Friday, September 9, 2016

We're ready! Are you?

Here are the last minute details for this weekend ...

Walk-in registrations will be accepted for the conference on Saturday, but Sunday's Goat Workshop is full.

We've had a lot of rain today, so be sure to bring waterproof shoes or boots because we will be walking around the farm for several sessions. Also, do NOT park on the grass because you will get stuck. We will have someone available to tell you where to park, but the important thing is to stay on the gravel driveway.

Remember that GPS cannot find the farm, so you need to use Mapquest to find us. We will also have signs on the corners of our road, so you'll know when you're getting close. And there will be signs at the end of our driveway also.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Learn about mobile poultry housing

This past spring, we purchased a 20-year-old construction trailer and turned it into a mobile hen house. Being a construction trailer, it had essentially been an office in the past, so it was just an empty room -- or two, actually. So, we removed the wall that had separated the trailer into two rooms, and we replaced one of the outer walls that had rotting wood. 
We added roll-out nest boxes, so we could collect eggs from outside, and we added roosts. After this picture was taken, we also added a hanging feeder in the middle of the hen-mobile, and we put a metal garbage can in the corner to hold the chicken feed so that we don't have to carry it outside for every feeding. We keep the waterer outside so that the inside stays cleaner.

If you attend the conference on Saturday, you will be able to get up close and personal with the new hen-mobile during the "Mobile Chicken Housing" session at 10:15.

You will also be able to see the chicken tractors that we use for raising younger chickens and turkeys, and you will even have the opportunity to move one. It took us four models to get it right, and most people are surprised at how easy this type is to move. In fact, children were moving it this summer during Nature's Farm Camp.

Click here to register for this year's conference.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Early bird discount ends tonight!

Today is the last day to receive the early bird discount on your registration. If you register by midnight, you'll receive $10 off the regular price.

This year's conference is being held at Antiquity Oaks Farm. Most of the sessions are live demos or hands-on. We will be walking around the farm to learn more about fencing and mobile poultry housing options. You'll see how to make tinctures and salves, and you'll walk around and discover what weeds are edible and which ones can be used medicinally. You'll even see the canning and wine making process from beginning to end. Click on the "Schedule" link to learn more.

If you are coming from out of town, you can camp on the farm Friday or Saturday night at no additional charge, but reservations are required. Just contact us to let us know which nights you'll be staying and when we can expect you. There is parking for two RVs and plenty of room for tents.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Schedule and speakers posted for 2016

This year's conference will be held at Antiquity Oaks Farm, and we're breaking away from most of the PowerPoints and lectures and doing more demonstrations and experiential sessions.

That means we'll be walking through the pastures to see and handle the fencing while we talk about which fences work best for which livestock and which ones should be avoided. We'll actually pick up, move, and re-install portable electric fencing.

You'll get up close and personal with four different types of mobile poultry housing, including a new hen-mobile.

We'll be canning seasonal produce, walking through the woods to learn about edible weeds, and making tinctures and salves. We'll even be making wine, so you can see and experience what it means to "rack" the wine or degas it.

You'll also get to see a cob oven and learn how it was built while firing it up and baking in it.

We are still working on the session descriptions, but registration is open. The early bird discount of $79 is available until July 31, but because we're holding the conference on the farm, we have to limit registration to only 30 people, so register early to be sure you'll be able to attend.

Click here to register today!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mark your calendars for the 2016 conference!

This year's conference will be held the weekend after Labor Day -- Saturday, September 10 -- and we will have homesteading workshops on Sunday, September 11. Both days will be held on Antiquity Oaks Farm, northeast of Cornell, IL and west of Odell, IL, off I-55.

Many thanks to everyone who responded to our survey! We are now working on scheduling classes and workshops. If you have anything in particular you'd like to learn about, leave your suggestions in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Opinions, please!

We are in the early stages of planning the Fifth Annual Mid-America Homesteading Conference, and we've decided to shake things up a little. The first four conferences were held at Joliet Junior College on the Saturday of Labor Day weekend with post-conference workshops on Sunday at Antiquity Oaks Farm. Each year we received messages from people who said they'd love to come, but they couldn't make it on Labor Day weekend. Others have suggested that we have the conference on an actual homestead. So, we're asking you ...

  • When do you want us to hold the conference?
  • Where?
  • What do you want to learn?
  • How much time do you want to spend learning about each topic?

Click here to take our short 6-question survey and let us know what you think!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Are you ready for the Homesteading Conference this weekend?

Yes, the conference is Saturday, which is less than three days away! If you haven't registered yet, you can do it online until 5 a.m. Saturday. You can also pay with cash or credit card at the conference.

Your conference registration fee includes a continental breakfast, buffet lunch, drinks, and snacks. Since we got such rave reviews for last year's lunch, which was catered by Chipotle, we're doing it again. There will be plenty of options for omnivores, vegetarians, gluten free eaters, and other dietary preferences. If you have questions about their food, visit their website for a full list of non-GMO ingredients.

T-Building Entrance
Photo copyright Joliet Junior College
There will be signs, pictured above, starting on Houbolt Road to help you find the conference in T-building. When you walk in the doors, pictured here, you will see the conference center immediately on your left.

Need directions to the college? Click here!

Need a hotel? Click here!

Want to take another look at the schedule and start planning which sessions you want to attend? Click here!

And if you are considering one of our post-conference workshops, there is still space available in both of them, although only three spaces left in the goat workshop. Click here for more info.