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20 May 2007 @ 09:40 pm

The houses pictured on this website just absolutely delight me. I hope that I'll be able to afford some land to build on someday. I really like the idea of cob houses. And thatched or earth-sheltered roofs.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
16 October 2006 @ 05:39 am
I recently found the website for Midwifery Today Magazine. It looks like a great resource. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be carried by Borders, but I might be able to find it at The Heritage. If not, I'll probably end up ordering a subscription.

Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
10 October 2006 @ 10:38 am
Just a note to myself:

Current Mood: sleepysleepy
10 October 2006 @ 09:11 am
I have a huge list of topics I plan to research and learn more about. Its hard to even know where to begin so I'm kind of just casting all over the place and trying to figure out what might be best to start with. Even so, I find it difficult to settle into a topic and this might be part of why I have never done well with traditional models of schooling. I seem to work best if I'm learning about several topics at once and tying them in together in my mind.

Actually, that's an observation that helps me greatly and I should think about this some more. I like things that go together and complement one another and help me understand the world better. Perhaps this is something that will help me in considering what classes to take when I finally start school. It might be better to take things that somehow fit together or relate to each other, like in clusters. When I went to Tidewater Community College, I was taking Algebra, Western Civ, English and Public Speaking all at once. English and Public Speaking might be okay together, but all of them together was a bit much and made me think in different ways that didn't complement one another.

The things that are most in my mind at the moment are: grant writing, creating a business plan and non-profits. I have it in my mind that these things will help me eventually in creating the kind of experiences I want to have. I have this feeling that I will need to create some kind of farm produce co-op and that maybe it would work as a non-profit.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
08 October 2006 @ 08:07 pm
"In 1996 investors paid $3,500-4,500 for a 3- to 4-month-old emu chick and $30,000-40,000 for a breeding pair. Now former breeders often give them away.
Still, these stately birds make interesting pets (though not for homes with small children) and good eating. Canny ratite hobbyists help birds pay their way by selling hides for leather and direct marketing emu and ostrich meat—but there is no great fortune to be made in ratites today."

Ratite Production: Ostrich, Emu, and Rhea

Emu Production

Current Mood: curiouscurious
08 October 2006 @ 08:05 am
"Another financially rewarding venture—once fences and handling facilities are in place—is deer farming. While some producers raise whitetails and reindeer, most prefer to market red and fallow deer.

According to Pennsylvania State University Agricultural Alternatives statistics, Americans consumed 1.2 million pounds of commercial venison in 1992 and the market is growing by 25 to 30 percent annually.

One quarter of that meat is domestic venison, the rest is imported, mostly from New Zealand. Why? Because producers can’t keep up with demand.

And velvet antler—not just the fuzzy covering that wild deer naturally shed, but the entire immature antler of farmed deer—is marketed at impressive prices to Asian folk-medicine manufacturers in Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. If you’re seeking a profitable livestock venture, scope out deer."

Red and Fallow Deer

Deer, Elk, and Reindeer Farmers’ Network

Current Mood: moodymoody
07 October 2006 @ 09:00 pm
I really love the idea of having a root cellar, in part because a root cellar is featured prominently in An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L'Engle (awesome book involving time traveling over generations), and because we had something like a root cellar in West Virginia. Oh, it wasn't a *real* root cellar, I suppose, but it was a small room in the corner of the garage where we kept potatoes and hanovers (some kind of rutabega, I think) all winter long. It was always cool in there, but probably not cool enough to keep much more than those long-lasting root veggies. Oh! Onions too! The room also served as a pantry where we kept the tomato sauce and salsa Louise would put up and other canned goods in abundance. We had another shed with a huge freezer where we kept frozen venison and sugar-cured ham.

I found a pretty good article about root cellars from Hobby Farms Magazine:

Produce Bound Underground
by Rick Gush

Here's something I didn't know about storing fruits and veggies together that I think will be useful to know in the future:

"Today’s root cellars are really not much different, and potatoes and apples are two eminently storable farm products. But the problem with that pair is that they don’t really go well together. Apples have a tendency to emit ethylene gas, which causes problems for potatoes stored nearby, and will also make any exposed carrots or other root crops bitter. As a matter of fact, many fruits, including plums, pears and peaches, and some vegetables such as tomatoes, cabbage and Chinese cabbage, are also notorious ethylene producers.

So, what is a dedicated food saver to do? Luckily, there are ways around this problem. A good root cellar has a variety of shelves, some higher than others, and some closer to the air vents. Placing the ethylene producers up high and nearer the exit vents has a tendency to move harmful gases away from produce stored on the floor below. Many root crops are also regularly stored in boxes of loose soil or sawdust, further insulating them from their neighbors’ emissions. Some produce, like cabbages and onions, often emit odors that can taint the flavors of other vegetables, as well as fruits, so finding high, remote corners for these pungent items is a good idea too."
Current Mood: goodgood
07 October 2006 @ 08:24 pm
I just wanted to apologize for the flood of posts today. Inevitably, when I find a resource page, its gone the next time I look so I wanted to copy & paste the parts of that article from Hobby Farms Magazine before it disappeared on me. Also, for organizational purposes, I wanted to keep different breeds of livestock separated so I could view every post about a certain breed at one time if I needed to.

I'm kind of afraid it might start to bore you guys! Please know that if you are interested in posts on certain topics, I'd be very happy to oblige. Just comment anywhere in the journal. :)
Current Mood: tiredtired
07 October 2006 @ 08:02 pm
"Are alpacas as profitable as the ads suggest? The answer is, for now, yes. Females run $10,000-30,000, and a pet or fiber gelding costs $1,000 or more. In the large scope of livestock choices, there are more investment syndicates doing well in alpacas than any other farm animal investments.

Llamas sell for considerably less than their diminutive cousins, but breeding high-end llamas is very cost-effective too. Llamas can be marketed as pets, pack and cart animals, and as sheep and goat herd sentinels. And both of these friendly camelids produce marketable fleece."

Llama and Alpaca Farming (ATTRA)

Raising Alpacas for Fun and Profit—Mostly Profit

Alpacas as a Business

Investment topics at Alpacacainfo.com

Llama business articles at The Llama Crossing


Current Mood: curiouscurious
07 October 2006 @ 08:01 pm
"Sheep once were considered “mortgage lifters”; now it costs more to shear commercial sheep than the wool is worth. But lamb prices remain fairly strong, especially lamb marketed to coincide with Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religious feasts.
Because hair (meat) sheep shed their fleece, they don’t require shearing—and they breed out of season, producing marketable lambs at just the right times. Hair sheep are growing increasingly popular with niche market lamb producers, making them a best bet project for sheep entrepreneurs.

In 1994, the United States imported 66 million pounds of sheep’s milk cheese. And according to the University of Wisconsin’s report, “A Snapshot of the Dairy Sheep Industry,” meat and wool producers can boost their gross incomes by about 75 percent by milking their ewes. The American dairy sheep industry is in its infancy but rapidly expanding.

Other fruitful sheep ventures include marketing specialty fleeces to handspinners, and raising hair sheep, miniature, rare or heritage sheep breeding stock."

Sustainable Sheep Production (ATTRA/2000)

Sheep; A Small-Scale Agriculture Alternative

Producing Lamb Organically

Dairy Sheep

Agricultural Alternatives: Milking Sheep Production

More Profit With Hair Sheep

Maryland Hair Sheep Resources

Current Mood: curiouscurious