What is IPS? It’s a whole new syndrome, but it’s not recognized by the medical industrial complex or the psycho-babble psychology industrial complex. There are no medications from the pharmeceutical industrial complex for it, thank goodness. The only treatment or cure is dirt and green things.
How do I know? Because I just made it up!
IPS stands for Impatient Planter Syndrome
The only known treatment at this time is to live in a warm climate where you can start planting things, anything. If not, find a container – of any kind – and some dirt to go in it. Then find a few seeds, put them in the dirt and wait impatiently until a tiny little green thing appears. Fuss over it constantly until it gets bigger and bigger. Don’t water it too much or do anything else that may cause it’s untimely demise or you just might go into
Impatient Planter Depression Syndrome
Impatient Planter Compulsive Syndrome
in which you plant seeds over and over, or in so many different containers you lose track of what it is until the plants are big enough to identify, root bound and stunted. Even so, you plant them anyway and hope they produce. But just in case, you plant more seeds. You know, just in case.
Yep, I am impatient to plant the garden. Can you tell? I have my bucket of seeds awaiting mid-April [if I can wait that long] to direct seed into the garden. So far I have talked myself into only planting things that can take a light frost. We have brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, turnips, collards, kohlrabi, onions and strawberries planted, along with some flowers here and there.
The empty trellises call out for bean seeds, tomato and sweet potato seedlings, and all that empty space keeps calling for okra, cowpeas, squash and corn. Can you hear it? Probably not since you are not suffering from IPS.
I have found the Farmer’s Almanac site to be an interesting morning read each day. I signed up for their daily/weekly emails, but there were too many ads for ‘buy this’ in them for my taste, so now I just go to the site each morning. Here are a couple of links from them.
We continue to feel the need to produce all we can in the way of food. We can’t help but wonder how the food supply, along with our supply of freedoms, what there is left, will survive the coming months, let alone the coming year. There appear to be plenty of seeds and seedlings at Wal-Mart locally and many more people surrounding those shelves than I remember seeing in the past. But that may just be my projection of what I see coming onto normal everyday activities of folks, not an actual increase in people wanting to grow food. I can only hope it is.
If you are suffering from IPS or any of the other new maladies that are plaguing our country and the world, please find methods of treatment that don’t involve recirculation of carbon dioxide by wearing of diapers on the wrong part of your body, or shooting up unproven chemicals that may impact your very genetic structures in unknown, irreversible ways. Yes, I have some strong opinions about what has been forced upon us in the last year. In some places there is still the option to choose what we do with our bodies and I respect the choices others have made.
I can only hope and pray we are not forced to choose between the ability to actively, freely participate in society. We have had passports in the past that allowed us to travel between Alaska, Canada and the lower 48. I cannot see where we will ever be carrying around the new passport that is being discussed, that some companies have already begun to require. There is already talk about a booming black market for the new passport if it becomes mandatory. Don’t forget 1A & 2A are under attack and 2A protects 1A.
I never dreamed in a million years that our country would be in the current condition it is in. We read things everyday that are just totally unbelievable. It takes more and more effort everyday to keep a positive outlook on our future and the future of our country. So if you are suffering from IPS, enjoy it. It is a wholesome, productive disease as opposed to a physically debilitating condition.
Daily sustenance. The way we live takes planning, sometimes planning way ahead, like years in advance. An example. If I want to have fresh milk, there has to be an animal that provides milk. If I want an animal that provides milk, I need the capacity to buy, house, raise, breed and milk it. That in itself, unless I am able to purchase a place that has all of the facilities and an animal in milk that is trained to be milked, takes time, sometimes years.
We moved to our homestead in the summer of 2008. We had the pasture property line dozed of the old barbed wire fence, step 1. Hired a man to install new fencing, with cross fences for rotational pastures, step 2. Had a barn built, then the fencing crew finished the fencing and corral, step 3. Had a water well drilled by the barn, step 4. Located young goats to start the herd January 2009, step 5. Located a buck, then waited until the goats were old enough to breed in the fall of 2009, step 6. While waiting the five months for the first kids to be born, built birthing pens, a weaning pen and a milk stand, step 7. All twelve does had their kids in the spring of 2010 and we were overwhelmed with too many animals, so began quickly selling off the wilder ones of the herd and many of the kids , step 8. Began the process of teaching myself how to train a milk goat to get on the milk stand, not kick me or the bucket, or put their hoof in the bucket [they were very skilled at this, I was not], step 9. Enjoyed our first drink of milk almost two years after we began this process, step 10. All for one drink of milk.
Planning sustenance for a family, no matter how large or small, takes time. Doing for oneself and decreasing dependence on others, be it the supply chain, local establishments or online markets, takes time, planning and effort. All of the effort and activities of the milk example happened after we moved from Alaska to Oklahoma, started new jobs, were having the exterior of the house renovated with new porches added, we were painting the inside of the house, adding blinds to the windows [so we could take down the butcher paper covering them], having a portable building delivered for the chicken house, raising young chicks in the garage, and general setting up of a homestead. We tried to start gardening in the spring of 2009 as well. If I remember right, we didn’t produce much that year and didn’t start caning and preserving a harvest for another year or more. All of it takes time, planning and most of all the motivation and determination that results in success.
Experience, failure, discovery, new information, research and more experience all bring new knowledge and insight to a process that may help achieve a goal with a higher success rate. Example. I have tried to learn about companion planting in the garden, how to achieve more production from a smaller area. I tend to plant too thick, too close and have had more than one person say how do you pick anything? There is no where to walk. It’s true, sometimes I just go through a patch of cowpeas, for example, and just pay attention to where I step. They start out in rows but will fill all the spaces in between and it’s kind of like tip toeing through the tulips and trying not to crush anything, but it’s what works for me.
Back to companion planting. One year, like this year, I planted carrots along the tomato trellis after reading they were good companions. Then I planted the beets along the pole bean trellis thinking that would utilize more space productively. The beets barely grew. The beans were fine as usual. Turns out beets and beans don’t like each other and the beans win. No beet crop that year. This year more than ever, I have gone to my books to compare and study what plants compliment each other to try to maximize our harvest and minimize the space it takes to do so.
Speaking of harvest. No one we know of in this area of southeastern Oklahoma had a good, productive garden last year. Not one. Crops had to be replanted several times to even get them to grow at all. I ran out of cowpea seeds [purple hull peas] after replanting for the fourth time and couldn’t find anymore. All the normal seed companies I used were sold out. Still are. There are a number of online companies I use that continue to be sold out of some seeds, almost all strawberry plants, many basic staple items. Some still have some designer seeds, but not the basics.
I am really hoping and praying our garden is productive this summer. If you’re not familiar with the solar minimum, educate yourself about the affects of the lower sun cycle and it’s affect on plants. It can be devastating if it continues as it is now. I wrote about it previously and many other folks have also, even NASA and NOAA. There are professional opinions that differ on the affects of the cycle, how deep and long it will last, but it is occurring, nonetheless. Along with the lower sun cycle comes an increase in some aspects of the sun’s rays that reaches the earth due to the difference in the interaction with the layers of our atmosphere. This also affects plants ability to grow and produce in a manner we are accustomed to, especially if we are trying to produce crops in the normal fashion. The crops haven’t changed, but the conditions under which they are trying to grow has. Do a search on the blog to find my previous articles on the solar minimum. It has some links that can help you get started on your own research.
I called this article daily sustenance. That is what my days revolve around. Planning our meals, for that is what sustains us. Planning when to worm the goats so one will give us milk while the others feed their babies until the appropriate waiting period for the medication to clear their milk. In a pinch we would continue drinking it, but now we have the option of letting the kids, chickens or dog have it for a five day period before we keep it for ourselves again. If the supply chain or purchasing power of our local economy is impacted to the point that we can no longer buy feed for the animals, our supply of milk and eggs will be greatly impacted. What then? Is there anything I can do to provide extra for the animals that will increase their production and thus our consumption? Maybe. As we age, I no longer think of being able to grow food for animals, my concentration is on producing enough for two people. I study which foods are nutritionally dense, that will provide what our bodies need to be healthy and productive. There are some foods we grow well, like beets, that have some good nutrition, but there are others that have much more and are easier to store, like sweet potatoes.
I plan a couple of days in advance when we need to bake bread. We get the sourdough starter out of the frig, feed it for a couple of days, bring in a bucket of wheat if needed, Frank grinds the wheat and flax, and the routine goes on. We plan ‘bread days’ when we don’t need to be out and about doing other things that morning because we make the dough in the morning, let it set through the day for the fermentation process, then bake it in the evening.
Cheese making uses four gallons of milk and takes all day. I found the other day that the buttermilk culture I had prepared and stored in the frig had gone bad since I made it too far ahead of time to start making cheddar cheese. I fed it to the chickens and cultured another quart of milk. It is now in the frig awaiting the first batch of cheddar for this season. But then it was time to worm the does so we’re only getting milk from one animal. Right before that took place, we waited until we had four gallons, made mozzarella, then wormed the other two does. We are just finishing the waiting period for the medication to clear the milk. Time. Planning.
Frank wrote a couple of articles back in 2013 and 2014 about some of the realities of trying to set up a homestead, or preparing for a collapse, that outline some of the realities of having to plan ahead to survive what may be coming. I think you will enjoy them. Here are the links.
We can’t remember the last time we ate out, or ate any food we didn’t prepare ourselves. Most folks find this to be very odd, but it is our choice. If we go somewhere we pack some bread, boiled eggs or cheese, and an apple. It’s our preferred sustenance when we are away from home. Meal planning at home revolves more and more around what we have on the shelf, much of which we have produced ourselves. My hope is by doing so, if the food supply chain experiences a severe disruption, we can continue to be sustained with what we have without a major impact upon our bodies. If a time of significant disruption in the food supply comes to our country, and I do believe it will, my goal is to sustain us, to have the experience and knowledge to keep us as nutritionally sound as I can.
Sustenance, no matter where you get it, from the store, the pasture, or the garden, takes time and effort. That effort may be the daily work that brings home the bacon so to speak. It may be the planning and serving of meals. We’re not all in the same boat with a view of the same horizon, but we all have to eat, and to eat we have to plan ahead. The horizon is dim and uncertain making the ability to sustain ourselves shrouded and unfocused. Regulations and new restrictions on food production, transportation and the ability to procure the needed supplies is being impacted more and more everyday. I encourage you in the strongest possible way to see to the sustenance of you and yours. Whatever you eat, by whatever means you usually obtain it, please do so, in an overabundance that seems way beyond what you may ever need. Strikingly so. Find somewhere to put it. Under the bed, behind the couch, fill up your spaces with sustenance. Plan. Think it through in detail. What is it you need for your daily sustenance if that is all you could ever get? Ever?
We have written many articles about our goat adventures. You will find them in the archives under The Goats That Feed Us & The Things You Can Do With Milk. Just a reminder – most of our archives go to the old blog over in Blogger. If you want to leave a comment, make sure you do it here, they have been turned off at the old site since we don’t check things over there anymore.
We have continued to downsize our herd. We currently have four adult does, three of which are in milk. Kids were born to them in January and are being weaned and sold now. The cycle continues. One of the does I am milking is a first freshener, what I call a first timer. She has been very easy to train to the milk stand and to hand milk, which is great. Some in the past have not been near this easy. I’m not sure if it’s the temperament of the animal or the years of experience training a goat to be milked. Maybe both.
We have one more first timer to birth in May. I don’t really like this goat, and have thought about selling her pregnant, but want to see if she will hold us in milk through the winter until the others have babies again next January. We haven’t been successful in having year round milk because most goats won’t breed in the off season. This doe didn’t breed at all until we got a shot from the vet to force her into heat. We were told if she was pregnant and very far along, the shot would make her abort, but we had never seen any signs of heat or breeding and she had been with the buck for months. The shot worked and now we await her first kids.
This year we are keeping two adult does in milk, the third will be sold after we have our cheese supply stocked for the year. We will keep two young does for replacements, just in case. In years past we have tried to keep does from separate blood lines within our closed herd, but not this year. There has been one ‘family’ of does that consistently out performs the others with temperament, udder size and production, and ease of milking. That’s who we are keeping.
The buck we had, on the other hand, after breeding all of the does including the late one, started losing hair until he was practically bald. It happened over a number of months. We treated him a number of times according to the vet’s directions to no avail. He still ran around when he wasn’t freezing in the cold weather, ate well, hollered like the rest, but looked horrible. He is no longer with us. This was the goat with the strange story of purchase we wrote about on the other blog in this article – Goat Tales & the Stench.
This leaves us without a buck, or billy goat, except for the three that were born here in January. We’re on the look out for a new unrelated buck, but if necessity mandates, we will use one of these young ones for future breeding. We will ban two of them for wethers for meat, but keep one for a buck.
We have started making cheese for the season, two batches of mozzarella so far. We ran out of our cheddar a while back and bought some in several different stores. It all tastes the same, kind of like what we remember Velveeta would have tasted like. It’s the first cheese we have bought in years, we don’t remember the last time we bought any. The plan is to make a dozen wheels of cheddar and set them to age while eating fresh mozzarella for now and freezing a whole bunch. We are spoiled to our own cheese, to me, it is so much better.
You can find the beginning and progression of our cheese making experiences in many of the archive articles. I still make & drink kefir everyday. Frank has always been a milk drinker and prefers goat milk to any other he has had. We did appreciate Braum’s (a regional ice cream store that also has burgers and now some fresh market foods) going to A2 milk. When our does were dry, we bought milk there, usually six to eight gallons at a time since the store is 25 miles away and we don’t like to go to town very often. If you’re not familiar with A1 & A2 milk, look back in the archives. We were very glad we discovered the difference years ago and have tried to share the information far and wide. Our vet can’t drink cows milk without ending up on the floor with cramps. He can drink the A2 milk from Braum’s with no issues. If you don’t know the difference, check it out, it’s interesting information.
Now is the milking, cheese making season along with putting in the garden. As Bear Claw, from the movie Jeremiah Johnson would say, March is a green, muddy month down below, fit for farmers and such (or something like that – we have watched that movie many times, just not in the last decade or so). He’s right. It’s a busy time of year. A good busy. We planted blueberries and strawberries yesterday. Today we made bread and planted a few more things before a rainy spell comes upon us. We do the normal chores, milking the goats, feeding the chickens and gathering eggs, preparing for the rainy weather, planting more seedlings in the greenhouse. The things that make up our daily life.
It’s a busy time and that’s great. I’m glad we have this time to continue our chosen way of life. The choices appear to become more narrow with each passing day, with each new executive order, and attempted legislation. I have no way of predicting how the next few months or years will turn out, but the folks out there saying local, local, local are correct. Frank has made more contact with neighbors in the last few months than we have in years. It’s a good thing. We’ll give you an update on the garden soon with thoughts about planting every square inch with way more than we need.
Always do what you can for yourself, your family and any you deem worthy of your efforts. Work is not a dirty, four letter word. It is what feeds the body and soul. Literally.
We would love to hear what you think. Ideas that will help us all. How to raise animals, grow food, where to buy supplies. God knows we all need help at this point in time.
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.
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……
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.