Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Rainy season, and thoughts turn to planning...

As part of my job, I get to se a lot of interesting old government publications like the one below. There is a lot of pre-WW2 farming information, before chemicals were pushed as the only way to grow. When we're looking into "new" methods to try here at Seven Trees, or even just for background on how things were done before Lowe's and Home Depot, I often look at these old USDA pamphlets. This one, on planning a subsistence homestead, is very doable for most people, even if your lot is smaller than the ones shown here. Just scale down a bit, but use the layouts for guidelines as to what was considered crucial for a well-rounded 'stead. (Oh yeah...clicking on each picture should get you a much bigger one.) Here's a 1 acre layout. Notice the caption mentions it's a good size for one man with help from his wife & kids. Ah, the good old days...male breadwinner, female housekeeper, and one income enough to cover the bills.
2 acres....
And 4 acres. We're kind of pushing it at Seven Trees, having all the livestock. We just assume we'll have to buy hay instead of growing our own or having enough grazing year-round. Ideally we'd have 3 to 5 acres, but not at current prices in our area.
Watch for more helpful vintage government info on all kinds of topics, like rotational grazing, wireworm control, helpful farmhouse conveniences (a really cool low-tech "refrigerator" in this one), and so on!


Saara said...

Nice layouts, but where's the woodlot? :D

LGP said...

low tech refrigerator:

unglazed terracotta exterior pot
fill with sand
bury water-tight container in the sand with refrigerated items inside
fill sand-filled pot with water

place in a shaded location with good air circulation.

Requires low ambient humidity.

This is an evaporative cooler suitable for such things as preserving insulin during a natural disaster. Used in N. African deserts to preserve meat up to 2 weeks.

Seven Trees said...

I suppose a subsistence farmer might have to barter with thems that have more woodlot than farmland ;)

The low tech fridge the gubmint details involves a cute little cabinet standing in a pan, with another pan on top. You drape cloth over it so the water seeps down from the top, into the bottom pan, with the resulting evaporation causing coolness. Then the water wicks up from the bottom for more coolness, and I'm thinking at that point the housewife monitors the whole process.

There is also a neat idea for a cool cupboard using a north facing window and some handy scrap wood. I'll have to scan those for a future blog post....

Carolyn said...

Just jumped over from 2 Frog Home. I wanted to say Hi and nice blog!

Great Post!


MeadowLark said...

Of course, for today's dose of farming humor, try farming with dynamite! Yup, an actual pamphlet.

Dani said...

Thanks for popping over. I just visited 2 frog home to see where you came from, and wandered from there to homesteading hickory hills and became lost in the root cellar post... all great sites. Thanks again for visiting!

Oldnovice said...

unglazed terracotta exterior pot
fill with sand

Noimpact Man tried this sortof thing just for his daughter's milk during his experiments with no electricity. Nothing seemed to work.

Anonymous said...

I didn't mean to be anonymous, but I'm a blog posting virgin, and fairly stupid :-) anyway I was looking up dexter cattle and whatcom and found your blog, my family is looking into getting a cow, maybe dexter maybe mini highland, we just moved here (b-ham) to teach our kids (and ourselves) to live a little lighter on the earth. We have goats chickens and ducks, I'm thinking cow is next. If you have a minute I'd love to talk to you about your dexters, do you ever sell any? It would just be for homestead milk production, not meat, even if you don't, I'd love to get some information from you. Here's my email, though even as I prepare to write it it seems pretty dumb to post it to your blog.... Oh well, here goes:
ps check out my sister's blog newtofarmlife@blogspot