Rural Lifestyle

Life in Rural America

Tag: rural lifestyle

SurvivalistBoards YouTube Channel Renamed to RuralPrepper

Kevin Felts political commentator

In April of 2018 the SurvivalistBoards YouTube channel was renamed to RuralPrepper. Some of the viewers were asking why the name changed. So let’s take a few minutes and talk about it.

I have been into survivalism since at least the 1990s. Part of the way I was raised – hunting fishing,gardening… in the 1970s was the foundation for my survivalist plans. Granny had her milk cow, chickens, turkeys, fig tree, pear trees, etc. Dad would take my brother and I fishing and hunting as soon as we were old enough to go.

Dad also usually had some kind of garden planted. I remember one year we had enough purple hull peas to fill the bed of a pick up truck. I kid you not, the bed of a short wheel base chevy truck was full of purple hull peas.

My grandpa usually had a small backyard garden planted. He grew all kinds of stuff from cantaloupes to tomatoes.

Those examples influenced my prepping plans. When I decided to get into prepping as a young man in the 1990s, I had a solid foundation to start with.

Renaming SurvivalistBoards YouTube Channel

Survivalist: Living In The Boonies

Kevin Felts on a hiking trip

Is it possible to live too far in the boonies? Yes is it. There comes a point where it is not feasible to live in a rural area, and find gainful employment. There also comes a point where high speed internet ends. Believe it or not, not even dial-up is not available in all areas.

Let’s call this line, “Living on the edge of modern civilization.”

I may live in the sticks, but there are some who live further in the boonies than I do. If I drive several miles past my home, there are some people barely have access to electricity, much less internet. Water is from a well, while sewage is handled with a septic tank.

For the people who live past the edge of modern civilization, it takes them around hour to drive to work. This means the round trip is almost two hours. That is at least 10 hours a day dedicated to work.

As much as someone would love to live without money, it just is not possible. We all have to pay taxes, especially property taxes. Do not pay your taxes, and the county takes your property. This means having a job and distance to the job must be figured into our survival plans.

Drug Problems In Rural Areas

Boating on the Angelina River

Drug addiction is a problem that spans race, sex, income and color. No family or community is immune. While drugs are taking a toll in urban areas, they are also wrecking havoc in rural communities. Where a city may have hundreds of thousands of people, rural areas may have communities of just a few hundred people. When someone in a large city dies, a very small percentage of the people are affected. When someone in a rural community dies, a large percentage of the community is affected.

Every life is precious, and everyone deserves a life free from addiction, but life does not always go that way. Some makes a decision to try a drug, and from that point forward that soul is lost to addiction.

The simple solution is to never do drugs. The not so simple solution is not convince people never to try drugs in the first place. Just because illegal drugs are easily accessible does not mean someone has to try them.

Random Thoughts January 14 2016

Kevin Felts political commentator

Time for some random thoughts on life from a bored survivalist.

Lets start with happiness. What is happiness? Happiness is defined as a “mental or emotional state of well-being.” Whos responsibility is it for you to be happy? Is it your spouses responsibility for you to be happy? Is it your employers responsibility for you to be happy?

Your happiness is your responsibility.

Outside stimuli can affect your happiness. However, the key to happiness is controlling your thoughts; change your thoughts and you change your reality.

The most important issue with being happy is thinking happy thoughts. So what if bad things happen. We do not have to dwell on those bad memories. Life is full of bad things. We lose a job, lose a loved one, get our feelings hurt,,, but that is life.

Things Moving Along Nicely At The Farm

Septic system being put in

Things are moving along nicely as my wife and I settle into our new life in rural southeast Texas.

Power has been hooked up to the house.

Deck has been moved to the house. Now its just a matter of leveling the deck.

Air conditioner is supposed to be hooked up today (August 15, 2013).

Hopefully I will be able to buy a 1,000 gallon septic tank and 100 feet of field line in the next couple of days.

Clearing More Timber At The Farm

Before and after picture of the trees that were cut

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.

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.

Grinding Stumps At the Farm

Tractor mounted stump grinder

Now that the trees have been cut and some of the small timber has been thinned, its time to call a stump grinder out to the farm. A stump grinder is machine with carbide bits which cut the stump down to below ground level. No digging around the stump, no burning the stump, no pulling on the stump with a truck,,, nothing but a machine that turns a tree stump into chips.

Instead of buying a stump grinding machine that would rarely be used, I called a contractor that works by the hour. In 3 hours the contractor had ground 109 stumps.

There are a number of stump grinder designs on the market, some of them look like large tillers. The one the contractor used attached to the back of a tractor and was operated by the power take off (PTO).

Why are we having stumps ground? The stumps are in the way of driveway, chicken yard fence, chicken coop and where the shed is going. Instead of having to drive around the stumps, and waiting for them to rot, now the stumps are ground 6 – 8 inches below ground level.

Grinding Stumps At The Farm

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.

Thinning Trees At The Farm

Stihl chainsaw on pine tree stump

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 another article we had talked about planning a cleanup day at the homestead. This was the day we put those plans into motion.

We had two people cutting with chainsaws. To reduce the risk of injury from falling trees the two saws were spaced far apart. When a tree fell, there was no way it was going to land on the other cutter. Most of the trees we were cutting were anywhere from a couple of inches to 12 inches in diameter.

We had 2 people running a chainsaw each (a Stihl and an Echo), 2 people loading the debris into the truck (Toyota t-100) who also drove the truck to the bonfire location, then several people unloaded the truck and stacked the debris.

Moving To The Homestead Part 4

Cutting limbs at the Homestead

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.

Chicken Yard

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.

In anther article we talked about how many chickens would be needed for a long term SHTF event. In that article we gave a summer time low of around 30 laying hens, and a wintertime high of around 70 – 80 chickens.

Bug Out Location For Future Generations

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.

Related Links:

Moving to the homestead part 1

Moving to the homestead part 2

Moving To The Homestead Part 2

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.

How things can change over time

survivalistThere was once a time when we had to get up from our chair, or off the couch, walk over to the TV and turn the channel knob by hand. If you were lucky, the antenna picked up 4 or 5 channels. For most people, we only had 3 channels to choose from.

Today, we have satellite provided TV with hundreds of channels.

There was once a time if you wanted something to eat, you had to cook it. No microwaves, no TV dinners, now 3 minute meals. If you wanted chicken, you went into the chicken yard, got a chicken, whacked its head off with a hatchet, plucked, cleaned and then cooked the chicken.

Over the past 40 years, what has happened to our society

Men are no longer men. If we talk about manly things, we are told we are not sensitive enough.

Women are no longer women. Whatever happened to women keeping themselves slim and trim, so that she stayed attractive to her husband? Whatever happened to women breastfeeding the new baby.

What has happened to our society that we can not send the kids do the street to play without adult supervision. Barely a day goes by that news does not talk about a child being kidnapped, raped and murdered.

What is wrong with people these days?

Kevin Felts © 2008 - 2018