Friday, September 28, 2012

Upcoming Local Events!

Here is a list of the upcoming local events in the Missouri Ozarks that you might want to mark on your calender to take the whole family to and enjoy!

Pioneer Days, September 29th all day. Held in Mountain View, Missouri downtown area near the Football Field and the "What" Park, there are vendors with hand made items, Food, Car Show, Cake Walk & Prizes, Music/Entertainment, Parade & Pioneer Days Trade vendors (IE: Blacksmiths/Old Crafts). Make it a family event, dress up as 1800's Pioneers and get pictures taken, so if you've ever wanted to dress up like the Beverly Hillbillies or Huckleberry Finn then here's your chance to some make memories this Saturday!

Here is the schedule of events:

6:30 am-11am Flapjack Breakfast at the Community Center
8:00 am: brad Jester will sing the National Anthem, following J.B Cantrell will ask a blessing for the day.
--Antique Car Show, sponsored by Landmark Bank, will be held on Oak Street again this year. It will be all day long, so drop by to see the old antique cars, trucks and tractors on display.
9:00 am: Lil' Darlin; & Lil' Dumplin Contest, sponsored by West Plains Bank/Liberty Branch
9:45 am: Billy Randolph will take the stage to perform. Billy is always a big favorite with the crowd.
10:00 am: The Bow Shoot, sponsored by the MO Dept of Conservation and Gary Lee Taylor, will be at the airport.
--The Conservation will once again be here to teach children how to fish.
10:00am: Wood competition will take place, sponsored by Roberts Wood Products.
10:15am: Red Hatters will line dance.
10:30am: On the stage is the big "Hillbilly Idol Contest". This event is being sponsored by Smith Flooring.
--Once again the Red Hatters will take the street to dance.
11:15am: Oren Granier and Roy Lee bond will be singing on the main stage.
--A new event this year is the Watermelon Eating Contest, sponsored by Mountain View Fabrication. Five contestants will site and eat watermelon to see who is the fastest.

Following this, the rest of the day as follows:
--Keith Bradshaw and Country Connection
--Women's Chamber Harvest Queen Contest
--Concert featuring country music singer Candy Coburn brought to you by Romines Ford of Houston. Following Candy's hour long concert, the Country Fire Cloggers will take the stage. They clog so hard and fast they shake the stage!
--Oren and Roy Lee will perform again.
3:00pm: Keith Bradshaw and the Country Connection
3:00pm: Parade lineup at Wayside Park
3:30pm: Country Fire Cloggers
4:00pm: Parade will roll down toward town.
--While waiting for the parade, Country Connection will keep the crowd entertained and you are encouraged to dance in the streets.

National Federation Bull Blast, Rock'n V Arena, September 29th at 7pm., Hwy 60 just out of Mountain View come and enjoy a great rodeo, mingle with Cowboys & Cowgirls and have a great time!

Farm Fest-Rootin' Tootin' Alpaca's held in Houston, Missouri located at the Rootin-Tootin Alpaca's Farm 16967 HWY B in Houston, 9am-4pm come see the animals on show, vendors, Alpaca wool home made scarfs, clothing and other accessories, food and more!

Summersville Pumpkin Fest, 10am - 4pm, October 6th, 2012 on the Square, Summersville, MO
Come and enjoy the day with games for the kids, contests, a tractor parade, a golf cart race, craft booths,  a Pumpkin cook off and much more!

Oz-Fall Fest, October 6th, 2012, 9am- 3:30pm, Willow Springs, MO on down town Main Street,  come follow the Yellow Brick road for Fun & Entertainment, Vendors, Games, Crafts, Contests, Booths and other Activities!

Dutch Oven Cook-off, Raymondville, MO located at the Raymondville Fairground on Saturday, October 13th, 2012 the cook-off will include a three pot dutch oven cook off with a Bread, Dessert and a Main Dish. Food turn will be at 12 noon, 12:30pm and 1 pm, there is a $20 entry fee per team. Awards will be presented to the first three places for each division.  Come out and watch or compete and enjoy some wonderful food! There are also other activities scheduled as part of the Raymondville Fall Fest. For an entry packet, contact Bob Roach at 417-457-6248 or email at

Monday, September 24, 2012

Tips on How to Buy Farmland, Even if you think you can't!

Here's some tips that we've found from an article out of Mother Earth News magazine that we hope will help you in your search for farmland, and you can also apply these tips and suggestions to looking for that perfect homesteading plot as well.

(Cite: "How to Buy Farmland, Even if you think you can't" By Ann Larkin Hansen, Mother Earth News Magazine.)

  1. Be clear and realistic about the budget you'll need to support yourself and your farm, and about how you'll get the income you need.
  2.  Do your homework on the neighborhood and the land you're looking at to make sure it suits you and the type of farming (or homesteading) you want to do.
  3.  Think outside the box: Be open to different options and timetables for buying land.
  4. If you apply for a loan (or go through Owner Financing through our website), find out what mortgage lenders require from borrowers and get those requirements in order. (Homestead Crossing makes it easy to get the land you want with low monthly payments and down payments with Owner Financing with no interest for the first three years!)
Create a Farm Marketing Plan:

Good resources on this topic are "Growing for Market"  and the book "Market Farming Success" by Lynn Byczynski and the NSAIS is a great resource to figure out what you want to grow or raise and how to sell it. Also, consider veterinary costs into what your plan will be.

In the event of homesteading you will want to factor this in with your everyday expenses as well, and if you don't plan to sell the food you grow then allot for home canning costs, storage projects, etc.

Consider farm internships if you have no experience, you can find helpful resources on obtaining a local internship from the NSAIS website. Also, consider thinking outside the box, invent new ways of doing old things in a better, more efficient manner!

"Moooove over city living, hellooooo farm life!"

Monday, September 17, 2012

How to keep your Chickens laying Eggs through Winter without the use of Laying Pellets!

It can be frustrating and disappointing come winter time when you go out into the coop to get a nice dozen or so home grown farm fresh eggs for breakfast omelets and find that your hens are sitting together in a huddle with no eggs beneath them. Here are some tips to help your girls keep on laying through Winter and giving your family those delicious deep yolked eggs you love so much- without the need for laying pellets!

Light. A hen’s laying is influenced by her pineal gland, which in turn is controlled by daylight. Sixteen hours of light each day, supplemented by a 60-watt incandescent light bulb or two on a timer, is ideal for keeping birds active – and laying eggs. Also, this can shorten their egg laying lifespan.

Roosts. By nature, chickens like to roost at night. This is also their way to stay warm: with feathers fluffed, they share body heat by roosting close to each other. Make sure your chickens have comfortable roosts with 6-8 inches of roost space per bird. 

Heated water. Depending on how cold it gets where you live, you might need to keep the hens’ water supply from freezing. Feed stores sell heater bases that fit underneath the typical galvanized metal chicken waterers.

Deep litter. The deep litter method is low-maintenance, and it keeps hens warm through winter as the litter and manure slowly compost and release heat into the coop. Just start with a clean coop and about 4 inches of litter (hay, straw, wood shavings, or a mix) in the summer or early fall. Simply add more litter throughout the season as needed to keep the bedding fairly dry and clean. By winter, the litter should be about 8 to 10 inches deep. It will be composting nicely and giving off heat. The chickens’ scratching will keep it aerated and turned, especially if you throw scratch grains in the coop for them, but you can give it a hand with a pitchfork every once in a while.

Additional Notes:
You can also make a "sun room" for your gals in winter, like a green  house addition to the coop where they can get out and stretch their legs and not be smushed together over the cold months and spred a bit of straw or hay on the snow or icy ground, chickens don't like getting their feet cold below the 30 degree mark.

   Also, you can add a cabbage "ball" to the pen for them to play with and keep from getting bored, just tie the cabbage from the rafters and hang it low enough that your chickens can peck away at the ball and have a little fun too. Will keep the girls from going stir crazy- happy chickens = laying eggs!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Build a Hoop House for Garden Greens all year Long!

Found a nice little article from the "Backwoods Home Magazine" (their website) that gives the materials needed, a diagram and some good tips regarding how to keep fresh leafy greens all year long in what this designer calls a "hoop house" which is basically a retractable greenhouse and he's from the Pacific Northwest.

 Vern Harris offers help through his email and he's willing to help with supplies and any questions you may have.

 Cover 137

Materials Needed: (pg 54 of Sept/Oct 2012 Ed. of Backwoods Home Magazine)
(3) 2x6 inch X 8-foot untreated fir
(5) 1/2 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipes, 10 ft long (cut to 9 feet)
(2) 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipes, 10 ft long
(1) 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC pipe, 4 ft long
(2) 3/4 inch Schedule 40 PVC 90 degree angle pieces
(10) 1x1/2 inch Schedule 40 PVC tees.
(10) 1/2 inch aluminum tubing cut in half-inch lengths
(30) Lath screws, size #8x1/2 inch (These hold the plastic cover to the PVC hoops)
(10) Wood screws #12x2 inch (to hold the rails to the wooden frame of the beds)
(1) 3/16 inch x 30 foot length of polyester clothesline
(2) 3/16 inch eye screws for attaching clothesline
(1) piece 9 x 10 foot Dura-Film Thermax plastic for the cover and one piece 4 x 10 feet for both ends.

(Taken from page 55 of Sept/Oct 2012 Ed. of Backwoods Home Magazine, Article "Build a simple DIY hoop house and you'll have fresh greens all year" by Vern Harris, author.)

"These hoop houses consist of 3/4 inch PVC pipe for the bottom rails and 1/2 inch PVC pipes for the hoops. The ends of the hoops fit into 1 inch PVC tees which glide on the rails. These hoops are covered with a professional-grade greenhouse plastic that is heavier than most hardware-store sheeting. The type of plastic I use features condensation control and is guaranteed for five years. At the bottom of each hoop is a 1 inch tee which holds the hoop on to the rail. The tees glide over the rails to open and close the greenhouses.

 The only (minor) complication was figuring out how to attach the rails to the existing raised beds and how to get the tees to glide smoothly over them. I needed some kind of support to hold the rails slightly above the wood frames of the beds, and the support had to be designed so it wouldn't interfere with the movement of the tees. The diagram shows the solution to that problem.

 I simply pre-drilled screw holes all the way through each rail, set the rails on the 1/2 inch tall pieces of aluminum tubing (to stand them away from the wooden frames of the beds), and screwed down through the rails and the aluminum into the wood. Voila! Rails attached to beds. Note that the rails extend about 18 inches beyond the beds on one end. This allows me to pull the cover completely away from the growing plants beneath. This extension should ideally be on the north side so no part of the opened hoop house ever casts shade over the bed.

Next, as you see in the diagram, I cut away the bottom of each tee and slid the tees onto the rails, five tees on each side of the bed. The 1 inch tees are a little sloppy so they can slide smoothly over the 3/4 inch pipe of the rails. With their bottoms cut away, they don't run into the aluminum supports.

Then I took five 10 foot lengths of 1/2 inch PVC pipe for the hoops, cut them down to 9 feet and pre-drilled holes to hold the plastic cover. I insterted each piece of 1/2 inch pipe into a tee on one side of the bed, then carefully bent it into an arch shape with the holes facing to the outside, then inserted the pipe into a tee on the opposite side of the bed. 

Next, I added the cover. The plastic i use is called Dura-Film Thermax. It is very good for this purpose due to its extra thickness, long life, and ability to help control condensation-which can be a real problem in greenhouses. First I cut the plastic to 9x10 feet. Then I attached it to the five hoops (using 1/2 inch lath screws, which have washer heads to help prevernt tears and leaks) so that the 9 foot dimension left a 6 inch overhand on each end and the 10 foot dimension lay over the arch to give 6 inches of extra length on each side. This extra length comes down over the raised bed frame.

I then cut two pieces of plastic, 4x5 feet, one for each end. I attached one to the hoop on the extended end of the bed using the same fasteners. The other end is not permanently attached. When the hoop house is closed you can pick i t up and clamp it to the  hoop.

Finally, I attached a length of 3/16 inch clothesline to the bottom of the front hoop on each side using 3/16 inch eye screws. These serve as pulls to slide the cover over or away from the raised bed. And that's it!

In a harsher climate than mine you could attach a second cover inside or outside for greater protection from the weather, but I've found that the single cover is enough to keep the inside of my hoop houses above freezing even on the coldest north-west days. And man, those fresh garden greens sure do taste good in January and February."

Pictures and diagrams are listed in the Backwoods Home Magazine, if you want a better idea of the hoop house design.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

How to preserve your Land, Livestock and Family during a Drought in Missouri

We just had some rain come in these past few days from Hurricane Isaac, however a reprieve from the heat, Missouri is still in a drought. Here's a good resource taken from the Missouri Department of Agriculture's  website regarding good tips on preserving yourself, family, land and livestock during the drought.

Our area is in the red zone, or the extreme drought zone.

Here are some resourceful links to pdf pamphlets that the MDA has put together free to the public.
Nitrate Accumulation in Plants, Feed
Invasive Fire Ants in Hay
Tips for Managing Farm and Drought-Related Stress

Good links for more information:
Crop Insurance Information
USDA Farm Service Agency

Remember the Missouri Department of Agriculture and Missouri Department of Conservation are great resources to refer to when looking for and planning a homestead, land development, or other uses.