Thursday, March 20, 2008


Good grief, this picture is big. Well, this was taken at a local State Park on a trail. I stopped and looked up and was amazed at the view of the pines overhead. It made me a little dizzy.

Today is the first day of Spring. FInally! But instead of being happy and thrilled, I'm bored out of my skull. It rained for two days here and the front yard flooded, as well as the back. It's going down quickly, but it's still gross and has turned everything into a mud puddle. The sun shone today... quite brightly. However, the temps and damp earth made it feel a little on the cool side. So I sat here all day bored and, frankly, lonely. I can say that outloud here because no one reads my pathetic blog anyway. You see, I'm kinda frustrated with my best friend lately. Without going into a lot of details, I'm feeling a little taken for granted. That not only frustrates the dickens out of me, but makes me a little sad as well. So now the sun is going down. Got about 41 or 2 minutes of day left, and I'm feeling a little glad for it. That means I'll be that much closer to going to bed and putting this slow, miserable day behind me.

I have decided, however, that I am pathetically low on serious friends. I've got all kinds of acquaintences, but very few people I'd actually call "friends". I guess I should do something about that so I won't have these boring, lonely days.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Land woes

I've been doing a lot of looking over the past months at websites specifically designed to sell farms and land (as well as some that sell other properties). As is the way with American agriculture, there aren't too many small time farms for sale. If there are, they tend to be horse farms, or properties designed specifically for recreational use with just a smattering of pasture.
Of course, none of that matters terribly. With some work, any kind of property can be prepared and used as pasture, garden, orchard, whatever. But it's nice to think you could find a decent house on some property and have one or two things already in place.
Since that option seems to be limited at this point in time (and it's not like I'm even serious about buying right now), I've considered the possibility of buying land and building a home on it. My wife has mentioned how she'd love to have a log home. I could deal with that, I think (seriously!). But then I look at property.....
Anything listed as farm land is rising in price and usually has more acreage to it than I want or need. If there's a property listed as woodsman paradise, that just means there's too much woods on it and it's really not fit for a small farm or homestead... there'd be a lot of clearing that would have to be done first.
Then there's the big strips of land up for sale. You know the kind. They used to be farms or cropland, but the owner is hoping to sell out to some big time real estate developer that wants to turn it into the next "Fox Run", or "Wood Ridge", or "Brittney Chase" with overpriced, over sized houses sitting on 1/4 acre lots, all so close together that you can smell your neighbor's breath when you greet him in the evening when you come home from work. Please. Like there's been a fox there in a decade, or anything close to a 'woods' since the farmer plowed the soil up in the 70's to grow his agribusiness (not to mention how he's plowed down the ridge to nothing)... and like these people are gonna use their Brittney spaniels to chase anything but a ball! Yeah, I guess I'm a little sour.
Folks like Gene Logsdon are my heroes. Gene encourages small farms (he farms 30 acres himself) and says we need more, not less of them. I tend to agree. I want to take my family to the country and homestead. But the way land is going, and a lack of available small farms, it seems like I may need to rely more heavily on the Almighty to provide us the right place when the time is right.
How did you find your place?

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Death of Lard

For years, a lot of people have gotten away from using lard in their cooking because it's "fattening" and just has to be bad for you, I'm sure. Everyone, that is, except the old timers and the people that know how to make really good biscuits and pie crust, they still use lard. But much wiser and 'healthier' people these days know they should never use a product that comes from a natural source, can be made easily, and is generally pretty cheap. NOOOO! We must use processed vegetable matter, chock full of partially hydrogenated oils. Let's call it Criscrap, shall we?

Having recently (and I don't know what took me so long) read the label of said Criscrap, I wanted to knock myself in the head for being so stupid. Here I am trying to avoid all kinds of unhealthy stuff and I'm using that stuff to season my skillets and make biscuits. Sheesh, am I stupid.

So, I decided to forgo my cultural bias and ignore my upbringing on the subject and buy a tub of good ol' fashioned lard. I went to my local "Wally-Morgan" supercenter and found a tub of the stuff. Just wondering if it might list what kind of animal the fat came from, I looked at the label. It read, "Contains lard and hydrogenated lard". I wanted to scream right then and there and spent the next 10 minutes, at least, muttering under my breath about the stupid stuff and fuming. So this morning I go to another locally owned store to buy my meat for the week (I won't buy it at that other place anymore. Do you KNOW what they put in that stuff? Yeecchhhh!). I asked the butcher (yeah, a real live butcher, go figure) if they had lard. "Yep," says he, "It's on the top shelf of that cooler over there." OH GREAT! That's what I was hoping for. I go check it out. Nooooo, say it isn't soooooo. More "Lard and hydrogenated Lard". CRAP! Do the powers that be wanna kill us all? MUST they put it in LARD!!!!!??????

Needless to say, I'm vexed. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. Some day I'll have a pig of my own and have all the fat I want, but until then..... I guess I'll have to look harder for some place that has a real butcher where I can get some fat and make my own. I'm so put out.......

Monday, March 3, 2008

A Good Read

I spend a lot of time in the winter indoors. Wow, what a surprise! Not.

But I generally can find a few good books to entertain myself with over the dark winter months. Sometimes to the chagrin of my wife. You see, I can get really absorbed in a book, to the point that anytime I have a free moment, I've got my nose stuck in a book. Well, I haven't been THAT bad lately, but I have found some excellent books to read.

I've been reading almost everything I can get my hands on about farming, animals, gardening, preserving, etc. I've read quite a lot this winter. But recently, I got some books from the library by an author named Gene Logsdon. Mr. Logsdon lives in norther Ohio and has written over 20 books about farming, gardening, etc. He incorporates a lot of very useful information with some anecdotes that are usually quite a lot of fun to read. He's got some good ideas and seems to be well versed in his topics. If he doesn't feel he knows quite enough about something to make a solid statement about it, he tells you, then he tells you what other people say or do about the subject. I've read "Wildlife in the Garden" and am currently reading "All Flesh is Grass" about pasture farming. I've also got "Living at Nature's Pace" to read too.

If you're at all interested in gaining more knowledge about homesteading, farming, living a slower life, or how to do any of that, find one of his books and give it a read. I think you'll be glad you did.