The Urban Homesteader’s Nightmare – Episode 019

Direct mp3 download.

Link to episode 19 on Libsyn.

This week the Liberty Hippie had the pleasure of speak with Lloyd Cowan of Madison, ME. Lloyd is your typical urban homesteading type who spent some years out west before coming back to Maine and using his urban lot to grow vegetables, house show chickens, layer hens, and keep a handful of goats for dairy and soap. The show opened with Lloyd giving a little run down of his history and how he came to be an urban homesteader, but it’s the happenings of his town that drew the interest of the Liberty Hippie. In June 2018, the town board held a meeting and took a vote by a show of hands on a ordinance that would effect everyone in town with a lot smaller than 1.5 acres. The ordinance was not advertised as anything to do with farming, or produce, but was tacked on under a property ordinance and looked to have more to do with loose and barking dogs, than actual livestock. In the morning, residents started to find out about the new ordinance that was passed by a mere 50 people in a town of 5,000. As the days would roll on, and appeals were filed, new information has come to light and once again, we see government force being used to entrench protectionist policies despite the desires of the local community.

As the current situation stands, the next town meeting, June 10, 2019, it looks as if the turbulence will finally be decided. Please feel free to call the town and let them know that this oridinance is not only contradictory to the Food Sovereignty declaration the town made, but is also anti-business, and is unconstitutional that a small handful of individuals can dictate how owners of land can use said land. The town manager, Tom Curtis, and the code enforcer, Susan Hathaway can be reached using the information provided.

Tom Curtis – 207-696-3971 – edd@madisonmaine.com
Susan Hathaway – 207-696-3971 – code@madisonmaine.com

Pictures of Lloyds Backyard Homestead

The Links

If you’re enjoying the show, please support it on Patreon and get access to bonus shows, seeds, and merchandise (and if you don’t like Patreon, you can sign up to support the show on BitBacker!) You can also do your Amazon shopping through our Amazon link. 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. And don’t forget to join the The Homesteaded Homeschool Forum to be a part of the conversation.And 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.

Link to show notes for episode 18 with Shane and Meredith Hazel.

The Bottle Babies are Here!

A couple of weeks ago, we had the neighbors come over and show me how to stretch some woven wire fence. It wasn’t long after that we got our first goat, Cinnamon Sally. There’s no telling what she is, the vet we got her from called her a brush goat, so basically she’s a meat mutt. The first couple of days we had her, she was alone and sad. The books and such warn you that keeping a single goat is tough, and Cinnamon Sally proved them right. She was tough to get a hold of and was very untrustworthy, and on top of that, she was hardly eating despite having sweet feed and a couple acres of pasture. She was supposed to come with a buck, but unfortunately, the buck didn’t make it and so Cinnamon Sally came alone and we just had to hold on until the bottle babies were ready.

Cinnamon Sally
This past weekend we were able to make the 2.5 hour trek (one way) to pick up two more bottle babies, Paige and Rosey. They were three weeks old when we got them, and need to be fed four times a day; thankfully, we’ve been able to use this as a learning experience for the kids and feeding the goats has become their job.

Bottle Baby 1
I will admit, I had no idea what to expect when they first came, but I learned quickly: goats are loud, and they get angry! The other night I went out to do some weeding in the garden and feed the chickens, well, the goats heard me. At first they came over to the corner of their pasture and did some maa’ing at me. When I didn’t respond, they got louder, and the maa’s were almost tinged with a bit of distress, but when I continued to ignore them, their maa’s became angry and petulant.

Paige 1
They have quite the personalities, and while we don’t plan on eating these particular goats, I can already say for certain, that butchering any future kids is going to be a tough job.

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

Fermented Fridays: Carrots!

After college, I was not sure what to do in terms of a job, I had not applied to graduate school, so I started to peruse the Yahoo! Jobs section. Long story short, I ended up in South Korea teaching English for a year. It took me a while, but eventually I fell in love with that pungent, spicy dish we call kim chi. When I returned home, I struggled to find authentic kim chi the way the ajumma’s in Korea make it. The stuff in the jar at the grocery store was passable, but by no means a substitution for what could be found at any random Korean restaurant. I then started to venture into making my own kim chi, and sadly, was never able to make it right. (I think a fair bit of it has to do with getting authentic go chu jang powder – this is probably the best.)

Despite not being able to make truly authentic kim chi, I experimented with some other vegetables and eventually – with some assistance through Sandor Katz – found the world of fermentation. Really, you can ferment anything, especially if you go the lacto-fermentation route; granted some things taste better than others, but it’s always fun to experiment and see what happens. Sometimes you get a winner, and sometimes you made some chicken food.

This past winter we had a spectacular carrot harvest. We froze some, and kept a supply in the refrigerator, but we still had plenty left over. (Unfortunately, here in Georgia, it would seem that no one has heard of a basement or a root-cellar so we have no ideal place for storage.) Rather than just chuck more carrots in the freezer, I decided to lacto-ferment a few and see what happened.

We don’t use pesticides or chemicals in our garden, so I have no concerns about eating the skins of our vegetables, so before cutting the carrots into spears I gave them a good scrub, but left the skins on. I’m a big fan of garlic, ginger, and hot pepper, so naturally, they were part of my supply list as was a jar that has a slight taper towards the top with a rubber gasket – and of course sea salt. My wife got this jar a long time ago for storing dried goods, but the slight taper allows me to pack things in, and then the pressure keeps vegetables submerged without needing any sort of weight to keep them down.

Dragon Carrots, purple on the outside, orange on the inside.

Lacto-fermenting is really one of the easiest ways to preserve food. I peeled a couple garlic cloves and cut a couple big chunks of ginger up before tossing them into the bottom of the jar and adding a healthy dose of hot pepper. I cut the tops off the carrots before slicing them lengthwise into quarters – sixths for the bigger carrots – and then shoved them in lengthwise packing them tight. When I could fit no more, I used a measuring cup, keeping track of how much water it took to fill my jar about half an inch above the top of the carrots. I like to use a ratio of 1:1, tablespoons of salt:cups of water, so I ended up needing just under two tablespoons of salt. I added the salt and used a chopstick to wiggle the carrots around which helped the salt sink down, but who’s real purpose was to allow any trapped air bubbles to escape. (If you trap air bubbles, you defeat the idea of lacto-fermentation and you’ll get inedible rot.)

carrot topWhen my salt, carrots, spices and water were added, I shut the lid and put the jar in the closet of the warmest room in our house. By about day two, I noticed little tiny bubbles rising to the surface, on day three I burped the jar, but probably did not need to as there was no pressure to speak of. (Secretly I wanted to give them the sniff test and it’s really hard to leave them alone.) At this point you don’t want to agitate the carrots any. The carbon dioxide – a byproduct of the lacto-fermentation process – is heavier than air and will sit on top of your ferment, keeping the nasty oxygen away from your vegetables and preventing contamination.

How long you let your carrots sit is really up to you. It depends on how warm the ambient air temps are, how big your ferment batch is, and how tangy you like your veggies. I left our carrots for five days. As this was the first time trying to ferment carrots, I wasn’t really sure how they would come out and part of me was ready to march straight away to the chicken coop – my wife has disallowed me from keeping ferments in the fridge that I “might” eat “one day” – but much to my surprise, they were delicious – crisp and slightly reminiscent of relish, but with that lacto-fermented-almost-kim chi- flavor I’d been searching for. Next to some radish kim chi I made a few years ago, this was the closest flavor I had come to that reminded me of that spicy goodness every capable Korean grandmother creates. And, as a bit of a surprise, the red-purple coloring from our Dragon Carrots leached into the water giving it a red hue. Give it a shot!

Fermented Friday: Oatmeal!
Fermented Friday: Ginger Bug!
Fermented Friday: SCOBY Dooby Doo!