Most people have very little actual understanding of what forgiveness is, why it should be part of your daily life, and who exactly forgiveness benefits. Even Christians treat it as something we do out of duty or to gain a reward for good deeds done.
Last spring, an article in The New Yorker stated…
“From the crumbling bridges of California to the overflowing sewage drains of Houston and the rusting railroad tracks in the Northeast Corridor, decaying infrastructure is all around us, and the consequences are so familiar that we barely notice them—like urban traffic congestion, slow-moving trains, and flights that are often disrupted, thanks to an outdated air-traffic-control system. The costs are significant, once you reckon wasted time, lost productivity, poor public-health outcomes, and increased carbon emissions.”
You may not think about it much, but America’s aging infrastructure is what allows us to live the lifestyle we are so hopelessly addicted to here in the United States. Thinking about our national infrastructure is probably not high on your list of every day priorities, but there are people that take it very seriously. And they are concerned.
Every 4 years, the American Society of Civil Engineers releases a Report Card for America’s Infrastructure that depicts the condition and performance of the nation’s infrastructure in the familiar form of a school report card by assigning letter grades to each type of infrastructure. The news was not good when the last report card came out. The ASCE gave the US infrastructure an overall grade of D+, estimating that it would take an investment of approximately 3.6 trillion dollars just to get to a grade of B. You can read the full report for yourself in the 2013 National Infrastructure Report Card.
In 2016, the ASCE released FAILURE TO ACT: The Impact of Infrastructure Investment On America’s Economic Future, which laid out what is at stake if the United States does not take action and make the investments needed to bring our aging and crumbling infrastructure back up to standard.
The 2017 ASCE National Infrastructure Report Card will be released on Thursday, March 9th at 9:30 am EST. That’s when we will get an up to date assessment by the professionals about the current state of our national infrastructure. You can follow along live with the release of the report card HERE.
Count me among those that are very excited to see what, if any, progress has been made since the last report was issued.
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In Mark 13:32, Jesus says, “But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
But wait, isn’t this Jesus, the God-man? How does the very Son of God not know when He will return? Doesn’t this show He isn’t God?
Each of these, at first, are very valid questions. It’s also worth noting that his isn’t the first time Jesus is described with restrictions. Luke 2:52, for instance, says Jesus “increased in wisdom and stature.” The book of Hebrews says that “though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered.”
Let’s be clear: Scripture teaches that Christ had to be fully God to represent God to men, and be fully man to represent man to God (Col. 2:9; John 1, etc.). He’s 100 percent God and 100 percent man!
To save us from the Father’s due wrath upon us, He had to be both. If He wasn’t a man, he couldn’t have died in our place as a substitute. If He was not God, He would have been just like you and me—that is, unable to defeat the power of sin and death and satisfy the Father’s wrath as a perfect sacrifice.
Throughout His life, we see glimpses of both natures. For instance:
- Because He was human, He got thirsty (John 19:28). But because He was God’s Son, He could turn water into wine (John 2:1-13).
- Because He was human, He got hungry (Mark 11:12). But because He was God’s Son, He could feed 5,000 hungry people (Mark 6:30-44).
- Because He was human, He became weary (John 4:6). But because He was God’s Son, he was raised from the dead (Matthew 28:1-15).
And, to answer the question posed at the beginning, because He was human, He didn’t know the day or the hour of His return. But because He is God’s Son and fully divine, He promised He would return with great power and great glory.
In other words, while on this earth, Jesus willingly emptied Himself of many of His divine powers (Philippians 2:5-11). The Greek word is kenosis, which literally renders as “emptying.” In His human nature, Jesus has limitations like you and me.
In short, the reason Jesus doesn’t know is because, in His humanity, He “emptied himself” of all that knowledge and access to it.
But here’s the bigger question: Are you ready for Jesus’ return?
Here are four questions to ask yourself.
- Are you spiritually alert? How would your life be different if you knew Jesus was coming back today? Wouldn’t it make you question, “Am I ready? Am I living to please him?” For many reading this, the ultimate question is, “Is your soul ready for Jesus to return? Have you repented and believed the Gospel (Mark 1:14-15)?”
- Are you urgently on a mission? If you knew the world would end, how would your priorities be rearranged? We are consumed by work, possessions, hobbies and bucket lists. And there’s nothing wrong with these things. We need rest and recovery and we have to work! But in the midst of these things, are we investing our life, time and resources to eternal matters?
- Do you find hope in your most intense suffering? Suffering is a reminder that this world is not the way it is supposed to be. The world is full of unfathomable evil and suffering. The Lord is full of unending love and comfort. If someone you loved died of cancer, if your closest relationship is severed, or if your body is full of pain, you can lift your eyes! Jesus is coming back. His return promises us that the things of this life are only temporary.
- Do you have an intense power to forgive? If you believe Jesus will return as He said He would, then you can forgive as He commanded. At the return of Christ, He’s going to set all things right, and we can endure until then because of that fact.
May we long daily for heaven, pray daily for Christ’s return, and live daily content and joyful as we rest daily in the sovereignty of God.
Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill DBE is a retired British Olympic Gold track and field athlete
“The Peak District in the UK is the most beautiful place. I’m maybe biased because my grandparents live there in the village of Castleton. As children, me and my sister spent a lot of time out there and the nearby villages, off on adventures. I’ve got lots of great memories of us as a family.
My grandparents live just below the castle, and we would go sledging on the hills and in the summer we would get ice cream and go for long walks. I didn’t like long walks when I was little but we used to a really long one up Mam Tor. Now I look back and think it was fun.
Going to Derbyshire is the opposite of where I lived growing up in the centre of Sheffield, with noise and traffic. Around Castleton is really hilly. Behind where my grandparents live is Winnats Pass, where the road winds up through the hills and over to Manchester. There are massive cliffs and rocks; it looks like something out of Game of Thrones. It’s really beautiful and dramatic.
My grandma used to work in the caverns at the Blue John mine and I used to love going down there. I think I’d be scared now, as I’m a bit claustrophobic. But the Blue John is magical.
When I was younger my sister and I wouldn’t want to go home. Now it’s lovely to go and visit and come back home refreshed. When I was training, I would head up to Castleton for some down time and to relax. The signal is terrible, so you don’t have to worry about emails and what might be going on back home.
You can grab a couple of days detached from everything.
I’m lucky it’s on my doorstep and I try and get there regularly. A few weeks ago I took my little boy Reggie to his great-grandparents. They love having him over. It’s weird to look in the bedroom where we used to sleep when we were little; it always seemed massive but it’s a tiny box-room.
It’s not somewhere I go to be alone. I always spend time with the family; when I go round my grandma has invited five of her friends. It’s not a place I can be incognito.
The summer is my favourite time of year as you can do so much more. When it snows up there, it really snows.
The drive from where I live in Sheffield doesn’t take long — you pass through the villages of Hope and Hathersage, where Andy and I got married. I’m excited about making new memories out there. We love taking our labrador Myla on massive walks. It’s wonderful having that connection from my childhood and I want Reggie to enjoy it too.”
Mountain House makes a pretty good product, and some of their stuff is pretty good. I’m still a little annoyed with them over their snubbing small-time dealers several years back. But…personal feelings have no place intruding into logistics planning.
I have cases and cases of the Mountain House pouches in storage. Their ‘Pro-Pack’ stuff is just the ticket for stuffing into a 72-hour bag or caching in a bucket somewhere.
I usually figured the product would keep well past the seven year shelf life anyway, it’s nice to see a little confirmation of that.
H/T to The Metals Pimp for bring this to my attention.
With the merciful You will show Yourself merciful; With a blameless man You will show Yourself blameless; With the pure You will show Yourself pure; And with the devious You will show Yourself shrewd.
Who is Jesus? Well, quite honestly, that depends on who you are. Not in the common core sense, like Jesus is whoever you want him to be. But, in the sense that today’s verse implies.
Are you broken hearted? He’s a comforter. Are you ashamed of your sin and repentant like the woman who was caught in the act of adultery? He’s a forgiving savior.
Are you struggling to have faith like the man with the demon possessed son? He is patient and powerful enough to heal your child and grant you a believing heart.
But, if you are arrogant and proud like the pharisees of his day, he is your prosecutor and your judge. And if you have determined to be your own god, making your own rules, and living life the way you see fit, in the end, you will find out that he actually is God.
Jesus said, “what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world yet loses his own soul?” Prepper translation: “What good will it do you to survive the coming economic collapse, nuclear war, or even a zombie apocalypse if you don’t know you will go to heaven when you die.” A recent study found that 10 out of 10 people die! On that day we will meet our Maker. It only makes sense to be prepared for that day. Click here to learn more about knowing GOD.
Have a blessed day and happy prepping!
Prayer for America (short version)
God, we have sinned and deserve the just punishment for our sins as a nation who has rejected you in every possible way. And yet, Lord, I cry out for mercy for myself, my family, and this nation. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christi, I pray. Amen.
Against Demonic Influence in America
Almighty God, who delivered Your people from the bondage of the adversary, and through Your Son cast down Satan like lightning, deliver these United States of America also from every influence of the unclean spirits. Command Satan and his minions to depart far from these United States by the power of Your only begotten Son. Rescue this nation and its people from demonic delusion and darkness. Fill the American people with the light of the Holy Spirit that we may be guarded against the snares of the crafty demons. Grant that angels always watch over our nation and lead us to the path of righteousness forever, to the honor of Your glorious name, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, now and ever and to the ages of ages. Amen.
Have mercy, O Lord, upon the whole clergy of Your Church in America, and grant them the courage, wisdom, and strength needed to boldly preach Your Word and do Your Will during these perilous times.
Bless, O Lord, and have mercy on those who serve as police officers, fire fighters, paramedics, and other first responders.
Grant, O Lord, blessings and mercies to all current and former members of our armed forces. Save them, protect them, and keep them safe.
Daily Bible Reading
Sunday: Romans 8
Monday: Romans 9:1-29
Tuesday: Romans 9:30 – 10:21
Wednesday: Romans 11
Thursday: Romans 12
Friday: Romans 13
Saturday:Romans 14:1 – 15:13
I love modern technology, particularly the electronics that allow me to communicate so quickly and easily. Even so, the loss of that capability – for whatever reason it’s lost – doesn’t have to be entirely devastating. We communicate not only without our electronics, but without noise all the time.
I tap my wrist, hold up my hand with my fingers splayed. Across a room, instantly, I’ve told someone they have five minutes, or that I need/want five minutes. I tap beside my eyes, point in a general direction, and then point lower or higher in an aisle of a store. It tells somebody at the other end that I found what we’re looking for, or that I want them to look at something, and then where more specifically that something is.
We do it nearly instinctively, some of us more than others. While hand gestures especially change meaning culture to culture, the ability to communicate without speaking is inherent to our species. It has been since before the first cave painting.
Recently the topic of communication without radios came up. The possible reasons for a non-radio life are pretty varied – a generator or solar panels with significant damage, low winter light, extended-time crisis when even rechargeable batteries are exhausted, seasons and locations when it’s hard to get messages through, EMPs and solar storms, neighbors who have the skills to survive but don’t have the same EMP-proof stockpiles we do, newer homesteaders and preppers who can survive but haven’t moved into serious “thrive” supplies yet.
There are also times we want to communicate, but don’t necessarily want to be heard. Hunting and tactical reasons are two of those.
History and modern technology have given us a lot of options to work around those possibilities and needs. Here are a few.
Morse code can be applied to a lot of communication options. While it’s primarily associated with radios, it was once a common ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication method using light instead.
Navy signalman using Morse –
It wasn’t until I started looking for an image online that I realized how dependent people are on the blinker-clicker features of their flashlights for light-transmitted Morse. If you have a milspec light that can take that abuse, great.
If not, cover and uncover your flashlight with your hand. It’s still fast and easy.
For some of us with broken and aging fingers, and for people who are turning their lights on and off to get the same effect, it’s not only actually easier, sometimes faster, it’s also going to save your light a lot of wear and tear.
You can use a laser pointer for it as well, or cover and uncover a battery-candle-oil lantern with a box (or an oatmeal tub, coffee can, small ones with your hand).
Light stands out like it’s cool at night. Even a little green-red-blue laser light. It travels a long way when it’s dark-dark.
If you’re only trying to not stand out to everybody with one of those insane fifty-yard beams and you’re working from a set, expected position, you can signal by flashing the laser light or a flashlight into your palm or onto your chest, onto a tree or certain wall that’s visible from another location but not most of the property.
If you anticipate the need to really not be seen by anybody but your LOS partner, carry a flattened toilet paper roll wrapped around your small flashlight. (Flattened but tube, not sliced.)
When you’re ready to send a message back to the house, to the other side of a building, along the length of a wall, or down a roadway, cup the tube in one hand so you’re blocking the back, and stick the front of the light just inside it. Or, hold a laser sight/pointer just outside it.
The roll contains the light, so only somebody facing you sees it. If you want, add a mirror or a white disk to the palm to make it a little easier for that person to see.
I pretty much prefer those two general methods, regardless, because you stand a really good chance of blinding the person you’re trying to signal, or at least giving them dots in the eyes, especially with a pointer.
The sea services have been using specific flags to communicate since some of the earliest days, from pirates warning about trying to run from them, warning others that illnesses are aboard, to requesting assistance. This site has a list of international signal flags, their phonetic name, and the navy/maritime meanings.
The phonetic name becomes valuable, because some of the meanings at sea translate directly or with minor modification to things we face on land, too. The Morse, semaphore, or ASL of the phonetic name can be flashed or signed to convey a whole thought or message, just as a flag would.
The flags can be made – painted on boards or drawn on cards to use in windows or to be flashed, or drawn in chalk on a wall or sidewalk as needed. It doesn’t have to be fabric, or flying in the air.
Any flag, banner, or windsock at all can be part of group and neighbor communication.
If we all normally fly the local team’s colors, but somebody puts it at half-mast or upside down, they could be saying they need help – or they’re ready for harvest/planting assistance. One person with a weather station might say rain, so a blue banner goes up. A black cross on yellow might mean a woman went into labor and the local sheep keeper would be welcome as a midwife. A black dot might mean there’s sickness – don’t come calling.
A flag might also just mean all’s well here, and a quick snip to drop it on the way past alerts all the rest that the gunfire wasn’t practice, it’s real, or that there’s a fire-fire, not burning waste or smoking out bees.
We can get as creative or simple as we want.
Another powerful tool in the box for sending messages visually, with the same alpha-numeric capabilities of Morse, is semaphore signaling – that signalman out there with the two bright flags or cone lights. Semaphore flag signaling was also once done using a single flag in just four positions (you can find it called wigwag signaling as well).
With two flags, there are fewer combinations to remember, but you also have to have two flags – and hands – available. For both, a larger line-of-sight space is required so the flags can be seen.
Established Shorthand Codes
Various established codes provide shorthand communication for “Suspicious vehicle” (10-37), “your keying is hosed and hit every branch of the ugly tree on its way down” (QSD), “Report to [location]” (10-25), “stand by” (QRX), and “Be super-duper quiet” (“Do not use siren or flashers”) (10-40).
Those are all phrases we might use, from communicating across a yard or across a farm, as a simple survivor with a neighbor or family, or as a group with defensive and patrol forces. 10-codes especially have a lot of preexisting elements that are of use in many situations.
They can be transmitted with clicks, whistles, a pipe smacked with a hammer, marker on a dry erase board, flashed/blinker lights, or using semaphore flag(s) and hand signals.
We can also easily modify or truncate existing codes.
“QRO” (are you troubled by static noise) can become “do you hear anything”.
10-81 (breathalyzer report) becomes “just a drunk”.
10-90 (bank alarm) can become a prefacing code for an audio or visual alarm, with the location following it.
As with cop and amateur radio codes, there are hospital codes that can apply or be readily modified to fit life without radio communication. Heavy equipment operators and divers also have signals we can steal and modify. Knowing the common motorcyclist signals can be applied to daily life as well as serious disasters.
Military Hand Signals
Whether we’re ever planning to clear a house or a yard with another person or not, military and police hand signals also have applications for many situations. The numbers alone are useful. There are also action-information signals that are pretty handy.
The difference between “stop” and “freeze” gets used with my dumb dog 20 and 200 feet from our house with some regularity. I prefer to just go extract her or the ball from my pots and planters, but sometimes I just want her to stay generally where she is while a car passes. “Go back” translates to “out/away” in our world – I want her to back away from me, usually while I’m playing with sharp things or might squish her.
I originally thought it was just my quirky father telling dogs, the rest of the family, and hunting buddies that we were going to the vehicle with his “steering wheel” gesture. For a while I though the military had stolen the “down” signal from hunters with dogs.
Turned out, not so much. He just modified them from his military days.
Even without need for silence, it’s just really easy to whistle or clap a hand once, tap a window, ring a triangle, and then make a quick gesture, as opposed to shouting fifteen times or hiking out to somebody.
The gestures themselves are rooted in military hand signals we each learned (decades apart). In most of my lifetime’s applications of them, they’ve had no military bearing at all. But like the ability to say “I love you” a last time from a window, or immediately flag a distress signal in a boating-savvy community, they entered into our world and stayed in use.
American sign language has some of the same benefits as the everyday-everyone useful military signals. There are a world’s worth of truncated single-gesture shorthand signs, for everything from “man” or “female child” to “taking lunch”. Deaf-mute people are able to hold the same sophisticated conversation as speaking and hearing folks. The addition of spelling and broader concepts to military hand signals allows ASL signers to be more specific across even distance, silently.
It’s also just a handy skill to have and might increase your employability when you stick it on a resume.
As with flags and hand signals, we can take cues from history and modern eras with leaving drawn symbols – or flashing cards and posters – as well.
Here’s a fairly comprehensive listing of WWII symbols. It wouldn’t be completely crazy talk to go with another nation’s symbols, such as German or Russian, if you want to keep the information a little more segmented, although there tends to be a lot of commonality.
The old hobo symbols can be a little tricky. I can think of three or four for “safe water” alone. It also means adjusting from “black spot of death” and “X marks the spot” to slashes and X’s are bad, and dots are good.
However, from “dangerous man” and “vicious dogs” to “rickety bridge” or “avoid this in rain”, there are many apply, whether we’re planning on a community, thinking “Kilroy” situations, or just making notes for family or a core group.
The symbols also allow us to quickly and easily annotate our own maps for areas of concern or resources.
The limitation to all of these is line of sight. But in some to many cases, being able to communicate even from a driveway to the house, the length of a hall, or stacked in a ditch, without making noise or taking a lot of time, makes them worth considering. There’s a good reason many of them have never faded from use, even with today’s technology.
If you want to communicate at range in the dark, you’ll need flashlights or pointers, (or oil-candle lanterns if your non-radio needs are expected due to long-duration interruptions in shipping). For us, that’s balanced, because we have lights on us, almost always, but not always a cell signal and not always a radio. That might not hold true for everyone.
Hand and flag signals are limited in range, while light carries longer distance. However, blinker-light comms is only really reliable at night. I may be able to use red boards, car windshield heat reflectors, or white flags to increase range in the daytime.
The number-one piece of gear for longer-distance communication without electronics is going to be binoculars or a scope.
Day or night, if I can’t see what you’re sending, clearly, we have delays or miscommunication. They’re inexpensive enough and should be part of most preparedness closets anyway.
If you’re mostly in brush country and are only talking about distances of double-digit yards, don’t break the bank there – there are more important things. If you’re looking at using blinker lights and somebody climbing a windmill or water tower daily or weekly to do a neighborhood-town flag check, a simple scope should work.
It’s also a lot to learn.
Instead of planning to use all of them, maybe take notes, print guides, but cherry pick. The very basic hand signals (heard, saw, numbers, armed or unarmed, child, adult, animal, danger, recover/relax, say again) and basic Morse code would take priority. 10 and Q codes can be added on. A few flags or graphics to represent ideas or situations follow.
Radio Silence Backups
The point is not to discourage anyone with fifty-five million more things to learn or buy. It’s that we have lots of options even if electronics-driven communication becomes unavailable. With any luck, there are some ideas here that can add some resiliency and redundancy to existing plans.
And, since a lot of it is learning based, not resource based, non-radio comms can be a way to improve preparedness with free-inexpensive skill building while saving up for purchases.
j I admit I have mixed feelings about this camera, than the last one I reviewed. This one was easier to hook up to my phone, and I like the single cable instead of three separate cords coming from the camera. IT goes to IR nicely, and has a good picture. However, it feels […]
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This article was originally published on morningchores.com
Have you ever noticed that you never feel like you are ever really done when it comes to a homestead?
I realized how frequently I feel like I am caught with my bloomers down last year. It felt like I wasn’t prepared for winter.
But then before I knew it, spring was upon us, and I was chasing my tail again.
So here are a list of spring chores that you should keep on your radar so that your homestead will run smoother. I’m happy to say with a little more organization, I feel much better prepared for my homestead duties this year.
Remember, organization is key to homesteading. Here are a few ways to help your organization along:
1. Nurse Your Garden
If you don’t plan on buying all of your seedlings (which I don’t recommend), then you’ll need to start your own.
Depending upon where you live will depend greatly upon when you need to start your seeds. Here is a great seed starter calculator. However, whenever you can start your seeds, do so. This will save you lots of money and also give your plants ample amount of time to grow.
2. Bring the Babies Home
If you do not set your own eggs, then the spring is the right time to purchase new chicks and ducklings. This is the right time also to purchase chicks that you plan on raising for meat.
Also, if you purchase a hog to raise for meat instead of keeping a breeding pair of pigs, the spring is the right time to purchase it. Keep turkeys in mind too. If you want to purchase just a few turkeys to eat on special occasions instead of raising a breeding pair, then you’ll want to purchase them in the spring too.
3. Rev Up the Incubator
My husband runs our incubator year round. Between it and the massive brooder box he built, we are able to sustain baby chicks, ducklings, and keets year round.
However, if you don’t have a small hatchery in your backyard, then you’ll probably only want to start incubating eggs in the spring and summer months. This means that the spring is a great time to start pulling eggs out of your coops and giving them a chance to hatch.
4. Build Tractors
We use a lot of tractors around our homestead. They are great for baby bunnies, chicks, ducklings, and keets when they are starting out.
However, this means that we must build and repair them in the spring while the babies are still too small for them. Then when the babies get bigger, we can place them in the tractors to move them around the land and allow them to safely forage. This give the animals a healthier diet and saves us a lot of money on feed.
5. Get Ready to Milk
As spring comes around so does the baby boom usually. If you have goats, cows, or any other animal that you use for dairy purposes, then you’ll need to have your milking supplies ready.
We use a basic set-up with a milking station and a pail. However, I have to make sure that my milking stand is in good condition and that my pail is still clean and ready for milk. It is better to make necessary repairs or purchases before it is time to milk. That way you aren’t caught off guard.
6. Prepare Your Birthing Kit
Being prepared for birth is a necessity so you get the most out of your homestead. For rabbits, you need to ensure they have nesting boxes and hay. Be sure your brooder is cleaned out and ready for baby birds.
Though, I actually have a birthing kit when I’m expecting baby goats. It is nothing fancy. It is a laundry basket I purchased at the dollar store. Inside of the laundry basket I have fresh towels and blankets. I also include some latex gloves as well.
However, each spring is a good time to make sure it is easily accessible and that I have everything I need inside the basket. Goats don’t really need much help when birthing, but I’m usually present and there to pull (if needed) and to help my nanny goats clean their kids as I feel sorry for them trying to clean one kid and birth another.
7. Take Down Winterizing Materials
Depending upon where you live, you may have to winterize your coop, hutches, or bee hives. When warmer weather finally comes around, you need to go through and take all of the layers off.
Even though I live in the south, I still winterize to some extent. Our rabbit hutches are layered with more wind breaking material and so are our coops. When summer hits, we remove some of the layering because they just don’t need it.
So spring is the perfect time to go through and shed some of those heavier layers of protection for your animals and bees.
8. Clean Out Your Sheds and Barns
Sheds and barns are used heavily during the warmer months. It is important that they are organized so that you can find everything that you need as efficiently as possible. My husband use to be the world’s worst at just laying stuff down or not putting it in its place.
Finally, I had enough and my oldest son and I went to town on organizing things. It is amazing how much more functional our homestead is now. My husband has even become more organized because it truly makes life that much easier.
So go ahead and clean out your barns, buildings, and storage sheds while you can. It will make your summer and fall much easier.
9. Mend Your Fences
It is a fact of life that things break. Unfortunately, a lot of things break during the colder winter months. Fences are often times one of those things. Something will happen while it is cold and snowy outside.
Often for us, we’ll slap a band aid on it until the warmer months. However, when the warmer months roll around go ahead and mend those fences. It will save you a lot of time later when you aren’t having to round up animals that have escaped through your band aid.
10. Repair Your Buildings
Buildings are not cheap nor easy to build. Taking care of them is a necessity. Over time though, they wear down.
So instead of just letting them fall to ruin, make necessary repairs during the spring. If you had a roof collapse from the weight of the snow, go ahead and put a new roof on it with whatever materials you have on hand. It will save you a lot of money in the long run.
11. Repair Equipment
In case you haven’t noticed my theme yet, spring is a great time to make repairs. The reason is that the busy season is almost upon you. You are making preparations for when your homestead is in full swing again.
So go ahead and get your equipment in tip top shape so you won’t lose precious times in those warm months having to fix a tiller, a tractor, or whatever else you need to help your garden along. This will certainly make your life easier later if you make the time now.
12. Place Your Order
Some times we have to break down and purchase things. I hate those moments because I’m frugal. Yet, they must be done. For instance, I can’t grow a tractor part, gardening tools, or even farm equipment. I can purchase them inexpensively or even second hand, but it still requires I place an order.
So if there are items that you absolutely need and you have to purchase, spring is a good time to go ahead and get it over with. That way you’ll have what you need for the busy season, and hopefully the busy season will be a profitable one as well in order for your to recoup some of the money spent.
13. Build Garden Beds
Every year we add a few more garden beds. It just seems that we want to plant more so we naturally create more space for it. If you have any garden beds that need repair, or if you are needing to build extra space, then consider this a good time to begin building them.
So when spring rolls around, try a few of these garden bed ideas to get your amped up for the grow season.
14. Harvest Winter Vegetables
If you live in a warm enough climate, you can still grow vegetables during the winter months. We usually grow vegetables like carrots, radishes, turnip greens, and lettuce throughout the winter.
However, before we use the gardening space in the spring I have to be sure to go through the beds and pull up any left over veggies. This is particularly true for carrots as they hide very easily beneath the soil.
15. Clean Up Winter Greenhouse
If you have a cold frame or a fully heated green house, chances are you may use it to grow vegetables throughout the winter. I think that is awesome! I have a smaller greenhouse I use to start seedlings and grow fodder for my animals throughout the winter months.
But these greenhouses have to be cleaned up and ready for a fresh cycle of planting. The spring is a good time to clean them up and also to plant in them again for the next cycle.
16. Mix Up the Compost
Planting season is upon you if spring time has rolled around. In early spring is a good time to mix up your compost. This gives everything a good chance at complete decomposition by the time you need it for planting in around mid to late spring.
So keep this in mind in the early months of spring. Compost is a vital part of having a successful harvest during the summer and fall harvest.
17. Plant the Future Harvest
If you expect to have a harvest, then you must first plant the seeds. Mid to late spring is when most items need to be planted. This can be a large task depending upon what size garden you have.
We have a larger garden so it usually takes me a couple of days to get everything planted. I also feel like I’ve had a tremendous work out by the time I’m done. So expect to put in a lot of work with this chore.
18. Plant Some Eye Candy
I love flowers. I know a homestead is meant to be functional, but for me, I want it to be gorgeous too. This is why décor around my homestead is super important to me.
So if you love having a beautiful homestead too, then use the spring months to plant gorgeous flowers in beds and in window boxes to add some natural color to your property.
19. Create an Outdoor Living Space
I have lots of outdoor sitting space. I want my home to be a place that sustains us while also being a place that we can enjoy.
For this reason, I create outdoor living space. We have a back porch that gives us a shaded space to rest on hot days. I have a front porch that gives me a great place to relax at night and enjoy the view.
However, when spring rolls around I must put out my outdoor furniture in order to enjoy these spaces. So if you have outdoor furniture the spring is a great time to pull it back out and enjoy those outdoor spaces again.
20. Clean Your Heating Source
I’ve mentioned that we do have HVAC, but we also use a wood stove to heat our home during the winter months. When spring time hits, I know it is time to clean out the wood stove one final time as well as the ash pale.
Also, I need to clean my HVAC unit so it can be ready to blow cool air as those warm temps are just right around the corner. This is a good time to perform routine maintenance on these items as well.
21. Work on Your Water Barrels
However, the spring is a great time to make sure your rain water systems are working as they are supposed to. Use this time to do routine maintenance so you can water your gardens and animals without having to use the water for your home.
22. Defrost and Clean Out Your Freezer
Spring is upon you so the cycle of refilling the freezer for winter has begun again. This is a good time (when it should be at its emptiest state) to defrost the freezer, clean it out, and reorganize the items that are left with in it.
This way you will be able to know what is oldest and eat it first so nothing wastes. You’ll also be able to spot if your freezer needs any maintenance. Plus, you can take inventory of what you have available to eat in your freezer as well.
23. Get Your Pantry Up to Par
I don’t know about you, but my pantry can become a mess rather quickly. I have multiple children who rummage through it and have a way of taking my organization and throwing it to the four winds.
So spring is a good time to get a grip on that situation. I go through the pantry, reorganize, and rotate canned items so I know what I need to eat first. Plus, I make room for the items I’ll be canning in the upcoming seasons.
24. Make Room for Staples
My husband works a regular job while I work at home and then we homestead on top of that. However, his job is based upon work load. So he usually makes a lot more money in the summer in comparison to the winter months.
So I use these months to stock up on staples while I have the extra cash. But I also have to make room in my home to hold these extra staples. Spring is a good time to start making room and dedicating certain spaces in the pantry, closets, etc. to hold certain staples that you can buy cheaper in the summer and use all year.
A few examples of items I’ll buy in the spring and summer are wheat seeds (I grind my own wheat), sugar, baking supplies (like baking soda and baking powder), and often I find coffee cheaper during these months. So I go ahead and stock up for the year so in the winter when I don’t have as much stretch to my budget, these items are already stored away for when I need them.
25. Clean Your Homestead Home
You didn’t think in all of this preparation I was going to forget about your actual dwelling space, did you?
Well, I didn’t. Having a clean house is so important because it helps to keep things organized and that just makes life function so much better.
Not to mention, there are certain areas in our homes (like behind the stove and refrigerator) that need some attention every 6 months or so. This is a good time to make the time to clean these items so you start the busy season of homesteading with an organized dwelling space.
26. Pull Out the Cool Stuff
I’m talking about temperature cool. Spring starts bringing warmer temps with it so you’ll need to put away the warm winter clothing and linens.
Instead, you’ll need to replace them with lighter weight options. This will keep you comfortable and organized too.
27. Clean Your Canners
Canners need a good scrub down. I usually scrub mine down after I complete a season of canning and then again before I begin. You might think that odd of me, but I want to make sure they are put away clean.
Plus, I want to make sure that all of the dust that can gather on them during the winter is removed. It is also a good time for me to check my canners out and make sure they are functioning properly so they can do their jobs.
28. Go Shopping for Canning Season
Spring time is the time to shop for canning supplies. If you need to buy a new canner you better do it before the season really gets started.
Also, you must buy lids. If you live in my neck of the woods, when lids come into town in certain stores with the lowest prices, you have to hustle or you’ll miss out.
So use this time of year to get prepared for canning season and make sure you have all of the supplies you need.
Well, there are 28 chores that should help you use your time in the spring to better prepare for the busy time of year that is only right around the corner.
But I’m curious what chores you do around your homestead in the spring time. Do you have anything specific that isn’t mentioned here?
Please let us know by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below.
Source : morningchores.com
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The post 28 Important Tasks You Should Do This Spring on the Homestead appeared first on .
I got this idea from Dave Canterberry so I cannot take any credit. This has been done on youtube many times, but I don’t like seeing, I like doing… This Sling Bow was a fun project, and if I spent the time to practice, this has the potential to be a useful tool. However, right […]
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I know chickens like to peck, heck it appears to me that they LOVE to peck, but…. I just have this hangup over throwing their food on the ground. So for my benefit I decided to experiment a little and make a PVC Chicken Feeder Tray to hang in their tractor. To be honest, this probably […]
I want to give some tips on Halloween Candy Safety, this is particularly relevant to me because I have a 3 year old that will eat candy off the ground. Be cautious. Whether it’s Halloween candy or a party buffet, your confidence should be lower whenever you consume food that hasn’t been either professionally prepared […]
chicken tractor works really well, but working 14 jobs (or 3) makes it tough to get up early enough to clean and refill the poultry waterer each morning. So I used the power of the internet to find a new solution. Chicken water nipples…. now I know what that sounds like, but basically they are […]
Charity fraud does a lot of harm. The con artist takes advantage of people’s good will and takes their cash -money that was meant for people in need. You can make sure that any money you give gets into the right hands. Just remember these tips when somebody asks you for a donation. I believe […]
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Sitting inside, pouring over gardening magazines, and dreaming about my spring garden, I envision acres of land covered in lush, green plants. Each row is teeming with fruits or vegetables, and my family is awed by the bounty of supplies that our garden provides.
When I step outside and face the reality of my yard, however, reality comes crashing back. I don’t have acres of land to work with, and my expanse of lawn is stopped abruptly by the fence that divides my yard from my neighbors (all three of them). To make matters worse, the “dirt” in my yard is more accurately called sand and doesn’t seem to want to grow more than weeds. How can I still achieve the garden of my dreams? With raised beds.
Using raised beds, I can still have rows of plants; they’re just contained in smaller areas.
Here are six ways to maximize your raised bed garden this year:
1. Shapes matter
To maximize the space, think rectangle instead of square. Using long, rectangular boxes allows you to easily reach all the plants without having to leave pathways for walking. The benefit? You can fit more plants in your box. Use raised beds that are no more than three feet wide for maximum gardening ease.
2. Location, location, location
If you live in an area where good soil is hard to come by, raised beds allow you to grow plants anywhere. By mixing your own soil, you can grow a bountiful garden in your yard, on concrete patios or elsewhere. Place your raised bed in an area that receives full sun, has easy access to water and is safe from outside forces such as pets, running children or lawn mowers.
Instead of long rows of plants with spaces in between, stagger your planting rows. A traditional garden uses planting squares to help guide your planning. In your raised bed garden, think triangles. Stagger the rows so that the plants in the second row are in between the plants in the first and third rows, forming triangles. This creates a fuller garden, giving you more production capacity.
4. Companion planting
As you’re developing your garden plan, follow the lead of Native Americans and use “sister” crops. Planting corn, beans and squash together allows the cornstalks to support the beans, while the squash grow happily in the shade provided. Find other compatible plants to group together to provide an assortment of produce. Some other “sisters” are: tomato, basil and onion; carrots, onions and radishes; celery and beets.
5. Succession planting
Want the benefits of your garden to last all season? Plant in cycles. You can capitalize on fast-producers like lettuce by planting a new crop after your harvest. Replace the lettuce with peppers to keep your garden producing longer.
For even more production, stagger plant dates by using transplants. Grow seedlings by starting them indoors at varying dates. Add plants to your raised bed at two or three week intervals to ensure a continuous supply of produce.
6. Think vertical
Even if you don’t have a large area of ground, your garden can still produce an abundance of food. Just grow up instead of out. Train cucumber and squash to grow up on stakes or trellises. Plant vining crops along one side of your raised bed with sturdy poles, or in the middle using trellises to provide shade or support to other plants.
Are you planning your spring garden? Maybe you’ve decided to try a raised garden bed this year, or you’ve done raised bed gardening in the past, but haven’t been happy with the results. Using these simple tips can help you maximize your raised bed, giving you and your family a rich harvest that can last year-round.
What advice would you add on raised bed gardening? Share your tips in the section below:
Survival Saturday is a round-up of the week’s news and resources for folks who are interested in being prepared.
This Week in the News
This week on Survival Saturday, we’ll … Read the rest
Gardening for Preppers and Survivalist Forrest & Kyle “The Prepping Academy” Audio in player below! The “The Prepping Academy” and talking all things gardening. There’s not a single good reason anyone could give for not building a seed bank. In the eventuality of a grid down scenario, or even unemployment, a seed bank could be life saving. … Continue reading Gardening for Preppers and Survivalist
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by Todd Walker
Crazy eyes! They stare at me when I tell folks I’m cutting a cord of firewood with an ax. No chainsaw, no bucksaw, no maul… just an ax.
Real-world ax skills require massive, deliberate action.
February is history as are 88% (probably more) of the 2017 New Years resolutions. Following the season of overindulgence, these were the top five according to the Google:
- Exercise more (38 per cent)
- Lose weight (33 per cent)
- Eat more healthily (32 per cent)
- Take a more active approach to health (15 per cent)
- Learn new skill or hobby (15 per cent)
Expensive gym memberships, designer workout clothing, and faddish fitness equipment were purchased by folks really wanting to keep their resolutions. I’m so over the whole gym thing… have been for years. Here’s why…
- Gym workouts are too predictable and safe
- And the big one, they’re indoors!
Lifting heavy stuff in the gym is loaded with one-dimensional sameness. Running on a flat, rotating rubber mat has to be the most boring exercise ever invented. Any increase in fitness levels will obviously benefit anyone who enjoys the outdoors. But exercising for the sake of exercising is one reason people lose interest.
Why not combine resolution #1 and #5 (above) and actually get stuff done around the homestead, backyard, or base camp? I’m aware that many reading this will be limited in both skills and resources (trees). For those in the beginner stage of ax work, I would highly recommend spending time learning how to safely swing an ax. This is dangerous work. If you’re not a bit nervous before swinging your ax, you’re probably too cooky and will soon be humbled. The danger aspect is what keeps me focused while swinging sharp steel attached to a long stick. There is, however, nothing as satisfying in this woodsman’s psyche as honing an essential self-reliant skill and staring at a stack of ax-cut firewood seasoning.
The functional fitness aspect of wood chopping is a natural byproduct of ax work. Are you gonna bulk up like bodybuilders admiring their sculpted bodies in the mirror? No. If that’s your goal, stick to the gym. You will see noticeable gains in stamina for real-world, ever-changing daily tasks. Moreover, there’s the practical reward of watching a firewood pile grow which will provide heat to your family.
There are many more qualified axmen to learn from than me. I’ve wielded an ax most of my life but never in such a concentrated manner or time frame as the last six weeks. Hopefully, my experience will benefit some, and, perhaps, encourage others to start using our most basic of woodcutting tools. The ax is back!
Tree to Firewood
Old school professional boxers knew the benefits of swinging an ax. Jack Dempsey, George Foreman, and Mohammad Ali, to name a few, were known to chop wood for peak performance. As mentioned previously, finding available resources to chop may limit your adventure. An alternate workout, one I did several years ago, is to swing a sledge-hammer. But swinging a blunt object won’t increase your firewood supply.
There are far too many concerns and safety issues which need to be addressed to turn a standing tree into split firewood with an ax. I’ve covered a few Ax-Manship topics on our blog over the years. Before launching into serious ax work, I can’t recommend The Ax Book highly enough. Mr. Cook covers these topics more thoroughly.
Felling, limbing, bucking, hauling, splitting, and stacking your own firewood, in the woods, on uneven terrain, is physically demanding. According to Dudley Cook, after cutting a cord of firewood with an ax, “you will cumulatively lift about 24 tons for each cord.” Especially if you haul logs back to camp on your shoulder.
Not everyone will choose to cut their firewood with an ax only. If all you have available for a functional fitness workout is a long log, the following movement is an excellent way to exercise your major muscle groups.
Shoulder Log Lift
I’m in the middle of the Axe Cordwood Challenge at my base camp. There are some interesting obstacles with my scenario. Once a tree is down, my means of conveyance is to haul the logs back to base camp on my shoulder. I have neither machine nor animal to transport the wood. I’m the mule… or jackass in many cases.
Daddy taught me this method for hauling heavy pipe early in my youth in his plumbing/welding business. Balancing a long, heavy object on your shoulder is a skill every woodsman should learn.
I’ve found it easier to lift a longer pole than shorter logs of the same diameter. A six to nine foot log needs less vertical lifting force than a 4 footer of the same diameter. The reason is that a longer log tips over the shoulder (fulcrum) without needing extreme vertical force to get it into position.
Here’s the technique on video…
One would be wise to make a pad to protect your neck and shoulder. My makeshift pad is a cloth possibles bag stuffed with a shemagh I carry in my haversack.
Also, when limbing the tree, be sure to cut all limbs even with the trunk. Protruding limbs, even slightly raised, will not only poke into your shoulder and neck, but find a way of snagging every vine along your path of transport.
If it’s too heavy to lift one end, don’t attempt a shoulder carry. Split it into manageable rails first. You’ll develop a feel for what you can and can’t shoulder by standing the log vertically.
Once the log is vertical and balanced, position your feet near the base with your heels close together. Squat facing the log where your shoulder will meet near the balance point of the pole. Keep your back straight, grip the base of the log, and let the pole lean back over the shoulder as you lift by straightening your legs. A slight backwards rocking motion helps. Lifting with your back bent is inviting serious injury.
Position the log to balance slightly toward the rear, not forward. To adjust the lay of the log on your shoulder, hold with both hands and give a slight bounce with your legs to move the log forward or backward. When set properly, walk with one arm cradled on top of the log as your travel. Use your other hand if needed over rugged terrain. Here’s where nature’s gym throws a real-world workout at you.
Wear sturdy boots, take your time, and watch for tripping hazards. If you stumble, and a tumble is imminent, drop the log from your shoulder and get out of the way in the opposite direction. If possible, hedge your bets by walking inclines with the log on the downhill shoulder.
When you arrive at your destination, reverse the process to unload the log. With the end place on the ground, flop the standing end over. You’ll create a stack of long logs ready for splitting on a chopping platform. For smaller stock, just toss it off your shoulder taking care to avoid a kickback of the falling timber.
The old adage, “Chop your own firewood and it warms you twice,” is a big fat lie! In my experience, the number is more like 7-10 to turn a standing tree into firewood. If you’re up to it, you’ll develop ax skills along with upping your functional fitness level. For those interested in either, check out the additional resources below…
- Our YouTube Channel Axe Cordwood Challenge Playlist
- Ax-Manship Series on our blog
- Our YouTube Channel Ax-Manship Playlist
- Skill Cult’s Axe Cordwood Challenge rules (Warning: Graphic ax injure photos)
- Functional Fitness workout – (exercise for exercise sake)
Disclaimer: If you choose to use an ax in any manner to chop your own firewood, recognize the inherit dangers and take responsibility for your own wellbeing and safety. I am not responsible for anyone doing stupid stuff, or any other stuff. Even doing non-stupid stuff holds risks of injury and/or death when wielding an ax.
Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance,
P.P.S – If you find value in our blog, Dirt Road Girl and I would appreciate your vote on Top Prepper Sites! You can vote daily by clicking here or on the image below. Check out all the other value-adding sites while you’re there…
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We never know what type of disaster will hit us next. Will it be an EMP, a tornado, a flood, a riot, a shootout at a commercial center, or an economic crisis? We never know, but there is one thing that we can all do – prepare!
Maybe you have already started stockpiling food and water for survival and you have prepared you bug-out-bag, but are you really physically and mentally prepared to survive any disaster?
For this week’s prep blog review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic.
- 4 Quick Tips to Survive an Emergency
“Plenty of articles talk about how to make large supplies and other preparations for various emergencies. In what follows, I want to take a different approach: I’m going to give you nothing but quick, down-to-earth tips of what to do and what not to do when these 4 disasters strike.
Keep in mind that, although the advice itself sounds simple, taking action on it when everyone around you is panicking will be a huge challenge.
Surviving a Riot
We’ve all seen numerous riots spark in the United States as well as in Europe. Here’s some quick tips on what to do should you get trapped in social unrest:
Never move in the opposite direction of the rioters. You will stand out and they might pick you as a target, possibly dragging you along. “
Read more on Plan and Prepared.
- 6 Totally Insane Things that Will Happen if the Power Grid Goes Down
“Imagine if you will, what would happen if you pulled an American family from the 19th century, and plopped them in the middle of downtown Los Angeles during rush hour. They’re not given a warning, they’re not given any kind of primer on what they’re about to experience, and the occurrence is completely inexplicable. How long do you suppose they would last before they cried uncle?
Would they even survive? The odds probably aren’t so good.
Of course, the reverse is probably also true. If you and your family were wrenched from the comforts of the present and hurled back into a previous era, you might not fare so well either.”
Read more on Ready Nutrition.
- How to Survive a Flood
“In the deadliest flood ever recorded, every person on the earth — except for the first “prepper family”– died.
Thankfully, there hasn’t been a flood like that since.
However, that doesn’t mean that there haven’t been some nasty and deadly floods. In fact, there have been many, and according to FEMA floods were the number-one natural disaster of the 20th-century.
If you look at the graph below (provided by the NOAA), you will see that on a ten-year average, floods account for 84 deaths each year. However, in 2015 that number was blown-out-of-the-water (pun intended) with a total of 172 deaths nationwide.”
Read more on Sheep Dog Man.
- How to Prepare for a Tornado
There are many natural disasters that might befall a community, but a tornado is one of the most unpredictable.
Several people were killed in the last few days as a rash of storms wreaked havoc in the South and Midwest.
Indeed, hundreds of people are killed yearly by tornadoes, but many injuries and deaths may be avoided with sound preparation.
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the earth and the thunderstorm (sometimes called a “supercell”) that spawned it.
Read more on Doom and Bloom.
This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.
Harnessing the sun to boil water and cook food is a dream come true for anyone but especially so for preppers and self-sufficiency types who want to reduce their dependence on the electrical grid and traditional sources of cooking fuel. The SolSource Solar Cooker does just that; it harnesses the sun and effortlessly becomes an all-in-one cooker, stove, and grill. Not only that, it is fun to use (actually a blast to use!) and the prepared food is super-delicious.
In this review, I will explain how the SolSource works, from installation through cleanup. In addition, One Earth Designs is giving a complete SolSource Solar Cooker bundle to one lucky ready. This is a $569 value. How cool is that?
The post Cooking Off-Grid with the SolSource Solar Cooker + Giveaway by Gaye Levy first appeared on Backdoor Survival.