Brutally Honest: No Males Required – Part I: Chickens

5x5-chick-looking-out-windowAfter more than five years of homesteading, I’ve come to the conclusion that a homestead does NOT need male animals. The disadvantages to having them far outweigh their advantages. In most instances, they do not produce anything.

Stop: I know. They are needed to produce young, but in many instances, a homesteader doesn’t need to have their animals reproduce. So before everyone jumps on a wagon and starts seeing red, let me explain.

I personally do NOT need male animals on the farm at this stage of the homesteading life. I have them, and they cause more problems than they are worth. Let me break this down for each animal. In this post, I’ll discuss chickens. I’ll include other birds I’ve raised too: ducks and turkeys. In the next post, I’ll discuss goats and sheep.

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Quackadoodle Farm: Some Days are Diamond, Some Days are Not

From Quackadoo Farms blog

In purely visual terms I suppose yesterday, the first day of Spring, could be classed as ‘diamond’, being that for the first half of it everything was coated in a shiny skin of freezing rain, which came after the snow, but before the sleet or the ice pellets; none of which was in any way conducive to Spring-like frolics.

Micro greens on the kitchen window sill don’t believe this is the first day of Spring as freezing rain coats the pane… or is that pain.

Even so, it was definitely time for Old Man Winter to vacate from his place of honour on the kitchen shelf in favour of the first Sylph of Spring.

The fact is, us gardeners are eternal optimists! How could we believe anything other than that Spring is truly here… well, at least near?

And of course it can’t come soon enough.

To read more of this post, visit Some Days are Diamond, Some Days are Not.

onions Diane Tibert

During the summer of 2011, I grew onions in a raised bed beside marigolds.

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National Goat Identification Program

Attention all Canadian goat owners–more government intervention and money grab.

Goat Association of Nova Scotia

What is the National Goat ID Program (NGIP)?

The National Goat ID Program (NGIP) is a developmental step towards a mandatory animal identification program for goats, which will be a future regulatory requirement once the federal government’s National Agriculture and Food Traceability System (NAFTS) is in place. The program will include identification tags and numbers, and reporting guidelines that are anticipated to be included in the mandatory ID program.

To continue reading about this program, visit the Canadian National Goat Federation.

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Seedy Language: choosing the right seeds for your garden

Adventures in Local Food

Deciding between 2o types of Tomatoes can be a daunting task. Not only do I have to pick between a pages of tantalizing descriptions of different varieties but then theres the added task of deciding between Open Pollinated, Hybrid and Organic. What do those words even mean?! To answer these questions, we welcome Michelle Smith, board member of seeds of diversity. 

When the seed catalogues start coming, with their colour-saturated pictures of beautiful, perfect tomatoes, it is best to put away your credit card or cheque book for a while to consider the best seed choices for you and your garden.  For one thing, many people are confused about the difference between open-pollinated (OP) and hybrid seeds, or worry about inadvertently using genetically modified  (GM) seeds. Should they use organic seed? Does it make a difference? A little education goes a long way when deciding.

First, of the three ways to produce…

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REBLOG: Local farm contributes food and fun-filled learning

I recently had the pleasure of leading a food skills workshop with some lovely women at Autumn House in Amherst, NS. We got together to cook a lunch from scratch and while it may not sound too eventful, it was more than just spending a couple of hours together in the kitchen. It was a relaxing and intimate opportunity to make new connections and to discuss what food means to us.

We started this very informal food skills class by having tea and coffee while looking over the recipes, sharing our thoughts on what we liked and how to express creativity and personal preferences in the dishes we were going to prepare together. We decided on a work flow, duties, and time frame. And then, we got to it. We helped each other along the way, stirring, tasting, chopping, and adjusting flavours. All the while, we chatted and got to know each other a little better. That’s the best part about slow food – we not only get to eat something delicious, but we have time to have some fun in the kitchen! Preparing a meal from scratch allowed us the chance to be part of a team where we could collaborate and be creative. And in no time at all, we were sitting down to a fabulous meal of homemade carbonara sauce on fettucine noodles, followed by warm corn bread fresh out of the oven.

To read more and get a corn bread recipe, read Local farm contributes food and fun-filled learning.

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Spring – Is it Here?

If we look back to last year–and we in Nova Scotia don’t want to–we would see snow. Or perhaps if you lived on ground level, the only thing you saw was snow because it buried your windows. I’m just joking–that didn’t happen until mid-March.

On the last day of February 2015, we had only about two feet of snow in our yard. Several storms, one after the other created a thick layer of the white stuff. By the third week of March, after a few blizzards and heavy-snow storms, we had on average five feet of snow in our yard. We feared the donkeys would walk over the fences because the fences were buried. Here and there, the tops of some posts could be seen, but otherwise, they wouldn’t be seen until April 1st.

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