A new feature is being added to the 2021 Horse Progress Days Event, homesteading seminars.
The word homesteading takes us back to the stories we read about pioneers coming to this country from culturally established communities to scratch out a living in a new land. One of the things the coronavirus has brought about since March of 2020 is the realization of the inherent power of self-sustaining that had been largely overlooked as we rushed blindly into the modern era with its myriads of choices for feeding ourselves and our families. Methods of production and sources of food have been given a second look. Canning jars and lids are in short supply. A proliferation of backyard chickens that had begun some years ago picked up steam. Direct farm-to-customer operations grew overnight as restaurants, schools, sports venues, movie theaters, and many other things closed, and many were fearful of going to the store for groceries.
In the meantime, many traditional dairy farms across the land had already sold out. The Ohio planners are aggressively making plans that will highlight possibilities for small acreages that benefit family life, learning and teaching healthy and meaningful work, living smaller rather than always chasing bigger and bigger. Following is a list of subjects with short descriptions of what to expect and plan for.
Keynote Speaker Topic Friday and Saturday Noon
This session will give the audience ideas on what they can do with small 2, 5 and 10 acre parcels of land, giving models for each of these sizes, what to plant, where to keep animals, and the kinds of shelters they will need. It will include input costs, time needed to care for everything, and expected and hoped for yields. After this session you will be ready to start your own homestead or add to what you already have.
A focus on soil health; different varieties of berries; applying proper protective canopies
A focus on crop varieties; proper trellising; disease control; soil condition; focusing on the small scale backyard grower
Controlling Insects with Growing Degree Days
This seminar will be resourced by the Ohio Agriculture Research Development Center (OARDC). They will also have a bug display set up. The focus will be on understanding how to use growing degree days in fruit and vegetable production with explanations of how it is done.
This seminar will be resourced by Karen Geiser who will also be doing a presentation in the Homemaker area. She will use photos to demonstrate how to use cold frames, encouraging participants to “start small.” She will talk about planting dates and growing times and when growing stops in the fall and starts in the spring.
Composting to condition soil; simple, simple; What do you apply if certain bugs show up? What is their presence telling you?
How to grow them. How to prepare them. What works. What doesn’t.
Growing and Using Garlic
How to grow it. How to dry it. How to use it.
Fruit Tree Pruning Demonstrations
The plan is to have two trees to use in this demonstration; one to prune and the other unpruned to discuss how, where and when to prune.
Growing Meat Chickens
Starting healthy chicks. Are some breeds better than others?
Chicken Dressing Presentation
Learn how to butcher a chicken from start to finish.
The Benefits of a Family Cow
Besides having lots of good, nutritious milk for your family, what other things can you make from it to completely use up all of the milk and save it for later?
Making Bologna, Wieners, Snack Stix
Learn how to make your own. How to process the meat, good mixing ratios, and proper curing and smoking methods. Extending the value of meat from butcher time to future meals.
Inspiration for getting started and staying the course when discouragement sets in, especially from losing bees. There will be tips on how to resist pests and diseases in order to persevere. Actual demonstrations of live bees in a top bar hive, a regular hive, and an observation hive staffed by experienced beekeepers to answer questions. Interested persons can observe bees at work in a hive. They will be introduced to proper attire and tools for beekeeping. Staff from OARDC will be involved to give tips on how to arrange a yard/homestead with plants, and lists of plants that can provide both food for bees and the family with consideration of what to plant when, so that bees have nourishment all summer.
Nest Boxes for Native Birds
Two sessions on birds will focus particularly on bluebirds and chimney swifts. Participants will be given tips on how to build nesting boxes and how to provide good habitat. Discussions will be supplemented with displays to demonstrate and inspire.
This presenter has a passion for monarchs. She will explain how she became inspired and she will talk about the life cycles of monarchs. She will talk about her trip to Mexico where monarchs overwinter and she will share ideas and plans for participants to get started helping monarch butterflies.
Cooking Maple Sap to Syrup
Watch the sap boiling. Learn how to get started in your own back yard with a few maple trees. The focus will be on how to cook maple syrup for your family with 10-200 taps.
Teaching men and boys how to weld, doing welding projects, forging steel, backed up by photos of projects done by the presenter.
Involving the Children
Planting a seed in a pot to take along home with instructions on how to care for it. Doing a transplant of a live plant and taking it home with instructions. How to make recycled craft paper, and gun safety by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.