So first before discussing the pros and cons I would like to discuss one thing that stood out to me over and over as I read this book. This book is not a book for someone who is experienced with Permaculture, it is for someone who isn't. That is by no means a bad thing, after all if you are experienced with Permaculture you hardly need to be convinced that the knowledge in this book is good to possess. Unfortunately this makes the book hard to give an unbiased review to because as a person who has browsed these forums off and on for years, most of the information in here is stuff that I learned years ago on the forums and by listening to the podcast.
I give this book 7 out of 10 acorns. As I generally do, I will first discuss the positives.
This book is a surprisingly enjoyable read, more so than most books on the subject or permaculture. The author(s) mixes down to earth experience without droning on in a way that makes it sometimes very hard to stop reading. Additionally, when you do stop reading you almost immediately start thinking of how to implement what is discussed in the book and have a desire to research things further. The book also covers enough that almost anyone will find value in its pages regardless of what level of interest they have in permaculture, homesteading, or environmentalism. This really is a book you can easily give to someone as a gift and for most people it will be a gift that they appreciate and are bettered for it.
Unfortunately there are a few issues that prevent me from giving the book a higher rating. Much like Sepp Holzer's book, much of this book applies to Paul's specific situation. As I said before there is something in there for everyone, but reading through eight things that wont work for you to find two that might can at times be frustrating. If I ever obtain a print copy and move to a cold climate this book will be invaluable, but if I instead move to a warmer climate then the near lack of information on passive cooling and other necessary information will make this book redundant. Additionally while I do agree to pretty much all of the opinions discussed in the book, I do feel slogging through a good part of the book to get to the meat only makes it frustrating when things like chickens, pigs, and other animals are not discussed significantly. Finally I must base my review on the copy I was given, and unfortunately the formatting of the copy did make it difficult at times to find which images went with which. I will be happy to update the review at a later date if I find that the final version does not have this last flaw, but until then I do have to deduct an acorn for presentation.
Thanks for the great replies! I am just interested in hearing about experiments involving directly applying stropharia directly to soil and not to mulch or newspaper. I am curious to see if it will work with my garden as it is without having to significantly change my garden (I use sawdust not mulch in my garden and not a deep layer) so that I don't have to increase the amount of watering I do.
I emailed a vendor who sells the big sawdust spawn blocks but I thought I would also ask you folks, can you just rake/till in sawdust spawn into the soil of your garden and have any chance of these types of mushrooms colonizing the soil?
We have had terrible luck trying to grow mushrooms which we think is mostly our fault (neglecting in keeping them moist constantly) and we are hoping that by putting it in our raised beds where we are going to grow tomatoes and carrots that we can help them and give them a place where they will get sufficient moisture and nutrients themselves.
Is this just a case of us wishing instead of reasoning? If this doesn't work I may try another log spawn attempt (third time is the charm) and covering it with leaves to keep it from drying out since we can't really water our non-garden areas.
Justin Peck wrote:We have a Great Pyrenees and she does a wonderful job protecting our flock, though she does cost us about $90 a month in dog food. She get's the good stuff (4Health grain free). I agree with Bryant that it's more about the size of your enemy than the size of you farm. And most small dogs are more likely to go after your chickens. An alternative may be for you to get a guard goose. I know Joel Salatin keeps one with his chickens and they keep predators away. Just don't get more than one or they'll care about each other and not protect your chickens.
I like that! I had considered guard geese but I didn't know you could only keep one for that effect. Maybe I will see about getting a single gosling and see how that goes.
The problem with Pyrenees and other medium to large dogs is that they cost more to feed than a dog that weighs about 20lbs
Even a LGD alone is not a match for more than one coyote at a time, but they will deter the coyotes from wanting to come around.
We don't really have coyotes, the worst we get is foxes and small ones at that (house cat size). I am also not desiring a fox fighting dog - I want one that will bark enough to startle it and to give it something else to worry about. Fighting the fox means vet bills that will probably cost a lot more than the chickens would cost to replace (only birds we have that have predator problems).
We are planning to make the switch from electric net fencing to permanent welded wire fencing in the next year and one thing we wanted to do was to get a poultry guard dog. Most of the time when people talk about livestock guard dogs they are talking about the large breeds that can watch sheep and goats, but we are a small farm and do not want to feed such a large creature unnecessarily? Are there any really good small breeds that will drive off a fox or opossum but not harm chicks?
We got a Beagle/Husky mix and while she was the right size and loud like we wanted but she did not do well with poultry so now she is an indoor dog (though to be fair when we had an outdoor rat problem she was a great help and made up for it). We want to make sure before we get another dog that we are getting one with the highest chance of working out because we really don't want yet another indoor dog.
We have also been using the wood pellets for our cats for years now. For composting we are pretty lazy so all year long we pile it in a three sided bin made of pallets and then when it is time to plant our spring garden we shovel off the top half into another such bin and use the significantly older stuff below. By that stage it is at least six months old and has an almost pleasant earthy smell. I doubt it adds much in the way of nitrogen to our garden, but with our heavy clay soil we have noticed that each year are garden soil ends up being a bit looser without us having to till much more than the top three or four inches.
You know, I always wondered what would happen if people grew vining beans and other things out of their windows in skyscrapers. A vining bean might grow twenty feat high and need no more than a 5 gallon bucket.
GIS is a great tool, depending on the county you are interested in you can use it to look for large tracks of land on big plots and see who the owner is. There are a lot of older people who have huge tracks of land and it hasn't even occurred to them to rent it out because they don't think anyone would want it. A little work and you can work out a pretty good deal (might even let you do it for free)>
Honestly you will have a hard time competing with the large growers when it comes to bulk produce and meat - they are just set up to do it better.
I would recommend trying a bunch of different species of livestock and finding the one you most enjoy to raise, then get into breeding and selling. You make a lot more selling a chick than you do an egg and there really isn't a significant difference in the amount of work one takes to sell over the other. Another thing that seems to work well is finished products. You could try selling honey or nuts, or you could sell honey glazed nuts for more than you could sell them for separately for. Classes are another option, if while raising livestock you get pretty good at certain things (such as cutting pigs or butchering chickens) you can teach classes on those to new homesteaders. Watching a video or reading a book is just not the same.
So for the last few years we have been companion planting our annuals when we noticed something. For one reason or another, the yields were always better when we planted only two varieties than when we tried to do three or more. I would try growing tomatoes, carrots, and basil and they never really did much until I dropped the basil one year and BAM - tomatoes and carrots like we had never had at our property. The same was true for our three sisters garden, this year we did not bother to put much effort into the cucurbits (which never do much due to squash bugs) and we have had our best corn and bean harvest to date at the property. We didn't even try a third companion for our potatoes and peas and you would think that our soil had magic powers based on how well they did.
I am starting to think that when time and resources are limited and you are looking for the biggest bang for your buck from annuals (i.e. canning 20 quarts of each variety) that it is better to focus on a "buddy system" than to go with a team of companions - anyone else experience this when trying to do polycultures?
Dry plucking isn't that bad - on a chicken. For ducks and probably other waterfowl you simply can't get off all of their feathers without wax in a reasonable amount of time without skinning. Even with chickens if you do not use a small torch to singe off the "hairs" that male chickens can get you get an unappetizing looking bird. Add to that that we do not treat our birds with any chemicals which causes them to have the occasional mite on them (which we treat with DE but it isn't 100% effective) it is just so much easier to skin them.
I rather compost the skin than to spend 5 times as long to get a less appetizing looking bird just to be stubborn. Rather than composting it I am going to experiment with boiling it feathers and all (after it is well rinsed) to see what happens. Just have to wait until it is time for another culling.
So we have tried plucking and we have tried skinning and overall we have just fallen in love with skinning. It is so much faster and really the only thing we miss out on is the skin itself (and I have been considering doing a hybrid pluck/skin to have skin for the leg quarters. But there is the rub, it isn't that we don't know what to do with it (makes good compost apparently) but we would like to figure out if there is a way to render the skin to separate the grease for cooking, soap making, ect. It isn't as important for the chicken skins but if we decide to go this way with ducks and geese their grease is too valuable to waste.
So my question is this: will rendering the whole skin (feathers and all) taint the grease and make it taste bad? I need to research the method of doing so more but before I committed to experimentation I wanted to know if anyone had any experience. Only text I could find on the subject was a 1918 book on rendering penguin skin .
I don't know if I would recommend using them in the floor of the chicken coop, but we use them in the chicken yard extensively for the ducks.
I would not think they would be harmful to the chickens. Chickens are pretty good at not eating what they are suppose to and do not have the same problem as some rodents do with certain woods (don't keep pet rats on pine shavings!). Your problem is going to be the same problems you would have with straw except magnified. It will be harder to shovel the mulch out than the straw would be for example. You can do it and it will be better than not having anything though .
Have you considered fermentation and/or drying as other alternatives to using fridges/freezers?
With fermentation you can take many things that normally would either need to be canned or frozen, and make them something that you can eat or drink year round. Fruit and vegetables mostly of course but those are also some of the things that are the biggest dilemma for those avoiding freezers and fridges. Right now most of the recipes are limited to things that have been tried in the past (sauerkraut, wine, ect) so it might be interesting to experiment with recipes that haven't been tried before. Of course you would want to consult with someone who can help you avoid all the pitfalls, otherwise you could try a recipe and it make you sick.
Drying fruits, vegetables, and meat are things that have been done for most of human history. You could probably dry most things and reconstitute them into some very tasty stews, casseroles, ect. In fact in my travels through the internet I came across a hiking website that specialized in recipes made entirely out of reconstituting dried ingredients. There are probably plans for solar dryers that would work for more than just things like herbs and even if there weren't dehydrators are probably more environmentally friendly than fridges.
We are still experimenting with which variety works best in our location. Our best year we had in a different location was with Cherokee White Eagle, so we are trying that this year and we will see how it goes. We plant about 240 stalks so it is a fair bit of corn that we would not want to force ourselves to eat (polenta is fine but I couldn't eat 400 ears worth of polenta in an entire year) but it isn't enough to completely feed our flock. I would be more interested in using it to supplement existing feed to reduce our overall feed bill - especially in the colder months when they eat twice as much.
That is why I had the idea to try sprouting it, but couldn't find much in the way of that particular grain. Lots on feeding them sprouts but it is mostly wheat sprouts and such - not corn sprouts.
I should clarify, I do not intend to market it. The corn is a natural biproduct of my garden. Sweet corn doesn't grow tall enough to work for what I need and I would get a better value out of feeding the corn to my chickens than turning it into corn meal.
So in laymans terms are you saying the protein percent would not change by sprouting them? I free range my birds year round so my main concern is protein and calories in the supplemental feed.
So we were thinking of in the future expanding our three sister garden to roughly an additional 4000sqft and one of the things we are discussing is whether to grow sweet corn for market or field corn for the chickens. I know that field corn alone is not a suitable feed for chickens except as a snack or in the winter, but it occurs to me that if the field corn (which in itself is more nutritious I believe than standard yellow corn) were to be sprouted, that could raise the proteins up to an acceptable level. The problem is I can't find any nutritional information on sprouted corn - does anyone have experience with feeding chickens a good bit of sprouted corn?
The thing is, people who craft may be telling you that your prices are despicably low and hold up proof that they sell things at their prices. That however doesn't mean there is a sustainable market for that product, just that they were able to find someone to buy their product at least once. If you make a hat and sell it for $600, you might find one person to buy the hat but in the grand scheme of things you ended up only making $600 that year. How many of those hats would you need to sell to make a living doing it (i.e. more than just a hobby) if you sold them at $600. Could you sell that many hats a year at that price?
The price breakdown you have above will very likely see hats sold, I will not lie to you. But is it a world changing or even something you could reliably make a living doing? If it is a hobby then definitely go for it, hobbies are wonderful and enrich our lives. Even if you are planning on it being a business, I would start it out as a hobby that generates income so you can test the waters in terms of the market for the item.
You might also consider fostering a barter economy with them. You likely can barter for a much better value than you can sell the item for - especially if you already buy a lot of things from other cottage industries and small farms. I would for example not pay $20 for one of the hats (out of my price range for hats) but I would probably be willing to trade 3 or 4 muscovy ducklings or a half dozen chicks for one. That is of course just an example, I am sure there are dozens of other trade opportunities.
Your big issue is going to be the water. Make sure you put their waterer as far from trees as you can and put it up on a pallet or two (or something that keeps the waterer off the ground, wont get damaged by water, and drains. Ducks love to drill their beaks into the ground, try to make mud puddles, and basically do everything you don't want them to do with water. They are quite clever at figuring out ways to get water from one location to another location, so it is just easier to put the waterer in a location where you don't mind them drilling holes and making mud rather than try to prevent them from doing it. You have to find a happy middle ground, somewhere between it being convenient to do their drilling and still a situation where you can keep their water cleanish.
As for shelter, if you put up an electric net fence to keep predators out they really need very little. A wood box with a hole cut in the front is pretty much all they need. You could make it more attractive to the eye and last longer by painting it and perhaps building a big raised flower bed on the top of it, but ducks are pretty easy when it comes to housing. Mine would rather sleep outside than in the coop with my chickens so I have to herd them into the coop every night and if I forget I find them lounging around in a cluster around their lean-to.
As for what to eat. Ducks will eat bugs, but unlike chickens they generally don't go crazy for them. Mostly mine just root around in the grass, for young shoots, old cut grass, and various other things. They may find a good many creepy crawlies under the mulch and around a compost pile, but even if they were in abundance they would still prefer that make up only a small part of their diet. The problem is that it sounds like you have an area roughly similar to my area for my annual garden (50x100), you could support that many ducks on that amount of land with very little input (although egg production would be minimal) but I am not sure you will get decent growth rates if most of it is carpeted by thick mulch. The stuff that mulch is trying to prevent growing is pretty much their favorite food. I am not saying change your system, but you probably should be prepared to offer a reasonable amount of food to supplement what they find.
Thomas Partridge wrote:... So my question is this: Would something like the below picture (except simpler) take significantly more or significantly less time to make than say a knit cap?
... Something like that (except made simpler with hide strips instead of thread) from what I understand of leatherworking would not be that difficult - probably take under an hour with practice. That is using pre-tanned hides, since the process of tanning probably takes as much direction interaction as spinning wool does.
I can't give you a good answer Thomas. I don't have the type of sewing machine needed to sew fur.
But I can knit a hat/cap like that in a few hours. Of course it's depending on the wool, thick yarn knits much faster than a fine quality. It's depending on the knitting person too. An experienced knitter works much faster than a beginner.
Something like that on a simpler scale would most likely be hand stitched wouldn't it? The rustic look trapper cap, not the knit one . I would think something relatively durable and functional could be made using very primitive methods (similar to how moccasins are made even today).
I suppose this has become a very different discussion than it was originally, which is more time and material effective in producing winter clothing - leatherworking or knitting? Which is more environmentally friendly and which is more lucrative?
Thomas Partridge wrote:For that issue, would fur hats be more cost effective in terms of time and material while maintaining the same level of functionality?
Sorry Thomas but a fur hat isn't more cost effective at all. For getting the right kind of fur you have to do a lot of effort! I think rabbit fur might be the most cost effective. It isn't so difficult to raise rabbits. But still: they need space, food, care, etc. Or do you think of hunting? To go hunting, you need a rifle, and the practice to shoot fast animals ...
And then when you have an animal, the fur is not immediately good for making hats. You have to treat the fur first. Sewing fur is a specialists job ...
Probably a rabbit fur hat and a knitted woolen hat have about the same value, when you count everything ...
The problem is: we are used to clothes being much too cheap! Clothes are made in 'low wages countries', where people get next to nothing for working all day in factories under bad circumstances. Many costs are not even counted: the harm it does to the environment f.e.
But by the same logic the sheep/alpaca/ect also need space, food, care, ect. With rabbits the fur is often thrown away since people are primarily raising them for their meat and the price for a rabbit fur is so small. I understand that tanning the hide is labor intensive, but so is spinning wool. If you consider the labor and cost necessary to produce the base materials the same, then you are left with the labor necessary to produce the final product. So my question is this: Would something like the below picture (except simpler) take significantly more or significantly less time to make than say a knit cap?
Something like that (except made simpler with hide strips instead of thread) from what I understand of leatherworking would not be that difficult - probably take under an hour with practice. That is using pre-tanned hides, since the process of tanning probably takes as much direction interaction as spinning wool does.
As others have said, self medication and prevention are two biggies.
For our self medicating we do not go to the hospital if all we have are cold/flu symptoms. I drink quite a few drinks that are high in natural sugars and Vitamin C whenever I get sick, in addition to spicy foods (to help clear out my system). I also "shut down" and do nothing but rest for 24 hours. I have been doing this regimen for over a decade now and have not been sick enough to miss more than a single day of work each time I get sick (which only happens ever two or three years). I work in a position that interacts a lot with people from all over the world (lots of hand shaking) and even being that exposed to germs I find myself getting sick less often than most people.
For prevention, I try to just be careful and safe. I wear chaps when I use my chainsaw and scrap wood to guide wood on table saws when I use them.
kadence blevins wrote:
prices would not be marked up as in, it's a $5 hat versus a $20 hat "because I bought this pretty yarn". It will be priced according to the time and materials that go into the items. If I buy yarn and knit a hat I would price it to cover the cost of the yarn needed plus my time knitting it. If it is a hat from my handspun that i processed all myself and knit myself it will be priced accordingly.
It is my goal to make quality items. That goes not only for the quality of what goes into making them but the quality of the finished items. That said, a nice fluffy handspun wool hat, I believe, keeps you warmer better than an acrylic yarn hat. And that wool hat will last better longer than an acrylic hat.
I understand that you would not arbitrarily mark up such a product, but if you price your labor (which for the hat you say is about 40 hours) even at $1 an hour the hat becomes at least a $40 hat and that is before the cost of materials. You say a hat would be $20, so that is about $0.40-$0.50 an hour labor depending on the cost of materials.
I would gladly wear a homemade hat or scarf (although I would be much more interested in homemade warm weather clothing) and would consider even paying as much as $20 for one just to be eco-friendly and to support cottage industries, but I wonder if it wouldn't be better to work on solutions where the crafter sees a better return on their time investment and the product is more affordable for the consumer.
For that issue, would fur hats be more cost effective in terms of time and material while maintaining the same level of functionality?
As for pricing such clothing, how much of the mark up would be because it is environmentally friendly and how much would be because it is actually superior to synthetic products currently available. I am the type where I will pay good money or keep an eye out at thrift stores for clothing that is actually better than other clothing. I have a pair of carheart coveralls that I got a really good deal on ebay for (about half of the price) and even with the good deal are still twice as expensive as some other coveralls. They are actually worth the price though. Would these items offer a significant advantage in terms of durability and/or function over say something I could pick up at Walmart?
I understand the point is to be more ecologically friendly but to me there is only so much I am willing to spend on supporting "green" enterprises before it pretty much becomes charity. This is a matter of practicality for me because as a young person I have to watch where my money goes.
Niele da Kine wrote:I've not figured out a way to free range bunnies and still keep breeding records. We use selective breeding to improve the bunnies as well as to keep down inbreeding. Wouldn't inbreeding be a problem eventually with free range bunnies?
I think people really overestimate how detrimental occasional inbreeding is in smaller animals. Yes if you only inbreed it may cause problems, but it isn't like rabbits keep records of ancestry in the wild . I think a sustainable alternative is something similar to how we do our poultry, culling old stock that is not pulling their weight while adding new stock every year (roughly 10% or so would probably be enough). You could probably do that with rabbits by replacing half of the breeding bucks each year.
If you want my input as a person raising poultry with commercial aspirations, I am concerned about numbers when it comes to buying extra. My chickens are happy chickens who eat healthily and well already, if I am getting something extra for them it needs to be something that will increase my net profits.
So to a certain extent helping them put on weight would be important, but only if that weight increased the value more than the cost of the supplement without jeopardizing the trust my customers would have in purchasing poultry from me. I am an open and honest man, so whatever I give to my chickens has to be something my customers would approve of.
Decreasing their mortality is not something I am overly concerned with. Our losses are minimal and not due to anything a supplement can prevent. Diseases are also not a concern of ours.
We do have neighbors but like us they do not want to feed their cats and dogs raw offal and we do not wish to cook it.
We are probably going to have to compost it since we do not wish to feed the offal to the cats, dogs, ducks, or chickens and we do not want to expand beyond poultry at this time. We were just hoping their was a type of caged poultry that could benefit from offal but I suppose there is not .
So we are planning to expand our poultry operation in the direction of pasture raised poultry meat (as discussed in another thread) and we are also trying to get away from composting, so the question arose of how to dispose of the unused chicken offal. We don't want to feed it raw to the cats and dogs nor do we want to cook it. We also do not wish to feed it back to the chickens and since the chickens and ducks eat together in our system (and we don't want to change that) they are also not an option. That leaves as far as I can tell fish, pigs, and other poultry that are kept separately. The latter is one that I am particularly interested in because it would require significantly less infrastructure.
Would pigeons or quail benefit from a relatively steady supply of chicken/duck offal? Obviously they couldn't be fed only offal and be healthy but would they benefit from it and would it reduce my overall feed expense for them?
Peter Hartman wrote:I kept 5 in here and would move it once every 24 hours. I could do 10 moving it 2 times a day. I also think I could scale this up maybe 50% and still keep it easy enough to move with one person. Beyond that it would take some kind tractor to move.
I suppose it is personal preference in how much space each animal has, but even then you are talking about a maximum of 15 birds moving it twice a day with them having perhaps 2-4 square feet per bird. Does the design include roosting bars and nest boxes? I watched it at work so I had it on mute but I didn't really see either (looked like 1/4 of the inside was filled with a 5 gallon bucket waterer).
I ask because we are in the process of trying to design another tractor that we can use in the orchard for a handful of our birds and we are looking for ideas.
The problem is the size though. In a lot of places (my state for example) people are required to purchase at least 6 chicks so really the minimum coop needs to be able to support at least 5 or 6 full grown chickens. That design would be great for three chickens (or perhaps four or five bantams) or maybe two ducks.
A lot of these tractors have really cool designs but if you have ten or more chickens you really either need a stationary coop or an actual tractor to pull your mega chicken tractor. I tried building one for the ducks one time and by the time I got it stable to last a season with our sometimes rough terrain it was too heavy to move by myself. Now it has been converted into a lean to.
We do not separate our chickens, but when we get a chicken from someone (even Tractor Supply) we never assume it is pure bred even if we are told it is. One of our roosters was sold to us as a Plymouth Rock, but some of the chicks from it and a black hen came out white - turns out that he probably has some Delaware in him. No biggie for us but I wonder how many people bought a rooster or chicken from that lady thinking that it was purebred?
We do not medicate or vaccinate our chickens and we have so few losses after the chick has dried off (none out of the 20-30 chicks this year) that I am skeptical that the lack of doing so is a likely culprit for chick mortality even among stock that is normally medicated vaccinated. None of the chicks we have gotten (even from Tractor Supply) have ever died once we got them home, you might want to evaluate your housing for the chicks.
Your description of their setup is one of the main reasons we do not share our operation with the customers in person. Our chickens have plenty of space to free range, mud is kept minimal with heavy mulching, and they are given fresh water everyday. But we "upcycle" a lot of stuff to be more environmentally friendly. Their windbreak/leantoo? A failed carpentry experiment with a tarp stapled over it to form a completely waterproof and windproof structure. It doesn't look pretty but it works.
First to keep things positive I will discuss the pros of this book.
The first is that you can clearly see Sepp is a man who knows what he is talking about and has spent a lifetime refining his methods. Some of these methods might not transfer over to your project, but chances are some of them will and those methods may only be detailed in this book. That alone would make this book worth picking up, but of course there is the second reason to consider.
The second pro to this book is when coupled with One Straw Revolution and the Permaculture Design Manual you get three texts all from people who at around the same time all started independently working on sustainable agriculture as opposed to the toxic big ag' that was being pushed on people. All three of these people's systems instead of being "pie in the sky" are still talked about today and they are universally considered successful even though their three individual climates and areas are quite different. Sepp discusses his transition from sustainable, to unsustainable and then back to sustainable, discussing what in his experience works from one group and what works from the other group.
The "con" to this book and what disappointed me greatly was the discussion centered almost entirely around incredibly large scale systems that generally can only be done with heavy machinery. Terracing hundreds and hundreds of feet is a great idea if you have hundreds of acres and access to a tractor, but a lot of us don't so the instructions inside might be more harm than good. I understand it is a book on how Sepp does things at his place, but a little more on more small scale options would have been very much appreciated.
All in all it was a great book and worth the purchase, but I would not say it would be worth it for everyone to purchase. I recommend borrowing a friend's copy or finding it at a library first and giving it a once over before committing to purchasing it.
We were laboring how to do our grapes and this thread has been super helpful!
What we plan to do now is to plant them as free standing bushes that are "head trained" and like all of our bushes that we are planting in the fenced in chicken area (to take advantage of wind fallen fruit) surround them with three logs (forming a triangle) and staple 36" wide chicken wire all around the logs to protect them as they grow.
We have 3 dewberry, 2 hazelnut, 2 nanking cherry, and 7(!) catawaba grapes to plant using this method this season and I can't wait to see how especially the grapes turn out.
Thomas Partridge wrote:I price based on the grocery store not because I think I have to, but because I don't believe in charging a person a price I myself would not be willing to pay. I could charge $10 a pound for free range chicken meat, but that is a price I would never pay so I wouldn't. Just one of my quirks and we all have to live with our quirks .
I wonder how industrialized-agriculture became an authority figure in your life? Aren't they way over-charging for food? Shouldn't your prices be half of grocery store prices? Because that would be more fair and honest? How much is it worth to someone to eat food that hasn't been poisoned?
For the most part those are the prices that seem fair to me *shrugs*.
I look at a price, ask myself how much it would cost me to produce it with a reasonable mark up for labor and infrastructure and decide whether or not it is worth buying. Carrots are under priced in the super market by my estimation and ears of corn are over priced by the same estimation. Regardless though 9 times out of 10 I judge grocery store prices to be close enough to use as a rough metric. With chickens it doesn't cost me significantly more to free range them than it would to just provide 100% of their food it might actually cost me less, so charging significantly more when my costs and labor are not significantly increased and may even be reduced feels wrong. This is not a judgement on those that do, but it just isn't the kind of business for me .
I would love to offer people an affordable and healthy alternative to the grocery store so that even impoverished people can afford to buy from me.
I price based on the grocery store not because I think I have to, but because I don't believe in charging a person a price I myself would not be willing to pay. I could charge $10 a pound for free range chicken meat, but that is a price I would never pay so I wouldn't. Just one of my quirks and we all have to live with our quirks .
Perhaps a tray of roasted muscovy meat with toothpicks at a farmer's market once a month might not be a bad way to go. Would just have to find a farmer's market that would let me do that for free.
Thomas Partridge wrote:
Well except for the facebook thing, we have a facebook page but I rather not sell a single share than ask my family and friends for help with sales.
You aren't begging, you are making a good product available to the people close to you who probably share your values. They will be your best evangelists to help you find more customers. Raise your prices (see below) and give a "friends and family" discount. I sold a ton of books that way when I was peddling my masterpiece.
Except that my family cannot buy my shares, since I live relatively far away from them (very far from all the ones that use facebook or even a computer). So I would basically be asking their endorsement on a product they themselves do not use.
Another thought occurs to me, if the animals are only intentionally fed organic feed is it unethical to market them as organic as long as it is small scale? From what I remember you do not need organic labeling if you are small enough. We can get organic feed for $22 for 50 pounds, and by my rough napkin math the above share would take 53lbs of feed to produce with our current management system (this is in the winter, in the summer the feed amounts would of course be less). That would have the share's feed cost at around $23.32. I was planning to charge around $40 for a share, but I am wondering if the market couldn't handle $55 for the same share if that share was "organicish". That would be about the same price for buying those items in a grocery store with the organic label.
However those marketing ideas are all things we are currently doing to try and sell the eggs and chicks without success though . We have even lowered the price of the eggs down to $2 a dozen just to avoid feeding them back to the chickens. Well except for the facebook thing, we have a facebook page but I rather not sell a single share than ask my family and friends for help with sales.
I priced the shares based on what I would be willing to leave the prices at and what was sustainable, not low with the intention of raising them. I may one day raise my prices but those prices would always be locked in for current customers (even if it meant taking a loss). $2 a pound for chicken is a fair price, especially when it is a repeat customer.
What about posting flyers, is that still a valid strategy or does that not work well anymore?