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View the most recent comments below. To join in the discussion (or see a comment thread in order), click on the title of a comment, then follow the directions on the subsequent page to add a comment of your own.

What a delight to be turned on to this site by a good friend of mine. It is SO refreshing to see like minded people living out what so many of us out here so desperately want to do. Really proud of you guys. We are right behind you, retiring this year, looking to do exactly what you guys are doing, absolutely can't wait! Sent you guys an email responding to the land for sale, can't wait to hear from you. We are awesome people who love life, freedom, the mountains, and would make the best of neighbors.. Mac & Lori
Comment by Andrew McDonald Mon Aug 31 21:07:41 2015
Good question; probably the right answer is to spring all the negative stuff on yourself by surprise, since "spend a month dreading all the awful stuff I have to do a month from now" would count as a small amount of negative every day, rather than a big chunk of negative all at once. :^)
Comment by Josh Mon Aug 31 12:51:17 2015
Josh --- Great addendum! I hadn't thought of it that way, but it certainly makes sense. I guess the question is --- would concentrating all of the negatives in one day make me dread that day so much it counteracts getting it over with in one fell swoop?
Comment by anna Mon Aug 31 12:43:57 2015
As Machiavelli is more famous for observing, this applies to the negative too (and thus his prescription that the ruler should lay out bad things in as few as possible chunks, even if they're large and brutal), but that's sometimes harder to engineer in your own life. But not impossible, and it's worth keeping in mind that doing a whole bunch of unpleasant stuff all at once might make you more happy overall than doing one unpleasant thing every day.
Comment by irilyth Mon Aug 31 09:37:45 2015
We're on our 2nd batch of Freedom Rangers ( First round averaged to a little over 5 lbs processed per bird. We run them in chicken tractors in our yard and have had a good survival rate and flavor. I can't yet speak to feed conversion ratios. I didn't track on our first batch. I'm tracking this batch but I'm still 3 weeks out from processing day. If I remember I'll post a follow up!
Comment by Bear Mon Aug 31 08:38:50 2015

I have been thinking about adding pennies to my garden for years. I always held off because I did not know if the metal would somehow get into the food. I am encouraged to learn that the copper only dissoves very slowly.
I had heard of using milk for powdery mold mildew, but never for blight. Powdered milk will be a much easier application. I have used egg shells with excellent results for preventing blossom end rot.

Newer pennies contain zinc - isn't zinc also anti fungal? I use a barrel and hand water, I think I will throw a few pennies into the barrel. Next year, a penny in every hole - if it works, that is a real cheap fix! It will also give future gardeners something interesting to find when I am long gone!

I would be real interested to find out how earlier poster's made out with different methods.

Comment by Bill Sun Aug 30 10:38:27 2015
Maybe the whole starplate area is "their" space, so you might actually be better off moving the hay to the barn?
Comment by adrianne Sun Aug 30 08:38:14 2015
the goats are likely to just nibble on the tarp. My goats enjoy eating anything that is thin. Especially ropes.
Comment by BW Sun Aug 30 07:44:34 2015
Thanks. Looks like I am too late for this year, but will be interested to see what you think of them.
Comment by Deb Sat Aug 29 22:47:09 2015
I love the look on the goats face. It's like "Who me?"
Comment by Kathleen Sat Aug 29 21:32:17 2015
What a beautiful property! Thanks for sharing this Anna.
Comment by Hannah Sat Aug 29 14:04:44 2015
Those pictures are beautiful, I remember one of my granny's favorite songs was about "My Clinch Mountain Home". I'm gonna go look that up now. Hope you get wonderful neighbors.
Comment by Teresa Lee Fri Aug 28 19:51:00 2015

wipes drool off chin wishes we had the money

Comment by Emily Fri Aug 28 16:42:08 2015
Maybe there's a youtube channel in the future!!! That would be awesome
Comment by Donna Fri Aug 28 15:24:23 2015
Wow! If I were in the least considering a move (and if I had $225,000), I'd be in my car and heading that way right now!!! It's got everything--and I mean everything--I love. Besides, who wouldn't want to live in a place called Snowflake?
Comment by Carole Fri Aug 28 10:11:37 2015
Meat birds, I assume? I am contemplating a small batch, but not sure I want those cornish cross due to all the problems common for them, but is it economical to feed other breeds for a longer time before processing? Red Rangers look good,mbut the hatchery is out.
Comment by Deb Thu Aug 27 19:25:41 2015
Thinking I was doing to right thing to help my 4 yr old combat allergies I gave her a small amount of local honey. She became violently ill. Her allergy to ragweed pollen caused an allergic reaction to the pollen in the honey. We are lucky she didn't go into shock :/
Comment by Heidi Thu Aug 27 11:51:56 2015
So exciting. I'm expecting a dozen ducklings in the mail next week. My two female ducks have been setting. The male is a Muscovy and the females are regular ducks (crosses, nothing specific.) Their attempts this spring were a next of rotten, infertile eggs. I'm thinking that might be the case again. So I ordered the ducklings to try and get them to foster. The females are clearly wanting to be mothers. Fingers crossed the motherly mood continues through Wednesday morning (which will be right about 30 days.)
Comment by Charity Wed Aug 26 20:27:53 2015

That's got to be a long commute! I think campus security will frown on your bringing a gas can with you. :)

Good luck with the class Mark!

Comment by Eric Tue Aug 25 19:48:33 2015

Thanks Anna and Nita for the oats comments. I meant feed oats when I said "horse oats".
I have used caterpillar tunnels, and find that theu provide about 4 degrees of frost protection.... with just the agribon row cover. With plastic, its more than that. I make mine out of 10 ft. Pvc, and make the hoops about 4 feet tall.

Comment by Deb Tue Aug 25 18:01:48 2015
Are you coming all the way into JC for the classes or are there ETSU extention classes up there in VA?
Comment by NaYan Tue Aug 25 18:01:14 2015
We've never planted wheat, it doesn't grow here on the west side of the mountains, but oats I do have experience with. If we work up a pasture to reseed we always grow a nurse crop of oats to nurse the perennial plants along until they are established enough to withstand mowing or grazing. In the fall we plant grey or gray oats, and in the spring white oat oats. The most common cover crop oat is Cayuse which is a white spring oat, and does well for feed or cover crop. No matter what oat you decide to plant, or recommend seed oats are the way to go instead of feed oats just because of the weed issue. Since we started using chicken manure our annual weed picture has changed immensely, weed seeds that make it through processing and then the avian digestion system are some of the worst weeds I have ever experienced. At least with the cow manure I only had to deal with perennial grass seed that is much easier to deal with than a tough annual weed from a grain field.
Comment by Nita Tue Aug 25 16:26:03 2015
Good choice have fun while learning as well
Comment by roseanell Tue Aug 25 15:49:58 2015

That is way cool, Mark! Can't wait for you to turn Anna's homesteading stories into a documentary.

Comment by pedro Tue Aug 25 15:06:22 2015

Since I didn't know what a caterpillar tunnel is I googled it, and came across this article.

Some quotes:

They use a caterpillar for lettuce, spinach, salad mix, cucumbers, tomatoes, basil, chard and kale. [They use] Enviromesh anti-insect screen and 6-mil greenhouse poly on a caterpillar.


The caterpillar also saved the Nordell’s tomato crop last year. In the field, the first tomato harvest is normally the third week of August. But late blight, which was rampant all over the East in 2009, killed their field tomatoes in mid-July, before they started producing. But the tomatoes in caterpillars started bearing in early July and kept on going until late August, when they finally succumbed to late blight. In other words, the caterpillar provided six weeks of earliness and six weeks of late blight protection.

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Aug 25 12:20:57 2015
Nita --- I remember you saying that before about types of oats, but when I looked it up online I couldn't find anyone else making that distinction and assumed you were just confusing oats with wheat (where you often hear about winter vs. spring varieties). I'll have to do a second round of googling with the white vs. grey distinction. Thanks, as usual, for your thoughtful/thought-provoking reply!
Comment by anna Tue Aug 25 12:00:29 2015
Jean-Marie taught a couple of workshops (to packed rooms) at last year's PA Sustainable Ag Conference, but I didn't go since, like you, I didn't plan to sell produce. So thanks so much for letting me know I could still get lots out of the book.
Comment by Julie Mason Tue Aug 25 11:19:08 2015
Can i have a video of this?
Comment by ps Tue Aug 25 10:06:31 2015

Excellent book! He's also an excellent speaker if you ever have a chance to attend a workshop in your area.

Oat variety does matter, or actually type. Spring oats, aka white oats may winter kill if you have cold enough weather,fall oats aka grey oats will not winter kill because they are meant to survive winter for a spring crop of grain. It's hard to know what you're getting if you just buy feed oats, as seed crops are much cleaner, meaning less weed seeds by law. So if you want oats to have a chance to winterkill, buy white oats. Even seed sellers get confused if you ask for oats to plant in the fall, because they assume you want them to survive. We never get cold enough weather for winterkill oats or barley, so I'm switching to sudan grass which really puts on biomass. With no irrigation, my sudan is already a foot tall + in less than a month.

Comment by Nita Tue Aug 25 09:06:33 2015

Deb --- I suspect you'll enjoy the book!

About oats --- we get whatever variety they have in 50 pound bags at the feed store. My garden spreadsheet says this has included Ogles, Noble, Common, and unlabeled varieties. The only problem we had was last year when I grazed the oats hard and they didn't winterkill, but I'm 99% sure that was the grazing and not the variety.

I'm not sure what horse oats are. If they're processed somehow for feed, they possibly might not sprout. But otherwise it should work. And the feed store is definitely the cheapest place to get cover crop seeds (by an order of magnitude sometimes!).

Comment by anna Tue Aug 25 07:36:35 2015

Oh, great.. this might be just the thing I have been looking for. I have already ordered it.

Sort of off topic, but I wonder if you wouldnt mind saying what kind of oats you use for winter cover crop. Was wo dering if I could just buy horse oats and use those?

Comment by Deb Tue Aug 25 07:21:26 2015
That device operates at a specified voltage. My guess is you put in an incompatible AC adapter that outputs a higher voltage and your device lacks sufficient voltage protections.
Comment by Brandon J Mon Aug 24 20:24:55 2015

At one time I was looking for a replacement power brick and I found out (to my amazement) that the polarity of barrel plugs is not standardized.

And to make matters worse, few power supplies or devices have a polarity symbol.

Another good reason to keep a multimeter around!

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Aug 24 19:01:34 2015
Doubt the screen would come on with the wrong polarity. More likely a capacitor was dying and blew.
Comment by Joey H Mon Aug 24 16:49:47 2015

I have 2 large goats. Last winter wasting a lot of hay we went through 2/3rds of a large round bale. Luckily the hay came from our own field so did not cost us anything.

Just think even if you don't use it all this winter it can be good mulch for your garden. We have used a lot of the hay this year on the garden. It does strongly lower the weed amount even though it is hay instead of straw.

Comment by BW Mon Aug 24 12:36:36 2015

Tressa --- I'm not sure there are any fast-to-production varieties, or at least I haven't seen any advertised. I think catalogs just vary in the amount of time they list, some nursery owners being more cautious than others. I saw one catalog that said hazels bear in two years, which made me disappointed that mine took five!

We got our most recent bushes from One Green World and they're growing well. But I don't think they're faster than any other hazels!

Comment by anna Sun Aug 23 20:03:59 2015
I can feel your excitement. I live in zone 5 and may have a dozen or more pecans this year. But it intrigues me that you have hazel nuts in six years. The catalogs that I receive say that the bushes won't bear for up to 10 - 12 years. I know that it's a stretch to get a productive pecan bearing tree in my zone but hazel nuts use to grow on farms around here. Can you recommend a catalog where I can buy shorter time bearing bushes. Love your site and thanks for any info you can share.
Comment by Tressa Sat Aug 22 21:43:50 2015

Nayan --- This particular bush is an unnamed hybrid from the Arbor Day Foundation. Since planting that one, breeding programs expanded to produce named varieties, so our later bushes are named (but I can't report on them yet since they're too young!).

As for bush vs. tree --- hybrid hazels naturally grow as bushes. You can train them to tree form, but I decided to keep it free form.

Comment by anna Sat Aug 22 20:42:10 2015
Is there any specific variety that you are using? I thought hazelnuts were trees, or are you deliberately training them to be bushes?
Comment by NaYan Sat Aug 22 16:43:47 2015
Terry --- Those are Tickseed Sunflower, aka Stick Tights or Spanish Needles. Beautiful at this time of year but a bit of pain in the fall! I don't mind, though. The flowers are so vibrant in our swamp. :-)
Comment by anna Fri Aug 21 11:27:05 2015