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Allazandrea Cottonwood

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since Feb 08, 2018
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chicken homestead ungarbage
Chicken mamma & Compost Queen
British Columbia
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Recent posts by Allazandrea Cottonwood

I have no idea if this is helpful but...

When I worked for Agriculture Canada as a Summer student we used rice binders to harvest wheat because we grew experimental varieties in small patches and threshed it by hand. I'm not sure how large the stocks are on sunflowers grown for oil crops but these puppies are easy to use and pop out neat little bundles of whatever your clolecting. I don't think they're cheap though.

Just an idea from someone who knows nothing about sunflower crops.

20 hours ago

Jain Anderson wrote:Allazandrea Cottonwood I am glad you are the 'exception to the rule' I only wish there were many more like you! (and even ONE in my area!) Following your passion is a wonderful way to live and enriches all that is around you too.

A neighbor here tells me of her 'story' - even as a very young girl she wanted to live on a 'ranch/farm'. Her ranching aunt smiled and said Yeah, sure' but she DID find a man who likewise enjoyed gardening, raising stock and living a la natural. She is now in her late 70s and lives on acreage with some hens & fruit trees only wishing they could find a young couple who wanted to co-habitat their land and carry on this passion.

Hi @Jain Anderson

I find it very hard to be the exception to the rule. You have to take a lot of risks and do things that many people see as 'irresponsible'. As a 'millennial' I get FOMO and I wondering if all my efforts will be worth it in the long run when all my friends are ski bums that aren't interested in staring families or owning property.

So some personal background. I live in a small mountain town. I grew up in this town, i left to go to school, but even with my travels I never found I place I loved more than my home town. Lucky for me to grow up in such a special place!

For the town and surrounding area you either work for the coal mines or the tourism industry. The tourism industry is 'fun' but pays peanuts. The mining industry pays well but is soul crushing. It's a very expensive place to live. I would estimate the cost of living at $20/hour CAD. Anything job in the tourism industry will pay you minimum wage or close to despite being a skilled worker. My boyfriend is a ski patroller and throws explosives, manages avalanche terrain, and evacuates injured people out of crazy exposed places... he makes $16/hour with no benefits. He is one of the more experienced members on staff. Minimum wage here is about $15/hour for reference (since the new minimum wage increase).

I've watched the housing prices nearly double in the last 5 years because of the increased tourism. I moved 20 minutes out of town to be able to afford a small chunk of land (under a half acre) in an "undesirable area". The same property in town would be worth easily $500,000. I live in a glorified mobile home.... People told me I was insane moving here. I was scared I was making a stupid investment. I adore where I live now! Mostly because I can have chickens here. Totally different zoning and type of people. People here are more relaxed. No need for perfectly manicured lawns and million dollar homes. You can park as many dilapidate vehicles on your property as you want and no one will say a peep. I have noisy chickens, you have yappy dogs, but we're all good!

That being said, in town there are so many people with acreages that can't manage them. They have to work a 60/hour week just to pay their mortgage so the are lot's off people would would welcome help in this area. They want to have the dream life but had no idea how hard it is to keep a chicken alive in bear, fox, coyote, eagle, hawk, skunk country.

The market is wide open.There are very few people in this area growing food, for a few reasons:
- Climate (Our snow pack is about 15 feet with annual snowfall of near 30ft)
- Cost of Living
- Market: People are just starting to learn the value of real food. Before the word 'Organic' was pretentious rich people shit. Not anymore! The rednecks are being converted to 'rippies' (redneck + hippy) and the foodies are coming in full force!

The problem where I live is that people value recreation over anything else. Although there is a strong sense of connection to nature, in order to be able to afford the recreational activities people have an odd sense of values. People will pay $7,000 for a mountain bike and eat Kraft dinner every night to afford it. Most people only started to care about the logging in the area after it took out their trail network. When I'm stressed out about my business or my homesteading pursuits they ask my "have I been kayaking enough?" or "have I been biking recently?". Apparently I work too hard on reducing food scarcity and not enough on making enough money to take rad adventure vacations.

It's a split community these days. Wealthy newcomers and old school locals; the lower income families getting continuously marginalized.

To live here and invest in my business I've had to be creative for income. I kid you not, that's how people confirm my identity.

Doctor: Is you daughter so-and-so?
My Dad: She sure is!
Doctor: Oh, so you're the Father of the 'Girl with 5 jobs'.

This year I've work as a ski coach, retail staff, project manager, white water photographer, outdoor educator, cleaning staff, book keeper, social media aid, seed collector ... all on top of running my small business essentially solo. I hope to earn enough this winter that I can work on just my market garden and composting services next year.

I've put so much money and time into the business without making anything back... but this season I will break even (Not including my time yet). I'm pretty stocked about that so I'm going full force for next summer.

This being said I feel like I had it easy. I came from a middle class family, escaped university without student debt, and my friends, family, and community have been SUPER supportive of my initiates. I lucked out as there is now a demand of local, organic food where before the farmer's markets where for plastic trinkets and mini donuts. That and the surge in tourism has also increased the demand for restaurants to seek out local suppliers. My status as a 'local girl' has been endlessly helpful. My community WANTS me to succeed.

I'll have to make a thread about how my business runs (or aims to). I'd love to hear people's feedback and maybe it will inspire someone else. What do you think?

4 days ago

Steve Thorn wrote:Great info Allazandrea!

If you're willing to post your general location, I'm sure that would be super beneficial to others near you!

I live in the East Kootenays - South East British Columbia.
4 days ago

Tereza Okava wrote:

Catie George wrote:Canada, Carhartt

Dr Google tells me that Tractor Supply operates in Canada -- the one I go to when I visit my mother in the US is pretty limited in terms of selection, but you might be able to get some size ideas trying on pants there.
The other place I have bought some of this brand is at Dick's sporting goods, which apparently also has stores in Canada.

They Carhartt in Canada in a lot of smaller outlets like 'Redhartt'.

In my opinion, or at least the stuff we get up here, that Carharrt's quality has gone down in recent years. The coveralls I purchased seem to have pretty cheesy buckles and buttons.

Honestly the best place to find Carharrt in Canada is urban centre thrifts stores in Alberta
4 days ago

James Landreth wrote:I’m not sure how to go about phrasing this.

Lately I’ve been thinking about how rare it is for someone as young as me to be as settled as I am, or to be heavily involved in a farm or business. I’ve always had a hard time connecting with people my own age, and since moving out here it’s gotten worse. I love my life and my farm and I wouldn’t want things to be any different, but I would love to hear from other millennials regardless of what you’re up to--traveling, studying, working in a city, running a farm, interning, etc. :) We’re in this together, after all

I'm 28 years old and I've started my own composting business, raise poultry, and I'm currently starting a market garden.

It's been really hard. I do not come from a farming background. I live in the Canadian Rocky Mountains in a small town. I don't have a lot of income and I've put everything into getting this business up and running... but it's working!

- I went from raising chickens illegally in a tiny trailer park to owning my own half acre of land which I share with lots of happy hens.
- I use borrowed land to compost over 40,000 pounds of food scraps a year in which I used 150 broilers to help "process the compost".
- I pick up the compost from local restaurants. They pay me a monthly rate to pick it up.
- I learned how to process the meat birds myself. I got my poultry licence so I can legally sell them to individuals.
- I'm creating raised beds and a green house in order to have a market garden for Spring 2020 and I partnered with a new land owner to do this.

It's scary, I've done so many thing wrong, but I've gone from completely dependant on others to raising hundreds of free range chickens, producing thousands of eggs a year, having land with over 20 fruit trees.

I was thinking of posting a thread on my little business for feedback. It doesn't really meet permaculture standards... but that the long term goal!

5 days ago
All right so I live in an area that gets 15-30 inches of rain but we get hot dry summers so here's what I got:

Wild Red Raspberry: Small fruit but can tolerate shitty dry soil.
Thimbleberry: I've never tried to establish them but they grow really well in areas shaded near conifers.
Primocane Raspberries (not 'native' but dam they do well) - Have crazy yield in wet or dry years
Haskap Berries- Have been producing like crazy around here and are a hot commodity at farmer's markets
Red Currents - Ye old faithful for being a producer but requires a certain pallet
Gooseberry- Again some find them too sour but the northern gooseberry is a native species. The leaves turn a lovely red in the fall.
Saskatoon Berries - Produce juicier berries with smaller seeds in wetter summers but still produce in drought. The hotter the sweeter they are.
Bills Berries - Native to our area, super drought tolerant, tiny berries though
Oregon Grape - Once established you'll never need to water it. More of a medicinal than a food crop but edible none the less. People will use it for jellies
Nanking Cherry- The sweetness of a standard cherry without being a water pig. Smaller fruit with large pit but oh so yummy!
Evans Cherry- Similar taste to the Nanking but I find they need more attention and are less sweet. How much it produces may depend on how dry the summer is but when you get a bumper crop you'll be surprised how much fruit they can hold!
Choke Cherry- Don't eat the pit. Abundant in the wild around here.
Prickly Rose- Another dry climate super star that you can eat the petals or the rose hips. I would recommend heating the rose hips before consuming in any form as too many raw will give you 'ichy bum'.
Huckleberry- Super hard to establish, when established may not produce for some reason. If you find them in the wild SO YUMMY!
Black Elderberry- Definitely more on the drought tolerant side. A particularly popular treat for my chickens. Most people make tincture or liquors. Flowers are edible. Everything else DO NOT EAT.

Trees (I'm no expert but...)

Mountain Ash- Part of the rose family so technically you can graft on to it. Never seen it done. The berries are a great source for food birds in the late winter early spring. The seeds are labeled as poisonous but I've had someone serve me a mean mountain ash chutney before.

NOT NATURAL: Italian Prunes- yes they need some irrigation but OMG SO MANY YUMMY PLUMS!

Nanking cherry - On my hit list to bring to my land. I'm just over the moon with the taste!

5 days ago
Although not all of their material uses natural fibres I do love Patagonia's "Buy it for Life" concept. They try to design clothing so that you'll never have to buy another one and if for some reason you have to have the newest and greatest that will repair your old clothes and sell them again! I have a sweater that used to be my Dad's so it's about 25 years old.

I love my wool! I live in Canada and I coach ski racing. My favourite wool company is out of Bozeman Montana called Duckworth. They make amazing wool clothing. The wool is sourced in Montana, processed I believe in South Carolina, and it one of the few companies in the world that does not treat their wool with chlorine! Super soft, super durable! I where my sweater doing everything from skiing, white water kayaking, gardening, camping, you name it! Washes well just don't put it in a dryer :)

5 days ago
The deer in my area are relentless. It is very popular at our local garden centre to sell "deer resistant plants. However; I've seen them eat garlic, potatoes (just the toxic leaves), rhubarb, an entire blueberry bush right back to stubs, and garden mulch sitting in a tire (WTF?)

I would have to agree with the strategy of trying to grow enough to feed you and the deer. In my observations the last thing they eat in the 'urban areas' are the native plants. The wild roses, saskatoons, oregon grapes seem to avoid their wrath.

I'd love to hear other suggestions as I'm trying to take on a similar endeavour.

Justyn Mavis wrote:

Anna Tennis wrote:Roosters = illegal in our city. I'd love to have one. Anyone know of a way to keep a Stealth Rooster? Are there quiet roosters?

Would a gander serve any of the same functions, particularly where security is concerned?

I do, it depends on how super nosy the people around you are. You can make a No Crow Collar. It's velco collar you put around your roos neck under the feather which makes him sound like he has a smokers cough. Super easy to make. You do need to give him special attention because just like any collar it can get caught in things. You play around with the tightness enough so he can breathe healthy but tight enough so we can't draw in air to crow.

Have people had much success with the collar? I feel like it could cause other issues...

I have a lovely rooster on a property I lease that I would love to bring home for the winter but I live in the middle of a residential area. There are no bylaws and other people have rooster but I'd prefer to keep good relations with my neighbours. I have 40 hens so I'd love some balance to my flock. My hens are noisy enough already so a muffled rooster would be perfect.

His name is Romeo and he's great with the younger birds and is always on patrol. That and he's sure is a looker! He like to attack my Dad but he's afraid of me I'd love to keep him but would rather dispense of him that torture him through my velcro experiments.
6 days ago
Hello Fantastic People!

I was wondering what your opinion on plant trees from the Juglandaceae family? I have half acre of land with lots of apples, pears, plums, and cherries and I would love to have a nut tree. I live in zone 4 so the only appropriate trees I can think of are Walnut or Buartnut. I would love to add more trees as a wind break and shade cover with an added bonus of a food crop but with only a half acre is it worth planting something allelopathic? Would the raw seeds be a hazard for my chickens?

Any other suggestions for zone 4 trees that would produce a food crop?

Thanks for your thoughts!
1 week ago