Of Sourdough Breads and Starters

In the old days, people didn't use the current array of life-killing cleaning agents, so a suitable baking yeast was quite likely to be around for the invitation, unless you were camping in the Klondike in February. Incidentally, the Klondike miners sometimes drank, straight, that floating layer of grain alcohol that sourdough produces they called it hooch. (I don't recommend the stuff.) Even now, if you put out something tempting to eat, like a bowl of lukewarm potato water, you may capture a...

How To Build An Old Fashioned Pig Crate

The Boar A boar matures sexually by 7-8 months old. Boars are large, dangerous, and tusked. For safety most growers remove their tusks at 6-month intervals. Fever, hot temperatures, and stress can cause a boar to become temporarily sterile. Stephen If you are going to have your own boar, you need 6 sows to support him. You can get by without a boar if you have a neighbor willing to let you use his boar. Heat Most gilts have their first heat by 9 months old. But hog breeders may wait until she...

Using Your Freezer

Long-Term Food Arrangement I try to arrange food in up-and-down columns so I always have something of everything on top. Meat takes up a lot of room, so it goes on one whole side, with the vegetables and fruits on the other. When I have only a little of something like packages of butter, cream cheese, or bread it goes into the baskets on top so it doesn't get lost down among the rest. records It's a good idea to keep an inventory taped to the outside of your freezer of what's in there. It...

Canning

My mother canned a lot of meat when I was a little girl, and one of my most pleasant childhood memories is of the taste of her canned venison stew. You can can any kind of meat. Chicken and rabbit may be canned on the bone, but all the bigger meats, of course, are cut away from the bone before canning. Canning is a good way to handle tough cuts because they get cooked tender in the process. Can only fresh meat that was chilled immediately after killing and kept chilled until canning. Don't can...

Peanut

This Brazilian native (Arachis hypogaea, a.k.a. goober and groundnut) likes long, hot summers of at least 4 months (5 is better). If you have that climate, they're easy to grow. If you live in the part of the United States that's north of Arkansas, out of their natural range, you can grow them but you'll have to try harder. It's worth it, though, because freshly dug and home-roasted peanuts are delicious and healthy. Peanuts are an odd and interesting plant to watch growing. They have 2 sets of...

Paul Mannell Rabbits

Magazines Domestic Rabbits comes out 6 times a year from the American Rabbit Breeders Association, c o Glen Carr, PO Box 426, Bloomington, IL 61702 arbapost aol.com www.arba.net. The magazine, Standard of Perfection, and breed guidelines are available to members 15 yr for adults, 8 youth. Send 2 for their beginner's booklet, 5 for their rabbit cookbook, or 1 for a bumper sticker Get into the Rabbit Habit. It's a good place to find local rabbit clubs, rabbit products, and basic breeder stock....

Peafowl

If you join the United Peafowl Association (US 25, Canada 30, others 35 per year), you'll get the bimonthly Peafowl Today Dennis Erdman, Treasurer 570-425-3364 PO Box 24, Klingerstown, PA 17941 derdman ruralife.net www.peafowl.org. Bill and Monte Haney offer 30+ varieties of peafowl Box 612, Angelton, TX 77516 409-848-0407 or 409-849-7464 409-239-1931. Visitors by appointment only. Roughwood Aviaries offers 17 kinds of peafowl and is Home of the Purple Peafowl PO Box 71, Austin, IN 47102...

Moving Water

Hauling Water I remember living in a house that didn't have running water it didn't have water at all except that carried there in a bucket. We used an outhouse for our toilet. I hauled water up a hill from the creek in a bucket and poured that water into a tank on the back porch. For hot water, we heated water on the stove until we got a stove that had a tank built right onto one side of it where the water heated more or less automatically, as long as you had a fire in the stove. We took baths...

Common Home Vetting Procedures

The most important is the daily lookover you give your animals. You get to know who they are and how they are. Then your observation and gut instinct will tell you when something isn't right. giving Shots Practically everybody who's any sort of a farmer gives their own shots. It is cheaper and more convenient. You can buy vaccines in bulk from vet suppliers that specialize in mail-order business to farmers. But it's better to buy from your own vet or vet supply center because of all the free...

Animal Feeds You

For every animal you are feeding, you can go one of three routes Go to a feed store and buy pre-mixed rations. Go to a feed store and buy foods that you have them mix, or mix yourself, to the formula of your personal choice. Raise your own feeds for your animals, making your own choices about what to grow and what proportions to feed it in. feed Mill Feeds The good thing about these feeds is that they are assembled according to formulas devised by expert animal nutritionists, and all feed...

The Non Bramble Berries

W> BARBERRY JUICE Use cranberry juice recipe. blueberries These need an acidic soil. If they have that, you have a wonderful berry that may bear fruit the first year and for the next 50, but if they don't have that soil they will die and that's all there is to it. St. Lawrence Nurseries offers numerous varieties of half-high blueberries. You can prune blueberries only very lightly. Blueberries don't really have canes, just twigs. In all but the far north, do what judicious cutting you must in...

Getting Started

Before you buy your cow you need to consider Do you want such a large animal, one that must be fed proportionately large amounts of food Do you have at least 2 acres of good pasture A large enough outbuilding for her to shelter in and you to milk her in A place to store a few tons of hay and straw for winter feeding Calf A young 'un sometimes they're called calves until they are nearly 1V2 years old. (To) Calve When a cow gives birth to a calf. Heifer A female cow before her first calving (or,...

Milk a Sheep Cow Goat

If you're just getting started, your first big decision is what kind of animal to milk. Around the world not only cows and goats are milked, but also sheep, reindeer, camels, water buffalo, and others. Any dairy animal is a miracle of efficiency. Grass, vegetables, grain, water, and salt go in one end. Milk, baby animals (meat), and manure to build up your garden soil come out from various other locations. There is no waste. She can be purchased reasonably, moved from location to location and...

Allium Group

Vegetables in this group (rocambole and tree onions) reproduce by growing small bulbs at the top of the plant. rocambole Allium scorodorprasum, a form of Allium sativum (a.k.a. sand leek, Spanish garlic, Spanish shallot, and top-set garlic) is similar to the tree onion in being a hardy perennial that produces small bulblets at the top of each plant. You can propagate either by planting the top-set bulblets like those of a tree onion or by dividing at the base for replanting. If you're going to...

Grain Amaranth

The naming of amaranths in seed catalogs is very confusing because there are ancient names, modern but local names, names under which the plant is sold as an ornamental, and Latin names. Amaranths are annuals and are a domesticated, lovely, useful relative of pigweed. They are broad-leafed plants, not grasses, but grain amaranths produce large amounts of seeds that resemble a cereal-type grain. All the amaranths grow vigorously, as tall as 4-6 feet or more, depending on the variety and...

Harvesting Stripping and Pressing

NOTE Once you begin harvesting sweet sorghum cane, you must keep at it until the job is done. This is one crop that can't wait anywhere along the process. When to Harvest The seeds are first milky, then increasingly tough and doughy, then hard. For syrup making, you cut sooner than you would for grain. You cut after the milky stage and before the hard stage, meaning in the tough, doughy (hard dough) stage, while your thumbnail can cut the seed. Raymond says, It is better to get it a little...

Shaping and Baking

I let the dough sit 15 minutes while I'm getting the bread pans oiled and ready. Then I shape my loaves, put them in the bread pans, and set the pans in that same warm place to rise enough to be baked. (The second rising is usually faster than the first one.) So after the bread's first rising, I call the children to make rolls and loaves. shaping a Loaf There's more than one way to do either one. I use a bread knife to cut off what I figure is enough for a loaf from one side of the dough ball....

Introduction to Butchering

For specific species butchering instructions, also see the section in this book dealing with that animal. The tiger naturally eats nothing but meat. Man naturally can thrive on a diet of part meat which, like the tiger, we have to kill to get. I don't think much of people who say they like to eat meat but go ick at the sight of a bleeding animal. Doing our own killing, cleanly and humanely, teaches us humility and reminds us of our interdependence with other species. My husband adds that there...

Jerusalem Artichoke

The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus) is from the sunflower family it's not a relative of the globe artichoke at all. These perennial crunchy white tubers grow wild in the eastern part of the United States and Canada. Or they can be cultivated. In seed catalogs and stores, you might also see them called crosne du Japon, girasole, Japanese artichoke, sunchoke, sunroot, and winter artichoke. Some folks call them chokes for short, and I do too. Native Americans cultivated and used them...

Harvesting Storing and Using Wheat

When to Harvest Wheat is one of the slower grains to mature it takes winter wheat 40-50 days from heading to harvest. The wheat is close to harvest time when it has grown tall, has headed out with a big bushy top full of those wonderful grain seeds, and has started looking dry and turning yellow all over (some varieties turn a brownish red). How to Harvest To harvest by hand, do it at this time, when the straw is just turning yellow and the grain can be dented but not mashed (seed at 20-35...

Kneading and Rising

Kneading is a stretching motion applied to dough when more flour is to be added than can be either stirred or beaten into the mixture. Kneading is also used to make a dough smooth and even in texture. You place the dough on a flat surface and work it, pressing down with knuckles and then folding over, and repeating several times. After that, you give the yeast time to work and raise the bread. Both kneading and rising help make nice bread with a smooth texture that holds together and is...

Food Preservation Methods

This section describes general methods of food preservation. For detailed canning, freezing, drying, or root cellar storage procedures, look in the chapter that covers that food for grains, Chapter 3 for herbs, Chapter 5 for fruits, Chapter 6 meats, Chapter 8. For vegetables, look in Chapter 4 pickles are mostly discussed under Cucumbers and sauerkraut making under Cabbage in that chapter. In-Ground Storage Some people say you should leave most of the root vegetables in the garden during the...

Yeast Bread Ingredients

Basic Procedure for Bread Making Start with a yeast solution and add that to a liquid. A sweetening for the yeasties to feed on is helpful, plus some shortening, salt if you want, other things in the fruit and vegetable kingdoms, and finally your flours, the kneading process, and the rising, punching down, second rising, and baking. yeast Use sourdough (homemade) or store-bought. There are different kinds of commercial yeast. Brewer's yeast won't raise bread. Neither will the dry yeast sold as...

Through the Nut Alphabet

Acorn The little acorn grows on the mighty oak (you knew that). Oaks can grow to be very old, over 200 years They can reach a very large trunk diameter and a crown spread of up to 50 feet. (Crown spread is measured from branch tip to opposite branch tip.) A wonderful book called Acorns and Eat 'Em, by Suellen Ocean, provides a field guide to 18 kinds of oak trees and their acorns, plus recipes. Yes, it tells how to harvest, prepare, and cook acorns Send 15 for the book ( 15.91 CA residents), or...

Roosters

At 3-8 weeks of age, you can distinguish the young cockerel chicks by their slightly larger combs that red decoration on top of the head and wattles, the one that hangs under the chin. Roosters grow their decorations and get color in them first. Roosters are usually larger than pullets. When they have grown, you eat most of them and save a few for breeding you don't need to keep very many roosters back from the butchering process to have fertile eggs. Three could take care of a flock of 50...

Florence Fennel

Florence fennel, or finnochio (Foeniculum vulgare dulce), is a relative of the herb called fennel. It's grown for the swollen stems at its base, which are cooked like a vegetable after the leaves are cut away. Florence fennel is an easy-to-grow perennial, but I don't care for its bitter, licorice, herbtype flavor. growing Seeds are available from William Dam and Redwood City. Plant between April and mid-July. Gradually thin to a foot apart. It matures quickly. Cover base of plant with dirt to...

Grasses Grains

My Childhood, and Grain About Grasses, Grains, and Canes 132 Of Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Planning Spring and Winter Varieties Amount to Plant Of Seed and Where to Buy Field Grain Seed Home-Grown Seed Manure Tilling Planting the Seed Covering the Seed The Growing Of Feet and Grain Coping with Weeds Of Watering Non-Row Grain Crops Harvesting Grass Grain Maturity Stages Modern Harvesting Old-Time Hand (Non-Petroleum-Using) Harvesting Making a Sheaf Tying the Sheaf Curing the Unthreshed...

Spiced Fruit

Spiced fruit doesn't have to be canned or frozen. The real old-time recipes don't spoil they just get spicier and spicier. In small amounts they are very tasty like the spiced crab apples that you can get in the store, only much more spicy. This is not a method of preserving a staple food, just a holiday goodie. If your fruit does show signs of fermentation, pour off the liquid, boil it awhile, and then pour back over the fruit. Brandied fruit has an alcohol content, but spiced fruit doesn't....

Chicken Housing

Chicken houses and all the features that go into and around them are a big topic. Some chickens have to spend their lives in very cramped quarters. batteries Some commercial operators keep their birds in small, individual, stacked wire cages called batteries. A battery-housed bird is never threatened by anything except boredom and inactivity. Batteries can't be used unless they're inside a warm building, even if they have a self-heating component. The baby chicks live in pens 5 tiers high when...

Apples

These are the most popular temperate-zone fruit. They grow easily, store well, and have many uses. The modern apple tree is available in a wider range of sizes than that of any other fruit from 30-foot standards down to 6-foot dwarves. However, the modern apple is also, in apple-growing areas, plagued by many pests and diseases, especially where summers are wet. It's important to choose trees that will be most resistant to whatever pest problems are prevalent in your area. Last I heard, the...

Country Living

Copyright 1994, 2003 by Carla Emery Updated ninth edition Illustrations on pages 10,17, 26, 57, 65, 72, 73, 76, 77, 81, 90, 99, 101, 102, 103, 104, 125, 133,134, 135, 145, 151, 155, 158, 162, 181, 243, 244, 416, 417, 425, 428, 430, 447, 451, 543, 549, 554, 574, 580, 595, 609, 610, 612, 620, 621, 622, 623, 626, 633, 634, 639, 641, 643, 671, 674, 679, 681, 689, 692, 693, 722, 769, 785, 787, 791, 793, 801, 803, 806, 813, 817, 824 copyright 1994 by David Berger Illustrations on cover, title page,...

Starting by Buying Adult Birds

The cheapest way to start a flock is to order chicks from a hatchery and raise them yourself. That virtually guarantees you a disease- and parasite-free flock to start with. And it eliminates the possibility that somebody is selling you their culls. Furthermore, moving from one home to another tends to throw adult layers into a molt, which will end laying for a while. Nevertheless, you can buy adult birds from neighbors, local commercial sources, and mail-order sources and there may be...

About Weeds

The number one thing to keep in mind here is that self-defending plants are the easiest ones to grow but in order to grow, they need carbon dioxide, water, and 13 elements that come from the soil. By keeping their soil well fertilized, providing air to their roots with loose, earthwormy soil, and watering as needed, you'll maximize the plant's chance of looking after itself. Nevertheless . . . There is only so much plant food in your garden, and you've worked really hard to get it there. If...

Tomatillo

Tomatillo (Physal s ixocarpa), also called the Mexican husk tomato, is closely related to the ground cherry (see Ground Cherry). You can get tomatillo seed (green or purple) from Nichols, Redwood City, Seeds of Change, and Shepherd's. Greens bear bigger fruit (2 to Vh inches across), but the purples, although only 1 to IV2 inches across, taste and store better. This solanum grows anywhere, unlike its less hardy cousins. This sprawling plant can grow to 4 feet in diameter, so plant far apart....

Rice Cooking

Cooking Perfect Rice Years ago, a lady walked up to me and complained, There's no recipe for cooking brown rice in your book. Well, there is now Use a heavy pan with a tight-fitting lid. If you briefly saute the uncooked kernels in a little oil before adding the water, your rice will turn out non-gummy with nicely separated grains. How Much Water to Add After you put rice (brown or white) in the pot but before you saute it, push your finger down through the rice to touch the pan's bottom. See...

Mariculture

This word refers to harvesting food from beaches from the intertidal zone where sometimes the land is covered by ocean water and sometimes it isn't. Lots of algae, shellfish, and sea vegetables grow there. If you don't have a pollution risk in your area, this area has tremendous food potential. See The Sea Vegetable Book by Judith Cooper Madlener for info on gathering and using sea vegetables, and try Sea Vegetable Recipes from the Oregon Coast by Evelyn McConnaughey (2 volumes ) for ways to...

Celtuce

This lettuce variety (Lactuca sativa var. angustata) is also called asparagus lettuce and stem lettuce. It comes from China and combines celery and lettuce traits. The edible part is the enlarged seed stalk, not the leaves at the end of the stalk. Seed is available from Nichols and Kitazawa. Grow like a summer lettuce. Use the stalks like celery either raw in salads, as sticks with dips, or cooked like asparagus and served with a sauce. Or stir-fry with meat and daikon chunks and serve with a...

Harvesting and Using Quinoa

Harvesting About mid-summer, it grows a sizable seed head heavy with tiny seeds. Harvest when dead ripe. You can thresh out the grain directly from the field, but threshing will be easier if you harvest and then dry the plants indoors a while more before the flailing. Steve Solomon The main hazard is rain. Should the drying seed be moistened, it will sprout right in the head so if rain threatens once the seed is drying, the plants should be cut, bundled, and hung to finish under cover . . ....

Undercover Gardening

The following section is often indebted to one of the basic books in this field, William Head's Gardening Under Cover A Northwest Guide to Solar Greenhouses, Cold Frames, and Cloches (Seattle Sasquatch Books, 1989). For fall and winter gardening in chilly or cold climates, and very early spring growing, cover is essential. A garden under cover is protected from rain, frost, wind, and cold. There are 4 styles of light-transparent, cold-protective covering for plants floating plastic row covers,...

Maintaining Your Storage

Keep the Storage Space Clean Keep storage facilities for vegetables and fruits clean. Get rid of vegetables and fruits that show signs of decay. At least once a year, remove all containers from your storeroom. Then clean them and air them in the sun. Wash the walls and ceiling before you put back the containers. Harvest for Live Storage Harvest during dry weather, not too soon after a rain, and let the surface of the product dry, since wet produce is much more susceptible to disease in storage....

Herbs Flavorings Contents

Your Herb Garden Public Herb Gardens Info and Networking Other Herb Periodicals Medicinal Plant Info The Business of Buying Herbs and Herb Products Herb Products Herb Plant Sources Selling Herbs Harvesting Preserving Products and Butter Candying Leaves and Flowers Candy, Herb-Flavored Crystallizing Dye Extract Flowers Ground Herb or Spice Hand Lotion Jelly Oil Oil, Herb-Flavored for Cooking Ointment Pastilles Physick Pillows, Herb Pomander Potpourri Poultice Powder Sachets and Herb Pillows...

Binding

When wheat and rye are hand-reaped, they are usually directly bound by hand into sheaves, without windrowing, and then left sitting up in shocks in the field to finish ripening and to further dry before the threshing. Binding the grain is a big job that is harder and requires more skill than cutting it. The old-time binders, who walked behind the cradlers all day to bind, moved close behind the harvesters' heels. The best of them could work one per scyther, but we lesser modern folks generally...

Guinea Attributes

Self-Reliance Guineas have been companions to human beings since the ancient Greeks, yet they can never be called more than semi-domesticated. Guinea fowl will be less dependent on you for care than perhaps any other type of animal you raise. They are able to search out their own food except in winter and as a result they are one of the less expensive birds to raise. They are both hot-weather and cold-weather hardy, being adapted from northern Canada to the torrid south, but will need some...

Old Fashioned Pear Tree That Ripens Late

These trees are less hardy than apples, more so than peaches. You can lose them to a blight, a drought, an early freeze. But when you get them past the pests and diseases and weather problems, pears produce abundant, delicious fruit. varieties Pear trees come in many sizes. The standard trees at 30-40 feet are one of the tallest fruit trees. Semi-dwarfs get 15-20 feet tall, dwarfs up to 15 feet. The dwarf pears will fruit in containers. Match your variety carefully to your climate. All need...

Good Old Fashioned Killing Machine

Shooting Make a mental X from the pig's left ear to its right eye and from its right ear to left eye where it crosses, shoot. It helps to wait until the pig looks at you before you shoot. Shoot straight in because the brain is small. A pistol is by far the best for this job (which is a good reason why country people don't want their pistols taken away). Get the right angle so you'll do the job the first time because it's much harder to get it right if the pig is wounded and jumping around. A...

Acid Base Leavenings

Soda Combined with an Acidic Food The acidic food could be sour milk, buttermilk, vinegar, cream of tartar, molasses, lemon juice, or any combination thereof. When sour milk is used, the acid that reacts with the soda is lactic acid. Soda always means baking soda, or bicarbonate of soda, NaHCC> 3 (sodium hydrogen carbonate). Soda is a base, and when the base and the acid are both in solution and able to contact each other, the resulting chemical reaction releases a harmless gas (carbon...

Cantaloupe

Cucumis melo is Latin for both the smooth-skinned muskmelons and the netted-skin cantaloupes, although those two are too distantly related to cross-pollinate. Cantaloupes are raised on a truck-garden scale all up and down the bottom of our valley The bottom is the warmest place of all. Plant 1 inch deep, 6 feet between hills and 6 feet between rows. Allow a week or two to germination and about 90 days to harvest. Harvesting Cantaloupes and Muskmelons You may find wasps eating your melons. Wasps...

Planting and Growing Quinoa

Ordering Quinoa Seed Abundant Life offers 12 varieties of quinoa, including the low-saponin Dulce Saj. Bountiful Gardens has three Ecology Action, Hudson, Irish Eyes Garden City, Seeds of Change, Territorial, and Bountiful Gardens also offer it. I learned a lot of what I know about quinoa from Steve Solomon's books. He wrote, Quinoa from the health-food store won't sprout, because it's scarified to remove most of the saponins and eliminate the need for long soaking. Variety matters. Get the...

Pheasants

Pheasants are large, colorful relatives of the other game birds partridge, quail, and grouse. The males are the most colorful as well as the largest. Pheasants are not good egg producers, but they are, in many cases, beautifully feathered birds. They aren't the most practical for home food production, but they might make money for you. Pheasants for Hunting Some pheasants are raised for hunting. Raising sports-variety pheasants is under the control of your state game commission. In the states I...

Freezing

Freezing is the most popular food preserving method. There is no risk of botulism. It's simpler and far faster than canning. And it retains more nutrients than any other form of food preservation. Freezing is a wonderful system for preserving meat. The foods that freeze least well are the ones that you are accustomed to eating crisp celery, lettuce, cucumbers, green onions, green peppers, and radishes. But even these can be frozen and used in cooked dishes. Food varieties have become very...

Preserving or Eating Sweet Corn

Once you have the ears separated from the stalk, don't leave them sitting very long. All fruits and vegetables taste better when garden fresh, but few are in the same class with corn in the rate of deterioration from parent plant to table. Sweet corn on the stalk is literally sweet. But half its sugar becomes starch during a day's storage at 86 F At a lower storage temperature, the sugar still turns into starch, but not quite so quickly. If you've never tasted anything but store-bought corn on...

Nut Crop Management and Recipes

Storage Nuts need protection from both air and heat to prevent the oil in them from becoming rancid. They keep best in the shell best of all at 32-36 F, at 60-70 percent humidity. And use them up within a year. If you have shelled nuts, they'll keep better whole than chopped. They'll keep better unroasted than roasted. Shelled nuts, if stored in a tightly closed container in the refrigerator, will keep for several months, which isn't bad if you can spare the refrigerator room. You can also...

Varieties

The millets are a collection of rather loosely related grains, each main category being of a different genus. Millet has five very distinct types and many subspecies of those. The basic ones are African, proso, fox or foxtail, pearl, and teff. Each variety's seed heads look quite different from the others. African Millet This differs from proso, foxtail, pearl, and teff in that it is not a real millet but rather a variety of sorghum grown for pasture and hay. (See Grain Sorghums.) proso Millet...

Measurements Metric Equivalents

Until everyone agrees on one system of measurement, we'll have to keep converting. On the following pages are some tables comparing metric amounts and measurements to those we use in the United States. For an easy introduction to metric cooking, read Metric Cooking for Beginners, by Ginevera Barta. 1 liter liquid (water) weighs 1 kilogram. Milliliters to Teaspoons Tablespoons Cups are rounded off. They're fine for cooking, but I wouldn't try to do industrial chemistry with them One milliliter...

Parsnip

The parsnip (Pastinaca sativa) is a member of the Apiaceae, or carrot, family. It is just about the hardest-to-grow root vegetable. But parsnips are worth the trouble because of their winter-keeping ability. Parsnips come from northern Europe, and successfully growing them is just a matter of knowing what they need and giving it to them. A pale relative of the carrot, the parsnip resembles that vegetable in having a long tapered root (up to a foot long) smooth, light-colored skin and a soft,...

Dairy Cattle

Cash Cow Image

Cows, at their best, are really multipurpose animals. They make meat and manure as well as milk. From the beef point of view, milk and all its wonderful by-products like yogurt, cheese, butter, and ice cream, are just an extra added bonus. And then you can also use the extra milk to raise more meat and eggs by feeding it to the pigs, baby calves, and chickens. I think the most efficient way to get your beef is to have a milk cow and use the extra milk to raise a couple calves a year. You'll get...

Pawpaws

This fruit is a North American relative of the South American custard apple (cherimoya). The fruit doesn't survive shipping, so it's not a commercial crop, but for the home gardener this can be a wonderful choice. A deciduous shrub (with leaves up to a foot long), the pawpaw can also be pruned into a single-trunked tree and grow as tall as 20-30 feet high, but it's more naturally inclined to be the sort of plant you'd use as a screen or hedge. They can grow in either full sun or a somewhat...

Peaches and Nectarines

Peaches and nectarines are my favorite fruits in the world to eat out of hand. I have a little nectarine tree growing in the orchard. Last year a neighbor ran over it with his pickup and practically broke my heart, but one branch survived, and I have hopes for it yet. A nectarine is a variety of smooth-skinned peach. I used to think it was a cross between a peach and a plum, but now I know that's wrong. Nectarines have existed for centuries and sometimes mysteriously appear growing on a peach...

Products and Processes

Butter To make herb butters, start with either salted or unsalted butter, as you prefer. Soften the butter and cream into it finely chopped herbs to your taste. Chives, minced garlic, or watercress are fine additions. You may want to add a little lemon juice. Use 1-2 T. (well-packed) fresh herbs or 1-2 t. dried ones per lA c. butter. Use the herb butter on bread or hot meats, or with eggs. Unsalted butter won't keep as well as salted, but it's best for people who are watching their blood...

Pickles

Lots of vegetables get pickled (or made into a relish), including other cucurbits citron, summer squash, unripe cantaloupe, and watermelon rind. But when I think pickles, it's cucumbers that first come to mind. There are 2 basic pickle categories quick pickles and fermented (crock) pickles. Fermented pickles are whole, but quicks can be either whole or cut. 1. If you're planning to make both quick pickles and fermented pickles, make the quick (unfermented) pickles first. That way you make your...

Laying Hens

Of Buying Grown Birds for Laying It's best if you buy pullets from 3 to 6 months old, so that their full egg-laying career is ahead of them. There's many a horror story of what happened when a novice bought somebody's worn-out cull hens. Growers don't let go of their best chickens unless it's your mother, and maybe not even then. Be very careful and gentle whenever you are handling birds that may have eggs inside them. If they are birds that have already begun to lay, moving is quite likely to...

Harvesting Dent Flint Popcorn and Indian Corn

Timing With the varieties of corn that are harvested for popcorn or for making cornmeal or hominy, you have more time than with sweet corn. But timing still matters. The timing of field corn cutting is a delicate balancing of needs don't cut the stalks (with ears still on them) until the dent kernels are fully dented. Flint kernels should look glazed and be so hard they cannot possibly be indented by pressure of your fingernail. The stalks should look brown and dry. If you cut stalks sooner...

Vegetative Propagation

Well, back to the subject of plant reproduction. Vegetative propagation is reproducing plants any way other than by seeds. It works for some plants and not for others. Dividing a clump and layering are nonseed propagation methods. Check out Plant Propagation by PM. Browse (1979), Secrets of Plant Propagation by Lewis Hill, and Plant Propagation in Pictures by M. Free (1979). Dividing Root Clumps This works nicely with certain multistemmed plants. Dig up a plant that is at least 2 years old, and...

Sweet Potato

What vegetable is another tropical starchy root from the ancient Americas is grown like a potato but is not related to the potato is a great poor-soil crop yet is one of the most nutritious foods from the garden (containing vitamin A, which helps prevent cancer and preserve night vision) is stored, cooked, and tastes like a winter squash and is not a yam Answer the sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas Climate is a problem for sweet potatoes, though. They hate cold, love hot weather, and need about 100...

Asparagus

This perennial does well almost anywhere in Canada and in the United States as far south as southern Georgia. It likes cool temperatures during the growing season and winters that are cold enough to provide a dormant season. Asparagus dislikes extremely hot summers. Once it starts producing, it may live and fruit for 20 or more years. It literally shoots up overnight in my garden in the early spring, the second edible thing (multiplier onions are even earlier, radishes a shade later). On the...

Making Semi Soft Firm and Hard Cheeses

The 2 parts of this book about which I feel the greatest sense of accomplishment are the descriptions of home-butchering and this cheese section of the dairy chapter. The home-butchering is described as a homesteader would do it, using simple language something I simply wrote down as we did it. The cheese-making was a different sort of hunt. Professionals wouldn't tell me. They said things like, You couldn't make cheese without a big factory and lots of expensive equipment and very controlled...

Oddments

Letters to Carla Choosing and Buying Land An Agent's Rebuttal Resources for Back-to-the-Landers Schools of Country Living Looking for Love Living Simply Mothering When It Gets Very Cold Giving Birth by Yourself Caring for Your Dead Backwoods Housekeeping Quilting, Dutch-Oven Baking, and Candlestick Making Making the Letters to Books and Periodicals for Eden Seekers The Choosing and Buying Your Land 7 But Can You Get a Job Near There Can You Do What You Care About There How Much Land How Do You...

Watermelon

Watermelon, Citrullus lanatus, is the best fruit in the world if you're thirsty. It comes from Africa, where early farmers in semi-desert areas developed it as a source of water during droughts. People have lived with no other source of water but watermelon juice for as long as 6 weeks. Seems like some people can grow watermelon and some can't. I have neighbors who grow fields of watermelon to sell on a truck-garden basis, but I can't seem to grow even one big one. (I've just about decided to...

Apricots

This wonderful fruit tree gives a large harvest of fruits that are somewhat like small, orange-colored peaches. Apricot trees live long old ones look gnarled and wise. varieties Like apples, apricots tend to have disease and pest problems. Plant the most resistant varieties. They come in either standard (20-25 feet), semi-dwarf (12-15 feet), or dwarf (4-8 feet) sizes (which will fruit in containers). The fruits of all varieties are very similar the differences are in chilling requirements, etc....

Seasoning Mixtures

Save your empty spice containers to hold your own mixes Store seasoning mixes in an airtight container and in a dry, cool place not over or beside your stove Packaging Seasoning Mixes Combine your favorite spices, dried vegetables, and herbs. Lay out squares of foil or small plastic baggies. Spoon 1 serving size of your mix into the center of each foil square or baggie. Seal foil packets by folding over the ends and rolling them. To store in plastic, press the air out and tie tightly shut....

Cutting Up the

Before freezers, the pig's fat was rendered into lard, with cracklings used as a people snack or animal feed as much as possible was eaten fresh, and the rest was heavily salted for preservation. When saltpeter came along, what had been salted meat was shifted to cured (corned if it was beef) and the amount of salt and spices could be lessened. Now that we know more about saltpeter (all bad) and have freezing and canning options, the healthiest choice for your family is obviously to freeze all...

Outof House Storage

In-Garden Storage It is possible to leave some root crops, such as carrots, turnips, and parsnips, in the garden where they grew, for part or all of the winter. Parsnips, horseradish, and turnips actually get a better flavor after light freezing between 28 to 34 F because that cold causes their starch to change to sugar. After the ground begins to freeze in the late fall, cover the root crops with a foot or more of mulch straw, hay, or dry leaves. Do not place mulch on warm soil, because doing...

The Phaseolus Beans

Bean eating is worldwide and goes way back 4,000 years in Europe, 5,000 in Asia. Phaseolus vulgaris are your common beans the usual varieties of bush beans and pole beans and the common varieties that are dried, such as kidneys, pintos, and navy beans. These beans can be grown anywhere you have 3 frost-free months, but any touch of frost will kill them. In hot climates, they can be planted in fall, winter, or spring. something to Climb. Pole beans are a vine rather than a bush plant. You can...

Pond Fish Farming

Some raise them for fun and family food, some as a business. A pond can provide irrigation water for your garden and orchard and a place for the kids to catch frogs and turtles, swim in summer, and skate in winter. If you plant a pond's banks with nuts, fruits, and Christmas trees, you get an extra dividend. And you can have waterfowl enjoying the top of the water. There are more than 2,000,000 farm fish ponds around this country. Stephen Scott wrote me, I have, just this past year, begun to...

Reforestation

You don't have to prepare the soil by cultivation to plant forest-type trees. If trees are planted 5 feet apart (right for a 6-foot-high tree), you can grow 1,000-1,300 per acre. Each tree needs sunlight to live, so plant in the open spots. Two people can plant a huge number of trees in just a single long, hard-working day, using no more equipment than a spade. (There is such a thing, however, as a mechanical tree planter.) But don't expect all of them to survive a percentage won't make it and...

Enter the Wonderful World of Nuts

If you live where nut trees grow wild, you can bring home bags of nuts for free. But there are fewer and fewer wild nut trees. So consider planting some. Nuts provide fat, protein, and, in the case of acorns, carbohydrates. Most seedling nut trees take 5-10 years, or longer, to bear, but once started they continue producing crops year after year with practically no care as well as providing a bonus of beauty and shade. World-wide there are nearly 1,000 kinds of nut trees, but in North America...

Brooding Poults

A poult is a just-hatched turkey. mail-order Poults Order your poults to arrive after the weather has turned warm. Or you may be able to buy them at your local feed store. They cost 3 to 5 each, depending on the breed. To mail-order turkey poults you need to get your order in early, by midwinter. Check on delivery schedules since they are hatched during only a few months of the year about March to July. Poults delivered to you in late May or early June will have just the right amount of time to...

Guinea Reproduction

Male and Female It's difficult to tell the sexes apart. Baby guineas cannot be vent-sexed. After the keets are 12 weeks old, a cock's comb is just a little larger than the female's. The adult cock's comb and wattles are just a little more developed than the female's, and the white on his neck extends farther down. The cock's call is one-syllabic, while the hen's is either a 1- or a 2-syllable call, variously rendered as put-rock, buck-wheat, or good-luck. If one bird is separated from the...

Crackers

Home cracker making is a lost art I'd like to see revived. It's a lot healthier than feeding the children half-food half-cookies, or the adults heavily salted treats. Instead you can make their crackers out of all healthy things rolling Out Be sure to roll out any cracker dough to uniform thickness so it will brown evenly in the oven. Janice Smith, Castle Rock, CO, wrote me, I got a noodle-making machine with Green Stamps and have enjoyed it immensely. I also use...

Pastas

Pastas were originally made in China, then became an Italian specialty, and now are loved in the United States too. The Chinese still make pasta, which they call mien, as I learned when I spent a year and a half living in Taipei, Taiwan, in a noodle-making district. If I were there now, I would run downstairs (I lived in a small apartment on the top floor of my building) and out the front door and beg to watch them make it. But my interest then wasn't noodles it was learning to speak Chinese. I...

Kiwis

These have also been called Chinese gooseberries. Kiwis started out in China, then got to New Zealand, and finally to California. Commercial size and quality patches can grow even in northern Washington. Kiwis grow on a grape-type vine, are large as a lemon, and have no connection with the regular gooseberry. The first importers of the fruit renamed them kiwi fruit, and that's what they are called in American supermarkets. Here's Cass's wisdom again An interesting thing about kiwis is that most...

Pollution Matters

Pollution Fighters Margaret Mead once said, Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. Almost every state has one or more organizations fighting toxic pollution that can give you the real facts and assistance. This problem is correctable. Rachel Environmental Weekly is an online listing of relevant announcements www.rachel.org. The following organizations fight toxic pollution. Join one Appalachia Science in...

Food from Water

As public oceans and rivers more and more double as toxic dumping grounds for every city or country that can get at them, regular commercial water creatures are ever riskier to eat. The so-called FDA seafood inspection program actually inspects only 1 lb. of fish for every 160,000 lb. we eat. And the FDA seal of approval is false security anyway because the FDA has toxic limits for only a dozen or so modern poisons even though biochemists know there are hundreds that today's fish may carry. And...

Vegetable Seed Catalogs

Listed below are firms offering general garden seed catalogs, including some specialized firms that offer vegetable seeds as well as their specialties. (In subsequent chapters' entries about various vegetables and other plants, these firms are simply mentioned by name you can get the address from this section.) Sometimes I mention if the catalog is black and white (b w) or color. Personally I prefer the b w folks because they're doing the environmentally wiser, less-leaded option. I wish I had...

Buying Tree Vine Bush or Bramble

If you can, avoid buying fruit trees mail-order. Or buy mailorder from nurseries that are near where you live or located in the climate zone where you live. The catalog salesmanship is great, but in the long run I think you'll be happier with what you buy in person from a local nursery. The mail-order trees are cheaper. They are also smaller and in worse condition and get off to a much poorer start. Your local plant nursery knows expertly what trees are already acclimated, and if your tree...

Broomcorn

Broomcorn first came to the United States when Ben Franklin went traveling and saw it in Hungary. He brought back seeds and began making new-style brooms from this other variety of sorghum. Broom making used to be a much bigger industry in Illinois before synthetics, but there is still enough broomcorn grown there to keep about a dozen broom companies going. It's a nice cottage industry because broomcorn is easy to grow and making brooms doesn't require complex, expensive machinery. Real...

Separating the Cream

Skimming I keep my milk in gallon jars or 5-gal. buckets (when I have that much) in the refrigerator. I skim the cream off at the end of 24 hours unless I need it sooner. The best thing is a regular skimmer. Mine are antiques. I don't know if you can still buy them or not. A skimmer is a long-handled utensil with a cup fastened on the end. You set the cup into the cream so that the rim is just barely below the liquid's surface. That way the part of the liquid that flows over into the cup of the...

Coping with Pests and Pestilence

If you plant and then find that something else ate most of a crop before you got there, you won't be the first person it ever happened to. The number of possible plant diseases and plant-devouring insect species, to say nothing of fungi and garden-munching mammals, is legion. pest Control Info There's fun-to-read, reliable info in Bugs, Slugs and Other Thugs Controlling Garden Pests Organically by Rhonda Massingham Hart (1991). Another good entry in this field is Common-Sense Pest Control by...

Growing Bamboo

VARIETIES There are hundreds some grown for ornamentals, some for crafts material, some for the edible shoots, and some for all three. (All species of bamboo actually have edible shoots, but some taste better than others.) Some varieties can grow as much as 30 feet a year, up to 120 feet tall and 8 inches in diameter. The Mimosa bamboo can grow 13 inches in 24 hours when abundantly watered. Moso (Phyllostachys moso) is the kind most often grown to harvest the edible shoots. But if uncut, it can...

Food

In the wild, rabbits eat a wide variety of plant foods, but there they have experienced parents to teach them right foods from wrong foods. Domesticated rabbits depend on their keepers to know the difference. Rabbits have been domesticated for many centuries. The pellet is a very recent invention. So obviously it's possible to raise rabbits on inexpensive, home-grown feed. This does not require great skill in math or an agricultural degree, nor does it take a lot of extra work. Some folks...

Root Cellar Storage

Root cellar storage keeps vegetables and fruits fresh (live ). And because of the cellar's coolness, they keep longer. It also protects your live foods, and jars of canned food, from freezing if you live in a cold zone. Planning for this type of storage starts with planning your garden. You plant foods that store well in a cellar. Beets, late cabbage, carrots, celery, parsnips, potatoes, sweet potatoes, salsify, and turnips can be stored without canning, freezing, or drying in a root cellar....

Guerrilla Tree Planting

I'm for it, urban, or rural guerrilla tree planting. Choose the right species for the climate and suitable sites a neglected space on private land, or an open one on public land. Then you sneak up and plant your tree there. Trees can handle a lot of crowding 15 feet apart is fine in a forest setting. During the planting seasons of spring and fall, plant trees on your weekend outings. Plant trees on your holidays. Don't leave town without some seeds or seedlings in your back seat. Don't go...

Of Turkey Housing and Yards

Turkey Space Until they're 8 weeks old, the poults can get along on a square foot of space per bird. But they'll grow fast and need more square footage per bird before butchering time. A peculiarity of turkeys is the great difference in size between toms and hens. In an all-tom flock, you'd eventually need 5 square feet of floor space per bird. An all-hen flock could manage with 3 square feet per bird. Another consideration is that some turkey breeds are considerably smaller than others. Those...

How to Prune

Cass let me borrow heavily from her book on pruning for this section. So, if it sounds like I know what I'm talking about, that's the reason. In addition to the information here, you'd find Cass's entire book helpful. Also you can get bulletins from your local extension service, get other books, and take classes. Pruning can get really complex, and pruners don't necessarily agree with each other about even basic principles. There's a lot more to it than learning how to spread open young limbs...

Of Ducklings and Goslings Food and Water

Strangely enough, you have to be just as careful to keep these babies dry as you do baby chicks, at least for the first 2 weeks. Chilling after becoming wet is the most frequent cause of duckling deaths. Waterfowl raised by their parents learn to swim early, but hatchery goslings and ducklings can't swim until they feather out at about 6 weeks. Even after they can swim, young birds can tire easily and drown, so be sure they can easily get out of water containers and ponds by providing a ramp or...

Chick Water

Waterer types To make a homemade chick waterer, fill a quart jar with water. Put a shallow bowl upside down over the open mouth of it like a cover. The bowl's diameter should be only a little more than that of the jar top. Quickly turn the whole thing upside down outside the chick pen. The jar will slop for a moment. Slip a match or toothpick under one edge of the jar to keep the water flowing as the chicks need it. Set it down in the chick pen like that. There are also well-designed commercial...

Cow Reproduction

Scheduling A milk cow can very neatly be put on an annual schedule. Keep your cow pregnant 9 months out of the 12. Dry her up about 2 months before calving time. (If her feed is mostly grass rather than grain and supplements, it's wise to dry her up 3 months before her due date.) The second time she comes into heat after calving (about 18-22 days after the first heat she'll be in heat again), put her with the bull or A-I. That way you are milkless only about 8 weeks of the year, and she is...

Air Pollution

The air we breathe, the winds that blow those used to seem like a simple matter. Now we know so much more, with so much yet to learn, and nothing is simple anymore. Air pollution is a problem for plants as well as people. Plant Damage from Air Pollution Plant food can be unhealthy to eat because of airborne lead pollution. In fact, plants are typically even more sensitive to pollution than people. (If you're looking at a home in a neighborhood where the plants don't look healthy, I'd look...

Water and Food for Chickens and Other Adult Fowl

WATER You must have a constant supply of clean drinking water available. Even a short period of water shortage can slow growth or egg production, and chickens can take a distressingly long while to come out of such a slump. Grown chickens need twice as much water as they do food. Chicks need even more. In very hot weather, chickens pant to cool themselves (water evaporates from their lungs). That form of air-conditioning may double their previous level of water consumption. Chickens can be left...

Home Butchering

Qualifications and Preparations Unless you've had a college course in comparative anatomy or dissected a cat or two in a zoology course, you may not be able to distinguish one muscle bundle from another. When I was a little girl, my mother believed that every situation could be made to have educational value. As the teachers of subjects like Hellenistic Marketing and Music of Ancient China say, it's bound to be useful sooner or later you might be surprised just when. So whenever Mother cleaned...