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Chuck Douglas
Navigating Upheaval and Building the Next Economy; One Home, One Family and One Community at a Time.
Interests: Homesteading, Gardening, Food Preservation, Alternative Transportation, Alternative Energy, Wood Stoves, Outdoor Cooking, Book Reviews, Home Repair, Hunting and Trapping, Saving Money, Home Crafts, Disaster Preparedness
Recent Activity
It was 31f degrees at our house overnight and we awoke to a solid white coat on everything. Praise the Lord, I managed to get the lawn mowed on Sunday, just before the frost killed the grass. In my defense, the predicted low was 39f, off by 8 degrees (a 20% error in my book). It was beautiful. And, once the sun got up, you could tell that things were moving at a different pace...the squirrels looked positively desperate. I ordered a scope mount for a muzzleloader and cleaned a couple of shotguns, looked at my woodpile and decided that... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Homestead Journal
The very best sale prices are available at this time of year on a whole host of home and homestead items. Last season's seeds will grow just fine in the coming spring and they are half price at the local seed store. Hunting season brings the best sale prices of the year on outdoor goods and ammo. So it's time to stock up on #4 and #6 shot (to settle the score with garden raiders) as well as other game harvesting (and processing) gear. Need a tractor, or other equipment from the farm supply? Now's the time to haggle. All... Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Homestead Journal
It's time to stop spraying our lawns and let some clover grow. When I was a boy, it was simply not possible to run across the lawn barefoot without getting stung by a bee. Now, even though we have clover in our yard, we have very few bee visitors. Stop spraying and put the money that you save into skills and tools. It's time to start learning some skills...wood stoves and canning and First Aid and Ham Radio... It's time to stop fighting, dump the family baggage and learn to care for each other properly. Enough is enough. It's time... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Homestead Journal
Five hundred tomato plants; that's how many are in my fields at various stages of growth. It's like having four babies in diapers, one of whom is a hard-headed, adventurous two-year-old... I've learned a lot. I now know about half of what I don't know about growing tomatoes commercially. I know that you have to have a plan to water and trellis your plants well before you plant them. I know that weed barrier isn't necessarily a barrier to weeds. I know that you can either spray (for bugs, fungus, bacteria) or pray that your plants don't get sick. I... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2014 at Homestead Journal
We live in a backwards world...a piece of farm gear broke and I took it to a repair guy. It sat in his lot for two weeks and part of a third. He never touched it. Over the past weekend, I called to find out when I could expect it. I had to leave a message. I came home later that day to find a message on my machine that said that I would have to call him back and promise to be patient, otherwise, I could just come get my gear. So, I went and picked up my gear.... Continue reading
Posted May 6, 2014 at Homestead Journal
In a homestead, or other long-term emergency you may need to dress wounds or perform minor medical procedures that would, under ideal conditions, demand sterile dressings or instruments. So, you look in the med kit and your dressings' are out-of-date. The packages are unopened, but the dates are way off. Me? I'm gonna use the dressing. It'll be a heck of a lot cleaner than my t-shirt. Medical instruments? Looking about, I see that I am dreadfully short on autoclaves, so I'll clean the new instruments in hot, soapy water. The ones that have been used will get washed in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2014 at Homestead Journal
I owned a 1952 Ford 8N for about four hours before I broke the doggone plow into two pieces. I have so much to do, I don't have time to worry over it, I'll just rent another plow and move on with life, but it would really stink if we were depending on that plow to feed the crew. My wife says that I could learn to fly jets cheaper, at $450 a lesson (the cost of a new plow). Some seeds are in flats: corn, squash, cukes, etc. Some are in the ground: potatoes, onions. Some I've potted up... Continue reading
Posted Apr 29, 2014 at Homestead Journal
As of 9:30am, sixteen inches of snow has piled up on my front lawn, and it's still snowing...good grief...pictures as soon as I can get out...Good Lord, I just remembered Valentine's Day...I was sitting here hoping to be out of the driveway by Easter... Peace Continue reading
Posted Feb 13, 2014 at Homestead Journal
How many days until spring?..38?..The wife just reminded me that the biggest snows of my lifetime have all been in March or April...oh well, the snow will make for great pictures...and mud... Peace Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Homestead Journal
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Cold...and beautiful... Out and about; shooting photos for Homestead Journal...Here's part of my winter weather commute. Top picture shows the road looking up the mountain. The bottom photo shows a snowy view looking over into the valley below. The top of this particular mountain is about 3400 or 3500 feet in elevation and the valley floor is about 1000 feet above sea level... Continue reading
Posted Jan 25, 2014 at Homestead Journal
But hey, a trillion dollars ain't what it used to be, right? A trillion dollars of deficit and a trillion in quantitative easing equals, "a trillion here, a trillion there"...we'll see both in 2014. I should be out of the prediction business. We are, after all, still running after the can that was kicked ahead of us in 2008, 09, 10, 11, 12 and 13. The much-deserved, inevitable, and oft-predicted reckoning remains out there, just below the horizon...but I can't call its arrival to within twelve months, I've tried, but I can only apply reason and common sense and neither... Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2014 at Homestead Journal
Know what good gear looks like. Sometimes, older gear--just as serviceable, but lacking "cool factor"-- can be found at reasonable prices. Read older books and articles and take note of the things that were considered state-of-the-art and highest quality when written. Someday, I'm gonna find a Specialized Stump Jumper mountain bike at a yard sale for cheap. Know what gear you need. Have a list. Don't shop willy-nilly. Purchase ahead of need. Avoid panic buying. Use shows and conventions( gunshows, hamfests, thrasher conventions) tag sales, flea markets, Craigslist, trading papers, and used goods stores to get good deals. Pick it... Continue reading
Posted Dec 14, 2013 at Homestead Journal
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You can see the ice covering the trees at higher elevations (about 3300 feet) and the Autumn colors down below... Damn, I love living out here... Peace Continue reading
Posted Nov 21, 2013 at Homestead Journal
Our little house on the creek was in serious danger of bursting at the seams... 800 square feet, one real bedroom, two sons (at home, two more children away, but home some), all our stuff and no washing machine. It was time to move, and that is what we did. It's nice to have more room, but the move screwed up my favorite time of the year...Fall, and hunting season. That, and the fact that the only internet service available is one meg dsl, just a bit better than dial-up, and the lack of firewood on the new property (my... Continue reading
Posted Nov 16, 2013 at Homestead Journal
I've spent the last two months working on a 25 to 30, 000 word addition to the "Guide"...I am hoping to have that work, including photographs, completed before Christmas. I have also been working a cash job, drying corn, and taking classes...busy...but well... Peace Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2013 at Homestead Journal
Not quite there, just yet, but steadily heading in that direction. Poland confiscated private retirement accounts this week (Welcome to paper-and-ink capitalism, cousins. What did that take, 35 years, since you were staring down Soviet tanks and secret police in a bid to be free? BO is just dying to bomb something in Syria, ostensibly over the Assad regime's use of gas on it's own citizens. The real reason that BO wants to help topple the Assads is suspended in the political ether. Who gassed those poor people is uncertain. What is certain is that the proposed attack but has... Continue reading
Posted Sep 8, 2013 at Homestead Journal
I had no idea when I planted my field what an undertaking it would turn out to be. I was expecting hard work. I got that, and more. With sincere apologies for being away so long, I return to report that the corn is up and bearing fruit. It will be ready to harvest on September 25th, though we will leave it up through two frosts before we pick and shell it. This particular summer has been one of unprecedented rainfall. My field received 14 inches of rain in the two weeks after planting. Much has fallen since, thirty inches... Continue reading
Posted Aug 23, 2013 at Homestead Journal
You have to be able to build a decent life for yourself and your family, and help rebuild a community and an economy... You need tools, skills, ideas and vision... As the book says;"Where there is no vision, the people perish..." (Proverbs 29:18)...First, survive. Then, bounce back healthy and strong. That's resilience. Related articles Common Sense Survival Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2013 at Homestead Journal
I'm all in favor of folks using and knowing how to use good, historical hand tools like scythes and broadforks. Come a calamity, a family can feed themselves with a good set of hand tools and husbandry of animals (with a bit of luck hunting, fishing and trapping). Hand tools makes horticulture possible. Agriculture, however, takes machines. You can feed yourself with hand tools. For you to feed yourself and your neighbors is going to require machinery...horses and/or tractors, tillers, wagons and implements make agriculture possible... Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at Homestead Journal
...What an acre is. I got hold of my lease in May. Everybody involved agreed that I had "a little more than an acre" to plant (mostly with hand tools, so that' a big piece of ground). But I wanted to KNOW how much material I needed to get her planted and manured and watered, so I bought one of those measuring wheels, and proceeded to walk around the plot twice, carefully measuring. She's 22 thousand squre feet... half an acre. Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2013 at Homestead Journal
Farmers have a reputation for being men of few words; taciturn, quick-paced and silent as they move from place to place. I always wondered why. Now I get it. There are roughly 150 days between last frost and first frost. There ain't no plowing or planting on rainy days. Once the seed is in the ground, you pray for the right kind of rain, which falls straight down, in one inch increments, a few days apart. That never happens, of course. Between planting and harvest there are a hundred things that can go wrong on any given day that will... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2013 at Homestead Journal
Rocks, rocks, rocks, all kinds of rocks; yellow rocks, grey rocks, rocks round and rocks flat; rocks the size of baseballs and rocks the size of Buick engines all must be harvested--pulled, rolled, picked, shoveled and pried, prayed over, cursed at, extracted. I am sore, blistered and bruised (a digging bar popped loose from a rock that I was working and hit me in the chest=bruise). Having been to college, and taken Statistics, leaves me with the disheartening knowledge that, statistically, the tractor, with its plows set to turn the dirt relentlessly to the left, covered as many rocks as... Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2013 at Homestead Journal
...Almost five inches of rain falls in two or three days. It will be a week before the ground is dry enough to work, IF we don't get more rain. I am struggling to keep Bob Marley and "Don't Wuurryy about uh ting. Evry little ting gonna be all right", in my head. But it's hard. Staring at my field of swampy mud-ruts, I am reminded of John Steinbeck's description of the feeling of "impossible desolation" that he got as he sat down to begin a new novel. Like my friend, John, who died when I was small and never... Continue reading
Posted May 9, 2013 at Homestead Journal
I have always wanted to be a farmer. Not just a gardener, a farmer. The other day, I got a chance to lease some land, and I took it. Then, I asked a neighbor/ farmer, "What do I do now?". I figure that life is going by pretty fast and I am either going to do the things that I want to do, or die with a bunch of regrets. And, with the state of things, a move to farming makes me a cutting-edge economic leader--I think Jim Rogers would be pleased. What am I going to grow? Don't know... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2013 at Homestead Journal
THAT was the weirdest week ever: 15 Apr to 19 Apr, 2013. As I type this post, more than a million people in the Boston area are "sheltering in place", a euphemism for hiding in their homes, because A SINGLE LONE JIHADIST ASSHOLE is prowling the streets of their city, looking to kill even more Americans. How one man alone can hunt a million people, and have those people cowering in front of their televisions, praying that their house isn't chosen to be the site of this young man's last stand, and their family his last (certain) victims is lost... Continue reading
Posted Apr 19, 2013 at Homestead Journal