Friday, January 30, 2009


Yesterday I wrote about homebrewing your own beer, but that is not all that can be home "brewed". Cider has been around for ages, and was actually a much more popular drink in ages past than beer. "Hard" Cider is cider that has had fermentation occur to make it alcoholic. Beer became more popular with the discovery of hops and other methods for preserving it so that it could be transported. But apples grow all over the place.

Who remembers the stories of Johnny Appleseed from when they were younger? What most people think of are the great apples that are available year round at grocery stores nowadays. Well, if you put those thoughts towards Johnny Appleseed, you would be wrong. He planted mostly small hard apples, that stored well, but were much better for cider than for eating. Just think of it, spreading alcohol instead of fruit? They wouldn't teach that in schools!

Cider is very easy to make, but for the die-hard cider enthusiast, it could have some major expenses. In order to make cider, all you need to do is crush apples, and drink the juice. Voilá! Cider. To make this cider "Hard", it just needs to ferment in a barrel for a few weeks where the free yeast in the air will ferment the sugar in the cider making it alcoholic. In order to speed it up and get reproducable results, we have the option to use packaged beer or wine yeast.

When I say there could be expenses, I mean equipment. Everywhere I have lived, I have been able to find orchards where you could get bushels of overripe or blemished skin apples relatively inexpensively. In order to increase your yield and the speed which you can make cider, you would want a fruit press. If you can get the crusher with the press, even better. Crushing the fruit will increase your yield by a goodly amount. The cider presses available run from $150 (maybe) and up, but they do quickly reduce the amount of time it takes to make cider from fresh fruit.

Always remember, that cider is not always made from apples. Pear Cider, aka "Perry", is very common and enthused about in Europe and small areas around the country here. Same process, different fruit.

If you have extra cider, or you let it go too long, hey, apple cider vinegar has lots of health benefits and works well for a lot of cooking purposes as well. Before it gets to that point, you could distill it to "Apple Jack" or apple brandy. (LEGAL NOTE: same as beer, I make no claims about the legality of this. Verify that for yourself.)

If you have a chance, I highly recommend Hard Cider. Its got a good taste, with a relatively low alcohol content, and you get your fruit every time you drink some! Gotta love it!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" -- Benjamin Franklin

Over the past few years, micro-breweries and speciality breweries have boomed across the country. Gone are the days of there being just a few national beer companies selling watered down horse-urine. (My apologies to those of you who do like this stuff...) I admit like different types/brands/etc of beer. Stouts/Ales/Lagers/Pilsners, I love most of them! Spicy/Fruity/Nutty, yuppers! It always seemed that I frustrated the servers when I would go out drinking because I never got the same thing twice. This of course lead me to the idea of making my own beer. Why not? If I make something that is disgusting, well, its my own fault (and it works GREAT in composters), but at the same time, if I make something amazing, then I can feel extremely proud of it.

How to homebrew... there are many books and online references available that will teach you the mechanics of brewing your own beer (I list a few at the end). But I know a lot of people that will ask, "Why should I make my own when there are so many types available for me?" Well, let me attempt to answer that for you. Making beer at home gives you a number of benefits that you can not get through buying beer at the store.

1) You can control the ingredients. You know everything that is going into that and you can make sure that there are no chemicals or preservatives in your brew. There are an extraordinary number of health benefits from beer, just look it up!
2) You can get recipes for "common" beers online and then tweek them to make them suit yourself, or you can make up your own recipes. This gives the brewer the control to make exactly what they want and what they like.
3) You can grow all of the ingredients yourself. If things ever get too bad, you could still have your own homemade beer grown from ingredients that you have grown yourself. Also, those grains you would use? You could eat them if things got too tight!
4) If you stop halfway through the process, you could take what you made and make liquor out of it. (LEGAL NOTE: I make no claims about the legality of this. Verify the legality at your location before attempting. This is not legal in the USA.) The coooked wort (pronounced wert) is the end result of cooking the grains, sugars, etc. This is what would be distilled to make whiskey and whisky (yes, they are different). I can, and probably will, discuss this process in further detail in another post.

Now that you know Why, you need to know the basics of How. Beginning to homebrew does not have to be expensive. Homebrew supply stores, sell kits with everything you nee (except bottles). Bottles can be gotten from beer distributers (ask them if they have any returns that people returned for the deposit (this practice is unfortuntely diminishing, but it doesn't hurt to ask)), ask friends to keep non-twist bottles for you, etc. The equipment itself can be expensive, but if you go with the kit, it doesn't have to be that much (you can get by for less than 100 from many homebrew stores for a beginners kit). You can go all the way up to super-expensive for an all grain, complicated setup. It all depends on where you are comfortable starting.

I highly recommend "The Complete Joy of Home Brewing" by Charlie Papazian, and his followup "The Homebrewer's Companion". These books contain pretty much any and all information you would need to learn to home brew as well as a really large and diverse list of recipes.

Also check out: --- the American Homebrewers Association

These are just a few sites to check out, but there are many many more out there. Also, look around, many cities have homebrewing groups and organizations where you can get to know people that are currently doing it and their setups, feelings, likes/dislikes, etc.

I hope you find this informative. Tomorrow? Homebrew: CIDER!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Animal Less Raised

I hear a lot about raising chickens and raising goats on the homestead. Heck, both of these animals have multiple magazines dedicated to raising them. But what about the other animals that can be raised on smaller properties that will provide for the family? Ok, so I've started to hear more about meat rabbits, that's one. But what about a big ol' hog? Those things get HUGE! That's a lot of meat there, and unless your kosher, its some pretty good eatin'.

Ok, but seriously, think of everything that comes from a pig. You've got bacon, sausage, ham, pork, and lard. (Yes, I said lard, but that's another entry.) When you consider that there are small homestead farms out there raising heritage breed hogs upwards of 250# and getting 75% packaged meat from that. I admit, I have not done this, yet, but from what I can find online, that's 75% MEAT. That doesn't count the lard, salt pork, etc. that can be made using fat. That's a lot of meet for one growing season. Now, I'll admit, I don't know the breakdown of meat by type, but still, for an animal that can forage in pasture. Think about it... a meat goat will weigh much less, but on average, you will only get about 33% of the goats body weight for food (20% if you debone it all). Also, take into consideration if you can do the processing yourself, or if you will need to pay someone to do this all for you... that cost might change your mind.

I'm not saying to not think about each of the other animals, but make sure you consider these lovely animals. I'm still doing some research to see if they can be pastured with any other animals, but hey, I'm not saying this is for everyone, its just a thought.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Lard - the better fat

Lard has all but disappeared from the modern American household, and now when mention of the word comes up, people shudder. They fear the dreaded problems with lard. BUT, do said problems truly exist? Or are they just misconceptions perpetuated by companies and scientists? Let's take a look...

Fats come in three types: saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated. In this order they are: not great, good, and best. Now I know people are going to get on me about saying saturated fat is "not good" instead of labelling it "bad", but I really don't see it as bad. Is too much bad? Yeah, probably. But it occurs in nature in foods that our forefathers ate, and you know what? I don't think its bad. At least, it wasn't until we started mucking about with its chemical structure.
Now the big scare is trans-fats. Guess what! Lard doesn't have any. None, zero, zip, zilch, nada. Studies have shown that trans-fat is much worse for your health than saturated fat. Lard has about 40% saturated fat (compared to coconut oil's 85% and palm kernel oil's 80% **source**). Lard also has about 45% monounsaturated fats. That's a very respectable number from a health standpoint.

So from a health standpoint, Lard is good. There are proponents out there that are doing studies showing lard to be high in Omega-6 fatty acids, and showing the many other health benefits of lard. But there is a caveat.

Come on, you knew it was coming, right? Well, the boxes of lard that you get at the store are hydrogenated. This means that Hydrogen is added to increase the stability of the fat thus eliminating the need for any special storage conditions. By adding Hydrogen to the fat, the producers are eliminating a lot of the fat benefits listed above. Never fear, you can buy pig fat from local farms in order to render your own lard, or if this is too much work or too scary for a beginner, there are farm markets that sell "real" lard that is not hydrogenated.

As with anything, I urge you to do your own research and to look into the facts. If you agree that this wonderful ingredient is not the health terror we've always been told, let me tell you, it works WONDERS to pastries, baking, etc.

Monday, January 26, 2009

These boots are made for...

Unfortunately, my working/hiking/caber-tossing boots have finally broken beyond repair. For now, I can make do with my rubber wellie muck boots, but I'm going to need a new pair of work boots. But, with my worries about the future, and my attempt at frugal prepping, how do I pick a new pair of boots?

Do I go for a cheap pair that should last me a while? Or do I go for a more expensive pair, hoping that they will be better made and will last longer? The pair that just died lasted me a couple years, and were a whopping $19.99. So if I go for an $80 pair, they should last me 8 years, right? Or will they just be more comfortable for the few years that they last... I could get a couple pairs of the cheapies for the price of a more expensive pair. But if things get as bad as we all know they COULD... will I be able to buy another pair in a couple years? Will I have the money? Will the companies that are selling them still be around? All points to ponder...

Then do I go for 6" or 8" boots. Do I go for real leather or fake leather. Steel-toe or no? What about the rubber outer-soles. Etc etc etc. Lots of different things to think about.

Now, there is a lot to be said about paying for the better quality and more comfort. I will admit that I am not worried about weather-/water-proof boots because I will mink oil/saddle soap/wet-pruf my boots on a regular basis to take care of them. I have seen water-proof boots that have a "membrane" in them. You know what these do for me? They make my feet sweat, esp in mid-summer.

I have known a couple pipe-fitters who swear by Red Wing boots. I know mechanics that swear they don't see a difference between brands. I have talked to people who swear by brands (Caterpiller, Carhart, Timberline, etc). Well, that all being said, I am looking at a pair of C.E. Schmidt boots from Tractor Supply. This is T.S. house brand. They are less expensive, but they feel really good on my feet when I tried them on. Now its just a matter of saving up the rest of the cash for it, and seeing if anyone brings up any points that I hadn't thought of or that might change my mind. :-)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Misconceptions - Unalienable Rights

The teacher has just made the statement, "The basis of all morality is duty, a concept with the same relation to group that self-interest has to individual." He goes on to say, "a human being has no natural rights of any nature."

. . . . Somebody took the bait. "Sir? How about 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?"

"Ah, yes, the 'unalienable rights.' Each year {in class} someone quotes that magnificent poetry. Life? What 'right to life' has a man who is drowning in the Pacific? The ocean will not hearken to his cries. What 'right' to life has a man who must die if he is to save his children? If he chooses to save his own life, does he do so as a matter of 'right'? If two men are starving and cannibalism is the only alternative to death, which man's right is 'unalienable'? And is it 'right'? As to liberty, the heroes who signed the great document pledged themselves to buy liberty with their lives. Liberty is never unalienable; it must be redeemed regularly with the blood of patriots or it always vanishes. Of all the so-called natural human rights that have ever been invented, liberty is least likely to be cheap and is never free of cost."

"The third 'right'? --- the 'pursuit of happiness'? It is indeed unalienable, but it is not a right; it is simply a universal condition which tyrants cannot take away nor patriots restore. Cast me into a dungeon, burn me at the stake, crown me king of kings, I can 'pursue happiness' as long as my brain lives --- but neither gods nor saints, wise men nor subtle drugs, can insure that I will catch it."

----Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers"

I was catching up on some news, that is, I had the radio on and was looking at some news websites. This is a not uncommon occurence for me, but I started to put some of these thoughts together again and decided to share. I know that this might upset some people, might offend others, and some may agree. If you want to share your point of view, leave me a comment, please. All I ask is that before jumping down my throat, you read the whole entry and think about it before yelling at me, OK? Ok, thanks... and awayyyy we go...

But I was thinking about this book and looking at some of the headlines. These are some headlines that we, as Americans, could see and hear about every day if we look at the national news. Its almost a constant. Civil Rights are being violated here or there, this group is fighting for their rights, Civil Rights, workers rights, gay rights, whatever it happens to be. Every group in America seems to think that they deserve or are entitled to have their own special rights. I know that many people have discussed this or similar topics in the past, but as I was writing the last post about Cultural Oxymorons, it got me thinking about this quote and boom, Bob's your uncle, and you have this post.

So many of these groups fought tooth and nail to be included in the mainstream of American culture, but now that they are there, they want to have special rights. "Seperate but Equal" was a bad thing when it was imposed from the outside, but now that they are doing it to themselves, its ok. The problem is, a lot of the "rights" that they want, are not equal. They are concessions to that group in particular.

In my opinion, if you want to segregate yourself, that's fine. But don't ask me to give you special permissions or leeway to do something that you want that I can't do either. Also, don't be udset if I decide to segregate myself as well. You want to have BET, and black student unions, and hispanic student unions, etc. Don't be made when I want to have a whites only group. Granted, I don't really care, but if you have the right to do that, then I should have the same right.

Remember, "All men are created Equal"... this is all of us, not, we are all created equal but some are more equal than others. We all should have the same rights. No matter how many or how few, they should all be the same.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dictator by Executive Order

Now to interrupt your regularly scheduled evening... I heard these things when I got home and I am so upset that I had to post this.

Ok, I have to preface this by saying that I really do want the President to succeed. But after 1 day in office, I'm afeared. I'm truly afeared that the country is going to be run via executive order, completely bypassing the checks and balances built into our government.

First thing, he closed Gitmo. Well, truth be told, he closed all foreign detainment camps and prisons. What are we going to do with everyone that is currently housed in these institutions? Just let them go? Heck no... Jack Murtha is willing to house all the detainees from Gitmo in his district in PA.

Not only that, but he is saying that they will all be tried and questioned based on the Army Field Manual. You know what? That field manual is for honorable combatants that follow honorable war practices. These schmucks don't deserve that. Heck, they don't even need to be treated according to the Geneva Convention because they aren't following the rules laid out by the GC for what constitutes a war or a combatant. They aren't wearing uniforms that distinguish them, etc. So now all of these people are going to be awarded rights that they shouldn't have based on their own conduct.

Then he signed the executive order that covered the Freedom of Choice act. This states that any woman has the right to start, prevent, or terminate their pregnancy at any time. Gee, don't the fathers have any say? Why are more men not upset about this? This takes away any rights that a guy would have. If he wants the child, but the woman doesn't... tough. If he wants to use birth control, but she doesn't... tough. This act also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to protest the legality of federally controlled abortion, etc.

If he is going to do this on his first day in office, what more is in store for us down the line?

Please, remember that there are three branches of government for a reason and that there is a process in place that should, no NEEDS, to be followed. We can't have someone ruling the country by executive order. Americans need to find their voice and make sure that their legislators recognize this.

America, still a representative republic. But for how long?

The Art of Self-Defense

The other day, I spoke about the need to keep your body in shape enough to be able to do the necessary work to survive and to protect your family. In that entry, I was merely discussing physical fitness and its importance. Today, I am going to discuss the benefit of preparing by learning to defend yourself and your family, with and without weapons.

Many preppers and self-sufficiency advocates discuss the best firearms to have and their best uses. They discuss how much ammo to have, etc. This is all great information. However, if things ever get so bad that we need these firearms to protect our homes and families, I think it is safe to say that we will need them for hunting as well. Also, purchasing more ammo would be difficult if things get that bad, and it will be important to be able to defend yourself and your family with other tools around the house/homestead and bare-handed.

Many many years ago, on the island of Okinawa, the farmers were stripped of all weapons because the government was worried about rebellion. The ingenius farmers adapted their farming tools to be able to defend themselves. They learned how to fight with these tools, and these tools and techniques have been passed down in many ways through the art of Karate.

In Brazil, there is a martial art called Capoiera, that is "hidden" in a dance/game. Supposedly, this was created for protection and preperation in the same way. The people, or slaves, were forbidden to practice any form of martial art, so they created this way of practicing a way to protect themselves while hidden in plain sight.

Let us hope and pray that it never comes to this in America, but if it does, would you be able to protect yourself and your family? Do you know the weak spots on the human body to hit if someone attacked you? Could you swing your shovel/pitchfork/ax/hatchet enough to use it as a weapon to protect yourself? Do you own these or any other tools that you could use?

Remember, too, that prepping is not just making sure that you have these weapons, or firearms, or anything else... it also includes making sure that you know how to use these things that you have stored. Almost everything can have multiple uses... Have you thought about this and the uses for things in your house/apartment/homestead?

Just something to think about...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


"My mother said violence never solves anything." "So?" Mr. Dubois looked at her bleakly. "I'm sure the city fathers of Carthage would be glad to know that."

"Anyone who clings to the historically untrue — and thoroughly immoral — doctrine that "violence never solves anything" I would advise to conjure up the ghosts of Napoleon Bonaparte and of the Duke of Wellington and let them debate it. The ghost of Hitler could referee, and the jury might well be the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon. Violence, naked force, has settled more issues in history than has any other factor, and the contrary opinion is wishful thinking at its worst. Breeds that forget this basic truth have always paid for it with their lives and freedoms."
---Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers"

Ok, for now, I think this third quote from this book is enough. I'll finish this up and then move on to something else.

Violence. Its a fundamental part of nature, a part of this world we live in. It can be a volcano that destroys an entire city (e.g. Pompeii) to a human act that destroys an entire city (e.g. Nagasaki, Hiroshima). What's the difference? Either way an entire city is gone. Exactly, as referenced in the beginning of this quote, the same as Carthage.

The way I interpret this quote may be strange, but I don't believe that the author is saying that violence should be the first attempt. Maybe not even the third. But the problem is that when you get down to it, diplomacy has very rarely worked, and violence is what resolves the matter, eventually and definitively.

I would further add, that it is not just violence, but as much violence as needed. Look at the situation in Israel. They have defeated Palestine a number of times throughout the years. However, they keep bowing to the pressure of the "world community" and keep stopping short of completely solving the matter.

Do I advocate violence for everything, or as a first resort? Not at all. Do I feel that it can be justified when it is used correctly? Absolutely.

Well, there ya go... now don't hit me!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Overlooked is the Physical

I read a lot, and I read quickly. This means that I get through a lot of material quickly. With my focus being on homesteading, prepping, self-sufficiency, and self-responsibility, I have found a lot of great information about gardening, chickens, goats, composting, firearms, ammo, etc. One thing that I haven't seen anyone talk about (not saying no one has, but that I haven't seen) is Physical preparedness.

Now, I want to be fair, so let me explain where I am coming from up front. I'm 6'2", almost 300#, I smoke, I drink occasionally, and I love greasy and rich foods. However, I am rather strong, can trudge and can work the day away at physical labor. I completely tore my Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) completely out of my one knee over 10 years ago and never had surgery or anything to fix this. So I am not coming from a place where I can run 4 minute miles, eat no fat or carbs, have 0% body fat, etc etc etc. Along with my stats up there, I should also mention that I hold a "black belt" level in Shaolin Chang Chuan (Chinese Kung Fu) and wrestled, collegate-style, through middle and high school.

Ok, so all of that being said, what is the primary tool that each and all of us have in our quest for preparedness and self-sufficiency? Our bodies. If we don't keep our bodies in good working order, how can we expect to plant those seeds or carry the feed for the animals? If you don't have the stamina to go out and weed and plant and harvest your crops, they aren't going to do much good, now are they? Are you going to be able to walk out into the woods and stay awake in a freezing cold morning to take game for the family to eat?

Now, I am not going to say that there aren't people who are prepping and trying to become self-sufficient who don't have physical ailments and disabilities. These are some big obstacles to overcome, and there are ways to work around some of these things. It takes some new innovations and an iron will to overcome many of these things.

If you don't have these for reasons, are you physically able to protect and provide for yourself and your family?

Monday, January 19, 2009

American and Ohio Preppers Networks

I was surfing around this afternoon reading some new blogs, and I happened across a post that talks about the American Preppers Network. Looking at their site, they had a link to the Ohio Preppers Network website. Surprise! That site just had a message saying that they are just starting up. I sent Joel, the main driving force behind the Ohio site an email. As soon as I hit send on that email, I look up and POW, there is a new post! I highly recommend checking these sites out! These are a great chance to get in at the beginning of something to share what you know and to learn from others out there.

Now is the time to prepare. You never know what might happen or what is coming down the pike!

Cultural Oxymoron

{The teacher} then turned to {Johnny Rico}. "I told you that 'juvenile delinquent' is a contradiction in terms. 'Delinquent' means 'failing in duty.' But duty is an adult virtue - indeed, a juvenile becomes an adult when, and only when, he acquires a knowledge of duty and embraces it as dearer than the self-love he was born with. There never was, there cannot be, a 'juvenile delinquent.' But for every juvenile criminal, there are always one or more adult delinquents - people of mature years who either do not know their duty, or who, knowing it, fail."

"And that was the soft spot which destroyed what was in many ways an admirable culture. The junior hoodlums who roamed their streets were symptoms of a greater sickness; their citizens (all of them counted as such) glorified their mythology of 'rights' . . . and lost track of their duties. No nation, so constituted, can endure."
-- Robert A. Heinlein, "Starship Troopers"

Today we are going to talk about the phrase discussed above. Juvenile Delinquent. I think the quote above breaks this down pretty well.

Juvenile: reflecting physiological or intellectual immaturity.
Delinquent: offending by neglect or violation of duty or of law.
(thanks, Merriam-Webster)

I'm not going to go on and on. I think the quote speaks will in and of itself, I just want everyone to think. Think about people you know, people on TV or on the radio or that you read about. Think about yourself, your friends and your family. How many of them recognize the duties and responsibilities of being an American and embrace them? How many are truly still a juvenile, regardless of age? How many have accepted their duty and are delinquent? Now think about how many are Diligent Adults?

Just think about it.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Music in my Head

Music... that strange and mysterious beast that can take your mind to the next level, or make you want to scratch your eardrums out with a spoon. If you've ever tried learning an instrument, its probably made you want to bust whichever instrument over your head and throw it in the fireplace.

I personally, have a love/hate relationship with music. I love to listen to it, but I hate that it makes me want to play and I'm really not that good. (Practice, what the heck is that?) But as I sit here with my headphones on, I think about what I like to listen to. Now, I am eclectic as all get out, and there is very little that I wouldn't listen to. That being said, I do have my preferences on what I will put on when I am in control of the dial. I do tend to prefer music with verses that actually mean something rather than just being repetitive. Also, I really like songs that tell a story or have some meaning instead of just something to fill the airwaves with.

The following are listed in the order of whatever the heck I feel like as I write this. LOL, or In No Particular Order.

1) Country -- American country that is, anything from Hank Sr. thru Big & Rich.
2) Celtic -- Traditional and Rock, I like them both, depends on my mood.
3) Traditional/Folk -- yup yup.
4) Rock -- Prog and Classic.
5) Classical -- great for when you need something but still need to think.
6) Everything else -- I can't think of anything else that deserves its own category right now.

Now, some of these are pretty well known categories, and there are plenty of things written on the 'net about them, so I am nto going to go into depth on all of them, but I do think there are some bands that just need to be mentioned because, well, because I like them and I feel like it. How's about that?

1) Celtic -- Glengarry Bhoys, Great Big Sea, Tommy Makem, Andy Stewart, Silly Wizard... lots more too, but these are some places to start.
2) Rock -- I just love me some Rush, they are Frickin Awesome. Gwar cracks me up, and has decent music (don't listen with children around!).
3) Misc. -- They Might Be Giants is pretty spiffy. Moxy Fruvous was another awesome one. Ok, call me sick, call me twisted, call me disgusting, but I like John Valby. The guy is a sick twisted freak, but I love it. It cracks me up, yo. Also, I like me some Wierd Al, and yes, he does do original music and for the most part, its better than his covers!

Ok, I think that's about enough of an insight into my twisted mind for now.

Until Next Time...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Milk... does a body good?

My buddy Chris, over at the 1 acre ohio homestead, wrote the other day that he would like to find a local dairy. So of course, I started thinking that I want Dairy goats, and the wife would some day like to have a dairy cow..... eh, too bad we don't have them now, eh?

But seriously, I like milk, ice cream, cheese, yogurt.... pretty much all dairy products. Well, when first moved to Ohio, we found the one supermarket that had non- homogenized milk. It was still pasteurized, but it was not homogenized. Well, of course we had to try it, and you know what? We liked it! Now, part of the reason for picking this brand up was that DivaHick was reading somewhere that lactose intolerant people aren't really intolerant to the lactose itself, but rather what happens to it during the homogenization process. Seemed to work, too. She was able to drink that milk without any discomfort whatsoever. This in turn led me to do some research about Raw Milk. This is milk straight from the farm, no pasteurization, no homogenization, no nuthin.

There is a lot of research out there from naturopathic doctors and personal accounts that drinking Raw Milk increases health and is better for you than the processed, store bought stuff. Most Raw Milk enthusiasts swear that it tastes better too! Unfortunately, here in Ohio, it is illegal to sell Raw Milk. :-( But, in 2007, the Ohio Supreme Court said that herd share programs are legal.

For those who don't know much about herd sharing programs, here's the breakdown as I understand it. The state of Ohio (and others) have made it illegal to SELL the Raw Milk, but the owners of the animal are allowed to drink the Raw Milk themselves. This means that if you own dairy goats or cows, you can drink their milk however you want, but if you were going to sell the milk, it would have to be pasteurized. (Just imagine trying to tell the Amish communities that they had to do this to drink their own animals milk!) So what some enterprising farmers did is the worked up a contract that allows someone to buy in to the farmer's program for a set fee and buy a portion or a "share" of the herd. Some programs require a monthly payment for boarding the animals, but I believe that is up to each individual program. Well, now that you own a share of the herd, you can get Raw Milk from the animals as you are an owner of said animals.

I am including some links for research on your own, and I know there are a lot more out there, this is just a quick google sample. Make up your own mind, but I know I for one will be trying to find a herdshare around my homestead!



Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Case for Self-Sufficiency

With wildly fluctuating prices and the future appearing unstable and unsure, now is the time to worry about self-sufficiency (well, the real time is past, but soonest started soonest progress). Once again, you may or may not agree, but please take the time to read through and think about what I am saying. Comment and let me know what you think! Also note, that this is my opinion, you may read somewhere else a different definition or interpretation of what I am saying, and while these are mine, I do not want to have everyone follow my ideas blindly. I would just like to share my ideas.

Self-sufficiency is the ideal that one can survive without anything from outside of oneself. No, not in some wierd way that you don't need to eat or drink or have shelter anymore. More that you can support yourself/your family without needing anything that anyone else can provide. There are various levels on the path of self-sufficiency. One can range anywhere from being a totally self-contained purist, to one who is just beginning and is learning or only doing a small part to ease their burden. There are no musts or goals or requirements to be on this path other than a willingness to learn and to try. To a purist that means no job, nothing that one cannot produce alone and with what is on hand. This is an extremely difficult ideal in today's world because of our dependence on oil and gasoline and things that we do not produce ourselves. I am not saying that this is impossible because it is possible to grow corn and other vegetables that would enable the creation of a bio-diesel product to run vehicles, etc. I merely mean that this is very difficult and beyond what many/most people are interested in. On the other end of the spectrum are the smallest changes that are made. Growing a tomato plant or a small garden. Learning to knit, crochet, or sew. These are some examples of the small changes that can be made, but the list is nigh on endless.

Now, the reasons that people have for being interested in self-sufficiency are as varied as the people themselves. Some people do it for the sense of freedom and accomplishment that they get from doing something and knowing that they did it. Its a sense of pride. Others look at the cost of food and know that it will cost them less money (though more time and effort) to do it on their own. Still others are worried about the planet and the environment and man's impact on them. Some people just enjoy learning and working with their hands. Some do it to be prepared for when the Revolution comes. Finally, probably the most notable and prominent reason right now would be the American economy.

The price of gas has been up and down, and gas affects the price of everything else. There are many people who are asking to know what they can do to help the economy and their own pocket books. The ability to grow your own food and reduce your monthly bills helps us all. Honestly, who wouldn't want some extra cash each month?

Well, it may take some time and effort on you part, but it can be done. In my mind, its more a matter of changing your habits and tastes from store bought, overly sweetened, food to a simpler more healthful version.

Just think, no learning is ever wasted!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Busy, busy, busy

Hey there all! Been a while. Well, if you've been reading in my past entries, I mentioned that I am a computer programmer. This means I sit on my tuches (Tuck-us) in front of a screen most of the day. This means that I don't do much in front of the TV or the computer when I am at home. Oh, I may jump on now and again, but not so much if I can help it. Maybe that will change when I become independently wealthy, but until that day... So with the holiday and the weekend, I wasn't much around a computer.

So that's my heads up about where I've been and what's been going on! I plan to get back to a more regular posting schedule (or at least more posting now that things are hopefully going to settle down some).

Friday, January 2, 2009

Philosophy of Work

"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects."

Robert A. Heinlein, “Time Enough For Love”

Isn't it interesting as we look out on the world and today's societies, how few of these any one person can do. So many people have given up the ability to be self-reliant and to do for themselves what they can pay someone else to do. How many of you know someone who can't, not doesn't, but can't change their own oil in their car? Unstop a toilet? Build a fire? Clean a sink trap? Change a light switch? Change a doorknob? Change a tire? Now, I am not saying plumbers and auto mechanics are bad jobs, and that people shouldn't call them for help. BUT, what happens when you are stuck on a road with no cell service (yes, such places do still exist) and you have a flat tire? What do you do when the garbage disposal under your sink blows up and starts pouring water on your floor after midnight? Pay the exhorbitant fees to get a 24 hour plumber, or know how to shut off your own water can call the next day?

With as bad as everyone is saying the economy is right now, why would you want to pay someone else all that money to do a job that would take you a few hours? I don't know how bad the economy could really be when I still need to wait an hour to get into restaurants, but that's another story... Think of all the money that could be saved if you were able to do all of this work yourself. Yeah, it may take you a bit longer but the money saved can be put towards things that would be of more value.

Now, in many ways I blame parents for this situation. Many of my fondest memories of my childhood are working beside one parent or another doing something around the house. My father always had time to let me sit and “help” when he did an oil change or brake job or barbeque-ing or whatever the current project was. My mother and grandmother both tolerated me in the kitchen teaching me to cook and bake. I have been teased in the past because as a man, I know how to sew, knit, cook, bake, and do my own laundry, but I have been told that this is quite an attractive trait to many women of the opposite sex. Not one of the reasons I learned, but it never hurts! You know what, I can mend a tear in a pair of pants or a shirt or a sock and not have to spend the money to buy new. I can cook anything that I want without having to go out to get a meal. I can also do any work on my car that is needed, and I am able to do pretty much any work on the house that I want.

Finally, with the abundance of knowledge today and the ease of access to it with the Internet, if there is something that you don't know but are interested in learning, you can most likely find someone online who can teach you, or else they will point you to a resource that will get you started. Lack of knowledge and information is no longer a viable excuse.

Let me tell you, there are very few feelings in this world, than the true and right pride of being able to point to something and say “I did that”. The knowledge of looking at a problem or a project and knowing, not thinking, KNOWING that YOU CAN DO THAT. That is true self-respect and true self-worth.

Until next time, remember:
You can't succeed, until you try.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." -Red Green