This article is part of the moving to the homestead series – part 1, part 2, part 3, clearing timber, part 4. Now that the heavy timber has been cleared, its time to do some selective thinning, trash removal, landscaping, cutting trees for fence rows, planning the water well and septic location,,, and the list goes on and on.
We arrived at the homestead Saturday morning around 9:30am. As the women were cooking breakfast the men walked the property to get an idea of what needed to be done. The goal of this weekend was to thin the timber leaving select trees. Trees were selected on size, health and location. I wanted to space the oak trees 8 – 10 feet apart, and pine trees about the same.
Breakfast was biscuits, bacon, fresh eggs, pan sausage and a low-carb monster energy drink to wash it down.
In the next few weeks some of my family members and some of my friends are meeting at the homestead for a cleanup day. The area we are cleaning up has not been used in close to 30 years. During that time various family members dropped off unwanted trash, such as a hot water heater, large box fan, tin, fence wire,,, and other odds and ends.
Pine trees, sweet gum and oak trees have been growing in this same area.
We have three things to take care of – clean the brush out, cut some small trees down and pull the metal trash out so it can be hauled to the recycler.
Stihl chainsaw with 18 inch bar
Chainsaw fuel and bar oil
8 pound sledge hammer
Chains for pulling logs with the truck
Files – for sharpening axe and chainsaw
Ruger 10/22 for snakes
There is an oak tree down in the back of the field. The plan is to cut a 2 feet section of the trunk for a chopping block.
As we cut down some of the small pine trees, they will be cut into sections that can be split and thrown on the fire. Split wood burns better then non-split wood.
In the next few weeks my family and some of our friends are going to the homestead for a cleanup day. There is an area where some trees need to be cut, and that same area has been used as a semi-trash dump for close to 40 years.
Here is the plan, form three groups – the cutters, the pullers and the haulers.
The cutters – Hopefully we have 2 chainsaws running. The loggers left some small trees right in the way that need to be cut up and hauled to the burning pile.
Then there are some trees that need to be thinned out. A couple of oak trees are right next to each other, some are 3 – 4 feet apart. The largest trees will be saved and the smaller trees cut. The trees that I am referring to are only about 3 – 6 inches in diameter and maybe 8 – 10 feet tall.
A couple of sweet gum trees are right in the way. These are about 12 – 18 inches across.
The pullers – Are the ones working with the people running the chainsaw. When the chainsaw cuts a limb, the puller goes in and pulls the limb out of the way.
Pullers will be working side by side with the people running the chainsaw. These are the ones that make sure the people running the chain saw do not have anything under their feet.
The haulers – Load the debris into the truck and transport it to the burning pile, or just pull the limbs to the burning pile.
Cleaning up the trash – Once the brush and trees are out of the way then we can start dealing with the trash. Its not a “lot” of trash, but it does have to be dealt with.
Trash includes some old fence, bed frame, tv tube, glass, pieces of tin, metal framed box fan,,,, are a few examples. Stuff that hopefully can be hauled off and sold for scrap metal.
House Location – A metal 3/4 roundbar was put where the corner of the home is going. This gave us an idea of what trees are too close to the house.
Now that the loggers are finished, we can get a survey of how things look. So today my wife and I made a trip to the homestead. Man oh man, what a mess. Its not that the loggers left a mess, its the tree limbs that have to be removed before the logs can be hauled.
There are tree tops that had to be cut off before the trunks can be hauled.
A couple of the pine trees were forked at the top, so the fork had to be removed.
The top of a sweet gum tree is laying in a field, it needs to be cut up and burned.
Now that some of the trees and brush have been cleared out, I can get a good idea of how large the chicken yard can be. Why should I pay so much attention to stuff like the chicken yard? Because chickens and other small livestock are part of my long term SHTF survival plans.
Using a 25 foot tape measure, my wife and I were able to estimate the chicken yard to be 25 feet wide and 50 feet long. Which equals 1,250 square feet.
After my wife and I get moved, we want to increase our flock size to around 24 hens and a rooster. Lets go ahead and say 25 chickens.
My wife and I made a trip to the homestead this morning (December 15, 2012) to look at the land after some of the timber has been cut. Now that some of the brush, pine trees and sweet gums have been cleared out, we can get a better idea of how everything is going to work out.
If you have not read the first part of this homesteading series, please take the time to do so.
The first design of the garden and chicken yard called for the chicken yard to be divided in half, and placed directly behind the house. The chickens would be switched between the two yards, with one year in each section. While the chickens were using one area, I would be using the other as a garden.
After thinking about the water requirements of the garden and the chickens, wind direction, and the amount of time and effort to build the fence,,, I decided to scrap the plan and start over.
A few months ago I was over at my aunts house. As we were talking, she told me how my grandfather would take her on these camping / hunting trips on some property my grandfather owned on the Trinity River here in Texas.
The land was a couple of acres, right on the river that bordered national forest. They would camp on the property, then hunt in the national forest. It was a remote area that was only accessible by boat. So it was doubtful that they would run into strangers.
While my aunt was telling about their various hunting trips, and how cold and miserable she would be, I was thinking about how a piece of land like that could be used as a last resort Bug Out Location. Instead of bugging out to wilderness that will probably be on public land, having private property would be ideal.
On my dads side of the family there is some land that has been passed through three generations, its where my wife and I hope to build our homestead at in 2013. Knowing that you have land that you can go to at anytime provides a sense of comfort, a sense of security and a sense of stability.
This is part 2 of a moving to the Homestead series. See this link for part 1.
Where do you want to be in 10 years, how about 20 years? That question is not about financial stability, or your career, where do you want to be physically in 10 years, what do you want your life to be like?
I want peace and quiet in my life. I want a back porch where I can grill some steaks, listen to the wind blowing through the trees, hear the chickens,,, and that is all I want to hear, except maybe some music.
I want a small garden that my wife and I can get fresh food from.
I want my chickens to be able to free range as much as they want, because happy chickens lay plenty of eggs.
Where do I want to be next year (2013)? I want to be living in peace and quiet. But first, my wife and I have to get there.
One of the things that has to be taken care of before we are able to put a house on the land, is some of the timber has to be cleared. As much as I despise cutting trees, we have to make room for a home. Not only room for a home, but the fence rows need to be cut.
Nobody has lived at the Homestead full time since the late 1970s, which was when my grandmother passed away. Mom and dad moved from the Jasper Texas area in the late 1970s and have lived in Bridge City for the past 35 years.
SHTF / TEOTWAWKI has happened, whether it was a financial collapse, nuclear war, widespread civil unrest,,,, something has happened to has disrupted society as we know it.
If you live on a homestead in a rural location, what might be some of the supplies you would need, and what would be some of the hardships you would face?
As I write this article I am just thinking out load. Lets brainstorm and get some ideas for discussion.
We all know the typical topics such as safe drinking water and food. In this article lets move past those topics that should be a given. What are the things that would make everyday life possible? What do we use in our everyday lives today that we would need after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI?
Lets wake up, do our morning routine then eat breakfast. What are going to be eating for breakfast? Chances are its going to be oats we have stored in mylar bags and eggs.
To have eggs we have to make sure our chickens are safe from predators and the elements. Given the chance predators such as foxs, opossums, coyotes and even other people will steal your livestock.
Exposed to wind, rain, ice and snow your chickens will die.
What do we need to keep our chickens safe and comfortable? We need a chicken coop and a way to repair the coop. This means we need hand tools, staples, hardware cloth, hammers, a good saw, wire cutters, tar to fix holes in the roof of the coop,,, and so on.
What is your ideal firearm for a rural small farm (Bug Out Location)? Purpose is to protect property and livestock. For this article, lets say the setting can be during normal everyday life, and during a long term SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event.
During a SHTF setting, livestock are going to be very difficult to replace.
Its 10 pm, your chickens start making a fuss, what firearm do you grab? Do you use a shotgun, small caliber rifle, medium caliber rifle, or something else?
One of my ideal setups would be for a rifle and a pistol setup to share the same caliber. There are several manufacturers that make carbines in various pistol calibers, such as the 17 HMR, 22 long rifle, 9mm, 357 magnum and 45 acp.
This article will be divided into 3 phases, discussion on shotguns, small calibers for everyday life, larger calibers for post-SHTF / a world without law. Since followup shots may be needed rather quickly, single shot firearms will not be discussed.
While a shotgun may be ideal for nighttime, there is a high risk of collateral damage. We want to protect the livestock, and not take the livestock out along with the predator.
Even though the Mossberg 590 is one of my favorite SHTF shotguns, I do not think it is appropriate for livestock protection. The 590 does not have a choke that can be used to change the pattern of the shot. The short barrel of the Mossberg 590 will have a negative effect on the shot pattern as well.
Homestead VS Bug Out Location, which on is better and why? Instead of trying to discuss the merits of each, why not combine the two?
Instead of trying to maintain a home in an urban area, and a remote camp, why not build a homestead and make it your Bug Out Location? This way your time and money are not divided between two separate places.
For a lot of people, living in a rural area is not an option. Their job is in the city, and that is where they need to live. There are a number of people that live in rural areas, or in small towns. Lets talk about the people who are thinking about relocating to a rural area away from town.
For this article lets focus on 5 things – food, water, shelter, security, and some other small topics that we can group together.
One of the main purposes of a Homestead Bug Out Location is to be able to grow fresh food. Its one thing to have a years worth of dried beans and rice stored in mylar bags, its something totally different to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.
Sooner or later the #10 cans will run out, sooner or later the mylar bags will run out,,, and then what?
In my chicken coop project I learned that its going to take an estimated 6 months to get a small farm off the ground.
Its possible to work the soil, plant some radishes and have food ready to eat in a matter of 4 – 5 weeks. Radishes grow quick and the whole plant is edible. But who wants to live off radishes? Once you start talking about squash, corn, greens, potatoes and beans, you are looking at 2 – 4 months.
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.
Click the image to enlarge
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.
Description of the above image
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.
How safe is the water source at your Bug Out Location? Currently, when we stay at the camp we have to either filter water from a nearby creek, or use water from a very old hand dug well. The old well is becoming less and less reliable, so its time to drive a new well.
There is a saying I like to use – without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist. A contaminated water source can wipe out a community in a matter of days, and that is just the way it is.
Water well diagram for the Bug Out Location
Here are the current plans
Use post hole digger to dig a hole around 3 feet deep.
Insert around an 8 inch PVC sleeve into the hole, sleeve will be around 4 feet long. This gives us around 1 foot above ground.
Take a 4 inch piece of PVC pipe, notch the end so that the pipe has “teeth”.
Build a cap with 2 water inlets.
Attach water hoses to water source and to cap.
Take a 2×4, drill some holes so that a U-bolt will fit though the board.
Back truck up to well site and drop tailgate.
Attach the cap to the top of the 4 inch pipe.
Stand on tailgate of truck, insert pipe into sleeve.
Some kind of worse case situation has happened, you and your family have to bug out to the Bug Out Location, and how what?
Keep in mind, this is a worse case situation, meaning you did not have time to grab any gear from your home. The only gear you have, is the gear you have stored at the Bug Out Location.
In such as situation, what 4 firearms would you want?
The firearms need to be reliable, somewhat service free, do not cost a small fortune and in case your Bug Out Location was broke into the firearms will be easy to replace.
The first thing people will probably say, “I want an M1A, FN/FAL, Remington Model 700 or a PTR91″. For the sake of discussion lets rule out all firearms that cost anywhere close to $1,000. In fact, lets rule out all firearms that cost over $500. This pretty much rules out all ARs and the majority of AKs. Lets go ahead and rule out all AKs just for fun.
Marlin Model 60 – the first thing people are probably going to say is, “oh come on, the Ruger 10/22 should be first”. I can respect that opinion about the Ruger 10/22, its a great rifle.
Here are the reasons why I listed the Marlin Model 60 instead of the Ruger 10/22
1 – The Model 60 uses a tube magazine instead of a detachable magazine. This means you have one less thing to worry about, which is stockpiling magazines or losing the magazine.
2 – Marlin Model 60 has a slightly longer barrel then the Ruger 10/22, which means a slightly lower report.
3 – The Model 60 has better sights then the 10/22. On the rear sight, the 10/22 has screws that have to be loosened then retightened to adjust the sight. The Model 60 has a ramp to adjust the rear sight.
Ruger 10/22 and Marlin
model 60 side by side
Marlin Model 60 has a slightly
longer barrel then the Ruger 10/22
Think your Bug Out Location is safe? Think again. Looters will overrun your camp, kill you and your family, take your supplies and there is little you can do about it.
The difference between you and the looters, after they win the war in the cities, the looters will head to the countryside looking for food. The survivors from the cities will be battle hardened, have an idea of what they are doing, and will make short work of your defenses.
How many survivalist gets hands on training on using their weapons? How many people in your group have combat experience?
There is a difference in tactical shooting experience, and combat experience.
A lot of people thinking going out to the range and shooting paper targets will prepare them for when the crap hits the fan.
This video got me to thinking about the whole looter worse case situation.
MAINEPREPPER is right on target. I know for a fact that I do not get enough trigger time, and there is no excuse for that.
Over the past 2 – 3 years I have got a lot of my preps in order – #10 cans, food in mylar bags, chickens,,,.
The time has come to get some trigger time in.
One of the problems I see with preppers, they usually buy cheaply made products. This come from the buy it cheap and stack it deep mindset.
When it comes time to buy an AR15, a lot of people put price first, quality second. When you need that rifle, you are going to wish you had bought for quality. Do you “really” want to use the cheapest rifle you can find to protect your family?
Then after people buy the cheapest rifle they can find, they stockpile the cheapest ammunition they can find. People that buy cheap and stack deep have to deal with 2 cheaply made components, and hope” things work well in the end.
I did a google search for “prepping is a never ending process”, no exact results came back, so I thought I would write an article on the topic.
My entry into the survivalist / prepping communities is in part to how I was raised. My grandparents owned a small farm where they had livestock – horse, cow, chickens, turkeys, well that we got water from,,,. When I started school, I remember my 1st and 2nd grade teachers telling the class what a nuclear detonation looked like. If we saw a mushroom cloud outside, look away, cover our head with our hands and duck under our desk. During the cold war we lived in a constant state of readiness for nuclear war.
In the 1980s the USSR collapsed, and the cold war ended. For a short period of time we seemed to be at peace with the world. The new found peace did not last very long. In 1990 Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Then we had the Waco, L.A. riots and Ruby ridge incident.
In 2001 the twin towers were attacked, which thrust us into a war on terror.
As the primary threats change, so do our prepping plans.
Our prepping strategy changed from a threat of nuclear war, to the U.S. being torn apart.
Regardless of the threat, basic human needs will stay the same – food, water, shelter, security, ability to cook, need to form social groups,,,, and so on.
Unless you are off the power grid, on a totally self-sufficient farm, you are not 100% prepared for a total collapse. People that lived 4,000 years ago traded with those around them. As our lives grow more complicated, the more dependent we are on other people. We went from trading raw materials such as tin, copper, wheat,,,, to trading computer parts and smart phones.
Where does this take us? Maybe we need to simplify our prepping plans?
In the 1990s my prepping plans included stockpiling rice, beans, ammunition and plans to bug out to the camp (my grandparents farm). From there my family and I were going to live off the land.
Times change, plans change.
My plans went from stockpiling mostly rice and beans, to stockpiling canned foods, #10 cans of freeze dried foods, planting fruit trees, food stored in mylar bags, stockpiling seeds, and having a chicken coop that can be loaded on a trailer and brought to the bug out location.
Without safe drinking water life as we know it can not exist. Because of that fact my family and I plan on driving a new water well.
Plans changed from cooking over an open fire, to building a bar-b-q pit large enough to cook a whole hog on. Hopefully the pit can act as a smoker, as well as a cooker.
Plans changed from using the old well and water from a nearby creek, to driving a new well for safe drinking water.
Plans changed from hunting as our primary source of protein, to having chickens in a portable chicken coop.
Plans changed from stockpiling bulk 22 long rifle, to stockpiling subsonic and high quality hypersonic ammunition.
In the 1990s my plans covered my wife, and my 4 children. Today, my plans have to cover my wife, children, stepchildren, and grandchildren. As my family grows, my plans have to adapt to the changes.
Just as life is a never ending process, so prepping is a never ending process. As life changes, so should your prepping plans change and adapt.