Spring is here and so is the arrival of new baby kunekunes. They will be available for their new homes at the end of July 2019.
Download the 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule 2019 Yavapai County Planting Schedule (165 downloads)
Over the last 20 years, I have been able to streamline how we store and use our seeds for our gardens. Check out the quick video below!
If you were at the Heights Church for the Christmas Eve services in 2017, you were able to see a litter of 3 day old baby kunekunes. (I added a few photos below)
So here is a picture of Haka, Our “little War Pig. ” And guess what? His first book children’s will be out soon. We will keep you updated!
Kunekunes are an AMAZING breed of pigs that we have had on our homestead for over 5 years now. We use them often when people request us to come and share our animals as part of a “petting zoo program.” Mama Pumpkin is one of our most requested animals to share.
Our family jokes that they are called “War Pigs” because they were (extra buffed out via CGI) in the war scene for The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. See the clip below that we found on youtube.
Originally from New Zealand, the pigs have made a comeback here in the US as well as the UK. Their name means “fat and round” in the Maori language. They come in a variety of colors including black and white, brown and white, solid ginger, solid cream/fawn, solid brown, solid black, and ginger and black.
These hairy pigs can reach 300 pounds or more however, making them the largest of the miniature breeds or the smallest of the meat breeds. They are a pasture pig that eats primarily grasses and fresh fruits and veggies. We do not feed our kunes any commercial pig feeds and we have rescued a few of our kunes who were being fed dog food. Not a great choice for these gentle giants. Being that they are pasture pigs, ours like to graze in the same field as our horses. And they love tomatoes, strawberries and other fresh goodies.
Mealworms are an ultimate healthy snack for chickens, ducks, geese, and quail. They are jam packed with protein and something that your critters absolutely love. We raise our mealworms to feed to our hatching babies in the house. We raise (Grand Champion) Quail. The babies go CRAZY over the mealworms that we put in their feeders.
A few things I have found in raising mealworms are that:
I know what I am feeding my birds!
I know what I am feeding my kids, why shouldn’t I monitor what I am feeding my birds too? After all, our birds give us meat and eggs that my kids are eating. Mealworms pack so many nutrients and protein. And your birds will thank you for it.
Meals worms are one of the easiest additions to your homestead. I keep mine in a tub(with holes drilled into the top) and an old fishtank in my laundry room. I feed each container a potato on Fridays and blow out their tanks once a month of all of the “skins” that they shed. Yep, that simple! I have a few pieces of cotton balls in each container for them to lay their eggs in and the bottom of my containers either have oatmeal or chicken scratch.
The mealworm life cycle is in four stages: egg, larvae, pupa, and darkling beetle. The larvae stage is what I feed to my birds.
Last year, after my foot surgery, we put growing wheat fodder on the back burner along with many other things. (When Mom is down….) It was a bit too hard to keep up with it.
However, with a yard full of KuneKune pasture pigs, we needed to start growing something for them again during the winter time. Fodder is PERFECT! It is 100% greens and soil free that is perfect for animal feed.
Fodder is a GREAT way to feed animals in the winter time, especially when there are no greens growing in your yard. I soak my seeds for 24 hours in water to help jump-start their growing.
To start, we soak 4 cups of recleaned wheat seed in water for 24+ hours. That’s my Day 1 for every tray. If you notice mold forming in day 3+ you can add a capful of apple cider vinegar to the soaking water.
You do not have to stick with just Wheat. You can use barley, oats(although I haven’t had a great outcome in the past with oats), winter peas, black oil sunflower seeds. Whole corn takes too many days to sprout, so I avoid this seed.
Fodder can feed my kunes and also my chickens, ducks, goats and rabbits. It is a win/win feed and the output is up to 6x the feed grown in 9 days as the weight of the seeds.
You need 1 soaking bucket (I used an old plastic bin that was missing its lid and you need 8 trays/buckets/bins. Heck, you can use old rain gutters if you have enough angle that the water doesn’t sit and mold the seeds.
You will also need a shelf or some way to stack these. I have a PVC pipe shelf that Griffen made for me years ago.
Here is a link to the trays that I am trying out.
I love that my children can stand up in front of a group and share everything that has to with their homestead animals and the meat that comes along with it. Shelby and Elwyn had a GREAT presentation for the Oathkeepers. (August 2017)
by Shelby Fullmer – August 12, 2017
Food – Alfalfa pellets, basic greens like kale, spinach, chard, leaf lettuce (NOT iceberg, cabbage or broccoli), alfalfa, timothy, and bermuda hays, carrots, even small quantities of raspberries, tomatoes and strawberries.
Shelter – Rabbit hutches or colony living with buried wire with shade/cover to protect from weather.
Gestation period – 28 days – up to 14 babies
Male rabbits go sterile in severe heat and all rabbits need a cooling system in Arizona in the summer time. Frozen water bottles, fans, misting systems, in a cooler shelter, etc. are all good ways to keep your rabbits cool.
A few of the meat breeds of rabbits for meat, Rex, New Zealand, Californians, American Chinchilla, Silver Foxes, Flemish Giants
Website with more information on breeds – http://theselfsufficientliving.com/best-meat-rabbit-breeds/
Dual Purpose Chickens are the best egg laying hens combined with the best meat chickens. The truth of the matter is that there are plenty of chicken breeds that are good for both purposes. Includes Rhone Island Reds, wynnedottes, barred rocks, orphingtons, Jersey Giants – all full sized chickens. For smaller meat and egg production Bantams or (mini chickens) lay smaller eggs and are about half the meat size of a regular chicken.
Food – Layer, seed, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens, kitchen scraps (no meat)
Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay
Incubation times – Bantam 19-21 days, Full sized chickens – 20-22 days
Uses of chickens – Meat, bones for broth, feathers, fertilizer, insect control, garden prepping.
Website with more information on breeds – https://www.backyardchickencoops.com.au/dual-purpose-chicken-breeds
Birds including ducks and geese
Heavy and medium weight ducks typically are raised for meat production. The main breeds are the Pekin and the Muscovy. Around 90 percent of the duck meat produced in the United States is from the Pekin. Commercial producers are able to obtain a duck weighing 7 to 8 pounds in seven weeks.
Food – Layer chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs, produce/greens.
Shelter – Coop to protect, layer boxes with hay, ground shavings/hay, swimming pool/pond
Incubation times – 28 days
Uses of waterfowl – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.
More information on raising waterfowl – http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/raising-ducks-geese/ducks-and-geese-zm0z14fmzchr
Fast growing animals for meat and eggs. In 8 weeks they are full grown and laying eggs between 8-10 weeks old.
Food – game bird chow, oyster shells/ground egg shells for extra calcium, bugs like mealworms, produce/greens, excess eggs – Quail need at least a 25% protein to lay.
Shelter – Smaller rabbit hutches work great for quail. Or larger enclosed coops
Incubation times – 16-17 days
Uses of quail – Meat (mainly breast meat), bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.
Information on Coturnix quail – https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/quail/
Food – gamebird feed and cracked corn in the winter for all your birds. You can also give them treats like fruit, veggies, mealworms, peanuts, and wild bird seed.
Incubation times – Chukar – 23 days, ring necked pheasants – 24-25
Uses – Meat, bones for broth/soup, feathers, fertilizer.
More information on Game Birds – https://wgfd.wyo.gov/WGFD/media/content/PDF/Habitat/Extension%20Bulletins/B33-Raising-Pheasants-or-Other-Game-Birds.pdf
How to Use Medicinal Herbs
So you’ve decided you want to incorporate herbal remedies into your health regimen. Congratulations! You’re embarking on a journey that will help your body heal itself from the inside out in a way that is much more natural, safe and gentle than conventional medicine.
It’s also a journey that can be a little confusing. There are many different types of herbal remedies out there. Sometimes you will find the same herb sold in many different preparations. What do all those different terms mean? Here’s a rundown of some of the most common ways medicinal herbs are sold and used.
Tablets and Capsules: Like conventional drugs, herbs are often packaged and sold in tablet and capsule form. Tablets involve compressing an herb into a round or cylindrical shape, usually with some sort of binder, colorant, flavorings and coating that prevents them from breaking down in the body too quickly. Capsules are usually made of gelatin and the herb is placed inside the shell. Other ingredients can also be mixed in to make the herb taste better or to prevent it from being digested too quickly. Vegetarians can find capsules made of vegetable cellulose, but check the label to make sure you know you’re not getting any animal products.
Extracts: Herbal extracts may be sold as tablets, capsules orliquid herbal extracts; the herbs contained in an extract are far more concentrated than those in a standard pill. Extracts are made by soaking the herbs in alcohol or water (or a combination) and filtering and drying the herb at low heat. Much like culinary herbs become stronger when dried, herbal extracts are highly concentrated remedies, allowing you to take many fewer pills to get a large dose. Continue reading Revisit – Oathkeepers – How to use medicinal herbs
My friends over at Garden and Happy posted a GREAT article on the best laying Chicken breeds. Here is the article (and a link to their site: https://gardenandhappy.com/best-egg-laying-chickens/) And as most of my readers know…. I love me some chickens! I mean where else can you get fresh eggs to feed my crew??? I did take the photos mostly out…. They were having issues loading them on my server.
There are few things better than having fresh eggs at hand for creating all kinds of mouthwatering dishes. Thanks to a resurgence in self-sufficiency, people around the world are enjoying fresh eggs from their own chickens instead of running to the grocery store to get them. Take note, however, that some chickens are better than other varieties when it comes to getting quality eggs. Read this guide to find the best egg-laying chickens for your needs, before you get your coop started.
1. Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red chicken is a hardy and adaptable variety, ideal for first-time farmers. Developed in—you guessed it—Rhode Island in the mid 1800s, these chooks became so popular that they ended up as RI’s state bird!
This breed adapts well to both hot and cold climates, and isn’t sensitive to rain or snow. In fact, they maintain their happy-go-lucky demeanor regardless of weather, and are friendly, pleasant hens to have around.
Rhode Island Reds have a deep red to almost brown colour, and males have a ruby red plume and facial skin layer. This chicken breed prefers to socialize with others of their own breed, so they’re not great for mixed flocks.
These hens adapt well to either being free ranged or cooped, though they enjoy roaming time outdoors. In terms of laying capability, you’ll get an annual egg count of around 260, medium-sized brown eggs per bird.
2. White Leghorns
The White Leghorn chicken variety is one of the most prolific egg layers out there. They have an early maturity rate at about 16 weeks old, so they can start laying eggs while still quite young. This makes them a very popular breed for egg lovers.
Their annual laying count falls in the 280-300 range! This is in the highest egg-laying bracket, so if you really like omelettes, put this breed at the top of your list.
This chicken variety lays large, white eggs, which can often have double yolks. They’re beautiful birds, with tall, slender statures and white plumage, upright tail feathers, and long legs. In terms of temperament, they’re known to be skittish and will often take flight if provoked. As such, they’re better suited to more experienced farmers who have the proper equipment to suit their needs.
3. Golden Comet
Golden Comet chickens are a cross between Rhode Island Reds and White Leghorns. Amazingly, they’ve inherited the best traits from both breeds. Plump and stout, these chickens have dark, golden feathers, and occasional white lacing on their necks and tails.
These gorgeous birds have more than just their looks going for them. Golden Comets are well known—and preferred—for their easygoing, calm demeanor. This breed’s nature makes them one of the best egg-laying chickens for small areas. They’re also ideal as household pets… though you might want to invest in some chicken diapers if you let them live indoors.
Golden Comets are naturally and mothering, and are as nurturing with their own chicks as they are with human children. They’re affectionate and gentle, and if you choose to breed yours, you can rest assured they’ll mother their offspring well. This breed is also friendly with different chicken breeds, so they’re ideal for mixed flocks.
Comets have an annual egg count of between 275 and 330 large, brown eggs. As such, they’re preferred by those who sell their eggs at farmers’ markets.
4. Barred Plymouth Rock
Barred Plymouth Rock chickens are on the larger side, and this helps them to be highly resistant to cold temperatures. They have a round, robust body size and are covered with white and black speckled features on top of a fluffy gray undercoat. These layers make them perfect for cold climates like the northern USA and Canada, since they can endure snowy weather well.
This breed has a high annual egg-laying rate, at approximately 280 large, peach-colored eggs at a constant, predictable rate. They’re also known to be quite calm and content in nature. Due to this pleasant demeanor, they get along well with other animals, whether livestock or household pets.
5. Golden Laced Wyandottes
Golden-Laced Wyandotte chickens are known for their curious temperament. They love to forage, which makes them a perfect breed if you’re looking for chickens that will be able to fend for themselves. Their predictable, highly energetic nature makes Wyandottes a great breed choice if you want to raise free-range birds.
By having a chicken breed that forages well, you’ll be able to lower your chicken feed expenses exponentially. Your hens can hunt for their own food outside, and are great for clearing “pest” insects like slugs and caterpillars from your vegetable garden.
Golden Laced Wyandottes have beautiful, black-tipped, dark brown feathers. Expect around 200 small, white eggs from your hens every year.
6. Buff Orpington
These golden girls are sure to be a hoot in your flock. They’re a top breed to consider if you’re planning to raise chickens in pens. Their fluffy feather layers makes them cold hardy, but they don’t handle heat well.
Buff Orpington chickens are medium-sized birds with gold-yellow feathers. They can be expected to lay around 200 small, light brown eggs every year. They’re very tame in nature when alone, and social in groups.
Their friendly attitude makes them an ideal chicken breed for suburban farmers and garden growers who have limited space, or those who choose to raise their birds in coops. These big, friendly birds are also incredibly smart. Some farmers have even trained their Buff Orpingtons to obey commands!
These hens are also called “Easter Eggers”, or “Easter Egg chickens”. They produce a large amount of eggs annually, with shell hues in all shades of pink, blue, and green. They were bred in the United States in the 1970s, derived from Chilean Araucana hens.
Ameraucanas are known for their gorgeous appearance. These beauties are medium brown with white, yellow, and deep brown speckles, and golden beaks. Their appearance ensures that you that you’ll never tire of watching these supermodels outside your window. They have an odd body shape with a stout beak, slanted lower tail feathers, long neck, and stout head.
Their yearly egg rate is about 260, and the hens are known to quite broody. This means that they’re overly protective of their fertile eggs, especially around fellow hens. Other than their motherly attitude, they are generally well behaved.
Andalusians are known for their small stature, and are the opposite of Barred Plymouths in every way. They have a high heat tolerance, and stunning blue-black feathers. They lay approximately 170 large, white eggs annually, which is on the lower end of the laying scale. That said, they have the highest laying rate among heat-tolerant varieties.
Indigenous to southwestern Spain, Andalusian chickens thrive best in hot climates. This makes them ideal for egg lovers in the southern USA, and warmer European regions. They’re known to jump, run, and take flight, but are typically non-aggressive in nature.
This is a rare variety that may be a bit more difficult to find. It is, however, gaining in popularity thanks to chicken hobbyists.
Are You Ready to Raise Backyard Chickens?
Thanks to recent bylaw changes, many people in suburban areas have permission to raise chickens in their backyards. These permissions are limited so specific areas, and have to adhere to certain requirements. If you’ve been toying with the idea of raising your own hens, find out whether you’re permitted to do so.
The most important thing to mention in this article, however, is to be make sure that you are 100% ready to raise hens before even looking at buying or building a chicken coop.
First, make sure that you have adequate space on your property. Chickens need enough room to spread their wings and get their recommended amount of exercise. You need to meet your area’s laws and safety standards for a chicken coop and pen. These ensure that your chickens will be safe from predators and inclement weather.
Be careful if you live in an area where wildlife runs rampant. It might not be the best thing to add chickens to the mix, as you may put their lives at risk. In addition, chickens require food and water that might not be readily available at a local store.
A Final Note:
The most important thing to remember is that chickens are living beings that need proper care. They need love, attention, and affection just like any other animal, and can’t just be tossed in a pen and neglected. You have to ensure that you have the time and energy to interact with them and check them regularly for any health issues.
Chickens are a lot of fun to raise, but they’re also a big responsibility. If you’re dedicated and willing to put in the time and effort, then go right ahead. Set up a coop, get yourself a couple of hens, and experience the joy of farm-fresh eggs every day
I am sharing this set of recipes this morning. This is an amazing super-food perfect to keep in your to-go or bugout bag or even as an emergency mini-snack for your kiddlings. This is a re-posted article from http://www.wildernesscollege.com/pemmican-recipes.html
By Filip Tkaczyk
Are you looking for some excellent pemmican recipes?
Wait, what is this thing called pemmican and where did it come from?
For starters, pemmican is originally a Cree word for rendered fat. Pemmican is a food used by a variety of Native peoples for many generations, and was adopted by the fur traders in the 18th and 19th centuries. It likely originates from North America. Native American scouts who spent a great deal of time on the go depended on having portable, high-energy, highly nutritious, and filling foods that would last for long periods of time. Often times pemmican was their food of choice.
This amazing stuff is a dried mixture of meat, berries and rendered fat (also called suet or tallow). It is an invaluable survival food that when prepared properly using good pemmican recipes can last anywhere from several months to several years without refrigeration!
Pemmican is a great asset to have with you while exploring the wilderness even today. Though most classic pemmican recipes require the use of meat and fat, it is also possible to make it vegetarian as described below.
Here are some great pemmican recipes you can try out to make this amazing food. Try out the following 4 recipes and see which one you like best!
Recipe # 1
- 4 cups lean meat (deer, beef, caribou or moose)
- 3 cups dried fruit
- 2 cups rendered fat
- Unsalted nuts and about 1 shot of honey
Meat should be as lean as possible and double ground from your butcher if you do not have you own meat grinder. Spread it out very thin on a cookie sheet and dry at 180 degrees F for at least 8 hours or until sinewy andcrispy. Pound the meat into a nearly powder consistency using a blender or other tool. Grind the dried fruit, but leave a little bit lumpy for fun texture. Heat rendered fat on stove at medium until liquid. Add liquid fat to dried meat and dried fruit, and mix in nuts and honey. Mix everything by hand. Let cool and store. Can keep and be consumed for several years.
Recipe # 2
- 2 lbs dried beef (see recipe 1 for drying instructions)
- 1.5 cup raisins
- Beef suet
Grind meat to fine pulp in a blender. Now add in the raisins. Chop this mix enough to break up the raisins and mix in well. Melt the suet to a liquid and pour into the mixture, using just enough to hold the meat and raisins together. Now allow this to cool slightly. Put this into a pan and let it cool completely. Next, cut the pemmican into strips, than divide it into bars of about 4” long by 1” wide. Bag these separately and you can store them for several months.
Recipe # 3
- Dried lean beef, buffalo, or venison (see recipe 1 for drying instructions)
- Beef suet
- Seedless dried fruit
Melt the suet until it becomes golden brown and liquid. Strain out any solids. If you cool it, re-melt it and strain it again it will improve the shelf life of the pemmican. Grind the meat into a powder. Chop or grind dried fruit and add it to meat. Pour liquid suet onto meat/fruit mixture. Mixes best if suet is warm, and allows you to use less of it. Now, press the pemmican into a tin using a spoon. Let cool in the fridge, than turn it out and cut into bars the size of candy bars. Wrap each bar in wax paper or paper lunch bag, label and store.
Recipe # 4
- 2 cups dates
- 3 cups powdered jerky (or powdered tofu-jerky)
- 2 cups raisins
- Honey (as a binding agent, add as much as needed)
- 2 cups nuts
Grind all this material together, except for the honey. Add in the honey alittle bit at a time, and mix well each time. Pour into pan until about three quarters of an inch thick or make them directly into bars. Refrigerate and cut bars out of pan. This is a sweet concoction and in cold climates, honey can be replaced with suet and processed just as in pemmican recipes seen above.
Tips for making good pemmican
Here are some tips for you to improve your ability to use pemmican recipes properly, and make good pemmican:
- Talk to your local butcher to acquire the suet. A local co-op butcher might have the healthiest choices in terms of organic meats. You may be able to acquire the suet for free in certain places.
- When rendering (melting) the suet, be careful not to burn it or make it smoke.
- The warmer the climate you are going to be using the pemmican in, the less fat you need in it.
- This is also true for the time of year. Use less fat for the summer time, more for winter.
- Label what you make, especially if you try different recipes.
Lastly, remember to experiment with your own recipes. The key points for making pemmican are to make sure that you render the fat (suet) properly and to make sure that the meat and fruit you put into the recipe are very dry, not cooked or partially dry.
Try making some pemmican of your own today!
The Anglo-Nubian is a British breed of domestic goat. It originated in nineteenth century from cross-breeding between native British goats and a mixed population of large lop-eared goats imported from India, the Middle East and North Africa. Its distinguishing characteristics include large, pendulous ears and a “Roman” nose. Due to their Middle-Eastern heritage, Anglo-Nubians can live in very hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. It has been exported to many parts of the world, and is found in more than sixty countries. In many of them it is known simply as the Nubian. Information was found on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Nubian_goat
We LOVE our dairy goats. And initially brought them in because my son, Trystan couldn’t drink cow’s milk. However, he was fine with goat milk… And that is where our journey began.
That being said, we have a handful of goats for sale and new babies getting ready to be born. Check out our craigslist listings for the current for sale…. and if you are interested in the new babies, get on our notification list by emailing is at firstname.lastname@example.org
Here is our craigslist listings: https://prescott.craigslist.org/search/sss?userid=11413281