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Chelsea Hartweg

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since Apr 01, 2018
Chelsea likes ...
homestead kids urban
Former engineer, current homeschool teacher and homesteader in training. I have a youtube channel chronicalling my family's adventures in our "townhomestead" doing what we can where we are.
Other fun facts: I have an obsession with language, music, color, and cultural heritage; I consider spreadsheets to be my art form; I spend all my free time reading about permaculture/homesteading and redesigning systems to make them work better- this includes an unreasonable amount of life hacking through data collection and analysis.
Raleigh, NC (zone 7b)
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Recent posts by Chelsea Hartweg

So for folks who strip the leaves when they're green and then dry them, how do you dry them? We are finally moving out to our homestead, and I'm looking into our plan for a couple of digerian dwarf goats. We will only have an acre, so I know it's unlikely I will be able to get away with zero off-farm feed, but the more I can do myself, the better. Plus I just like the challenge. Do you dry them in the sun? In a solar dehydrator like the ones you can get designs for here in permies? Or has anyone experimented with using the heat off of a biochar kiln to dry them?

Luke Perkins wrote:I recently started a website dedicated to spreading plant material and information about purple tree collards. They can reach over ten feet tall and are hardy down to around 20° F (-7° C). Depending on how you pruned it I think you could definitely get a walking stick out of one. I will try to take some photos of the trunks on one of our older tree collards tomorrow. They are probably over two inches in diameter. Our crop of dino kale that we planted last summer overwintered and was about three to five feet tall before going to seed last month.

Your website is awesome, and I am DEFINITELY trying this plant out on our new homestead! I'm wondering. We live in Raleigh, NC (zone 7b/8a), and I'm trying to think if I could manipulate a microclimate that could help it survive the winter. Do you think one of those fabric tree covers would help it? Or even just keeping it out of the wind? I would rather not have to move it. If this works, I want to plant a LOT of them as fodder for animals. Our homestead is only .94 acres, but I want to grow as much as we can to support the animals both for health, environment, and reducing feed costs. This seems like a really good possibility since i know some folks grow microgreens or sprouted grains as animal food. Maybe this could work too!
1 month ago

things like beets, carrots, radishes will all be fine once cooked.

How long would I have to wait after abandoning a septic field before I could eat raw things out of it again?

To insure that you don't have to worry about pathogens, start using a product called RIDEX monthly, adding this bacterial booster to your septic system will get rid of those pathogens and keep everything working as it should.

I don't know much about RIDEX. Is it a chemical thing? Or is it just more bacteria?

If you have any concerns, just build raised beds, that way there will be enough soil between the leach field and your garden vegetables.

How deep does the soil on top of the field need to be before it's safe?  Does it need to be the same depth if I'm growing greens as I would root vegetables? Also, do you think I could get it deep enough for it to be safe to put berry bushes there as well without the risk of the roots ruining the pipes? I live in Raleigh, N.C., so we get really consistent rain (average 4" every month year round)

You can also inoculate with more bacteria (EM) and you can also inoculate with fungi (oyster spawn is super for this and you will end up with some super tasty mushrooms as a bonus.)

How would I inoculate the space with that? Put it alongside the vegetables? In the raised beds? Around them? Wolult i put the spores for mushrooms or bacteria down the drain or in the tank? Would the mushrooms be safe to eat? Are there other good mushrooms for this? What's EM bacteria and how would I go about finding and inoculating that?

Thanks for the help! We are going out to look at a property tomorrow that is really amazing opportunity for us just outside city limits, but I'm concerned about the septic taking up most of my growable space.
1 month ago
Another question: what would setting up our own PEX look like? Not nearly ready now, obviously, but just trying to wrap my head around it. Would it be the same kind of idea as the PEP, but we decide what goes in it?

Backstory: I live in a townhouse in a very different climate than Paul (Raleigh, NC), so as I perfect my gardening skills and what I call "townhomesteading" skills, I would love to be able to pass that on to others who are struggling in this same place. I actually have a whole lot of thoughts about how to be a homesteader in this context (I just started a youtube channel talking about just that- Renaissance Earth if anyone wants to follow along), and I want to be an advocate for homesteading in a context where you can grow very little of your own food. And honestly, my experience has been slow and small thus far, but I still think I have a good idea of what should be done. So I'm glad to help make that happen for others if that's something the community could use.
1 month ago

Shawn Klassen-Koop wrote: I guess the other option is to start building experience and posting pictures to start getting certified. That helps build forward velocity!

Ok I will start there! So follow up newbie question. I'm reading through the forums regarding this stuff, and I'm starting to feel like I'm running in circles.... stupid question: do I just do the project listed and post photos? What if it's not possible for me to do a certain one because I live in a townhouse? Would a modified version count?
1 month ago
An idea I just had regarding certifying remotely and/or getting the idea to spread to other areas: have you looked at the model that Certified Naturally Grown uses? It's grassroots, so folks who are certified have a volunteer requirement per year to go out and perform the review for certifying others. Perhaps this PEX system could include some sort of system like that where folks who are certified in things make themselves available for others to ask questions, come visit to learn in person, and/or have them review their efforts? Bonus- you've now also created a mentor ship program within this whole thing!

PS: I ADORE this whole idea. My husband and I are both born and raised city people, so we are really starting at square one when it comes to homesteading. I've spent YEARS reading a ton and around a year and a half doing the kind of learning that I would describe as almost thesis-level.... but entirely theoretical. My practical experiences are pretty restricted to growing lots of weeds and dead plants in containers on my townhouse porch. The idea that something like PEX could exist to mentor me into practical experiences is an absolute godsend.

I'm on board. How can a book smart homesteader help out? I've looked over the badge pages and I'm hesitant to add much since everything I know is from books and not experience.
1 month ago
Hey, y'all! I know this is an old post, but I was searching for information on Pineywoods and figured the best place to start is with a post that already exists! I have a few additional questions to the ones above, if you don't mind answering them.

1. What does the final meat product end up looking like? Hanging weight, meat distribution, etc?
2. How much milk do you get each day? Have you tried calf sharing and if so, how much milk then? What's the cream percentage like? Are they small enough to need to put them up on a stand to milk or can a typical stanchion be ok? Is their milk A2/A2?
3. Feed needs? Acreage needs (especially with rotational grazing- although I know this tends to depend on the pasture quality)? How much hay and water do they go through?
4. How long do they live? How long are they able to keep being bred?
5. Are they easy enough to handle for a new homesteader? Are bulls easy to handle? Are they light on the land?
6. I've seen mention of parasite resistance; do they manage to avoid other health issues as well?
7. Any luck grazing them under nut trees? I'm really interested in silvopasture systems.

Thanks so much! I have been considering Dexters for their diminutive size and dual-purpose nature, but I am trying to focus on American-native heritage breeds, so I would love to use Pineywoods. Plus, Dexters seem to be recovering well, and I would love to work toward preserving something as foundational to our culture as the Pineywoods. Trouble is that they're so rare that it's hard to find details about them. I've found a farm that raises them a few hours away, so I plan to visit sometime this fall, but I would also just love to hear whatever y'all might be able to offer about life with these cool cattle!
6 months ago