12 Months, 12 New Things to Learn ...

Discussion in 'General Homesteading & Building' started by BadgeBunny, Dec 27, 2010.

  1. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    OK, Andi ... here goes ... The goal is to purchase whatever I need to work with and spend the whole month learning all I can and completing at least one new project. If this works the way I want it to, I will continue to use and expand those skills as the year goes on. (So by December I hope I have a TON of dehydrated food stored ... :beercheer:)

    January - dehydrating (because my Christmas present was an Excalibur Dehydrator! :p)

    February - sprouting (because Oklahoma is not a tropical climate! :rolleyes:)

    March - carpentry (because I want furniture and home improvements I cannot bring myself to pay those prices for. :eek:) My first projects are gonna be some cold frames to use next fall, a chicken tractor and rabbit hutch and the critters to go in the tractor and hutch.

    April - raised bed gardening OK, I actually tried this for the first time last year but I want to add a couple more beds and see if I can grow more than tomatoes, okra and lavendar this year. :rolleyes: I already compost.

    May - communications. Seriously ... I know absolutely NOTHING about ham radio, weather radios, computers, two-way radios, etc. This one is gonna be a PITA because I am doing it more because I see a real need than because I am interested in it. :peep:

    June - Pressure Canning. I understand the principles but don't own any of the equipment so now's the time.

    July - Rifle Shooting. I am not a half-bad shot with a handgun but rifles are another story. I want to go hunting next fall. So ... no time like the present. Another one of those I know I gotta do this but really am not all that interested things. :rolleyes:

    August - Tatting This is my "off" month. I figure that once the garden starts "coming in" that January and June's skills are gonna be put to good use ... but I have the stuff to learn to tat, just never got around to it. Nice way to spend the evenings I think.

    September - This is kind of a culmination of several months' work. I want a green house to go with my cold frames. Nothing would make me happier than to be able to harvest fresh food all year.

    October - Butchering rabbits and chickens (see March). I did this when I was a kid but that was a long time ago. :eek: We'll see how it goes ...

    November - I want to go on my first deer and wild pig hunts. I'm not very good at anything but complaining in cold weather so it should be interesting.

    December - Wine and/or Beer Brewing ... I'm gonna need it after all that work! :congrat:

    OK ... there you have it ... Please feel free to make suggestions ... there is a ton of other stuff out there that interests me (like herbal medicine, beekeeping and off the grid home design) but I figure that will give me a place to start in 2012 ...
  2. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    wow, that is a NICE syllabus... how are your foraging/identification skills? :congrat: good luck

  3. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    Oh, thanks ... doesn't sound too lame??

    And I know NOTHING about foraging ... other than dandelions ... I know a dandelion when I see it. Oh and that you can eat the pods off a redbud tree and make jelly from the flowers, and mulberries will make you sick to your stomach if they aren't fully ripe ... :eek:
  4. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    What a cool idea...having a "prep skill of the month" schedule! I love it!

    I'm going to pick something to learn or focus on each month now, too!

  5. sailaway

    sailaway Well-Known Member

    Great idea, especially when you write them down. I think we should all do that even if they are just small projects.
  6. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    Thanks so much for posting your list! I can see how having something like this in writing would be very helpful - both in prioritizing what you want to learn, and in keeping you on track. Very inspirational!
  7. kyfarmer

    kyfarmer Well-Known Member

    You can make some killer wine outa them yellar flowers of old dandelion. :beercheer: I have no idea how this year will go but the urge is there to get ready. As much as i can as soon as i can.
  8. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    Ya'll please do join me ... I would LOVE to see what everybody else is doing too!!

    I ordered Mary Bell's Dehydrating Book and The Dehydrator Bible off amazon this morning. Also been watching the videos produced by Dehydrate2Store.com on youtube ...

    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QxVpIHre2ao"]How to Dehydrate and Store Food PART 1[/ame]

    The store's website is here:


    I am kinda old school, kinda new school ... I like to go to the 'net for most of my information but once I get a "feel" for what I am doing I want at least 2 (and preferably 4) definitive books on the subject in my library. IMHO, it's a lot more fun to curl up in front of the fireplace with a book or magazine than it is a laptop computer ...:p

    Sams has cherries right now ... I think I can "do" that!
  9. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    I'm experimenting with growing kudzu & bamboo airponically in my basement (so it can't infiltrate), fast growth plus edible = :2thumb:
  10. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    :2thumb: I LOVE the list ... now I feel like a slacker for only having only one thing on my list... lol

    I can't wait for the details and updates! :D
  11. Lonewufcry

    Lonewufcry Lonewufcry

    all I can say is wow thats a great idea. I think I might be working on some projects too. as far as homebrewing goes its easy once you have the equipment, pressure canning my recomendation would be to use the weighted style instead of the gage style so you dont have to get it checked every year. I wish you all the best
  12. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    Whoa...! Kudzu is edible? When we lived in Kentucky our place was wrapped in the stuff! We had bamboo, too, or "cane" as we called it, all along the creek bank.

    Tell me, how do you use Kudzu as an edible? We don't live in the part of the country any more, but I'd still love to know.
  13. vn6869

    vn6869 Afraid, very afraid

    Nice to see people are planning and prepping.

    Interested in the kudzu and bamboo. Know bamboo can be eaten - MUST be boiled twice first - but we have plenty of kudzu here also.
  14. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    Oh, see???

    I have already learned a few things. I didn't know you could eat kudzu. I have canned bamboo sprouts in the cabinet but didn't really make the connection til your post. :eek: There are a TON of cattails around here. Not my first choice but at least I know it's there and I can eat it ... if I have to ... :p

    Thanks for the tip on the pressure canner also. I have been wondering how much good a pressure canner would do me if I couldn't get the gauge checked regularly for some reason.

    I am already thinking about toying with the order of things ... thinking I may move "communications" to the end of the year when it is quieter ... But since it is something I really don't want to fool with I am gonna leave it where it is for now (kinda self-imposed pressure to "get 'er done" and we'll just see how it goes.

    The high here tomorrow is supposed to be 66 F, so I am gonna spend the day in the back yard building those other two raised beds. That way I can compost directly in them for the rest of the winter ... Gotta make hay while the sun shines ... New Year's Day the high is only gonna be 35. :eek::( This time last year we were iced in like you folks to the east. :gaah: You gotta love Oklahoma weather! :rolleyes:
  15. Halfway

    Halfway Grunt

    Learning aeroponic methods may need to make my list as well. :cool:
  16. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

    BadgeBunny, for your food drying and canning you might also like Stocking Up: The Third Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide by Carol Hupping (Amazon.com: Stocking Up: The Third Edition of America's Classic Preserving Guide (9780671693954): Carol Hupping: Books It's a book I checked out of the library and renewed 4 times before finally breaking down and buying it. It's got a lot of info. One good thing in there is a list of vegetables with what storage method works best for that variety, and where you can buy the seeds. So if you just want to dry foods, you can go to the list and see which varieties of each veggie is a good dryer, and find out where to get seeds for those varieties.
  17. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    I've been looking around ... is there one brand that is better?? I am finding all kinds of info on weighted vs. gauge but am having trouble finding a weighted canner to purchase. Maybe I am not understanding exactly what I am looking for yet. The weighted ones don't have the dial gauge, right? (I know, dumb question but ... sometimes I can't see the forest for the trees ...:surrender:)

    Thanks for the suggestion. I did order this one today, along with one about solar drying. Seems to me that the Oklahoma weather in July and August would be PERFECT weather for getting Mother Nature in on the act! :p

    The Excalibur is not here yet ... :(:gaah::( So I have spent this last week reorganizing my pantry. Somehow it turned into a catch all for a bit ... Once I got done, I found I have some shelves that "need" stuff!! :beercheer: Off to Sams I go this morning!! :D
  18. GroovyMike

    GroovyMike Well-Known Member

    great idea -

    Here's info on eating kudzu -

    Kudzu: 'Vine that ate the South' is also good eating

    Nancy Basket, a part-Cherokee artist and basket maker in Walhalla, S.C., may not be getting rich off kudzu, but she does enjoy eating it. She says her heritage prompted her to treat kudzu with respect, rather than as a menace.

    Now she hosts kudzu luncheons where guests feast on kudzu quiche with a rice crust or kudzu pasta.

    "People just don't know how to use it," she says. "We need to use something in our back yard instead of making fun of it and calling it names."

    In much of the South, kudzu hibernates in winter. The tender springtime shoots that pop up in April and May are a great substitute for spinach in salads and quiches, Baldwin says. She prefers young shoots over tougher, full-grown leaves, and she waits for the August blooms to make her sweet-smelling jelly.

    Cooking with kudzu is just like using other hardy greens, except the leaves wilt quickly, and it's a pick-your-own process, Baldwin says. "Just don't pick from roadsides that have been sprayed. Pick from a patch that's away from everything," she says.

    Kudzu also has become popular in natural foods stores, where the root is sold for about $2 an ounce dried and pulverized to be used similar to cornstarch to thicken soups, sauces and puddings. Foods also can be coated in it for frying.

    "The Southerners got it wrong," says William Shurtleff, co-author of "The Book of Kudzu: A Culinary and Healing Guide." "There's a movement to see kudzu not as a menace but as a useful plant."

    Often sold under the Japanese name "kuzu," kudzu root powder also has a following for its reputed medicinal benefits. Even Martha Stewart lists kudzu root as a "hangover helper" on her Web site.

    Those who eat kudzu leaves - which are high in fiber and protein - liken the taste to tofu, which takes on the flavor of whatever it is cooked with.

    But James Miller, a research ecologist with the U.S. Forest Service at Auburn University in Auburn, Ala., doesn't see kudzu elbowing out spinach or cornstarch any time soon. It's just too hard to harvest the thick vines and heavy roots, he says.

    "We have many kudzu promoters," Miller says. "But I don't think anybody is going to go out and select kudzu over, say, catfish to batter and fry."

    Except for Edith and Henry Edwards, that is. The Rutherfordton, N.C., couple have been eating kudzu for decades. They began feeding it to their cows 45 years ago and decided to try it themselves.

    "You fry the leaves and they're just like potato chips - delicious," says 83-year-old Henry Edwards.

    Edith Edwards - who is listed in the phone book by her nickname, "the Kudzu Queen of North Carolina" - credits the plant with her good health. She's been drinking a teaspoon of kudzu root powder in a nightly tonic for 25 years.

    "I tell the women they can chew it like the cows if they like, and I mean this seriously," the 80-year-old says. "People say, 'Edith, how do you keep so young-looking?' and I say, Well, I eat kudzu.'"

    Read more: Kudzu: 'Vine that ate the South' is also good eating
  19. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

    I love list. Every week we work on our list of things to get done on the weekend as we both work full time. Hubby calls his the CRS List because he can't remember s---. In the summer when the days are longer we have daily list. When I go to the store any store I have a list. If it isn't on the list I don't get it because I generally know where the things I need are in each store and do not walk the aisles looking and being tempted. We have to watch our $ closely as every extra penny goes for prepping.
  20. BadgeBunny

    BadgeBunny Well-Known Member

    First valuable lesson of the year ... If you are gonna plan to do something in a particular month best be ordering the stuff for it a couple months' before hand.


    I am still waiting on my Excalibur to get here ... but I have read several books on dehydrating ... will post my reviews in the book review section over the next few days.

    Thanks for the info on kudzu GroovyMike. I know where some is growing (I think) ... as soon as spring gets here I will go check it out and see.

    Gonna have to change my list around a little as the doc has informed me that I am pre-hypertensive (blah!) and that I have 2 months to "get my **** together" (read: straighten up and act right) before he puts me on meds. So I am eating right and trying to exercise more. So I have been doing a TON of reading on eating philosophies ... DASH, raw, vegan, herbal remedies, etc. It's been interesting so far.

    The bottom line is ... less sitting in front of the computer and in the chair reading and more time on the elliptical ...

    So ... I am off to order sprouting books and equipment and exercise. I will check back in with you guys this evening. Have a great day!!