Wednesday, 31 May 2017

08:43 – It was 62.8F (17C) when I took Colin out around 0645 this morning, blindingly sunny. As usual, Colin immediately headed for the back fence to check on his cattle.

Ordinarily, if the cows are at least 10 or 15 meters away from the fence, Colin ignores them and they ignore him. This morning, they were right up at the fence, so he stalked down towards them until he was close enough to do his pounce-bark routine to drive them further away from his fence. But this morning, for the first time, there was a courageous cow, a young one about 3/4 normal adult size, and about 20 meters back from the fence. As Colin stood silently watching it, it noticed him and ambled over towards him. Colin was standing with his snout right at the fence wire, and the cow walked over until it was snout-to-snout with Colin. He finally couldn’t take it anymore and did a ferocious pounce-bark, at which point the cow just stood looking at him for several seconds before it turned and ambled away.

As I was scanning the recently added list on Amazon Prime video last night, I noticed a three-episode homesteading series on soap making. The episodes were only a few minutes, so I watched the first one. Nothing new there; saponification has been around for thousands of years, and the only new thing in the video was that the lady used a silicone bread pan as a mold. She didn’t go into the chemistry of it. She said lye was an acid. Okay.

But I decided to see what else was out there so I did a Roku search for “homesteading”. It came up with a lot of hits, one of which was the Homesteading Channel. They really do have a channel for everything nowadays. So I checked that out.

One of the series was called Life on the Big M Ranch, so I fired up the first episode. It started off well enough, with a bearded young man wearing a t-shirt with a stylized Spartan hoplite silhouette and “Molon Labe” beneath it in Greek letters. That by itself would have told me the family were probably preppers, even if the intro hadn’t mentioned preparing for the “fertilizer to hit the fan”.

The family involved is the Mize family from Easley, SC, about four hours southwest of us. Parents Brian and Tammy, in the 40’s, older son Houston, in his early 20’s, daughter-in-law Dana, also early 20’s, and daughter Kindall, in her early teens. They’re all nice people, the kind of people who could just as easily be our next-door neighbors.

They decide to abandon the rat race and consumer/debt society and relocate to 50 acres in upstate SC, near the NC border. So they buy two 200 square foot (20 square meter) trailer homes, plop them down on their newly-purchased acreage, and go to work building a new life. They keep their current jobs in town for now, because they need the income, but they focus on getting completely out of debt and getting all their important stuff moved to the farm so they can get their house on the market. None of them has any experience whatsoever in farming, handling livestock, and so on, so they have to learn as they go.

I found the early episodes very interesting. Unfortunately, the later episodes started to lose focus. Dana became the face of the Big M Ranch, with the rest of the family appearing very infrequently. So I bagged that and started watching the other multi-episode series on that channel, which was about two families building a homestead in the Ozarks. I bagged that one after Season 1 Episode 1, which was an extended sales pitch for overpriced “survival food”.

Barbara called last night to check in. She’s having a great time. Only three more days until she gets back. The people are supposed to show up today to install the drop ceiling downstairs.