The Road Home

The Road Home
There is no place like home.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Homestead News, Volume 22

I keep going back to the quote on the last article.

"Consider what you would do if you knew [we inserted if you actually BELIEVED] your country had already moved beyond the point of no return."

When Frank and I discussed this quote, my response was we would keep doing what we are doing, because we do know that we are beyond the point of no return. So, with that, here is the next homestead update and some of the things we are doing to prepare.

We are watering the garden with the water well and a 12volt pump. Why now? It's time. We have had this well and pump since late 2008. It's been waiting in the wings. This spring Frank looked on the shelf at the box with the pump in it again, took it down and figured out what we needed to install it. Nothing. We had everything we needed, it was just putting in the time and effort to install it. Since then we have treated the well, pumped out the old stagnant water, treated it again and had it tested twice. The first time there was still one type of coliform bacteria in it, so we treated it again. The second time it came out clean. We've been watering the garden in two hour intervals about three times a week. When we started using the pump, we measured the production which is about three gallons a minute. This was one of the first things that came to my mind when we read that quote.
Frank's next step will to be to install solar panels on top of the greenhouse which he has already configured, installed onto a framework and wired together. These panels will connect with a battery bank which is already installed in the greenhouse with a charge controller, and will be used to run the well pump. He is just waiting for cooler temperatures and some help. It won't be long. We have some ideas running around in our heads about pressure tanks and plumbing the well into the house, but that is down the list quite a ways and may or may not materialize.
Next. Food. We have been canning more tomatoes and tomato sauce to replenish the stock. We canned instead of froze our winter squash. Today we finished grinding the remaining beef in the freezer. A few days ago some of it went to making and canning 14 quarts of chili.

We have plenty of cowpeas on the shelf, so this patch will be picked, left whole in the pod, and dried in the greenhouse. This will be some of our winter animal feed. It will be interesting to see how well it keeps and how well the animals like them. The goats love fresh pods, with or without the peas. The chickens like the fresh or dried peas, but not the pods.

Several of you have asked about the amaranth experiment. The spring planted crop is still producing even after four cuttings. I have learned to let the heads turn an almost rusty, golden, brown to make sure they are ripe to pick. The heads dry in the greenhouse, then I remove the seeds, winnow the chaff and save the stems and chaff for the goats, which they are eating quite well. They like it.

The summer planted amaranth crop has not done well at all. They grew very slowly, then started falling over. Turns out the pigweed weevil loves amaranth stems. Amaranth and pigweed are in the same family and wild amaranth, which is called pigweed, grows here quite well. All over the garden, in
fact. It's just that I didn't know what it was until this year when I grew amaranth and right beside it was this weed that had leaves exactly the same. Interesting, the learning opportunities that come along. Well, after the weevils came the cabbage moths, or I think that's what they were.
Many of the plant's growing heads became covered with sticky webs, small worms and black clots of eggs. I picked these heads off and fed them to the chickens. This batch of amaranth is just now starting to show seed heads even though some of them are much taller and thicker stemmed than the spring crop. They won't have time to mature before frost. We plan to pull these plants and hang them whole to dry for winter animal feed. We'll see how that goes.
Amaranth seed heads drying in the greenhouse
Wheat on the left, amaranth on the right

The amaranth seed we have been able to harvest is going into our bread. We tried the seed whole a few times, then started grinding it with the KitchenAid grinder on the finest setting, otherwise the grains are so small they fall right through the grinder. I like the additional nutrition this adds to our bread. We have not tried eating any of the greens even though we have read that they are edible in both salads and cooked as greens. Maybe next year. 

Our focus has been on increasing the food supply for our animals and ourselves. We consider our goats and chickens to be an important part of our food supply. Our garden has now become not only our food supply, but some of theirs as well. Since writing this article and running across the Ice Age Farmer, we feel it is wise to grow or store as much food as is practicable. The Ice Age Farmer had a couple of interesting videos out yesterday about cooler temperatures affecting crops this year due to the solar minimum and about some scientists saying we will have to rely on cannibalism for protein in our diet to help with global warming. Folks there are some very strange things going on with food and food control. Some people have some very perverted, dangerous ideas they are actually presenting to the public, not in some dark, back room. The more we can rely on ourselves and what is on our shelves, the better off we will be.

Wouldn't it be great to be wrong? Wouldn't it be fun to sit back and watch trash stuff on television and eat ice cream out of the carton (as long as someone
hadn't licked all over it and put it back on the shelf in the store)? Wouldn't it be grand to be clueless, hopeless and caught totally unaware when there are no more cell phone signals, television signals, talking boxes that can answer every question you ever had, a myriad of devices that can watch, track and record your every sound and move, in every room in your house, even in your bedroom? Wouldn't it be great to know that there will always be food on the store shelves, gasoline for your car, Amazon delivery right to your front door and free stuff from the government? Wouldn't it be great to have friends to count on in the event of a collapse that wouldn't come and kill you for your stuff because they were the grasshoppers while you were the ant? 

Wouldn't it?

What would we do if we knew that our country had already moved beyond the point of no return? We have been doing it most of our adult lives. Preparing. Learning. Practicing. It's why we became reserve police officers before Y2K, became EMTs in remote Alaska, lived on a homestead where financial resources were focused on creating a sustainable life, learning what grows here, and how to care for animals that will help feed us. And now we've been drawn to this place, this world of the internet to share with those that might listen and that will teach us in return. Every last thing we can learn, practice and practice some more, will help us in this journey as we all fall off the cliff of civility and normality. Stay safe.

Until next time - Fern

Monday, September 2, 2019

Consider what you would do......

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

I found this quote on Western Rifle Shooters recently, and it started an interesting conversation in our house.

"Consider what you would do if you knew [we inserted if you actually BELIEVED] your country had already moved beyond the point of no return."

So, let's take a look at this. Let's break down the terminology. How do you know something has happened? A while back the news media would tell you, well that's not going to happen anymore. 

Now what if you believe something has happened? Folks in the scientific world need absolute proof, unless of course, the scientists contradict each other, like global warming. Do we have to have incontrovertible facts that we know something has happened? Isn't this part of the problem that has gotten us to where we are today? Did a plane actually hit the Pentagon on 9/11? Many folks believe not, few actually know. There is a fine line between believing and knowing. Some used to know that their country was good, but a lot believe different now. 

Did this Epstein pervert actually commit suicide? Many people believe not, only a few probably know. All these investigations
involving the FBI, the DOJ and other related scams, will anything ever come of these investigations? Who knows? It is starting to look like that believe not thing again. This list of 'know' and 'believe' could go on until the end of time. Or some believe it could anyway. The internet is one of the greatest tools ever invented. I don't believe Al Gore invented the internet. And I don't believe that cow farts contribute to global warming. There are a whole lot of things that I used to 'know', but now I don't believe.

So, what does the word Country mean? Is this the place with the amber waves of grain and the purple mountains majesty? Or is this a group of people that came together with different ideas and philosophies? I used to know, but I don't anymore.

What would we do if we knew our country was beyond the point of no return? Well, we are doing it. We've gone grey and turned grey in the process. We have a respectable stockpile, food, shelter, protection, you know the drill. I don't believe we are past the point of no return, I KNOW we are past the point of no return. How do I know? Look at every discipline in our country. Here is a partial list. Medical industry, educational system - all levels, gender identity, race relations, there are lots of confused people. And geez, I almost forgot, our colossal government that is involved in everyone's life. 

So, I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing. I would recommend that you do what is best for you and yours, and you might want to do it soon. I unequivocally know that we have moved beyond the point of no return. I know unequivocally that our country has moved beyond the point of no return. 


We have been lied to, cheated and screwed. We have just started to see the tip of this colossal iceberg. 

We'll talk more later,  Frank

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Prepper's Livestock Handbook by Leigh Tate

If you are interested in livestock for a homestead, we would highly recommend Leigh Tate's book Prepper's Livestock Handbook. Leigh writes from experience and research, which is something I appreciate and have learned a lot from her over the years. It is an easy to read, informational text that will help get you started and be successful traveling down the path of raising livestock in a self-sufficient manner.

Leigh is an author of several books, eBooks and the blog 5 Acres & a Dream. Her blog is what led us to raise American Guinea Hogs, make and drink kefir, and this 
year, grow amaranth. Leigh's extensive research in ways to become more self-sufficient for both the humans and animals at their homestead has led Leigh and her husband to try many different things. The benefit for all of us is that she writes about those experiences.

Leigh includes many resources and references in The Prepper's Livestock Handbook that will lead you to more information beyond her experiences. I would highly recommend it for anyone starting out with livestock, or anyone that is looking to expand their animal husbandry experience. It is full of natural ways of raising animals and maintaining their health beyond dependence on chemicals and purchasing all that is needed. Leigh's information focuses on being able to provide for the health and vitality of livestock independently, with knowledge, trial and error according to differing climates and environments, and with forethought and planing. She and her husband strive to provide for themselves and their animals in ways that decrease dependence and increase the probability of survival should the SHTF.

Other books Leigh has written include:

Critter Tales

5 Acres & A Dream: The Book

I learned to make lotion and lip balm using one of Leigh's eBooks, which I still make and have for years. She has written a number of eBooks on a variety of topics. They show the efforts she has made at becoming more self-sufficient and knowledgeable about decreasing dependence on store shelves.

Leigh is a prime example of life-long learning. I truly appreciate her willingness to share her experience, knowledge and research with us. It has, and continues to enrich our lives daily.

Until next time - Fern

Friday, August 16, 2019

Sit Down & Shut Up

Folks, we are screwed. If you believe anything we can say or do will change the outcome of the future events that are barreling our way like a run away train, you are delusional. And so am I. 

If any of us, including me at times, felt like having a different type of president in office was sort of like a mini vacation from the coming dark ages, we're wrong. The current president may be a little different, but congress isn't. The long, long, long term, deeply connected apparatus made up of those that have run the show and sold their souls long ago, haven't gone anywhere, except maybe back deeper into the shadows.

But, you know what? The shadows aren't so dark anymore and the thin facade that hid what has really been happening all along are being lit more brightly everyday. The pomp and arrogance of those that know they can do anything they want, any time they want, to anyone they want, has been brought out in the open. Right in your face. Can anyone say Epstein? Suicide? Give me a break. 

Look at the people that have come to testify before congress with their smug, 'you can't touch me' attitude. Is anything really ever going to happen to them? I really, really want to believe so, but that is sheer stupidity on my part. Nothing will happen to them. Why should it? So a few people get Vince Fostered, who cares? They'll be forgotten in a few days or weeks as we go on to the next crisis flavor of the month. Hmm... what crisis will we spring on the stupid, unsuspecting public this week? Something that will get them frothing at the mouth and wailing about how unfair it all is! They blocked me on social media! Waaaa! Boo-hoo! It's so easy to control and sway people. It really is.

Some days the lies and treachery make us sick. Literally. Why has the curtain been pulled back now? There don't appear to be any attempts to hide what is going on, instead it is shoved out in the open, right in your face. So the government lies about everything? So what! They always have, it's just that they used to try to cover it all up with pretty little excuses and semi believable cover ups. Now. Who cares? Nobody, that's who. Nobody cares about the lies, corruption or death of the country. As long as I get my ________, fill in the blank with whatever, then all is well. I don't care who gets fired, suicided, black balled, bankrupted, red flagged, banned, jailed or killed, as long as I get mine.

So. You had better just sit down and shut up. If you don't they'll shut you up. You can't say this or that on social media, print or video. I used to only worry about the government shutting everyone down. Now? For all appearances, and it's just that, appearances, the government is fighting social media for shutting people down. Great big mega corporations that have the power to control the world. They do. With the advent of the computer, internet and all that entails, the world is controlled, lock, stock and barrel. If this platform doesn't like what I say, they can shut us off. No more to be heard from again. Or just send us to time out for whatever length of time they deem appropriate.

Next, if you say something someone doesn't like you will be Red Flagged. You know what that means, right? You may just be labeled mentally incompetent, deranged, or a danger to society. Who gets to decide? The person that feels like you cut them off in traffic? The person that doesn't like the way you looked at them in the checkout line? The neighbor that is jealous of your holiday decorations or the sound of the bar-b-que you are having with family and friends in your back yard?

What's it coming to, folks? Just know, whether you like it or not, that you are on your own. I cannot see any way that the future will remain at even the level of civility that exists in our country today, which appears to be getting worse everyday. Trump insists the economy is great, jobs are great and getting better everyday. Lies. Where is the wall? Why is the country still being invaded with illegal, criminal people? I'm not going to call them immigrants. They're not immigrants, they're invaders. It's all lies, smoke and mirrors. What about the companies that are laying off people? What about the auto industry? What about John Deere? What about the housing market?

I would like to be wrong. I would like for people to be able to laugh in my face and tell me how wrong I am. But they can't. Way back many years ago there was a song by Merle Haggard that included the line - Rolling down hill like a snowball headed for hell. That's us. That is what is in store for all of us. When it rains on some, it rains on all. 

There is nothing we can say here that will change anyone's mind, that will lead anyone to changing the way they think. As long as there is the mind numbing filth spewing from the television, computer or smart phone that can be used to drown out reality, nobody will change. As long as people are allowed to silence others by their choices if they don't agree with them, what we have to say will make no difference. Maybe it's time to publicly sit down and shut up. Privately? We are more determined than ever. Don't ever give up.

Until next time - maybe - Fern

Sunday, August 4, 2019

Food on the Shelf

Here is what we've been up to - adding food to the shelf. We have plans for more to come including cowpeas, chili, tomatoes, tomato sauce, green beans, sunflowers and amaranth. Not everything will end up in jars, but will be on the shelf in some fashion. Food. The essence of life.



These are the best tasting beets we have ever grown.

Green beans - a basic staple

Winnowing amaranth

Amaranth for our bread

Thelma Sanders winter squash

Winter squash and pinto bean harvest

Communication is always essential.

Our first apple crop. These are wind falls.

The tomatoes are being frozen for future canning.

The more food we put on the shelf, the more content we feel about feeding ourselves for a few more months. That's a great feeling. Enjoy your harvest, whether it be a garden or a grocery store. 

Stay vigilant. Stay away from crowds. Be ready for anything, it just feels near.

Until next time - Fern

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Homestead News Volume 21

We are enjoying below normal temperatures here this week which is a welcome relief to the hot humid weather we have been having. Our hot weather has been similar to what is happening across the country east of here, we have been having daily heat advisories for a while now. We know the heat will return because that is what is normal for this location in the middle of summer, but this morning the low was 61*, normal is about 80* in the midst of summer.

Self discipline has kicked in a little better this summer with rising early and getting out of the house before 10:00am. We don't always, and definitely haven't always in the past. It's easy to sit and drink coffee, visit and peruse the internet. That's more fun than going outside and sweating. But when we do get up and about and get things done, it feels better, physically and mentally. The bonus is that things get done. So, here are some things that have been happening around the homestead.

We have put about two dozen roosters in the freezer, with the last of them butchered today. Now that the chickens are finished we have six wethers we need to get in the freezer as well. That will be next on the meat preservation list.

There are now more jars on the shelf including green beans, turnip greens and beets.

The garden continues to produce a good harvest almost daily. We are currently getting okra, tomatoes, peppers and green beans.

The pinto beans have been pulled and I'm working on shelling them for canning. The harvest would have been much larger if I had realized pinto beans are pole beans, not bush beans. 

Pinto bean harvest

The first planting of cow peas, purple hull peas, are just about ready to begin blooming and the second planting is up and growing well.

We have harvested the first cutting of amaranth. I will be doing a separate article soon. The second planting is in and also doing very well.

Amaranth after the main seed head has been harvested.

New amaranth seedlings

I have pondered doing a Goat Tale for you, but there really isn't much to tell so I will include them here. The doe, Patch, that had mastitis and a retained placenta, is now healthy, and I am still milking her on the 'good' side of her udder.

Patch - you know, see that patch of white on her side?

In the last few weeks all of our does have bred which has happened before, but is unusual. Neither the does or the buck seem interested in breeding during the heat of the summer most years. This breeding means in the next few months our milk supply will diminish and dry up sometime before they give birth in December. Winter babies are good. They tend to be healthy and thrive better than summer babies, but we will miss having our own fresh milk while waiting for them.

Here is a sneak peek at a project Frank has been working on. He will fill you in on the details in a future article.

We have begun reading Leigh Tate's book Prepper's Livestock Handbook. Leigh blogs over at 5 Acres & A Dream which is packed with information about developing their homestead and becoming as self-sufficient as possible. Leigh does a lot of research and tracks data covering their successes and failures. This is where I discovered amaranth and kefir. If you haven't been there, go take a look, she has a wide variety of information available. We'll be telling you more about her book after we have more time to graze through it. After all, it is about livestock. 

Frank and I were talking about plans for our activities yesterday and came to the conclusion that this time of year almost everything we do is related to food. It is the food production and preservation time of year. Other things can be postponed until winter when the harvest is in and the weather cools down. 

Life is good on the homestead. Very good. The world? Well, that's another story. I could direct you to all sorts of horrible, troubling things, but you know what is out there. You know what is coming our way. Prepare accordingly. Don't be caught by surprise. What comes may shock us, may devastate us, may end the world as we know it. But until that time arrives, the sun is shining, I get to spend my days with the man I love at my side. The flowers are blooming. There is food on our shelves. We have a wonderful life.

Until next time - Fern