the fridge.
Plan the next day’s meals before you go to bed. Assess which resources are on hand for the recipes you like and your time available for preparation. Take any meat you need out of the freezer to thaw. Don’t be afraid to partially prepare for the next meal ahead of time. Cook extra meat or eggs the day before to have the ingredients ready for your meal.
Time your activities to make the most of your resources. I bake and make soup during the winter months when doing so helps heat the house. In the summer heat, I roast meat and vegetables in the oven late at night to use the food cold in sandwiches and salads the next day. Scheduling the main meal at noon is most effective as it allows the cook day to best utilize the day.
Preparing healthy food for other people is a loving act. Homecooked meals take longer to prepare but their attributes far exceed their limitations. The finest food is not uniform and identical like ordering from a menu. Everyone has their own culinary signature and everything you prepare and enjoy eating is perfect.
everything is happening simultaneously everywhere only time allows for the illusion of separate, aloneness, disattachment when fall is happening families are loving thirst and hunger death, birth existence
The sole purpose of your body is to maintain health. The modern store bought diet, and the use of chemicals to heal and clean, have disrupted the body’s natural responses and healing abilities. Allergies, irrational cravings, lethargic ambition, and raging anger and debilitating malaise are signals of contamination. When we keep our bodies away from the diet we were designed, for we can only run on reserves for so long then deterioration setting us up for chronic illnesses and unable to ward off future health problems.
Deterioration also leaves us vulnerable to the biologic unseen, which if not kept in check, can take down any man. Invasive growths like mould, bacteria and fungi and parasites thrive and breed in deterioration, as it is their ideal environment. This accumulation of the smallest is always trying to break down the world to compost, as this is their responsibility.
It is imperative for vitality and longevity to consume foods as fresh and natural as possible. By gorging on fresh organically produced food preserved when it is naturally ripe, we can match our diet the seasonal nutritional needs of our bodies. By eating for health and avoiding chemicals we can build strong bodies and ward off deterioration.
Fermented foods, like vinegar, pickles and yogurt are very important to health and must be included daily to a human diet to keep invasive bacteria at bay. Nuts and seeds are vital to obtain optimum nutrition and they are essential to rid the body of parasites. Essential oils are also extremely effective to overcome negative bacteria, parasites and viruses. Derived from nature plant based remedies work as ideal nourishment to restore and maintain a healthy body.
Don’t let the fear of food contamination keep you from using your kitchen. An iota of apprehension is natural perhaps even why people began praying over their food. This innate response is also beneficial as it keeps us vigilant to store food properly and clean in a timely manner after eating.
Wash your hands well before you start cooking. Bacteria and parasites living on raw meat or in water used to clean vegetables, when present can transferred to your kitchen, always be aware of this. The best way to clean vegetables is to sprinkle them with salt and rinse them under running water. If this isn’t practical set them for a couple of minutes in salted water.
All meat is stored in the freezer or fridge, the cooked away from raw. Unless frozen, meat should be cooked and consumed within four days. Keep raw meat on a clean plate to contain the blood. Make it a practice to cut raw meat of a serving plate, and wash it and the knife before you begin preparing the vegetables. Wash anything that may have touched the meat or meat juice during preparation, including your hands, water tap, fridge door handle and stove knob with hot soapy water.
Store pickles, dressings, eggs, cheese, yeast, dairy products, vegetables, fruit and leftovers in the fridge. Do not store vegetables wet or in plastic wrap. It is imperative to always use a clean knife every time you retrieve a pickle or scoop mayo or mustard to keep them free from contamination.
Some foods can be stored in a dark, cool cupboard without refrigeration; including ketchup, mustard, dry grains, sugar and honey, spices, salt, vinegars, canned food, cooking oils, onions, potatoes, garlic, bananas, and tomatoes.
Always store apples away from other fruits and vegetables as their presence hastens rotting. Don’t keep onions with garlic flavours as their flavours will mingle. Produce will only store for a short time on the counter or in the fridge.
Be mindful to keep your fridge clean. Any blood our spills should be washed up immediately with a vinegar solution. Line the vegetable drawers with newspaper to absorb moisture and help prohibit mould. Throw away anything that has spoilt immediately. Remove all food from the fridge and wash down with hot soapy water, and rinse with a vinegar solution every month or so.
Clean the dishes and utensils well removing every trace of food particles and grease. They should look as brand new when you put them in the cupboard. First put the dirty glasses and jars in the sink, then add a couple of squirts of dish soap and fill with hot water only. Let the glasses soak while the water cools enough for you. Next clean the cutting board and rinse in with undiluted vinegar. Then wash the dishes and utensils and finally the dirty pots.
Use a clean dishcloth for every sink of dishes. Change water if it gets too dirty to be effective. If possible, after washing, rinse your dishes in a sink of water to which a tablespoon of vinegar is added. Let them air dry on a rack. Don’t dry with a towel and don’t put anything away wet.
Make sure to clean all rivets, rims and seams where bacteria could hide. Hard to clean dishes need a bit of a soak before they can be washed clean. Sometimes proteins, like eggs, get stuck to pans. In this case soak them in cold water for a few minutes to loosen The opposite is true as a soak in hot water loosens grease, sugars and carbohydrates like rice. The most effective way to clean cast iron pans it to first soak a few minutes scrub with steel wool and rinse.
After all the dishes have been washed. Fill the sink once more with hot soapy water and one quarter cup of vinegar. Wash down the stove, sinks, table and counters with this vinegar solution. Wash anything you touched while handling raw food, like the fridge door handle, knobs on cupboards and drawers and the dishsoap bottle. Hang your dish cloth to dry. To sanitize the dish cloths in the washing machine, using hot water and add one quarter cup of vinegar to the load.
Invisibly we are a cosmos of bacteria, virus and parasite all competing for the resources in our bodies. They can help heal or kill us, some work as our allies and some not. Sickness is not so much precluded because by foreign invaders ones as it is the lack of effectiveness of native force. It is in your favour to create the conditions to allow those who work for good benefit to prosper and overpower the others. Don’t sit passively as invasive forces slowly break you down.
The chaotic emptiness of lives crammed alone into cities is unnatural to the creatures we are born to be. As human beings, we are all descendant of peoples who automatically lived in tune with nature and the land. It is natural to long for a more meaningful way of life because our humanity is physically linked to taking care of the land. Our true nature, our righteous place, is to live honouring her majesty and reaping her harvest.
Today people live like tourists in this world, instead of like the heirs to the kingdom that they are. No longer living in the security of familiar clumps but scattered by the winds of fortune has left us vulnerable and without allies. We are not to live like the showy short-lived annuals interested only in looks and spreading our seed. It could be said we live like the invasive weeds as we monopolize resources, overtake others to get ahead, and don’t want to share not even with our own. It should be said we are the hardy perennials who happily develop, mature and survive for generations as intrinsic members of our communities.
Traditionally to survive and thrive the extended family lived and worked together easily sustaining the group. Without pretence a mosaic of personal attributes and limitations, whole heartedly pulled the same cart up the same hill. This sustainability trait is mimicked in the natural world whether a pride, colony, hill, or clump all work for the greater good. It is in your interest to gather and support the natural allies of your life.
Essentially, people are all doing the same things at the same time. We all sleep then rise, work, eat, clean and socialize. Our needs are all similar. Our skills and resources are different however as our weaknesses are others’ strengths. If we truly lived as the family of man, we would talk to our neighbors and find efficient ways to save time and resources in maintaining our lives. This is a simplistic example but you see the solution is obvious. It has evaded us partly because we have refused to expose our needs and share with others.
One homestead can comfortably produce for the needs of three families. Homesteading can be implemented with one person, or many people. It is not possible for a couple to manage a completely self-sustaining homestead, the work and pressure would be too much work to bear. It can work well with two households, each member contributing part-time labour. With less people, the need for production is reduced, but not the labour needed. It is just as much effort to produce food for one as it is for two or three more.
In every century, people have left the status quo to pioneer on their own in search of a better life, so it is true today. We are not hacking through the wilderness to carve out a living and start all over in isolation hardship. That would be irresponsible and counter productive at the very least. It is not too late to find the land that will sustain your life.
There are miles of land in this country desperately in need of stewardship; farms already built, but for the most part underutilized. We have to renovate and rejuvenate what has been created and build upon that as our foundation. What we are about to embark on is a lifestyle of using resources already available to us to reshape our lifestyles to live more in tuned with nature. We must take the wisdom of the old ways and combine it with the benefits of the twentieth century.
Rural properties are different to assess than real estate in the city. To be efficient and self-sustaining a homestead in the country must have its own infrastructure. There are five main factors to consider when purchasing land to homestead.
Number one is it must have water easily accessible, right on the property. It may pumped from a well or run with gravity from a surface water source, or even be facility to capture rainfall. In all cases consider the maintenance and upkeep cost requirement of the equipment. Is there enough water pressure? Can you purchase water rights? Any property with a natural clean water source should be considered. A small piece of property with clean water is more valuable than a multi-million dollar estate where water has to be delivered by truck.
Number two is proximity to modern amenities like power, roads, regulation septic tank, and services perhaps like a post office, convenience store, or garbage pick up. Can you put the water where you want to garden or put animals? How easily could you get to help in emergency situations? Will your road be cleaned in the winter?
It is a big sacrifice and leap of faith to relocate to the country, to grow your own food and to live away from the modern excitement of the city. You may have to deal with limited health care and schools, few shopping conveniences, and isolation in changing weather conditions.
A person must have enough amenities that they feel comfortable when they are resting. In my opinion anything less than a toilet with sceptic tank, fridge, stove, running water and a reliable heat source would make any woman not want to stay. If you relax by watching television, then bring a television or your Nintendo, computer, or piano. Don't be ashamed have to what you need to relax and have fun alone and with others.
There is a limiting social factor to rural living overcome this by making the most of all your interactions with people. Exchanges with others are valuable and necessary for growth. Read the closest bulletin board regularly. It not only shows who is selling what, but local happenings you can participate in such as clubs, fundraisers and events such as farmers markets and fairs.
Number three is the natural qualities of the land. Walk the property, explore the areas that aren’t being utilized and find out why not. You don’t want a property that has so much water it is like a marsh, it only creates a natural obstacle to raising food and the mould and bug problems may be insurmountable. Does the ecosystem sustain wild mushrooms or animals or berries? Can you have a garden or a fish pond?
Do the attributes of the land match your needs and lifestyle? We chose to live by a lake for fishing and swimming and a micro climate which allows us to grow plants and animals with greater diversity. It is an asset to be able to create alternative power from your property; hydro, solar, wind, geothermal.
Don’t fail to see the value in a southern facing property; the more sun you can utilize to grow food, the more food you can grow. The earlier the snow melts in the spring and the later the frost comes in the fall also extends the growing seasons. These factors can not be modified and have more value than the appeal of any building.
Fourthly, assess the buildings on the property and their condition. What are they insulated with and does is it energy efficient? Did you check the windows and doors for drafts? Are the windows double paned for energy efficiency? Do all the taps, toilets and sinks work? Does anything leak? Do all the lights and electrical outlets work? Where does the sewage go from the house? Electrical and septic upgrading may be necessary for insurance reasons, which can add greatly to the cost of the house.
Before you buy a house, look at the foundation holding the building up. Is it straight and firm or is it bowed and sinking; is it dry and free from mould? While you are in the basement look at the hot water heater and water pipes; are they old and need to be replaced to be energy efficient? Degradation to the foundation including water seepage will continue unless intervened with costly repairs, this would not be a preferred property.
Besides being expensive, sometimes the machines and people aren’t available in the country, to do work for you, as immediately as you would expect in the city. Consider the additional costs to be incurred above the price of the property to bring it to a manageable standard.
Pens, fencing and shelters for animals on the property are certainly assets worth paying more for. Outbuildings can be used further revitalized for storage and accommodation.
It is better to use established buildings, as long as they are sound, to house animals rather than build new ones. You might build a new pen that works terrific in the summer but sadly watch the roof fall in from the weight of the winter snow. Unless you are an experienced builder there are too many variables to success and you will be putting your animals at risk. Choose a place where buildings that have stood the test of time and will continue to functions through all the seasons.
Your first year should be spent studying how the property works. Know how your water and septic systems operate, don't assume. Understand what could go wrong and have a solution at the ready. The problems with an old furnace, a leaky pipe, broken fencing or the need for insulation will always become obvious. Make note of potential problems as they present themselves to the thought of fixing them when the time and resources or urgency presents itself.
Plan ahead your course of action for a fire, severe weather, water shortage, and power outages. It is much better to face problems and solve them as you can, than be faced with the cost of unexpected hardship. Seek low cost low tech solutions for potential problems. Prepare for the worse knowing this security will cushion your success.
Although nature appears gentle, is not passive. Nature is the most powerful force. It always shows what is inadequate about what you have done or not done, and you deal with the consequences before you can do what is better next time. Until things mature, and perpetually run in sync, there will be glitches in the system. Be accepting of this is the process being diligent to make adjustments as necessary. It is not a hardship but a loving, sacrificial commitment you are making for the planet.
If we are going to protect the earth from the deluge of human destruction then it is going to take each of us protecting a piece at a time, it must be our conviction. Please don’t ignore this opportunity. If you do not, I assure you the corporations exhorting nature’s vitality and profiting from the depletion of our country’s natural resources will not. Do your part to nurture a patch, let it feed you and the world. Eventually all pieces will join to create for the earth a protective quilt of stewardship and paradoxically set a framework for capital-less existence with a light footprint for generations to come.
Dear Diary: Yesterday there was a little gray mouse in the feed barrel. I put my hand in as a half-hearted effort to capture him. He scurried right up to my hand, rubbed his head under my finger, then ran the length of this his body along the same finger to the tip of his tail. I brought him out in my hand set him on the ground, my fingers lingering as he rubbed against them. It felt like a Disney movie moment, until a chicken saw the show and chased the mouse for her lunch. Such is like nature, always giving, sometimes gifts unknown, and always taking, sometimes gifts unknown too.
The privilege of animals is also the burden. We keep animals captive in environments that aren’t native to them and it is our responsible to care for their needs. Each breed and each sex carries with it general attributes and limitations that can be directed properly to make them efficient for a homestead. To do this you must make it a priority to consider fully the steps and expenses necessary to raise each animal. You must have the ability to comply with these requirements, from birth to death, prior to getting an animal. You will be accountable for each animal’s continual well being, sometimes for many years to come.
Number One Rule: Don't get a critter until you have learned and can administer the proper environmental protection and sustenance for it. Anticipate the worse possible negative event then be prepared to implement preventative measures eliminating failure factors. It will always be a mistake to get an animal prior to this preparation.
All animals and birds must have a shelter. Do you have a suitable pen; cool enough on the hottest day of summer and warm enough on winter’s coldest day? Is there enough room for the animals to walk around a bit during shut in days? It should have a good roof and a dry floor. Moisture and the mould it calls are also toxic to animals. Every pen must have a hole for in air and a hole for out air to maintain air quality through ventilation.
All birds and animals need as much space as possible for foraging. When it is inadequate to sustain them, you must step in to supplement feed. Gradually feed critters more as they grow from infants to maturity. It is your responsibility to make sure they don't suffer by having good food, clean water, room for natural activity and sunshine everyday. You would know it if you didn't eat or drink today, so do animals.
They all must a secure fenced area around the shelter to keep them safe and for exercise. Do you have a sufficient fenced to keep the animals you plan to keep? A cow needs a minimum of an acre, smaller animals and birds need less to be content. It is of note that plants and grass stop growing at fifty percent consumption in pasture and garden. For this reason, it is optimal to have two penned areas for your animals, one to be grazed while the other recovers and grows again.
A good fence not only keeps animals in, it keeps predators out. Proper fortification is your first line of defence. Predators are persistent and when hungry will be diligent to infiltrate your security. Some dig under fences, some climb trees to get over fences, some can get through the smallest holes. Make sure no trees or structures make escape or entry possible. Laying chicken wire and/or gravel around the perimeter of your fence will alleviate animals digging in. Valuable energy can be spent tending injured animal, chasing away predators, rounding up escaped critters and re-reinforcing fences and pens. A person can spend years carefully raising critters only to lose them all to one natural predator in one night.
What are the natural predators in your area and what helps you evade them? You but must be vigilant and clever in this protection. Once after weeks of no eggs, we watched crows sneaking our eggs and badgering our young chickens. We set up a motion detector hooked to a radio, it worked like a charm. Never underestimate the crow or hawk as it watches when you don’t see it and plans its assault. Predators can be the largest obstacle in raising animals as no free range pen can never totally be predator proof.
Beyond fencing and shelter there are many general questions you need to answer to assess you ability to raise food animals in a self-sustaining manner: What will the animal cost you to from purchase to table? Where can you get healthy animals and how can you get them to you? What do they eat and how can you get feed? Do you have a covered storage area for feed? Do you have good water and feeding locations? Are you keeping them over the winter; are you able to secure that much feed and do you have a dry place to store it? How will the males and females interact and how will you deal with needs of the offspring? Are you prepared for grooming jobs such as nail clipping and treating known health threats?
It is not efficient to keep animals through the winter because buying feed is expensive, and growing your own feed takes a lot of land and time in labour. When are they ready to harvest and how does that process happen? Do you have butchering skills and facilities? Do you have a freezer to preserve the meat? It is best to prepare for the end at the beginning.
The farm chores you will be performing, while at first will seem complicated and time consuming, eventually become habitual and will rotate naturally and easily with the seasons. Knowing you will be doing the same chores, day after day, year after year, helps one consider the most time efficient way to do them. Streamline the chore; correlate it with other necessary daily activities. Chores should be set up for your convenience to be performed with the minimal of effort so neither you or the animal suffers. You should not be a slave to your animals, but a steward.
Homestead life is both joyous and tragic. Spend time with your critters to learn from their behaviour. Gradually somehow, like with cats and dogs, you can interpret their unique body language. Animals want that warm intimate feeling we long for with people, knowing this is a crucial element in maintaining animal health. To raise farm animals is to see nature’s alchemy in perfection. Working with nature becomes a very familiar comfortable way to secure food. In all ways this life is fulfilling, challenging and satisfying.
Dear Diary: Still no one has laid her eggs. We think an owl is going after our chickens; we lost four two-year old laying hens this week. The chickens used to sleep in the trees and the turkeys on the ground. Now that it is colder, they sleep huddled next to the shed, the chickens in the middle surrounded by the turkeys. Late last night Roy went out to check, after we heard a noise. He saw all the turkeys on their feet, “foaming at the mouth” in defiant protection mode. Animals never cease to amaze me, their compassion, their honesty, their strength of identity and secrecy. Who is to say whether animals have an inner dialogue but they certainly have a moral code; it does not match ours but exists none the less.
The lessons from a flock of birds illuminate many truths about raising animals in general. It can be especially lovely if you don’t have the heart to kill for food, as at you can have a house of hens who happily leave their eggs for you to eat. Without your intervention, a hen will lay an egg, on average, every other day consecutively for years. In full compliance with providence if you do let your hens live in accord with their natural life rhythms and interact with males, they will produce chickens for you to eat as well.
You wouldn’t think of chickens and turkeys as extinct but that is closer to the truth than not. Only propagating the most efficient birds for profit has reduced them to a very limited gene pool. These varieties are bred for a very short life in a very small area, sometimes a cage. This is not natural to the nature of birds so very few varieties survive. Would you?
Choice breeds have good dispositions towards other birds and their keepers. You desire the hens to consistently lay strong eggs and be devoted mothers to their young. Good breeds to look for are in chickens are Speckled Sussex, Silverlaced Wyandotte, Buff Orpingtons, and Isa Browns. That said it is better to have any breed of chicken then have no chicken at all.
Small chickens will be able to fly out of any coup. I have even seen a mid sized chicken literally walk up the wire fence to get over it. Small birds eat less than big birds, need less space and still lay great eggs. Larger chicken breeds will not escape the coup, are big enough to eat and still lay great eggs. Chickens and turkeys may try to escape the coup but they stay too far away from home.
We have only raised Broad Breasted Bronze and White Nicholas Turkeys. The heritage breeds of turkey still have enough instinct and stamina to survive the winter. The birds have a friendly disposition and the meat is superlative. Avoid buying the white turkeys, they are very stupid and not hardy at all. These have been bred for factory farms to live through the summer to be butchered in the fall. It is most efficient to raise turkeys for meat production.
You can purchase day old chicks from a hatchery. They come in a cardboard box through the mail. If you buy them this way try to get them vaccinated for coccidiosis. It is best to buy chicks to arrive in May or June when you won’t have to worry about the cold as much. Although the initial brooding procedures seem a little finicky, take heart that you should only have to do it once.
Make sure you have everything prepared ahead of time for their arrival. They must be kept very warm and free from cold drafts on the way home from the post office. Have a large box already lined with newspaper and a layer dry wood shaving and/or straw. Do not use cedar and do not use sawdust.
It is necessary to round the corners of the box with other cardboard. If chicks get cold they huddle in corners, piling on top of each other to stay warm, inevitably killing the ones on the bottom.
Plug in the heat lamp the night before and use a thermometer to ensure the heat in the box is a constant 85-90 degrees for chickens, 95-100 degrees for turkeys.
Use a red light in the heat lamp and measure the heat in the box, slightly away from the light and an inch from the ground. The red will keep them from pecking each other.
Birds will always need sand or small gravel at the ready to help them digest their food. Mix up a batch of feed and sand for small feed dishes in the box and each time you move them to a larger area.
If you have eggs that have been fertilized by a male, you can hatch them yourself in an incubator. Store bought eggs have not been fertilized. A person needs to have heat and humidity and patience to incubate eggs. You can only bow to the majesty of nature’s alchemy of perfection when you see that little life appear from an egg. Not all the eggs hatched. I did four batches and each time added the new chicks to the growing brood scurrying around the brooder. It was amazing to see the day old chicks eating and sleeping among the older chicks.
Although we have used an incubator last year it was not necessary. Too many hens were broody and sat on their eggs until they hatched. Not all sitting hens cared for the chicks once they hatched and some of the best hen mothers didn’t sit on their eggs. Left to their own devices you could end up with a yard full of chickens of all ages happily thriving together as a group.
We incubated more eggs later in the summer with eggs found from deserted nests. When these chicks hatched I put them down outside the coup to see what would happen. A few hens squawked and carried on so I let them out to join the babies. It was so beautiful and it happened so quickly, the mothers claimed her chicks and set about cooing to them and showing them where to eat. It happened so quickly, one minute an egg and three minutes outside pecking the ground for food and enjoying the love of a mother.
Chicks are all adorable but they are also very vulnerable to moulds and viruses. Wash your hands really well before and after handling birds. Rub a little tea tree oil on your hands before taking them from their shipping box and each time you handle them. Take each bird out separately, let it relax in your hand, then you have to dip each of them in water for their first drink. You may have to be a little forceful but this very important to teach them to drink. Use room temperature water for small birds.
Their water dish must be small so they can easily know where to drink. The dish must not be deeper than an inch because they can drown in it. Being so small it must be filled with clean water regularly. Be diligent not to get the bedding wet. Wet bedding chills the chicks and invites toxic mould impairing their health. Wet bedding must be removed and replaced immediately.
You will have to dutifully care for their needs, checking on them every three or four hours for a couple of months.
It is important to note the birds will quickly outgrow the box and will always need more space so plan ahead knowing the secured areas must kept warm and dry. If your brooding area is too small not all your chicks will live.
With a lack of meaningful activity and over crowding a scenario where the strongest pick on the weakest is created. The taunting goes on until the poor chick somehow agrees it is time for her to die and she shuts down. You have to catch this early, even if you have to make a separate brooder box for the smaller chicks. But don’t isolate single birds alone as they seem very hurt by loneliness.
Turkeys are sensitive to a virus chickens carry but are immune to, it is called blackhead. Try to put your birds where no birds have been before. I have always raised chickens and turkeys together and never had a problem. Sprinkle tea tree essential oil on the coup floor and add a little apple cider vinegar to their water every month as a preventative measure. In the wild male turkeys don’t live with females.
Birds spend all day foraging in the pen for bugs and seeds. You will never have a pen big enough to provide all their nutritional needs. Feed them grains, a mixture of dehulled barley, wheat, oats and/or rolled corn every day from first frost until last frost. Feed a handful or two per bird depending on the size of the bird and the amount of other food available in the pen or supplemented with kitchen and garden scraps. It is preferable not to feed at same time every day, keep them guessing and foraging themselves. Don't over feed them; you want them hungry enough to keep active looking bugs and such. They will always be excited to get food, but they shouldn’t appear desperate.
For birds, in winter when they can not forage for food, include a mixture of following in their feed dish: apple cider vinegar, yoghurt, molasses, kelp, nettles, egg shells, oatmeal, dried peas, lentils, flaxseed, hemp seed, brewer’s yeast, mustard seed, broccoli seed, radish seed, millet, sunflower seeds, cooked egg, dill, chia seed, amaranth seed, kale, some weeds and most weed seeds, green tea and sprouted grain. They also like worms, bugs and fish. Do not feed birds potato peelings, coffee, meat fat, rice and uncooked egg shells from unknown source.
As vulnerable as chicks are, chickens inherently know all that is needed to thrive and be satisfied. They are always collecting food and will always announce the arrival of new food to the others. They can be fierce protecting their little ones and they always feed their babies before themselves. Chickens love long dirt baths. Some hens are broody, some are bullies and some like to be left alone.
Dear Diary: A bluejay landed to eat the feed with my now grown chicks. Immediately they put the run on him, sent him screaming, it was awesome! Chickens henpeck so I have been reluctant to add these babies to the flock, but I see they are ready. It will be a relief as their droppings make a mess around the yard but I will miss so intimately watching their antics. It was easy for us to believe chicks were delicate; I suppose it is true for any critter without a mama. But these chicks were born to Little Mama two days before two feet of snow fell announcing the permanent arrival of winter. We couldn’t believe our eyes when she brought them to the front door to show us. It has been quite funny watching them try to manoeuvre through the snow, as the mom tried to ditch them as they got older, and now their bliss as the snow vanishes to reveal endless snacking.
I fell in love with chickens from the first chicken who wanted to be my pet. Mildred was her name because that what she called out, “Mmmillllldrrreeeeaaad”, after she laid her egg in the laundry basket in the porch. Almost all chickens raised in the proper environment will let you pick them up, stroke their faces and feathers and they will coo and rub their faces against fingers.
The chickens that have a hard time in the coup live in my garden, as free as birds can be. They eat ants and insects and scratch up the earth. Occasionally they will dig up or eat a plant I wanted but they are random munchers and don’t take out whole crops. It is worth is as they are weeders, bug catchers, fertilizers, layers and pets all at once. This is the wonderful bonus of chickens is that they can be loyal and affectionate egg laying pets.
We had a pet turkey for seven years and I don’t suggest keeping meat animals as pets. It was very sad for him to see all his kin gone and even more depressing when the new hens ran from him as if he was a dirty old man for wanting them. The young toms always challenged this leadership and in the end he was very lonely.
Every homestead should raise chickens to have eggs. You could say if you had ten hens you could expect five eggs per day. They like to lay eggs in seclusion so set a side an area along a wall to use as laying boxes. Fill it with bedding like wood shavings without cedar or dry straw or hay for their comfort, and to help keep the eggs clean. The will lay in these little nests regularly. Gather eggs every day. Don’t be surprised if your girls don’t lay for a few days after a predator attack. This is also an indicator that an undetected predator is threatening the birds that is they aren’t laying as they should.
A red dot on the yolk is natural if you have a rooster. A green tinge to the yolk is also natural if the hens have eaten a lot of greens. If you find eggs and are not sure if they are edible, fully immerse them in lukewarm water and if the eggs pops up and floats it is too old to use. Washing eggs destroys the natural bacteria boundary that makes eggs safe to eat and these should be consumer right away. You can tell how fresh a cooked egg is by the size of the air pocket space. The larger the space the older the egg and the easier it is to peel.
Hens don’t lay very well during the winter but you can stimulate your girls to lay more eggs by putting a flourescent light and/or a heat in the coup. Make sure the light has a protective cover as those little shards of glass from a broken bulb can wreck a perfectly good coup forever. Any other little luxury you can give them helps too like treats in their feed, warm water in the dish and lots of dry warm bedding. The happier the chicken is the more she will produce.
Birds can freeze combs and feet right off and hens will stop laying eggs in winter. Make sure you have enough birds in the coup so that the collective body heat keeps everyone warm enough. Birds like to sit on branches or perches set up off the ground in the coup. Rub perches liberally with tea tree and neem essential oils to keep parasites at bay. Under the perches is where the droppings collect, plan your design so these are easily removed. Use additional dry bedding throughout the coup to help it warm and dry.
Dear Diary: The coyote was long gone. I found her under the bush, reaching in and gently dragging her to me, was she dead? Literally there was a bite had taken flesh. Her pretty feathers were wet soaked in saliva and blood. Her heart was beating, her flesh was soft and hot. At first she lay lifeless in my hands, her head limp and pointing to the ground. Before I could decide what to do, she lifted her head and looked right at me. What could I do? What would you do? I carried her home in my sweater and letting her use that favourite sweater as a blanket I put her in a box by the stove.
I couldn’t do anything for her and she lived. I have not always been so lucky and either will you. When raising animals some days are so sorrowful. Attrition is the scourge of every homestead; it is the balancing factor to life. I can rationalize that the life or death of one is really is no big deal in the scheme of things, but all life is magic and death the great disappearing act.
Essential oils are the modern and ancient medicine of every homestead. All bird and animal injuries should be disinfected with tea tree or lavender oils. Parasites, like fleas and mites, and viruses are also keep at bay using peppermint, neem and eucalyptus oils. Do not use lavender on dogs, do not use essential oils on cats.
Males must be kept to fertilize eggs but also for protection and companionship for the females. Keep only one male per ten females. An excellent male will let a female eat first. I keep one rooster out of the coup to act as a lookout and alert me to predators. Many times we have witnessed male animals bravely defend the females with their lives, this contribution is never forgotten and these males, if they live, are never eaten.
It very important to eat the extra birds, you don’t have the room for or can’t afford to feed and house through the winter. If you don’t, it is the equivalent of caging young thugs to rule over dainty mothers and their young. The violence and self-centeredness of some females and most males is destructive and can wreck the disposition of the group. The choice members of the community are the females who dutifully go about producing eggs and raising chicks and males who protect them. Culling is the only way to assist perpetuating their life cycle in a sustainable way.
Dairy can be important staple in a nourishing diet. Goat’s milk is best suited for humans. With it you can make cheese, butter, cream, sour cream, yoghurt, ice cream but also cakes and candy. It is very empowering to be able to harvest such a rich food source without having to harm the animal.
Learn which breed of goat is right for your ecosystem. Goats are herd animals meaning they are happy living in a large group. More than any other animal goats must be kept securely in a fenced woodlot pen, there escape can be very destructive. Goats need their hooves trimmed twice a year. Place their water trough on a cement pad can help in this matter. You must have a dry place to store enough feed for the winter. Goats must have access to clean water year round and a place other than a pen to walk about and browse on branches.
Goats are browsers, which means their preferential food is the tender tips of tree and bush branches. A birch grove is the most sustaining environment for goats, as consumption only stimulates prolific growth of trees. Without this the preferred diet is almost impossible to maintain on a permanent basis, although a daily walk through the woods would be a wonderful treat for a herd. If you are kind and calm, goats can be led by their stomachs and will follow it anywhere.
Held in captivity goats mostly eat grass and hay. The first cut of hay is the best, which means you will be buying your hay in June to feed for the winter. Contrary to stereotype, goats are very fussy eaters. Most won’t eat anything that has been rained on or touched the dirty ground and so a lot of food can be wasted.
Goats benefit by supplementing their diet with reasonable portions of fruit and vegetables, apple cider vinegar, yoghurt, molasses, vitex, kudzu, nettles, sorrel, amaranth, buckwheat, dandelion, oats, plantain, alfalfa, raspberry leaf, dill, mineral salt, brewers yeast, kelp, oats, barley, corn wheat, kale, mustard, spinach, and chard. Don’t feed them leaves and branches from stone fruit trees.
Milk is only produced for a short time after she has given birth. After the kid is born the mother will let you share the milk with the baby. As the kid grows older it is weaned and stops taking from the mother. For year round milk production you need to stagger the pregnancies of two does. This intimate relationship requires additional learning the about conception, pregnancy, birthing and kid care. Herein lays the complications of raising goats and having milk all year long.
Goat males must have separate secure quarters from the females as they are very horny and smelly because they urinate to attract the females. Some would even say they stink, put them as far from your house as possible. If you only have one male be warned that a lonely longing lovelorn goat can be a handful.
Birthing mothers need have private maternity pens, a quiet peaceful place as possible. Know in advance what is going to happen and what your role in the delivery is. Use clean dry bedding in the pen. Make sure you wash your hands very well and apply a few drops of tea tree essential oil before touching the newborn. A few drops of lavender essential helps to calm an agitated goat and is especially relaxing for a goat about to birth.
Goats have to be milked at twice a day, by either your hand or their baby, if not she will progressively produce less milk. You also need to make a covered stall, hidden away from the other goats, to milk the does. Make a little platform so the goat stands at a level to make it comfortable for you to sit on a stool to milk her. Usually the goat will gladly let you milk her if you put a small bucket with grain in front of her.
It is not always so simple. One of my first goats, a give away from a neighbour, refused to submit to milking. I desperation I wrestled her to the ground one morning to my surprise she quietly got up, went to the feed bucket, and totally seemed to intimately enjoy letting me milk her. Everyday we wrestled, play of sorts for her to get her in the mood, but then she would milk. Other goats have been so happy and proud the let me milk them, it is almost a spiritual gift.
Goats have very sensitive feelings and it is best not to ignore their problems. They will remember if you are mean to them, they won’t sit like docile prisoners if they are not happy with their situation. They are protective of each other and their offspring and when agitated a mob mentality reins.
When handling goats you must stay calm, and peacefully accept the daily trials a goat herd presents. If you loose it, they will surely see it as weakness and you will loose credibility and authority with the alpha goats. You will be spending quite a bit of intimate time with your herd so take the time to get to know them individually. Each goat has a unique personality. By playing into their attributes and acknowledging their limitations managing your herd can be rewarding and great fun.
Even with the best planning and a minimal of herd, you will have three times enough milk needed for one family from one goat. All expenses for the herd remain the same no matter how much milk you use, so one must decide in advance if it is viable for you. If not, it is best to support another farmer who has invested his resources in large herd for milk production.
To keep pigs your fence doesn’t have to be more than three feet high That is if it is constructed so the pigs can not see the other side at all. Bored pigs will endlessly test a fence and if there is a weakness they will find it sooner or when they are bigger and stronger. If possible, bury chicken wire or gravel around the inside perimeter of your pen, as a deterrent for dig outs. A good trick here is to put your dog in the pen to test if it can get out. The bigger the pen the happier the pig.
Pigs must have shelter from the heat, as they will sunburn. They need a constant fresh supply of water. The water is not only for drinking. Water is also used to soften the ground where the pigs dig; pigs do love wallowing in the mud. Contrary to stereotype, pigs keep themselves very clean and, unlike most, will not defecate where they eat or sleep.
Get two piglets in the spring. Piglets are delightful and eat so little. You would think, with the fencing in place, having more pigs is better, but that is not the case. With three pigs, two will always pick on one. With four pigs they form a pack, like a dog pack, when they are older they can be aggressive and very hard to manage. Full grown pigs eat an exorbitant amount of food making it impractical to feed more than two at a time.
If you are kind to them they will be very docile and easy to manage. Keep them in their pen for a couple of weeks so they are used to it and seeing you. Then open the gate and they will follow you anywhere because they like you and you might have food. In this way you can take them on walks to forage for food or put them in other areas like gardens to get them ready for planting. Don’t leave pigs unattended while they are not in the pen.
Pigs can be wonderfully playful, are smart like a dog and love excitement. While an escaped pig won’t go far, he most definitely will dig up your favourite flowers or your vegetable garden in a matter of minutes. Don’t chase your pigs if they escape, as this is great fun for them. As if playing a game of tag, they will happily run from you. Once you see they are loose, make your presence known as usually this is all it takes to get them to follow you back to the pen. If not sit, where they can see you but ignore them and when curiosity gets the better of them lure them back to the pen with a little feed in a pail.
Pigs eat everything but their natural diet is what they dig up from underground. The larger and more lush the vegetation the better. Supplement their diet with weeds, fish, foods scraps, and grain mixtures. Pigs will eat almost anything. For succulent and plentiful meat you want the pigs to dig. Keep them moving around as much as possible. Feed them in different spots, sprinkle the feed or water all over to keep them foraging.
Most mature pigs are unreasonably demanding and are like non-stop eating machines. By the fall the pigs will be over two hundred pounds. Harvest after the first frost before the pigs produce too much winter fat. The cost of feed for mature pigs makes it prohibitive for most to keep them through the winter.
Prosperity follows a set cycle;
as set as the seasons.
A wish, a prayer, a hope, a dream, a yearning;
this is the beginning of all.
Planning, saving, studying;
a steadfast confidence in what will come. Opportunities, trials and difficult beginnings;
what you want makes a difference in the world.
Repetitive tasks, working with others, satisfaction;
where you can see your efforts make easy your life.
Reaping, saving, letting go;
preparing to rest and recharge in security.
Then rest until . . .
again a wish, a prayer, a hope, a dream;
the beginning of it all.
Like starlight is from a long dead star, we are living the consequences of all before us. We have no choice in this matter. We do have the choice whether or not we agree things should continue as they are. What is happening to the world will happen until something changes to make it happen another way.
Needed here are people who put the utmost of value in personal stewardship and duty to contribute to the blossoming of the planet. You are who you think you are. It is a calling in the highest of nature that can whisk you away to the super natural is also a basic human instinct. It is going to take a critical mass of humans coming together to from this minute on.
To begin you must begin where you are. Prepare for it like a grand adventure. Take the challenge on with the gusto of a video game; plan, gather coin, enhance your skills and join with allies. Strive, through relentless practice, to master each level; to go on to the next where things are more fun more challenging and more rewarding. Do so with pleasure, constantly facing challenges without fear, knowing the design is for your success.
There is no way to anticipate the events of the day or the outcome of your efforts. Life is not to be predicable but keeps us guessing and foraging for ourselves. Some day will accomplish great feats, some days you will seem to go backwards. Loss and miscarriage, error and trial are necessary components in learning to honour the powerful force of nature. It is the perseverance that reduces the handicap and the experience which strengthens us. Happily be prepared for the worst while expecting the best. Take each day as it comes, knowing the acceptance of your stewardship role is all that is expected.
You may have excellent intentions to produce in a particular season and fail. There will be diversions; a year when a skunk gets your chickens or a late freeze kills your fruit, or a drought, or a pressing personal matter that keeps you from taking part in the season. Even the best laid plan will get altered and amended after it is implemented. The only requirement is participation and the only result is providence.
Take your cues from nature. Invisibly, but as obviously as the seasons move the world through time so they call man to action. It becomes how well you can hear the calling of the seasons to know the chores of the day. Be available, don’t be busy searching for money instead be striving for sustenance, happiness and satiation.
This submissive engagement allows you to align yourself to your true nature. Allow yourself a fresh start, brand new and eager, be lead by the inherent cycles of nature. Once you do, it is like you are aligned and important as the invisible sprockets in a perpetual watch. Take your rightful place joined with the ever abundant flow which connects the very creation of life. Lives propelled by providence can procure security and survival for all.
Taking our rightful place in the natural world is akin to music and art, which appears like creative genius. While the magic is obvious, we as the artists must learn our craft, fine tune it, and practice, practice, practice. Music does appear because that is a guitar, it exists because someone took the time, and put value in learning to make it. So it must be with all life.
What would you rather do when you are working for money? Does it consume your thoughts when you try to sleep at night or whisper to you as you sit in traffic? How does time disappear for you? These are powerful indicators of what you are to accomplish for your life to be fulfilled. Put your life’s magic into your existence. Why keep it tucked away, for what? Follow your own path with joy, you haven’t missed it, it is still calling for you.
If we refuse to play our rightful part in the balance of nature, the magic will cease to exist and we will be putting the lives of all at peril. Acknowledging our importance is the only way to save what is left of the integrity of the planet. We are to nurture and assist Mother Nature as she tries to heal the planet from greed’s onslaught.
No longer will we be slaves to the false idol of money, but in free alliance with nature. Life is to be lived in eager anticipation for each moment as your needs are met and our life fulfills its purpose for existence. We can accept the status quo in fear the unknown holds nothing for us; or we can believe we were born for a better world, full of satisfaction, joy and peace.