Jen Fan

+ Follow
since Nov 05, 2016
Jen likes ...
chicken goat purity
Apples and Likes
Total received
In last 30 days
Total given
Total received
Received in last 30 days
Total given
Given in last 30 days
Forums and Threads
Scavenger Hunt
expand First Scavenger Hunt

Recent posts by Jen Fan

Oh!  I should share the brooding technique our neighbors did this spring;

They brooded a dozen~ chicken chicks in a plastic tote.  Our neighbor's a bit of a tinkerer so he cut a round hole in the bottom of the tote, just big enough for the butt of a small sauce pan to fit snuggly into.  The tote was raised up on little feet and he made an 'arm' with a holder on the end that he could slide under the brooder so that it rested under the pot.  He filled the pot with water and put a lit tealight candle on the arm, pushed the candle under the pot, and that tea light kept the pot about 120º for 4 hours, reliably.  I hope that makes sense.  Basically using a tealight to keep a pot hot while it sat inside the brooder.
1 hour ago
It seems like "obey or else" can be worded differently and used constructively.

Someone gave the example of a bad house guest who is being destructive and disruptive.  

To say "hey don't do that" is, in my opinion, NOT saying "obey me or else", it's setting a BOUNDARY, a reasonable, rational boundary, and expecting it to be respected.
Boundaries should not be demonized but nurtured and recognized, exercised and respected.  It's give and take.  

So yeah, manipulative 'obey or else' behavior is never good.  Actually, habitual manipulation of others, the act of exercising manipulative control over another- emotional, verbal, physical, spiritual, etc- constitutes abusive behavior.  And absolutely, yes, we should be recognizing abusive behaviors as a culture and making a shift to healthy boundaries.  Boundaries mean that at some point, yes, the action will no longer be tolerated.  And that should be a reasonable conclusion to the scenario in question.

Problem is, our culture, at least here in America, is founded on a culture of abuse, abuse excusal, and shaming the abused.  The vast majority of people learn to manipulate, control, and abuse one another as children.  It can be extremely difficult trying to contend with those behavior patterns in a social environment, as we all probably know.  We all know that one person who just seems to control, micro-manage, and moderate everyone around them.  We tolerate it when we love the person, but at some point the boundary needs to be set; no more, or else.  The opposite of "obey or else", IMO.  The refuse to continue being controlled by another.

I have read the words of many folks wanting to set up new communities, or recruiting for existing ones, and I see a lot of red tape, hard boundaries that aren't entirely rational, steep expectations, and a demand for conformity.  To me, that's what I thought of when I first read "obey or else".  

I guess I would consider a "respect the boundaries set in place, or else" to be the healthy alternative to handling community misconduct.  Which takes the entire community coming together and agreeing upon those reasonable, respectful boundaries.  I don't think that job can be left to just 1 person, even if that person is the capital owner of the land or infrastructure.  That becomes a pyramid, and I feel like that really causes communities to crumble.  

But, hey, what do I know?  
My first thought was "organic and spacious?  sound like 'no bra' to me!"  
But that is probably easier to pull off when one's boobs are pretty small...  
7 hours ago
curious to see what folks say... we 'almost' did that, but back off in favor of some dirt-cheap AGMs we got a line on.  Hard to bite that lithium bullet :/  Make sure they're the right kind of lithium, too!
7 hours ago
Also, my preference is to remove chicks from broody hens as soon as they hatch (broody hens is currently our only way of getting chicks out of the chickens and turkeys).  Some broody hens can reliably get every chick to adulthood, but 'most', in my experience, are quite happy whittling their baby count down to 3-5.  So if I want those babies to make it I do it myself.  If I'm lucky, the broody hen will just keep feeling broody and hatch another round of eggs for me!

For quail eggs, get some super-broody bantam hens.  A tiny bantam can sit quail eggs without crushing them.
8 hours ago
We're talking about brooding chicks, not incubating eggs, right?

We've been brooding chicks off-grid this year.  We fill jars with hot/boiling water and nestle them down in dry gravely/sandy substrate for the chicks.  It took some trial and error.  First we were just setting the jars on their side on the surface, but they get cold within an hour or three.  So we tried wrapping them in bubble wrap, which extends their warmth but at some point you have to take the plastic off so the chicks can still feel the warmth.  Also, cold chicks are prone to weaseling into the plastic wrap for warmth and dying.  We also had to be careful not to put jars more than 2" close to one another to prevent from chicks piling or smashing themselves in between jars.  

It's worked great with the dry substrate, burying hot jars length-wise so the soil heats up.  We cover the brooder in bubble wrap to retain heat.
The only problem we had with this method was once we super-heated the soil in the brooder and added hot jars before having to leave for many hours.  This was when we were using soil, not gravel/sand.  The hot soil had moisture in it, the chicks were emitting moisture, and the water dish was being heated, and the result was condensation on the plastic covering that rained back down on the chicks and killed/chilled most of them.  We switched to dry gravel after that and it's been great, no issues with moisture.  When it's warm like this (50~ night, 70-75~ day) we move them outside (no heat) as soon as their wings are fully feathered.  Their fluff doesn't retain body heat, but their true feathers do.  So once they're 1/4 - 1/2 feathered out they're fine in mild temps.  They huddle at night and share warmth.  Our chick run also has a greenhouse in it, so they always have a warm, dry, no-wind place to hang out.

As for incubating without electricity, that's just called a broody hen :P  As you well know.  Perhaps some cultures mass-hatched eggs with fire, but that would be a 24/7 job of monitoring and maintaining a perfect temperature for the entire incubation period.  Which, depending on your species, could be 2-6 weeks.  Not possible without a whole community being involved.
8 hours ago
I know some folks that would be eating bear burger.  The last 2 problem bears I dealt with (1 black, 1 grizzly) were chased off using electric fencing.  The black bear kept getting into my grain barrels for the livestock, so I set the barrel up on a tire and electrified it with hotwire wrapped all around it.  One good POP and that bear never touched the barrels again.  The grizzly got in with the pigs and when we chased it out it got tangled up in the 6 joule fencing / metal field fencing combo and got fried really good.  Never came back.  

Enticing a bear to touch the electric fencing and catching it off guard is the best way, I think.  Confuse it so it doesn't understand why it just got blasted with electricity.   You could put a metal barrel on a tire and put compost or fruit in that.  You could suspend some electrified metal around your trees that the bears have to step on or touch.  You could simply put an electric fence up, too.  Electric fence chargers have almost no amperage, so they traumatize the senses but can't cause physical harm.

I also know some no-nonsense folks who've just electrified suspended garbage cans on their 110 AC; THAT would hurt, holy crap.  But the animals never touched their trash cans again.

A good solar charger for fencing may run $150-$200, but probably worth the investment for established fruit trees.  A good fence or electrified setup on a solar charger will need no maintenance or care from you if you're only there part-time.  I wouldn't get less than 1 joule; go with 3+ joules if you really want that bear to think twice.
9 hours ago
I keep wood sorrel growing in my raised beds and pots.  It never seems to get more than 3-4" tall, it's edible, and it happily takes care of itself.  It came in on a single plant  from a greenhouse once and has made itself a home in every last container since.  I have no qualms with it.
9 hours ago
Thanks for the replies!

DC 6 joule. 10,000 volt at less than 1 amp, if my memory serves me.

We’ve got it popping full blast now. I’m not really certain what the problem was.   I fixed a few grounded spots, although you can pretty much leave this thing laying on the ground and it’ll snap like a .22 but still be popping hot.  As long as it’s not touching a grounded line. We even found a spot where a maple branch had fallen on the upper wire, but our issue was with the lower wires. At one point the charger would just error out if I connected it to the lowest line at the charger. Even though it was tied into the circuit and hot elsewhere on the property.

So. One thing I changed that I think helped was to reduce areas where I had to hook lower lines back into the top hot line. So, I had some “dead end” areas where I hooked the lower hot lines back onto the top hot with quick disconnect hooks.  I was thinking this might help the current/circuit. But It seems that allowing the current to dead-end on the lines rather than loop back in has alleviated the fluctuating power.
1 week ago
Thanks for the replies and messages!  We had a death in the family and have been MIA for a little while here as a result.  Trying to get back in the swing of things...

For those of you who posted above, please send me a PM :)  I'm better about checking those than the forum post here!

I wanted to add a few things to my post; it's hard to know what to say, to pick what info is relevant.  .I wanted to open the door to conversation, foremost.  Community means friendship, and friendship means compatibility.  Folks have been sending messages akin to resumes, and while it's wonderful to hear what others have to offer, the most important thing is who they are as a person!

I mean, to be honest, it's a bit like dating, right?  We could have everything to offer one another, but we need to be on the same frequency to blend functionally.  What we hope for in the long-term is community.  Not like community around a common ideology, or community themed on a certain philosophy.  Community built on our commonalities, our solidarity, our friendship.  A mutual need and appreciation for one another.  Such things take time to grow and nurture, of course, and I'm sure we'll see a few people come and go as this funny adventure in human relations progresses!

Lots of questions about location; We aren't too far out of Missoula, but still pretty far off the beaten path.  Every year is different, but winters can see 7-10'+ of snow.  Last year the snow came lazily until January, then we started accumulating feet.  At our elevation the temperatures are actually milder than in the valleys, we get loads of sunshine, and we actually get fewer storm systems; but the ones that do come through bring a LOT of precipitation.  We have the ability to plow out through the winter but it costs $50-$75 in fuel per plow job on 2 miles of winding dirt road.  So we intend to forget plowing this upcoming winter and just snowmobile out.  Our very kind neighbors down the mountain let us park a rig or two at their place and snowmobile down to the cars if we need to go anywhere.  It's a quiet, magical winter wonderland up here!  And spring, summer, and fall are equally fantastic!

As far as the farm goes, we're raising pigs and intend to breed our own specialty mountain variety pig over the coming years.  We just set up our first bee hives here and so far they're doing FABULOUS.  We've got a mix of poultry and I keep pack goats.  I've got a couple milk goats too, but I don't ever get around to milking them after they kid e_e  we're a little to busy for that.  And possibly undisciplined when it comes to the punctual needs of milking does.  Haha.

We also have 3 large dogs (and we expect calm, amiable, and well-adjusted behavior from them) and 3 outdoor cats that patrol the area for pests. 4-legged friends are welcome only if they're compatible with the entire farm.  It's too difficult trying to live with destructive critters!  No livestock killers, no wildlife harassers, no noisy trouble makers.  

And a blip about us;  We are 2 souls navigating our journey together.  We do not subscribe to any particular religion.  Everyone's beliefs are their own, and of course friendly conversation about faith and spirituality is awesome! But there is no ruling ideology here.  Our shared political passion is a heated dislike of capitalism, tax-funded war-machines, the prison industrial complex, and... well... basically all things that define our governing/control systems in the USA.  And its perpetuation around the world.  I'll refrain from digressing about fascism...  (I don't mind a good debate but I won't fight about anything with anyone, to each their own)  

Our 'ultimate goal' is to phase money out as much as possible from our own lives.  Some folks say 'vote with your dollars'.  We say 'vote by rejecting the idea of dollars'.  That's where the passion for self sufficiency comes in; to be able to live as fully as possible from the land, and to be able to produce just enough money to meet inescapable financial demands.  To be good to the land and nurture it, nurture the ecosystem and the wildlife.  We spend long hours discussing options and possibilities.  And in no way do we expect community members to share our goal (I mean, a little bit would be nice, but it's not like a requirement!); after all diversity is the backbone of community.  Not conformity.  

On that note, we've had a lot of folks eagerly conveying that they're in excellent physical shape, or have 'no drama', or are 'mentally/emotionally sound', etc. etc.  I'm quite happy for them!  But by no means would we dream of demanding the most perfect people.  We all got our 'drama', our issues, our imbalances.  It's a part of life.  If we can embrace one another for who we are, then perhaps we can walk a path of growth and healing together, rather than hide ourselves and insist we're without dysfunction.  That's what I say, at least!  

Hopefully that lays the ground work for some discussion :)   For folks that want to contact me, tell me a little about yourself!  Ask us some questions!  Let's talk!

And yes, we're super busy right now, so responses may take a few days.  I'm happy to transition to other means of communication as conversation progresses, but for starters let's talk here.