Christopher Shepherd

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since Jan 30, 2019
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My wife,son and I working on a little farm.
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N.E.Ohio 5b6a
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Recent posts by Christopher Shepherd

When you become a teen and realize spam isn't rich people food!  All our food come from the cellar, a glass jar or the freezer.  That makes spam a delicacy.  My perspectives have changed drastically since I started working with the rest of the world.
6 months ago
Here is what we do. We cannot let our chickens roam because of all the neighborhoods dogs run wild.  So we gave them a nice pen that they can run around in comfortably.

We grow a small patch of sorghum for seed and turned the rest into silage. Sorghum seed has an estrogen in it and we use it to boast their production in December and January if we are short eggs.  Just a handful will double our egg count in 2 days.  If they eat to many sorghum seeds the yolks will get pale.  

We also feed alfalfa that we grow in ¼ acre fields and is hand stored in feed sacks.  If alfalfa is handled by hand it keeps its leaves much better. This will make orange yolks.

We have an old line of yellow dent corn that is yellow to red in color.  The chickens will produce deep orange yolks from it.  

We raise giant amaranth for the seed heads and they eat the leaves too.  

We let the sunflowers self-seed and get about 100 heads every year to feed.  

We raise squash and gourds for the market and what we don’t use we feed.  We also raise cabbage and broccoli that we feed all of the scraps.  Our extra cabbage we store upside down covered in leaves.  

We raise about a 1/10 acer of spelt or oats.  We make the stooks and the top sheave tends to sprout here in Ohio humidity.  We pile the top sheaves next to the chicken pen and feed a couple a day usually in July.  The chickens will clean it all up and leave the rest for beading.

We have 2 small plots that we grow green chop for them.  It is planted with dandelions, alfalfa, perennial rye, plantains, red clover and white clover.  We use a small push lawn mower.  It has a perfect little handle on the bags to carry it to the chickens or cows.   We also cover crop with annual rye.  We were getting green chop in March last year!

We raise duckweed in kiddy pools that were get given to us.  We keep 2 minnows in each pool for mosquito control.  We dry the duckweed on a black tv dish that was given to us.  We use the dried duckweed to eliminate molds in prepped feeds in the summer.  When we have extra we feed it straight to them wet.  
6 months ago
Hi Thom. Grain tax is just a tax we pay when buying from a grain mill.  In Ohio all grains are taxed unless you are a corporate and are tax exempt.

We raise %50 open pollinated corn and %50 non-gmo corn for animal consumption.  My son likes to raise 5-7 hogs a year for the locals. This is where we run into trouble growing enough feed.  We raise plenty to eat for ourselves, but not enough for many other families.  

Hi Rachel.  I haven't always been this way.  I used to think, just work more.  After I lost my 401k when a corporate bought out a little company that I help make too much profit, it made me look deeper.  Sometimes the things that look bad are huge blessings in disguise.  That happened when I was 31, I was debt free by 40.  I have never given another penny to a 401k.  Permaculture has really made me observe things before acting.
7 months ago
My wife and I are debt free, but we still have plenty of bills to pay.

Electric went up %60 this year.
Solution! I have put more solar up and have found really high-quality panels for pennies on the dollar for future use.

Insurance for the farm went up %40.
My solution was to raise my deductible to $5000.  Do I need insurance?

Land taxes went up %10.
Solution! I’m going to park an old tractor in the front yard to try to lower the value of the land! Maybe a pile of wood for the rocket would help too.

Grain tax we spent about $1000 extra on this year.
Solution! We plan on growing more grain ourselves.  We found 3 acers close to home we can plant on for free!

Working extra jobs without a way to hide the income. Tax brackets are real.  
Solution! Work less for small companies and more on the homestead.  Pay more attention to the line where I no longer make money for working more hours.

What are your challenges and solutions?
7 months ago
Please join me in welcoming Michael Hoag & Laura Oldanie, authors of Growing Free

Read the book review here!

Michael and Laura will be hanging out in the forums until this Friday answering questions and sharing his experiences with you all.

At the end of the week, we'll make a drawing for 4 lucky winners to win a copy of his book! From now until Friday, all new posts in the financial strategy forum are eligible to win.

To win, you must use a name that follows our naming policy and you must have your email set up to receive the Daily-ish email. Higher quality posts are weighed more highly than posts that just say, "I want this book!"

When the four winners are selected, they will be announced in this thread and their email address will be sent to the publisher, and the publisher will sort out the delivery details with the winners.

Please remember that we favour perennial discussion.  The threads you start will last beyond the event.  You don't need to use their names to get their attention. We like these threads to be accessible to everyone, and some people may not post their experiences if the thread is directed to the author alone.

Posts in this thread won't count as an entry to win the book, but please say "Hi!" to Michael and Laura and make them feel welcome!
7 months ago
It has been taking us about 4 years to compost hog heads.  Most of the other bones compost between 1 and 2 years.  What is the best medium to compost bones in?  We use the bury and flip method with wood chips and manure.  Is there a better solution?
10 months ago
Nice pictures Diane. Pictures really help out trouble shooting. Great catch David.  While I was looking at the box the neutral and ground look like they are bonded, you already got to it.  This is a common problem with this type of inverter. I have found the ground will shock me with about 60v.
1 year ago
I got a set like this for Christmas with the thought of using them year round and they didn't work by the time spring came around.  The batteries died.  The little panel was still working well.

I started just making my own with lead acid batteries and a good controller.  For me it has been more cost effective over time.
1 year ago