7 Reasons You Should Raise Backyard Chickens

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Not only is the idea of backyard chickens a fun one, there is so much to gain from this little, feathered friend. Owning chickens for me is about a mutual relationship where they offer me so much and I am responsible for protecting them. This is not always an easy thing to do. Chickens are […]

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11 Charming DIY Chicken Coops You Will Love

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11 Charming DIY Chicken Coops You Will Love I don’t know about you but I am a sucker for a great chicken coop or project. I love seeing the creativity of others in what they house their chickens in. I think chickens in cute coops help to balance the world ending scenarios that we as preppers …

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10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chickens

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10 Ways To Save Money Raising Chicken Of the many benefits that come along with raising chickens, there are a number that can actually effect your wallet. Chickens cost you feed, bedding and the occasional meds for keeping your flock as well as other rare costs. For the most part they are such a giving …

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Tax Free Emergency Preparedness Supplies – Here’s how!

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Tax-Free Emergency Preparedness Supplies – Here’s how! It’s always surprising to find out how few people are taking advantage of what I call the preppers tax cut. I don’t know the full scope of how it hits nationally but I know many states in the Union participate in tax-free weekends for emergency preparedness. This is …

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How to Make a Log Splitter – Kindling Splitter

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How to Make a Log Splitter – Kindling Splitter The minds of regular Americans never cease to amaze me. There are people innovating on a daily basis and their products or ideas just never make it to Amazon. When I look at this article about building a log splitter from rebar I am again reminded …

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WSHTF – When Shit Hits the Fan

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WSHTF – When Shit Hits the Fan At some point, the world is going to end. There are several possible ways it could happen, and each way has a timeline associated with it. We checked out some theories and narrowed down the time frames for these. While a world-ending event is inevitable, it is not …

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Secure Home Gun Storage: The Prepper’s Essentials

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Secure Home Gun Storage: The Prepper’s Essentials What I can say about preppers is that within our ranks we probably have some of the most irresponsible gun owners around. This is not a knock on all preppers. Many people are well trained and do the right thing. Just the nature of what a prepper is, …

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How to Protect Yourself from Robbers

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How to Protect Yourself from Robbers When I think of a criminal and particularly a robber There are two things that come to mind. One is desperation. Someone must be pretty desperate if they are going to put themselves at risk to rob someone. The other thing is justification. In order for someone to hurt …

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Prep Blog Review: 60+ DIY Chicken Coops You Need In Your Backyard

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Are you raising chickens for eggs or meat? If not, you should, it’s easier that you think!

Back in the days, raising chickens was a normal thing, even in the city, as part of a self-sufficient life. Why not doing it again, especially if you need a food plan in case the SHTF? You and your your loved ones will enjoy fresh eggs every day and fresh, chemical free meat.

After deciding on the best chicken breed, it’s time to take the next step – prepare the chicken coop. With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered some amazing DIY chicken coops projects you can build right now.

1. 57 DIY Chicken Coop Plans

“If you’ve found this article you`ve at least thought of raising chickens one day and as any experimented householder would recommend, you need to build a chicken coop before actually purchasing the little creatures; you are here because you have realized that a pre-fabricated coop might not be something that suits your needs and you’ve made the right decision, you need to build an easy simple chicken coop tailored to your needs, the following article contains spectaculous diy chicken coop plans in easy to build tutorials, 100% free of charge.”

Read more on Homesthetics.

2. 11 Charming Chicken Coops You Will Love

“Have chickens or looking to add them? A coop will be near the top of your list of needs for sure, it is important for protection from weather and predators too.

Even if you free range them a coop will give them a safe place to go and a place for them to lay eggs as well. You may have chosen to DIY a Chicken coop to save some money or create a custom look.”

Read more on Little Blog In The Country.

3. Raising Baby Chicks – Beginners Guide

“Raising baby chicks is a right of passage for any homesteader or self-sufficiency folks. But when you’re a beginner raising baby chicks, you want to make sure you’re caring for your animals correctly, after all, this is your egg and meat production.

These tips on raising baby chicks pertain to chicks purchased from a hatchery, feed store, or in the mail, when they haven’t been hatched out with a Mama hen. It’s much easier when we let nature do her thing, but many people don’t have the luxury of an already established flock or broody hen and need to begin their flock with baby chicks.”

Read more on Melissa Knorris.

4. Coping With Chicken Loss

“Losing animals is an inevitable part of raising them. No matter how careful and diligent you are, at some point you will have to deal with saying goodbye – and not just due to old age, either – to some members of your flock or herd. This is heartbreaking even if your animals were meant to end up as dinner at some point. So much more if you treat your livestock somewhat like pets. I remember one time years ago, crying and telling my husband I’d rather give it all up and never keep anything living but plants again.

We have lost a lot of chickens during the years – to predators, diseases, accidents, and sometimes for no visible reason at all.”

Read more on Mother Earth News.

 

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia.

Caching Strategies For The Smart Prepper

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Caching Strategies For The Smart Prepper There is a lot of discussion going on in the prepper communities regarding caching. However, some people fail to make a distinction between hiding their supplies and caching them. These are two different tactics and a cache should be considered a long-term investment. It’s your main and perhaps only …

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Why You Can’t Grow Food In Containers

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You start by planting seeds and hope to have a small crop but they don’t even sprout. Or you buy healthy seedlings and they just come to your home to die.

Your container gardening is just not working…

Just like with flat gardening, you’ll come across some problems when you’re practicing container gardening, too.

Are you going to give up before reading how these 8 problems can be solved?

Plants grow but don’t produce fruit

There’s nothing more frustrating than watching your plant grow from a seedling into a lush, beautiful plant, then waiting for fruit that never comes.

There are a couple of different reasons that this may happen.

Plant isn’t pollinated

If you’re growing plants that require cross-pollination, they won’t bear fruit if they aren’t pollinated. Usually, bees take care of this, but not always, especially if your containers are in a protected area or you live somewhere with a small bee population. These plants include squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, and some cucumbers to name a few.

To pollinate them so that they bear fruit, simply take a small, soft paintbrush and gently run it around the inside of each flower. Don’t forget to do the first one twice!

If you still have a problem, you may not have both male and female plants. Female plants may not develop if the weather is cold or too wet. You can determine which flowers are male and which are female, by their appearances. If you do this, then you can just pick the male flowers (only females bear fruit) and pollinate the females with those.

The easiest way to tell if many plants are female or male is to look at the base of the flower. For instance, with squash, the female flower will have a little squash underneath it at the base of the stem and a raised orange structure inside. The male will just have a stem on the bottom, but there will be an anther with pollen on it inside of it.

This will vary from plant to plant, so know how to tell the difference on your individual plants. Usually, though, the presence of the pollen-covered anther will be a dead giveaway.

Video first seen on Tower Garden

High temperatures or humid/arid conditions

Another reason that your plant may get bushy but not produce fruit is because they won’t produce if the temperature is too high or if the pollen can’t spread. This is particularly applicable to tomatoes and peppers.

If the temperatures regularly reach 85-90 degrees during the day and 75 degrees at night, the plant may not set fruit. If it’s too humid, the pollen may be too sticky inside the flowers to spread from flower to flower. If it’s too arid, the pollen may be too dry.

The best solution here is to protect your plants from the heat as much as possible, and make sure that they’re fed and watered correctly. Even though most people will tell you that tomatoes and peppers prefer full sun, if you live in places such as the southern US where temperatures can be brutal, “full sun” means “full sun in the morning.”

Plant your seedlings where they’ll get full sun in the morning but shade in the afternoon.

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing your own food!

Seeds Don’t Sprout

This is incredibly frustrating. You’ve taken the time to choose your seeds and plant them, then you wait … and wait … and wait. And nothing happens. No seedling pokes through. What went wrong? Well, again, it can be a couple of things.

Seeds were too old

Seeds are only good for an average of a couple of years – some seeds may be good for up to five years – but don’t count on them for more than two years. To make sure that your seeds are good, germinate a few of them before you plant the rest.

Do this by placing ten seeds, evenly spaced, in a wet paper towel. Roll it up and put it in a baggie, then put the baggie in a warm spot in the kitchen for two to seven days. Check the seeds after then and see how many of them germinated.

The number of seeds that germinated will give you a good idea of the percentage of the other seeds that will germinate, thus giving you an idea of how many to plant in order to get the yield you’re looking for.

Incorrect amount of water

This is possibly the most common reasons why seeds don’t germinate. Some seeds, such as tomato seeds, like plenty of water. Others, like peppers, germinate better when the soil is fairly dry. The only solution here is to know what conditions your particular plants require in order to germinate the best.

Planting too deeply

This is a common mistake made by new gardeners. Most seeds don’t need to be planted more than an inch or so beneath the soil. Planting them deeper will either delay the appearance of the sprout or cause the seed not to germinate at all.

Planting in cold soil

Most plants need the soil to be at least 50 degrees in order to germinate, and 65 is better. If you live in an area that gets extremely cold, start your plants inside in order to get your seeds to germinate. A combination of planting too deeply and planting in cold soil is the most common reason for seeds not to germinate.

Plants have mold

You may notice a white mold growing on the top of your soil. This in itself isn’t cause for concern, though you do need to change the environment around your seedlings. The soil is either too wet or it isn’t getting enough sun, or both.

The white mold actually helps organic matter decompose, but you don’t want it to grow in your plants. Don’t freak out, though. It doesn’t mean instant death. Scrape the mold off the surface of the soil, then don’t water your plant again until the soil dries out.

Setting up a fan to circulate air may help, too. Just put it on a setting that causes the leaves to flutter.

Your plants may also get what looks like a white film over the leaves. This is actually powdery mildew and is one of the most common and easily identifiable fungal disease in plants. Unlike mold, mildew favors dry foliage. Like mold, though, it also favors low light and high humidity.

You have a few effective natural treatments, but the best is vinegar. Combine 2-3 tablespoons of ACV with a gallon of water and spritz on the leaves a couple of times a week until the mildew disappears. Be careful though, because vinegar can burn the plant. A combination of 1 part milk and 2 parts water is strangely effective, too.

Nobody really knows why, but it works! Sulfur and lime/sulfur works, too, but can easily damage your plants, so try the vinegar or milk first.

Video first seen on ehowgarden.

Other common problems to container gardens

Plants wilt even with enough water

Cause: insufficient drainage.

Tip: increase drainage holes, use a lighter soil mix.

Plants are “leggy” (spindly and unproductive)

Cause: not enough light.

Tip: relocate the plants.

Leaf edges die

Cause: too much salt.

Tip: leach container regularly by watering until water drains from drainage holes.

Plant turns yellow at the bottom

Cause: too much water.

Tip: water less and ensure good drainage.

These are most of the problems that you’ll run into with container gardening, aside from insects and other diseases.

If your plants become covered with spots, develop dead, dried, powdery, or rusty areas, you may have a few different issues. Your plant may not be warm enough, the soil may have low phosphate levels, or you may have a variety of diseases.

Start by separating the plant from your others and setting in the sunlight. Pull off the dead or damaged leaves, if you think the plant is salvageable. Also, spray with neem oil and/or vinegar water to kill a variety of bugs and diseases.

Container gardening is typically easy and most problems are related to water, sunlight, and temperature. The best way to avoid most of these problems is to know the needs of your plants and meet them.

Back in the days, people knew how to do it. Click the banner below to discover the long forgotten secrets that helped our forefathers survive during harsh times!

If you have any other questions or suggestions about container gardening, please feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook

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The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook I don’t know about you but the thought of buying the right growers handbook or seeking out a gardening book of any kind seems like an incredibly daunting task. The truth is there are just too many of those books on the market. It’s not that there isn’t great …

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Make Your Own Microstill

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Make Your Own Microstill This microstill design and instruction was created to allow someone to make their own spirits. Not a bad tool to have around in a SHTF scenario. I am sure there will be serious addictions that will need to be fed as the stress compiles and resources diminish. You could find yourself …

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Make Kombucha

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Make Kombucha There is a war brewing in your gut. You may thing what happens in your intestines inconsequential but scientists are learning more everyday about the health of your gut bacteria and how it affects overall health. The good news is fermented foods like those that are pickled can do wonders for our gut …

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Garden Hacks – Repurpose Everyday Items

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

When it comes to preparedness – or life in general – there’s a ton to buy. When we can reuse something, it helps. One, there’s the direct cost application. Two, looking at something and seeing its ability to be something completely different has enormous benefits in opening the mind in general.

If we’re preparing for a crisis, gardening and the ability to provide fresh foods in the gulf of winter and spring take on a far greater importance than just a hobby or a passion. Happily, there are some things that can be salvaged for free or found at very low-cost that make a world’s worth of difference. Channel your inner Julie Andrews with me as we look at a few of my favorite things. There’s some non-gardening uses for each listed as well.

DVD Racks

Years ago I picked up a free DVD rack to be a bean trellis for a Rubbermaid tote garden. I have since been in love, and it’s one of the things I consistently watch for at yard sales, curbside pickup listings, and foreclosure cleanup sites.

I got lucky, and mine have a rounded top at the sides. If you find some that don’t, just glue on a milk jug cap for some of its applications.

They go way beyond trellising.

They work for the far ends and sometimes central support “poles” of low poly tunnels or low hoops for garden beds and rows. A little free bamboo or PVC to span distances, some binder clips (Dollar Tree) to clamp the plastic on, and you’re in business.

They can also be set up long-wise down the middle of a bed to form an A-frame style “camping tent” poly cover if desired, which works really well for peas, with roots and salads to the outer verges, and converts well to later tomato beds.

They also form plant racks for inside near windows, against pale walls, or outdoors to keep salads conveniently close or make use of vertical height.

Mine all hold square plastic coffee tubs (they need a length of string along the front unless it’s a really well-protected area), #2.5 cans (the large tomato or peaches can), and V8 bottles without any modification at all. They’ll hold 2L bottles on their sides for longer, shallow containers, or Lipton and Arizona tea jugs of both types and sizes either cut off vertically or horizontally.

I can do square juice jugs as well, but they overhang enough to make the dog tails an issue on their sides, and I’m more comfortable with some twine or wire looping them to the back bar.

I prefer the open-dowel construction type, just because it leaves me options. I can add thin saplings, bamboo or thin sheathing to convert them if needed, but the open frame allows more light and nestles the rounded-bottom containers well.

Outside Gardening the DVD racks have the ability to hold larger canned goods and bottles of water, be used to dry clothes as-is or be half of a frame of dowels or saplings to create a larger drying space, and the poor kid used to have a pair that were hung with a curtain, topped with a chunk of (free) plywood, and outfitted with $2 in hooks to hang her uniform shirts and pants, like a mini closet that was also the mirror and vanity.

Storm Doors & Windows

These guys don’t multipurpose to the same degree as the DVD racks. They’re really handy to run across, though. One, having a backup is never a bad thing. Two, they are ready-made cold frames and pest exclusion frames.

I like a 3’ width for garden beds, permanent or bounded, and they fit pretty perfectly as-is. I can tighten up and use straw bales to create a different kind of cold frame with them laid across the top. I can run them in series or as individual structures.

An A-frame can be pretty quickly mocked up and is one of the easiest builds for getting your feet wet. It’s also handy in that it sluices ice and snow build-up and is more resistant to winds. The doors and windows get hinged at the tops, any stick or tool props them so they don’t flip the frame or ka-bong off your noggin, and cats, dogs and goats are less likely to stand on them.

Just the mesh from storm doors and windows is useful. So is mesh that comes off when you repair those.

It’s going in the garden, so some stitching or a little duct tape on both sides to repair a rip isn’t an issue. All it’s doing is protecting seed-stock squash from cross-pollination or keeping creepy-crawlies from eating the brassicas, lettuce, and beans before you can.

The advantage to taking out the mesh is that it’s an even easier build yet. There’s no hinges (unless you hinge the whole frame) and there’s less weight. That means more materials become potentials for the frame itself. You can tie some loops to go around a brick or post, or add some eye hooks to keep it in place.

Do keep the builds small enough that you can lift or flip by yourself once plants are in there. Some posts to the inside of the bed or rows can create a pivot point for flipping.

Painter’s/Construction Drop Cloth

My first set of drop cloth came from a part-time job in high school. I have been in love ever since.

It’s not super expensive, and it’s a toss-up whether the construction poly or the garden poly is cheaper to buy new, but it’s usually the totally clear construction drop cloth in our area. The 5+ mil I use is fairly durable in Southern wind storms, sun rot, ice and freezing rain, and Mid-Atlantic snow.

Contact handyman type businesses and painting businesses – for these as well as the windows and storm doors, and the mesh from those. Usually they’ll only use them for so long and as with the mesh, a few duct tape patches and the paint stains won’t impede too much structurally or light-wise.

Should you see them pop up cheap or free somewhere, don’t neglect those fancy-people outdoor grill, furniture and sofa covers, or any clear, thick, translucent vehicle covers.

Like the totally clear and colorless painter’s plastic, they all make for great garden hoop houses. Some of them can also be outfitted with sturdier construction to form a more permanent greenhouse.

Outside Gardening drop “cloth” or storm doors and windows can also be assembled into wind and snow-blocking shields around exposed doors at the home, or can enclose part or all of a porch to turn into a mudroom in an emergency or during snowy weather. Doing so creates a buffer chamber so there will be less polar vortex entering the house with every human and pet.

Plastic can also be used to cover windows and doors inside or out to decrease drafts and increase insulation value.

The painter’s plastic has the same value for livestock in extreme environments, especially if a normally warm climate is experiencing sudden return-to-winter weather after flocks or rabbits have adjusted to 60s-70s-80s, or if it’s so rare to have severe weather, coops and hutches were never built for extreme cold.

Drop cloths and poly covers can also be used to line bedding for the young, ill and elderly, so that every sneeze and cough or “mommy, I feel- blech” does not lead to disinfecting a mattress as well as changing bedding.

Wire Shelving

Really, do you ever have enough shelving? I particularly like seeing the simple-frame, open-weave, metal-wire shelving for bathrooms, laundry rooms and closets pop up in junk piles, yard sales, and Craigslist, because it’s super handy, super versatile stuff.

Like the DVD racks, it’s indoor-outdoor tiered plant stands, either year-round or during seed-starting and transplant season(s).

It can also be wrapped in our reclaimed plastic sheets or form part or all of the structure for salvaged windows or poly covers to make a mini greenhouse on a porch, beside a house or garage, for growing later and earlier in the season.

Then it gets even more useful.

Even if the whole is a little rickety, the shelves themselves can be removed and then turned into trellises. They can be rearranged around their original legs-stand or affixed to bamboo or the legs from old tables or chairs to form short garden fences to discourage turtles and rabbits, and limit dogs running through beds.

As an added bonus, if you have a senior gardener or an injury, sinking some of those sturdy table legs or a bundle of 3-4 larger bamboo canes 18” deep and up to hip or rib level can be a major aid in keeping them gardening.

The sturdy supports can then be covered with netting or sections of storm door mesh to act as a further bird and pest exclusions.

Outside Gardening there are endless uses for shelving, from water collection to organizing anything at all. Wire shelves also offer a lot of airflow for drying clothes.

The shelf “planks” of wire units can be used to patch and shore up fences and coops, especially somewhere something dug. They can be used to cover vehicle and house windows to limit damage from thrown bricks or if a storm window is damaged during a crisis.

They can also be reconfigured into a cage or crate for rabbits or small birds, to expand flocks or because they happened to be stacked from Craigslist and Freecycle runs ahead of time and now there’s a puppy to crate train or weather has shifted and we’re worried about the next generation of layers.

The shelves can be used to sift the largest chunks out of compost or soil in some cases, help form a gabion to slow water and keep it from increasing erosion, or can be lined with mesh or cloth for drying foods or seeds.

The shelves can usually be easily reconfigured with larger or smaller gaps than originally intended to facilitate buckets, larger boxes, or drying seeds and grains.

They don’t pop up as much as they used to, but some can still be found on the freebie sites as curbside pickup, or for <$15-20. They also sometimes pop up at Salvation Army/Goodwill, and if you cultivate contacts, sometimes you get your hands on just the shelf parts because the rest of the racks have been lost during multiple transfers or all the pieces weren’t donated.

Garden Reuse-its – My Favorite Things

These are just a few of my favorite things to re-purpose for growing veggies. The world is full of things like laundry bags we can use to prevent caterpillars and squash bugs on our cabbage and beans and zucchini, and old carpeting we can layer deep in garden walkways to cut down on maintenance time.

Any time we can reuse something, it cuts down on waste, making for a better world – not just the world around us. If we’re saving time and money, and if we’re developing some creativity and a new way of looking at things, we increase our preparedness and better our own world directly.

The post Garden Hacks – Repurpose Everyday Items appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Spring on the Homestead – A Busy Time Of Year!

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Spring on the Homestead – A Busy Time Of Year! Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! On this show we catch up with you all! It has been a busy spring on our homestead. Usually, winter leaves us all sitting inside our homes, by a fire, dreaming of all the new things we want … Continue reading Spring on the Homestead – A Busy Time Of Year!

The post Spring on the Homestead – A Busy Time Of Year! appeared first on Prepper Broadcasting |Network.

Does Your Plan B Include a Second Place to Live If Plan A Doesn’t Work Out?

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Does Your Plan B Include a Second Place to Live If Plan A Doesn’t Work Out? This article is a great look the reality of national debt and cost of living. It also sheds light on a topic that scares all homeowners: property value. It’s a terrifying thought when you imagine something in your area …

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How to Make Beeswax Soap

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Written by Cornelia Adams on The Prepper Journal.

I decided to make beeswax soap for Christmas gifts last year.  It has been on my list of things I should probably know how to do and when my stepfather, who keeps bees, brought me seven pounds of beeswax from his hives, I thought the time was right.

I started my soap-making adventure with a recipe for beeswax soap from the book, “Beeswax Alchemy”.  This book contains directions for making candles, balms and bars, salves, cream and scrubs, soap, and even beeswax art.

BEESWAX – WHERE TO GET IT AND HOW TO HANDLE IT

You can either acquire your beeswax from a beekeeper, which I was fortunate enough to be related to, or you can buy it online and it comes in handy little balls that are easy to measure and melt.  The wax I had was in giant hunks which I sawed off with a bread knife.  I do not recommend this method.  It’s maddening.  Since then I have learned another method which would have saved me a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

First, beeswax becomes brittle when frozen and is much easier to cut.  Secondly, and I think I will go this route next time, the wax can be melted and poured onto a large cookie sheet lined with freezer paper.  Once hardened, the wax can be broken off into small chunks without sawing at it like a crazed butcher.

You can make soap without beeswax, however, I wanted to use the beeswax I had on hand because the scent is wonderful and it has conditioning properties that I wanted to in my soap.  There is a very basic non-beeswax soap recipe found here.

LYE, LYE, LYE

Without lye, there is no soap.  Lye, or sodium hydroxide, is required to make the chemical reaction that makes soap.  Period.  I had seen lye in the hardware store for cleaning out drains and thought that there must be a softer, gentler lye available for making soap.   To my surprise, the lye I made soap with to give my loved ones was made with the same highly caustic chemical that will burn the eyes out of your head.  Since lye is so dangerous, I want to give you some tips:

  1. Measure everything correctly. This is not the time for measuring with your eyes, use a digital scale, it is most accurate. If your lye to fat ratio is off, or you have added too much beeswax you will waste your time because your soap will be sludgy or rubbery.
  2. Once you have added the water to lye, it’s all business. Wear clothing to cover your skin and protective eye-wear.
  3. When the water is added it creates fumes that should not be breathed in. I didn’t know this and I leaned over the pot of lye and took a deep breath.  I am still here, but I wouldn’t recommend it.
  4. ONLY USE STAINLESS STEEL! The lye will react badly with other metals.  I bought a stainless steel pot that I use only for soap making.  I just cannot make mashed potatoes and serve them from the same pot that had a toxic chemical in it.  I am just weird that way.

Other equipment you need to make soap

  1. Immersion blender –  This is a luxury item.  You can mix all your ingredients up with a STAINLESS STEEL whisk, but I have to tell you, this blender made mixing so much faster and easier.
  2. Freezer paper – You can buy large rolls of it and it is essential for lining cardboard if you are making your own rectangular molds.  It is also nice to wrap the soap in and tie with twine to give as gifts or just to store for yourself.
  3. Soap molds vs. cardboard – If you use the cardboard and make a box (approximately the size of a bread pan) and line with freezer paper.  I bought a silicon soap mold that was the right size.  The advantage of a mold is that it will be more durable than cardboard over time and you don’t have to fool with the freezer paper.  You can get fancier molds INSERT AMAZON LINK HERE that have lovely designs in them, but I opted for the box shape and cut with a blade for a more homesteader look.
  4. Fragrance – I bought essential oils and used the lemongrass. Any of the essential oils will work great, but I would buy the most concentrated possible so the scent is present.  You can combine scents to create something unique, or just use one of them for a distinguishable scent.

Beeswax Soap Making Material List

  • olive oil – 358g
  • coconut oil – 225g
  • palm oil – 177g
  • castor oil – 32g
  • beeswax – 7.2g
  • distilled water – 266g divided
  • lye – 111g
  • honey – 1 TBS
  • fragrance – 2 TSP
  • disposable paper bowl
  • stainless steel bowl for lye
  • stainless steel pot or microwave save container for oils
  • stainless steel whisk or immersion blender
  • digital scale
  • mold
  • freezer paper (if using cardboard)
  • digital thermometer INSERT AMAZON LINK HERE

Yield – eight 4 ounce bars

How do you make soap?

  1. Measure out the lye and place in disposable paper bowl.

  1. Measure out 148 grams of distilled water and pour into stainless steel bowl. Place bowl onto heat resistant surface and then add dry lye crystals to water (NEVER THE OTHER WAY AROUND)  Stir until lye is completely dissolved.  Set aside to cool.

SIDE NOTE:  Those new to digital scales, this is for you.  When measuring ingredients, first select the TARE WEIGHT and then set the container that will hold what you are measuring (ex. plastic cup, bowl, etc.)  This will analyze the weight of the container so that weight is NOT included in the weight of the ingredients.  Then, once the TARE WEIGHT is selected, the scale should read 0.0 (give or take some zeroes) and then you can add the ingredients to be weighed.  If you are not using a digital scale you will have to weigh the container then add the ingredients and subtract the weight of the container to get actual weight of ingredients.

  1. Microwave the honey, 118g of remaining water, and microwave until dissolved.
  2. Prepare the mold.
  3. Heat all the solid oils and beeswax in a stainless steel pot. Add the liquid oils (excluding honey and water mixture) and stir.
  4. Check temperature of lye and the oils. This is crucial!  To keep beeswax from getting hard, the oils need to be around 120 F.  The lye needs to be 120 F as well.
  5. Now add honey water to the lye water ONLY when it has reached the correct temperature. Sometimes this will result in a color change, which is normal.

  1. Now pour the lye water into the oils and mix with the stainless steel whisk or the immersion blender.
  2. When the mixture begins to looks creamy, it has emulsified and this is the time to add your fragrance.
  3. Keep mixing until it looks like a light cake batter. This is called the trace.

  1. Quickly pour into prepared mold or cardboard container lined with freezer paper. Scrape every bit of residue from the pot with a high-temp spatula.

  1. Tap soap mold on the counter to remove air. Smooth out the top and cover mold with cardboard to hold heat in.
  2. In twenty-four hours the soap should be cool enough to cut. If it seems too soft, then wait and continue checking every 4-6 hours.  Once it is hard enough to cut into bars, I cut it with a blade made for cutting soap.  The handle and size made cutting more even and straight.  I wrapped my soaps in freezer paper and twine and stored them in a cool dry spot.
  3. I also allowed my soaps to cure for 30 days because more water will evaporate from them, resulting in a longer lasting soap bar. I hated the thought of going through this process only for the soaps to sludge away in the shower.

The finished product – looks like… soap.

FOR THE HARDCORE SOAPERS – MAKE YOUR OWN LYE

For those that are more adventurous than myself, this is probably the best article describing how to make your own lye.

END RESULT

Like anything else, there are pros and cons, here they are:

PROS

Making soap is a good skill to have under your belt.  One day you may not be able to drive to your local Walmart and pick up a bar of Ivory soap.

They make wonderful gifts!

It is natural and uses a bi-product produced by our dear friend, the honeybee.

This soap is the best if you have sensitive skin, eczema, or other skin conditions.  It will leave you clean without the drying effects of the cheaper commercial soaps.

CONS

The next time I make it, the cost will be significantly less, but it will definitely cost more than cheap drugstore soap.  You can always stock up on the cheap stuff in the event of an emergency and you can shower yourself clean with the best of them.  Personally, I like the idea of having a chemical-free, all natural way to clean up.

The post How to Make Beeswax Soap appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

6 Experts Give Their Top 3 Gardening Tips on How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden

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6 Experts Give Their Top 3 Gardening Tips on How to Keep Pests Out of Your Garden Starting and maintaining a garden takes hard work, patience, and some basic awareness.  Don’t let garden pests ruin all that hard work, and your beautiful garden, by taking some preventive steps that are easy and effective.  BugsBeGone site …

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Why Pets Should Have a Place in Your Emergency Planning

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ReadyNutrition Readers, you’re well aware of the importance of family continuity after some kind of a disaster and event.  That’s what survival is all about in a nutshell.  Along the way, don’t forget about the pets in the family.  Some are going to pose a problem, such as the more exotic types that need special care.  Examples of these would be tropical fish, birds, and reptiles, as most of these need special types of water, temperature, and/or food to sustain them.  The specialty requirements for these types of pets are outside of the scope of this article’s abilities.

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The Prepared Dogs and Cats

Most of us have dogs and cats.  Let us cover their merits.  Dogs have been serving mankind for thousands of years, and for many different purposes.  I absolutely hated the movie, “The Day After,” where the farm family left the dog outside of the cellar to die.  I submit to you that this was a poor choice and absolutely unnecessary.  In the end, the farmer was shot by a “squatter” on his property, and if the dog had been around…well, bare minimum he could have alerted the man to the intruder.

Dogs will be useful for the family to help protect them, either as an early warning sentry or to directly intercede with an antagonist.  Here are some of the best dog breeds to have for a shtf disaster. Dogs are proven (as with most pets) to be very therapeutic and stress-relieving.  Cats, too, have a use besides just hunting down rodents.  In addition to relieving the stress, I tell you from experience: watch your cat and its reactions for an early-warning device.  They will hear, see, and smell something that approaches before you do.  Although they don’t bark, if you train yourself to watch them, you’ll be able to utilize their senses to your benefit.

Stock Up on Pet Food Today

Stock up on some good dog food for the dog, especially the dry food.  You should have many bins full of it.  Remember: barring a helminthic infestation (worms), his dung can be used for compost.  If we have any kind of nuclear war, it won’t seem quite as laughable when you’re trying to grow stuff in your basement.  Remember: cat stool cannot be used as compost, as they have toxoplasmosis; it needs a temperature of 165 F to kill it, and the compost pile doesn’t get that hot.  The disease is a bad one, and cats are the only animal known that excretes the eggs in their feces: it’s endemic to them.  Burn the stool to get rid of it.

They will need food too, and as much dried food as you can stock up the better.  You can supplement with occasional cans of fish.  You will be providing for them (dogs and cats) by foraging in the form of hunting and also scrounging for supplies post-collapse.  Along those lines, you can also make homemade dog and cat food using vittles, grains and vegetables.

Additional Supplies to Consider

Also, set some first aid supplies aside to care for bets. If they are protecting you, injuries could occur and they may require special wound care. As well, some vitamins (either liquid or pill form) to supplement will help them immensely, if you can stock up on it.  If they have any kind of health condition, stock up on any type of medicines you may need for them.

At Your Service

Post collapse they will eventually be back in demand, as dogs and cats are service-type animals, and man is known not for his altruism but for his deadly pragmatic utilitarianism.  It will be practical for you to continue to raise or breed animals.  You will eventually find others who were smart (akin to yourselves) who saved their animals rather than turning them into a few days’ food supply.  When that occurs, you will be able to breed them again.  Sound far-fetched?  No, that’s what “continuity” means, as the days of “Korg 70,000 B.C.” need to be left behind us.

Pick up things you know they’ll need eventually, such as flea collars and scrubs with Lindane (Kwell) for lice and other ectoparasites.  Pick up extras of everything: extra food-bowls, leashes, and small transporting kennels/carriers.  It will all pay off later.  It’s one thing to stay alive, and quite another to have a quality of life.  Supplement all of these measures with the literature you will need to treat and care for your four-legged friends.  They’re a part of your family, and if you think otherwise, you may want to reassess your position.  Take care of one another, and stay in that good fight.  JJ out!

Jeremiah Johnson is the Nom de plume of a retired Green Beret of the United States Army Special Forces (Airborne). Mr. Johnson was a Special Forces Medic, EMT and ACLS-certified, with comprehensive training in wilderness survival, rescue, and patient-extraction. He is a Certified Master Herbalist and a graduate of the Global College of Natural Medicine of Santa Ana, CA. A graduate of the U.S. Army’s survival course of SERE school (Survival Evasion Resistance Escape), Mr. Johnson also successfully completed the Montana Master Food Preserver Course for home-canning, smoking, and dehydrating foods.

Mr. Johnson dries and tinctures a wide variety of medicinal herbs taken by wild crafting and cultivation, in addition to preserving and canning his own food. An expert in land navigation, survival, mountaineering, and parachuting as trained by the United States Army, Mr. Johnson is an ardent advocate for preparedness, self-sufficiency, and long-term disaster sustainability for families. He and his wife survived Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. Cross-trained as a Special Forces Engineer, he is an expert in supply, logistics, transport, and long-term storage of perishable materials, having incorporated many of these techniques plus some unique innovations in his own homestead.

Mr. Johnson brings practical, tested experience firmly rooted in formal education to his writings and to our team. He and his wife live in a cabin in the mountains of Western Montana with their three cats.

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

3 Methods For Handling Human Waste After A Disaster

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3 Methods For Handling Human Waste After A Disaster Human waste is a touch topic, to begin with. It’s one of the more dangerous substances that will pile up over time in a post-disaster world. Human waste is highly infectious and can contaminate water sources and even growing lands. Most of the worst bacterial illnesses …

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An Easy Guide To Growing Herbs – 12 Herbs You Should Have In Your Garden

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An Easy Guide To Growing Herbs – 12 Herbs You Should Have In Your Garden Keeping a flourishing garden is never an easy task and success comes only after hard work. When it comes to growing plants, all gardeners prefer growing herbs as starters. The reason behind their choice is quite simple: you can never …

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An Illustrated Guide to Cooking on a Campfire

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An Illustrated Guide to Cooking on a Campfire There is nothing better than the smell of a campfire burning! There are endless uses for a campfire: a source of warmth, a way to dry clothing when camping, and one of the best uses – cooking. Food cooked over the campfire creates a unique flavour and …

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59 Survival Tips, Tricks and Techniques for the Great Outdoors

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59 Survival Tips, Tricks and Techniques for the Great Outdoors The reliance on technology in today’s modern world has left many who travel out into the wilderness for hiking and camping adventures vulnerable if they should lose their equipment. Every year, thousands of people are injured and die from several different causes that all took …

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Easy DIY Wood Pallet Projects

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Easy DIY Wood Pallet Projects Wood pallets are one of the best materials you can use for DIY projects. They are readily accessible and usually free to acquire. Most of the pallets you will find are free of dangerous chemicals, and the ones that aren’t are clearly marked. To top it all off, pallet projects …

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Sustainable Survival – Making ‘Off-The-Grid’ as Green as Possible

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This article was originally published by Will Brendza on survivallife.com

So, you want to live off of the grid. The smell of civilization is starting to spoil in your nostrils, the crowds of people constantly surrounding you have jangled your sanity – the wilderness calls. And you feel the strong urge to heed its beckoning, to exercise some civil disobedience and start looking for sustainable survival options.

Sustainable Survival

I’m all for it. In fact, I believe that surviving in the natural world, off the fat of the land is a skill everyone should understand. Because those are our roots. It’s easy to get caught up in a world full of flashing lights, screens and browsers, social webs, easy access to food and energy, and to forget that at our core, we humans are animals that belong in the wild.

To this extent, everyone should try living off the grid at least once in their life – even if it’s just for a season or two. Because it teaches you a lot about yourself and your place in the world.

But here’s the rub: living off the grid can be extremely bad for the environment. If not done properly, your little home-stake in the wild might be coughing up a pretty massive carbon footprint. And for someone who escaped to nature, polluting and damaging it might conflict with your priorities. Don’t you want to take care of the environment in which you live? What’s the point of living in nature if you’re just going to kill off the magic that made your off-the-grid getaway beautiful in the first place?

Sustainable off-the-grid living is totally doable (and it can even save you money!) Unfortunately, it isn’t always simple or straight forward. And it almost always requires a little more effort. Sure, it’s way easier to overlook the fish and the birds and the grass and the trees and the air and water quality of the place you live in. But if you are just a scourge upon the land that supports you, if you don’t give anything back or make any effort to be a steward of your environment, then you might as well just spend your days in the filthy heart of some concrete jungle.

Sustainable Energy off the Grid

Last summer I was way up North, in the Alaskan Arctic National Wildlife Refuge helping a filmmaker capture the annual caribou migration. The arctic tundra is a vast wilderness, unlike anything I’ve ever experienced – there is nothing up there.

The only way to get around is by bush plane or helicopter and the only camp/refueling station out there in that desolate wild, is Kavik River Camp, run by one Kavik Sue. Sue lives way off the grid. Sue is a total Alaskan badass. But Sue is incredibly unsustainable in the way she runs her river camp: she burns all her trash (which is a lot, because she hosts hunters, photographers, filmmakers, oil crews and government scientists most of the year), she dumps the contents of their outhouses into the Kavik River, and perhaps worst of all, she runs her massive diesel generator all day and all night, non-stop, constantly, rain or shine.

The point of this story? You don’t have to use a gigantic gas-burning generator to produce enough electricity to live by. Especially if it’s just you and a few family/friends. Sue needs her big diesel generator, because sometimes there are up to 75 people staying at Camp Kavik (although she certainly doesn’t need to run it as much as she does).

Even if you can rely 25% on sustainable forms of energy, that is something. Most people who use alternative sustainable forms of energy production, do so in combination with a gas burning generator.

Alternative Options

Geothermal Energy:

This is a form of sustainable energy that is growing in popularity. It harnesses heat from within the Earth and converts it into electricity that you can use in your home. The only downside to geothermal energy is it takes a lot of planning and a lot of technical installation. You have to be situated over a geothermal hotspot that you can tap into. So, many structures that use geothermal heat were built with that plan already in mind. Geothermal energy is extremely reliable, and pumps out a significant amount of energy.

Hydroelectric Energy:

If there is running water on your property, or near your off-the-grid getaway, you can harness that and create free electricity. You can build your own hydroelectric generator or have one installed professionally. Here is an extremely helpful guide to using hydroelectric generators, and understanding their survival applications.

Solar Energy:

Solar panels are widely available for purchase, and some companies even offer free installation. Obviously solar energy works best when you are in a place that get’s a lot of sun, and the Panels have to be south facing in order to maximize sun contact. Solar panels produce steady, reliable amounts of energy, and just a few small ones might be enough to produce all the energy you need at your off-the-grid getaway.

Wind Energy:

Wind is a little harder to nail down. Because big wind turbines are SUPER expensive and require teams of engineers to build and maintain. That isn’t an option for most people – but there are some smaller, personal and home sized wind on the market. Even in the last couple of years the technology has come a long way – the Micro Wind Turbine is just one of several types of portable wind turbines designed for backpackers. Wind energy is extremely sustainable, and in windy areas it is a very reliable source of electricity.

Sustainable Houses

Making sure your house is sustainable is first and foremost a matter of protecting your energy (and your wallet). If your house or cabin or hut can’t hold heat for crap, then you will constantly be wasting energy and money and polluting in the process.

So what can be done? Well, there are a lot of ways to make a structure sustainable. Here are just a few:

Earthships:

These are the most sustainable homes on the market. They are “the Ultimate green houses” and can be built anywhere on the planet. They use extremely creative recycled materials to build these homes – which function effectively to hold in heat in cold weather and keep it cool in hot weather. Earthship Biotecture is the company that invented these super-sustainable off-the-grid homes, and they can build one for you, to your specifications, with alternative electricity, potable water, and sewage systems included.

Adobe Homes:

Adobe houses are made from a mud and clay mixture, and they are extremely popular throughout the southwest US desert. The natives of that region have been using adobe for thousands of years because it is such a great building material in the desert. Its insulating properties make it perfect to handle the often drastic temperature shifts of those regions. Adobe is the perfect, natural, sustainable material for building off-the-grid getaways in the desert – but I wouldn’t recommend them anywhere else.

Hobbit Holes:

Believe it or not, Hobbits were onto something with their hole-homes. But they didn’t come up with the idea first – building residences directly into the sides of hills and mountains has been a common practice throughout Scandinavia for centuries. And (as we learned with Adobe) Earth often makes for the best insulating, sustainable building material. Hobbit holes are particularly good at retaining heat when it’s bitter cold out, and staying cool when it’s warm. Vikings commonly built homes and hunting huts like these, and the practice is just as effective today as it was back then. If you want to make a hobbit hole, just pick the right hill and make sure you build in a lot of support… it wouldn’t be good to have your hill collapse on you.

Log Cabins:

Log cabins are old school, they make for classic off-the-grid huts. Logs are readily available almost anywhere, and they insulate well. The only caveat I’ll maintain about building log cabins is this: if you are cutting down the trees to make your hut, do so sparingly. If you’re trying to be sustainable, it does no good to level an entire forest just to build yourself a personal six-bedroom hunting lodge out in the middle of nowhere.

Sustainable Food

Living off the grid requires that one either stocks, or grows/cultivates their own food. I believe in a healthy balance between the two: keeping a generous supply of canned and preserved goods in case of an emergency, while also growing as much fresh produce as possible. Putting all your eggs in one basket or the other will likely lead to issues.

If storing food is all you do, you’re spending lots of money and making lots of trips to the store, wasting gasoline to do so, and probably eating pretty unhealthily on top of all that. Growing fresh food and raising fresh livestock is important, not just for your wallet, not just for the environment, but for your health.

Aquaponic Gardening:

The first time I was introduced to this fancy type of gardening was at a Mahayana yoga ashram high in the Rocky Mountains where they exclusively cooked food for the entire community with produce grown in their greenhouse. The system is about as sustainable as gardening can get – a big tank of fish produce fish waste, which is then fed through pipes to the veggies, which use the nutrients in the water as fertilizer to flourish. Those flourishing veggies filter out the water, which is then clean and pumped back to the fish tank, where the cycle starts all over again. The fish provide the plants with nutrients and fertilizer, and the veggies provide the fish with fresh, clean water. And you get to enjoy all the fresh goodies they make.

Animals:

Animals are really good for the land. Cows and goats fertilize the earth with their waste, chickens aerate the soil as they peck through it in search of grubs and seeds, and bees pollinate the flowers and the trees… And having access to cow milk, goat milk, fresh eggs, poultry, and fresh honey is extremely beneficial for someone living off the grid. It’s a win-win situation: the land stays healthy and you stay fed.

Eventually you want to be growing and producing more food on your own than you are buying. That’s the end goal, but you don’t have to get there right away – start small with a greenhouse or a couple chickens, then work your way up to having an entire farm. Agriculture and animal rearing are essential to off the grid living, and when it comes to food, sustainable growth is the only way to go. Anything else just falls short. Your animals and gardens will be most productive when you are running them at maximum sustainability.

Managing Waste Off-Grid

Burning your garbage is a terrible idea. I saw it being done all over Thailand and Vietnam, and the smoke produced by it is absolutely toxic, and pumps so much pollution into the air. Sadly, this is how most people living off the grid choose to dispose of their waste. It might be impossible to eliminate burning garbage at your off the grid home altogether, but you can certainly minimize it by composting, reusing and recycling.

Compost:

Any and all organic material can be piled up into a compost pile. This mound of garbage will rot and decay and can eventually be used as fertilizer for gardens. This reduces a lot of what ends up getting thrown away, and repurposes it.

Reuse:

This one is pretty simple. If there is a glass jar or plastic container that you can repurpose and use somewhere else to some other end, do it. Reuse as much as you possibly can.

Recycle:

I know, it requires a lot of effort. But if you keep all cardboard, paper and tin/plastic/aluminum set aside, once a month you can make a trip to town and recycle these materials. This is the biggest reducer of garbage besides compost, and is an essential piece to sustainable living.

Sustainable Survival

There are a lot of ways to achieve sustainability. You don’t have to do them all, all at once. Nor do you have to drastically change your off-the-grid lifestyle all at once. But I can promise you that living sustainably in nature is far more rewarding, and far more enjoyable than living in nature only to destroy and pollute it.

And hell, maybe you don’t care about this “hippy-dippy BS”. Maybe you just want to run your generators, fell your trees, and burn your garbage all day long. I can’t stop you. But you live in the world you create – and if you make a toxic dump out of your off-the-grid getaway, it’s you who has to live there.

Source : survivallife.com

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Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster

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Procrastination: A Recipe For Disaster It’s the killer of motivation and success in all avenues of life. Procrastination is a nice comfortable void that millions of Americans fall into. There is such potential in the freedom loving America but it all gets ruined by the lack of inspiration and procrastination. That makes this article about …

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Join me in southern New Hampshire, US

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I’m looking to purchase land in southern New Hampshire, United States soon (Currently I live in Rhode Island), and am looking for a few other like minded individuals to help me in this task. I have a specific idea of what I am looking to accomplish, and am very open minded to including the ideas and goals of others.

My initial goal is to homestead and be self sufficient in life, being able to wake up and fall asleep with the sun, eliminating the day to day hassle of our consumer culture, which never really resonated with me. I am a blacksmith and a welder as well and enjoy working with my hands. I am not an expert in farming/gardening but I bring a fair amount of knowledge there as well as a little in keeping chickens and bee keeping. I would ideally look for people who have skills to compliment mine but am open to anyone with passion and desire.

My long term goal is to grow enough food where we are able to help low income families by providing low cost organic food to there. Growing up with only my mother and two siblings food was not abundant and while my mom made sure we never went hungry, that would often mean less diversity in our meals. I wish to do my part in ensuring families can have the ability to add healthy ingredients to their diets.

Those are my goals and my current ability levels more or less, I’m currently reading books and volunteering on farms to increase my knowledge. I would like to hear back and meet up with anyone interested in southern New Hampshire. My E-Mail address is leon.couturieriii@gmail.com I look forward to hearing from you.

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Extreme Weather Gardening

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Extreme Weather Gardening   Last year my garden was totaled by extreme weather. It was well into May and my plants were looking great. This is a reality that we all must plan and plant for. This article offers 7 powerful tips for extreme weather gardening. There is nothing more depressing than looking over the …

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5 Backyard Meat Animal

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5 Backyard Meat Animal This is just a great article. When I see an article like this I often think it will be a short list of 5 animals and a short paragraph on each. Even then you wind up getting some great incite on a subject. This article is much more. The author really …

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DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden

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DIY Indoor Vertical Herb Garden Its so important that we start growing our own food. It comes from the necessity to combat this factory farming epidemic as well as a push towards self reliance. Not everyone has the ability to grow food because of space limitations. I have seen the look on their faces when …

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Ultimate Homesteading School Link List – Where to Learn New Skills

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It doesn’t matter how old or how experienced you are, you can always learn something new. There are some important homesteading skills that will make life easier after (and before) the SHTF. It is not only about guns and gear. Similar to the Ultimate Prepper School Link List, here is a list of various Homesteading School facilities and online courses:

  • Abundant Permaculture – US (Online) – Take my free Video Course to quickly (and easily) learn how to:
    Get started with chickens, build a DIY coop, and cut feed costs 100%.
  • Antiquity OaksUS Illinois (Local) – Antiquity Oaks was founded as an old-fashioned homestead in 2002 by the Niemann-Boehle family. We are former city slickers who wanted to become self sufficient and have easy access to organically grown food.
  • AprovechoUS Oregon (Local) – Aprovecho’s mission is “Living, Learning, Organizing, and Educating to Inspire a Sustainable Culture.” Our goal is to provide the education, skills, and resources needed for our students to build sustainable livelihood within a regenerative, resilience-based economy.
  • Arbor Vitaelog CraftCanada (Local) – It is the vision of Arbor Vitae Log Craft to develop and enhance the natural and human resources in an efficient and self-sustaining manner.
  • Arbutus Folk SchoolUS Washington (Local) – The school provides enlivening learning experiences through a wide-range of activities focused on fostering appreciation, knowledge and access to craft, music, celebrations and lore.
  • Bullock’s Permaculture PortalUS Washington (Local) – For over 34 years we have applied our shared experience to create what experts refer to as the finest permaculture site in North America. Together we develop and implement practical solutions for sustainable living while offering hands-on permaculture courses, workshops, skill-building, and more.
  • CedarRoot SchoolUS Washington (Local) – CedarRoot teaches skills for living…a revival of our whole person and the power of participating in our own sufficiency. Our focus is on hand to hand instruction to all ages and backgrounds, hoping to deepen an understanding of the natural world, and bring these skills of sufficiency into our modern life.
  • Driftless Folk SchoolUS Wisconsin (Local) – Driftless Folk School is a regional center for the preservation, promotion and training of traditional crafts, the art of homesteading, natural building, energy self-sufficiency, sustainable farming, animal husbandry, and wilderness skills. Crafting connections~Creating Community.
  • EcoNest – Living Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and TimberUS Oregon (Local) – An EcoNest incorporates timber-frame, straw-clay walls, earth plasters and natural and non-toxic finishes. This combination of time-honored building traditions with modern innovations results in a home of unsurpassed health and comfort.
  • Emerald EarthUS California (Local) – Emerald Earth is an intentional community in the hills above Anderson Valley. With four full time residents, we care for the land, grow the majority of our own food, and sustain a community designed to benefit rather than deplete the planet.
  • EverdaleCanada Ontario (Local) – Everdale’s mission is to be a farm-based organization that provides hands-on, solution-based food and farming education to build and engage healthy local communities.
  • Farm SchoolUS Massachusetts (Local) – The Farm School connects people to the land by serving as a family farm for the coming generations.
  • Fox MapleUS Maine (Local) – Fox Maple was founded in 1975, at a time when the timber framing revival was just beginning to take root. Our motivation to begin building new timber frames grew from our desire to fully understand the nature of this ancient building system.
  • Great Lakes School of Log BuildingUS Minnesota (Local) – The Great Lakes School of Log Building was started in 1974 by Ron Brodigan.
  • Heartwood Folk SchoolCanada British Columbia (Local) – Heartwood focuses on teaching practical, joyful, Earth-caring, and community-strengthening skills, to adults, and also younger folks.
  • Homesteading UniversityUS (Online) – Online homesteading classes with over a 100 topics.
  • House Alive – US Oregon (Local) – House Alive is one of the most experienced and knowledgeable organizations in North America for teaching natural building, earthen construction and appropriate technology.
  • Island School of Building ArtsCanada British Columbia (Local) – ISBA offers exceptional training in timber framing, log building & related disciplines.
  • John C. Campbell Folk SchoolUS North Carolina (Local) – John C. Campbell Folk School provides experiences in non-competitive learning and community life that are joyful and enlivening. Located in scenic Brasstown, North Carolina, the Folk School offers year-round weeklong and weekend classes for adults in craft, art, music, dance, cooking, gardening, nature studies, photography and writing.
  • Log Home Builders AssociationUS Nevada (Local) – The Log Home Builders Association is a non-profit educational association that teaches average men and women how to build a log cabin. We do not work with commercial or “kit” builders, only owner-builders and others who are interested in building a “real” log home for themselves.
  • Log Building SchoolCanada Ontario (Local) – A Pat Wolfe Log Building Course is designed to expand knowledge – both of log building techniques and tools, their correct use and maintenance. It is a hands on course. Practicality is stressed from the outset. All students become familiar with the basic notches of the European chinkless style of logbuilding.
  • Living Arts SchoolUS Colorado (Local) – Located in Boulder County, The Living Arts School is Colorado’s folk school. A folk school, also known as a craft school, is a place for “folks” of all ages to pursue a unique and life-changing education–one that focuses on the renewal of traditional living skills, crafts and music.
  • Marblemount HomesteadUS Washington (Local and Online) – For over a decade, people from all over the world have learned and laughed with us. We teach artisan cheese making, homesteading skills, goat husbandry, organic gardening, bow making, wilderness skills, and so much more – both on the homestead and online.
  • Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service (MOSES)US Wisconsin (Local) – MOSES educates, inspires, and empowers farmers to thrive in a sustainable, organic system of agriculture.
  • Moose Mountain Log Homes CourseCanada (Local) – Moose Mountain Log Homes Inc. has been handcrafting log homes since 1978 and Lloyd Beckedorf has also been an instructor in different parts of the world over the decades.
  • Montana School of Log BuildingUS Montana (Local) – Al Anderson teaches a 5 day log building – Handcrafting Log Home classes – at the Montana School of Log Building log yard in Three Forks, Montana.
  • Mullers Lane FarmUS Illinois (Local) – Small farm (not a hobby farm!) that teaches classes on a variety of topics including: Canning, Wood working, Harness repair, Gardening, Bee Keeping, Spinning and Basic Blacksmithing.
  • Northeast Organic Farming AssociationUS Massachusetts (Local) – Welcome to NOFA/Mass. The Massachusetts chapter of the Northeast Organic Farming Association. NOFA/Mass welcomes everyone who cares about food, where it comes from and how it’s grown.
  • North House Folk SchoolUS Minnesota (Local) – Our mission is to enrich lives and build community by teaching traditional northern crafts in a student-centered learning environment that inspires the hands, the heart and the mind.
  • Occidental Arts & Ecology Center (OAEC)
  • Onalaska Log Building SchoolUS Washington (Local) – One-day classes, you will learn to build a log building in that one day, guaranteed. The key to this success is the Butt and Pass building method, no notching and no need to season the logs before building, and no real building expertise is needed. We believe the biggest hurdle keeping people from reaching their dream of a log building is lack of confidence, we want to give you that confidence.
  • Organic Growers School – US North Carolina (Local) – Organic Growers School is the premiere provider of practical and affordable organic education in the Southern Appalachians, building a vibrant food & farming community by boosting the success of organic home growers and farmers in our region.
  • Ozark Folk Center – US Arkansas (Local) – Arkansas’s unique Ozark Folk Center State Park is America’s only facility that works at preserving the Ozark heritage and sharing it in an entertaining way. We keep the crafts, music and herblore of the Ozarks alive. Travel to Mountain View, Arkansas and tap your toes to mountain music at one of your favorite Arkansas state parks located in the heart of the Ozarks.
  • Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture – US Pennsylvania (Local) – Promoting Profitable Farms that Produce Healthy Food for All People While Respecting the Natural Environment.
  • Peters Valley School of Craft – US New Jersey (Local) – Peters Valley School of Craft is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation, founded in 1970 in partnership with the National Park Service to promote and encourage education and excellence in craft. From our humble beginnings as an artist colony to our recognition today as an internationally renowned center of fine craft, our presence in the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area defines Peters Valley and the experience for our visitors, resident artists and students.
  • Ploughshare Institute for Sustainable Culture – US Texas (Local and Online) – A 510 acre farm near Waco, Texas on which is located the Homestead Craft Village, also the home of the Ploughshare campus. We built a small cafe and gift shop there, then soon a larger gift barn, a pottery shop, a woodworking/furniture-making shop and a blacksmith shop. Eventually we added a restored gristmill and a fiber crafts shop, along with other buildings.
  • Quaker Farm Sustainable Living and Arts Center -US Michigan (Local and Online) – Located in Harrisville, Michigan, Quaker Farm Sustainable Living and Arts Center provides education through lectures, workshops and classes. Online videos, and articles about a wide range of living arts topics are also available.
  • Quiet Creek Herb Farm & School of Country Living – US Pennsylvania (Local) – Quiet Creek’s year-round classes cover sustainable topics such as integrated pest management, vermicomposting, creating raised beds, soil food web, herbal soap making, bread making, shiitake inoculation and many more!
  • Reevis Mountain School of Self Reliance – US Arizona (Local) – Reevis Mountain School, located in the eastern Superstition Wilderness of Arizona, provides a place of inspiration, peace, and reverence for nature, where students and interns can learn natural healing and self-reliance skills, experience growing their own food, develop spiritual awareness, enjoy a spirit of community, and live healthfully.
  • Richsoil – Permaculture Design Course for HomesteadersUS Montana (Local and Online) – This PDC will have a strong focus on DESIGN. Students attending this PDC will probably walk away with four times more experience with designing than students attending other PDCs.
  • Spiral Ridge PermacultureUS Tennessee (Local) – You can learn Permaculture Design, Regenerative Farming and Homesteading Skills to improve your quality of life, create resiliency, care for the environment and have fun!
  • Straw Bale Home BuildingUS Oregon (Online) – My name is Andrew Morrison and welcome to my straw bale building site dedicated to anyone interested in building their own straw bale house. If you are brand new to straw bale or are a straw bale construction specialist there’s something for you at StrawBale.com.
  • Sustainable Living AssociationUS Colorado (Local) – Our educational programs, community events and workshops offer creative challenges, delivering valuable, long-term benefits for a wide range of community interests that improve the relationship between people and the environment. These programs forge connections between ideas, principles and resources and harness communication to better understand and express essential relationships that combine a local sense of place with global respect for sustainability.
  • Sustainability CentreUK (Local) – The Sustainability Centre is an independent learning and study centre, a beacon for sustainability and an award-winning social enterprise charity in the heart of Hampshire’s South Downs, UK.
  • Swedish Nature ExperienceSweden (Local) – Swedish Nature Experience offers wildlife safaris, bushcraft and outdoor cooking courses, guided kayaking and fishing hikes, cross country skiing and walking trips and other outdoor adventures in central Sweden.
  • The Clearing Folk SchoolUS Wisconsin (Local) – The Mission of The Clearing is to provide diverse educational experiences in the folk school tradition, in a setting of quiet forests, meadows and water. The Clearing is a place where adults who share an interest in nature, arts or humanities can learn, reflect and wonder.
  • The FarmUS Tennessee (Local) – In 1971, a caravan of 80 school buses and assorted other vehicles carrying 320 hippie idealists landed on a cattle farm in central Tennessee with a single log cabin and barn. They had a mission. As the banner on their band bus read, they were “Out to Save the World!” Today The Farm is home to roughly 200 people living on nearly 8 square miles of forested highland — a fourth generation of families and friends.
  • The Folk School of FairbanksUS Alaska (Local) – The Folk School of Fairbanks offers year-round, affordable classes and programs in a wide variety of hands-on disciplines for adults and youth. Woodworking, Boatbuilding, Pottery, Carving, Basketmaking, Blacksmithing, Sewing, Tanning, Book Arts, Survival Skills, Summer Camps for Kids and Adults, Cooking, Music, Wild Plant Identification and Harvesting, Food Preservation, Farming, Writing, Journaling and Drawing, Navigation, Botany, Biology, and so much more…
  • The Institute of Urban HomesteadingUS California (Local) – Featuring small class sizes and experiential learning, IUH offers the best in Bay Area sustainability and urban farming education with classes in gardening, urban animal husbandry, food preservation, brewcraft, foraging, fermenting, and much much more!
  • The Michigan Folk SchoolUS Michigan (Local) – The mission of the Michigan Folk School is to build community by providing educational programs that promote learning, teaching, and renewal of traditional folk arts and to promote the preservation of forest and farmland.
  • The Old SchoolUS New Mexico (Local) – Old School is a hub of experts happily sharing their user-friendly skills to further the revolution of sustainable and frugal living.
  • Tillers InternationalUS Michagan (Local) – In the USA, we offer 100+ classes a year in numerous homesteading skills, including blacksmithing, timber framing, farming with oxen, cheese making, beekeeping and more.
  • Urban HomesteadUS California (Local) – Offering affordable homesteading & skill share classes + workshops. Educating, inspiring and equipping modern homesteaders with practical skills needed for a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
  • Urban Homesteading School of Powell RiverCanada (Local) – The Urban Homesteading School of Powell River organizes individual workshops and classes, evening intensives, and weekend-long bootcamps on themed topics useful to anyone who wants to improve their urban homesteading skills.
  • Villages Folk SchoolUS Iowa (Local) – The Villages Folk School specializes in providing learning experiences in traditional arts and skills, while drawing upon the uniqueness of each of the eleven historic Villages of Van Buren County Iowa. Classes are held in peaceful rural settings so students can return to a simpler time and witness the importance of the artisan in village-life.
  • Wild AbundanceUS North Carolina (Local) – Wild Abundance offers classes and consultations in off-grid living, organic gardening, natural building, permaculture, primitive skills, and eco-homesteading in a community setting on a real, functioning and breathtaking homestead. Our instructors and consultants bring deep knowledge, vast experience and unbridled passion to make learning and reconnecting a joy.
  • Wild Willow Farm & Education Center – US California (Local) – Wild Willow Farm is where we teach people essential sustainable farming skills, host homesteading and gardening workshops, hold community events, and train the next generation of sustainable farmers for our region.
  • Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA®)US California (Local) – Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms, USA (WWOOF-USA®) is part of a worldwide effort to link visitors with organic farmers, promote an educational exchange, and build a global community conscious of ecological farming practices. Become a member today and gain full access to our network of organic farms.
  • Yestermorrow Design/Build SchoolUS Vermont (Local) – Yestermorrow Design/Build School teaches over 100 hands-on workshops a year in design, construction, woodworking, and architectural craft and offers a variety of courses concentrating in sustainable design. Our intensive, hands-on courses are taught by top architects, builders, and craftspeople from across the country. For people of all ages and experience levels, from novice to professional.

Are There More Homesteading School Links Out There?

If you know of a great school or course, please send me information. I’ll add it to the list.

If you found this article helpful/interesting, please Share it by clicking on the social media links. Thank you for helping us grow!

The post Ultimate Homesteading School Link List – Where to Learn New Skills appeared first on Surviving Prepper.

Growing Mushrooms in a 5 Gallon Bucket

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Growing Mushrooms in a 5 Gallon Bucket   I started growing Shiitakes almost 5 years ago and I can tell you they are one of the nicest surprises of the fall and spring season. Its surprisingly easy to grow mushrooms but most people don’t do it.  This method from Instructables offers a new and even …

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DIY PVC Tomato Cages

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DIY PVC Tomato Cages There is no other plant as hotly contested as the tomato. Growing tomatoes brings out whole communities of people who believe various ways and means of producing the best fruit. They are a fruit, like it or not. Things get as interesting as choosing the proper type of tomato plant to …

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Declutter your Home in 5 Steps

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Declutter your Home in 5 Steps If you are not looking for spare room you either have a huge home or you don’t need this article. For a prepper clutter equals less room for food, ammo, water and other resource storage. Though this article doesn’t come from a website that features gas masks and other …

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Lessons from History – The Importance of Water

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

Throughout history, settlements form near water. The largest and most successful settle with plentiful water. There are a number of reasons for that. One, water really is life. We require water for drinking. We also use it for cleaning and laundry. As the human species advanced, we needed additional water for livestock. Then we became stationary, mastered various forms of irrigation, and bred our crops to become more and more dependent on water. Doing so allowed us to reap larger yields of sweeter and more mild crops, but it also tied us inexorably to water systems.

Historically we were further tied to water systems for faster and easier travel and trade, and we eventually turned to it for some of our labor. First with direct-labor systems such as grinding mills, then for the generation of power that could be sent across distances, water made life easier as well as sustaining it.

We are no less tied to water now than the caveman, Viking or European colonist. We just don’t always notice. And because most of North America enjoys easy, low-cost water, we aren’t great about conserving it.

Test Your Water Use

Want to see just how influential water is, and how much we use? Easy enough. Turn off the water at the main for a day. Remember to also tape or turn off faucets so you don’t empty any hot water heaters and end up with problems.

If you’re on a well, use your backup pump system. If you don’t have a backup system, one immune to fire and earthquake and the prepper-minded EMPs, you don’t actually have a water system. Turn it off.

Do it on a standard day. A day you’re not off backpacking, not working on your three-day bare-minimum drill doing a dry camp in the living room or backyard. Really ideally, do it in summer or autumn on the day(s) you’d be watering if you irrigate gardens, and on a day you’re hunting or harvesting some doves, chickens and rabbits.

For less-immersive comparison, just monitor the water gauge. For livestock on a non-metered system, fill containers that can have checks and tally lines added quickly.

Don’t let yourself become complacent or say, “well, that’s just because” to justify the amount of water used. Yes, our grooming standards can go down and change, and we can adopt some laundry methods and clothing treatment from the past that limit our uses more. Eventually, though, hygiene suffers.

If water’s out, something else is regularly going on, from “small” family-sized crises to storms and other disasters that affect the area and region. Roads and doctors may not be available if someone does become ill.

If anything, a crisis is a time to focus more on proper hygiene.

Handwashing, especially, can make a major impact on fecal-oral route infections, which tend to be the root of most of the illnesses laymen call “food poisoning”.

If your hygiene is dependent on wipes, run that test as long as you can to get the best possible average for how many you run through per day. Whatever your backup toilet system is, use that.

Use the data to create a baseline. How much do you use? How long will your stored water last? What seasons can you reasonably count on resupply?

From there, we look for ways to increase our sources and our efficiency in harvesting and using the water we can access.

A Double-Edged Sword

Water is one of the few things we can’t do without, and a functioning stream, river or lake system or even just a marsh can make a huge positive impact on our preparedness. They aren’t without hazards, however.

Flooding is a primary risk, although healthy marsh systems can actually mitigate and minimize floods. Still, the levee systems in the U.S. are aging and Midwest floods aren’t uncommon. Colorado and Tennessee have both had major, devastating disasters due to river- or creek-originated floods.

In a protracted crisis, the hydro dams put in by the Tennessee Valley Authority and in the Northwest are likely to suffer failures, on top of the failures we see washing out roads and creating mudslides and large floods right now.

In addition to those failures, there are mines and factories along our waterways these days. We’ve seen in just the last year what can happen as they fail and toxins leak out. Nuclear plants are routinely along waterways.

Failures combined with flooding can wash those contaminants into our farmlands, cities and suburbs, affecting creeks and wildlife long before and long after we can see the effects.

EPA Accidentally Turns Colorado River Orange With Pollution, Putting Drinking Water At Risk

Livestock are also a contamination risk to both well intakes and streams, just like human waste can already be right here in the U.S. Those risks are even more prevalent in some of the third-world nations that live without our level of basic services. Disease is rampant after earthquakes, hurricanes, and floods due to fecal wastes, and can be expected to go up after a major disaster.

Mosquitoes and the spread of ever increasing and previously “dead” diseases by insects are another risk.

Many of those risks can be limited with site selection and sculpting the land a little, by planting a few things that can help create buffers, predators, and sinks for water and its diseases and pests. An interruption in “easy” water after we’ve become accustomed to it is still the bigger and more likely threat for most of us.

While a gravity-driven well with a pressure-driven cistern would be ideal, not everybody is there. Not every well can either reach or hit the amounts needed for livestock and crop irrigation.

Self-Sufficiency through Streams

 

A moving channel is a fantastic element to site. One aspect to watch for with small systems is that they don’t dry out in summer. Ideally, they won’t even dry up in the 25- and 50-year drought cycles.

Through much of history, moving water has helped us either with direct labor, such as the old mills we can still find here and there, or later by producing power for us to then use however we like.

Running streams, creeks and rivers can also turn water wheels that help us by lifting water into aqueduct systems or into cisterns that will produce enough gravity from water weight to push water further away from the source.

With even a small amount of motion, there are sling pumps capable of moving water for us. Even if a sling pump won’t reach all the way to gardens and livestock, saving us the bend-lift labor of filling buckets and being able to fill a cistern while we move the first load can make an enormous difference.

With greater rates of movement, we can create hydro re-directs to lessen some of our labors and in some cases produce small amounts of energy. We can dam small waterways to increase pressure or create channel- or pipe-based systems to generate power.

In some cases it’s not going to be a lot of electricity, but even the ability to slowly charge electric tools, appliances, and our music and photo devices can be a huge boost.

Slow it, Sink it, Spread it, Store it

In permaculture, there are several “S’s” promoted in regards to water. They simplify the desires to:

  • Catch water for future use
  • Prevent flooding even on the “daily” and seasonal scales, and by doing so prevent erosion and soil hardening via water (runoff, soil compaction)
  • Allow water to infiltrate so roots can access it, and to lift the water table for springs and swale systems
  • Keep chemicals and waste from running across landscapes and polluting our waters or gardens

Catchments are one way we capture water – storing it for later and preventing it from running wasted over the surface of the soil.

Water catchment on a huge scale was and still is used in Australia, with systems similar to water towers and large roof-to-cistern systems both above ground and below ground.

Sheep and cattle stations and small farmers also create nearly lock-style channels to store water for the three- to six-month dry seasons. Those systems can be duplicated in North America depending on local laws.

In places where regulations prohibit such large scale water harvesting or hoarding, it may be possible to obtain permits to put in lakes or ephemeral or permanent pond systems, which can function similarly and have added benefits for homesteads.

On a small scale, water can be stored using systems as complex as we like, or we can go simple and create pyramids or triangles of trickle-over buckets and barrels with no plumbing and just mesh or permeable cloth to prevent mosquito infestations.

Small, shallow swales sequester less, but can prevent damage from rains over years. Larger swales can hold more water, allowing that water a greater amount of time to infiltrate. That water then creates a “lens” beneath the surface of the soil and allows plants a longer period of time to access it.

The slope of the land and the soil type and structure play the biggest roles in the types and sizes of swale systems we put in.

Preexisting vegetation and the type of vegetation we want to put in, if we plan to move livestock through the swale systems and what type of livestock also affects what type of swale system will work best for us.

Reducing Reliance On Systems

We have to have some water, and ideally a constant source. However, even with the best of planning and siting, sometimes we run into droughts or damaged systems. One way to build resiliency to those is to lessen our overall dependence.

Silvopasture over turf can provide forage and fodder even in drought years, and lessen dependence on irrigated grains and delicate pasture and hay. Some silvopasture is coppiced, but most will be either pollarded or selective-drop of large limbs from each tree.

The type and number of livestock and the amount of labor desired affects what style of silvopasture is effective.

Our livestock selection can also lessen dependence.

Ducks tend to be wasteful of water, while with drip waterers, chickens can be highly efficient. Pigs really need a lot of water to gain weight efficiently, and they need regular access to it. Comparatively, dairy and meat goats need a little less access and less total water per pound of produce.

If we veer a little further away from the American norm, camels need less yet, and have traditionally been used for milk, meat and hides and in some cases angora just like llamas.

We can also look into more water efficient breeds from typically dry regions of the world. They may be more expensive as an initial investment and have less-efficient feed-milk-meat ratios, but in a survival situation, the fact that they do survive with little water may make them invaluable.

If we have a fair bit of property, we can also tailor habitat for hunting small game, and focus our water labors on egg and dairy producers.

Hugelkultur beds are another way to limit use and dependence on rainfall and irrigation. Once established, a properly sized and layered hugel bed requires almost no assistance at all. It retains and essentially generates moisture from within.

When we do use water, we can use it as many times as humanly possible instead of letting it run and flow past our fingers.

Gray water systems, using cooled cooking water in gardens or for livestock, and reclaiming runoff from sprouts and sprouted fodder for livestock or re-watering can all help decrease our total draw.

Then there are little things like using a cup of water to rinse while brushing teeth, and having catch basins for washing hands or rinsing produce that then gets used for laundry or put back into the garden systems – at least once, and in some cases, several times.

Water Is Life

We have always been dependent on water as a species, and civilization and modern post-industrial life has made us more so. However, we can look back at history and to some of the underdeveloped nations to find ways that we can harvest and store water against need, and in some cases, use water wheels and even small creeks or lake properties to help us move water or generate a little bit of power.

There are a few tips here. The TPJ article about gardening in droughts has additional lessons from fairly recent history that can be applied to reduce water uses for human and livestock food production, large scale or small, urban or rural.

When we’re ready to delve into long-term disaster planning, water needs to be a focus. Without water, and a backup plan for water, all the rest of our preparations become null and void in a large-scale emergency.

Water can also be dangerous. It’s worth researching the local flood patterns, especially pre-levee system, and looking up the diseases, symptoms and cures common to waterways in third world nations and after disasters.

 

The post Lessons from History – The Importance of Water appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year!

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Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year On the Homestead Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! Going on 6 years of homesteading, I have learned some big lessons. Don’t get goats. Infrastructure is king. Don’t buy livestock on craigslist. But of all the lessons learned, one of the biggest regrets I have… Spending … Continue reading Why You Should Plant Fruit This Year!

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Personal and Family Preparedness.

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Personal and Family Preparedness.

Personally I don’t see one thing as being more important than another. There is no point in prioritising shelter if you are unable to protect & defend. But for the purpose of this article, I will start with my home & work my way through other priorities.

We have two dwellings, a main house & an old cottage. Both are situated in a forest that we own. We do have fire breaks, but this winter we will be widening those breaks because of the new threat posed by global warming. On the main house we have two 5000 gallon cement water tanks, plus another 1000 gallons in a polly tank for the garden. We have two fire pumps, one on the lower cement tank, & one down at Cattail Pond. The Cattail Pond pump can pump water up to the main house & the cottage for gardens & fire fighting. The gardens supply us with all our vegetable needs for the house & the chooks, but we also keep on hand a good supply of dried, bottled & canned foods. The chooks are kept mainly for eggs.

The main house & the cottage are both off grid & self-sustainable with grey water systems & composting toilets. The cottage has two 1000 gallon water tanks but we will be adding another larger tank soon. Heating of both houses & hot water is provided by wood burning stoves, plus a wood heater in the main house & a large open fire in the cottage. Cooking of course is also done on the wood burning stoves & the forest supplies all our firewood. 240 volt Electricity is supplied by solar panels & batteries.

We have four 4WDs, The Lada is only used on the property, but the Hilux & Triton diesels are registered for the road, as is the X-Trail SUV. If we ever have to leave here, the whole family can just fit in the Hilux & the two Tritons with all our equipment. Every family member that is able to carry has their own pack & arms. I am a primitive skills instructor & I have passed my skills on to my three sons. Arms are a mixture of modern breech-loaders, muzzle-loaders & traditional bows. Our equipment is all 18thcentury except for medical supplies & some of the water containers. We do not expect to have to leave our forest home as we have plenty of people & arms to protect what we have, but we are prepared to leave if we consider it necessary.

Individual equipment is much the same for everyone with a few exceptions including arms, types of packs, clothing. & personal items.

Equipment List:

.62 cal/20 gauge flintlock fusil. 42 inch barrel.

.70 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol.

Gun tools and spare lock parts.

Shot pouch and contents.

Leather drawstring pouch of .60 caliber ball (in knapsack).

Powder horn.

Ball mould and swan shot mould.

5 Gunpowder wallets

Lead ladle.

Butcher/Hunting knife.

Legging knife.

Clasp knife.

Tomahawk.

Fire bag.

Tinderbox.

Belt pouch.

Fishing tackle in brass container.

Two brass snares.

Roll of brass snare wire.

Knapsack.

Scrip.

Market Wallet.

Tin Cup.

Kettle.

Water filter bags (cotton & linen bags).

Medical pouch.

Housewife.

Piece of soap and a broken ivory comb.

Dried foods in bags.

Wooden spoon.

Compass.

Whet stone.

Small metal file.

Oilcloth.

One blanket (Monmouth cap, spare wool waistcoat and wool shirt rolled inside blanket).

Two glass saddle flasks.

Length of hemp rope.

Bottle of rum.

Basic list of what I carry. This list is made up from items that we know were carried, from items that my research has shown were available, & from items that have been found, such as the brass snare wire. I am not saying every woodsrunner carried all these items, but I am saying that some woodsrunners may have carried all these items. From experimental archaeology results in historical trekking, I think the items I have chosen are a reasonable choice for any woodsrunner that is going to live in the wilderness for a year or more.

Skills: All adult male family members have these skills. The only reason the women don’t have these skills is because they have not shown any interest. Two of the women can use a gun & one of the girls has her own bow. One of our family is a trained nurse & others have skills such as cooking, clothing manufacture, weaving & gardening.

Skills List:

Fire-bow Flint & steel fire lighting

Wet weather fire lighting

fire lighting

Flintlock fire lighting

Flintlock use, service & repair

Marksmanship with either gun or bow.

Field dressing & butchering game

Blade sharpening

Tomahawk throwing

Making rawhide

Brain tanning

Primitive shelter construction

How to stay warm in winter with only one blanket

Cordage manufacture

Moccasin construction and repair

Sewing

Axe and tomahawk helve making

Fishing

Hunting

Evasion

Tracking

Reading sign

Woods lore

Navigation

Primitive trap construction & trapping

Open fire cooking

Fireplace construction

Clothing manufacture

Drying meat & other foods

Knowledge of plant tinders & preparation

Knowledge of native foods & preparation

Knowledge of native plants in the area and their uses for other than tinder and food.

Scouting/Ranging.

Basic first aid.

Finding and treating water.

General leather work.

Basic Home Brewing Equipment

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Basic Home Brewing Equipment A good friend told me that this nation was born on the back of home brewing. Craft brew shared space on our lips along with the ideas of God given freedom. In these small ale houses men gathered to discuss the oppression of the crown. That said, this article touches on …

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Healthy Backyard Geese

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Healthy Backyard Geese We have all heard about backyard chickens. One of the great investments of life if you do not have them yet. There is also an argument about having ducks instead of chickens. I do love some fresh duck eggs. What is news to me, however, is this article about backyard geese. I …

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How to Get Started Homesteading

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How to Get Started Homesteading For someone who just heard of it, homesteading might be a lifestyle that is impossible to achieve in modern times. Most people imagine homesteading means you have to move to a remote place, building your own home, growing and raising your own food, and living without electricity. Basically, like how …

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5+1 Organic Remedies For Your Spring Garden

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It’s almost that time of year again – time to set out your plants and get that beautiful garden growing! But, one of the biggest problems that many of us face is that we grow our own food to avoid chemicals, but we need fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides to really get the most out of our labor.

Don’t worry – there are excellent organic options to help your garden grow.

Read the article below to discover them!

Seeds

You’re not going to grow anything of quality if you don’t start with good seeds. It’s easy to go the cheap route and buy seeds at the dollar store, but do your research. This isn’t the place that you want to skimp because if you do it right, you’ll only have to buy seeds once because next year, you’ll use ones that you harvest from your own crop.

Now, you’ve likely heard of GMO, which stands for “genetically modified organism.” Scientists literally modify the DNA of the plant to make it “better.” Of course, we know that actually means, “more profitable,” not “more healthy.”

Because science tinkered with the natural structure of the plant, the seeds are unreliable. You may get great results by replanting them, or none of them may grow. Besides, GMO have been linked to several different illnesses. Skip them.

You want to go with heirloom seeds because they’ve been carefully cultivated from one type of plant for generations. They’re reliable and safe. To learn more about the different types of seeds, check out this article.

These lessons of yesterday will teach you the basic skills for survival cooking! 

Organic Fertilizer

In the event SHTF, you might not be able to run down to the garden center and pick up a bag of Miracle Gro. Why would you want to even when you can? You can make your own fertilizer at home that’s every bit as good as the store-bought stuff, and you know exactly what’s in it.

But what if your tomato plants grow just fine? I’ll be rude and answer a question with a question. How do you know that they’re growing fine? Sure, they may be growing and producing, but here’s the thing – our soil is depleted.

That means that what passes for a tomato today likely only has a fraction of the nutrients that it had 100 years ago. Too many seasons of constant planting without a break has sucked all the nutrients out of the soil, and if there’s none in the soil, well, there’s none in the plant.

So you need fertilizer. Your compost is going to be a huge part of that, but you can also add nutrients in other ways, such as by mixing Epsom salt around your tomatoes and peppers or by mixing a bit of diluted vinegar in if your soil isn’t acidic enough. Check out this article for more tips for fertilizer, but don’t skip it, whatever you do!

Video first seen on GrowVeg

Compost

This is probably the most proactive step you can take for a healthy garden, but to do it right, you’re going to need to do it right. You can put many things, from food scraps to paper and ash in it, but there are definitely some no-nos.

Now, before you start saying that you can’t have a compost pile because you don’t have a big enough area, let me stop you because you only need an area the size of a bin to have a compost pile … err, bin.

Oh, and you can have liquid manure compost – aka manure tea – too. It’s exceptionally good for plants that require extra nitrogen. Manure tea is exactly what it sounds like – manure that’s been steeped in water. It’s a bit involved and takes some time, but it’s well worth the end result. It’s especially good for plants with deep roots.

Herbicides

Oh, those nasty weeds. Of course, if you’re container gardening, it’s not such a hassle, but if you have a traditional garden, it’s a real pain, literally and figuratively. And if you opt to use commercial herbicides, you’re often defeating one of the purposes of growing your own garden  by using chemicals on your food.

Fortunately, you have many natural options that will work just as well as harmful chemicals. First, mulch is an excellent idea for several reasons. It helps keep the weeds to a minimum, it holds the moisture in the soil, and it acts as a natural fertilizer when it breaks down. That’s assuming you make your own mulch, which is cheap (or free), or buy organic mulch, which is NOT cheap or free.

Another option that isn’t exactly an herbicide but works as well as one is to use landscape fabric, which you can also make yourself from recycled sheets, feed sacks, etc. Or, you can buy it. It prevents weeds from growing by blocking out the sunlight. A natural result of this is that it helps hold moisture in the soil as well.

Boiling water works, too. It’ll kill a weed quick, but this isn’t particularly effective if you’re treating your entire garden.

Borax, bleach, vinegar, and salt water are also effective herbicides though you may need to repeat the process. Add a little liquid dish detergent to each for an extra boost. Be sure to spray these only on the leaves of the plants that you want to kill because none of them discriminate.

Be careful not to saturate the soil because all of them alter the pH and can have catastrophic effects on your plants.

Video first seen on Grow Your Heirlooms

Insecticides

This is the big bad of the chemicals that most people consider necessary to growing a healthy, productive garden. And it’s true – nothing will wipe out a garden faster that a horde of hungry aphids, beetles, or other flying or crawling creatures.

Fortunately, you have options here, too, and some of them, such as dish detergent, serve double duty and kill weeds, too.

Neem is probably the most effective. It’s been used for centuries and has more than 50 natural insecticides. Since it’s safe for you, your pets, and your plants, you can use it without worrying about damage. The only problem is that the bug has to actually eat the plant to die, so if you have an infestation of something, you may have some losses before you win the battle.

Himalayan salt kills spider mites. Just mix 2 Tbsp. of salt in 1 gallon of water and mist onto infested areas.

Chrysanthemum flower spray is lethal to insects because it paralyzes their nervous systems and immobilizes them. Just boil 3.5 ounces of flowers with a liter of water into a tea and spray directly on the plant. The spray stores for up to 2 months. Add some neem oil to give it an extra boost.

I call this the pizza spray – it’s made of 1 clove minced garlic, 1 medium sliced onion, and 1 tsp. cayenne pepper. Add them to a quart of water and let it soak for an hour. You don’t want to cook it; just let it soak. Add a tablespoon of liquid soap and spray directly onto the plant. This will stay potent for a week or better in the fridge.

Grind a couple of handfuls of dried chilis and add to a cup of diatomaceous Earth, then add 2 liters of water. Let it soak overnight, then shake it up and apply.

Other natural pesticides include orange oil, citrus oil. Eucalyptus oil, soap, and mineral oil. Dilute them with water and spray directly onto the plant.

Note that, with the exception of the soap, all of these concoctions are drinkable (though I don’t imagine that you’d want to) so you’re not going to poison yourself.

Critters

Bunnies and deers are really cute until you find them eating your carrots and corn. Then, not so much. As a matter of fact, so may say that they’d look delicious on  a plate side-by-side with said veggies after they’re busted dining on your labors.

I once lost an entire crop of cherries overnight because apparently the birds had been waiting for them to be perfect just as I had, but they were up earlier than I was. Two words – bird netting.

But, they do have minds of their own and aren’t easily deterred. Some good ideas that may help you keep from feeding the neighborhood wildlife instead of saving it all for yourself are as follows:

Marigolds. Rabbits, deer, and other wildlife hate the smell of them so plant them around your perimeter. You can also build chicken wire fences around your garden, or around the plants that you’re worried about.

Raccoons and some other animals hate the smell of Epsom salt – which, by the way, isn’t a salt so it won’t kill your plants. Just sprinkle it around the perimeter of the garden. It also increases the magnesium in your soil, so your plants may thank you.

Solar motion-activated lights may help scare them off, especially if you relocate them regularly so that the animals don’t get used to them.

Finally, you can cover your plants at night using tulle netting – that gauzy stuff that a bride’s veil is made of. For that matter, if you’re only covering it at night, you can use light sheets or other fabric that won’t break the plants.

We’ve covered most of the ways that you can grow a healthy, delicious garden without worrying about chemicals leeching into your foods. Plus, most of these suggestions are free or super cheap, so it’s a win in all directions!

Do you wonder what are the secrets that helped our grandparents grow their own food to survive during harsh times?

Click the banner bellow and uncover them!

If you have any more ideas about organic remedies to keep your survival garden healthy, share them in the comments section below. Happy gardening!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

How To Fulfill Your Homesteading Dreams By … Renting?

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How To Fulfill Your Homesteading Dreams By ... Renting?

Image source: Wikimedia

Have you always dreamed of homesteading or living off the grid, but can’t do so since you don’t own any land?

There’s good news: There’s a variety of ways you can start homesteading without necessarily owning acreage.

After my family and I made the leap from city to country several gyears back, we rented a small property in a rural town that allowed us to plant vegetables and raise small livestock. We did this for several years before purchasing land of our own, enabling us to transition from urban to rural in a gradual and deliberate way.

Why Rent?

The benefits of leasing over purchasing land are numerous: you shell out minimal expense, start farming without long-term commitment, and have an option to leave the property – and the farming lifestyle — if you decide it’s not for you. Call it an on-the-job training or a trial period. Leasing gives you a chance to hone your skills and test the land or area around you. Meanwhile, you’re able to gauge just how much space, structures, plants and animals you’ll need when you start homesteading on your own future property.

And because the place isn’t your own, you won’t feel obliged to do home improvement projects unless it’s totally needed, or you can negotiate a deduction from the following month’s rent. Instead, you can save those much-needed funds to raise capital for your own future farm.

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Renting could be that important and helpful “middle step” between leaving the city, a full-time job and all the urban pursuits, and settling into your desired country lifestyle – for good.

Why Farmers Lease

Image source: Pixabay.com

Image source: Pixabay.com

There are different reasons landowners may want to lease their properties, big or small, productive or not. Some may be economic factors, others for personal reasons. With the average age of farmers at 57, there’s a substantial number of old-generation farmers looking to retire or slow down. They may opt to downsize their operations, partner with young farmers, or lease out a portion of their land to aspiring homesteaders.

Here’s where you enter the picture. If you’re a beginning farmer, you can learn the ropes by maintaining somebody else’s farm or starting a small one on rented land.

Here’s How:

1. Plan your budget. Set limits when estimating the price and size of land you want to rent. Be realistic about your needs but allow some wiggle room to make improvements. Remember, you’ll need to be able to manage the property and provide any necessary add-ons, such as chicken coops, a hoop house, fencing, etc.

2. Search for land. Ask the folks at the farmer’s market, feed store, 4-H Club or farm-to-table organizations if they know of any farms being let out in your area or region. Don’t forget to check out your state’s agricultural extension office for listings. Online, there’s a host of farm-link websites that connect landholders with gardeners, new farmers and ranchers looking to rent land. These sites list available farms and forest lands for rent per state, region and all across the country. Many already have existing barns, pasture and water source. Some websites even allow land seekers to post an ad outlining their desired farm features – electricity, fencing, outbuildings, trees, access to water, land that hasn’t been sprayed for a few years, etc. And still other websites have a “matching service,” offering to facilitate meet-ups, negotiations and agreements. Check out the following:

BeginningFarmers.com

YoungFarmers.com

LandStewardshipProject.org

FarmLandInfo.org

TheLandConnection.org

SharedEarth.com

FarmFlip.com

RentThisLand.com

3. Explore creative solutions. Don’t limit yourself to the standard cash-rent setup. There’s a variety of ways to do farming or homesteading other than self-sufficiency; you can also get into profitable ventures that could benefit both you and your landlord. There’s crop- or livestock-sharing, which allows you to split half of the income you make, in cash or kind.

Urban market gardener Curtis Stone does this, earning six figures a year by growing high-value, fast-growing vegetables in just half an acre he leases in British Columbia, Canada. He simply rents neighbors’ lawns, yards and idle properties in the suburbs, and pays his landlords $20-30 worth of crops each week.

Another possible arrangement is a lease-to-own, which works especially well with older farmers looking to downsize or retire within the next few years. If you’re a young farmer, look into partnership agreements. These pair young farmers with established ones nearing retirement.

4. Formalize. After you and your future landlord have agreed on the details of your land use, finalize everything on paper. Review and evaluate your agreement periodically and adjust wherever needed or desired.

5. Start slow. Work on a garden size and number of animals that you and the property can handle. If you’re building additional structures that your landlord won’t pay for, make sure they’re the collapsible and portable kind. Container gardens, rainwater barrels and electric fences are examples of such removable fixtures.

6. Small space? Go micro. If you end up renting a suburban property whose owner will allow you to do backyard homesteading, wonderful! Go ahead and use whatever available space you find to grow food. Just remember to be a good neighbor. Ask next-door residents if they wouldn’t mind if you kept some hens or a couple of pygmy goats. As goodwill, offer them a number of eggs or a bottle of milk each week, once you start producing consistently.

 

“The Big Book Of Off The Grid Secrets” — Every Homesteader Needs A Copy!

Even if you’re renting an apartment or a high-rise condo in the city, you can still dip your toes into homesteading. Grow salad greens and medicinal herbs on your balcony. Learn to can and make your own jams and pickles. Bake bread from scratch. Make your own soap and cleaning products. There’s 101 ways to begin your journey toward homesteading and self-sufficiency. You don’t really need to own land to do so.

What advice would you add for homesteading while renting? Share your tips in the section below:

Bust Inflation With A Low-Cost, High-Production Garden. Read More Here.

Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses

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Shade Cloth and Hoop Houses There are so many trains of thought when it comes to gardening. Its very easy to “geek out” over very little things when it comes to your garden. One of the ideas almost all gardeners wrestle with is the greenhouse or the hoop house over colder months. Some people allow …

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Debt Based System Running out of Steam

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Debt Based System Running out of Steam I always love the opportunity to dig into the mind of an expert on the economy. Even better when you have access to someone who can speak ENGLISH on the subject of the economy. Some economists are working with an entirely different glossary of terms. It sounds like …

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How Compost Heals Your Soil

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How Compost Heals Your Soil Its all about the soil. If you plan on growing a survival garden or would like to start seeing real results from your current garden I have to tell you step one is great soil. I spent years trying to push my clay based soil into becoming something more than …

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Dating a Non Prepper?

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Dating a Non Prepper? Prepping is not an easy thing to admit to. After the damage done by Nat Geo’s terrible Doomsday Preppers show we were all turned into laughable nuts. Of course, that narrative is the one that the general public seems to be stuck on. Its normal to feel guarded and secretive about …

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62 Wild Edibles with Pictures

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62 Wild Edibles with Pictures What an amazing resource. Don’t just read this article but bookmark it as well. It might even be worth saving it all into some sort of PDF format you can print in color. To a guy who loves foraging this article is a dream come true. You can spend two …

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9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living

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9 Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living There is something so wonderful about these listicle style articles. I really like reading them. They are easy to digest and bring lots of great ideas to the forefront. This article is no different. These are not concrete things to be done like BUY CHICKENS GET SOLAR POWER Instead this …

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Make Your Own Butter

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Make Your Own Butter Most people think that butter is something magic that can only be found in refrigerated display cases. The fact is we have been making butter for a very long time. Its a skill that is not often taken advantage of because the access to heavy whipping cream is limited to what …

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Tips for Using Emergency Generators

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Tips for Using Emergency Generators A backup generator can be a godsend during power outages, but making sure you’re prepared takes more than just buying one and “waiting for a rainy day.” In addition to making sure you understand how much power your property needs to function, you’ll want to make sure you get a …

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DIY Solar Oven Prototype 1

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DIY Solar Oven Prototype 1 Cooking is an everyday part of survival unless you’re happy to crouch in the dark eating straight from a cold can of beans. Collecting firewood isn’t too hard – but in a long term survival situation, you’ll have to travel farther and farther to find the fuel you need, especially …

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How To Grow Tomatoes For Survival

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If I were told that I could only grow one vegetable (err…technically fruit, but that’s irrelevant) in my garden, I would pick tomatoes. Why? Because they’re delicious, nutritious, easy to grow anywhere, and you can use them in so many ways that you’d likely never get sick of them. You almost have to grow tomatoes for survival if you want your garden to be complete.

Just a single cup of tomatoes provides about half of your RDA of Vitamin C (move over orange juice), 25% of your RDA of Vitamin A, some Vitamin K just for kicks, and minerals including iron, potassium, folic acid, Lycopene and calcium. Plus, tomatoes have been linked to cancer prevention. Not too shabby for a little red, yellow, green, purple, orange, black, or pink fruit/vegetable, is it? Oh and did I mention that they come in an array of colors?

But which ones should you grow? How long do they take? Do they have particular needs? How much space do you need? There’s definitely a bit more to growing quality tomatoes than just grabbing a pack of seeds at the dollar store, but throughout the following paragraphs, you’re going to learn enough to get you started.

Different Types of Tomatoes

Many people grow several different varieties of tomatoes because there are so many uses for them. Just like anything else, most tomatoes are better for one purpose than another. For instance, if you want to grow tomatoes for juice and for eating raw, you’ll likely want two different types of tomatoes.

Of course, there are definitely good all-around tomatoes, but variety is most certainly to spice of life. And since there’s very little difference in planting and growing, why not grow different ones best suited to your individual needs?

Here are some of the reasons you may want to grow tomatoes:

  • Slicing, or eating tomatoes
  • Cherry tomatoes for salads
  • Plum tomatoes for eating or cooking
  • Juice tomatoes
  • Sauce tomatoes
  • Whole canned tomatoes
  • Tomatoes for chutneys.

Now, think about it. If you want to slice a nice, meaty tomato to put on your burger, you want plenty of “meat,” right? But if you want to can whole tomatoes, you’ll want something a bit smaller, and with a different consistency. And of course, if you want a little tomato for a salad, you need yet another type.

That’s the beauty of tomatoes; there are hundreds of options. All you have to do is find the ones you like best!

Learn from our ancestors the old lessons of growing and preserving your own food for harsh times. 

Types of Seeds

There are four main types of seeds out there: GMO, hybrid, heirloom, and open pollination.

GMO

These seeds have been genetically modified at the DNA level in a lab. They’re meant to make the seed better in some form or another. However, because the plant has been altered at the genetic level, you may find it difficult to get the next generation of seeds to grow, or to produce tomatoes that are the same as the ones in the first generation.

Hybrid

These are often mistaken for GMO, but they’re vastly different. They’re a naturally-occurring plant that occurs when one variety pollinates with another. Think of the hybrid as a family – a mother and dad get married and have a child that shares their traits – hopefully the best of each parent.

Hybrids have no problem growing but may not be consistent from one generation of seeds to another. First generation plants and fruit tend to be more consistent in size and shape and are often more disease resistant than heirlooms, but you don’t know what you’re going to get next year.

Open-Pollinated

These plants are the result of plants that are grown close together pollinating each other in a natural manner. You’ll have some genetic variability because of this, and when the seed is saved, those traits are passed onto the next generation. Open-pollination tomatoes are often regionally unique and have unusual shapes, colors and flavors.

These are the seeds that most farmers count on, because they’re reliable. You can save the seeds with a high degree of confidence that they’ll grow next year.

Heirlooms

The queen of seeds. Heirloom tomatoes come from seeds that have been carefully preserved for generations – usually 50 years or more. They’re carefully tended so that the traits are consistent from one generation to another. The one trait that heirlooms have is that the fruit can vary greatly in size and shape even on the same plant. That’s not always the case, and it’s not really a bad thing – just something to make note of when you’re growing them.

Heirlooms grow consistently from one year to the next, so you can save your seeds and have the same exact plant next year.

So What Seeds are Best?

Many people grow hybrids and love them; for that matter, I have too. But if I’m saving seeds, it’s the ones from my hybrids and open-pollinated ones because I know that they’ll grow and I know what I’ll get. 

Growing Conditions

This is yet another trait that I love about tomatoes – no matter where you live, there’s a variety that will grow for you. Well, almost. If you live in an area that has no warm weather to speak of, or an extremely short (less than 50 day) growing cycle, your choices are limited unless you want to grow them inside, or in a greenhouse.

Altitude affects every single aspect of growing – temperature, soil conditions, precipitation, and humidity. In high-altitude climates, you often have short growing seasons, soil that’s either rocky and alkaline or shaded and acidic, too much rain, not enough rain, and a ton of wildlife that’s just waiting for you to grow them some delicious food.

But don’t despair, you can grow great tomatoes just about anywhere you want as long as you’re willing to put in the effort.

What do Tomatoes Need to Grow?

I read a story about a couple who invested all of their summer into a tomato crop only to yield a single fruit. They’d gone out of town one weekend and forgotten to tell their friends to water them, and that’s what did it.

Now of course, that’s a tall tale, but it’s not far off. Tomatoes need a consistent amount of water, especially when the fruit is ripening. But if you water them too much during this period, they’ll be washed out and flavorless.

So if your tomato could pick its ideal situation (and it can because if you don’t listen, it won’t grow) what would it be? There are some variances in their needs, such as length of growing seasons, but in general, the necessary components to successfully growing tomatoes are:

  • Temperature – tomatoes need an average of 3-4 months or warm, fairly dry weather to grow and produce well. In order to “set” fruit – a gardening term that means that your plant will produce fruit after flowering and pollination. Generally, they need nighttime temperatures of 55-75 degrees F for this to happen. They won’t develop the proper color if night time temps are above 85, and most will quit growing if nighttime temps are over 95 degrees. Now, there are tomatoes that thrive in hot weather, so if this is your situation, do some research and find them. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time.
  • Sunlight – Your plants need at least 6 and preferably 8 hours of sunshine per day. If you live somewhere temperate, 8 is great. If you live in the sweltering south, then 6 with a nice shady afternoon will be appreciated.
  • Consistent Watering – This part is SUPER important. You want your soil to be moist but not wet. Too much will kill the plant, too little will stop the fruit from growing, or will give it a poor texture and flavor if it does grow.
  • Proper, regular feeding – Tomatoes like nitrogen in the soil, so prepare the soil with ripe compost and a scoop of aged manure in the bottom of the hole when you plant it. Another trick is to add some Epsom salt to the soil monthly.

You can do this via just sprinkling a couple teaspoons around the plant, or by mixing a couple of tablespoons in a gallon of water and watering your plants with it. Be careful though, because too much nitrogen will give you a beautiful plant but will delay ripening. Add nitrogen when the top leaves turn yellow and the stem turns purple.

  • Loose soil that drains well – honestly, they prefer this but will grow in nearly any type of soil as long as you provide the proper nutrients. If you have plants that harvest early, sandy loamy soil is best. Plants that bear fruit late like heavier loamy clay. They also like slightly acidic soil with a pH somewhere between 6 and 7.
  • Take Care of the Roots and Leaves – tomatoes are a good plant to start inside because if you live in most zones, you want your plants to be 8-10 weeks old when you set them out 2 weeks or so after the last frost. It’s important that you wait this long because if you get an “oops” freeze, your plants are done.

You also need to protect them from wind that can break them and try to keep the vines off of the ground to help protect them from mold and bugs. Bugs love tomatoes, so be proactive in your insect prevention and check the leaves, top and underside, regularly.

Planting Your Tomatoes

Ok, not that we have that set aside, let’s talk about how to grow your plants. This is the exciting part – well, one of them anyway!

It’s best to prep your soil a week or two in advance by turning in some aged manure and compost. A bit of Epsom salt may help too, if your soil is low in nitrogen. Rest easy – though salt will kill your soil, Epsom salt isn’t actually sodium – it’s actually magnesium and sulfur. The magnesium helps your plant absorb nitrogen.

Some people just dig the hole for the plant and plop a trowel full of compost/manure in the bottom. This may be OK, but make sure that both are well-aged so that you don’t burn up your plants. I’d recommend mixing it into the soil.

If you started your plants from seeds, they should be at least 8 weeks old now, and you should harden them off for a week or so before you plan to plant them out doors. This just means that you’ll start putting them out for a couple of hours per day, protecting them at first from the sun and wind, then gradually increasing their time spent outside so that it’s not such a shock when you actually transplant them.

Now, let’s plant. You can plant them in your garden, or tomatoes make excellent container plants. 5-gallon buckets work great.

Dig a hole with your trowel about 6-8 inches deep. Remember that your soil should be loose. Pull off the bottom few leaves  of the plant, then put it in the ground so that the root ball is buried and the remaining leaves are above the surface of the ground.

Plant them about 2 feet apart.

Water well to help reduce shock to its roots.

Stake or cage immediately. This doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but trust me – in a few weeks when they’re growing like gangbusters, you won’t find it nearly so easy as you do right now.

Water your plants well for the first few days to help prevent shock and help it to acclimate. Water consistently throughout the season so that your soil stays at about the same saturation. In some growing conditions, you may be able to get away with watering once a week, but 2 or 3 times is better. They’ll need about 2 inches per week.

Just a tip here – using homemade mulch is a great idea because it helps hold moisture in AND it helps fertilize at the same time. You can put the mulch down when you plant or you can wait a few weeks to do it. Don’t forget about liquid manure compost, either.

Keeping a steady fertilization schedule is good, too, Follow the tips above about that.

When your plants begin to vine and you get them staked, it’s a good idea to pinch off sucker leaves – those leaves that don’t lead to more vine but only exist to suck the moisture from your plant.

Wait for your bumper crop of tomatoes to appear!

Video first seen on Rogers Gardens

Preservation Methods

Now comes the fun part. The best way that I like to preserve my tomatoes is in between two slices of bread – oh wait, it doesn’t last long like that! Seriously though, there are a number of ways that you can preserve your tomatoes. Each way ends up using a canning method, but there are many different ways that you can prepare them for preservation including sun-drying and adding to olive oil, or dehydrating.

Juicing and Sauce

I can’t even tell you how many tomatoes I’ve mashed through a sieve with a wooden  pestle to make juice! All you need to do is cut your tomatoes into quarters and toss them into a saucepan. Bring them to a boil for 5 minutes to soften them up and get the skins all loose. The juice will start separating out.

After they’ve simmered for that five minutes, turn off the heat and pour some of them over into your sieve or food mill (which is over a pot or bowl, of course) to separate the juice from the skins and seeds. Mash them through and pour the juice back into a pan and bring to boiling again for another 5 minutes, then can.

You should add a tablespoon of lemon juice to each pint just to boost the acidity enough to preserve it. I also add in a teaspoon of salt per quart (1/2 tsp. per pint).

Water bath can as usual or 35 minute for pints and 40 minutes for quarts. If you’re pressure canning, it’s 15 minutes for pints and 20 for quarts.

Note that your juice may “clarify”, or separate so that the bottom is dark red with the tomato pulp in it and the top is almost clear. This is perfectly normal – just shake it up before you use it.

If you want to make sauce instead of juice, it’s simply a matter of cooking it longer so that the water evaporates and the juice thickens. You can make plain tomato sauce if you want, but this is a great time to jazz it up by adding seasonings such as garlic, oregano, rosemary, etc. Think spaghetti, pizza, taco sauce, etc.

Whole, Crushed or Diced

Blanch your tomatoes for just a couple of seconds – that is, dip them in boiling water for 10 seconds then toss them into an ice bath. An old Italian guy (because nobody knew more about tomatoes than this guy) taught me that if you slice a small ‘x’ somewhere on the bottom of the tomato, it makes it easier to peel. The skin will fall right off and you can proceed to the next step.

Once you get the skins off, cut away any bad parts or green sections. If you’re canning them whole, stuff them into the jars. If you’re halving, quartering, dicing, or crushing them first, do it now. And add them to the jars and top with water so that you leave 1/2 inch headroom, at least. Add lemon juice and salt, seal, and can.

Paste

The process of making tomato paste is similar to making the juice except you cook it WAY down into a super thick sauce, then add olive oil and salt and bake it in a 200-degree oven, spread evenly in  pan, until it’s the thickness of tomato paste.

Chutney, Salsa, Etc.

This is possibly the best part! Make your favorite salsas and chutneys with tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs, and other spices and can them up so that you have some of this deliciousness year round!

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into growing tomatoes, but there are so many different ways that you can use them that it barely qualifies as work. It’s like growing an entire winter’s worth of possibilities all with just a few plants.

Study what kind of tomatoes you want to grow and get started! What are some of your favorite tomatoes? Do you have a recipe or an idea you’d like to share?

Discover how our forefathers produced their own food during harsh times! Click the banner below for more!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

References:

http://leitesculinaria.com/87323/recipes-homemade-tomato-paste-conserva-di-pomodori.html

How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF

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How Our Ancestors Survived When SHTF  SHTF isn’t just a modern phenomenon. Our ancestors survived many disasters. It’s best to learn their lessons. The Gila Cliff Dwellings are a great example. In the mid-13th century, SHTF when a 24-year drought uprooted Native Americans throughout the U.S. Southwest. One band of the Mogollon (muggy-YON) people resettled …

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10 Thoughts on Buildings and Shelters…the Dollars and Cents of Starting a Small Farm

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This article was originally published by Jamie on Walkinginhighcotton.net

Today we’re back with another piece in our series of the Dollars and Cents of Starting a Small Farm. This series is meant to give you the tools to think through all the decision-making that goes with starting a small farm, along with some encouragement and creative but realistic tips and ideas for making it affordable.

Buildings and Shelters–or building shelters as we like to do around here!–are a huge part of having livestock on a small farm or homestead. As I’ll talk about later in this post–it’s also one of the more controversial topics. (Who knew?!)

One of our common mantras around here for animal health is “clean and dry, clean and dry.” Keeping your animals clean (meaning no mud!) and dry is at least 60% of the health battle. Mud is a serious enemy on the natural (or trying to be natural!) farmstead. Wet ground is the growing medium for all kinds of bacteria and parasites and being coated in mud lowers body temperatures and keeps an animal’s coat from doing its normal job of warming and shedding weather.

It’s important to realize that “dry” doesn’t necessarily mean that the animal is dry–and this is where we start to get into the controversy!

We believe that God gave a cow/sheep/chicken everything they need to know to be a cow/sheep/chicken. And part of that knowledge is knowing to “come in out of the rain” if they need to. Where a lot of folks start to disagree when it comes to sheltering animals is the “if they need to” part. We believe in doing everything we can to keep the ground dry, and avoiding mud when possible–we tend to use a deep bedding method to get the animals out of the “soup” that becomes common in winter. And we believe in providing wind-breaks and cover for bad precipitation. We don’t believe that you have to force the animals to use it! We don’t “lock” animals in the barn unless we have a sick animal or a very young animal with special needs. Our shelters are all run-in environments and the animals choose whether they need to be in or not.

Just for the record, this drives a lot of folks NUTS. They believe that our animals are out in the weather because we don’t provide enough shelter for them. They can’t conceive of the idea that our cows are bred for hot, humid weather and like 90-100 degree days. And they can’t fathom that our sheep are all wearing huge natural wool coats and don’t mind being in the snow or light to moderate rain.

I don’t say this to make you agree with me, I say it so that you know what perspective we’re working from. As I mentioned in my first post, you always want to be sure that you’re comparing apples to apples. If you believe your sheep are too dumb to use the barn without help (I wouldn’t surprise me if there were a few!) that’s totally your call as the farmer! We also occasionally use weather-forced enclosure for situations like hurricane predictions, etc. If you regularly get blizzards, maybe you need to consider more confinement.

Our sheep don’t mind the snow. It just stacks up on their backs like they’re walking snow piles.

 

Another concern we hear raised often is how much shelter is enough? 2-sides? 3-sides? 4-sides, fully enclosed? We believe that over-sheltering reduces your animals overall weather-hardiness and increases dependence on sheltering, and increases opportunities for shelter-based health issues like pneumonia, respiratory infections from dust and mold, and physical injuries from crowding. We believe the best option is to choose animals that are well-adapted to your location, give them as much fresh-air and sunshine as possible, and a place to get out of the mud, wind, and wet, when needed. Most of our shelters are 3-side run-in style or 2-side run-thru design. This lets the animals get in and out as needed, allows maximum air flow while preventing drafts, and blocks wind, rain, sleet, etc. These are also lighter shelters, so they are more easily portable for our rotational system.

Even our red barn there is portable–although not easily. This is our sturdiest shelter for really bad weather.

Here’s 10 questions to ask yourself before you think about investing in any buildings or shelters…

1. What is the purpose?!

Is it going to be an animal shelter? Hay and feed storage? Tools and equipment? Will it be multi-purpose? We didn’t always set out thinking multi-purpose at first, but a few years in we realized that we’ve re-purposed every shelter, building, lean-to, carport, and shed on our property as least once. Now we always think–how many ways can we use this in the future?

2. Does it need to be mobile?

Remember, keep the long-term in view. We try to make everything possible mobile–that keeps the whole farmstead flexible if our needs or our interests change. What if our kiddos don’t want to do chickens but we invested in a 1/4 acre permanent coop and yard? Mobile also means it has to be lighter–and sturdier! How are you going to haul it around? By hand? By tractor? By lawn mower or 4-wheeler…It’s quite a balance. {smile} Mr. Fix-It loves this part of farming. The creative design and build part. Oh–and here’s a mistake we’ve made (ok, I admit it, more than once!)–if you’re going to move it around, you have to build it so it fits through all your gates!!

3. What else needs to be stored?

This has been a serious frustration for me! Buildings on the farm are not just about the livestock! The more you farm, the more stuff you have (especially if you’re trying to be thrifty and save and reuse everything!) and then suddenly the more stuff you need to store. There are NEVER enough storage buildings and something is always out in the weather that really shouldn’t be. Hay and feed. Equipment–tractors, mowers, trailers, disc, seed spreader, rototillers, garden tools, 4-wheeler…all need to be stored–preferably under cover!–to increase their useful lifespan. Mechanical tools–welder, air compressor, tool boxes, screws and nails, etc. Then you have fencing supplies, chutes and pens, medical supplies, feed troughs, buckets, scoops, carrying crates, seeds and fertilizers, hoses…the list of supplies is just never-ending–and it all has to go somewhere!

4. Are you sure it should go there?

If you are putting something permanent up, are you absolutely, positively, never-a-doubt-in-your-mind, dead-set that it should go there? Our garage and the lean-to off the side of the garage were pretty much set. Those were based on our house and driveway location. That’s where they were going to be. The end. Everything else, including gates and fence-lines, has been debated ad-nauseum and sometimes we still can’t decide. Everything else has been moved around, and probably will be even more in the future. If there’s any way to try a temporary solution for a year or two first, I would suggest it.

5. Are you following your own pattern?

This sort of follows #4…when in doubt, wait it out. Sometimes our “vision” of perfection doesn’t match our real-life farm. We’ve wanted to put up an equipment pole shed for years now. Money is the reason we waited, but I’m glad we did. Why? Because by putting it off a few years, we finally saw our own pattern and the building would have been on the wrong side of the farm! {smile} We kept talking about using part of the back field (see the red barn picture up there) behind the garage for equipment storage–but in actuality, we store our equipment on “equipment row” at the back of our big field and we use the garage spot for animal handling, lambing, sick pens, and lamb harvest. Now we’re talking about just putting up the shed over our existing “row.” If your sheep are always in the pasture, do you really need a barn by the house?

Here’s our standard field shelters for the sheep. They move from field to field as needed.

 

6. Is this practical?

Look, all farmers love big, old, musty, two-story barns. It’s part of the homesteading heart! But usually they’re just not practical–from a money or a design standpoint. If you’re lucky enough to have one I’m sure you’re finding ways to use it. But if you don’t, there’s probably a lot of other, more practical solutions to your storage needs. On a small farm or homestead, practical usually means the most use for the least money. As everything else, this means over the long-term. Sometimes more up-front costs to get the most use, is the least money in the long-run. And don’t forget to think about maintenance when you’re thinking about cost!

We use metal “hoop” shelters the most right now. They need almost no maintenance and last a really long time. We’re also able to find the pieces used at auctions (our sheep huts are made from “useless” pieces of a bigger structure!) because they last long enough to be resold. They’re big enough for our sheep, but small enough to be moved around easily with the tractor. They keep off the wind, rain, and snow and provide shade. And they can be bedded with straw to keep the animals off the wet ground and provide warmth. The open ends mean there’s no drafts, plenty of ventilation, and easy exits if someone spooks. Our red barn was our biggest building investment other than our garage, and it’s been worth it to have that sturdy shelter and small field to use during hurricane season. But it needs to be painted as we speak–again.

7. Can it be expanded?

Most farms grow. Once you’re in, you’re hooked! {smile} When you’re thinking about buildings and shelters, a lot of times you have to think small because of your budget. But if you invest wisely, it will be easy to grow later. Our huts could be bolted together, we could add more as we get more animals, or take one out of use and store it if we have fewer animals. On permanent structures you can add lean-tos. Our garage has one on the left, and we could add one off the right or the back if we wanted too. If you put a building right up against a fence, ditch, etc. then you’ve limited your expansion options.

8. Am I reinventing the wheel here?

To be thrifty, sometimes it’s best just to copy someone that’s already been there, done that. Honestly, we don’t do that very often because Mr. Fix-It enjoys the creative part–and that usually works for us because he’s very good at it. But there’s nothing wrong with copying someone’s success story. In his Pastured Poultry Profits book, Joel Salatin encourages folks to just copy what he did–not make mistakes he’s already made and corrected for no good reason. If you’re an inventor, creator, builder, Mr. Fix-It yourself, then I would encourage you to study what other folks have done before drawing your own design. Mr. Fix-It loves to check out YouTube and Google images (he’s a visual learner) to see other ideas before jumping into his own. Our new chicken house project is a conglomeration of other ideas and my husbands handiwork in re-using some greenhouse materials we acquired from a friend.

9. Do I have something I can use?

I formed this as a question because that’s how I’m writing the post. But actually, what this should say is SAVE EVERYTHING YOU CAN. {smile} Anything can be used on a small farm. I read about someone using an old truck camper shell/cap as a chicken field pen. I’ve read about folks using pallets to make animal pens. We used a dog kennel as the basis for our duck pen (which we’re using today as a chicken pen–remember, reuse!). We’re repurposing a cast-off greenhouse frame into a chicken house right now. We salvaged an old pop-up camper frame to make our old chicken house mobile. Our field pen/chicken tractor is tin from an old shed someone took down and shared with us because they knew we’d use “stuff like that.” As I mentioned last winter, we have piles of “farm junk” around because we try to keep anything that might be use-able in the future. This is part of being thrifty.

Here’s a picture of the back of our garage, with the back of the lean-to, and then the run-thru carport that we use for, well, anything we need. Lambing shed, lamb harvest shed, tractor shed, hay storage shed…it’s truly multi-purpose.

 

10. Do I care how it looks?

Ok, I saved this for last because I hate it, but it’s really important. The fact is that sometimes “practical” or “frugal” can start to look like crap. There, I said it. This bothers Mr. Fix-It much more than it bothers me. I’m not one to care what other folks think–but this has come to matter to me for a couple reasons that I think you should consider…

  • What your husband/partner/significant other/rest-of-the-family think is important. If they (or you!) hate rolling up in the driveway because the place looks like an abandoned farm scene from Chainsaw Massacre, well, you’re going to have issue with all kinds of other stuff. Your place should bring warmth and joy and pride, and home to your heart, or you’re not going to have the heart it takes to keep going when the going gets tough.
  • What your customers think is important. If you want customers, you have to consider what they think. Half your job is to educate them, and half your job is to meet their expectations. They’re expecting something from Old McDonald’s or Mother Goose. You probably can’t give them that, but you can probably meet them in the middle. If all you’re offering is Chainsaw Massacre, they probably won’t be back.
  • What the public thinks is important. I’m going to try to not be ugly here, but when it comes to farm animals, most people are ignorant and judgmental. If folks think your place looks like crap, they are going to think your animals are treated like crap, and they’re going to call someone and complain and you’re going to have a big headache. More people I know have gotten rid of their livestock because of neighbor complaints than because of financial issues. Most are completely unfounded and due to simple ignorance, but there it is. Most are not forced to get rid of their animals, they just get tired of feeling harassed.

Here’s the thing, you, as the farmer, need to know what you’re about. You need to know what your animals need and what they don’t. You need to know what you’re doing and why-or why not. You need to keep all these things in mind, think carefully, and make the best decisions for your place–and be ready to stand by them. It’s just part of farming in today’s world.

Here’s the kiddos bedding down the cow hut–bigger than the sheep huts, but same design. Pretty much any animal could use it, or we could use it for feed or equipment storage.

 

Source : www.walkinginhighcotton.net

 

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How To Make Yogurt At Home Easily With Or Without A Yogurt Maker

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How To Make Yogurt At Home Easily With Or Without A Yogurt Maker If this is the first time you are hearing about making yogurt at home, it may just sound like a joke. But it is real. You can easily make yogurt at home with or without a yogurt maker. There are different ways …

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Spring Scouting for Deer

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Spring Scouting for Deer Springtime is one of the best times to get out! After a winter of hiding and shivering its time to get back to work. This is a short article and a great video on scouting for deer. If you plan on having any hunting success the scout is so important. There …

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Buying a Realistic Bugout Vehicle

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Buying a Realistic Bugout Vehicle We have all seen those fantasy bugout vehicles with gun turrets and the like hanging off of them. They are heavily armored and look like something out a movie. Well the truth is for most of us a bugout vehicle like that is basically a fantasy. This article takes much …

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8 Dreadful Mistakes I Made When Creating My Dream Homestead (and How to Avoid Them)

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A little over 5 years ago my husband and I branched out into this lifestyle called homesteading. It was in the middle of winter of all times but something within us just clicked.

Oddly enough, the whole idea came while I was fretting over not being able to afford to feed our three children as healthy of a diet as I wanted to because of our meager grocery budget. Then, while watching an episode of Alaska: The Last Frontier, it clicked.

I saw Eve planting in her high tunnel, and I thought, “I need one of those.” Then my husband saw the chickens and said, “You know we could raise our own food instead of buying it.”

Just like that, the dream was born.

But looking back, we made a lot of mistakes. Some because of poor planning. Some because we had no idea what we were doing, and some because we had limited funds and had to do with what we had.

Today, I want to share a few of these mistakes with you. Hopefully, it can keep you from making the same ones.

1. We Failed To Plan

I know, that is literally one of the most foolish things you can do. But we literally had no game plan.

Honestly, I think it’s because we never really dreamed we’d make it this far.

Looking back, I think we literally thought we’ll only raise chickens for eggs, and a garden plus a greenhouse to extend our growing season. The thought of raising animals for meat hadn’t even entered our minds at this point.

I thought that would be it. But it wasn’t.

Had we taken the time to really think about what we were doing, our life could’ve been much easier. And we probably could have avoided a few of the catastrophes that we faced.

So if you can, look before you leap. Think long-term.

Give yourself some kind of direction so you can avoid some of the mistakes I’m going to talk about below.

2. We Took On Too Much At Once

As I said, we hit the ground running when we decided to homestead. A week after we watched the TV show that inspired it all, our greenhouse was up. Less than a week after that, we had a chicken coop and our first 5 birds.

We did not mess around. But unfortunately, we just kept doing the same thing over and over. We would have an idea and jump into it head first.

But this became a problem.

For instance, I got the idea that I wanted to raise small stature pigs just to feed our family, and I thought they’d be easier to contain instead of taking on a full-size hog. Well, before we did any research, my husband had already bid on a pig through an auction site and brought home our first pig for $7.

Granted it was a great deal, but I had nowhere to put the pig nor did I have a clue what I was getting into.

Now, guess who had a pig in her fenced in the backyard until my husband and oldest son could get a proper pig pen built? Guess who had a pig escaping every other day because the ‘proper pig pen’ still wasn’t strong enough to keep him inside?

Then we bought a mama pig and her baby.

Then the mama had babies.

And before I knew it, I had a full blown pig family and was completely exasperated because we had literally done very little right.

Then we did the same thing with bees. The idea came to mind, the opportunity presented itself, and we jumped in.

Yet again, we failed miserably our first year of beekeeping.

Thankfully, over the years we have learned but not without some hard knocks. So be sure you can chew the mouthful you are planning to bite off when it comes to your homestead.

3. I Put Livestock In The Wrong Spot

Our first investment in livestock and poultry was our chickens. So we built their chicken coop in our backyard so they would be easily accessible.

There have been some perks to the location of our chickens. I think they are better protected being that close to our house. They actually have two fences around them because of our backyard fence plus the fence in their chicken yard.

But there are some downsides.

We literally have no shade in our backyard. So now, I plant sunflowers around their coop each year to provide proper shade during our hot southern summers.

Learning from that mistake, I placed my goats in a very shaded spot that was farther off from the house. But then my goats would cry and cry because they wanted to see us and the other livestock we had.

So what I ended up having to do was to extend my goat area on around our property so they could come to a certain spot and see the backside of our house. That way when I’m out in the yard or on the back porch they can still see me, and I can talk to them.

(Yes, I talk to my goats like they are toddlers. I do the same to my chickens. But that’s a different story.)

Looking back, had I moved my goat lot over and put my chickens where my goats originally started everyone would’ve been happy, and I would have had to do a ton less work.

But you live and learn right? So when deciding where to put your animals think it all the way through so you can hopefully have to make fewer ‘adjustments’ than we’ve had to make.

If you are interested in making your own food then click here to find out more about this awesome survival guide on food independence. 

4. We Went From Zero To Sixty With Our Garden

When we got the idea to begin growing our own food, we had gardened a couple of years prior to that. We would grow a few green beans or some tomato plants in a small above ground bed.

It was just enough for us to make a meal or a sandwich out of.

We had never dreamed of canning or preserving our own food.

But that didn’t deter us from thinking we would grow this ginormous garden. And we did just that.

However, we learned the hard way that the larger the garden the larger amount of work that comes with it. I spent a lot of summers chasing my tail trying to keep this garden weeded and thriving.

Then we didn’t fully think through where we would like to place the garden. It is currently (and probably will always be) in the half of our backyard that isn’t fenced.

And it takes up a huge portion.

Looking back, I could’ve made it smaller and put it right out in my front yard. I live out in the middle of nowhere so I don’t have any strict regulations I have to follow.

Being in my front yard would have given my kids a lot more room to play in the backyard. Now, I have the swing set in our side yard along with a trampoline because our garden took up needed backyard play space. And we are getting a pool next year so who knows where I’ll end up putting it.

My advice is to really think about the placement of your garden. Make sure it isn’t so big that you can’t handle it. Because you can always go back and increase it later if needed.

Make sure it isn’t so big that you can’t handle it. Because you can always go back and increase it later if needed.

But you don’t want to forget that you need space for fun and living too. Otherwise, you’ll end up being like me and trying to figure out where to shove the play equipment without making your house look like a theme park.

5. I Had To Redo Things…A Lot

I catch myself saying things like ‘I wish’ a lot.

The reason is because anything you do with homesteading takes so much effort you rarely want to have to take it down and do it over again.

For instance, our perimeter fence.

It will have to be redone, no doubt. But I wish we had made it a larger priority. A perimeter fence not only keeps your animals home but it also keeps predators out.

Because we were short on funds when we started, we took the ‘free’ route. Granted something was better than nothing. But what we have really doesn’t function all that well.

We actually created our own perimeter fence out of pine slabs. We have a sawmill down the road that gives them away for free, and we utilized them. We hauled them for days but eventually got them all home, hammered them into stakes and trees. They completely surrounded our home.

But they didn’t last.

Between storms and children, some have collapsed. We keep repairing but it is something we put a lot of work into that will have to be taken down and replaced with a more sturdy option.

Realize that if you have livestock, you’ll need a perimeter fence. Find a way to create one that is the sturdiest option for your budget. Hopefully, you won’t have to constantly maintain or eventually redo something that you worked so hard on.

Just understand that no matter what you do you are probably going to look back on it and wish you had done it differently. I could tell you that I wish I had cleared certain trees at one time instead of going back and having to clear trees over and over.

The list goes on.

So pay attention to small details as you go so you won’t have the ‘I wish’ syndrome quite as badly as I tend to have some days.

6. I Developed The ‘Stress Yourself Out’ Syndrome

I’m going to be blunt. When you are building a homestead there are days your house and land will look like a junk yard.

That is just something that happens.

When you have 18 million projects going on at one time, don’t be surprised by this.

But I was. I had always lived in the suburbs with the manicured yard and it flat out freaked me out! So I stressed. And some days, I even cried because I wanted my house to look pretty and be a functional homestead. I wanted it all at once.

Well, the reality was, unless I wanted to go into major debt I was going to have to be patient. When I finally came to that reality, I let this syndrome go.

But the days I wasted stressing myself out instead of working on making our homestead our dream.

So if you are feeling the stress of your homestead, take a deep breath and realize it will all come together. It all just takes time.

7. I Failed To Locate Livestock Conveniently

Our chickens were the only animals we bought that we actually placed near our home for their convenience, and ours.

But after that, we kind of stuck the animals where we thought they’d fit. So the goats were off by themselves (until we made the extension.) Our pigs were down in the woods by themselves. And our rabbits were in two different locations because they ballooned faster than we had prepared for.

So, on winter days when I had to thaw and bring fresh water multiple times, I was hiking all over the place.

It was a mess. So needless to say, that had to be fixed. Yet again, we found ourselves redoing something we had put so much effort into.

So really consider yourselves when placing your animals. Obviously, you won’t want your pigs really close to your house.

But if you can place them even where it isn’t such a terrible hike on a cold, icy day then it will be worth it.

8. We Didn’t Create Proper Storage As We Expanded

We completely did not do this. And this is why our property stayed so messy for so long. As we built and added, we didn’t stop to think that we’d need additional space for the extra tools each addition required.

So for example, as the garden grew I had more tools I needed beyond what I used in my tiny above ground garden. And that equated to needing more space.

And I needed a garden shed.

Then we got a woodstove and needed a place to store wood.

But we are just now catching up to all of the storage we needed. We had to build a pole barn in addition to a few other storage spaces as well.

So when you are building your homestead, always think about storing anything you buy. You don’t want anything to get ruined and having proper storage will help with that and keeping your place neat and tidy.

Well, there are the top 8 mistakes I made as far as functionality on my homestead when I was just starting out. I hope these points will help you to rethink a few things so you don’t have to have as many hard knocks and redo’s as we had.

What were some of your biggest mistakes made when building your homestead?

We’d love to hear from you guys. Please leave your comments in the designated space below.

 

Source : morningchores.com

 

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Bamboo – Nature’s Gift to Preppers

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Written by R. Ann Parris on The Prepper Journal.

I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo. I’m from parts of the country where the stuff takes over the edges of some roadways and chokes out some of the natural diversity found in some locations, usually locations with a lot of uses for wildlife and foraging. On the other hand, bamboo is really useful stuff. Whether somebody’s looking at a long-term, widespread, nation-altering event and wants the sustainable source of materials, or whether somebody’s just trying to save a few bucks to get ahead of the curve or save up for basic preparedness, a stand or two of bamboo has a lot to offer us. Even hitting some examples for inside and outside homes, gardens, and livestock I can’t even touch on all its uses. Feel free to list out what I miss at will, from its use as cups to the impressive BTUs bamboo can offer, furniture to bridges. It really is a handy material to locate.

Harvesting Bamboo

I’m going to encourage you to drive around looking and knock on doors or don a blaze-orange vest and harvest from roadsides instead of planting bamboo. Try to wash off boots, vehicles, and tools after any harvest of wild species, especially in damp areas. There are all kinds of things from phrag grass to kudzu that will hitch rides, plus various diseases and pests we can transfer between locations.

The great *they* like to tell us that you’re supposed to harvest bamboo from as close to the ground plane as you can.

I don’t do that.

I prefer not to create future punji sticks and heel-catchers we can’t see from all the future leaf fall. Nor do I cut at knee-height.

I tend to cut up in the rib to head level. It eats up the earth space or footprint and takes longer to die back and be replaced, true. However, pretty much nobody is going to get speared when they kneel down, nobody’s going to snag a boot or toe, and nobody’s dog is going to gash its face.

What size bamboo you want is dependent on your task, but as you harvest, don’t just abandon the leafy bits.

Remember, bamboo is really just a big, thick grass.  In most cases, the leaves make fine mulch and compost. You can also use trimmings as a fiber element for goats – especially goats that are getting rich tree and shrub fodders. Chickens and rabbits can have it as well.

There is a handy knife-type saw the Japanese and Koreans each have specifically for bamboo. I use mine for all kinds of harvests. However, for bamboo, I’m more likely to go with either style of long-handled pruners, a laminate or hardwood blade on a hacksaw, or the same on a sawsall – it depends on what’s waiting closest in my truck and sometimes how much I’m planning to harvest.

The hacksaw or pruners are handy for dropping, then immediately bucking off the tops and the leafy “branches”, and sorting as I go. I tend to always have good one-handed pruners in my pocket or bag(s), though, so there are times I alternate cutting and stripping instead.

Garden Trellis

I can’t do an article about bamboo and not talk about one of its best-known uses as a garden trellis material. However, because it is so well-known, I won’t beleaguer the point.

What I’ll say instead is that bamboo is fairly long-lived, but not indefinite, especially in the damp-soil conditions of a lot of gardens. It’s not as strong as steel. However, it is pretty tough, and it does last out a season or longer, easily. The thicker the bamboo, the longer it lasts. I will also point out that unless it’s the UV-resistant type, or painted, PVC is also going to crack under a lot of conditions – sometimes in a season, sometimes after two or three.

So if you’re able to find it for free, and are looking for a long-term sustainable material that can be whacked and added to compost or used as mulch when it’s failing, bamboo can be a super alternative to buying tomato cages or lumber for squash and bean trellises.

I also want to point out a handy trick. Instead of using just cord, or any cord at all, you can drill out holes near the tops of your poles, and use thinner stalks as a pin.

I prefer drilling bamboo while it’s green, first with a thin “standard” bit, and then either a larger drywall bit or a narrow auger, depending on the size hole and thickness of the bamboo.

You can use other lengths of bamboo as a spacer to create a wider tripod, or keep it snugged up tight for a teepee type structure.

The amount of “top” left above the holes and pin can change what the bamboo will do for you. You can lay out another thick piece or pieces across the tops to move water, form a longer bean trellis, or support a row cloth or plastic cover. Or, you can trim it nice and tight for a neater appearance and create fewer perches.

Other Garden Uses for Bamboo

Bamboo can be used in lots of other ways for our food production.

It has been used to create irrigation systems in both frigid and steamy-humid parts of the world for millennia. We can use it to create “gutter” or “PVC” style tiered raised beds for shallow-rooted plants.

It can be split or small branches can be stripped and bent while green to create exclusion nets or frames – to keep butterflies and thus their caterpillars off our plants, or to protect plants from dog tails, birds, or chickens. The same types of frames can be used to create feed-through graze boxes for chickens, preventing just how much of a plant they can reach and damage, which allows the plant to survive and grow back for continuous feeding.

It has also been used to create the framework for hoop houses.

Bamboo can be used to create our whole greenhouse, point in fact, and to build raised garden beds. By size and desired style, it can create everything from neat, tidy faces to woven wattle. It can be left raw and rustic, or have boards added to smooth the upper surface.

Again, this stuff isn’t cedar, it’s not CMU brick, and it’s not landscaping timbers. It will have to be replaced more frequently than those. However, it’s been used pretty much forever and it does offer that free, sustainable material instead of paying for something.

Fencing

While we’re building our garden out of free, sustainable materials, we might also want to fence it. Bamboo can also help either lower those costs or eliminate them.

We can weave it in wattle style, or get artsy and cute. We can fill in gaps on rail fences to prevent dogs and rabbits from slipping through, or extend the height of fencing to deter deer.

We can place it tightly or weave nearly mats with it to help buffer winds and create snow fences as well, which lets us almost pick the places snow will pile up or spread the snow load out to create lower drifts over a larger area.

Housing & Enclosures

Bamboo can also keep our livestock housed and where we put them.

From bird cages to goat pens, and even for the live otter and primate trade in parts of the world, it’s been doing so for centuries.

We can create full sheds and barns out of it, using either the lap-roof, tile or thatching styles for roofs.

We can also create fish traps and boxes of various types. Those boxes can be used in our aquaculture and aquaponics systems to separate breeders and growouts without needing separate tanks, or to purge our fish before harvest depending on our feeding systems.

Bamboo can also be used to create the drop-out or crawl-out tubes for various types of BSF larvae or mealworms for our feed systems as well.

Construction

Around the world, from places like snowy Nepal to steam Thailand, bamboo gets used for long-term construction on a regular basis.

The most effective roofing style is the split-overlap that prevents drips, although roofing is also done with mats and thatching styles using bamboo stalks and leaves.

In many cases where load-bearing is of issue, you’ll find bamboo bundled into pillars and pillars closer than we use in 2×4 stick construction.

As mentioned with beds and trellises, construction isn’t going to last forever. However, folks have been using it for centuries and in places with high winds and snow loads, they’re still using it.

If we have running water, we can use some of those eons-old construction methods to make our lives easier.

Water wheels use running waterways to lift relatively small amounts of water up into aqueduct style irrigation systems or through channels or piping to cisterns – which either hold it, or are used to create pressurized tanks to then distribute that water elsewhere.

Bamboo is also used to build mills that Westerners are more accustomed to seeing. Those mills can be used to do work directly – like threshing and grinding grain – or to spin low-level turbines for pumps or generating energy.

Similar designs for slow-moving fish wheels exist as well, spinning in rivers and streams and using scoops to drop fish into catchments. They’re not super efficient, but like a yoyo, they’re fishing while we’re off doing something else.

Creativity – Corn Crib or Coop?

Even if we don’t see plans for something straight off, the flexibility of bamboo and our minds can help us cut costs.

There’s no reason a shelf system can’t be combined with a plan for hampers to create a drying rack for foods, herbs, tea, or seeds.

Likewise, with some modifications, a coconut caddy we see from the balmy East can be modified into a corn crib, or a hay feeder that will reduce wastes and costs – even now. That caddy and what we know about cages can be used to create a bird coop or rabbit hutch, or that hutch can be converted back to grain drying and storage or curing potatoes or sweet potatoes.

We aren’t limited to the styles we see, either. While slender wands aren’t as strong, we can use them pretty much anywhere bamboo would have been split.

We can also take inspiration from the uses for bamboo, and apply them to things we may have in excess in our area, like young stands of aspen, copious privet, or willow.

Seventh Generation

As much as I love bamboo for all the things it can do, it doesn’t really belong running loose in North America. While certain species are less invasive than others, and it can be controlled by mowing around it and keeping it contained, I caution against planting it. Some of that is the Seventh Generation outlook on life. Sure, even invasive stuff can be fairly easily controlled on a property now, with mowing or due to other plantings or the terrain. But what happens when we’re no long fit and able, and it’s no longer our property?

So while I love it, I highly encourage preppers and homesteaders and craftsmen to find a patch of bamboo, not plant it. They’re out there, California to Wyoming, Florida to Vermont. They’ll usually be found on a secondary highway or county road, routinely in damper areas along those roadsides, or near homes.

The post Bamboo – Nature’s Gift to Preppers appeared first on The Prepper Journal.

Month-to-Month Homesteading To Do Lists

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This article was originally published by Isis Loran  on familyfoodgarden.com

Do you want to stay more organized?

Month-to-month goals and tasks can help you stay organized for the year.

You can’t always get it all done, but it helps to have a bit of a guideline for what you hope to accomplish, learn, make, do etc.

For these monthly homesteading lists I don’t write everything we harvest, for example we usually have a continuous supply of greens throughout the year, but I will mention the foods that are harvested specifically for those months in our growing zone 5. I talk about the foraging of wild foods as we’re consuming more and more of them as the years go by. I also use Brassica very vaguely rather than mentioning all of them (broccoli, cauliflower, kohl rabi, kale, collard greens, cabbages, brussel sprouts, mustards, turnips, rutabaga…).

Our homesteading currently consists of food gardening, foraging , preserving the harvests, fall/winter gardening and keeping chickens. We do not have any other livestock as of yet so our homestead to do lists reflect that.

january

  • January is a great ‘take it easy’ month to rest as well read more about gardening and homesteading.
  • Lots of browsing through seed catalogues.
  • Go over your garden journal notes & see what you need to make improvements of.
  • The off-season is the perfect time for garden planning! Make your sowing, transplanting and succession sowing schedules.
  • Grow some indoor fresh sprouts or micro greens to get your gardening or fresh veggie fix.
  • If you have chickens remember to turn the deep litter bedding  (if you’re using this method).
  • Turn the compost pile or keep in indoor vermicomposting set up (worm composting is great for the cold months).
  • Enjoy home preserved goods from the previous season and remember how hard you worked to achieve this wonderful food.

february

  • Seed starting begins! (onions, leeks, celery, herbs with Brassicas towards the end that are going in the greenhouse/hoop tunnels in March).
  • Greenhouse prep, soil amendments or garden bed building if the snow melts .
  • Enjoy the growing daylight hours!
  • Continue with the garden planning.
  • Keep up with the deep litter method for the chicken coop.
  • Grow an indoor herb garden to help with the winter blues!
  • Craft. Make art. Enjoy some of the slower time for reading and creating.
  • Sprouts!! They are the perfect nutritious winter food. You can even grow them for your chickens.
  • Ferment. This is a perfect thing to do in the winter months.
  • If the weather permits do a full clean out of the chicken coop and add fresh new bedding.

march

  • Sow outdoors in greenhouse/hoop tunnels weather pending. Use Heavy weight row cover for frost protection + mini hoop tunnels. Transplant Brassicas, maybe peas & favas under season extenders.
  • Start more seeds inside. This month we start the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, more brassicas (collards, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kohl rabi), lettuce, green onions, cool season herbs like cilantro. If weather is looking decent enough chance an early sowing of peas by starting them inside and transplanting them. (it sounds crazy but I’ve done it before with peas & fava beans).
  • Get any new garden beds prepped or built if weather permits.
  • If no snow let the chickens free range (supervised) and stretch their legs after a long winter cooped up. Let the chickens eat some of the weeds in the garden.
  • Order and bring home chicks if we need any this year.
  • Celebrate spring Equinox by using any of the home canned food and any wild food that might be ready (like dandelion greens).
  • Do a full clean out of the chicken coop with fresh new bedding (do this in Feb is it’s warm).
  • If soil is workable add compost, decomposed manure, any soil amendments needed.
  • If snow falls shovel and brush off snow from raised bed covers and polytunnel greenhouse.
  • Set up mini hoop tunnels within the polyunnel greenhouse for early Spring transplanting (Eliot Coleman’s tunnel within a tunnel system).
  • If the end of the month is looking favourable transplant early spring crops.
  • Relieve gardening restlessness by reading more gardening books.
  • Keep an eye on indoor transplants and make sure they’re happy.
  • Stare in wonder at the new seedlings and have gratitude for being able to grow food.

april

  • Sow cool season crops direct seed outside: carrots, parsnips, lettuce, arugula, radishes, green onions, spinach and orach, beets, turnips, swiss chard, mustard greens and bok choi.
  • Transplant kale, swiss chard, collards, broccoli, cilantro. Plant early and main-crop potatoes.
  • Look after baby chicks, adjust the old flock with the new.
  • Start transplants of peppers & tomatoes, basil.
  • Build a front garden gate & trellis over entrance. Build trellis to join up with the fence for scarlet runner beans.
  • Add more mulch to the garlic & other garden beds.
  • Be thankful & eat the wild free food as our spring detox greens (wild nettle, dandelions..)  Forage for: wild nettles, dandelion greens, dandelion flowers (make tempura, wine?), dandelion root, lambs quarters. Dehydrate wild nettle, dandelion roots for tea.
  • Plant new potatoes & storage potatoes.
  • Get the outdoor composting pile going again.
  • Call around tree service companies and ask for wood chips to use in paths as mulch. Mulch all pathways with woodchips.
  • Suppress weeds before they grow with cardboard to build new sheet mulched/lasagna garden beds.
  • Harden off early spring crops and transplant them under protection of polytunnel or hoop houses.
  • Mid-end of the month start winter and summer squash, melons, basil and beans (the latter apparently doesn’t transplant well but I’ve never had a problem).

may

  • Start indoors: Squash, pumpkins, melons, more basil.
  • Foraging: more nettle (dehydrate for tea, beer?), dandelions, elder flower (dehydrate), lambs quarters.
  • Do a second sowing of greens after May heat wave for June (many usually bolt by now).
  • Freeze arugula pesto cubes. Dry lemon balm & mint for tea. Freeze cilantro cubes.
  • Direct seed rutabagas, parsnips for fall crops.
  • Add onto the chicken coop run.
  • Fix or upkeep any outdoor homesteading buildings.
  • Be thankful for the sunshine again and things beginning to grow in the garden!
  • Harden off transplants.
  • Transplant the warm season crops mid-month or earlier with hoop tunnel or frost protection and add compost or seasoil under each plant.
  • Transplant the remaining brassicas and add compost under each plant. Sow lettuce and radishes around brassicas as a bumper crop until plants get larger.
  • Continue succession sowing the ‘come and cut again’ greens after the May heat wave for June (many usually bolt by now).
  • Harvest early spring crops. Pull up any overwintered veggies and replace with transplants.
  • Be super excited not to worry about last spring frost. Our last frost is May 20th although it’s often end of April. Early May I always expect a frost and have heavy weight row cover handy to cover plants if needed.
  • Create a good watering rhythm in the mornings.
  • Keep an eye for bolting plants and pests. Constant vigilance is the best gardening technique!
  • Sow flowers for companion planting and to attract beneficial insects and bees.
  • Thin out plants so they have space to grow and use thinnings in a salad or stir fry.
  • Keep up with bi-weekly weeding.
  • Direct seed any warm season crops if not growing transplants (bean, corn etc). Only seed bolt resistant lettuce varieties.
  • Continue composting.

june

  • Direct seed carrots, beets, turnips from bolted lettuce & greens.
  • Harvest all the fava beans and sow another crop. Transplant fall Brussel sprouts & fall cabbages.
  • Transplant remaining warm season crops if not done in May.
  • Harvest garlic scapes. Freeze basil into pesto cubes for freezer. Pick & freeze peas on a constant basis.
  • Lots of garden harvests, eat lots of the greens that will bolt with the summer heat. Enjoy some of the first root veggies.
  • Home canning: beets, carrots, green beans.
  • Keep sowing lettuce, radishes and arugula in shadier areas of the garden for the rainy season.
  • Start fall/winter garden transplants (more kale, cabbages, kohl rabi, broccoli).
  • Prune the tomato and pepper suckers.
  • Keep mulching the potato plants with straw and/or soil.
  • Keep up with bi-weekly weeding and daily watering.
  • Replace the spring crops with summer or fall crops. Add compost before direct seeding or transplanting to keep soil nutrients available.
  • Keep boosting tomato and pepper plants every two weeks. Same with corn or heavy feeding brassicas.
  • Keep and eye on pests. Companion plant to attract beneficial insects. Hand pick or kill many bugs (yay for organic gardening).
  • Harvest herbs and pinch off any basil flowers. Cilantro will have bolted by now so pull up and replace with something like green onions.
  • Harvest peas every couple of days (the more you pick the more you’ll get). Pull up vines end of June or let them go to seed for dry peas.
  • Harvest and enjoy as many salads as you can as it will soon be too hot to grow most salad greens through the summer. (kale, collard greens, malabar spinach and swiss chard cover our greens for the hotter months).
  • Add any bitter bolted greens/pea vines etc to the compost pile or give to the chickens.

july

  • Direct seed fall broccoli, cauliflower & cabbages into the outdoor seed beds.
  • Wild foraging: BERRIES!! yea! It’s wild berry season. Freeze, make jam, make pies! Dehydrate raspberry leaves for tea.
  • Dehydrate zucchini and root veggie chips for kids to snack on. Dehydrate lots of kale chips for the winter months.
  • Make jam and other fruit preserves.
  • Pick & freeze snap/string beans on a constant basis (every couple of days, the more you pick, the more you get!).
  • Harvest & dry Calendula flowers for Calendula cream.
  • Pull up pea vines if you didn’t do it in June and replace with a quick-growing fall crop like lettuce or turnips.
  • If your location has very few bees or other pollinators you might need to hand pollinate certain crops like squash or tomatoes. If your corn isn’t grown in blocks you’ll also need to hand pollinate.
  • Transplant fall brassicas. If it’s hot or you have lots of pests grow them under a tunnel of lightweight row cover to keep out cabbage moths and provide some shade from the sun. Add compost and any soil amendments into the fall garden beds so new crops have lots of nutrients to grow.
  • Keep mulching maincrop potatoes with soil or straw. Harvest early potatoes.
  • Harvest lots and lots of veggies.  Preserve the extra harvests or share them with friends, family members or neighbours.
  • Any crops that are ready to harvest mid-season direct seed the fast growing crops for a bumper crop.
  • Sow the rest of the fall root crops.
  • Harvest garlic when the tops have yellowed and have died down (stop watering 3 weeks prior and also remove any mulch to help keep bulbs dry).
  • Amend garlic bed with compost and decomposed manure and transplant or direct seed Fall/Winter garden low tunnel crops.
  • Reduce watering at the end of the month to create heat stress for the tomato and pepper plants to encourage fruit ripening.
  • Continue to hoe and weed on a regular basis to prevent weeds!

august

  • Transplant or direct seed fall and winter gardening crops.
  • Keep harvesting, dehydrating, canning. Freeze herbs into cubes or dehydrate.
  • Stop watering dry beans so they can dry on the plant. Harvest and shell for dry storage. Keep freezing string beans.
  • Keep an eye out for powdery mildew on squash and reduce watering.
  • Harvest & dry garden culinary, medicinal & tea herbs.
  • Direct seed lots of kale, swiss chard, lettuce, radishes, for fall garden.
  • Stop watering onions so the tops die down and yellow. Harvest and cure. Cure garlic for winter storage.
  • Harvest any early winter squash and begin curing.
  • Keep up with the weeding.
  • Make wild foraged Elderberry wine!!!  Dehydrate or freeze the berries to make elderberry syrup for cold and flu season.
  • Harvest & cure onions, garlic, some of the small squash (kuri, spaghetti, buttercup).
  • Tomato canning if they are ripe.. Tomato sauce, paste, salsa, ketchup. Hot sauce with the peppers. Make jam and other fruit preserves.
  • Harvest & make oregano oil tincture if we have enough.
  • Eat fresh melons and other fruit.

september

  • Direct seed fast growing fall greens after Sept heat wave (spinach, tat soi, bok choi, arugula, mache..) plus more radishes.
  • Harvest Echinacea root to make Echinacea tincture (after a frost, leave 30% to grow back).
  • Harvest all the summer & winter squash, beans, tomatoes, peppers, and any frost sensitive vegetable. If a hard frost threatens cover fall greens with heavy weight row cover.
  • Keep dehydrating greens, herbs..
  • Direct sow fall crops in the greenhouse.
  • Keep up with home canning, freezing and other food preservation.
  • Cure winter long storage squash carefully and keep aside jack o lanterns for Halloween carving.
  • Build cold frames.
  • Harvest maincrop/storage potatoes.
  • Sow fall cover crops.
  • Harvest and cure winter squash.
  • Add any old vegetable vines from beans, squash etc to the compost pile.
  • Succession sow arugula, radishes and spinach mid-Sept onwards.
  • Transplant polytunnel cold hardy greenhouse plants where heat loving plants were.
  • Sow cover crops mid- to end of the month.
  • Keep weeding and hoeing.
  • Allow any plants to flower for the bees as the days get colder (they need all the pollen they can get before winter).

october

  • Protect plants as needed from frost with heavy weight row covers.
  • Direct seed in cold frames.
  • Sow overwintering crops in cold frames or low tunnels.
  • Mulch the root crops, harvest some of them to store in sand.
  • If a hard frost threatens cover fall greens with heavy weight row cover. If snow threatens harvest anything left in the garden that isn’t being mulched or shovel snow off the winter season extenders.
  • Make vanilla extract to sit for 3 months so it’s ready for Christmas gifts.
  • Prepare garlic bed and plant garlic. Mulch the garlic bed with leaves.
  • Sow cover crops, overwintering fava beans and amend beds as necessary.
  • Harvest rutabagas & turnips and other root veggies.
  • Cover garden beds with a healthy layer of leaves to decompose over the winter and add nutrition to the soil.
  • Enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving dinner from lots of homegrown veggies (our Thanksgiving is in Oct as we’re in Canada 🙂 )
  • Add any needed protection to the perennial plants.
  • Add any fall soil amendments.
  • General garden and fall clean up before the snow arrives.

november

  • Relax. Seriously. It’s been a long haul by now, and it’s time to enjoy the fruits of your labour on those first snow falls. Home canned fruit, tea, green bean casseroles…squash..yum
  • Make notes in a garden journal from this past gardening season, what worked, what didn’t, what needs to be improved, pests, etc
  • Keep snow off of season extenders and keep harvesting cold hardy greens from the low tunnels etc.
  • Harvest all the cabbages & broccoli before the first heavy snow fall. The kale & brussel sprouts can stay.
  • Enjoy winter squash meals, starting by using the thin-skinned ones first.
  • Allow chickens to free range in the garden to do weed and garden clean up.
  • Get the chicken coop ready for the deep litter mulch method.

december

  • Enjoy veggies from the greenhouse, cold frame, harvest brussel sprouts and rest of the kale before the heavy snow arrives.
  • Craft & make Christmas tree ornaments & gifts.
  • Relax with our little family!
  • Find a Christmas tree in our mountain forest.
  • Garden Plan, enjoy our preserved harvests for meals.
  • Eat lots and lots of squash, start to eat some of the long storage squash as they would of gotten sweeter by now.
  • Mid-December take off polytunnel greenhouse plastic and keep low tunnel over the greenhouse beds instead (less height reduces potential damage from snow).
  • If it warms up vent tunnels and cold frames.
  • Write a garden journal and set intentions & goals for the next year.

 

Source : www.familyfoodgarden.com

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Basics of Soil Enrichment

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Basics of Soil Enrichment If you want to produce seriously nutritious food it all starts with your soil. One of the most important aspects of gardening is revitalizing that soil every single year. If you have a great year of growing and produce tons of fresh vegetables your soil is tired. Its going to need …

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Growing a Robust Pantry

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Growing a Robust Pantry There is more to having a well stocked pantry than just buying a bunch of food and putting it on a shelf. A robust pantry has a healthy mix of home canned and store bought foods. A pantry is a revolving thing and though it can take a bit to start, …

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Best Ideas On Growing A Garden In 5 Gallon Buckets

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Container gardening – growing plants in 5-gallon buckets, for example – is usually discussed in the context of (not enough) space.

The idea is that if you don’t have a “real” garden because you live in an apartment or your backyard is too small, container gardening would make for the best option. And-5 gallon buckets are the ultimate containers both in terms of availability and shape.

Also, they’re highly mobile, meaning that you can put them in the best spots to catch the sun and so on and so forth. Due to their versatility, resilience and low cost, 5-gallon buckets are already famous in the prepper community and they’ve also captured the imaginations of home gardeners.

Now, if you have enough buckets and you’re ready to put them to good use, just keep reading folks!

Eeven if you don’t have them yet, just poke around a little bit and you’ll discover that 5-gallon buckets are the definition of “readily available,” “dirt cheap” items. Just go cruise your nearby stores and restaurants or check out Craigslist.

Getting back to business, gardeners are doing remarkable things with 5-gallon buckets, things that you can’t even imagine actually. This humble piece of plastic is a tool of a thousand uses, which makes it extremely valuable to a prepper.

However, keep in mind that you must stay away from secondhand buckets that were used to held toxic stuff, like paint or what not. The ideal 5-gallon bucket to use for gardening purposes should be made out of food grade plastic, at least in a perfect world.

Now, if you’re going to grow flowers (as in non-edible stuff), you can forget about the food grade thingy, but keep an eye on toxic materials just in case.

Speaking of bucket supply, you have 2 choices: to buy brand new 5-gallon buckets from building supply stores or hardware stores, or to go scavenging bakeries, local restaurants, grocery stores, and similar places. These buckets often come with plastic fitted lids, so remember–it never hurts to ask, alright?

Now and then, you may be asked to cough up a couple of bucks for a sturdy, clean, used 5-gallon bucket, but that’s definitely worth it if it’s the right type. Even if they smell a little weird (they are used often for storing pickles and/or frozen products), don’t worry – the smell will go away relatively easy if you clean them right.

This proven-to-work portable device provides clean fresh water 24/7! 

With all these considerations taken care of, let’s see about some projects involving 5-gallon buckets, shall we?

Project 1 – DIY Alaska Grow Bucket

If you’re already scratching your head, an Alaska Grow Bucket is the scientific term for a bottom watering container. There’s nothing complicated, just fancy talk. These are the easiest DIY watering containers anyone can make to grow their own food at home.

The materials required are cheap and easy to acquire. Besides the famous 5-gallon bucket, you’ll need a fabric shopping bag and a plastic kitchen colander – you know, that piece of gear used for draining rice or pasta.

You’ll have to drill some ventilation holes (the more the better) and another irrigation hole for the water feed line. Ideally, you should use a power drill, but you can always improvise if you’re a meat eater. The irrigation line should be drilled as low on the bucket as possible, and then you’ll insert a plastic, T-shaped connector.

Video first seen on devineDiY

Project 2 – The Hanging Bucket Planter

If you don’t have much space, e.g. you’re living in a condo, you can DIY a hanging bucket planter for growing organic tomatoes. Obviously, you can use hanging bucket planters for growing a large variety of stuff, not only tomatoes, those are just a suggestion because tomatoes are a popular choice.

Also, if you have a small yard, this type of project will suit you like a glove. Making the best of one’s available space is next to Godliness for a true prepper, right?

For making tomato gardening great again, you’ll need:

  • a hook
  • a 5 gallon bucket
  • steel cable (galvanized utility wire)
  • a wall (the bucket will hang by the hook hammered/drilled in the wall).

The idea is that hanging a bucket planter outside your condo’s wall will provide your plants with plenty of sunshine, which is a necessary ingredient for growing big fat tomatoes (along with water and carbon dioxide).

Video first seen on Peter P.

Project 3 – The Raised Bed Bucket

Here you’ll learn how to grow veggies successfully in a raised bed garden using the famous 5-gallon bucket, thus making for a garden within a garden or something along these lines.

With this cool technique, you’ll be able to grow more food in less space and that’s the definition of efficiency and sustainability (don’t worry, I hate Agenda 21 too).

Here’s an interesting video about the reasons for growing vegetables in raised bed gardens.

Video first seen on Learn Organic Gardening at GrowingYourGreens

The concept behind this project is that plastic buckets are used for providing more soil depth for the plants thus allowing for more nutrients, more space for root growth and less frequent watering. This technique makes for a cool hack which will enable you to grow deep-rooted plants in a shallow garden.

Project 4 – The Self-watering Planter

This DIY job makes for the easiest way to build sub irrigated self-watering planters using PVC pipe, a 5 gallon bucket, and a milk jug for practically next to zero costs. You’ll have to cut some holes in the bottom of the bucket that are large enough for the water to drain through, so you’ll not flood your plants. It’s easiest to use a drill for this.

The jug must be placed inside the bucket with the PVC pipe stuck on the top of the milk jug. The jug gets filled with water (you’ll have to drill some holes in the upper part of the jug too) and then the bucket must be filled up with dirt, then you put a plant in it. Pretty simple and highly efficient.

Video first seen on Growing Little Ones for Jesus

Project 5 – The Hydroponics

Finally, here’s a cool idea about how to build a hydroponic DWC system with a trellis-type system for growing cucumbers, and obviously it involves a 5-gallon bucket. This project is a little bit more complicated, but it’s doable with a little bit of research and elbow grease.

The supply list includes a 5-gallon bucket, a 6” bucket lid net pot which can be bought online or at a local hydroponics store, a small airstone and air-pump (from Walmart), black hose for the airline, vinyl tee fittings, clear vinyl tubing, rubber grommets and wire green border fence.

Video first seen on Jksax914.

Now that you know how to grow a garden in a 5-gallon bucket, you could learn how to DIY your own portable device for an endless water supply.

Click the banner below and find out how to build your own portable device which provides fresh water 24/7!

This article has been written by Chris Black for Survivopedia.

BECOME A BEEKEEPER: 8 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED WITH HONEYBEES

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This article was originally published by Jill Winger on theprairiehomestead.com

THEY’RE DYING BY THE MILLIONS.

Since 2006 honeybees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops—from apples to zucchini—have been dying by the millions. Though there have been news reports of this crisis, most people still aren’t aware of it. It’s a complex problem, and experts haven’t agreed on the primary reason for it: Colony Collapse Disorder, other diseases, and two kinds of mites are killing entire colonies, but they don’t understand exactly why.

Here’s a scary fact for you: Researchers have found that a combination of common pesticides can interfere with bees’ brains. Bees that cannot learn, will not be able to find food. If bees can’t find food, they will die. Simple as that.

An estimated third of all crops worldwide would disappear, if honeybees disappeared.Think this couldn’t happen? Probably nobody believed that the passenger pigeon would ever be extinct, but the last one on earth was shot exactly a hundred years ago.

Beautiful blossoms. Waiting for the bees.

 

The point is, it could happen. But here’s the thing: we can do something about it, though we need to act quickly. There are things we can do to help the honeybees survive. Here’s one: you can get started with your own hive of honeybees.

We keep three hives going, though it has become difficult to keep the bees alive and healthy. We love the honey and I use it every day, in one delicious form or another. We lost all of our bees this winter, so my husband Bryan and our little Mack recently installed new packages of bees into our hives.

The packages of bees ordered in our area are shipped to this place all on the same day: each of these little boxes contains 10,000+ bees each!

 

I’m glad that scientists are studying this problem, and that folks are educating themselves about what flowers and plants they can grow to support the honeybees. It’s a good thing that there is increased interest in buying local honey, which helps support the local beekeepers. All the attention is good. I’ve always delighted in cheering for the underdog, and I’m cheering for the honeybees.

Little Mack has been interested in beekeeping ever since Bryan bought a bee jacket for him. It’s not his size. He doesn’t care. Here he lugs some gear out to the hives.

 

A hive of honeybees on a homestead is valuable thing these days. Not only do honeybees produce the sweet miracle that is raw honey, they also do a beautiful job of pollinating berry bushes, orchards, flowers, and vegetable gardens, and (this last reason appeals to me more and more) they do it all without much help from us.

Bees are astonishing little creatures, and the more I learn about them, the more I am in awe of them and their imaginative and wondrous Creator!

Consider:

  • Inside one hive are thousands of worker bees, drones and a queen bee, all working together to create the perfect environment for producing honey. When the moisture content of the honey is perfect, the bees seal the cells of liquid honey with wax, and the honey is ready to be harvested! Sweet!
  • There is only one Queen Bee in every colony. She lays up to 2000 eggs per day, and she can choose whether the eggs will be fertile (becoming worker bees) or infertile (becoming drones).
  • The worker bees literally work themselves to death, but during their lifetimes (about 6 weeks during summer months) they do a series of specific chores: housekeeper, nursemaid, construction worker, undertaker, guard, and finally forager.

It’s not difficult to get started with a hive of bees in your own backyard. And it is the perfect way to take a first-hand approach in saving the bees!

 ! If you are interested in making your own food then click here to find out more about this awesome survival guide on food independence.

8 STEPS TO GETTING STARTED WITH YOUR OWN HIVE

1. First, educate yourself. There are many excellent books and websites about how to keep bees. Here’s a website I really like, that goes into detail. Another invaluable way to learn is to get to know your local beekeepers. They are a generous lot, and you’ll learn lots from them.

2. Gather your hive and equipment. It’s not cheap to buy new hives and equipment, but use caution if you pick up used stuff at a yard sale. Clean it up well. Here’s a blog that explains how to do this. It’s important to do this, to lessen the chance that your bees might catch a fatal disease called foul brood.

Equipment you’ll need: a bee veil and/or jacket, leather gloves, a frame lifter, bee brush, pliars, a smoker, and hive tools.

Before opening up the hives, it’s important to have your smoker smoldering. If the bees get upset, the smoke will help keep the bees from acting in an upset manner: i.e. stinging you.

 

3. Order your bees. Order bees in the winter, and most places that sell bees will sell out. There are only so many bees to go around! Packages of bees can be ordered through local bee shops. If you don’t know where one is in your area, your state university or extension office can advise you.

Little Mack has sprayed sugar water into these boxes to feed the bees. The smoker is going in case it is needed.

 

4. Set up your hive. Once you’ve done your homework, you’ll know the best spot to set up your hive. Choose carefully, because it will stay there for a good long time! It’s not easy (or advisable!) to move a hive, once it’s full of bees.

5. Introduce the bees to their hive. Check to see that your queen is alive and healthy first, because a hive without a queen will fail. Your queen goes in first.

The queen is housed in a little box inside the package of bees. Check to make sure she is healthy before releasing her into the hive.

 

The queen’s 10,000+ friends-and-relations get dumped in next. They check on her first, before getting to work. It’s a pretty cool thing to watch.

The bees pour out like water, and immediately search out their queen.

 

6. Put the top back on the hive, and pray for the best. Now you’ll watch, and wait: if the bees are happy and healthy, you may have the pleasure of enjoying a productive hive of honeybees for years to come, providing you with the best quality, freshest raw honey you can imagine, and excellent pollination for your crops and flowers.

7. Feed the bees. Set out a sugar water solution in the first days after setting up a hive, especially if it’s early in the season and there aren’t many flowers yet. When you notice that the bees are no longer feeding on the sugar, discontinue feeding them. The bees are feeding themselves!

Sugar water solution is a quick energy source for a new hive.

 

8. Check on your bees periodically. Open up your new hive every week or two to check on the bees’ progress. One of the things Bryan looks for is new brood. If the queen is laying eggs, then he knows that she is content in her new home. And if Mama Bee is happy, everybody’s happy!

There are baby bees in these cells!

 

Pretty cool, eh? So you can see that keeping your own hive of bees is a crazy-worthwhile thing to do: it increases your local bee population, and it is a valuable component to the fruitfulness of your gardens. Plus, you’re doing your little bit to help the honeybees in this current crisis.

Source : www.theprairiehomestead.com

 

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5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever

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5 Perennial Vegetables You Only Need To Plant Once and Enjoy Forever Grow a great survival garden with these perennial veggies and rest assured that they will grow and grow year after year! I found a great article that tells us 5 vegetables that you only need to plant once and they will keep coming …

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Why You Might Want To Raise Ducks Instead Of Chickens

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This article was originally published by Elise on  frugalfarmwife.com

 

I still remember it plain as day. 

My husband came in the house and said “I just ordered one hundred ducklings”.

It may have taken a few minutes to get my jaw off the floor, but eventually, I got around to asking him what in the world he was thinking.

It was pretty simple really: not everyone can eat chicken eggs for one reason or another.

And now, funnily enough, six years later, my husband is one of those people.

Yep. He got a legit allergy test and everything. he’s allergic to chicken eggs.

A few weeks ago, I shared that I still insist on having a few chickens for myself (as well as for the kids since our current batch of ducklings aren’t laying eggs yet) because I prefer the taste of the chicken egg yolk to the duck egg yolk, which is mostly only noticeable in fried over-easy eggs. Duck yolks are just so rich! And it’s easy to have both since they eat the same rations.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t love ducks – I do! They’re so sweet, quiet, and completely lovable, and there are a number of reasons why a person might want to raise backyard ducks rather than backyard chickens.

Why you Might Want to Raise Ducks Over Chickens

Food Allergies. I kind of addressed this above, but many folks who are allergic to chicken eggs, can handle duck eggs just fine. It’s a huge blessing to us food allergy families!

Duck eggs are fabulous for baking. Their richness, and high protein quality give baked goods a high rise, and delightful texture. Once you try baking with duck eggs, I promise you’ll never want to go back!

Ducks Are Quiet. Ducks quack – actually, they quack quite a lot. A few nights ago, we had their pen situated right outside our bedroom window, and we drifted off to the sound of soft quacks and clucks. But while they do spend a lot of time “talking” they talk quietly – no cackling, carrying on about the egg they just laid or the child who just spooked the living daylights out of them.

Their quietness is a huge bonus for those of us who live in neighborhoods – and yes, you can raise chickens (or ducks) even if you don’t live on a farm!

Ducks stick together. Unlike chickens, you can actually herd them. In fact, just five minutes ago, I stepped outside to see that all of our ducks had waddled out of their pen and parked themselves under the kids’ swing set. Apparently a certain two-year-old had opened a gate. Naturally, I hollered at Gabe, who walked outside and shooed them back into the pen without any problem thanks to their flock mentality (and by the way, that little incident was totally the inspiration for this article).

 

This extreme flocking together has been true of all of our ducks over the last six years regardless of how long they were out free ranging, though they do tend to split up into smaller groups when you have a lot of them.

Ducks don’t go ever fences. No wing clipping needs, ducks won’t even try to fly over a fence, which makes them so much easier to keep inside. We’re currently keeping our ducks in a temporary wire fence so we can move them, and it’s about four feet high – that would never keep a chicken in!

Ducks won’t terrorize your garden. Yup, that’s right! They done’t eat broadleaf plants. So while your ducks may waddle through and scare the dickens out of your, their really only eating out small weeds (grasses), and looking for bugs. I use to freak every time I saw them out in the strawberry patch, but I finally got over it. 🙂

Ducks love wet weather. If you have chickens, you probably know that they don’t care for rain, preferring to hid in a dry spot until the shower is over, which can greatly impede their foraging. On the other hand, when it rains, ducks couldn’t possibly be happier! It’s so fun to look out the window on a rainy day and watch the ducks forage around the backyard as if nothing at all is going on.

Ducks are cute. Yes, this is an actual, real reason why you should raise ducks. They waddle, they quack, they follow you around, and really, they just couldn’t be any cuter if they tried. I have noticed that egg laying breeds tend to be a little more drab looking than some of their fancier relatives, but they make up for it by being adorable.

Probably the only real drawback to having ducks is their love of water. Most folks think they need water (which makes sense, right?), but they can – and do – live quite happily on land. Still it’s nice to give them some water, and that can easily be done with a small watering trough, or child-sized swimming pool – those hard plastic things you can pick up for $5-10 dollars in the spring.

We don’t have one hundred ducks anymore – thank goodness! – in fact, our newest flock is only eleven strong, and I can’t wait until they start laying this summer!

So what do you think? Would you try raising ducks?

Source : www.frugalfarmwife.com

 

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10 Survival Uses For Epsom Salt

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I think that as preppers and homesteaders, we can all agree that three of the top things we look for in an item that we consider worthy of stockpiling is cost, versatility and utilitarianism. In other words, how many different things can we use it for, and how often will  we reach for it?

Well, using those criteria, Epsom salt goes somewhere near the top of the preparedness list, along with vinegar and duct tape. But why?

Epsom salt, sea salt, table salt, kosher salt … they’re all the same, right? Just different textures? Nope. Actually, it’s not a salt at all. Sea salt, kosher salt and table salt are at least 97.5% sodium chloride. Of course, kosher salt is, well, kosher, and sea salt also has minerals, but Epsom salt is a completely different beast – it’s actually magnesium sulfate. And it has a ton of survival and household uses.

Another big difference between Epsom salt and other salts is that it doesn’t really have culinary value – it’s bitter. It’s used more as  a chemical than a seasoning. So, don’t pull out your box of Epsom salts when you run out of kosher salt – you won’t be happy with the results!

Draw out Toxins and Impurities

This was actually the first use of Epsom salt. In the early seventeenth  century, people that would bathe or soak in the waters produced by springs in the town of Epsom, England because of the curative effects that it purportedly had. The wealthy began to travel there just to soak. A doctor began extracting the salt and the rest is history.

Though studies are contentious about the actual curative effects of soaking, there’s no denying the fact that it’s been used for that purpose to alleviate muscle soreness and fatigue, arthritis, and skin conditions ever since. It’s likely due to the magnesium.

Epsom salt dissolves well in warm water but not so well in oils or lotions, so there’s no need to complicate things. Just dissolve a cup and a half or so in a half-gallon of hot water and add it to your bath water. If you’d rather just soak a particular body part – say, your feet – just add a cup to very warm water and soak away.

Because it does have magnesium and sulfate in it, you shouldn’t soak in the tub for more than 15 minutes a day, or in a small container for more than 30 minutes. Follow the directions on the container.

Discover the health and healing secrets that helped our forefathers survive harsh times! 

Boost Magnesium in Soil

Whether you want greener, thicker grass, tastier tomatoes and peppers, or prettier flowers, Epsom salt is a good option because magnesium helps plants produce chlorophyll and allows your plants soak in nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus, and some plants need more of that that others. Many soils lack enough magnesium to do this. If you just want to green things up so that your yard looks great to both your neighbors and your livestock, add 2 tbsp./1 gallon of water and spray on your lawn with a garden sprayer.

To give a monthly magnesium boost to your plants, mix 1-2 tsp/gallon of water and saturate the soil around the plants so that it goes to the roots. If you’re using a mister, use 1-2 tablespoons per gallon. This recipe also works well when you’re germinating because seeds need both magnesium and sulfur. Just water your seeds with it as soon as you plant them.

To add magnesium to your soil when you plant, sprinkle 1 tbsp. around each transplant.

Video first seen on CaliKim29 Garden & Home DIY

Tan Hides

The first step to tanning a raw hide is to remove the flesh from it. Some remove the hair as well, but some would rather leave it on. With magnesium tanning, the Epsom salt is added after the flesh is removed and is used in as a “swelling agent” to soften the hide, increase durability, and decrease shrinkage. It may affect the color of the hide or leave stains on it.

Be careful using Epsom salts because magnesium can, in combination with the right chemicals, become explosive.

Deter Raccoons and Slugs

Raccoons love your garden, your garbage, and your hen house, but you’re probably no so in love with them. Good news – they hate the smell of Epsom salts. Sprinkle it around those areas and your coon problem will go away. Remember to reapply after it rains.

Of course, that won’t keep them from dropping down off a fence or finding another way in, so it’s best to use Epsom salt in conjunction with other practices such as keeping your garbage is tight-sealing containers.

To deter slugs from your garden or your planters, just sprinkle it around the perimeter. Remember that it will dissolve, so you’ll need to reapply after rain.

Splinters, Insect Bites, and Poison Ivy

I’ve used Epsom salt for splinters, bug bites and skin irritations many times! The problem with any of these conditions is that if they get infected, and they quickly can, then you can be in big trouble in a survival situation.

One such situation that could lead to this is a splinter that you leave in. Soak in Epsom salts as I described above and it’ll help draw it out.

If you have bug bites or poison ivy, you can make a paste with Epsom salt and apply it to the area and it will help draw out the itch and discomfort. Some sources say to bathe in Epsom salts for poison ivy, sumac, or oak, but that seems counter-intuitive, because hot water makes you itch more, and it’s possible that the bath may spread the rash.

There are opinions on both side of the fence on that, but when it comes to the possibility of spreading the misery, especially to tender spots, I’d rather not take a chance. Of course, that’s up to you.

To find natural anesthetics that may also help in these situations, check here.

Relieve Constipation

You need to be careful taking Epsom salt internally because of the magnesium and sulfur content. That being said, it’s long been used as a natural treatment to relieve constipation. Dissolve 2 tsp of Epsom salt in 8 ounces of water and drink it. If you don’t have a bowel movement within 4 hours, try a second dose, but don’t do it more than twice in a 24-hour period.

Reduce Inflammation

If you have swollen or sore muscles, you can either soak as I described above or you can make a compress by dissolving 2 cups of Epsom salt in a gallon of warm water, then let it get cold. Soak a towel with it, then wrap it loosely around the area and leave it there for 15 minutes.

Recharge Your Battery

This one is controversial because it can be extremely dangerous and it may not work. You’re dealing with battery acid and magnesium; a lot of bad things can happen. That being said, in an emergency survival situation, you’re left to your own devices and you can decide for yourself whether to do it or not.

Dissolve an ounce of Epsom salt in warm water to make a paste, then add a bit to each battery cell. This probably won’t help if the plates inside are worn out or if the contacts between the cells are in bad shape.

Always wear eye protection and sturdy clothes and shoes that the battery acid won’t eat through before you can get it off, just in case. This isn’t something you should try if you don’t have experience. And remember – being prepared by having  a properly maintained car is always better than trying to fix it when you need it the most.

Video first seen on Mentorcase

Scrubbing Tiles and Cookware

I’m not sure if Epsom salt works well to remove shower grunge and baked on foods because of the chemicals in them (it’s a debate), or if it’s because of the abrasive quality, but making a paste with water and dabbing it onto your shower tiles, then scrubbing will remove grunge, and for pots and pans, soak it in Epsom and hot water, or just sprinkle the salt straight in and scrub.

Great Skin

OK, this one isn’t really for survival, but even if SHTF, cosmetics are going to be important for physical and emotional reasons. Having toothpaste and a clean face can make all the difference in the world when you’re searching for a dab of normalcy. Epsom salt has been a common ingredient in beauty solutions for practically forever, or at least since the 1800s.

You can add essential oils and herbs to them to make bath salts, mix it with coconut oil or water to make an exfoliant (oils are good here, too), and some say that rinsing your face in Epsom salt water will help heal conjunctivitis and sties.

Remember that knowledge is the only thing that can save you in a survival situation.

Click the banner below to uncover more survival secrets that helped our grandfathers survive!

This article has been written by Theresa Crouse for Survivopedia. 

Do You Really Have Enough Food?

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Do You Really Have Enough Food? Preppers love to use calculators to figure out how long their food supplies will last. There are grain calculators, calorie calculators, personalized calculators for the size of your family – all sorts of calculators. But despite careful computation, there are a few factors that people frequently leave out of …

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The Truth About EMP Strikes

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The Truth About EMP Strikes An EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse) is still a terrifying reality. It’s a reality that America is still not prepared to face. We have done serious analysis of the issue and its yielded some results, but a nuclear bomb detonated over America could still destroy our power grid or at least sections. Sections …

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Prep Blog Review: Gardening With Canning In Mind

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As spring is coming, I am already thinking about my healthy and beautiful garden and I am getting ready for the new preserving and canning season. One of the best things of growing your own food is that you and your loved ones will enjoy healthy and tasty food, fresh or canned, for a long time.

With this thing in mind, for this week’s Prep Blog Review I’ve gathered 4 articles on this topic to help you plan your garden with canning in mind.

  1. 22 Ways for Growing a Successful Vegetable Garden

“Spring is fast approaching, so are you planning to grow a healthy and beautiful vegetable garden that will help beautify your home’s outdoor and be a place of relaxation?

Growing your own fruits and vegetables in the yard lets you spend more time outside, at the same time saves your money for buying organic food.

So if you have the space to grow your own vegetables, you should definitely take advantage of that.

Even if you only have a small space, it isn’t an obstacle anymore in your effort to vegetable garden. In the following projects you will find a lot of vegetable garden designs to help you start your neat and tidy veggie garden that produces fresh and tasty food for you.

Take a look and get started!”

Read more on Backdoor Prepper.

  1. 7 Secrets to Successful Canning – How to Preserve This Year’s Harvest

“Now is the time to get ready for a successful canning and preserving season!

One of the best things about growing your own food is keeping it the year around for great homemade taste!

For an individual who wants to start canning for the first time, or for the seasoned veteran, here are a few secrets to help you have a successful canning season this year.

The results of our canning efforts one summer.

The most important thing to remember about canning is to simply not be afraid to try!  Maybe you have only water bathed before and never uses a pressure canner. Whatever it is, if you are feeling a little nervous, ask someone to help you or try it out with you.”

Read more on Old World Farms Garden.

  1. More Thoughts on Canned Goods and Food Storage

“Several weeks ago we established that canned goods are safe to eat far past their expiration date thus a great choice for food storage programs.

I received an email from someone saying that they felt tremendous pressure to prepare right now and due to their budget just could not afford to stock up on freeze dried food for the long term.

This motivated some additional words on the subject.

Every tragic disaster that takes place ultimately causes the question of “What now?” to be asked. More often than not “What are we going to eat?” and”How are we going to get food?” are also asked.

This doesn’t have to be in a Third World country as most anyone who has experienced the loss of a job or some other major financial personal SHTF has asked similar questions.”

Read more on 1776patriotusa.com.

  1. How to Store Food Storage In a Small House

“Have you sometimes wondered “how can I store food storage in a small home?”

Well, I have a fairly small home, it’s only 1900 square feet.

I am going to show you my home in small doses because otherwise, the post would take too long to load.

I have a three car garage, if you can call it a three car garage with the narrow one car section. You can barely fit two very small cars in the double garage and one car in the third stall.

Mark and I use the third garage section for our emergency preparedness items that can withstand the heat in the summer.

Everything else is stored inside my home.”

Read more on FoodStorageMom.

This article has been written by Drew Stratton for Survivopedia. 

Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator

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Solar Generator vs Fuel Generator One of the first purchases I made when getting into serious preparedness was a gas generator. Not only the necessity for electrify drove me but also the importance of creature comforts. My power goes out and then it comes back on. I am happy with my gas generator. That said …

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Bugging Out on Foot is a Risky Proposition

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Bugging Out on Foot is a Risky Proposition This is a nice short reality check. The bug out is one heck of a commitment. I am always happy to see someone inject some reality into the fantasy of the bug out. It should really be the last possible option. In this article there are several …

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Dehydrated vs Freeze Dried Food

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Dehydrated vs Freeze Dried Food   Its a topic among peppers and survivalists that gets plenty of time on forums across the net. Though it may seem trivial the differences in dehydrated and freeze dried foods can be a very big deal based on your plan. This article has broken down each one of these …

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We are talking pigs!

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We are talking pigs Austin Martin “Homesteady Live“ Audio in player below! Raising pastured pigs can be a fantastic way to put some meat on the table, and even have some product to sell your local community. But raising pigs isn’t right for every homestead. Should you raise pastured pigs on your homestead? What will … Continue reading We are talking pigs!

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4 Fruit-Bearing Plants You Can Grow In A Teeny-Tiny Yard

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4 Fruit-Bearing Plants You Can Grow In A Teeny-Tiny Yard

Shiros plums. Image source: StarkBros.com

 

I first became interested in homesteading when my husband and I purchased a house on a small suburban lot. The yard was filled with typical city landscaping — a boxwood hedge, a couple of potentillas, a lilac, some overgrown evergreens and a lot of grass taking up the space in between.

The one bright spot in all of this was the fruit trees. Instead of the usual arbor vitae, the former owner had planted an apple and two cherry trees along the fence line — not decorative cherries but a real-life Bing and Rainier. When summer arrived, all three trees produced a prolific amount of fruit. So much so that the neighbors often stopped by and asked if they could join in on the harvest. We were happy to oblige.

It was then and there that my ideas about the “right” way to landscape changed. Since homesteading was a priority for us, why not tear out a few of the ornamentals that came with the house and replace them with fruit-bearing bushes and ground covers? The formal landscaping “look: would still be intact but it would also come with the added bonus of producing fruit.

Over time and with a lot of experimentation, I was able to determine a number of trees, shrubs, flowers and ground covers that behaved well in a suburban landscape but also took me one step closer to my ultimate goal of becoming more self-sufficient. Here is a list of some of my favorites.

1. Plums — The size of a fully mature plum tree varies depending on the rootstock. Smaller-sized trees use the semi-dwarf root stock Mariana 2624. This rootstock will produce a tree between 10-15 feet in height at maturity. It acclimates well to a variety of climates and soil types. My favorite plum is the Shiro.

Beet Powder: The Ancient Secret To Renewed Energy And Stamina

Shiros tend to be loaded with an outstanding display of white blossoms in the spring, an abundance of golden orb-shaped fruits in the summer and a fiery gold display of foliage in the fall. The plums themselves are tangy and sweet at the same time without the squishiness that can be a turn-off to non-plum lovers. They make excellent jam and can be dried for later use. These trees respond well to regular pruning and are fairly forgiving to individuals who are new to the art of bonsai.

4 Fruit-Bearing Plants You Can Grow In A Teeny-Tiny Yard

Image source: Pixabay.com

2. Mulberries — Mulberries are incredibly easy to grow and can reach a mature height of more than 30 feet with a spread of 35 feet. They have an open form when properly pruned during the first years of growth, and naturally exhibit generous, graceful spacing between branches. For this reason, Mulberries make excellent shade trees. The fruits are delicious and attract a variety of seasonal birds, such as cedar waxwings and tanagers. Mulberries can be eaten fresh, made into pies and jams, or dried for later use. Mulberry juice can be fermented into an excellent wine. Mulberries are rich in anthocyanins, iron, protein and a host of vitamins and minerals that combat cancer and premature aging. In the fall, mulberry leaves morph into a breathtaking display of canary yellow foliage that will be the envy of the neighborhood.

3. Honeyberries — Honeyberries are a small shrub native to Russia. At maturity they are loaded with elongated blue fruits that have a similar flavor and texture to blueberries. Honeyberries are hardy and easy to care for. Harvest often falls a week or two before blueberry season, which is ideal for individuals who are interested in having a continuous source of fresh fruit in their yard. In the fall, honeyberries exhibit a rainbow of red and gold foliage.

4. Strawberries — As a groundcover, strawberries can’t be beat. Over the summer, they produce a profusion of runners and can quickly cover a patch of abandoned ground. Strawberries require very little care once established, provided they are watered regularly. To propagate strawberries, transplant runners in the spring or fall. Occasionally remove older, woody plants to keep beds productive. One of the most flavorful strawberries for jams and fresh eating is the variety Shuksan. For long-term storage, strawberries can be frozen whole or in pieces. They also can be pureed and dried into fruit leather.

This list is by no means comprehensive. Edible landscaping is all around us, once you know where to look. Now is the time to start transitioning your yard into a homesteader’s oasis.

What would you add to our list? Share your fruit-growing tips in the section below:

Harness The Power Of Nature’s Most Remarkable Healer: Vinegar

A List of Herbs and Their Amazing Uses

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A List of Herbs and Their Amazing Uses This is a gem of an article. Herbs are such an important part of any prepper’s training. The healing power of herbs have kept people healthy and even brought some back from the brink long before pharmacies studded each street corner. This article is a powerful resource …

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Off-Grid Firewood: Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax

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by Todd Walker

Off-Grid Firewood- Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Imagine having only one off-grid tool to heat your home, would your family stay warm or freeze to death? Silly question, right? Only a lunatic would rely on one tool for firewood getting… especially with the antiquated ax. Call me crazy, but I chopped a full cord (128 cubic feet – 4’x4’x8′) of firewood with an ax.

Here’s why and a few things I learned in the process…

Off-Grid Firewood ~ Stay Warm with an Ax

I began Steven Edholm’s Axe Cordwood Challenge on February 7th and finished a cord of ax-cut firewood the last day of winter, March 19, 2017. I took the challenge to hone practical ax skills which were commonly known and practiced by our woodsmen, homesteader, and pioneer ancestors.

This was one of my most rewarding and satisfying journeys of self-reliance I’ve undertaken. Stacking that last stick of firewood made me pause to appreciate the journey more so than the finish line. In fact, finishing one cord actually whetted my appetite for another.

In the process of this challenge, I’ve compiled a fair amount of video footage documenting some ax skills and techniques. For those interested in video format, you can find these on our Axe Cordwood Challenge Playlist. Another resource you may find a bit of value in is our Ax-Manship Playlist.

Risk Management

The only way to improve ax-manship is to swing axes. Even with good technique and accuracy, your body is at risk from not only sharp steel, but falling timber and dead limbs being dislodged high overhead. There’s no way to insure safety 100%. You can, however, mitigate a large portion of the risk by using common sense.

Off-Grid Firewood- Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Chopper Beware: This dead pine broke midway up during the fall. Give a wide berth when felling trees.

Even so, you have to accept the potential for injury. One tree I felled got hung up. To free it, I had to fell a smaller tree (5 inches in diameter) under great tension. Misreading the direction in which the tree would release its tension, my last chop sent the tree into my thigh. Fortunately another tree stopped the full impact. It could have much worse than a bruised muscle.

Off-Grid Firewood- Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Not a part of the Cordwood Challenge, this dead pine hung up at the top and stump. This set up helped free the base by leveraging with a rope and 10 foot pole.

Even bent saplings as small as your wrist pose a huge danger to the wood chopper if cut without a strategy. Here’s a video link demonstrating a safe method to release stored energy.

Off-Grid Strategy

I chose to cut a cord of wood at base camp. Not because I’m more pioneering than other’s who have undertaken this challenge, it’s just that base camp is where the trees live. And firewood hides in trees.

In my off-grid setting, the greatest challenge, in my mind, was transporting large diameter logs on my shoulder over uneven terrain, vines, and ravines without a modern means of conveyance. My strategy was to fell, buck and split logs too heavy to lift for transport.

Off-Grid Firewood- Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Red Oak logs hauled back to camp

Splitting Strategy: Wedges and Maul

To accomplish the plan with an ax only, I carved two sets of wedges (or gluts as Kephart called them in Camping and Woodcraft) from a dogwood tree to be used at each felling site. Each set contained 4 wedges – Fat Set: a steep incline plane; Skinny Set: a gradual taper with less slope. Both were useful for different tasks. I found that the fat gluts inserted into smaller splits would bounce out after a couple of blows from my wooden maul or ax poll. The fat set could be driven deep to separate stubborn logs after the skinny set opened the split wide enough to accept the fat wedges.

Off-Grid Firewood- Lessons from Staying Warm with an Ax - TheSurvivalSherpa.com

Pine halved for hauling

The skinny wedges, inserted in the initial ax split at the butt of logs, performed beautifully to further the split down the logs – even on seasoned red oak.  I found the one pine tree I cut to be the most cantankerous to halve. You’d think a soft wood would split more easily than hard. However, once halved, the pine split into rails more easily with my ax without the aid of wedges. That is, if the log was knot-free.

The dogwood wedges held up to a great amount of pounding even though they were green (non-seasoned). I had the idea to make a maul from the base of the dogwood tree which gave me the wedges. I discovered that dogwoods have a hollow space in the root ball which travels a foot or more up the trunk depending on the tree’s size. This fact makes this species unsuitable as a maul unless you cut the hollow part off. Hickory, oak, or other hardwoods have a solid root base and makes a fine maul for driving wedges.

Other DiY Tools: Chopping Platform

As my strategy dictated, after hauling logs and rails back to base camp, further splitting and cutting to length was necessary. I made a chopping platform based on the one described in Dudley Cook’s authoritative work, The Ax Book. Without a doubt, the chopping platform was the most used and multifunctional DiY tool throughout the challenge.

Initially I had planned on using it for chopping smaller rails to firewood length. It also served as a splitting and bucking platform. I experimented with bucking smaller logs (5-6 inch diameter) on the platform instead of separating them into rails first. The platform offered a solid back up for vertical ax strokes (swinging towards your feet) when bucking.

80% of the wood was split into long rails and cut to length on the chopping platform. In case you’re not aware, ax-cut wood will not stand on end for splitting. The remaining 20% was bucked to length on the platform, tossed on the ground, and split using the Tiger technique (video link).  This method worked well on all clear grained wood. When knots were present, I learned quickly to lay the round on the chopping platform to split.

Make Every Stroke Count

The first human I witnessed felling a tree with an ax was Mama. With that moment etched in my five-year-old mind, I was hooked on axes.

Technique

The ax swing is a basic physical movement. However, proper technique employed efficiently saves energy and time. A tinderfoot, unfamiliar with technique, gnaws into a tree with a flurry of misdirected chops and slashes until the tree submits or he gives up. The wood chips produced are as fine as flower bed mulch.

The super computer in our skull coordinates with our muscles to strike where our eyes look. I’m not saying that you don’t need repetition to develop muscle memory. You certainly do. Practice makes permanent… not perfect.

Every stroke is made under control. Muscle up on swings and accuracy suffers. Use your natural swing and let the tool do its share of the work. When felling, the least practiced skill due to the low number of trees needed to produce a cord of wood, a pattern of overlapping strikes is followed for both the face and back notch. A small notch is created as the base for larger notches. With the small notch complete, large wood chips are freed more easily as you progress. A slight twist of the ax after each stroke helps to loosen and remove chips on the top and bottom cuts of the notch. Repeat this blueprint until you near the center of the tree. Do the same 45 degree notching technique on the back cut.

Aim and Accuracy

My ax placement dramatically improved over the course of this challenge. Cleaner notches in felling and bucking were evident with more purposeful practice. One tip I’d offer in bucking is to swing the ax through a line vertical with your nose as your eyes focus on the target.

As my accuracy grew, I concentrated on cocking the ax handle back with my wrist at the peak of my backswing before the downward stroke. This seemed to increase velocity of the ax head. Accuracy and velocity equates to more work done with less effort.

Trading Theory for Action

Early in my teaching career, I was the sage on the stage dishing out book information and theory. As I grow gray, I’ve come to realize that lessons last when students are given the opportunity to learn by doing the stuff. Building knowledge through experience makes math relevant in the real-world. This is even more true with ax-manship and self-reliance skills.

Remove electricity and the combustion engine from the firewood equation and suddenly the ax becomes relevant. Modern tools, which I own, can get the job done more quickly. But I needed to experience, in context, what it takes to cut a cord with an ax only.

By Doing the Stuff, opportunities and learning took place…

  • Emergent skills were honed
  • Unpredictable situations improved learning
  • Reflected on consequences, mistakes, and successes
  • Improved woodland management
  • I could indeed keep my family warm with an ax

In full disclosure, a bucksaw was used for one back cut on the last tree felled. My buddy, Kevin, came out for about an hour and cut the face notch. A large wild azalea, which I refuse to cut, prevented safe ax work on the back cut. This was the only time a tool other than an ax was used.

Keep Doing the Stuff of Self-Reliance

Todd

P.S. – You can also keep up with the Stuff we’re Doing on TwitterPinterestGoogle +, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook… and over at our Doing the Stuff Network.

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Copyright © by Survival Sherpa: In light of the recent theft of all my content by a pirate site, my sharing policy has changed. I do not permit the re-posting of entire articles from my site without express written consent by me. My content on this site may be shared in digital form (200 words or less) for non-commercial use with a link back (without no-follow attribute) to the original article crediting the author. All photos, drawings, and articles are copyrighted by and the property of Survival Sherpa. You are more than welcome to share our photos and articles on social media for educational purposes as long as you link back to the original article/photo with credit to the author.

How to Make Easy Herbal Oils, Salves, and Syrups

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This article was originally published by Richo Cech on motherearthnews.com

Soothe injuries and boost your immune system with these simple, plant-based recipes for trauma oil, Saint John’s wort oil, black elderberry syrup, herbal lip balm, and more.

Not long ago, I got a gash in my foot, but it felt relatively comfortable propped up and encased in a gooey poultice made of crushed comfrey roots. Soon enough, my foot quit throbbing, and I marveled at how minimally processed roots had effectively eased my pain. Then again, processing has its advantages — drying the herbs, grinding them, and extracting their properties with water, oil, or alcohol can make herbal therapy more convenient, and, I thought (while flexing my mucilage-laden toes, which, thankfully, still worked), a lot less messy!

How to Make Infused Herbal Oils

Herbal oils are convenient and easy to use. These are made by extracting ground-up herbs with organic olive oil. You can apply this herb-laden oil directly to your skin, where it will exert its healing influence through absorption, or you can use the oil as a base for making a salve or lip balm. Infused oils aren’t the same as essential oils, which are composed of concentrated, steam-distilled volatile oils of a plant. Infused herbal oils may be made from dried arnica flowers, bergamot leaves and flowers, calendula flowers, cayenne peppers, cannabis leaves and flowers, chickweed leaves and flowers, comfrey leaves, ginger roots, helichrysum flowers, mullein leaves, turmeric roots, and virtually any herb containing essential oils (such as rosemary, thyme, and lavender). All will extract well in warm oil.

Fresh garlic cloves, cottonwood buds, elderberry leaves, horse chestnut buds, mullein flowers, and especially flowering Saint John’s wort also extract very nicely in warm olive oil.

To make Saint John’s wort oil, grind fresh Saint John’s wort flowers and leaves into a mash and add 1 part of this fresh herb mash to 3 parts olive oil. Stir thoroughly, and then pour the mass into a gallon jar, capped with cheesecloth held in place with a rubber band. (The cheesecloth will allow excess moisture to escape.) Set the jar in the sun for 2 weeks, stirring daily. The oil will eventually take on the ruby-red color of its active constituent, hypericin. After 2 weeks, squeeze the contents through 4 layers of cheesecloth into a clean bowl, pour the oil into a clean gallon jar, and allow it to settle overnight. Then, excluding the watery sludge, pour the bright-red oil into clean containers for storage, and use as needed.

To make an infused oil of dried herbs, first grind the herbs to a medium-fine consistency. In a crockpot, stainless steel pan, or gallon jar, combine 1 part herbs with 5 parts organic olive oil (for 1 ounce of herb, use 5 ounces of oil). Or, simply put the dried herbs into the vessel and add sufficient olive oil to make a thick mash that you can just stir with a spoon. Stir daily to encourage extraction, and keep the oil very warm (110 to 120 degrees Fahrenheit). Some folks set the macerating oil close to a woodstove or in the sun to stay warm. In any case, never heat the oil directly on a stovetop — temperatures in excess of 150 degrees will denature the oil. After 1 week, pour the warm mass through 4 layers of cheesecloth draped over a bowl. Lift the corners, gather them together, and squeeze and squeeze, allowing the clear oil to flow into the bowl. Alternatively, you can use a tincture press, which is certainly more efficient. Collect the infused oil in a jar and allow it to settle overnight. Then, being careful to exclude the sludge that will have formed on the bottom of the jar, pour off the clear oil into amber glass jars for storage. Store in a cool, dark place. The shelf life of infused herbal oils is 1 year.

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How to Make Herbal Salves and Balms

Homemade salves and lip balms call for beeswax and oil, which mix only if heated to 150 degrees. You won’t need to use a thermometer; simply pour an infused oil into a heat-resistant glass beaker, set it into a saucepan half-filled with water, and bring the water bath to a gentle simmer on the stovetop.

To make a soft salve, use 0.6 ounces of wax for every cup of oil. Grate the beeswax with a cheese grater, mix the grated wax into the oil, and gently heat the mixture until the beeswax melts, stirring constantly with a chopstick or wooden spoon. After the wax incorporates perfectly into the oil, immediately remove it from the heat and pour the liquid salve into suitable containers. It will harden as it cools.

Lip balm is made in the same way, except you’ll need to increase the concentration of beeswax to 2 ounces of wax for every 1 cup of oil. This will make a harder product that won’t melt in your pocket or purse, but will still protect and heal chapped lips. You can use the infused oil of calendula flowers or chickweed to make a very pleasant lip balm. For additional flavor, per 1 cup of lip balm, stir in 1 drop of mint essential oil, 3 drops of vanilla extract, or both.

To make lip balm, first make herbal oil by combining equal parts dried chickweed leaves or flowers and dried calendula flowers (follow my earlier instructions for making infused herbal oils). Combine 1 cup of this oil with 2 ounces of beeswax. Stirring constantly, gently heat the oil/beeswax mixture in a hot water bath until the beeswax melts. Pour the liquid lip balm into small, flat salve containers or empty lip-balm dispensers — this recipe will yield eleven 1-ounce tins. As it cools, it will harden.

While some balms are suited to everyday use, occasionally you’ll need a stronger salve for soothing specific ailments. Trauma oil is traditionally made by combining the infused oils of 3 powerful herbs: calendula, arnica, and Saint John’s wort. You can make the oils separately and then combine them in equal parts to make the trauma oil. Heat the oil and mix with beeswax to make trauma salve, and then store the mixture in a flat tin. To use, rub the salve as needed into an afflicted area. I’ve seen this remedy used as-is to reduce inflammation and pain in a swollen finger, a twisted ankle, and an inflamed tendon.

Healing Herbal Syrups and Teas

Herbal syrups are among the most universally accepted ways to ingest herbs. I find them to be particularly well-suited for children, who may disagree with the strange and bitter tastes of many herbs but actually look forward to their daily spoonful of syrup. Syrups may be administered by the loving hand of a parent who has the foresight to fortify their child against common colds and flu.

Black elderberry syrup packs a powerful immune-enhancing punch. To reconstitute dried berries, simply cover them with boiling water in a jar overnight and allow them to plump up. To make syrup from reconstituted dried berries or from fresh berries, place the berries in a saucepan with a little water and set on low heat. Stirring frequently, cook until the berries are thoroughly softened, and then remove from the heat and allow them to cool enough to be handled. Press out the juice in a tincture press or through a large sieve, thereby excluding the skins and seeds. Return the clear purple juice to the saucepan and set on low heat, stirring frequently. Reduce to 1⁄4 the original volume, producing a very thick product. This will take about 1 hour. Measure the liquid, and then add an equal volume of vegetable glycerin or honey. Pour into 4-ounce amber dropper bottles or small jars. A child’s dose is 1 teaspoon up to 3 times per day. An adult dose is 1 tablespoon up to 3 times per day.

A decoction is a concentrated herbal tea, often used to extract the essence of roots, barks, and seeds that don’t readily relinquish their properties in a simple tea. Strong decoctions are double-strength and may easily be made into herbal syrup. Combine 1 part strong decoction with 2 parts vegetable glycerin or honey. Stir until thoroughly incorporated, and then store in 4-ounce amber dropper bottles or small jars. The shelf life of syrups made in this manner is about 6 months, and may be extended by refrigerating the syrup. If mold appears on the surface, discard.

To make, use 2 handfuls (about 2 ounces) of sliced or coarsely ground herbs in 4 cups of water. Combine in a stainless steel saucepan, cover, and leave overnight to soak. In the morning, stir the contents with a wooden spoon and heat on a low burner, simmering for 15 minutes. Then, strain out the root pieces and return the liquid to the stovetop. Stirring frequently, reduce the volume by half.

Many kinds of roots, barks, and seeds can be made into strong decoctions and then combined with honey or glycerin to produce herbal syrups or cough syrup. Astragalus roots, cascara sagrada bark, elecampane roots, hawthorn berries, motherwort herb, turkey rhubarb roots, self heal flowers, spikenard roots, yellow dock roots, violet flowers, licorice roots, and fennel seeds all make good herbal syrups.

Source : www.motherearthnews.com

About the author : Richo Cech is the founder of Strictly Medicinal Seeds, an all-medicinal seed and plant company based in Williams, Oregon. He’s the author of the respected herbal reference Making Plant Medicine.

 

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How to Pack a Hiking Bag

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How to Pack a Hiking Bag Like anything else there are ways to do something and then there are the best ways to do something. I would never claim that any article best described the way you personally should pack your hiking bag. I understand this is as personal an endeavor to some as how …

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Turn Your Stairs Into A Secret Room / Storage

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How To Turn Your Stairs Into A Secret Room / Storage I absolutely LOVE this. I have a small house but I have a great stairway that is just a waste of space. With this idea, I could turn that into a little hidden room either to hide or stash preps. Maybe even let the …

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Coffee: Reason Why You Should Be Stockpiling

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Coffee: Reason Why You Should Be Stockpiling After those late nights there really is nothing like a stiff coffee to get you back into working order. Still, it is rare that this makes it into the stockpile or even into the bug out bag. I don’t know if anything would be better than a cup …

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Herbal Cold and Congestion Remedies

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Herbal Cold and Congestion Remedies The time to prepare your herbal remedies is not in the depths of the winter. Depending on what remedies you are looking to use in the fall and winter season. Spring is really the best time to consider your remedies preparations. If you are truly looking for a sustainable process …

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