Thursday, June 30, 2005

Little John on Soil Improvement

This is a conversation I walked in on between Little John and Grandpa.

GP Says something about worms.

LJ We have worms up at our home. Worms help improve the soil.

GP Thats right John. Where did you learn that?

LJ My daddy taught me. Did you know chickens help the soil too. They scratch it and poop in it. Me and Noah's chickens are helping improve our soil.

I think I may have been the proudest Dad in the world that day. I'm always explaining what ever we're doing or working on to the boys. Some poeple tell me, "They don't understand that". I don't care what "that" is, if they hear it enough; they will learn it. As I've said before, I think little ones understand far more than most adults think they do. Our most important crop out here is not milk, chickens, eggs, or hay. Our most important crop is children. If every generation raises covenant children that love the Lord, learn good work ethic, and the culture in agriculture, I believe the rest of the crops will come naturally.

Links for your consideration

Tom made some great observations about Homesteading and Farming, 30 years worth.

Rick Saenz advises us to develop a taste for Low Hanging Fruit.

God Said It, That Settles It. Great discussion on the Lord's Supper and more.

New Farm has resources for the New Kind of Farmer.

My hoof trimmer gave me some back issues of Small Farmer's Journal. Its a great read, you'll enjoy it.

Ten Acres Enough: The Small Farm Dream Is Possible is book written in 1865. I have not read it but looks promising.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Bluegills and Cherries

Every time Johnny and I have planned to go fishing this year something has stopped us. Cows get out, have to hunt down a fresh cow and calf, thunder storm, or something else that has to be done. Last night I had a list of stuff to do after supper. Johnny looked at me and said, "Why don't we just go fishin' , dad". My answer was "why not!". We dug a few worms, grabbed our poles and the boy's little tackle box and went fishing. This was Johns first time fishing so I figured it would be quite an adventure! To make a long story short, John caught his first fish last night. On his own pole, and he realed it in by himself. He will be 3 in a couple weeks, so its really quite an acomplishment. He was so happy and proud of that fish. As soon as he got it out of the water he ran to the tackle box his grandpa gave him to find his fishin' book. He told me he was "Gonna figer out what kind it is". The little buger matched it with a picture and asked me to read the name for him. It was a little bluegill, probably 6 inches or so. I never did catch anything that night. The trip home was a good time. He first wanted to show momma becouse, "She'll be happy, she likes eatin' fishes". Then off to both sets of grandparents for pictures and a chance to tell the story. He told everyone that when we got home, "Daddys gonna pull out his guts, cut off his head and clean 'em so I can eat 'em for my supper!" Both the boys helped clean the fish and today John wants to fry him up with some butter. It don't amount to much meat but Johnny caught it and provided meat for the family and he is very proud of himself.

We started picking cherries yesterday from our trees. We plan on making some jam out of them. The boys eat them as fast as they can! John is so proud of the fruit trees. He is always telling everyone about them. He can't let a day pass without begging me to "Go check the fruit". I told him yesterday that we would make some jam out of the cherries and he came running up with a loaf of bread and says, "Let do it........NOW" It sure is fun raising these boys out here under the conditions we have. A blessing really.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Its Gonna Be A Busy Day

Well folks, don't have time to post anything interesting today. My sister-in-law and her family arrive today for a visit. I have both tractors broke down and a mess of hay in windrows waiting to be baled. The 4030 is hooked to a load of manure and its starter died. The international is sitting in the field hooked to the baler with some sort of fuel problem. Just ate some breakfast and now I'm going to go see how much I can get done before the heat gets to bad. On the brighter side, I have a young man, he's 11 I think, here for the week. He's a pretty good helper so I'll leave some of the barn chores for him to do while I go turn wrenches. Me and Johnny ate the first snap peas in the garden this morning. The regular peas are looking fine, its gonna be a good harvest. Hope you all have a wonderfull day, I'll check back later.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Cheap Food, New Farms

Cheap Food, counting the costs

The economists on Wallstreet keep telling us the disappearance of farming in America is good thing. Let them make food were it is the cheapest they say. Just as the heartless fools can't count the human and environmental costs of the destruction of the family farm and the rise of the specialist monster that devoured them, they also lack the wisdom to realize that growing our own food is central to our independence as a nation. I found this quote from John Ikerd interesting....

The US in the future could well become as dependent on the rest of the world for food as we are today for oil. Economists argue that it doesn't matter where our food is produced. If producing food elsewhere in the world will be cheaper, we will all be better off without agriculture in the US. But how long will it be before an OFEC (Organization of Food Exporting Countries) is formed to restrict world food supplies causing our food prices to skyrocket just as we have seen skyrocketing prices of gasoline. Perhaps we can keep food imports flowing -- through our military might, if economic coercion fails. But, what will be the real costs? How many small wars will we have to fight, and how many people will we be forced to kill just for the sake of cheap food? Can we afford the real costs of cheap food?

While some in our day have the moral courage to say "No Blood For Oil", I can't see anyone who is hungry and poor yelling "No Blood For Food". The thought of our children dieing so there countrymen can eat should scare us just a little. Will it come to that,Maybe not, probably not, but the fact that it could should make us rethink our cheap food policy.

A New Kind Of Farm

Tom and I both make our living from our farms. Both of us have seen a lot of changes and challenges(Tom because he has been at it longer). Its funny that we both have come to some of the same conclusions about the future of farming. If we are to survive we will have to distance ourselves from "industrialized Ag" which caused a great deal of the problems we now face as we try to keep our farms alive for the next generation. Its not easy changing the way you've done things your whole life, especially for farmers. We are implementing changes to our farms to make them even more "family friendly" and environmentally sound. I liked the way it was explained in this article.........

Thankfully, a new kind of American farming is emerging to meet the challenges of corporate industrialization. This new kind of farming is not being developed by USDA, by the Land Grant Universities, or the major farm organizations. The agricultural establishment seems willing to bet the future of humanity on biotechnology the latest tool of corporate industrialization. The new American farm is being created by farmers. Literally thousands of new farmers, all across the continent, are creating new and better ways to farm. These new ways of farming promise better days through better ways even though the struggles of our former years have fallen far short of their early promise.

These new farmers may call themselves organic, biodynamic, holistic, ecological, natural, practical, or just plain family farmers, but they are all farming by the basic principles of a sustainable agriculture. At least three regional sustainable agriculture conferences in the U.S. regularly draw from 1200 to 1500 farmers each year. Several more conferences draw from 300-500 per year, and the number with 100-200 in attendance is too many to count. But perhaps more important, their numbers, their enthusiasm, and their optimism for the future seems to be growing each year. These farmers are on the frontier of a new and different kind of agriculture. Certainly, they face struggles and hardships and there are failures along the way. Life is rarely easy on any new frontier. But, a growing number are finding ways to succeed.

Many of these farmers may not identify themselves with the name sustainable agriculture, but their farming methods are, none the less, more sustainable than are the industrial methods that they all reject. They are creating farming systems that are more resistant, resilient, regenerative, and renewable, and thus, are sustainable over time. They are trying to make a good living from the land, but leave the land as good as they found it. They are meeting the needs of themselves and of society in the present, while leaving equal or better opportunities for those of the future.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Eat, Drink, and Be Merry in the Presence of Our King

Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment. Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that [is] thy portion in [this] life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun. Ecc 9:7-10

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Cows got out

It was a hot one today, 93 degrees. We finaly got done with chores and went up to the house only to find half the herd in my backyard and in the woods. A tree fell on the fence and shorted it out. Little john and I drove them back down to the pasture and fixed the fence. As you may have guessed John found wild strawberries on the trip! I'm getting ready to enjoy a well deserved glass of Milk Stout that a friend brought over last night.

If your still on the fence about becoming an agrarian, just take a look at What we eat for breakfast.

Tom has been Cutting Hay and Day Dreaming.

I have started reading Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver tonight. I got 4 pages into it and all I can say is "this is a great book". You can expect to see some posts inspired by this book in the future.


I have received a few email questions about what traits I think are important to breed for in dairy cattle and what my general philosophy is. I will respond to the emails in more detail privately, but here are a few ideas everyone my find useful. You have to breed cattle that will work in your management system. If you are like me and graze your cows and feed a mostly forage based diet in the barn, the kind of cow you want will be different than what our freestall/TMR type neighbors are breeding for. I breed for Chest width, spring of rib, and depth of body. We need cows that can consume large volumes of cheap forage and turn it into milk. Shallow udders with a good deep center crease. Walking up and down these hills hunting for grass all summer will wear out an udder. People today want a 2 year old that is a mature cow, then they are surprised that she doesn't last. Your born, you mature, you die. Steep foot angle and a good leg are very important as well. Bellow are some random thoughts....

Pay more attention to maternal lines, don't just rely on bulls. Great herds are built on strong maternal lines that transmit.

It takes years to breed on a good udder and one poor sire choice to lose it.

Animals generally breed the average of their inheritance. Pay less attention to "numbers" and more on what the ancestors actually did.

Learn to be critical of your cows. You must find the faults if you are going to improve them. Mate each cow as an individual, finding bulls that are strong in the traits that need improving.

Be patient. It takes many years to see the the fruit of your labor. Remember the grandkids!

Christian Agrarians are taking over the Internet

I just found out that our friend Tom from Minnesota has a blog now. Tom knows his stuff. He raises Angus cattle, chickens, and hogs. Be sure to check out the Northern Farmer. There are a lot of agrarian/homesteading type blogs all of the sudden.......... and I for one am thrilled!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Wild Strawberries n' Toads

Last night after milking I worked at draging out the brush I trimed out of the orchard this spring. While I was plugging away Little John came running up, "Dad!!!, I found strawberries!". He had found some wild strawberries and wanted to share with his pappa. He spent the whole evening finding and eating them. The only thing he stopped for was to catch toads that he put in a cage. Before bed he let his toads go so they could in his words, "Go find their families". What a way to grow up. I couldn't help but think that some where there is a little kid cooped up in a city appartment watching "Barney" or playing video games. Thank God for wild strawberries and toads.

Wendsday we had visitors. They were nice folks, Baptist missionaries. They were city folk and couldn't believe "how far back in the sticks" we lived. We introduced them to raw milk, which they couldn't get enouph of, and I think I have convinced them that Reformed Presbyterians are Christians.

Tonight the Owens are coming out from the Buffalo area. The Newman clan will be out as well. It is always fun to get the saints together for a night of lively discussion. Who knows, we may even get out some of that homebrew.

Chuck and Ann have a dream and a Blog. Stop by a say howdy.

Chad Deganhart has an interesting take on the latest court decision. I hadn't thought of it this way. Supreme Court Paves Way For Theocratic City-States?

Mr. Kimball asks, Am I a Desperate Agrarian?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Cows and Bulls

God, Family, Cows

Those are the three most important things in my world. I love cows. Its a hard thing to explain to someone thats not a "cow man". You just can't explain the feeling you get when you see a realy great cow. The tingle, the rubbery legs, the feeling of awe. Jersey cows are the bread and butter of our operation. Becouse of the income we get get from our girls we are able to live out in the sticks, have a garden, raise chickens, trap, hunt, fish, and do all the other things we love. We only milk about 50 cows and poeple often ask how we support 2 families without any "off farm income". Besides livin' cheap and simple, the answer is selling registered cattle. Breeding fine cattle is a multigenerational legacy here. Its my father's passion, it's my passion, and Lord willing it will be my childrens passion as well. We breed a "different kind of cow" here. We breed old fashion cows, not what I call the "New World Order Cow". Some how over the years people have forgotten the wisdom of those that came before us. Simple ideas, like cows breed the average of the inheritance, have been lost to some extent. The idea that if you breed a cow that has a wide chest, deep body, good legs, a wide muzzle, a shallow udder with a crease, and the right ballance of strength and dairness that she will live a long time and make a lot of milk is now considered to be backward. Breeding good cows is an art, always has been and always will be. Those that try to breed by numbers and fads will not have a legacy to leave their grandchildren. We make up for our herd size by having extra breeding animals for sale. We market cows in sales and sell them private treaty. We have many return custumers that like our product and come back for more. If you get the "fool idea" that you want a small dairy, don't rule out the registered cow. She will always pay you back in the long run.

When men were men, Men showed bulls

In the old days the best part of a cow show was the Aged Bull classes. These noble animals and their handlers were a site to see. I had the pleasure of knowing an old man that was a bull showmen back in his youth. The stories he told were great. Shows today don't have the old bulls anymore, on a count of saftey. They don't have many iron grandmas in the aged cow classes ethier, but thats another story.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Self-employment, Jersey Jug, Grass

I've never met an employee yet that didn't think his boss was an idiot. Nor have I ever met a man that was fired from his job that ever did anything wrong. We live in a culture where men are not required to take any responsibility, so they don't. This is one reason I encourage men to be self-employed. Now, not everyone will or can be self-employed and I realize that. I think that most people who visit this blog are probably pretty capable of doing it if they want to. One of the best parts about being self-employed is that there is no one to blame but yourself when things don't work out. When you feel the urge to call the boss a fool, you are are probably right. The self-employed man is in the rare position to be able to change "the boss" or the "boss's mind" about stuff. Just so you know, my boss is a stubborn man who makes a lot of mistakes. I'm working on getting him to change :)

Heres your chance to pick your favorite to winner of the Jersey Jug. This is the 50 year anniversary. Scroll down the page and click the names to see photos.

The Potential of Dairy Grazing to Protect
Agricultural Land Uses and Environmental
Quality in Rural and Urban Settings

The above link was from a past Stockman Grass Farmer Conference. Those interested in grass farming may enjoy it.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Lets Build Agrarian Culture

Lets face it, most people we talk to that hear the word "agrarian" snicker, roll their eyes and say something really stupid like "so, you think everybody has to live on a farm?" Our critics underestimate us and our ability to think. The common idea that industrialists have, is that there can be no legitimate alternative system to the one they worship. The very thought that there might be a political, social and economic system that is more biblical, and more common sense for that matter, is completely foreign to them. They suffer from "chronological snobbery" when it comes to ideas. Every new technology is the one to bring salvation to mankind, no matter how many lives it destroys. But as they laugh at us, they fail to notice that their own culture and system is taking its last breaths. It withers and begins to die without its advocates even knowing. Quietly and deliberately we agrarians are building a new world, right next to the old. You may wish to read the thoughts of Franklin Sanders on this idea of building the new next to the old. As we build local communities, their cities crumble and decay. As we grow our families, they kill the unborn and practice the filthy, self centered act of "birth control". As we forge ahead, they declare that we are moving backward. But we know this a lie, a rotten lie. The future is an agrarian one. I will end this post with the words of Chad Degenhart. This is from an essay titled The Lament of a Repentant Capitalist, and the Hope of Christian Agrarianism.

The hope of Christian agrarianism rests in a sovereign God who is able to use his church to accomplish his goals. It rests in a faithful God who keeps his promises, and enables us to accomplish what He calls us to do. And it rests in a merciful God, who justifies, sanctifies, and will eventually glorify those of us who most assuredly do not deserve it, all for his own glory. It is that glorious future that we labor towards, not some long-dead past. That future is an explicitly Christian, agrarian society that seeks to be faithful as stewards of God's garden, and honors God's Law in all of its institutions and individual actions.

And The Winner Is..........

Ter-View Forever Eternal

Thanks to everyone that helped out in the "name that calf contest". They were all great, and now I have "E" names for the next 10 years! Stephanie Seabrook, send me an email at with your address and we will send out some soap.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Fathers Day, Breakdown Report, The Birds and the Bees, Mr. Kimball's Blog

I'm enjoying a peacefull Sabbath evening on Hunger Hill. This morning everthing went well at the barn and I got home a little earlier than ussual to get ready for church. The boys gave me nice fathers day card that Leah made for them. I also am happy to announce that my gifts will be coming in the mail soon. They are as you may have guessed, books. They are two books I have wanted for a long time, Ideas Have Consequences by Richard M. Weaver and Future Men by Douglas Wilson.

I am often accused of being to "romantic" in my discription of country living. So to ballance out all my romantisism, I'll tell you what I'm going to do. I will include the "Breakdown Report" on this blog. This will be the about the nastier side of agrarian living, broken machines and animals. Heres todays entry.......

After milking 4 cows this evening the pulsators quit working. I fooled around for 2 hours replacing wires that got melted becouse of a short. This you can see put me behind by about......yup, 2 hours. While working on the wires I became flustered, grouchy, and mean. It is possible that I used words that I shouldn't have used. I then thought about what an ungreatful fool I was being by complaining about how late I was and not thanking God that the problem was fixed and it didn't cost any money to fix it. I then asked my Father in heaven for forgiveness and finished the good work he provided for me. Complaining is one of my biggest problem areas, just ask my wife. I am better than I used to be but still have a long, long way to go!

Saterday, little John explained the "birds and the bees" to his grandma. If you didn't know, John is going to be 3 in about 3 weeks. He is a good little helper on the farm and considers himself to be "a big man". He was feeding calves with granny and 2 cats started breeding. He told his granny that they were breeding. He then asked her if she knew why they did that. She laughed and asked him why. He told her that they do that becouse they want to have babies. I got a kick out the whole thing. When kids grow up on the farm it makes the "big talk" a little easier. You just have to cover all the moral aspects of sex and ussualy don't have to get into any of the machanics.

The dark forces of industrailism took another well deserved kick in the pants. Herrick Kimball has started posting on his blog. Be sure to check out The Deliberate Agrarian. He starts out by declaring ........

"I am an Agrarian. Specifically, I am a Christian Agrarian. I believe that God intended for His people to live their lives and raise their families for His glory within an agrarian paradigm."

We are winning the battle folks!

Friday, June 17, 2005

A Shock, and some Stuff on Food

A Shocking Experience

For the first time in a while, I got down milking at a reasonable time this evening. Last night the pump that tranfers the milk from the glass jar to the tank quit. The switch shorted out and a wire burned up. It took a while to get it figured out. We had it rigged up so we could milk, till we got the right parts. When I went to manualy pump the jar at the end of milking I got zapped pretty good with the ole 220v. Lit me up like a Christmass tree, scared the crap out of me as well. Its working now.

The Raw Debate

There is a great debate on "raw milk" over at Farmer Buie.

Comments on Real Food, another reason to get back to the land.

I'm lucky, I've never had to eat alot of store bought food. Sure, the basic dry goods we buy, but we even grind our own flour now a days. When I want meat I go to one of the big freezers we have at the farm where we store a couple of steers, a pig, venison, and other meats we raised ourselves or shot in the woods. I get milk out of the tank from my girls that is never more than 2 days old. I collect fresh eggs in the morning before breakfast, many times they are still warm(which cuts cooking time) Every so often we run low on something and have to get some in town. The last time we had store bought eggs at our place was a couple months ago. The women folk had done a lot of baking and I had a renagade egg eating hen that hadn't lost her head yet. Johnny and I do the egg cookin'. I broke one of them things open and a pale runny egg splashed into the pan. Johnny says, "What is that daddy". I say its an egg. Johnny, "Whats wrong with it?". Same thing with milk. I'd rather drink water than drink 2% milk from the store. No wonder we can't get people to drink more milk. It ain't milk if the cream don't raise to the top, and it better be thick. Meat is another thing. Store bought hamberger is nasty. I don't why but the flavor of store bought meats are even off. I'll never forget the first time I saw coolwhip. I don't think half the house wives in America know how to run beater anymore. Why would someone subject themselves to anything but whipped cream I'll never know. Good food is one of lifes greatest pleasures, and its a shame so many people have never had any. I read an article in Farming magazine once about a lady that had city folks over once a year. They came to spend a week in the summer. The wife loved all the great food and asked for the recipes. The next year she came and said she couldn't understand why the food didn't taste as good at home when she cooked it. After quizing the lady, she found out she was using store bought milk and eggs and was substituting coolwhip for whip cream! Another great reason to get back to the land. Hint...fresh blueberries are good. Fresh Blueberries with a cup of heavy cream dumped on is desert! Eat well.

Some Good Books

These are some good books I thought folks might enjoy reading. I have bought several of them over the years. They make great books for reading in the dead of winter next to a fire, but I suppose they would be just as enjoyable under a shade tree in the summer heat. I realy enjoyed 50 Years A Hunter & Trapper. Check out Harding's Historical Books.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Fixin' Junk

The less machines one owns the better. One thing about small scale, debt free farming is most of the time you farm with junk. Don't get me wrong, I like my junk, I just hate fixing it. In this business one has to be a "jack of all trades, master of none" sort of a guy. Everyones better at something or another, but you need to be able to do everything at least a little. I fancy myself a pretty good "cow man". Thats my area of expertise. Fixing stuff and turning wrenches is my least favorite part of farming. I still like it, just would rather be doing something with the cows. You gettin' this? Strange post, I know. My mind is shot. Probably from changing knives on the haybine. Around here theres an order, a way things work. See, my dad breaks the knives on the haybine and I get to fix them. Yesterday was one of those days. While I was replacing knives, father pulled up with the flail chopper to let me know the bad news. The wheel bearing on the right side went. Now the moron who designed this thing, an engineer I'm sure, made it so you have to disassemble half the darn thing to get to the stinkin' wheel! Anyhow, thats todays project. While I'll be setting out in the farmyard working on my junk...... bloody nuckles, grease, and gunk, I'll have a smile from ear to ear, and not cause the wife is bringin' me a beer, well mabey......if I'm lucky, I'll stop the rhyming now. I'll be smiling becouse no matter what, this beats having a "real job" any day of the week!

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Just Do It

There was an old George Jones song that I heard when I was a kid that has stuck with me over the years. It was about a man who dreamed of having "a place out in the country". The whole song talks about him fighting the rat race and how unhappy he is. The one thing that keeps him going is his dream of having "a place out in the country". At the end of the song the writer gets a letter and reads it. The letter says the man has finally got a little place to call his own. The last line of the song..... "We took a ride out in the country, just to see him. It wasn't hard to find, cause his name's written on the stone".
Thats something to think about folks. To all of you in your 20's and 30's who are planning to get your homestead "someday", don't let someday be your last day. Most people who say they are going to do it "when they retire" or "when they have enouph money" or "when the kids are older" never get it done. If you haven't got stuck in the industrialized rat race, don't do it. Don't get so tangled up that you can't get out of the snare. Find a way to live your dreams now, the sooner the better. When asked what is the chief end of man, the Reformed Church answers, To glorify God and enjoy him forever. I don't believe that God wants us to suffer through life, he wants us to do everything to His glory and enjoy Him and the life He has given us on earth. Don't think there won't be hard times, that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is contrary to popular belief, our God wants us to be happy and live out our dreams so long as our dreams honor Him. If the Homesteader Life isn't for you, fine. If it is, my advice is to start working toward that goal now instead of later. You don't want them writing a country song about you, do ya.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Salatin Has a Blog

Joel Salatin has a Blog. Thanks to Bryan for finding it!

Learning, Grass, a Blog, and a Question

Learning From Each Other

When I started Homesteader Life I hoped it would become a place for Agrarian minded Christians to share ideas and information on simple living. It seems to have accomplished that. We have been blessed to have some regular commenters that are quite knowledgeable in many areas and have freely shared ideas and often times their email address for anyone who had questions. Before I started on the pastured pig idea I had a fruitful discussion with Tom from Minn. about the subject. Herrick has had experience growing and marketing garlic and is the designer of a chicken plucking machine, and has made himself available to our readers many times. Jeff seems to be a "jack of all trades" and I enjoy his comments. Its best to learn from those who do. Thanks to everyone that lends a hand.


Yesterday we started chopping grass into the feeder wagon for the cows. Pasture is short, so we are bringing grass from the more remote edges of the farm. Hopefully the rain we've gotten will start the grass back to growing.

Another Good Blog

Danielle has recently made herself known to the Homesteader Life family. Check out her blog. Heres some of what her and Joe have been up to....

We have been busy pruning grapevines and planting gardens. The strawberries are already turning red and will soon be ready for picking. Joe and I have enjoyed a few early to ripen. So sweet, full of flavor and organic! The tomato vines have taken really well and the pickling cucumbers are thriving. The corn and bush beans are off to a good start, so we are feeling confident this years crop will do well. Depending on how much we harvest, mom and I will can this year.Max has been eager to go outside and sit in the grass just to pull it up and throw it back's the simple things. The chickens are getting bigger and the goose is making sure they know she is still boss. She protects the ducks like a cow would her calf.Joe made a new bee hive called a "top bar" hive. Its design was originally used to calm Africanized bees so they could be kept. We obviously don't have killer bees (last year was a different story, I'll fill you in later) but the hive design should keep our sweet girls even calmer. We have 3 hive bodies up now. We will do an extraction in the coming month and look forward to sharing our bounty with others.

Question about Girls

I don't have any daughters yet. I have however had discussions with my wife about wether or not we would want our daughter to go to college. My experience with college life and all that goes on there, the fact that we want our girls to grow up to be wives that are keepers of their homes and the fact we want them to carry on our Christian Agrarian vision has me leaning toward not encouraging college. I figure if we teach them to skin coons, gather eggs, cook and clean, and love the Lord with all their heart, it should be pretty easy to find them husbands. I would enjoy hearing other peoples thoughts about this. Don't hold back, speak your mind.

Monday, June 13, 2005

More on Trapping

In answer to a few questions.

In our neck of the woods we trap Red Fox, Grey Fox, Muskrats, Beavers, Coons, Mink and Coyotes. Sometimes we spend more time on one or another, depending on population numbers and fur prices. We limit the number of 'rats we take out of our little ponds ond streams. I have found it does not take to long to trap them out, you need to save some seed stock. Once you own the traps its silly not to trap. Some folks figure they can't make anything if they aren't getting prices like they did in the "boom". Well, you can still make money it just depends on what your lifestyle is and how much money you think you "need". I don't have time to go full bore with it becouse of the herd and all. We don't pull in large sums of cash with our line, but we enjoy it. When we trapped in Alaska we run a wilderness line. Now this was trapping! We had a cabin that was about 24 miles from the highway. You had to cross 2 lakes to get there. We trapped mostly Marten , fox, mink and wolves. I loved marten trapping. We trapped marten with wooden boxes and 110 body grippers. Foxes and wolves we used #4 double longsprings and bridger #5 coils. Until I trapped there I had never done a lot of snow trapping. It was a learning experience. We used long chains with grapple hooks instead of stakes. Anyhow, How did I learn to trap? The school of hard nocks. I started when I was 11 or so. Nobody in my family trapped so I read Fur-Fish-Game magazine and read Trapping North American Furbearers, which is a classic book. I tried all sorts of goofy sets I dreamed up. My first coon set, before I started reading, was a Peanut Butter sandwhich with a victor 1 1/2 coilspring in a cherry tree, on a branch. The trap was nailed to the branch, not to legal but hey I was 11. I caught 3 coons in that set! My advise to anyone looking to learn trapping is to find an old timer to teach you. You can learn alot at the trappers saftey course that you have to take. Trapping conventions are also good. There are alot of good books and videos out there as well. Start by buying a dozen traps and and get them dipped and hung out on a tree. Soak up all the learning you can before season starts and then have at it.


Trapping is an important part of growing up in the country. Its a great way to learn about the woods, animals, and how to make money. Many a young mans first hard earned dollar was made from the sale of wild fur. It may be hard to make a living as a full time trapper, but its an excellent way to make extra cash from the land and a perfect business venture for boys to have with their fathers. I listed some places to buy your gear. I hope this fall there are lots of father-son trapping teams out in the woods.

Minnesota Trapline Products

This Mornings Thoughts

The cows are milked and it was a little cooler in the barn this morning. The heat is killing me lately. We got a good rain yesterday. Of course I got stuck out in it right before milking and had to milk with wet clothes. It was worth it, if it makes the grass grow. Me and John have plans to go fishing tonight. We had a surprise visit from Mr. Owen last night! He was passing through on the way home with a new set of wheels(darnedest lookin' thing I ever saw). We chatted for a while and I sent him home with some homebrew.

Its time for consumers of milk and dairy products to raise a stink. I don't think most people know that they are getting screwed as bad as the farmers when it comes to milk prices. Did you know that when the farm prices took a super dive a few years back we got less money, adjusted for inflation, than farmers did in the 1950's. Our expenses went up of course. The price of milk in the stores stayed the same. When milk prices at the farm go up a little bit, the price always goes up in the store because they say "we have to pay the farmers more". It always goes up and never goes down. If you folks paid something that resembled the price we received you would spend less and perhaps even buy more. Milk prices are controlled by futures traders and big shots like Kraft Inc. Kraft likes to couse market crashes and then buy huge sums of milk at low prices. If the price starts to rise they flood it with some of the cheap stockpile, and it goes on and on.

Check this article out if you still think injecting children with mercury is a good idea. One more reason to think twice about childhood immunizations.

If you didn't catch this link over at the Degenharts, you will want to see this post by Caleb Hayden titled, Dabney vs. the Modern Limited Liability Corporation. This quote by Dabney is priceless, "corporations have no soul to damn or backside to kick."

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Name a Calf, Win some Homemade Soap

I almost forgot about promising a "name that calf" contest until I saw it was mentioned on David Black Online. So here we go, I have a calf sired by "Forever" out of my pride and joy, Ahren Lea Imperial Elsie. All calves in the Elsie family have names that start with "E". The Prize..... whoever comes up with the best name will get some of our Hertitage Hill Handmade Soaps. They are made right here on top of MT Hunger by my wife Leah. If you win, just give my your address, and I'll mail them out to you at no cost! For the men folk who are wondering what in the world they would do with such a thing..........stick 'em in the closet and you have a gift handy for the next "special day" you forget! Remember the name needs to start with the letter "E" and I have already used Elly Mae, Emmy Lou, Ellen, Eden, Ena, Elaine in the last couple of years, so they don't count. You can leave names until June 18th and we will pick a winner on the 20th.

Friday, June 10, 2005

5 Happy Years

Well, today is our 5th anniversary. Many thanks to my lovely bride Leah for putting up with me for 5 long years! I will admit that being married to me is probably not the easiest thing in the world. Leah has stood by my side through thick and thin (mostly thin). She has followed me down the trapline trails of Alaska when it was forty bellow zero, collecting marten, foxes, and mink. She ate salmon for breakfast, lunch and supper when it was all we had. She has scraped pennies and stretch dimes. She went without a lot stuff when the milk prices were poor. She has stood by a husband that's political, religious and economic views make him a bit of an outcast. She has given me 2 fine boys and Lord willing many more to come. She has been a fine mother and wife, and I just want to say thanks. We've been blessed to be able to live life our own way. From home births to living off the land, and raising God fearing unvaccienated children without SSN numbers, you might say we have gone against the grain! Leah, I love you more every day. Thanks for the memories and I look ahead with great joy to the promise of making many more.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Ivan Daughters Averaged 83 Points!

We had a great day. Had several cows raised a couple of points to 87 and 88, but no new Excellents. The best part was the 2 year olds out of our own herd bull Ter-View Rocco Ivan. The average score of a 2 year old in the US is a measly 76 points. Pretty sad. Everyone knows only ignorant backwards folks use their own bulls, right. We were very pleased that Ivan had 2 daughters score VG 85 and none below 80. He is a son of a Juno son that was out of a EX 96 Top Brass, the next 6 dams are EX. His dam is our very own Ter-View Iva J. Iva was an EX daughter of J Imperial who lived to be 11 years old and had a top record of over 30,000 pounds in 305 days. Her dam was a EX92 Duncan who also had a 30,000 pound record. We also have calves on the ground by Ivan's brother sired by Top Prize.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

News and Views from Hunger Hill

Today we score the cows. We have a group of 2 year olds out of one my own homebred bulls, it will be interesting to see what happens. Even in the world of cows, politics rears its ugly head. If the classifier happens to be an "index man" and he notices the signs above my girls, proudly stating their minus proof sires, it could be a bad day. We will see.

The hoof trimmer came yesterday. We both took advantage of being self employed by stopping for a beer break around noon. Yes, another nice thing about being your own boss is being able to have a cold beer in the middle of the day without being fired! Keith milks 30 cows on pasture and trims feet for extra cash. The hoof trimmer is a dairyman's source of news. Within 30 minutes I know everything that every farmer in the area is doing, saying, and using for sires.

While talking to Matt the other nite about CAFTA, he brought up an interesting fact. He said he just read somewhere that one of them little countries south of us can make milk for $3 CWT. Since the cost of production in the northeast is by some estimates $15 or more, just how much milk do you think we will be exporting to them. Why is DFA and other groups that are supposed to be representing US, so darn gung ho about this deal? We are being sold down the river on this one.

Why Dogs are smarter than Farmers...... At least a Dog knows the difference between being tripped over and being KICKED.

A question for the card carrying GWB cheerleading, Israel First, rapture watchers. You are always quick to tell me how God loves Israel (the little mid east country) more than his church(which is Israel, BTW). The "apple of his eye" you say. Dose the bible not teach us that the church is Christ's bride? Are you not accusing our Lord of adultery when you make such reckless comments? Food for thought.

I am thinking strongly about having a Homesteader Life pig roast get together next year. We could kill a pig, some chickens, a fatted calf and other critters. A real ole time shin-dig of biblical proportion. Fresh homebrew for the men folk, little covenant children running all over, sharing ideas and stories......hey we'll have to see.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Monday was a Bear

What a Monday. We had a thunder storm that blew every thing that wasn't nailed down half way across the county. We lost power at noon. By milking time we still didn't have any. The power company said it would be back up by 8 pm. We couldn't find a generator, so we waited. The cows got milked at 2 am this morning. Long night, waiting and waiting. The cows were upset and uncomfortable, and their herdsman could do nothing to help them. I felt awful about the whole thing. The hoof trimmer is coming this morning at 11:00. This on top of everything else. I'm tired and hot and hungry. I'm headed back to the barn to try to get things back on schedule.
I can get by without power at the house, lived without before... kinda like it. The tough part is the milking herd. We need a good generator but the ones big enouph to run my milking system cost an arm and a leg, so I must wait until I can afford one. Well, off I go. I'll check in latter.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Raw Milk, Wide Rows and Odds and Ends

Raw Milk

We plan to start looking into what steps we have to take to start selling raw milk. We think there is a pretty good market here to tap into. It would compliment the eggs and grass fed broilers, make like a kind of "one stop shopping experience". I recently heard about a dairy north of here a ways that got a raw milk permit but I don't know any details. I'll keep you posted on what we find out.

Wide Rows

I told you all a while back about doing some wide rows in the garden as an experiment. Well, the wide row plants seem to be doing better than the single row ones. I knew we would yield more crop with a wide row, but figured the plants would not look as good being crowded and all. The peas in the wide rows are much bigger than there single row counterparts. I think this has to do with them creating a shad canopy which keeps the roots cooler. The beans have come up and look real good, the tomatoes are starting to grow well now as well. The tomatoes are in the rotten hay layers that we made this spring. Has any one else done wide rows?

Odds and Ends

Cold Climate Gardening is a Blog you may want to check out. At least those of you in cold climates might.

Here is your Farm Sermon for the week. The Hay Field is one a good one and quite appropriate for this time of year. Enjoy.

Vision Harvest has books I think my readers may enjoy.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Mountain Men and the Trinity

Today I took some time and took the boys to see the "mountain men" who were encamped not far from the farm. Some living history folks teaching people about the fur trade. My mother thought it was kind of silly becouse in her words, "They have a grizzly old mountian man for a father, why do they need to see fake ones ?" I told mom that that was the nicest thing she ever said to me, she shook her head and left. Right now I am putting finishing touches on the lesson I'm teaching on the Lord's Day. Its on the first and second persons of the Trinity. I just started preparing tonight, so I better get back at it. Have a good weekend everybody.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Rain, Talking to Babies, Salatin and More

Its Gonna Rain Today

We need rain. Pastures are short and we are going to have to start feeding hay soon if the grass doesn't grow back. In addition to praying for rain, we did the one thing that always brings showers. Yep, we mowed hay! It would be ready this afternoon, so this morning the weather man informed me that we should get a couple hours of "light rain".

Do Baptists Talk to Their Babies?

Peter J. Leithart asks this question in an article of the same name. Click Here, its the 2nd article. This is not meant to anger all my Baptist friends, just get you thinking.

New Salatin Article and Other Reading

The cover story on Acres USA magazine this month is Preventing Pathogens. As always, Joel presents some good ideas here, based on a multi-species management system. Anyone interested in Acres USA can get a free issue Here. Its worth getting just read Mr. Walters commentary on news and economics! I also enjoy reading Farming Magazine. Their focus is "People, Land and Community." Chad Degenhart asks Biblical Agriculture - Is It Possible In Today’s World? He brings up some good questions.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Trusting God

When you don't have a lot of money its easy to start worrying about every little bump in the road we come to. Of course we all know that if God can provide food for the sparrows he can sure as shooting take care of his covenant people. The problem is, sometimes we find it hard to believe God's promises or believe the simple fact that He who made the heavens and earth can probably cover the little problems his creatures face on a day to day basis. I have tried hard to live by these principles, though often I find my self complaining or worrying and disappointing our King. I really liked Ricks latest post on this topic, Looking forward to the unexpected. Rick writes....

In 1998 we bought two new cars, a four-seat Honda Civic and a six-seat Honda Odyssey. So we were set when our fourth child, Elizabeth, came along in 2002. But when Debbie told me in 2003 that our fifth baby was on its way, my reaction was not "Oh, no, where are we going to seat a seventh person?" but rather, "This is great! God is going to buy us a new car!"
This has been an attitude I've tried to cultivate in myself and encourage in my family. Over the years we have seen many of our plans dashed on the rocks of circumstances; a couple of times we were literally stunned that things didn't turn out as we had expected. Stunned, but not disappointed. When God snatches away our hearts' desire, we have learned to immediately start watching out for the much better outcome that He has planned for us.

This attitude is one we must all work to cultivate. There are few ways to learn it faster than becoming involved with agriculture. The farm life is one filled with plans and hopes being dashed to pieces, yet God always replaces them far greater blessings. May we learn to rejoice in what God gives to us, and let us stop thinking we always know better Him.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Amish Driving Bobcats and More

Its a fine day. 70 Degrees out, suns shining and we have a little hay down. Little John and I got the haybine ready yesterday and dad started mowing a little. I need to get the baler out work out the kinks and quirks. My mother just got back from Indiana to visit her Plain Folk realitives. She got John a little straw hat that he is wearing all over. Cows got out in the woods last night. They came out on the road, about 12 of them. So we had some cow chasing and fence fixing to do before bed. The garden is still doing fine. Having running water up here is a real hoot. I don't miss hauling water up the hill. Mom said the Amish out there can have skidloaders now! She said they were baling hay with horses and then pulling the wagons out of the feild with Bobcats...... that ain't right. She did bring back a nice quilt and got the boys some wooden farm toys.

I liked this article on a sucessfull pastured poultry man. Here is a little bit.....

So if Mike has an unfair advantage in the pastured poultry business, it's certainly hard to locate. Yet here he is, having quit his off-farm job, and enthusiastically launching into an integrated, multi-species enterprise centered on a plan that calls for marketing up to 20,000 frozen chickens grossing $80,000 annually in sales from 60 acres of pasture

If not milking cows in the winter sounds great, check out this one on Seasonal Dairy Grazing. I have always figured that we would be money ahead not milking in the winter, but change comes slow around here, so don't hold your breath.