Pear Varieties for the Deep South

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Pears are thought of as a cold-climate fruit, yet they are more adaptable than you might think. One of the benefits of being a garden writer is the many comments and ideas I get from readers. Today we’ll focus on pear varieties, thanks to some insight from gardeners in the south.

These originally appeared on a survival plant post on pears I created here.

Erik writes:

“Supposedly the ‘Chinese white pear’ (Bai li) cultivars Tsu Li (which is really ancient and supposedly good but quite slow to bear) and Ya Li (which need to be planted together, as they bloom earlier than even the pyrifolia Asians [‘apple pears’]) will both fruit with only 450 chill hours and are fireblight resistant.

I have had grocery Ya Li and am not impressed–crisp, watery, no flavor (that is also my opinion of most of the larger, pyrifolia types which someone must like because they are more expensive than aromatic, buttery European pears that taste like pears).

However, I found a delicious way to treat firm Boscs that also works with low flavor sand/oriental pears and Ya Li: Poach them in flavored syrup. The bland ones actually keep their shape better than good European types (turn a Seckel glut into pear butter instead). The flavor comes from the syrup rather than the pear, but hey, it works. (The French mostly use sweetened wine, but even stale coffee. In [Polish] Chicago, I can get blackcurrant juice or syrup and mostly use that. Vanilla and ginger blend nicely with most pears, even the aromatic ones that are mostly high chill and killed by fireblight.)

‘Warren’ is often recommended as a moderately low chill (NW FL and north), fireblight-resistant European sort similar to Bartlett, but I don’t have personal experience with it. Poached pears with vanilla ice cream may not be an option if the something hits the fan, but is nice in nicer times.”

And Carl responds:

“I have a lot of pear trees in Northwest Florida that are mostly grafted over pears I purchased in box stores or in flea markets. I pick varieties that were either developed in the deep south by normal people or were found after many years to do quite well.

Best fresh-eating pears and fire-blight-resistant so far for me are: Southern Bartlett (from Abbreville, LA), Golden Boy from Just Fruits and Exotics, and the Asian pear Olton Broussard from an old shipment to a nursery labeled ‘Oriental Pear.’ Kieffers and Orient pears for cooking/salads and for pollinating the Olton Broussards.

There are many new pears that I am trying out at the moment that are said to be very good. But the three I mentioned are about as sure of a thing as there can be in the South. The Olton Broussard may not fruit in zone 9 or during extremely warm winters in zone 8b.

The Hood is another good but early pear that is disease resistant and very low chill. It was university-developed unlike the other eating pears that I mentioned. See —  My Southern Pear interest group.”

Pear Varieties for the South

There are some nice field reports on pear varieties for the South at the link Carl provided. I recommend checking them out.

For North Florida (which also coincides with Southern Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, portions of Texas, and other subtropical areas), the University of Florida recommends:

  • Ayer
  • Baldwin
  • Kieffer
  • Flordahome
  • Orient
  • Hood
  • Pineapple
  • Tenn

The range of those pears probably goes a good bit farther north. For south of Gainesville, the only three pears recommended are:

  • Flordahome
  • Orient
  • Pineapple

Le Conte grows in the deep south and is apparently an excellent pear; however, it’s not as disease resistant as some varieties.

When I visited the Orange County extension office in Orlando to film my video on fruit trees for Florida, I noticed that the “Pineapple” pear was the only tree that was thriving. However, the trees were planted in a hot field.

I believe they would have done much better in a mulch-rich environment with a variety of other species, food-forest style.

Here’s that video:

In my North Florida food forest, I grew Flordahome, Pineapple, Hood, Kieffer, Baldwin, and other recommended pear varieties for the South, plus grafted branches onto some of them from an old productive pear tree of unknown variety growing in Gainesville.

People often don’t realize how far south you can grow pears.

It is good to see people having success. Don’t overlook pear trees — try some on your homestead!

Imagine homemade pear pie, pear sauce, canned pears, pear salsa … eating them fresh and sun-warmed from the tree. I never knew how good pears really were until I grew my own trees. Store-bought pears are a pale imitation of ripe fruit from the tree.


*Pear image courtesy Dave Minogue. CC license.


The post Pear Varieties for the Deep South appeared first on The Grow Network.

3 Unique Tips for Finding Your Way Out of the Wilderness

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Wilderness survival is a vast subject that few people ever truly master. Even certain subsets of this subject can be daunting. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources and books that can help. It’s a super popular subject that has been discussed at length by countless websites and authors, including yours truly.

But throughout my time researching this subject over the years, I’ve stumbled on a few survival tips that don’t seem to be mentioned very often. Perhaps their usefulness is a little too narrow, or there are better options that are little more versatile and applicable in more situations. However, I’ve always felt that there is no survival tip that is too niche, so to speak. I like to learn everything, even if some of that knowledge is only useful in rare circumstances. In that spirit, I’ve come up with a three survival tips on the subject of navigating your way out of the wilderness, that I don’t think get mentioned often enough.

Pay Attention To The Animals

We all know that certain animals can sense magnetic fields, and use that ability to navigate. What most people don’t realize is that observing some of these animals can help you figure out which way is north or south. If you’re ever lost in the forests of North America or Europe, pay attention to any deer you might run across. They almost always face magnetic north or south when they’re grazing.

Follow The Water

With advances in modern infrastructure, it’s a lot easier for a community to spring up where there is no water. However, most towns and cities that are around today were built a long time ago, when they absolutely needed to be near water sources. For that reason, one of the best ways to find civilization is to simply follow any rivers or streams you run across. Obviously, doing this doesn’t guarantee that you’ll find civilization, but if you don’t know which direction the nearest community is, then following a river gives you the best odds of getting out of the wilderness. Plus, you’ll be able to stay hydrated throughout the journey.

Look For Light Pollution

One of the most noticeable side effects of modern civilization is the abundance of light it produces. Even at night, most communities have plenty of streetlights running until dawn. Depending on the size of these communities and how far away they are, you should be able to see the light they produce even if you can’t see the town itself. When it gets dark, try to find a high vantage point and scan your surroundings. If civilization is near, you should be able to see a glimmer of light over the horizon.

Joshua Krause was born and raised in the Bay Area. He is a writer and researcher focused on principles of self-sufficiency and liberty at Ready Nutrition. You can follow Joshua’s work at our Facebook page or on his personal Twitter.

Joshua’s website is Strange Danger

This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

Gas Shortage Not Over: Driver Went To 11 Stations Without Gas; Supply Slashed By Two-Thirds; Hour-Long Waits; ‘Several Days’ Before It Ends

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Gas Shortage Not Over: Driver Went To 11 Stations Without Gas; Supply Slashed By Two-Thirds; Hour-Long Waits; ‘Several Days’ Before It Ends

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Drivers in North Carolina, South Carolina and several other Southern states continued hunting for gasoline Wednesday morning following a major pipeline leak, as the company in charge of fixing the problem said it would take “several days” for the supply to return to normal.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory said the state was getting only about a third of the gas supply it normally receives.

“We’ve successfully weathered fuel shortages before, and we will do it again,” McCrory said. “Now is the time to pull together as a state and to conserve fuel when it’s possible.”

A leak in the Colonial Pipeline was discovered Sept. 9, causing a shutdown to fix it and sparking havoc among the 50 million people who depend on it for gasoline. More than 250,000 gallons of gas leaked at the site in Alabama. The pipeline, constructed in 1963, spans from Texas to New Jersey.

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Colonial Pipeline built a 500-foot bypass around the leak and is testing it to make sure it is properly working.

“It is expected to take several days for the fuel delivery supply chain to return to normal,” Colonial Pipeline said in a statement Tuesday. “Some markets served by Colonial Pipeline may experience, or continue to experience, intermittent service interruptions.”

Many gas stations in North Carolina are completely out of gas.

“My brother went to 11 places the other day [before finding gas],” driver Yolanda Hinton told the Raleigh New and Observer. “It was an hour-long wait last night.”

The newspaper reported that the rush to gas pumps that did have gasoline was “akin to the panics before a big hurricane.”

In South Carolina, drivers also are having a tough time finding gas.

“Today I’ve been three places,” driver Ellen Hayes, in Lancaster, South Carolina, told WBTV. “I’ve been off [Highway] 200, I’ve been over there, and now here.”

Other stations have gasoline, but it’s only expensive premium.

What is your reaction to the shortage? Share your thoughts in the section below: 

Are You Truly Prepared For A Downed Grid? Read More Here.

Gas Shortage Continues: $10 Limit; 20 Cars Deep; Customers Hoarding; ‘We Are Almost Out’; Police Rationing, Too

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Gas Shortage Continues: $10 Limit; 20 Cars Deep; Customers Hoarding; 'We Are Almost Out'; Police Rationing, Too

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RALEIGH, N.C. – The gas shortage that slammed the South over the weekend continued into Monday and Tuesday, with drivers across the region frantically trying to find pumps that were selling gasoline.

“I went to like six stations in Durham. I could not find any gas,” Stephanie Murriell told North Carolina’s WRAL.

Eventually she ended up in Raleigh, and along way the way saw four more gas stations out of gas. All total, she saw about 10 stations out of gas before she found one, an Exxon, that still had some.

“I even went on Facebook and posted on Facebook, ‘Please help me find gas in Durham and Raleigh,’ and this is the first place that I’ve come to that had gas.”

But the Exxon that did have gas was limiting customers to $10 gas purchases – and it ran out hours later.

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“The people need gas. Everybody needs gas. We are almost out of gas. Too many stations here are out of gas,” Exxon station manager Jimmy Alkhateeb told WRAL.

Gas Shortage Continues: $10 Limit; 20 Cars Deep; Customers Hoarding; 'We Are Almost Out'; Police Rationing, TooThe gas shortage throughout the South was sparked when the Colonial Pipeline – which carries gas from Texas to New Jersey — leaked more than 250,000 gallons of gasoline at a location in Alabama. The pipeline provides gas for around 50 million people.

One man who bought gas at the Exxon station, Jeff Hawkins, had stopped at two other places that did not have any gasoline. He had driven about 160 miles from Charlotte to Raleigh and said the $10 in gas “would not help me at all.”

“That would probably not even get me home,” Hawkins told the TV station.

It even has affected law enforcement. Durham County Sheriff deputies have been told not to let their cars idle when they could be shut off, the Raleigh News and Observer reported. The deputies fill up at county-owned pumps.

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And when people do find gas, they have to wait in long lines for it. In Youngsville, North Carolina, Michelle Bowers told the newspaper she saw one station where the line was “20 cars deep.”

People, she said, are hoarding gas.

“I … got behind a man filling up 10 big gas cans. The big ones,” Bowers said. “I finally told the attendant directing traffic that what he was doing didn’t seem quite right, especially since they were telling people they were almost out.

What is your reaction? Share your thoughts in the section below:

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Panic As Gas Shortage Hits The South; State Of Emergency Declared; ‘Just Like The 70s’

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Panic As Gas Shortage Hits The South; State Of Emergency Declared; ‘Just Like The 70s’

ATLANTA — A pipeline spill that has led to gasoline shortages throughout the South and sparked a state of emergency has become simply the latest example of the fragility of America’s supply line.

Social media linked the situation — which affects around six states — to that in the post-apocalyptic Mad Max movies.

Gas stations in Atlanta had run out of gas Sunday night. Many in Nashville had run out of gas days earlier.

“I’ve seen Mad Max a hundred times and never knew it was supposed to take place in Tennessee,” one person, @SuitsNTattoos, tweeted.

In the Mad Max films, survivors fight over limited fuel supplies in post-apocalyptic Australia.

“Live look at the weather and gas situation in Nashville. Welcome to the Thunderdome,” @Brainard66 tweeted.

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Pictures in The Tennessean newspaper showed gas pumps with signs that state: “Out of gas sorry for the inconvenience” taped to them.

Other pictures showed long lines at a gas stations.

“Full tank of gas for sale. $1000/gal. Who needs it?” @davidpetee tweeted.

One Pipeline Spill Leads to Mad Max in Middle Tennessee

The crisis in Tennessee and other states began with a spill on the Colonial Pipeline — an underground gasoline conduit that connects New York City with the Gulf Coast — near Birmingham, Alabama, on September 9. It provides gas for around 50 million people.

The rupture caused gasoline prices to soar in the region by as much as $1 per gallon. It also led the governors of six states — Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama and North Carolina — to declare states of emergency.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam declared a state of emergency on Friday and then assured residents there was no gas shortage. On the same day, The Tennessean reported that 85 stations in Middle Tennessee had run out of gas. That led to drivers rushing to the pumps to fill up.

State of Emergency

Haslam’s executive order waived hourly limits on fuel truck drivers to keep the pumps working.

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When Susan Logan drove to a Kroger gas station in Franklin, Tennessee, an attendant came out and told everybody to leave because the supermarket was out of gas. Logan had to go to three different stations to find fuel.

“The lines kept getting longer and longer as I was there,” Logan told The Tennessean. “I texted my friends to get gas on the way home from work.”

A picture in The Tennessean showed dozens of cars lined up at a Costco gas station.

“I was just amazed at how everybody went into panic mode when they shouldn’t have,” Jackie Dawson said after seeing a line at her local Kroger. “One woman put gasoline in three huge gas tanks as well as her car. It was bizarre. Just like in 2008. Just like the ’70s.”

Some smart citizens were prepared, however.

“Nashville’s freaking out about the #GasShortage. But hey, my freezer’s stocked w/ frozen waffles, so at least my bicycle has plenty of fuel!” @Jeff_Jetton tweeted.

What is your reaction? Share it in the section below

Are You Prepared For Extended Blackouts? Read More Here.

The Best States In America To Live Off The Grid?

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The Best Places To Live Off-Grid

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I grew up in upstate New York. The beautiful rolling hills, the Great Lakes. The lovely farm country. I would never go back if you paid me millions of dollars. Never.

But for the better part of a decade I have resided well south of the Mason-Dixon line. In fact, when I spoke to a relative a short time ago from New York State, they were shocked I didn’t sound like a Yankee, or even speak like one. “You’ve gone native,” they told me. Which is well and good in my book.

New York is about as liberal/progressive of a state as you can get. It’s a state that does not honor life, the sanctity of marriage or gun rights. It taxes its residents to death, does not value homeschoolers and has no more respect for Almighty God than does Richard Dawkins. Since I have left, the New York government has only worsened.

For many of us who homestead and farm on a small scale, we also raise families, own firearms, go to church and desire a quiet life lived in peace. Sadly judging by the moral and political climate in some places in North America, we often have to leave the place we call home in order to find these things. I believe there are still good places out there to put down roots and farm and raise your children, while other places in the USA have gone quite authoritarian.

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Here are three areas in the United States for those seeking fair land prices, less government involvement, a religious friendly atmosphere, low taxes, and a place friendly toward gun owners.


The land of cotton has changed much in the past half century, but the area is well-known as a bastion of conservative and Christian values in the USA. The land is good for agriculture and there are many homesteaders and small-time farmers who have flocked to this region over the past two to three decades from all over the USA and Canada.

My pick for the southeast:

The Best States In America To Live Off The Grid

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Tennessee. The state’s motto of “Agriculture and Commerce” speaks of the beautiful and lush farmlands — and low taxes. There is no state income tax in Tennessee. Gun freedoms are very good, and in fact after a recent shooting, Tennessee’s lieutenant governor urged people to go and get their handgun carry permits. No such thing as an “assault weapons ban” or magazine restrictions exist in the Volunteer State. Land prices are expensive toward the Blue Ridge Mountains, but Middle and West Tennessee land prices are affordable. Homeschooling conditions are great for families.


Texas. Don’t mess with the Lone Star State. A conservative government, coupled with excellent gun laws, makes Texas one of the top places to live for the small farmer or homesteader. While not as fertile as some states, ranching is big business in Texas. A farm on the Edwards Plateau will provide your family with water from the aquifer with the same name. In the more fertile east, row crop farming as well as vegetable growing does reasonably well.

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With the end of the recent drought, Texas received more rainwater this year than it had in seven years. Beware of buying land near the Mexican-US border and stay away from the more progressive cities like Austin or Dallas. Most Texans value liberty and independence, a great thing for the homesteader or farmer.


The Best States In America To Live Off The Grid

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Idaho and Wyoming. Both of these states tie for the best places to live out west. Excellent gun laws, conservative government, a fierce independent spirit, and excellent farm country make these Rocky Mountain states ideal for the homesteader/farmer. Rich soil is available, and land prices are cheap. If you want to be away from people, this is the perfect place for you. You want to hunt and fish? This is the ideal location for the sportsman, with teeming populations of deer, elk, pronghorn and even bison. Idaho is the more temperate state, whereas Wyoming is known for its brutally cold winters.


New Hampshire. The last bastion of any freedom in the Northeast is the Granite State, but even this state is slipping slowly toward the liberalism that has transformed the Northeast. If you must live in the North, New Hampshire or perhaps the north woods of Maine are really the only two viable options I see.

What are your picks for best places to live off-grid? Share your suggestions in the section below:

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The Civil War History You Don’t Know

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America is commemorating the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War this year, but the commemoration has been anything but civil. With debates over heroes, statues and flags, the Civil War seemingly has divided America once again.

Meanwhile, many Americans still don’t know their Civil War history, having bought into myths and legends that apparently never die.

On this week’s edition of Off The Grid Radio we discuss Civil War “off-grid” history that you won’t get out of public school textbooks or from the mainstream media. Our guest is historian Bill Potter, an author, teacher and lecturer who also gives tours of American and European sites, telling the story of God’s providential hand in history.

Potter tells us:

  • Why it’s wrong to view the Civil War simply as the “good guys” vs. the “bad guys.”
  • How the issue of racism in the South was far more complex than what we’ve learned.
  • What really tore the states apart, and how churches played a key role.
  • Why Lincoln’s views on slavery are more complicated than the conventional narrative.
  • Whether the Civil War truly was a necessary war.

A century and a half after it ended, the “War Between The States” continues to captivate our imagination. Listen as one of the nation’s leading experts on the Civil War explains its history in ways you’ve never heard!