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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
Earlier in the month, I noticed that there was no new issue of Back Home Magazine on the shelf at the book store. I headed over to their web site to find that they have ceased publication. A major distributor bankrupted while holding a sizeable chunk of money. It wasn't just Back Home that took the hit, even Time Warner was adversely affected. But small publications, like any small business, walk a much narrower fiscal line and Back Home was simply unable to recover from the hit. I talked with Richard Freudenberger, the editor of Back Home. He conducted himself... Continue reading
Posted Dec 10, 2014 at Homestead Journal
Everybody is trying to stay warm and save some money and for some of us that means "area heating" using space heaters and for others firing up the wood stove. What ever methods you use to heat your house, make sure that you practice good common-sense safety. Use only heaters that are in good working order and don't over load electrical sockets. Never run an electrical cord under a rug and make sure that all cords are in good shape--no frayed or bare spots. Keep all combustibles well away from heat sources of all types, check that the seals are... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2014 at Homestead Journal
I recently purchased "The Market Gardener" by Jean-Martin Fortier from New Society Publishers www.newsociety.com . I can't recommend this book highly enough for those who are considering trying their hand at market gardening/truck farming. While not quite a complete business plan for the small-scale grower, the book comes close, covering planning, land allocation, planting, harvesting, cooling and storage, pest and weed control and equipment. Rather than increasing the acreage under cultivation in order to increase farm income,the author suggests staying small and growing more on a couple of acres by extending the growing season with high tunnels and hoop houses.... Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Homestead Journal
Happy Thanksgiving everyone...heading into a very merry Christmas... Peace Continue reading
Posted Dec 2, 2014 at Homestead Journal
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 Oct 20, 2014 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 Oct 19, 2014 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