A Beginners Guide to Prepping! If you’re just starting off in the world of prepping, welcome to the team! If you’re still contemplating whether to get on board, hopefully this will persuade you to the light. It may seem a like a daunting task to begin preparing for the worst, but if you know where … Continue reading A Beginners Guide to Prepping!
1. Too many (or too few) roosters.
It’s true that you don’t need a rooster to harvest eggs, but a gentleman tends to keep the ladies happier and helps to break up domestic squabbles between the hens. He’ll also alert them to good forage and save it for his ladies to win favor. That said, too many roosters can cause territory disputes and lead to abused hens. A good ratio is one rooster to every 8-12 hens.
2. Inadequate protection from predators.
They don’t say “smart as a fox” for nothing. Predators are intelligent, and if they’re not they don’t make it very long. Chicken owners need to plan in advance to protect their flock. Raccoons have been known to break through mesh chicken wire, or simply reach through and kill birds through the fence. Weasels, believe it or not, can slip through the small holes. Hardware cloth is better to use for a chicken’s overnight housing. They’ll also need protection from digging predators, such as foxes and coyotes, as well as climbing predators such as raccoons, that can carry a hen with them over the fence. Make sure the coop is fully protected top to bottom, and don’t underestimate your predators. If all else fails, a trusty .22 is usually plenty to deal with unwelcome guests.
3. No access to forage.
The healthiest eggs come from chickens allowed to access forage. Chickens, while they do love their greens, are not (by any means) vegetarians. Even a brain as simple as a chicken’s brain needs stimulation from finding and hunting for food, and bugs are excellent entertainment and nutrition. Chickens living on a diet of corn/soy mush from the feed store are a sure way to harvest the status quo boring egg you can buy at the grocery store. Let your chickens forage, and they’ll thank you for it with tastier and more nutritious eggs.
4. No retirement plan.
All too often, classified ads have listings for “free chickens, 3 years old, no longer laying regularly, to a good home only, not the stew pot.” If you’re going to own chickens and raise them for eggs, you need to be realistic about their productive life span.
Chickens produce best in the first three years of life, and after that their production drops off drastically. They generally live for 7-10 years, which is a long unproductive lifespan to feed your retirees. Trying to give away the problem to others and insisting that they go to a “happy farm” rather than the stew pot is unrealistic. If you want your chickens to live a long and happy life, you’ll have to support your pensioners yourself as pets, or know that their next best fate is the stew pot.
5. Too small of a coop.
You’ll need to plan a little extra space for chickens too young to lay while they grow into adults, but before you’ve retired out your older hens. If you retire your hens before the new batch comes in, you’ll have a long wait without eggs as the younger hens come of age. Planning for a coop that’s 1.5 to 2 times the size you expect to need is a great way to ensure that you can cycle your flock, and expand it without cost if your needs change later on.
6. Using recycled material.
While it may be tempting to hack together a nearly free structure from recycled materials, make sure you’re picky about what you use. Hens tend to peck loose or peeling paint, and those old recycled “free” boards covered in lead paint that you picked up beside the side of the road may come back to haunt your family in the form of lead poisoning. Be sure that any material you choose is free of chemical treatment, old lead paint, rusty nails, and ideally is smooth wood without splinters or rough edges, both for your safety and ease of cleaning and painting down the road.
7. Not counting your chickens.
Though they say you shouldn’t count your chickens before they’re hatched, after they’re hatched is a whole different story. Each night when your chickens are put in, they should be counted to make sure everyone has come in safely. One may have been picked off by a predator during the day, and you don’t want that to happen several days in a row before you notice.
8. Not checking local ordinances.
In most places in the country, backyard chickens are perfectly legal, but it never hurts to check your local ordinances. Many towns have rules against keeping roosters (as noise prevention) or keeping more than a very small number. To prevent fines and headaches later, check the rules, and if they don’t meet your needs, work with your town council to change them. Backyard chickens are becoming more accepted even in urban areas as people move toward self-sufficiency, and if your town doesn’t allow them, maybe it’s time for a change.
What are the biggest mistakes you have seen made with chickens? Share your thoughts in the section below:
I’ve written several articles about prepping mistakes and how to avoid them, but when I came across this video by Survival Know How I realized I haven’t talked about bug out bag mistakes. This is something most people don’t think about. How do you mess up a bug out bag? Just put the things you […]
Prepper Mistakes James Walton “I Am Liberty” On this episode of I AM Liberty I wanted to take some time to talk about the pit falls I have ended up in or the miss steps based on starting as a prepper. You know it’s easy to get all worked up and start making decisions based on … Continue reading Prepper Mistakes!
We all make mistakes, especially when it comes to prepping. Fear of doomsday has caused many people to make rash decisions they later regret. Believe me, I know. Fortunately, the Internet makes it easier to learn from other people so you can avoid making the same mistakes they did. To that end, SNO Multimedia made […]
Several years ago I wrote an article called 10 Common Prepping Mistakes To Avoid. It became one of my most popular articles, and to this day it still gets a lot of traffic. But the article was by no means comprehensive. There are literally hundreds of mistakes one can make when preparing for a disaster, […]
There is more to gardening than meets the eye. From the viewpoint of one who has never tried growing their own food, it may appear to be simply a case of tilling up some soil, popping a few seeds in, and sitting back and waiting for the gourmet vegetables to roll in.
Usually, though, there is more to it than that. Growing food is a combination of science, art, diligence and good fortune — and it is a moving target. There are the perennial challenges to stay ahead of weeding and watering, and to protect the plants from the hungry jaws of insects and wildlife looking for a free meal. But there are a few more tricks of the trade beyond the basics, and even smart gardeners make mistakes. Here are eight ways that even the best gardeners can slip up.
1. Leaving inadequate space between plants and between rows. While setting tiny little broccoli or Brussels sprouts seedlings into the bare ground, the expanse of wide-open garden can be deceptive. Even though the directions on the seed packet expressly say to leave three or four feet of space, it takes a lot of willpower to do it.
It is so easy to get swept up in the excitement of buying and planting and then run out of garden space, resulting in the temptation to just squeeeeeeze those hills of pumpkin plants a little closer together. Because, they can’t get that big, right? Wrong. They can. And they will.
I once read that placing plants too close together is a common beginner error, but it can be difficult even for seasoned gardeners to avoid.
There are a few exceptions to the rule of giving plenty of room — most notably peppers and snap beans, both of which are happier touching their neighbors.
It is important to follow the instructions on the seed packet or in the catalog, and even get out a tape measure if necessary in order to prevent underestimating the distance between plants.
2. Losing control of succession planting. The idea behind this concept is to plant a little at a time, over a span of several weeks. This is to prevent drowning in those early summer vegetables such as lettuce and spinach and radishes and carrots and beets and chard — plants which grow quickly and require only a partial season from start to finish. It makes more sense to plant a small amount of each every two or three weeks so that they reach maturity a little at a time.
However, it is sometimes easier said than done. By the time the third or fourth planting of early season vegetables is due to go in, a gardener can be too busy with planting and tending warm-weather crops to bother with them. And then there are the warm-weather harvests to keep food-growers busy.
Gardening involves a lot of intricate timing and juggling, and succession planting adds a little extra complication to the mix. But wrapping up the harvest without a last blast of those delicious cold-weather foods leaves gardeners wishing they had followed through with later plantings.
3. Forgetting about soil health. Soil is a living entity. Without healthy soil, hopes for healthy garden plants are slim. It is important to have it tested regularly and heed the recommendations for amendments — and to follow the guidelines pretty closely. Soil only slightly deficient in nitrogen will not necessarily benefit from five times the recommended amount.
Other tenets of soil health include insuring adequate drainage and avoiding walking on it when wet so that it does not become too hard packed.
4. Recreational rototilling. Some gardeners believe in tilling, and others do not. But either way, tilling is directly related to soil health. Excess tilling can destroy organisms which keep the soil alive and vibrant, and allow the soil to become compacted and lifeless.
It is important to use a rototiller only when truly necessary and to avoid tilling when the soil is mucky and subject to too much damage.
5. Neglecting to thin rows. Directions on vegetable seed packets say to plant every half inch to an inch and then later thin them to somewhere between two and 12 inches, depending upon the species. The point is to attain a high rate of germination — because every seed does not germinate into a seedling — and then once they take root, to pull out enough to allow the remainders space to grow.
It is hard to do. Ripping out half of those green bobbing heads of radish leaves popping up in sweet little rows feels self-defeating. And destroying all those healthy-looking corn plantlets already reaching for the sky and promising to become healthy fruitful stalks — ouch!
It has to be done. It helps to remind oneself of how much healthier those remaining ones will be, and how scrunched up and unproductive the whole crop will be if they are not thinned. And the crop is guaranteed to be subpar if they are not.
I’ve tried to plant them as far apart initially as they are supposed to be after thinning, with poor results. Big gaps show up in my rows, and while it probably was possible to replant, I did not get to it. Additionally, many must-thin seeds like lettuce and carrots are so tiny that it’s nearly impossible to plant them in neat pre-thinned rows.
6. Being nonchalant about compost sources. Gardeners need to ask all the right questions of compost sellers and make sure they know what they are getting. What is the actual composition — is it cow manure, household compost, or biosolids? And does it contain peat moss and other fill material? Has it been adequately heated? Is it organic? Are there scraps of non-biodegradable materials? Has it been tested for metals?
Biosolid material, or human waste, is off-putting to some gardeners. Fill material can be an excellent addition, but not if it results in a mix that is mostly wood chips or other carbons. Unheated compost of any kind can contain pathogens. Compost which is not certified organic can possibly contain herbicides that could damage the garden.
It is easier to be careful up front than to risk having to dig it out of a raised bed garden and haul it off later.
7. Touching plants when wet. It is never the best idea to bother any wet vegetable plants, but it really matters with beans. Picking, weeding or brushing past bean plants when wet can increase their chances of disease and should be strictly avoided. It is worth rearranging a schedule to pick or tend beans before predicted rain and even in order to work around a heavy dew.
8. Leaving ripe fruit unpicked. Fruit, in this case, is the mature result of a flowering body—vegetables such as squash, beans, eggplant, peppers and anything else which grew from a blossom and is not part of the plant’s stalk or root. These plants live to produce fruit. The more is picked, the more they produce. Plants can become stagnant and stop putting on more fruit if it is not consistently picked.
It is important to pick vegetables diligently. Even if there is too much to use immediately, it is better to do so, and give it away or even feed it to livestock if necessary, than to let it sit on the plant and inhibit later production.
Gardening is great, and growing your own food even better. Paying attention to concerns such as space, timing, sourcing and diligence can help growers save valuable resources and avoid crop loss. By following these simple guidelines, even smart gardeners can avoid common mistakes and enjoy a bountiful harvest.
What mistakes would you add to the list? Share your gardening mistakes in the section below:
So before you get too involved in your garden this year, why not ensure you’re not making the most obvious blunders?
On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio, we take a look at seven of the biggest gardening gaffes that people make every year – mistakes that are easy to overlook. Our guest is garden expert Brad Halm, co-founder of The Seattle Urban Farm Company and the co-author of High-Yield Vegetable Gardening and Food Grown Right, In Your Backyard.
- What people often get wrong about mulch and soil.
- Why watering is one of the most misunderstood garden chores.
- How a vegetable’s location in the garden can impact whether it grows strong – or dies.
- Which two mistakes gardeners often make before the season even starts.
If you have a garden and want to see it thrive this year, then this show is for you!
As a concealed firearms instructor I see students come through my classes from all walks of life, and they all seem to make the same basic mistakes when it comes to carrying a concealed weapon.
Here are the top five mistakes I see concealed carriers make:
1. Using cheap holsters
A lot of people will slap down $500 or more for a gun, but then feel queasy about spending $50 on a holster. That $14.95 holster made in China is nice and cheap, but, man, it’s probably not comfortable. It’s likely made from cheap nylon that sags and offers terrible retention – and will slow and disrupt your draw. Very few universal holsters actually work, and I’ve never seen a nylon model that does work.
Holsters should be fitted – or at least close to being fitted. A good holster isn’t even that expensive when it comes to factoring in comfort, retention, and the ability to draw. There is a good deal on Alien Gear that allows shooters to get two quality holsters for $50 or one for $35. There is no excuse to cling to the cheapest thing you can find. Some cheap holsters even can be unsafe. A shoulder holster that lets the weapon rotate and spin can be quite unsafe when the weapon is pointing at your body.
2. Never training/practicing
Concealed carriers should seek some form of training. Even if it’s not formal classroom training, carriers should at least take up instruction via the Internet or DVD; something is better than nothing. But simply watching these videos, or reading these articles means nothing if you aren’t out there actually practicing these concepts.
Practice should involve some live fire, but a lot of it can be done dry. Dry firing is an excellent and free method of practicing trigger control, a proper grip and follow-through. You can also train drawing from concealment, drawing in different positions, and, of course, draw and dry fire. Reloads and failure drills can be done with Snap Cap dummy rounds. You take the skills you practice dry and take them to the range to confirm them, and get that live fire practice in.
3. Playing with the gun
A lot of new concealed carriers constantly play with and fiddle with their weapon and holster. They also tend to tuck their shirt over their weapon, and constantly pull on the shirt to make sure the weapon is covered. You can spot a new concealed carrier a mile away by how much attention they put to a small portion of their hip. It’s not only their hip; trust me, you can see someone with a shoulder holster, too.
Basically, if you are having to constantly adjust your holster due to comfort or retention issues, then maybe that holster doesn’t work for you, and maybe you should consider a different one. Don’t be afraid that someone will see it printing, or see a small flash of it when you climb out of your car. Most people pay very little attention to anything, especially what’s on your hip.
4. Getting stuck on one caliber
This is a major consideration when you are choosing a firearm. People often get stuck on one caliber versus another, and this often leads to some serious issues in weapon selection. For example, the 357 Magnum people who get stuck on that round may purchase a small, J frame in 357 Magnum and find that a 357 is a bit much for a pocket gun. Instead, focus on a caliber that can penetrate 12 inches of ballistic gel reliably, and one you can shoot well. For me that is 9mm; I can afford to shoot a lot in practice, and the round is sufficient for self-defense. Shot penetration and shot placement are the two most important features for a defensive handgun.
5. Taking advice, and not gaining experience
Everything heard or read regarding firearms should be taken with a grain of salt, even if you agree with everything else someone is saying. Unless you have personal experience with the subject, do not take it as the “gospel.” If you read or hear something you agree with, go out there and actually try it out; it might work for 99 out of a 100 people, and you could be that one. For example, appendix carry has become the most popular gun carrying method to hit the Internet in the last few years, and it works for a lot of people. A lot of reputable trainers use and appreciate it, but, personally, I found it painful and uncomfortable.
My main takeaway: Never trust anything until you try it.
What mistakes would you add to this list? Share your thoughts in the section below:
There are about 319 million people living in the United States, and approximately 3 million of them are survivalists, preppers, or whatever the parlance is of our times (I prefer to call them realists).
What does that mean? Well, it’s simple math: Only one person in 100 is truly prepared for a failing economy, natural disaster, regional war or pandemic – not to mention a simple job loss. Yes, we’re talking here about the top 1 percent, but in terms of situational awareness, not money.
If you’re among that group, your goal should be maximizing efficiency and reducing costs. That said, let’s look at the top eight prepping mistakes, in no particular order.
1. Not learning survival skills. The most usual frame of mind when prepping is that gear means everything. So, all you have to do is stockpile (food, water, guns, etc.) like there’s no tomorrow. But you must learn at least basic survival skills, i.e., how to fish, hunt, defend yourself, etc.
Read those survival books, watch YouTube videos, go out camping, go hunting, fishing and so on and so forth. Basically, you should practice what you preach as a “survivalist.” Information is non-perishable, while gear comes and goes.
2. Planning for unrealistic events. For example, you may plan for a nuclear strike while forgetting that you live in a flood/tornado/hurricane/wildfire area. You must prioritize the potentially dangerous situations in your area, be realistic and don’t get lured by the hype.
3. Focusing on just one catastrophic scenario. You can spell disaster in various ways, ranging from losing your job and being unemployed for two years to, let’s say, total economic collapse in North America. You should prepare for everything and if that sounds complicated, just remember the basics of survival. In any given crisis scenario, you’ll need food, water and shelter. The rest are luxuries.
4. Failing to have a properly formulated survival plan. Even in a heist, there’s the man with a plan and the rest are executioners. The same story goes with every situation in life: First plan, then go for it. When disaster strikes, you (and your family) must know what steps are to be taken, what to do next, where to go, where to meet, whom to call and so on and so forth. There is no “one plan to rule them all.” Every plan is individually made to suit your unique situation, i.e., your climate, location, personal resources, etc.
5. Storing all of your eggs in one basket. That is, all of your stockpiles in the same place. By doing that, you will lose all of your supplies/gear in one single catastrophe. You should store your “nest eggs” in different places.
6. Being a total green-horn with your survival gear. Lots of people have stockpiled all sorts of cool survival gear/gadgets, but they are completely unable to use them properly in a disaster situation. You must spend “quality time” and learn how to use your, let’s say, emergency fire-starter kit, especially in a “hairy” situation when you don’t have much time on your hands and you can’t afford to make a mistake.
7. Not storing enough water. Yes, it may sound strange to you, but lots of survivalists fail to achieve this basic goal.
You can survive without much food for weeks, but the lack of water will kill you much quicker than that, in just 2-3 days depending on the weather. Also, don’t forget to include water purification gear and to learn water collection/creation techniques (there are quite a few).
8. Failing to rotate your food supplies. This can be a very expensive “habit” because food has a tendency to spoil over time. Yet many survivalists tend to store food indefinitely, until they end up with lots of expired stuff that may not be edible. Basically, you must store what you eat and vice versa: Eat what you store. In this way, you’ll avoid waste or potential dangers to your health.
Stay prepared, stay focused, don’t get too comfortable and everything is gonna’ be alright!
What mistakes would you add to this list? Share your suggestions in the section below: