Friday, June 29, 2012

Schedule page fixed!

It came to my attention today that the "Conference Schedule" tab was not working. I'm not sure how long it has been broken, but it has now been fixed. If you've been waiting to see the schedule, it is available now!

Check out all the sessions on how to keep bees, backyard chickens, pastured pork, grassfed cattle, goats, sheep, and more. We also have sessions on turning your homestead into a business, learning to make herbal tinctures, and selling your locally grown products at a farmer's market.

Weekend vacation?

Hampton Inn Joliet - I-80

If you are coming from out of town and need a place to stay either before or after the conference, we have arranged for a special rate of $99 per night (including a hot breakfast) at the newly renovated Hampton Inn, which is across the street and one block away from Joliet Junior College. Click here to go to the conference's web page on the Hampton site and get the special rate! If you go to Hampton's main website, be sure to use our group code -- HSC -- to get the discounted rate!

We have the discounted rate from Friday night through Monday morning, in case you want to make a short vacation out of it. And if you raise goats or are thinking about raising goats, don't forget about the Sunday goat workshop at Antiquity Oaks, which is less than an hour away from Joliet Junior College.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Herbal tincture session added

After seeing Susan Saniie talk about making herbal tinctures at the Illinois Herb Association conference earlier this month, I asked her if she would come to the Homesteading Conference to give her talk for attendees there. I'm happy to say that she said yes!

I grow herbs on my homestead, and I dry them for a variety of uses, but I'd always wanted to know how to make tinctures, and Susan explained the whole process. Making your own tinctures is a great way to save money and become more self reliant.

Susan is a licensed and nationally board certified acupuncturist, practicing in Carbondale, Illinois. She also manages Dayempur Herbals, a cottage industry of Dayempur Farm in Anna, Illinois, which not only produces herbal remedies such as echinacea and mullein tincture, elderberry syrup and “Herbal Salve” but also grows the herbs used in the remedies.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Meet Donna O'Shaughnessy

Livestock guardian dog, Fannie,
with Donna's grandson, Wesley.
Donna will be presenting sessions on pastured pork and grass-fed beef and dairy cattle. We recently asked her a few questions so that you could get to know her better, and here is what she said!

When did you move to your homestead?
We moved here in 1995 with our four young children.

What was the first thing you did, garden or livestock, and why?
Livestock was first. The house had not been lived in for years so grass was shoulder high in yard. We fenced it off and put our first cow in the yard!

What is your favorite part of homesteading?
Keeping our own hours. But I don't know why we like it since we are always working 16 hour days. :)

What is the toughest part?
Toughest part is the 16 hour days. And knowing when to say NO. Like when customers ask us to raise buffalo.

What are your plans for the future?
Plans are to sell this farm (too big) and start a very small farm where we are 100% off the grid and supplying food only for ourselves and immediate family.

For more information on Donna and our other speakers, check out the Speaker page!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Good fences make good neighbors

You don't want your animals running all over the countryside, but how exactly do you keep them on your property? Do you know the difference between an H brace, double H brace, and a floating brace? Have you ever heard of a lightening choke coil? Did you know that Illinois and many other states have fence acts that legally define what constitutes an acceptable fence for holding livestock?

If any of these questions have you scratching your head, you won't want to miss our session on fencing by Richard G. Hungerford, Jr., Certified Professional in Rangeland Management (SRM) and Certified Grassland Specialist (AFGC), who has his own herd of Corriente cattle and a flock of Katahdin sheep. I heard Richard speak after we'd already been homesteading for almost ten years, and I wished I had heard him years ago! If you have cattle, sheep, goats, or pigs, you'll learn what you need to know to keep them on your property.

Richard will talk about types of fencing, basics of a good fence, fencing mistakes, and government program specifications. You'll learn how far apart you should space posts, based upon whether you're using barbed wire, woven wire, or hi-tensile wire, as well as how many strands of wire, and whether or not you're using stays. He'll also talk about insulators, strainers, tighteners, energizers, and connections and everything else you need to know to use electric fences successfully.