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.
Things are moving along nicely, but rather slow. The new chicken yard is working out well, the new chicken house is nearing completion, a large pen oak fell on the property so I need to cut that up, still need to clear fence rows for the cattle field, have not started on the pole barn, one of my newly planted fig trees may have died, the new pear tree might have drowned from all the rain,,,, just all kinds of stuff going on.
Lets talk about target goals for surviving a post-SHTF world.
My target goal for egg production that I think my family would need in a post-SHTF world is at least 2 dozen eggs a day. For my parents, my wife, our kids, our grandkids, close friends and other family, I think at least 24 eggs a day is a reasonable number. Keep in mind that 2 dozen eggs a day is a bare minimum. Good laying breeds should be able to produce at least 1 egg a day for every 2 – 3 chickens. Those are conservative numbers, but depending on the time of year and quality of their feed egg production goes up and down.
For the sake of discussion let’s say 1 egg for every 3 chickens per day.
Including the chickens that are supposed to arrive June 10, 2015, my wife and I will have 64 chickens.
How do you store potatoes? So far this year the potato harvest has gone well. I have probably gotten close to 3 bushels, and that has not even made a big dent in the garden.
If you had a shed or a barn, you could put down a layer of hay, layer of potatoes, layer of hay, layer of potatoes,,,, until all the potatoes are covered with hay.
Space the potatoes so that they are not stacked on top of each other. The spacing allows airflow and will help prevent potato rot.
The layers of hay add a cushion between the potatoes and will help prevent rot.
Keep the potatoes out of direct sunlight. It is ok to put them in the sun for a little while. But do not leave potatoes in direct sunlight all day. Sunlight releases a toxin in the potato, which will turn the potato green.
Be careful when harvesting potatoes as to not bruise them.
Do not wash the potatoes, just wipe the heavy dirt off.
Besides a shed or barn potatoes can also be stored in a bushel basket.
A couple of weeks ago I picked up two puppies someone had dropped off on the side of the road. My wife and I live in a rural area which means people can drop off unwanted pets with a low risk of being spotted.
The puppies were living in a hollow log on the side of the road. After feeding them for around a week I was able to get close enough to grab them. When I picked them up they did not growl, bark or try to bite me. Just to be on the safe side I wore leather gloves.
Everything was going good until this morning. My wife got up before I did, she looked out the backdoor and saw the puppies under the chicken house. The chicken house is up on legs, screened bottom with hardware cloth and plywood sides. The chicken house was designed to be predator proof. We have a chicken yard, but the gates are left open so the hens can free range.
It finally happened, I had an accident with my chainsaw. I used to think that accidents were for people who careless, or for people who rarely use chainsaws. All it took for me was a split second of not paying attention and having my mind on something else.
There is this field I want to put some goats, sheep and some cattle on. depending on how the fence is ran there is between 5- 7 acres, maybe as much as 9 acres that needs to be fenced in. The last time this field was fenced was back in the early 1980s. Falling tree limbs, rotting fence post, and a variety of other causes have downed large sections of fence. All along the old fence row there are sweet gum trees that range anywhere from 6 inches to 2 inches in diameter. All of those sweet gum trees need to be cleared out before the new section of fence is put in.
Saturday January 18th was supposed to be a big work day. My wife and I had a friend of the family coming over, my mom and dad, and two of my wifes kids (my step-kids) were supposed to come over. My wife and I drove to the field which is a couple of hundred yards from our house, I grabbed the chainsaw and started cutting those small sweet gum trees.
After looking through my youtube video I realized I have not uploaded a video in a couple of months. The last video I uploaded was on September 15, 2013, which makes 3 months. In all honesty I had not realized it had been so long.
So what has been going on?
Added some lean-tos on the shed to park the tiller and lawnmower under.
Got a deer feeder setup about 100 years behind the house.
Added some pvc pipe to the deer feeder legs to prevent coons from climbing the legs. Raccoons have been climbing the legs and turning the spinner, which dumps a lot of corn on the ground. the corn is not for coons, it is for deer and hogs.
After watching the video I was embarrassed at how much weight I have put on over the past few years.
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.