Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Questions Answered"
In the past week or so, I've had a few questions that can't be answered in a "quick post", so I've taken the time to answer via a long post tonight.

The first question was from Tessa at
Aimed At the Heart and she asked:
"I'm so wanting to get more into homesteading and your blog is a constant source of entertainment and encouragement.
Any suggestions for a good book I could get? Homesteading for Dummies or something :) I know very little about gardening but we are dairy farmers so we've got milk and lots of space. I think it'll be such a great way to raise my family! So far I've thought about buying The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery, and The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan."

{Sigh, here goes nothin'.} I have an addiction to books (we all know this) and most of them are gardening/agricultural/homesteading books. Some books have been given to me for birthdays and Christmases. Some books I have bought. I have read each one through at least once and many I keep tabbed for references in the future when I need quick answers.

My favorite books are:

The Self-Sufficient Life and How To Live It

(A great all-around manual on how to live sufficiently from gardening to soap making to dairy and building a self-sufficient home.)

Organic Farming Manual

(Another all-over great book that talks about everything, but in an organic sense. Not as thorough as the above book.)

The Southern Living Garden Book

(It takes each plant and breaks it down to tell you how to care for it.)

Seed to Seed

(A guide to storing your heirloom, non-GMO seeds [because we know that you can't store and save GMO seeds...they won't reproduce!])

Organic Gardening (DK)

(A guide to growing things organically and chemical free. A nice read, but not a necessity for your library.)

Everything I Want To Do Is Illegal (by Joel Salatin)

(This book...any book by Salatin, a good read. Very informational for SERIOUS farmers and homesteaders on what's legal, what's not and why.)

The Backyard Homestead

(Great for someone wanting to get started and it shares how to lay out your homestead depending on how much land you have. It touches on everything from city life homesteading to having a few acres and managing things from there. It tells you how to keep everything from your own wheat and hay [feed for your livestock and poultry] to beekeeping, dairy goats/cows, keeping manure and rotating crops [because we all know that's the best way] and composting.

George Washington - Pioneer Farmer

Keeping Chickens

(A how-to on keeping chickens.)

The Wholistic Garden

Guide to Florida Fruit and Vegetable Gardening

(Only if you live in Florida will this one be helpful. We have a totally different gardening schedule than other areas in the US. We're tropical and "special" like

How to Store Your Garden Produce

(This is helpful if you have a cellar, but for Floridians who don't, it has some alternatives, but not enough.)

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning

(A great source to learn the old-fashioned methodologies of keeping food by burrying things in boxes in the dirt amongst elderberry blossoms all the way to drying fruit/veggies out on homemade screens in the sun. A very INTERESTING read!)


Art of South Florida Gardening

Neem - The Ultimate Herb

The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer (by Joel Salatin)

You Can Farm (by Joel Salatin)

(Another great one by Salatin for those who wish to begin farming.)

Question #2 was from Rachel E. over at
Ladybug's Abode who asked:
"I loved watching the feather plucking. Where did you get the machine?"

The plucker is not ours, but belongs to our friends who helped us on processing day. There are MANY different kinds out there, some good, some not-so-good. There are also directions out there to help you build your own. Check out You Tube for some laughs as you watch some attempt to build them and many farmers using them for plucking processed chickens. Someday, we'd love to have one of our own, but we'll have to save up for that. Good ones start around $800.00 from what I've seen.

The other question was from Julie at
4 Sweet Sisters who asked:
"When do you all plan on planting? I'm totally ready but have been holding off for the weather to 'cool' down a bit."

We have already planted our garden, I just haven't posted on it yet(so stay tuned). In Central Florida, as long as the weather is in the range of 75-77 degrees at night, you're safe and things will germinate properly (taken into account crops are watered once a day, preferably in the morning before 10:00 so that you aren't assisting molds and mildews forming on your plants, especially squashes and cucumbers). The key is to plant as much as possible during the months of September until February as this is our "cooler" time to grow food. Summer is TOO hot (but you know this my fellow gardener...tee-hee).

I hope this helped answer some questions. Our family is still "new" at this, but we're happy to share what we've learned along the way. I've always appreciated bloggers who take the time to answer my questions as well.

Happy Farming!!!


Rachel E. said...

Very informational...thanks for the book ideas.

momof4sweetsisters said...

Our Rangers have been eating since we got home! The girls named them (even though i suggested they not) Plate and Dinner.

As far as the gardening thingy and everything else. There seems to be know deffinative info. 4-H taught (here in this county) that you really should wait until high temps didn't go over 85 to 88 degrees. So that's why I've always waited a tad bit longer.

Anyhow after you left today the Feed Guy really told me ephatically that we were doing this all wrong. Then I explained things a bit more in depth (like i really know it all-ha). He was amazed and clueless. And online everyone has a difference of opinion on how to get the best bird.

Did you ever the story of Grandma's ham? The ladies and in the family always cut the end of their hams off before baking. Someone asked why they did this one day and they said because Grandma did it. Then they asked Granny and she said because her the large ham wouldn't fit in the pan. Ahhh

I just want to learn and make it as simple as possible.

Off to make plum sauce! Thanks!

Tessa said...

Thanks so much! I'm a book junkie as well and am looking forward to building up my homesteading library. I'm going to look for some gardening books specific for the weather we have here (alberta, canada. aka theplace with like6 months of winter!). And I'm writing down titles to check my local library. Reading your blog is inspiring and a bit intimidating :) I'm looking forward to taking my baby steps to simplicity. I've got my yogurt and butter down so now it's time to plan for my (eek!) garden next spring!