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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.

Thanks for your article and excel file. You have been very helpful.
Comment by Joel Thu May 26 20:53:45 2016
I'm sure people have mentioned it, but just in case. I planted chamomile and fennel in my herb garden 4-5 years ago. They tried their damndest to take over the entire garden. I ripped it all out the next spring because I got tired of dealing with it. And I'm still digging up sprouts 3-5 times a week throughout the year even now.
Comment by WendP Thu May 26 12:07:01 2016
Comment by Jayne Thu May 26 09:00:04 2016
Love the pictures of your chicks the most. We keep ours in a 15x20 run and they seem to love the space.
Comment by Chris Robock Wed May 25 16:51:24 2016

You guys are awesome! Makes me want to do the same thing. Really inspiring story.

I work in development at Original Media in NYC and wish I had found you guys just as you decided to quit your jobs and move off grid. Because that is exactly what I am looking for and was hoping you might be able to help.

Currently, I am developing a show that would involve three different couples/families as they decide to buy a piece of land and truly live off of it. I am looking for people who are gonna not only build their homestead from their own land, but then work it and live off it.

Ideally, we would be at the start of it all the construction and see their dream come to life. I know it might be a little late for you guys - but is there anyone you know you might be interested in possible documentation of their journey. Any help or contacts or would be much appreciated!

And again - awesome work! So cool.

Comment by Bryan Severance Wed May 25 12:38:45 2016

I think you will be much happier and in more control with the Langstroth hives. They are not currently 'in fashion' but they are historically the way to go.

Remember, swarming is a function of a vibrant colony of bees. You're doing something right! My mentors feel the colony's decision to swarm is made in the previous year and the 'event' just happens in the spring/summer of the following year. Message: if they have decided to swarm there really isn't much you can do to stop them.

You can split them and do the 'swarming' for them though. If you don't want more hives, split them then put them back together a little later on. It takes time and persistence.

There is still plenty of time to get the hive right and ready for honey. Never give up!

Comment by Tim Inman Wed May 25 08:49:55 2016
I love that stuff. Use it,a lot
Comment by roseanell Tue May 24 19:50:06 2016
Nothing has chewed through mine yet, and when the birds hear the lid open they all spring to attention at the gate!
Comment by Eric Tue May 24 18:49:42 2016
We're upgrading to an Excalibur this year too, after borrowing the neighbor's for a few years.
Comment by Nita Tue May 24 10:42:23 2016
Jake --- You nailed it! (And a good thing too since I seem to be about a week and a half behind on comments. Ah, planting season.... :-) )
Comment by anna Sun May 22 19:47:29 2016

Maggie --- I suspect she remembers the disappearance of Abigail more. Mark pointed out that really fear rather than loneliness is the hardship for a herd animal living on her own. And even though Artemesia has her kids, she's the sole guardian at the moment. So I don't blame her for being a bit over-protective. Hopefully Aurora will be big enough soon to take some of the weight off her shoulders!

Chris --- You're so right! Sometimes our wet climate gets me down with fungal diseases and mud, but the upsides are definitely worth it!

Nita and Sheila --- I'm so glad to hear from others experimenting with growing grains for livestock browse! Our patch has definitely been an amazing asset. Artemesia would really prefer to eat nothing else. :-)

Comment by anna Sun May 22 19:46:29 2016

Lucy --- Good call! :-)

NaYan --- We are espaliering some of our trees, but the ones with pipes are our high-density apples. Dwarf trees trained to a tall spindle shape tend to need staking to prevent the trees from bending down during heavy fruit loads.

I agree that location has a big impact on fungal diseases. More sun = drier plants = fewer fungi!

Comment by anna Sun May 22 19:38:30 2016
Thank you for posting this. I read about planting slips in the 5 gallon buckets and really wanted to try it but first, I had to figure out what the slips were! (I'm a novice to this gardening, food growing thing.) This explanation was just what I was looking for.
Comment by Karmen Paterson Sun May 22 12:09:56 2016

I'm curious as to how you have your orchard set up. Are you espaliering your fruit trees? Why do you have them growing around what appears to be 4" gray PVC pipe?

As for cedar apple rust (CAR) - oy! - the bane of my existence. I did download your chart from the Arkansas Extension Service and picked the Delicious variety to try since it is supposed to be "very resistant" to CAR. Then a neighbor advised that he had both golden and red Delicious trees and one of them (don't remember which) was filled with CAR while the other shrugged it off. Maybe it has to do with micro-climate?

Comment by NaYan Sun May 22 09:14:58 2016
I guess you could call it a "pomopsy" :)
Comment by Lucy Sun May 22 08:01:55 2016
Planted a small patch of oats during the winter just to see what they would do. Grew nicely. I have been hand cutting them and feeding to my 2 goats. They continue to regrow. Now are flowering and seeding, so I am interested to see what they will do now that the weather is warming up here in Texas.
Comment by Shelia Sat May 21 10:18:14 2016
Just uncovered six while putting in a flower bed. Can't be a grub because I can c wings. After moving and covering back up, I figured I might check and c wat they were. Maybe they will bring me luck because I seek to draw in bees,butterflies and humming birds.
Comment by Anonymous Fri May 20 17:06:28 2016
These are the best! We've had that one (one size down) for 15 years ... For car trips with golden retrievers, for crate trading while still puppies, and in between loaned to friends to use with their young pups! Almost indestructable!
Comment by Mark R Tue May 17 09:34:53 2016
That picture makes me smile--baby goat fountains of mischief spouting in opposite directions from mom.
Comment by Jake Tue May 17 01:22:13 2016
Terry--I think the four bug zappers are the two phoebes and the two wrens. Anna and Mark got the deluxe model zappers, since the four will (hopefully) multiply into at least a dozen bug zappers by the end of the summer!
Comment by Jake Tue May 17 00:51:34 2016
I had good luck with this method last year during our also. I used rye on some steep pasture ground. Despite no rain for months, and record heat the rye did okay and provided some cover for the thin soil, and some grazing this spring. Definitely worth doing again.
Comment by Nita Mon May 16 10:36:58 2016
You're so fortunate to have the reliable moisture to grow such forage. It's the best diet for goats! The living, green stuff, that is.
Comment by Chris Sun May 15 21:28:42 2016
Glad to hear Punkin has found a home. :) And a very suitable name too! I think the little doe is going to grow up to be very beautiful too.
Comment by Chris Sun May 15 20:37:02 2016
Comment by Roland_Smith Sun May 15 17:07:14 2016
What kind of bug zapper do you use? Sounds impressive for your swampy area!
Comment by terry Sun May 15 13:17:43 2016
I wonder if Artemisia recalls that Lambchop disappeared and is keeping an eye on her kids to prevent such an event from occurring.
Comment by Maggie Turner Sun May 15 08:19:23 2016
Tim, if you're planting someone else's GMO soybeans, couldn't you get in trouble too? Or only if you sell them?
Comment by Jennifer Quinn Sat May 14 13:14:01 2016

Rae- I do that with some things, but felt like our source in Gate City is steady and reliable.

Elise- That is a lot of fence line. If I had to do a constant line I might try to add some sort of wheel that rides on the ground to decrease the load on the shoulder.

Comment by mark Thu May 12 15:14:13 2016

If you're new to soy beans, you'll like them I think. They do an amazing job of loosening the soil with their root structure. Farmers here who break new ground (or begin 're-faring' CRP land) often plant soy beans for one or two years to condition and fortify the soil.

FYI, I get my soy beans from my farmer. He cleans out his planters at the end of the season and can't use the left overs for the next year. So, I'm his 'seed dump.' If GMO is a problem please be careful as most farmers use GMO beans in the fields. You can, of course, grow your own!

Comment by Tim Inman Thu May 12 09:18:06 2016
What do you think about that recommendation to cull the most resistant goat? I understand that it is valuing the health of your entire herd over the health of one individual.... the poor Typhoid Mary of goats that doesn't care about parasites. But do you think that would be selecting for less resilience? Wouldn't you want to keep animals that remain healthy no matter what?
Comment by Jon Wed May 11 09:34:24 2016
A tool I know well. I think my Stihl brush cutter is the single most valuable tool in my farm maintenance arsenal. I maintain about 3000 feet of fence lines and I have worn out two professional models over the past 12 years. I am saving for a new one again as my current one is getting weak and can not be rebuilt again. Truly a valuable, valuable tool that is responsible in great part for any sense of "tidy" my farm has.
Comment by Elise Tue May 10 22:10:06 2016
When you find something that works and that you like, go buy 3 more so the next time it needs replacing you don't have to worry about whether the store will still have them =)
Comment by Rae Tue May 10 19:37:56 2016

Hi Anna and Mark,

Your article about dewormers refers to a number of 'scientific' studies.

Perhaps I 'should' 'respect' scientific 'research'. That said, it seems to me that to quote Henry Ford: "The thing of supreme importance is experience."

I have been reading and re-reading Newman Turner and Dr. Wrench's 'Wheel of Health'.

The message I keep learning is that if I eat healthy alive food. I will have a vibrant and healthy life. The parasites, etc. will take care of themselves. And once my body is done with them, they will leave by themselves.

Since I have quite a few MDs in my family this leads to some heated lectures, even diatribes :)

I especially liked the recent comments in response to your article about herbs.

Together with the articles I mentioned above, I used garlic [ which i do not like ] to cure a very bad cold without the usual anit-biotic method.

Is is 'really' cured? Good question.

Only time will tell :).

But do read 'Wheel of Health' and Newman Turners stuff !!!

Lots of fun :).

Comment by John Tue May 10 16:59:39 2016
I, too, was concerned about those little heads pushing through that lattice. Hope all works out well for the kids. Are you penning them up at night so you can do a little milking in the morning?
Comment by Kris Tue May 10 08:10:29 2016
Should there be screening to prevent them from sticking their heads through the lattice? (In case they get stuck there. My experience is that baby animals seem to find misfortune TOO easily.) Hope I'm just being unnecessarily worried. Ellen
Comment by Ellen Mon May 9 16:44:17 2016
Anonymous --- Thank you so much! I hope you enjoy it. :-)
Comment by anna Mon May 9 13:06:36 2016
Just pre ordered the print book. Thank you Anna it looks great! Thank you for testing each different way especially. Oh by the way
Comment by Anonymous Mon May 9 10:18:28 2016

Yeah, CDT's are essential. Back twenty years ago, when I was young and even more stupid, I failed to get a kid vaccinated for this, and had to put him down for lockjaw. Lockjaw is AWFUL. Believe me, this was a sad lesson learned.

Comment by Julie Whitmore Mon May 9 07:40:28 2016
It looks like a nice arbor. Our grapes last year were a mess, but since our move I'm hoping to start new grapes (preferably nor mascarpone grapes.)
Comment by Karmen Paterson Sun May 8 12:58:00 2016
What about sea buckthorn? Nitrogen fixing, really thorny and with delicious berries which can also be made into a super healthy oil.
Comment by Kristian Sun May 8 10:58:35 2016