It’s Almost Time

It’s almost time, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Pennsylvania’s archery season is less than a month away. And, we have the most deer, the most bucks, and the biggest bucks of any year I can remember.  Most years, if I’m lucky, I have one three year old eight point to target.  This year I have at least three legal bucks on the property, and two that could qualify as the biggest buck I’ve taken on this property.  We’ve really upped our buck-to-doe ratio, and even have a great bullpen for next year.  If it sound like I’m excited, you’re right. The only downside is that I’m still recovering from shoulder surgery a couple of months ago, and I’m just

Why We’re Pulling the Trigger

We’ve been working towards the goal of moving to our new homestead for over five years now.  But though we were laying soft plans for that long, we really got serious a couple of years ago.  There were lots of reasons, but the straw that broke the camel’s back is an interesting (and infuriating) story. I got home one night from my father’s property and found a piece of paper stuck in my door.  I at first thought it was some kind of advertisement.  But it wasn’t.  It was a letter from our local code enforcement officer.  No, it wasn’t a thank you note.  Or an invitation to a birthday party.  Or a solicitation to the code enforcement officers’ ball. 

Best Chipper Shredder for the Homestead 2018

A Chipper / Shredder can be an invaluable asset on a small homestead.  Not only does it help you clear unwanted brush and yard waste, it lets you do so in a way that produces mulch and compost.  Up to this point we’ve used ours mostly to create mulch for our paths, our firewood area, and a couple of recreational areas.  But we’re looking forward to using the shredder to produce finely chopped carbon for our composting.  Chipping won’t really produce the type of material you need.  But the chipper breaks wood, bark, and leaves down to small enough pieces to get good surface contact with the greens in your compost piles.  It’s a win / win / win. After

Making a Family Heirloom (and Memories to Boot)

My family likes old things.  Antiques is too grand a word for it.  The word “antique” calls to mind things to be put on a shelf and looked at.  Not to be touched.  Certainly not to be used.  But our prized finds are things that are old and beautiful, but also useful. A few months ago we found an old Eskimo wooden toboggan at a church yard sale.  The price was $5.00.  But I waited too long to buy it.  I was being too clever for my own good; trying to look less interested than I was to try to get the price down.  When I went back to the table to pick it up, it had already been sold. 

Mother Nature Doesn’t Care That It’s Cold

Nature doesn’t care that you’re cold.  Nature doesn’t care that you can’t feel your toes.  When it’s time for a tree to fall, it falls.  When it’s time for three to fall, that happens too.  And unless you want to try to work around them for the rest of the Winter, clearing them up can’t wait until Spring. Today we work in twenty degree temps to split the biggest rounds from the biggest tree.  On the upside, we completely filled up not only all of our firewood bins, but stacked three pallets about four feet high.  Gettin’ it done, even when we don’t want to do it.  And walking the path.

(Almost) Ready to Roll!

We began the process of obtaining our property and the home building process in March.  Our expectation was that we would be moved into our new homestead by August, September, maybe October at the latest.  It’s now January, and we haven’t yet broken ground.  What caused the delays?  Was it financing?  No, we had that in hand.  Delays with the builder?  Nope, they were pretty much good to go from day one.  No, the issue was the huge number of hoops we had to jump through.  We split a piece of existing, undeveloped property.  This, for some inexplicable reason requires the approval of multiple government agencies.  One of these, which shall remain nameless (let’s just call them the Department of

Chicken Processing Workshop with Patricia Foreman

In September we had an opportunity to attend a hands-on chicken processing workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair at Seven Springs, Pennsylvania.  The workshop was presented by Patricia (Patty) Foreman, Michael Badger, and Matt Wilkinson.  If you know anything about poultry, you’ll know that these folks are kind of the celebrities of the chicken world.  And they did a fantastic job of leading our group from a live, clucking, flapping chickens to a ready-to-package set of chicken cuts. I’ve butchered plenty of deer, squirrels, and rabbits before.  But I’ve never slaughtered and processed a chicken.  It’s really a very different process.  But it’s really pretty simple when you have experienced people showing you how, and giving you feedback in