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

21 comments:

  1. The more we can do for ourselves, the better off we will be. One of my commenters remarked that all the staples in our pantries are no good at all if we don't know how to cook from scratch. I am finding that there are many who are just lost if their food doesn't come in a box with directions written on the back. Or if it isn't microwavable. Gardening isn't something that will be successful just by throwing some seeds into the ground. Raising meat chickens is a waste of time if we don't know how to butcher, clean and preserve them. We need to LEARN. If we don't, we will find ourselves on the first bus coming by for the first round-up.

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    1. Hi, Vicki. We have younger in-laws that do not know how to cook at all. Everything comes in a box and the vast majority of it is microwaved. Frequently, they eat at some local restaurant which includes fast food, or the local convenience store. That's just the way it is.

      I really don't know what to say. This is just one more indicator of hard times coming. Thank you for sharing.

      Don't get on the bus, Frank

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  2. Several years ago we broke down and invested in a Simple Pump manual pump, run down the same casing as our submersible. Our static water level in the 300' well is 160', so the pickup is at 187', with an additional 27' of pipe and rod stored in case the water level should ever drop.

    I plumbed it back into the pressure tank, so as to service the house. I've pumped the pressure by hand to 35 pounds with little effort as a test.

    We have hydrants in the garden, and near the stock water tubs, cutting down on how far a person would have to carry buckets. All one plumbing system.

    Just another way to go.

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    1. Ozark's Tom,
      Thanks for mentioning the simple pump. I checked them out on line and it looks like a very good pump for use in our well. Our static level is at 180 feet so it appears as if it would work for us .
      Bluesman

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    2. OzarksTom and Bluesman,

      The picture of the pump that Fern showed is a Simple Pump, it's just the 12V motorized version. This well is 260' deep, the pump is at 100' and my static water level is about 20'. For years I had the hand pump on it and seldom ever used it.

      A month or two back I decided to pump about 50 times at a whack. In about a week my back was killing me. I tried standing different, pumping from the right side, then the left side. That is the reason for the motorized pump head. I bought it from the Simple Pump folks when I bought all of the equipment back in 2008 for two hand pump systems. At the same time, I bought the motorized pump. Now days I think the motor is different, they have a 12V system and a 24V system.

      Bluesman, this system is PVC pipe, fiberglass sucker rod and a stainless steel pump at the bottom. It does not have the leather pieces that older pumps used to have. Since I took the handle off and installed the motor, I pump approximately 300 gallons of water a day for the garden. This system can be installed without any special equipment by one man, but it's easier with two. The first well I installed the system in, a neighbor helped me. Fern and I installed the second system.

      I have future plans involving an in-greenhouse water tank, and at this time it is watering the garden and operating off of a 12V system. The power supply is the type that radio operators use to power their 13.8V radios.

      I like this pump and I would highly recommend it.

      Here is a link about past performance: http://thoughtsfromfrankandfern.blogspot.com/2015/10/homestead-news-volume-14.html

      Frank

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  3. Fern, thank you for your update and wonderful pictures. Such interesting information on the amaranth. Frank, your 12volt pump will provide a great source of water for the garden. I look forward to hearing more about the solar panels on top of your greenhouse. I do believe the more self-sufficient we can become, the better off we will be as time goes on. When the unknown "big event" happens, we are not going to have the luxury of many present day services.

    I am also happy to see your link to Ice Age Farmer. After looking over his site, I made use of his link to the heat degree comparison between last year and this year. It does tell the story of what is happening. My husband and I recently traveled through the states of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. We have never seen such poor crops! In one county in southwestern Minnesota, we visited with a young farmer. He shared the fact that in his county alone, over 700,000 acres never got planted this year. And as I said, what did get planted looked exceptionally poor.

    Your focus is right on the mark. We need to make every effort to produce and store food for ourselves and our animals. There will come a time in the near future when there will not be enough for all. I would like to share that with the people I am acquainted with, but NO one wants to hear it. Well, it's time to get back to the kitchen for a canning session. My garden finally kicked in and my counters look like a farmers market stand. Be aware and prepare, CW

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    1. Hi, CW. The Ice Age Farmer is an interesting fellow. If you were to just listen to him, one would think we're about to have a food type Armageddon. He does support his basic premise with facts using the USDA quite often. Everything we read indicates poor crop production all over the country, and the world for that matter. I'm not talking about backyard gardens, and for the life of me I cannot understand why we're turning corn into ethanol. I know it's a profit plant, but something just doesn't seem right with that concept.

      I cannot comment on the empty spaces on the shelves in Wal-Mart since I haven't been to one in a number of months. Nothing against Wal-Mart, there is just not the need to go, especially now that the garden is producing. I do think Wal-Mart made a bad choice about pulling some guns and ammunition. A bad choice. That particular move will just cause people to fear and buy in bulk from somewhere else.

      CW, thank you for your comment. Frank

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  4. Indeed, things are looking pretty grim out there. I am getting kind of freaked out about this whole "social score" issue that the Powers That Be think is so cool. Not sure they necessarily approve of my quiet, fairly self sufficient, granny lifestyle. I've always considered myself too small beans for them to care about, but hey, with the power of data collection, I might just prove to be a target.

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    1. Chipmunk, not too long ago, and I don't remember who, but one of the major social networks apologized for letting the government listen to audio from people's bedrooms, recorded obviously, without their knowledge. What else needs to be said? They have the ability to know everything.

      Fern and I have multiple electronic devices that can hear - cell phone, smart phone, laptop computers, bluetooth speakers, and who knows what else. They can listen while we're driving and also know where we're driving via the GPS system in the vehicle and the tracking device in our smart phones. You can't remove the battery from smart phones anymore.

      So, just remember, the next time you whisper something late at night, somebody is listening. This is where we are.

      Frank

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  5. Good grief, how much more sickening can those people get. Of course the elite won't eat any of that stuff; it's just an excuse to deny common folk food. We've been stepping up our pace too, or rather, we're finally able to get to some things that have been on our wish list for what seems like a very long time. I agree with you Fern, we just keep on keeping on. I don't know any other way to live. My volunteer amaranth in the front yard is golden brown and ready to harvest. It will be my seed crop for next year.

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    1. Leigh, I was sickened, but unfortunately not surprised to hear the cannibal statement. There seems to be some insidious disease corrupting the minds of many people on this planet. I don't know what it is or how contagious it is, but apparently it's not too difficult to brainwash people into believing.

      Frank and I ask ourselves if that is what is happening to us and people like us as well. Are we all being brainwashed into thinking things are really bad and there is a collapse coming? All indicators would point that way, but things are so out of kilter anymore that it's very difficult to discern what is really true. Is truth only what you believe it to be?

      I hope your amaranth produces abundantly next year, and thank you for introducing us to it.

      Take care. Be safe. Fern

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  6. Thanks for your gardening updates. The water pump project looks like it will work nicely for your garden. Having water not only to drink but to water the garden is something that needs to be planned for. We do have a Berkey filter for water from our creek and spring for drinking and cooking and am playing with different ideas for watering the garden.
    Our garden had a slow cool start but is producing for us now, even to the point of sharing with others who cannot garden. Growing a vegetable garden big enough to provide for us is always a learning process but always enjoyable.Next year we wish to try a little no-till gardening and see if that reduces any work load or fertilizer needs for us .
    The continuation of learning will be critical for our comfort and possibly survival in the coming years. Reading the news,such as it is , can be depressing, disgusting and often frightening to see what is going on in the country and world around us .
    There is a lot of comfort and self satisfaction in looking at a pantry shelf full of things that we have grown ourselves.
    Blessings to you both,
    Bluesman

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    1. Hi, Bluesman. I hope you read the comment above about the Simple Pump.

      We use a gravity flow Katadyn water filter. We have used one of these for years, even before we went to Alaska, so I'm guessing 20+ years. The reason for the Katadyn is it's plastic. It was easier to transport moving from village to village.

      We currently service our house with a rural water supply that uses iron and lime to remove the heavy particulates through a sediment system, sent filtered through a charcoal bed. Fluoride and chlorine are added, then it is shipped to us. My father was a chemist for the Dallas County water system and he was adamantly opposed to the addition of fluoride. Most water systems have it now days and I'm not sure if a filter will remove fluoride or not. As for the chlorine, I put our drinking water in a half gallon pitcher and let it set open after it is filtered. The chlorine will dissipate. I have read that a major town in Oregon has removed fluoride from it's water system. If you need fluoride for dental prophylactic, then one can brush their teeth twice a year with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is hurting our society and our world, it is a poison.

      I'm glad your garden kicked in. Some years we have a smaller garden, some years we have a bigger one, it just depends on what we need. If and when we don't harvest a crop, I will try to plant a few plants just to harvest the seeds. Harvesting seeds is pretty easy. We haven't had as much luck with the squash varieties since they like to cross pollinate, so you get a weird squash on occasion.

      It was 11 years ago when I bought my Simple Pump system. It is a small operation and the man that owned the place was a little bit on the snappy and curt side, but I think their product is first class. I think it is shippable via UPS instead of a common freight carrier. I've got a second system at the barn that I will soon be putting a pump on. Pricey things.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Don't get on the bus.

      Frank

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    2. Frank,
      Thanks for sharing your experiences on the simple pump systems. I believe there are about 400 communities around the country that have opted to not use fluoride in their public water systems.
      We do the same with our garden as far as planting for what we need.No dried beans planted this year and a smaller crop of bush and pole beans as well. We just harvested our candy onions. They are like a Walla Walla sweet but are a much better storage onion.
      Thanks again, Bluesman

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    3. Bluesman, I appreciate the garden tip for candy onions. I will give them a try next growing season. Have a great week, CW

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  7. I've followed a number of scientists and others with regard to the Grand Solar Minimum for the past couple of years. There is actually a vast amount of information available on line about it. It is amazing that while TPTB preach global warming, the planet's climate is actually cooling. Various scientific disciplines demonstrate how past minima have dramatically cooled the climate and often the cooling has happened very rapidly. I believe the present GSM is the black swan event that many people have warned about without being specific. I tell people to take some time and do the online research. Ice Age Farmer is only one of many sources available on line. We live in ND where winters are long and cold in a normal climate, so growing winter crops is ridiculous to even consider. But we might be able to grow a normal crop even in the depths of a GSM with the aid of greenhouses (which we own).
    Wish us luck...
    Michael

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    1. Hi, Michael. Thank you for your informative comment.

      We have also paid attention to the Grand Solar Minimum for a number of years, but I don't think most are paying attention. Why would they or should they? Our media is and has been focused on global warming. How boring would it be to focus on the truth.

      I believe the global warming issue is just merely a means of control, but I guess they could do the same with GSM. Control is control and it's not going away any time soon.

      Thank you again, interesting comment. Frank

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  8. I saw this post on a sidebar over at Rural Revolution, and I was like, huh? Frank and Fern? They're back?!!! I am happy to see y'all again, and will be 'bingeing' your 2019 posts and letting others know you are back!

    We had a less than stellar gardening year here in central OH because of the weather. It is gardening. We have good years, and not so good years. It's not 'climate change' because the climate changes all the time. One needs to learn to 'roll with the punches'. That is why I do container gardening as well as 'in ground' gardens. I am waiting for the year they both go gonzoes rather than one or the other.
    As far as that Swiss 'scientist' who talked about canabalism, remember the Charlton Heston classic, Soylent Green? I remember watching that as a youngster and realizing that it could potentially become a reality.
    Society has really gotten crazy. I am so glad to see your voice of sanity back to help ppl sort it out!

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    1. Hi Grammy, thank you for the nice words.

      Our garden had it's ups and downs this year. First it was too wet, then it was too hot, but as you stated, that's just the way gardening is.

      Soylent Green, I remember it well. I sure hope it doesn't get to that stage. I'm not going to make any comments about Planned Parenthood, I don't even want to go there.

      Thank you for your comment. Frank

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  9. Dear folks Would like to know the name of the flower on your opening page? I have also heard about the Swedish person(?) who is proclaiming his idea for eating corpses. Just think about him and Bernie Sanders(who is preaching about going global with mass abortions and the US footing the bills, again) putting their plans in action and soon they will be advocating we eat those aborted babies. After all, waste not, want not. Dear Lord, forgive us

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    1. We call these flowers naked ladies. A search on the internet indicates they are a type of amaryllis called Amaryllis Belladonna. I have seen a number of different colors and shapes, all very pretty. What is surprising is that the foliage grows in late winter and early spring, then dies off to the point you forget there is anything planted there. In late summer the bare stems come up and produce a short term beautiful array of flowers. They come from a tuber, similar to a daffodil. Very interesting plants.

      There is so much happening in the world that is so sickening. Most days, I barely graze through the headlines. I want to enjoy what's left of this 'normal' life before it all falls apart.

      Your wording is thought provoking and chilling. Thank you for sharing.

      Fern

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