Homestead News, Volume 25

Sit back, pour up a cup of coffee, and enjoy the update. Thanks for stopping by. Please share your news in the comments. The more we learn from each other the better.

Did you know when olive oil gets cold, it partially solidifies? Just move it to a warmer location and let is set for about 12-24 hours. You will read everywhere that oil will go rancid after about six months. We have stored and eaten olive oil that was five years old with no degradation in quality or taste. Not that I would recommend that to everyone, it’s just something we have done.

As the seasons turn, my thoughts are always on our food supply. I have been planning the garden for a couple of months now. We have a few salad greens growing in the greenhouse for winter eating, but mostly there are flowers, some that grew on the porches last summer and some I planted in there in the fall…..just because. During the polar vortex we ran a couple of space heaters and covered the plants with frost cloth. We had some damage, but most of the plants did very well.

Once the sun came out, it warmed up in the greenhouse quickly. It always amazes me to see the difference between inside and outside temperatures. The greenhouse is not sealed, the air freely flows out around the top and the sides. The inside temperature here is 33*, the round thermometer is hard to read, it is 72*.

I have three bus tubs planted with brussel sprouts, kohlrabi and carrots that I will transplant to the garden when the time comes. I have started moving them outside to maintain the adjustment to cooler weather. The greenhouse is starting to heat up quite a bit on sunny days.

We discovered during the cold snap that this entryway into the garage had heaved upward and made the storm door drag on the concrete when we opened it. This small slab has been sitting here for 40 years or more. In the last 12 years we had never had anything like that happen. Fortunately, it settled back down to it’s normal position after the temperatures warmed up again.

I started growing sweet potato slips right before the recent cold snap. We had some starting to sprout that we grew last summer and I intended to grow all of our slips from the heaviest producing variety. Now we have plants growing in a kitchen window since it is too cold in the greenhouse for these tender plants.

Yesterday was a busy day. We partially repaired a chicken house door that needs replacing before it falls off. Then Frank brush hogged a small area by the barn before we replaced the brush hog with the tiller on the tractor. We have an extended rainy season coming and wanted to get the garden area tilled and fertilized. A few months ago, right before we were going to clean out the barn and haul it to the garden, we had bought hay that had been sprayed with Grazon, an herbicide. We were told the hay had been sprayed before we bought it, we just didn’t know enough to ask what with. Grazon can kill your garden, even after it has been ingested and passed through livestock. A friend had their garden spot decimated for a couple of years until the Grazon had time to deteriorate in their soil. As fate would have it, we were unable to clean the barn before the baby goats were born and in the meantime found out about our hay. We replaced what hay we had left with another supply and took the remaining few bales out into a pasture to be burned at a later date. The barnyard will be dumped out there too instead of being brought down to the garden.

It’s hard to imagine the garden looked like this just a few days ago. What a difference a week makes.
Commercial 13-13-13 fertilizer we applied to the garden this year.

Winter weather and aching bones have also prevented us from cleaning out the chicken house and getting that manure into the garden early enough to be useful and not be too hot to burn any seedlings we want to plant, so this year for the first time ever, we are using commercial 13-13-13 fertilizer. I am grateful we have the option of purchasing fertilizer, even though it is not our first choice. If it was unavailable, our garden would probably still produce well since it is a spot that has been worked and fertilized for 10+ years. I still plan to make some manure tea with chicken litter over the summer to water some of the crops.

Just as we finished spraying down the tiller to get some of the caked on dirt off, Frank discovered we had a flat tire on the tractor. Not just a low tire, but it looked like the tire was almost off of the wheel. We didn’t think we could get it to seal and hold air at all. So out in the mud and water puddles we had just created while cleaning off the tiller, we got out the air compressor and extension cords. We were very happy to find we could get it to hold some air, at least temporarily. It was enough to get the tractor back to the barn, but by then it was almost completely flat again. Frank aired it up again with the compressor there, but it very quickly went flat. The good news is we got the garden tilled before the rain came. We have rain forecast for about a week and were working against the clock on getting the garden fertilized and tilled.

While Frank was tilling, I was working on getting the last two flats of carrots planted in the greenhouse. These are seeds we saved from our carrots in 2018. I planted a bus tub of them in the fall to see if they were still viable. Since they were going on three years old, I planted them thickly. I have thinned them twice and they are still too crowded. That’s good to know. Saving viable seeds is always a gamble. Sometimes they are viable, and sometimes they are not. I use the Pot Maker for these seedlings. Direct planting carrots in the garden doesn’t work for me. The weeds and grass take over and they never have a chance since they are so slow to germinate. Using the Pot Maker [link goes to a previous article about them] also allows me to easily thin them before planting and space them in the row just by planting them next to each other.

Our new companion is named Charlie, but she’s a girl. Frank named her. Many of you know we are ham radio operators. When using phonetics for call signs, the alphabet starts with Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, etc…. Well, when we were thinking of names, Frank said he is always alpha when it comes to our dogs, and that is true. Then he came up with he is Alpha, I am Bravo, and she is Charlie. Our Great Pyrenees, Pearl, left us about a year or so ago. We miss her a lot. She was great with the goats and had the best personality. Charlie came to live with us this last summer at eight weeks of age. So far we have survived the puppy stage, but some days just barely. She no longer tears up 40 lb. bags of potting soil, eats the front and back porch, but she still tore up some of the black plastic we have around one of the sheds in the garden yesterday. I made a big mistake not long after Charlie came to live with us. When she got here the garden was in full swing and she would follow me around when I was picking vegetables and weeding. I would pull a weed and hand it to her. She liked the roots and would take it, run off, and attack it. As she grew, she got to the point of pulling her own weeds, except they weren’t all weeds. At the end of the season she even decided pulling up full grown okra stalks was a good idea. She also loves apples and would race me for any windfalls. Charlie decided it was fun to pick tomatoes even if she didn’t eat them, and peppers as well. She has good taste, but these crops are for the people, not the dog. Thus with the addition of Charlie to the yard around the house which includes the garden, this year we will fence it off to prevent certain destruction of seedlings. This will have to take place before we start planting, but we have it tilled and are ready for the next step.

As you can tell, a lot of our efforts are focused on food. At this day and age, I feel that everyone should be focused on their food supply. Prices continue to go up, stability of the world food supply continues to be questionable. Cooperation between countries that traditionally trade or sell their excess food has been changing over the last year. How that may affect our food supply, prices or possible rationing or confiscation is yet to be seen. I think all of these events are possible, but not necessarily eventualities. Only time will tell.

Over the past few years my goal was to plant a smaller garden. Aches and pains affect my ability to keep up with the garden, the weeds, the processing and preserving of the harvest. But, you know what? This year’s garden will be larger, not smaller. Being able to produce as much of our food as possible has always been a goal, now more than ever. We are not increasing varieties or experimenting with new crops, just increasing the volume of our known, proven varieties.

Folks, do what you can. Buy and store what you eat, not a bunch of strange foods that are supposedly ‘prepper’ foods. Buy what you normally eat and store it as best you can. If you can grow and preserve more, in a garden, on a porch, in a pot, do it. Learn more about how to provide for yourself. Even if the world, our country, your state, county or neighborhood doesn’t have challenges in the coming months or years, it never hurts to depend on yourself, your knowledge and abilities instead of someone else.

Because if things continue the slide into tyranny, into subjugation, into the enslavement of the masses……

NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE YOU.

Until next time – Fern

Symbiotic Relationships

Did you know fire ants raise aphids for food? Not the aphids themselves, but the ‘nectar’ they produce. I wrote about it here in 2014 – Fire Ants & Aphids.

Frank and I had an interesting conversation over breakfast one morning. We started off discussing something that could be symbiotic, I don’t remember the topic, which reminded me of ants and aphids. Then it lead to other ponderings. I thought I would share them with you.

If the company store initially begins providing supplies to the employees to increase their production and ability to live close to work, that relationship is beneficial to both parties. If the company then realizes it has created a dependence upon those supplies that allows them to control the employees to a greater extent, it can raise the prices thus increasing the profit they make from having the employees return more of the money it paid to them, and adding it back into the coffers of the company. A monopoly is born turning a positive symbiotic relationship into a negative one in the eyes of the employee, who now has less choice and less of an impact upon the relationship.

Now apply that to the current political situation our country finds itself experiencing. The relationship of government to the people [supposedly] began where the government servants were for the benefit of the people. Now that relationship has flipped. You had better do what you’re told or else. Or else what? We will raise the price of your medication, control the medical attention you can receive, force you to pay for our medical insurance, regulate your business [or shut it down all together, because, you know, COVID], take your guns, brainwash your children and tell you that you better be damn happy while we’re doing it. No, wait, they’re already doing that. Are you enjoying the symbiotic relationship you have with your government? Federal or local? Is it a give and take situation that benefits both parties or have you become a slave to ‘the man’?

Add to that mixture the current state of big tech and the media. Picture the type of relationship that the communist, fascist, Marxist, socialist [pick one] tyrannical government we currently have, has developed with the media and big tech, not to mention the military industrial complex that wants endless wars to line their pockets, private prisons for profit, and the medical/pharmaceutical industries. Yes, industries. An industry is a distinct group of productive or profit-making enterprises according to Merriam-Webster. Add the banking/financial industry to the mix and you can easily picture the monopoly the current government has upon all aspects of our lives. The banking industry controls the loans and money supply for the energy, agricultural and small business sectors. The government doesn’t want you to be a successful Mom & Pop store? Shut them down from a financial stand point. Or better yet, use a plandemic. Let the mega corporations that are intertwined into the mega-loppa-symbiotic-industrial complex control all facets of business, energy, food, health, education, media and income. That’s what you call TYRANNY.

Ladies and Gentlemen [the only two genders on the planet in the realm of reality], this is where we are. The symbiotic relationship of our country, our government and all of it’s interwoven companions in crime, have entered the stage of over extension in so many areas that an implosion of all systems is inevitable. This is not something new in the last few months, it has been developing for years, even decades. Remember the statement, “You’re either with us or you’re against us.”?

Think of an area that has a season of abundance that allows the rabbit population to increase dramatically. What happens? The predators, coyotes for example, also increase in abundance until one day, the situations changes. There is no longer enough for the rabbits to eat, they become sick and die. The coyotes don’t have enough to eat. What happens? The system collapses back into a more manageable condition.

It appears that some factions of our country have reached the tipping point where they will no longer sit quietly by. You know we have done that for decades now. Appeasement. Does it work? Never has. So this where we are. We have brought ourselves to the point of listening to the government tell us to sit down and shut up. Are we going to? A lot of us are. It’s scary not to. We don’t want to lose everything we have – home, job, retirement, family, societal recognition. But the situation with the election and impeachments, the current avalanche of executive orders appear to have created a backlash of sorts. Will the country remain united? That has yet to be seen. There are a lot of theories being postulated out here in internet world. Some seem more plausible than others.

This is where we are. If you aren’t in a situation, location, state of mind where you can provide for your NEEDS, not wants, when the system implodes or declines to the point of not supplying the basics for everyday life, then please work diligently with all of your might to get that way. Sometimes the decline of a system is rapid, sometimes it’s slow and you can see it coming more clearly and make the needed adjustments. Everyone we talk to, everyone, normal everyday people that up to now didn’t have a care in the world, shopped everyday for dinner and went about their lives, KNOWS something is very not right. It’s in the air, in our bones, invading our thoughts and feelings. The world is not right. Something is coming.

Be as ready as you can. It’s important. It’s beyond important. It’s beyond words important.

Until next time – Fern

Where to live?

Hello Everybody, Frank here.
 
We received the email below a long time back. Through simple neglect we have not addressed this issue. Recently here in Oklahoma, recently like 10 minutes ago, we had snow on the ground and still do, and I would like to attempt to answer this email. But you’ve got to read it first. See you in a second.
 
 
 Greetings! Thank you for the work you do on your blog. I enjoy reading it.

   

On July 1 you wrote of places you have lived and experiences gained. Seeing you have lived in Alaska,  I was curious as to the specific reasons why you choose to live in OK over Idaho or Wyoming (one of the more commonly promoted places to live by prepper/survival circles).

   I am asking because my husband and I have been considering moving our family with 5 young homeschooling children away from our current central west Texas city. I grew up in Oklahoma and am familiar with the climate and culture. The majority of my family live in OK. We have talked of leaving Texas because it is incredibly hot and dry here. Any property with water is extremely expensive and most small creeks and the like would be gone by this time of year when we have had day after day of 105-110 degree temperatures. We are far from an interstate, though a few hours from the Mexico border.  I understand there is no perfect place, but the heat and low rainfall make growing a garden a challenge.

  We have discussed moving to Idaho, but neither my husband nor I have spent any time living where there is snow in the winter. We have also discussed moving to rural OK. You have lived in both the cold and OK, I was hoping you might have some thoughts/insights into the advantages and disadvantages of both. In which climate is it easier to raise livestock? Grow a garden? Survive the potential of long-term electricity outage?

Thanks for experiences you may share to help inform our decision.

Interesting questions and points I will attempt to address.

Everything is harder to do in the cold than it is where it is warm. Let’s qualify a few things here. I’m not talking about riding around on your snow machine or alpine skiing. You’re just not going to be doing that in southeast Oklahoma, so yes, there are some things you can do better in a cold climate. Let me include ice fishing.

When you have cold, you have a shorter growing season. Animals require significantly more maintenance and food to stay warm. I know some folks are going to say, well I grow this and I grow that in the cold, and good for you. I’m talking about your normal everyday person and not some super ninja gardener that pretends like life is easier in a foot of snow. It’s just not. It is just plain and simple harder on animals and harder on gardening, not to mention people.

This writer indicates western Texas. Fern was born and raised in western Texas out around Amarillo. I was born and raised in Dallas. That can stand for itself. Western Texas and southeastern Oklahoma have vastly different climates. Parts of western Oklahoma are just like western Texas. Look at a map. Parts of eastern Oklahoma are just like eastern Texas.

We thought about Idaho or Montana, seriously. Fern has a cousin that lives around the Spokane, Washington area. Then one day while I was shoveling a couple of feet of snow to walk a narrow path it dawned on me that I’m in my late 50’s and I don’t want to do this anymore. So that narrowed our search down sharply.

Again, we live in southeastern Oklahoma. In growing zone #7. Without super ninja abilities, I will never raise citrus, but I can raise almost any crop I choose here. On the average year enough rain falls from the sky, average is the key word here – some years it’s drier, some years it’s wetter. Amazing isn’t it, how you can take the two and get an average. Again, we can grow about any crop we choose.

Let’s talk livestock. All the above applies to the livestock. We can raise just about any type of cattle, goats, chickens that we choose to in this area. I have lived where reindeer are harvested. A reindeer is first cousin to a caribou and they are tasty. As is muskox. But I have no desire whatsoever to raise reindeer.

So let’s get past being that super ninja herder and get in touch with what people in the south call reality. I can raise a normal cow, a normal goat and a normal chicken, and do the normal things on an average day with my average, normal animals. Here the last few days we have gotten four to six inches of snow which is extremely unusual for our area. At the same time, we have had record breaking temperatures, cold temperatures, that is. Here is that term – record breaking temperatures. They’ve been keeping temperatures records in this area for more than a hundred years, which means these temperatures have not occurred in more than a hundred years.

Now, we have normal here and that means normal for us. We raise normal animals. Our plants are normal. Summertime? It can get hot and humid, and it’s going to this summer, it’s going to get hot and humid. Hot. Plants like hot. Most of them do anyway. A key word to focus on here is humid, which means moisture. Look at that map again. The part that’s green is green for a reason, the part that’s tan, like in western Texas, is tan because it is the color of sand. I can grow food here. Read some of our older articles like, Without Food You Are Dead.

We have moisture here and without moisture, or water, you are dead. The temperatures here on the average winter, you can survive with a medium weight coat. So let’s see. Here we have food, water and survivable temperatures. This is a conservative part of the world. We do not have “water wars” here. The people in the northwest know what that means. We are conservative. We are for the most part Christian. We are patriotic Americans. If you want to live in western Oregon or Washington in that moral cesspool, you go ahead. I like living where we have more churches than bars. During deer season around here, people wear bright orange and camo, but then here we wear camo year round. We don’t give a shit what outsiders think about what we do. That’s part of why I live here.

I hope I didn’t miss any major points for the folks seeking information about why here, and hopefully I was able to answer their questions. The farther east you go from here, the more moisture content. In the last few years we’ve had quite a few people move in. It’s not unusual to see a tag around here from California or New York. I would assume these are just folks trying to escape. Most people want what is good for their families and some have the ability to relocate. Good for them. It’s a slower way of life here.

For us, we’re 60 miles away from a Sam’s Club, 25 miles away from a Wal-Mart, 6 miles away from a Dollar General and 4 miles away from a small town convenience store with gas. We’re a half mile from a wildlife refuge, about 2 miles from a national forest. We don’t get AM commercial radio, but we do get FM. I assume TV signals come through the air. We have reliable rural electricity, rural water, good well water, high speed DSL via a phone line, and we get cell phone signals with a booster. There is a hospital in a functional town about 25 miles away. If there is something I missed here, I apologize.

This is where I choose to be and these are the reasons I am here.

A bonus. There are no nuclear power plants west of me, so when the melt downs start to occur, it won’t directly affect us, just indirectly.

To be fair, we have people just like everywhere that like to participate in criminal activities. But you’ve got that everywhere.

Again, I hope I answered the questions. If you’ve got relatives that live in rural Oklahoma, I wouldn’t even consider Montana or Idaho. Give thought to it. If you’ve got young kids, then that means you’re probably young enough to harvest, process and chop eight to ten cords of wood a year. Give thought to it. They have crime there too, by the way.

One last thought here. Remember the movie Jerimiah Johnson? Remember the man that gave him his 50 caliber Hawkin? I think his name was Hatchet Jack. Have a good day.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

Simplify Your Life

Evaluate how you think life in these United States, or any country that you may live in, is going to change in the coming weeks, months and years. In the past year the world has changed drastically and appears to be on an accelerated trajectory. To where? I can’t tell, but the underlying feeling is one of foreboding and dread. Regular everyday people, not homesteaders or preppers, express concern and discomfort at the events unfolding around the globe.

So simplify your life. Evaluate what you do, use, need, want during your normal everyday activities. Ask yourself some very basic, tough questions. Do I need _____________? Does my family need ___________? Fill in the blank. This is not a questions of wants, but realistic, everyday NEEDS. What do you and yours really need day in and day out?

Frank and I started researching how to improve our health, reduce synthetic and chemical inputs into our bodies, and just overall simplify our lives a number of years back. It led us to many changes for that reason. As a side effect, it has also reduced the number of ‘things’ we need daily. Examples: baking soda for toothpaste, baking soda and water for shampoo, cider vinegar and water for conditioner, simple meals.

We have written about these topics in the past. For your convenience, here is a list of some of those articles. There are other articles along these lines in the archives if you are interested.

Trying to Escape Chemicals, March 15, 2014

No Shampoo & Sauerkraut, An Update, June 16, 2015

No More Shampoo, March 31, 2014

For Our Health, January 3, 2016

Simple Meals, March 27, 2019

Food on the Shelf, August 4, 2019

We continue to think of ways to simplify what we need and we think of it in terms of how we will be able to continue our life style in the event of inflation, hyperinflation, restrictions on travel imposed by the government, restrictions on the ability to shop or buy due to pandemic regulations, martial law, or collapse. We try not to focus specifically on the “end of the world as we know it” or SHTF, but consider what possibilities could peak over the horizon and affect our way of life. What do we need to change, improve, eliminate or acquire to be ‘OK’ in any of these events? We restock what we use and/or consume and try to have an alternative in case that is not possible. This goes for food and supplies.

We lived through the great toilet paper shortage of 2020. Did you? Did you run out of anything? If so, what have you changed to prevent running out again. What if you could never buy toilet paper again? One of the simple luxuries of life none of us wants to do without. What would you do? Believe it or not, we wrote about that, too.

When There Is No Toilet Paper, January 7, 2015

Frank and I try to reevaluate our lives regularly. As our physical conditions continue to change with age, we seek out new ways to do old things that increase our success and productivity. We talk about what we would do if we couldn’t replace _________________. We talk about how we would feed our animals as well as ourselves. We talk about the unpredictability of the future of our country. What else can we do to increase the likelihood of extending our longevity beyond whatever may come rolling over the horizon?

We encourage you to look through the archives if you are relatively new to our site. There are many, many topics we have written about and if you start towards the beginning, you will find we have changed a lot. Our focus has narrowed to pinpoint those things that sustain us – food with adequate nutrition, water, protection, shelter, health. I encourage you to do the same. Do some serious evaluation of your life and the needs of your family. Wants are a nice luxury, but in the end, they won’t sustain you physically, mentally or spiritually.

Until next time – Fern

You Can NEVER Have Too Many Books – An Update

Several recommendations from the last article about seeds mentioned a book, Susan Ashworth’s book Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Growers. This reminded me of an article about books that I had written a number of years ago.

With all things internet being censored, banned, deleted or taken down, real live books you can hold in your hand may turn out to be a precious commodity, especially when you are trying to do things the new-old fashioned way. A number of the links from the old article no longer worked so I have updated them.

Think about your situation, your family and what your needs may be if this electronic gadget you are reading these words on were no longer available. We have all become dependent on this thing I am typing and reading on for everything. Computers literally control the world at the operators behest, from how much water is released from a dam during the rainy season, to controlling your banking activities, to ordering diapers for the baby – everything. What happens when a storm rolls through knocking out the power? You can’t buy anything because the cash registers don’t work, or if a company can still sell something, they can only take cash because the card reader is down and can’t process your debit or credit card. No gas pumps, no internet, cell phone towers have back up generators or alternate power, but they won’t last long with their life giving electrical grid being gone.

No power = truly the dark ages. Short term or long term, man made or natural causes, electricity, and thus all things electronic, are just another means of control. Look what has been happening in California over the last few years with intentional brown or black outs. Any reason will do when an intentional control of a population is the desired effect. Those with the power have increased their methods of control in the past few years and no longer try to hide many agendas, instead they have been blatant in wielding that power in an attempt to woo or force the people into subjugation. We can stand up, stick out and announce with a loud voice that we will not comply and get slapped down to the ground via censorship, incarceration or the disappearing act, or we can fight back from the shadows doing all we can to provide for ourselves no matter what comes.

Books. Do you have enough? For everyone under your care? Adults, teens, children? You can never have too many useful books. Enjoy the article.

Until next time – Fern

Originally published September 20, 2013

It’s true. You can never, never have too many books. I know, I know. What about your Kindle, or Nook, or iPhone, or laptop, or computer, or….or….or…..What about when the power goes down – and stays down. What if…..

We have bought ebooks. We bought all of the past issues of Mother Earth News on CD and downloaded them on our computers – a great wealth of information. Even if we had a solar panel system that would keep our computers running, it would be a waste of energy to do so. Printed material is a necessity for information preservation.

This is a wall in our living room. It is my favorite wall. Frank built this bookshelf just for me and I love it. After we put most of our books on it there was a lot of extra space. I told him, “You know what that means? We need more books!” Then after a while, we had to have the floor reinforced – a worthwhile investment.

A friend of mine – I have mentioned her several times – I told her the next time I mentioned her I was going to give her a pseudonym.

– Grace – for by the grace of God we met and have become friends. So back to books. Grace has laughed and told me I am her only friend that has a ‘bug book’. We have talked many times about needing to know how to do things for ourselves in the case of a collapse or downturn in the quality of life in our country. When she has asked me about a variety of topics, my answer is often, get a book about it. I have been trying to stock my library with many useful reference books over the past few years. 

Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution recently reminded us that having our important information on an electronic device may not always be a dependable medium. She has printed out and organized her important information so it will not be lost if she can no longer access it on her computer or online. It is a great idea.

I would like to share a few of the many books I use regularly. I will also share a few new ones that I have not had the chance to read yet. Here are a few of my favorites by category.

Gardening

The Vegetable Gardener’s Bible – great general information

The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening – We have a very old version that is literally falling apart at the seams. Tons of great, fairly detailed information.

Rodale’s Vegetable Garden Problem Solver – Good book. All kinds of plant and pest information.

Carrots Love Tomatoes has taught me a great deal about companion planting. I have changed my garden planting patterns with the help of this book.

The Organic Gardener’s Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control – My favorite bug book. The one Grace was talking about.

The Seed-Starter’s Handbook is not only good at helping me get my seeds started, I use it for information on how to save seeds as well. It is an old book (1978), but one of my favorites. 

The Gardener’s A-Z Guide to Growing Organic Food is one of the new books I just got from Backwoods Home and I haven’t had a chance to look through it yet.

I have several new and old reference books I use as well. I have begun keeping my annual garden ‘map’ of where I plant things in a binder to make sure I rotate crops and don’t plant a new crop where it will not thrive because of the last occupant.

Food Preservation

Stocking Up – the old and new version. This is a great book. It covers canning, freezing, drying and storing. 

Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is a book I use every time I can something.

I have half a dozen other canning books including Jackie Clay’s book Growing and Canning Your Own Food. It is a great book and full of a lot of information besides canning and preserving.

Another book I have had for a while and just started using with my dehydrator is Making and Using Dried Foods. After I bought the dehydrator, I was surprised that it didn’t come with more instructions. Then I got to thinking…… don’t I have a book about that? Sure enough, I did.

Enola Gay‘s new book The Prepared Family Cookbook is another one of my new books I have not had the chance to read through yet. 


Cheese Making

I have several books, but the only one I have ever used is Mary Jane Toth’s  Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing

Herbs

Our book collection about herbs for cooking and medicinal purposes started many years ago. This is a mixture of old and new that I use most often now. The Herbal Antibiotics book is another new one from Backwoods Home that I have not had a chance to read yet. 

The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants and The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies both have a great deal of information about how to use plants medicinally, but little to none about how to grow and harvest them.

One of my older books Growing and Using Healing Herbs has great information about planting, harvesting, preserving and using herbs.

But the best one I found for information about growing and harvesting herbs is Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. 

When I was researching sources of perennial vegetables that I could get established here I ran across Perennial Vegetables, which has proven to be a good resource.

Animals

When we got our first Great Pyrenees to guard our goats, we wanted to make sure it was a successful venture. We had read enough to know that training a livestock guardian is not like training the Labrador Retrievers we used to raise. We found that Livestock Protection Dogs gave us very valuable information. Otherwise we probably wouldn’t have kept Pearl. She has turned out to be an excellent dog. 


I have a good selection of books about goats – my goat book collection. If something comes up, like an abscess, I look in all of my books and compare the information I find. I feel much better informed this way because not all authors have the same opinions or give the same advice for a particular situation.

All About Goats has some good basic information.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats is a good beginners book with fairly thorough information.

Raising Milk Goats Successfully and How To Raise Dairy Goats are very similar and have good basic information.

Natural Goat Care is by far my favorite book. It raised my learning curve on the natural needs and health of goats. I would highly recommend it.

We have other reference books for animals which include The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable and The First Aid Companion for Dogs and Cats.

Resource Books

We have a variety of books that we have not and may not ever use. They are for references when and if the need ever arises for the topics they cover, such as, establishing a black smith shop, how to train oxen, small scale grain raising, cooking on a wood stove, building small tools or equipment, and more. 

Grace and I have been doing some bartering for eggs. One of the things she brought was this Chicken Health Handbook which is another good reference book. Books that will add to your peace of mind are also an important part of a good library. The Simplicity Primer from Patrice Lewis is one of many. We read the Little House on the Prairie series last summer. They are a great resource of information for living without electricity and growing or raising what you eat, or how to do without.

So, to go back to the title – I truly do believe you can never have too many books. Printed information may one day be in very short supply. Electronic media may one day be a thing of the past. As memories age, they don’t keep details stored as well either. I have felt a strong need to include a plethora of books as a very important part of my ‘preps’. 

We have even stored more than one copy of some books to share with others if the opportunity arises. Books such as James Wesley Rawles How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It and The Ball Book of Complete Home Preserving. James Wesley Rawles’ book is what got Frank started in radio. It was the first place he read about MURS radio frequencies. You never know when that little bit of information can revolutionize a person’s perspective and greatly increase their ability to be self-sufficient and provide for their families.

I will continue to encourage to you learn something new each and every day. It will bless you and yours in untold ways for years to come.

Until next time – Fern

We All Gotta Eat

Folks, I have a real concern for the food supply of the world, and especially our country and my specific neighborhood. Wherever you are, grow anything you can to decrease your dependency on others. Control of the food supply is one of the most powerful weapons known to man. There may not be enough bullets to kill a lot of people in a given area, but you take away or control their food supply and exponential population decline can happen at a rapid pace, or on a given time table.

Frank had a conversation with a young father recently and said to him, “There are some words you don’t want to hear. Like – Daddy I’m hungry – when you have nothing to feed your children.”

Take that statement and apply it to those you are responsible for, or those you love, or just those that live around you. Really think it over. We have all heard about the golden hordes coming from the cities to take what we have, knowing we would have to defend ourselves against them. Well, folks, if you don’t have anything to eat, you aren’t going to be defending anybody against anything, because you are already dead. I wrote about it a while back in this article – Without Food You Are Dead.

If you are in a situation where you can grow food to replace the supply you are eating, DO IT IN QUANTITIES YOU NEVER DREAMED YOU WOULD NEED. All caps? Yelling at you? Yes, I am. You see, I believe that the sexes have been created to fulfill certain roles in life. Frank’s job is to protect us and keep the homestead running. Today he ran the well pump with the solar panels for an hour on a sunny day, he charged our handheld radios, took care of our finances and made me laugh – all in a days work as a husband and leader of our household. Me? I have cooked two meals, milked the goats, fed the chickens, wormed the cats and dog, watered plants and seedlings in the greenhouse, took care of some communications and now I am writing to you. I have been lead to be the food producer of our family. My days revolve around planning for and preparing meals, tending the animals that all have a job geared towards increasing our food supply. I am the gardener and the milk maid. It’s a wonderful life. No, I am not suppressed, depressed, or less of a person, I am living the life I want to live. I love being a wife and trying to prepare nutritious meals for us.

All of this is leading me to a discussion of garden seeds and the lack thereof in the usual online stores I shop with. Many of them continue to have a number of varieties that are out of stock and have been out of stock since last spring. We shop at Shumway’s for most things. They have been out of some of our choices for almost a year. If you are going to plant a garden and plan to order seeds, I hope you have already received them. If not, I would highly recommend you do so immediately, or day before yesterday. It appears the stores have seeds on the shelf, but I really wonder how long they will last.

Some seeds companies like Johnny’s have shut down ordering. They don’t have the supplies to fill more orders and are way behind on the orders they do have.

This is no joke. How are you going to resupply your food stocks if there are no seeds??? Did you save some of your own seeds from last year? Are they viable? Do you know how to save seeds? I feel like I am still a novice seed saver, but we did save quite a few last year. Saving seeds from what you grow is a good way to reproduce what has grown well for you in the past. There have been many times I have studied a new variety that would appear to grow well here in our zone and climate only to do poorly. I would hate to have to depend on an unproven seed supply for my only source of food. What if it fails? Some years things fail, that’s a fact of life. We have had some things grow great for a year to two then not hardly produce at all.

The solar minimum we are in right now has had a grave impact upon growing seasons everywhere, all over the world. Our garden did very poorly overall last year compared to the past. I can only hope and pray it will produce in abundance this year so I can refill my pantry shelves. What if it doesn’t? Do I have enough on hand to go another year and provide for Frank and I? NO. NO I DON’T. Do you? We wouldn’t starve, but we wouldn’t have the wide variety of nutrients we need either. Our health would decline as a result and that is not a position I want us to be in if all hell breaks loose like it appears it will.

Canning supplies to preserve the crops you grow? Good luck. Most places we have looked recently still have back orders. If you determine you need 500 canning jars to feed your family for a year, double it. Really. Double it. You will need more than you think. That has been reality in our case.

There are countries around the world that have lost their collective minds and turned their productive farm land back to ‘nature’ because of ‘climate change’ caused by man. They think so much of themselves and mankind to think we determine the natural climate shifts of millennia along with the solar activity of the sun. In my humble opinion, they are either crazy or trying to accelerate the starvation of the population. Not to mention the release of bioweapons used to control the world through fear and communistic mandates. I guess you can see where I stand on a few world changing events we are in the midst of.

My message for today is simple. See to your food supply and your ability to resupply if we no longer have the luxury of stores lined with row after row of convenient food at our fingertips. I haven’t even mentioned the inflation in prices and shrinking sizes of packaging portions. This phenomena is and will impact our ability to fill our shelves.

Plan to feed you and yours, because WITHOUT FOOD, YOU ARE DEAD.

Until next time – Fern

Welcome Home

Hello Everybody, Frank here.

Congratulations! You made it.

What you’re reading right now was created before this new site was ever published in internet world. So like you, we’re seeing this for the first time also. If something is really wrong, we will do our best to improve it.

This is going to be a very short article. We will try to get something else out to you in the next day or two. For now, this is purely experimental.

We are going to put a link to something to see if the link switch works.

Lehman’s

Next we are going to put a link to a YouTube.

Warrior Poet Society

These two links were picked at random, but they are both very useful sites.

Next on the list, we’re going to see if a picture will work.

If the links work and the picture works, then we’re off to a pretty good start.

Now some business. Our comment policy has not changed. Polite, courteous, facts and opinions are all welcome. We’re all adults here, so we can talk about adult stuff, but not vulgar adult stuff. That should cover that.

We, you and I, should have more general liberties at this platform than the previous one. As a general rule we, you and I again, do not know what the future holds, but we do know we’re probably not going to enjoy the taste of it. Of course we’ll still have happy events, births, weddings, graduations, but there are going to be a plethora of sad events. Abortions, divorces and common everyday failure, these are coming, too.

We will still adhere to and support the concept of don’t get on the bus (or truck). UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.

Previously, we discussed drawing a line in the sand. There will come a day when your line will be pushed. Most of us will relocate our line a little farther back. We can’t change the past, there is no point in complaining or griping about the election. It is what it is. STOLEN. Doing the same stuff we have been doing is not working. To segregate folks here, they won, we lost. They are going to continue winning unless something unforeseen comes upon the agenda.

So, now what? Are we just going to stay in the BMW group, you know, bitch, moan and whine? Yes, we turned out in HUGE numbers in the election, but they won. STOLE. Yes, we own millions of guns. What does that mean? We’re adults, we are not children. We need to quit whining, lick our wounds, dust ourselves off, pull ourselves up, put our faces to the sun and deal with what is here and coming, which in some circles is called reality. I do not see an immediate solution on the horizon and there may not be one.

Recommendations would be appreciated here. How are we going to fix this problem? I know some will say the barrel of a gun will fix it, and it may come to that, but I sure hope not. We need adult, rational solutions. That starts with us, the individual, our immediate community, family, church, local government, county government. We need ideas, adult ideas. Put your thinking hats on. We need to fix this shit. Looking to Washington D.C., it is finished. Think local.

On a lighter side. Please comment. This platform is new to us and there are probably going to be some kinks.

We are all in this together. Let’s fix this problem.

We’ll talk more later, Frank

P.S. Get your garden ready. There is probably going to be a seed shortage, order now. There are shortages of several items and it’s not going to get better. Grow what you eat. Prepare for the unthinkable to happen. Get right with your family, your neighbors, and get right with God.