Tag Archives: homesteading

Utah & Her Chicken: Best Friends Forever

dog & chicken

Hanging out under the wheel-coop. They’re inseparable.

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Dear city dweller,

If you have knowledge enough to be reading this, you know that we have the tools to be both self employed and self sufficient. To be self aware. There are no real opportunities for our generation in the matrix except for the chosen few with well-connected parents, but we don’t need to live in the matrix since we have chosen to awaken.

Fellow slaves of the empire, work and save and prepare for your eventual freedom. If we build simple shelters and grow food and grow love, then all we need false currency for is luxuries; long distance travel or gadgets, so there can’t really be any pressure to ‘succeed’ unless it’s invented by our minds, by our parents corrupting voices echoing in our skulls, telling us our lives somehow aren’t enough. We can silence those voices by supporting each other, together we’re louder than the voices, we’re stronger than them.

Once you’ve made your home on the land, you can collect a few paper notes here and there to pay for tools and luxuries and not live or die based on the fluctuations of the market. While the rich and working poor are miserable and filled with hate because they constantly fear waking up one day and finding they’ve lost everything they had, the self sufficient have nothing to lose but life itself, and cannot truly be unhappy or afraid.

Self sufficiency is a great thing, if you have the knowledge to take care of yourself using your natural surroundings and simple tools, and have the love and support of your found family; the true community you grow around you, for the times you’re too sick or tired to take care of yourself, you’ll never have to fear life.

With the mountains and the sea surrounding you, your hands planted in the earth, your mind floating in the clouds, all that’s left to do is to experience each beautiful day as it comes, with nothing to break your spirit because you don’t have any silly expectations of a fabricated life in the old man’s world, constructed out of dirty paper that’s just itching to catch fire.

Life isn’t complicated unless you complicate it out of fear. We have everything we’ll ever need and much more. Don’t worry about the future. You don’t need to find ‘meaning’ because we know the only meaning is the land and the sky. If you’re connected to the earth fellow gardener, the earth will reward you with prosperity. It’s been said before that what we do is god’s work, and it couldn’t be more true. Nothing is more worthy than a life spent tending the lands that give us life. We’re so well connected, the best job in the world is already ours and we don’t have to sell even a piece of our souls. We have everything. The whole universe is running through our veins.

Live, taste, wander far, observe, meet like minds to migrate with, squeeze every shape and color you can from Rome in its last days, knowing that when it’s time to break free of your chains, your true home is waiting for you, hidden in a fertile valley somewhere faraway from the city. Unlimited secrets just waiting to be unlocked from the earth, and soil spilling with delicious plants to fulfill your appetite and cure you of any ailment.

Simple Living: Food Pond Permaculture, Talking to a Tree Rat & Homemade Beehive

Putting my new camera to use around the homestead. My new pond should give me greens all year round, and when I have enough fish I’ll expand further into outdoor aquaponics & grow all kinds of fruit and veg in the water on floating foam rafts. If this experiment is a success, I plan to put more ponds between the trees in the orchard.

I made a path (hand-mixed concrete poured over a hacksawed rebar frame joined with wire) and new raised beds to go with it. Hopefully some of the visiting bees will take up residence in the very basic beehive I put together. It doesn’t have trays so harvesting of honey is a no-go, but bees need the honey they make to feed their young, so that’s just fine.

Mosquito fish are likely the best fish for hot climate aquaponics systems, especially if you’re not interested in eating the fish (tho they are edible if you’re so inclined). They can survive all kinds of calamities unfazed, don’t need a pump, breed like flies (they’re one of the few live-bearing fish), and even survive in a few cm of wet mud when the waterways here dry up in the summer. The ideal permaculture fish. Tho I’m trying other fish in the pond, I’ve kept mosquito fish most of my life and doubt anything can top them.

I sunk holed bricks and cages filled with stones in the pond to allow fry to hide. I also added some driftwood.

Simple Living: Hare Droppings, Papayas in Raised Beds & Wild Olive Tree Adventures

It’s December 25th. The tomatoes have completely overgrown their beds and are almost ready to be pulled, the celery is loving all the rain, and the sweet winter fruits are ripening. I find a surprising new source of free fertilizer right under my nose. Papayas I planted from seed just a few months ago are growing and flowering in their raised bed (compost over gravel).

I then venture into the wild looking for olive trees, and find plenty. Avoiding the ardent mushroom pickers down below, I also stumble onto an old abandoned olive grove on the mountainside.

Please excuse the poor video quality, the new phone I’ve been using is really not cutting it – Had to leave a lot of great stuff out because the video was too dark/grainy/motion blurred, making this a personally disappointing instalment. I’ll try to get another video device before continuing.

This is the companion video to the ‘making quick water cured olives’ vid I posted earlier today. I decided to separate them since most people looking for olive curing guides aren’t interested in the other stuff.

Simple Living: Water-Curing Olives Quickly (By Cutting Them)

I demonstrate another water curing method with olives I foraged for. This method is harder work than the previous method I demonstrated, but the olives will be ready to eat much sooner.

A lot of people don’t eat salt, so this is a healthier alternative to eating traditional olives.

The more you change the water, the quicker they’ll cure. If you only change it once a week, it’ll take at least 4 weeks. If you’re changing it twice a day, they’ll be ready much sooner. You’ll notice the water will change colour to purple very quickly.

When the water begins to remain clear for a couple of days, taste an olive and see if they’re ready. It’s up to you how much to leech them. I personally leech until all the bitterness is gone, but some people like them slightly bitter.

Different sizes and varieties might have varying results. The shelf life of olives made using this method will be much shorter than with other methods, so refrigerate.

Update: 6 months later, and the olives are still good to eat, stored out of the fridge in a dark place.

Simple Living: Building a Low Cost Panel Home (Structural Insulated Panels / SIP)

Using painted galvanized steel structural insulated foam panels (SIPs), my awesome brother (the one wearing the hat) put together my 96 square meter (including the large verandah) house in 4 weekends. That’s 1033 square feet. The building materials are all readily available and cheap, with the big expense being the concrete foundation that’s needed to bolt the panels to.

The panels are highly insulated and make for comfortable temperatures inside year round, saving up to 50% on energy costs compared to other building styles. I also chose a cool and breezy mountain-foot site to build. I have 3 solar photovoltaic panels and 2 wind generators for power, connected to a sinewave inverter.

I was initially going to make a much smaller house, but quickly realised that the panels were so cheap that adding another room and a large verandah wouldn’t increase the cost much at all. If I need more space in the future, I can close the verandah and turn it into another room.

Because we didn’t use a skeleton frame, the house has to be a bungalow. For multi-storey buildings, a steel skeleton frame is needed.

Panels: €11,000
Foundation: €12,000

More information about SIPs here: http://www.eco-panels.com/
(I didn’t use this US company as I’m European, but their website is informative)

Simple Living: Making Lettuce Wraps

Tomato-avocado-cucumber-lettuce wraps, with figs and grapes on the side. I make wraps like these everyday, varying the ingredients depending on what fruit and greens I have available. For super large wraps, you can use collard greens or chard.

My trusty camera phone met with an accident, and the one I’m using now isn’t really cutting it. Sorry about that.

Cherokee Purple, Super Marmande and Black Cherry are 3 of the heirloom tomatoes featured in this instalment.

A video I started before this one is coming soon, I got set back by the loss of my camera.

Simple Living: Wildflowers, Fruits and Errands of Spring

A compilation of clips taken between early March to late May. Mustard straw is cut and used as mulch, wild flowers such as rock rose and lavender are in bloom, the raised beds are hooped and shaded, and spring fruits bloom, fruit and ripen.

Some of the edibles featured in this video: Mizuna, Rocket / Aragula, Early Peaches, Loquats, Red Mulberries, Collard Greens, Pak Choi, Purslane, Cucumber, Medlar, Pears, Celery, Rainbow Chard, Sea Beets, White Mustard.

Some of the wildflowers: Spiny Broom, Iberian Milk Vetch, Dandelion, Star Thistle, Terebinth Blossom, Rock Rose, Lavender.

Simple Living: Picking a Wild Salad

While foraging, I make a quick wild salad consisting of sea beets, corn marigold greens, yellow mustard leaves, mallow leaves and flowers, dandelion greens, prickly lettuce, smooth sow thistles, sourgrass, wild water-cured olives and lemon juice (from a street tree).

I wrote a brief article about a bad experience I had with Youtube’s
automated copyright violation system, and a company called
“Rumblefish”:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/12/02/26/2141246/youtube-identifies-birdsong-as-copyrighted-music

Basically, their system identified this video as containing copyright
infringing music owned by Rumblefish. They put ads on it, with the
proceeds of the ads going partly to Rumblefish, partly to Google.

Since there’s no music in my video, I disputed the claimed copyright
violation, and Rumblefish was sent a link to my video to check it and
see if Youtube’s automated system had made a mistake.

They checked the video, and told Youtube that there was no mistake,
and that they do own the music in the video. So the dispute was
closed, and there was seemingly nothing else I could do.

But I wrote an article about it on Slashdot, and somehow it went viral
today, spreading all over the web, and Rumblefish backtracked,
released my video and sent me an apology.

This is the notice Youtube sent me after Rumblefish reviewed my dispute:

“All content owners have reviewed your video and confirmed their
claims to some or all of its content:

Entity: rumblefish Content Type: Musical Composition”

I did email Rumblefish to complain, and posted a thead on Google’s
help forum, but they didn’t do anything until my article on Slashdot
went viral and woke them from their slumber.

So they’ve now released my video and removed their ads, but for a while they were making money from my video. I think if this were made more public, Google would be forced to change their system and this would stop happening. Rumblefish and other similar intellectual property companies have been gaming the system like this for a while now, and this is just the first time the public outcry has been big enough to force them to correct their behaviour.

Simple Living: How to Build Raised Beds on Compacted Rock

This is how I make modest raised beds on a particulary rotten corner of my land that’s almost solid rock, using all kinds of free materials from the forest and beyond.