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Homesteading: The Battle of Butcher Holler
Wednesday, May 30 @ 14:32:48 CDT by (1254 reads)
Agrarian InterestThe "Battle of Butcher Holler" is now available on the "Process Driven Life" blog...  (Caution... if you are an animal rights activist, or are squeamish, you may not like the story)


Comments may be left here, or on the blog - or both.


(Read More... | 6 comments | Score: 5)

Homesteading: A Farrowing Shed for Pigs
Monday, May 28 @ 12:17:41 CDT by (5204 reads)
Agrarian Interest

A Farrowing Shed for Pigs

5/28/07 - 2nd Day - Midday. Ok, so I have been working a bit about the ranch, and I wanted to share one of my projects with you. Here is my first attempt at a "farrowing shed" which is basically a piggy birthing center. It is a special housing shed in which the sow can have and keep her piglets. It is designed to aid her in feeding her litter without "overlay" which is a common event - when the sow lays down on some of her piglets and kills them. Without a farrowing shed, deaths by overlay can account for up to a 50% loss in piglets. I am building my farrowing shed from mostly reclaimed and used materials. I started with several large pallets. These are not the normal pallets, but are larger and were used for shipping water containers to a store in Coleman. Some of the ladies from the community got these for me for free. I started with three 6'5" X 6'5" pallets with the goal of building two of these farrowing sheds.

(Read More... | 5958 bytes more | comments? | Score: 4)

Homesteading: Pics from the Ranch
Monday, April 23 @ 12:04:28 CDT by (1014 reads)
Agrarian Interest

Pics from the Ranch

4/23/07 - 4th Day - After Breakfast. Here are some highly requested pics from the Ranch here in Spring '07. Most of you will remember Maria, our first cow here on the Ranch. She is 1/2 Longhorn and 1/2 Watusi. Her horns are growing ever larger, and she should be about 6-7 months pregnant with another mixed-breed calf for us. I am thinking about putting Maria up for sale after this next calf comes - but we'll see.

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Homesteading: How to Build a Good Fence ...
Monday, March 05 @ 07:47:26 CST by (1728 reads)
Agrarian InterestDebbie writes "
How to Build a Good Fence For Your Homestead

By Charles Sanders

One of the basic fixtures on a homestead is fencing. Fences are used to keep animals in, or out, of areas. They are used to mark boundaries or provide attractive borders to properties.

You may think that a fence doesn’t need to be all that sturdy to contain your particular livestock. However, a horse using the top wire to scratch its neck, or a cow snuffling under the bottom wire to reach better grass can soon cause a lot of sagging and premature fence failure. In addition, you may be more concerned with keeping critters out than in. This is often the case when fencing sheep. It is not so much a problem to keep them in as it is to keep predators such as dogs and coyotes out. It is a case of wanting and needing to build a good tight fence.

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Homesteading: Smokehouse plans
Sunday, March 04 @ 08:37:42 CST by (2704 reads)
Agrarian InterestI'm not sure how clear this will come out.  I'm only posting it for ideas.  For a better view:


(Read More... | 1 comment | Score: 5)

Homesteading: Wood Stoves
Monday, December 25 @ 12:55:55 CST by (1716 reads)
Agrarian InterestDebbie writes "

Wood stoves

A wood stove is the most popular, flexible and economical wood heating option. A stove can be located almost anywhere there is enough space and where its chimney can be properly routed. A perfect installation has the stove located centrally in the main floor living area of the house and the flue pipe running straight up into the chimney. This installation design will provide the best performance and need the least amount of maintenance


(Read More... | 11813 bytes more | comments? | Score: 5)

Homesteading: Learning To Cook On A Wood Stove
Thursday, November 23 @ 20:35:39 CST by (1453 reads)
Agrarian Interestnagol5 writes "

Learning To Cook On A Wood Stove


When my companion and I began our 18-month transition period of moving to and living in the woods, we also began a period of education. We discussed and planned much. We bought books and magazines and took classes on everything from solar collecting to gardening.

One subject evaded me: cooking on a wood-burning stove. Every time I saw a magazine that flashed headlines on wood stoves, my hands would tremble in anticipation as I reached for it. However, the wood stoves in question were for heating, not for cooking.


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Homesteading: Fireplace cooking cures the winter blues
Thursday, November 16 @ 09:53:09 CST by (855 reads)
Agrarian Interestnagol5 writes "Fireplace cooking cures the winter blues
by Robert Williams

Several years ago we experienced a prolonged winter storm that left power lines down and thousands of people without heat, hot water, and operative cookstoves. And for the better part of the week they learned to live a little like the pioneers of old.
The idea was exciting until people realized that the pioneers didn't have electric blankets, toaster ovens, microwaves, compact discs, television, and thermostatically controlled heating systems.


(Read More... | 9632 bytes more | comments? | Score: 5)

Homesteading: Tools and hardware for the backwoods home...
Wednesday, November 01 @ 06:48:41 CST by (1293 reads)
Agrarian Interestnagol5 writes "
Tools and hardware for the backwoods home
By James Ballou

A certain degree of self reliance is obtainable by those who have the knowledge and skills, resourcefulness, courage, common sense, and tools to perform most of the tasks necessary to their own survival and way of life. Living any distance outside populated areas requires a greater level of do-it-yourself capability than within metropolitan areas, where citizens tend to live under a system of interdependence.
One of the reasons why I like tools is because I associate them with individual freedom. The proper tools can help people produce much of what they need, make necessary repairs to their equipment themselves, and maintain their own homes, farms, yards, gear, and machines. The more people are able to do themselves, the less they have to rely on others. Greater independence means greater freedom.

An anvil and forge can be especially handy for making and repairing other tools.

Obviously, having a vast array of tools and hardware alone does not make a person highly capable. Knowing how to use the tools is every bit as important as the tools are themselves. But having a healthy assortment of good tools can sure make life a lot easier, and anyone with the desire and determination can learn how to use them.
When you think about it, just about everything we do, whether it’s brushing our teeth, cooking and eating, driving to work, mowing the lawn, tilling the garden, typing a letter on a typewriter or computer, or even talking to friends on the telephone, involves using some device you could think of as the tool for that particular task. Modern folks are heirs to thousands of years of technological advancement in the sophistication of the tools we use. And we use many of them without much thought, often taking them for granted. But without any of them where would we be?
Making a list of the necessary tools you should keep at the homestead can be quite a task. A mostly self-sufficient country home can be expected to require equipment to serve a variety of different functions that are not generally concerns to most people who live in cities. The need for good tools in the country will always be great. "

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Homesteading: Seven secrets of Dutch oven cooking...
Wednesday, November 01 @ 06:44:12 CST by (1150 reads)
Agrarian Interestnagol5 writes "Seven secrets of Dutch oven cooking
by Roger L. Beattie

Squatting heavily in dank basements, drafty attics, and dusty, cluttered garages, these three-legged hulks from a bygone era wait impatiently to release their treasures. Until then, they are pitted by time and tarnished by neglect. For those who will uncover the mystery, their gaping caverns can once again be brimming with magic.
From the birth of our nation, Dutch ovens have been an integral and versatile part of Americana. Sadly, today’s high-tech hustle-and-bustle lifestyle has all but forgotten the art of “leather-glove cuisine.” The coal-black cast iron ovens appear outdated, unfriendly, and forbidding. Interestingly however, with seven simple secrets revealed, the beginning camp cook and the consummate backyard chef can utilize these forgotten friends to produce a marvelous and unforgettable variety of succulent delicacies.

Dutch ovens owned by cooks who understand their subtleties are kept in places of honor, sanctuaries reserved specifically for them. On the other hand, ovens owned by cooks who can’t seem to keep the potatoes from burning to the bottom or who can never get the chicken to look anything but a pasty white, are quickly relegated to some obscure location where they will be “out of the way.” For the unsuccessful current user, the interested but uninitiated, or anyone who just wants to cook better, the seven secrets outlined below will provide a firm foundation for the creation and consumption of mouth-watering Dutch oven meals fit for even the most discriminating palates.

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