What’s Growin’ In the Garden 4

Well folks, it truly is turning out to be a hot summer, isn’t it? Frank has long thought the unraveling of our society would come to pass about this time. The uncertainty of life affects us all in many different ways, even the earth is unsettled and behaving quite different. Gardens and pastures in these parts are not growing anything like they usually do. Some things do okay, not great, but okay. Other standard crops are barely growing or doing anything. I have found ONE squash bug this summer. ONE. By now they are normally here by the hundreds and the plants are dead. Instead, we have had many fewer yellow squash, but the plants are happy.

Today we pulled the beets and planted grocery store red potatoes. Yes, it’s very late to plant potatoes and it’s a toss up whether they will grow in the heat of the summer here. We weren’t going to grow any at all, but feel the need to grow more calories and nutrition.

Old beet patch, one new potato patch










More potatoes between the cabbage & sunflowers

                Here is a look at the rest of the garden.

Parsley in the front, carrots and yellow squash


Sweet potatoes on  stock panels are growing well.


Pinto beans, some are climbing and some are not….


Tomatoes are growing slowly with little production


Purple hull peas after 4 plantings


Okra, barely growing, and it’s mid June

Sunflowers for chicken feed


There are a number of cabbages that survived the worms.


Small pepper plants


Planted Thelma Sanders winter squash by wooden stakes today.


Apple with curculio infestation


I was very hopeful of a good fruit crop this year. Our young plums were loaded with fruit, but each had this little brown mark on it. Every plum dropped and now the apples are slowly joining in. I pick up half a dozen or so every other day as they fall and feed them to the chickens. I found a beneficial nematode that is supposed to help control curculio and applied them below the trees a month or so ago. My research indicates curculios may produce up to two generations per year, so I hope the nematodes are established enough to affect the second generation this summer. I don’t know if there will be any apples left to harvest or not, only time will tell.

Rather dismal outlook, isn’t it? It is definitely a strange growing season. As the COVID19 outbreak grew more serious, we decided to grow more food this year instead of less like we had planned. But the way the garden is performing, we don’t know how much food it will produce at all. If we were truly in dire straits and dependent upon this growing season for survival, it would be a very stressful situation indeed. Well. What if this is it? What if our life does depend upon this harvest?


Folks, we are in perilous times. Do everything in your power to have enough food for your family for the long term. It matters not if you grow one morsel, have food for your family. Do everything in your power to provide a safe environment for your loved ones. Between the virus, the economy, the riots, the anger and hatred, our country is a pressure cooker just waiting for the lid to blow. The tentacles of the enemy are long and well camouflaged. Distance is your friend.

Frank has been saying for many months that it is going to be a very hot summer. The summer is upon us with burning and death. There are a couple of videos at the end of this article that may give you pause. If nothing else, I hope they give you something to think about.

Food. You can’t have too much & without it you are dead.

Until next time – Fern



Books Are Amazing Tools

Some of this article was originally written on September 20, 2013, only four months after we started this blog and had a very small readership. I thought about doing a whole new article, then I thought about adding some things here and there to the original article, but what I’ve decided to do is use the old one as a base for a new article. We still use the books I talked about then, but now we have quite a few more as well. If you want to read the original unedited version, it is here, You Can NEVER Have Too Many Books.

I have been a reader all of my life and 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? What about when the power goes down, and stays down? What if you could never read an electronic version of anything again? We have bought ebooks, and now own a Kindle with a number of books on it. Quite some time ago we bought all of the past issues of Mother Earth News on CD and downloaded them on our computers, which has provided us a great wealth of information. Even if we had a solar panel system that would keep our computers charged and running, it would be a waste of energy to do so. Printed material is a necessity for information preservation and a tool that will prove invaluable when the internet goes down for good. I have to tell you, Frank and I will really, really miss the internet. It is a tremendous wealth of information, right at our fingertips. Let’s face it, we wouldn’t be having this ‘conversation’ if it weren’t for the internet. We wouldn’t have ‘met’ you and been able to share information, ideas and experiences if it weren’t for the electronic super highway. And sad as it may seem, I do believe that one day information will be passed by word of mouth again for a long, long time. I wonder how many old type set printing presses will be available to create books if we come to the point of TEOTWAWKI? I would surmise not many. And so I would encourage you to obtain or maintain a print copy of the information you frequently use. 

Here is a glimpse of 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, not anymore. Back then I told him, “You know what that means? We need more books!” So we got some, then some more and still some more. After a while, we had to have the floor leveled and  reinforced which was a worthwhile investment. By the way, this is the wall where most people would expect to see the big screen television. Not in our house. You will not find one television here. Computers, yes, televisions, no. An aside. We were listening to someone talking on the local repeater the other day, and this gentleman spoke of his seven televisions. SEVEN? Why in the world would anyone need SEVEN televisions? It’s beyond me to see any value in one, let alone seven. Okay, back to books.

A friend of mine, I have mentioned her several times, I told her the next time I mentioned her [back in 2013] I was going to give her a pseudonym. 

Grace, for by the grace of God we met and have become friends. 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. We have been trying to stock our library with many useful reference books over the past few years and continue to do so to this day. By the way, you can never have too many Bibles.

These two belonged to my mother when she was a young woman.

Patrice Lewis at Rural Revolution recently [September 18, 2013] reminded us in, A project’s that never done, 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 still a great idea.

We would like to share some of the many books we use as resources, and some we have read for knowledge and ideas, as well as entertainment. Here are some of our favorites by category and in no particular order.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 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 is my favorite bug book and 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  from Backwoods Home.

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.

Recently Leigh from 5 Acres & A Dream wrote an article about the book One Straw Revolution and how she was trying to increase her food production year round. Frank read this book before we were married. His copy is dated 1978. 

 

Leigh has also written a book about the adventure she and her husband have had in the process of developing a homestead titled, 5 Acres & A Dream The Book.

There are so many different resources that can be used in many different ways to increase food production. That’s what we’re trying to do with the greenhouse, so I will be revisiting the three books that we have dealing with year round food and greenhouse production, The Winter Harvest Handbook, Backyard Winter Gardening and Gardening in Your Greenhouse.

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Food Preservation

Stocking Up – the old and new version. This is a great book. It covers canning, freezing, drying and storing. It has things other books don’t. By the way, all of the recipes use honey, no sugar in this book.

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.

A book I have had for a while and just started using [now I use it each time] 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.

Another new adventure we have embarked on is making and eating fermented foods. This, of course, has necessitated a few more books. Do you get the feeling that I really love books? Yep. I really do. Some of the ‘same’ recipes in these books are quite different which I find very interesting. A little confusing sometimes when I’m trying to learn something new, but interesting never the less. Here they are: How to Ferment Vegetables, Real Food Fermentation, Making Sauerkraut, and Wild Fermentation.

Along the same lines of fermenting foods, we have added sourdough to our menu since the first writing of this article. The first few sourdough cookbooks I bought were a disappointment to me since they dealt mostly with fancy, elegant breads. This book, Baking with Natural Yeast has just the recipes and ideas for me.


Two more books that I have not put to good use yet, but I’m glad we have them are Apple Cider Vinegar and Vinegar. I finally found a recipe for simple, plain vinegar.

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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. I have found recipes that work great for chevre, mozzarella and cheddar in this book and still haven’t tried any of the others. I will be branching out and trying a different cottage cheese recipe before long, though, and I’ll let you know which book it comes out of.

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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 from Backwoods Home

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.

Here are two new medicinal herb books we have added to our collection, Healing Herbs and The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook. I like to compare notes between all of the different books if I am researching a new way to use an herb, or looking for a remedy.

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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 a very different temperament, and has turned out to be an excellent dog.

We have a number of books about goats, which I call 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. I have begun to use the Farm and Stable book a little more, when researching natural solutions to our animals needs.

Now that we’ve added pigs to the homestead, we’ve also added pig books. So far, these are our two references, Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs and Free Range Pig Farming, along with another one we have on our Kindle called Raising Pastured Pigs.

 
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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 [until she got her own chickens]. 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 [2012]. They are a great resource of information for living without electricity and growing or raising what you eat, or how to do without. There are many books that can help us in our quest to learn how to do things without the help of all of the modern conveniences. I was able to acquire an old set of Cyclopedias. I didn’t even know cyclopedia was a word until I saw these books that were published in 1913. I have looked through some of them, but haven’t sat down and read through any of them.

One thing I ran across dealt with why a war had started. I wonder if the perspective of someone from that time is different from the prevailing opinions of today. Why did I bring these books home? They may be a good resource for how to do things without all of the modern conveniences we are accustomed to these days.

 



 

So, to go back to the [original] 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 our preparations. 

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.

Frank has added a number of books on radio communications, along with some programming discs to our bookcase collections.

We have a small, older collection of children’s readers. As a teacher these books appealed to me. Now I see them as resources when we no longer have schools for children to attend. 



There are several survival/preparedness novel series we have read over the last few years that we have not only enjoyed, but learned from as well. A. American has an interesting series that starts out with an EMP and a long trip home to family. Glen Tate has the 199 Days series that begins with the drive to prepare for the collapse of society and ends with rebuilding a portion of the country. It’s a very interesting series that gives you some things to think about along the way.

We have a number of medical resource books on our shelves. We truly hope there does not come a day when we will need to rely on ourselves, the knowledge we have and the information found in these books. But if we do, I know we will be extremely grateful they are here.

And to top it off, two of these references were a recent gift. You can’t beat that.

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The printed word may be a very valuable commodity in the days, weeks, months and years to come. When a society depends upon something as fragile as a bunch of ‘0’s and ‘1’s to maintain  the vast wealth of knowledge we have come to expect to be accessible at our fingertips, they are bound to be disappointed. Sometimes for a few seconds, sometimes for up to a minute, or even a few minutes. What will happen when we no longer have access to electronic data? Period? So much knowledge will be lost and probably lost for good. If there is something you truly value and want to insure your accessibility to it in the future, get it in writing. Something you can hold in your hand. Yes, there are some disasters that will even take your books from you, and we can’t insure against all possibilities, but we can at least try. And besides all that, I love books!

Until next time – Fern

Gardening As If Your Life Depends On It

You may remember the article a week or so back titled, Survival Gardening Scenario. Well folks, the reason I wrote that is because I truly feel like we are living out that scenario in real life right now. There are so many indicators of catastrophic events that are almost on our doorstep, that I feel a great sense of urgency to

continue planting and growing as much food for Frank and I, as well as some for our animals, as I can. Normally I would not be turning new ground and planting new crops at the end of June. By now the summer is heating up and it’s much easier to sit in the house in the heat of the day, nice and cool in an air conditioned building, sipping coffee and reading this and that on the internet. But this is not the case on our homestead this year. Frank is pursuing completion of a number of projects as quickly as he can. Not only will these projects provide us with water, food, and comfort, they are investments in our survival. We can keep the money in the bank and lose it all in the coming world wide financial meltdown, or we can invest it in ways that will make our survival physically easier for us when the time comes.

We realize that not everyone is able to grow a garden because of location, physical limitations or restrictions where they live. There are other ways of insuring an adequate food supply for your family if you are in this situation. Please consider the message of this article in whatever situation you find yourself.

I want to share an article that Micheal Snyder, from The Economic Collapse, published today titled Lindsey Williams, Martin Armstrong and Alex Jones All Warn About What Is Coming In The Fall of 2015. I strongly recommend you read it and watch the videos. This is just one source of warning among many that the thin, fragile fabric that holds our world together is unraveling at an alarming pace. Mr. Snyder begins his article with these words. “Not since the financial crash of 2008 have so many prominent people issued such urgent warnings about a specific time period.  Almost daily now, really big names are coming out with chilling predictions about what they believe is going to happen during the second half of 2015.  But it isn’t just that these people have a “bad feeling” about things.  The truth is that we are witnessing a confluence of circumstances and events in the second half of this year that is unprecedented.  This is something that I covered in a previous article that went mega-viral all over the Internet entitled “7 Key Events That Are Going To Happen By The End Of September“.  Personally, I have never been more concerned about any period of time than I am about the second half of 2015.  And as you will see below, I am definitely not alone.

So, with all of that said, here is how our garden is doing. Over the past few days I have made a substantial dent in the crabgrass and weed population

out there. I recently had a phone call from a gardening friend that also feels a great sense of urgency about producing as much food as she can this summer. Last summer both she and I were hopelessly overwhelmed by the weeds that overtook parts of our gardens. The other day she proudly announced that she was keeping on top of the weeds and continuing to plant more and more. When her teenager asked why they had to plant so much, she was told to think of it as the only food they would have to eat for the winter. Chilling statement? I don’t think so. I think it is wise council. Well, I can’t say all of the weeds and grass are gone, but I have made some very good progress. Here is a run down of most of our crops.

A couple of days ago I harvested five smallish heads of cabbage and shredded them for another batch of sauerkraut. It wasn’t enough so I added one store bought head to fill up the crock. We took the kraut that was in the crock out and filled up four quart jars which are now being stored in a dark corner of the pantry. I’m sorry, but I didn’t take any pictures of the harvest or processing. Honestly, I have been doing a lot of things lately that I haven’t taken the time to take pictures for you. Until we started blogging I was never much of a picture taker, and now I feel guilty if I forget to take some for the blog. When I was out planting today, I stopped and came in and got the camera just so you would have something to look at in this post. Over the next few days I will start pulling the rest of the broccoli and cabbage plants and feeding them to the chickens, goats and pigs. Surprisingly, two of the broccoli plants finally put on small heads last week. Having broccoli produce heads in the hot summer of June is really unheard of here. It’s been a weird weather year. And yet, if you read Patrice Lewis over at Rural Revolution, you will find that late summer events are already happening in northern Idaho. Leigh at 5 Acres & A Dream is also having very dry weather over by the Appalachians, which has affected her garden. Weird weather all around the country.

 

The cowpeas are really producing. They are much happier now that they have been released from their overcrowded condition caused by a tremendous amount of crabgrass. This particular section was really overgrown and I feel much better now that I have it weeded.

The okra I replanted for the third time, between the rows of cowpeas are growing very well. And now that this area is weeded, they should really take off in this hot weather they prefer.

 

Our Cushaw squash is growing and producing very well. A few plants have died due to squash vine borers or rotting. I will replant these hills tomorrow to increase our yield. They are prolific here, which is great. They are good keepers and provide a lot of nutrition for both humans and animals.

 

 

We had our first mess of green beans last week. These plants are doing well. I am trying a new variety this year called the Missouri Wonder Bean. We’ll let you know what we think.

 
We have carrots growing here and there. Some by the collards and turnips, some on either side of the tomato trellis and some on either side of the green bean trellis. I think we will have a good amount to can this summer, which is very good.

 

 

Some of our yellow squash plants are doing well, and some aren’t. We have lost more of this variety than the others, so I will be replanting them as well. I would like to can as many pints as possible. I have canned squash for a couple of summers now and find them tasty and easy to use in many different dishes. We have been eating fresh squash for several weeks now, sauteed in butter with salt and pepper. It’s great!


Our tomatoes are doing good. This is another crop we will use to fill as many jars as we can. We will can plain tomatoes and salsa, which is what we use the most. An aside here. Last week we made chili from the tomato sauce we canned two years ago. You know what? It tasted sweet, even though we added no sweeteners at all. Since we have been on our low carb diet for over six months with no sugar at all, we were very surprised to find that the tomato sauce tasted sweet. Interesting.

We are growing Buttercup winter squash this year again. We have had good luck with them in the past, but not so this year. There are a few of them growing, but that’s it. It’s too bad too, because Buttercup tastes a lot like a sweet potato and they’re very good keepers. It looks like Cushaw will be the main winter squash crop.

The peppers I planted are finally growing, even though I lost a few more. I did buy two Jalapeno pepper plants just to make sure we had some. Since the cats stirred up the pepper plants like spaghetti before I got them planted, I’m not exactly sure what kind I have out here. I’m kinda sure that there are a few sweet pepper plants, Corno di Toro Red, a sweet Italian bullhorn that we really like, because they were the biggest plants in the tub before the cats got hold of them.

We still have beets growing here and there. I planted three short rows of beets, collards and spinach a few days ago since we don’t have enough of them. I also wanted to see how the collards will do in the hot summer. 

I pulled up about a quarter of the turnip patch the other day, then blanched and froze the greens. But first, I had to sort out all of the grass, weeds and bug eaten leaves. Sorry, no pictures. I will see if I can get the rest of them frozen this week. Then we will put up a trellis and plant more green beans.

The pinto beans in the new part of the garden are doing okay, but not great. They need to be weeded. In the next few days Frank is going to disc either side of this trellis again and I will be planting peanuts. It’s something we like to eat and they will help improve the soil in this new area of the garden.

I got out our Mantis tiller and worked over this end of the new garden section. I know it will be extra weedy and don’t expect the plants to do as well as the ones in the main garden, but I’m very, very glad we increased the size of our garden this year. Today I planted sunflowers and cowpeas. The purple hull peas we are growing vine out more than the black eyes we grew a few years ago. So this year I am trying to give them something to climb on. Here I planted cowpeas on either side of a row of sunflowers. We’ll see how that works.

This afternoon Frank brought down an old bale of hay for me to use as mulch in the garden. Now that I just about have a handle on the weeds, I will be mulching throughout the garden. This will help retain moisture, cool the roots of the plants in the hot summer, and help with weed control.

Next week as the barn lean-to project progresses, we will be working on the new garden area in the pasture again. It was put on hold because of all of the rain, then delayed again while we have the lean-to built onto the barn. I will be planting a variety of things in that pasture. The vegetables will have lots of competition with the weeds, and I won’t have as much time to tend that garden as the main one, so we will see how it produces. We will try to employ more hay mulch in this garden as well.

After the barn project is complete, the next project on the list is our greenhouse. I am very excited about this because it will provide us with the ability to grow food year round. We have never had a greenhouse or tried to grow food through the winter, so this will be a big learning curve for us. I already have a number of books and some supplies, but I’m sure there will be more to things to get that we haven’t thought of yet. I’ll take pictures of the process and explain our plans and reasoning behind them as the project unfolds.

There are many people that dismiss articles such as the one from Michael Snyder as doom and gloom. There are folks that make fun of preppers and homesteaders for the life style they have chosen to live. There are folks that accuse anyone that tries to prepare for a natural disaster or world wide calamity of being kin to Chicken Little running around exclaiming, “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” I agree with what Mr. Snyder said at the end of his article. If only it wasn’t so. If only we could keep sitting back in our air conditioned environment reading nice, comfy articles from the news and our blogger friends. But I truly believe it just ain’t gonna be so. There are too many different indicators that things are coming to a head. That our government is doing everything within it’s powers, which grow more everyday, to bring our country to it’s knees, negate any miniscule bit of freedom we have left and make our slavery to it’s wants, needs and desires complete. There are whisperings of war, World War, on the wind from different locations on the globe. The tensions among racial, ethnic and religious groups around the world are escalating in a way we haven’t seen or experienced before. The planet is like a giant powder keg just waiting for the perfect spark which will ignite a firestorm like we have never seen.

So, am I full of gloom and doom, shouting warnings about events that will never come to pass? Do I really need to be out there sweating and working like this food may mean life and death for Frank and I? Is it all for naught? I can only pray with all my heart that it is so.

Until next time – Fern

Survival Gardening Scenario

I have a scenario for you. Somehow, it doesn’t matter how, you have found conclusive evidence that there will be a catastrophic collapse of societies, governments and economies worldwide sometime between the end of October and the end of November this year. Remember, this is a fictional scenario I am giving you. There is already evidence of disruptions in the food supply for the coming months, along with sharply rising prices.The media dishes out a plethora of reasons for these problems that amount to nothing but more wasted oxygen by never ending talking heads. You have some things growing in your garden, enough that you can preserve some of it for winter. But now you realize that you need to grow food. A lot more food. As much as you possibly can, for the rest of the growing season in your area.

My questions are these. What will you grow? How will you preserve what you grow in the shadow of an impending collapse? Do you have the space, seeds, and supplies you need to do so? If not, are you still able to procure what you need?

I would really like to hear from as many people as possible. There is much we can teach each other, and I learn a lot from the differing perspectives, locations, and experience of the people that read here. So, please share your thoughts. An example. Our friend Grace down the road a ways, can grow things in her garden that we can’t grow. We can grow things that she can’t. I have bug problems she doesn’t and she has some that I don’t. It’s important to know what grows well in your garden, and how to preserve the harvest of your labor. Remember, this is a collapse scenario, so you can’t put it all in the freezer unless you have a reliable source of power.

The other day when I was out in the garden, I took stock of what is there. At the end of that exercise, I felt like there wasn’t much in the way of food quantities. I still have places that need to be replanted and have plans for those areas. There are crops that will soon be harvested leaving more space for additional crops that will grow into the fall. And yet, even with all of that planning, I felt like there wasn’t enough of a food supply to sustain Frank and I for the winter. 

When I posed this question to Frank he had a ready answer. Plant what grows here. Simple, direct and right on target. He said we know we can grow green beans. If we have enough green beans to eat everyday, great, that’s what we’ll eat. We also know we can grow squash, tomatoes, cowpeas, cucumbers, turnips, peppers, beets and carrots. Plant as many of all of these as you can. What we don’t preserve we can give away, and many of these crops are also great for our animals.

I have written articles about the nutritional contents of some of the vegetables we grow. My purpose was to see if the things we can grow will provide the nutrition we need to remain healthy and active in a collapse situation. I have yet to go back and evaluate the information on these vegetables as a group to see if they would meet our needs or not. But in the long run, what we can grow will be what we eat.

There are many ideas and scenarios I ponder from time to time. Some realistic, some idealistic, and some just down right silly, but this one has stuck with me like it is something very important that I need to pay attention to. We have many things vying for our attention right now at our homestead and I am not spending near the time in the garden I should. It continues to beckon me with it’s empty spaces. Spaces that need to be planted, for the time is near. There are many indicators that the fall of the year 2015 may be monumental in the history of our planet Earth. The world has become a much smaller place with the complexities of interwoven economies, food supplies and power struggles. The fall of the year may bring the fall of us all.

So, tell me. What would you grow and why?

Until next time – Fern

Do You Have Enough Jars & Canning Lids?

We are spending some time organizing, discarding, giving away & figuring. This morning I was going through our canning jars, regular canning lids, Tattler lids, and rings. As I did so, I pondered the possibilities. If these were the only jars, lids and rings I would ever have. Do I have enough? Do you?

With that pondering comes these thoughts. How many jars would I need to fill from our garden, chickens, goats and fruit to last a year until the next harvest was available? I really do appreciate the information we can find on the internet, and went on a quest. Here are a few articles I found that discuss how much food to raise or store, for a year.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How much to plant in your garden to provide a year’s worth of food?

Food Storage Calculator

TheFoodGuys.com – Food Storage Calculator 

Long Term Food Storage Calculator (uses Excel)

The Pantry Primer: How To Build a One Year Food Supply in Three Months

Peek Inside My Pantry – Use This Tool To Help Plan A Year’s Worth of Food and Supplies

How Much to Plant Per Person in the Vegetable Garden

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Okay. That’s enough for now. But, you see what I mean. We have been homesteading and gardening for years, but now we are getting very serious about trying to have on hand what we may need if the SHTF or TEOTWAWKI happens. Permanently. We’ve had many conversations

about how many jars of this or that we may need to last a year in ‘normal’ circumstances. But what if the electricity is off and we have no freezer, refrigeration, instant hot water, or anything that runs off of the grid? We depend on the freezer to preserve our meat, some cheese and some fruits and vegetables for now. If we didn’t have that luxury, and it really is a luxury that many people don’t enjoy, even in this day and age. So, if we didn’t have that luxury, and instead canned all of our meat, broth, dog food (organ meat and fats from butchering), lard, some milk, maybe butter and cheese, fruits and all of the vegetables, I go back to my original question. Do we have enough jars & canning lids?

Some other things I thought of. With jars, we have to plan on breakage. This happens sometimes during canning, or by accident. Ask Frank. I am a rather clumsy person. Regular canning lids can be reused, sometimes as many as three times. We know. We tried it just so we would know and wouldn’t have to hope or guess if we really needed them. But it is not a recommended practice. The Tattler lids can be reused many times if you take very good care of the gaskets. If I was solely dependent upon them, I would want to lay in a good supply of extra gaskets. And for Tattler lids to work, you must have rings. We’ve tried to devise a way to take extra good care of our rings to make them last as long as possible. When we are canning and our jars have sealed and cooled, we wash the rings, dry them well and store them so they won’t rust, thus prolonging their usefulness.

June 2013

Spring and the gardening season will be upon us soon. This year we are going to make a serious effort to can and store a year’s supply of food. Food that we produce here on our farm. Then, as we use it up, we will take stock of our jar, lid and ring supply. But until we have a more solid idea of our long term needs, we will continue picking up more jars and lids. Just in case. We have been surprised at the stock of canning supplies Wal-Mart has kept this winter. They usually don’t. I’m glad. We have picked up a few more lids.

The more I learn, the deeper I learn, and the more I realize how little I know. There are layers upon layers of knowledge to learn. I have barely scratched the surface.

Until next time – Fern

Wakey! Wakey! The Wolf Is At The Door – A Re-Post

Hello, Frank here.

A while back we started experimenting with re-posting some articles that are over a year old. The response has been fairly positive. We try to do one every couple of weeks, and since my wife is having surgery today, this would qualify as the premier day for a re-post. On another note, our blog is less than two years old, and the readership has steadily increased. For that we are truly thankful. So, every now and then we would like to reintroduce some of our older work that you may not have had the opportunity to read. I really hope you enjoy this one.

We’ll talk more later. Frank

Originally posted October 23, 2013

Wakey! Wakey! The Wolf Is At The Door


Hello, Frank here.

Let’s talk. Since my name is not Fern, then this article is going to have a slightly different slant to it. This is going to sound like a rant, because that’s what it is. Rants are not always organized and structured or in a pleasant flow. So, please bear with me.

I read lots of stories, articles or other rants that believe that the collapse that’s coming will be similar in nature to the collapse that occurred during the late 1920’s. Okay, some of my numbers here are not going to be precise, they are going to be rounded off. Maybe up, or maybe down, but you will get the general idea, if you have the ability to think. So, if I say 70% and it was actually 60% or maybe 80%, then please bear with me. Remember, this is a rant.

Back to the late 1920’s. The population of the United States was much smaller than it is today. The majority of the people still lived on a farm, let’s say 80%. Therefore, 20% of the people lived in

larger cities. Now remember, people in rural areas did not have electricity in the 1920’s or 30’s. Most of the people in rural areas raised most of their own food. Summer, winter, spring, fall they ate what came out of the earth. Many, many rural people were what we would call today, dirt poor. My information source here, was my father. He and his brother did not wear shoes for most of the winter and never wore shoes during the summer. So, he is my source of data, along with census data. 

So. Most people lived in the country. Most people raised their own food. Most people didn’t have electricity and everything that is associated with electricity. There were significantly fewer people in the United States. And many current authors tell us that we will get through this next depression or collapse or tyrannical government or whatever you want to call it, just like we got through the 1920’s collapse.

Now let’s look at today. We have a much larger population. That means more mouths to feed. The vast majority of people live in cities or suburbs, which conversely means, that very few people live in rural America, or on  

the farm. Almost everybody has electricity. So, what does this mean? Since the majority of people live in cities, that means that few, if any, raise their own food. Few or none, know how to preserve their own food,and all buy their food at the grocery store. Now those few that live in the country, are not living on a farm. For the benefit of discussion, yes, there are a handful that still live on a farm. But how many of that handful continue to raise all of their own food? Of that small handful, how many know how to preserve their own food? Get the picture here? 

It doesn’t matter what type of shutdown, collapse or apocalyptic event is GOING to occur, there is not going to be enough food to feed the

massive numbers of people, not even remotely close. Even in rural areas, extremely rural areas, most people have no idea how to raise, process and store food. And now, throw into the equation, there won’t be any electricity. So, all that meat you have stored in the freezer on the top of your refrigerator, sitting beside the popsicles and burritos will turn into stinking mush in about three days. 

Ladies and gentlemen. We are in significant trouble. Let me say that again. We are in a situation that we cannot recover from. I know folks that say

that they are going to go live in the forest and live off the land. Wake-y, Wake-y here fool! I know veteran, hard core, experienced hunters that laugh when they hear people say, and pardon me, unbelievably stupid things like that. There are many, many stories about mostly men, that have gone out into bush Alaska and had something to prove. Somebody normally finds them later. Going and living in the woods and hunting and feeding your family is not going to happen. 

Remember those people in the cities? They’re just going to go out and live with somebody in the country. A farmer, right? I hope they like 10,000 acres of soybeans or corn or milo or even wheat. They don’t need a farmer, what they need is a gardener and most farmers don’t raise gardens because they go to the grocery store and buy it. 

Before the shortages of guns and bullets lots of people thought that the idea of survival was who had the most guns and the most bullets. Some of these people watch way too much television. I know people that have never shot a gun that were buying guns and bullets. Like others write, buying a surf board, does not make you a surfer. Buying a gun does not make you a hunter, or give you the ability to pull the trigger when you need to. These are false delusions of illusions. 

Look at some of the facts presented above about population densities, and food production or preservation. Don’t get me wrong. I like guns and I like bullets, but I like shovels, hoes and seeds a whole lot better. I have even known people to buy these cans and five gallon buckets that have these survival seeds packed inside and they

wouldn’t no more know how to raise a garden than they would to fly a space shuttle. Can they learn to garden? Yes. Can they learn to fly a space shuttle? I guess so. I know 80 year old women that still wonder why their tomatoes make one year and the next year they don’t and they’ve been gardening for 65 years. I’m not saying that a bucket full of seeds is a bad thing. That reminds me. Where is my seed catalog? But gardening is an art, a skill, not something to be mastered in one year. The person that thinks they are going to raise a garden and produce food for their family in one year, got off the same bus as the guy that is going to go live in the forest and feed his family.

I hurt for those that can’t see or feel what is coming. There are signs everywhere, just look around. Our economy is in dismal, dismal shape and I live in a part of the world that is in pretty good shape. Look at society. Look at the stuff you do see on television or read in the news. Society is collapsing. The EBT cards shut down for a few hours. Can you imagine

what society will be like when the EBT cards shut down permanently? Our government leaders. Look at what’s happening in state capitals around our country. Look at some of the things that are happening that our parents and grandparents would have never thought possible.  There is a term called ‘normalcy bias’. Basically, this means what we learn to accept over time as normal. Our society is in serious, serious trouble. There are things that I cannot say in this blog that when I was a child, people went to jail for, what today is normal. We have perversion crammed down our throats everyday. This is normal. 

Okay. Let’s see. Our economy cannot be saved. Okay. Next. Society

can’t be saved. Our political arena is unbelievably corrupt and is a massive cesspool. This next statement is only going to be said once, listen carefully. Christianity is under attack worldwide. That means here, in the United Sates, Christianity is under attack also. The future does not look good for it’s survival. Pay attention. We are under attack.

Now, let me go back to the first part of this rant. Many writers will tell you that we survived the Great Depression and we will survive the next one too. And these are the people giving you the bad news. Not to mention those that are telling us that everything is okay and that “things are getting better”. I borrowed that last line from the Postman. Folks, we are in serious, serious trouble and I really don’t know if we are going to survive this. The world is not going to be the same world when this thing happens. Hold your family close. Prepare yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and temporally and with the help of God we will do the best we can.

That’s it for now. Maybe we’ll talk more later. It’s time to wake-y wake-y.

Frank

Wake-y! Wake-y! The Wolf Is At The Door

Hello, Frank here.

Let’s talk. Since my name is not Fern, then this article is going to have a slightly different slant to it. This is going to sound like a rant, because that’s what it is. Rants are not always organized and structured or in a pleasant flow. So, please bear with me.

I read lots of stories, articles or other rants that believe that the collapse that’s coming will be similar in nature to the collapse that occurred during the late 1920’s. Okay, some of my numbers here are not going to be precise, they are going to be rounded off. Maybe up, or maybe down, but you will get the general idea, if you have the ability to think. So, if I say 70% and it was actually 60% or maybe 80%, then please bear with me. Remember, this is a rant.

Back to the late 1920’s. The population of the United States was much smaller than it is today. The majority of the people still lived on a farm, let’s say 80%. Therefore, 20% of the people lived in

larger cities. Now remember, people in rural areas did not have electricity in the 1920’s or 30’s. Most of the people in rural areas raised most of their own food. Summer, winter, spring, fall they ate what came out of the earth. Many, many rural people were what we would call today, dirt poor. My information source here, was my father. He and his brother did not wear shoes for most of the winter and never wore shoes during the summer. So, he is my source of data, along with census data. 

So. Most people lived in the country. Most people raised their own food. Most people didn’t have electricity and everything that is associated with electricity. There were significantly fewer people in the United States. And many current authors tell us that we will get through this next depression or collapse or tyrannical government or whatever you want to call it, just like we got through the 1920’s collapse.

Now let’s look at today. We have a much larger population. That means more mouths to feed. The vast majority of people live in cities or suburbs, which conversely means, that very few people live in rural America, or on  

the farm. Almost everybody has electricity. So, what does this mean? Since the majority of people live in cities, that means that few, if any, raise their own food. Few or none, know how to preserve their own food,and all buy their food at the grocery store. Now those few that live in the country, are not living on a farm. For the benefit of discussion, yes, there are a handful that still live on a farm. But how many of that handful continue to raise all of their own food? Of that small handful, how many know how to preserve their own food? Get the picture here? 

It doesn’t matter what type of shutdown, collapse or apocalyptic event is GOING to occur, there is not going to be enough food to feed the

massive numbers of people, not even remotely close. Even in rural areas, extremely rural areas, most people have no idea how to raise, process and store food. And now, throw into the equation, there won’t be any electricity. So, all that meat you have stored in the freezer on the top of your refrigerator, sitting beside the popsicles and burritos will turn into stinking mush in about three days. 

Ladies and gentlemen. We are in significant trouble. Let me say that again. We are in a situation that we cannot recover from. I know folks that say

that they are going to go live in the forest and live off the land. Wake-y, Wake-y here fool! I know veteran, hard core, experienced hunters that laugh when they hear people say, and pardon me, unbelievably stupid things like that. There are many, many stories about mostly men, that have gone out into bush Alaska and had something to prove. Somebody normally finds them later. Going and living in the woods and hunting and feeding your family is not going to happen. 

Remember those people in the cities? They’re just going to go out and live with somebody in the country. A farmer, right? I hope they like 10,000 acres of soybeans or corn or milo or even wheat. They don’t need a farmer, what they need is a gardener and most farmers don’t raise gardens because they go to the grocery store and buy it. 

Before the shortages of guns and bullets lots of people thought that the idea of survival was who had the most guns and the most bullets. Some of these people watch way too much television. I know people that have never shot a gun that were buying guns and bullets. Like others write, buying a surf board, does not make you a surfer. Buying a gun does not make you a hunter, or give you the ability to pull the trigger when you need to. These are false delusions of illusions. 

Look at some of the facts presented above about population densities, and food production or preservation. Don’t get me wrong. I like guns and I like bullets, but I like shovels, hoes and seeds a whole lot better. I have even known people to buy these cans and five gallon buckets that have these survival seeds packed inside and they

wouldn’t no more know how to raise a garden than they would to fly a space shuttle. Can they learn to garden? Yes. Can they learn to fly a space shuttle? I guess so. I know 80 year old women that still wonder why their tomatoes make one year and the next year they don’t and they’ve been gardening for 65 years. I’m not saying that a bucket full of seeds is a bad thing. That reminds me. Where is my seed catalog? But gardening is an art, a skill, not something to be mastered in one year. The person that thinks they are going to raise a garden and produce food for their family in one year, got off the same bus as the guy that is going to go live in the forest and feed his family.

I hurt for those that can’t see or feel what is coming. There are signs everywhere, just look around. Our economy is in dismal, dismal shape and I live in a part of the world that is in pretty good shape. Look at society. Look at the stuff you do see on television or read in the news. Society is collapsing. The EBT cards shut down for a few hours. Can you imagine

what society will be like when the EBT cards shut down permanently? Our government leaders. Look at what’s happening in state capitals around our country. Look at some of the things that are happening that our parents and grandparents would have never thought possible.  There is a term called ‘normalcy bias’. Basically, this means what we learn to accept over time as normal. Our society is in serious, serious trouble. There are things that I cannot say in this blog that when I was a child, people went to jail for, what today is normal. We have perversion crammed down our throats everyday. This is normal. 

Okay. Let’s see. Our economy cannot be saved. Okay. Next. Society

can’t be saved. Our political arena is unbelievably corrupt and is a massive cesspool. This next statement is only going to be said once, listen carefully. Christianity is under attack worldwide. That means here, in the United Sates, Christianity is under attack also. The future does not look good for it’s survival. Pay attention. We are under attack.

Now, let me go back to the first part of this rant. Many writers will tell you that we survived the Great Depression and we will survive the next one too. And these are the people giving you the bad news. Not to mention those that are telling us that everything is okay and that “things are getting better”. I borrowed that last line from the Postman. Folks, we are in serious, serious trouble and I really don’t know if we are going to survive this. The world is not going to be the same world when this thing happens. Hold your family close. Prepare yourself mentally, physically, spiritually and temporally and with the help of God we will do the best we can.

That’s it for now. Maybe we’ll talk more later. It’s time to wake-y wake-y.

Frank