Brian Michael

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since Jan 11, 2018
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forest garden chicken homestead
Southern NH
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Recent posts by Brian Michael

It's common, but in my view unwise, to have these conversations without acknowledging that the answers vary enormously with one's wealth, social class, and income.  Your search for a cutoff is missing a variable.  How rich (or broke) do you expect to be over those 25 years.  And how sure are you?  (aka "How much economic confidence do you have?")

This is a real factor, and personally "How sure are you" is a real question.  10 years ago I was single with plenty of time and no money. I did pretty much everything myself (or at least tried).  I didn't have the money anyway, but also enjoy the feeling of independence.  I now am married with two children and a corporate job that I never thought I would have.  I am not wealthy by any means, but these days there are plenty of jobs that would be more economical to pay someone else.  I still try to do much on my own, but have begun to start hiring out some of the "businesses I don't want to be in."  However, the #1 business I do not want to be in is my day job.  This brings me to a point of confliction when it comes saving/hoarding.  I do not want to work this job (or anything like it) forever.  Although I have purged more/saved less lately, there is a certain part of me that thinks about it in the "make hay while the sun shines" type of mentality.  Should I buy an extra one now while I can afford it?  Now I have a stash instead of cash.  But there is only a difference if it is something I am not sure I will need/use, right?  Otherwise, essentially, I am buying "stuff" futures at a reduced price compared to the cost at the time I will need it later on.  This is probably just me trying to justify my saving desires.  

The flip side of "opportunity cost" is the space lost to your stashes of "handy even if I never use it" and "round-to-it" stuff. It can turn into: a workbench that is now only a shelf, scraping ice of your car parked out in front of the garage, and time lost moving things in and out of your own way just to find other things that you were sure you had... going to the store to buy a duplicate of a lost thing.

Then the reminder of reality. The "space lost" thing is no joke either.  It was great all summer with easy access to outbuildings, outside storage, etc.  Winter has hit in NH and I am completely snowed in, piled on top or myself, and in my own way.  I would be embarrassed to count the number of things I have an "extra" of because I went and bought one because I could not find/get to the one I already had.  
3 weeks ago
I'm sure honeysuckle has its time and place, but for the life of me I have not figured out what it is.  
2 months ago

State Radio - Mr Larkin.  Get's me every single time
4 months ago
The top of a goats head is a battering ram, so especially thick.  As mentioned, small target so the shot would need to be placed well.  

One of the things not often considered when looking for "the most humane way", is the comfort of the person doing the slaughter.

Ex.  I have seen people slaughter chickens in a cone with a few swift slices to the neck, and been told this is the most humane way to do it.  I have also seen folks behead them with a hatchet, and been told that is not so humane.  However, I have seen people who are not comfortable doing with it the cone and slice method who end up not making good cuts, prolonging the process, and putting the chicken through a decidedly less than humane slaughter (not to mention really rattling the person doing the work).  If they were more comfortable swinging the hatchet, it would have gone much better for both the person and the chicken.

I would think about your goats similarly.  I don't know what your experience is with slaughter in general.  If limited, start by doing it the way you can get it done.  Over time you will learn what works best for you and the animals.
I am currently just using open piles.  However I agree, I made the best compost with my pallet system.  I would add to a chamber until it was full.  Then I would flip it over a spot and begin filling the first chamber with new material.  By the time compost came out of the other end it had turned 5 times.  At that point it was added to a large pile to age until needed.  One thing I would say though, the pallet system provided some spots for snakes and critters to nest - they like the heat.  Haven't had that problem with the open piles.
4 months ago
Yes, they will find their own place to roost.  I had some that found my house and began roosting on top of my chicken run, which is an A-Frame about 12 feet tall.  They can fly better than a domesticated chicken, so are tough to contain.
4 months ago
If you are really looking to go "hands-off", there's Guinea Fowl.  

In my limited experience;

Great watch/alarm bird
Extremely self sufficient
Eat pests, tend to leave your vegetables alone
Don't dig holes like chickens

Great watch/alarm bird (the noise is very annoying to some)
Extremely self sufficient (tough to catch/control)
4 months ago
As Douglas has alluded to, this may be more of a function of age and position in the life-cycle than anything else.  

As a younger person, I leaned more towards what you describe as the "survival" perspective.  There are things going on in the world, and I need to do something RIGHT NOW. At 20 years old, 10 years seems like forever - it's half your life.  At 40 it goes by too fast, and at 60 it is the blink of any eye.  As I have aged the idea of planting a tree that I can harvest from in 10 years, or better yet my grand kids can harvest from in 40 years, seems much more useful than it did when I was 20.  

If she is hard set in that survivalist mode, and introduction to Jack and The Survival Podcast might help as a sort of transition.  There is a lot of practical survival discussed, not fear mongering.  Really helped me along a journey that started at Alex Jones and is currently at Permies!
4 months ago
Yeah, we're creeping up on frost pretty quick.  Mid-September is the estimate for my area, although I don't think it will be that soon this year.  I will be interested to see if the other one starts to go through something similar, since it has followed a few weeks behind all along.  On a side note - the amount of growth they DID put on this year has me thinking they may overwhelm that garden in the future.  I need to do some more research on how to handle them over the long term.
4 months ago