I made a small edit to this episode based on feedback from listeners. Thanks for helping to hold us accountable to our core values. Sorry if this shows up as a ‘new’ episode on your feeds because of that.
Welcome to episode 7 of The ‘Steadcast: New Year on the farm and firearm needs on the homestead featuring an interview with Dan Lanotte of Falcon personal security.
Happy New Year, ‘steaders! It’s 2016! One of the things that struck me about the changes we’ve made to ourselves and our world views taking on this homesteading project is that I don’t find myself saying things like “It’s 2016, and still no flying cars.” I don’t want a flying car any more. I don’t want a real hoverboard – and certainly not those no-handle segway deathtrap firebombs they’re selling nowadays. What is “the future?” The future is when the windbreak pines are tall. The future isn’t a talking robot that serves drinks, it’s when the soil is built up around here enough to support grazing animals. The future looks a lot like what the past did. Just without the whole dysentery and wacky ranchers waging range wars and stuff. Oh… wait. Maybe not the range war part if you’re reading the news about Oregon. Yup, I went there.
I think we’ve got a good show for you today. I had a fascinating conversation with Dan Lanotte of Falcon Personal Security. He’s a NRA instructor, firearm and security consultant and all around good guy I’ve known for several years now as part of the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce in Falcon.
But first, updates around the farm:
- The Christmas and New Years holidays marked our mostly annual trip out to Southern California to see both sides of the family, get out of the wind and cold a little, and visit the water that Colorado is forced to take from the ranchers and farmers of the mountains and send down that way.
- It’s also sometimes known as the annual pilgrimage to California to remind us why it’s okay that we left California. Of course it’s great visiting with family and friends over the holidays, but stepping out of the truck back here on the farm after two weeks in suburbia? Going from being able to see basically the next house over to our 175 mile views here? It was something special.
- That said, we did see some promising things out there as far as the grow-your-own food movement. We gifted a special little mini-garden tray for microgreen growing to Tera Lynn’s parents. TL’s brother and his family were proud to show off a really nice batch of tomatoes and peppers they grew in their garden and they’re getting kale other winter greens going, and the across-the-street neighbors had a small flock of backyard chickens in the middle of a planned golf course community!
- But there are still some negative things we noticed out there: Standard factory farm chicken eggs at Walmart were going for $4.28 a dozen. We sell our epic pasture raised natural eggs of awesomeness for between $3.50 and $4.00 a dozen. $4.28 for standard factory eggs? Are you kidding me? And it’s December when we saw that, WAY after the whole bird flu thing so don’t tell me it’s still part of the whole egg shortage thing, because that’s over and done. Their organic eggs were going in the $6s and the alleged pasture raised eggs – which props to a walmart for carrying that, you can only really find those at whole foods around here – were in the $8s. I told one of my fellow reporters from the herald that, and she messaged me that I should start shipping our eggs to CA with those kinds of prices. Which at first I said “yeah, but interstate commerce for eggs is a whole thing that’s just as bad as chicken meat,” but at $8 a dozen, maybe I’ll have to research that more.
- And of course, going from the land of $1.71 a gallon gas to the land of between $3.01 and $3.89 a gallon gas is a big shock.
- Meanwhile, back at the ranch – as they say on the old westerns – the chickens made it through the two weeks thanks to original Friends of the Farm the Klunders. Well, most of them. I mentioned in the last episode that we were going to try our hand at chicken processing (FOR OUR OWN USE, CO Dept of Ag spies!) by butchering off the excess roosters and closing up that second coop. It went ok for a first try. The milk jug ghetto killing cone idea worked great, and after a bit, I got the idea behind skinning them. We went with a skinning method rather than scalding and plucking because I don’t yet have a pot and outside burner large enough to do scalding. And since they’re not broilers, we weren’t going to roast them with skin on anyway. Also, due to time and expertise constraints, we weren’t going to be saving the carcases for stock. So, I found an article on one of the homesteading magazine websites describing how to carve off the primary meat parts and bagged up the rest. So, we have the proceeds of 5 roosters in the freezer and saved our farm-sitters the work of caring for extra roosters – who were probably just going to beat the snot out of each other unattended anyway. …. the roosters, not the farm sitters.
- Those of you listeners who share our Catholic faith or know enough about the Church will be excited to know that Travis completed his first sacrament of reconciliation, as part of his process towards his first communion. Also, our little chicken wrangler will be turning 8 by the time most of you hear this episode! January in our family marks the beginning of a fun run of a birthday a month now through April. It’s nice out here because it gives us the excuse to go out to dinner and have a little fun during each of these coldest and snowiest months of the Colorado year.
- We’re still collecting wine, spirit and beer bottles from folks to build up our supplies for The Little Earthship on the Prairie. We have a fair pile of boxes for that now, but we’re going to need an absolutely absurd number of those so please, if you’re in the pikes peak region, please keep saving those for us.
- We’re also talking with members of the PEPNet networking group about starting a pilot composting program, where we’d give people 5 gallon buckets with lids to throw all their compostable materials in during the week. Then we’d swap them out with an empty bucket each Friday at the meeting and keep the process going. That would solve one of the main objections people have, that they just don’t have anyplace sealed to keep any amount of stuff for composting.
And of course, with the new year we are looking at the plans and goals for Gray Area Farm, our family and TL’s and my outside income sources. I like what the Pryors of Chicken Thistle Farm, of the “Coopcast” fame, do with their annual 2-evening Farm Meeting that they do as a couple. We’ll probably do something like that once we get the seed catalogues in.
So let’s get into the interview of the day. There is a lot of overlap between the homesteading and farmsteading world and the prepper / libertarian / conservative world. It’s not, despite what some people would think, a total one-for-one overlap. You have plenty of the hippy types in the permaculture world, plenty of social justice movement advocates and of course plenty of people of the spiritual rock-worshiping flavor environmentalists. However, when you’re out in the country you’re away from where law enforcement tends to hang out (it’s probably 40 miles to the nearest donut shop or starbucks – ohhhh, that’s not right). It’s also where you have a duty to your farm animals to protect them from predators of the four legged or winged varieties. And you have a duty to your family to protect them from predators of the two-legged variety. You also owe your animals a sudden and humane death at the end of the good life you gave them on your farm. For chickens that can mean knives and cones, but if you want to process larger animals or need to dispatch them for humane purposes if something happens to them, that means firearms.
Thanks again to Dan Lanotte for chatting with us. If you’re in the Pikes Peak region, he’s a great instructor both at the basic pistol type level and up to more advanced training. As I’ve mentioned before, if you’re a professional in an industry that impacts the homesteading / farmsteading or country living movements, please contact us on facebook or by email. A few people have so far, and I’m looking forward to getting them on the show in the coming weeks.
Speaking of ways to support the show, I want to point out our Patreon page. www.patreon.com/grayareafarm From one dollar a month up to however much you feel you get in value and entertainment out of the ‘Steadcast and what we’re trying to accomplish here on Gray Area Farm is welcome. It’s worth noting that many of the patronage levels include gift certificates to product that we grow and produce here on the farm. The higher levels include shout-outs and naming rights to certain parts of the operation for your business or organization. Even if you aren’t in a position to pledge any amount, please hit the share button to spread it around your social circles.