Tag Archives: livestock

Episode-1325- Taking the TSP Homestead Forward in 2014

Charlie and Ralph Nap after a Long Day on the Homestead

Time for a simple old school style TSP that is basically a chat with Jack.  Today we take a look a what 2014 has in store for life at the TSP homestead.  The first year here was mostly an infrastructure establishment phase.  We installed swales and hugul beds.  We also built facilities for our livestock, systems to move they though the land, etc.  We installed garden ponds and many other systems.

The entire first year of establishment is actually available in a 90 minute video we filmed that you can find here.  The key is the first year was like building the roads and bridges, 2014 is going to be more like when the houses, buildings and shops go in, metaphorically of course.

This year is going to be awesome, Josiah will be off building the flagship PermaEthos farm which will require at least one trip by me up there for a major earthworks course and installation.  Other than that though Dorothy and I will be back to it just being the two of us and frankly even though we love Joe like family we are looking forward to it.

We are moving into a new phase, one of tweaking, edge expansion and management.  Shifting from changing the landscape to working with it.  Dorothy is even considering starting a small homestead business or businesses of her own.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • Once we plant 300 plus trees this week then what
  • Plans for more mobile chicken fencing and a mobile coops
  • Charly’s progress and the BS that a dog that kills a chicken must be beaten, etc.
  • The geese “herd” is being expanded
  • Ducks into the system
  • A new “pond” near the big hen house how it will add to our system
  • A new crop in the garden ponds, Chinese water chestnut
  • This year we go big on perennial medicinal herbs
  • Bees are coming, I have no idea what to do with them but I will figure it out
  • Dorothy is considering an egg business, perhaps a plant business too
  • Pasture restoration 2.0, one horse equals a LOT of poop and hay
  • Final decision on the west pasture has yet to be made
  • Plans for our future abundance

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

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Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

Episode-1321- Bitcoin, PermaEthos, Homestead Updates and Matt Miller on Vehicle Maintenance

Three of out 12 New Baby Ducks

Three of our 12 New Baby Ducks

Time for a four parter, as I said I am making it up to you guys for lost time during recent travel and I suspect at least one show will not happen next week as well with the workshop and all. So today here is what we have on hand.

First I am going to talk about why the “big news” about bitcoin is not big news in any negative way.  Of course I mean the IRS ruling that BTC is property and not currency.  Anyone running a business publicly collecting BTC should have greeted this announcement with a resounding duh, frankly, no shit is more accurate.

Let me break it to you bluntly, the IRS guidance is actually factual, accurate and consistent with all existing code and treatment of property and assets by the IRS.

Note I am not saying the IRS is fair, that taxes are fair or that taxes are okay and not theft.  What I am saying is based on current IRS code, historical treatment of barter and the trade of goods and the treatment of commodities, the new IRS guidance is fair and consistent in relation to historical IRS guidelines.

Here are several reason this ruling is meaningless…

  • Anyone with a brain taking in lots of bitcoin into a business was likely already doing the accounting as the guidelines state.
  • The IRS still can’t track person to person bitcoin, they don’t have that ability, if they ever acquire it, the system will take it away from them in an “update”.
  • New software to maximize tax advantages of this ruling is likely being coded RIGHT NOW.
  • Likely the IRS is going to have to change their guidance when BTC becomes a recognized currency anyway, it will then function like any currency on the FOREX, this is going to happen.

Second we move one to a bit more on PermaEthos and a few questions that have come up since my big announcement yesterday.  I will also again explain that YES the MSB will get a discount code for Geoff Lawton’s PDC and the code will be in the MSB likely today or tomorrow but definitely before the PDC goes on sale.

The new Ethos model has been extremely well received!  I want to talk just a bit more about it.  I will be updating the PermaEthos site soon to reflect the new model and start creating a true virtual community around it.  It will be important that Ethos function both as an extension of the TSP community and yet function on its own merits to those who have no clue what or who a TSP is.

Then I have some “homestead updates” for you guys.  Yes an MSB only video will come out this week by the way, showing a lot of what I am going to talk about.  There is some cool stuff though, today our homestead population grew by yet another dozen with 12 ridiculously cute ducklings!  I’ll tell you also how they and the geese are going to get some “ponds” that will almost be actual ponds.

Then I am joined by Matthew Miller who is a long time listener to TSP and an MSB member.  . In an effort to continue building resiliency and self-sufficiency in his life he wanted to learn how to maintain his own vehicles. Inheriting his late grandfather’s 94 Ranger was the final push needed. A 20 year old truck with 80k miles on it was a great starter project to get his feet wet.

He has documented all of his repairs and progress on the TSP forums for others to learn and gain encouragement from. Since starting he has gained a basic working knowledge of autos and has no fear when he hears a knock or rattle. Through his desire to do things himself he has inspired friends and family members to do their own work and offers to help when he can.

Matthew loves watching his kids play in and on his truck or car when he’s working on them. They’ll jump in with tools and ‘help’ daddy out. Knowing that he is teaching them positive values, resiliency, and self-reliance is the greatest reward he’s gotten since learning this new skill-set.

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

A Dead Simple Fodder System

5 Day Fodder from a 5 Gallon Bucket

5 Day Fodder from a 5 Gallon Bucket

I have had a lot of info on the show about fodder systems, including DIY and commercial systems.  The cost has run from a few hundred to many thousands of dollars.

I wanted to start feeding fodder to my birds but could not see making a large investment to essentially sprout seeds.  People all over the nation spout seeds for their own use with a jar that simply has holes in the lid.  I have done this and it works just fine, I figured a 5 gallon bucket is just a big jar right?

So I made my own system based on the vaulted 5 gallon bucket, it would cost you at max 30 bucks.  Honestly I have less than 20 dollars in mine by using stuff we already had on site.  I just wrote an article about it that also has a ton of pictures and a great video.  You can find it at BrinkOfFreedom.net.

http://brinkoffreedom.net/homesteading/dead-simple-fodder-system/

Episode-1236- Plans for the TSP Homestead and Upcoming Workshops

I am going to continue with some fun stuff that is informative and not so deep into the world of politics, economics, etc.  Today I am going to line out the planned projects for our 3 acre property and what they will be doing for us long term.

The first principle of permaculture in my mind is “observe and interact” and while interact is part of it, to me on a new property about a year of observation is really ideal for the planning process.  At this point I have been on my property for about 10 months.  I now know it intimately.  I know where the winds blow including when they don’t line up with the “official information” from the weather service.

I know where my soils are a foot deep and where they are only a few inches above the limestone reef that is under this part of north Texas.  I know where water flows and where it pools.  I know the species that do well here on their own in all seasons.  I  have seen the results of my work with my animals an I know it works.  Islands of deep green now exist in pastures that are tired and mostly brown.

I have had the great fortune to have my intern Josiah Wallingford of Bring of Freedom on property now for 3 months to aid in my planning.  We now have a much deeper understanding of many of our subtle contours.  Then we did an urban design workshop.  30 students received certification in Urban Design and we got amazing ideas for a small space design on the property.  Josiah and I have expanded these plans and it is all coming together.  Today I will do my best to explain our future plans and how this homestead is going to be transformed over the next year into a holistic system that is self supporting and will generate its own fertility.

Join Me Today As We Discuss…

  • The tactical greenhouse with a “climate battery”
  • 6000-7500 gallons of catchment tanks are going in, just for starters
  • Why we will use some pumps in our systems, yet we will not “need” them
  • Taking swales to an extreme level even on land anyone would call flat
  • Road catchment diversion, more water then we could ever need
  • Cell grazing of geese and chickens in our system, perhaps sheep next year
  • Building a 60,000 gallon pond where you can’t go below grade and making it self sustaining
  • Making hugul swales where we can only dig about 2 inches into the soil
  • Building top soil at a massive rate in the interswales
  • Berms, berms and more berms
  • A food forest going in this spring, 40 productive trees, 280 support trees
  • The contour beds are due to become a massive “micro food forest”
  • This is just the beginning!

Resources for today’s show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Also remember we have an expert council you can address your calls to. If you do this you should email me right after your call at jack at thesurvivalpodcast.com with expert council call in the subject line. In the body of your email tell me that you just called in a question for the council and what number you called in from. I will then give the call priority when I screen calls.

Our Expert Council is Made Up of…

Join the MSB Today

Join the MSB Today

Want Every Episode of TSP Ever Produced?

Remember in addition to discounts to over 40 vendors who supply stuff you are likely buying anyway, tons of free ebooks and video content, MSB Members also get every edition of The Survival Podcast ever produced in convenient zip files in blocks of 24. More info on the MSB can be found here.

 

Episode-1195- Ben Falk on The Resilient Farm and Homestead

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben Falk of WholeSystemsDesign.com

Ben developed Whole Systems Design, LLC as a land-based response to biological and cultural extinction and the increasing separation between people and elemental things.

Life as a designer, builder, ecologist, tree-tender, and backcountry traveler continually informs Ben’s integrative approach to developing landscapes and buildings. His home landscape and the WSD studio site in Vermont’s Mad River Valley serve as a proving ground for the regenerative land developments featured in the projects of Whole Systems Design.

Ben has studied architecture and landscape architecture at the graduate level and holds a master’s degree in land-use planning and design. He has conducted nearly 200 site development consultations across New England and facilitated dozens of courses on permaculture design, property selection, microclimate design, and design for climate change.

Today he joins us to discuss his new book “The Resilient Farm and Homestead” along with subjects like  wood heat, property evaluation, integrating grazing animals with perennials, permaculture design course, drought and flood proofing, cold climate strategies, ponds and swales.

Resources for today’s show…

Ben’s Links

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK (866-658-4465) and you might hear yourself on the air.

Episode-1165- Marjory Wildcraft on Using 100% of Slaughtered Livestock

Marjory WIldcraft of Grow Your Own Groceries

One of my favorite people on planet earth, Marjory Wildcraft of Growing Your Groceries and Back Yard Food production joins us once again on TSP.  Today Marjory joins us to discuss how we can get best utilization of our livestock when the time for slaughter comes around.

As someone that eats a lot of meat I know where my meat comes from.  I try to grow at least some of my own and while I never enjoy taking a life it is the only way meat becomes that wonderful nourishment most of us consume.

The thing is though if you are going to kill an animal that you have raised it makes a lot of sense to honor it by fully utilizing all of the resources it contains.

While a few of Marjory’s ideas are beyond even what I or for that matter she does it is good to know every use for every part of a slaughtered animal, the abundance we take for granted today of course may not be quite so abundant tomorrow.

Join Marjory and I today as we discuss the following list of uses for animal parts after slaughter…

  • Meats
  • Fats
  • Organs
  • Feathers
  • Down
  • Hides and furs
  • Brains (yep)
  • Bones
  • Hooves and skins
  • Adrenal glands
  • Guts
  • Tendons and sinew
  • Eyes (not me but some do it)
  • Stomachs
  • And lucky rabbits feet, LOL

Resources for Today’s Show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show.

 

Egyptian Fayoumi Chickens Become Delicious Dinner Items

Our 6 Egyptian Fayoumi roosters had gone absolutely mental on us.  They were terrorizing the flock and making all the pullets a nervous wreck.  We simply had too many roosters on the roost, which is what we get for buying birds “strait run”.

Additionally one of the supposed “sex link red pullets” is neither sex linked nor a pullet but a now maturing Road Island Red Rooster.  The gang of six attacked him to the point where he actually had gone into the floor of the chicken coop and disappeared for a few days, we thought he had been taken by a hawk.

But Dorothy was sure she heard something in the coop.  In the end we did hear him and pulled up the floor to get him out.  He is now my buddy and literally clings to my leg when we take a walk.  Well, that means I have a nice big old gentle rooster and didn’t need any of these psychopaths.

I really wanted to grow them out a bit more but I have to go to out of town for a bit and leaving Dorothy with yet another chore (moving their heavy chicken tractor twice a day) didn’t seem like the right thing to do.  So I got up at 0600 and slaughtered and dressed these guys.

They are about the size of a nice dressed out pheasant.  They all weighed only between 2 to 2.4 pounds and averaged right at 2.2.  So when we cook them we will do them in pairs which should feed Dorothy and I well and leave enough for a small pot of soup from the left overs.

If you are considering Fayoumis all I can say is don’t unless you have a shit ton of land and basically want feral birds that come back to roost at night and DON’T buy them strait run.  The cockerals were crowing by 3 weeks and fighting at 5 weeks, trying to harem up the hens at only 6-7 weeks and had turned into complete psychopaths by 90 days of age.

At that point they are really way to small for slaughter.    They just seem like a breed that isn’t really very useful on the small homestead.  I do think a large block of land with them going 100% free range and only Fayoumis would work with a rooster to hen ratio of say 8 to 1.

They don’t care about heat, they eat bugs and forage like mad, they don’t eat much commercial feed at all, etc.  That is one reason they mature fast but don’t grow fast is you can’t keep them on commercial feed as soon as they have the option for grasshoppers and field weeds they just have no further interest.

I know some wanted to have me film this, well, Dorothy wants no part in the slaughter of our animals so doing so would have made this a lot more of a chore.  We are going to bring in 25-50 meat birds for the fall, we will run a butchering workshop on those and that will be filmed.

5 Week Old Toulouse Geese Graduate to Mini Paddocks out of the Tractor

The Geese with Me at about 1.5 Weeks of Age.

The Geese with Me at about 1.5 Weeks of Age.

Today our 8 Toulouse Geese graduated from tractor to mini paddock. This enclosure is made with 2.5 foot high by 16 foot panels that Tractor Supply calls “hog feedlot panels”. They are like smaller cattle panels but the squares get more narrow closer to the bottom.  The neighbor gave them to me as he has no use for them right now.  I had no idea what they were called and neither did he.

They also make a “cattle feedlot panel” which is 16 feet by 50 inches vs. these which are 16 feet by 34 inches.  Both seem to offer a LOT of utility for making a very easy to move paddock.  While many would use light electro fence and step in stakes that is very hard to do here due to how much rock we have.

My plan mentioned in the video is to make bases out of concrete poured into PVC pipe of about 6 inches high.  Use a bolt in the concrete to put a flat base on them.  Two per panel with a short t-post out the top and wala moveable stand up panels that won’t weight much.  You can then move them and configure any shape you want and by thinking before you move never open things up and let your animals out.

Additionally once set the corners can be connected with small double dog clips.  This make them very stable and given they catch no wind there is little danger of collapse.    I am going to play with this vs. free ranging because it will let me put them where I need them most.  Given the flexible nature of the shape you can funnel them into tight spots this way to.  They seem a lot more happy now in a bigger space.

Every day I spend with these geese I like them more and more, I think the chickens are getting jealous. Again these birds are only about 5 weeks old, I would estimate them at 4-5 lbs already or about 24% of adult weight. They are performing like miniature cattle just as expected, they graze, push their manure into the ground and disturb the soil though not as much as chickens.

To see a comparison of them 4.5 weeks ago look at the first video of them here.

I am rapidly beginning to consider geese the perfect homestead animal.  They have only eaten two bags of feed and now use almost none as they prefer the grass.  Unlike the chickens they are smart and learned to not get stuck when the tractor was being moved in about a week.  They grow like weeds, at this rate they will hit 10-12 lbs in another 5-6 weeks which is perfect slaughter weight.

These ones will be long term breeders though so they don’t have to worry about being eaten.  Unlike chickens they don’t need a ton of predator protection, even at this size a racoons is in for a fight, when they are all over 12 lbs, God help such a coon.  They talk to you, are always happy to see you and when I do let them free range will add to our site security.

I also think I picked the perfect heavy breed for our needs.  If you want Toulouse Geese next year the time to reserve them is now.  Cackle Hatchery was the ONLY supplier I could find with delivery this year.  A word of warning I would NOT have these in a typical “neighborhood” they talk a lot, while right now that is a non issue as the peeps become honks they can be pretty loud.  In our area that just won’t matter but these don’t belong in suburbia.  If you have a few acres of grass for them though, man they are hard to beat.

Episode-1136- Livestock Grazing Management with Chris Stelzer

Chris Stelzer has been working as an intern on ranches for the past year. Chris has completed three internships on two different continents giving him grazing and livestock management experience in three different ecosystems.

He is passionate about sustainable agriculture and providing people with positive and real world solutions to agriculture’s problems. Chris also maintains a website devoted to sustainable agriculture with a focus on grazing management called “Agricultural Insights.” Grazing management is an art form that Chris has spent the past two years of his life trying to perfect and he is open to sharing all of his experiences.

Chris is currently exploring different grazing enterprises in Colorado. He also has experience with on-farm sales, direct marketing for small farms and commercial livestock marketing.

Resources for Today’s Show…

Remember to comment, chime in and tell us your thoughts, this podcast is one man’s opinion, not a lecture or sermon. Also please enter our listener appreciation contest and help spread the word about our show. Also remember you can call in your questions and comments to 866-65-THINK and you might hear yourself on the air.

A Couple Videos, Hail Damage and New Geese Arrive on the Homestead

Hail Damage on the Survival Podcast Homestead

Last night a band of severe thunderstorms hit north central Texas. There were only supposed to be severe storms and risk of hail was only moderate and tornadoes was low. By the time the storms formed the weather service changed the risk for damaging winds, hail and tornadoes to high.

One tornado devastated parts of Grandbury Texas and at least 7 people lost there lives, about 6 or 7 are currently unaccounted for and 15 were admitted to the hospital. This area is about 25 miles south west of us. While I am not happy about the loss of my crops I know we got off easy and my thoughts and prayers are with my fellow Texans who have lost so much more right now. This is why we are preppers folks.

Toulouse Geese Arrive on the TSP Homestead and Meet Max the 150 LB German Shepperd

On a happier note we just received 8 adorable Toulouse Geese from Cackle Hatchery, they are really cool and Max the 150 pound German Shepperd has already decided they are to be defended at all cost.  I wonder how he will feel when they imprint on him and 8 20 lb birds are following him around the property?

These are standard Toulouse not the giant dewlap or show versions.  They are calm gentle geese that do very well on grass pasture.