Tag Archives: Homesteading

Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference Feb 22, 2014

I recently scheduled a series of classes here in Indy. We are calling this the Indiana Homesteading and Preparedness Conference. This will be the first we hope of many in the future. We have a lineup of other great presenters in the future. Things like cheese making, soap making, goats, rabbits, back yard chickens, upcycling materials, improvised weapons, baton training, NRA training, and so much more. Want more leave a comment on what you want to see.

Here is the schedule for the Permaculture and related classes. Two of them are the same I gave during the MSE conference; one is what will be given at the NEXT MSE conference in March (estimated), held in Kentucky. We will be bringing it back here to Indiana this fall

All are pre-pay registration. This is to ensure we have seats, and the seats are filled. Too often people RSVP then don’t show.

Attending any of the classes? Hang out at Black Swan after the conference, socialize and build some community.   Everything is held on Feb 22 out in Plainfield Indiana at the Cambria Suites.

8-9 Introduction and starting your garden

9-11 Introduction to permaculture

11-12 Canning water bath and pressure

1-3 Applying Permaculture Principals

3-4 Dehydrating

4-6 Aquaponics

6-8 Medicinal Herbs

RSVP through the Alternative Gardening Meetup. http://www.meetup.com/AlternativeGardening/

I have partnered up with a pair here in Indy to offer some great security and personal defense classes. Very knowledgeable people.

8am-12pm Utah Permits

1pm-5pm Refuse to be a victim

5-7 pm Introduction to preparedness

The RSVP on Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Indiana-Disaster-Preparedness/

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.

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.

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.

Homesteading – How did we get here?

        Today I hosted some good folks from the communist state of Illinois. I gave them the outdoor tour and talked about what we have done and where we are going. How we got where we are today and lessons learned along the way. They made the comment we are just getting started and wanting to learn more. I remember being there several years ago. It made me think to when we got started to where we are today.

         Many people look at what we are doing on our 0.2 acre suburbia homestead and think we are so far ahead of the game. I see it as the opposite. I see how much more I have to do. I look back when we bought this place and think how it has evolved, how we have evolved. The one common denominator was it didn’t happen overnight.

                I wasn’t always homestead minded. I once was one of the sheeple following the next person in line. Buying, consuming, and spending. I got hooked from listening to The Survival Podcast. It isn’t the doom and gloom, doomsday prepper, and militia. It is a lot of common sense, and I have learned quite a bit just from having it on in the background.

                The bushels of pears and apples ripening on the trees didn’t just come with the property. We planted them. One tree at a time. We used to buy in spring when everyone had them in the box stores or the 1 year old seedling from the catalogs. Now we trade, start our own, grafts, and buy on clearance or end of season at 50% off or better. We learned there was a better more cost effective way. We learned the hard way and bought full price trees before we learned there is a better way.

                We make our own laundry soap. We just recently started this. $0.02/load vs. $1.00 load does add up. It was a learning process. Rather than use the dryer we are line drying our clothes. This alone cut our eclectic bill in ½ . From March-November I know we will not use it, and if all goes well will not use it again. “So what do you do when it is raining or snowing, or freezing outside?” Either don’t do laundry or hang in our garage. We don’t park in our garage. It is for storage, workout area, and a play area for the kids when it is raining outside. For the cost of a few feet of paracord I have two lines in my garage.

Here is a picture in our garage.

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 Here is one where I turned the pergola into a clothesline.

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                The strawberry groundcover didn’t happen overnight. It took time and planting. Now we get to enjoy fresh strawberries, chemical free, organically grown, and well free year after year.

                You can start at any time, and start small. You do not have to do everything at once. When it came to canning I started with one package of jars, one pot, and tome tomatoes out of my garden. I now have 500+ jars accumulated from family, craigslist, and goodwill. My next step is to get the reusable lids.

                We have boxes of dehydrated foods from our garden and grocery deals. It didn’t happen overnight. We found our dehydrator in a family members storage unit. Started with a few herbs, after gaining success and learning the skill, we now will dehydrate shrimp, eggs, and make jerky.

                I remember when I first started learning about homesteading and preparedness I was overwhelmed by all that I thought I needed to do overnight. I had lists, schedule, priority of items. What I once thought was the top most important item has since fallen to low or no importance. There is no golden book or plan to follow. Waking up and becoming more aware is the best tip I can give. Your bran, the knowledge you learn, the experiences is what is key. I have made many failures for any success. I never consider them failures, but more a lesson on what not to do the next time, or how could I have made it better.

                Start small, but start today. Challenge yourself to learn something new each week, or a goal each month for prepare and grow your homestead. It could be planting a fruit tree, or reading a book on canning, or try a new more sustainable food on your next trip to the grocery. We tried goat and were pleasantly surprised.  When I look back we have come a long way, and I have learned so much more than I did 5 years ago. I learn something new almost each day. For instance I have 24 more hours of new permaculture videos Geoff Lawton just posted as part of my class. If you feel overwhelmed, don’t. You eat an elephant one bite at a time. Get your own homestead in order by one thing at a time. What helped and scared me was when I made lists of all I wanted to do and get accomplish. Some are low hanging fruit, and easily completed. But seeing it all there on a list made it more manageable and easier to grasp. Putting in out poly tote rainbarrel seemed overwhelming, and I kept putting it off. It took less than 30 min.

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One more thing to check off my list.  What can you cross off your list today? This week? This month?