The time has come to move to a rural area, get the farm setup with a garden and livestock. My wife I currently live about 4 miles outside Jasper Texas. Its time to move ever further away from town.
With the way this nation is heading, families need to be looking at how they are going to afford to buy food and provide basic essentials for their families. One example, my wife and I buy canned refried beans to make homemade burritos with. In the past 2 years the price of the canned beans has gone up almost 20%. I bet your wages have not gone up 20% in that same amount of time. The price of ground meat has gotten terrible. Pork chops used to be cheap, and now they cost a pretty penny.
At 44 years old I am getting too old to go back to school to retrain for a new career. Instead of waiting until the last minute to make my retirement plans, I want to start 20 – 25 years ahead of time.
This morning my wife and I made a trip to the farm, took some measurements and talked about what we wanted to do. The main things we wanted to focus on were shelter, food, water and sewage. These are the basic essentials that anyone would need during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival situation.
On the left side of the property is a wilderness area owned by a local timber company. Due to the way the terrain is laid out, nobody will ever be able to build there.
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A – Fence line is not the actual property line; I wanted enough room to drive a truck or bushhog between the house and garden and the fence line. A basic my wife and I started with was 10 feet. This should give us enough room to drive all the way around the garden and house.
To the left of the property is a wilderness area owned by a local timber company. Due to the layout of the land, nobody will ever be able to build right up against the property.
B – 20 foot X 40 foot covered deck; with the bar-b-que pit right next to the deck. This gives my wife and I plenty of room to cook and entertain guest. We might even put a propane grill under the deck, but that will be later on. The plan is to have a couple of picnic tables on the deck so everyone has plenty of room to relax and eat.
Between the deck and the garden will be a 40 feet common area. This is a place for the kids to play and do whatever. The width of the common area will be from the fence line on the left all the way to the stream on the right hand side.
What I would like to do, is be able to go to the garden, pick some beans, peas, potatoes or greens; then be able to cook on the deck without having to go inside the house.
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C – Septic tanks; during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, personal hygiene is gong to be a very, very important factor. Unless you want to be digging holes in your backyard to crap in, you will need a way to keep human waste underground.
A buddy of mine told me about how he designed his septic system. “If” I remember right, he used two 500 gallon septic tanks. I imagine I will get a phone call to remind me of the details of how he did his septic system.
The plan right now is the two septic tanks and around 200 – 300 feet of field line. I need to have the soil tested to see how much field line I will actually need.
The septic field line and the water well will be separated by a couple of hundred feet. The plan is to put the water well close to the creek. “Hopefully” the water well will get some bleed over from the creek.
D & G – Chicken coop / chicken yard; one of my main objectives is to have a /self-sustaining chicken coop and garden. Currently my wife and I are buying a 50 pound bag of chicken feed every 2 weeks. The plan is to give the chickens enough room so they can forage, and use the chickens to naturally fertilize the garden.
I hope to build a combination of raised bed boxes on one side of the garden and with an area of ground that can be worked with a tiller on the other side.
The chicken coop will be in the middle of the garden, with a door going to each side. For 1 year, one door to the garden will be open while the other door is closed to the side that is being used to grow crops.
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It is recommended that each chicken have at least 10 square feet in the chicken yard. My wife and I currently have 13 chickens. I have been informed that Kristy will want a couple more after we get moved. Lets say we get a total of 18 chickens:
25 X 100 = 2500 square feet.
2500 divided by 18 = 138.8888 square feet per chicken.
You might be saying 2,500 squre feet for a garden is not that much, and you are right. On the backside of the garden / chicken yard is a couple of acres for planting corn, potatoes, pumpkins, peas, beans,,, what I want.
Inside of the chicken yard / garden will be two rows of raised bed boxes. These will also be my compost boxes. The plan is to dump kitchen scraps and grass clippings into the boxes, then let the chickens sift through the boxes. While turning the contents of the boxes, the chickens will also add their own fertilizer in the form of chicken crap.
When the season is over and the garden has run its course, close the door from the chicken coop and open the door that has been closed for a year. The chickens can then feast on the crops that have stopped producing.
E – Storage shed; this is where chicken feed, fertilizer and the tiller will be stored.
I thought about buying something like a Winchester 1300 Stainless Marine shotgun to keep in the shed next to the chicken coop. That way if a coyote decides he wants a chicken, I can have something close at hand to take care of business. Or, get something like a stainless Ruger Mini-14 or Mini-30 to keep in the shed.
F – My bar-b-que pit; it might sound silly, but my pit is part of my long term SHTF survival plans. I wanted a long term solution to cooking after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI. The goal was to have something that I could cook a hog or a deer on. And not just cook “part” of a hog or a deer.
Besides the pit on a trailer, my wife and I have a propane grill and crawfish cooker.
We want to be able to cook for the whole family, and be able to eat on the deck without having to go inside the house.
H – Water well; without safe drinking life as we know it can not exist.
On the diagram the septic system is on one side of the property, while the water well is on the other side. We want to keep the water well and the sewage as far from each other as possible.
While the septic does not require electricity, the water pump does. Besides putting a hand powered pump on top the the well, I thought about installing a solar powered battery backup in the barn. But we are talking years in the future on the solar power. A quick fix would be to buy a pitcher pump and put it on the well for when the power goes out.
I – Deer stand; couple of hundred feet behind where the garden is going is a deer feeder with a deer stand overlooking the area. To attract wildlife I could open the gates to the garden, or plant some fruit trees behind the garden area.
The purpose of the deer stand is to supplement or meat with wild game.
Keep in mind the property is surrounded by timber company land. Deer and other wild game are always in the area.
J – Raised beds; for growing food without having to work the ground.
Picture this, two raised beds with a wire arch between the two. You walk under the arch and pick the hanging food. That is what I want to do with cucumber and beans. Why should I have to bend over to pick cucumbers, when they can run up a wire frame?
The raised beds will also act as compost bins. Table scraps and grass clippings will be put in the bins for the chickens to go through.
K – Area for working the soil; to quote Thomas Jefferson, “Cultivators of the earth are the most valuable citizens. They are the most vigorous, the most independent, the most virtuous, and they are tied to their country and wedded to it’s liberty and interests by the most lasting bands.”
I want a place to cultivate the earth.
Besides the raised beds, I want a place to work the soil, a place to get my hands dirty, a place to spread the fertilizer and a place to sow the seeds.
The plan is to store the tiller in the shed outside the garden area. When I want to plant something within the fenced area, get the tiller out, work the soil and plant my crops.
L – Rainwater barrel; for collecting rainwater from the shed and chicken coop. The water can then be used for watering the crops.
Or, maybe use the rainwater to water the chickens?
If you have rainwater runoff, why not save it for your garden or livestock?
One of the plans is to have an irrigation system around the perimeter of the garden. Regardless of where the crops are planted at, they need water. By using rainwater we take a little load off the water well.
Barn – A place to store various farm equipment; my parents currently have a 12 X 24 shed on the property.
I thought about building a 21 X 32 barn. I want somewhere my family and I can store various supplies such as an ATV, spare water pump, tools,,, and other items.
This is a basic layout and is likely to change at anytime. We have not talked about the fruit trees, goats, pigs, horses or cattle.
A couple of years ago my kids and I planted some peach, apple and plum trees on the property. Maybe after my wife and I get moved we can take care of the fruit trees.
I thought about getting rabbits, just for the fertilizer they produce. Put a tub under the rabbit cage to catch the manure. Then dump the tub into the raised beds along with grass clippings, chicken manure and table scraps.