Katie Nicholson

+ Follow
since Dec 01, 2021
Katie likes ...
homeschooling kids home care books food preservation cooking
Merit badge: bb list bbv list
I'm a farm wife with three young boys. My family has been farming as far back as anyone can remember and we have the records of when my great great great grandfather emigrated from a farm in Ireland and began homesteading in the original homestead movement in the Missouri Ozarks. We are history buffs and love learning traditional skills. We consider ourselves homesteaders in the sense that we're taking a patch of brush that used to be a farm and restoring it to agricultural use. We aren't in the new homesteading movement exactly. We just enjoy working the land like our ancestors and intend to do it as frugally and sustainably as possible.
For More
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 Katie Nicholson

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:Winter rye grows feral in the wildlands here. It takes care of itself with no weeding, and no irrigation. No other grain grows consistently in the wildlands in my ecosystem.

I can harvest and clean enough grain in an hour to feed myself for a week. I love subsistence farming. Makes my heart sing.

I wonder what the yield per acre is, how satisfactorily it can be harvested with a combine, and whether additional processing steps are required before it's ready to turn into the final product (ground, rolled, crimped, etc)? I know many permies enjoy subsistence farming which is why I said we're not very interested in it since the farming methods may well differ!

Robert Ray wrote:Take a look at "Kernza". I'm not sure about how it would grow in your climate. Thynopirium intermedium is what Rodale started out with in the development of "Kernza" Some of the perennial ryes I think are for a bit colder climate. I like Great Basin Seeds they might have a suggestion for your zone .

Kernza would probably grow here, but we're not quite to the level of growing 20 acres which it looks like is the minimum amount they'll sell for planting. I think my husband figured 5 acres to be enough for our personal use with the heirloom wheat we planted this year (can't remember the variety off the top of my head. We planted 1/3 acre and will save the seed to plant next year.) That being said, kernza yields are lower than standard wheat so we'd have to plant more. Might be worth it if we didn't have to mess with plowing, disking, and planting.

Christopher Weeks wrote:Search for Marc Bonfils for no-plow wheat production.

My husband has been looking at that one, possibly planting ladino clover on the field with the wheat (he may have already done that, but I'm not sure), but we're questioning long-term yields with the Bonfils method.  Another question is how labor intensive is it? If we can't do it in the same amount of time with similar yields to the traditional plowing and sowing, then it may be unrealistic for our sustainability goals. We're also looking at rocky, clay soil so may need to do other amendments for satisfactory results. That's why Back to Eden is appealing to me right now, though obtaining enough organic matter to cover 5 acres 4-6 inches deep might be problematic... 🤔
My husband and I just watched the Back to Eden film and were contemplating whether grains (wheat, oats, etc) could be grown no till in quantities great enough to feed a family and livestock. Plowing certainly makes it easier to plant in the beginning, but could no till be done successfully long-term without massive amounts of time/ labor/ inputs? We're looking at calories here as well as quality of life. We don't want to be subsistence farmers or to be so involved in growing things to eat that we have no time for other interests (and we have many).
This year my husband tried his hand at making Black Walnut Syrup and the results are amazing! The trees are tapped in the late winter and the sap is collected and reduced by boiling until it is thick with sweet flavor. The catch is that it takes about 80 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup, and black walnuts do not produce as much sap as maples. This is why most producers stick with Maple syrup making this a rare treat, but it is worth it. The taste is somewhat caramelly, smoky, nutty, sweet. I enjoy the flavor in coffee, tea, over ice-cream, and of course on a hot stack of pancakes. You should not consume if you have a nut allergy. Available in 8oz and 4oz jars.

3 weeks ago
I was talking with my husband earlier trying to figure out if it's worth buying some fayoumis and he asked a crucial question: "Has your mom's flock ever had any problems with disease?"

Hmm... nope! And they don't even have the roomiest setup for their birds. They are mostly crossbreeds of heritage varieties, selected for gentleness to people and each other so none of the modern franken chickens.

So, hybrid vigor might be a thing or it could simply be that their small flock of around 15 chickens (before they've gotten rid of the extra roosters at the end of the summer) isn't big enough or confined enough or kept in an artificial indoor factory (ever) to allow diseases to get a foothold.

My current conclusion is that I'm not going to break the bank to get fayoumis since their disposition is not what I'm going for with my flock. I want kid friendly, dual purpose chickens that aren't going to keel over at the faintest breath of bad air or throw themselves in the way of predators. The only things going for the fayoumis (in my book) is their disease resistance and ability to avoid predators. Their flightiness, unwillingness to roost in coops, and potential aggressiveness of roosters are all things I'd rather not introduce into my flock. All that being said, if I find a great deal on a fayoumi hen, I might add her to the flock.
1 month ago
There is much discussion about disease resistant flora, but disease resistant fauna hadn't really occurred to me until last night when my husband told me about St. Croix sheep and how they are naturally resistant to parasites. That got me thinking about chickens so I searched the internet and lo and behold the Egyptian Fayoumi is resistant to several chicken diseases (possibly including avian influenza) and isn't prone to predation. There is research being done on them at the university level, but I couldn't find much information about what the researchers have found so far. It's a pretty rare breed here in the USA. Anyone have experience with this variety?
1 month ago
We free range our hens and I believe they are quieter because they don't want the predators to notice them. We've got americauna crosses and a pretty white hen of unknown parentage. My parents' chickens are much louder because they are penned much of the day to keep them safe from their dogs which weren't properly trained to be chicken guardians (my parents are older and didn't have the energy to train). The chickens have a large pen, but it's still a pen with no greenery and they tend to squabble and get bored while they are waiting for their turn to roam free outside.
1 month ago

Joshua Berg wrote:I don’t have any punny ideas, but I use whatever trash I can find. Yogurt containers, salsa jars, plastic milk jugs, juice cartons. It all gets saved from entering the waste stream, and saves me money!

Ahhh! *rushes to trash to pull out yogurt container*

I don't have enough pots for my plants so this won't count as clutter! Thanks for the tip!
1 month ago
From an economic perspective, how does hedge laying compare to the modern Midwestern standard barbed wire fence? I factor in labor costs here. Hedges take a lot of labor to install initially and continued maintenence, but materials could be free (would be for us since we have several varieties of trees growing on our property well suited to hedging. They would just need to be propogated). Barbed wire takes much less time and calories to install and (presumably) maintain, but will need to be replaced periodically which costs money.

What about stone and other types of fence? What is the cost/ benefit breakdown here?

We're getting ready to fence our perimeter and have been watching Tales From the Green Valley so the question came up. We're probably going to use barbed wire since we want livestock quickly, but we love the idea of hedges since they are traditional, look cool, are cheap (from a strictly monetary perspective), and resources for repairing are easily obtained (in the possible event of further supply chain disruptions down the road.)
4 months ago
I'm in zone 6b.

I have a "perennial" potato patch at my in-laws house from where I grew potatoes in 2019 and didn't find all the potatoes when digging that summer.

I'm experimenting with fall planting some yellow potatoes that sprouted in my pantry. I intercropped with onions and garlic in a small bed in the middle of our young orchard and mulched heavily with hay (yes, I know, hay seeds will sprout, but if you keep mulch on all the time you really don't have to worry about weeds much.) I'm planning to do the same with the red potatoes that are also sprouting (except just intercrop with garlic bulbils since I'm out of onion sets and garlic cloves). I think it might work better with storage potatoes like Kennebecs, but it's an experiment and I want to get more Kennebecs for seed when planting the normal way in the spring when I am fairly confident of getting some return on my investment. I know I'll get garlic at least from this fall planting!