Organizations and Other Links
Another site focusing on homestead issues is Journey to Forever. Includes a library of out-of-print works, pages on composting, vermiculture, humanure, and much more.
Another repository of out-of-print books is Soil And Health Library. (“This is a specialist library about holistic agriculture, holistic health and self-sufficient homestead living. Most of the titles in this library are out of print. Many are quite hard to find.”)
Dr. Elaine Ingham has done more than perhaps anyone else to enlarge our understanding of soil life. Her website offers testing and other services, but also contains a wealth of information on the soil food web, making and using compost and compost tea, bioremediation, and more.
I highly recommend the soil consultant I have worked with, Mr. Houston Snoddy, a student of the great soil specialist William Albrecht. (546 Liberty Hall Lane, Burnt Chimney, VA 24184, (540) 721-2073 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Be sure to put a reference to “soil consultation” in the subject line.)
Livestock and Poultry
I strongly recommend American Pastured Poultry Producers Association. Though it is an organization dedicated to small farmers producing for local markets, they offer much of relevance to the serious poultry husbandman who wants to go beyond the “hobbyist” level. If you wish to join, go to their home page and click on “Membership” in the left navigation bar. On the linked page you can choose your level of membership. If you join at the “Producer Plus” level, you will have access to the APPPA discussion list—the very best listserve I participate in. Discussion is serious and to the point, and members do not waste my time with idle chit-chat.
To learn more about older breeds of poultry and other livestock, join The Livestock Conservancy (formerly American Livestock Breeds Conservancy), dedicated to preserving traditional and historic breeds. Membership will put you in touch with other breeders, from whom you might get stock. Make use of the sturdier, more self-reliant older breeds while at the same time helping with the task of conservation—many of these breeds are in danger of being lost forever.
Another source for superior chicks is the Sustainable Poultry Network. Many of the farmers in the network are breeding and supplying improved strains of the heritage breeds.
Be sure to check out feathersite.com, the most complete guide I know of online (or off-) to the astounding diversity of poultry breeds. Useful links, poultry husbandry information, and lots of pictures to help you fall in love with your preferred breeds.
If you have any size woodlot at all, and would like help managing it from people with a passionate commitment to wise and sustainable forestry, please check out Healing Harvest Forest Foundation. Their approach to harvesting timber is based on keeping in place a healthy forest increasing in quality and value, and on logging with horses. I attended one of their logging demonstrations in October, 2005, and was most impressed.