Homestead Resources: Where I Buy and Why

Like any good consumer, I am selective where I spend my money. These decision have ethical implications at times, but most importantly are based on quality of the product and most often the variety. I’m a girl that likes a lot of choice, at least when it comes to what I grow. The best part of the Grow It Yourself culture is that it can be so much more colorful than the traditional Grocery Store Culture.

So, here is a short list of where I like to shop and why.

The Animals.

Ideal Poultry. I started buying from Ideal Poultry because they have a truly expansive list of breeds that they sell and they allow for small orders (something McMurray does not allow, and Meyer Hatchery will charge you through the teeth for). After a few conversations with the post office and a few orders, I have to add that the quality of the product Ideal Poultry sells is impressive. One postal employee told me they often receive boxes filled with dead baby chickens. Yech. In all my orders, I’ve only lost 1 little guy and they reimbursed me for it. Pretty good. All the birds I mention or scheme over on this blog, are birds I’ve picked out from Ideal Poultry.

Northwest Farm Supply. Doesn’t really help anyone outside of Walla Walla, but NW Farm Supply is where I pick up all my animal related whathaveyours. Feed, medicine, gadgets. No matter where you are, look for a local feed store—the kind that services the real Farmer John community—and you will find quality products at a reasonable price.

Solid Gold. Rupert eats Solid Gold brand dog food. We rotate through Barking at the Moon, Sundancer and Hund-n-Flocken. The first years I had him, it was all about Taste of the Wild. Turns out, it gives him seriously rank farts. I thought that was just part of being a dog. Switched his food, and suddenly I could breathe again.

Taste of the Wild. The cats eat Taste of the Wild. Because cats don’t fart.

The Garden.

Seed Savers. This is my first choice in seed sellers. One of the 3 big names in heritage seeds, they are who I started with and who I always check first. Their catalogues are so beautiful and colorful, they make me swoon every time.

Territorial Seed Company. I love their packaging, they are Oregon based and they have a good selection.

Raintree Nursery. Washington-based, they have an amazing selection of edibles and everything that I’ve planted successfully from them has lived and thrived and flourished. Also, as a Washington nursery shipping to Washington—there are a few plant restrictions I avoid. (Some plants cannot be shipped over certain state lines.)

The Kitchen.
My cooking blog preferences shift over time, but these are a handful I continue to love for their writing, recipes and photography.

Sprouted Kitchen. Such beautiful photography and simple but elegant recipes.

Well Preserved. Another couple passionate about canning, they’ve especially gotten interested in fermenting in the past year.

Smitten Kitchen. One of the first cooking blogs I’ve come across, I especially love her arugula, green bean and potato salad and her ribboned asparagus salad with lemon.

Food in Jars. Small-batch canning and preserves-in-action. One of my most popular preserves came from her recipe.

Hungry Tigress. Lots of canning, lots of asian-indian inspired foods.

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Chickens

Chickens. Oh chickens. I’m an old-hat at chickens. I’ve been raising chickens for five years now. My first four I started in a half wine barrel on my back mudroom in a rental house. From that point on—my flock has expanded and contracted. I’ve had a dozen or more breeds, a dozen or more roosters to dispatch with, and enough catastrophe to toughen me up a little (raccoons, cats, dogs—everything kills chickens).

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(My first chicken)

I used to write about those adventures, you can poke around through those moments here.

The fun thing that a farm would allow is a rooster. And that would allow: naturally occurring baby chickens. Aie! I have always wanted my girls to raise little babies. I want that moment.

So, let’s pretend I get a visit from the farm fairy and I wake up, and there are a set of keys under my pillow. I’d bring over my girls that I have. I think the current count is: 2 arucanas, 1 welsummer, 2 rhode island crosses, 1 blue banty, 1 favorelle, 1 plymoth rock, 1 partridge rock, 1 black australorpe—and one other nut that I haven’t figured out, she’s flighty.

I’ll bring them.
And then in the spring, I’d buy the following to establish my new flock:

It’s A LOT of birds. More than I want.
Twenty-twelve was a rough year for birds around my mini’stead so I think I am just going to always overbuy if I want to ensure I get what I want. What’s that mean? Oh  those birds up there? Some are going to die. And if they don’t, I’ll find nice homes for them. Young, raised, pullets are easy to get rid of.

It’s also good (for you) to know that, bantam chickens are only ever sold straight-run. Apparently miniature chicken vents (chicken-holes) are just too.damn.small for any chicken sexer (yep, that’s a thing) to poke around in with any success. I expect 12 bantams = 7 boys and 6 six ladies. Pare that down to one roo, for a total of 2 roos, and I think we can call it a day. Miniature chicken dinners.

Or dog food. (I mean really, stringy chickens? Sounds like decent dog food to me.)

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(Me and my first chicken.)