Deb Stephens

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since Dec 03, 2011
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books chicken dog duck food preservation forest garden goat homestead cooking trees woodworking
Current homesteader, naturalist, artist and writer. Former zookeeper, archaeologist, and pretty much anything that paid the rent.
I live with 1 husband, 1 old goat (besides the husband), 4 cats, 8 dogs, 19 ducks and 43 chickens on a 75 acre homestead in SW Missouri. We have Mark Twain National Forest along our entire eastern border so when not puttering in the garden or dealing with the usual animal and homestead chores, I can generally be found wandering the hills looking at all the trees and flowers Nature has to offer. I love animals, plants, books and solitude (plus a few more things I may get around to remembering eventually). I am rabid about the environment and try very hard to live a simple, green life with the smallest possible footprint. I am a vegetarian and have been for nearly 30 years. If there is anything else you'd like to know, feel free to ask.
SW Missouri, Zone 7a
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Recent posts by Deb Stephens

This looks like an interesting place with nice folks, and could be a worthwhile opportunity. Why would anyone give this a down vote? Just askin.
2 weeks ago
We have been working on figuring out a system like this for ourselves on our 75 acres, and because neither of us is particularly business-minded it has been a real challenge. My advice to you is to educate yourselves about the possible community configurations out there and then pick the one you like best and work on tweaking it to conform to your specific needs. I have researched many of the local communities most because if they are in the same state, they will be most likely to share similar hurdles and resources with you and be the best models, but don't overlook the value of community models in other states or even other countries. While you may not find that you have all the same resources or laws to deal with, you might get some ideas from them for ways to generally structure a community and then you can find similar resources or research pertinent legal questions in your area. Here are some communities with a wide range of models you may want to study ...

O.U.R. Ecovillage Cooperative

Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage Land Trust

East Wind Community - Self-Governance

And, finally, this is a general community resource site for people, like us, who are looking for a community or for good ideas. Fellowship For Intentional Community

If you come up with something ideal, please let us know what you did -- we're still struggling to work out the perfect community.
2 weeks ago

Devin Lavign wrote:
5th If SHTF consider what that really means and think about all the toxic gick humans create. A lot of chemicals typically need to be maintained. But if SHTF a lot of places that need constant cold or heat or pressure etc... would be left unattended. This means large areas would be extremely hazardous to go through. Traveling into an area you don't know the potential toxic hazards is not really a good idea. Seriously there is a lot of toxic stuff out there that even people living near them don't know about. It is one of the big things I think a lot of preppers forget to think about. The factories and industrial plants that use and create this stuff are all over, and without constant monitoring and intervention these things will get out and be harmful.

I agree with most of this, but one thing that stands out for me is the 5th point above. I have long thought about the potential for nuclear reactor meltdowns when there is no one left to monitor those systems. (It is my main reason for being against nuclear power plants as cheap energy sources.) We don't need an all-out nuclear war to suffer from the effects of nuclear radiation. When these plants go -- and they will eventually when things fall apart -- we are in for some REALLY tough times.

Along with that threat is the less dangerous, but no less urgent problem of a deteriorating infrastructure for those folks not lucky (or providential) enough to live in a rural setting where well-water and composting toilets can alleviate some of the problems city dwellers will have when sewer and water systems fail. Losing the electric grid is not a big deal unless you are on some kind of life-support apparatus because we can always use candles or lanterns for light (or just go to bed when it gets dark as our ancestors did) and most of us really can do without the appliances we think we need, but water availability is critical.

I am particularly concerned about the millions of people who live in high-rise apartments who will be coming out to find those resources they no longer have at their fingertips. These are people WITH homes who will have to leave them because they are no longer functional spaces. Think of the thousands of people living in each and every sky-scraper in each and every city across this country. Many will die in place because they will be too frightened and unprepared for the struggle outside their doors and simply stay where they feel safe. Others will be ruthlessly "culled" outside their apartments before they can go further or go back. But ... a lot of them will survive and will soon move out into the countryside in search of resources that will quickly disappear from store shelves after the crowds have moved through. THOSE are going to be the invading hordes of looters and desperate, thirsty and hungry people those of us in rural areas will have to be on the lookout for.

I also do not discount the possibility of running into that tiger Devin mentions. Zoos and research facilities will have a lot of hungry animals not being cared for. Someone is going to open those cages one day and let them out. By many people, it would be considered an act of kindness to release them so they don't die of starvation or thirst (I will probably be one of those people thinking about doing just that), however, I am aware that there are problems associated with wholesale release and in many cases it would be kinder to simply euthanize them humanely. Of course, we can't dismiss the idea that there will also be people looking at them as resources for feeding their families, as well. Either way, some animals are going to get out and will be roaming the streets and parks of suburban neighborhoods, so yeah, you may find yourself face-to-face with a tiger some day.

It isn't a pretty picture and I hope it never comes to this sort of scenario, but knowing it could happen someday definitely gives me reason enough to devote time to devising ways to deal with it. I have my own plan that seems reasonable (as I am sure most of you do) but nothing is fail-safe. I work on improving things every day and spend a lot of time hoping they will never be needed. That may be all we can do if we don't find a way to come together and head off the potential disasters looming over this planet.

2 weeks ago
Wow! He really knows his stuff (loved the wooden dinosaur in the intro!!! ) I wish I had his shop, I might try this. As is, I would be doing it outside with makeshift tools so I'm not sure it is worth it. I guess I will have to stick to my plastic shelves and grow lights adjusted by hanging them from wires. Maybe someday ...
3 weeks ago
Can you tell us something about yourself?
Single, married, other?
Vegetarian, vegan, carnivore, omnivore?
Type of community situation you are looking for?
That sort of thing.
1 month ago
Three questions:
Are you vegetarian or carnivore?
Do you smoke?
Are you looking for employment or a live-and-share opportunity?
1 month ago

carol dacanay wrote:During the times of the year when my chickens and ducks are laying eggs like crazy, I stream about a dozen eggs at the beginning of the week, peel them, place them in a jar and cover them with vinegar and spices. It makes super quick breakfast or snack or they can become deviled eggs. They vinegar helps insure that they will not spoil even if we take longer to eat them and it adds a nice tangy flavor to the eggs.

I used to do something similar to what you are doing -- put a gallon jar full of peeled, boiled eggs in leftover pickle juice and keep it in the refrigerator. The problem is that it took forever for the pickle flavor to be imparted to the eggs and you had to have that huge jar taking up space in the frig all that time. Then one day I thought, wait a minute ... when you buy pickled eggs at a store they don't keep them in the refrigerator, so there must be some way to properly can them. I figured if you can can meat, you should be able to can eggs. Plus, there are tons of simple water bath pickling recipes out there for things that are low acid -- if you add acid in the form of vinegar or citric acid to the mixture (or use enough salt), you should be able to safely pickle eggs just like you would green beans or asparagus or any other low acid foods. I may be wrong in making that assumption and it could be that using a pressure cooker to can them is a better/safer approach, but we have been using an ordinary water-bath process for years (eating eggs we have stored on the shelf for many months) with no problems at all.

What I do is boil a huge batch of eggs -- usually 6 to 8 dozen at a time (allowing a few extra for breakage or imperfect peels) until they are hard-boiled. Cool, peel and rinse the eggs then pack into clean, wide-mouth quart canning jars. (You can get 12 medium-large eggs in one jar if you arrange them 3 at a time in 4 rows.) Meanwhile, bring a pot filled with your favorite pickling recipe to a rolling boil and simmer for about 10 minutes to bring out the flavors of the spices and herbs. (I use recipes for dills or bread and butter pickles or even for a spicy pickle mix for peppers and I usually add a bit more salt and citric acid to it to be safe.) When the eggs are all packed in jars, pour the hot pickling mixture over the eggs in the jars to within about 1/4" from the top. Wipe the tops of the jars with a clean damp cloth to remove any juice then place the seals and lids on. Screw the lids fairly tight or the juice can boil out and really mess things up in the canning process. Place in your canner (which should already have water simmering in it) and ensure that the water covers the jar lids at least one inch. Bring the pot to a boil and then start timing. I generally allow it to process at a boil for 15 to 20 minutes with 6 quart-size jars. When done, immediately remove the jars to a towel on the table (out of drafts) making sure they have space between them to cool evenly all around. After a few minutes you will hear the tell-tale ping of the lids sealing. Don't touch them until they are 100% cool, then carefully wipe the jars, tighten the lids if necessary, check to see that all have sealed properly, put a date on them so you know when you canned them, and put them in the pantry to enjoy when eggs (or your cooking time) are scarce. You can start eating them immediately because the canning process cooks the pickling solution in somewhat, but I like to wait at least a month before using them so the pickling solution has time to really penetrate the eggs. Eat them as is or make the best deviled eggs you've ever had! They are also good sliced on toast with melted cheese on top or made into egg salad sandwiches or chopped into green salads. Best of all, they are a real time saver when you have a million other things to do!
1 month ago
I grow a lot of fruit trees from grocery store seeds so have no idea what they are. However, just by chance last year, my husband got a deal on some fruit trees that were about to be thrown out at end of season from Tractor Supply and we ended up with 3 "Contender" peaches among a few other species. I had never heard of it so I looked it up and it turns out that Contender is one of the hardiest peaches you can grow -- USDA Zones 4 to 8. It's also supposed to taste really great, so you may want to try it. I'm sure it would do well in zone 5b.
1 month ago

Mike Barkley wrote:... you learn about tiny bamboo sporks.

You know you're a permie when you read "tiny spork" but think "tiny spoon, fork or knife" INSIDE a persimmon seed. It is important to correctly identify which seedling utensil it is or you won't be able to predict the weather for the coming winter!!!
3 months ago