e69. Grazing on the Homestead with Joshua Deck

In this podcast episode, Joshua Deck, a homesteader from southwest Missouri, talks about his journey into regenerative ranching and sustainable farming. Joshua discusses his techniques for transforming his 20-acre homestead into a thriving regenerative ranch. He shares his experiences with different types of livestock, soil management, garden and mushroom cultivation, and pastured poultry. He also shares insights on the importance of observing the land before starting with permaculture design, and offers advice for those starting out. This episode provides a wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in homesteading, sustainable farming, and regenerative ranching.

Books/Resources Mentioned:

Stockman Grass Farmer
Salad Beef Bar by Joel Salatin (Amazon) (Bookshop)

Social media:
Website: https://voiceinthewildernesspermaculture.com

Discover the wonders of regenerative agriculture with Noble Research Institute! Their practical solutions and extensive research help farmers and ranchers enhance soil health, increase grazing productivity, and uplift the entire ecosystem. They’ve just launched the Essentials of Regenerative Ranching course – a must for those eager to pioneer change in agriculture. Check them out at noble.org and pioneer a sustainable future today!


These transcriptions are automatically generated. Please excuse any errors in the text.

0:00:00 – Cal Hardage
Welcome to the Grazing Grass Podcast, episode 69.

0:00:05 – Joshua Deck
Jump in, but make sure you’re doing your research and you have a plan at least two steps ahead. You’re going to think at least two steps ahead where they’re going to be, otherwise you’re going to fall behind.

0:00:15 – Cal Hardage
You’re listening to the Grazing Grass Podcast, helping grass farmers, learn from grass farmers, and every episode features a grass farmer and their operation. I’m your host, cal Hardeech. Imagine a world where ranching nurtures are earth. Welcome to the vision of the Noble Research Institute. This non-profit champions regenerative agriculture, turning research into practical solutions for farmers and ranchers. On their 14,000 acre of working ranches, they showcase principles that enhance soil health, boost grazing productivity and uplift the entire ecosystem. Excitingly, they’ve just launched Essentials of Regenerative Ranching, a hands-on course for those eager to pioneer change in agriculture and keep an ear out for their upcoming grazing class. This fall, for a sustainable future in ranching, turn to the Noble Research Institute. Learn more on their website at nobleorg.

That’s N-O-B-L-E, dot O-R-G. On today’s episode we have Joshua Deck and we have a wonderful show for you today. He’s coming from grazing from a different angle than we usually talk about. He is a homesteader and he found grazing so that he can better manage his land and his livestock, and while he’s not producing meat for sell to others, he is growing meat for his own family. So a little bit different angle than usual. I think you’ll really enjoy it. And then for the overgrading topic, we’re going to talk about mushrooms Before we talk to Joshua 10 seconds about my farm. I was looking at Facebook earlier today and in one of the groups I’m part of they were talking about corral design and flow of cattle through it and they were talking about they were unable to get the cattle to flow through their corral very well.

One of the biggest things that I’ve done that’s made a tremendous difference is that whenever I have my cows or my dad’s cows up near our corral and we have a stationary corral that system built that I just run the cows through it and I say run, I take it very slow and I just push them through it and they I’m not catching them in the headgate or anything, but they just know to go through the alley. They have to go into the tub and then through the alley. The first few times I just did it like I was working cows but I didn’t catch anything. So I’d put I can put about six head in my tub and then I can push them into my alley and they would go on and then I’d open the gate and do it. The last time I had my cows go through the chute I didn’t even have anyone to help me push them in. They just knew that was the way out. I worked slowly and calmly and they fed themselves. Now I was doing that by myself, so that makes a big difference.

I’m curious are there things that you do to make those times when you’re messing with your cows more efficient? Jump over to the Facebook group Grazing Grass Community on Facebook and share it with us. Enough about that. Let’s talk to Joshua.

0:03:50 – Cal Hardage
Joshua, we want to welcome you to the Grazing Grass Podcast. We’re excited you’re here today. Thanks, cal, I’m excited to be here. Joshua, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your operation?

0:04:00 – Joshua Deck
Well, I guess you would consider a homesteader. I’m not really running an operational form where I’m actually bringing an income off the farm. It’s more about sustenance and sustaining ourselves, trying to be more self-reliant, realizing we still rely on a lot of outside inputs. But we have 20 acres in the southwest Missouri and it’s mostly about five acres of it is woods and then the other 15 acres is kind of old field, had been plowed, probably about 20 years ago. It sat for a few years, maybe kind of used as a pasture, but I don’t really think it was really grazed much. And then it was bush hogged. Actually the one neighbor to my north say he bush hogged about 15 years ago for the people that had owned it at the time. For the last 15 years it’s just sat kind of untouched. So it’s in various stages of succession, lot of different plants, trees, grasses, all kinds of good forage, but it’s kind of starting to take over and get too thick. So kind of coming here we had the intention I wanted to get animals, but I had a kind of a convention. I shouldn’t say I had a conventional mindset, but my thought process was always kind of a conventional. Well, I just need a paddock here and a couple acres there, and when I really started to when I do something I try to research it. So I started to read a lot of different grazing books, articles. Mainly a lot of articles led me to books, got a few books and I realized I really need to be trying to do this regeneratively and moving them across the landscape. That’s where we kind of thought, well, let’s get some sheep. The neighbor gave me two goats, gave my son and I a goat for gifts. We ended up getting Dexter cattle. So we’ve been on this homestead about one year now, just over a year, and we got animals this spring. It’s kind of the first year we kind of landed here.

We did do some pasture poultry last year, which we’ve been doing on previous properties that we’ve been at. You know raised around 50 or so kosher kings, which are like a freedom ranger chicken. So they’re not your state or Cornish crosses. They’re a little bit more apt to free range and try to get their own, get their own food. You know they take a little bit longer to develop but I think overall my feed cost is probably around the same, even though it might take three to four weeks longer than, say, a Kosher or a Cornish cross. We’ve also done ducks layer and we do layer chickens. We’ve done ducks for eggs and turkeys for eggs and meat so that you know that we had all done last year and previous years on other properties that we were at. But you know, this is our first year to actually have some four-legged livestock and we kind of jumped into it and got a bunch going all at once and bit off a lot and I’m still chewing to try to catch up.

0:06:51 – Cal Hardage
But now you’ve mentioned, when you started researching about grazing, you were reading articles. Where were you finding those articles?

0:06:59 – Joshua Deck
Were they online or did the magazine A lot of it came from. I was really into studying permaculture, probably back like starting in 2016. I kind of got into permaculture. I took a permaculture design course in 2017. So a lot of yeah, a lot of the regenerative principles are talked about and taught there and kind of permaculture regenerative ag, I would say, are close cousins in my opinion, you know. I mean, it’s all all these things are just different terms that are obviously thrown around. But you know, those, those worlds like the regenerative ag, homesteading, kind of permaculture worlds, all kind of run together. So that’s where I did, you know, hear about it. Permyscom was a website that you know. They have a lot of different boards and posts and kind of reading a lot of stuff there. You know, one of the first livestock books I guess I read was one about parasite management and it was just the big deal was just not leaving them on the same paddock because you know, and we can get into a little bit more when we talk about maybe my, my personal, my personal journey, which kind of propels all this with my family, but you know we want to raise them without all the antibiotics, without having to treat them for worms and everything else, because, you know, we’re trying to develop the reason we want to make our, have our own food and control, you know, produce our own stock and game maybe about 2012 or something sometime in there.

So about a decade, a little over a decade ago, my wife and I were pretty much living like the standard American life. We both had regular jobs. You know, I was, you know, driving to an office every day. She was driving to an office. We did have a 14 acre property I had. I wanted to get animals, but I just never felt like I had the time. You know, I had too much work and I just didn’t feel like I had the time, you know. You know we were not, you know, eating healthy. We didn’t really kind of think about it.

And then, because of some minor health issues that I was experiencing, my wife, we just we kind of decided that well, hey, maybe we got to start cleaning up our diet a little bit. And then we watched Food Inc and I think that was a big game changer, the movie Food Inc. So probably around that time we saw that and kind of got introduced to Joe Salatin there and a lot of things started clicking. So we started to clean up our diet Really. We went on a paleo diet, real strict paleo diet, which is, you know, mainly just meat and not even, not even any grains. We became better health and then we kind of at the same time we started on a spiritual journey where we kind of got more grounded in our spiritual life, took that seriously, started attending the congregation and kind of changed our life and gave ourselves over to the Messiah. And that really propelled me to study Scripture.

And in study and Scripture I kind of started to understand that all the forefathers of the faith, the patriarchs, abraham, isaac and Jacob, they were all shepherds and they people that just the Israelites as whole had a.

And the whole religion, really the whole Scriptures, the whole Bible, is based on agriculture, from the Messiah’s parables Jesus, or I would say, yeshua, but from the Messiah’s parables to all the way back to the, through the Old Testament, you know, all the way through Paul’s letters.

You know there’s all kinds of references to agriculture in there. And you know, one of the big things that really made me think about this is, you know, in Genesis 2-7, it says that that Yahweh, elohim, or the Lord God, formed a man of the dust from the ground and breathed in him the breath of life and the man became a living creature, and kind of that realization that we’re made from, from the soil, essentially the word there, where it says from the dust of the ground. The ground is ha-ad-amah. You know, man is Adam. In Hebrew, adam is man and ad-amah is ground, soil, so there’s actually the same root word for both of them. So we’re of that, so kind of that. In that time period there was a whole journey of kind of recognizing, realizing that, you know, soil health is important, it’s important what we put in our bodies, and that kind of really propelled us along the journey.

0:11:10 – Cal Hardage
And at the time did you say you were living in Pennsylvania?

0:11:14 – Joshua Deck
Yeah, so we were living in Pennsylvania. We had we kind of moved around a little bit. There had a few different properties. Through this journey we actually ended up in town for a little bit After my son was born. We tried to move. We moved closer to my in-laws just to try to help, you know, with my son and having a baby and everything like that. So we moved into town. We were in town for about a year and we just we’re not town people.

I grew up in the country. I worked on dairy farms and horse farms and I never really lived in town, but I thought it was in a neat little town tree line street and I you know I had a was really getting into gardening at that time. So I had a garden in the backyard. It was actually a lot of blacktop. I ripped it all up, brought a bunch of top soil, planted a whole garden. But then we decided, ah, it’s not what we’re going to do. So we found two acres of land that we got for a good deal and kind of cashed in a lot of the different savings that we had and went out and built a, built up this two-acre property and that’s right around the time I took my permaculture design course because I was trying to really look at it. It was a steep hillside. At that time I had an idea. We just I wanted to have two sheep. You know, it’d be fun to have two sheep, but it just even on two acres.

Once I got there I realized I really didn’t have the room for them. But we were there for several years and did a lot of gardening. We did did run chickens there. That’s kind of my first, our first experience with chickens and ducks and integrating them and, you know, through permaculture systems in our little two-acre garden, you know, did a lot of swales and berms and made little pasture areas. It was, it was nice. It was two little acres, easy to manage, you know, and I was my little pastures and I ran the chickens. When I didn’t have chickens on them I just cut them as a scythe for hay and it was. It was kind of it was a little mini farm but it was. It was fun.

But I, you know, I guess I kind of wanted more of a challenge and some people we knew an older couple was that were downsizing and they had a 20-acre property that was up on top of a mountain back in Pennsylvania. Now we were in Southeast Pennsylvania but it was kind of this rocky hilltop but there was some area on it and it was a lot of woods and I thought, well, I’m going to try to do a woodland homestead. I had read a couple of books about woodland homesteads and you know I was up for that challenge. After our two-acre you know little our property we were on for several years. So we moved up there and we were there for about a year and that’s when COVID happened. And then COVID kind of enabled me to start to work from home and after a few months of that and kind of not knowing where the world was going and kind of not realizing that the debt load we had there and just the soils, the everything else, it really wasn’t going to, you know, be the best spot for a homestead. We decided to move out to Missouri, which we had already kind of had in mind for years, because there’s a lot of people that kind of in our walk of faith that are out here, some family that I had out here. So we moved out to Missouri.

Our first homestead was a 10-acre place that was kind of in the woods. We saw a garden spot. You know places there and I was going to try to build in syllable pasture, which I was working on running chickens and turkeys there gardening you know different reasons. We ended up selling and kind of did what homesteads were really shooting up about it. Just over a year ago, you know, homestead prices were shooting up and I kind of always kept my eye on real estate and we thought, well, let’s kind of see what happens. And our place sold in like a weekend. I mean, there was people. It was crazy. People were coming, offers were coming in, nobody that didn’t even see the place, they just looked at it online, you know, and we ended up selling that place. We’re going to buy another place. That fell through and then this place we came up and it was after a lot of prayer that we were able to buy this property where we’re at now the 20 acres.

0:15:04 – Cal Hardage
Sounds like a very interesting journey. So you spent some time with your homestead getting that permaculture principles going on and in place, and then you’ve got the new property you moved into. Tell us how you got started with that property, what you did to where you are now.

0:15:23 – Joshua Deck
I had to make some quick decisions when we decided to buy it just because properties were coming on the market and going quick. There’s several things over the years after being on different homesteads and properties and trying to understand what works best. One of the first things I looked at was, you know, the NCR or an RCS web soil survey to try to see what kind of soils were on there. You know we had decent soils of barred and silt loam and I saw the potential kind of almost like a canvas in the stage of succession that had variable stages. So where our house is and that’s kind of where everything starts in our like zone, you know, zero zone one. You know our house kind of enters like the gateway of the property and then behind or I like to think of it, in front of our house, there’s about five acres of pretty mature oaks, pecans and really a whole big mix of hardwoods Missouri hardwoods right around the property. So that kind of creates a nice, just place to live. You know where it’s a nice wooded spot. We have a couple openings where we have some gardens in, but we’re really not doing any grazing yet in those areas. I’m going to kind of a lot of it’s going to be dedicated to mushroom cultivation it’s. You know there was a house on the property, a pole barn house. There was an old kind of cabin we call it the rack shack that’s where our deer, our deer racks are and stuff like that and you know there was a couple bunch of little miscellaneous outbuildings and a pretty new pole barn. So it was nice. It’s a nice kind of landing spot to come in and a lot of that infrastructure was done. We did put a greenhouse in and there wasn’t really a good dedicated garden. There was an area that had been the previous guy was kind of mowing as a yard that we’re in the process of converting into a garden. So I’ve been digging swales and doing rate, you know, like a mounded bed system with paths and then garden beds where we’re kind of doing some small cover crops right now, mainly because it’s our first year that we’ve really garden there and a few just typical vegetables, but it’s not real big yet.

And then, like I said, really the balance of the property, probably 15 acres, is what’s going to be dedicated to grazing. But it’s really, like I said, old field which is in the various, within permaculture. You kind of learn about the various stages of succession, but you know disturbance would be like kind of a plowed field and then you kind of get to like you know grass, you know prairie or growing in, and then you kind of get into your what they call an old field which is basically there’s still a lot of. You know here there are that we have a mix of Prairie species like gamma grass, indian grass, blue stem, little and big blue stem. You know there’s no thick pockets of it, it’s all kind of just sporadic. You know there’s a little bit of we. There is some fescue, because it’s just word Missouri, and there’s fescue, you know, everywhere. It’s just it grows everywhere around here. So there’s a little bit of fescue in there, a lot of berry canes, a little bit of mullaflower, rose bush, but there’s also a lot of Sarisa lesbidesa that made its way in here, which has actually been pretty good for the goats and the sheep. They seem to like it. But besides that there’s so many other forbs that I don’t even know. I’m all like I can’t even identify them all. But having that mix is to start with. You know, I feel blessed by that because I think a lot of people are trying to get to that.

What I’m trying to do as trying to manage it as I graze it, as I’m trying to remove, you know, thin some trees out. There’s a lot of ash and we have the emerald ash borer coming through, which we had that in Pennsylvania and I saw what it did. My dad is a 55 acre farm in Pennsylvania and the emerald ash borer just wiped out his woods, you know, because it was predominant, predominantly ash and it just it took them all out in a couple years. So the borer is already here. It’s been been seen in our county in Missouri. So I know it’s only a matter of time.

So I’m not going to really, you know, put stock in a lot of. I’ll keep a few, but on a lot of those ash trees I’m trying to encourage things like the pecans, the persimmons oaks, especially oaks. You know there’s quite a bit of oak and you know I’m trying to encourage the growth of favorite hardwoods, leaving up, leaving some cedar, because I noticed that the stock definitely liked the cedars. Number one on a hot day where it’s kind of hot and flies, they kind of crawl in, they get themselves in there and seems like the flies stay off of them pretty good, so that definitely seems like a reasonable species. At first, the first areas I was actually probably cleaning too much cedar off. Now, as I’m going on, I’m trying to leave a little bit more for them. In the core of the property there’s actually a nice cedar thicket that I’m intending to use kind of as a in the wintertime when it gets real, real bad, to try to run them in there and keep them in there at times as like a natural barn, so to say, just to kind of keep them sheltered, because I don’t have a barn for any of them, other than I did make some little temporary run ins that I use for because I was milking one of the Dexter cows, so it’s basically a place to I can take her into, milk them and then where they’re grazing now I actually am grazing neighboring property.

That was a CRP field and it was all about 15 years ago or so. It was seeded into a natural native prairie mix and they burn it off. This past spring after years of just having a lot of growth on it. They burnt the whole thing off, made hay on about half of it, what they could. It might have been about a 200 acre plot or so, made hay on some of it, but a lot of it was overgrown. The neighbor of Real Nice Fellow. He allowed me to graze my cattle on it, on anything that they didn’t make hay on. So I’m very thankful for that because we’ve been in a really bad drought here where we’re at and we’re just kind of we’re still in it, but at least we’re getting some rain. We got some rain today. I have them down there and they’re doing great, and that’s that’s. That’s a nice thing about rotational grazing, especially with the cattle.

I’m running, I’m running two wires and I it’s just premier, the premier one I have the I think it’s the IntelliShok 80.

So it’s the.8 joules output and then on running two strands of the poly rope, so the heavier kind of diameter stuff, and you know it takes a little bit, but I’ve actually kind of speeded up.

You know, once you’ve done it a few times you definitely get more efficient with it. So I’m moving them every few days. I’m trying I’m definitely not overgrazing his property and I’m trying to actually do a good job with it and show the benefits of that versus just even making hay, because you know with the hay they cut it so short and it doesn’t have, you know that, the blade length and I’m trying to keep you know I might be getting on that a lot of it when it’s 24 to 36 inches and I’m only grazing it down to maybe about you know a foot or not less than a foot, and it actually it’s amazing to see the results of it already, I mean just in a few weeks, of grazing on that ground that hasn’t been grazed and who knows how long. I mean it was actually a row crop before that it was put into that CRP field and you know it’s bouncing back and it’s got just in the last few weeks several inches of growth and looking really nice.

0:22:37 – Cal Hardage
One thing you mentioned earlier when you got that property, you immediately started looking at your forages, and not only for your livestock but for yourself when are you going to grow your garden area, getting things set up for that? And then you’ve had mentioned you thought about sheep before, or sheep your first impulse, and you’re like, oh, I need to get some sheep to go on here. Or what was your thought pattern to figure out what kind of livestock you wanted? And then the steps you took to implement that. Yes, I wanted sheep.

0:23:12 – Joshua Deck
Just again, going back to the my biblical worldview that I have, you know, I just think of Jacob and his flocks of sheep, and I actually wanted to get Jacob’s sheep. I really liked the look of them and stuff. But you know, here in Missouri it’s just Katahdin’s hair sheep. You know, I don’t have anything registered, but there was a friend of mine that had a pretty good flock, so I made a deal with him and bought a few U’s, and then I got a couple of rams that I’m going to butcher this fall, and then another friend of mine that had Katahdin’s hair sheep. He actually had a red ram. I got from him and I’m going to use those as my breeding flock. But, yes, so the sheep are just kind of always. I don’t know my biblical worldview. I wanted to have sheep.

The funny part of it, though, was, you know, when you kind of a lot of people say well, you know, sheep are so great, goats are just a pain, you know they’re a pain. Well, my neighbor, who’s been a great help, roger, he’s moving in here, he’s been here for the past 20 some years, but a Missouri resident his whole life, ranch farmer, rancher just a huge asset. I mean, I wouldn’t be even where I am right now in the past, you know, a couple months of getting livestock if it wasn’t for his help and guidance, you know. So having a good mentor is really awesome. But at any rate he gave us two bottle goats. So my son and I gave us two bottle goats and you know my wife loves them, my son loves them and they’re really they’re almost like dogs, you know so. You know, especially since they were bottle goats, but that we run them with the does right now are with the use of the does and the user running together. That’s how we ended up with goats, but I actually am now that I’ve had them. You know, the sheep seem to be more skittish and can be a little bit more difficult moving than the goats. The goats are so easy. The goats are no problem. They just walk right up to you and you can. You can move them around wherever the sheep they just want to run away from us at the time. And you know the Rams aren’t as bad as they use but for whatever reason, the use are really really flighty. And then the Dexter’s.

So we wanted, we were considering a Jersey, getting a Jersey cow, but we were kind of you know, would it be too much milk for what we want? You know my wife does want to. You know she wants to make her own. Well, she has, you know, from, because we were getting raw milk from a friend. But you know, making our own cheeses and yogurts and a lot of our own dairy products plus having good raw milk. So that kind of is why we wanted to have a cow.

Not that we want to have a commercial, you know that, that I want to be selling dairy, but it’s really just our own personal goal. I actually have a goal I want to minimize the need for. You know, I have a tractor. I have a small 24 horsepower New Holland tractor that I’ve actually had from our two acre homestead for years. So this thing’s I I drug it out here in the back of a U-Haul trailer. I had to take it, take it apart and everything, but at any rate I’ve been dragging it around. But I want to kind of get away from that and move to draft power.

So originally, you might, my mind went to horses, but then after about a year I don’t know, a year ago, I kind of started thinking about oxen and that’s where dexter’s kind of seemed like they’d be a good fit because they’re a tri-purpose breed.

You know you can get dairy out of them, which you know they don’t produce a ton, but you can get some. You can get enough for your own personal consumption and then you can use them. You know, obviously they’re good for meat and they are good for they can be used for oxen. But they’re on the smaller size and since we’re on a 20 acre homestead with only a little bit of additional brown which I don’t even I probably won’t have next year, so that’s where I’m kind of I just got to keep a small herd size on the dexter and they’re really more so just for our own personal meat dairy. And then, like I said, I’d like I wouldn’t mind having some oxen and actually you had a guest a few, few episodes ago really kind of inspired me to that again, not that I I mean it’s still in the back of my mind, but I wasn’t really worried about it, you know but Kevin was on here not to me episodes ago I think episode 60 and he was talking about oxen.

0:27:11 – Cal Hardage
Well, as listeners of the podcast know, if they’ve listened to you any time at all, I’m interested in everything. I think oxen would be so much fun. I mean it’d be work, but I just don’t have time for it.

0:27:23 – Joshua Deck
It’s one of those things I mean, especially coming from that, that permaculture mindset of trying to reduce our foreign inputs and our reliance on, you know, on heavy metal and things like that. You know, just the oxen kind of makes sense. You know I’m on the firm believer and in in kind of it’s we need to. We’ve kind of gone so far and technology has done great things for us, but I think that we’re using it and most of society is using it too much as a crutch and you know we’ve completely forgot that our ecological memory. And I really believe it’s time to kind of, like you know, look to the ancient paths again and start to try to settle down and live our lives a little, a little more simply and a little closer to the land, because I think that’s that’s really a lot of the answers with with most of the world’s problems. If we just kind of thought about living a little little little more simply, I think the our world would change a lot.

0:28:22 – Cal Hardage
Yeah, and I think with the homesteading movement that to me, looking in from the outside, it seems like it’s growing momentum and really a lot going on there. And you know I follow a few people on YouTube that’s homesteading and I like to think that some of the things I do is very relatable to homesteading With my beef cattle and my sheep. I do it on a much larger scale but you know I got a few chickens, I’ve got some quaternary quail, I’ve got some beehive. You know I kind of like that. Sadly I haven’t been able to introduce much of those permaculture principles into my zones around my house, but maybe, maybe one day, you know, we’ll see how it goes.

But I think you’re you coming on here, there’s lots of homesteaders out there and there’s a lot of people interested in permaculture. Adding that grazing feature to it I think is great and I think a lot of people just wondering where to get started. So you talk about bringing those animals in and you talk a little bit about your electric fence. What were some some issues you had there just getting started with your sheep? So you brought them in. Was that your first time with sheep? Were they? Did you have any prior experience with them. That was my first real experience with sheep.

0:29:45 – Joshua Deck
You know, when I was, you know, 20 years ago, when I was a teenager, I worked on a dairy farm for a while and I also worked on a horse farm for for a season. So I was familiar with, with, you know, cattle and horses, but not so much with sheep with that size livestock. The guy that I got him from in the past year or so, just kind of seeing now he wasn’t, he wasn’t using really rotational grazing, at least at that level. You know he had about two different pastures. He’d kick them back and forth to just as he needed to. But you know, as far as handling them and stuff, kind of where I learned from that. But I just brought him home in the back of my pickup truck, you know, with a cattle panel. I just folded a cattle panel up and forth and put them up in there and hauled them back and I had done a little bit of work ahead of time, basically going through and clearing paths and I’m just using the sheep net from Premier One for the sheep, the sheep and goat net. So which is it’s great, but it’s horrible on an old field where you have all kinds of things, like you know, staghorn, sumac growing up and all the bear I mean. So anytime you move it it gets caught on every little piece of the breed, every little stick, and it can get frustrating. You know that’s probably been. I’m going to say one of my biggest challenges is actually moving my sheep and it’s actually maybe just, you know, my wife and I have talked about it, you know about maybe maybe just downsizing the sheep and kind of sticking with the dexters and the goats and really just to have that, the at least to have two animals. I want at least to have two different kinds of animals. You know the sheep and the goats share the same parasites but the cattle don’t, so they actually connect as dead end hosts to each other if you’re running them either together or even, you know, in a leader follow system. So I’m thinking about, you know, about maybe making changes with that. We’ll see how it, what happens this this fall when I start butchering the sheep. You know the Rams and but you know that was probably our biggest challenge.

And then water, water was a real big challenge Because we have a well and I do have at our garden area. I did put into 3000 gallon Rainwater catchment tank that I’m catching all the while the rainwater coming off the front side of the pole barn and that’s going into a tank, but it’s, you know, it’s been a dry year. I put the how we got it up in April, so I missed the March rains and April was completely dry. We got a little bit of rain in and May, but the back half of May, all of June and most of July were all dry. So you know, I ran that thing out and I was pretty much I was.

I had a 55 gallon drum and a little old cart and on the back of the lawnmower or on the back of the tractor and just hauling it back, Doing, you know, giving them water that way. But it’s a learning curve. And now I’ve I got a. I got a bigger trailer, so I got a truck bed trailer I found on Craigslist and I have a IBC 275 gallon tow, but I only fill it to about 150 gallons because otherwise, especially in the heat, it just the water before the, the cattle get through the water, it gets too hot, you know. So I, but I, I got that. I got that hooked up to a garden hose and Just one of those little giant automatic water you know Water flutes and a tub, and that’s made my life a lot easier. So, you know, just figuring out the best water system to be able to follow these cattle around. And so far, that’s it.

The sheep, you know, they don’t really, the sheep and goats aren’t bad at all. I mean, five gallon bucket a day gets them through is all they need, and I just have that 55 gallon Drum in the back, yet that we fill it up, and then it’s one of my son’s tasks to go and fill up the the tank. You know so, and that’s one of the exciting things about, about homesteading and grazing. You know, he’s right there with me, he’s nine years old and he’s he loves doing it. He likes going out when we move the animals, and we do have, you know, we have two livestock guardian dogs that I didn’t talk about yet that we do have with the sheep, and His, one of his duties, is to take care of the dogs, make sure the dogs are fed. You know, so it it’s to me it’s great because it teaches, gives him a job, a purpose, and teaches him responsibility.

0:33:48 – Cal Hardage
Oh yeah, very true. Just jumping back with the sheep and the cattle, we working with a small number there, water is all lead an issue but when you’re working with a smaller number, especially with sheep and goats, because they’re their water requirements are so much less than cattle, but you’re able to solve that and provide and have a solution for getting them water without a lot of issue. I mean, for example, for me and water, water is always a Lnt factor and I’ve got to make sure they’ve got active, the pond or something. One year, I guess last year, we were really dry and I hauled water over to one of the properties I leave because both ponds were dry, but I was hauling to those IBC totes which I estimated enough for that small. I only had about 10 cows over on that property and I estimated it to be plenty and almost enough for two days, but in reality they were not getting near that amount of time out of it and I was happy to fill it every day it. It got really cumbersome for how much time and work that was taking, but when you’re working with a smaller number You’re able to do some of those things that you can’t do with a larger number. So just getting started it makes it a little bit easier.

And just to continue on my Little rambling here, that premiere one netting makes it so easy to get started with sheep and goats. I I do agree it will catch on everything out in your pasture and it will have you saying words that you shouldn’t say, but it works. I mean you can get out there, you can throw you up where you need it, your hauling water out there. So with just a few head you can have a lot going on with just a few items For fencing and stuff, rather than having to go in and do a whole bunch of. If it’s infrastructure to get started, that’s the real the beauty, or that’s one of the beauties to meet, of electric fence with the netting or even with your dexter cows Using your poly rope. Your infrastructure costs are a lot less to get started.

0:35:58 – Joshua Deck
Yeah, I mean, and I it, they are and it’s it is their great tools.

You know, one of the things that I have to you know consider is with the netting. You know where the poly wire is nice because you can make it whatever size you need it to be and you just roll up the excess with the netting. You have to make sure and and it’s tough when I’m trying to work around a lot of trees that I’m trying to leave in, you know so I’m trying to look and line things up and and measure and I’ll cut, and then sometimes you got to come back when you get the netting up and like oh no, I gotta come over, I gotta mow a little over here, because I got to run it kind of around this way. Now you know so. But you know it’s all in the process and it’s working good because I’m I can be real Adaptive with where I’m grazing them, how I’m grazing them, like you said. So it is a great tool and it’s allowing me to kind of get the land cleared off. You know, I’m not saying clear it off, but like just try to it’s so much, you know to get them in there and even the sheep, you know to get them and the goats in there eating a lot of those forbs, trampling stuff, the dexter’s, you know they’ve been down on the neighboring property so they haven’t been doing too much, which is it’s fine because it’s been so dry. It’s worked. It’s actually really been a blessing. But I’m excited to get the. I’m gonna stop grazing that sometime here in the beginning of September and then bring them back up To my property, which I’m excited to get them back up there because I want to get their manure and urine and a, you know, and then trampling, trampling everything down, you know to, and and moving them around up, you know, back up on my property again. But you know, yeah, having that number, it’s allowing me to get started.

And then, you know, the big thing with permaculture is you don’t necessarily you don’t even want to start on a permaculture design on a property until you’ve been there for a year and kind of watched it over four seasons. And then is that’s when you know, and it’s it. That’s a hard thing because I want to get going right away and I want to start, you know. So I mean I kind of plugged away at the projects that I knew. You know, things that I knew I was gonna do. Well like it, this is the only place it really makes sense to put it in a garden. So let’s at least start planning and going with that. But even that has changed. And you know, just just starting, you know you end up changing. And this is the same thing with the grazing. You know we’re on learning. You know where I have better. You know, whatever my dryer pastures, what are my wetter areas. You know I’m trying to come up with a system I’m thinking to use like a laneway system of T-posts and probably five wire, five or six wire fence, where I’ll probably have at least three hot wires on that and then use, just use poly wire Across and then be able to move them daily and have about four or five runs of that, maybe about a hundred to a hundred and fifty feet across, and kind of segment off my property.

There’s a good book called the permaculture market garden and it’s it’s not really about grazing, although it talks about integrating animals and stuff like that and probably is a little Not, or just at least to mention, you know then, rotational grazing, but it’s really about actually setting up a market garden.

However, in there it talks about basically breaking your property down into grids and starting to map it and understand it. And Now, whether that’s a, you know, you know you take, say, maybe a grid is a hundred by a hundred or a hundred by fifty, and then you grid off your property, but, you know, having that in mind, with your pastures, and then you can start to use that grid, that you have to say, well, this, you know, this pasture appears, you know these are my wet seasons, these are my, you know, you know, this is where I want to have them when it’s dry and kind of. It really helps teach that holistic mind set of, of Trying to break your property into sections and understanding it and being able to, you know, adapt your grazing that way. And again, it’s not about grazing, it’s about setting up a market garden but integrating. It said permaculture. So it’s, you’re integrating whatever you know, based on the size of your land.

0:39:49 – Cal Hardage
You know, farming in context you know, and that’s kind of a interesting subject, that Grid like or however. I know I’ve been a listener and follower of Greg Judy for a long time and I know he says when he first started out he had some in my permanent senses so that he could rotate his cows easily. And then, as he’s gotten more experienced and more time on its hand, he’s taken those senses out so he can really design his pastures the way he wants with polywire. So for me, my dad’s land we have permanent senses in and that’s that’s how I control the rotation for leaf land. I’m just using polywire and Designing my paddock.

But one of my leaf lands I have a two-year contract on and I am thinking about doing kind of a grid on it so that moving cattle takes me less time. And Sadly, the way my property is located, I’ve got a few properties and I have to run two Hodes of cattle and then plus I have my dad’s herd. So by time I get to doing all that, time runs short. So I’m just thinking a grid like that Freed you up to do some other things, even though there may be some make these. But I’m I’ve been thinking about that grid or Kind of using a basis of a grid for what I’m doing, so it’s kind of interesting you brought that up.

0:41:18 – Joshua Deck
Yeah, I mean, I just it makes a lot of sense to me now that I’ve been kind of, you know, setting down, turn. You know, if all I got to do is go and essentially, you know, pulled my couple polywires across, let the, you know, the cattle will be more than, or the sheep, they’ll be more than eager to get to the next one, and then I can, you know, pull them back across and just and then just basically strip, graze them up through there, and I think that that that’s the biggest thing, because I would love to move all my animals faster across the property. But you know, I’m probably moving the cattle every five days, you know, and I try to make the paddock sizes that they, that they last, which they’ve been, you know. So I’ve been trying to judge that, but it’s, it’s all, it’s all learning process. I never did it before some it’s, you know, trying to judge it. In the first time I set up paddock that’s like, well, no, I got a, I got to go a little bit bigger, move them a little quicker. And you know, I’m kind of limited with the, with the fence. I do have a few extra, but really I need my extra net to to be able to create my next paddock and then run the, run the sheep into it and Then, you know, start shuffling fences. It’s a whole, you know, kind of dance of moving them all around, especially since I’m keeping the Rams separate from the use because I’m trying to avoid Winter lambing.

Everybody, you know, right here in Missouri, everybody that I know, everybody’s lambing the end of December through February and you know we get those really cold spells, you know, right around that time where it gets well below zero and and guys are bringing lambs into the house and stuff like that. Not that I you know what I mean, not that I wouldn’t do that if I had to. But why lose the sleep? Why? Why have to worry about it? You know so much. I would rather just try to let the, let it happen, natural. So I’m gonna, I’m probably gonna shoot for November, december to put the ram in with the use so that they are, they’re gonna land, hopefully when the you know, sometime in May, april, may. So just that kind of makes sense to me.

The dexter’s so I didn’t talk a whole lot about dexter’s yet I do have a bull, so I have, we have two cows, will cow, a heifer, and so the and the cow had a bull calf, so he’s now a steer. He’s sirloin is his name, so he knows his, he knows his lot in life, but yeah it’s. And then he actually came with that name, the people we got him from, which that’s a whole story in itself which I can get into, but really it’s. And then we have a bull fritz the bull and the reason we we kind of decided so, so, backing up and getting into it a little bit more, we were looking and thinking we wanted a jersey. But then we were kind of going back and forth. Well, you know we didn’t, we knew we didn’t want a jersey bowl. So I knew I was gonna either have to take them somewhere.

Do AI, I’m not a not, you know that’s not what I want to do in my homestead, trying to kind of keep things more of a pure, more naturalist type of you, I guess I would just put it. So we kind of leaned away from that. We’re thinking about dexter’s and we were just looking at Craigslist and we had the goal to get cows this summer and Coming into it. Once we got the sheep and the goats we kind of thought, oh, maybe that’s all we’re gonna get this here. But we looked on Craigslist and there were this herd of cows were available. Actually it was. It was a different cow that was part of that herd that was originally on there. And I contacted the guy who we became come really good friends with, talk to me. So why have another cow? And I also have a heifer and I have a bull for sale. You know that I’m gonna probably consider selling too because he lost. He has a 10-acre homestead Down outside of Springfield. Then he leased 10 acres across the road which was the pasture for the cattle. Well, he lost that lease, that piece of land sold. He had to get them all and so you know he had no choice but to sell them.

And I got the whole group, you know, at a reasonable price and so it kind of made it worth it to do it, because pretty much for as much as we were budgeting, I think we were gonna spend on the Jersey cow we ended up with the whole herd of dexter’s, which was kind of something we wanted originally. You know, for years we’ve been thinking, well, dexter’s would be a good breed for worse. You know, we wanted, we kind of talked. My wife really likes hot now the Scottish Highlanders, I think. But I don’t think we have a good. You know it’s too hot here for him. I mean, at least I would think so. But I think that dexter’s, um, they’re definitely seem to be a good fit for our, our homestead so far, and that’s that’s our dexter story I do. You know, I want to get them up here. I’m not gonna be in a big hurry, although right now you can on Craigslist you can actually get, get them at a decent price. A lot of people are selling them because it was been dry and they can’t afford to. Hey the hey, prices were high. So that’s kind of a couple of things I guess we can talk about would be like my strategy for winter is I’m planning on going to have to feed for up to 60 days.

So I tried to do the whole calculation and figured in some waste and I got my bales a while but it was hard to find. Hey, right now this part of Missouri, they’re bringing it in. I did find a guy that was a little further east of here where they got more rain. He was able to get some cuttings but it was $100 a bale for four by five bales. I got some alfalfa that came in from, I think, kansas and I was given to the cow as I was milking her and then I kind of use it as a treat. The Dexter’s really like it and the goats come up and they’ll eat it from your hand.

So that’s more. We don’t feed a lot of that. That’s more so just for candy. But my plan is to I have enough to at least go 60 days and I’m just going to. I was trying to stockpile as much as my properties. I can kind of grazing things early and then there’s stuff that didn’t get grazed. That I’m just. I’m going to let go for winter and try to graze them on that.

0:46:56 – Cal Hardage
So that’s really a great benefit you have that you’re able to graze your cows over on your neighbor’s property, start stockpiling and getting ready for winter.

0:47:05 – Joshua Deck
Yeah, it was a huge blessing. I kind of thought about if I didn’t have that it would have been a little, it’d probably been a little tougher. I was definitely would need more hay. So I know they intend to do a lot of it and hay, but there’s a lot of it that actually kind of grew up, has a lot of trees in it and a lot of brush. So I don’t know if they’re going to spend, you know, if it’s going to be worth them to clear like that couple acres over in the corner kind of where I’m grazing right now. I’m kind of hoping that maybe the guy that’s built, you know, doing the hay, decides that it’s not worth his time and I can lease it for grazing for next summer too. You know, even if it’s just basically just for a couple months in the summer, I think it would be worth it. Just because I only need to lease like five or 10 acres would be enough for summer grazing for them.

0:47:45 – Cal Hardage
Yeah, that sounds like an excellent plan. Well, joshua, we need to move on to our overgraging section, where we take a deeper dive into something you’re doing on your operation, and we have a little bit different topic today than usual and, as you said earlier, we’re going to talk a little bit about mushrooms, and if you’ve watched any of Greg Judy’s videos, he’s big about mushrooms, so I’m excited to find out more about it. My knowledge is basically zero.

0:48:15 – Joshua Deck
It’s been kind of early on in my our homesteading permaculture journey we kind of got turned on to mushrooms, inoculating mushrooms, mainly for shiitake. I’ve also done it for lion’s manes, but shiitakes are kind of our main ones that we’ve been doing and with always with the goal of actually that being kind of our primary goal, our primary business. So, like I said, I’m working from home so I’m not not really getting any profits, trying to get profits off of my homestead at this point we’re just taking care of ourselves. But I do intend to try to build this into at least a little bit of a side business. So our property, like I said, has a lot of mature oaks, but it also has a lot of younger oaks that are perfect at the size for mushrooms. So, since you let, I’ll just kind of go into what you know what it is. So you can either take branches or young oaks, basically three to say, eight inches in diameter, a log about, just call it, three foot long. You go through and you you drill a series of holes, like kind of a diamond pattern holes across it. You know, I started out when I first did it just with like a you know a drill bit. It took a while. Well, they make. You can use an angle grinder and like a high speed drill in it and it goes real fast. You drill the holes in the log and then field and forest products I think it’s fieldandforestcom, they there are. There’s other companies out there, but they’ll sell a spawn. So you get the spawn and it’s a sawdust and it’s been inoculated with mycelium from shatakis, from, and there’s all different strains that you can get, based on the fruiting temperature and the fruit form and size, and you, basically you inoculate the logs, you kind of plant the logs, you take a wax food grade wax you seal up all, the, all the holes and then basically you, you let them logs sit in a shaded spot and keep them somewhat moist, about an inch or so worth of of precipitation, or you got to water them every every week just so that they don’t dry out, so that they last longer for you, and about after, depending on the strain, six to 12 months, they start fruiting for mushrooms and they’ll last for several years. You can do a force fruit where you soak them and they, you soak them and then you can kind of time your fruitings more or you can kind of let them fruit naturally. We’ve been doing it naturally.

Once I ramp up my plan is, once we ramp up more into a production mode I would soak them so that I could get at least somewhat predictable harvests. That’s kind of what we’re going to use our wooded area for. Is is what they call a log yard and essentially just a shaded area. We intend to to also develop those areas around there. You know it’s a good area to kind of run ducks through your log yards, which we’ve done ducks before. But you can kind of graze ducks through there. I think when they’re not fruiting you could. You could graze, you know, goats through there, through that area, just to help keep things cleaned up, make sure the poison and other things aren’t taken over the log yard, so you can use your animals in this.

And again with creating sobo pasture, what I really want to do is coppice a lot of the younger oaks. So if you go in and do what a coppice cut is, a cut in two to three foot, cut it on a little bit of a slant so that water will shut off the stump. But eventually from the base of that you’ll get another, another. You know, other oak trees will start growing up. But if you let them grow up again into another, like a four inch branch you know four to five inch branches, about perfect. So you let them grow up to that diameter, about you know, five years they might be there and then you can cut them again.

So it’s, it’s a constantly regenerating system to be able to, to have these oak logs to be able to cultivate mushrooms, and then, once the logs are spent, you can use them basically, just kind of throw them in a bigger compost pile. You can use them for something in permaculture that they call huga culture mounds, which are kind of like a, like a planting bed that uses a lot of kind of a dead wood medium to hold water and retain water within your garden beds. So there’s, you know it’s kind of a of a full, kind of closed, for the most part closed, loop cycle within the homestead. You know I’m going to, so that’s that’s kind of my biggest thing. And how can I utilize animals on both ends?

You know, within the silver pasture area where, where I’m essentially growing my stock for for creating logs every year, you know so it’s usually a fall process, fall, winter process. Even their dormant is when you want to cut them, you know. So go through, cut them and then come back and clean up our log yards as necessary with using the animals snail. Like I said, ducks work great because snails are a big predator. You know, a big pest shouldn’t say big, but they’re. Your probably biggest pest with the mushroom is going to be snails If you have a lot of snails, but ducks love snails, they go through the soil, they go through all the leaves and find a medium for you. So integrating animals in in all your different systems is really helpful.

0:53:17 – Cal Hardage
Now I’ve got a couple of questions for you. You mentioned using oak logs to do it. I’m assuming you can use other species as well, but you chose oak logs because they’re available or because of the type of mushroom you wanted.

0:53:33 – Joshua Deck
Mainly availability and also they’re probably the oak is going to be your best for shiitake. You can use other woods. You know other woods are, you know there’s a whole list of what you can. You know what works, what doesn’t work. It’s just that the oak is, you know, is a nice dense wood and the denser the wood, the longer it’s going to fruit for you Because basically, as that mycelium goes through there and it kind of breaks it all down, it’s just the denser the wood, the longer the life of the log will be, you know. But yes, you can use, use other species.

0:54:06 – Cal Hardage
And with your, your ducks. You’ve talked about grazing them through. Will they not bother the mushrooms when they’re fruity?

0:54:14 – Joshua Deck
They might, you know. So that’s the. You’d have to time your grazing so that your, your log yards aren’t fruiting when you’re grazing them through there. So but they, probably they wouldn’t be too bad because a lot of them, the lot of you, stack them up. So most of the mushrooms will probably be up and out of reach. The ducks aren’t like a chicken, they’re not going to like jump up on top of the pile, you know. So they’re pretty much just going to hang on the ground. And then, you know, when we talk about species I had, I’ve always used khaki.

Camels is what I’ve kind of liked. They’re a pretty, pretty good egg layer, I think you know they. They probably give a good 200 eggs per hen per year. We’ve incubated them over the years, you know, incubated some of our own eggs, and we’ve eaten a few of the extra, extra drakes and you know they they’re pretty good. They eat about like a probably better than a wild duck, for sure. But you get about as much of a breast and though, you know, leg meat out of it that you get out of a wild duck. But you know they’re, they’re pretty decent, but the eggs are delicious. The eggs are thicker than a chicken egg. You know good for dippy eggs, or you know what we call, or you know over over easy eggs, and they’re good for good, for omelets too, and nice and thick for making omelets.

0:55:25 – Cal Hardage
We don’t have any duck, but I’ve thought about getting some, but just mainly for aesthetic purposes. I like the black and white mag eyes. I think they’re interesting.

0:55:34 – Joshua Deck
When it comes to duck eggs I have had. So you know, our ducks are more, are on a pasture, so they’re they’re not on a on a pond, you know. I’m basically, you know, the the ducks, actually they’re a little, they can be messier. That’s why I do tend to move them a bit, and I’m always I’m I’m actually moving their waters pretty much every day, and I just use like a three gallon pan, you know, rubber pan, because it works good in the wintertime when it freezes. They can just knock the block of ice out, you know, and put some fresh water in for them. But they need to have a little bit, you know. They need to have enough water that they can get their beaks in there and keep their, their nostrils cleaned out, and stuff like that, from when they’re eating and then when they dig in the mud. So I’ll usually give them about two of those pans just for, you know, a half a dozen ducks or so. I mean you could run more, but I like to have plenty of option, plenty of water for them, but they don’t run. So the point is, though, they don’t run on ponds.

I’ve had duck eggs for people that had ponds, where the ducks were eating fish and stuff. And there was definitely a stronger, you know, fishy flavor to the eggs versus, if they’re pastured, raised ducks, they’re, they’re. They’re not going to have any different of a taste than a. Really it’s than a chicken egg. Like I said, it’s just, they’re slightly. I would call it a thicker, a little bit of a thicker egg. Baking bakers love supposedly like duck eggs. I know my wife when she, when she bakes, she uses the duck eggs the most part and most of her and most of her baking.

0:57:04 – Cal Hardage
Oh, that that is interesting. It doesn’t surprise me. That stands to reason because with milk cows you have to be careful what you graze them or you can flavor that milk. So I could see that happening. I had never really thought about it. And then, on the baking aspect, my wife, the excellent cook, but she tells me she’s not a baker and maybe that contributes to the no eggs, no duck eggs, joshua, it is time for us to move on to our famous four questions. For our famous four questions, same four questions. We have to evolve our guests. Our very first question what is your favorite grazing grass related book or resource?

0:57:44 – Joshua Deck
So I’m actually going to say the Stockman Grass Farmer, which is kind of you know, I think probably on the small end of things when it comes to you know, you know, getting a stockman grass farmer. Why have 20 acres? But I’ve noticed in a lot of Joe’s kind of comments and some of his columns and stuff he’s talking about the kind of influx of homesteaders that have been subscribing to the Stockman Grass Farmer and I didn’t even know it was out there until I listened to a lot of John Kemp’s Regenerative Agriculture podcast. Maybe along the line had recommended that and I would say that was that’s probably my number one favorite. I actually I have, I have the subscription and then I have a bunch of.

I went and bought a bunch of back issues because you can get them a lot cheaper. So I went online and when I so when I get done with the current one, I just have a an old one and I’ll start to read through and I kind of I keep it in my other office, if you, if you kind of know what I mean and that’s what my, that’s kind of what, where I get a lot of reading done and it’s you know, because it’s hard to read a lot this time of year and in the winter time I do a lot more reading by the Wood stove in the evenings. So when it comes to an actual book, I only again, I just started reading a lot of grazing books. I’ve always kind of just have read a lot of different permaculture related books, but the Joe Salton Salad Barred Beef is definitely a an entertaining read, good read.

I have his pastures for poultry which I haven’t read yet, but I’ve probably watched every YouTube video that kind of been out there on Joe Salton style chickens over the year. But it’s a weird thing to read all day long delicious cheese it’s. It’s such a strict rule. You know there’s so many good resources and that’s Stockman Grassformer. You know Greg Judy’s books are in there. You know like everybody’s books are in there and there’s definitely no shortage of educational materials out there.

0:59:34 – Cal Hardage
There’s not. From books to YouTube channels to podcasts to websites, there is a huge selection out there to fuel whatever learning style you have and whatever time you have. Our second question, Joshua what is your favorite tool for?

0:59:51 – Joshua Deck
your farm. It’s probably the electric fencing because honestly I have, you know, my perimeter fence has kind of broke down. It would be tucked of cross fence to be able to rotational graze. I wouldn’t be able to graze a neighbor and property if it wasn’t for Premier One fence or yeah, I mean I know there’s other products I’ve just I kind of I don’t know Premier One is what came across the board.

You know the radar first for me and I kind of got in with Premier One as far as that’s where I started buying it and it just becomes a go to they’re in Iowa, I’m in Missouri, it’s, you know, within unless shipping, which shipping can get messed up anytime. But I mean I’ve gotten stuff as quick as like almost the next day. If I order it early enough in the morning, it can sometimes be there, you know, the next evening, the following evening, but if you know, if not, it’s at least you know three days. You have stuff from them and it’s a very versatile tool, like we were talking about earlier, although I’m a bit of a Luddite in many ways and kind of don’t necessarily always completely see it have a great value in a lot of the newer technologies and stuff. However, I don’t know it.

Like I said, it’s allowing us to do something as homesteaders that we otherwise wouldn’t be able to do. We wouldn’t be out here grazing animals if it wasn’t for electric. You know, polywire, polyrhobe, electric netting the whole, the whole nine yards. Ideally, I’d love to have a bunch of hedgerow, you know nice thick hedgerows that were impenetrable, but that’s a long ways out. So until then, I’m going to be using the, using the wire and the electric. You know the solar chargers.

1:01:30 – Cal Hardage
So true, and Premier one’s a great supplier. There. There’s some others as well. Whoever works best for you is great. Our third question what would you tell someone just getting started?

1:01:43 – Joshua Deck
Well, I guess I’d be talking to myself. But you know, yeah, I mean, I guess if they don’t have animals yet, definitely, you know, I would say I probably I’m not going to say bit off too much, but I bit off a lot and I’m still chewing and trying to keep up. And but you, you know you talk about it with other guests. You just kind of have to get started. You just got to try to do something. But the biggest thing is make sure that before you bring an animal onto the property, make sure you know where it’s going to go and you got a home for it.

I’ve been guilty of that a time or two where I might have had something set up for a mainly poultry, not for bigger livestock, but I brought young chicks on and you know, because I had to, I had brooders set up and I had something intermediate but maybe didn’t have a full, you know, and I’m scrambling last minute to get a. You know something built. So jump in. But make sure you’re doing your research and you have, you have a plan. At least you know two steps ahead. You’re going to think at least two steps ahead where they’re going to be, otherwise you’re going to fall behind.

1:02:42 – Cal Hardage
You know you mentioned that about biopoultry and you you had part of the, the facility set up, ready to go, but you still had to get a little bit done. I may be guilty of that once in a while too, you know. You think, oh, I got all, this time I’ll get, I’ll have it done by then, and then you’re rushing around to get it done in time. And, Joshua, a lat question for you when can others find out more about you?

1:03:04 – Joshua Deck
Well, so I guess that’s part of the thing. I’m not a social media guy, so I’m not really. I don’t have a big presence. I do have a website that I actually just launched. I’ve had it for a little bit, but I didn’t launch it until the end of this winter and it’s really not so much about me or even my farm. It’s more about my kind of some of my ideology and theology when it comes to we, as created beings, should be kind of rethinking the way that the current trajectory of the world that it’s going and try to to think of, you know, change directory and try to do things in a more regenerative way. Think about regenerative agriculture, think about, you know, I’ve got, I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration recently from the Wendell Berry you know. So I know where your your last guest.

Actually, that podcast just came out recently but it was Benton Lane had brought up about Wendell Berry and I just kind of thought that was interesting, that I was listening to that podcast today and and he he said that he got inspiration from him and that’s kind of my website has is on that one, but it’s it’s very small. There’s not much really information. The name of my website is voice in the wilderness, permaculturecom. So I kind of got the domain maybe a year ago or something like that, and you sat on it for a while trying to think what I really what? What was my goal? You know what’s my goal with that, and in the past year I’ve been so busy on the host that I really haven’t had time to to really post much of anything on the website. So people can go there, but there’s there’s maybe like two articles there or you know, two blog posts and that’s that’s about it. But yeah, I appreciate it If, maybe, if I start getting a little more traffic there, it’ll inspire me to spend a little bit more time and and write a few more things. And I’ve really liked I do want to try to record some of the progress that I’m doing and probably post that on there, because it’s, you know, that’s my goal.

I want people to know that there are other options. I think that we can use technology as a good tool. I think the biggest thing is not allowing technology to control us, but we control, control the technology and kind of live a lifestyle where a lot of people can work from home. That’s a great blessing that I have. That I realize not everybody can have but it. It enables me to to be here on the homestead and kind of being able to keep tabs on things throughout the day. So that’s, you know, that’s where technology has played a big role in being able to do this.

1:05:39 – Cal Hardage
Well, Josh, so we really appreciate you coming on and sharing about your journey today.

1:05:43 – Joshua Deck
Well, thank you, I appreciate your time. I appreciate the podcast, what you do. It’s very informational. I like to listen to them during the day while I’m, while I’m working, I’ll listen to try to listen to a podcast or two. You know, get some time in during the day to listen to one in the background and you know it. Definitely they’re helpful in this whole journey because I’m like, well, that’s a great idea. One end I think of that you know somebody brings it up and you have a great line of questioning really, really helps draw out some information from people to be helpful to other grazers.

1:06:13 – Cal Hardage
You’re listening to the Grazing Grass podcast, helping grass farmers learn from grass farmers, and every episode features a grass farmer and their operation. If you’ve enjoyed today’s episode and want to keep the conversation going, visit our community at communitygrazinggrasscom. Don’t forget to follow and subscribe to the Grazing Grass podcast on Facebook, twitter, instagram and YouTube for past and future episodes. We also welcome guests to share about their own grass farming journey. So if you’re interested, felt the form on grazinggrasscom under the be our guest link. Until next time, keep on grazinggrass.

One Comment


    Hey this is Ashley I have been listening to your podcasts have been absolutely wonderful and interesting and as well as Helpful one thing I would like to hear on how farmer buy and manage livestock such as goats sheep or cattle buying them from very mild places meaning mostly tick borne diseases are a lot less harsh in the areas they come from bringing them to ereas that have high tick borne diseases and how they get them well adapted

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