It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Some of our harvest

When we got married, both the wife and I had some skills that are less common today they they used to be. My wife was an accomplished cook, baker, and seamstress. I knew how to weld, do general construction, and work on cars. But there was plenty that we had never done and didn’t know how to do. No matter how much you were lucky enough to learn from your dad, its likely that you to have things to learn if you are trying to live in a traditional and self-sustaining manner.

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Can You Keep Chickens and Ducks Together?

Yes you can!

A little over a year ago, I visited a family in my state that’s much further along in their farming operations than we are. While the father still works a regular job, they have managed to buy a nice chunk of land (80 acres, I believe), and build a house and pole barn on it. When we visited, they had just slaughtered a number of broiler chickens (30ish?) and had another 30(?) egg layers. They also had 10-15 beef cows, and had a rented bull in with their herd when we visited. However, what got my attention was the large white duck walking around the yard.

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Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill–Review

Victorio Deluxe Hand Mill

In an effort to improve the nutrition and lower the cost of our homemade bread, the wife and I have discussed purchasing a flour mill for a year or more. We watched a lot of video reviews, did a lot of comparisons, and finally purchased the Victorio Deluxe Grain Mill about a week ago. Several batches of bread later, its time for a review.

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Notes on Veils

If you walk into our church for liturgy any given Sunday, you will observe that about 1/3 of the women are wearing some form of head covering, which I will refer to as a veil for convenience. If you arrive during matins, the number is probably a bit higher, but likely remains less than 1/2. This is the highest percentage of veiled women at any church that I have personally ever attended, but I am given to understand that there are churches in the US where the percentage is much higher.

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Giving Up Progress to Make Progress

There are different ways to consider progress and success.

3 years ago I was debt-free, had enough savings to live comfortably for about 6 months, and was giving away approximately 1/4 of my income to charity. I worked out regularly, could bench press 405 for 2 reps, and could run a mile in 6 minutes 10 seconds (I never was able to break the 6 minute mark). I also wrote regularly, with some of the writing being posted here.

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Project and Purchase Roundup: September-October 2017

With a lot going on the past two months, I neglected to post at the end of September. I’m going to gloss over less interesting purchases (do you really want to know each time I buy more chicken feed?) in the interest of actually getting this done. My first project for September was cleaning out my garage. I have a single-car garage, and I had used it for several building projects. It had been a few months since I had parked in the garage, so I cleaned it out, organized it, and started parking in it again.

All through September and October, my wife has been canning. We got a free pressure canner the first week of September, and she later got over 100 free canning jars. I had purchased 2 dozen jars before that point, but with a few more boxes of lids, she went to town canning pickles, green beans, applesauce, apple butter, etc. I bought the wife a Foley Food Mill for the applesauce at the beginning of September, and around the beginning of October, she got a Victorio for free from my grandparents.

The next major project, around the second week of September, was felling a dying Black Spruce in the backyard, limbing the trunk, and burning the branches. I bought a beam cutter to use with my chainsaw, and I intend to square off the trunk with it, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I also, with the help of my father and two of my brothers, pruned the maple in the front yard, which hasn’t been pruned for at least 30 years. We took out a number of 6-8″ diameter branches, and some larger. I still have to buck up a number of those logs, and split the larger ones, but all the small limbs have been burned.

I bought 100 landscape pavers off of Facebook, and built a flower garden along the front of the house with them. I filled the flower garden with compost, dog droppings, and grass clippings, and then topped it off with about 8″ of wood chips that I got for free. I got 8 railroad ties for free off Craigslist (and transported them 30 miles in my sedan) and with some lag bolts from the hardware store, secured them together to make a large square flower garden around the Maple in the front yard. This was placed so that I no longer hit roots with the lawnmower when I mow. Like the other flower garden, I filled it with grass trimmings, dog droppings, compost, and wood chips.

Between September and October I spent a large amount on icons, incense, charcoal, candles, candlesticks, an incense burner, etc. We now have a functional prayer corner with supplies to last a while, and icons over our beds.

As the weather cooled off in September, I bought 6 yards of flannel for my wife to make a dress (or 2) with, and 2 pairs of fleece-lined pants for myself.

Somewhere around mid-September, I re-did the nursery. I painted the entire room, the trim, and the heat register. I also replaced all the outlets with “child safe” ones.

My final project for September was to pressure wash my front porch. In October I put the first coat of new paint on it, but sadly, it remains unfinished.

October 1st we picked up a puppy, a then-8-week-old Great Pyrenees mix that has doubled in size in the month we’ve had him. It was the same day that we got the Victorio from my grandparents, and though we didn’t get the dog from them, we did get a wire cage from them for free, as well as a nice oil lamp.

We were at my grandparents specifically to help with projects there, and I kept my chainsaw running all day clearing out trees my grandpa wanted removed. I came back later in the month to finish cutting down trees and to get started on burning brush. In fact, I bought a new bar and 2 more chains just to keep up with this project.

I bought a few new Henleys and flannels as the weather got colder, and a nice blaze orange jacket from Vinnie’s hunting sale.

And then all projects came to crashing halt the 3rd and 4th week of October, as I was working 80 hour weeks and had no time for anything. Thank God, that time is past, and hopefully I can soon wrap up the unfinished projects outside before snow flies (or at least before it starts sticking).