Saturday, May 31, 2008

Green House Pictures

Here's some pictures I was going to include in the last post but, couldn't get the Blogger picture thing to work for me the other day. These pictures are over a week old. We've made more progress by now with more beds filled and planted.

In the picture below, friends of our family are helping us with alot of the bull work of mixing compost, top soil, peat moss and vermiculite. It's sort of the mix that the guy from the Square Foot Gardening book uses. I have reservations about using the vermiculite. I've heard of health concerns with it as far as breathing the dust. We've never done a mix like this in the past so I'm wondering if it is going to work. I'm actually kind of sceptical about it. If it was just up to me I think I'd just stick with the top soil. We have a very large pile of it from when my dad built his pole building. They scraped off the top soil and put it in a pile a number of years ago. We have really good top soil here and stuff grows very well in it so really I don't think we need to add amendments to it other than compost. But since we're trying this mix, we'll see.

In this next picture you can see some of the plants they put in that same day. Our friends Christine and Diane started plants for us at their houses. This is a group effort. Like I said the other day it wouldn't be near as fun going it alone. It's one thing to grow food for yourself it's another thing entirely to grow it for dozens of families.

I've been looking to a number of sources for information about fuel prices, the economy and so forth. It's not looking good folks. The professionals give us their spiels. It seems everyone has an opinion. It all seems pretty lame. Are we in a recession or are we not? I think all we have to do is look at the evidence and stop listening to all the baloney coming out of the mainstream media and the politicians. Look at the fuel prices! Look at the prices of food. And how about those "stimulus checks"? Yeah that'll help the economy.

Here's a funny thing our cousin Jerry sent us in an email concerning the stimulus checks.

How to use Your IRS Rebate check.......

As you may have heard, each of us will be getting a tax rebate
to stimulate the economy.

If we spend that money at Wal-Mart, all the money will go to
If we spend it on gasoline it will go to the Arabs. If we purchase
computer it will go to India. If we purchase fruits and vegetables
will go to Honduras and Guatemala. If we purchase a good car it
go to Japan. If we purchase useless stuff it will go to Taiwan and none
it will help the American economy.

We need to keep that money here in America. The only way to keep
money here at home is to spend it at

Yard Sales , since those are the only businesses left owned
by Americans !!
Well, I thought it was kind of funny.
I read about a proposal a fellow was suggesting about how to fight back against the price gouging of oil companies. He said we all should cut our fuel consumption by 50% and that would put the hurt on the oil companies and they'd have to reconsider their prices. And he had many helpful tips on how to cut your fuel consumption by that much. The way I see it, 50% wouldn't do it. Aren't the fuel prices up about 4 times what they used to be? We'd have to cut our consumption by more than three fourths to have any effect on them. To really make them feel it like they're making us feel it.

In my opinion America is coming under Gods judgment. I think it's been coming for a long time, but we can really see it now. People have turned their backs on God. They've made their choice so He's handing them over to depravity and strong delusion. The rulings coming out of the judicial system are ludicrous. Insanity is prevailing. Evil is called good and good is called evil.

Seems to me the writing has been on the wall for a while and now. The way I see it the only thing that would stem the coming tide would be for a mass repentance. But, I'm afraid everyone are too anesthetized with self indulgence to turn it around. I think it's time for all true believers to get serious about their faith and batten down the hatches.

Now is the time to make preparations even if a little late. Instead of being completely dependant on buying all your food in grocery stores why not plant a small intensive garden? If you don't have the space plant in containers. I see container gardens quite alot when I'm out and about. If you absolutely are not inclined to plant anything or just cannot, due to lifestyle, physical limitations or commitments, then seek out a local farmer and support them with your dollars instead of sending it off to some multinational corporation. Or pay a neighbor to raise a little extra for you.

Even here out in the country there aren't many people who raise their own food. There's alot of hunters. At least there is that. But, if there is a major crisis in our economy, even in the country, I believe that wild game would become scarce with all those hungry hunters. Lakes and streams might even get fished out. So I wish alot more people would start raising their own food. Even a small potato patch would at least put something solid in your stomach though not very nutritional.

At least with the rising food prices more people will be considering putting in a garden. I wish every home in America had a garden in the backyard. Or even front yard for that matter.

Until Next Time

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Been too busy to make posts lately. Haven't been getting in until after 10 pm pretty much every night for awhile now. The green house took longer than we hoped to get it up and going. But, I sure am glad it is up now because we had two nights in a row of frost. I didn't have the ends of the green house covered yet so I just slapped some plastic over them for those two nights.

Regulating the temperature in those things are the biggest issue. It can easily get over a hundred degrees in the day time when it is all closed up. Tomato plants like warmth but, bake and freeze cycles are kind of tough on them. We could put in thermostatically controlled fans and all that but, I am reluctant to be dependant on electricity to moderate the temps.

It feels like we are juggling a lot right now. Lots of irons in the fire. We recently hired a young man for the summer to take care of the garbage route so I can be here full time. But, I had to train him first and get him going on his own. It was kind of a crash course. Well I shouldn't use the word crash when it comes to him driving our truck. He's a good driver and I pray he'll have a accident free time this summer. Anyway, after a couple weeks he went solo for two thirds of the route. This is his forth week with us and he is now on his own completely. Except for the extras, when there is something too bulky for him to get, I run out and get it in the pickup.

Also I had a helper, Michael, a friend of our family who road with me in the truck for over a year and I've been trying to get him going in scrap metal. Actually it is sort of a partnership as we are splitting the profits 50-50. Michael didn't want to do the route on his own so that's why we hired the new fellow.

Then trying to get the green house up, gardens going, broiler chickens on pasture and sheep out to pasture, we're going and doing pretty much non-stop. Oh, and my mother in law and sister in law who live together moved from Eagle River back to Sugar Camp, so we helped them with that. And, Kelli is helping a lady do spring cleaning at a resort. I'm sure I'm forgetting something else we are doing.

Well, tomorrow our youngest will be seventeen years old so we'll be celebrating that, so there's something else. But, we'll set aside being busy for that. Somehow in the end it will all work out.

It's been a challenge to figure out how much of everything we are going to grow for the farm stand and C.S.A. But, basically the subscribers are going to come first and anything left over will go to the farm stand.

Then we have to figure in succession planting so everything doesn't all come ripe at the same time. To further boggle our brains we are also doing companion planting in the raised beds. Kelli got a book called Carrots Love Tomatoes. I new that certain plants planted near by can be good or bad for other plants but, this book goes into great detail as to which ones are which. So each bed has multiple different vegetables being planted in each one.

The great thing is we aren't going it alone. There are other people growing stuff too. And friends of ours are helping us by starting plants and helping here with alot of the work. It wouldn't be as much fun doing it all our selves. We're sharing the work as well as the rewards.

There's alot of variables and "ifs" involved with what we are doing especially never having done this sort of thing on this large of scale. Not that it is huge by many growers standards but, it is big for us right now. Our friend John said "so, now are you going to get three or four more green houses for next year?" My wife told him to bite his tongue. Someday we might look back and wonder why we thought it was such a big deal. These are pretty uncertain times. I'm certainly glad that we are getting more proficient at growing things.

I hate to keep harping on the fuel prices but, for rural folks it's a pretty big deal. Just for a simple trip to town a person has to dig pretty deep into the pockets to come up with that kind of money. Poor people are especially feeling the pinch these days and it doesn't look like any end in sight. I suppose for the well off it doesn't matter that much. It's just "chump change". That's something a lady once said to us when she was referring to how much we charge for picking up her garbage. "That's just chump change" she said. Then she kind of stammered a little when she realized how it sounded. So I can imagine for some people, spending 3 times as much for fuel a week doesn't matter much. The way people keep roaring up and down the highway I guess it isn't pinching them too bad yet. But, we shall see.

Until Next Time

Saturday, May 24, 2008

New Blog

There's a new homesteading blog called The New American Frontier It's about a young family in California who are about to embark on a homesteading adventure.

Friday, May 23, 2008


Slowly but surely we're making progress. The big greenhouse is almost complete. We've got a number of beds filled and some planted with tomatoes and peppers that our friend Christine started at her house earlier in the spring. We had hoped to have had planted in there way before now but, it looks like this Memorial Day weekend is going to be our big planting. Which for us being the procrastinators that we are is actually early. But, with our long northern days we usually wind up with an abundant harvest in spite of it.

I've been too busy to blog lately working late nearly every night. In fact I just got in a little bit ago and it is already after 11:00 as I write. The third ewe that I mentioned in the last post wound up only having the one lamb. We got ourselves four lambs all together and they're all boys. So much for increasing the flock. We'll at least we won't have any shortage of meat when they get bigger. With the exception of Shadow. He won't have any worries of winding up in the stew pot. Or at least we hope not. Never know for sure how things might go.

The big news is still sky rocketing fuel prices. Gas in our area is now over $4 per gallon. I heard a guy on the radio today say he heard that gasoline could go as high as $10 a gallon. Who knows where he got his information but, nothing would surprise me anymore. I remember a few short years ago hearing that gas could go to $4 or $5 a gallon and thinking that seemed far fetched. Possible but, hopefully not.

Back then we were looking at $2 something a gallon and I wondered when the ripple effect would take place of everything else going up because of the fuel prices. We'll I'd say the ripple effect is now with us as we see everything going up in price. My, how dependant we all are on that black gold called oil. Our whole society is completely tied to it. I heard awhile back that the oil companies made something like a 123 billion dollar profit last year. It really gets under my skin to pay them their price and not have some kind of alternative at hand. And now with so called food shortages it seems unconscionable to make fuel out of food products like grains.

Today as I drove back from Wausau, were we sell our aluminum cans, I was day dreaming about some other mode of transportation that wouldn't require an internal combustion engine, like what if we had steam powered cars. You'd see all these little steam clouds billowing up from all the vehicles. What a sight that would be. But, then what would we fuel them with, coal? Wood? I think not. You'd have to have a second attached car just to carry it all like on the old locomotives. The fun thing about day dreaming is, it doesn't have to be based on reality.

Until Next Time

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns

NEW YORK (AP) -- Oil futures blasted to a new record near $123 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.

Click here for the full article.

Here we go again. This evening we ran down to the local gas station and saw that the low grade gasoline just went up and is now $3.749.

In Rhinelander we are seeing car lots selling motor scooters. One lot had half dozen or so sitting there and most had sold signs on them. Those scooters disappear and then you see a whole new batch the next day or so. Looks like they're moving quite a few of them.

Back in May of 2006 I posted this picture of the fuel/wallet gauge that a friend of ours had emailed to us. I thought it was entirely appropriate to post it again. Back then gas was over $2.90 for low grade. Funny how that seems cheap now. I wonder how long it will take before the current prices seem cheap.

Will we be seeing these kinds of scenes below, in America some day?

Our Cousin Jerry sent us an email with tons of these kinds of pictures and I wondered if the U.S. ever will resemble this. If the economy keeps going like this they'll price us right out of our cars.


On a brighter note, our third ewe just gave birth to a lamb this evening. And it looks like she may have one more coming. We'll see in a little while.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Mennonite Farmer Handcuffed For Selling Raw Milk

Feds launch 'Gestapo raid' over raw milkRally planned for farmer whose dairy swept by government

"They swooped in ... like a bunch of Vikings, handcuffed me and stole $30,000 worth of my milk, cheese and butter," he told the New York Daily News.

Click here for the full WND story.

For the WND follow up click here .

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Green House

After almost 10 years we are finally putting up our big 30' x 96' green house. We plan on making 32, 4' x 8' raised beds inside for our new vegetable growing enterprise that we started this year with several friends and neighbors. It's an expansion of last years farm stand. We've officially started a C.S.A. I wish the green house was already up and ready but, the cold wet weather has set us back a bit. We aren't the only ones set back though, even down mid-state, farmers were way laid with a late season blast of snow at the beginning of the week.

Setting up the hoops was the easy part. Attaching the base boards is a slow tedious process. The original owner of this green house had used pipes driven down into the ground with which to anchor the hoops. In our sandy and rock infested soil they are just about impossible to drive strait. So this time I cut up metal T-stakes and drove them in for anchors. They drove real nice but, are tough to drill. I need to drill them in order to bolt them to the hoops, as well as the base boards. My normal drill bits hardly penetrated the metal so I tried a 5/16 cobalt bit and it cuts it pretty good, though they are easy to break. I've broken three so far.
After today we almost have all the boards fastened to the left side. We are hoping to get the right side done tomorrow.


Our little black lamb got abandoned by his mother so we are raising him in the house. He's the cutest thing. He has quickly won over our hearts and he has become our new pet. We named him Shadow, first for his pure black coat and secondly for the fact that he follows Kelli around like he is her shadow.

Kelli can walk anywhere around the place and he sticks to her like glue. It's really funny to see. If she does happen to get a little ahead of him he tears around until he gets right in step with her. I wish the dogs were so obedient.

Here Shadow is inspecting today's work on the green house seeing if he can lend a helpful hand,,,well I mean hoof. Actually he probably was looking for something to taste. He seems to enjoy himself nibbling on all my tools and parts.