The Ozark Homestead

The Journey to a Simplier Self-Sufficient Life


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Sequestration; Glad I Prepared

With the sequestration looming, I know that many Defense Department employees are worried about furloughs and how it will effect their families. They may find themselves unprepared for a cut in pay. For my husband and I, sequestration will also mean that we have to cut back, but it won’t be on food or household supplies, because we have stored those things for such a time as this and with spring coming, we will soon have an abundance of fruits and vegetables to add to what we have stored. Our goal here at the Ozark Homestead is to be totally self-sufficient from not only the grocery store, but the power grid and other entities that has a strangle hold on the necks of our lives.

For me, being self-sufficient is what “homesteading” is all about. It is more that gardening, raising animals and making my own laundry soap. It is those things, plus having the knowledge and skills to care for the needs of my family and community independent of entities I can’t control. The government, power companies, food industries, oil companies and other life controlling entities have proven that we can’t trust them to solve our problems and meet our needs. Just look at the mess this country is in and that is clear.

Sequestration is my families test to see how prepare we are. It will help us identify areas we a weak in and areas that need improvement. I know one area is the power grid. We need alternative power sources, including solar, wind and other non-grid technologies. Another area is animal feed. Animal feed is expensive and with the drought and ethanol production driving feed prices up, it is necessary to Gina animal feed sources that can be grown here on the farm. It is important to have a diverse supply so the if one source doesn’t do well, we have a backup. That is why I will be trying my hand at growing duckweed, raising earthworms and mealworms, growing and raising as much of the feed for my animals as I can to try to eliminate our dependence on the feed store.

As we use the sequestration time to assess our strengths and weaknesses, we will be making hard choices of areas that we need to cut the waste and plug holes where we have ignored things that put a drain on our budget, like leaking faucets and cracks around doors. It will be a time to set priorities and buckle down and get serious about being responsible for our own lives. They stronger we are, they better we are able to help our community and those in need.

Living in a military community, it is I fathomable that our government would ever allow this to happen during a time of war, but as of midnight tonight, it will be a reality. That means that wounded warriors will have longer wait times to receive care they need. Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines whom have been stretched and stressed to their limits will suffer more by having their jobs and lives made more difficult due to the civilian employees that are their to support their mission not being their to do their jobs, on top of the huge budget cuts which will result in cuts to service to those armed forces members and their families. In my opinion, they have sacrificed enough.

One good thing about sequestration for me, my husband will have more time to help me build my new chicken coops and rabbit hutches. So for us, sequestration will be a learning experience and a time to reconnect with family.

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Japanese Lady Beetle–Beneficial Insect or Pest?

asianladybeetle The Japanese lady beetle or multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) is known to most people as the lady beetle which invades their homes in the fall and swarms their houses when spring arrives.   To many homeowners, these unwelcome house guests are considered a pest.  However, the multicolored Asian lady beetle is a friend to the gardener consuming large numbers of plant-eating pests, thereby reducing the need for harmful pesticides.

English: Larva of an Asian Lady Beetle (Harmon...The Japanese lady beetle can be pale yellow, brown, bright orange, red, black or mustard in color with from 0 to 20 spots.  Mating occurs during the spring after males and females leave their hibernation sites.   Their eggs are yellow, oval-shaped, and are usually found on the undersides of leaves in clusters of about 20.  Their larvae has an elongate, somewhat flattened body and are covered with tiny, flexible spines.  The larvae feed for 12 to 14 days, during which time they consume large numbers of aphids, scale insects, and other soft-bodied insects.  The adults can live 2 or 3 years and will consume around 5,000 aphids in its life.

Although the Japanese lady beetle can be a nuisance in the home, the work they do for us in the garden may make them worth putting up with.

For suggestions on how to prevent or control the Japanese lady beetle or multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis) from invading your home, visit http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/homegrnd/htms/56albug.htm or

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hse-fact/1030.html and http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/br/lbeetle/#mixed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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I dyed some art yarn with Kool Aid last summer. It is so easy. I love all those colors. Oh yes, I am a yarn addict. I can’t wait until shearing time to have all that new wool to work with.

Knit One, Blog Two

Someone asked that I detail the process for anyone who was interested in doing this at home, so here you go, Susie!

Materials:

1 quart jar
2-4 packets of KoolAid in colors you like
white vinegar
water
undyed yarn (I used 1/2 of this: http://www.knitpicks.com/Bare+Peruvian+Highland+Wool+Yarn_YD5420101.html   for each of my students)

Procedure:

1. Wind your yarn into a very loose skein and soak in warm water for at least 30 minutes. This step makes sure all the yarn fibers are saturated and better able to accept the dye.

2. In the quart jar, mix the KoolAid powder with 1/4 c white vinegar and then fill the jar to the half way mark with warm water.

3. Put the sopping wet yarn into the jar.  If you want a more even dye, make sure the yarn does not get smooshed up against itself or the jar.  You may want to use…

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Cell Phone Apps that Aid Homesteading

While visiting the University of Missouri Extension website, I learned that they offer an app to aid in identifying 400 weeds common to Missouri.  After scrolling through the list of weeds, I identified a couple of weeds that I had seen in my pasture.  I discovered they were not the toxic plant I thought they were.  Sheep love weeds even more than grass so I always get concerned that they will eat something not so good for them.  It can be time consuming trying to find a plant that looks like what you are seeing in the field.  I think it will be a lot easier and quicker to scroll through the list of photos and compare it’s characteristics and be able to quickly tell if it is toxic and needs to be killed.

In addition to the ID Weed app, I also downloaded an app from Mother Earth New called How to Can.  Being new to canning, I welcome all the help I can get.  One of the feature that I like is that the app will help you determine how much of crop you will need to grow to get the number jars you want.  It also has information for high altitude adjustments.  We live at 1150 feet in elevation so I won’t have to adjust many recipes, but it is handy to have that information.  It is also handy to know that I will need 21 pounds of whole tomatoes for 7 quarts and 13 pounds for 9 pints.  It tells you that a bushel of tomatoes weighs 53 pounds.  It takes an average of 3 pounds of whole tomoatoes per quart.  A quart of peaches requires an average of 2 1/2 pounds of peaches.  I think this app will be a very useful tool to learn canning.

I also have an app for mushrooms that is much like ID Weeds, but I am so leary of eating a poisonous mushroom, that I would not trust it to find mushroom to eat.  I remember hunting what in Kentucky we call “hickory chickens” and loved them, but I would never eat any mushroom unless an experience person confirmed was not poisonous. 

I  use my smartphone here on the homestead for record keeping and reminders and making lists and appreciate any tool I can use to make efficient use of my time. During lambing, I can make notes about the lamb and calendar when to vaccinate it, when it will need its hooves trimmed and when to wean.  If I could find an app for that I’d use it too.

 I love the photo I saw on Facebook yesterday where a dad holds out a snow shovel to his son and the caption reads, “Sorry son, there’s not an app for that.”

 


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This is a great list of myths about chickens and their eggs. Before raising chickens myself, I believed #7. Roosers crow when they feel like it, but hens are queit except when the lay an egg. They are so proud of theirselves they have to advertise it to everyone.

Farmgirl School

Ethel, Laverne, Peep, Daffodil, and Mahalia would like to start the new year by setting the record straight.  There are a lot of funny misconceptions and mis-information out there about chickens.  I know, because I believed every one of them, even Number 13, that was debunked for me just two days ago.  Who started these ideas?  Well, anyways, let’s set the record straight!

IMG_0368

1. Brown eggs are healthier than white eggs- Give a pat on the back to some executive out there, this was pure advertising genius making this up!  Millions of brown eggs were sold in the hopes for better health!  Turns out the color of the egg is determined by the color of the chicken’s earlobe.  Nothing else.  So, Ethel, the California White, lays white eggs, the buffs lay brown eggs, and Laverne, who is all black with brown ear lobes, lays petite light brown eggs.  This year…

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Building Wattle Fences Around the Garden

I feel in love with this fence after seeing it on pinterest.  After some research, I think this is something I really want to do this year.  I was sad to find that I won’t be able to use all those branches from the trees the loggers left laying everywhere last summer, as they are too dry now.  But I am in luck because I still have hundreds of trees to take live branches from.

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In my search for how to go about building my wattle fence, I found some interesting facts about wattle fencing and learned some new words like pleaching, planking, laying a hedge, coppicing and pollarding which were practices used quite commonly in earlier times in the UK.  They were used as livestock barriers, as weather protection for crops and to provide pleasing screens for gardens.

I considered using the Hedge Pleaching method for my fence, which is the use of living trees and bushes and training them by cutting the bark on one side then bending the plant over then puting a binding edge at the top to bind all the plants in the rows together to make a fence row.  I decided this would take too long and my sheep would just eat the hedge.

I found another great idea using live plants using potted rosemary. I know it won’t work to keep the sheep out of my garden, but I think it will look great in the garden or on the deck.  http://www.growingwithplants.com/2011/07/topiary-and-pleached-potted-plants.html

I finally found an easy looking guide for building my wattle fence at http://www.alaskabg.org/Education-Learn/HowTo/WattleFence.pdf.  I am putting this on my list of to-do’s for this spring.  I hope I can get it completed before it is time to turn the sheep out for the summer.  If it proves to be as easy as I think it is, I will be using this method around some flower beds.


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Amp Up Your Bread With Sprouted Grains and Multigrains

A while back I purchased a five gallon bucket of Ezekiel Grain Mix.  My first attempt to make bread with it wasn’t very tasty.  I am still experimenting with different recipes to get it right.  I read some reviews of different Ezekiel Bread recipes that suggested  adding sprouted grains to the recipe.  I found an interesting article about that at Mother Earth News.

Make homemade bread even more nutritious and tasty by adding a variety of  whole and sprouted grains, including nutrient-dense sprouted wheat.

Bread chemistry expert  Emily Buehler, author of Bread Science, says sprouted breads have a longer keeping  quality and a pleasantly subtle sweetness.  Fermentation expert Sandor Katz, author of The Art of Fermentation, explains how this works: “The main difference in using sprouted grains [versus flour] is that enzymes digest complex carbohydrates (starches) into simple carbohydrates (sugars). This makes bread sweeter and more easily digestible,” he says. In addition to added nutrition, sprouted grains contribute acidity to the final dough, which contributes flavor and acts as a natural preservative.

Read more: http://www.motherearthnews.com/real-food/sprouted-grains-zmrz12djzmar.aspx#ixzz2H1lFKF7C