Large Family Woes

Nicole wants peace.  That’s what she said. She’s over it.  That’s what she said.

Only she’s monitoring every word posted everywhere.

A couple of pages posted a link to this.

mental health article
click image to link

The article, which is one of those types of articles reporting the findings of the “latest study,” is the sort of thing one should take with a huge grain of salt.  Remember that it’s the result of one study.  One study does not make for definitive science.

And some of what it says is pretty much common sense.

The researchers found that the more the children, the lesser is the investment of parents on each child, which is defined on the basis of time spent with children, home environment safety, affection and resources such as money, books and other materials. “If you are in a well-resourced family, some of these things do not apply,” Juhn said.

In other words, you run out of money.  You run out of time.

Just like it takes several boxes of macaroni and cheese to feed a family of 13, where it might only take one or two boxes to feed a family of three or four, less time means less time per child. And unlike boxes of mac and cheese, you can’t just buy more time.

The scientists, of course, took into consideration the fact that rich families have less problem with this because they can buy more books, or clothes, or food. (They cannot, of course, buy more hours in the day, but they can purchase help in the form of nannies.)

The same thing would hold true of a school. The more students per teacher, the worse the students tend to do academically.  Smaller classes, better outcomes.  That’s not a universal truth, of course—you find exceptions to almost anything—but generally it is a fact.

Anyway, that’s the gist of the study. Not really earth-shattering, but these websites have to have something new to post, so they glom onto anything that appears even slightly interesting to get people to click.

anti large Christian family

. . . anti-Christian, anti-large family propaganda.

Actually, no.  It isn’t.  It never even mentions religion at all.  Not once. And it’s not really “anti-large-family.”  It’s the result of a study and just presents some findings.  And as I said, it’s the sort of article one should take with a big grain of salt.

But this is what happens when you go on a tirade without even reading what you’re all pissed off about.

Tossing out the whole “anti-Christian” moniker is especially low.  That’s just red meat for Nicole’s little supporters.  OMG, the article doesn’t love Jesus.  Because, naturally, if  you’re interested in actual science, you can’t possibly be Christian, can you?

. . . ignorant, rude, disgusting, hateful, damaged goods. . .

Gee, that’s an interesting list.  I have not interacted with the Naugler children (knowingly) except for one, once, who tried to post here and I declined to allow him to do so.  His comment here was, in fact, sort of rude, and a bit profane, but I tossed him some slack because he’s a kid and was peeved.  He actually sounded like a teenager.  He blustered a bit about how great he is (probably because his folks keep telling him that he’s better than other kids his age).  But generally, he sounded like a kid.

Most of the photos of the children that I have seen show them dirty.  Dirty faces, hands, skin, clothing, surroundings. That’s not something I am making up. It’s simply a fact.  That might mean something and it might mean nothing.

And it remains to be seen if those kids are, in fact, ignorant.  My guess is that yes, they are and will be.  But it’s possible that I am totally wrong and one of them will become a nuclear physicist and come up with an alternative energy source that saves the planet. I wait with breathless anticipation.


Pages? What Pages?

veiled threat

I know.  It’s the same screen shot from the other page.  But I want to focus on a different couple of sentences.

I’m not running any of the pages and profiles you accuse as me.  In fact, I don’t even know who is.

Oh, Nicole. Your nose is gonna grow so long.

First, when Facebook removes your profile because you used a fake name—that’s your fault.

funny story

“I used a fake name. . .”

Well, yeah. And Facebook doesn’t allow that, Nicole. I know you get away with it a lot, but every now and then, they just clamp the hell down on you, don’t they?  Don’t blame that shit on anyone else.

Oh, and Joe is. . . well. . . weird.

You need some peace. Poor baby. I feel so bad for you.

You know how you can get some peace?  There’s an X up in the corner of your browser window.  Click on it.  Peace.

Nicole knows

Let’s see.  Who runs “Blessed Little Homestead”?  Whose back has “Donny” got?  Oh, yes.  Nicole’s.

But she has no idea who any of these people are.  It’s just a mystery. They have created a minimum of 40 pages all to defend her and she doesn’t know who they are.

Ben Teresa SS

So the back story here is sort of irrelevant. The short version is that Teresa Frogue posted a comment to the Blessed Little Homestead blog (Nicole’s blog) and took a screen shot of the comment awaiting moderation.  Nicole did not approve it because Nicole never approves anything but love and kisses.

The important thing to notice here is that after Teresa posted her screen shot of her own comment on her own page, “Ben Franklin” linked to it.

Remember Ben?  He’s one of the fakes on the other page.  He’s one of the fakes that Nicole has no idea about.  She just doesn’t bother even trying, don’t you know.  He loves her passionately, obviously, but she doesn’t even know who he is.

Only, when somebody else made a comment about that whole thing (“Ben” and Teresa and the unposted comment) on yet another page, Nicole knew all about it.

She not only knew all about it, she was outraged enough to send a private message to the somebody else because she was concerned about the “lies.”

PM Nicole

Don’t worry if you don’t understand the whole back story.  I didn’t, and had to get somebody to explain it to me.  It doesn’t matter. The important thing here is that Nicole is freely admitting just how closely she follows all this and just how involved she actually is in all these pages.

She tries to pretend that she’s above it all, and that somehow there are these faceless, nameless supporters who are gathering about her defending her like, well, a cloud of angels, but there aren’t. There is most likely Nicole, Joe, and maybe a couple of the kids. There might be one or two lunatic supporters who join in, but not many.

I’m over it.

That’s nice to hear.

Trolling For Pages

veiled threat

I love this veiled threat. “You trolls.”  Don’t approach her property or family “to do (them) harm.”

One thing Nicole does all the time is use the expression “you trolls.”  It’s a mathematical set to her (look it up, Nicole. I know math is hard, but try.) All “trolls” are in a set.  All “trolls” are guilty of any and all activity and criticism expressed by any “troll.”

Anyone who criticizes her is lumped together and found equally guilty.

Well, turnabout is fair play, Nicole.

I’m not running any of the pages and profiles you accuse as me. In fact, I don’t even know who is.

You gotta be kidding.  You don’t even know who is.  You’ve got these folks running around spending their entire lives (hours and hours every day) making pages and doxxing people and harassing them, and stalking folks online—all to defend you and your family—and you don’t know who they are.


Here’s a bit of a list.

Naugler Camptruth and liesLike It Or Notstewbert

PrestonTextrovertKentucky Laws

This might be my personal favorite for creativity.  The Nauglers do not believe there should be any laws, yet they do not hesitate to cite them if they think it will advance their position.


In case you find that hard to read “Darrell” says:

Please do, they will laugh at you.  You don’t know who I am, dipshit! The Government doesn’t give ten shits about people on fb talkin shit about lowlifes. Al should be able to school you there.

I think maybe “Darrell” and “Kentucky Laws” need to get together and have a chat.  It seems that when it comes to the Nauglers engaging in doxxing and libel and online threats, the government doesn’t give ten shits, but when it comes to anyone criticizing them even slightly, they are being threatened and will undoubtedly sue everyone in sight.

My personal position on all this legal posturing is that I do not engage in it.  I’m not going to sue anyone, and nobody is going to sue me.  I’m just going to go right on making information available.  Make of it what you will.

exposedJohnny B Badd

For anyone who might not know, that photo is of Breckinridge County’s Sheriff Pate, who Nicole and Joe despise beyond all reason and do not hesitate to taunt and defame online whenever possible.

Donny Cook

There are several incarnations of this, I believe. There is also much speculation as to whether or not this is a real person.  I don’t care much one way or the other.

Mindy Thundertroll

And this one was created solely to mock a critic.  No other reason.

Beastly Troll

As was this one.

T frog TrollWhoratioCharles SmythPeurile Strawman

Johnny B Badd incarnation 2

This the second incarnation of this page.

Seymour Hiney

And the second incarnation of that one follows.

Seymour Hiney version 2

Mindy Thundertroll 2

The second version of the Mindy page.

Jack SchittDonny Cook page

Donny as a “community” page instead of a personal page.

jack ball

Charles Smyth 2

A second version of Charles Smyth.  Some of these second incarnations occurred because Facebook removed the first one.

Anita Mandalay

Screaming Memey

real truth Teresa

Get Your Facts StraightFFS


Stewie Schizoid

These comments refer to a critic who they thought had lost a child.

Stewie Rescue

Stand By the Nauglers

So, apparently there weren’t six “trolls,” but instead 55.  To quote Nicole:

I don’t ask you believe my every word. But I do ask you use logic when deciding which stories you believe and if and how they are relevant.

Let’s do that.  It’s good advice.  Is it possible that there are fifty-five people who are simultaneously spending hours and hours stalking and harassing and just trying to destroy this beautiful family that has done nothing at all to anyone and who just want to be left alone?  Is that even reasonable?

Or is it more reasonable to think that maybe, just maybe, the Naugler adults have royally pissed off some folks?

And of course, a page called “Stand By The Nauglers” without any form of identification at all insists that everyone quit talking about “him” or “her.” Or “he” or “she” will sue.  Gotta love it.


The screen shot involving the phone numbers was posted in a private group (not public at all) and as is mentioned, was only done because there were threats that the Nauglers were calling people and their places of employment.

Bless Naugler

Nasty Trolls


Others for which I do not have screen shots:

The Real Truth About the Nauglers

Big Mouths, Lousy Opinions and Losers

Questions for Nauglers

Now then, I am pretty confident that I do not have all the various pages that have been created in the last eight months.  However, I have posted screen shots of 37 and know of one for which I have no screen shot.  That makes a total of 38.

In eight months.  I know that math is hard, but let’s try it, why don’t we?

From May 6, 2015 (when the children were taken from Joe and Nicole and they catapulted into national awareness) to January 29, 2016 (today) is 268 days. Dividing 268 days by 38 pages gives us just a tiny fraction over 7.

They have been making a new page on average once a week for 8 months.  Pages with no other purpose than to dox, harass, stalk and libel anyone who criticizes them for any reason.  They have published addresses, stalked family members, threatened people, contacted employers, you name it.  And it doesn’t take much to get on their radar, as I will show.

But I will show that later on.  This post is long enough.



Told you there were more. That makes 40, or an average of one page every 6.7 days.

Another update:  Two more pages added to the list without screen shots, bringing the total to 42, or one every 6.38 days.

And more:

Sam Adams

jack tooka schitt

Running total, 44, one page every 6.09 days.


“Well, it’s nice to know that the Trolls made it this far south,’ Ulath said. ‘I’d hate to have to go looking for them.’
‘Their Gods were guiding them, Ulath,’ Tynian pointed out.
‘You’ve never talked with the Troll-Gods, I see,’ Ulath laughed. ‘Their sense of direction is a little vague – probably because their compass only has two directions on it.’
‘North and not-north. It makes finding places a little difficult.”
—David Eddings, The Hidden City

Troll.  It’s a word that used in fairy tales to describe a disgustingly ugly creature that generally lived under a bridge and was pretty much always bad.

It’s come to mean something akin to that but in a virtual sense on the internet, to describe “a person whose sole purpose in life is to seek out people to argue with on the internet over extremely trivial issues.” The troll generally engages in conversation entirely to provoke.  He doesn’t care if he’s right or wrong, and often doesn’t even believe what he’s saying.  His only purpose is to get everyone riled up.

In some cases, trolls use multiple fake identities and will engage in arguments with their alter-egos just to get an argument started. Then they sit back and watch the show.  It’s a form of entertainment.  They are not seriously engaging in conversation or having any exchange of ideas. They are just fiddling around poking people to get a reaction.

And that is what a troll is.

It is not a pejorative used to describe anyone who doesn’t agree with you.


There are a lot of screen shots like this.  Nicole flips out the word often and regularly.  Here she insists that there are “six of them.”  But that number really changes to accommodate the set of “anyone who disagrees with Nicole and Joe Naugler and doesn’t kiss their joint asses.”

She has extended the borders of the set to include me.  I’m flattered.

call trolls
click image to link

“The real story” that she is referring to is that the evil state came and took her children and that CPS is evil and bad and takes children away to sell them or something.  Don’t be like CPS.

But of course, we trolls ignored the “real story” and focused on, you know, a few bad checks from the 90s (those weren’t just bad checks, BTW, those were arrests for passing bad checks) and you know, an eviction or two (what does it matter that Joe and Nicole have been basically unreliable their entire adult lives).  We need to focus instead on the “real story”—the evil state.

And to lead off, she presented a whole little piece about trolling from some podcast that Joe likes.  Their definition is like Nicole’s.  “Trolling,” for them, is anyone who disagrees with them.  And that’s probably most of the population of the whole planet.  I spent a little while one day listening to some of that podcast and then went and cleaned my ears out with bleach.  It’s a kind of looney Art-Bell-wannabe sort of thing.  Here’s a sample from their Facebook page.

Ground zero
click image to link

In order to show what a terrible “troll” I am, Nicole included a screen shot of a comment I made a while ago, and which I addressed at length in a separate post.  Please go read them both if you haven’t already.  Then come back here.

That’s not trolling, folks.  This blog is not trolling.  I am not talking about this stuff because I just want to rile everyone up and provoke a lot of controversy.  I am talking about it because Nicole and Joe regularly and frequently mislead people about who they are and what they are doing and while doing so, seek donations to help finance their “lifestyle.”

In addition, the whole subject of Joe and Nicole Naugler and their views on things is a kind of interesting place from which to have reasonable discussion about issues involving, yes, free speech, and sustainability, and government (not necessarily politics – they aren’t the same thing), and education, and even religion. They, by their own desire, made themselves into a public spectacle. The fact that this has worked out about as well as the Oregon snack-forgetters’ little mission is not my fault.

Remember, reasonable conversation about stuff—even controversial stuff—is not trolling. Disagreeing with somebody’s public statements is not trolling. Presenting facts (who owns the Naugler land?), asking questions (what do they do with the shit?) isn’t trolling. Discussing the pros and cons of so-called unschooling is not trolling.

But since Nicole has brought up the subject of trolling, I’m going to accommodate her and talking about, not me and my supposed “trolling,” but her.  But that’s another page for another day.

This Land is Your Land

google earth

This is an image from Google Earth of the Blessed Little Homestead.  It dates back a couple of years ago, so the Blessed Little Garden Shed is not there.

The cleared field to the far left is not the Naugler property.  I’m not sure where their property ends to the right or toward the rear.

Since people have asked about the property, especially with regard to who owns it, I thought I’d answer that question.

The property (apparently 28 acres, more or less) was purchased by the Nauglers a couple of years ago in the form of a land contract.

Land contracts differ from conventional mortgages in several different ways.

We have owned about a dozen houses in several different states over the years and most of them followed a near-universal pattern.  We put in an offer on the property, got a signed contract with the seller, and then applied for a mortgage with either a bank or a mortgage company.

Once we were approved and signed the closing documents, we got title to the property. The loan was a separate thing. The property was collateral for the loan, but we held the title in our possession.  We were recorded as the owners of the property at the local courthouse, and when the taxes came due, we were billed.

When we paid off the mortgage (either by selling the property or simply by completing all the payments), we got a copy of the paid-off note from the lender.

That’s a typical conventional mortgage.

Since the mortgage melt-down in 2008, the requirements for getting a mortgage have tightened up considerably.  If you remember the whole mess, people were getting mortgages (called “liar loans”) where they fabricated their income and other details that would determine if they qualified for the loan. As a result, they got in over their heads with mortgage payments they could not meet.  The result was a huge disaster.

So, it’s much tighter now. You have to have a decent credit score and some sort of reliable income in order to qualify for a conventional mortgage.

Enter the land contract.

This is way for people who would never be approved for a loan to buy property.

With a land contract, the seller retains possession of the deed to the property until all the payments are made. Since the seller remains the legal owner of the property, it becomes a huge question as to who gets the tax bill (answer: depends on how the contract is set up), or what will happen should the seller declare bankruptcy (answer: depends again on how the contract is set up).

The Nauglers have a land contract. (Click thumbnail to enlarge.)

I have obscured the actual address, but this is the Blessed Little Homestead. Gordon Board and Steve Aulbach do a lot of business doing land contracts under various company names.

There are definite pros and cons to buying property this way.


People with poor or nonexistent credit can get a second chance, and sometimes it actually works out very well. Sometimes the down payment is either small or none is required. All the loan origination fee stuff and the title searches and the mortgage insurance is not required, so that supposedly reduces the payment amount.

And for people like the Nauglers, there probably isn’t any other choice. They have a large family, with a pretty dismal credit history, and most people would be loathe to rent to them.


The seller gets the advantage.  Of course, the seller is the person taking a huge risk as well.  People who can’t get a conventional mortgage have financial woes and people who are thinking about lending such a person money need to think carefully about the wisdom of doing so.  The default rate is very high for obvious reasons.

The interest rate is also very high, as it should be.  Higher risk = higher interest rate.

Some land contract properties are “sold” over and over again, with the seller collecting a down payment each time, and with a high interest rate, and with a clause stating that the buyer has to do all the maintenance on the place and perhaps pay all the taxes.  The buyer then at some point defaults on the payments and the seller takes back possession and “resells” the land.




Free Speech

Somebody named “Betsy” has written a comment on the page called “Bucket Brigade” and I want to address her concerns with a page all to itself, not because I especially want to target “Betsy,” but because the sentiments she expresses seem to represent a very common misunderstanding that people have.

Here’s what she said:

I don’t know if it’s what you were going for but this comes of as sounding like an ultimatum. You give detailed instructions on what Nicole is to do with her blog and FB pages, who should be able to view her content and which pages she can keep as is. It sounds as if you are trying to silence her and it is offensive. If you were only trying to make the point that you wouldn’t be writing this blog if she didn’t put all of the details out there for you to see, I think that point was somewhat lost among what seems to be a list of demands.

Nicole Has every right to promote half ass homesteading on a pallet to her heart’s content. She shouldn’t expect not to be called out on it but no one should make efforts silence her.

I absolutely agree with Betsy.  Nicole and Joe Naugler have every right to publicly promote any stupid thing they want for as long as they want and as loudly as they want. I would defend their right to do so with my life, frankly.  A world without free speech is not one where I wish to live.

I did not “give detailed instructions on what Nicole is to do” with anything.

What I did do was explain how Nicole could get me to hush.  She has been screaming at the top of her lungs that she just wants everyone to “leave her alone.”  I’m explaining how she can get that to happen.

She doesn’t have to take my advice. She can totally ignore me. She can right on bellyaching and talking about how she’s being “stalked” and how unfair Facebook is because bias (or something), and that’s her absolute right.

Betsy says that Nicole “shouldn’t expect not to be called out on it” (writing about half-assed nonexistent “homesteading”), and I agree. Right now, right here, I am doing the calling out.

Furthermore, I am providing a place where people like Betsy can come and say that they don’t like what I’m saying, which is more than Nicole does.  Apart from what I call “love letters” (absolute hate mail), I have approved every single comment made here, whether the person agrees with me or not.  I have censored nothing at all (“you are an idiot” excepted – update: I also censored one of the minor Naugler children, and I don’t allow discussions about her grooming business). I don’t have to do that.  I could make this whole blog comment-free in a matter of seconds.  And then if Betsy didn’t like what I said, she would have to go get her own blog and bitch about it.

This is how free speech works, folks.

Nicole gets to talk.  And I get to talk.  And if I permit it on this site (which I own), Betsy gets to talk.  Or, if I choose (as Nicole does) not to allow contrary views here,  Betsy can trot over to some freebie blog site or Facebook and do all the talking she wants.  None of this is “stalking.”  It is not “harassment.”  It is not even “mean.”  It is simply free speech in action in a free and open society.

Consider this sort of story, of which there are too many lately.  Guy makes a sign saying that religion is a fairy tale and is threatened with arrest.  That’s in Britain.

It gets even worse in Islamic nations where criticism of Islam can get you a death sentence. And even in America, accusations of so-called Islamophobia are often flung about when anyone criticizes Islam at all.

The idea of free speech is a hallmark of American freedom. It’s a necessity for a free and open society. Blogging is a way for average people to have a voice. They can write about anything they like, as often as they like, for no money if they like.

But free speech doesn’t guarantee you the right to be heard.  You can talk all you wish (or write all you wish) and I can refuse to listen or read.

It also doesn’t guarantee that you won’t be criticized. That applies to Nicole just as it applies to me.

And I will repeat what I said before.  If Nicole wants everyone to “leave her alone,” then she is going to have to take down that stupid “homesteading” blog that is, yes, Betsy, half-assed.  If she doesn’t want to do that, then she is going to have to pull up her big girl pants and deal with the criticism.


Copy Cat

FB page new

Cute little paw print in a circle, used as Nicole’s profile image, on her brandy new Facebook page that she created because Facebook put her in time out for 3 days and apparently she couldn’t stand it.

There’s a wee problem, though.

When Nicole was called out because she stole the image from somebody else, she responded with the post above.  She makes sure to explain that the folks who actually own that image have “adorable products.”

I’m sure they will be delighted to learn that.


Are you selling their stuff, Nicole?  Are you registered with Nashville Wraps?

Frankly, I would suggest that you never, ever, ever again fuss about anyone using your photos with their precious little “watermark.”

Here’s a hint:  Don’t just wander around the internet stealing pictures and images for your own use. I know people do this.  But don’t.  There are sites where you can get free images.  I do it all the time. Free images that I can use for anything at all without infringing on anyone else’s rights.

Nicole is big on rights.  She’s really big on taking “personal responsibility.”

What about the rights of Nashville Wraps?

I guess the rules don’t matter when it comes to somebody else.


click image to link

“Charles,” who is almost certainly one of the Nauglers, doesn’t know what the hell “he” is talking about.  Nicole stole that image.  She is using it without the owner’s permission.  (Unless she actually contacted them and got permission, which I doubt.  If she had, she would have produced it.)

You do not have to “register” an image to make it yours.

Here’s a really good diagram (infographic) that is helpful in making a decision about whether or not an image can be used.  Nicole, read the damn thing.



Beating Plowshares

road maintenance

Because this comes from Nicole’s business FB page, I have obscured the name.  My point in grabbing this has nothing whatever to do with her business and its welfare.

Instead, I want to point out the phrase that is highlighted.

. . . depending on road maintenance.

Without road maintenance, Nicole and Joe would be unable to even leave their property.  I bet they are stuck out there now.  At least, I hope they are.  The roads are in pretty bad shape at the moment where they live.

So, they need road maintenance, not only so that they can come and go from their property, but in order for her customers to come and go from her business.  No road maintenance, no customers, no business, no money, no garden shed.

There is no private company that does snow removal. It would be less than efficient and really not feasible.  If a private company did the snow removal, who is going to pay them?  The people who travel the road? You gonna set up little kiosks everywhere so that if you want to travel this particular mile of highway, you have to put a dollar in the machine?  And if it snows, the price goes to $1.25?

Exactly who do they think does that road maintenance?


The Garden of Good and Evil

vegetable garden

A vegetable garden.  Beautiful, isn’t it?  Makes me want to go out there with a sharp knife, harvest a big bowl of those baby lettuce leaves and have a huge salad.

That is not a Naugler garden.

I want to start this page with a bit of a disclaimer.  Nicole has admitted, repeatedly, that they have failed at gardening.  I agree with her, they have.  What I want to talk about is why that has happened.  It isn’t bad luck. It isn’t that the state took away their kids.

People garden for all sorts of reasons. My first garden happened right after I was married, many years ago.  I knew nothing at all about how to do it. I bought a few little packets of seed and we dug this pitifully small area in the yard and I planted the seeds in neat little rows. Most of them didn’t even sprout.

But the green beans grew and I actually got to pick enough for a meal.

And I was hooked.  Just the sight of seedlings coming up out of the soil did something to me.

zucchini seedlings

So I garden, and would even if I saved not a single dime.  It’s not a money thing.  It’s an earth thing.

But gardening is also seen as a homesteady, crunchy, back-to-the-land thing.  You are a “homesteader,” so naturally you have a big garden.

What people don’t realize is just how hard it actually is to do it successfully.  Every year, I plant a garden. And every year I say the same thing to my family, “Do you think anything will come up?”  It’s now a family joke.

And every year is different.  Sometimes the corn does well and the beans do not. Sometimes the tomatoes are so heavy on the vines I can’t keep up with them, and the next year I’ll wonder if I need to just give up and buy some from the local produce stand.

I have gardened all over the place.  We’ve moved a good bit, and everywhere we live has presented new and different challenges. So I’ve tried every kind of gardening there is, I think.

nicole gardening

But this takes the cake.  She does have a few tomatoes growing there valiantly under extremely adverse conditions, but golly gee whiz.  And I can’t really tell if the “corn” behind her is corn, planted way too close together,  or uncut Johnson grass. There might be something viney like watermelons growing to the right, but nothing is going to produce much with the competition from all that grass.

Gardening is hard work, I grant you that.  But the basic principles are simple.  Give the plants some space.  Get rid of the fucking weeds, and grass is a weed in a garden.  Make sure the soil is decent.


Okay, so it’s a bomb.  But over time, you’d learn, wouldn’t you?

Well, no.


This is the garden at the shitshack. About a dozen raised beds, mostly unprepared, unfilled, and full of weeds.  In essence, some of the ever-present cinder blocks just placed in rectangles.  Four old tires that I can see, which I assume were going to be more “raised beds,” and of course, the required white bucket and some trash.

This is not going to be a successful garden, folks. It was doomed before it was started.


The kids were taken in mid-May. They had two raised beds ready to plant. Two. Sigh.

And plans. There are always plans. Of course, Nicole didn’t do anything of the sort. Instead, she went and lived in a motel.

raised beds

And here somebody kind really tries to help her with a very good suggestion.  Plow up a small area, she suggests.

But of course, Nicole has an excuse. The ground is not suitable.  The ground is not suitable, people.  The ground is not suitable for a fucking homestead.

I have no idea if this is true or not. It may be that it is.  If it is, then why in the hell did they enter into that land contract to homestead on property where you cannot homestead?

There is land and there is land. How many acres you have is not nearly as important as what sort of acres you have.  When we were looking at property where we are now, we looked at places with 50 acres and places with 30 acres and ended up buying 20 acres.  And we have more usable land on our twenty acres than we would have with the fifty.  Nice 8-or-so-acre pasture, another couple of acres in a paddock, a big garden area (near the power lines and nobody sprays anything).  The fifty acre place was mostly ravines and woods.

It also might be total bullshit, and there’s a perfectly good spot someplace on that 28 acres for a small garden, but 1) Joe and Nicole wouldn’t know what such a spot looked like if they tripped over it, and 2) they don’t have a neighbor who would do such a kind thing as plow up a spot for them.

One other thing. Here’s the powerline.


See all the “dead” stuff growing under the powerline?  Absolutely barren, isn’t it?

But here’s the primary problem.

child garden

As usual, the children are left to do it all themselves.  This is what Nicole calls “unschooling.”

This is what I call “allowing a child to fail because you don’t give him any guidance, no tools, and nobody to mentor him.”  It’s almost criminal to do this to a kid.  They guarantee that he will fail, and then he will grow up believing that gardening is too hard, and never try again.

She cavalierly tosses out “we use the square foot garden method,” like they actually do anything.  Here’s her link, BTW. They make it sound so simple.

I used raised beds at one property we owned. I did it because it was a very, very harsh climate (six weeks growing season annually).  Getting the soil warm and keeping it that way was paramount, and raised beds (like waist high) were the best way to do that.

The first year, we had a great garden. Just stupendous.  The second year was good, but not quite as magnificent as the first. The third was obviously sub-par. And I knew why.

The problem with “square-foot gardening” is inputs.  You can’t just plant vegetables in close contact like that and not wear out your soil’s fertility really rapidly.  You have to replenish the organic matter often. If you happen to have a source for a lot of manure or compost, you’re good to go. If you live where I did (it takes about three years for compost to rot), you’re forced to buy inputs at your local garden store.  It’s cheaper to buy the vegetables.

And a second problem is water. The roots are confined.  Raised beds raise the ground.  It dries out more rapidly than the surrounding soil.  (That was a major plus in the harsh environment where I used them.) The Nauglers have no way to water a garden except with white buckets from the stagnant pond.

I know this idea appeals to people because they make it sound so easy.

And the whole “Back to Eden” thing.  Here’s the link. Step one is about God. I didn’t bother with anything else. I grow gardens just fine without praying about it.  It looked like a Jesusified version of lasagna gardening (layering mulch).  Mulch works great, by the way, if you are trying to keep the soil damp and cool.  It’s absolutely terrible if you need to warm the soil in the early spring.

If you’re really interested in growing produce because you need to feed a large family, forget all this silly stuff and get down to real business.  The best book I’ve ever found about this is Steve Solomon’s Gardening When It Counts. It’s the counter-point to every “square-foot,” intensive gardening method you’ve ever heard of.  It’s the method I use.  Lots of garden space.  Spread the plants out.  Keep it weeded.  About an hour a day required to manage this (but that hour is required religiously or you’ll end up with a mess like Nicole had in that photo above).

my garden

Early spring.  Just barely coming up.  Potatoes in the foreground. And that’s a garden for two people. One person and a hoe manages it nicely once the initial tilling is done with a tractor. We have one other somewhat smaller garden that is generally planted to tomatoes and peppers and maybe onions and lettuce.  The big garden has the main stuff in it.

Never does everything produce as well as we’d like. But most stuff does, enough that we can close to 1000 jars of vegetables annually.

There’s more than one way to do this, of course. And everyone isn’t facing a desperate situation like the Solomon book addresses. And almost any of these methods will work if you do it right and work at it.

The Nauglers have failed over and over again at gardening because it requires consistent work, day after day after day.  And they don’t do that well.