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Paige's Highlights

1. Meat Chickens. Over the years, I've heard negative things about the Cornish X chickens. Unrivaled for sheer meat production, but at the expense of flavor, ease of raising, and compatibility with mostly pastured husbandry, these aren't necessarily the best option for the homestead production. They require heavy grain inputs and are notoriously lazy compared to other heirloom breeds. However, this article from the Backyard Poultry Magazine talks about some hybrids from the 60s specifically with pasture raising in mind. Here they are from J.M. Hatchery who carries several varieties of the Colored Range/Freedom Ranger chickens.

2. Backyard Poultry Magazine. Another one of those magazines with considerable information presented on-line. A good resource for heritage breeds and homestead raising of all sorts of poultry.

3. Stevia. I have always been very anti-artificial sweeteners. Not only do they leave a funny after-taste and have been linked with random health complaints, they're expensive! For a while I had heard about stevia plants, but never really looked into them. From a sweetening perspective, they'd be a good substitute for sugar; however, I have yet to find information as to how they work in baking. I know that they almost certainly won't work for breads. The yeasts need the calories in regular sugar to work, and stevia's claim to fame is that it sweetens without these calories. A natural plant, easy to grow outdoors as an annual or over-wintered in a greenhouse or similar, it can be a short-lived perennial. The leaves are what has the sweet flavor, and these are easy to dry and crush into powder--yet another use for the solar dryer I want Dan to build me! Here's an article by Mother Earth News on Stevia and another goodwebsite--Stevia.com--on growing and using the herb. And here's a site for recipes using Stevia. (They also have instructions for making your own stevia extract in the FAQ section.)

4. Plant Finder by Mother Earth News. As part of their article on stevia, Mother Earth News mentioned their plant and seed finder. Definitely a great resource for finding those elusive plants that have fallen by the wayside, but prove very useful for the homesteader. Comfrey, stevia, heirloom tree varieties all come to mind...

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