Alfred Reed Bishop and Doris William Butler

The picture above is the very tap root of Bishop's Homegrown/Face Of The Earth Seed. My grandparents shortly after moving to Pekin Indiana from Greensburg KY in 1947 where they purchased the farm that is now Bishop's Homegrown. This picture was taken in Pekin in front of the old co-op next to the old railroad depot, neither of which exist today.

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"The Resilient Gardener" Review

"The Resilient Gardner - Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times. Carol Deppe.

Wow, finally got a chance to set down and finish off my review copy with todays strong storm front moving through and theres a ton I could say about this book.

From the absolute novice gardener right down to the hardcore Survivalist/Restitutionalis/Get Ready For Shit To Hit The Fan true believers like me, this book hits many of the high points for need to know type gardening.

Within the pages of this beautiful book your going to find a little bit of everything from the why's we should garden to the hows of doing so without the convinience of running to the garden store down the road if things should get bad, along with a slew of easy to understand seed saving, breeding, and genetics information (even for those with no background) and an amazing amount of cullinary knowledge from a wonderfully exploratory home cook. All the while you will get an amazing glimpse at Carol's wonderful personality and her penchant for being prepared for anything, with good reason given her geographic location.

The information is concise as well as precise and immediately understandable as well as practical. Inside she gives us 33 Golden Gardening rules to get us started on the rough path to sustainability and from there moves into the deeper reasons that we not only should be in touch with our own food production but indeed may one day have to be. A hard truth for many to swallow that's for sure, our blog and others have proven that. This said, she doesn't tend to stick to controversial subjects, instead giving us clearly highlightable historical incidents which are immediately relatable to the crisis' that could be at hand at any moment as well as extremely powerful and plausable "what if's".

The true glimmer of her knowledge come through in the form of her cullinary understanding of her crops and their uses as well as her uniqe experience with Celiac disease and other dietary issues which might otherwise thwart our ability to be truly prepared should things ever get "that bad."

All along she peppers her wording with her strong belief (mine as well) that our communities will have to play a role as providers and merchants within themselves. Strengthening our ties as a community via trade and special skills developed individually but traded amongst the community at large in good and bad times. It's nice to see someone actually viewing the world much in the same way I myself do.

She spends a wonderful amount of time regarding poultry, potatoes, corn, beans, and squash and their ability to sustain us soley in the event of crisis or in the strugle to find sustainability, all the while making sure she highlights the hows and why's of what she is growing as well as the variety while also making a point to let us know that what works for her in her bio-region may not work for you and listing some alternatives. As well she updates us on her plant breeding projects, their virtures, and why she made the selections that she has as well as alternative selections which could have been made. The same is true of the poultry, she never once dismisses chickens or other poultry for her flock of laying ducks and instead gives advice which can inform our decision as well as the statistics regarding the behavior and laying ability of her flock and notes regarding her experiences.

The potato section mentions many of Tom Wagners varieties and Carol and her partner have spent many a day experimenting with many potatoes in many different uses.

I feel like having spoken to Carol in the past and after having read this book that some of us (I am guilty!) spend far to little time focusing on the taste and uses of our crops, this book has most certainly reinforced my gut feeling that the persual of cullinary delights and their mastery in the kitchen are aspects that I have too easily overlooked. At the end of each chapter regarding poultry, corn, squash, beans, and potatoes, Carol graciously shares with us a few dishes and ideas which should give us plenty of fodder for persuing our own homegrown dishes with as much zest as she has for cooking as well as gardening, seed saving, plant breeding, food storage, animal husbandry, survivalism and life in general.

Ther are wonderful reccomendations for garden tools which are easy on the back, watering, soil fertility and composting, spacing, seeding, raised bed gardening and so much more.

If self sustainability is something you hope to approach with any real rational approach, trust me there is no need to reinvent the wheel when someone like Carol can provide you at least with a rough roadmap which will lead you in the right general direction, trust me I know. You will learn more here than from any extension office in the United States in terms of value, persistance, beauty, hope, and realism and the words never come off the page as contrived or lacking in a concrete foundation.

This is the primer for the gardener and farmers of the 21'st century. Those who will likely live to see the day when supermarket shelves are empty or non existent.

Even if your set in your ways and tend to avoid gardening books this is one which should be sought out, if for no other reason that to know that out there on that beautiful west coast there is someone sharing your pain and successes, a likemind with which many of us can relate; preparing and grooming herself, her seeds, her community, for what could/likely will happen. More than that though, she is sharing, secrets that most of us lost more than a 100 years previous, that my friends is sacred knowledge (gnosis) of the highest order, the type which is truly life giving.

We hope to interview Carol in the near future, until then, check the book out as soon as you get a chance. You can order it here:

Also be sure to keep your eyes open for Carols new seed resource Fertile Valley Seeds coming soon!

Seed CSA: Seed List coming soon!

Howdy guys,

For those who have joined the seed CSA I planned on having the seeds all packaged and the seed list done by now, but haven't quite finished up. Regardless the list will probably be up sometime in the next couple weeks with seed available once published. For those who didn't join the CSA we will also include a seperate price list for those varieties available to the general public for ordering.

Just wanted to give you a quick update and let you know. We should have quite a bit available for this season though and I'm pretty excited to get some of this seed out there and into the public domain.

Thanks to those who have joined! It's definitely appreciated!

Infrastructure: The Peasant Barn

Ok, ok, I admit it, it's actually a broke down tobacco curing barn. But it's my broke down, termite infested tobacco barn!

I had been toying with the idea of a peasant barn since we first added turkeys to the repetoir of the farm a couple of years back. What do I mean by a peasant barn? Well, say you were a young guys, stugling with starting a business and maintining focus on those things which bring an at leas somewhat steady payday, and you didn't have much money in your pocket, if you wanted a barn you might be willing to forgo the common trend of having a new Pole barn built with their prohibitive costs and instead focus on building something out of commonly available and free or cheap materials scavenged locally, right? Well, if your me, that's how the train of thought works anyhow.

Sure, I had a family tobacco curing barn on sight, but it was full of junk, and to be honest, I just didn't want to sacrifice the time to clean it up, to be honest, I kept hoping a storm would blow it down, that way I could salvage some lumber and metal from it and start over and just toss or burn the rest of the mess (four generations of the same family storing utter crap in the same building), so it never occured to me "hey jackass, why not try to salvage and sure up what you have until you have the money and or the skills to actually build something worth having." That is until my father said "Well, the barn is yours anyhow." That's how my dad works, he absolves his responsibility (and subsequent guilt caused by years of neglecting on farm projects) by manipulating my gullibility until I get the job done. And so it was that I convinced myself "you can do this."

lol, my carpentry skills are crap, and I'll be honest with you, I hate construction work of any kind. I know it is a necessary skill to have on a farm, but that doesn't change the fact that I don't enjoy doing that type of work, at least I don't think I do until I actually accomplish something and think to myself; "hey, you did pretty good for someone who doesn't know a thing about what your doing." The goal in the end is to basically allow the barn to stand and serve our purposes for 10 or so years, or until a suitable replacement can be built. As I told Kim: "It's not perfect, but this will work, it only has to be a barn."

Technically I guess you could call it a pole barn, given the proliferation of round posts I used to replace the existing posts which were rotten.

Regardless, theres a lot of work that had to be done and a ton yet to do. So far I have replaced 30 or more old posts (with cedar cut from our woods and put in the ground or with poplar cut from our woods and placed on concrete blocks) and placed another 20 where before none existed. This is not mentioning all the scabing of pieces of lumber that needed to be done to "shore" things up a bit. Lots of water and termite damage, but I'm getting closer. What remains essentially are a few more posts, some metal to replace, and some metal to cover the end walls as well as some inside walls and building out the interior of the barn.

The lower shed will be the new turkey abode, complete with two vents on each end and several roosts, the front shed is basically a garage, and the main part of the barn (120 years plus old) will hold turkey breeding pens (for indidvidual color and variety crosses and brooding of eggs) as well as a blacksmithing shop for my inherited blacksmithing tools, storage for fishing equipment, animal equipment and feed, a composting toilet, rabbits and more. A partial second story will also be built to accomidate the expanding quail flock.

Anyhow, this is part of the reason I haven't blogged much lately, that and adding all of the animals, packing seeds, and making the seed list ext. Expect more soon.

Expanding our animal husbandry skills: Coturnix Quail

We recently had the pleasure of making a new friend in the local area who runs an amazing farm rearing goats, rabbits, ducks, chickens, sheep, and guard dogs, by the name of Blanche Perkins. Blanche contacted us on Facebook and was kind enough to pass a flock of 20 Bourban Red turkeys our way a couple weeks ago (as they were making their way accross the poultry fencing and into the dog enclosures where they were easy targets and made for expensive dog food) in exchange for some Homegrown nursery stock next season.

Kim, myself, and Corie, made our way down the road to Blanches amazingly beautiful farm and had a great time chatting with Blanche and checking out the animals as well as catching turkeys and discussing the red legal tape that binds us in many ways from exploring our true potential as farmers. On the trip home Kim and I discussed our newfound friendship and we definitely agreed that Blanche was "our type" and what we hope to become a long time friendship was forged.

Last week Blanche sent me a message about some Coturnix quail she was anxious to get rid of, about fifty or so, and obligingly we took them in exchange for nursery stock again. I had been sort of half heartedly exploring the idea of raising a few quail both for meat as well as a sideline income for about a year or so but had yet made the commitment, sometimes that little push is all it takes, and I can't thank Blanche enough for the little birds which I have already gained immense enjoyment from. Their care is so incredibly easy that it adds little to the list of daily chores and the experience of keeping such calm little "game" birds adds a lot to the allure of life on this farm.

As though that weren't enough Blanche also passed onto us (again in trade for nursery stock) another 24 Coturnix quail as of last evening.

Once our "peasant barn" is sufficiently rebuildt the quail will be given plenty of space in the second floor portion of the barn including a flight training room, a meat hutch, and several breeding cages.

There are two types of Coturnix quail in the photos below. The browns are Pharoh (I think) and the whites are Texas A&M. Apparently the white birds are also white meat all the way through contrary to the other breeds of Coturnix being dark meat.

This previous summer we got calls left any right from folks wanting quail eggs, meat, and birds for dog training, so hopefully this can turn into a lucrative little piece of our overall business scheme. In time I'll probably breed out the majority of the whites as I prefer a darker feathered and a darker meated bird.

You can also check out a few pics of the turkeys roaming around today after the huge rainstorm that ripped through the area (finally, this is the driest I've ever seen Indiana with little to no foragable subsistance available to the turkeys through the late summer and early-mid fall burning a hole in our pocket via feed bills).

As we have emphasised many times here on the blog and elsewhere making local contacts and facilitating trades within the local community are time honored and reliable methods to grow friendships and the local economy all the while creating a stronger locally sustainable community and saving a few dollars in the long run.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

An amazing lecture by Alan Kapuler!

We posted the home interview associated with this lecture last week, I lucked into finding the actual lecture on youtube today! Check it out. This man has so much beautiful and amazing information to share with the world and always inspires me and makes me rethink my positions on many things.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More proof of control of the worlds food supply via seed! Seed Savers Exchange involved.

First, read this speech Kent Whealey gave to the Land Institute:

My Commentary on the subject:

Three years ago I made essentially this exact pronouncement and prediction about SSE and by many I was called a “conspiracy theorist” amongst many other things. I was also simotaniously banned from both the SSE (not just from the messageboard, but from ever being a member as well) and also from tomatoville.

This speaks to a much deeper issue. It isn’t just about the SSE it’s about control of people, peasants, and not just those in the third world, us peasants in the developed world as well.

The very same people who sit on the boards of transnational corporations are generally the very same people who set in prominent government positions, are tied to international banking, and in general want YOU, all of YOU, in a position of both gratitude and groveling. No more Freedmen, only “men” in constant need of some fix from those in power. Food is one of the main tenents that these folks need to control in order to truly control society and bring forth a “New World Order.” To control food they need to tax the farmers to death and place so much red tape on every last little thing that we no longer have the will to fight them.

They don’t like people like us. The salt of the earth. The Meek. The ones who will inherit this place when their plans don’t work. We put a serious hitch in their giddy up by being self sufficient, so they have to control us at the basist level of food production. Via the very seed our ancestors domesticated and tended and passed down to us. We are the ones being domesticated now.

Anyone with any doubts about Amy Goldmans intentions in this world need only look at just who her family was as well as how manipulative they were, even to each other to see the truth for what it is and why it is.

Trying to get those seeds back legally will be a bitch, an thing to be honored for sure, more importantly, perhaps someone with money should persue the idea I proposed three long years ago about a copyleft for seeds which would allow trading between farmers and gardeners as well as sale by family owned companies but would exclude commercial use or manipulation by large corporations.

I am preparing for what is coming in this world people, and if your not you need to ask yourself why you aren’t. The cards are on the table, you are seing the enemies hand as we speak, you got something to play you better play it even if it might be “up your sleeve”.

Just remember this, he wo controlls the seed controls the feed, and he who controls the feed controls you!

Look at the rising price of commodities this fall. A massive wheat shortage in Russia (the third largest producer of wheat in the world behind Canada and the U.S.)who will not export wheat until the end of next harvest season (maybe) paired with corn crop failures in the corn belt causing (last week alone) a 6% increase in the price of corn commodities. Pair that with the inflation of the dollar and the Federal Reserves plan to monetize debt by printing more dollars. We are approaching a perfect storm. Trust me when I say this, one day when all things come to a head, those in power will wait until winter or a time of disaster so we are all passified and too weak to fight back.

Be prepared my friends.

Awesome interviews!

Here is a wonderful new interview from PNAC with a man I'm extremely proud to call a friend, mentor, and brother; Dr. Alan Kapuler.

And here is a really fantastic interview with Carol Deppe about her new book I will be reviewing shortly; The Resilient Gardener. I too will be interviewing Deppe in the near future so those of you interested in self sufficiency, cullinary delights, and plant breeding, please be sure to e-mail me questions you might have for her.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The amazing artwork of Mary Deem Feifer!

I've been meaning to post a link to this for a while now and just keep forgetting. Mary is the wonderful woman who is doing the new logo for our Face Of The Earth Seed project. I finally had a chance to meet Mary in person at the recent Homegrown Goodness get together and she is just as wonderful and friendly and talented in person as she comes off as in e-mail. I consider Mary a fantastic friend and want to share her talents with the world in my little corner of cyberspace. The work in progress art she showed me of the logo was fantastic and the rough sketch she did in the first few days of our correspondence together was beautiful in itself in ways I can't explain in words. When the artwork is finished I'll ask Mary if I can also share the sketch she sent me as well.

Anyhow, I highly reccomend checking out her site if your a fan of fine artwork!

Forgot to add...

Order Carol Depps amazing new book The Resilient Gardener here:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Sigh"......yet again.

Just read it, you'll see.

Also came accross a wonderful article that I thought was quite informative and would help to educate those who strugle with the concept of conspiracy theories and governmental coverups here:

I can not say this enough; know you fucking enemy, your going to have to understand what is coming to prepare for it.

As an example, did any of you see this article this past week?

Yeah, but your government has your best interest at heart right? Pair this with the Tunguska experiment and see what you come up with. If they were doing this shit to people all those decades ago what do you think the crooked bastards are up to now days?

When you get a chance, do a little reading about a place called Plum Island. Delve into it's history and it's founding by a Nazi scientist, take notes regarding the geography of the first recorded case of lyme disease. Pair that information with all of the known outbreaks of animal disease that you can think of. Research it, understand it, and know that when "they" think the time is right that they will use what they have in their arsenol to create whatever "crisis" they need to solve whatever "problem" they have in this world.

Carol Deppe: The Resilient Gardener (review coming soon)

Carol was awesome enough to have her publisher send me an advanced review copy of her wonderful new book. Skimming through it in the few minuites of free time I had today between shelling and cracking corn as well as cutting and splitting wood I saw a wonderful wealth of information catered to the exact audience that my blog seems to attract; self sufficient seed saving foodies with an emphasis on what is coming!

I will be reviewing it in the coming weeks and look forward into delving into it! As well I also plan on interviewing Carol later this fall when the book hits the stands.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Crop Profile: Asronomy Domine

Crop Profile: Astronomy Domine Sweet Corn
Crop Type: SU/SE sweet corn genepool
Breeder: Alan Bishop/Hip-Gnosis Seed Development/Bishop’s Homegrown
Breeding Method: Mass Cross, Composite, Genepool, Landrace
- Restore inbred sweet corn germplasm to a usable state
- Increase sweet corn diversity
- Increase occurences and volume of free amino acids in a usable form by selecting for intese kernel color.
- Drought and Low Fertility Tolerance
- High sugar content
- Cool moist soil germination

Parents: Over 170 different sweet corn cultivars from the world over have been crossed into this unique elite line of corn. Hybrids, Open Pollinated types, and heirlooms, as well as unique inbred lines

F5 Composite

Comments: This was the first of our many and ever expanding breeding projects. We began by utilizing about 50 sweet corns and introgressing them together in a breeding plot to which we planted extrodinarily early allowing natural selection from the pool by way of utilizing on the genetics that germinated and grew well in cold and wet soil. Over the years we have introgressed many more lines of unique sweet corns into the mix allowing them to cross and selecting for the average maturity, plant height and type, and selecting specifically for color and taste. We have tried to allow as much variability in type as we possibly can so that others the world over can select for what works best in their particular climates. Many strains with very diverse traits exist including some in Israel as well as Asia and all over the United States. In the coming years we will begin to select harder for what performs the best in our climate here in the Ohio Valley.

Friday, October 1, 2010

I read the news today.....oh boy.

Wow, there is litterally so much shit going on in this world. The ramp up towards totalitarinism both in this country and around the world over the past 12 months is absolutely astounding and so hard to keep up with that it makes it near impossible for any person to keep up with it none the less try to report on it and make since of it all in some effort to attempt to inform others about why they better be getting their shit together.

It is truly insane and I wish I could touch on every individual issue and why I feel that each one is so important, but with the vast limitations on my time during the part of the year where the sun is still shining it is nigh impossible to really delve into much of any of it.

A few weeks ago you might remember me talking about the Green/Eugenecist movement. As though I needed any more proof that I was right a new incentive called 10:10 just made it that much easier for me to prove my point. The fact that they would even consider this as "sarcasm" or acceptable for public release really disgusts me:

Then you have the anti war protesters recently raided (free speech much?) along with news about how the government is investing in software to detect resentment towards government, and the fed talking about helping the U.S. montize debt, and don't even get me started on the continuing bull shit that is the B.P. oil disaster or all the war drums being beaten the world over.

Ask yourself this, how long do you think it's going to last? Just how long exactly can we all walk this tight rope before we fall into the abyss? You better be prepared and you better get informed. Learn what it takes not just to live but to thrive when shit gets bad, because it is coming.

"dofer" blacksmithing

I have had a growing interest in blacksmithing for most of my life. My great grandfather, his father, and his father before him were the town blacksmiths in Oneida Kentucky and "working" and "learning" in the family blakcsmith shop has always been a central focus of my visits to my grandfathers house.

Traditional coal fired blacksmithing is a dying art here in the United States at a time when it in fact may be one of the most important traits to know and understand, when things get bad, and trust me they will, the ability to make use of found metal and form useful implements should be high on our list of priorities and should be considered and important trade which can be used to create barter currencies.

I am set to inherit my family forge as well as tools on my next visit to my grandfathers, at that time I will build a proper "shop" so to speak, utilizing lumber from an old barn my other grandfather had here on this property (noticiing a trend here), as I plan to take excellent care of what I inherit, particularly since to me this tools represent the passing on of gnosis and of useful traits.

Until then however I plan to continue to expand my knowledge of blacksmithing using found and or cheap materials that anyone can put together.

Here I have created a brake drum forge utilizing a car break drum, some fire brick, cinder blocks, and some 2 inch black pipe as well as a couple of pieces of t-rail (scavenged from the railroad that runs accross the farm) for use as anvils and pipe benders and a discarded vice (found amongst my grandfathers tools which have remained unused since his death several years ago) bolted to a piece of cut walnut tree from our front yard. I have assembled a small but varried collection of tools, including many types of tongs, and hammers from his disgarded tools as well. I had to replace many handles in the hammers utilizing old farm implement handles and even made a short handled 8 pound sledge from a discarded sledge head I found.

Wrought iron is easy to come by here on the farm as there is a railroad running accross the front of the farm and an abundance of spikes, plates, discarded tools, and more from the decades of replacing tracks. Of course living in the country provides many farm "dump" sites where there is much in the way of metal due to discarded farm equipment and general farm trash which I can sift through to find suitable and workable material to work with.

I took some pictures to give you some idea of how to set up your own forge. It's pretty simple, all you really need is a brake drum and some 2 inch black pipe and a floor flange. I couldn't find black pipe in the 2 inch size that was needed and using galvanized isn't smart, particularly in a confined space, as you can get what is known as fume flue from the galvanized zink coating on the pipe. Here is a where a bit of chemistry comes in handy; just soak the pipe in some white vinegar for 24 to 48 hours to remove the zink. Essentially you want the floor flange connected to the brake drum if at all possible and a piece of 1/4 metal to cover the bottom of the drum (the bolt holes), but since I don't own a drill press or the equipment necessary to accomplish such a feat, it was just as well to place the flange inside the bracke drum with the "nipple" hanging out the bottom and then placing a piece of grill mesh over top of the hole (to keep the coals from fallign through) and then placing some carraige bolts with wide heads through the mesh and holes and bolting them down, which holds the flange in place. You then create a T from your pipe. The nipple pointing towards you is where you place your air source, in my case a simple squirrel cage fan (not pictured), scavenged from the first greenhouse I bought and took down (I replaced it with a new one when I put the greenhouse back up) and you want one nipple pointing down with an end cap to catch the ash that you will produce.

Anthrocite coal is easy to procure locally from the Swiss amish community where I can buy it for 5.50 a 40 lb bag and I was able to procure a 50 gallon drum of coke for free from one of dads friends as well. You can of course also use charcoal or wood, but both are far less efficient fuel forces. I plan on taking many more pictures once I actually start working with my new forge. I'm waiting on a good rain as we are in a heavy drought which has kept us from having anything in the way of late crops and has put my county in a county wide burn ban.