Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Fake Prepping Websites Diminishing The Community

Kevin Felts at the Angelina River

Was scrolling through my Facebook feed when an ad came up for a prepping facebook page. The ad was something along the lines of “Best prepping website on the Internet.”

We all know SurvivalistBoards and my blog survivalboards.com are the best prepping / survivalist sites on the internet. Besides that, I thought, sure, I will check it out, why not.

So went to the Facebook page for the site, clicked a link and looked through several of their articles. Every article I saw was maybe 200 words, and then a link to another site.

I visited the other site, and guess what, it was the same short articles with no original content. Articles were along the lines of “Stockpile these 10 items now”…. the typical click bait article titles.

There was no way to comment on the articles. If there had been a way to leave a comment, I would have called them out for being nothing but a spam site.

Tomatoes, Peppers, and Okra Spring Garden Update

Jalapeno peppers

The garden got off to a late start this year. In March we received so much rain the seeds rotted in the ground. It seemed like every couple of days we were getting a cold front.

All of this means the 2018 spring garden is running a month behind. Instead of the peppers producing in May, they are producing in June. Which is no big deal because once the peppers start producing, they will continue until the first frost.

Instead of the okra being planted at the first of May, it was planted at the end of May. I was hoping to get some rain to help the okra germinate, but we did not get rain for a month.

Eventually, I decided to plant the okra and water the seeds with a sump pump that sits in a creek. Everything worked out and the seeds germinated. Once the okra started to come up, it is making solid progress.

Tomatoes and Tomato Cages

JETBeam KO-01 1080 Lumens Flashight Review

Jetbeam KO-01 Flashlight

This is a review of the JETBeam KO-01 flashlight. First impressions is a hefty feeling light that uses a single 18650 battery. It does not feel cheaply made at all.

Double click the on/off switch and it will activate the strobe. While in strobe, click the on/off and it will go to high. Then hold down the on/off to turn the JETBeam KO-01 flashlight off.

Tailcap is flat so it can be stood upright. Turn it on, stand it upright, and it will help light up a room.

Something I found to be unique, the tailcap accepts quick connect swivels. For the video I took a quick connect off one of my AR-15 rifles, and put it on the light. This means the light can be securely hung anywhere.

External USB port for charging. When charging, there is a blue led under the on/off switch that will glow blue. When finished charging, the led will turn off.

No carry case or belt click are included. To me, the belt clip and carry case are subjective. Some people may use them, while others may not.

Lanyard holes are rather small. However, with the quick connect swivel, do you need lanyard holes?

JETBeam KO-01 Specifications

June 2018 Fishing Trip on the Angelina River – A Short Story

Southeast Texas alligator

The day started a little earlier than others when the alarm went off at 5:00 am. As soon as the alarm went off a war of attrition began in my head. One voice was talking about how comfortable the bed was and to forget about the fishing trip. The other voice was telling me to get up and go because in a few weeks the full brunt of the Texas heat will be here.

Realizing in another three or four weeks the July heat wave will be upon us, I decided to crawl (though reluctantly) out of bed and head to the shower. There is something refreshing about getting a morning shower.

Attire for the day was Levis jeans, green Carhart shirt, and Justin leather work boots. Typically, I wear shorts and sneakers on fishing trips, but this trip was different. Part of this trip was for pictures and videos. Rather than walking through a swampy area with sneakers, to decided to wear boots.

All of the gear had been loaded in either the Toyota T100 truck, or in the Weldbilt aluminum boat the night before. All that needed to be done was take a shower, get dressed, grab my everyday carry gear, and head out the door. I had wanted to leave the house around 5:30, but was able to leave around 5:20 or so.

Driving to the Angelina River

Local Wildlife Ate All The Wild Plums

Texas Wild Plums

The wild plums here are on the farm were almost ready. So the other day I grabbed a bucket, walked over to the plum patch, and the trees were empty. They had gone from hundreds of wild plums to one in just a couple of days. Chances are the local wildlife feasted on the plums.

How do I know it was the local wildlife? There were no plums on the ground. When the plums ripen they fall off the tree. Since there were no plums on the ground, this means something ate them.

There is a wild plum crop here on the farm that has been left to grow for the past decade. Some of the trees are close to eight feet tall and are nice sized.

Wild plum production can be hit and miss. Some years the trees do very well, while other years they produce almost nothing. The plum production may have something to do with the time spent below freezing, but I am not sure. The winter of 2017 – 2018 was very harsh here in Southeast Texas, and the plum corp in 2018 was wonderful.

Next Civil War Will Be Over Socialism

Kevin Felts political commentator

Does anyone know the back story of how the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition) was passed? Most people think the Eighteenth Amendment was introduced, passed, and was later repealed. However, there is a long story leading up to getting the Eighteenth passed.

Years before the Eighteenth amendment was introduced into congress, there was a grassroots movement to get pro-Prohibition people elected to various positions in the state and federal levels. So when the Eighteenth amendment was introduced into congress, the people promoting the agenda were pretty certain the amendment would pass. Then there was the mass propaganda spread by people promoting the Prohibition agenda.

It would appear leftists are taking the game plan that worked with Prohibition and applying it to modern politics. Rather than alcohol, the left is taking a stand on social issues, such as income inequality. Just as alcohol was blamed for social ills, Capitalism is blamed for the ills, which plague society.

Socialism

The Peace and Quiet of Nature Photography

Bee Tree slough on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

For some people nature photography is going somewhere, taking pictures, and the go back home.

My personal feelings on nature photography and nature in general, people and nature have a special connection that has been forgotten. Up until around 10,000 years ago humans were hunter-gatherers. We followed the herds and were in tune with nature. However, all of that changed as the last ice age ended.

As the curtains drew closed on the last ice age, the large animals that supports our ancestors died off. A great number of animals even went extinct. Probably as a result of the mass extinctions, our ancestors turned to farming and gardening. Rather than following herds, our ancestors domesticated various animals, such as the goat, sheep, chicken… etc. Rather than foraging for wild edibles, crops were cultivated.

In the grand scheme of human history, we have a hundreds of thousands of years as hunter-gatherers, and 10,000 years of town and city building. In the grand scheme of human history, cities have been around for the blink of an eye. The rest of our history was sent in sparse communities, and as hunter-gatherers.

Nature Photography, Peace and Quiet

Keeping Battery Chargers Updated With Modern Technology

Battery charger using a solar panel

A question to the reader, have your battery chargers keep keeping up with modern technology?

In the mid-2000s I started using simple battery chargers for stuff like AAA, AA, C and D batteries. It was easier, cheaper in the long run, and easier on the environment to use rechargeable batteries then to buy new ones.

Just about all of my gear used wither AAA, AA or D batteries.

  • GPS – AA
  • Flashlights – AAA, AA, and D
  • Camera – AA

All that changed when I was contacted through YouTube and asked if I wanted to review some flashlights. As various companies sent me free samples which used 18650 batteries, I realized my old battery chargers were not going to work. The chargers I had would only do AAA, AA, C, D and 9 volt.

I got on Amazon and shopped around for a battery charger which would charge 18650 batteries. It was at that time I realized how badly out of date my charging devices were. I had always used a charger that plugged into a wall outlet. The new chargers were USB compatible. To use with a wall outlet, simply get a 110 volt / usb adapter.

New Battery Chargers

A Lesson In Having Navigational Gear Close At Hand

Evinrude 30 HP outboard motor on the Neches River near Jasper, Texas

While my son and I were fishing on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas, I learned a lesson on having navigational gear close at hand. What happened was, we followed a slough until it came to a main waterway.

There were a couple of issues:

  • The waterway was overgrown with lily pads.
  • There were several connecting paths.
  • We needed a certain path to get back to the boat launch.
  • Using Google Earth I knew we needed to head East.
  • The time was 1:00 pm and shadows were straight down.
  • Neither my backpack, or the boat survival kit had a compass.
  • All I needed was a simple compass to know which direction was East.

My son and I were at an intersection with around five routes we could take. Due to the lily pads the boat had limited mobility. The motor had to be pulled up every few minutes to clean the lily pads off.

What we ended up doing was driving the boat in one direction, then checking Google earth with my phone. Eventually I was put on the correct path and back to the boat launch we went.

Navigational Gear

Igloo 25 Qt Marine Contour Review

Igloo Marine Contour Cooler Review

Review of the Igloo 25 Quart Marine Contour ice chest. A few weeks ago my favorite Igloo ice chest was stolen from Mill Creek Park, Brookeland, Texas. It was a 36 quart Igloo Marine ice chest that was close to a decade old. I was cooking for a fishing tournament, went home to take a nap, went back, and someone had stolen the ice chest. Not only did someone steal the ice chest, it was loaded with uncooked meat.

I got online and started looking at various Igloo Marine ice chest. The 36 quart was a little large for a day trip, so I decided one something just a tad smaller.

Some of the things I was looking for:

  1. Large enough for several bottles of water, and soft drinks.
  2. Big enough for one bag of ice.

The 36 quart would take two bags of ice to cover the drinks. Rather than going larger, I wanted something that was just big enough for one bag of ice.

Eventually the Igloo 25 Quart Marine Contour ice chest was picked.

Igloo Marine Contour First Impressions

Barbecue Cook Out For a Family Reunion

Smoked barbecue chicken on a pit

For a Saturday the day started off early. Rather than sleeping late, I had to get the pit fired up and ready for the cook out. My family was having a family reunion which honored my aunt, uncle and my dad.

My contribution to the family reunion was 20 pounds of chicken and 7 pounds of sausage. However, to have everything ready on schedule I had to start the pit around 8 am Saturday morning.

The fire box on the smoker is 2 feet and 6 inches long. To start the fire I typically use a small bag of self-lighting charcoal, with wood stacked on top of the charcoal. The wood is stacked with two pieces long ways, and two pieces cross ways.

It is as simple as lighting the bag and letting the wood born down to coals. When the first pieces of wood have turned into coals, additional pieces of wood are added. Usually, two pieces of oak wood are added, each piece laying at 90 degrees to the other.

Enough about the wood, let’s talk about the chicken.

Ending the Chicken Manure as Fertilizer Experiment

Tomatoes grown with chicken manure experiment

One gardening experiment for 2018 was to take a field that had not been used for a couple of years, till in chicken manure using a garden tiller, then plant the crops.

How well would the crops grow? Would some types of crops do better than others?

After watching the experiment for close to two months, I think I have my answers. The experiment for this year has drawn to a close and 13-13-13 fertilizer was spread along the garden rows.

However, I feel part of the experiment should be repeated in the spring of 2019. The weather here in Southeast Texas was very wet between March – April, then very dry from April – May.

When the rain stopped in April, it stopped. It was like GOD turned off the water valve. We have not gotten a drop of rain in close to a month.

Starting the Chicken Manure Fertilizer Experiment

Transplanted Tomatoes and Planted Okra

Tomato and pepper plants in a home garden

The tomatoes that were planted a couple of months ago were root bound and had to be transplanted. While the tomatoes were being transplanted, I went ahead and planted the okra seeds we had germinated

Related article – How to germinate okra.

For those of you who do not know what root bound means; simply put, the pot is too small for the plant. The roots need more room than what the pot provides. The solution is to either transplant the plant into a larger pot, or plant the plant in the ground.

There were other issues:

  • The roots were getting too hot.
  • The pot was not holding enough moisture for the plants to grow.

Transplanting Tomatoes

Tips on Getting Okra Seeds to Germinate

Okra seeds

Okra is one of those wonderful and well rounded crops. It can be canned, boiled, fried, or used in recipes such as gumbo. As wonderful as okra is, it needs certain conditions for the seeds to sprout (aka germinate).

To help understand okra we need to look at where the crop originated from, and that is Africa. What would we expect a crop from Africa to need? If the reader guessed hot weather they are correct. Some theories suggest okra was brought to the United States during the slave trade, which would be feasible. On thing is for sure, okra is a mainstay in Louisiana cuisine, including gumbo recipes. If gumbo does not have okra in it, it is not real gumbo.

The old timers use to say, “Plant okra when all you need is a sheet to sleep with.” This was before modern air conditioning and people slept with their windows open. So when the weather warms up enough that all someone needs to cover up with is a sheet, it is time to plant okra.

Here in Southeast Texas, most people plant okra in early May.

After heat, the next thing okra needs is water. A lot of people I know soak their okra seeds in water before planting. Some people even add a couple drops of bleach to the water. I have never tried the bleach.

Soaking Okra Seeds

Been Working on the Boat for Summer Fishing

Boating on the Angelina River near Jasper, Texas

Something I dearly love about spring, but was skipped this year, and that is going out on the boat. In March and April we had something like six weeks straight where it rained every weekend. It seemed like as soon as the rain stopped, the heat started.

Here it is mid-May, and it seems summer has arrived with a vengeance. Here we are in mid-May and daytime temps are in the low 90s. Where did spring go? I thought we were suppose to ease into the summer heat. It seems like only a few days ago daytime temps were in the 70s. Then again, this is Texas.

For one reason or another I have been putting off working on the boat. Last time it was in the water was two years ago, which is a shame. In all honesty, I love being out on the water. It seems like in only 20 – 30 minutes someone can go back 10,000 years in time.

I usually put the boat in at the Bevil Port boat launch of hwy 63 just north of Jasper, Texas. Once the boat is in the water, I head south on the Angelina River to Bee Tree Slough. Bee Tree Slough seems like time rolls back to the stone age.

Summer Fishing

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