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  1. Laura Greloch says:

    Dear Rachel & Tom:

    I stumbled on your website and really think it’s fantastic! I’m a Landscape Architect/ Designer in Pennsylvania and am an avid Potage Gardner. Our season dose not offer the length of yours and suffer from high water table or drought(depending on the year), deer browse and other varmits. I have enjoyed what I’ve seen on your beautiful site here and find your recipies much like that of my own!
    I’ve had a hard time with the scent of goat’s milk and wonder how you get around that?
    ‘will be looking forward to see how your growing!

    • Laura, thanks for visiting! In regards to goat milk, commercial goat milk is NASTY so I can understand your concern. As goat milk ages it starts to smell and taste “goaty.” Fresh goat milk on the other hand is rich and sweet and tastes like slightly sweeter cow milk. We generally don’t allow it to go over 3 days in the fridge. If we have too much we freeze it and it stops the aging to nastiness.

  2. portia Misso says:

    On your sourdough starter do you feed it every day? Thanks love your site, found this recipe on motherearthnews.com thanks for posting it!
    Portia

    • If you don’t refrigerate it feed it every day. You can be much more lax if you keep it in the fridge – about once a week.

  3. Margaret Olson says:

    I have read your sourdough recipe for the making your own starter. You say to mix the water and flour and set it outside. Do you cover it or leave it open? If open what about flies and such??

    • Don’t cover it or the cultures in the air can’t get to it. You can put some cheesecloth over it to keep bugs out but I haven’t had a problem with that.

  4. OIE says the animal was sub-clinical ;

    http://web.oie.int/wahis/public.php?page=single_report&pop=1&reportid=11893

    also, officials have confirmed it was a atypical L-type BASE BSE.

    I am deeply disturbed about the false and terribly misleading information that is being handed out by the USDA FDA et al about this recent case of the atypical L-type BASE BSE case in California. these officials are terribly misinformed (I was told they are not lying), about the risk factor and transmissibility of the atypical L-type BASE BSE. these are very disturbing transmission studies that the CDC PUT OUT IN 2012. I urge officials to come forward with the rest of this story.

    It is important to reiterate here, even though this animal did not enter the food chain, the fact that the USA now finds mad cow disease in samplings of 1 in 40,000 is very disturbing, and to add the fact that it was an atypical L-type BASE BSE, well that is very disturbing in itself. 1 out of 40,000, would mean that there were around 25 mad cows in the USA annually going by a National herd of 100 million (which now I don’t think the USA herd is that big), but then you add all these disturbing factors together, the documented link of sporadic CJD cases to atypical L-type BASE BSE, the rise in sporadic CJD cases in the USA of a new strain of CJD called ‘classification pending Creutzfeldt Jakob Disease’ cpCJD, in young and old, with long duration of clinical symptoms until death. the USA has a mad cow problem and have consistently covered it up. it’s called the SSS policy. …

    see full text with updated transmission studies and science on the atypical L-type BASE BSE Jan. 2012 CDC. …

    ***Oral Transmission of L-type Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy in Primate Model

    ***Infectivity in skeletal muscle of BASE-infected cattle

    ***feedstuffs- It also suggests a similar cause or source for atypical BSE in these countries.

    ***Also, a link is suspected between atypical BSE and some apparently sporadic cases of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans.

    now, for the rest of the story, the most updated science on the atypical BSE strains, and transmission studies…

    Thursday, April 26, 2012

    Update from USDA Regarding a Detection of Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) in the United States WASHINGTON bulletin at 04/26/2012 10:11 PM EDT

    http://transmissiblespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/04/update-from-usda-regarding-detection-of.html

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    CANINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY: A NEW FORM OF ANIMAL PRION DISEASE

    http://caninespongiformencephalopathy.blogspot.com/2012/03/canine-spongiform-encephalopathy-new.html

    PET FOODS MAD CATS AND MAD DOGS BSE/TSEs

    worse still, there is serious risk the media could get to hear of such a meeting…

    snip…

    Crushed heads (which inevitably involve brain and spinal cord material) are used to a limited extent but will also form one of the constituent raw materials of meat and bone meal, which is used extensively in pet food manufacturer…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20070221050912/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/03/17004001.pdf

    2. The Parliamentary Secretary said that he was concerned about the possibility that countries in which BSE had not yet been detected could be exporting raw meat materials (in particular crushed heads) contaminated with the disease to the UK for use in petfood manufacture…

    snip…

    YOU explained that imported crushed heads were extensively used in the petfood industry…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060303042720/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/04/14001001.pdf

    In particular I do not believe one can say that the levels of the scrapie agent in pet food are so low that domestic animals are not exposed…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20040301231838/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/04/24003001.pdf

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060303042732/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/04/25001001.pdf

    some 100+ _documented_ TSE cats of all types later…tss

    on occassions, materials obtained from slaughterhouses will be derived from sheep affected with scrapie or cattle that may be incubating BSE for use in petfood manufacture…

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060303042739/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/05/03007001.pdf

    *** Meldrum’s notes on pet foods and materials used

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060303042745/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/05/16001001.pdf

    *** BSE & Pedigree Petfoods ***

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060303042725/http://www.bseinquiry.gov.uk/files/yb/1989/05/16002001.pdf

    FELINE SPONGIFORM ENCEPHALOPATHY FSE

    http://felinespongiformencephalopathyfse.blogspot.com/2009_04_01_archive.html

    http://felinespongiformencephalopathyfse.blogspot.com/

    http://betaamyloidcjd.blogspot.com/2008/05/fecal-transmission-of-aa-amyloidosis-in.html

    it’s all about money $$$

    I lost my mom to the hvCJD, ‘confirmed’ DOD 12/14/97, and just made a promise. …

    Terry S. Singeltary Sr. Bacliff, Texas USA 77518 flounder9@verizon.net

  5. polly smith says:

    Hey Rachel,

    I would love to come on Sunday if you can spare the time – but if it’s too late notice please say so of course.

    Can you check to be sure the post with my address isn’t showing publicly; it shows up for me even when i refresh cookies and I want to be sure it’s not on the ‘net ;)

    Thanks,
    Polly

  6. Len Leech says:

    Dear Rachel & Tom,
    I found your artical on “Sour Crop”really helpfull. I , just need to know what rate of Apple cider vinger to water to give my chicken with sour crop. Please.
    Thanks
    Len

  7. What ratio of diatomaceous earth to cayenne do you use to worm chickens?

    Thank you!

    • I add about 1/2 cup DE and 1-2 Tbs cayenne powder to my 10lb feeder, but I only dose them about once a month. I kind of eyeball it though since neither of those products will hurt the birds.

  8. Hello from germany,

    i write to you because i have seen the picture of the purple peach who you searched after.

    So we have heare in germany many of “wild good peaches” but i have never seen a peach like yours on the picture.

    Have you got this varientie? Hos does it taste?

    Is there any way to get some seeds of them?

    Of course i will pay for shipping.

    Hope to heare from you

    thanks a lot

    best regards

    Robert

  9. Erin Middlebrooks says:

    Tried to leave a comment but it was saying 6+4=10 was not correct. Obviously I do old school math and something has changed since I was in school.

    This post was awesome. Love it. I can tell it was very tongue in cheek, yet full of truths. I don’t have animals, not allowed in this town, but I can sure see how much work they are.

    • Strange as it shouldn’t be the WordPress security form but rather Captcha. I’ll check it out. Thanks for letting me know.

  10. I am so glad I found you guys. My family of 8 is trying very hard to become self sustaining. We moved last spring to a new home out in the country that is on a 1 acre lot. The previous resident, my husbands grandparents were kind enough to leave us with 6 young laying hens. They started laying about the time his grandparents moved out, lucky us. My husbands boss bought 3 rabbits at the local 4H sale and we inherited them because his boss promised the little girl that he would not butcher them. They are a mixed breed, 2 bucks and 1 doe. Being green we were not sure the sexual maturity of the rabbits and left them together because they arrived together. Long story short we had our fist litter before we knew and were not expecting it until it was too late, none survived. We were better prepared for the second litter, she kindled 7 and they all survived. We then re-breed her when her kits were 4 weeks. She is now 5 weeks with her 3rd litter, she kindled 9 but 2 died the first day. The other 7 are thriving. Because we were given our first 3 rabbits we knew little about them other than they were born at the end of May. After our doe was pregnant with her 3rd litter we found out that the three rabbits we had were litter mates. UH OH! So we found a breeder a few hours away that sold us 2 California does, 1 California Buck and 1 New Zealand doe. Now we have rabbits that can we can breed with the 3 existing rabbits we already had. The original 3 are a New Zealand mix. They are smaller about the size of a 3 month old California. We are hoping that our mix doe will have larger babies when bread to our CA buck. Our new New Zealand doe, who was a year had 1 previous litter and delivered her second litter with us this morning. 9 kits in all and so far they are all doing well. She is much more “outgoing” with kits in her hutch than she was before they arrived. I find myself removing the nesting box entirely to count them and check them for problems.
    We, thanks to a wild animal are down to 5 sex-linked laying hens and I was considering getting 12 more this spring to replace the 5 we have next year when they are expired as layers. However I keep reading different things. Some say hens are only good for laying about 2 years some say 3 or even 5 years. I don’t know. It is just nice to have eggs on hand whenever we need them. Currently the 5 we have produce enough eggs to sell 1dz per week and pay for their feed. We have a well so we have no water bill.
    We are hoping to build a small barn this summer 16×20 to house our rabbits. Right now the does with kits are being housed in the coop to reduce kit mortality. I really want to get them out because I am finding myself having to clean it out almost weekly which is not cost effective. On nice days I let the mix doe out into the chicken yard in a larger hutch with her kits to reduce the amount of waste being left in the coop, and the New Zealand doe I let her roam the chicken yard to dig and range on scraps that I feed the chickens. Now that she has kindled that wont be happening for a little while. We currently have 26 rabbits.
    In the future I would like to have at least 1 nanny goat, a Nubian. Possibly a pig or two. We have signed up 4 of our 5 children for 4H so they can teach us a few things about our little Homestead. I am hoping it will help convince my husband that a goat can be a good thing. I am also planning a garden this spring.
    Sorry I did not realize there was an actual email I could have sent this to until after it was written. With 5 kids I don’t get many chances to sit and write these things, so I will just have to submit it here and pray it is received well. I am just so excited to have your blog to refer to. I have learned so much in just the 24hours since signing up for it. You guys ROCK!

    • Hi Kymberly! Thanks for the comment. If you want goats (you’ll need at least two) definitely do a lot of research, take a class, and help someone with their goats. They are a very big commitment and a lot of work with a lot of specialized care to keep them alive, especially if you are using them for dairy. They are great to have though so if you can do it, do it! Enjoy your new sustainable life!

  11. So maybe you have already posted an answer to some of my questions but I am not sure where to look. We got the go ahead to build a smallish shed/barn. I need it to be big enough to house 9 breeding rabbits, their litters until butcher, 2 Nubian goats and their kids and in the very distant future 2 pigs to raise for butcher each season. We live on 1 acre and already have a corner sectioned off where we have our chicken coop which will remain in place for that function. Can you give me any idea how big of a barn we would need to house that kind of livestock? We live in Wyoming so it is easier to house many of these animals inside than outdoors during our sometimes 8 month winters. We do allow for our current animals to have free range when weather is permitting and will do so with any future livestock.

    • Hmmm, that’s a tall order! I’ve never raised pigs so I don’t know much about them and honestly can’t give you an answer on how much space they would need. For full size goats you’ll want at least 25 sf of unobstructed floor space indoors and an additional stall for kidding or quarantine. I prefer a kidding stall to be on the larger side to allow plenty of movement and space for the doe to get comfortable and space for us – 8′x8′ is my preferred size and I have dwarf goats. I don’t know if there’s a specific size for outdoor (I’ve seen it anywhere from 25 sf to 200 sf per goat). Ours have 200sf each of outdoor space which gives them plenty of space to run around and play (goats are hardy and can take relatively cold temps). I wouldn’t keep the goats and pigs together as they can attack each other. In addition, pigs could very well kill the kids and eat them. I wouldn’t even allow them to share fence lines.
      For rabbits you want a min. 5sf per buck and 6 sf per breeding doe and weaned litters. How much space this will actually require depends on your setup and whether you are stacking the cages and how many litters you will have at a time.

      I hope that helps.

  12. Do you have any recommendations for rabbit milk replacer?

  13. Hi I just read your post about the fodder and was wondering if you feed your chickens grain also?
    I happened upon your blog via Mother Earth News and am so engulfed in it at this moment, i will most likely be late for morning chores :)
    Thanks for all the info
    Tonya from NY

    • Thanks for swinging by! We really only feed scratch grain in the winter when it’s colder and they could use the extra calories.

  14. Thanks for the quick reply :)
    how many chickens do you have/ and does this ‘fodder’ completes their intake of all the nutrients they need and does not slow down their egg production?

  15. Beautiful site you have here. Where are ya’ll from?

  16. Hi there,

    Your “How to Layout your Vegetable Garden” Series was sooo helpful!! I recently moved in to a rental house that has a big back yard with no grass or landscaping just dirt and weeds. I would like to turn it into a giant garden (I’ve been really successful with container plants and small gardens with my previous places). My question is, do you think I should build raised boxes and bring in soil to fill, or try to till the yard and amend the soil? I plan to be here for a few years and with no existing yard my landlord is happy with whatever I do. Thank you in advance for your help!!!

  17. Lisa Cotter says:

    I found your site while looking for information on growing fodder for livestock, loved your article “What the Fodder” I can’t seem to find the the post anymore. Could you please direct me to the link?

    Thank you so much,
    Lisa

  18. Hi Rachel,

    I’ve loved your blog for years, you have such great information and such wonderful stories, they’ve been truly inspiring. Hopefully within the next year I’ll be going through some major life changes and will go from suburban renter to small ranch owner (my family and I are thinking less than 10 acres) and I want to begin a dairy goat herd. I have limited experience with dairy goats, but enough to know that I need to know more. I was wondering if you could recommend some periodicals? Where do you get more information on the topic? Thanks so much, any input you could give would be greatly appreciated.

    Sincerely,
    Xochi

  19. well first off im a jerk..occasionally

    and secondly whats with the NO RIGHT CLOCK and open in another tab
    a real….really …pita

    it is a very useful tool
    it means i can always come back to the master page

    are you just trying to be oh-so-different
    or maybe your the jerk around the farm…

    oh and your captcha is not at all obvious…actually it is also OH-SO-SMARTARSE.. enough to make me probably give your page a miss really…

    • Hey Philip, thanks for coming by and being a dick. Appreciate it. First off, the no right click is because too many people were lifting my shit and claiming it as their own. PITA? Sure is. Keeps a lot of that shit to a minimum.

      Second, the captcha is not mine, it is through wordpress, so if you have a goddamn issue with it take it up with them. I’m just happy to not have to got through 500 comments a day to weed out the spammers.

      But honestly, I don’t really give a shit if you hang around or not. I’ve got plenty of awesome readers that have better things to do than bitch about how inconvenient my page is for them.

      Have a great day!

  20. pita = pain in the arse…..anyone who grows silver beet will know that :)

    and a gentle reminder rachel…re the right click…….where did you get a lot of the content on your site…from ideas and stuff you saw on other web sites…..how do i know this ..cause most of what we say and do in life is what we borrow in our daily travels…..so do what a lot of us do n share the good shit around…..

    signed
    happy jerk

    • I am well aware of what PITA means. I don’t think you are clear on what I previously said. People weren’t just “borrowing ideas” which I actually have no problem with. They were stealing content word for word – also referred to as copyright infringement, which is, believe it or not, illegal.

  21. should i reply
    should i have a cup of tea..

    a cut of tea … ummmm :)

  22. Hi, Rachel. I live in the NE and would love to try and supplement my food choices year round with food from my garden. I have read A LOT about freezing garden produce( the benefits) and the benefits of a greenhouse. I am game to freeze produce but will adding a greenhouse be cost effective? I have a kitchen garden next to the house; raspberry bushes that are great producers; and containers to bring in more benficial bugs and birds.

    I know I am a novice but you ‘got your groove on’, so, please, share what/when you can :)

    • There are ways of building a greenhouse that are definitely cost effective. We made ours out of old windows that we collected off of freecycle and craigslist. Our 8′x12′ greenhouse cost about $300 to build. You can make them even cheaper with a plastic hoophouse, but those degrade and will have to be replaced after a couple of years.

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