Rural Lifestyle Blog

Life in Rural America

Category: Homesteading

Farming Gardening and Homesteading

May Have Lost My First Chicken

One of my best hens is missing, and I think some feral cats are to blame.

After my wife and I got moved to the farm we made it about a month before one of our chickens came up missing. The hen I am referring to is a Speckled Sussex.

She had a friendly nature and liked to explore new areas. If I had to pick one hen out of my entire flock to model after, it would have been her. Continue Reading….

Calories After TEOTWAWKI

Something to think about, Potatoes produce around 9 million calories per acre.

Corn produces around 7.5 million calories per acre. If we want to store corn in bulk, we can stockpile canned corn or store dried corn in mylar bags. A 14.75 ounce can of cream style sweet corn has 60 calories, a 15.25 ounce can of whole kernel corn has 60 calories – at least that is what the labels say on the cans of corn.

Rice comes in third with an estimated 7.4 million calories per acre. Rice is also a popular item to store in mylar bags. If we wanted to break it down to the details, a cup of rice contains about 216 calories.

Soybean 4th with around 2.8 million calories per acre. However, soybean leads the pack of all four in protein production per acre.

Source: Foods & Nutrition Encyclopedia, Volume 1 Continue Reading….

Things Moving Along Nicely

Things are moving along nicely as my wife and I settle into our new life in rural southeast Texas.

Power has been hooked up to the house.

Deck has been moved to the house. Now its just a matter of leveling the deck.

Air conditioner is supposed to be hooked up today (August 15, 2013).

Hopefully I will be able to buy a 1,000 gallon septic tank and 100 feet of field line in the next couple of days. Continue Reading….

Got Power Hooked Up To The House

The power company was out here a couple of days ago to set the power poles.

Today, August 10, 2013 we got the power hooked up to the house. It might sound like a baby step and not worthy of posting about on a blog. But I feel different. Getting the power installed where there has never been power before is a big step.

Tomorrow, August 11, 2013 I am going to run the power wires from the main breaker box on the pole to the AC unit. I am also going to install some plumbing lines so we can get the septic tank installed.

When my wife and I m0ved we brought a 10X8 shed with us. I need to repair some tin on the roof that was damaged during the move, then build a lean-to on the side for storing the tiller and lawn mower. Continue Reading….

First Observations On Free Ranging Chickens

Are you raising chickens as part of you long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI survival plan? If so, have you put much thought into how well your chickens are able to forage, and what type of land is available to the chickens?

During a collapse of society it will be critical for livestock to forage.

How do we know what chicken breeds are good at foraging and which ones should be avoided? I hope to do a series of articles on how well different chicken breeds cope with free ranging.

My wife and I recently moved to a rural area of southeast Texas. One of the first things we did after the move was let the chickens out to free range. The area directly behind the chicken yard is around 1 acre of cleared land, and then another 2 acres of timber.

When the 13 hens were being fed commercial laying pellets my wife and I were getting 8 – 12 eggs a day. Some of the hens are molting, so that may contribute to the fluctuation in laying patterns. We are also in the hottest part of the year with daytime temps reaching 100 degrees here in southeast Texas. Continue Reading….

Trying To Get Moved In August

My wife and I probably picked the worst month to move, and that is the first week of August.

August in Texas needs to be renamed “Hell” – June, July, Hell, September, October,,,,,. The combination of 100 degree heat, with high humidity, makes preforming any outside activity and experience in misery.

My wife and I moved to the farm we had our shed moved with us. During the move the back wall suffered some kind of wind damage and now needs to be replaced. The exterior wall is made out of some kind of wall board that looks like plywood, but is not plywood.

While the shed was being moved a brace between the skids also broke. Before the shed can be moved to the back of a field the brace has to be replaced, and I want to replace the exterior wall with sections of tin. I have the tin, it is just a matter of dealing with the heat to remove the damaged exterior wall and then put the tin on the building. Continue Reading….

Got Moved

My wife and I have gotten ourselves moved to a rural area in southeast Texas. Now we have to get the water, power and sewer hooked up.

One of the issues with moving to a rural area is you have to figure just about everything out for yourself. The power and phone companies will take care of their end, but you still have to get the septic tanks and field lines put down, and you have to get someone to drill the water well.

Living in a city is easy. To get the water turned on just called the water district and get them to turn on the water. Continue Reading….

Moving The Chicken House To The Farm

What do you do when you have chickens and plan on bugging out? You build the chicken house where it will fit on a trailer, or in the bed of a truck.

When my wife and I built the chicken coop we knew that one day we would be moving. So the chicken coop was built so that it would fit on a dual axle trailer. The inside of the trailer measured 7 feet, so the coop was built 6 foot 3 inches wide.Barred Rock Chicken

Today (July 20, 2013) my plans were put to the test. Here is the story of moving the chicken house.

What a day. Started off with breakfast, pulled my boat to the camp, picked up my son, back home, then moved the chicken coop into position to be loaded on a trailer.

Loaded the chicken coop on a trailer, dad pulled the coop and trailer to the camp while I had the run on a trailer attached to my truck.

Continue Reading….

Building A Chicken Yard Part 1

For those of you who are planning on raising chickens after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI, have you put any thought into building the chicken yard? People who have lived in a rural area may have been exposed to the hard work of building a chicken yard. But people who live in the city or urban areas, the vast majority have no idea how much hard work building a chicken yard takes.

As some of yall may know my wife and I are planning on moving to a rural area of southeast Texas. We have moved past the planning phase are are moving to the implementation phase.Barred Rock chicken

When my wife make the move to the homestead, the chicken coop will be loaded on a trailer, taken to the farm, unloaded and bumped up to the new chicken yard. Before all of that can happen the new chicken yard has to be built.

After spending a lot of time on the dimensions, how many square feet each chicken needs, how many chickens I wanted, and room for growth,,, I came up with a chicken yard that is 75 feet long and 30 feet wide.

Continue Reading….

Rabbit Box Update

After building the rabbit hutch, my wife and I built a couple of hide-away boxes for the rabbits to get into. The box also acts as a birthing box, a place to get out of the cold winter wind, and a place to get off the wire of the cage.

The problem is, the rabbits have been urinating in the box.

The floor, the walls and the bedding material are soaking up the urine. This is creating an unsanitary situation for the rabbits. Something has to be done to fix the problem. So what I did was remove part of the floor of the box.

From what I am observing the rabbits tend to urinate and poop in the corners of the box and cage.

Continue Reading….

My New Adversary The Chicken Snake

My new adversary and I came face-to-face this morning, and it was not a pretty sight.

On the morning of May 27, 2013 I went out to check on the chickens and rabbits. Before the chickens were let out of the coop I walked to the end of the run to make sure it was closed. Took a couple of steps over to the rabbit hutch, looked up, and within arms length on top of the hutch was a chicken snake looking straight at me. The rabbit hutch is 8 feet long, the snake was almost the length of the hutch.Rabbit exploring her new home

The first thing I did was take a couple of steps backwards, reminded myself that cotton mouths do not climb, then went into the house to get a camera. What good is a story without pictures.

My wife grabbed her camera and started taking pictures.

The snake seemed to be looking for a way to get into the rabbit hutch. The rabbits seem a little big for the snake to eat, but you never know.

Before I could get a rake to get the snake off the hutch, it had retreated to the safety of some brush.

If being face-to-face with a chicken snake was not bad enough, I found a second snake just a few minutes later. Continue Reading….

Clearing More Timber At The Farm

Before and after pics of the timber that was cleared

Clearing timber sounds boring. Some of my readers may be wondering why I posting a video about this, much less an article. I went out and cut some trees, so what?

In the prepping / survivalist community there is this common misconception that if SHTF there is a farm in the family that has not been used in 40 (or more years) that the family is going to use as a bug out location. With a few days of hard work the farm can be up and running in a matter of days.

To bring this common survivalist plan to reality I am documenting what it takes to bring a farm that has not been used in 40 years up to speed.

If all you want to do is breakup the soil and plant some seeds, then yea, it may only take a few days. But if you want to rebuild the fences, have boards to build a chicken coop out of, have fence post, firewood,,, have a working farm with livestock, then you will need to cut timber.

Continue Reading….

Forgot To Close The Chicken Run Gate

Every evening I let my chickens out of their run for about an hour so they can browse around the yard.

During that hour I keep an eye on them to make sure they do not go too far. If they start getting towards the street I get them back to the yard.

I forgot to close to gate to the run last night.

This morning around 6 or 7 chickens got out of the run before I realized what happened and got the gate closed. Continue Reading….

Building A Rabbit Hide Box

A rabbit hideaway box serves several purposes – it provides a place for the rabbit to hide, provides the doe with a birthing box for her litter, and provides a high place for a lookout point. Rabbits are prey animals, and as such will want to hide when they are scared.Rabbit hideaway box

The rabbit hutch was built a couple of weeks ago, so now it is time to build the hideaway boxes. One box will be built for the doe and one box will be built for the buck.

The first hide box was built 20 inches X 24 inches. After the box was placed in the hutch it seemed a little large.

The second box was built 16 inches X 20 inches. Even at 16X20 the box seems a little big.

I may cut that down to 12 X 20, but it will be after the rabbits are grown. Right now the boxes seem a little large, but the rabbits still have a lot of growing to do.


Continue Reading….

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