To keep from further hijacking a thread in Parenting, here is our own thread for those of us who are homesteading or wish we were. Jump in and tell us where you are on the journey to self-sufficiency, where you want to be, or just hang out with us crazy folks!
Ok, I’ll start:
We’re currently an agonizing four years and 10 miles from being able to move out onto some land. So, until then, I’ve been doing what I do best- researching!
I’ve found this awesome site on chickens:
It also links to sheep, which is another animal I’ve considered raising.
I have a totally stupid, greenhorn question, but I’ll ask it anyway-
If I keep a rooster, will ALL the chicken eggs be fertilized? I’ve read that you don’t have to keep one, that one of the hens will stop laying and take up “rooster duties”.
If I do keep a rooster, can I keep him away from the hens unless I want to breed them? Honestly, eggs make me queasy at their most sanitized (the eggs will be for the rest of my family who loves them!)- cracking into bloody fertilized ones might make me pass out.
Ok, so what do you know about eggs?
We’re not there yet either, but we made the first leap last year. We sold our big new house in the burbs and bought an old house in a tiny tiny town in the middle of nowhere. We couldn’t afford land at the time, but we are working on getting finances to where we can in a few years. We have friends who homestead here, so we are learning. Our goal is to buy a small sustenance homestead here in the Ozarks in a few years.
Here are links to a couple of Catholic forums that are homestead based:
First one is very homestead intensive, the second is very Catholic intensive, both are great, but have a different focus.
I’m not an expert on roosters, just that my Aunt had chickens. If you want just eggs, the hens will lay about 1 a day. (They skip a few days here and there) I think they can stay without the rooster. My Aunt only had a rooster occasionally if she wanted to breed chicks.
If you want chicks, get the rooster. Roosters tend to get agressive if you go near the hens (Aunt’s rooster scratched and pecked my ankles)
I don’t know about the one hen acting like a rooster, but I do think that when you have a rooster, one hen goes into mother hen mode, and she sits on all the eggs.
Also, I just never got used to the fresh egg smell or taste. Eggs from the supermarket don’t bother me, but the one’s from my Aunts hen’s… just couldn’t go there.
We had chickens for years. We also kept a rooster because we allowed the chickens to free-graze, which makes the eggs taste better, and roosters are built-in protection for hens out grazing. If you dislike fertilized eggs, do NOT keep a rooster but make sure the hens are kept in a totally enclosed area (including the top). The eggs will probably taste just as good. Make sure to rake up leaves and throw them in with the hens, as they get lots of bugs that way which is their natural food.
I could tell you a lot more because we homesteaded for a while, but will offer more advice as needed!
If I buy free-range organic eggs from Wal-Mart (which I do :o ), are those fertilized or not, do you think? Their color is richer than the “other” eggs, and the taste is a bit more palatable to me (<---- hates eggs)
And another question- what are y’alls top TWO favorite books on homesteading? (Two is about all I have time for, with three children 5 and under, and homeschool)
There is a great Reader’s Digest book that covers nearly everything from building your own house to making toys. It is called Back to Basics: How to Learn and enjoy Traditional American Skills. You can get it on Amazon. It was, next to my Bible, the most valuable book I have ever had. It even covers welding, gardening, husbandry - everything!
This isn’t exactly a book, but I love the Lehman’s catalog. I am still in the “dreaming and don’t know if I’ll ever get there” stage, so I have a ways to go.
The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery (I think that’s her last name, but the title is correct.)
I went to the daysofnoah forum and while it was very interesting, informative and welcoming but I happened upon a few posts that made me go .
They talk about being completely self-sufficient for when the ‘Time’ comes and tribulation.
That sort of wierds me out. It just brings up the danger of homesteading ideology. People sometimes want to escape from humanity and perserve themselves first and not endure what they believe God will do to punish us for ‘technology’.
I want to be as ‘green’ and self sufficient as possible, but we all need to be careful of the radical nature of some homestead ideology. :o
If you gather the eggs daily then you don’t have to worry about eggs developing to the point that make you go ack! We had a very gentle Buff Orpington(Sp?) rooster that we named King David. He was funny because he would crow at thunder.
Our chickens were not free range because we had a problem with hawks and stray dogs. But even so, if you build a big enough enclosure they still have more freedom then the chickens you buy in the store.
Yolks are darker in free range chickens because of the food that they are fed, but they don’t taste different. There is a difference in the freshness. Eggs in the store must be very old because they are so easy to peel once boiled. It took mine a couple weeks sitting in the fridge to get that easy to peel.:eek: The shell just clings to very fresh eggs.
When my hubby retires we are going to buy ten acres and have goats, chickens and a pig. But that will not be for three or so years.
I hope that the above link works well. If you look on the right of the blog, this man has all sorts of interesting information on free range animals and how he homestead. I love his site.
I agree…I have that book and can’t get enough of it. Can’t talk my wife into us building a log house ourselves though…:shrug:
Well, then you can go to the ‘physical preps’ or ‘homesteading’ forums to get that kind of info and just leave the rest. :shrug: Personally, I don’t know what God is planning :p, but either way, I still want to be more self sufficient, and a lot of the people there have good info. I would rather get it from a Catholic-based group than some of the secular homestead forums I’ve seen on the web–there are a couple that are full of gays, atheists, rabid anti-Christians, and who knows what else. That’s why I don’t go there. I try to find like-minded people to get my info from so that I don’t have to listen to all that rhetoric.
If there is a worldwide catastrophe in the future (it could just be economic based, the way things are going right now) then honestly on your own little homestead would be the absolute best place in the world to be. If it doesn’t happen, then on your own little homestead is still the best place to be!
The above link takes you to info on a Monolithic dome home (vinyl air-inflated bubble sprayed on the inside with insulation and metal-bar reinforced concrete) built and lived in by a couple living self-sufficiently “off the grid” in Canada.
I’ve loved the idea of dome homes for years now. They use less in building materials (good for the environment) than conventional four-wall rectangular home construction for the same square footage of living space, they are very strong (good for withstanding hurricanes or deep snow loads on the “roof”), and they are extremely energy efficient, hence very comfortable to live in in extremes of heat or cold. I love looking at the website’s floor plans and imagining living there. Maybe someday my husband and I will be able to build and live in one of our own…
I just got back from Christmas with the fam, and I got “The Self-Reliant Homestead” and the second volume of “Foxfire” Yay Amazon used book sales!!!
Anyway, after tearing through “The Self-Reliant Homestead” I’m even more gung-ho to get ours, though we’re stuck here for a couple years still.
I decided to try and see what I can learn specifically about tomatoes this year. I’m going to grow just tomatoes so I can practice :
- my composting skills
- my farming skills
- my spaghetti sauce and tomato paste making skills
- and my canning skills.
I figure that’s probably ambitious enough for one year, but still doable.
I’ve never canned anything before. Anyone on this thread have any tips?
Well, we have 5 acres of land and some buildings. We raise free range chickens, all of whom are on egg-laying strike this winter (must be too cold), and we usually put in a very large garden and freeze/can the surplus goods.
One thing that we have discovered is that it is expensive to be self-sufficient. It takes a lot of money/time to have large gardens, and canning supplies, and even freezers and freezer bags aren’t cheap, either. Chickens need to be fed, and corn prices are going up. And it takes a lot of money and time to maintain your buildings and land, too. It’s easy to romanticize about being self sufficient, but I gotta tell you, it ain’t cheap, nor is it easy.
Thanks for creating this new discussion topic!
My wife and I are wannabe homesteaders, looking to buy some land and start becoming more self-sufficient.
The Lord has blessed me with the ability to build and fix things so I have been focused on that aspect.
We’re hoping in the next couple of years or so to get a few acres of land and start building our dream.
That was one of the reasons I liked “Self-reliant Homestead” so much. The author doesn’t romanticize the topic. He’s very clear that most people will need to maintain a job “off the farm”, so to speak. The Good Lord has blessed my husband with a steady, well-paying job, so we’ll be in a position to view the homestead as a “hobby” rather than a way to “drop off the grid”.
I stay home with the children and homeschool them, which gives me more time to dedicate to the homestead than families where both adults are employed outside the home.
My biggest reason for wanting this is to develop more self-reliance. I’m shocked at how lazy I’ve become in terms of survival skills. I have forced myself to stop buying bread, since baking it isn’t that hard. My husband brews beer, and is very handy. However, there are so many things we’ve just become lazy about- prepared foods, eating foods out of season, buying produce from halfway around the world when a little bit of restraint and patience would allow us to buy locally.
Ain’t that the truth! Our income right now is very low, and I can’t afford a lot of things I need, such as a canner. I hope to get one this spring, and some jars. Lord willing, we will. The one thing that is a lot cheaper is food–the more you grow, less you have to buy. Seeds cost less than a whole season worth of that food store bought.