Bethany Dutch

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since Jun 24, 2012
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Colville, WA Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Bethany Dutch

Stacy Witscher wrote:Well, I do a lot of food processing, and I plan on mostly growing my own food. But, for me, a large part is it, is growing food that I want to eat, and not feel deprived. That's largely why animals are a must. It's fairly difficult to get enough homegrown and processed fat without animals.

Currently, I'm urban, on a 1/10 acre property. The issue anyone around here would have trying to grow all their own food, is it's not allowed. No livestock of any kind, bees aren't even allowed. No vegetable or fruit trees(they just added this) in the front yard. So I'm left with about 600 sq ft. garden, but I still grew all the squash, winter and summer, and green beans that I need for a year. And that's just this year.

Can you have "pet" rabbits?
6 days ago
I love this thread. This is something I think about a lot - mostly in the back of my head, but still.

I think that growing and producing all of your own food is something that might not be completely necessary in today's day and age BUT is an important skill or something to be set up for. I'll never want to go without chocolate, coffee, watermelon, and many other foods that I really just can't efficiently produce where I'm at, but at the same time I think there's huge value in producing enough so that if needed, you could feed yourself without getting too bored of the same two foods over and over.

Now - most of what I eat is meat. I eat about 90% meat & animal foods at the moment, with mostly nonstarchy veg and occasional treats being most of the rest. I'm actually surprised I haven't heard more people talking about the meat here. Because as I adapt to my meat-heavy diet (for health reasons, and I don't think I'll always eat this much) I've come to realize that depending on your land, meat may actually be a fairly good ROI food to produce.

For example, I have brushy woods, 20 acres of it. This is ideal forage for goats and I could very easily forage meat goats all summer and "harvest" them in the fall or early winter, with little work and extra "inputs" on my part other than the fencing and rotation. I could cut the brush and dry it for winter food as "Tree hay." Calorie for calorie, that would be a very efficient use of my time and energy. Granted, to be sustainable you'd have to keep some of them over the winter and there would be work involved to feed them, but I think it would be more efficient to do that than a lot of vegetable crops.

I figured out that between meat rabbits and their amazing feed-to-meat conversion ratio, goats I could forage, and POSSIBLY pigs for the additional fat I'd need, it may actually be more efficient food-wise to raise them rather than trying to get all my calories out of plant foods that I grow and hunted meat. This is all conjecture, though, because I have no idea how much work it would end up being to actually grow/produce/harvest food for these animals in the off-season. Someone who had a lot of nice grassy pasture (I do not) would probably do well with grazers like beef or sheep, especially the hardier breeds that might be able to get more calories out of winter forage.

The other thing about animal foods is that they are able to glean calories from foods that would take a lot more processing on our part, or they can even sometimes harvest their own. Like if you turned out pigs in an acre of sunchokes or a wood full of oaks (acorns). Or setting up rotational pastures with perennial foods that they can harvest and glean themselves. I accidentally might have discovered that the deer in this area don't readily eat a certain type of sorghum which will grow without irrigation, so I'll test grow some next year to see but that's the sort of thing you could grow, cut the stalks, and toss them whole to the chickens.

Other than that, I do want to echo the other posters who stated that this is very much a gradual, work in process where you gradually adapt HOW you eat. Learning to eat seasonally, focusing on producing all of your own of fewer crops to start with - looking at the proverbial low-hanging-fruit and getting in the swing of producing all of your own of something, while you gradually add more and more to the table. If that makes sense. Doing what's efficient. 

Like starting with the things that grow in your garden that maybe grow a lot easier with less work... or perhaps the things you like to grow more. This is kinda the phase where I'm at. I actually don't even have a production garden yet - I JUST got the deer fenced out a few months ago so am hoping to get some done next year... but what my plan is, is that next year will be the experimental year where I test out to see what grows easily here with the least amount of work and the kinds of things that I (and specifically my kids as well) enjoy growing and eating. That will be the starting point.

And - at the same time as we're adapting and learning and setting up systems in our gardens to grow more food, we're also adapting how we eat, and what we eat when, to closer align with what we could produce ourselves.
6 days ago
One of the best things I did (which took several years) is to champion for less gift exchanging for Christmas with my extended family.I've finally got it to where we do more of a name-drawing thing which allows me to put a bit more thought into it, each of us gives a gift for one person instead of buying small gifts for 25+ people.

And in my small family, one thing we decided this year was we were going to put most of our budget into buying a goat for a family via Heifer International. This is something that aligns more with our values, and the kids will still get a few gifts of things they want/need but I've never been one of those parents that piles the gifts 6 feet high anyway.

As far as the tree goes, lucky for us we live on 20 acres of fir so we always just go out in the snow and cut our own, bake cookies, and make an event out of it.

Out of all of the Christmasy things, I think from what I've observed the things that are MOST wasteful are 1. buying loads of small impersonal gifts for lots of extended family members, in my experience they just don't get used/appreciated and 2. just buying loads of gifts anyway. This includes stocking stuffers.

So I try to keep the number of gifts down and keep the ones that I DO give, gifts that align with my values but also would be of interest to the recipient.
Thanks you guys! Sometimes I need a reminder that i’m Not a bad guy for wanting to do something for myself. I appreciate the validation more than you know. What’s funny is my kids (three of them) want us to move to MO now, but I can’t. Maybe the ex will be willing to relocate someday. Either way though i’m moving out of WA when they are all over 18 (even if they come with me, which they are more than welcome to do).
1 week ago
I think beets are gorgeous.

Bright, deep jewel-red, and they look like they would be delicious. Except every time I've tasted one, they taste like DIRT to me.

I was recently reading a gardening book called "Grow for Flavor" and the author maintains that some beer varieties do NOT taste like dirt. Can anyone concur? I am really tempted to see if I can find some of the varieties he said didn't taste so soil-y.
1 week ago
Finishing my house, selling it, and moving to MO and buying a bigger & better homestead with the moola. Pipe dream... 😂
1 week ago
Just curious... kinda musing some things over in my head.

I'm in NE WA state, homesteading. But I'm not entirely happy here. There's part of me that feels unsettled. There's lots of reasons behind this (both an unhappiness with the political & cultural climate, and also that my land doesn't really meet my desires as far as what I want out of a homestead) and the truth is I'd really like to move to the Midwest, like to MO.

But I have kids, and I'm divorced, and their dad is local and I would never try to take them away. I'll be 50 when my youngest kid turns 18 and I won't feel obligated to stay for the ex's sake anymore. So at that point, I'd be free to move. But would that be detrimental to the kids? Just curious what you guys think. I mean I know she would be 18 but I also know that kids often need "home" longer than they are 18 for... although she might also go with me, who knows. I wouldn't be surprised if they all did, if I decided to move.
1 week ago
I also don't really view mortgage debt automatically as a bad thing.

I have a mortgage on my land. If I didn't have my land, I wouldn't have been able to build my home (which I built with cash/sweat equity). If I didn't have that mortgage, I'd probably still be renting and throwing money away every month.

While I do agree that it is important to do everything you can to pay off a mortgage asap, sometimes taking on a mortgage is the only way to get out of the renting trap. I'd much rather be paying monthly for a mortgage than monthly rent. Now having said that, it is my intent to use my land as a way to give my kids a way to have a home w/o a mortgage, but I think sometimes leveraging a mortgage is probably the quickest path to actually being debt free.

If I hadn't been able to build my house with cash, I would still be renting and probably would still have consumer debt. Having built my home with cash has allowed me to pay off all my consumer debt... but I had to get that mortgage on the land to get to that point.
1 week ago

bernetta putnam wrote:is all the property and homes owned by 1 person? if so then that would be listed as multi-family on the market, which is what I'm looking for in AR.
and could be advertised as a start to a community.
but if each house/property are owned by separate people the buyer would still have to pay costs/fees on each place?

It could be either - as of right now it is all owned by an LLC we formed to buy in the beginning, and then we all have notes to the LLC for our individual mortgages (which haven't been put on record w/ the county). So really it could be both ways.
1 week ago
So I live in a sorta-intentional community - family members and I bought a bigger piece of land and split it all up. We're starting to contemplate moving. We each have our own individual parcels, homes, etc. Some established permaculture stuff (although we each do our own thing, it's more like we're neighbors who cooperatively share a tractor and work together on some big projects here & there, etc. Like, I have a beginning food forest with a large hugel, my dad put in a giant high tunnel, and my brother's parcel has tons of fenced pasture for cattle, etc. There's actuallt 6 or 7 individual parcels so more homes could be built as well.


If we all decided to sell (we'd be relocating together, we wouldn't be selling because we don't like living by each other) would it be worth trying to market the property/properties together as kind of a ready-to-go community homestead setup? Just for reference I think the total is 140 acres, three homes (and one of them is set up to where it could be very easily a home w/ separate living quarters for two couples or individuals). If we do want to relocate, it would be ideal if we could sell our houses all at the same time 😂
1 week ago