Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: farming

Rethinking Buff Orpingtons For My Prepsteading Chicken Flock

Buff Orpington Chick

There have been some events which have caused me rethink the Buff Orpingtons for my prepsteading chicken flock. Buff Orpingtons have been part of my chicken flock for around four years, and during that four years I have noticed a common trend.

When new chicks are bought from the local feed store, they are brought home and put in a six feet X eight feet brooder house. The house has perches, plywood walls, screened in floor, heat lamp… everything the chicks need to be safe.

The chicks are usually kept in the brooder house for around six weeks, and then put in the main chicken house. A lot of it depends on outside temperatures, and how feathered out the chicks are.

Buff Orpingtons

Planting Pepper Plants With Homemade Organic Fertilizer

Planting pepper plants

Let’s take a few minutes and talk about planting pepper plants and using homemade organic fertilizer. If there is one plant in my spring garden that has a special place, it has to be pepper plants. Because of that, pepper plants need some tinder loving care.

Pepper plants need nitrogen to grow big and tall, then they need potash (potassium) to grow peppers. Those are the first and third numbers on a bag of fertilizer. The middle number is bone meal (phosphorus), which promotes root growth.

Around the farm I have chicken manure, and some potash from the smoker. These were used to mix up some homemade potting soil, which will be used as organic fertilizer.

Aged chicken manure from the brooder house was mixed with potash and some topsoil in a wheelbarrow.

Planting Pepper Plants

What Is a Prepsteader?

Kevin Felts blogger and political commentator

What is a prepsteader? It is someone who combines prepping and homesteading. However, the complete answer is a little more complicated.

To see the whole picture we need to go back to at least the 1970s, or maybe the early 1980s. What we consider prepping today was everyday life during the cold war.

During the Cold War, people lived under the constant threat of nuclear war. Because of that people kept a stockpile of food and other supplies. After all, you never knew when the bombs were going to fall.

When the Berlin Wall came down after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the United States entered into a short lived period of peace. For the first time since the end of World War II we were at a true peace.

The came along Waco, Ruby Ridge and the Oklahoma City Bombing. When it came out that Timothy Mcveigh was part of a survivalist group, the name survivalist became taboo almost overnight.

Survivalism In The 1990s

Cutting Seed Potatoes For Planting

Cutting potatoes before planting

Potato planting time is just around the corner. In the southern part of the united States it is common to plant around February 14th. Or anywhere between the middle of February to the first of March.

When planting potatoes there is a common misconception that the whole potato has to be planted. That simply is not true. It is possible to grow multiple plants from a single potato. this is done by cutting a chunk of the potato along with an “eye.” A potato eye is another name for the sprout. Potatoes will have multiple sprouts coming off of them. Simple cut the sprout along with a chunk of the potato off.

After cutting the eye off the potato, some people dip the cutting in lime or fireplace ashes. Then allow the cutting to dry for a few days before planting. Some people say the lime or ashes help prevent the cutting from rotting.

New Country Lifestyle Forum

Bushel of potatoes

Has everyone signed up on my new forum – Country Lifestyle Network?

Awhile back I wanted to shift gears with my prepping plans. Since moving to the farm I have not dedicated the time and effort I should have into various projects, such as an orchard, and fencing in a few acres for livestock.

The goal is to build a semi-self sustainable farm. It would be rather difficult to build a fully semi-self sustainable farm based on renewable energy. However, I can travel down that road and see where it goes.

While I am going down that path, why not start a community and share my experiences? That is the purpose of Country Life Network. I want to build a community where people who live in the country can share their knowledge and experience.

The new forum is NOT a prepping survivalist forum.

There will be nothing prepping related in Country Life. That is unless you call growing your own food prepping.

Country Life Kick Off

The Meme Has Ruined Prepping

Kevin Felts political commentator

Sites like Facebook and Pinterest changed the face of survivalism. Over the past few years there has been a gradual shift from real prepping, to reading memes. Looking at a meme and pictures satisfies our desire for instant gratification.

There was once a time when people were truly interested in prepping. Survivalist joined forums, read blogs, made YouTube videos… etc.

Today, people are happy to just look at memes and invest as little time as possible in prepping.

For example:

Post a meme on Facebook, and it may get thousands of likes and hundreds of shares.

Post a link to an article, and it gets nothing. After all, an article would require people to do this thing called “read”, and this other thing called “thinking.” Who has time to read or think when the meme can explain everything?

Why should we read about gardening, when all we have to do is look at memes?

Why should we read about raising chickens, when all we have to do is look at memes?

Real Life Prepping

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.

Farm Progress February 2017

Tractor moving debris

In December of 2016 I posted a thread in the forum about my prepping plans for 2017. I wanted to post an update to that thread and how things were moving along.

Firearms and Ammunition

A Glock 19 was added to the inventory. Overall, I find the quality mediocre. I can not understand why Glocks are as popular as they are. Because of this I am looking at a Beretta 92F compact.

I have decided to dump a certain amount of money into bulk ammunition. February was 1,000 rounds of Wolf 9mm FMJ. March will probably be 223 Remington. April might be 45acp or 308 Winchester. The plan is to continue to buy bulk ammo for the rest of 2017.

2017 is going to be a buyers market for everything shooting related. If you want something, get it now. If you have been on the fence about buying rifle or handgun magazines, go ahead and get them.

Garden

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.

Farm update October 19 2014

Things are moving along nicely, but there is always some kind of setback.

When my wife and I moved to the farm I seriously underestimated the time and effort needed to get things up and running. When we moved here in August of 2013 my main goal was to get the small chicken yard built, get the septic system put down, get the water working, then get ready for winter. Winter of 2013 – 2014 here in southeast Texas was rather harsh, by our standards anyway.

Spring 2014 started out with around 18 – 20 new chicks. Things were looking up, then then it went to hell. My wife and I moved to the farm with 13 hens. We lost all of the new chicks to various predators. When the new chickens were moved to the new chicken yard, a couple of Rhode Island Reds kept jumping the fence. My dogs ended up killing those two Rhode Island Reds.

Tractor auger for chicken yard corner post

While working on the new chicken yard I figured I would go the glorious route and do as much as possible by hand.

In our age of machinery we lose appreciation for hard work. I wanted to be able to say yes, I have set fence post by hand. This included everything from digging the corner post hole with diggers, to notching out the H-brace by hand with hammer and chisel.

After setting 5 post I said “screw this, it is taking too long”, and called my uncle who has a tractor auger. I still have around 15 corner post to set. Doing everything by hand is taking too long and I have a lot to do before winter sets in.

Since I am using telephone poles for corner post, a regular 6 inch auger was going to be too small. It just so happened my uncle as a 12 inch auger bit.

Digging potatoes

Grandkids digging potatoes

Nothing brings mankind closer to the earth than digging potatoes. There is a certain joy in working the soil, planting seeds, watching the plants grow, taking care of the plants, then harvesting the fruits of your labor. This is especially true with potatoes.

Digging potatoes like opening a present, you do not know what it is until you open the box. The same is true with potatoes. You do not know what is in the ground until you start digging.

There are other options besides digging potatoes by hand.

Hauling Scrap Iron And Cutting Trees

Pulling trees with a Toyota T-100

Another weekend of cleaning up the homestead has come and gone. This weekend I focused on hauling scrap iron to the local recycler, picking up trash and cutting down some trees to make room for a pole barn.

For those of you following this blog, yall know some of my family members, and their friends, used a piece of the homestead as a landfill. They did not have permission to dump trash in a washed out area, they just did it. Most of the stuff is glass, metal and plastic.

My brother has a tractor with a grapple on the front it, which is what we used to pull a lot of trash out of the hole. Now that the trash is in a pile on flat ground, it’s time to sort through it and dispose of the trash properly.

When we first started cleaning out the hole we started loading various pieces of scrap on the trailer. This weekend right off the bat the first load was ready to go. The scrap metal on the trailer was a mixture of wire, box fan, washing machine,,, and a few other things.

Another Work Day at the Farm

Cutting pine tree stump

During the last trip to the homestead we focused on thinning trees. The largest and healthiest trees were flagged so they would not be cut, the smaller trees and underlying brush were thinned out.

On February 1st and 2nd we focused on cutting tree stumps down to ground level so the heavy equipment can get in there next weekend. This part of the land has been used was an makeshift family trash dump back in the early 1980s. Most of the stuff dumped in this location is scarp metal, tin, hot water heater, cans,,, stuff like that.

Now for the rest of the story.

February 1 2013

Started off like any other day. My wife and I got up around 6:30am, got our shower, got dressed and headed out the door. On this Friday I had the day off work. so instead of going to work, I headed to the homestead for another kind of work.

On the way out my wife, my daughter and I stopped by the Shell station at the corner of Hwy 63 and FM 777 in Jasper, Texas. We were thinking about going by the donut shop, but decided to stop by the shell station. The store sells breakfast sandwiches and breakfast biscuits that are freshly made. I got a breakfast sandwich with sausage, egg, cheese. To wash breakfast down I got a low-carb monster energy drink.

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