Category Archives: Family

$15 Dollar Store survival kit

Something a little different today.

I was scrolling through YouTube and came across Wranglestar’s $10 Dollar Store Challenge. Using only $10, come up with a survival kit. With only $10 (tax not included) come up with Dollar store items that will satisfy the following rules. He and his wife did the challenge separately, then compared and gave reasons for each selection.

  1. Something to start a fire.
  2. It must be water proof/repellant for at least 60 sec.
  3. Some sort of shelter from wind/rain.
  4. Provide 2 meals.

Wranglestar Video (don’t watch if you want to participate) I am bias now, but why I upped the challenge. Thanks for your videos and your channel if you see this!

Wranglestar and his wife went above and beyond the rules for their kits, so I am adding things they met beyond the rules. I am creating an additional challenge that I want to challenge my wife to. We will video and post both our selections and rationale. Weight/size of items not important. Don’t spend your $15 allotment, great! You do not have the ability to use your EDC (Every Day Carry items) i.e. I always have a knife, and lighter on me.

Using $15 from Dollar Store (Dollar Tree, etc.) meet the above rules in additionally to:

  1. Provide light.
  2. Some way to cut items.
  3. Some sort of cordage.
  4. Some sort of 1st aid. (what you may think you will need)
  5. Some way to signal rescue.
  6. 10 Some way to purify/transport water for drinking.

You cannot assume you can hunt to find food. You cannot assume, that you can use things in your environment to build shelter or easy access to water.

Do you want to take the challenge? Video yourself shopping or video yourself explaining your rationale and reasoning for what you selected. I will post videos online if you submit to me. EXTRA BONUS show yourself using these items in the real world (back yard use is appropriate)

Home remedies

Here are some remedies we have tried at home. Each recipe has been proven for different applications. Disclaimer we are not doctors or medical practitioners and you should consult your own doctor before using. We can only say we have used these recipes and have worked for us as a family.

 

Skin care – This recipe has been used for a variety of applications such as diaper rash, heat rash, minor burns, cuts, scrapes, abrasions, applied to kids lips who have a habit of licking or sucking top lips.  We used this for raw noses during cold season.

Ingredients

Petroleum jelly

Lavender essential oils

Warm jelly to liquid state about ½ cup jelly

Add lavender essential oil  about 20 drops mix well, place in small containers with tight lid (small Tupperware) and allow to cool. Apply mixture as needed. Do not use on deep wounds or severe burns.

 

Poison Ivy treatment  – Both my wife and I are susceptible to poison ivy. Once afflicted with the rash 1-2 treatments or 2-3 days should clear it right up.

In a pint jar add apple cider vinegar, Lavender oil, tea tree (20 drops each), Shake well, store tight jar away from light, apply with cotton ball or Q-tip 1-2 times a day.

Migraines

Equal parts by wt feverfew, lemon balm, peppermint herbs in pint jar (we filled the jar loosely)

Cover with 100 proof vodka, shake every day for 2 weeks, strain and place in jar away from light

¼ teaspoon in liquid every ½ hr until gone, not exceed 2 teaspoons in one setting, may be habit forming in that if used regularly for long enough, once you stop using it, you may develop a migraine.

More on Indy ReZone

Reposting for Sherri

The Indianapolis CIty Council has sent Indy Rezone to committee – specifically the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee. Their next meeting is Monday July 27 at 5:30 in room 260 of the City Council building.  This is where there will be discussion and debate. Here is where the rubber meets the road and where a large presence is needed. This will be a critical meeting. 
 
Monday night (July 13) the “Retail Workers Bill of Rights” had a large group at the City Council meeting.  They expected their Special Resolution for the Bill of Rights to pass, instead it was sent to committee – the same committee and day that will hear comments about Indy rezone.  They were not happy and will have an even larger group at the committee meeting. This is a critical turning point for them, and for Indy rezone. If there are not people there showing opposition to Indy Rezone, the absence of people will speak volumes. 
 
Right now what is needed is twofold: Come to the meeting if at all possible (even if you have to get there late) and contact the councilors on the committee via e-mail and telephone prior to the meeting, so that they know there is opposition/concern from more than just a handful of people. Here is the city webpage with the names of the committee members. Open each councilors page for their contact info: http://www.indy.gov/eGov/Council/Committees/Pages/metro.aspx  
 
We already know that Zach Adamson is not happy with this whole thing.  We are working on talking to all of the committee members and hope you will too.
 
One of the many issues: All there is, is  a draft for the livestock license – too many uncertainties that could be changed after this debacle is passed. 
 
There is so much wrong in Indy rezone, I could write a book (and that is without having read most of this 700+ page document!). There is a lot of confusing, unclear information in it. And in the words of someone working for Indy Rezone,who helped write it “It is Flawed”. (She said this several times at the Metropolitan Development Commision meeting.)
 
scroll down to bottom of page for the livestock license link
 
If you would like a searchable Word document you can access that here: https://copy.com/pAwC1I46qpOItu1F 
You may be surprised at what you find when searching for specific things. 
 
If you are like me, you have a real hard time figuring out how many more restrictions make us more sustainable. I realize there is no way to make everyone happy.  But why in the world would we pass something that we already know is so flawed?
 
Feel free to contact myself or my husband:
 

Animal care-husbandry & Permaculture

Recently it came to my attention that some people believe our animal care and farm practices are dirty and unkept. 1st before making assumptions you might want to get facts straight, learn what you are talking about before opening your mouth, and lastly ask us, we would be glad to tell you all about it.

We will educate the uneducated and ignorant. Grass should not be cut 1/4 inch above the dirt. It is very unhealthy, longer grass survives drought better, and longer grass will hold more water in both roots and green tissue. The ability to hold water has been important lately.

What one person views as weeds is actually medicinal plants we grow for FREE , do not require a prescription, doesn’t have nasty side effects. It is also food for our animals. This is why we do not spray any chemicals on our property.

We let grasses grow longer because it has more nutrients for animals, reducing our dependence on buying processed feed. Ask any rancher using grass fed techniques.

We clean our combined rabbitry and coop every 3 months. We use deep litter bedding inside to absorb and hold wastes. After 3 months it moves out to the compost pile where it is turned into soil for future gardens. Properly managed neither have an odor. I have the training and experience on both. Due to the excess rain and poor stormwater drainage in our area, some of this bedding became wet. we immediately changed and dried it out once we were able.

We house our rabbits and poultry together to harness heat in the winter, and the chickens reduce any worms or parasites, as well as till the litter naturally and help it all break down faster.

We even installed fans this summer to keep both rabbits and poultry cool, and help keep air moving in the coop.

All of our animals have names. When the chicken went past their prime for laying, they remained and are still productive, just not as many eggs a week. We did not butcher them. They still eat bugs, they still turn the compost, they still have a name, and they still process food waste from our kitchen. When old age finally takes them, we will look at replacing them.

For more on chickens read my post on In defense of the back yard flock

We used to give tours, and will do it again soon. We are still working on many things, since moving in March, and because of Avian flu we do not want additional traffic if we can help it. We had to start a great many plants and systems all over, so we would like to showcase more than just concepts, but actual practice.

To make sure our rabbits had access to water all winter long we made a rabbit watering system that does not freeze. Our rabbits (4) have  access to 275 gallons of water 24/7. This is our system from Indy but we rebuilt here in Wingate

We have had Animal control on our property (for a neighbors issue, not ours) and were commended on how well we took care of our animals. We have had a vegans, and staff of animal control and also tell us how well we take care of our animals.

What one person sees as “unsightly” another sees it as a 40% reduction in a grocery bill of all natural all organic food. Some people see it as beautiful and natural. Being ignorant and failing to educate yourself is ignorant in itself. Singling one person or a group of people out because you dislike something is called discrimination. Using position of power to go after that group is called harassment. Both of which can land someone in court. Since some people are ignorant of what I mentioned above I just thought they may also need some education on the latter as well.

Looking for local markets, stores, and restaurants

I manage several different sites and pages and am in the process of creating a local database of farmers markets, pick your own sites, restaurants who use local produce and meats, and related locations that either produce locally or retail locally produced items. I need your help. I could spend weeks searching online and still would never get as many listed if I were to enlist your help. Many of you have local spots you personally know of, support, run, or owned by you. Some have websites, some have facebook pages, and some have no online presence.

My goal is to have a calendar of all the markets in the area. Believe it or not there is a market running every day of the week, usually multiple. This hopefully will allow more people access to more local food if they know where they are and when they run.

Support local businesses to buy from local producers. I would ideally like to have several categories, restaurants, food retail, nursery and plant stock, and other retail (soaps, wool works, crafts, etc.)

What I need from you. If you could e-mail me wolfbeachfarms @ gmail.com (please remove the spaces). or use the contact us page and send me links, or names, or dates/times/locations of the above places. The links and calendars will be updated as I get the information. Here is the start for market pages and an interactive calendar.

Thanks in advance!

Rick

Can a suburban lot be profitable as a farm? Pt 2

Can a suburban lot be profitable as a farm? Pt 2

In the last post I wrote about if it is profitable to run a suburban homestead farm. The answer was it depends. There are so many variables to consider. We touched on rabbits, and fruit trees. Today we are going to cover a few more items that in combination with reduction in spending and layering could make a suburban homestead profitable.

We touched on fruit trees and on using the fruit trees for home-made products such as jams and jellies. If you are to expand the fruit tree aspect to also include home based jams, jellies and baked goods you are adding additional function to your income stream without having to add to your space needs. Most if not all of the preserves will be prepared indoors without the need of additional growing area. Each area is different on the regulations required. Some states, cities, and counties will allow an individual to prepare and sell preserves on the farm without any additional requirements. Some areas require that a commercial kitchen be used, while others will allow it to be prepared on farm, sold off farm, if the kitchen is inspected. Do your research, and there are not only the preparation requirements, but also labeling requirements, on a federal, state, and sometimes local level. Do not be discouraged by the regulations, as many are not too over burdensome. If you are going to make preserves, there will always be waste in the forms of peels, seeds, core of the fruit (as with apples or pears), pulp etc. This is not a waste product. This could also be turned into income, in the form of compost, worms, compost tea, or bartered for other useful products. One local farm will barter fresh meat, in exchange for these types of waste, providing that it is chemical free (no pesticides, herbicide, fungicides etc.). The farm will take your waste and feed it to their pigs, and chickens. This can offset meat and egg purchases. If you are raising your own animals, this could offset any feed costs you may have. While you could also include baked goods, pies, cakes etc. in the same operation relatively easy, and would probably need the same level of inspection or regulations, you would be dependent on outside grains for flour, milk, and possible eggs for such an operation. This is not to say it isn’t profitable, especially if you buy flour in bulk, or have a niche market only using organic flour, or gluten-free products.

Composting can take a waste and turn it into a profit center. Composting isn’t hard, and it can be done indoors or outdoors, small-scale or large. It all depends on your climate and location. Some areas will have regulations on compost, but this is usually on a commercial-scale. We have a varied size of compost activities from an indoor box in a recycled cat litter container, to the 3 bin pallet composting, and each one has different purposes, and contents. The indoor system will use some household composting materials and shredded junk mail, cardboard, and fiber board (cereal boxes). There is no smell, and the worms do all the work. We use only non-glossy paper in these systems. These worms do not process large volumes of materials, and is mainly a use for compost tea, keep worms through the winter, and indoor soil amendments. The outdoor system has yard wastes, leaf litter, grass clippings, left over’s from the vegetable gardens, rabbit manure, and bedding from the chicken coup. People who are just getting started are on the lookout for worms to start their own composting system, or maybe something happened and killed off their worms. This is why it is good to have redundant system and only add questionable materials to one system, or rotate what gets the new materials. You always have a back up worm supply. Some people sell them by the pound, some count out the worms. You can also sell the worm casting, or compost tea. The casting can be added to plants indoor and out, gardens, lawns, around fruit and berry bushes. It is a fertilizer that will not burn, there are no chemical additives, and can be applied at any time. The tea is taken from the castings and made into a liquid fertilizer. Some people sell the tea in 1 gal jugs, others sell the dried castings and instructions on how to make your own tea. Like the castings, the compost tea can be put around any plants, indoors or out. The added benefits of the liquid are that it is readily absorbed by the plant during the application, and when sprayed onto the plant leaves acts a bio-barrier against pests and disease. The compost tea promotes a beneficial biological layer that will detour pests, but also aids in preventing many harmful molds, viruses, and bacteria from colonizing on the leaf surface. Will you be profitable from compost tea alone? Not on a suburban lot. But this is a way to take a waste product and turn it into something beneficial, both for your own farm or homestead and possibly turn a profit.  If you want more info on composting with worms check out Castaway Compost.

In part 3 we will talk chickens. We have hit on them a little here and there, but more details to come. So a recap of what we covered thus far in the series, is Fruits, Rabbits, Compost and worms, and preserves and baking. All of these can be managed at the same time on a suburban lot in conjunction with each other.

Medicinal Herb Class Preview

I wanted people to get a feel for what to expect in the Medicinal Herb Class Preview, with handouts from the class. This is just one page, and is only the text. There are 56 other plants and bonus materials. We will be discussing in more details during the tour. What we have experienced, and touring through all what is growing while on site.  We will also have live plants for sale, fresh you pick cuttings, dried plants,  and more. Touch,  and smell some different preparations, ask questions, get answers. Disclaimer, we are not medical practitioners, and we are only conveying information we have learned, and have been using as a family.  Seek your own information before using any medicinal herbs.

Calendula– We will also have a chart in the handout of actual pictures of plants from out place.

RSVP – please use this link to RSVP so we know how many packets to put together. You can also prepay online.

Food shortages and prices may make you rethink homesteading

Many factors in both the US and overseas are beginning to affect food process. Food prices have steadily increased over the years yet there is more “food” being produced. When I say “food” not all of the food being produced is either consumable by humans or eaten here in the US.

Here in the Midwest and other locations the Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea Virus (PEDV) has taken its toll on pork farms. It is estimated that 10% of the pork production has been removed due to the illness. Removed defined as being either killed from the virus or killed to prevent further spread of the illness. Once a Confined Animal Feed Operation (CAFO) has been infected it spreads extremely fast. As a result pork and my beloved bacon prices will be increasing. Pork prices were already on the rise due to increased feed costs.

PEDV News

Across the globe droughts in some areas and flooding in others has played havoc with grain prices. The poor crop production is not only here but UK, Russia, Australia, and China.

Wheat Drought

Crops US

I know several larger scale farmers or people working the farms here in the US. Weather plays a big part on when you can plant, when you can harvest. Some days they are in the fields 20 hours a day or on a rotation to keep the equipment running 24 hrs due to the weather window. The fields are too wet to get machinery out, or too much wind, or the ground is ground still frozen. This winter did not help many I know.

The hard winter for many here in the US has also hit the tropical crops such as avocados, oranges, lemons and limes. Florida was hit hard by colder than normal temperatures and as a result the orange crops will be affected. For example the number of dropped fruit has increased due to the colder than normal winter, but another problem is facing Florida. A virus spread by an insect is hitting the citrus production hard.
Citrus Production by State

Citrus Virus

California is in a world all its own. While it once was the breadbasket of America this year it may be the cause of food price increases. The drought, and lack of snowfall in the mountains (supplies much of the water to the growing valley) has caused some municipalities to turn off the water to orchards and farmland. The drought is not only impacting the fruits and vegetables but also beef, and dairy. California once a major exporter of dairy products to the rest of the world, many ranchers are now sending in the herds for slaughter because it is simply too costly to feed them during the drought.

California

The food issues are also affecting alcohol production. Hard cider breweries are having a harder time keeping up with demand. Due to lack of heirloom verities and increased demand Cider production may feel the hit as well.

Cider

When you add in the political tensions between the US and other countries where agriculture is a significant export you are looking at all around food increases not only here in the US but across the world. Then add to that the continual erosion of the US dollar, the mismanagement by our government of our debt, and our problematic monetary system and we are looking at massive price increases over the next couple of years.

What does all this gloom and doom about food prices, poor yields, and droughts have to do with permaculture? EVERYTHING! These problems go to show that our current food production system is unsustainable and this is just the tip of the iceberg. You can reduce your food bills and dependency on what is placed in front of you claiming to be edible. Grow your own. You can do this even if you have only an apartment and now windows. Stop growing lawns and treating with mass amounts of chemicals and fertilizers so that you have a “green carpet”. You are doing more harm than good. What does green carpet do for you? Absolutely nothing. Even if you were growing it to feed to animals, you have contaminated it to the point it is toxic to keep out weeds and make sure it stays green. Permaculture is a method to not only produce for your family but can also be a supplemental income source.

This year our family has made the biggest leap into food production expansion than we ever have before, due mainly to what we see happening here in the US and the world. We are getting dairy goats because we cannot afford to pay $6-8 per gallon of milk that we estimate will be coming in the near future. We have been tracking prices of the food we purchase, and a 5lb bag of cheese went from $8.99 2 years ago to $15.99 recently. If prices like this continue we cannot afford to still eat like we have and cook from scratch. Having dairy goats, eliminates the need to purchase, cheeses (we like many different kinds cheddar, cottage cheese, hard cheese, cheese sticks, ricotta etc), butter, yogurts, milk, sour cream, and ice-cream. Add to that the ability to use the goat milk to make soaps and lotions and that is a huge reduction. We can now control what goes into each of these products and we are independent of the price increases. We are adding amaranth to our crops to reduce grain needs. We have expanded from our own yard, to using two other growing spaces so that we will be able to have an abundance.

Price Basket

USDA food prices over the years

When you look at the prices week to week it may only go up a few pennies. Not enough for many to recognize. But when you start looking over the years there are some massive differences. I am in my mid 30’s and I can remember gas under $1.00/gal, bread under $1.00/loaf and being in amazement when a grocery cart full of food was less than $100.00, and to go over $100 meant that we were having a big party, or cookout. Today the same cart will run $3-400. While we only shop every 2-3 months we still only spend around $250 for a family of 6. Why, because we cook from scratch, grow and make much of our own food. We want to see our grocery bill be less than $100 every 3 months if possible. This is NOT unreasonable if you eat seasonally, cook from scratch, and produce much of your own food? I have heard every excuse you are coming up with, because I have said them myself. “I don’t have time, I don’t know how, it takes too long, etc, etc.”. This is utter BS. Turn the TV off, get off the couch, stop going out to eat so much, and eat real food vs. junk that is pre-made out of a box. I was exactly there a few years ago and can tell you it can be done. It isn’t overnight, it is one step at a time, and it can only lead to good things.

I wanted to say thank you to my friend “Cedar” from Down to the Roots magazine and “Cedar News Service” (inside Joke for the TSP audience) who highlights all the issues relating to food prices and shortages. Without her, I would be unaware of all that is going on outside my small world.