Monthly Archives: November 2013

Prepper Chicks interview 26-Nov-13

PrepperChicksWebHomeHere is a link to the Prepper Chicks interview I did on November 26th 2013. I big thank you to Prepper Chicks for having me on the sh and helping promote permaculture and more sustainable living including homesteading.

 

 

Click on the link below to listen.

Rick Beach on Permaculture with Prepper Chicks Podcast

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I am going to be on Prepper Chicks Radio tomorrow at 8am

PrepperChicksWebHome Tomorrow morning I will be talking with Lori from the Prepper Chicks Radio show about the homesteading class I gave last Saturday, the upcoming conference with Midwest Sustainable Education Conference, and some future classes coming up next year. First radio show I have done, but as my wife says, I have the gift of gab, so it should be interesting. Big thanks for having me on the show.

Wolf-Beach Farms updates

My posts here on my blog have been irregular at best. Many irons in the fire at the moment, but follow me on Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, or through e-mail and get the latest updates. Here are some of the current happenings and publications. If I am not writing here I am writing for one of the places below.

 

November 23rd full day homesteading class.

 

Midwest Sustainable Education Conference – As a co-founder, and presenter for the January conference, I have been helping get all the ducks in a row and organizing the space and materials. I have also been writing blog posts for the website and Facebook. Helping manage multiple websites, and social media accounts can take a drain on time resources.

PREPARE Magazine – PREPARE is a digital subscription which is free to sign up. I have had a couple of articles published here and even made the cover story once. PREPARE has stories on becoming more prepared for a variety of situations, as well has becoming more self sufficient, self reliant, and different how-to articles.

Aquaponics Survival Community – I have written a few articles for this paid subscription magazine which focuses on becoming more prepared and harnessing the great food production process through aquaponics. Articles on different techniques, problems, and solutions to what many aquaponics growers face.  

Brink of Freedom – Brink of Freedom is an online community page with a variety of contributors on topics of personal defense, permaculture, self reliant living and self sustainable lifestyles in addition to off-grid living. Brink of Freedom is now moving to both a online article community to a digital magazine publication as well. I have an article in the 1st issue, and one of my online articles we trending as #2 as most popular. Given some of the contributors, it was a shock to me when I looked at the stats.

New food project – No name for this project yet, but throwing some ideas around. I am working with a local chef to put together a class on using your food stores to make edible meals. Many people are starting to store some longer shelf life foods, for any number of reasons, but do they know how to make edible meals out of them? Rice and beans may store for a like time, but have you ever tried plain rice and beans? Have dehydrated or freeze dried foods? Can you make a decent meal even the kids would eat if the internet was down or you had no power? This class and possibly cookbook is the answer. What foods you should store, how to store them, what not to store, and then how to prepare them, even if only using a singly burner stove. Interested? Let me know, so we can start moving this project up on the list. You don’t have to wait until a situation requires you dive into the food stores. You should be rotating them as part of your every day meals. Eat what you store, store what you eat.

Permaculture consulting – Responding to projects, design questions and e-mails add up. I am consulting on a project in Central Florida, and a new project that a friend is starting up there. Consulting on a 300 acre farm here in Indiana, another 6 acre farm transformation and doing some experimenting with different techniques, plants and concepts here on my 0.2 acre property.

Be Prepares Series – Designing and construction of the individual sessions for the Be Prepares Series has taken some time. So many topics that could be covered in any given series they are really starting to add up.

Then there is the day to day here. Finally finishing off storage and preparation of the 500lbs of apples we picked this year. Apple fruit leathers are the latest preparation. Basically it is the dehydrated applesauce recipe using one of our food dehydrators. Tearing down our greenhouse for a new hoop house this spring, fodder system in the garage, milking goats in the spring, aquaponics in the garage, and making more food and supplies for scratch, and that is just some of the latest projects. Apparently everyone loved the home made pretzels this week. 4 trays of them were gone within 24 hrs. Super simple to make with easy ingredients. The home made croissants and buttermilk biscuits went over well, although I cannot claim them. The wife was on a baking kick last weekend.

If you ever have questions feel free to ask.

DIY Homemade applesauce

Today I start the 10th batch of apples for sauce and fruit leathers. I already have around 100 quarts canned for the rest of the year. Due to the bumper crop of apples this year we have had an abundance of apples. Apple sauce, apple chips (dehydrated apples), apple pie filling, apples in light syrup, apple leather, raw apples, apple dumpling, apple pie just a few of the ways we have already prepared. Everyone says apple butter, but no one in our house actually likes apple butter.

I cook about 40 lbs of apples at a time and get about 12 quarts of applesauce from that. That is the largest stock pot I have that will fit on our stove. Everyone has their own recipe, and I have tried a bunch. What I have found that works best for me is; it is simple, uses little supplies or ingredients, and has little to no waste. I have anywhere between 3 and 4 ingredients; Apples, water, lemon juice, and sometimes sugar. Sugar is added if I overdo it with lemon juice, or the apples just are not sweet enough. We tried making some with cinnamon, but all the kids liked the plain better. Typical applesauce from the store has; APPLES, HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP, WATER, ASCORBIC ACID (VITAMIN C). Sometimes there are more chemicals than that. I may add 1 cup of sugar to 12 quarts of applesauce. And ½ cup of lemon juice. The lemon juice is a preservative and keeps the color from turning brown when the apples oxidize.

Here is my process. I use the whole apple, core, peel and all. I quarter them for faster processing and cooking, it also allows me to see if any bugs are in the cores. Those go directly to the chickens. All the good quarters go into a big stock pot. Some recipes call for peeling, and coring them. That is more work than I want to put in. The bonus is there is so much more nutrition and benefits in the peal.

 

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After ALMOST filling the pot, I take 2-4 quarts of water mixed with ½ cup lemon juice. Pour all over the apples before you start cooking. This will help the sauce from turning too brown. The lemon juice acidifies the sauce, and also keeps the apples from turning brown. You need a slightly acidic sauce for proper canning to prevent spoilage. Lesson learned from one of my batched. One recipe called for adding the lemon juice after cooking and processing. The sauce was a brown color and the kids weren’t real crazy about it, even though it tasted exactly the same as other batches.

If you fill you pot too full with apples this is what happens after you start to cook. Lesson learned; do not fill it ALL the way with apples. You do not need to cover the apples with liquid either.

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I cook on high for a while, and then turn down the heat to medium.  I rarely measure unless for the first time with a recipe, and rarely time things. My wife hates this about me cooking. When I explain to her that not all stoves, pots, etc. are the same, and some heat differently, cook differently. She sighs and states “Whatever”. I leave the apples on until they are tender on the top (the bottoms will be mush at this point. I go off and do other things, dishes, getting jars ready etc. until the house starts smelling like apple pie. Very important, do not turn on the burner until the water/lemon mixture is poured over the top. Lesson learned. The bottom apples can scorch, and then once it all cooks together and you spend the time to make the sauce, it tastes like burnt sugar/apples.

IMG_0795If you have a stand mixer I cannot recommend highly enough getting one of these, food mils. Well worth the investment. If you do not have a stand mixer you can you a hand mill. But if you are going through 500+ lbs of apples, a mechanical one makes all the difference in the world.

 

I process the cooked apples hot, and put back into a smaller pot until everything is processed and blended. This way I can mix, blend and add sugar if it is necessary. The blend of apples we have this year usually does not require any sugar at all. It is better to use a blend of apples if you can, but totally not necessary. Like a wine, you want to blend different grapes with different flavor profiles, and a blend is better for all around taste. 

When the apples are processed the pulp comes out looking like this. This is after the first pass.

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After straining out all the apples from the liquid that has collected in the bottom of the cooking pot, I will add the pump back and cook it a second time.

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It will rehydrate, further break down, and I run it again through the mill. This additional process usually gives me an additional 2-3 quarts of sauce. Less water waste and less pulp waste. After the second cooking I am left with maybe 1 qt of pulp, seeds, stems, and peels.

 

 

There is not much waste from 40lbs at the start, and even that is not wasted. Some people will strain the liquid waste and use for apple juice, cider, hard cider or apple vinegar. The juice is just the filtered liquid from cooking, if you let it sit, you get cider when the juice combines with natural yeast in the air. If you let the cider sit you can get hard cider when they yeast ferment the cider to alcohol. If you let the alcohol sit, you can get apple cider vinegar. More work than I want to put into it, and not enough yield for the work. While you are just letting it sit, I forget about these sorts of things, and it ends up looking like a science project. Then I get in trouble with the home boss.

 

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I combine the liquid again with the pump to make a slurry, and feed to the chickens. They love it, it is not wasted, I feed them less purchased feed as a result, and they give me eggs. Permaculture principals at play.

 

 

 

 

No chickens? Feed them to you worms in the worm bin to make compost, compost tea, and worm castings. No worm bin? Just add to your compost and allow it to break down to rich soil.

 

Back to the sauce, here is the final batch.

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I will taste, usually have one of the kids taste as well. They are the final judge of sweetness. You would think they would want it almost candy tasting, but no. They actually prefer my sauce to that of store bought. After eating our homemade sauce for a while, then eating the store bought while staying with family, they said the store bought was too sweet? WHAT? Up until this last year that is what they ate all the time with no complaints. Go figure.

If no sugar is needed, we move forward, bring to a boil then, and added to cleaned mason jars. Once all the jars are full lids and rings go on. I pressure can everything now that I have one, but you do not need to for applesauce. Heating 10+ quarts of water plus the jars, for a water bath boiler is wasted energy and time in my opinion. Using the pressure canner I can get up to temp and pressure much faster, with less energy. As an added bonus, if I am canning other things such as chicken stock or other things that require the canner I can just throw them in at the same time. Because I use a pressure canner I have found that if the sauce is somewhat thin, it is better for storage. If I have a thick applesauce, then can it, it ends up getting thicker during the process and we need to add water when we open a jar to eat as it is almost like a jam. It is almost hard to describe, I like the sauce as a soup consistency vs. a ketchup consistency prior to canning.

You can experiment as we have with various different blends such as apple-peach, apple-pear, apple-mixed berry, apple-blueberry, apple-strawberry, and apple-carrot (it was an experiment). Everything came out of our gardens so we know that there was nothing sprayed on the skins, or waxes etc. Important note, DO NOT run blackberry or other seeded berry in your kitchen aid mill. The seeds can get clogged and I have read where it can damage it. You also do not have to use sugar as a sweetener, you can use stevia if you have it. I have done this a few times and no one noticed. We also grow our own stevia and I make my own liquid sweetener.  

Help us get 100 or more likes.

FBWe are trying to expand beyond friends, family, and people we have consulted with in the past. Help us do this. If we can get to 100 likes (67 currently) we will give away some free consulting time. You DO NOT have to be local. It could be online help via e-mail or phone call. Want help with permaculture questions? Want some homesteading help? Have preparedness or other self sufficiency questions or problems? Now is your chance to cash in.

 

If we can get to 100 likes before December 1st, 1 person from the list will be chosen randomly. The 2 year old will pick a name from a hat. Already liked us? You can still get in, share this post. Your name will go in, in addition to the new people who liked. That means 2 entries possibly for each person. 1 for liking and one for sharing. If we hit 200 before December 2 people will be selected, and the person who refers the most new people will get a consult as well, just put in the comments who shared the page with you.  

I was mentioned on The Survival Podcast!

                 Today I was mentioned by name and article on The Survival Podcast an international podcast with over 90,000 listeners. So, today on Episode 1249 at 53 minutes into the show Darby Simpson from Darby Simpson Consulting mentioned an article I had written for our new venture Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. It was about supplementing your livestock feed with things you can produce such as fodder, azolla,  and duckweed. Check out TSP and the Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. Big thanks to Darby for mentioning me on the air.   Who knows, maybe one day I can be the Midwest Permaculture expert counsel for TSP. There is an east coast, a west coast already. Dare to dream right?

If you like the article and other things I have published come take a look at the full day Homesteading class November 23  or the 2 1/2 day permaculture and sustainable agriculture conference in January.

2 more seats sold for the January Conference

I just got confirmation two additional seats sold for the SoldJanuary Conference with Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. Again from Michigan. Must be something about the Michigan winter and not much to do up there with all the snow and cold. We welcome the new attendees! With an indoor pool and gym at the hotel, the cold winter shouldn’t be a problem. You will be thinking warm thoughts as we talk about how to turn your property into a permaculture sustainable system in the coming spring/summer.

Spread the word before early registration discounts run out. A full class means we will be offering it again, and we can start offering other classes like off grid power, medical and first aid, additional homesteading classes and much more. Be sure to take advantage of the early registration discount or the MSB discount through The Survival Podcast. Using the MSB membership, your discount will be greater than the MSB cost i.e. you actually save more than you spend making your membership FREE.

There are still openings for my November homesteading class here in Indy. Planting barrel/composterOnly 8 hrs, but jam packed of information. While registration through the sites listed isn’t necessary, it does help plan on how much to bring and plan for. There is a free registration for a planting barrel with every advanced seat sold. We can take credit card registrations/payments, but there is a 4% fee due to credit card transaction fees. Cash is always accepted.

Livestock Feed Alternatives via MSE

Here is a link to my latest article from Midwestsustainable.org. I discuss some different feed options for chickens and other homesteading animals.

http://www.midwestsustainable.org/blog/feed-costs-killing-201311

Correction Midwest Sustainable Education Conference

When I originally posted the new site had launched, I mistakenly posted that it would be held July 10-12 2014. The dates for the conference are JANUARY 10-12 2014. For all the latest details go to the conference website Midwestsustainable.org.

What a year!

                This week I received a congratulatory e-mil for having my site for one year. Many things have changed, evolved, grown, since that first month. While the site has been up for one year, it wasn’t until June that I began putting real content.

                During the entire month of November 2012 I had only 102 hits to our site. While I still don’t have the total numbers for November as of yet, in October it was 1,621 and November is trending to be bigger than October.  My average hits for November 2012 was 4 hits per day. Today, November is trending at 69 hits per day. Although most of my earlier hits were where I checked to see how updates looked and navigate the page.

                A year ago I was not posting regularly, had no Facebook presence, no twitter presence. I was actually opposed to Facebook but decided to use it to reach more potential readers in June of 2013. That is about the time I started to regularly publish blogs and information. I have integrated my site to post updates on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, and LinkedIn each time there is a new article. You can follow, like, or + on any of these social media sites and I encourage you to like, and share. Help me reach more audience members. Adding these social media outlets has allowed me to reach people, and make new friends whom I normally might not have come across some local, some as far as Singapore, London, and Australia.

                A year ago I was working full time, trying to farm and garden, blog about it, and spend time with the family. I was spreading my time too thin across everything in my life. Today I am at home with the family, building more relationships, and focusing more time on building the farm, and educating others. I used to dread getting up each day, driving into work, and couldn’t wait for the weekends. I wake up each day happy and looking forward to “work”. When you do something you love it really isn’t work. I love teaching classes, I love expanding people’s knowledge and sharing what I have learned.

                This year I scheduled my first full day class on Homesteading. Up until 1391797_568973436507889_510742523_nthis point I had been giving smaller classes to help a small business grow. I gave my first Trade School Indy class with more planned for next year.  I also collaborated with two other presenters Jason Akers from The Self Sufficient Gardner, and Darby Simpson from Darby Simpson Consulting for my first 2 day conference on permaculture and sustainable agriculture and cofounded Midwest Sustainable Education Conference. Both of which still have openings, but are having seats filled almost each day.

                After learning about permaculture and beginning to implement at my property five years ago, I was finally able to achieve my Permaculture Design Certificate. Due to the distance, and time constraints I would have probably 001never been able to take one of these onsite at a location and especially from Geoff Lawton himself. I was able to be part of Geoff Lawton’s online PDC. I think I actually got more from the online class than I would have gotten from an onsite course. I can and have reviewed the videos on a few topics. There was the Earthworks bonus DVD, Soil DVD, Edible Forrest I and II, then all the bonus Q&A videos. I estimate the 72 hr course was really more like 120 hour.  Some skills and principals I had learned over the years, but the course put things into a different perspective, and I understood why the principals worked vs. just knowing that they worked.

                A year ago I had one aquaponic system which was an ever evolving design. Today I have 4 systems in operation. A year ago we had 8 laying hens, today we have 25. Not all reside at our suburban home however. A year ago we would have never let people tour our property. Today we have regular tours and help show people just some of the possibilities of what you can accomplish in a suburban back yard. A year ago we had three fruit trees on our 0.2 acre lot and had not gotten any fruit thus far. Today we have 8 fruit trees, numerous fruiting bushes, and vines climbing all over. We now also have access to 20 fruiting trees, berry bush patches we nurtured over the last year. We were able to can over 100 jars of homemade applesauce. We harvested peaches, pears, raspberries, blackberries, and a variety of apples this year. Normally we would have bought all this fresh fruit. We reduced our water bill significantly by using deep mulch and water collection through rain barrels.

                A year ago we were spending thousands of dollars on child care. This year we have none. A year ago 90% or more of our food came from the big box stores. Now it is less than 40%. What we don’t produce ourselves, we buy or barter with other local producers. A year ago we paid big bucks to bring dangerous chemicals into our house in the form of soaps, laundry detergent, and toothpastes etc. Today we make our own from natural alternative at a fraction of the cost and without the harsh chemicals. As a result we feel out health has improved.

                A year ago I was working on a job I hated and worked 40+ hours a week, spent a great deal of time in the car during a commute, and had not much more money in my pocket if I had not been working. After gas, child care, and other related expenses, I wasn’t really bringing home that much more money. While at home, I spend more time with my family, I can get more chores done around the house, make my own soaps, grow my own food, and make more home cooked meals. What I save from doing these activities makes up for what little money I lost by working full time.

               I have started writing for a variety of publications such as Aquaponics Survival Community, PREPARE Magazine, Brink of Freedom, and Midwest Sustainable Education Conference in addition to what I publish here.

                I think I have come a long way in just a year. This is not to brag about all that I have done. It is a way to journal, and show what you too can accomplish. This is just after one year. 2014 will be better yet. We have more classes, more growing activities, more tours, and more expansion of our microfarm. Many plants that were planted this year will be producing next year such as Kiwi, Goji berries, hops, and grapes to name a few. With new partnerships, new friends, and new connections I can reach more people, teach more people, and share more on how you too can accomplish things like this. While it is only November, think about what you want to accomplish next year. Is it to grow more of your own food? Is it to have your own back yard flock? Do you want to learn how to can some of your own food? Do you want to free yourself from harsh chemicals in your home? Do you want to free yourself from the 40 hr work week? Do you want to learn how permaculture and sustainable agriculture can help you accomplish this? Start thinking about how you can take control of your life and stop letting things and others control it for you. Attend one of the upcoming classes.  Or contact us for how we can help.

November 23 full day on homesteading

January 11-12 Sustainable Agriculture which is for both urban and rural properties.