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Expiration date: 12/31/99

March 4, 2010

I had to chuckle the other day, the match safe for the kitchen stove needed filling.  I got up on a chair and reached up to the highest shelf where our stash of wooden matches is stored.  I grabbed a box, discarded the cellophane wrapper, and slid the cover off the box and as I pulled out the cardboard tab that holds the matches in place, I realized it was a coupon.  I squinted at the fine print and darn – it was expired!  But the date, 12/31/99 brought back a flood of memories and a few laughs.

Fresh start- seeded Sunday, up by Wednesday.

Oh, we were so smart, all stocked up and ready for Y2K.  As I look back I can see we were a little fearful, too confident, and were really only in the cotyledon stage of self-reliance.  I worked in the financial department of a hospital and we had to make preparations for the computer systems just in case.  All the drills, and talk really whipped everyone into a hoarding frenzy.  Although I already had my hoarding stocking up skills up to snuff from many years of doing just that – this seemed to make all that canning and putting up worthwhile.  I had two older friends in the cafeteria, one was  a Mormon and the other was a farmer.  Both knew to save every pickle jar and container for me.  It saved on the hospital garbage bill, and gave perfectly usable containers a second life.

That job was perfect for me, and it was always a job share.  Back in the early 80’s before my brother was diagnosed with cancer, and before I was even married, my first job share partner taught me about HFCS.  She already had kids, so she was very aware of food additives, whereas I was fairly lackadaisical about what I ate away from home.  We both canned a lot and gardened so we had plenty of common ground.  She left and the next girl, had a husband who was raised on a farm, but she demanded they live where there were no rodents, so they lived in town.  He pined for a vegetable garden and a she wanted flowers.  But she was curious about canning, so I taught her how to can.  We had to start at the beginning and get her supplied, but they didn’t have a lot of extra money, so we scoured the classified ads for estate or garage sales with canning jars.  We found one, but my friend was scared to go into uncharted territory, so I went.  I went to the sale, and there were no canning supplies to be seen – so I asked.  This lady was the equivalent to the Jar Nazi, although I didn’t know it then, and she actually lived about 6 blocks from him.  (Must be some canning vortex…)  When I inquired about the water bath canner and the pint jars in the ad, I was greeted with a dismissive, “Pfft, oh, you only want pints, not much of a canner I see,  you probably want wide mouth too I expect.” Her gravelly voice trailed off.  So I explained that No, I was a real canner, not a sissy, wide mouth pint canner, I used real jars, you know, regular mouth quarts!  But I was teaching a young wife to can, and she wanted to start out small.  Well that broke the ice – she took me into the inner sanctum of the canning headquarters.  The basement.  It just so happened she was moving and she was looking for someone to buy all her jars.  But they couldn’t just go to anyone – they had to go to someone who understood the relationship between a master preserver and her jars.  She had 200 hundred dozen – I ended up buying 100 hundred dozen.  I got the good stories too about all the game meat that had been canned in those jars while she lived in Alaska.   And just for the record, anybody who cans is a real canner – I just had to make my canning bones.

Anyway, my co-worker learned to can, and subsequently she let her husband have his garden in the backyard.  All the while we were stocking up on things that now I would not even buy.  We thought if we had enough of everything we were used to buying, that somehow that would tide us over.  At first, I thought like many people do, that stocking up was for a short period of turmoil, or natural type of disaster.  But in reality it needs to be a lifestyle change.  I had buckets of various whole grains and beans, but we rarely eat grains, or even bread for that matter.

We kept on stocking up a little here and there, and gleaned to beat the band with friends.  When an old buddy of Hangdog’s called and wanted us to pick his cherries because the rain had split them and the neighboring orchard wouldn’t buy them – we jumped at the chance.  We called several friends and picked those cherry trees like locusts.  We ended up with about 500 pounds apiece.  I think I canned about 175 quarts of sweet cherries – it was the same year a white buffalo calf was in the news.  We joked that when we opened that last jar of cherries sometime in the future, surely that would the THE END.  Of course, it wasn’t, and we vowed to never can that many cherries again, or worry too much about buffalo legends.

People knew that I kept family cows, and the demand for milk cows was enormous, even though it was apparent that no one was really giving a thought to how much work a family cow actually was, let alone, that they have to eat every day whether they’re giving milk or not. In other words, milk is not cheap or free from your own cow, unless you already have some infrastructure in place.  It seemed the movement to head for the hills with a milk cow was strong then too.

Simultaneously, while we were doing all this stocking up in the early 90’s we were devouring Stockman Grassfarmer and Acres USA.  We bought Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin right after it came out, and started thinking about the land in a different way.  We did many things counter to hunkering down and digging in:  got our organic certification from Oregon Tilth, practiced making biodynamic preps,  raised chickens and sold eggs at farmers markets, started moving the cows every day, and instead of selling calves at weaning we started keeping the calves until they were two and sold them as meat.  We began to fear the the dreaded Y2K less and less as we became more self-reliant.  We saved more seeds, and changed our eating habits to match what we could realistically grow even in hard times.  We noticed the more we did for ourselves the less we felt hopeless – we were hopeful.

All the rotational grazing and extra poultry were making a difference in the appearance of our pastures – the neighbors noticed but discounted our practices as “organic hippy stuff” ??, or they thought we were “doing something” that they couldn’t see.  It was funny, because Joel Salatin always wrote about the increase of the carrying capacity of their farm as they added more and more animals,  and the resulting skepticism of the neighbors.  Until I went to Polyface for a poultry production seminar in the summer of ’99, I could only imagine from his words the difference, even though I had seen the changes in our pastures.  The difference at Polyface was very apparent, and especially surprising since we were just passengers with no idea when we would arrive at Polyface.  In drought conditions that had been present for several years, we drove past endless pastures that were dormant and brown and dotted with a few cows, and then rounded a bend and there were the verdant fields of Polyface in late August.  No irrigation, just timed animal impact.  Nothing short of amazing.  And just like here just over the fence row, brown, continuously grazed pastures.  It was more hope than I had imagined – no doom and gloom but an answer.


What that trip did was confirm our thoughts that the more more resilience we could build into our lives, the more we could weather any storm, whether it was peak oil or peak water, tough economic times or fill in the blank.  Ten years ago, the ingredients in the chili would have been the same, but I probably would have bought dried beans and stored them instead of growing enough to last us through the winter.  Now the beans, corn, salsa, onions and garlic are from our garden.  Frozen, canned and dry storage all play a part.


These days we still live on both sides of the grid, we are dependent on electricity for now.  If the lights go out, we still have our basics met, our water is pumped with water power, our pantry is well stocked with food we grew and preserved, we heat solely with wood, and we have a wood cookstove.  In short without electricity we would be inconvenienced, but would suffer no hardships.  We have lessened our dependence on oil by getting rid of most of the grain eating livestock in our operation.  It has been a long, steady, and many forked path to where we are now, but we have made changes that we can live with, and we have made them gradually.  Are we there yet?  Can you ever really be totally prepared for the unknown? I can’t really answer that.

Where were you before Y2K?   If you prepared for that, are you doing things differently now?

29 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2010 11:24 pm

    I am so working on getting prepared, but still have so much to learn and so much still to do. I only hope that I can learn to feed us soley from the backyard before I actually have to. I’m kind of worried about that.

    • March 5, 2010 5:57 am

      Paula, try to channel that worrying energy towards your garden or what ever skill you feel you need to improve on – and try not to worry! Life if always a challenge, it’s just how we meet the challenges that make a difference 🙂

  2. March 5, 2010 3:59 am

    I was quite young when Y2K happened, so the whole preparation for it never really effected me. I was just trying to figure out what all the hype was about, and being entirely skeptical as to it all in terms of the extreme of the effect.
    But I have been more conscious of being prepared as I grew older. I want to stay connected to my community, and at this point I can’t be “off the grid” or entirely self-sufficient. Honestly, I’m not sure at this point that I want to. But I do have supplies of food (my canning efforts, freezing, bulk storage etc) that make me feel more secure. Again, at this point I can’t produce the food on my own – and don’t want to yet – but I have sources of supplies that are close to me from lots of local farms.
    We’ll see where things go from here as I continue to grow and expand possibilities, but I’m happy to be taking baby steps in some direction or another.

    • March 5, 2010 6:05 am

      Mangochild, we never really believed it could have had too much of an effect either – since we didn’t even have a computer at home. At work it would have just meant much more pencil pushing. Now I think people need to be preparing for different things – I wish my neighbors were more like-minded, but a small community of is emerging, so there is hope. Since I don’t really live in a farming community, but more a bedroom community, I think the idea that food can come from close by doesn’t even occur to my neighbors. Most leave for work before daylight and come home after dark and I am sure they exhausted when they get home.

      Congratulations on your local preparations!

  3. March 5, 2010 5:12 am

    Before Y2K, we were seven of us and pregnant me in a 900 square foot apartment without a single growing thing but children. Not even a houseplant. Smack in suburbia, half an hour from L.A. I wasn’t really all that concerned, but was not even a blink of self-sufficient. I couldn’t believe everything I was reading online (I was an early adapter to the internet) and in the media. It was all just too comical. But, we had our earthquake stores, canned food under the beds and more-or-less potable water in big trash cans on the porch. We could make it maybe a week if the world went south.

    Now, after spending three years in the heaven that was Central Oregon, I’m back. Half an hour from a major metropolitan area, crammed into a small space with a large family. But at least now I have a dream of green.

    • March 5, 2010 6:20 am

      Peggy, it was kind of comical, we were already much more self-reliant than most, and didn’t have a computer anyway – so it was kind of comical. I had enough of computers at work, bringing that home seemed like an intrusion to our quiet life.

      Here I think volcano or earthquake would be the disaster most likely to happen – I can no longer see the top of Mt St Helens 😦

      Keep that green dream going – it may just happen before you know it!

  4. March 5, 2010 5:34 am

    Well, that appears to be my word for the day: cotyledon.

    My Chambers dictionary: cotyledon n. a seed leaf (bot); a convex subdivision of the mature placenta, each division containing a major blood vessel (zool); a plant o fthe S African genus cotyledon. [Greek, from kotyle a cup]

    Cotyle /kot’i-le/ n. An ancient Greek drinking cup; a cup-like depression.

    I guess you mean a seed leaf, the veriest beginning of growth.

    HFC – Hydro-fluoro-carbon, right, not Home Finance Corporation, Home Furnishings Council, or Hybrid Fiber-COAX? A fluorocarbon emitted as a by-product of industrial manufacturing?

    And I guess I missed what a “work share partner” is. Sorry.

    • March 5, 2010 6:12 am

      Brad, correct on the definition of cotyledon. I corrected my typing error on HFC, it should now read HFCS – high fructose corn syrup. And a job share partner is just that – duties of one position are split between two people. Which can be a good thing with the right people.

  5. March 5, 2010 5:52 am

    Y2K. Oh, I was expecting our third and final child. I actually had someone ask me why we were considering bringing a child into the world “at this time”. I thought it was about as good a time as any other. We are actually much better prepared now than we were then but I think the risks are much greater now than with a change in dates. But I think anything that may happen now will be a much slower and subtler change. Regardless, of what the future brings, we are becoming much more self sufficient. Thanks for provoking some thoughts and memories.

    • March 5, 2010 6:24 am

      Judy, we had that too, although it was what are you going to do about teaching your 5 year old about computers if there is no school or … . I agree the changes now are much more grave – many of our friends are barely hanging on, depending on their work situation. Although many are doing well. It’s a shift for sure, and I am hoping more people are at least aware that maybe they can ease their worries a little.

  6. March 5, 2010 6:34 am

    My father is an uber-logical engineer who spent decades working as a civilian for the DoD in areas including computers and security. When people started freaking out about Y2K, I remember him sitting, wearing his “do not disturb- in processing mode” face, and then came the pronouncement: the biggest threat he could see to our immediate well-being was other people’s fear. He suggested keeping a week’s worth of extra food and water on hand, and a bit of cash stashed somewhere safe. Just in case. But he was quite confident nothing much would happen. I was a bit more nervous about the whole thing at the time. But realistically, if there had been a major, long-term disruption, I’m not sure we could have prepared enough to survive it here. Saying that goes against my basic nature somewhat, but this area is so densely populated with people who could not fend for themselves that even if we had years worth of stores put away, we would soon have been overcome by crazed neighbors. When I started driving, my dad told me it wasn’t enough to be a good driver myself, that I had to also be prepared for other people to be bad drivers. That advice has served me well on the road and in life. I am more a roll with the punches girl than a doom and gloomer, but there is a tiny speck that nags at the back of my mind that drives me to continually try to move toward getting to a place (geographically and skill-wise) where, just in case, we actually could survive it. I don’t expect to ever truly need to. And I sort of consider that nagging speck an evolutionary safeguard. But it is one I appreciate because it figures squarely in much that I have done to improve my family’s life. Loved this post, Matron- Our Lady of the Water Bath.

    • March 5, 2010 7:49 am

      Maggie, great comment – we were already so much more prepared than anyone we knew since we already grew quite a bit of our food, and a lot of the skills were not new to us. Our neighbors quickly told us that they would not prepare,but would come to our house when and if “things” got bad. Those kind of statements always seemed a little presumptuous to me… .

      Your dad was a smart cookie, I feel the same way about skills, like driving or milking a cow, you should be able to drive a manual transmission car or be good at milking a cow by hand before you get the automatic or milking machine. Stuff happens.

      Oh my gosh that woman was a hard core canner – she would be happy to know many new canners shared in that 100 dozen jars. Her stories were a hoot!

  7. March 5, 2010 6:50 am

    Humm, yr 2K did nothing for me but increase my work load on the job and provide a source of – to me- humor. Maybe because I had so many friends in the tech industry, who initially scorned it. Initially, because after a couple of years of working 18 hr days, they became believers in disaster. I guessed that there was some group think going on.

    I was working 70-80 hour weeks – no vacation, and no time to think about doing more than cooking from scratch w/ whatever was at hand – or eating out. Friends put together a basket of food and wine and went to a hilltop just south of the city – to watch the city lights go out at midnight. That’s a classic SF preparation for disaster – gather together friends, food and wine, and have a party. (Yes, they had purchased a generator and accumulated a store of supplies at home.) My cupboards were full, but that was the extent of my preparation.

    I’m not much better prepared today. But by the end of this year, I will be in much better shape.

    Now? I tend to think things will collapse in slow motion. Preparation is essential – but my guess is that there will be time for some adaptation as it goes. Perhaps it’s already begun. Feels that way to me.

    • March 5, 2010 8:07 am

      Hayden, 18 hour days would make anyone believe in disaster. I can do that here, but not day in and day out. Farming can be stressful, but it is nothing like office/cubicle type work, that when you finally step back and see there is no reality to most of it, the stress really kicks in. Sounds like the party idea was a great way to unwind!

      I think for me, I have gotten over the “I can make anything” type mentality. I have honed my skills, like soap making. It’s not really making soap if you buy soap at the store and reconfigure it in another form. The biggest thing for us is to pass these skills on to our daughter – she may not ever need them, but at least she has seen much that other children are sheltered from in the way of feeding herself. She has seen loved animals go on, worked in extreme weather conditions, pushed herself to finish projects, and has learned many things that aren’t too often taught anymore.

      The funniest thing one of our friends said about peak oil, was that he would ride his horse to the store to get food if there was no more oil. I wondered would there be a store, and if you only ride your horse 2 times a year is that really a plausible solution?

  8. March 5, 2010 7:27 am

    Love your blog! Surprised you can start your seedlings so early, I am in SE OR and I can’t plant until June…when do you actually plant stuff? I too, can, and freeze, and put stuff up, mostly because we live 110 miles from the nearest town, which hardly carries anything anyhow. I did nothing for Y2K…so out of touch I never heard about it until the weekend before, and so didn’t put much stock in it LOL

    • March 5, 2010 7:53 am

      Petey, I’m on the west (wet) side of the Cascades, but east of Portland. I still can’t plant much until late May, but somethings do OK. It doesn’t get near as cold here – thank heavens.

      It’s only 15 miles to the nearest real store, but we prefer eating our own food anyway. Town is well, town, I am sure you know what I mean!

  9. peacefulacres permalink
    March 5, 2010 7:54 am

    Haha Nita, I knew that that box of matches was from Y2K…same bolt of cloth, I suppose. Oh I learned a lot…I did a lot and wasted a lot on Y2K. I’m not making that mistake twice…at least I hope I’m not. I’ve always believed in being self reliant but practicing it down to the last practical detail is hard to implement. We don’t have some essential things that “I” think we should, because Honey doesn’t follow the same ideas quite so closely as I do. So we just balance it out and I do what I can. It’s funny to think that all it takes is a very devastating earthquake to shake things up (no pun intended but it works well) 😉 I don’t think the 3 day supply the gov’t recommends will do then. 3 days is a good start, but it hardly dents what people need for a real disaster whether natural or manmade or economic. And when you get down to the brass tacks, 6 months doesn’t really cut it either.

    It truly has to become a lifestyle. Food in food out. Only grow and store what you eat…..that freeze dried crap is still sitting in the basement….although I’m happy to say it has come in handy when said son goes on his hiking trips…otherwise it was a total waste of hard earned money. Thank God we only got a few cans…like that would of made a difference. I think right now practical things like solar or wood or anything that can free you from the grid are essentials. Garden equipment that doesn’t depend on fuel. Seed saving know how. Putting up food skills. Hunting & dressing skills. And ammo! It’s hard to find, so get it when you can.

    I agree with Hayden…I think it’s already happening too…a slow collapse. I hope we have time for adaptation…but I fear that some are thinking the lights will come back on any day and life as usual will continue. But it’s not happening here…people are still out of work and having babies without even a little garden. I don’t get it. I’m trying to teach others to at least grow their food. At least know how to save their seed…..Oh, it’s more than I care to think about, but it’s a reality even right now. My neighbor says she thinks we’ve done the right thing with acquiring our farm animals…but they’ve don’t nothing….I hope she’s not counting on us to feed her 5 kids. That’s my greatest fear… the lack of preparation by others when TSHTF!

    GREAT post! “Matron-Our Lady of the Water Bath”! Good one Maggie!!!!

  10. March 5, 2010 8:11 am

    I’m so different now than I was before Y2K (course I wasn’t yet 26 either) amazing what 10 years can do to a girl! Nita, as always you’re an inspiration!

  11. March 5, 2010 12:13 pm

    Funny, didn’t even know the word “preparedness” 10 yrs ago, and now I think about it every day! lol I was just 25 back then & didn’t do one thing to prepare for Y2K. I’ve never been a big newpaper reader & we didn’t have internet, so I was barely aware that it was even happening. We didn’t store one extra drop of water or food, & I don’t think I knew what “canning” was. It’s just hilarious to me how much I have changed & learned in the past 10 yrs! My whole world is now made up of things I hadn’t heard of 10 yrs ago. :p

  12. March 5, 2010 2:01 pm

    I remember Y2K but just barely. We didn’t put much stock in the rumors and sort of just ignored the whole thing. We lived in the city then but still had a small garden.

    Now we are working towards being self sufficient. We are in the country with an accessible well that we can open for water when we need to. We have a wood stove, lots of wood and huge vegetable gardens from which we save our own seed. I have not begun to can but plan on starting this year. I have a waterbath canner that we have been using as an ash pot but it will become a canner as soon as the tomatoes are ready.

    We have land enough to dig and build an outhouse if and when it is needed. That will take care of all the essentials. Unfortunately, we need power to run our sump pump, water pump and freezer. If we are left without power in the cold weather, it won’t matter much as the food will keep but in the summer we would lose our food stores as things are now. I am looking forward to canning!

    Very interesting post!

  13. March 5, 2010 3:55 pm

    You know, sometimes it takes something like Y2k or Global Warming or Peak Oil to snap a person out of his or her complacency and raise awareness, but it has been my conclusion that the things I do for preparedness and lower-impact have many benefits, even if the impending disaster doesn’t arise.

    I currently heat my home using wood that would otherwise go to waste (fallen trees or trees that were cut by the county or the utility company and left laying). This will be my first year doing a truly “big” garden (1000 sq.ft.–big for me, but small for some). We’re raising pigs too, our first livestock. Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed by all the things I’m NOT doing (not feeding myself as much as I’d like off of my own land, not nearly as independent of petroleum as I’d like, and so forth), I tell myself that it’s all a process, and every little thing that I am doing is meaningful in and of itself, and is a step towards the person that I am becoming. Reading Trapper Creek, I’m sometimes jealous of all the things she’s able to provide for herself, but this post shows that she didn’t start out knowing all this stuff. She learned it, one thing at a time, and so can I.

    I loved this post. It is one of my favorites since I started reading this blog.

  14. March 5, 2010 5:27 pm

    Wow, the year 2000 was the year my 13 year marriage ended and I frankly didn’t care what else happened in the rest of the world, I was devastated. My world as I had known it DID come to an end. And then later a new beginning. Here I still am…who knew? Ta Dah 🙂 So glad Jack is now in it 🙂

  15. Tami permalink
    March 5, 2010 5:55 pm

    I love this post! We were on a cold, windblown ranch in south central Wyoming that even God had forgotten. We danced until mid-night in an old Grange Hall with other area ranchers, without a care, knowing that the next day the work would still need to be done same as it had been done that day!

  16. March 5, 2010 8:18 pm

    Hearing about the start of your journey is encouraging to those of us on the same road, but much further back. We’ve recently subscribed to Acres U.S.A. and Stockman as well, we’re taking a course on pasture management, and we hope to start raising a small number of sheep on our 3+ acres of pasture within a year or so. Expanding the garden, more canning, saving seed in earnest .. it’s a familiar tale but new to us.

    I was a lot like Aubrey 10 years ago, in a whole different world, like a whole different person. Organic, sustainable, permaculture, peak oil, … so many things I know a lot about today were unknown to me then.

  17. March 6, 2010 3:49 pm

    Y2K taught me about food storage. We had already been gardening and preserving most of our own vegetables, but in 1998 we decided to get serious about storing other things as well. Even though there was nothing to Y2K, it was a great learning experience for us. One of the blessings was being able to share from our surplus. We had a friend whose husband was out of work and they were in dire straights. I never could have afforded to buy her a week’s worth of groceries, but I was able to give her a week’s worth. We’ve tried to maintain a good food storage ever since.

  18. March 6, 2010 9:21 pm

    I was so busy preparing a public companies accounting system for Y2K that I never gave any thought to my personal fate. Young and naive. Here in Seattle in the middle of the city 2 years ago we had a freak windstorm that knocked out power to thousands and it was so wide-spread that it was out for weeks. Luckily our side of the street had power but those across the street from us did not so we all ran power cords across the street for our immediate neighbors after a few days. The first few days we hosted sleepovers, meals and hot showers. It was actually really fun at first. It was right before Christmas so we were all well stocked for food. There were runs on stores and gas stations as you can imagine. It was a real wake-up call for me. If it can take 2 weeks to restore power in a normal situation, imagine the panic if there had been a large earthquake.

    I learned how to shut off the gas at my house and neighbors who might not be home, we filled the pantry with supplies and water, got filters in case we need to drink lake water and got an emergency toilet. Since taking out the lawn and putting in a huge garden my neighbors constantly tell me they’ll be here first catastrophe so I’ve made it my mission to get as many of them to rip out their lawns as possible since I can’t feed a few hundred people. All I can do is help others prepare to minimize the impact on us all. We are but 4 meals away from anarchy. I don’t think anyone in the suburbs or rural areas are safer than we are since that is the first place folks will head when the stores are empty. And I’m not even a survivalist! I’m just trying to quit buying crap from the store. ;p

  19. March 7, 2010 5:55 am

    Lovely post Nita. You have come a long way. Although we are not as dependent on the grocery store as we use to be we still utilize it regurarly. Must have fresh fruit! I buy very little meat at the market and never have to buy eggs. I have GREATLY reduced our intake of processed food etc but still do buy some. I just can’t seem to get into the routine of making bread on a regular basis, I’m hot and cold. Wish I would have made these changes earlier as far as kids go. It is easier if they just don’t know certain foods exist (ie cereal). Oh well, change is progressive and we are gettting there slowly but surely.
    Grain… we are dependent there too but I am sure with time we will eventually produce some our our own.
    On to the cow post you responded too. THANK YOU . I so needed your feedback. When you say feed him lots do you mean grain too? He has endless hay and I have been giving him grain twice a day but I am not really sure how much. I’d say he weighs 125ish I have been looking on line for a website for care of a cow and yet to find a good one. Any suggestions? Looked at the library for a reference book, again none. Thought about picking up a book at the grain store as I know they have one. HELP, Kim

    • March 7, 2010 6:41 am

      Kim, change is progressive, and for us we go in one direction and then something comes up that causes us to go a different way. I do lots of things different now than I did 10, 20, or even 30 years ago. Yeah I know canning at age 20 is weird… 🙂 I can and bake much less now than I did then, and we are eating better than ever. Bread is highly over-rated, I think. I just was reading this food challenge post, and one of the participants had a crabby family since the processed food was falling away – but she was saving the day with homemade bread, sweet rolls and the like. I would venture a guess in all actuality that the family is hungry for really nutrient dense food, and they aren’t just acting out to the change – their bodies are crying out for some food – but that is just my opinion.

      Cow stuff – I didn’t realize he was so small/young from the picture. What he needs then is milk – was he bottle fed? Ideally he would nurse for 6 – 8 months. His tummy is too young to do much with hay, yet. He will eat hay but he won’t really get as much out of it as a mature animal. Is there anyway you can bottle feed him a low heat milk replacer? It is expensive but well worth it. In addition to the milk replacer get him some dairy quality hay like orchard grass, or alfalfa, it will have more nutrients than meadow hay. Some grain is OK, COB with molasses would probably be best, you can see the actual grain, so you know you’re not getting floor sweepings which may be the case with pelleted feed, and the molasses has vitamins and minerals too.
      Hope this helps. I haven’t read any beef books LOL, maybe Storey Publishing – Raising a Calf for Beef. Or any Heather Smith Thomas beef books. Probably too conventional for me, but I am sure there is lots of good information in them. Let me know if you have any more questions 🙂

      • March 11, 2010 8:18 am

        Ok Nita, thanks for the advice. He may weigh more but he is not big. They said he was a year old. I have been giving him whole milk (store bought) twice a day, I get it from a farmer just down the way, endless supply of hay and grain morning and night. Off to get the minerals right now. TY

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