How To Find Water

From How To Do – A Consulting Library For Every Want by L.W Yaggy. (First edition – Circa 1901)

In the early part of the year, if the grass assumes a brighter color in one particular part of a field than in the remainder, or, when the latter is ploughed, if a part be darker than the rest, it may be suspected that water will be found beneath it.

In summer the gnats hover in a column, and remain always at a certain height above the ground, over the spots where springs are concealed.

In all seasons of the year, more dense vapors arise from those portions of the surface from which, owing to the existence of subterranean springs, a greater degree of humidity gives rise to more copious exhalations, espectally in the morning or the evening. It is for this reason that the well—sinkers of northern Italy go in the morning to the places near which is desired to sink a well; they lie down upon the ground and look toward the sun to endeavor to discover the places in the neighborhood from which denser vapors may arise than from the rest of the field.

The springs to which these rules apply are such only as are near the surface; when the source is lower they are rarely sufficient, and the only safe guide is boring; but to execute such operations with any chance of success, a certain knowledge of elementary geology is absolutely necessary. Provided the sources do not descend to any very great depth, that subterranean waters follow precisely similar laws to those upon the surface holds good; but when they are deep—seated; many disturbing causes, to be noticed hereafter, modify their action. If, in a valley formed in a diluvial or alluvial deposit lying upon a more retentive stratum, the two sides are of the same height, the water must be sought in the middle; and if, on the contrary, one side be steeper than the other, the stream would pass nearer the steeper side; in both cases supposing that the materials of the upper stratum are equally permeable throughout, and that the depression of thy lower stratum presents a tolerably regular basin-like depression. Springs are often not to be met with at the head of valleys, but they are much more frequently found to be at the intersection of the secondary valleys with the principal one; and the most favorable point for finding water is usually that which is farthest from the intersection of these valleys, and in the lower parts of the plain succeeding them, at precisely those positions where there is the least water upon the surface.

When the transverse valleys giving forth streams to a river in the bottom of a longitudinal valley are nearly at right angles to the direction of the latter, the quantity of water they yield is less than when they form an acute angle with it. This law holds equally good with subterranean as with surface waters and it may therefore be laid down as a maxim that the most favorable point for seeking a supply by a well would be at the mouth of long transverse valleys inclined to theprincipal one.

If the structure of the earth consists of stone with many veins, such as red shale, water is found almost any where except on the tops or near the tops of hills. Boring, of course, is a perfect test, and where there is great doubt and wells may be dug very deep (judging by others in the neighborhood), this ought to be resorted to. Much can be guessed at in this way. In a neighborhood lying between a tolerably regular series of elevations, the subterranean water will probably be at a regular level. If there are any wells already in existence with a steady supply of water, you have only to ascertain how much higher or lower the surface at the selected spot is than atthe well already, made. If you are ten feet higher, your well must be ten feet deeper than the one made, and vice versa. This difference in level can be ascertained with a leveling instrument, or with a shrewd man by guess.

Everything in this world depends upon will.

L.W. Yaggy

Curing Ham

From How To Do, A Consulting Library For Every Want- by L.W. Yaggy (first edition – circa 1901)

Method One

For each ham of 12 pounds weight: two pounds of common salt, two ounces of saltpetre, 1/4 pound of bay salt, 1/4 pound of coarse sugar.

This should be reduced to the finest powder. Rub the hams well with it; a woman’s hand often are not heavy enough to do this thoroughly. Then place them in a deep pan, add a wineglass full of good vinegar. Turn the hams every day; for the first three or four days rub them well with the brine. After that it will suffice to ladle it over the meat with a wooden or iron spoon. They should remain three weeks in the pickle. When taken it wipe them well, put them in bags of brown paper and then smoke them with wood ‘smoke for three weeks. Most grocers, dealers in hams and others,; who are particular in their meat, usually take the precaution to case each one, after it is smoked, in canvas, for the purpose of defending it from the attacks of the little insect, the dermestes lardarius, which, by laying its eggs in it, soon fills it with its larvse or maggots. This troublesome and expensive process may be altogether superseded by the use of pyroligneous acid. With a painter‘s brush, dipped in the liquid, one man, in the course of a day, may effectually secure two hundred hams from all danger. Care should be taken to spread the liquid to all the cracks, etc., of the under surface. This is especially adapted to the preservation of hams in hot climates.

Method Two

Take 24 pounds sugar, 7 pounds coarse salt, 2 oz. saltpetre and 4 gallons water, boil together and put on cool to 100 pounds of meat. Let the meat lie in the pickle eight weeks.

Method Three

To a cask of hams, say from 25 to 30, after having packed them closely and sprinkled them slightly with salt, I let them lie thus for 3 days; then make a brine sufficient to cover them, by putting salt into clear water, making it strong enough to bear up a sound egg or potato. Then add 1/2 pound of saltpetre, and a gallon of molasses; let them lie in the brine for 6 weeks —they are then exactly right. Then take, them up and let them drain; then while damp rub the flesh side and the end of the leg with finely pulverized, black, red, or cayenne pepper; let it be as fine as dust, and dust every part of the flesh side, then hang them up and smoke. You may leave them hanging in the smoke house or other cool place where the rats cannot reach them, as they are perfectly safe from all insects.

Truthfulness is at the foundation of all excellence

L W Yaggy

How To Do, A Consulting Library For Every Want- by L.W. Yaggy

L.W Yaggy was a prolific writer in the 1800s. This book is a compilation of instructions for thousands of tasks in alphabetical order. From how to Avoid Accidents to Writers Cramp & Warming Cold Hands.

I’m posting his advice on the topics that pertain to a homestead, and there are many. I hope to recreate the entire book in time.

Each page has a quote, a saying, a bit of wisdom. Mr Yaggy’s personality shines through and I hope you enjoy his one liners as much as I have.

RIP Mr Yaggy, and thank you for passing on your knowledge.

As the blessed angels turn

The pages of our years,

God grant they read the good with smiles

And blot the ill with tears

~L.W. Yaggy~

Maple Mites

We have maple trees. Huge old maples that provide a lot of shade (and maple syrup! – more on that coming in the colder months I promise). This year however I noticed some odd little spikes on the leaves.

These are called maple spindle gall mites (Vasates aceriscrumema). The spikes are growths that the leaves produce in response to a Gall Mite infestation. It may cause some leaves to drop off but generally no harm is caused to the tree. It will not affect the sap production. There are treatments available, however it’s not necessary unless the infestation is so severe the tree is covered completely.

Eggsactly what’s in that store bought carton?

Once you have chickens you can never go back! You want more. You need more! Whats not to love about a back yard flock?

  • Fresh eggs to eat
  • Fresh organic meat
  • Hatching eggs
  • Fuzzy Chicks
  • Organic pest control
  • Income!
  • Safety!!

Safety? Yes. Do you really know what you’re feeding your family when you buy those store bought eggs?

We just witnessed a massive nation wide egg recall for salmonella yet 1% of the population raises their own chickens for eggs. And that number includes the owners of the massive production houses.

And if you think paying extra for “organic” “free range” or “hormone free” eggs is a safer bet…think again.

Organic simply means the feed the chickens were fed was certified by the government as containing no unatural fertilizers or pesticides. Well then what natural fertilizers are used? Animal by-products from slaughter houses and human waste known as “slurry” or “treated sewage sludge”. Store bought organic isn’t sounding so great now is it?

Free range” is also a misleading term. In order to lable that carton as free range (and jack up the price) all a production house has to do is provide the option to the chickens to go outside. Meaning a small hole in the wall of a building housing tens of thousands of birds is sufficient to make the term free range legal. It doesn’t matter if the building is surrounded by a water filled moat or a deep ditch that prevents exit.

Hormone free” is yet another misleading selling point. It’s actually illegal in the US to use hormones on chickens. So why then do commercial egg producers put it on the package? To charge you more of course. Because making the consumer feel safe is worth money.

“Antibiotic Free” shouldn’t make you feel warm and fuzzy either. It just means that the chicken that contributed to your morning ommlet was part of a HUGE flock. Huge flocks have illnesses. Untreated illnesses. Disease can crop up in any size flock but it’s much more likely to occur in an industrial sized flock than a back yard flock. Not exactly comforting when you think about it.

Raising your own healthy birds, knowing exactly what they are eating, and knowing exactly what YOU are eating is motivation enough for most.

And I haven’t even gotten to the meat production aspect of commercial versus home production. I’ll save that for another day.

Easy step-by-step instructions for Homemade Hand poured Luxurious Spa Quality Soap – On a shoestring budget!

There is nothing more satisfying than a nice hot bath with a luxurious heavenly smelling lather.  Except there is…if you made that perfectly crafted bar of heaven yourself….for pennies on the dollar.

Handmade real soap is made from lye but this ain’t your great-grandma’s lye soap. I’m talking about high quality skin nourishing luxury soap that will leave your skin feeling moisturized and unbelievably clean at the same time. the kind of soap you simply can’t buy at the big box stores and rarely find in even the most expensive spas.

It’s easier than you might think to make and you dont have to be a chemist to create your bubbly batch right in your own kitchen.

I bought a few bars (at $11 each) at a local gift shop.  I started with one and went back for more. I was hooked!  I’m a self proclaimed professional soaker but nothing in life prepared me for the experience of a good handmade soap bath.  I stepped out feeling clean, smelling great, and my skin GLOWED!  Hooked I tell ya! Instantly addicted.

But OMG! the price!?!  Worth every penny but surely it didn’t cost that much to make? So I did my homework, learned a lot, bought a little, and after some trial and error I perfected my own scented soapy slice of satisfaction for a fraction of the price I was paying in the gift shop.  And you can too.

All you need for a 2 pound batch is 20 ounces of fats such as lard, shortening, shea butter, coconut oil or cocoa etc AND/OR  oils such as sunflower, safflower, canola, vegetable, palm etc (no they aren’t created equal – each creates different characteristics in the finished product.  Coconut makes it softer, palm makes it harder, etc.  Any combination of fats/oils will work as long as you have 20 ounces total.  (Bacon grease is not a good idea but you CAN use strained used cooking oil)

3 ounces of Lye (my secret is food grade lye but you can buy lye in any hardware store – or make it yourself if you want to go that route).

4 ounces of water

3 ounces of Castor Oil (that’s the key to the rich lather!)

2 ounces of essential or fragrance oil such as lavender or use your favorite cheap body spray (just make sure whatever you use is skin safe!)

That’s it.  Just 5 basic ingredients including water.

You’ll also need dish gloves (for safety), a mold (a small flat rate postal box lined with plastic is perfect for this  – reuse and recycle!), 2 large plastic bowls, a whisk or submersible blender, and a microwave.

Step 1: Pour the lye into the water (NEVER POUR WATER INTO THE LYE – it can cause severe injuries). The water and lye mixture will heat up to about 200 degrees due to chemical reaction. Let it set and do it’s thing while you continue on to….

Step 2: Melt the fats (do not include the Castor Oil yet).  Microwave in one minute intervals until it’s no longer solid (use caution when handling hot grease).

Step 3: When the two mixtures are approximately the same temperature pour the oils into the lye mixture (AGAIN – NEVER POUR THE LYE!).  At this point you’ve combined everything except the castor oil and the fragrance (those go in last).

Step 4: In the bowl blend, whisk, stir, etc.  If you have a submersible blender that’s the ideal tool but it really isn’t mandatory.  Do not make soap in a blender or food processor (you can thank me later for that advise – lol just don’t ask me how I know that!).  Mix until it’s the consistency of soft pudding.  If doing it by hand it may take a while.  If using a submersible it can take less than 20 seconds.

Step 5: Add the fragrance oil

and Castor Oil.  Mix it well one last time and pour it into your prepared plastic lined box.

Step 6: Let it set for at least 24 hours before trying to remove it from the mold. Now is th time to cut or slice it before it hardens too much.  Soap should cure in the open air for 6 weeks before use, however at this point it IS safe to use.  The lye is no longer caustic after saponification (aka step 4).  The longer it cures the harder it will be and the longer it will last.

That’s all there is to it! Now you have 8 quarter pound bars for approximately a dollar or less each.  That wasn’t difficult at all was it?

Let me hear from you! I want to know how your first batch turned out!

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Welcome to our homestead!

Whether you are trying to lower your daily expenses or prepare for the collapse of society you’ve come to the right place. Sit a spell and see how we do it. You’ll either learn something or…. learn from our mistakes.

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

 

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