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Episode 36 My Homestead Plans

I’m on my way to Seven Springs, PA to present at The Mother Earth News Fair but I was able get a show recorded and in the queue.  In today’s episode I talk (as promised) about some of my plans for my homestead. 

My map from about a year ago. It has evolved quite a bit since.

I was originally going to call this my permaculture plan but I think I’ve started working on more of a system basis.  I’m thinking less about how to keep a system going and more about keeping all of the systems working and playing off each other.

*I built the chicken house and run, what next? 

*I want a pig pen but I’m also going to pasture them or as Joel Salatin calls it “Acorn-finished” or pigaerators.

*My tough choice between having enough land for a cow or two.

*Some of the wild resources I have right next to my land and how I plan to utilize them.

*All of my animals are going to work just by being animals.  Fertlizing things downhill, weeding, working the soil, etc.

7 comments to Episode 36 My Homestead Plans

  • Agorculture

    Thanks for the shout-out! Thank you also for the opportunity to share what I am learning about muscovies! I am enjoying the research!

    I recently came across this video on feeding chickens clabbered raw milk: http://gnowfglins.com/2011/09/06/free-video-soy-free-chicken-feed/ I read of an Italian farmer who feeds his chickens goat milk and sells their eggs for $4 each! I also want to move away from commercial feed, especially GMO, Soy and 4D rendered protein based feed. That could render livestock infertile within a few generations!

    Will you be making charcuterie? The mast will make the pigs especially flavourful. I will be making Guanciale http://honest-food.net/2011/07/08/how-to-make-guanicale/ and had a difficult time finding a source for natural cheeks and jowls. Unfortunately, the pig did not have access to many acorns, but it is still far, far superior to factory pork. American ham was once said to be the best in the world. I think this may be due to the diet of chestnut mast which was once plentiful and everywhere (40% of the forest used to be chestnut!) and, now, it is saddly almost extinct. I will be planting some blight-resistant hybrids. Today, Spanish Jamon owes its flavor to the acorn diet and can fetch up to $4000 per ham! Caw Caw Creek is the only farm I know of in the USA that allows their pigs to forage for mast.

    • Jason

      Andrew

      Thanks for the link. No matter what milk animal I buy, I’m going to have excess. I had thought about feeding the excess to the chickens and pigs. That sounds like the right thing to do to me.

      I have a ton of acorns so I’m gonna see what I can do with the pigs there!

      Jason

  • Mike Guidry

    Hi Jason, I’ve been listening for a few episodes now and have become very interested in your homesteading because I have a similar size property and some of the same interests as far as livestock and sustainability. I’m looking to place a few goats on my zone 4 area which is about 3/4 acre and is over grown with brush and was debating on whether ducks or turkeys would be good in that area. I already have several varieties of chickens which include barred rocks, brown leghorns, sebright bantams, silkies, and Americaunas. I built a chicken tractor and have it working now. I planted some winter rye and Im patiently waiting for some rain as Im down here in Louisiana and we are in drought. Heres some questions I have for you that might help provoke some thought. On your zone four, you mentioned that it was hilly. Have you considered putting in some swales? As far as chickens, What kind of incubator do you have? I have a large GQF and I order eggs from ebay and hatch them out fairly often. That may be a way for you to get the Icelandic chickens that you’re after. Also silkies are the best brooders in the chicken world and make a great natural incubator, if you have power issues. Thanks for a great podcast Jason. I look forward to hearing more about your homestead.

    • Jason

      Mike

      I had thought of that. Its pretty hard pack now and it was the last thing the dozer worked on. Maybe next time or when I rent a trencher this fall. I just have the cheapo foam incubator but it works great! I thought about ebay eggs. I might have to try them because as you said the icelandics are on there in egg form.

      Thanks for the comments!

      Jason

  • Agorculture

    Thanks for the shout-out! Thank you also for the opportunity to share what I am learning about muscovies; I am enjoying the research!
    For those raising dairy cows, goats and sheep- GNOWFGLINS produced a video on feeding chickens clabbered raw milk by just setting the warm, raw milk on a counter to ferment from its own bacteria. I read of an Italian farmer who feeds his chickens goat milk and sells their eggs for $4 each! I also want to move away from commercial feed, especially GMO, Soy and 4D protein based feed. That could render (pardon the pun) livestock infertile within a few generations and cause all sorts of health issues.
    Will you be making charcuterie? The mast will make the pigs especially flavourful. I will be making Guanciale, a delicious, flavorful bacon made from the pig’s cheeks and jowls. I had a difficult time finding a source for natural cheeks and jowls. Unfortunately, the pig did not have access to many acorns, but it is still far, far superior to factory pork. American ham was once said to be the best in the world. I think this may be due to the diet of chestnut mast which was once plentiful and everywhere (40% of the forest used to be chestnut) and, now, it is saddly almost extinct. I will be planting some blight-resistant hybrids. Today, Spanish Jamon owes its flavor to the acorn diet and can fetch up to $4000 per ham!

  • Rob

    Nice show Jason. Im glad you pointed out that todays’ breeds cannot function well without our input. When I first got into Permaculture that really was my goal, and now that I have chickens I can see easily within months of having them how important grain is to their diet. As a result I get free leftovers of grains and make a mix for them. Im also growing wheat all over my garden over the winter with the intention of harvesting for straw and self foraging. Amaranth does well for that also, and fruit/nut trees.

    When it comes to electrofences, they are awesome. Don’t skimp on them, and I suggest getting the overall size a bit bigger than you think you need. The reason is that you can’t always place the posts where you want them and you need to be less than ideal with efficiency. I also suggest getting a double stake post, it will hold up much better than the single stake. If you take care of it a good quality one should last for many years. I got mine from premiere supply. Im very pleased, and so are the farmers in my area.

    I have a suggestion for you for your mobile chicken houses. I don’t know your total layout of your land. But if you can do a paddock rotation with your fencing, its quite easy to have the fencing always lead to your stationary coop, so their grazing land is always rotated. You then can do what I do and have a coop that sits on “rails”, so that the coop can be moved down by one person and actually rotate the ground that coop is on. This has worked great for me. Now I don’t have to move the chickens all over the place, just a few feet down. Once I move it I can get the bedding, manure and dirt from underneath for use in the garden. When you move them back they will build up that ground again. Let me know if you have interest in this and I can share my experience. Sorry for the novel!

    • Jason

      Rob

      Not a problem. If you listened to my questions to Joel Salatin on the SSG podcast you will hear him talk about how it was possible to get most of their food from pasture (chickens) but it really wasn’t worth the trouble. You and I are on the same page. During my Cover Crops episode on SSG I talked about growing a grain crop and using the seed for animal food and the straw for mulch!

      Thanks for the info on the fence. Do you use a solar energizer or a plug in? I don’t have access to sun all over so I’m a little worried about that. The idea with moving the fence to point to the chicken house is a good one. I’m gonna use that!

      Jason

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