My moms family were among the first anglo settlers in Arizona. My grandma would make fried cactus from nopals in the spring. She used spineless prick.ly pear cactus she grew for that purpose. She would harvest the pads, peel the pads and steam them to remove as much of the slime as possible. Then she would fry them in bacon grease and salt and pepper them. she may have floured them prior to frying, I don't know. It was similar to fried okra, but way better (what okra wants to taste like when it grows up).
When I was a little kid we visited relatives in eastern arizona and they made a delicious salad with prickly pears (deseeded). I was a little kid and don't know the particulars. The next morning I walked out and saw a prickly pear cactus with ripe looking pears. Being a little kid and remembering how good it tasted, I walked up and tried to pick the pear. Everyone thought I was kind of a dumb kid not to realize the pears had those fine hair spines. My mom told me afteward you had to pick them carefully with tongs and a knife and then burn off the spines.
I personally like the weight of a fairly heavy quilts, but some people don't.
I would say don't overlook the value of the sheets, which really trap a lot of heat close to your body. A flannel sheet thickness liner in a sleeping bad makes a big difference in warmth (an extra 10 or 15 degrees lower).
Second idea, fill a 2 liter soda bottle with very warm water and throw it down by your feet. If you are really chilled, another by your belly or thighs. It'll still be warmer than you in the morning. (NOTE!!! DON'T USE BOILING WATER. IF IT'S TOO HOT, THE PLASTIC SOFTENS AND LID COMES OFF. ask me how I know.)
As noted above, the sheets and blankets need to hang over the side of the bed some to keep the cold from creeping in at the edges. I like oversized for that reason.
sleeping alone isn't as warm, although you need to be able to keep your partner from stealing your covers.
Wool works best if it's damp, but not against the skin, for comfort. If you plan to were socks to bed, make sure to change them just before bed because the ones you've been wearing all day are a little damp and will make your feet cold. Long johns of some sort (polypropylene, while not quite wool grade, are cheaper and more easily available and will warm even if a little damp. cotton won't.
I bought the 2 acres behind my house from a neighbor last winter. He's a rancher in his 90's, but as he phrases it "is getting a little wobbly" so his wife is getting him to sell off some of his property.
This summer I am planning on planting a mixed orchard/ woodlot with drip irrigation and a grey water system with mulberries, osage orange, black locust and maybe some green ash for the woodlot. (osage orange every few feet around the outside to try to keep the deer out after they grow up).
Grafting some good fruiting varieties on some of the mulberries and mixing them with the fruit trees (apple, plum, peach, apricot, goumi berry, goji berry, seaberry) in the fruiting section. fruit trees are expensive and I'm not rich, so I am grafting rootstock for many of these trees.
Hazels in their own area.
Depending on deer pressure I may coppice or pollard.
It's going to be an interesting experiment. I am 67, so I may not even live to see this come to full fruition, but someone will. Part of my goal is to have a place where my kids and grandkids can come and eat fruit of the bush or tree as they wish. I got to do this some as a child and it just seemed so heavenly and freeing I want to pass that on.
I welcome any suggestions and/or gentle critiques.
I "rolled" a rib once (it shifted out of position). Hurt like hell! After a few days I went to the chiropracter. He put it back in position and I was much better pretty quick and fine the next morning.
A note about chiropractors and drs. Not all are created equal. You know what they call the guy who graduated at the bottom of his class, barely squeeked through? They call him Dr, just like the smartest guy.
What did your coldest winter days get to, Mick, C or F, I am bilingual? What temps did the cold parts of your house sit at during the coldest OD temps? What were the heated kitchen temps?
I was a kid and I don't think we had a thermometer in the house, but I'm guessing most of the house was in the 30's to 40's (F) most of the winter. It was enough to make you hands ache after a while. The kitchen was probably in the 70's (F), it was comfortable and warm. there was an attached living room but it was cold enough that we didn't use it. We dressed warm, wore heavy pajamas and sometimes wore sleeping hats to bed.
My mom was surprised how cold the houses were in Germany (she was from Arizona and Southern California, although we had lived in South Dakota also). She was really surprised at the short sleeves and shorts in what seemed to her freezing weather.
It seemed like all of the german kids had red chapped cheeks. One of the neighbors said it was from leaning over the stove warming up on cold mornings.
An interesting side note was that we accidently broke the plaster on the wall one time and the insulation was bright yellow straw, no clay slip or anything.
In the old days houses were much smaller, so less to heat.
A long robe and thick wool socks are wonderful in a cold house. A 2 liter soda bottle full of warm water in your lap when setting helps.
When I was a kid we lived in Germany for several years. The only heat was in the kitchen. It made for closeness, because everyone was always in the kitchen. Our water heater was coal fired and we fired it up for bathing, which warmed the bathroom for a bath. The rest of the house was unheated. Most of us kids doubled up in beds and hot water bottles or warm bricks or rocks were loved.
The secret is heavier clothing. Wool is great. If it's itchy, get something between your skin and the wool. Heavy socks. My wife and girls have complained that womens clothing is just too thin (and have terrible, tiny, useless pockets).
Terry Pratchett is one of my favorite authors, but few hit a hometown every time. A couple of books of his I particularly liked were "The Wee Free Men" and it's follow on, "A Hat Full of Sky". At the end of each he presents, as part of the solution a really good concepts.
My favorite series right now are the "Master and Commander" series by Patrick O'brian (about 20 books) and the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. The master and commander series is great, tracing the career of a fictitious british naval captain through the napoleonic wars. The battles are authentic, most of the events are descriptions of real battles, but not all fought by the same captains. The Dresden Files is good, but it's getting a little predictable. It's about the only wizard in the phone book (do they even have phone books anymore?) in Chicago. The enemies keep getting bigger, the stakes keep going up as well as the number of characters. The wizard battles trolls, vampires, etc in modern Chicago and most people assume he's a charlatan.
As far as a wool mattress goes, I had a roommate once from Uraguay who was telling me his grandparents used wool in their mattresses and that once a year they took out the wool and washed it.
My own grandma told me that when she was young they used strawtics. Whatever you grew, once a year you emptied out your tic and stuffed it with new straw. She said it was really thick and glorious to sleep on right after you stuffed it, but by the next fall (harvest) it was thin, flat and hard. I think I would have set some straw aside to stuff my tick every month or two. Of course, I've been spoiled.
I'm in newly established in southeast Idaho and trying to convert a 1/2 acre pasture to garden. I'm having trouble with bind weed (which is a new challenge to me. I am looking for organic or better solutions to dealing with the bindweed.
I've rototilled (twice at 90 degrees to each other) and that helped initially.
Currently my strategy is hoing it down every few days, figuring the roots will eventually run out of energy if I keep cutting it back. Not sure how long that will take. I read it can send roots down to 16 feet. It's persistent. I tried a heavy straw mulch. It loved mulch! I think it's due to the additional moisture that mulch leaves in the soil.
I'm also trying to water only where my plants are, hoping the hot dry days will discourage it. Lack of water seems to slow down the bindweeed.
I had a really ambitious garden plan this year. We bought a new place last August in a new part of the country. There was a 1/2 acre goat paddock I declared my new garden plot. Short growing season. I started rototilling, etc. early. Jumped the gun way too early planting and I've been fighting weeds all spring (bindweed is a bitch). Finally realized I needed to rototill several times at 90 degrees to keep it at a manageable level. Now I'm focusing on about 1/2 the paddock, rototilling, hoing every few days and letting things bake dry for a while before trying to plant. It seems to be working. I will end up with potatoes, maybe a 3 sisters crop, pinto beans, and some of my bush and tree starts have survived and I will be able to get apple and stonefruit rootstock coming back every year.
I just got buck fever (bean fever?) and started trying to get things in the ground way too early. you know how it is. Weather's warm, forcast seems good, and you think "I'm going to go for it!" My neighbors told me later that no one can get the garden going until memorial day. Lesson learned!
My plan is to get lots of fruit trees and bushes going in my 1/2 acre and transplant them to the 2 acres I bought this spring behind the house.
Next year I will do much better. I will probably make a whole set of new mistakes, but they shouldn't be as expensive as the mistakes I made this year.
My wife has started cooking our beans in a pressure cooler this year and we've noticed this cut the gas significantly.
Also, we've had a few times where we ended up soaking the beans up to three days (changing water daily and putting them in the fridge after the first day). We did this due to unforseen schedule/menu changes. The results were much better beans with no gas. If you live in an area where the temperature is in the 30s, it might be an easy thing to put them in an unheated space. (Our fridge is usually too full to accommodate a big pot of beans.)
If you want swales and don't have much money i would suggest you borrow/buy a rototiller and rototill the swale line..
Then use a hoe or dirt rake to pull the rototilled dirt to the down slope side to make the swale. For a deeper/wider swale, rototill a second time after you have moved the dirt from the first pass.
The steeper the slope the harder to keep on the swale line, but it beats the hell out of shovel and pick work. (You will still be stiff and ready for a hot soak by the end of the day).
We had khaki campbells for several years, free range during the day and locked up at night. I was loosing ducks to predators until someone gave me a Rouen drake. He immediately took charge. It seemed to me that the ducks were happier overall with a male in charge, but more important, we quit loosing ducks to predators. The drake was always watching while the others were eating. I often saw him looking into the woods and then herd the rest into the duck house. After a little while he'ld come out and check things out and he'd lead them back down to the water. I watched him one time when a big hawk was around. He herded the rest into a bit of water in the yard and then got between them and the hawk, spreading his wings and trying to look big and scary. Eventually the hawk left.
It seemed to me that when we had only females my golden comet hens seemed to lord it over the ducks in the shared birdhouse(I think chickens can peck harder than ducks).
The khaki campbells laid big, light brown eggs just about every day. They were really good at finding their own food. My wife's only complaint was that, since we feed them in the evening, they associated us with food (people = good) and tended to hang out near our back door, which led to a really shitty porch.
I would have one or two go broody on occasion, but they didn't seem like they were very good mothers. Only a couple of ducklings hatched out and none survived (possibly because the grass was too tall near the duck house and mom didn't wait up for them enough).
A couple of gallons of water in a big dish pan morning and evening were plenty for them to 'bathe' in during the winter or when the 'pond' dried up.
We've moved, and I'll be getting more either this spring or next spring. (Getting 3 acres into permaculture food forest and mixed perennial and annual garden, so it's a question of what can I get done this year and what has to wait until next year. Trees and bushes come first).
A quick google search showed potatoes have a 347 calories/ pound and yields for commercial farms in the US run between 24,500 and 61,000 pounds of potatoes per acre (http://kenoshapotato.com). Using the bottom yield (24,500 lbs/acre) that would give us a bit over 8.5 million calories/per acre.
shelled corn yields around 15 million calories/ acre (average yield in the us is about 170 bushels/ acre, 56 lb/bushel, a bit over 1600 calories/ lb) 170 x56X1600 = 15,232,00 calories/ acre. (note, when looking up calories for corn, look up dried corn or corn meal. Sweet corn (not dried) has a much lower calorie/ lb due to the water. I used calorie data from https://www.nutritionix.com/food/cornmeal/lb).
So, I'm guessing if you planted 1/8 acre of potatoes, 1/8 acre for corn, and 3/4 of an acre for all the cool stuff you want to eat (melon, squash, beans, peas, berries, etc.) you should make a million calories/ acre pretty easy. (Armchair farming is amazingly easy, no aching back, no bugs).
I'm wanting to try this on my own property (Cache Valley, Idaho) next summer. I arrived in my new (hopefully final) home last August and am looking forward to planting a HUUUUGE garden. I'm in the process of buying the two acres of pasture behind me to add to the acre my house is on, over half of which has been goat pasture for many years. I've ordered 30 red maples (partly just for the color), 30 saw toothed oak and 30 mulberry trees for the coppicing or pollarding on part of the back lot. Also in the plan are lots of peach, plum, apple, pear and apricot trees as well as just about any kind of berries this area will allow. I'm hoping to do lots of rootstock with grafting for the fruit trees.
In addition to calories, I would be interested in the variety and quality of food I can produce as well as quantity. I am also interested in the energy input to raise the crop (both fossil fuel and norwegian steam (muscle). Maybe we could give extra points for variety and perennial/ self seeding foods that required minimal maintenance. As far as trees go, for the first few years I figure trees will not take up much space. As they grow and take up more space, we will have a conversion to more perennials, which is what we want in permaculture anyway.
Bacitracin, applied a couple times a day, because she will probably mess with it. If it has a problem with hair getting in it, trim the hair around the wound. (that might be impossible, it's near her eye and cats have definite bounds on what they want to allow). My son got a major burn last year on his legs (hint, don't poor gas on a fire, some us never learn. I think he figured it out after this). Anyway, the burn specialists told him that bacitracin was the only thing other than sterile gauze and/or cotton they wanted touching the wounds. That tells me bacitracin is the bomb!
Cat's are pretty tough. We used to have a tomcat that was a lover, but not much of a fighter. He'ld go out at night, looking for love, and drag his ripped up body home by morning. He would lay around the house half dead for a few days, healing up and as soon as he felt a bit better, he would head out again. Did it for a long time without getting infections. Kind of reminds me of some skirt chasing guys I've known. Different kind of pleasure, fire and pain, but again, some of us never learn!
green lumber should work fine for clapboard style siding, as long as there is only one line of nails per board, it will allow the board to shrink or expand (mainly shrink if it's green) without splitting, etc.
I think that for floor or roof joists (if you're just using long timbers) I would prefer seasoned timber to avoid sagging, the green timber just has more 'give' in it. Also they are much more subject to warping.
An alternative would be to use the green timber to built floor joists (top rail, bottom rail, cross pieces in between). I would build them a bit stouter than spec, because the green wood is more flexible. Years ago I built and add on to my house manufacturing my own struts. I made a jig on my garage floor so I could just lay in my top and bottom rails and my cross pieces and then used triangular pieces of scrap plywood to tie them together on the side facing up, then I flipped it and used plywood scraps to tie the other side together. They were heavier than storebought joists, but I was using scrounges wood, so they were close to free. Also, for ease of manufacture and possible access I made them much taller than I would have bought (taller was more expensive for purchased joists, but fewer connection points for homemade) and because of that they were massively overbuilt as far as strength went. The fact that they are tied together fairly often should also limit warping just like it will limit sagging.
I always know some politician is going to pick my pocket when they say something that starts with "In a country as rich as ours...." The advertisers have been pretty successful at convincing us that "you deserve this, spoil yourself!" Untrue! There will be some things you decide you need, but consider the cost. I take a hot bath every day because it helps with my back. I realize it is a luxury, but I am willing to pay for it. What kills us is the little luxuries we take without thinking about them.
When I was young I read Walden Pond, by Thoreau. If you haven't read it, do so. He layed it out pretty clearly how much of our lives we spend trying to pay off debts, which we mainly accrue so we can pay off the debts. Foolishness! His whole point of going to Walden Pond was to show how cheaply and well a person could live. There are some great insights and points to ponder. If he had been born in our time he would definitely have been a permie.
I remember when I was a teenager and my mom started 'splurging' and using plastic wrap over left overs, rather than covering them with an upside down plate. Plastic wrap was around for quite a while before that I think, but she didn't use it until she had weighed the cost/benefits. My grandma used both aluminum foil and plastic wrap, you could tell because she washed it after each use, dried it and reused it. I have never been really impressed with Dave Ramsey because my dad preached that same sermon the whole time I was growing up, as did most of my relatives who grew up during the depression. They would sometimes talk about some of the stupid things they had done starting out, pointing it out what idiots they were, so we would be smarter. Dave just seems like more of the same. It's never about how much cash you can bring in. It's about how much you can keep in you pocket at the end of the day.
We don't have a credit card, although I have gotten used to using my debit card most of the time. I resisted it for years, but it's so darned convenient!
We just bought a new place with a 30 year mortgage, but I figure we'll pay it off in about 10 years. We have always just paid cash for what we needed and if we couldn't pay for it, we didn't get it. I think we once had to buy a used car on payments, but we paid it off within a couple months. Most people in this country don't know how to live poor and live well. I'm surprised at the number of people who don't know how to cook from scratch. Shop the outside edge of the grocery store, haunt the thrift stores and garage sales. There are far more 'good ideas' than you can afford. If something is convenient, you're probably paying for it in higher cost and lower nutrition. I'm not sure my kids really knew what cold cereal was.
Around 1990 My wife and I were living in the suburbs of Chicago when our fifth kid was born. I was going to school to get my engineering degree and working with a bunch of engineers. We were living in a neighborhood where it was mostly Drs. married to lawyers with a small dog or at most 1 kid. My wife would get dirty looks from the 'professional women' in the grocery store when she came in with all our kids. One day a bunch of my coworkers came to me and asked "How can you survive, we all make way more than you, our wives all work and we only have one kid each. We're barely surviving. How can you survive without your wife working and all those kids!" I could have told them the Dave Ramsey saying about eating 'beans and rice, alternating with rice and beans'. Instead I decided to blow their minds a little further and said, "Well, I pay a full tithe too,..." That really blew their minds.
Years later, I was working in the bush for weeks at a time, usually leaving early monday morning and coming back Friday evening. We had a house load of kids, both teenagers and babies (teenagers are emotionally exhausting, babies are physically exhausting, both together are really rough). I made a lot of money, with a pretty good salary plus per dium and overtime, but my wife ordered a lot of pizza when I was on the road (I can't blame her, it's a wonder she kept her sanity!) and we weren't able to save much of anything. When I left Alaska and moved to the midwest, I took somewhere between a 33 - 50% paycut, but we made out better because I was home more.
You may have unwittingly saved the rest of the flock by killing a sick bird.
I have a simple rule with questionable foods. Don't eat it! (If you have any other option).
Years ago I used to trap cottontails in Southern California. I would butcher them out in the field and bring the meat home for my mom to cook. Occasionally I would find a rabbit with some kind of growth or bubble in it's gut cavity. I left those carcasses out in the field.
I was raised with the idea that if you kill it you eat it, but there were always unspoken caviats. You don't have to eat mice you trap in the house, or skunks or other varmints you kill out of neccessity. And you don't have to eat sick animals!
A leading theory is that ebola entered the human population from people eating sick primates. (I think no one really knows, or can ever know how such things start). With a few notable exceptions, diseases rarely cross species lines (the more the animal is like you, the easier the disease crosses, which leads me to wonder about the several diseases crossing between pigs and people, then I realize convergent evolution can get marsupials to a dog or wolf like shape (tasmanian tiger), I've been called a pig a time or too, hmmm....) Wandering off subject!
I guess my advice would be, you can still raise and eat animals, but I err on the side of caution with sick animals.
I'm in my mid 60-s, but I think I can relate to what you are saying. All I can say is what my folks told me. PATIENCE. it sucks and it's hard, but there sometimes is no shortcut for time spent.
I've had many of my kids comment to me how much better the older classic rock music from the 60's, 70s and 80s is than what they hear on the radio now. My response is that there was an awful lot of bad music then, but it's all gone away. All you see now from that time is the cream of the crop. It's kind of the same with what you are dealing with. I remember when I was growing up thinking how much better my folks had it than I did (of course, I kind of overlooked the fact that they grew up during the great depression and lost relatives during WWII).
In some ways you are right, things were better then, in some ways things are so much better now.
It comes down to this, play the hand you are dealt. That is your only choice. Some folks will fall into a tub of butter (like, be born rich, beautiful and talented, or inherit land, or just be in the right spot at the right time, or have great skills that you don't), some won't. Generally the lucky ones will do better, life ain't fair. It is what it is. Don't waste time comparing your lot to someone elses. If you are like me you will dwell on how good they have it and overlook how bad they have it. You have a companion you get along with. MAJOR WIN!!! Move forward.
Over the last 40 years or so I've raised 9 kids, loved 1 woman, and gone to work at various jobs I wasn't thrilled 5 days a week to make sure those I loved had what they needed. I haven't been miserable, because my family was where my joy was, I didn't look to my 'career' to find fulfillment. I figure I'm pretty average in that way. Most of the guys I've worked with over the years were similar to me in that home was what it was all about. I'm about ready to retire and have bought a place up in Idaho.
In hindsight, looking at my own experiences, I would say that you need to buckle down and love very poor for a couple of years (eat rice and beans/ beans and rice) to get the grub stake you don't have and buy you're property. It won't be exactly what you want, because you probably won't be able to afford what you want, but get something that over time you will be able to make what you want. (You will never be able to get EVERYTHING you want, unless you are close kin to the sultan of Dubai, but decide between what you really want and what you can let go). If you can find a situation set up for you, fine, go for it. You probably won't though. You will probably have to create it.
I've lived in major cities, suburbs and very rural. While the percentages vary some (as well as customs and mores), you have pretty much the same folks everywhere. Pick the spot you want. Over a few years, if you mingle in society, you will collect a group of 'your people'.
Some view it as my personal quirk, harmless and eccentric. (Don't let him get on the subject, he won't shut up). My adult kids are at various levels of excitement/interest. Being starving college students with young, growing families their plates are already full to overflowing. Most of my siblings are waiting to see the rubber hit the road. Their thought is 'the proof of the pudding is in the eating." My wife is conceptually converted and is willing to let me run with it as long as it looks ok and isn't too expensive or inconveniences her too much. She is mostly interested in the food storage/medicine side of things.
We just sold our house in southern Indiana and are buying a house in Cache valley in southeast Idaho. Pretty stoked about it.
I was working down in the Silicon Valley around 1980. Because of the massive influx of engineers and programmers there was about a 2 to 1 single guy/gal ratio at church. I was a lowly tech. I met my wife at a halloween party thrown by some young adults from church. Everyone there was from that group. They had paired me up with this pretty, nice gal with long red hair (I've always been partial to long hair, particularly when it's on redheads and blonds). We were carving a jack-o-lantern and I happened to say something to this cute gal with short brown hair setting on the other side of me. I made a comment, she responded and I guess I was a jerk because I kind of forgot about the redhead. Sometimes you meet someone and know "We're going to be good friends". The balance somehow feels right. Anyway, after talking quite a while that evening, I asked her out. I was soon in hot pursuit and, given the guy/gal ratio, I kept her evenings booked from then on. I asked her to marry me a little over a month later. (I had left one night open 3 days before I asked her to marry me and she went out with another guy). Nine kids and almost 40 years later, it's still good. She's my best friend and the balance is even better.
I love this idea! I have a suggestion that might help. If you allow the "gasket" between the pipe and the lid on one side to dry before you put the lid on, you can remove one end of the window clean out any moisture. I view this as a real improvement over double paned glass, which if it gets moisture in there, you can't get at. I would recommend opening the outside end on a very cold day (hopefully below 10 degrees F or -12 C). The colder it is, the less water vapor the air can hold. At about 10 degrees, there just isn't much water left (I think that's why snow flakes get smaller the colder it gets). That way the air you introduce will be very dry. Another alternative is to put some CO2 in it. Rice could also work and if it starts to get moldy or something, pull it out and replace it.
I've heard an acopcryphal story about a guy who made long trips pretty often he rigged up an extension to his tail pipe that sat on his rear bumper (i envision a pick-em-up-truck). The hot pipe would would slow cook his food, so after a few hours you had a hot meal. I assume he insulated the cooking box.
When I was a kid we ate a lot of roadkill rabbit. When a cottontail ran across the road my dad would try to go over it without hitting it with the tires (no wild swerving, but little turns). Then we would stop and check it out. If it was beat up too bad, we left it. Often though the damage wasn't bad (rabbit got hit in the head) and we'ld take it home and eat it. My mom usually would use it as flavoring, mixed with potatos, onions (make gravy, make a stew, pie, etc.).
When I lived in Alaska, roadkill moose was seen as a huge windfall. You called the troopers and got you name on the rotating list and they would call whoever was on the top of the list if a moose got hit. If you answered and could come, it was your moose. You were responsible for making sure the offal (guts, etc) didn't get left on the side of the road (it attracts bears). There was a spot at the dump to take the waste. In Anchorage area it was so popular that they restricted it to charities. My church was on the list and I helped harvest a lot of moose. Anyone who we knew was in need got meat. Anyone who went out got meat. The troopers kept a list of charities and a few times I had strangers call and come by for meat.
When a moose was hit by a car, usually one quarter was bloodshot and ruined. That still left 3/4 of a moose. A couple of times we got called when a semi hit a moose and once when a train hit a moose. In those cases, the moose died so quickly that there was no bruising, although some of the guts ended up in strange places, pretty much all the meat was salvageable. Even the bloodshot quarter might be good for dogfood, although it won't keep that long.
I won't touch road kill that I don't know how long it's been lying there, but a fresh animal is nothing to turn your nose up at.
I think most of the time people look at the options represented by the people around them and assume those are the only options.
We are in the middle of selling our house and the real estate agent told us that in his experience, most people lack imagination. They have a hard time imagining the house in front of them with a good cleaning or a coat of paint or even with the outlet covers replaced. How much harder to imagine a way of life you havent seen?
One of the problems is that we all are dealt a different hand in life. Some are smart, good looking, tall, (fill in the blank), some are dealt a much poorer hand. Some are born into a strong, supportive family, some not.
Some work really hard, others just drift.
I don't know how to fix this inequity and I don't think anyone does.
We have reached a point in western society where we try to provide a safety net where people can live in conditions that would have seemed wealthy a couple hundred years ago. The problem is, we compare our situation with others doing better and realize we are poor and disadvantaged. (If you were living in some 3rd world country you might feel rich, it's comparitive).
Maybe someone smarter than me has a better answer, but most of what I see is nothing new. I think the besy answer is to change the mindset of the people. Hard to do.
On acting in anger. Several years ago I got a pretty bad concussion from getting hit by a tree. I was pretty squirrely for at least 6 months. (My wife said I was hilarious, because every guy has a monkey and an old man in his head. The monkey was running the show for several months.)
I knew I wasn't really in my right mind and I had a bit of a temper. I was very concerned about damaging relationships with my wife and kids, so l made it a point to stop and consider for a few seconds before acting. I did this consistantly for months and it became something of a habit. I'd stop and think "is this going to help, is it a proper response".
I had heard the count to ten thing for years but had really never tried it until my injury kind of forced it on me. It is hard initially, bu it works! It doesn't keep me from acting, but it helps me to act on my higher self and avoid doing the stupid things my inner monkey sometimes urges
As a side note,my older kids say I got more lenient and spoiled the younger ones, although I think every older kid thinks the younger ones have it easy. (The sibling equivalent of walking 10 miles to school each day, uphill! Both ways!) My wife says I have become calmer. (If you spouse is hot headed, I don't advocate hitting them with a tree, but.....)
Minorities look for organizations where they can share their experiences and try to collectively bring about change. Without getting my post flagged I'd wager to say it's unlikely a lot of the white people in the world have needed that. When white people want change, they just do it because they're in power.
. White people and white men, just like everyone else find themselves in vastly different situations in life. A few have power, most don't. To group them all together is an example of exactly the kind of thinking this discussion is about.
I worked with a guy a while back. He also had a vastly overrated opinion of a 'power' of a working class or poor white person. One day he remarked "If I was a white, I would be president of this country." He made more money than me, he had a higher position than me. My thought, although I didn't say it to him because I liked him and didn't want to hurt his feelings was "you're kind of an idiot, being white wouldn't change that". The very rich are the ones with all the power. Most of the very rich in this country are white, although by no means are they all anglo. As a white man, that does me no more good than if I tried to draw money out of their bank account. If you think they are looking out for my benefit, your wrong. If anything, a lot of time their so busy pandering to the various other groups, they forget or ignore working class whites.
They have power. I don't. I have one vote, just like every other person.
How tall are your trees now? If they are 3 ft tall I would be comfortable putting chickens in among them. Maybe a bit smaller for banties. Sounds to me like you need to have 2 fences, so you can have the critters (whatever type you choose) in 1, set up the 2nd, move the chicken over, and then roll up and relocate the first.
Everyone has categories in their head for identifying things around them. It's how we organize the world. We also do that with people. Whether it's good or bad, I think it's how we do things. When I was young I lived on a big reservation. Not everyone there like white guys, and they sometimes made it known. One day I was walking through a store and there was an older man walking towards me. When he notice me he got the stone face. As we approached I heard 'Daddy" and one of my kids ran past the man, up to me. The stone face instantly went away and the man smiled. Thinking about it, I realized the approach of my kid shifted me in his head from "white guy" to "family man".
I've noticed in myself, the big difference in my reactions to people of other groups depends largely in what 'group' I drop them into in my head. I do this automatically, within probably less than a second, without realizing it. I have a 'military' category, a 'redneck' category, a 'yuppy' category, a 'black guy' category, a 'church person' category, that actually has several categories under that, including an 'Amish' category. I've had good and bad experiences with people in the various categories and I automatically view them with a certain slant, positive or negative. If I can move them to a different category, they automatically shift points. Sometimes this happens by accident. I see a guy who otherwise might drop into a more negative category with his little kid and he shifts into the 'daddy' category. Sometimes I 'trick' myself by purposely noticing something that will shift the person. I'm married and faithful to my wife. I find, when I meet an attractive gal I can conciously shift her from the 'good looking gal' category her into some other category that she could also fit into. It's a weird mental trick, but it actually changes how I see them.
I think it's pretty normal to make projections from the people you meet to the larger group. If I've only met 5 redheads, and all 5 were wonderful, I will be disposed positively towards redheads. If they were all awful people, I will be negatively biased. I will probably not even be aware of this. If I meet 4 ok people and 1 enormous A-Hole, my experiance may be disproportionately effected by the jerk. If I meet many, many redheads, the individual effects will tend to balance out towards the average for redheads, which will probably be about neutral. People who live in homogeneous areas may have few exposures to other groups, therefore those exposures matter. Media becomes more important then. I think the Cosby show (back before he was outed as a creeper) probably did more to shift white attitudes than any amount of rioting, because it gave a picture of good people who happened to be another color. I had a friend that told me he was 12 before he saw a white person in real life. His attitude was formed partly from what he saw on TV. When he talked it was apparent his vision of white people had them all living in large houses with cool jobs, no money worries and usually a maid. (Not anywhere near how any of the people I knew lived).
I have prejudices. I am aware of some of them. I am biased towards some people and against some others.
Deciding I'm not going to be prejudiced against people is about as effective as deciding I won't like ice cream. I can quit eating ice cream, i can say I hate ice cream, but I still like it. If I'm around ice cream, someone might see that I am drawn to it. I can try to not show prejudiced behavior, but it will still probably sneak out around the edges.
I have a niece who has had some terrible experiences with cops. She really dislikes cops. I can't blame her, but isn't that also a prejudice? Based on her experience, they are jerks, but is every cop a jerk?
free ranging chickens worked for me. When we bought our place in Indiana, we had so many ticks that you couldn't walk through the grass without getting lots of ticks on you. I mowed and got about 20 chickens and let them free range. It took a couple of weeks but they cleared out about 2 acres very effectively.