Hello :)

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Hi everyone,

Though I’ve written hundreds upon hundreds of articles in my 8 years of online activity, never before have I been so nervous as I am writing this.

My name is Dan, and the reason I got in touch with Kendra is because I have a survival site where my team of writers and I, many of which are also homesteaders, post some pretty good articles… At the core, I’m a prepper, though homesteading has been a family tradition for generations… and the thing that I think that sets me part from other bloggers is the quality of the content.

I know I’m setting some pretty high standards, and that I have the huge responsibility, but I’m confident you’ll have a lot to learn from our content.Β Kendra created an amazing community here, through her insight and her unique way of relating to people… and it won’t be easy to fill her shoes.

I wish I could tell you an exciting and relevant story from my past, but I don’t really have any. I’m in my ’30s, and learned how to homestead from a very early age, back when I would spend summers with my grandparents on their homestead… We didn’t have modern equipment, in fact, we barely used electricity, but that was normal to us, back then there was no fancy equipment (not that we could afford, anyway) and.. you don’t know what you don’t know lol.

Anyway, I don’t want to bore you, so I’d like to continue by sharing with you the exciting plans I have for this website… which is, in essence, to introduce you to my amazing team of homesteaders that will hopefully publish at least 2 articles a week (fingers crossed for 3).

My right hand (and probably the best homesteader/farmer I ever met) is Tara Dodrill, an excellent homesteader, prepper and radio show host, who’s rocking it on a 56 acres farm in Ohio… dozens of horses, cows, goats, guineas ducks and so on… Back on my survival website, she’s given some kick-ass articles…

So I chose her to help me put together a welcome gift, to give you a taste of the kind of articles you can expect… the PDF 25 Ways to Make Homesteading EASY is available for download for free below:

 


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(If you don’t want to subscribe to the newsletter, you can use the contact form to reach me and I’ll attach it when I reply…)

The sweet part is, I asked Tara if she could also answer your questions, and, of course, she said “Yes” πŸ™‚

Besides her, there’re other homesteaders who will contribute, some will also reply to your comments, others won’t but… we’ll do our best. πŸ™‚

19 Comments

  1. Hi Dan and Tara,
    It must be an interesting challenge to take over such a great blog, but I’ll look forward to reading your new content from a different perspective. I’m a bit more interested in the survivalist side of homesteading than my wife, but I think we compliment each other. Welcome!

    • Thank you Dan, it is an exciting and inspirational challenge to create for this great homesteading blog! My husband and I are homesteading and prepping partners too. When a couple is equally committed to living a self-reliant lifestyle, even when going at it from a different perspective, the entire family wins! I hope you visit Dan’s Survival Sullivan blog too, I have written for many quality survival publications, but I have to say, Survival Sullivan consistently churns out the most in-depth, educational, and actionable content of any prepping related website or magazine that I have written for since focusing exclusively on the survival and homesteading topics.

    • Thank you for the welcome James – I think we’re all going to really like it here! I was a reader of this blog before Dan bought it and loved it, especially the sense of community that was clearly present.
      I approach both homesteading and prepping from a β€œwe’re all in this together” perspective – a motto my living a sustainable life mentor Jane Austin (AKA Survior Jane) instilled upon me during a hands-on homesteading skills weekend encampment several years ago.
      Would love to hear about your homesteading efforts and the area of the country you are from. We want to use the comments section not only to answer questions from readers and further the blog’s online community, but to hear what y’all would like to see here and learn more about.

  2. Hi Dan & Tara! I am in Florida and I always seem to be late in planting so I haven’t had much luck. Not to mention rain, humidity, HEAT and hurricanes, haha. I keep trying though. No chickens yet, but hopefully one day. Welcome!

    • Thank you for the welcome Bobbi! My in-laws have a home in Venice, Florida where they winter and the family uses for vacations – we loved to go down too, but since we bought our dream land and became more than backyard homesteaders, we have not had the time.
      I hadn’t ever focused on growing crop and a backyard apothecary in tropical climates, but I think you have just inspired me to do so! A dual piece about tropical and cold climate homesteading might be really beneficial to so many folks.
      Have you engaged in any container gardening so you the crops can be portable and move indoors when necessary because of the weather? A chore for sure, but that is how we grow our tropical dwarf plants until we finish an enclosed porch greenhouse project. We are growing bananas, oranges, lemons, and coffee in Ohio!
      Vertical gardening might also be an option, depending upon how much wall space you have and the location of windows in your home. My husband, Bobby and his buddy who keep a camper on our homestead, are the true growers on our homestead. I am awesome with outdoor growing as far as soil cultivation goes – and just simply put the plants and herbs in the ground and let God take care of them. Anytime I attempt to lend a helping hand with outdoor plants or grow something inside, I nearly kill is before Bobby takes over, lol.

  3. Gina,

    I neglected to mention the only negative with Pekin ducks – they are lousy sitters. If you want to add to your flock, you will almost certainly have to incubate the eggs or sneak some into your Banty hens nesting box to hatch.

      • Good morning Velma,
        Both can work in a small area just fine, but ducks will need a water source, such as a small garden pond or a plastic baby pool – which is what I used before we got land.
        Before we moved onto our 56-acre homestead we kept four Pekin ducks in our small town backyard. The ducks had a hut inside a 10×4 pen, but I free-ranged them unless I had to leave and only put them up at night. They were the hit of the neighborhood. Everyone knew their names and they never wandered further than our yard or the yard of the home next door that my husband’s grandparents had lived in that we turned into a rental home, next door.
        The duck flock leader happened to be a small female and she scared off stray cats that always seem to roam in every neighborhood – Meryl (she was a late bloomer, I thought she was a male when I named her and since she came when called, I never changed it) even backed down our blue heelers – she had spunk! Sadly, we lost her to a mink four months after moving onto the homestead. I loathe mink!
        Pekins are awesome layers and their eggs taste great, especially when baking with them. They are horrible sitters though, so investing in an incubator will likely be necessary if you want to grow your flock. My first incubator held 10 eggs, had an automatic turner, and cost $85.
        I didn’t keep chickens until we moved, I had to force myself to get over my chicken phobia. When I was 8, I was chased by the flock on my grandparent’s farm in Happy Hollow – yep, it was really called that, only everyone referred to it as Happy Holler, of course. Anyway, my older brothers, acting like brothers do, just laughed as I ran, at least until I fell trying to go up the concrete sidewalk steps and slit both of my knees open.
        We hatched Bantam eggs an Amish friend gave me and then were treated to six day-old chicks by our daughter and son-in-law. Getting the flock straight out of their eggs really helped me get over my fear o of chickens and roosters quickly.
        For a small space, I would recommend Bantys. They are a small chicken, and their eggs are slightly smaller, but have a good taste. They are consistent layer and amazing sitters – they will sit the eggs of others if you can sneak them into their nesting box! Even during the winter Bantams seem to lay pretty well, not all breeds do. White California Sex Link hens are also really good layers, they lay great quantities of nice eggs, but don’t seem to want to sit them for very long if you free-range the flock.
        If this is your first experience with chickens, I would stay away from Longhorns. They are great meat birds, but don’t lay as well as the other two breeds I mentioned and the roosters tend to be aggressive. Flock Leader loves me because he associates me with daily food, put up snack, and freedom when I release the flock each day, but he hates, I mean hates with a passion, anyone else and attacks and flogs anyone I am not standing or walking with in the barnyard – he will run and fly up onto the 4-wheeler to attack those who drive by! This isn’t unique behavior for longhorns, unfortunately. I was warned by man about the breed, but Brea had gotten me 3 of them, so I kept them.
        I gave Flock Leader Jr. to a homesteading friend when her rooster died and it took several days for him to stop attacking her – until he began to associate her with food. When someone else gave her two cockerels – young roosters, he killed them bloody and quickly. None of my roosters ( I had four) ever fought with each other, but apparently that changed for FL Jr. once he was penned and had a harem of hens all to himself.
        I am not bashing the breed, I love Flock Leader because he keep the flock within their barnyard boundaries and scares off small predators. Everyone else, however, wants him to see the inside of our smoker ASAP, lol!
        Rhode Island Reds are very docile chickens that don’t seem to mind being penned up in a coop or run – and free range great as well. They lay yummy brown eggs, but don’t sit well. That’s why most homesteaders and farmers keep Bantys if they also keeps Reds, so the wonderful brown eggs can be hatched and not just eaten.
        Hope this info. Helps! Please share some pics once you get your flock and let us know how it is going.

    • Thank you for the welcome Desiree! We are all thrilled to begin writing for NLOAH and continuing what Kendra started!
      I hope you check back often and share your comments on the new articles and feel free to ask questions and give input that can help other homesteaders on their sustainable living journey!

    • Thank you for the welcome Jo! This has always been a great blog and we aim to keep it that way and expand in the process!
      I really admire the work Kendra did on the blog – especially while starting up a homestead. There is sooo much work the first one to three years setting up a homestead, I marvel at her ability to have time to get this going!
      I started a personal journal, complete with photos and videos to share the story of the creation of Serendipity Acres with future generations of our family that I also hope call our patch of dirt home. I had planned to do daily entries, but it was hit or miss with a lot of going back to play catch up on rainy days,
      It took us three years to find the exactly right piece of land for our homestead. We found two parcels that were almost right, but I was holding out for absolute perfection – and we finally found it!

    • Thank you for the welcome Susan! Feel free to ask questions and share your homesteading adventures often! The first couple of years on the homestead are filled with successes and failures for everyone, all of which are great learning experiences and are memory making experiences – even the days you might like to forget can turn into cherished family stories…eventually, lol! We are really looking forward to having a truly interactive and information sharing community on the blog! How large is your homestead, what region of the country are you located, and what have you embarked upon so far? Always thrilled to meet another lady homesteader and fellow prepper!

  4. Hi, Dan, Welcome and Good Luck, look forward to learning from you guys.
    I wanted to ask Tara about ducks. We are redoing our chicken and garden yards..re homed the chicken we had to be able to do this. We did not have a well thought out plan, and chickens destroyed our garden! We would like to have ducks and chickens, do you have yours together or separate? Is there any tips or tricks, and how many ducks for eggs do you need, do they lay year round? No plans to eat the ducks, just eggs. Thanks! Shelter considerations also?

    • Good morning Gina,

      Raising ducks and chicks together
      I love my ducks – and unless the SHTF and we are starving, we won’t ever eat them either! Lots of folks says you can’t have ducks and chickens together primarily because roosters will attack them, but I keep all of ours in the same coop and they free-range together without a single problem. I either hatched or purchased as day-olds, the entire flock and raised them in the same brooder, so that really may have made the difference. “Flock Leader” my dominant rooster (everyone else calls him another name that I won’t type here, lol) has not even bothered the ducks during coop time or the rare times they stay in their run for part of the day. The flock, which also includes guineas (highly recommend them for keeping predators away from the coop area) typically hangs out in the barn when they are not out foraging or enjoying the pond for a swim or cold drink.

      How many ducks do you need – year around laying
      I like to keep a ratio of three females to every drake. You can tell the difference by looking at their tail feathers. Female ducks have a more fanned out tail that stands basically straight up in the air. Drakes have a narrower set of tail feathers that are slightly slanted toward their backs and boast a drake feather – a little curly feather in the middle of the tail feathers. For some odd reason, every time I have a problem with mink it is my female ducks that they get. Almost all breeds of poultry can lay year around, but in most breeds, the egg production decreases in the winter. To enhance egg production, put a solar light in the coop to give them 10 hours of light per day, boost the protein content of their feed by giving healthy treats with a high protein content or switch to game bird feed for the winter. Egg shells will become more brittle and fragile during the winter, so add some extra calcium to their diet as well – crushed egg shells are a nice treat – a little cannibalistic perhaps, but its is good for them and they love it. I would recommend the Pekin duck breed. They are hardy in almost all climates, solid layer, great meat birds if you ever choose to go that route, and easy to train…and of course, so darn cute. We also have Rouen ducks, they look lie mallards but are also a domestic duck – won’t fly away.

      We put a combination of chicken wire and snow fence around our garden to keep the critters out. I do grow some crops and medicinal herbs in raised beds near the pond and the flock hasn’t ever bothered them – but our free range goats have munched on the broccoli from time to time.

      While chicken wire is great for around the garden and keeping chickens in, it will NOT keep predators out. The dreaded mink will go right through it, and raccoons can chew through it over time as well. Coons will also open a single-step lock if they are determined to get to a snack. Use hardware cloth (rabbit pen wire) on your chicken coop and run and a lock that takes two step, flip up and slide latch type.

      My husband and his buddy built me the Fort Knox of chicken coops after I lost a duck and it nearly broke my heart. The coop that existed on the old farm we bought was just plywood. They used the backhoe and tractor to move it to a spot that was not so close to a ravine to get it further away from a high traffic predator area, attached hardware cloth to plywood and placed the coop, that had only a particle board floor, on it. I had them cover the sides with some metal sheeting that was a part of the huge junk/treasure pile left on the farm and covered the lower part of the human door inside and out with hardware cloth, as well as the flock door. The run got a double layer of chicken wire covered by hardware cloth 1 foot up and 1 foot out buried under the ground to deter burrowing and chewing predators. The run entry door is made out of hardwood covered all the way up on both sides with hardware cloth and has a tension cord at the bottom to made sure it is firmly fitting against the post and a two step lock. The top of the coop is covered in rubber roofing. She ain’t pretty, but she sure is secure! I hope this info. helps – happy homesteading!

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