Kelly Ravner

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since Oct 02, 2014
Wyoming Zone 3b
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Recent posts by Kelly Ravner

Cara, how are your homestead plans coming along? I bought about 1/3 acre in Elk Bend and plan to build my little retirement homestead there. Hope to be settled in there 6 years from now, maybe sooner if I can afford it. (In Wyoming until then...) I’m planning a little cordwood cottage with a rocket mass heater, chickens & meat rabbits, and a “paradise lot” style mini food forest.

Looks like we’ll be about 40 miles from each other, I think...? Just good to check in with permie-minded neighbors.
1 month ago
Kani, a purple mooseage is ambling your way....
Wow, so many questions! I am looking into possibly moving in the next few years (Pinedale may not be paradise after all...?) so I'm exploring options.

First - will any livestock be allowed? I keep chickens and bunnies.  The buns would mostly be in a barn or building of some kind, but I like having a small flock of chickens out and about.

Second - how does the town feel about alternative building methods?  Given the wind & weather in Medicine Bow, I'm visualizing something massive & sturdy, made largely of dirt and/or cob.

If those two are a go, then a million questions follow.....
1 year ago
I have to say, I really enjoyed your presentation. It was engaging, nicely paced, and for me at least resulted in immediate action - I went out and rescued my grandmother's old cast iron skillets that I head earlier tossed onto the truck that I was loading up for our town's free dump day.

The whole voting thing for that summit is weird and sort of meaningless - the encore day had a couple of presentations that got very few votes, so why bother....  I also noticed that Sunday presentations just didn't seem to be getting many views or votes. Marjorie's summit is notorious for viewing and download issues, and for me it hit hard on Sunday.  I spent 5 hours just trying to watch David the Good's presentation, and you have to really be dedicated to carry on after that.

Anyway, I enjoyed your offering.  Good stuff.
2 years ago
Wow, so much information in this thread!  My tiny contribution is that I'm attempting to find a sustainable homestead meat chicken breed, and am now concentrating my efforts on White Laced Red Cornish. I'm wanting chickens that can get most of their feed from free ranging, but end up yielding a decent carcass by 20 weeks or so. I ordered several breeds of chicks this year, including 6 White Laced Reds. Sadly, those chicks arrived sick and weak and tiny. Two of them never amounted to anything. One pullet that was halfway healthy dressed out at 2.3lbs after 20 weeks - a bit small, but the meat to bone ratio looks right, she was easy to pluck, and is basically everything I want in a meat bird. I've tried some dark Cornish as well - they're good free rangers, but plucking leaves a lot of pigment in the skin.

I'm keeping a White Laced Red pullet and two cockerels that are healthier and larger, and have been quite proficient at free ranging. I have no idea how many eggs she'll lay or if she'll go broody. (I have some Icelandic hens for broodies, so don't necessarily need the cornish to be good moms.) I did keep a dark Cornish hen for a couple of years - she reliably laid 2 eggs/week. I'm also keeping a few dark Cornish pullets this year to cross with one of the White Laced roos, and will likely order more White Laced next year - hoping for a healthier batch.

One of the great things about these slow growing birds is that you can process them at pretty much any time - as Dan Grubbs mentioned, a big bunch of birds that need to be processed all at once can get overwhelming. I do all my birds by myself and don't have full use of my hands, so I don't plan on processing many birds in one day. This year one thing after another came up, and I still have two dark Cornish cockerels out there - but they are happily free ranging, costing me almost nothing to feed (I do toss them a few mealworms as the bugs have gone with the approach of winter) and they'll be just fine if I finally get to them this weekend at 24 weeks.
3 years ago
A few thoughts from my own experience - my chickens get most of their food from free ranging in the summer, but I've found that if I don't provide just a little commercial feed, they stop laying altogether. So...something is missing here, have not yet figured out what.  (It's not a lack of protein or calcium.) But with the right nutrition, they lay at a rate that seems determined by their breed, not their diet. The Red Stars, Brown Leghorns and Rhode Island Reds lay lots of eggs - some of them daily - while the Dark Cornish and Icelandics lay a couple eggs per week.  So if you are wanting fewer eggs for a long time, I'd suggest looking at a heritage breed that matures more slowly and lays at a slower rate.

I've been told that chickens need light in winter, but mine continue to lay well without it - the one thing I do for them is give them a midnight snack when I get home from work (actually about 1am every morning.) I give them just enough light so they can hop off their perches and fill their crops with mealworms or sprouts. I have the light on a dimmer and gradually turn it off 10 or 15 minutes later, giving them time to roost again. So I wonder if it's not so much a matter of light, but that they go a long time without food during those long, cold winter nights. It would be an interesting research project to compare extra light vs midnight snack vs natural darkness...
3 years ago
This is so interesting - thank you!  We have no venomous snakes where I live, and serious spider bites are rare, but I do long kayak trips on desert rivers where they are common, and I am most often solo.  I've never felt I had really good first aid for bites, which is pretty uncomfortable when you're 50 miles or more from any help.  I've read that plantain can help and it grows in many places, but on most of these rivers I've been unable to find any.  On my most recent trip in southern Utah I was with a friend who had a UV flashlight - we found lots of scorpions, as well as black widows everywhere. Never saw a rattle snake, but they were no doubt there too.  I'll definitely be tossing a few bottles of Echinacea tincture into my first aid kit from now on.
3 years ago
Miles, I kind of figured Medicine Bow was where you were talking about. I'm in Pinedale, and don't expect that I will even consider moving while my father is still alive (I live next door to him, and just once in awhile he needs a hand with something….) He's almost 80, but he comes from long-lived stock, so it could be awhile.    

But maybe between waves of bunnies and chicks I could get away for a few days sometime to see what they get going in Medicine Bow, once they're established.
3 years ago
So...I was just reading the comments on a favorite podcast, and someone asked the podcaster to provide transcripts, as he is hearing impaired.  That particular individual (like many podcasters) is a one-person show on a small budget, and she said she had no plans to offer transcripts.

I'm thinking one could type up transcripts, put them on a website and make them accessible for a small subscription fee, providing links back to the original podcast and show notes so the reader still sees all their affiliate links, etc. (This would probably require some kind of contract with the podcaster for use of their material - any advice on how/where to get such legal guidance?)
Well, if I weren't already well established on my little "138 inches of snow, desiccating winds and 48 below" piece of Wyoming paradise, I might be interested. It would be lovely to have permie minded neighbors. And if there are really adjacent lots for $500 or so, it might be fun to own a piece of the area and let someone else do some permie stuff on it…

Having some kind of income seems like the challenge, with few local jobs - how is the internet there?  I'm trying to develop an interweb based income, but not there yet. (We barely have internet where I'm at, so that adds to the challenge - I love sitting in front of the library in my car at -25 to get the only good wifi in town!   )  And of course i'm curious where this is at, but I'm thinking a have a pretty good guess….

I am very interested in what your brother and his wife come up with for Wyoming style permaculture.  I'm doing ok with chickins and rabbits and working on building soil with them, but otherwise haven't gotten beyond rhubarb, strawberries, and the crabapple trees that have been here for over 50 years…
3 years ago