29. April 2013
My husband, children and I live in a largely off-grid community in the desert southwest. We live on forty acres with solar power, a water well and water catchment. We garden and live with chickens and are adding skills to our new life style all of the time. My husband does not like for me to be too specific, but I outlined some of our lifestyle changes in an article on trash in July 2012.
This article is about clothing. It is about sewing and mending and altering. I know you’d rather read about AR-15’s, but IMHO, clothing is going to be a big deal in a TEOTWAWKI situation. Before radically changing our lifestyle two years ago, I was the typical American mother. I bought new clothing when the old became too small or too worn. I bought when the seasons changed, and worse, I bought when the fashions changed. Another thing I steadfastly did was to donate clothing by the tub and box full. I worked very hard at keeping our closets clean and clutter free. This is something that every home management book, blog, and article tell American moms to do.
Whether you shop in charitable thrift stores or big box discount stores or big name fashion stores, the quality available to most Americans is pathetic. But, while we still have shopping opportunities, look for quality clothing, for yourself and every member of your family. Buy it whether you need…Continue reading...
29. April 2013
From Rural Revolution
I’ll repeat the warning I put up every time we butcher: DO NOT READ THIS POST if you are vegetarian or have a squeamish stomach. This post shows pictures of some animals being butchered. I don’t want anyone complaining that they weren’t adequately warned about the graphic nature of these photos.
Okay. That said, this morning we butchered our steer, Thor, and our bull calf, Atlas.
The most challenging part of butchering animals is getting them confined to the barn the day before the butchers come, and keeping them there. Through harsh experience we’ve learned that trying to round up an animal the day it’s due to be dispatched is stressful, frustrating, and often a failure.
And even when we cleverly get an animal confined the night before is no guarantee he’ll be there in the morning. Last summer when we butchered our heifer Smokey, she escaped the barn during the night, jumped two gates, plowed through three fences, and went gamboling across the neighbor’s pasture by the time I found her at dawn the next morning. Grrrr, was I ever glad to put that girl in the freezer.
Thor, who is Matilda’s two-year-old steer, has been growing more and more snarky over the last few months. He’s big, and has been plowing down fences with abandon. We know from experience that an animal with an unpleasant disposition isn’t going to improve; far better to stop feeding him and let him feed…Continue reading...
25. April 2013
Many (if not most) people seek wealth, yet few can define it. There are many practical definitions. One author defines wealth as having sufficient assets to provide the cash flow necessary to meet your monthly living expenses. That’s a great definition for normal times, but having a bunch of rental houses when the dollar is worthless and the hungering hoards are loose upon society won’t do you much good.
If you are at all familiar with the concepts promoted in this blog you know what you need to have for basic survival. I will not spend space and electrons reviewing what we already know. But what do you do after you have the basics? Do you continue to accumulate more of the basics until you need a multilevel secret subterranean warehouse to house your supplies?
When you have your basics squared away you need to look to the concept of vertical integration. Vertical integration was used by the so-called robber barons of the late 19th and early 20th century. The man that owned the steel mill also owned an iron mine, a coal mine, a limestone quarry, and the transportation capability to move the raw materials in and the finished product out. Now before you start giving me that funny look I do know that most prepper budgets would not support the purchase of mines and mills. But the ability to go from raw material to finished product is the definition of wealth for a prepper…Continue reading...
24. April 2013
The other day my coworker asked if I wanted some baby chukars. I said yes. The next day he said that the original person they were giving them to said they did want them after all. So no chukars. Then today he sent me an email telling me that four more hatched between yesterday and today. Did I want them? Sure.
After work I picked them up. They eat baby chicken food. He feeds his adult chukars a combination of chicken food and wild bird seed. There were 10 eggs laying in the nest. He asked if I wanted those too. I know nothing about chukars but I’ll take them.
When I got home I looked at the MurrayMcMurray site. Chukars cost about $ 4.00 each. Mine were free. They can be let loose to have game birds running around or kept caged. You can just look at them, harvest the eggs, or eat them. They are supposed to be good, tasting like pheasant. Delicious.
The babies are much smaller than day old chicks. They look more like the little baby birds that fall out of nests. I have them in a cardboard box with a wire screen on top. I put a heat lamp on top of the screen. They aren’t chirping complaints so I guess they are warm enough. My coworker had the food thrown on the bottom of the box rather than in a feeder. I think…
16. April 2013
From Rural Revolution
I’m trying to do something in the garden every day. Depending on the weather, this might include planting seedlings in the house; but let’s face it, there’s a lot of hard work to be done before the weather is warm enough to plant anything, and I won’t get it done by being lazy.
So I’m trying to do something in the garden every day.
Since I’ve been using my garden cart a lot, one of the first things that needed to be done was to replace the flimsy plastic liner it came with. Needless to say, it was already full of holes.
So Don dropped the sides and measured the floor.
Then he cut me a sturdy piece of OSB to fit in the bottom of the cart. I loved the way this picture turned out; it so beautifully illustrates my wonderful husband.
He fit the cut board into the cart…
…and made it better than new.
Now I have no excuse to avoid trundling manure. Make that composted manure, from the compost pile. It’s hard dirty work moving it, but the tire garden needs it.
Naturally the chickens assume I’m digging up all those lovely worms exclusively for their benefit.
16. April 2013
I was born into a family of preppers. My grandparents were all farmers and lived through the Great Depression in the Midwest. My parents both grew up on farms and came from large families. While my folks would not label themselves today as preppers, they would consider themselves as independent and self-reliable. In order to understand my journey as a prepper, you have to go back a few years. Early into my parents’ marriage, my dad just got out of the navy and worked in various cities and towns, from Texas to Minnesota. The largest town we lived in was Minneapolis, but usually we lived in towns with a population of around 100,000 people. As the family grew, there was a desire for my parents to move to an acreage, to get a large farmhouse, and to raise some animals. By the early 1980s they were able to purchase an acreage that was homesteaded in the late 1800s and was located in rural South Dakota. It was about 8 acres, had a barn, chicken coop, and two-story house. It was located at least 20 miles from any town over 1,000 people. The acreage was situated on a high water table, so we had an outdoor well and had a sand point well for the water in the house.
After my parents purchased the property, they bought a milk cow, laying hens, some sheep, and a dog. My mom planted a large garden (roughly 30…Continue reading...
16. April 2013
How about we all just bury our heads in the sand and not see what is happening around us in these united states? Then we would think all is well around us. After all, we wouldn’t know about the attack in Boston. We wouldn’t know about the abortion doctor on trial for murder of women and infants. We wouldn’t know about gold and silver falling at record levels. We wouldn’t know that taxes aren’t making us all slaves to the government. We wouldn’t know a lot.
We would be happy. We would be content. We would be unaware. It reminds me of a time several years ago, in fact, it was the day that President Reagan died. I was at his ranch that day. They had already sold it but it was still an awesome feeling to be there on that day. Anyway, back to my story. I was at work, and the morning briefing was in the park at the beach. After the briefing, I was on a conference call and was telling everyone that I was sitting there watching the dolphins swim by. It was a beautiful sight. There were several dozen. I described how they were gracefully jumping out of the water. Then one of my coworkers who was in Sacramento said turn around. Look at the mountains. They are on fire! Sure I had to head back up into the smoke and thick of things…
14. April 2013
From The Survival Mom™
Some of the very first foods I bought for my food storage pantry weren’t exactly health foods. I loaded up my shelves with cans of ravioli, Vienna sausages, and boxes of Cheerios, from GMO crops, I’m sure.
My kids tastes have changed since then and we are eating fewer foods with gluten, more raw milk, and lots more produce, but when I first started with food storage, I bought what I could with a limited budget.
There’s a lot of judgmental people out there nowadays who loudly criticize moms like me who buy foods they deem to be “unclean”, for whatever reason. Maybe the foods contain GMO ingredients, maybe the honey isn’t local, maybe the meal contains high fructose corn syrup — it doesn’t matter to these militant moms. They’ll let you know, loud and clear, that you are a sub-standard mom and your children are in danger because you feed them fast food meals every now and then.
“What??,” they screech. “You aren’t growing your own organic foods and raising free-range chickens and then canning every last little tomato and carrot in purified water?”
“You fed that to your family for dinner last night? Ewwww! Do you know what that kind of food can do to a kid? No wonder your kids have _____”
Fill in the blank with anything from ADD to warts to allergies. Whatever the malady, you are to blame, in their eyes.
Well, I want…Continue reading...
11. April 2013
From Rural Revolution
A reader named CB sent me the following question(s):
We have 2 daughters, ages 2 and 4, that we want to homeschool, but my wife occasionally has “those days” where the girls completely wear her and her patience thin and she severely doubts her ability to homeschool. It’s not that the material will be over her head, but that the 24 hours a day with the girls without any breaks for sanity will drive her nuts. I’ve started trying to take the girls off her hands for at least 30 minutes every [evening] when I get home from work and for half a day every weekend. In the past I would come home and play with them in the house, but they could still run to her and bug and plead and cry. Now it’s a complete removal from mama, outside with the chicks, or in the orchard. We still have a farm that has to be run and I have a full-time job in a mine so my time is limited, but like I said, I’m trying to releive some of that pressure. We’ve also talked about music lessons, paying a retired teacher for a couple of hours of school lessons once a week, year long zoo passes, weekly library trips, and other stuff to get them out of the house and get mama a break. My wife’s other concern is that both of our mom’s have told her that they couldn’t have homeschooled…Continue reading...
10. April 2013
From Rural Revolution
For those of you who were following our wheat-growing experiment last year, you might have wondered how much usable wheat we ended up with. Well, I couldn’t tell you — because we still hadn’t threshed it.
All winter long, most the wheat was stored in a friend’s trailer.
The remaining wheat was triple-wrapped in tarps. We hope it’s okay but we haven’t unwrapped it yet to find out.
Between cold or otherwise bad weather — and no need to rush — we just never got around to threshing anything. But now our friend needs his trailer back, so we have to get that wheat threshed ASAP.
Another reason for our delay in getting the wheat threshed was, quite frankly, we didn’t know how to do it. Oh sure, we knew academically what we needed to do, but book knowledge and actually doing it are vastly different things. But since push had now come to shove (and, not incidentally, the weather was finally moderating), we decided to apply the book knowledge and see where it got us.
First thing we needed was a tarp, as a clean surface for threshing. For some time now, we’ve been collecting old vinyl billboard tarps, which will be used for weed control in the garden.
These tarps are very thick and sturdy (and colorful!). This particular tarp was advertising something for Burger King.