The Demographics Of The North American Camper part 1

What smell reminds you most of camping? Smoke? Bug spray? Smores? Flowers?campfire




Escape, adventure, wilderness, family, peace,fun are common words used to describe camping. It is about the shared experience, strengthening relationships and allowing oneself to decompress from the stresses of the world.

In part 1 of our series on  camping, we  delve into the minutia of the north American tent camper and the growing interest in paying to sleep on the ground in the middle of nowhere.Over 40 million people camped somewhere within the United States in 2013. and some interesting data has been compiled on the demographics of the who the why and the when and the where.
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The #1 Danger In National Parks-You

“Fear the goat from the front, fear the horse from the rear, and man from all sides.”

Old Assyrian proverb.



wolf

Their minivan parks along the curb of Laurel Falls, mom slides the door open and out spill the kids armed with juice boxes, apple slices, grandma and the dog. Dad hands mom a couple of bottles of water, some wet wipes to throw in her purse and opens his map of trails within the Smoky Mountains National Park. Flip flops, t shirts and shorts are the popular dress, with an occasional hiker geared in sturdy boots and a backpack.The sign near the entrance says no dogs allowed on the trails but as the day  unfolds that appears to be  just a suggestion.  Continue reading

When Neighbors Collide- The City vs The Country






Robert Frost said “Good fences make good neighbors.”good neighbors2

It was a gorgeous property that had recently sold. 10 acres of blooming redbuds and dogwoods, a small pond stocked with catfish and bass and a beautiful newer two story brick home waiting for the next owner. It was cradled by rolling hills and valleys with a scenic county road landscaped with farms and homesteads that created something akin to the opening scene of a movie. Continue reading

GMOs In You and Your Livestock-The 21st Century Body Snatchers

raw milkFrito-Lay, Oscar Meyer, Cargill, Kellog, Pepsi Cola, Purina and Tyson are some of the leading producers of the American daily diet.   For tens of millions, a bowl of Capn Crunch and a glass of Sunny Delite for breakfast, McDonalds for lunch and Totino’s Pizza for dinner is the norm. Yet the irony is that many people consider raw milk, farm raised unrefrigerated eggs and organic grown vegetables not approved or regulated by the FDA to be risky. We have become a society that balances a Big Mac and a large Coke with a Walmart salad. A Sara Lee Pie is the whiskey and  Slimfast an aspirin for the hangover.



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Raising Rabbits Colony or Cage

Raising Rabbits- Colony or Cage





Once you decide you want to raise some rabbits on your homestead (congrats!) you will ultimately need to decide if you want to raise them in cages or in a colony. There are advantages and disadvantages to each method, neither is right or wrong. You just need to figure out what is right for you. You need to consider how easy or hard it will be to clean up after them, breed them, round them up as needed, and what is best for them “healthwise”.Raising Rabbits

Raising homestead rabbits in cages is exactly what it sounds like. You have multiple cages for your rabbits, each pretty much getting their own cage. A colony is one large pen or caged in area where all your rabbits (or most) live together as a group.

Rabbit Colony Benefits and Advantages
* Can be easier to clean – Instead of cleaning out individual cages you have one open area, usually on the ground which you can rake, mulch, etc.
* Feeding and watering is easier – Just try to set out some food and watering areas in a couple different places within the colony to avoid fighting but depending on the size of your herd this can be easier than filling bowls and water bottles in multiple cages.
* A colony is a better opportunity for rabbits to socialize and play.
* The setup cost is usually cheaper because you don’t have to buy so many cages, feeding bowls, watering bottles, etc.
Rabbit Colony Disadvantages
* Rabbits in colonies are not handled as much by human caregivers so they tend to be more like wild rabbits. They are often skittish and more apt to scratch and claw you up when you touch them.
* Rabbit fights can happen and this may lead to injuries that you must then care for.
* The ease and cost of one pen for a colony is diminished when you need other pens or supplemental cages for rabbits that need to be separated due to fighting or for grow out purposes.
* Rabbits in colonies are more susceptible to parasites and diseases because they are on the ground. Having all the rabbits together makes spreading those illnesses much more common.
* A colony typically requires more room than cages so if you are limited on space this may be a problem.
* A pen will usually need to be moved to access new greens and not oversaturate the area with waste.

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Wen Model 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer Product Review

Wen Model 6550 Benchtop Thickness Planer Product Review





See Also Our Wen 16″ Scroll Saw Review

Airstone Product Review


Airstone Product Review



See Our Wen 3920 Scroll Saw Review


DIY Kitchen Knife Rust Remover

DIY Kitchen Knife Rust Remover 
rusty knife

At some point or another, it happens. The kitchen knives end up in the dishwasher, despite conflicting “yes, you can” or “no you can’t” arguments about whether or not they are dishwasher safe. We haven’t had the greatest luck with avoiding food/contamination poisoning this year and I am determined to keep it from striking down another family member. Any knife that is used to cut raw meat goes straight into the dishwasher like a quarantined specimen and we don’t even think twice about it. Of course, it doesn’t help matters that our water isn’t fantastic either. We get quite a bit of build-up on our appliances from hard water residue, even with a water softener in place (Although, our water source isn’t from a well so really I shouldn’t say much!). All of these factors ultimately lead to build-up and rust our kitchen knife set. We cook A LOT, and we cannot prep our food knowing that we aren’t living up to our own code of standards. As you can see in the picture, we get little spots every now and again that can be “spot treated” in no time. Continue reading

9 Tips To Make Hiking More Enjoyable

9 Tips To Make Hiking More Enjoyable

9 Tips To Make Hiking More Enjoyable
1. Use your feet/ankles/toes. When hiking uphill, think of the way you get “up” the mountain as coming from your ankles, feet and toes propelling you, rather than your thighs/quads doing all the work. Another way to think of this is: Imagine your back foot pushing you forward rather than your front leg standing you up.
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Why You Should Be Raising Ducks Opposed to Chickens

Why You Should Be Raising Ducks Opposed to Chickens

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chicken-vs-ducksIt isn’t uncommon for people to have a flock of chickens in their backyard or on their homestead. Chickens are super easy to raise and produce eggs that can be eaten or sold. Raising chickens for meat is quick and inexpensive as well, which makes them a favorite for those who are living the self-sustainable lifestyle. Chickens are so common, you don’t think twice about seeing a few running around a homestead. They are as natural as weeds. A rooster crowing is synonymous with country life. You are probably accustomed to seeing chickens milling about your place and have never really considered anything else.

With that said, are chickens the best small livestock to raise? Is there another option?

You may want to consider raising ducks instead of chickens. Why ducks you ask? Well, we are going to discuss some of the reasons others have opted to go with ducks for their small livestock of choice on their own farm or homestead. The animals are similar in size and both produce eggs and can be eaten as a protein source, but ducks are better for several reasons.

Egg Quality

Many people have never actually tasted a duck egg. They are not very common and when most people think of eggs, they automatically assume they must come from a chicken. Ducks produce eggs on a regular basis as well and for those who have given duck eggs a try, they say they are superior to chicken eggs. Duck eggs have more protein then their chicken counterparts. They are also rich in vitamins A, B-6 and B-12. The eggs are slightly higher in cholesterol and fat, but not so much as to really change the way you would eat duck eggs compared to chicken eggs.

Duck eggs are also better for baking. You will discover many of the fancy bakeries will use duck eggs in place of chicken eggs in their recipes. Duck eggs have a bit of a thicker consistency, almost custard-like, which makes them beautiful additions to cakes, cookies and other fluffy batters. Duck eggs are also bigger than chicken eggs, which means you need less for certain recipes and to serve for breakfast in the morning.

Ducks are Kinder to Your Yard and Garden
Many new chicken owners are not fully aware of the animal’s ability to make mincemeat of a garden or yard. They may be small, but they are mighty diggers. You would be amazed at the size of holes chickens can dig. They can put a small dog to shame. They are excellent mini-tillers and can help get your garden patch ready for planting in the spring, but you need to build tall fences to keep them out of your garden throughout the growing season. Chickens are destructive. They will shred healthy plants and eat your fruits and vegetables within a matter of minutes. Their sharp beaks can break through plastic and get at potted plants and flowers.

Ducks on the other hand, with their flat bills and webbed feet are much gentler on the yard and garden. They can eat a healthy plant, but are less inclined to do so within minutes of you allowing them into the space. They will not dig holes in your yard or garden.

Many people use chickens to help reduce bugs in the yard and garden, but have to worry about them doing more damage than the bugs would have. Ducks are excellent foragers and will be more effective at reducing things like caterpillars and slugs without being quite as destructive. Ducks are mighty foragers and will work harder to get bugs than their lazy chicken counterparts. Ducks take their bug-hunting extremely serious. That is their focus. Chickens tend to scratch more than they actually forage.

Ducks are Hardier in the Cold

Backyard chickens can be problematic for those who live in colder climates. Chickens are not able to withstand the cold and will require a lot of care. Some breeds of chickens will stop laying when it is cold outside. Ducks are not quite so sensitive to the cold. They lay eggs year round. You won’t have to put in quite as much effort to keep the ducks warm as you do the chickens. And most chicken owners will tell you it is tough to keep up with the demands and needs of the chickens during the winter to keep them laying eggs.

Chickens are also more susceptible to disease. Many flock owners expect to lose a chicken or two during the winter because of some disease or an intolerance to the cold. Ducks love the cold water so a little cold weather is not a big deal to them. They can still go out in the cold and snow and thrive. Chickens risk suffering from frostbite and ultimately death if they are exposed to the weather for too long. Ducks seem to have a better knack and instinct for staying warm. They are smart enough to know to tuck their heads under their wing when it is cold out. Chickens will roost with their heads exposed. This can lead to frostbite or death in extreme cases.

Ducks are Friendlier

Lastly, ducks simply make better pets. A duck isn’t going to attack you with a sharp beak or try and scratch you with it’s scary spurs. You don’t have to worry about your little ones getting pecked by an overly aggressive chicken. Ducks tend to be much more mellow and nicer. Watching ducks waddle about your yard is entertaining. They are a sight to see when they take their bath in the pond and baby ducks are absolutely adorable. Is there anything cuter?!

Ducks are certainly not quite as popular as chickens to raise in the backyard, but more and more people are discovering the joys to raising ducks. You don’t have to abandon chickens altogether. You can certainly have both. Ducks and chickens can live side by side in harmony. This means you get the best of both worlds. This spring, check into adding a few ducks to your flock. You won’t be disappointed!

courtesy of homestead & prepper

See also “Care For Chickens During The Winter”

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Salting Curing And Smoking Hog Meat

Salting Curing Cold Smoking Hog Meat 
We add a little flavor today and show you how the old timers cured meat. Tim Farmer heads back to Bill Dixon’s smokehouse in Harlan County. With pork on the butcher block, see tricks to salt-curing, sugar-curing and a technique using cold smoke.





courtesy KYAfield
See Also Cooking Deer Backstrap

Interesting Facts And Trivia About Reindeer

Interesting facts and trivia about reindeer. Stay tuned for a surprise ending.

Video courtesy of animal facts encylopedia
Cooking Deer Backstrap

On Frozen Pond

On Frozen Pond

fish-pond-c
Years ago, when I had more strength than common sense, I’d come out to our pond during the deep winter months carrying a chainsaw and a sledgehammer. Several times each week, you could see me pounding away during the low light of dawn, attempting to create holes in the ice in order to save the fish from their desperate plight below. Then one morning I threw my back out and the fish didn’t seem so important to me. I wasn’t able to come outside for several weeks, and you know what? I didn’t seem to be so important to the fish either.  Continue reading

Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Multnomah Falls Oregon
Beautiful Multnomah, Latourell and Horsetail Falls along the Columbia River Parkway in Guy Talbot W. State Park, near Troutdale Oregon.





More Scenic Road Trips

Christmas Tree Farm

A visit to a Christmas Tree Farm in Cookeville, Tennessee.





Courtesy of Live Green Tn
It Isn’t hard To Be Thankful At Thanksgiving When You Don’t Have To Do The Dishes

Chicken Winter!

Chicken Winter!





See Also “And Penguins Are Practically Chickens!”


Hot Chocolate In The 19th Century

Hot Chocolate In The 19th Century





Courtesy of Jas. Townsend and Son, Inc