Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Coming attractions...

I was serious about becoming more active here again.  In the past two days, though; looking around the world and the web, I haven't been hit by anything I thought made sense to place here.

There's no shortage of news, idiocies, absurdities, and horrors, of course.  It's just that I'm not at all fond of "small talk", and I don't watch horror movies for entertainment.

We all have enough blather to wade through daily; and enough unavoidable awfulness.  I'd rather you came here for something useful.

And, I do want to maintain this assemblage of interesting folks; I appreciate your faithfulness; and we all need all the friends we can find.

So- I have two slight changes to this blog to announce today.  Both designed to make me write more; and hopefully provide you (and others) with something useful.

I'm going to start writing "reviews" - of specific products.  And I've launched the process to "monetize" the blog; i.e. Google will start placing ads in the sidebar.

Hey, I can use the pennies- and it will increase my motivation to write, just a tad.

And- one of the things I've discovered, in my long forays into off-grid, sustainable, self reliance, and resilience is; it's incredibly difficult to get good advice about this technology or that.

It's incredibly easy to find "advice" - and enthusiastic reviews, of almost anything.  And often conflicting negatives.  Sorting those out, however; is a bear.

What is lacking; I think; is what I can offer; long experience.  I'll only be writing about stuff I've done- for a long time, under may circumstances.  Ergo- I think I may actually have a clue as to how it will work out for other folks.

I even know where I'm going to start- with a rat trap.  Sharon, over on Casaubon's Book, recently mentioned that she (of all people!) has rats in her poultry building; and is struggling with the problem.  (At least, I have a definite memory of her saying that - last fall.  I can't find the post... but...  I have a clear picture of the surrounding text...  of course, I do occasionally remember as fact things I only dreamed...  um, Sharon?)

If I only dreamed that Sharon has rats, I have an excuse.  I had rats.  In the poultry house we overwinter guineas and chickens in.  We had them for a year... and I struggled to get rid of them.  But notice; I now use the past tense.  We had rats.   I actually managed to eradicate them.  It wasn't easy; and a specific trap was a part of the solution.

Sounds trivial- but it was a major disaster; and it's quite a common one.  If you intend to keep poultry- you WILL have to deal with rats some day.  If you don't- they'll not only eat your feed; and gnaw the cages to bits; they'll eat the eggs, and eat any chicks.  Making it all a waste of time; and very expensive.

So.  I intend to write reviews in very serious detail; with experiences on the subject over weeks, months, and when possible years.  As you've likely noticed, a huge number of enthusiastic "back to the land" advice articles start out with; "We got our new (expensive whatever) a whole week ago- and we LOVE it!  You must get one/them too!  You'll get rich; just like us!"  And you never hear from them again.  I hope to avoid that.

I've taken the first steps; applied to Google.  When that's all in place- you'll find out everything I know about rats.

Just one teaser/hint; I figure we saved at least $80 on cat food, feeding dead (non-toxic) rats to our cat mommas last summer...


Hank Roberts said...

Good move. First reason I've seen in a while to unblock some advertising.

Another route you might try is providing an Amazon shopping link along with your reviews; can't explain how it works, but Amazon credits the referrer; look at e.g.
shlockmercenary.com (a web comic); link at lower left is to Amazon.

Anonymous said...

Good to be reading your blog again -- I've been reducing the amount of time I spend online, but what you're going to be writing about will definitely be on my reading list, especially the rat post! Yes, we have chickens and rats. Although currently we can't do much about them getting into the chicken rooms (family's barn, not ours) -- we'd have to re-do the entire ceiling, for one. So we lose some feed to them. But we bought a place of our own in December, so we're working on plans for new coops.

Heather G

Hank Roberts said...

how about a review of federal crop insurance for stupidity?

"... environmental groups have argued that it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to keep subsidizing this push into the prairies. A recent report (pdf) from the Environmental Working Group, for instance, argues that Congress should scale back crop insurance for farmers who move into the country’s grasslands and wetlands. Farm groups, for their part, say the insurance is vital for their work — instead, Congress should expand conservation programs.

And what about biofuels? Groups like EWG have criticized ethanol mandates for pushing up corn and soybean prices and driving the crop boom. There’s a lot more hope for next-generation cellulosic biofuels grown from switchgrass or other plants with a much smaller environmental footprint...."

Greenpa said...

helwen - I'm delighted to hear from you! So glad you're still tuning in. :-)

Hank- yeah, I saw that article in WaPo, and it's stimulating. You likely saw my detailed post here on switchgrass, years ago; but in case not:


That's from 2007; but it's all still true. Every year since, the cellulosic fuel guys have been saying "next year it'll work!" Every year. It's still not going to work.

I'm not contemplating exactly THAT kind of review, so much. More; directly useful toolish things. Of course, if a rant hits me, I can't necessarily stop it.