MERRY CHRISTMAS from Avid Homestead!! 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011 2:23:00 PM

We wish all of you and yours a GLORIOUS HOLIDAY SEASON and a healthy and properous NEW YEAR in 2012!!

2011 Christmas card

Our family tries to send out handmade, handwritten or personalized cards every year to friends and family all over the country.  Here is our card for 2011.  If you have ever been in anguish over trying to get your children to SMILE FOR THE CAMERA, just try adding a few different SPECIES into the mix!!!  Most all of our animals are very easily handled here at The Farmhouse, but getting EVERYONE ready, in place (more or less) and sitting still not was not the easiest holiday performance!!  This is our GLORIOUS finished product, with MANY funny shots in between: ones with the rabbit jumping away, another dog coming into the picture and the constant movement of the blonde-haired jumping bean also known as Carys.  The smallest and newest member of our menagerie is our Barred Rock chicken "SOLO".  She is snuggled into Toby's open palm.  SOLO is our POSTER CHICKEN for changing code in Brevard County Florida.  Other family members include Dixie, our ubiquitous Llewellin setter who has the perfect profile and temperment to put up with everyone else (she was our first child).  The Flemish Giant rabbit in Lydia's lap is Tricky-Woo.  Front and Center is our Florida Native sheep CowforNOW.

We hope that you and all of your family members, no matter how extreme or dissimilar, may come together and enjoy the time that you can spend together!!  TIME is precious and the most valuable GIFT that we can give to one another is the ABUNDANT SHARING of ourselves!  With blessings!  The Napiers and The Goudelocks

 

Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.   There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. Itis for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION.  Comments on our articles are always welcome

FLORIDA GARDENING 

Monday, December 5, 2011 11:50:00 PM

Carys enjoying broccoli

 

A decade ago, I moved from ZONE SEVEN to ZONE NINE or in layman's terms:  I moved from Mississippi to Florida.  In a decade of gardening in a sub-tropical zone, I find that there is STILL so much that I need to learn!  Every year, there are pleasant suprises and absolute frustrations.  I can honestly say that I am BEATING UP the learning curve!  My first couple of years in Florida, I planted everything in the SPRING (March-April) and then I watched SMALL plants wither and die in the unbearable July heat.  I adjusted my planting clock and pretty much EVERYTHING else that I knew from two decades of Mississippi gardening.  We had a LOVELY vegetable garden at our house in Rockledge, Florida and we are trying it again here at The Farmhouse in Cocoa.  The new beds have just been finished this week.  We are STILL LATE, but we will TRY AGAIN by putting in some easy cold weather crops like cabbage, onions, mesclun salad greens, kohlrabi and kale.  We may even squeeze in a bit of broccoli or Brussels sprouts!  WE certainly have INSPIRATION from my good friend Cliff Evert who is a WHIZ at vegetable gardening.  He generously shared this GORGEOUS 11" head of broccoli for our family - it is my daughter Carys' FAVORITE!  Here is a photo of the new bed:

Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.   There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. Itis for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINEPETITION.  Comments on our articles are always welcome



 

THE BEST-EST KIND OF GIFT 

Friday, December 2, 2011 12:08:00 PM

Every year my husband and my children ask me what I want for my birthday MANY WEEKS before it rolls around in November.  I know there is love there for me, but there is also the thrill of the festivities, a large, unusual dessert and the anticipated SURPRISE in my ANSWER! Depending on who you talk to, I am either WONDERFULLY EASY to purchase for (Oh!  I saw the PERFECT thing that reminded me of you) OR miserably difficult (you have EVERYTHING already!)  Somewhere in between, our family always finds THE PERFECT THING and since everyone gets so wound up with excitement, I confess that I have begun to totally take advantage of it!  It has come to be spread over at least a couple of days and this year, an ENTIRE WEEKEND!  In fact, my friend Bill Barnes wished ME a happy birthday and all the family “HAPPY MARGARET DAYS”.

This year, with a WHOLE WEEKEND to celebrate, I would not be anticlimactic in my requests … WORMS. 
Worms are what I wanted for my birthday! My delightful husband, who has previously purchased a gas tank for my vintage car as a gift, was pleasantly surprised.  WORMS! That was easy, especially when we could find the perfect purchase AND spend time with two really wonderful and enthusiastic people, Andrew Malone and Suzanne Richmond of Funky Chicken Farm in Melbourne, Florida.

Getting into the true spirit of the lengthened festivities, I called Suzanne and booked my worm order a couple of days in advance.  Then, I booked some time with Andrew because his every waking moment is completely occupied with their busy, busy farm.  When we arrived on Saturday, we IMMEDIATELY were taken with the adorable, fluffy and colorful selection of ducks and chickens that we saw.  Apparently other people were taken too and were able to purchase a selection of beautiful
birds.  However, our situation was different.   Though we have two acres, ABUNDANT and AMPLE ROOM for a gorgeous, productive flock, Brevard County limits residential property owners like me to ONE FOWL!  As we sat down and discussed this with Andrew, I talked about the petition that we are working on to change code to allow backyard chickens and traditional homesteading on urban residential property.

“The Industrial Revolution, as it applies to farming, is a complete failure” stated Andrew  “and furthermore, if you explore world history there are numerous instances where  interruptive and inadequate food supplies have caused the decline and ultimate FAILURE of many great civilizations.”  People are becoming more educated about food production.  They want to know what they are eating and how it was raised.  They want to know that their food purchases are safe from disease.  With people being able to raise their own chickens, they want to show their children the basic tenants of starting and caring for another life – teaching children about being responsible and understanding what good stewardship is about.

Much of the interest in raising chickens and growing your own food (urban or residentialhomesteading) comes from a natural curiosity about all life and seeing things grow.  However, the truth about corporate control of agricultural policy as enacted through government agencies and the fallacies of industrial farming have been exposed world- wide.  In the United States, the horrifying, inhumane pictures of factory egg production for example has recently prompted even large companies like McDonalds and Target to take notice of the often cruel and failed commercial egg production model and to opt out of using
certain egg suppliers .  SEE:    http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/mcdonalds-statement-abc-news-egg-farm-investigation/story?id=14983755

ANYTIME that an individual can be educated to appreciate QUALITY over QUANTITY, you have achieved success with what I think is a basic tenet of what true, successful homesteading can be.  Caring for and improving soil quality with vermiculture and natural fertilizers (animal litter), growing native plants that thrive in the local area habitat and conditions, growing vegetables “in season”, and responsible animal husbandry are just some of the advantages to be found in traditional homesteading.

WORMS certainly made a nice gift ME and for the new fall veggie gardens that we have underway at our house in Cocoa, but my two children simply could not resist the soft, chuckling peeps from the 100 or so small chicks that were nearby.  We purchased a one pound bag of red wriggler worms and an adorable BARRED ROCK CHICKEN that we have named “SOLO”.  She is our poster
chicken for change here in Brevard County.

If you want to go and see for yourself, Andrew and Suzanne have it all on display at Funky Chicken Farm.  From their educational farm tours and programs about composting and basic Florida gardening, grow-boxes for vegetables and their interesting array of animals, there is something here for everyone to enjoy.   Plus, if you are lucky like me, you will get
the added gift of their abundant knowledge and fascinating conversation!   What a wonderful BONUS for my birthday this year!  Everyone in the family got a present and that is THE BEST-EST kind of gift - sharing your time and YOURSELF!  THANK YOU Andrew and Suzanne.

 

TO LEARN MORE about FUNKY CHICKEN FARM, visit their website
at:    http://www.funkychickenfarm.com/


For more information about soil and water care and plants that are good for local conditions, St. Johns River Management has a WATER WISE plant site:    http://www.floridaswater.com/waterwiselandscapes/

 

SOLO - Brevard POSTER CHICKEN for change!Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.   There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant
webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. It is for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION.  Comments on our articles are always welcome



 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY at Funky Chicken Farm! 

Thursday, December 1, 2011 10:15:00 PM

MEET SOLO!  Our new Barred Rock Chicken that we purchased from Funky Chicken Farm on my birthday a couple of weeks ago!  She is our poster chicken for changing code and what a SWEET girl!  The girls LOVE her because she is so interactive and talkative!  Otherwise, she sits calmly in the palm of your hand while you stroke her feathers.  We are hoping that she will be able to have some friends on our farm soon when Brevard County code is changed!   ALL THE GIRLS:  Margaret, Solo, Lydia Grace and Carys

ACTIVE PETITIONS and PARTICIPANTS 

Sunday, November 20, 2011 1:36:00 PM

500 PLUS signatures from our local businesses and almost 100 ONLINE SIGNATURES in less than a month! THANKS to all of the Brevard County community members who are getting the word OUT THERE!  We are sending out more petition forms ONLINE and through the mail, so please do not hesitate to contact us if you would like to gather signatures for changing code!  Another easy way to help is to CLICK on the petition page and copy and paste the LINK below to send a brief email out to your friends and contacts list.  We have WONDERFUL results from links posted on FACEBOOK and from individual blogs and websites.  THIS is POSITIVE CHANGE for Brevard County and will help improve our local and urban environments and economies.  JUST THINK of all the good green things growing and improving our own personal lives and then EXPANDING into our community!  We are just on the edge of this vision that can help revitalize our area and enhance our lifestyles.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!

A WONDERFUL article about how communities are growing and developing around agriculture:   http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903392904576510492421141056.html

Copy & Paste Petition LINK:    http://www.avidhomestead.com/communities/usa/florida/brevard-county/petition.aspx

HOA = SOL Changing Brevard County Code for CHICKEN Living  

Thursday, November 10, 2011 5:29:00 PM
If you live in a community or neighborhood in Florida that has a Homeowners Association, you already KNOW what the acronymic title above means.   Many communities in Florida, especially ones with HOAs, have myriad layers of rules for the homeowner to abide by. You will especially find this to be true if you desire to establish a family homestead that produces agricultural products or raises food animals, including chickens.
An introduction to changing Brevard County code by mentioning HOAs is NOT MEANT to be discouraging. It is only meant to try and raise awareness of the complexity of rules and regulations that many of us live under every day.  In fact, stop reading NOW if you prefer to remain blissfully unaware of the web of regulations in which you are ALREADY enmeshed! I began to see just the edges of this convoluted web when I began asking questions about growing my own food in Brevard County Florida. The rules that govern the use of your property BEGINS WITH covenants and deed restrictions then progresses with city, county, state and ultimately federal rules. These are all manifested as resolutions, regulations, ordinances, statutes, mandates and laws, just to name a few. 
If you live in an area that is controlled by a homeowner’s association, then you probably bought that property for the amenities that it offered – proximity to a golf course, tennis courts, a community swimming pool, low maintenance / zero lot line properties, etc. If that is what appealed to you originally, then PLEASE be happy with your amenities. If you are considering raising a group of chickens, then your first option is to buy agricultural property. If you cannot afford a large tract of land in an agricultural zone, then this is certainly where RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY zones could be IMPROVED to accommodate a more ecologically conscious and responsible lifestyle.
AVID HOMESTEAD seeks to encourage and provide information for people who wish to have a more basic and sustainable living style. One of our first goals is to promote changing existing county codes in Brevard County Florida to allow backyard chickens on non-agriculturally zoned property.  
It all started one day, while you were standing there in your backyard basking in the beautiful Florida sunshine thinking to yourself “Wouldn’t it be cool if my kids could really see what the start of a life cycle looks like?” or perhaps “ How hard can it be to learn to grow my own food? Maybe I could start out with just a few chickens ”.  NICE SENTIMENTS, but YOUR TAX DOLLARS are hard at work with all those paid administrators and officials making rules to prohibit or inhibit just that! 
Currently, only property that is zoned for AGRICULTURAL USE ( PA, AGR, AU, ARR ) is permitted to have or raise CHICKENS. ALL OTHER RESIDENTIAL ZONING Code that applies to property under 2.5 acres strictly forbids ALL FOWL. Much of Brevard County RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY ALLOWS a MAXIMUM of ONE CHICKEN or FOWL. This bears repeating … County Code allows for ONE LONELY CHICKEN – more than one will result in a citation of CODE VIOLATION. Roosters are forbidden completely.
Contrary to these current rules, homeowners with as little as .25 acres should be able to provide healthy, educational food production alternatives for their families. If you are unsure what is allowed on your property, the easiest way to find out is for you to do some basic research. Review any covenants or deed restrictions that may exist on your property.   Next, see what type of ZONING CLASSIFICATION your property has. This information is available from the Brevard County Planning and Zoning Department located at the Government Center Complex on Judge Fran Jamieson Way in Viera, Florida. The phone number for their office is 321-633-2070.
Though you may live in an area that SEEMS poultry and livestock friendly, be sure to check on your specific zoning allowances. The ZONING CLASSIFICATIONS that we are seeking to amend in BREVARD COUNTY for chickens are: GU, REU, RR-1, SEU, RA and RU.  Areas that allow HORSES do not necessarily allow chickens or other small livestock. Currently, FARM ANIMALS AND FOWL involve a completely separate set of rules which are found under the particular sections of code regarding  zoning status which are at times ambiguous and contradictory.  Just like an HOA, be aware that CODE ENFORCEMENT is COMPLAINT DRIVEN. Also be aware that the interpretation and enforcement of code can be largely SUBJECTIVE in certain instances.   
AVID HOMESTEAD seeks to establish a clear right for owning MULTIPLE fowl or chickens on residential property with minimal, reasonable guidelines. Basic, common sense homesteading and the ability to provide for your family SHOULD NOT require PERMISSION from local government OR permits, red tape and excessive fees.
We have a petition that you are able to sign 1) if you live in Brevard County Florida and support changing code here to allow the raising of chickens and small livestock on non-agricultural property 2) if you support what we are doing and desire change in your area. The more signatures we have, the more community support we can show that will allow us to precipitate a change in perception and therefore a much needed rule change with the support of community leaders.
For more information on HOA = SOL, check out how the local BOY SCOUTS FOOD DRIVE for the local food bank  was prohibited from entering the HAMMOCK LAKES PARK subdivision in West Melbourne Florida by their HOA. Florida Today video for 11 – 10 – 2011  OR this entertaining article at:
The concept of limited government, especially where is should apply to the non-representative, random ADMINISTRATIVE levels is well presented here:    http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=2011&month=09
All government information and phone numbers presented in this article are a matter of public record.
Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.   There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. It is for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION.  Comments on our articles are always welcome.

Why We are Here – Avid Homestead 

Monday, November 7, 2011 11:40:00 PM
I have always heard people state these matter of fact sayings that completely confound or terminate further discussion when they are expectorated in the full heat of debate. One such saying goes “IT IS WHAT IT IS”. Perhaps what this REALLY MEANS is that someone is respectfully disagreeing with the tone or the direction of the conversation. A loud or sharp “it is what it is” negates any and all debate. It is the certain indicator towards the futility of your point of view because the status quo is perfectly alright.   Or maybe “It is what it is” is the stubborn refusal to hear any further arguments – in this instance, a humongous five word PERIOD placed at the end of your sentence. IT IS WHAT IT IS! - the succinct rebuttal of disinterest on the part of the listener. Generally, a discussion of Brevard County Code elicits much of this type of response. “It is what it is” until it affects you directly.
 Our family suffered the indignity of finding this out recently when an ANONYMOUS complaint prompted a visit from a code enforcement officer. My sheep are quite visible and a fixture on the property in rural Cocoa, Florida. They are the objects of admiration and awe in our neighborhood. They are the most efficient, effective non-stop lawn mowing and fertilizing service that anyone could want! They not only mow the property, but they weed-eat and edge around all the fences, outbuildings and house foundation – EVERYWHERE! While the constant drone of lawn mowers buzz heartily all summer, we are sitting by the pool or carrying on with other activities while the sheep do all of the work on our two acre homestead. While this all sounds blissful, pastoral and even pretty efficient, it was only a matter of time apparently before someone intruded on our happy little arrangement. 
And here comes the next little fun saying “Well, you know…..everything is FINE until it is NOT”. After the code enforcement on-site inspection, we received a call that our property, living conditions for the animals and number permitted per acre were perfectly in compliance. THEN exactly ONE WEEK LATER (after another ANONYMOUS COMPLAINT to the Zoning Department), we received a follow up call from the same code enforcement officer stating that we were being cited for our sheep! One week we are FINE, case closed and the next week, WE ARE NOT. Our options were to pay them $1,450.00 for a permit OR we could get rid of all the sheep. 
Then comes the CRAZY part -while I am allowed FOUR HORSES PER ACRE on my RR-1 property, suddenly I am NOT ALLOWED the same number of sheep. I can just SEE all my neighbors smiles turn to looks of concern when the wild herd of yard grooming ‘stangs comes galloping through! If I were inconsiderate enough to do that, there is nothing that any of my neighbors would be able to do. I am ALLOWED to do this in Brevard County Florida. Though there is NO SPECIFIC MENTION of sheep (only lambs) in code,  we were being cited under a “BLANKET TERM” of OTHER LIVESTOCK. For someone else’s random, anonymous complaint, I was pretty much put into an ALL OR NOTHING situation. There was no allowance or acknowledgement of any BASIC RIGHTS for what I wanted to do on what I consider to be my own property – use the sheep to mow the lawn, grow some vegetables, raise small livestock, and raise CHICKENS for eggs and other fowl for personal consumption. My incredulity and indignation at being cited was replaced by absolute disbelief when I asked about raising CHICKENS. It was a query that really just added insult to injury. Per code with TWO ACRES in Brevard County, I am allowed ONE CHICKEN!
Now, what am I going to do with ONE LONELY CHICKEN?
“ It is what it is” with Brevard County code is NOT FINE – it needs to be changed. Avid Homestead endorses a COMMON SENSE approach to help re-write code for Brevard County that allows for basic homesteading  in the traditional sense and for growing backyard poultry and other fowl. A basic agrarian agenda as an alternative lifestyle has long been gaining momentum across the United States. It is time for Brevard County to embrace and encourage people who desire a more sustainable, green living approach. Whether it is children who want to watch seeds grow in a cup or seeing the first struggle for life through the egg’s rough edges, there is room here for more latitude and acceptance on the county government’s part. It is NOT FINE to allow an anonymous individual or a small group of nay-sayers and complainers to ruin it for responsible others. It is time to take a hard look at Brevard County Code open up this subject for discussion.
SEE BREVARD COUNTY CODE Sections: 62-1927, 62-1935, 62-2108 and 62-2112.5 at www. Municode.com or see copies of it on the website
Margaret Goudelock was a journalism major at the University of Mississippi before she transferred to the University of North Texas to pursue a more lucrative degree in Art History, Painting and French.   There is a magnetic sign for Avid Homestead on the door of her truck and a small soap-box in the back that she will happily step up on with very little provocation. She is joined in the flag waving effort to get your attention by her husband, Toby Napier – long-wearing sound board and brilliant webmaster for AVID HOMESTEAD.com. Ms. Goudelock is the mother of two beautiful girls who are both enthusiastic, creative and love animals. It is for their continued growth and the preservation of a more natural way of life that we strive.

PLEASE REMEMBER TO SIGN OUR ONLINE PETITION.  Comments are always welcome.

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