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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
As my leg continues to mend we decided to put in a field of pumpkins for fall. This will allow us to harvest the entire crop in one (really long) day and wholesale the whole crop to a single vendor. The constant picking, weeding, spraying and more picking required to grow vegetables is more than the old knee will take this year. We have a small garden for our own consumption, but we aren't selling much in the way of veggies....except...we are doing an experimental planting of late tomatoes and peppers in our hoop houses. Our goal: To deliver tomatoes... Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Homestead Journal
For me, 2015 could not be over fast enough. It was the year of the broken leg and a concussion in the middle of growing season, a lost crop, a wrecked truck, ongoing physical therapy and emotionally wrenching family matters. Economically, socially and politically, 2015 was the year that I turned off the news for two weeks because my blood pressure was not conducive to life. I still only look every three days or so. It stays the same. My constant attention changed nothing. Let it be known that 2016 is the year that I gave up on predictions. What... Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2016 at Homestead Journal
Happy New Year everyone. May you have a New Year filled with peace, joy, health, happiness and prosperity . Continue reading
Posted Dec 31, 2015 at Homestead Journal
As a matter of fact, my leg is broken. I partially tore my right ACL, and my MCL, got a compression injury to my meniscus and fractured my tibial plateau. I have an injured left shoulder, rotator cuff, and I sustained a concussion, all in an automobile crash (it was my truck, actually) in September. I am not quite healed up, though I am feeling better. Hence, my time away from the blog. I'll try to catch up. There is some good news on the American jobs front. Texas Jeans are being made right here in the U.S. From what... Continue reading
Posted Nov 24, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Gather your own information so that lies and mistakes quickly become obvious. Build your own skill set. Husband your resources. But you can't set your own broken leg. For that, you need a competent friend or three. And to pick your beans and potatoes while you're down with that broken leg, you'll need a community behind you. Time to gather. Peace Continue reading
Posted Sep 26, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Homestead pest control and post-disaster pest control are part of an overall preventive medicine plan. Stock bug repellent, insecticide, fly paper and fly swatters (get the kids to swat flies). Be able to cover food. Have mosquito nets for beds and a sitting area. Cover your human waste with wood ashes, lime or, at least, a little dirt and site the outhouse/waste pit away from the living area so that flies don't fly from feces to food or water. Have mouse traps, rat traps and, maybe, a cat (if you are a cat person and can afford proper upkeep.). Chickens... Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Do what you can do now. I really love Alladin Kerosene Lamps. But I haven't been able to afford them. I'm not holding out, though. We have several Dietz lanterns, along with spare wicks and a lamp oil. Holding out for the best would mean no light when the lights go out. The Dietz are good quality and serviceable. They'll serve us well even if we never get the Alladin Lamps. Can't afford a Randall knife? Don't worry about it, a Kabar will serve you well. Do what you can do before you can't do anything. Peace Continue reading
Posted Sep 23, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Here at Homestead Journal, we love home made biscuits.This is a recipe for "traditional Southern" buttermilk biscuits, but I'm willing to bet that they'll taste good up North, or out West . Biscuits are a staple of affordable at-home, at-camp, on-the-trail cooking. Everybody's Grandma and Grandpa (or Great-Grandma and Grandpa)) knew how to make them. Give this recipe a try and you'll know too. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2015 at Homestead Journal
It doesn't get any simpler, or more important, than knowing how to make bread. Here's a short, sweet video about the short, sweet process: Good Video, could do without the techno-"Tishy Boom", but otherwise, right to the point. Peace Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Resilience is the ability to bounce back and begin to live a healthy life after surviving a tragedy, disaster or atrocity. It's the ability to survive surviving. It means being able to rebuild on many levels: social, political, economic, personal and group from local to national level. A community is a bonded group of people. They may be bonded by blood or soil, mutual experience, mutual interest, a mutual belief system, love for something, or hate. Bonds--the ties between people that hold a community together--may be social, political, fraternal, economic, religious or a combination of some, or all, of those.... Continue reading
Posted Jul 23, 2015 at Homestead Journal
I want one. I know that I don't need one. I just want one: The Zenith Aircraft 701 Sky Jeep:" I am pretty sure that I could save the lives of a lot of cute puppies if I had one of these." That's gonna be my Kick Starter pitch. Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2015 at Homestead Journal
What's the most dangerous thing that I have ever owned? My Tractor, by a mile. My tractor is way more dangerous than any properly working firearm. Your tractor is just as dangerous as mine, so here's a good tractor safety site: My experience has been that small tractors are more dangerous than big tractors. They get stuck easier and are more likely to roll. BE CAREFUL. Peace Continue reading
Posted Jul 22, 2015 at Homestead Journal
I remember my first Mini Mag light. It was the mid 1980s. I paid about $20 for it at the PX at Fort Bragg, N.C. Before the Mini Mag, I carried a US issue L-shaped flashlight that used two D cell batteries I had also owned a Pilot's Penlight from the 1960s that would be a collector's item today if I hadn't lost it. There was also a Techna Light that cost me about $40. These days, a basic Mini Mag that uses 2 AA batteries is around 8 bucks at Wally World. Buy two. Yes, there are sexier lights... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2015 at Homestead Journal
There are many tools available to the homesteader/prepper that will help prevent injuries. None of these items is expensive and you should have them on hand and use them all when appropriate: eye protection, ear protection, dust masks/N95 mask, rubber gloves, work gloves, knee and elbow pads, steel-toed boots, long pants and heavy jackets, helmets, goggles, personal flotation devices, sunscreen and bug repellent. A tetanus shot is a good idea as is being careful not to cut yourself in the first place. Stay out of enclosed spaces and don't get between a vehicle and a wall. Watch what you're doing,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2015 at Homestead Journal
I'm an Army Veteran and I like my gear to be milspec tough. I don't care about camouflage these days, but I do prefer earth tones--you see more game and blending in seems to fit the homestead philosophy better than sticking out in bright colors. But I can't find my Blastmatch or my matchsafe. They were both dark colors, they both slipped out of my bag at a lunch stop and they are both gone. A little blaze orange in my bag certainly wouldn't have compromised my position. A cell phone,a Bic lighter, a pocket knife, a fire starter, the... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2015 at Homestead Journal
WOW...long title for a post, but a big idea. I want you to take a look at the following list (there are a dozen slightly different lists circulating out there in the netosphere) and think hard about how many of these things that you can provide for your neighbors. 100 THINGS THAT DISAPPEAR FIRST IN AN EMERGENCY (Divided by category not demand) GENERAL SUPPLIES: Generators Backpacks and Duffle bags Gasoline and Gasoline containers (Plastic or Metal) CB's / Walkie Talkies and Portable/ Battery Operated Radios Propane Cylinders (Large and Small) Coleman's Pump Repair Kit Water containers. (HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY)... Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2015 at Homestead Journal
I resisted buying my yellow rubber rain gear for the longest time. It is, without a doubt, the least cool suit of clothes that I have ever owned--and I owned a beige leisure suit in 1975/76, complete with giant collar and tiger-printed polyester shirt. What IS cool about my yellow rubber rain suit is NOT THINKING about my rain suit as I work in the rain, around oily engines, muddy tires, ag chemicals (organics still ruin good clothes) and animal droppings. Before the yellow suit, there was high-end, state-of-the-art Gortex , which I still own and love...just not-so-much for farming.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 7, 2015 at Homestead Journal
Where does the time go? I attended a huge ag conference, actually a big conference on small-scale agriculture in January. Wrote a business plan in February. Sat with a dying Uncle. Ordered seeds, got a tractor running, started seeds in flats, broke ground and prayed my way through March. Along the way, I managed to file taxes...twice. I'm in the middle of trying to start a CSA and a Little League Baseball team. This time of year I'm always excited and nervous, like waiting your turn at a wrestling match--you know what's coming and you know it won't be easy.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2015 at Homestead Journal
I haven't had a lot of luck with this--nobody has, really. My predictions for the times ahead seem to run a couple of years ahead of when they are happening. There were some interesting wild cards thrown into the mix in 2014...some dudes named ISIS/ISIL, a dude named Putin. Who would have predicted that we would ever pay less than $2 for a gallon of gas again? I didn't think that the fracking and tar sand would turn us into "another Saudi Arabia", but I wouldn't have predicted that the Big They would drop the price of oil when the... Continue reading
Posted Jan 9, 2015 at Homestead Journal
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 . 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