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 husband, “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.




56 thoughts on “The Garden of Good and Evil”

  1. Blessed Little Blogger noted “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.”

    The only thing they do well is procreate. They fail at everything else. As the BLB said, they are not only teaching their children to fail, they are setting them up to guarantee they fail as epically as their parents. Most of us want more for our children and if there is the person out there who doesn’t, they should never have had children at all. Who in their right mind would set out assure their kids fail as miserably as they have? Only parents like the Nauglers, as far as I can see.

    When you have children, you have a responsibility to them. Your own selfish wishes and desires are put on hold while you care for your children, emotionally and physically, until they are able to care for themselves – in other words, until they are adults.

    All I can do is shake my head at these two people. Thank God, I do not understand them because if I did, I would be supporting their neglect of their children.

    I hope I never do.


  2. I visit this blog because I enjoy the wit and humor you put into your segments. I also have learned many new things. I admit I am an unsuccessful gardener, however I do believe I will be checking out these links you have provided. Thank you, and keep up the good work! =0)


  3. Excellent post. So much to learn. I’m a gardening newbie but even I knew about the need for daily hoeing for weed control, soil nutrient depletion and spacing plants from one another.

    Even if the soil is fertile, how could the Nauglers expect any crop yield if they can’t irrigate in summer? Does KY have plentiful rainfall in hot months?

    Your other point is well taken. Why would aspiring homesteaders, who are learning as they go, choose land where soil is poor? Too rocky, wooded, or too much trash to dispose of? When they have no $$$ resources to level the land, plough it, turn the soil over, fertilize it? Seems a large initial investment that, for a struggling family, is not borne out economically. I mean, if you are looking to feed a large family, it would take at least a couple of years for it to make monitory sense, instead of just buying fresh local produce. I surmise from this blog that gardens are not only physically laborious, but need some investment in equipment, mulch, fertilizer, enough water, seeds, and occasionally, tarp protection/tenting/etc. Economically not a better deal. And with a big time investment to grow enough to feed 13 people regularly.

    One other point I would add. Gardens are not just a source of fresh food without chemicals. People also have them for physical exercise, emotional therapy, and aesthetic appreciation. The Naugler garden is nothing but depressing. (I’ve seen city block community gardens that are beautiful.) Making me all the sadder considering it was the Naugler children who created it, with no reliable guidance. This should have been something they could be proud of.


  4. Those powerlines are near the BLH? And they deny their kids electricity? Off grid by choice they say. Why? I understand keeping the bills down, but why NO power? Maybe I’m mistaken?

    I hope that this post leads to lots of pictures of everyone’s gardens!


  5. If Joe & Nicole did not have 11 innocent victims that they neglect and abuse, I would be laughing my ass off at how the loud mouthed foul city slicker idiots got conned into buying the shittiest parcel of land around!

    But, the reality is they had no choice. It was, take this shitty piece of land or live in the shelter, under the bridge or on the street.

    They have terrible credit, no decent references because they are continuously evicted for non-payment of rent. One home after the other for their entire adult years they managed to screw up. Two 40-year-old adults who still have not learned how to be responsible adults.

    I don’t know if they cannot learn because they are just assholes or if they are slightly retarded. The garden is a clear example of how they don’t learn.

    If it was not for those poor little children I would be laughing. If anyone deserves to be backhanded hard by karma it is these two awful parents.

    They are the laughing stock of the county. Joe is the village idiot.

    So far they had the first garden shed repossessed. It is just a matter of time before the garden shed is taken for nonpayment or they land deal is rescinded because they were negligent in their payments. They have been evicted from almost every home they ever rented. I don’t think this will end any other way than it has before. The family homeless once again.

    But, this time, they really screwed themselves. Joe was so intent on it all going viral that in fact it did. This means that they will be recognized the next time they try to con an unsuspecting church congregation, a new landlord or start another shady online scheme with Pace Ellsworth.

    They are lying grifters. Grifters do not allow the grass to grow under their feet let alone a garden.


  6. Cynthia Bates wrote – “The Naugler garden is nothing but depressing. (I’ve seen city block community gardens that are beautiful.) Making me all the sadder considering it was the Naugler children who created it, with no reliable guidance. This should have been something they could be proud of.”

    Those darling children should be showered with love, fertilized with hope, fed knowledge and given all the TLC they need to grow. Instead, they are denied the most basic of human needs. Shelter from the elements, clean water, healthy food, real schooling and parents who love them. It breaks my heart.


  7. Gardening takes some work but not all things are hard to grow.

    The Mrs has more excuses and plans that never get follow through with out more excuses made. Nothing is ever her fault nor will she ever admit that she knows Jack Schitt about things. She always finds a place to but the blame except on herself.

    She should consider herself blessed even more now that she has the non-supporters to place the blame for so many things on. Hell the they are worth more to her now than the GFM money was.


  8. Is it really their property? If they are leasing, are they leasing to own? I guess I’m confused as to how they are paying for the property if they are leading.


  9. Also to add they do not spray to keep the trees from growing as they prune the trees. They spray to keep brush from growing. After the initial application, they only need to reenter the area every 5-7 years to selectively touch-up areas of dense or fast growing brush.

    I guess the Mrs does not know that the power company has a right of way where there are power lines.


  10. Is it really their property? If they are leasing, are they leasing to own?

    They “bought” the property under a land contract. It’s fairly common in Kentucky. They made a down payment of some sort (or maybe not) and they make a monthly “payment,” which is really a sort of rent-to-own thing. The land company retains the title until all the payments are made. Land contracts are typically entered into by folks who have poor credit and can’t get a conventional loan at a bank.


  11. Imagine my delight, coming to the blog and seeing a new post! Always delivering intriguing and interesting topics.

    Gardening can be therapeutic and rewarding! It takes desire, effort, work, and a dab of passion. Everything is a failure with them. Lacking one or more of what it takes. Gardening is rewarding, when planting a little seedling and with effort, work and tlc. Then watching as the well cared for plants grow to produce. As a hobby or even the most avid gardener, it’s fun trying new ideas, new plants and learning. It’s really not that complicated. Good soil, fertilizing, watering, weeding. But it goes, passion will drive desire, effort, and work. Take grooming dogs, which it seems apparent she has a passion for. It drove her desire to learn the craft well and she puts forth the effort and work. The gardening failures, seems apparent is because lacking one or more of what it takes. But mostly lack of desire. Not because of what she blames or faults every time the garden failed. I really fail to believe they just don’t have the wits, or practical intelligence to garden. If it’s one of the children’s project, don’t set them up for failure time and time again.

    I am no master gardener, but I do enjoy fresh from the garden vegetables. This ground is not conducive to crops or gardening, it’s clay over limestone boulders. A few half whisky barrels full of good soil, filled with a few tomato plants on the patio. And a bounty of tomatoes! My neighbor has three raised beds bordered with wood boards. Filled with good soil, and his garden was outstanding! He even had enough to share with the neighbors.

    I keep going back to that radioblog interview with Joe. And he stated, not exact words but as I interpreted, that he had a spiritual calling to move to Kentucky. To pursue the calling. And Nicole wholly supported, leaving behind her grooming business and all. My wonder is, did Joe find the spiritual calling, what was planned? Is this it? The lyrics of DJ Snake song, “Turn Down for What” is banging my brain right now.

    Another stimulating post, Blessed Little Blogger!


  12. @ truthisawhisper. I keep wondering if Joe found his calling too. That voice that told em to move on down to Kentucky must have been powerful. A couple years later and all Joe seems to be moving is dirt and white buckets of shit. Oh, and, making what is it, two or three more kids?


  13. It makes me sad that anything being done on the blh that requires actual physical labor, it’s always one of the children decided to take the lead. One of her recent comments at some point was that one of the oldest boys has plans for the homestead. So what the crap?? While I’m all in favor that kids contribute, if they’re doing ALL of the work, then it’s time for the blessed house-bitch to get a J-O-B.


  14. She’s not a gardener. Simply does not have what it takes, and I’m guessing her pretty internet garden dreams are foisted upon her worker bee children. She needs to quit spending money on this, gardening is not cheap, unless and until someone gets the basics down and someone is willing to work it daily in all kinds of weather. They need some outside guidance and instructions, local not the internet, every step of the way throughout a few growing seasons. I don’t know if any of their neighbors would go that route now. Maybe her local ag store would help guide them. Gardens are pretty, the work is hard but gardens don’t lie. And sometimes parts of a garden simply fail. You overplant for this and replant. Then you ask for and take advice on what went wrong, I don’t think they can do this. Again this is another graphic demonstration of Naugler fantasy vs. reality .


  15. The voice that told them to move to Kentucky was probably the landlord of the business in Maine that wasn’t providing enough income to cover the rent and overhead.

    She may be a good groomer, but if I were in the area there is no way in the world I would use her services. Not when I have read that she left her animals unattended and fled to a hotel rather than take care of them and crying about her children being taken by the state. Not when she breeds dogs and then doesn’t provide them with veterinary care (and that includes vaccinations, as well as determining that neither dog has serious genetic disorders that should cull them from the breeding pool). Not when she accuses someone who lives in TEXAS from driving to KENTUCKY with the express purpose of stealing or running over her dog(s). Which shouldn’t have happened to begin with if you had confined your animal in an appropriate manner, fed them and stayed on your property. It increases the chances of a dog returning home if they do take off on an unauthorized adventure. Not to mention leaving your pygmy goats behind to become a tasty snack for a predator. Yeah, yeah, the dogs are going to protect the goats – to a point. They aren’t people and they won’t do it forever.

    Dogs will roam because deer and squirrels and rabbits are all so alluring. But you put collars on them with your contact information. If you’re a groomer, I would imagine you would consider microchipping them because IF they are picked up by animal control or someone finds one and takes them to a vet, they will be wield the wand and hopefully read a microchip. Which will then lead to a reuniting. Hey, it worked when I found a beagle in my backyard. No collar. Loaded it up, took it to the vet and lo! Microchip read and owners called. Dog was unharmed. Owners realized the old girl had escaped and took precautions, in the meantime they suffered some anxiety and grey hairs.

    Hell, whatever became of the rabbits? The ones that are going to become organic pet food? Tell you what, the people who plunk down good money on overpriced organic pet food are people who are going to want to know a LOT about its source, how it was raised, processed and stored. I’m a little surprised that the state doesn’t have standards for a commercial pet food operator to follow. If it’s sold, it’s commercial – right?


  16. @Old Farm Girl.

    I agree. I would suppose that the reason they chose that area to plant their garden was because it needed the least amount of preparation. I would guess that they didn’t look up at the power lines, look around at the rest of their overgrown property, and think to themselves “I wonder why this area is so clear compared to the rest of our property”. Instead, I think they said, “we’ll plant here, less work for us”.

    Choosing and preparing the place for your garden is one of the most important steps in the whole process. If you fail at this initial step, your garden will either fail, be barely productive or become so labor intensive it’s hardly worth the effort. If you rely on those crops to sustain your family, well, what can I say. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have over 20 acres of land to be able to choose the best location for their garden. Some people just have to make do with what land they have, and they do, hard work and all. I would imagine that those people that successfully grow their own crops and gardens even studied up on it or talked with their family and neighbor’s or used the many resources that the commonwealth provides.

    I have seen more productive gardens in postage stamp size yards downtown tended by all those “zombie like video playing public school kids”. Psst: I don’t think that way about public school kids, I’m just repeating the party line of so many of the supporters. At every one of my children’s elementary public schools the school had a garden that the children worked on and learned from. The children even got to eat the produce they grew, and I can’t tell you how excited and happy they were to do it. One of my son’s public high school had animal husbandry classes with an onsite fully working farm.

    On a final note: trial and error gets old real quick when so much is on the line. Plan well, do the hard work, properly care for the land and you will be rewarded (if the weather permits).


  17. You make some interesting points, Tekla. Being responsible, comes to mind. Caring for your pets, in a responsible way. I really don’t understand the free roaming of the dogs and other animals. When I lived in a more rural area, you didn’t leave your animals to roaming free, risking getting beyond the boundaries. And especially your dogs. They could easily end up getting shot, for attacking other’s farm animals and/or dogs or getting into things where they didn’t belong. It was an understood, and respected. Besides the other dangers around, for free roaming animals and pets where they can get hurt. And seems rather irresponsible, to leave farm animals and pets completely alone and unattended. Who does that?? I can only imagine the dogs anxiety, when abandoned and alone. And with no sense of time, or if you were coming back.

    As for some of the other peeps with good intentions in commenting, offering guidance and advice, it seems rather futile. As they have said time and again, well no sense regurgitating it here. No advice or guidance wanted, just send money. All you rats on a wheel, in a cage, send that materialistic money. Then maybe they can hire out someone to do all the work for them. wallah!


  18. Like so many others here, I hadn’t heard of this family until this past May when they made the news. I am the type that will thoroughly research/observe a situation before making a judgement. I usually want to give the underdog the benefit of doubt. It didn’t take nearly as long in this case. They were the ones that wanted this to go viral. With that in mind, they (meaning the parents), need to learn how to interact with society….all of society. Meaning that they know how to accept constructive critisicm and be able to carry on a conversation. We haven’t seen it yet and I’m sure we never will. These two are emotionally stunted…emotional cripples…call it what you want. They are here for themselves only. I feel for those kids….they shouldn’t be subjected to such behavior….they deserve better. I see she is back online under 2 different accounts. What struck me from the beginning is that they have nothing….we don’t need everything, but fresh water would be nice….yet they are online. Normal people, when on a budget, cut out excess expenses….like the internet. I’m sure there is access to it at the library in town….if not I’m sure there are wifi hot spots in the county of Breckenridge. I remember being in a chat room in the 90’s…..some of the chatters barely had enough money for food and didn’t know how they were going to pay for their heat….and they were online. I couldn’t comprehend that…..common sense would kick in and tell you to cancel the internet so you would have heat. That is what these 2 remind me of… priorities……nothing is ever their fault….they are the victims. Sick Sick Sick in the head


  19. I grow some of my own food and compost about 30 percent of our household trash. I find it a bit humorous that Nicole makes up a story about trees on her property being sprayed to prevent growth yet is putting toxic glossy retail store adds on her plants. Thermal papers which are used for things like ATM receipts are not safe for composting. The shiny papers have coatings that often contain BPA along with numerous other chemicals. There is pretty significant research right now showing BPA is toxic to humans. So Nicole is sprinkling poison on her own garden by using coated papers instead of using safer alternatives like saw dust which are easily obtainable at no cost.


  20. Yeah, I noticed that too. As always, her expertise is pastede on yey.

    I can pretty much predict the course of almost anything the Nauglers do by now, just by reading what they themselves put online.

    Hey, new thing! It’s interesting, and has pretty pictures, and I feel good when I read/think about it. It’s so easy to daydream about the wonderful stuff I will accomplish when doing this new thing. That must mean that it’s easy to actually do it!

    Hi ho, hi ho, it’s off to work we go…and by “we” I mean this is going to be yet another “learning experience” for the kids.

    Oh, they can just research it all online.

    Oh, I’m too busy for that. *sips latte, goes off to take a hot shower at the shop*

    Oh, my, that didn’t turn out well at all, did it? Let’s see, who can I blame this time?

    Wonder what “learning experience” the kids are going to have foisted on them next.


  21. “Wonder what “learning experience” the kids are going to have foisted on them next.”

    Hmm, maybe smoked goat meat? I think they’ve tried using the Chilton repair manual on the vehicle and discovered it needs a cash infusion.

    No, no, I know – how to dig a well. Of course, what that really means is that they will discover they need to drill a well and for that they should contact a geologist.

    Although this may give them a running start:


  22. Sarah, Yep. There are so many things wrong there, but months ago so many good people who have had great success farming and gardening and were willing to freely help improve her outcomes commented on the FB pages and were ignored or bashed. She is not interested in gardening, only fantasy. And over and over again -same story. Beekeeping/ the rabbits/ the goats/ gardens/ on and on. Honestly I saw this story and didn’t know where to start she is so hopeless and I believe ill. The only help they will accept is $$$ or if someone else would do it entirely, which simply enables and deepens their problems. I have come to understand this as mental illness, professional grifting, and having already been GIVEN so much, that there is absolutely no care for what they have. If you have to sweat blood and tears for something, you value it and take damn good care of it. If it is your sweat blood and tears, NOT YOUR CHILDREN’s. So much has already been given, too much, they don’t appreciate or take care of anything. 40 year old immature and irresponsible children, possibly/probably quite ill, making more children. IMHO. I don’t know where this will end, but I do not see them improving either.


  23. I have a question for those who live nearby, or those with insight…

    What do the Nauglers do with money they’ve been gifted? Can you see, in real life, what is their standard of living? Do they really live somewhere else and go out to that decrepit property for photo ops? (Kind of a reverse “keeping up with the Jones”?) I’ve noticed that every time the FB drama slows down, the Naugler or their alters make sure to start some kind of controversy. Is this whole thing is a scam within a scam?


  24. @Tekla: There is already a well on the property. Mrs. Naugler refuses to get it fixed on the grounds of it tastes icky. Because the water in every well in the neighborhood has sulfur in it (note that they weren’t stealing water from next door) and nobody has ever invented a thing that takes the sulfur out of well water in the history of ever.

    But, hey, why make when you can take, right?


  25. Bill, I’m not local but I suspect a lot of their money goes to fast food and highly processed convenience foods from the store. They have a lot of mouths to feed and their situation makes it very difficult to prepare and cook food, especially in winter. I’m pretty sure neither adult regularly cooks or does meal planning. That’s another one of those things that seems to be left to the kids without the kids being given the tools and resources to be successful.


  26. @Jenny Islander – I thought there was some sort of problem with the well itself above and beyond the funny taste. Of course, that may have been the Naugler’s diagnosing it themselves (translation: we want it new and we want YOU to pay for it!) for their loyal readers.

    Yes, I know who Joe menaced. It was visible on a video that was released to the public. Just a glimpse, but there was the name. Someone several miles away. I guess even Joe & Nicole figured out that you can’t steal from the person who lives next door to you. Not without it getting very uncomfortable. But go ahead and hook up to someone’s outside faucet and let THEM worry about the spiraling water bill. What are friends for, after all?

    Of course, why in the world didn’t they just draw up water from the business? Oh, right, because that water was on a meter and they would be billed for it and expected to pay for it with money. Not bartering or threatening.

    Funny how they loathe the ebil gubmint but they have a PO box. USPS is even charged with delivering directly to their home, if given the address.


  27. The business was still under construction at the time of the menacing. I don’t think it was an available source of water at the time. I have other thoughts about the business, the investors and the practice of getting water from the business but I’ll refrain.


  28. Please don’t target me for saying this. Joe and the older kids could spend these winter months learning to put in a nice spring garden and also identifying edible plants on the property. They could start with a simple salad garden. Lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, cukes, etc. usually are fairly easy to grow if you work some manure into the soil. Once they see some progress add some green beans, root veggies, maybe squash, pumpkin, watermelon. Rather than doing it all at once start small. They like tacos, how nice to use fresh lettuce and tomatoes from your own little plot.

    It doesn’t seem right to lay all the blame at Nicole’s feet. She does work and bring an income in. It seems Nicole is one who likes working outside the home and Joe seems to like being the home parent. I can’t fault them for those choices.

    I believe with some confidence and hard work they could make something of their place. I will encourage them to do so. Always criticizing will only push them away. Most people don’t do well under scrutiny. I understand the animosity going on between both side, but some of are in between. We want to encourage the homestead and family progress though we don’t agree with the political and religious choices. They do have the right to those choices as we have the right to our political and religious choices. I remain neutral in those areas.


  29. Always criticizing will only push them away.

    You are Person Number 2579 to make this sort of comment. Are you aware of how many people have tried your method? And that all of them have been royally and profoundly unsuccessful?

    Some of the folks who comment here in frustration are people who made one simple comment that either Joe or Nicole construed as negative, and found themselves having their Facebook pages stalked, their photos lifted, their addresses etc published, their families criticized, you name it. Not for repeatedly criticizing those two people, but for making one single negative comment.

    The political and religious stuff is a whole separate thing. I am addressing it on this blog because I believe that people who are conned (and I use that word carefully) into donating to these folks should know what they are supporting.

    Yes, they have a right to hate the government. And I have a right to point out how hypocritical it is to take that position when you’re relying on the government to plow your roads. And yes, they have a right to embrace any religion they wish, nor none at all, and they also have a right to change their minds about it twelve times a day if they wish. But I have a right to point out that they appear to be simply using religion as a cloak to garner sympathy.

    Joe and Nicole begged the world to hear their story. We listened. We made comments that got us all sorts of public and private criticism and threats and hateful remarks. None of us liked it very much and none of us are going to forget it.

    Welcome, Interested Party. I appreciate your thoughtful comments.


  30. “This is gunna go viral!” said Joe You got what you wanted Jojo & Nikki! You’re such control freaks you thought you could control the viral. What a joke!


  31. Jean Olson said, “Like so many others here, I hadn’t heard of this family until this past May when they made the news. I am the type that will thoroughly research/observe a situation before making a judgement. ”

    Yes, I imagine many people were intrigued last May, and wanted to learn more to the viral story. Actually although I tend to reserve judgement, from the news on the story I tended to initially want to support the Nauglers. I was going on my preconceived perceptions, from being pretty familiar with the regional area where they live. I envisioned the Amish communities and the “country” people there and maybe the Nauglers were being persecuted for their religious cultural values. If you recall, another national news story on another Kentuckian, was warming up at about the same time. Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk. Another controversial story, for having a preconceived perception.

    After seeing the TV News media coverage, something led me to their Facebook page. As I began following that page, something led me to other pages that were discussing the story. Then the continuing on the Louisville TV News, the first few weeks coverage of the court activity. And the clean up day. And the YouTubes they posted on line. Then posts and comments, like Off the Grid blogs and Homeschooling Group blogs. Several other sources too. Yes, I too like to observe and research in forming an opinion. And especially in supporting someone, or a cause, or an endorsement.

    The moral of my story, is don’t always trust a preconceived perception. And perception is not always reality. If I had know then, what I know now, that preconceived perception would of been a different set. Research and observe, and don’t wear blinders. And up until the last month, I was hesitant to comment or like posts on Facebook pages. Because I saw what was happening to some people that have non supporting opinions. Not just on their Blessed page, but many other pages. But I was always observing.

    No, this is not a story of children that were “kidnapped” because of the parent’s Off the Grid and Homeschooling lifestyle. And I’ll just leave that right there. But I don’t feel a duty or obligation to infuse confidence or to withhold criticism so as not to push them away. Just as they didn’t feel an obligation to not be misleading and manipulative.

    And again, I appreciate this blog, for having an opportunity to discuss and have opinions, away from the nasty, sometimes criminal like, antics on Facebook.


  32. They had 40,000+ people encouraging them, offering help, sending them money, sending them material things, praying for them, and a handful of critics in those first months. Things did improve a little, but that was mostly at the insistence of the state per the BLH blog writer(s) themselves. So beyond those basic necessities the state required, how did all that encouragement work out? Looks to me like they concentrated their attention and energy on the critics, ignored or drove away the people encouraging them, kept a few of the fawning fans and the cyber bullies.

    Over these eight months it appears that they have actively used social media to garner new fan bases, and time and again, the same pattern emerges. At this point I wonder if there are actually more victims out there than there are fans? When I say that, I mean real victims, not wolves in sheep’s clothing, because it looks to me that the false victimization gig has run its course.

    That’s not to say I think there is anything wrong with @ Interested Party continuing to encourage them. Have at it, maybe yours will be the voice that’s finally heard, and that’s a miracle I would be happy to see.


  33. Interested party: clearly, her victim card schtick has moved you. Don’t feel too much pity. She’ll be back to arrogant Nicole in no time.
    Oh, the family needs encouragement in order to support their family and see their dream to fruition? How much? Last I saw there are 45k plus page likes, they blindly received ample money to kick start a homestead, and were given a business based on the idea of “let’s encourage them” and they will finally succeed. Granted, their page support is decreasing (because: truth) and other than a few die hard enablers, their “real friends” cannot deny the reality. Her mother, although cut off and ridiculed, still encourages her. She has plenty of encouragement. The problem is: what are you encouraging? An unconventional, wilderness family progressing toward self-sufficiency and alternative education? If that’s the goal of encouragement, it’s not working. They’ve actually made less progress toward that goal. Or are you encouraging a lifestyle that enables a lazy, dishonest couple to live a life of internet addiction and extraordinary mental instability while neglecting the needs (especially educational) of a large number of innocent kids. Personally, I will not encourage that.
    One of her largest supporters was just on this page to confirm that (paraphrasing) Nicole will do whatever she wants to do despite any advice.
    That’s the one constant in this saga: the nauglers will do whatever they want. Also, there’s been a consistent source of “encouragement” to enable this facade. I wonder what would happen if they weren’t encouraged. Granted, even the staunchest people calling out this family wouldn’t want to see the kids go hungry or shed-less, but what would happen, if for once, the nauglers were actually held accountable for the lifestyle so many continued to encourage?


  34. Bill I think you may be on the right tract. I think there may be several who have vested interests who will protect the image disseminated to promote the ‘save the children’ campaign, JMHO. There may be a problem however when the “children” run off the rails. Campaigns where accountability is absent or non transparent and one is told it is none of your business where donations are spent become suspicious. JMHO.
    In a circus there are promoters, financiers, ad men, the audience, the law. Who did I forget?


  35. I’m sorry. The “let’s encourage” negligent parents has me spinning.
    Sure. Dress it up with smiling babies, “mud for Christmas” videos and conversations posted as proof of maternal involvement. But it is what it is: abhorrent, negligent parenting.
    She has a strong, beautiful daughter who up until this year had dreams of being a vet. No one really knows when Nicole decided that being a vet wasn’t for her daughter but one might deduct it wasn’t from a science curriculum, speaking with a vet, or even unconventional learning directed toward veterinary skills. One might wonder if she even did decide her own career at this age or if helplessly watching livestock die on her property (with or without understanding why or how it could have been stopped) or being force fed sick fan fic from her mom regarding a non-supporter from Arizona with a cruella deville fetish had anything to do with it.
    Point is this: this is a person that needs encouragement. A preteen with dreams (whether they are actually hers or Nicole’s remains to be seen) and not a single tool or skill to reach them.
    Her autistic (?) child gets a mention every once in a while. Every year or two. Last time was a comedian with a sketch about raising an autistic child. (There is a parent of an autistic child who at least pays enough attention to know what it’s like versus a parent of an autistic child looking for anything to offend and post to her page. And, it was funny. Like she said.) Has Nicole even spent an hour online or networking with other parents of high functioning autistic kids to have an inkling of how much that would hurt her son if he overheard her playing that sketch? Or when one of his older siblings with Facebook played the sketch that they found on their mom’s page? What of her son’s hypersensitivity and feelings? Has she a clue of the anxiety most children with autism feel for being different? For someone so against bullying, she sure doesn’t lead by example for her children. By that same token, if any child is being neglected in that homeshed, it’s the child with special needs. What the almighty fuck? Upwards of 20-30 memes a day, and the autism awareness is given one joke. (Not that her memes account for parenting, but, there is a clear ambivalence to a child that will need extra attention in order to thrive. There was a point on her blog years ago where it seemed she was going to go full throttle as autism mom but I guess other things came up.)
    I could go on and on but I’m sick of people believing “if they just got some encouragement” everything will be okay.
    The kids deserve encouragement. They are the innocent victims. Their parents deserve nothing because they’ve earned nothing. Stop this cycle of absolute negligence. The naugler children deserve more. I’m sorry the state of Kentucky could not do more to make sure they get it. Their parents won’t.

    And to Valerie, one of the largest enablers, you claim it’s so cruel that non-supporters hyper focus on any and every meme or comment. How terrible it is that people obsess on this poor family just trying to be a generation x little house on the prairie wannabes, kind of sort of, without all the work and effort.
    I think it’s cruel that you hyper focus on their dream and the smiling kid pictures. I think it’s mean that you think it’s more important to make sure Nicole has positive self esteem than to worry and wonder about those kids. Memes and Internet wars aside, if you had 11 kids, a business, a plot of land that requires extra time for the most basic purposes: bathroom and cooking, how much time would you have left over to play online? Honest question. If you were truly attending to the needs of your 11 children, how many hours and how many pages could you run? I think if you’re as honest of a person as you claim to be you would quit encouraging negligence.


  36. To put it into perspective, Washington, DC has a number of community gardens. In a variety of areas. Overall, they do better than anything the Naugler adults have to show for their efforts. <—- as seen on PBS V Street NW (photo was taken in August)

    These are challenging areas to have a garden and they demonstrate it CAN be done. Not always with overwhelming bounteous results, but with consistent effort there are tangible rewards.


  37. Long ago, Nicole indicated that she wanted to be a veterinarian when she was an adult.

    So, maybe [child’s name] did dream of becoming a vet because she really wants to become one. Where is the evidence that her mother, who set aside her own dream of becoming a veterinarian, assist her in that effort? I’m not talking about getting animals and then proceeding to care for them in a lackadaisical half-assed fashion. Nothing is EVER properly set up BEFORE animals are brought home. The chickens were wiped out because “someone” didn’t think (to contain the dogs, to feed the dogs, to protect the chickens). The rabbits weren’t brought back to a solid hutch. Goodness only knows how many cats have been lost to the weather and as snacks. Purposefully breeding a Boxer to a Great Pyranees and selling the pups. The goats – well, they’ve been discussed at great length. Poor animals, purchased on a whim and nothing is ever well-prepared for their arrival.

    Then the begging begins. Or the protests that people who ask or state “WTF?” are “haters”. Sure, we hate it when other living things suffer as a result of Joe and Nicole doing things half-assed. That includes raising, educating and caring for their children.

    Want to prove that you have some sort of idea about what you’re doing? Sign up your eldest child for the ACT and SAT tests. I think there is still just enough time available to do so. You’ll have to reach into the bank account to pay for the exams but you were GIVEN at least $45,000 so surely you can spare it for your son. You categorically state that home-schooled children are better educated than those who went to public or private schools. Well, put your money where your mouth is and give your son the opportunity to demonstrate how well you’ve educated him to date. He may even enjoy the writing portion of it (which is optional but recommended) as the essay topic may be one that really speaks to him.

    As you’ve invested time and energy in his education throughout his life, there is no reason not to permit him to take either of the tests. For once, you’ve prepared for this all along. No doubt your extended family would love to share in crowing about his test results when they vindicate you from accusations of educational neglect.


  38. I agree with your comment but it was the older daughter that wanted to be a vet.
    Another reality that’s being ignored is that she is picking a career at 14 (!) and out of the only options her current unschooling gives her access to. The older daughter at 14 had settled on being a groomer, without a chance to see what other strengths she likely holds. The younger daughter to be a midwife and or mom. Hmmmm…
    I thought the unconventional unschooling was to afford more opportunities to expand interests, not lock them into the only two roles their mother puts them into.
    Guess it’s still better than being a professional FB warrior though.


  39. I thought the unconventional unschooling was to afford more opportunities to expand interests, not lock them into the only two roles their mother puts them into.

    Another thing I would mention is that Nicole has talked about one of the children wanting to be a “doctor,” but then suggesting that he is interested in “holistic” or “alternative” medicine. First, that’s not being a real doctor. She’s setting him up to be a quack, probably because the child will not have the proper education to even begin to apply to medical school. And hell, it’s cheaper to just take some online course, or better yet, watch YouTube videos. You too can be Food Babe.

    Second, the child in question is too young to even start to make such a goal. Lots of kids want to be doctors, or astronauts, or rock stars, but they mostly abandon those ideas once they start actually exploring what they enjoy and have an aptitude for doing (for instance, the aspiring astronaut finds out that she really hates math and science, but loves foreign languages).

    This is one of the real strengths of so-called traditional education. Children are presented with all sorts of options. How many kids do two years of college and then change their major? (Answer: a lot) That’s one of the reasons that most college courses of study require core subjects in those first two years with the more specialized courses coming later on.


  40. Today Astronaut Scott Kelly posted his pictures of the flowers that they grew in space.

    NASA Astronaut Scott Kelly
    Monday Motivation: Space Flower garden proving through challenge and continuous effort comes growth. ‪#‎YearInSpace

    I would have to add EDUCATION is also required for this garden, but not impossible to achieve. Love these guys and gals. Scott had an open Q&A session during the snow storm. So cool.


  41. Oh, whoops. Got the daughters mixed up. Still, their interests are narrowing rather than expanding. Nothing wrong with admiring your mother and wanting to be like her as an adult – but that’s not generally what daughters DO when they’re teenagers. No matter how admirable mom may be.

    One of my daughter’s best friend’s in high school spent more time and energy fighting her mother tooth and claw and insisting that she had no interest in becoming mom (an M.D./Ph.D.). Naturally, she’s in school to earn her Ph.D.

    Love the zinnias in space. Hey, that could be the name of a band!


  42. Poor animals, purchased on a whim and nothing is ever well-prepared for their arrival.

    Tekla, Did you see the chicken post on the Goodwin blog? First thing I noticed was how she started the post. “We promised ourselves over and over that we wouldn’t get any farm animals until we were completely set up and ready for them.” Of course, they ended up getting chickens without having a coop or anything but at least they acknowledged it wasn’t a good idea and wasn’t their intended path. And in the meantime they had a stock trailer that they used to lock the chickens up at night to protect them from predators. Of course, the husband proceeded right away to build an impressive structure using lumber from trees he felled and milled himself. His determination, commitment and work ethic brought about a good result even though things didn’t start out exactly as planned.

    My husband brought home four chicks a few years ago without first discussing it with me and I was not happy. He put together a little cage structure with a heating lamp for them to live temporarily in in our detached garage/shop. I didn’t want to purchase a coop because I didn’t think it would work for the site in the yard I was eyeing and I wanted to do the coop and run as inexpensively as possible because otherwise it would kind of defeat one of the purposes of keeping our own chickens. (Although saving money on eggs was not a primary goal of ours. We were more doing it as a hobby that the kids could learn from.) So, anyways, I set to researching what elements to include in a good coop and run design so it would be as functional and low maintenance as possible and also predator proof.

    I wanted to use salvaged materials as much as possible to save money but to also use materials that might otherwise go to the landfill. Our neighbor was dismantling their back deck so my husband helped out with that and got to bring home all the usable lumber in return for his labor. Then we went to our local store that sells building materials salvaged from tear downs and remodels to see what things were available that might work for our coop. The best thing we found was some great old siding but we got an old door and windows and other things as well. Then, with no building design or construction experience, I put together a building plan and we got started with getting this thing put together.

    There was a little trial and error and it took longer than we wanted it to (chicks get big fast) but we persevered and we spent all our free time on it until we got it done because we had these four little living things depending on us. It turned out awesome, if I do say so myself. It’s functional and looks good and predators have never been an issue even though coyotes, raccoons and other critters are abundant where we live. We’ve grown our flock a little since, decided to make one minor modification to the design, need to do a little maintenance to it this summer but it’s still an awesome coop and run for our purposes and it makes me feel happy every time I look at it.


  43. That’s an interesting blog, although the whole pretending-to-be-living-in-1860’s-Confederacy thing is a little much. At least they have a decent house and so do the chickens.


  44. The thing about unschooling–(dare I say it) textbook unschooling, not the thing the Nauglers do–is that it’s supposed to provide tons of options. The teachers are supposed to present the children with a broad menu of things to do and explore, take careful note of what holds each child’s interest, and provide individualized opportunities to study individual interests in more depth, including outside tutoring, tools, materials, field trips, and, yes, textbooks. This should lead to a well-informed choice of career. “Unschooling” at the Naugler place is a combination of “We’ve decided that our children should go forth and homestead for us,” assorted crackpot rants, and some stuff that just happened according to Mrs. Naugler, such as literacy. In other words, the older kids just happened to remember enough from the pre-“unschooling” days to lead the younger ones through at least learning to read.

    The career menu at the Naugler place appears to be limited to either “Oh, well, if Mom/Dad says so” or “Please, God, anything that gets me out of here.”

    And it’s just classic Naugler that with enough money on hand to buy a ton of books or a beater car for the oldest child, they decided instead to buy…a piano. If it was actually a gift–why on Earth did they accept it? In either case, can you imagine piano practice in that stuffy little box?!


  45. BLB,
    Yeah, they’ve really embraced the whole anachronism thing. I suppose they’re sort of somewhere on a spectrum between the Amish and the rest of us. (I do notice they use TP, disposable diapers and of course, computers and the internet.) I imagine that, not unlike the Amish, living the way they do sort of bolsters their brand and maybe helps with the growth of their businesses.

    I admire their industriousness even though I’m pretty sure I disagree with almost all of their world view. For their own sake, I hope they open their minds to the benefits of family planning although I think they might be part of a subculture that discourages that.


  46. 6/5 New garden video posted on youtube

    – there are some plants growing and the young man is in charge. He’s working on it and doing a good job.

    – no evidence or mention of humanure or any soil amendments, composted materials, fertilizers, mulch, watering practice, daily/weekly time to maintain, expectation of crop yield, pest control, tomato cages, tools of any kind, learning opportunities for the rest of the kids

    – the teen is wearing a gun and a large knife while sharing his nice garden because ? He needs some power tools, especially a rototiller to do his job and also access to water when it gets really hot… but, a gun? Seriously?


  47. “…but, a gun? Seriously?”

    Bears in the wilderness, don’t forget. Or maybe he really believes that there are people trespassing on the land at all hours of the day and night from whom he needs to defend the family and their humanure system.


  48. Yep Tekla, BIG bears. Would they really encourage a teen to shoot people? Just this week the mom said he was a minor and could not go out and get a job 🙁 I hope the authorities who are dealing with code violations are careful. The most likely person to get hurt is a member of the family 🙁

    That garden should have rich, fertile soil from incorporation of previous years of humanure. The dirt looks hard packed and mostly clay, to me evidence of no available soil amendments.


  49. BTW My comment about using humanure was tongue in cheek 1. Because They don’t really have any composting process with all the bucket contents and 2. The human poop part and human veges part don’t mix. The soil really does need enrichment tho to get a good crop, and a real compost pile would help. There was only a little bit of many things planted which is a great way to learn what grows well, what the family likes to eat and eliminates any canning, drying, freezing.


  50. Necroposting because I just found out that the Breckinridge County Cooperative Extension office provides FREE soil analysis and recommendations for fertilizer.



  51. I think Nicole’s post today was interesting. She is basically telling everyone that her family isn’t what everyone thinks. I agree.

    People want to complain that the Nauglers don’t cloth diaper, grow a decent garden, sew clothes, dispose of poo properly, build a house, school the children, or go to church. But Nicole’s choices are all about saving money and avoiding laws and not about traditional homesteading.

    I don’t think they care at all about gardening. They care about spending as little money on food as possible. And it is cheaper to buy dented canned food than it is to grow it.

    Why spend money building a septic system when you can compost it for free?

    They don’t want to be off grid to be self sufficient and save energy. They just don’t want to pay the monthly bill (or the late charges and reconnect fees).
    And if you have city water, gas, electric, or cable, you will have to allow those workers on your property to read meters or make repairs. They may see your naked toddler running around covered in mud and asking for a drink. They may see trash all over your yard or a messy house and call child welfare.

    I don’t think they homeschool because they believe it is some beautiful learning opportunity. Public school would just invite government intrusion and disrupt her freedom. Nicole pointed out the other day that public school may not fit every family dynamic. It involves being on time everyday even when the parents might need to sleep in or there is a nursing newborn and toddlers to get ready for the ride to school. Your kids have to be bathed and in clean clothes.

    It is cheaper for her to use disposable diapers, so she does.

    It is cheaper to buy clothes at thrift stores than to sew them, so she does.

    Church involves the kids talking to other kids who are involved in baseball and track and technology classes. That just makes the kids want to join activities. That involves transportation and activity fees. It is cheaper to let them play with siblings (and just refuse to pay the entrance fees at the lake and stream).

    I don’t believe Nicole’s kids really have a say in how they live any more than I did as a child. I believed my parents way of life was the only true way and everyone else was wrong. I held those beliefs until I left home and finally got to experience the real world…not the world my parents had constructed. I hope Nicole’s kids are able to forgive her for keeping their world so small and difficult.
    She is successful at living on a small income with a large family, but at a great cost to her childrens freedom.


  52. Oh so spot on, Bea! Everything you said, I totally agree.

    “But Nicole’s choices are all about saving money and avoiding laws and not about traditional homesteading.” Instead of saving money though, it depends on what it pertains to. Certainly not prudent or wise family financial/economics choices, and there have been several poor choices.

    Penny wise and pound foolish~ Benjamin Franklin


  53. Oh, I can’t wait for spring! I live wayyyyy up north, brutal, bitter winters. My husband built me a big raised garden bed last summer. It was our first garden, it took a week to shovel all the black dirt in there from the load we had hauled in. We were late getting everything in but we were pleasantly surprised at how well we actually managed to grow stuff! How satisfying! Something ate our pumpkin plants so we ended up fencing it. Bugs got the corn. But everything else did swell! We’re addicted, we really are, we love it! Neither one of us had any experience with gardening, none between the two of us, and we just leaped right in, we winged it, and it actually worked. lol. Hopefully we can produce again this summer. It was fun. We’re expanding too! We’re doing a smaller bed of just strawberries and we’re moving the pumpkins and watermelon to the hill that goes down to the stream. My goal is to be able to manage the garden plus a flower garden around the house.
    I’ve heard letting chickens into the garden helps keep bugs down? I’m debating expanding the fencing around the garden and getting chickens, we live very close to a major highway though so my husband says no because he doesn’t want a chicken to get out, get hit by a car, and sue us for damages or god forbid it causes an accident.


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