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What Should I Do?

Phil Williams

Introduction to Elderberries

The Medicinal Powerhouse
Friday, July 15, 2016, 7:52 PM

I planted a couple of dozen elderberry trees two years ago. They’ve grown rapidly and produced tons of berries this summer. When I planted them, I read that they were a very good medicinal plant to have around and they were essentially maintenance and pest free. As a bonus they produce beautiful flowers and are beneficial to birds and pollinators. » Read more

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DIY Beef Jerky

Make the best beef jerky at home
Thursday, June 30, 2016, 6:47 PM

It’s smoky. Savory. Salty. Sometimes a little sweet. It has been a favorite snack of travelers and nomads for thousands of years. I’m speaking, of course, of jerky.

Today, jerky is a big business. The Washington Post recently reported that it’s a $1.5 billion industry in the United States. Sales are up 46 percent since 2009. This high-protein, low-fat, low-carb, gluten-free snack has never been more popular. » Read more

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Phil Williams

All About Parsnips

Tips for cultivation and use
Tuesday, May 31, 2016, 6:57 PM

Parsnips are not typically found in home gardens, but they should be. Parsnips are root vegetables, related to carrots, but larger, and white in color. They are more cold hardy than carrots, and have a slightly stronger taste, and smell. I actually like parsnips better than carrots when cooked, as they are sweeter, and I prefer the smell of fresh parsnips to carrots. » Read more

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Phil WIlliams

Wood Mulch VS. Living Mulch

Best choices for food forests or annual gardens
Thursday, May 19, 2016, 6:17 PM

Last season I planted perennials in my zone 1 annual garden in an effort to transition away from annual gardening. I'll always have an annual garden, but I am limiting the size, given the amount of energy required for their upkeep. I much prefer to mix in my annuals among my young food forestry.

Transitioning Living Mulch to Wood Chips » Read more

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DIY Mosquito Repellent

3 Ways to Make Your Own
Tuesday, May 3, 2016, 6:38 PM

As your family begins to move outdoors for the summer, you’ll have to take precaution against mosquitos and other insects.

Using mosquito repellent helps reduce your risk of exposure to Zika, West Nile virus or other diseases, it allows you to enjoy your summer activities with a lower risk of disease. » Read more

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10 Ways to Make Fire Without Matches

Updated videos on methods of creating fire
Thursday, April 28, 2016, 4:24 PM

As we look at preparing for uncertain times, we seek to have the resources on hand to weather the storm and be more resilient in our daily lives.  We store water and put food away for shortages or emergency situations.  We make sure we can communicate with family, friends, and loved ones.  We are all working on building resilience our own ways and learning from each other. 

Knowledge and skills acquisition is a topic that resonates greatly with the Peak Prosperity community. In this article we will explore a critical skill to learn and practice that can help you in really tough times or emergency situations – the skill of making fire. » Read more

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Shutterstock: 166205837

How to Establish a Wildflower Meadow

Providing habitat and diversity to the landscape
Tuesday, April 19, 2016, 2:49 PM

Over the past couple of years, I’ve been working to establish a wildflower meadow on the lower part of my property, zones 3 & 4. In time, trees may be added, but for now I would like the native meadow to provide habitat, diversity, nectar, pollen for my bees and the other pollinators, and beauty, all in a low maintenance package. » Read more

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8 Tips To Help Your Chickens Lay More Eggs

Creating a healthier environment for better egg laying
Monday, April 4, 2016, 7:44 PM

If you start to raise chickens to be more self-sufficient, you want them to be as productive as possible. But what if they aren’t laying as many eggs as you’d hoped?

The most common reasons that chickens aren’t laying eggs is because they are too young, too old, the hours of daylight are too short, it is molting or the feeding is not of sufficient nutritional value. You might not be able to affect those first points, but you can help contribute to a stress-free environment for your chickens while keeping them healthy and well. » Read more

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Phil Williams

How to Make a Codling Moth Trap and Lure

DIY pest control
Monday, March 14, 2016, 5:52 PM

Last year, a lot of my apple crop and some of my pear crop were infested with codling moth larvae. Given that I don’t spray my trees, I needed to come up with an alternative for control, unless I wanted to grow apples for the moths. This season, I’ve sprayed kaolin clay, which is a tiny clay particle that you spray on to the leaves and the fruit. This acts as an irritant to the pests, causing them to move on. This has worked well so far, as we’ve already had our best cherry harvest yet, and the apples and pears still look pretty clean. » Read more

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Phil Williams

Chicken Paddock Shift in Action

Natural chicken powered mowing
Thursday, March 3, 2016, 4:12 PM

I have a flock of chickens that graze the upper slopes of my property between swales. Their manure migrates into the swales, feeding the trees on the downslope berm. They are moved weekly along this two acre stretch of property. The chickens benefit from fresh ground, insects, and vegetation. They are healthier and consume less feed in the process. The only negative is the work involved in setting up and taking down the electronet fencing each week. » Read more