John F Dean

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since Sep 04, 2017
Began Homesteading in 1982.  Married 45 years. Have 11 acres.
Southern Illinois
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Recent posts by John F Dean

Hi Mike,

Your post reminds me of a drive I used to take about every two weeks.  I would stop at a small town cafe where there was an old gas station across the street.   Except one time the gas station was missing. As near as could be determined, the station had hired a new employee who decided to clean oil from  the bay by moping it with gasoline......then the furnace kicked in.
8 months ago
Hi Victor,


Excellent point about not letting down one's guard.  I certainly have more than  one grey hair, and I am careful to think through each task before I start.  Most important is considering everything than can go wrong. I then have the benefit of identifying the early warning signs and stopping what I am doing to change tactics.
8 months ago
Hi Josh,

Your experience with goats pretty well reflects mine concerning the browsing and pasture.  I now have the start of my new herd of dwarf Nigerians.  I am busy running fence.   I did have one shock.... those little suckers can really jump.  The person I purchased them from said a 4 foot fence would do. So,  I began with a 4 foot fence.  They (the goats) laughed at me.  I went to 5 feet.  One of them managed to clear it.   The fence is now 6 feet and seems to be working.  I don't remember my full sized Nubians and Togs ever clearing a 5 foot fence.
When I had bees, I bought a bee suit that I  seldom used. I might have been stung once or twice.  Ditto for the smoker. I used it a couple of times and stopped.
1 year ago
Depends upon which cat.  I have a Bombay who is critical to keeping mice out of the house and food supplies. She appears to do zero damage to the bird population.  But, much as I may like them, not all cats are so useful.
1 year ago
S Bengi

Thanks for answering my question.
I have raised goats before in a much more northern region than I am in now.  I am thinking of getting back into a smaller breed.  I would like to pasture them as much as possible ( I am located on 11 acres in the southern tip of Illinois near the Kentucky border). "Winter"(weather regularly below 32) normally runs from Christmas to mid Feb). How much pasture will I need with a herd of a max of 7.  How large should the paddocks be. How many paddocks.  While I have a large barn, I am planning on building a goat shed.  How large does it need to be ( I am considering 8 x 14)?  Does the buck need to be kept in a different shed? Does the buck need to kept in a different pasture? Can the milking room be in the same building as the females?  When I raised full sized goats, I kept the areas separate (to protect the taste of the milk), but I have seen others raise Nigerians together.
Garden wise, I would start with a few raised beds.  Be sure they are at least one foot deep. Have a design that will allow for it to become deeper (as you age, bending will be more of a challenge). Focus, initially, on a salad garden.  They are relatively easy to grow, and don't require a huge effort.  As you expand your gardening efforts, having  salad garden closer to the house will always be a good idea.
1 year ago