Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Homesteading

Farming Gardening and Homesteading

Food Will Be The Focus For 2018

Growing potatoes for food

Food production and preservation will be the focus for 2018. Every year I like to pick a topic and focus on that topic. Other ideas and topics will be covered throughout 2018, but the main theme for articles and videos will be food.

Food is a must have for everyone. Without food production, humanity has no future. Maybe we could revert to a hunter-gather society, but those societies do not flourish.

Food is the foundation of every modern society. When societies lose access to food, collapse is close behind. We have numerous examples of this through history. Only with a stable food supply do we have governments, science, technology… etc. Continue Reading….

Fruit Trees and Orchards For 2018

tree peach

There is an area close to the chicken yard that I would like to clear out for a small orchard of fruit trees. It only measures around 50 X 75 feet, maybe 50 X 100 feet. Just large enough to plant some mayhaw, fig and pear trees. Not a lot of trees, maybe a handful of each. There is a good size sweet gum tree in the way of this orchard. Cutting the sweet gum tree down and burning the stump would not be a big deal, just time consuming.

Another spot is on old fence line that is overgrown with small oaks and sweet gums. This is around 400 feet long and would have full sun. The issue with this one, it would require a LOT of work to cut all the sweet gum and small oak trees out, then burn the stump to make sure they do not come back. This location does not have access to water, while the other location does. Continue Reading….

Almost Time To Cut And Split Firewood

Cut and split firewood

Some people may wonder why I would cut and split firewood in the middle of winter. The leaves are off the trees and the weather is cool. What better time to cut some small oak trees, split them and put the firewood up.

I do not have a fireplace. I hope to have one in a few years, but that is in the future. So the firewood is used for cooking, and for outdoor activities here on the farm. It is nice to sit outside in the cool weather and enjoy a fire with friends and family, or just my wife and I.

Here on the farm there are a number of small oak trees that are growing at an angle. I say small, but they are at least six – eight inches in diameter. The trees grow at an angle because the small trees are shaded by larger trees. So the small tree grow at an angle to reach sunlight. They will never be a nice straight mature tree. The best thing to do is to cut them down, split the wood, and use the wood for cooking. Thinning the small trees will help the mature trees grow better. Continue Reading….

Unglorified Survival Gear Preps

Srockpiling survival gear preps

Go to YouTube and watch some videos on survival gear, and all the stuff that goes bang or is bright and shiny gets all the views. Why is that? Why do videos about chicken feeders, fencing, and other long term survival preps get so little attention?

For the sake of discussion, let’s say there is a collapse of society. This could be from nuclear war, pandemic flu, some kind of new viral plague.. etc. Which would serve you better, livestock and homesteading resources, or some cute cutting tool?

To me, my seed stockpile, chickens, livestock fence… are all just as important as something that goes bang. Continue Reading….

Shifting Gears On The Farm

Mahindra 4530 4-wheel drive tractor

As hunting season winds down, it is time to start working on the farm. During November and early December I try not to make too much noise. This means no chainsaws and no tractor. Why? Because people on the hunting leases next to the farm are sitting in their stands. My dogs roam those hunting leases, and I would like for the people to not shoot my dogs.

So after hunting season ends, it will be time to start working on fencing in a few acres on the back of the property. A rough estimate is around 7 – 9 acres that will be fenced in.

What kind of livestock will be kept?

I would like to get some goats, hair sheep and a few calves. The calves are to be raised and sold at auction. There is not enough land to raise full grown cattle, so I am looking at a calves. For milk it will be goats and sheep. Continue Reading….

Three Broody Hens in The Chicken House

Broody hens

Three of my hens have gone broody and are sitting on eggs. One of them even hatched out a chick.

For those of you who do know, broody means a hen has gone into a mothering mode and is sitting on some eggs. The eggs are called a clutch. Some chicken breeds go broody more than others, and some breeds rarely if ever go broody.

What gets me:

Two of the hens are Barred Rocks, which rarely go broody.

One is an Australorp, which has a reputation of going broody.

My first set of chickens was back around 1987 or 1988. My wife and I butchered out that first set of Barred Rocks when they were around two years old, and I did not get any more until 2012.

So in the seven years I have kept chickens, only two barred rocks have gone broody. Continue Reading….

One of my Dogs Passed Away

Pet dog Buckshot

It is with deep regret that I have to make this post. The newest dog to the pack, a four month old puppy by the name of Buckshot, ran in front of a truck, was ran over and died on August 4th, 2017.

There is a private dirt road that goes through the farm that my cousins use to access their home. It was on that road, Buckshot ran in front of my cousins truck and was ran over. He did not suffer and passed away just a few seconds after the accident.

Several months ago one of my cousins brought Buckshot home for her mother, my aunt. My aunt, being an older lady may have had difficulties taking care of the puppy. It seemed like every day Buckshot was at my house to play with my dogs and look for food. I put a feed bowl on the front porch and would make sure the puppy had plenty of food. Continue Reading….

Losing Chickens To Predators

Over the past couple of weeks I have lost several chickens to predators. Several of them have gone missing, with just a few feathers in the chicken yard. From the trail of feathers, something drug the chicken from the chicken house.

It is not a chicken hawk, because there is no body. Chicken hawks do not eat the bones.

A trail camera in the chicken yard showed a couple of raccoons and an opossum.

Opossums will not drag a chicken off. It will eat the chicken in the chicken house. Continue Reading….

Fig Tree Organic Fertilizer Experiment

For some reason my fig trees are not growing like they should.  I do not want to put commercial fertilizer around them, so I mixed up some organic fertilizer: Cut the top off of a one gallon milk jug. Fill 3/4 with water. One handful aged chicken manure. One handful ash from my smoker. This is a mix of oak, pecan and wild cherry. Handful bone meal. Urine. Mix together with a stick. Pour around base of fig tree. Continue Reading….

Starting With Solar Power

I finally bought a solar panel. In all honesty, I do not know why I waited so long for. It is a Nekteck 20 watt solar panel and I see this as a starting point for bigger and better things. Before I bought the solar panel I asked myself, what purpose will the panel serve? I decided to go with a foldable solar panel with USB outlets for recharging flashlights, AA batteries and radios.  Something to keep flashlights, lanterns and radios charged in a power outage.  For right now, the focus is being able to have light and staying up to date on news when the power goes out. The plan is to have two foldable solar panels – one for charging USB battery packs, Continue Reading….

Farm Progress February 2017

Tractor moving debris

Time for an update from the farm.

I had some heavy equipment brought out to the farm to move brush, limbs and tree tops. Things are looking up and progress has been made. There is still so much work to do. Small trees need to be be cleared, split and stored, then old fence has to be pulled up.

Hopefully in March I can start setting the first corner post. Maybe sometime this summer start running the first strands of fence. Continue Reading….

Starting Spring 2017 Garden

The weather in early 2017 has been unseasonably warm, so I decided to go ahead and start the spring garden a few weeks early.  I usually do not plant until after the Ides of March.  With everything blooming out early and daytime highs hitting the low 80s, I decided to start planting in late February. This garden will be special, as it uses decade old seeds.  I posted a video on youtube about stockpiling seeds and then shared the video on survivalistboards, twitter and reddit.  A couple of guys on reddit said made statements that seeds can not be saved. One comment was, Continue Reading….

Almost Time To Plant Potatoes

Around February 14th is usually when potatoes are planted, at least here in the south.  I missed the 14th but will be planting the week of February 20 – 24th. On February 18, 2017 my finance and I went to Circle Three Feed in Jasper Texas.  I bought some chicken feed, bean seed, seed potatoes and some  mineral blocks to put around the deer feeders. On Monday a front pushed through bringing a lot of rain to southeast Texas.  I also cut the potatoes on that day.  In the next few days I will be working up a spot to plant this years garden.

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

A few weeks ago I walked around the property looking for squirrels.  There were a couple of locations that had perfect squirrel habitat, but there were no signs of squirrels being in the area.  There were no pine cones that had been tore apart, no half eaten acorns nor did I see any squirrels. As I followed a creek that runs along the back of the property, the timber transitioned from pine and oak to mostly oak and iron wood.  Iron wood is a tree that grows in the shade of larger trees.  It does not produce any kind of nut for squirrels or deer.  It is mostly used for its hard wood to make walking sticks and bows. Several years ago a lot of Continue Reading….

Starting Livestock Fence Project

2017 is the year I fence in several acres for livestock.  I have been talking about this for several years, and this year is when I take action to put the project into motion.

One of my favorite books about medieval life, which is Life in a Medieval Village by Frances and Joseph Gies, talks about how people valued small livestock.  Cattle were mainly for milk production, which was used to make cheese and butter.

In medieval times there was no way to preserve meat for long periods.  If a 500 pound cow was butchered, a large amount of meat would rot and go to waste.  Based on that, I am going to focus on small livestock and just a couple of cattle.


Continue Reading….

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