Homesteading and Survivalism

Living a simple life

Tag: cattle

Starting Livestock Fence Project

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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.


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Little past middle age

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At 46 years old I consider myself a little past middle age.  That is unless I live to be at least 92 years old.  So who knows, I might not even be at middle age yet.

Even at such a young age I look back and realize how much water has gone under the bridge.  I wonder how I will feel when I am in my 60s or even 70s, that is if I live that long.

I often wonder how my mom and dad feel about how much things have changed in their lifetime?  My dad did not get electricity and running water until he was somewhere around 6 years old.  What is it like going from kerosene lamps and an outhouse to computers and the internet?

The past 19 years, from 1995 – 2014, humanity has made leaps and bounds with technology.  We went from dial-up internet to smart phones in less than a generation.  I look forward to what scientist will develop in the next 20 years.

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Livestock and Firearms for SHTF

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Lets say SHTF tomorrow, what would be your top priorities?  Besides safe drinking water, food production and property protection is at the top of my list.

One of the questions I ask myself, how do you develop a sustainable food supply, and at the same time protect your property?  Well, its not really “how”, but where do you divide your resources to best serve you and your family.

Lets say you have $20. Would that $20 serve you better as ammunition, or through livestock such as chickens? What about tools and fencing supplies?  Would that $20 serve you well as a hammer, wire cutters, staples for fencing wire, or as barbed wire?

If you have a few million dollars to spend, we would not have to be asking these questions.  We would just buy the land, and buy all of the supplies that we need.

Unfortunately, most of us have limited resources.  Due to these limited resources we need to spend wisely.  And thus we ask questions to find answers.

Firearms

As Black Friday draws closer, I find myself debating on whether or not I should buy a SIG Sauer M400 enhanced that Walmart is supposed to have on sale.

Then comes up the classic debate, would that money be better invested in food, livestock or ammunition?

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What Is The Best Livestock For SHTF

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Prepping for SHTF is a never ending process. Unless money is not an issue, chances are people have to divide their efforts between various projects.

Over the past few weeks I have been posting about what my project for 2013 should be. Should it be rabbits, honey bees, both, or maybe even something else?

The question from there needs to be, what project is going to provide my family with the greatest return on our investment?

Which farm animals are the best able to live off the land, have the best food to output ratio, produce the most food for the amount of room they take up.

Cattle: Lets start with the one farm animal that everyone knows in one way or another. Most people eat cheese, butter, steaks, brisket, hamburger,,,, and so on.
The cow is a universally recognized farm animal, but what is it really good for during a long term SHTF situation?

If you butcher a 1,000 pound cow, then you have to have a way to preserve the meat. Do you have a smoker, and a pressure cooker large enough to process a whole cow?

During the middle ages, cows were not a preferred livestock. Which was mainly because they are so large it takes great effort to preserve the meat.

Cows can produce a lot of milk, which in turn is used to make butter and cheese.

Then there is the amount of grazing field a cow requires. If you want a herd of cattle, do you have the room to take care of them? Do you have a fenced in field large enough to left the cattle graze? Do you have a barn large enough so the cattle can be protected from bad weather?

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Farmering gardening and hunting after SHTF

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Lets say some kind of SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation happens tomorrow, what would your long term farming, gardening and hunting plans be?

Do you plan on hunting for most of your food from livestock, gardening, hunting or a combination of food sources?

Long term survival plans after SHTF

Barred Rock chickenOne of the common theories in the various survivalist communities is that a family will grab their bug out bags, head to the hills where they will live off the land.

In theory this may sound fine and dandy.

In reality, chances are the family is going to starve to death.

If various humanoids have gone extinct over the past 100,000 years, what makes a family think they can survive with very few primitive survival skills?

The long term survivability of humans is directly related to much much food we can produce, and not how much food we can hunt or gather.  There is a physical limitation to how many miles a person can walk in a day.  There is a physical limitation to how much weight a person can carry.

Primitive tribes were able to overcome some of those obstacles by being in great physical shape and living a hunter-gather lifestyle their entire lives.  How can some couch potato expect to kill a 300 pound hog, then pack that hog 3 or 4 miles back to the camp.

Our sedentary lifestyle in no way compares to the lifestyle of a hunter-gatherer.

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Indefinite Sustainability

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My wife and I are working towards being self-sufficient.  The problem is, the word “self-sufficient” has been used over and over so many times that it starts to lose its effect.  I think another good term would be “indefinite sustainability”.  Meaning a lifestyle that can be maintained for a long time.

Within the next year my wife and I are looking at moving to a rural area.  We already live about 4 miles outside of Jasper Texas.  But we want to move a little further from town.

When I was a child, my great-grand parents on my mom and dads side of the family lived in rural areas.

On my moms side of the family, my great-grand parents lived in a small house on the banks of the Neches river just south of Dam B.  My great-grand father ran trotlines all the time and caught some huge catfish.  They made their weekly or monthly trips to town for beans, bacon, medicine, and other basic supplies.  The house they lived in was a very basic 4 room house – bed room, kitchen with a tv, fridge, stove and oven, bathroom, and enclosed wrap around porch.

On my dads side of the family, my great-grand parents lived on a homestead with around 30 acres in a rural area.  They had cows, a horse, garden, barn, chickens.  And one thing they seemed to have a lot of was peace and quiet.

Both places had several things in common.  They caught or raised some of their own food, and they lived off the beaten path.  I want to achieve both in the near future.

Over the past year or so I have been putting a lot of thought in my homesteading project.  The goal is to have a garden and livestock that complement each other.

Garden and chicken yard one in the same

Chicken yard and garden

On the backside of the fenced in area are a couple of acres for growing corn, watermelons, pumpkins,,,.

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