Getting Down with the Poultry Queen on Sadie-Girl Farm – Episode #009

Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 9 on Libsyn.

This week the Liberty Hippie had the chance to talk with Julie Kirchner of Sadie-Girl Farm in Western North Carolina. Julie is enthralled with poultry and has made a thriving little side business selling some pretty fantastic chickens and quails. We talked about what varieties she focuses on – Black and Blue Copper Marans, Lavender Ameraucanas, Olive Eggers, Silkies, and Celedon Quail – and how she came to pick those varieties. We got into some of the details of her set up and how she is able to run so many flocks congruently while maintaining variety purity. These are all skills that Julie has learned later in life through non-conventional means, and it’s worth noting that the community is one of superb helpfulness. You can purchase chicks or hatching eggs from Sadie-Girl farm by accessing their website.

All The Links

After the interview, the Liberty Hippie gets into the recent spat of Tim Tebow Bills that have been pushed into Statehouses as well as a bill in Iowa that proposes to distribute public school funds to private and homeschooled children. He looks at some of the pros, but also the overwhelming cons.

All the Articles

And the Facebook Group!

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too.

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Link to show notes for episode 008 with Steve Kemp.

Almost My Favorite Holiday

I think, pretty much without fail, every holiday, or day of some named importance, has a special food associated with it: Thanksgiving has it’s Turkey, Christmas it’s ham, Valentine’s Day has Chocolate, the Fourth of July has BBQ, and St. Patrick’s Day has Corned Beef. Growing up, I was never really a fan of boiled meat, but it was tradition, and I did appreciate the salty boiled potatoes and green beer, so when I became an adult, the whole boiled meat thing kind of got lost. That was until I had kids.

The kids, of course, need to at least be aware of cultural traditions, and so, we started boiling some meat on St. Patrick’s Day. The only problem was that it wasn’t cheap and it was laden with chemicals and salt. As chance would have it, one year, we split a side of beef with two friends and somehow we ended up with the brisket; now it was uncured brisket, but it was still a brisket and so we figured why not try brining it ourselves? It was a risk, but it was only boiled meat, what could go wrong?

This was a turning point in my boiled-meat-career; it was brilliant, so much better than the pre-brined garbage you get at the grocery store. Unfortunately, the following year we didn’t purchase a cow, and we thought we would be stuck going back to the grocery store. But we weren’t! We had previously come into some venison, and thought this would be an excellent opportunity to try brining some venison roasts ourselves. It was delicious!

We eat corned venison throughout the year these days – not just St. Patrick’s Day – and everyone always loves when we do. Over the years, the recipe has changed, but the flavor is always delicious, and it’s a great way to get rid of those big old shoulder roasts (they just need to be boiled a bit longer and aren’t as tender as the other rump cuts.)

In half-a-gallon of water, boil 1/3 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup of kosher salt, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 2 tablespoons of whole allspice, 1 teaspoon of mixed peppercorns, 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander, roughly chopped garlic cloves (you know how many you need) and other spices you want to experiment with (we’ve tried dill and fennel, both okay). Once the salt and sugar have dissolved, remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature as you don’t want to cook the meat when covering it with brine.

When the brine has cooled, put your meat into a large sanitary container and add brine to cover. The meat will float so a weight may be necessary. Depending on the size of the container and cut of meat, it may be necessary to flip the meat daily. We usually brine our meat for five days in the refrigerator.

Before cooking, remove the meat from the brine and give it a quick rinse in the sink. Add the meat to a large sauce pot, cover with fresh water and cook just like you would a piece of corned beef you bought at the store.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Voluntary Exchanges on the Homesteader’s Co-op – Episode #005


Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 5 on Libsyn.

Episode 2 opened with a discussion of the Homesteader’s Co-op, a pretty sweet little website that provides store fronts for homesteaders to sell their wares. In this episode, the Liberty Hippie has the privilege of interviewing Noel, the guy behind the Homesteader’s Co-op. We discuss a bit about his present homestead set-up and then get into what the Homesteader’s Co-op currently is, and what Noel’s vision is for the future of the Homesteader’s Co-op.

All The Things We Talked About and More:

After the interview with Noel, the Liberty Hippie takes a look at some recent news items and state bills from around the country that will be quite problematic to homeschoolers and eventually, everyone.

All the Articles Discussed:

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes even on Instagram, too.

If you feel so inclined to support the show financially you can click on the Amazon link in the side bar, or by checking out the Liberty Hippie’s bitbacker.io account, where you can show your support by donating Bitcoin or Bitcoin Cash.

Don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp, and pick up a subscription to the Freedom Song 365 project.

And subscribe to the show!

Link to show notes for episode 004 with Sherry Voluntary.

Podcast #3 with Harold Thornbro is Here!

Direct mp3 download.

Link to Episode 3 on Libsyn.

The Liberty Hippie opens the show bringing homeschoolers attention to the Homeschool Legal Defense Association, a fantastic resource when trying to figure out the legal aspects of homeschooling. He then starts chatting today with one Harold Thornbro. Harold has been running the Modern Homesteading podcast for almost four years and has an incredible backlog of content which you can check out at The Small Town Homestead. (He also runs the Modern Homestead facebook group which runs some 21,000 deep!) We talk about how cancer at 39 gave Harold the push he needed to get back to doing things a little more naturally and how his homestead has grown over the past few years to include a wide variety of practices from permaculture to meat rabbits to a new foray into aquaponics.

Harold is a wealth of information and it was an honor to get him on the show so early on. Check out his website to sign up for his free course “How to Get Started Homesteading, Right Where You Are, Right Now” and sign up for his newsletter to get a free PDF “21 Tips for Homesteading on a Budget.”

Things We Talked About

If you really want to help the show grow, please subscribe and leave a review on the Apple iTunes Store (or on any podcatcher, though iTunes is the most important). You can also like us on facebook and share the show from there. We are on Twitter as @HSandHSpod, and sometimes on Instagram, too.

If you feel so inclined to support the show financially you can click on our Amazon link in the side bar, or checking our our bitbacker.io account.

Don’t forget to pay Nicky P. a visit either at Sounds Like Liberty, or on bandcamp.

Subscribe to the show!

Link to show notes for episode 002 with Lizzie Pecone.

It’s A Podcast!

I’ve been wanting to get a podcast going for sometime now, but haven’t had the gumption until recently. Presently there are only two episodes available – and the first is just a pilot so… – but new episodes will be released on Tuesdays.

As you might imagine, the podcast will interview individuals involved in the homesteading and homeschooling movements in an attempt to gain insight into how others run their micro-programs so that we can all learn from each other. I have recorded a good number of episodes and I can tell already that my interviewing skills have started to get better, so stick with me and give them a listen.

Each episode will start out discussing an article from the internet, or some sort of interesting, unique, informative website or program that homesteaders and homeschoolers might find useful or informative. After that we will get into an interview. My first interview was with Miss Elizabeth Melton of Sixpence Farm. Check out the show notes for all the details, and put the rss feed into your podcatcher to subscribe to all future shows. (The show will be on iTunes soon, but as of writing, Apple is still in the reviewing process.)

RSS Feed: https://homesteadsandhomeschools.libsyn.com/rss

Cover Crops for Food

Since moving to Georgia, we have made an effort to go north for a couple of weeks each summer. It helps us escape the heat and it allows us to see family during the nicest part of the year in New England. This means the garden struggles. Of course, it’s usually the end of July or early August that we head north so the garden is taking a break for the most part, but without someone here to keep the pigweed, lambs quarter and morning glory at bay, the weeds can take over in a matter of weeks. We learned this the hard-way last year. So this year as we prepared to go north, we decided to head to the local nursery and see what they had for cover crops.

Daikon radish
The last vestige of daikon radish in the garden as a cover crop.

We weren’t really sure what to get, so we went with the cheapest things the owner suggested – a pound of buckwheat seed and a pound of daikon radish seed. I knew buckwheat is good for honey and if we got ambitious we could grind the seeds for flour, so that sounded good. I also knew you could eat daikon radish, and they’re often used in Asian cuisine, but these were seeds out of a 55 gallon drum and I had no clue what variety of daikon they were (or if there even are different varieties of daikon radish.) With no inclination as to what I was doing, I walked around the perimeter of the garden, broadcast seeding the buckwheat on two sides and the daikon on the other two.

When we left, the weather was predictably dry, but we did have a few rain storms, and apparently it was enough for the cover crops to take root so that when we returned home, we had a weed free perimeter, some pretty white buckwheat flowers and some baby daikon growing in the back.

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Full grown and ready to use.

Of course, we tilled the buckwheat and daikon back into the ground when it came time to get our fall crops in, but partly out of laziness and also because I like to experiment, I left part of the back row as daikon, just to see what would happen. Well, they got bigger, and bigger, and bigger, to the point that they actually look like the long white radishes that you see when you purchase daikon from the store. This was awesome not only because the the chickens love the greens and it’s an excellent supplement for fresh forage now that winter is here.

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Yummy yummy kkakdugi!

But also because it’s the right kind of radish to make kkakdugi – radish kimchi!

North Georgia Candy Roaster Seeds

North Georgia Candy Roaster were originally grown by the native Cherokee tribes residing in present day North Carolina, eastern Tennessee and northern Georgia, and were an important food source to these tribes, making them an excellent variety for the deep south.

halvedThey are heavy squash with a weight range of 10-250 pounds (according to Slow Foods USA) though most fruit from the vines we grew ranged between 8-15 pounds. A pale orange color with greenish blue tips and some green striations and patches, they come in both tear drop and banana shapes. We found that most of the squash produced later in the season tended to be more banana shaped, and have more green coloration than fruit produced earlier in the season.

These store well and taste excellent cooked in any manner imaginable. They also make a great substitute for pumpkin pie around the holidays.

Ideal for three sisters planting, their large leaves help keep moisture in the ground and the weeds at bay, these massive vines can reach lengths of at least 25 feet. (There’s no telling how long they could get if you coax them along.) Twelve plants produced well over 200 pounds of squash throughout the summer with minimal watering once vines were established.

seedsExcellent cooked in a variety of ways, these squash store well in a cool dark room, and make a wonderful substitute for pumpkin in pies during the holiday season.

North Georgia Candy Roaster is of some concern as it is an open pollinated plant with separate male and female flowers that require a third party for pollination. Because of this necessity, it is important to make sure there are no other Cucubrita maxima varieties within a mile, or hand pollination must be performed to ensure seed purity.

North Georgia Candy Roaster
Cucurbita maxima
Long sprawling vines, with numerous 10-15 pound fruits.
20 seeds, $3.00 plus shipping and handling.
Email us to purchase some.

You can read more about how we came to pick this variety, or watch as I use the North Georgia Candy Roaster as a subject demonstrating hand pollination of the Cucurbitacae family.

A Winter Squash for the South

To purchase North Georgia Candy Roaster seeds from us, use this page.

Growing up in New England, winter squash were a staple in the garden – they were sweet by nature, but the cold falls brought the sugars out to perfection; their thick rind allowed them to sit in the root cellar all winter waiting to be used, sweetening as the days passed; their flowers are showy and easy to hand pollinate, and there is an endless variety to choose from ranging in flavor, shape, color, texture, size and plant habitat. I would often find myself perusing farmers’ markets looking for odd shaped and unique varieties to save seed from in the hope that something might come back true to form the following years.

When we moved to Georgia, the farmers’ markets were all but devoid of winter squash. The local nurseries could not suggest any specific varieties that would weather the heat, the squash borers, and, in the end, produce something remotely palatable. Initially, I went with a couple of my favorites: Delicata and Sweet Dumpling. Unfortunately, they did not work so well. By the time the weather started to cool, the fruit had been harvested and the vines long dead. Squash vine borers feasted, and the little squash we actually harvested was anything but sweet.

Not willing to miss out on one of my favorite garden delicacies, I went to the internet to search for some answers. I always learned that squash was a staple of Native Americans, and the Cherokee inhabited this land until they were driven to Oklahoma, so I started there and somehow ended up at Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds in search of something called the North Georgia Candy Roaster.

halvedUnlike my favorites – which are all varieties of Cucubrita pepo – the Candy Roaster is a Cucubrita maxima, which means it’s big: the vines are big, the leaves are big, and the squash is big, but it’s over sized leaves, lengthy vines, and ability to root at will from nodes along the vine make it an ideal candidate for three sisters planting, keeping weeds down and moisture in, a plus when it comes to gardening in the deep south. According to Slow Foods USA, the Candy Roaster was cultivated among the Cherokee tribes in what is today western North Carolina, north Georgia, and east Tennessee. We are in Middle Georgia, so our winters are incredibly mild, and our summers are hot, but based on the plants historical habitat, we had to give it a shot, and by mid-summer, we were not disappointed.

These squash did excellent in the garden, almost too well. By summer’s end we were inundated with squash. Throughout the summer we continually moved vines to grow back into the corn, but eventually just began trimming the ends of the vines that became too long and unruly. By the end of summer we had a couple of wheel barrows full of the orange squash either tear drop or banana shaped, all with a green tip and some with greenish blue striations. They were a marvel to look at, they tasted just as good, and to top if off, they produced all summer, though the second crop was much skinnier and smaller, they were just as tasty.

many pyramidThis squash was certainly a winner and one we will continue to plant for seasons to come. SlowFoodsUSA lists seed availability as concern, but fortunately, we have some seeds of this variety available. You can find these seeds here.

Using the North Georgia Candy Roaster as a subject, I made a how-to video demonstrating hand pollination of the Cucurbitacae family. You can watch it here.

Hand Pollination is a Must for Pure Seed

When it comes to saving seed for for future plantings, it is of the utmost importance that you avoid cross-pollination. We can accomplish this by bagging or caging individual flowers and plants, or we can hand pollinate flowers. One of the easiest garden vegetables to hand pollinate are squash and other Cucubritacae: squash, melons, cucumbers, calabash, and luffa. In this video I walk through the process of differentiating male and female flowers, and eventual hand pollination using Cucubrita maxima v candy roaster: North Georgia Candy Roaster.

We also have some seed of this rare squash available, just ask!

Those Slimy ‘Shrooms: Hygrophorus flavodiscus

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When I first started learning about mushrooms, I found myself under the tutelage of an amazing mushroomer and teacher; ripe in his years, he had spent many seasons in the fields and forests, walking along roadsides, kicking over ‘shrooms as a hobby. After retirement, he had gone on to volunteer for the state poison control department offering help in cases of mushroom poisoning. He was also an excellent artist. He has, of course, since passed, but he did not go without leaving me with a wealth of information.

These Yellow-centered waxy caps, Hygrophorus flavodiscus, were some of the first really distinct mushrooms I found in mass quantity that I was quite confident of in my identification. Of course, before I cooked them all up for dinner, I wanted to verify with the master. I emailed him pictures of the ‘shrooms, the spore print, and detailed my identification, then said something to the effect of, “I can’t wait to cook them up!” His response was typical: “Well done on the ID, but why would you eat that?”

H. flavodiscus is covered in slime. That shiny coating in the photograph is not dew, rain, or melted frost; it is slime reminiscent of a wet slug, and as they like to grow under hemlock trees, they are often coated in shed needles and other detritus, but this did not stop me. I spent hours that night, scraping the slime off with a paring knife and foolishly rinsing them under the faucet. When I had finally cleaned my bounty, I cooked them up and had a heaping mess of something edible, but certainly not worthy of the preparation time. I emailed my teacher back, confirming that, in fact, there is no reason to eat them.

Later that fall, when I was out ‘shrooming, I went back to where I found them the first time, and could not help but pick more. (It is a compulsion.) I had learned a bit about cooking mushrooms since I first found them, and I had also dabbled in raising slugs as food. Slugs, like snails, are edible and when cooked thoroughly, are quite safe to eat, but they have that same slimy coating as these waxy caps. You can remove the slimy coating from a slug by dropping them in vinegar, or you can use the slimy coating as something of an egg bath before rolling them in bread crumbs and frying them up; H. flavodiscus would prove to be no different. Rather than spend hours cleaning and preparing the ‘shrooms, this time I picked the debris off, rolled them in bread crumbs and fried them up. They were delicious and still remain one of my favorite foraged fare.