Friday, November 21, 2008

Grain Mills and More

A couple of days ago I found our grain mill online. I thought for sure that we had bought it while on the farm in Delta, but couldn't remember where we got it. Looking through a Mother Earth News, I found a add from the Pleasant Hill Grain - Fine Kitchen Equipment. So if you can't find what you need in the way of grain mills, meat grinders, pressure cookers, dehydrators, slicers, dicers etc, then you are just pretty darn picky.

Also, here is a great site for bulk foods: . Among the treasures that I found there is chicken bullion in bulk. You can't beat these prices.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Production and Storage

We have heard a lot about food storage, but equally important is home production. You might never end up producing like the Dervaes ( ) family does, but their example shows us what is possible.

You might look at this as being as extreme as Walt Nelson, and if you think that our economy is going to be healed, you will think it is totally silly. I guess it is a lot about what you think the future will bring. If you want to see how the Great Depression affected people watch 'Sea Biscuit' and then back-to-back watch 'Cinderella Man'. Let me tell you that you will experience a 'Great Depression' right there. Yikes! Everyone didn't wakeup poor one morning, although some did. But it wore them down.

When you have an sick economy one of two things happen. Either you have a deflation, much like what is going on now, and people can't find jobs, many are out of work and while there might be food in the locality, people can't afford to buy it because they can't get the money. Roughly 2 billion people in the world live like this every day. They get by on less than $2.50/day. And this deflation is pushing them to starvation.

The other thing that happens is that you get an inflation, and the inflation rate gets pretty high. If you don't have a job, so much the worse for you, but if you do have a job the money that you get isn't worth anything.

Some of these problems can be blunted by home production. In an inflation or deflation there are less opportunities to actually create wealth. You can't work overtime, or might not even have a job. The only opportunities that you have are those that you create yourself. Home production might be the single easiest way to have that second job.

You can't do this overnight. You can't wait until the wolf is at the door to have a productive yard and garden. My goal is to bring more of my lawn under production each year. We planted five grape plants this year, and Annie found a bunch of great information on pruning and starting new plants. We planted two thornless black berries as well, and I have about 10 little plums and apricots ready to be transplanted. We built cast block raised beds in the sunniest part of the yard, and had a wonderful crop. After removing a shade tree, we actually got sweetcorn and had a great squash year. It doesn't happen at once. Start now. Spade, rototill or plow under some of the Kentucky Blue. You don't have to take the whole yard, or even change the looks of the yard. Just come out from the fence 4-8 feet, depending you the size of your yard. Put as many leaves, grass clippings and garden scraps as you can on the soil. Whether you can buy bulk manure or have to buy the bagged stuff from Walmart, put about 2-3" of manure on these new beds. It will take several years to build up the fertility, but your yard will surprise you with the produce that it will supply you with.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Great Garden Seed Source

Scott sent me this link to Mountain Valley Seeds, and I liked it so much that I ordered all of our seed for next spring. I think I have spent more at Ace Hardware in the past. These guys typically sell seeds in 1 oz. quantities, which is a lot more than you get in the packets. Take a look, you might like what you see. You can store the extras in your freezer until the next year.

They do sell hybrid seeds as well, but they are well marked. If you want to start saving seeds to see what works best in your soil and with your climate, this might be a good place to start.