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A Reality Check for Those Who Plan to Start a Prepper Homestead AFTER the SHTF

Daisy Luther
October 17th, 2018
The Organic Prepper
Comments (58)
Read by 4,668 people

This article was originally published by Daisy Luther at The Organic Prepper

Lots of preppers are convinced that they’re going to “live off the land” should the world as we know it come tumbling down around our ears. Seed banks are stockpiled, books are purchased, and people are confident that they’ll be able to outlive everyone else based on the sweat of their inexperienced brows.

But this may not be the best of ideas for some folks.

If you’ve been at it for a while, having a homestead can be a wonderful survival plan and a rewarding lifestyle. But if you think you’re going to go straight from the city to live off the land, you’re in for a horrible – and potentially fatal –  surprise.

A prepper homestead is something that must be built over a period of time – it’s absolutely not a plug-and-play solution, regardless of the number of survival seed packets you have carefully stashed away. Homesteading for survival is not a good plan if you have never done it before. No matter how hardworking you are, homesteading takes time. Time for learning, time for mistakes, and time for your plans to come to fruition.

When you do eat a meal in which all the ingredients were produced by you, on your own land, it will be the most delicious, gratifying meal you’ve ever eaten. But it’s a long road to get there.

A prepper homestead isn’t as easy as you may think.

If a prepper homestead is your survival plan, let me give you some advice: STORE. FOOD.

You are going to have to have something to get you through that first year when your farm doesn’t produce diddly squat.

As anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows, my family is prone to new adventures. We’ve moved from a large city to a cabin in the North Woods, where I discovered I knew nothing about building fires and living in the wilderness. We drove across the continent to move from Ontario, Canada, to the West Coast, where I had to rebuild my preps from the ground up since US Customs would not allow us to bring our food supplies across.

Another year, our adventure was food production. My daughter and I moved to a small farm, eager to polish up a new skill set and build that idealized prepper homestead that many of us dream about.

After only a few months there, I realized it was my duty to announce that while raising your own food is a noble goal, it’s not as easy as people seem to think. It was way harder and more time-consuming than I expected.

Of course, shortcuts do exist to help you circumvent all of these issues. If you have lots of money, you can shorten the amount of time it takes for your farm to be productive. The shortcuts all seem to cost a lot more money than the hard-work-method, and if you’re getting into self-reliance on a dime, they may not be practical or affordable. The other issue is, you may not even know the issue exists until it smacks you in the face and you’re chasing a goat down the road in your pajamas, frantically waving your arms to warn approaching pickup trucks to slow down so they don’t mow down your livestock. (Ask me how I know this.)

The real truth is, raising your own food takes time, experience, and skill. It isn’t something you undertake after the SHTF. If a self-reliant homestead is your survival strategy, you need to start now.

The garden

Unless you’re Jack, the possessor of magic beans that grow to prolific heights overnight, you’re going to get awfully hungry waiting for your garden to feed you. The first year a garden is grown in a new place, you learn about all sorts of foibles of your location, things you’d never know unless you have taken the effort to create your own salad bar.

Some folks get lucky and end up with a lush green jungle from the very first season, but for most of us…well, let’s just say that my daughter and I would struggle to live for a week on the calories produced by that first year’s garden.

We had all of the plagues this year that condemned us to gardening failure. First, we moved late in the season, but I had nurtured my veggies in buckets, so I assumed I’d transplant them and they’d magically grow.

Alas, on the first night, they fattened up the local deer. If I shot a deer that got fed by my vegetable plants, would that count towards the success of my gardening efforts? Because that would substantially up the caloric bounty.

So, I re-fenced, got a big dog, and replanted. Then, like something out of a sci-fi movie, freaking GOPHERS yanked the plants down by the roots and made them vanish. All that remained was a fluttering leaf here and there.

I dug out my raised beds, laid hardware cloth at the bottom, and refilled them. Then I replanted again. By this time, it was late July and we had a heatwave. Many of the new plants didn’t survive the blazing 110 degree days, despite shadecloth and plentiful water. Some of the ones that did survive got peed on by the dog I got to protect them from the deer and immediately withered from being drenched in urine.

Did I mention hornworms? They decimated several of my tomatoes and peppers overnight. OVERNIGHT! I watered in the evening and things looked great. The next morning, half of my plants looked as though they’d been scalped. Out of a sense of vengeance, I threw those hornworms in the chicken run to be pecked, tortured, and eaten alive. Take that, you evil little jerks.

That year, all I got was tomatoes and peppers from the plants I saved. Thankfully, we’re big fans of salsa and marinara, but we did not have enough to live off. In four months on my little prepper homestead, I basically produced a large salad.

This is all part of the game, though.

Next year was better because I put into place what I’ve learned. I got a deer-proof fence, I gopher-proofed my raised beds, I figured out how to keep my dog out of the lower beds by placing barriers at the corners after he peed on my favorite tomato plant. Once I harvested the last tomato, I got a cover crop ready to go into the beds to enrich the soil and feed my chickens over the winter. And to greater express my determination, I enrolled in a master gardener’s course through my county extension office, where I learned a lot that was specific to my area and climate.

I did successfully grow food the second year. But not enough to feed us for an entire year. And if we’d had to live off of that first year’s harvest, we’d have died of starvation in a month or so.

Also, those seed banks you’ve stashed away? They’re probably not going to feed your family on a long-term basis. Here’s what a lifelong farmer had to say about them.

Shortcuts:

As I mentioned above, shortcuts are expensive and all of these may not be realistic or fall within your budget.

  • Start out protecting your garden from all possible foragers by building a deer-proof, gopher-proof area before you ever plant a seed.
  • Test your soil and amend it with stuff from the nursery to provide the perfect growing medium for your veggies. (Add these kits to your stockpile so that you can test your soil regularly throughout the season.)
    Take a class from locals, geared towards your environment.
  • Install a drip irrigation system.
  • Pay a master gardener to help you get your garden established.
  • The best (and most expensive) shortcut? Move to a place with existing fruit trees, established gardens, and permaculture fixtures.

The eggs

Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

In farming, it’s the chicken. The chickens come well, well, before the eggs. Like, at least 6 months before.

There’s a lot more to backyard egg production than throwing some feed into a henhouse or opening the door to let your birds free-range and telling them to be sure and deposit their eggs neatly in the bins provided to them.

First, many people start with little baby chicks. Not only are they flippin’ adorable, but they’re way cheaper than adult birds. You get to know exactly what they’ve eaten for their entire lives, which means you know whether they’ve been consuming antibiotics or hormones, and can alter their diets to fit your personal food philosophies.

But chicks are fragile. Out of my first batch of 8, five died.  FIVE. More than 50%. I felt like an unwilling serial killer of baby animals. Since my subsequent batches have flourished with the exact same care, I suspect there was some illness from the feed store where I purchased them. Baby chicks need special food, an environment that is safe from predators, and a heat source so that they can maintain the right body temperature. Of course, you have to be careful with the heat lamp or you can set your coop on fire, something that very nearly happened to me, but mercifully, we caught it just in time.

When they get big enough, you have to teach them where the water is and put them in a safe place where they won’t be eaten by predators. We have raised chickens in a large covered run that keeps them protected while allowing them fresh air and some freedom and we have free-ranged them. Free-ranging is less work and costs a bit less, but it has more risk. Free range hens often enjoy laying eggs in places other than their nesting boxes, too.

Keep in mind that when it’s too cold or too hot, your chickens won’t lay eggs. If there is a predator sniffing around the coop at night, they won’t lay eggs. When they molt, they will lay fewer eggs. Hens of laying age are actually no guarantee of fresh eggs on a daily basis.

Shortcuts

  • Have a predator-proof coop built for you by someone who has raised chickens. You’ll need a floor that nothing can dig under, good door latches, a sturdy top, shade, nesting boxes, and roosts.
  • Install an automatic waterer that refills when it gets too low.
  • Buy full-grown, already laying chickens.

The milk

Everyone thinks of cows when they think of milk. A calm, productive dairy cow is a wonderful thing. However, this is not an instant kind of thing either. If you get a calf, you should know that cows should not be bred before 15 months, and may not reach maturity until they are 22 months of age. Cow gestation is 9 months, like humans. So you’re looking at about two and a half years or more before you can get so much as a drop of milk from a cow that you bought as a calf. Their poop is enormous, smelly, and draws flies, which is a problem if you don’t have a lot of land for them to roam on. Cows are also quite expensive to purchase and they eat way more than goats, so for the homesteader on a budget, goats are a better option.

Goats come with their own set of difficulties. If you go and get a couple of female baby goats with the intention of bottle feeding them to make them friendly, that’s awesome. You will succeed in having the sweetest goats around, and they’ll follow you around the homestead like a dog. What they won’t do is give you milk for at least a year and a half. 18 months of feeding for them, caring for them, shoveling their poop, and cleaning their stalls.

You should not breed a goat until she’s a year old. Then, if the breeding takes, you have 5 months of waiting for babies. Then, you have a couple of weeks where she’s producing colostrum for her kids, which you should never, ever take. Finally, you have milk. FINALLY. And it’s delicious. But that first glass is the most long-awaited glass of milk you will ever sip.

Goats are cute but can be a total pain in the rear. If you give them a cardboard box full of veggie scraps, they’ll eat the box and ignore the vegetables.  They will climb on your vehicle and dent it with their little hooves of destruction. If you fence them in, they will get through, around, or over your fence. No matter how many acres you give them to romp on, whatever is on the opposite side of the fence is what they must have.

Our 10-month-old goat discovered that she fit through our gate and we had to chase her down the road that led to our farm one day. In pajamas, since it was morning and we weren’t dressed yet. We ran hardware cloth through the bars on the gate and that kept her in. At least at that exit point. There’s a project every day with goats. Here’s some GREAT information on housing your goats that I wish I’d seen at the beginning.

Shortcuts

  • Fence your grazing area with goat-proof fencing. Once you’ve had goats, you will know that they can jump over, climb through, open the gate, or knock down just about anything you put up.
  • Buy cows or goats that are already producing milk. You’ll need more than one mama animal because a) goats and cows are herd animals and b) you can give one mama a break while the other is producing.
  • Plant hay. If you have enough space you can greatly reduce your food bill this way.

The meat

Meat is also far from instant. The closest thing to instant meat is going to be rabbits. Cute, fluffy rabbits. They breed quickly and prolifically and are mature by the age of  8-12 weeks, at which time they can be butchered for food. Below, you can see the ages at which these animals can be butchered for meat:

  • Chickens 16-20 weeks
  • Ducks 24-28 weeks
  • Turkeys 24-28 weeks
  • Rabbits 8 weeks
  • Lambs 10-15 months
  • Goats 12 months
  • Pigs 8-10 months
  • Cows 18-24 months

Of course, this is the age of maturity in the best of all possible worlds. The world that contains premium feed, the ability to pick it up from the feed store, and a controlled environment safe from predators. If your animals are free-ranging, they’re going to grow more slowly and be leaner since they’re working for their food. If you have selected heritage breeds, they grow more slowly still than the hybrids that are bred specifically for a speedy maturity. As you can see, this isn’t an instant gratification kind of thing.  Add an SHTF long-term disaster to the mix, and you’re looking at quite some time before you can harvest meat.

It gets even trickier when you want to develop a breeding program on your farm in order to raise your meat. Then, you must add in the time for the mother animal to become mature, waiting for the right time to breed her, and then waiting for the gestation period to be over. Literally, we’re talking about years before you have meat production for many species.

Then there’s the butchering. Are you going to be able to slaughter the animal you saw born, raised from a little baby, and perhaps gave a clever name to?  Lots of people are fine with this, but many others will find that it’s much harder than they expected. Humanely dispatching an animal takes experience and the right tools. Cleaning and butchering the animal is also not something you can dive right into. If you’re lucky, you’ll have some farmer friends who will help you the first time or two. It’s an enormous job and you run the very real risk of spoiling your meat if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Shortcuts

  • Buy animals that are just past the fragile stage and raise them to maturity
  • Stock up on a whole full of pellet food and hay for your livestock
  • Have your property professionally fenced.
  • Buy a property that is fenced and contains housing for various types of livestock
  • Get to know local farmers and learn all you can from them. They can help you prevent expensive mistakes.

Reality check: You’re probably going to fail

So, you might read this article and think I’m telling you that a prepper homestead is an unrealistic survival plan. That’s not the case at all.

What I’m telling you is that a prepper homestead has to be created well before a disaster strikes. You have to figure out:

  • How you’ll care for your crops and animals.
  • How you’ll nourish them.
  • How you’ll protect them.
  • How you’ll water them.
  • How you’ll harvest the food.

And honestly, you’ll probably fail to do one or all of these things correctly at some point.

You have to learn many of these things from experience. My experience can’t teach you because my setting is entirely different. You may have different predators, a different climate, different physical challenges – every single family’s circumstances will be unique. The only way to predict the problems and overcome them is to experience them in the first place. And trust me, it’s way better to experience failure when the feed store and the hardware store are only a short drive away.

Be sure to have back-up plans.

While it’s incredibly important to take every step you can towards self-reliance, it is equally vital to have a backup plan. Have these things to fall back on:

Share your own homesteading lessons

Most of us learn our homesteading lessons through failure. Something we thought would work, did not. Are you raising your own food? What did you learn the hard way? Please share your experiences from your prepper homestead in the comments below.

The Pantry Primer

Please feel free to share any information from this article in part or in full, giving credit to the author and including a link to The Organic Prepper and the following bio.

Daisy is a coffee-swigging, gun-toting, homeschooling blogger who writes about current events, preparedness, frugality, and the pursuit of liberty on her websites, The Organic Prepper and DaisyLuther.com She is the author of 4 books and the co-founder of Preppers University, where she teaches intensive preparedness courses in a live online classroom setting. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter,.

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Author: Daisy Luther
Views: Read by 4,668 people
Date: October 17th, 2018
Website: https://www.theorganicprepper.com/

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58 Comments...

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  1. Eisenkreutz says:

    A woman will now head the army’s largest unit.

    Women have no business being in the police or military whatsoever. The more women involved in politics, the more oblivious a country is to reality.

    White women side with muslims over their own men. As if white men who pay 75% of the taxes are somehow oppressing them.

    I hate them. I hate the fact that a woman can have any standing other than cattle.

    Women must be dominated by men in order for a society to thrive.

    They’re too immature to handle any big responsibility.

    Day by day my suspicions are confirmed to me.

  2. Eisenkreutz says:

    The Pyrenees have a higher standard of living than America does. Its extremely clean and upscale and the people are extremely friendly.

  3. Nailbanger says:

    The biggest thing people underestimate with regards to homesteading is the learning curve.
    Unless you are already actively doing all of the various disciplines involved you will have a much higher chance of failure. I can vouch for failures, even though ive been growing stuff for over a decade i still have stuff go wrong, weather, bugs, varmints, the neighbors cow, you name it, homesteading is a veritable murphies law paradise at times. Many times a failure can be from something completely out of your control.
    The statement made before is that the situation is dynamic, ie, subject to change on a dime!
    Or in other words fluid,,,,
    Oh how fluid it can be. See if you can get much of a harvest if you het 2 weeks of pouring rains, or a heard of deer knock your fence down and eat everything. It can happen!

    • The Deplorable Renegade says:

      Nailbanger, good points. My relatives have been homesteading for about 3 decades now and already have all the bugs worked out. No bugging out for them since they’ve already been raised in the lifestyle. Once I get there permanently there will be things for me to learn but I believe I can adapt to it.

    • Genius says:

      You nailed that nailbanger! People have dillusions of grandeur thinking off grid is easy or simple and they try it and FAIL BADLY! I sometimes watch the show homestead rescue and I tell you what….. NONE of those morons are smart enough to live offgrid! It just showcases my point that people with no experience should NEVER dump their cozy life and think they can just move into the mountains. I learned a shitload from my fist experience with that (never quit my job). Now with my second place I had a lot more knowledge and did it right. It is my playground for cool ideas and people are amazed at how cool it is. A labor of love that was done 85% by myself and designed off an idea and a napkin lol. I wish you could see it!

    • Norrak says:

      Homesteading a very demanding life style and is definitely a learning experience. It’s a good experience giving great satisfaction in knowing you CAN do it, and reaping the rewards of your hard work.

    • Son of patriot says:

      So true. When growing stuff you just about have to nearly live beside your garden to protect it from everything, varmints, critters, bugs, deer. Even then, it has to have good soil.

      More and more, ex-urb and sub-urb people try to plant gardens in ground that has been previously moved by bulldozer for previous building sites (even 100 years ago). Then they wonder why nothing will grow there. It’s hard to find “virgin” ground, or ground previously only dedicated to the wild or agriculture.

  4. Eisenkreutz says:

    Stop focusing so much on extreme rabid individualism and focus on rebuilding white supremacy and patriarchy in the style of our ancestors (not baby boomer apes I mean the pilgrims).

  5. Learn a trade or two. Take courses in high school, night school, or junior college, or get into an apprenticeship program with an employer. Read up on your own BEFORE you begin. Learn the words that apply to the subject. That is half the battle of learning a new subject. That way you can concentrate on performance and on helping others in your class. Demonstrating leadership by being willing to contribute will get you better grades and promotions at work. It prepares you to run your own business, whether it be in a trade or as a homesteader/farmer/rancher.

    These things I have learned from my own experience and from observing others around me. I recommend experimenting with whatever you can on a small scale before going big. Get a pet rabbit. Get a caged bird. Plant a few flowers or grow a house plant. Keep a few fish in a fish tank. Get a dog and a cat. See what it takes to care for animals and plants on a small scale before going hog wild. And yes, consider raising pigs if you eat pork. But start with chickens and or rabbits.

    _

    • Genius says:

      Great post B! We have graduated to 2 cats, a dog, and a bunny, (all live in the house lol). Rabbits are easy to litterbox train and make good pets. Just be sure to bunnyproof wires etc. We haul them back and forth to the cabin in summer and other times and they love the change. We had chickens but being away so much it was just a pain. If you are going to have livestock you need to be anchored to one place. There are hundreds of cows by the cabin so (use yer imagination).

    • Kevin2 says:

      “get into an apprenticeship program with an employer.”

      I spent my working life in the Pet Chem / Oil Refining industries. Neither have had apprentices since 1982. They all fed off of the abundance of laid off tradesmen from the neighboring closed facility. The Philadelphia Navy Yard, by itself supplied thousands with its closure in the early 90s. The evisceration is such that there are so few industries remaining that their demand is insignificant.

  6. Arby5 says:

    Hurricane Michael just came through and in addition to massive flooding and washing out roads and culverts it knocked a bunch of trees down on top of every body’s fences no less. The guy I log with had more than 30 trees fall on his fences (100 acre place)

    Needles to say we have plenty of saw logs and trees to cut up for firewood.

    Make sure you have plenty of water for your critters. We use more than 5 gallons a day just to water them.

    Several days without electricity makes you realize how much time it takes to keep up with the generator and rotating power to the well pump, freezers and such. Still had enough to run the air conditioner but not with everything else on.

    • Nailbanger says:

      Back in the 90s a hurricaine, i think Andrew, blasted Fla, i had been looking into buying a wood mizer, after seeing all of the videos of log yards stuffed full of beautiful logs and lumber from blow downs i got my first LT30, out of destruction can come beauty!

  7. NorseMan says:

    If you try chickens or goats or tomatoes or corn you will get roving gangs instead of hookworms. You won’t be able to buy seed or fertilizer or baby chicks or canning lids or gasoline (etc).

    If the S starts moving toward the F I am getting out of Dodge to someplace else in the world where I can use the skills I do have to earn a meager living. Learn Spanish or Eastern European languages, and learn several basic skills or hobbies that are universally in demand. If the S is not real bad there will be pockets of such places left all over the US too.

    The S is most likely to happen in places where the government runs out of other people’s money and the people expect the government to provide a higher standard of living than the economy can afford.

  8. Nicus says:

    Geez. When will people figure out that its not going to be Sunnybrook Farm after SHTF. Don’t waste time or energy raising meat and dairy. Consider the Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) of meat and dairy animals. This is the ratio of feed calories consumed to the calories of food produced. Among the best FCR of common farm animals is the chicken. You need to feed a chicken about 1.6-2 calories of feed to get one calorie of meat or eggs. Its a loosing game. If you have grand plans of raising so much excess food that you can afford to feed it to animals, than go right ahead, but you don’t need meat. You do need calories. Learn to grow and eat high calorie density plants that can be easily stored and that will sustain you with more than adequate levels of protein, fat, and carbohydrates. Potatoes, squash, beans, and grains like corn, wheat, and rye. Eat the corn yourself, don’t feed it to animals till you can actually grow 3-4 times what you need.

    Also, keep in mind that animal products don’t store well whereas grains, beans, squash, and potatoes do. You need to be able to sustain yourself through periods of poor weather and lost crops.

  9. +one thing not alot of people think about when they move to the sticks is what kind of courthouse and LEO’s are in the area…you will find that alot of them can be rogues from other counties or other states with skeletons in the closet…as well as the county courthouse where the county seat is at…sometimes you will find out that alot of the officials in the counties that are rural have rogue elements within as well…corruption in the rural areas have a tendency do be just as bad as the city or worse…that is one thing that we found out the hard way out here in the rural high plains…be ware and stay vigilant–watch out for the rogue elements with the county you move to–its kind of sad when you have to be more afraid of the dirty LEO’s and county officials more than the outlaws out here….try not to get caught up in the local drama(like tweeker thieves and such)

  10. Kevin2 says:

    The masters at this are the Amish. I don’t know if or how one becomes a convert but being close if not among them would be good. Hide the AR15 from them of course.

  11. Night Wolf says:

    This is a great article, well written and drives home a point I hadn’t given much thought to. While I have been putting things back for years, the idea that I’d just be able to go “homestead” somewhere and live off the land is totally unrealistic for me. With the way the economic picture is shaping up to be, there’s no way I can buy land, or a house. The region I live in is so inflated, that the possibility of me being able to afford anything is way out of reach. Sadly, what it will most likely be in an SHTF scenario, is I will, out of necessity to survive, turn into a wolf… Either that, or fall on my sword. This really sucks =/

  12. Good article.

    We raised meat rabbits and chickens for a number of years. The rabbits were easy, but feed was available at the mill. The kids got attached to them and if they found out they were in the supper they wouldn’t eat it. So you had to hide it in stew or chili or soup.

    Chickens weren’t too hard, but like I said, feed was at the store. Free ranged them, but still had to buy feed for the winter. Never got that solved. I incubated and hatched eggs to replace chickens every year. Culled the roosters for broilers. I could never get the sexing right so I generally got about 50% males.

    Finally, last year a big blow came through and knocked an ash tree down on top of the chicken house and demolished it and killed half the chickens. I gave up after that for a while.

    We did sell the excess eggs and that paid for the feed for as long as I had the chickens plus we got our meat and eggs basically for no money (not FREE if you count the daily labor in).

    In a SHTF situation you would need to save all your excess eggs for over the winter and when they are not laying. Mineral oil works good to save them.

    It’s good to know how to raise food, but if you live in an area that doesn’t have a year round growing season, you will have problems keeping animals in feed over winter if the SHTF. Unless you have plenty of land and the labor to work it to grow feed ahead. The Amish put up a bunch of silage for their cows and the chickens feed off that over winter, but you would need a large operation to do the same.

    Face it, most of us will starve after our stash gets used up. Too many problems that would have been solvable if it was the 19th century…but it’s not. No beasts of burden or the implements they used to pull (unless you’re Amish…and they are already prepared).

    Anyway, Rich99 said nothing was going to happen. So far he’s been right.

  13. I have a 100 square miles of forest behind my 15 acres. But there are very few water sources in those 100 square miles.

    I live on a creek, which ran dry this summer.

    The mountain lions visited in June and again in September. Lost 2 cats and 1 bird in June, another bird a few weeks ago.

    I had spent the year planting and caring for about 32 fruit trees. I gave each of them a 6 foot high fence – to protect them from the deer.

    That was less necessary this year, because there were no deer.

    One of my neighbors went berserk, because he likes the baby quail etc. When there is no water, the closest many animals can get to a glass of water is, eating a baby quail. The neighbor was upset by their disappearance, and blamed it on my cat. He called me on September 5 and informed me that he will kill my cat.

    Long story short, if you think you’re going to shoot the deer for food, well, sometimes the dry weather and the mountain lions have a different idea.

    If I needed to live on game this summer, the answer to that is obvious when the sun sets. It’s like a Skunk Convention. They are attracted to my fountains etc.

    I learned one thing – pigs can free range just like chickens.

    Of course, if you have pigs, how do you protect them from a mountain lion ? Well, you will need something bigger than a German Shepherd, like a Maremma.

    But then you need to feed the Maremma.

    Better have a lot of food stored up, so you aren’t tempted to shoot the guard dog for food.

    Even a forest can become like a desert. That’s the kind of thing you need to prepare for – in addition to maintaining relations with a neighbor who threatens to kill your other pets.

    It would be easier to shoot the difficult neighbor, and feed him to the dog that protects your food animals from the mountain lions.

    How do you know the neighbor isn’t thinking the same thing about you ?

    Even living 2 miles from a Walmart, survival can become incredibly tense.

  14. After a few massacres of my beloved chickens, I realized that a coop – even a hardened coop, with metal mesh below the dirt floor to stop aggressive diggers – is a death trap, because it denies the birds access to their primary defense – the ability to fly into the night.

    I finally managed to teach the birds to roost high off the ground. Hearing their sisters be carried off by a mountain lion helped in the motivation department.

    Now they all roost 7 feet or higher, off the ground. Most of the chickens roost in a pine tree, 15 to 20 feet off the ground.

    It is mountain lion resistant, but not perfect.

    In the midst of all this, 2 simple trips to the dentist turned into a very big deal. 3 fillings that led to 3 root canals.

    ZERO SUPPORT WITH PAIN MEDICATIONS, though I asked 3 different dentists for help with the very substantial pain.

    If you want to be prepared, you need to stock antibiotics and painkillers – enough for a 3 month long hell ride.

    Antibiotics –
    Cephalexin, 28x 500 mg.
    Penicillin, 28x 500 mg.
    Amoxicillin, 28x 500 mg.

    You need these things because one bad surprise at the dentist can cause blood poisoning 1/2 inch from the blood supply to your brain. If that gets out of control, next stop is a month in the hospital.

    This happened to an attorney friend of mine’s wife. $600,000 later, his wife lived – after that month in the hospital.

    You will be very surprised at the things you need to be prepared for.

    One of the best barter items is Antibiotics. Buy more than you need. You can build a lot of gratitude quickly simply by giving a neighbor some antibiotics.

    So I have about 10 birds, but little idea where they are laying their eggs. I think the skunks have the answer to that question.

    Being prepared means being able to salvage answers from a very bloody difficult and/or painful situation.

    YOU MUST ALSO FOCUS ON YOUR PHYSICAL HEALTH, to maintain a strong immune system, which you will probably end up needing to deal with Mr. Murphy.

  15. PS would love to hear from the shtfplan folks.

  16. I have a stack of 4000+ ounces of Silver. It didn’t help me with any of the SERIOUS problems I faced this summer.

    Stacking is fun and I love Silver, but neither my 1 ounce rounds nor my 100 ounce purple-toned Johnson Matthey bar helped me this summer.

    I did find one neighbor that was willing to be paid in 1 ounce rounds for helping me with the garden.

    It cost me about 10 ounces of Silver to breathe life into my 4 Hops Humulus clusters this summer.

  17. PS You need to have liquid foods like Ensure, or the Walmart equivalent “Equate”, in case you lose the ability to chew for 3 months.

    Beer is great but it’s not a great liquid food.

  18. PS In case you need some liquid food and run out of Ensure, the human body has about 6 liters of blood in it. That troublesome neighbor might come in very handy.

    Just wanted to lighten things up with some dark humor. 🙂

  19. PS What happens to your well laid plans if you hook up with that beautiful blonde divorcee in the tantalizing tube top at the supermarket ?

    She might not like Spam.

    I suggest being able to create your own French restaurant setting in the forest near your house.

    Good luck explaining to your new woman friend where the Escargot came from.

    Therefore, a good opening line might be, “have you ever had dried figs for dinner ?”

  20. PS How are you going to explain that abandoned yellow tube top to your wife ?

    Better forget about philandering.

    If you have a prenup … who gets the preps ?

    Hopefully your wife will just give them to you because she things you’re insane.

    But if your wife is a prepper too, well, just hope you doesn’t plan on drinking your blood.

    So find a wife who is willing to eat skunk meat, and be very careful about fooling around.

  21. Daisy, you are 100% correct. I live in a suburban metro area but have a rural property that I maintain on some weekends. It is a learning curve. I can’t have animals yet b/c I dont live there yet, but I’ve been working on establishing orchards, and perennial stuff, plus growing future animal feed. I’ve dealt with deer proofing and best locations for growing different things (some areas do not drain well in Florida summer time). I’m finally seeing success in what i’m doing but I know I still have much to learn. In my climate, I can grow good caloric stuff like coconut, avocado, sugar cane, and citrus- among other fruit. I recently started with 4 chickens (from days old babies) in my suburban back yard plus one rooster in my rural place in chicken tractor with feeder surrounded with electric netting. So far so good. I am also growing there: jackfruit, pineapple, peach tree, elderberry, moringa (lots!), lemongrass, ginger, tumeric, cassava yuca, caimito, mango, tamarind, cacao, coffee, mulberry, dragon fruit, apple, ciruela berries, aloe, horsetail, willow, strawberry tree, banana, grapes, oregano, rosemary, papaya, java plum, potato.

  22. AlterNative says:

    Chickens Ducks Turkeys Rabbits Lambs Goats Pigs Cows?

    Not going to happen. Any potential for the production of vegetable matter will need to be exploited for growing human food and not animal winter food.

    Silly talk.

    There is virtually no place in the continental U.S. that is grid-down suitable for subsistence living and there is not one in million people capable of eking a living from the land.

    Silly talk.

    • Very Correct.

      Humans will be competing with food animals, for fruits and vegetables.

      I suggest planting blackberries – LOTS of blackberries – because are Survivors, and can make do with little.

      Also, Chickens and Pigs and Goats – because they can all free-range, and basically eat dirt & stuff they find in the dirt, and plants no one else can eat.

      So they don’t compete with humans for fruits & vegetables.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Watch these YouTube videos. While you can. Censors will likey remove them soon.

    YouTube: “So called authorities raid Organic farm picnic event.”

    YouTube: “Garden of Eden Full Interview (SWAT Team Raids Family)”

    Local Code Compliance are the STASI that will be used to stop your gardening. They think every plant grown is pot. I have had electric company, code compliance, and Sheriff drop by to “enquire”. Electric work crew argued that okra plants were pot. Maybe they called cops?
    Sheriff was called out due to tomatoe seedlings started.
    He just shook his head and laughed when he saw the reported contraband up close.

    We are in dangerous times. EVERYONE you meet is a wanna be snitch-snoop-cop. I do mean EVERYONE. They will “turn you in” make trouble for you. Just because they can. It is a new Amerikka of “change”.

    Gardening might get you killed in Amerikka.

  24. Rocky Mountain Steve says:

    Why was my “reply” blocked? It included the ideas of many preppers and wasn’t nearly as threatening as “shooting your neighbors” as in some of the above remarks. Has this site taken on the policies of Facebook and Twitter?

  25. Phoenix says:

    SO TRUE, every word! I’ve been at the homesteading thing for 7 years now and STILL have not perfected it! Every year something new happens to kick your butt and teach you a new lesson! One success: step one in creating a sustainable meat bird: the ones I kept from the first batch have made it to maturity and should be getting active any day now 🙂 carcass weights at 11 weeks average 3.5-4 pounds with the birds finished on pasture 🙂

    • Phoenix says:

      An EXCELLENT homesteading food animal that was not mentioned in the article is the coturnix quail! The chicks are a pain to raise (they’re messier than chicken chicks and more fragile) but they begin laying at 5-6 weeks and lay prolifically! Unwanted males can be processed as soon as anywhere from 5-8 weeks! If you don’t have the space or the moeny/materials to contruct a large flight pen, these birds do do very well being kept in hutches and are therefore suitable for even a city backyard 🙂

  26. Navy Vet says:

    Anyone out there know of any long term food providers that DO NOT load their products with Salt or other salt like chemicals like the producer in Daisy’s recommendation? 1070mg of salt Per SERVING, 44% of the RDA in ONE serving, seems highly excessive to me. The rest of the producers (all of the big ones) that I have checked have a similar amount of salt content.

    When I eat similar kinds of semi-prepared food products, i.e. add boiling water and stir, that can be found at the grocery store, all I can taste is the salt, not the food.

    I know the alternative is to produce my own and have made a limited amount, without investing in a dehydrator. Maybe it’s time I invested?

    • I’ve noticed the same issue. Problem is food manufacturers don’t want to use quality ingredients or REAL herbs and spices for flavorings – so they pour in tons of salt and/or sugar and other chemicals. I have NUMEROUS allergies to common food additives and eating anything NOT home grown – or at least organic – has become a major culinary/medical minefield for me.

      And forget buying any freeze-dried “survival” food. That stuff is LOADED with chemicals that will kill you within a few weeks of SHTF onset.

      As an aside, MOST restaurant pizza I have eaten is heavy on salt with a thick, doughy “crust”, but contains little to none of the authentic Italian spices that make a TRULY decent pizza. There is ONE place – run by an Italian family – I have found in North East Texas that does it right, but alas I don’t live there. They use the authentic herbs and spices, as well as a nice, thin, crispy crust.

  27. Norrak says:

    Buy fresh produce and make everything from scratch, then you control how much salt you put in your food. There are some canned foods that say no salt added, read labels. If you cannot find canned food with no salt then rinse the vegetables in the can with water, it will help some. Most every grocery store has some limited amount of canned food without salt.

    • Rinsing the food under the faucet using a strainer DOES help somewhat, but for food that has been severely over-salted, this still may not be enough for some folks with health conditions.

      I have to look high and low for low/no sodium canned food in my area, and when I can find it I have to buy a load of it because I may not find any more for a while.

    • Rinsing the food under the faucet using a strainer DOES help somewhat, but for food that has been severely over-salted, this still may not be enough for some folks with health conditions.

      I have to look high and low for low/no sodium canned food in my area, and when I can find it I have to buy a load of it because I may not find any more for a while.

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