Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: prepsteading

Food Will Be The Focus For 2018

Growing potatoes for food

Food production and preservation will be the focus for 2018. Every year I like to pick a topic and focus on that topic. Other ideas and topics will be covered throughout 2018, but the main theme for articles and videos will be food.

Food is a must have for everyone. Without food production, humanity has no future. Maybe we could revert to a hunter-gather society, but those societies do not flourish.

Food is the foundation of every modern society. When societies lose access to food, collapse is close behind. We have numerous examples of this through history. Only with a stable food supply do we have governments, science, technology… etc.

Fruit Trees and Orchards For 2018

Peach tree

There is an area close to the chicken yard that I would like to clear out for a small orchard of fruit trees. It only measures around 50 X 75 feet, maybe 50 X 100 feet. Just large enough to plant some mayhaw, fig and pear trees. Not a lot of trees, maybe a handful of each. There is a good size sweet gum tree in the way of this orchard. Cutting the sweet gum tree down and burning the stump would not be a big deal, just time consuming.

Another spot is on old fence line that is overgrown with small oaks and sweet gums. This is around 400 feet long and would have full sun. The issue with this one, it would require a LOT of work to cut all the sweet gum and small oak trees out, then burn the stump to make sure they do not come back. This location does not have access to water, while the other location does.

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.

Three Broody Hens in The Chicken House

Broody hens

Three of my hens have gone broody and are sitting on eggs. One of them even hatched out a chick.

For those of you who do know, broody means a hen has gone into a mothering mode and is sitting on some eggs. The eggs are called a clutch. Some chicken breeds go broody more than others, and some breeds rarely if ever go broody.

What gets me:

Two of the hens are Barred Rocks, which rarely go broody.

One is an Australorp, which has a reputation of going broody.

My first set of chickens was back around 1987 or 1988. My wife and I butchered out that first set of Barred Rocks when they were around two years old, and I did not get any more until 2012.

So in the seven years I have kept chickens, only two barred rocks have gone broody.

Fig Tree Organic Fertilizer Experiment

Fig tree with some chickens

For some reason my fig trees are not growing like they should. I suspect it is due to the sandy soil and a lack of composting around the fig trees. There is just any nutrients in the soil for the trees to pull from.

I do not want to put commercial fertilizer around them, so I mixed up some organic fertilizer:

  • Cut the top off of a one gallon milk jug.
  • Fill 3/4 with water.
  • One handful aged chicken manure.
  • One handful ash from my smoker. This is a mix of oak, pecan and wild cherry.
  • Handful bone meal.
  • Urine.
  • Mix together with a stick.
  • Pour around base of fig tree.

Starting With Solar Power

Solar panel with emergency radio

I finally bought a solar panel. In all honesty, I do not know why I waited so long for. It is a Nekteck 20 watt solar panel and I see this as a starting point for bigger and better things.

Before I bought the solar panel I asked myself, what purpose will the panel serve? I decided to go with a foldable solar panel with USB outlets for recharging flashlights, AA batteries and radios. Something to keep flashlights, lanterns and radios charged in a power outage. For right now, the focus is being able to have light and staying up to date on news when the power goes out.

The plan is to have two foldable solar panels – one for charging USB battery packs, and the other panel for charging cell phones, radios and flashlights. Hopefully, the next foldable solar panel will be a 40 watt.

The next project is going to take a little while, and will be about supplying the house with water off 12 volt batteries and solar panels.

Running Water

So Called Preppers Are Going To Starve

SHTF Survival Garden

If there is ever a real SHTF / TEOTWAWKI event, a large number of so called preppers are going to starve. Proof to back up that statement? Just look at the popular prepping related videos on youtube, or look at what forum sections get the most traffic.

The most popular types of videos on youtube are gun and tactical gear. It is not gardening, it is not chickens or other livestock, farming, homesteading, or prepsteading. The most popular types of videos are running and gunning videos.

You can not eat bullets, plate carriers, chest rigs, knives, or anything else that fuels the fantasy of a tacti-cool SHTF event.

During outbreaks of the plague in the middle ages, starvation killed a great number of people. Preppers may think they will leave the city and raid rural farms. Once again, history teaches us there is a good chance those people will die on the side of the road just outside the city. People will either starve before they reach rural areas, of they will die of disease.

Reality

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

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

Wildlife Habitat At Bug Out Location

There were a couple of locations that had perfect squirrel habitat, but there were no signs of squirrels being in the area. There were no pine cones that had been tore apart, no half eaten acorns nor did I see any squirrels.

As I followed a creek that runs along the back of the property, the timber transitioned from pine and oak to mostly oak and iron wood. Iron wood is a tree that grows in the shade of larger trees. It does not produce any kind of nut for squirrels or deer. It is mostly used for its hard wood to make walking sticks and bows.

Several years ago a lot of the older pine trees were cut off the property. Pine trees are a renewable resource when managed properly. Several large pine trees were left on the property to so they could reseed the area. Their seedlings float in the wind and can travel several hundred feet, depending on how the wind is blowing. I expected to see oaks and ironwood, but I also expected to see pine tree saplings coming up. I was rather surprised when I did not see hardly any pine saplings.

Planting Pine Trees

Starting Livestock Fence Project

Fence post

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.

I would like to have around 6 or 7 acres fenced in for goats, sheep and a couple of cattle.

Just outside the livestock fence I am working on a wildlife habitat area for deer, squirrels and rabbits.

Pole Barn

Survivalist: What Is Your Prepping Goal

camping on the angelina river

Survivalist, what is your prepping goal? Preppers can not be classified into several different categories. We have different groups who subscribe to different prepping plans. These go way beyond what organizations like FEMA and the Red Cross suggest.

We all know the government will not be able to help everyone. There are also situations that may result in the collapse of the federal and state governments, such as nuclear war or some kind of new disease.

For example, my personal prepping goal is presteading. Which is a combination of prepping an homesteading. The long term goal is to develop a homestead based off lessons learned from the middle ages, and combine those with modern homesteading.

People Who Stockpile May Say

Tractor Mounted Log Splitter For The Farm

Tractor mounted log splitter

Landed a tractor powered log splitter for the farm. This is something I have wanted and needed for a very long time. An older gentleman had a log slitter he was no longer using. It had been left uncovered for so long the hoses and seal on the ram had dry rotted.

The splitter works with a pump that slips over the spline of the tractor PTO. The hoses going to and from the pump were dry rotted through and were leaking.

There is a place in Jasper Texas called East Texas Mill Supply. They can make up a new hose in a matter of a few minutes. That is where I took the hoses.

Hydraulic oil was drained out of the tank and replaced with new.

The pump wanted to turn with the PTO shaft, so a chain was rigged up to hold it in place. The pump was supposed to have what is called a “torque bar”, but it was not on the pump. Rather than contacting the original owner and bothering him, I am rigging up something that will work. It just needs to be something to hold the pump in place while the PTO shaft turns.

Spent Day Cleaning Out Chicken House

Chicken house

My chicken house is a mess so it is time to do some cleaning. About a year and a half ago I set up a water barrel system inside the chicken house and is a 35 gallon drum going to a stainless steel pan with a float. The chickens have been getting on the drum and pooping all over the top of it. When I fill the drum up chicken poop is all over the place.

Then there is the metal trash can I store feed in. It is next to the water barrel and close to a corner of the chicken house. The chickens get into the corner and lay eggs, right where chickens get on the feed barrel and poop.

There is barely any room between the feed can and the wall, but enough room for the chickens to get into.

I decided to rearrange everything.

The water barrel is getting moved outside.

The feed can is getting moved away from the wall. Now I can get in there and clean out.

The chickens are getting a laying box put in the corner.

Lessons learned

Building a Railroad Track Anvil

Homemade railroad track anvil

Rather than buying an anvil, I decided to build one out of a piece of track and tie plate I found in my grandfathers old barn. The barn is maybe 75 – 100 years old and has various pieces of farm equipment in and around it.

There are various examples on youtube of railroad track anvils. A lot of them involve drilling or cutting holes in the base of the track and then securing it to a stand. Why not weld the track to a tie plate, and then bolt them to a stand? Seems to me having a wider base of the tie plate would distribute pressure while beating on the track.

I wanted something besides your typical piece of railroad track welded, chained, or bolted to a stand. I wanted something that when people see it they say “that is cool”. I wanted something that was semi-portable. So that when I build my pole barn I can move the anvil and stand to the barn.

Mama Guinea With Her Keets

Mama guinea with keets

Guinea fowl are loud, not as friendly as chickens, not very smart, but for some reason they are fun to have around the farm.

In late summer of 2015 I got a dozen guineas along with some chicks. Over the course of the next few months 4 of the guineas went missing or died. I found one guinea chick dead from what I suspect was heat stroke.

Guineas are not supposed to be good parents, and that may be true. What I am seeing with my guineas, the chicks have to keep up with the flock, kinda like sink or swim. While at the same time the flock protects the chicks.

The guinea flock will run off any chicken that dares get close to the keets. Guineas do not seem to share food with the keets, but rather shows the keets where the food is at. At a week old I saw the flock taking the keets close to 100 yards from the chicken house.

Mama Guinea

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018