School of Homesteading Activities and Learning Experiences: an Outline


I.  Land and Soil

    A.  Factors to consider in choosing land.
        1.  Physical factors:  Landforms, climate, water supply, etc.
        2.  Social factors:  Population density, taxes, community, etc.

    B.  Suitability of different areas on a farm for fields, orchards, gardens and barnyards; use of marshy areas or woody areas.

    C.  Types of soil and modes of management appropriate to each.

    D.  Preparation of soil; modes of tillage.

    E.  Soil conditioning and improvement.
        1.  Sheet composting in fields.
        2.  Use of green manures
        3.  Composting and the application of compost.
        4.  Uses of mulch and materials for mulching;  dust mulch
        5.  Mineral fertilizers:  rock phosphate, greensand, marl, etc.
        6.  The function of earthworms in their soil and their propagation.

II.  Plants

    A.  Wild plants for food and dyes.

    B.  Propagation of plants.
        1.  Collecting seeds and bulbs in late summer and fall; storage.
        2.  Starting tender vegetables inside early in spring.
        3.  Root division in spring (horseradish, rhubarb).
        4.  Transplanting suckers (raspberries) or runners (strawberries) in spring.
        5.  Tip layering (black and purple raspberries) or layering (gooseberries).
        6.  Cuttings, taken in winter and rooted in spring (grapes, currants).
        7.  Grafting of fruit trees.
        8.  Transplanting of trees, shrubs and plants.
        9.  Division and planting of tubers (potatoes).

    C.  Gardening
        1.  Planning:  areas for annual and perennial beds: spacing.
        2.  Different varieties of vegetables herbs and flowers.
        3.  Techniques of seeding and planting.
            a.  Raising plants in cold frames or hot beds.
            b.  Winter gardening in growholes or greenhouses.
            c.  Techniques of seeding in gardens.
        4.  Appropriate times for harvesting.

    D.  Orchards.
        1.  Planning for small fruit, vines, and large trees; spacing.
        2.  Techiniques of planting, appropriate times.
        3.  When and how to prune, for canes, shrubs, vines and trees.
        4.  Harvesting and storage.

    E.  Pest control.
        1.  Identification of weeds; useful and harmful weeds.  Modes of weed control: pulling, hoeing, mulching, geese.
        2.  Insect control.
            a.  Identification of insects.
            b.  Toxic and non-toxic sprays; use of oil sprays, botanical insecticides and repellants.
            c.  Mechanical devices for insect control.
            d.  Companion planting techniques.
            e.  Use of predator insects, birds and animals.

    F.  Field crops.

    G.  Woodland crops; woodland management.
        1.  Harvesting nuts and maple sugar.
        2.  Wood cutting for fence posts and firewood.

    H.  Hay and Pasture.
        1.  Grasses and legumes; annuals and perennials.
        2.  Improvement of permanent and wooded pastures.

    I.  Food processing and preservation.
        1.  Canning, freezing, drying (of grains, corn, fruits, and herbs)
`       2.  Root cellar storage of carrots, potatoes, apples, etc.
        3.  Uses of fermentation:  sour kraut, wine making.

III.  Livestock

    A.  Cattle:  beef and dairy breeds.
        1.  Care of cattle and all animals:  feeding, breeding, calving, castrating, disposal of waste for composting, or methane generation.
        2.  Milking--diseases to watch for, sanitation, filtering, cream separation, making butter, cheese, yogurt, ice cream, etc.
        3.  Butchering beef, cutting up meat, canning, freezing, drying, curing.
        4.  Use of byproducts of slaughtering.
            a.  Tallow for soap and candles.
            b.  Tanning hides to make leather.
            c.  Bones for fertilizer; trimmings for chicken or pig feed.

    B.  Goats:  milking and cheesemaking.

    C.  Sheep:  shearing, carding, spinning, and weaving wool, butchering.

    D.  Hogs:  involves also curing and smoking hams and bacon: sausage making.

    E.  Chickens:  ways of catching chicks, culling laying hens, etc.

    F.  Ducks and geese:  plucking down.

    G.  Turkeys

    H.  Rabbits

    I.  Bees and honey extraction.

    J.  Fish (aquaculture) and pond ecology.

    K.  Horses:  riding horses and draft horses; saddles, bridles, harness.

(All the preceding animals require special care:  feeding, breeding, and birthing unique to each species.)

IV.  Farm buildings and equipment

    A.  Buildings appropriate for different animals, sizes, locations, adjacent areas, modes of construction.

    B.  Water supply.

    C.  Field equipment.
        1.  Operation, maintenance of tractors.
        2.  Machines useful for soil preparation, cultivation, planting, harvesting, mowers, manure spreaders, etc.

    D.  Fences: materials and modes of construction.

    E.  Homestead equipment:  their operation and uses.  Some examples:
        1.  Hammer mill and grist mill for grinding grain and milling flour.
        2.  Fanning mill for cleaning grain.
        3.  Meat grinder, sausage stuffer, lard press, etc.
        4.  Cement mixer and its many uses.
        5.  Blacksmithing with a forge; welding.

    F.  Hand tools and their use.

    G.  Power Generating equipment.
        1.  Windmills and wind chargers.
        2.  Water wheels.
        3.  Methane generators.
        4.  Storage of solar heat.
        5.  Horsepower.

By Maynard and Sally Kaufman

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