2. Bird and Bat Houses. Birds like Bluebirds, Purple Martins, Swallows, and the tag-along Bat are all great controls for bugs and mosquitoes. I remember my 4-H project of building a bluebird house. To be honest, it was somewhat overkill, but it looked really pretty. I'm not sure that we ever got it outside to start housing birds...I seem to remember hanging it one year, but I think my Dad had to take it down a few years ago because the pole was in the way. Regardless, here's a pdf file from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for building all these houses. They always had lots of papers of these at the Ohio State Fair--and I think we got a new set every year. :) Personally I like the following pages for specific birds a bit more, but the pdf file is more complete.
3. Harness Goats. Dan has always wanted to get a goat, even as just a pet and I've always agreed that they were interesting creatures. We have already decided, however, that we wanted to get a cow for milk and I wasn't so sure about trying goat milk--especially when cow is available. So, what else could a goat do on the farm if not milk. Well, pull a cart! This link gives a nice run down of training a goat, though I imagine that it's not much harder than training a dog. You just have to go slow, be persistent and be committed to daily training. As far as a wagon goes, I think converting a Whizbang Garden Cart would work, and this goat herder has another option for converting most any wagon.
4. Good Debate/Discussion. Ok, a couple of weeks ago I had a bit of a rant about our food supply. I'm not going to repeat my sentiments here, but if you're interesting in finding out more, here are a couple of links to get you going on some more documentaries. The Future of Food and King Corn can both be a bit on the heavy/depressing side. What I love about people passionate to truly make a change is that they present a solution--Food, Inc. and FRESH (though I still need to see the full films) are much more positive and inspiring films that aim to provide a solution to the problem. Where the first two served to grab our attention and note a problem, Michael Pollan and Joel Salatin also make appearances in other films that present a solution. This isn't just about garnering attention from conflict, which is so often how the media works because conflict sells, it's REALLY about bringing some change. Enjoy and keep talking.... :)
Food, Inc. Trailer (1)
Food, Inc. Trailer (2)
The Future of Food (trailer)
The Future of Food (full video, compliments of hulu.com)
Link to my post about King Corn
FRESH, the Moive (trailer)
5. Preserving Eggs. Here's an excerpt from one of the Mother Earth News articles from the 70s. I had heard about preserving eggs, in the shell for long periods of time, but that always gave me the heeby-jeebies! I like the sound of this one better--just be sure to label your whole eggs "sweet" and "salty." Definitely a solution to the times when you're up to your ears in eggs!
It happens every summer! The hens are laying the most eggs they'll produce all year . . . just at the time that you're too busy to cook or bake with them. That's your signal to freeze the surplus hen fruit for use during the coming winter (when you'll have more time in the kitchen but your feathered ladies will be taking their annual vacation from the production of eggs).
WHOLE EGGS: Fork the eggs together lightly without beating in air. Add either three teaspoons of honey or one-half teaspoon of salt to each cup of egg. YOLKS: Add either one teaspoon of salt or one tablespoon of honey (depending on your later intended use) to each cup of yolk. (And be sure to label each batch of the preserved yellows so you won't mix them up.) WHITES: Freeze plain. There's no need to stabilize with honey or salt.
Package meal-sized quantities of the whole or separated eggs in covered containers, date each one, and use its contents within eight months. When reconstituting the thawed eggs, one tablespoon of yolk plus two tablespoons of white—or three tablespoons of whole egg—is the equivalent of one hen fruit, straight from the shell.