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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
First fireflies spotted on the evening of 14 May. "Blackberry Winter", the cold snap that happens about the time that blackberries bloom has passed and it's looking like 70 to 80 degrees for the next 10 days, so the tomato plants are hittin' the dirt as is family tradition, the week after Mother's Day. Continue reading
Posted May 15, 2017 at Homestead Journal
Why did the chicken cross the road, and why did he try to do that right in front of me? Was he just trying to get to the other side? Why couldn't he wait? These are really insignificant questions that take on real meaning when the chicken does $1200 damage to your car. Here's a country tidbit: all the neighbors won't have Master's Degrees in electrical engineering like my neighbor across the road and down a bit. Some will be incorrigible rednecks who let livestock wander loose right next to the road. In this case, the chicken came running around... Continue reading
Posted Mar 17, 2017 at Homestead Journal
Walk and get in shape. You can find free exercise classes online. Poke around thrift shops and colleges for a cheap bicycle or two. College kids don't want them anymore and often sell them for cheap. Contact your local Red Cross and take a First Aid course and a Disaster Volunteer Course. The local Parks and Recreation Department will likely offer classes in Gardening and Canning. Get a library card and use it. READ READ READ. Used books from thrift stores are also a bargain. The false Spring weather that we are experiencing on the East coast is a perfect... Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Homestead Journal
Don't take the warm-weather bait, y'all. Plant according to your zone. There will, sure as the sun rises, be another spurt of bad weather before the weather warms up for good. You'll plant early and it will all freeze. Plant according to your zones last frost date. Peace Continue reading
Posted Mar 8, 2017 at Homestead Journal
I'm shivering beneath a throw in the great room of our 1930-something farmhouse.No kidding, shivering is what I do from January first (or so) to March 15th (or so). So let me tell you what we have learned from the "live in an old farm house in the country" experience (right after I get a thicker pair of socks): People who lived in the country in 1930-something built their own houses. Wiring and plumbing got done with imagination and basic tools, not the electrical code book. Every light switch in this house turns on and off backwards. The plumbing looks... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2017 at Homestead Journal
It's 58f degrees outside as I type this missive. There should be snow on the tops of the mountains and in the shaded draws and ravines, even if it isn't piled high in the yard. I should be concerned about climate change but I can't help but wonder if we'll last long enough as a species to be boiled alive in rising seas. We may go much sooner from shear stupidity. What we need is for Fluoride to be removed from our drinking water and Xanex to be added. With Xanex in the water, we could watch the mid-winter goat-rope... Continue reading
Posted Feb 6, 2017 at Homestead Journal
Homestead lighting is a tricky proposition. You don't want to have all your eggs in one basket, particularly if that basket is the very long power line that snakes over the mountain to the transformer station near town. Anything can happen to the line--a strong wind, a broken tree limb, a depressed squirrel. We keep a combination of Dietz lanterns and battery operated lights. I really like the Streamlight Siege Lanterns. They feature tough construction and quality that you can feel with bright, even light.The intensity is adjustable and there is a red-lens option for preserving night vision and signalling.... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at Homestead Journal
Here at Homestead Journal we are moving forward with our plans to expand our blog into new media forms. In 2017, you'll find us on Facebook and you'll be able to watch as a 55 year-old learns to Tweet. You'll also find us wandering the aisles at Gardening, Homesteading and Prepper Shows. I would like to thank those of you who called and sent support and prayers while I was down with the broken leg. For those of you new to the blog, I wrecked my truck in September of 2015 and was hurt medium-bad. I was left with a... Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2017 at Homestead Journal
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