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    Silver

    Why a Prepper Homestead Isn’t a Good Plan for Survival: “Raising Your Own Food Takes Time”

    Daisy Luther
    October 8th, 2015
    The Organic Prepper
    Comments (158)
    Read by 15,114 people

    homestead

    This article was written by Daisy Luther and originally published at her website, The Organic Prepper.

    Editor’s Comment: While homestead living would be ideal for survival when the SHTF, and before as well, it is a lifestyle achieved only with extremely hard work, and success that comes only with experience. Perhaps it is the model you are working towards, but be prepared for survival before relying on your homestead, unless you have invested the time and money need to create an continually operating farm from which you can count on a sufficient supply of meat, vegetables and milk. Until you reach that point, your plan should include stored food and other options for the worst case scenario.

    Unfortunately, homesteading is much more difficult than it appears at first glance.

    Here’s Why a Prepper Homestead May Not Be a Good Plan for Survival

    by Daisy Luther

    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 no matter how hard working you are, farming takes time. Time for learning, time for mistakes, and time for your plans to come to fruition. 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. Farming for survival is not a good plan if you have never done it before.

    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.

    This year’s adventure is food production. My daughter and I recently 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 here, I feel it’s my duty to announce that while raising your own food is a noble goal, it’s not as easy as people seem to think. Heck, even though I expected some setbacks, it is 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. 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 this year’s garden.

    We have 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 shade 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! 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.

    I am still picking tomatoes and peppers from the plants I saved, but that’s all we got this year. Thankfully, we’re big fans of salsa and marinara, but we don’t have enough to live off. In four months on my little prepper homestead, I’ve basically produced a large salad.

    This is all part of the game, though. Next year will be better because I’ve put into place what I’ve learned. I’ve gotten a deer-proof fence, I’ve 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’ve harvested the last tomato, I’ve got a cover crop ready to go into the beds to enrich the soil and feed my chickens this winter. And to greater express my determination, I’ve enrolled in a master gardener’s course through my county extension office.

    I will grow food next year. But if we had to live off of this year’s harvest, we’d be screwed.

    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.

    I have 13 chickens of varying ages, and nary an egg in site. My oldest three hens will be laying soon, but 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 a large covered run that keeps them protected while allowing them fresh air and some freedom. Keep in mind that when it’s too cold or too hot, your chickens won’t lay eggs, so hens of laying eggs 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. 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 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 fits through our gate and we had to chase her down the road that leads to our farm the other day. In pajamas, since it was morning and we weren’t dressed yet. Today’s project is running hardware cloth through the bars on the gate and hoping that keeps her in. 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 they 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, 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 a 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 have some farmer friends who will help you the first time or two.

    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 it 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.
    • How you’ll 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, differently 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.

    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 Luther is the author of The Pantry Primer: A Prepper’s Guide To Whole Food on a Half Price Budget.  Her website, The Organic Prepper, offers information on healthy prepping, including premium nutritional choices, general wellness and non-tech solutions. You can follow Daisy on Facebook and Twitter, and you can email her at daisy@theorganicprepper.ca


    Also From Daisy Luther:

    How to Prepare for a Cyber Attack: ‘These Systems Could Be Completely Inoperable or Breached’

    San Andreas for Preppers: 12 Essential Survival Lessons from the Movie

    12 Bad Strategies That Will Get Preppers Killed

    Lock and Load: Are You Prepared for Civil Unrest?

    You’ve Been Warned: Why You Need to Be Ready for Total Grid Failure

    Click here to subscribe: Join over one million monthly readers and receive breaking news, strategies, ideas and commentary.
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    Author: Daisy Luther
    Views: Read by 15,114 people
    Date: October 8th, 2015
    Website: http://www.theorganicprepper.ca/heres-why-a-prepper-homestead-may-not-a-good-plan-for-survival-10052015

    Copyright Information: This content has been contributed to SHTFplan by a third-party or has been republished with permission from the author. Please contact the author directly for republishing information.

    158 Comments...

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    1. watching and waiting says:

      I made the right decision.
      Buy and store food.

      A second good decision I’ve made is to know a farmer who is well established.

      • durangokidd says:

        Nice article Daisy, but the future of farming is VERTICAL and INDOORS where all elements of growing are controlled and secured.

        Buy a warehouse. 🙂

      • sixpack says:

        “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”

        I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS ARTICLE! Daisy, I know from growing up on a farm, that you are absolutely right! We never would’ve made it if my Dad hadn’t grown up in the Tennessee/Kentucky hills. He had to grow and cure his own tobacco and he knew how to make and run a still. The first two oldest kids, me and brother, were old enough to take some of the work load.

        This is a great article and Daisy, your writing style has gotten so much better since I started reading your articles a few years ago. Again, a very good article!

        • KY Mom says:

          Great article Daisy! Well done!

          Those who expect to “begin” gardening AFTER the SHTF will be in for a rude awakening.

          JAS (comment below) makes some good points about being familiar with the climate and soil for gardening.

          Having lived in a number of different areas, I know that plants that may thrive in one area may not grow well in another.

          • Prepared Pastor says:

            I’ve been gardening for 35 years, but it’s vital to not put all your eggs in one basket in the form of a homestead. History shows chaos is accompanied by mobility. The odds are overwhelming that if you remain where you are after SHTF it is because you are dead and buried there. Learn from the experience of others. http://www.rhodesia.nl/farmeratwar.html

            • Oren says:

              Prepared Pastor,
              By some chance did you experience some of the events in Rhodesia? I’ve started to read the book on the link. I think it is quite relevant to what could conceivably happen in the US. If we elect to stay and protect the homestead, it will be imperative that we consider it a defensive position much like the fire support bases we had in Vietnam and currently in Afghanistan. I’ve already planned on plenty of barbed wire, funneling of the access, cleared fire lanes, roving security 24/7 and access denial devices etc. My wife thinks I am paranoid. I’ve told her I hope it comes out that I am. But I don’t think so.

              Thanks for the link.

        • nopittypartyhere says:

          good article daisy. Also have to consider things like soil. The soil here at my dads bakes into brick hard clay during the summer. without the proper equipment (tractor) its damn near impossible to work. My goal over winter is to research how to enrich this soil. I want to start a compost pile, but I have to worry about attracting tons of critters. soil is also very acid, and most leaves around here are oak (also acidic)

          We have lost 20% of our chicken flock to marecks disease, it’s a virus that infects chickens with 100% mortality if they fall ill. chicks must be vaccinated at 24hours old. We bought pullets. We have to build new coops in another space, because there is no way to decontaminate the old coups, which need replacing anyway.

          We are researching rabbits. goal was to get some this fall/winter, but with hubby handling the chickens, and researching local farmers to purchase some young heifer calves, and a bull calf, rabbits will just be too much. they require more daily maintenance than just feeding if you want to maintain a quality breeding stock to last.

          Lowes has 6-8 foot fruit trees for $22 each. Much cheaper than nurseries that charge over $100 for a 4 ft sapling. We have planted the fall garden and are putting in the thornless blacberries and fruit trees.

          For perspective, my husband has not worked a paying job in 4 months getting this farm in to shape so we can have animals and gardens here once again. It takes a lot of work. but know that if SHTF, I will be right on this farm, everyday, so plenty of time to do what needs to be done. I’ve camped in the rough, and know what it is to bust your ass morning to night to keep a fire going for food, dry damp clothes by the fire, etc.

          It won’t be easy, but it won’t break me.

      • mudfish2 says:

        Man, you are spot on in the time, effort & experience required to approach anything remotely close to “homesteading”. The following is related only to my gardening experiences. Four years ago I started a 3500 square foot garden. It required: the removal of about forty trees which also meant forty stumps, I have added 83 pickup truck loads (approx 2 square yards each) of either composted horse manure or composted leaves, worked the above into rock hard red clay repeatedly, dealt with deer, squirrels, hornworms, cutworms, Japanese beetles, voles and numerous other bugs, millions of weeds, learned how to can the bounty and acquired all manner of sweat producing tools. You will need 2 or 3 years to actually create a fertile, productive garden if for no other reason than that is the time required for microbes to breakdown the compost into humus.

        Many blogs seem to imply that all you have to do is plant a seed and the next day you can harvest a can of Spaghetti Ohs. I’m afraid that many folks are going to have a rude awakening if they ever “have” to rely a garden for food.

        I hope your article encourages folks to actually put some of their reading into practice. After all, whats is the downside of having a garden, splitting your own firewood, raising a few chickens or doing anything that improves your self-reliance.

        • sixpack says:

          I’m disabled and can’t do much for a garden. THEREFORE, I have a huge stock of seeds, fertilizers, treatments of all kinds and some tools used in the production of a garden.

          WHY would I have all that stuff I obviously can’t use?

          Because I have a network of friends WHO CAN! They are willing to expand their own existing gardens, while I supply the seeds and other products needed. They do the work, we split the proceeds. I can deal with my 2 tomato and 2 pepper plants outside my door. Everybody goes to bed happy.

    2. Great article and oh so true. We moved from central Maine to Florida in 2011 and everything we knew about gardening was useless. The season are different and a lot of the crops we had like rhubarb and apples just does not grow here. We have spent the last four years relearning everything. The good news is, we have had great luck with most of the fruit trees we planted. We have grapefruit, lemons, limes, papayas and mangos now, but still struggle to get a decent tomato. Even herbs don’t grow good in the hot summers. Anyone who thinks they are going to rush out to their retreat farm and start growing crops is in for a tough life. I would suggest they start going out to their retreat and planting a small garden and some fruit trees now. Get all the experience you can in the area you are going to live. Get a compost pile started and start enriching the soil.

      • And one thing I forgot. When you do get something that grows good in your area, be sure to save seeds from them for replanting. All of our fruit tree seeds came from plants in our area.

      • Joe Biden says:

        JAS, a lot of people think they’ll just dig up their suburban yard and plant a garden. Good luck with THAT.

        unrelated:

        Obama is now threatening an EO mandating ‘background checks’ for all ‘high volume’ sellers (he’ll let you know what constitutes a ‘high volume’ seller later). This is his attempt to institute ‘universal background checks’ AKA registration. The gun grabbers even admit that all ‘background check’ information will be kept in a national database. The unstated goal is to keep anyone from claiming they sold a gun they had bought new.

      • Genius says:

        Or just vacate the bullshit mindset of plants need dirt. Try alternates like aquaponics and be free from your brainwashing. Learn modern ways of growing not some 4000 year old crap. You WILL benefit with no failure if you have 2 brain cells.

        • Enemy of the State says:

          problem with this is when you cant go to the store to buy the chemicals to make this work after TSHTF or the electricity for light

          • TnAndy says:

            Not to mention mostly what you can grow hydroponically is low calorie rabbit food. Corn, potatoes (white and sweet)and all kinds of other crops need DIRT for growing and support.

            • late2theparty says:

              Tomatoes, strawberries, potatoes, carrots, peppers, beans, and peas are all rabbit food? Corn would be a good idea but it takes too much room inside; the return is too low. Dirt is not needed, support is and nutrients are. There isn’t a plant that I’ve seen that won’t grow in the right setup hydroponically. All soil is is dirt ( medium), the nutrients and support (that can be replaced with plain clay pellets or gravel and nutrient solution.)

              Yeah, the procrastinator (who plans to grow food AFTER the SHTF) is in a world of trouble, hydroponics or not. But given the right experience and setup, hydroponics is a great idea for protecting crops and avoiding pests. (2 legged, 4 legged and 6 legged.) Growing outdoor and indoor gardens increases your chances.

            • Enemy of the State says:

              Bingo!
              Plus … If it were so sustainable it would be way more prolific
              God and the good green earth her blue sky’s and clear water were for a purpose
              Don’t neglect it , and she will feed you for life

              Hydroponics is for those who can’t farm and it’s not a viable shtf food alternative
              Too much reliance on shit that just won’t be here after it all goes belly up

              • Genius says:

                It is NOT hydroponics and does NOT use chemicals. It is just fish water and growing trays. All you supply is fish food period. If you have it in a gtreenhouse you don’t need lights. A very small solar setup will run the pump and aerator. Don’t confuse the two, hydroponics is a bunch of shit.

            • Genius says:

              Its NOT hydroponics

          • late2theparty says:

            You are right about the electricity (if you don’t have a greenhouse room or a way to redirect the natural sunlight) but you can generate light from a couple of sources of energy – combustion, solar pv, hydroelectric, wind. As to chemicals, worm castings, balanced compost tea, and rainwater can replace the need for purchased chemicals (fish and worms and tea and… is an even better plan.) BUT you can’t just grab some worms and earth and boom, hydroponics. It takes learning (like Daisy said) – what method works with what plant. How much light does each need (sun and/or artificial?) What level of nutrient is best?

      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t forget to piss on your compost heap.

        It’s good for adding nitrogen.

    3. hammerhead says:

      Good article and well written , thanks.

      I have been farming most all my life , what she says here is definetly true.
      You dont just wake up one day and decide to feed youself.
      It just dont work that way.

    4. The sun will be as dark as burlap woven with black hair the moon will not give its light try growing mushrooms though they are called radiation sponges 20 lb. bag rice 20 lb. bag flour 20 lb. bag pinto beans in grey plastic box 1 gal. Cooking oil 1 jar vitamins salt even cheap water softener salt and you might be able to stretch that 2 months if you have access to water

    5. Powdered milk too if you can afford it or have kids

    6. If your rich funnel it all into 5gal. Plastic gas cans to move fast an stash easy

    7. TnAndy says:

      We’ve been working 33 years to get the point of providing 80% of our food. You can certainly do it in under that time frame, most of our progress has come in the last 5-10 years, for sure.

      We have two garden area, 1/4ac each. Both were extremely poor ground when I started. I’ve added multiple tandem dump truck loads of sand (to loosen up clay), chicken manure (put 15 TONS on one of the spaces just today), planting cover crop (wheat or rye) every fall, and turning it under in the spring, and so on. Both have a 66″ tall fence around them to slow the deer up.

      We’ve built two greenhouses, to extend our growing season to almost year round.

      Got a 40 tree apple orchard + several peach and pear trees.

      We raise chickens (for eggs and meat), Dexter cows, couple feeder pigs per year, and two ponds of catfish.

      We can extensively, have 6 chest freezers (7-10cuft)(use up and shut down), a root cellar, a meat processing room with walk-in cooler.

      ALL this stuff does take a lot of time to set up, and a lot of time to work. And guess what ? We still store about 3 years worth of food, because we KNOW how easy it is to lose a crop, or an animal.

      • John Stiner says:

        Where do you live? I would like to buy the house next to you and be your neighbor…..

        • TnAndy says:

          Yeah….I sold some acreage to a young guy that told me the same thing. Claimed he wanted to do this and that in the way of homesteading. Got all his “knowledge” from the University of YouTube, but somehow never seemed to get the fact it still takes WORK….and a lot of it. I helped him for a while, tried to advise him but I knew after a year or so, he wouldn’t make it. It took 4 years, and he made a mess out of the place, but he finally did what I predicted…..ran off down the road with his hands up in surrender.

          • hammerhead says:

            HAHAHA , ANDY , You just descibed my former nieghbor , lmao!

            • hammerhead says:

              Sometimes people think taht it sounds like a good idea , until they try it.
              Alotta work on top of allota work.
              You have to be half crazed to want to support yourself off the land , i,m 3/4 crazed myself.
              Its not something you just do , it has to be a passion and a lifestyle .

            • TnAndy says:

              Yeah…..I suspect there are a WHOLE LOT of ’em out there.

              Once they figure out the amount of work involved, their enthusiasm for homesteading really goes down hill.

          • Plan twice, prep once says:

            One priority prep not found on many lists, several packs of work gloves. They are a must have item, and blisters can get infected.

            I read posts from people that say things like, bring it on I have guns and ammo! Ignorance is bliss!

            I heard a vet talking about a rotation in Iraq. He said it was weeks of utter boredom interspersed with moments of absolute terror. In a total SHTF, survivors will experience continuous brutal hard work interspersed with moments of absolute terror.

            • Genius says:

              Look into aquaponics it is a hell of a lot easier and you get fish too. Make an aquaponics greenhouse it will produce waaay more food than soil. Low power consumption and just run it on solar. If you don’t have acres of land and water out the ass and farming equipment and all that shit aquaponics is for you and a hell of a lot less work! Geeezus even a caveman can do it. So quit dragging your knuckles with outdated farming and get with the program. 🙂

              • Genius says:

                I converted a 8X10 greenhouse to aquaponics for about 600 bux. It was bad ass too. It would hold about 150 6 inch fish and about 400 square feet of water. Used about 100 watts of power and had 100 growing pots. NO fertilizer, NO weeding, No water (except to fill it and a little for evaporation), No tools (other than making it, NO soil, NO insects, NO rodents, NO bullshit! Why the fook would anyone want to grow shit the old fashioned way?

                • Genius says:

                  You can make one out of a decent sized aquarium for gods sake. A 100 gallon aquarium will feed two 3X3 beds. You get to watch the fish and plants grow. a toofer!

                • Hello, Genius.

                  What kind of fish do you raise? Tilapia? Do you need to buy fish pellets for food?

                  Do you need to heat it in winter? Not sure where you live.

                  Do you breed your own or buy the fry?

                  And, lastly, can you raise potatoes with that system? Cuz I like french fries with my fish.

                  • Genius says:

                    Yes you have to feed the fish.

                    If you have it in a greenhouse with covered trenches in the ground you do’nt have to heat it.

                    You can use just about any fish, talapia, bluegill, catfish, trout,

                    You can buy fry or larger fish from online hatcheries

                    Potatoes will need dirt, perhaps a tire tower would be best.

      • Arby says:

        In south central VA we use limestone rock dust to loosen up hard/ clay soil. Sand is very expensive here because it has to brought in from somewhere else. Limestone rock dust is cheap and readily available. Some say it loosens soil better than sand, but I don’t know about that.

    8. Illinois gardener says:

      I have a plot of fertile land in a small town. This is the end of my second year producing a garden, and I gotta say I am blessed. Daisy is absolutely right, it takes a lot of work, but the end result is worth it. I prefer tilling long, narrow rows with my tiller, leaving grass walkways in between. This allows for much less time spent pulling weeds, which is the biggest job in my garden. I like to use grass clippings around the plants, but those weeds are stubborn and grow right through.

      My suggestion for beginning gardeners is this; buy a riding Tractor with a rear time tiller or make friends with someone who has one. Walk behind tillers are nice, and better than turning soil by hand with a shovel, but small garden tractors save a TON of time and sweat.

      • John Stiner says:

        You are right about the tillers. I rented a walk behind tiller from our local tool rental store. After tilling an area about the size of a swimming pool my arms were killing me. For the next three days my arms hurt from man handling the tiller.

        The good part is that the tiller rental was only $35 and it worked great. My arms are hurting now, tiller memories……

      • TnAndy says:

        Tillers are for just light work on the first couple inches of soil. The best use of them is weeding between rows. I have a beast of a tiller, a Grillo 85D, with an 8hp diesel engine on it.

        Getting serious about food means a small tractor. I’ve been thru a 22hp Yanmar (85-98), then 33hp New Holland (98-2012), and now a 41hp Yanmar. (LX410) All were 4×4, the last two big enough to have front end loaders, HUGE work savers.

        I use a single point subsoiler to rip the ground open 24″ deep, then turn it with a single bottom plow (turning over the winter cover crop, at about 8-12″ tall), THEN till with a 5′ wide tiller to pulverize and level the garden.

    9. John Stiner says:

      Finally, a real prepper article, not just chicken little shouting, “the sky is falling.”

      One point i disagree with in this article:
      With the instant knowledge we get from the internet, youtube and prepper sites our trial and error time period will be significantly reduce. We will be able to produce our own food with minimal failures if we use our instant internet knowledge.

      That being said, here are two points I will share towards survival:

      1) Before planting your seeds, soak them in water for 8 hours. not more, not less. If there is some mold on the seeds then put a small amount of chlorine bleach in the soak water.

      2) when the chickens stop laying eggs, as they sometime do, mix in a large amount of cayenne pepper into their feed. I mix it with water to make a cayenne pepper gravy that I then stir into the layer pellet. After about 3 to 4 days of doing this they will begin laying on the 5th day.

    10. rellik says:

      I live in a place that has hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanoes, Tsunamis, Tornadoes, pick out a kind of bad weather and I have to deal with it. But we can grow food and animals all year round.
      My point is, keep, at least 3 months of protein on hand. Keep lots of brass, steel, and lead for the guys who mis-behave. I know lots of people that can grow food better than me. I can fix their stuff, so I make connections. I’m kind of a stick in the mud, but no man is an island, although I’m pretty close to being one.

    11. Hill farmer says:

      Great article here and very realistic. I moved to the farm little over three years ago and have made A few mistakes myself however I have been lucky enough to have good farmer friends that have taught me so much from working with implements and tractors to planning successful Gardens it’s all much harder than anyone can ever imagine. I only use organic seeds and I’ve had three prolific Gardens. I also have been successful planting food plots as wild game attractors. I’ve also learned how to hunt and feel confident dressing a deer. Chickens are pretty easy to keep however they require lots of clean water and warmth in the winter. With all the work it’s also been very well worth it I’m much more satisfied with my life as well as the fact knowing I can support not only myself and my family but others around me and isn’t that what it’s all about.

      God Bless!

    12. Goatlover says:

      This article is SO TRUE!!! After 7 years of hobby farming, I learn something new all the time and endure a new struggle somewhere on my farm. What I’ve seen is that something will grow like crazy one year and NOT grow very well the next. So, I make sure I preserve those bountiful harvests to cover the slim harvests that will most likely follow. Last year I had hundreds of tomatoes; this year peppers went crazy. Good thing I love canning!

    13. aljamo says:

      After reading this article the whole ordeal of providing your own food sounds like too much for the majority to handle, like a bygone era when life was more simple and less expensive allowing agricultural success. Today life is closer to a rat race and farming is relegated to factory farms and a much smaller percentage of private individuals choose this lifestyle. It is a full time job. It would be an ideal existence, no doubt. Small scale gardening is very enjoyable and nothing beats growing and eating your own naturally produced food. A lot of work but well worth it.

    14. This is a delightful essay on the trials and tribulations of being new to farm life.

      As much as we hear about how the end of civilization is near. Deep down I really doubt it. Not that having a farm wouldn’t be great for kids and grown ups as well. But the fact is that most of us aren’t up to dealing with cows and an actual farm. For the urban and suburban homebody there is a middle way. For most of us we will have to settle for something less. I had a rabbit in my back yard. It was in a raised cage. It was a pet for my kids. I realize now that it could have been dinner. So start small and grow your preps patiently. Learn as you go. That’s my phylosophy. Otherwise I just get overwhelmed and do nothing.

      I particularly like the advice to buy a house with mature fruit trees. Great advice for buyers. Also for any home owner. Plant fruit and nut trees. You can buy them when they have had one or two seasons of fruit production. It may be only one little sour fruit but that’s how it all starts. Trees take time but the rewards are exponential in satisfaction and in time, healthy food for life.

      When it comes time to sell, you’ll have the joy of giving. And may be a better price for your property.

    15. FloridaRoberto says:

      Folks, I said it before and I’ll say it again.
      DUCKS!
      Eggs, meat, good reproduction, cheap housing, least amount of problems, easiest to maintain.
      Check it out.

      • slingshot says:

        FloridaRoberto.

        Plenty of Muschovy Ducks? They walk funny. Canadian Geese. All Year Round.

        Retention ponds draws them in have seen flocks of 20 plus.

        • sixpack says:

          We had about 100 of our own ducks, mallard, muscovy and another breed I forget. At certain times of the year our numbers would swell noticeably, then we’d lose a few.

          My advice from experience: Ducks will do overnight in a hen house style building to keep them safe from predators, just like chickens and geese — and CLIP AT LEAST ONE OF THEIR WINGS! By that I mean cut the longest feathers short on the bottom inside of one wing They’re called secondaries. They won’t be able to fly off with the passers-by, but they’ll be “sitting ducks” for predators, so you’ll need to prepare for their protection.

          Here’s a link to a bird wing with the feathers named for you. You can do it wrong though, so be careful.

          ht tp://www.infovisual.info/02/057_en.html

        • PO'd Patriot says:

          Sling, been hunting Canadian geese most of my life. Been hunting with the same group for 38 years now. Bout the only way I can eat them stinkin’ birds is chile, jerky, or some sort of stir fry. Rather eat Mallards or Wood ducks (with oyster dressing).

    16. At the Last Straw says:

      Take in a count that while you work someone must be on guard to protect you and your produce from all varmints 4 and 2 legs 24/7. Now take in a count that you must preserve your crops. Raising is half the work the real work come in the preserving process. Learn to pressure cook on an open fire now, for that is the hardest thing master. Folks in reality you can not grow enough food to live on and put back to see you through till the next crops start to produce. The one factor that will make you or break you WEATHER.

      Don’t lose hope.

      • Genius says:

        Yup the drama of outdoor growing. Gee what will I ever do? I know! I will use my brain and do some alternative growing methods! Gee who would have thought there were vastly superior ways to grow food in a lot less space without all the bullshit? Oh and rose hip plants make an excellent barrier for windows and are great for vitamin C!

      • Kulafarmer says:

        Thats why the first year there wont be a garden at our place,

        • Archivist says:

          A lot of people don’t even know what food plants look like, so if you plant everything randomly instead of in neat rows, it won’t look like a garden. Some food plants are self-seeding, so you can plant them along the road or in vacant lots, and they will provide food with no further effort. This is a form of guerilla gardening (look it up).

          If things really go bad, I will let my front yard (not lawn) grow up with weeds, along with the naturally occurring useful plants, such as dandelions, oxalis, clover, Queen Anne’s lace, cattails (in the ditch), etc. Then I’ll plant some other things scattered around the front yard. It will be a garden, but it won’t look like one. I’ll also do the front part of the back yard the same way, with more intensive gardening farther back.

          BTW, most people don’t know that Queen Anne’s lace is a relative of carrots, and you can eat the roots. Oxalis leaves can be added to salads because of their sour taste, but don’t eat too many at one time because they contain poisonous oxalic acid.

          • Kulafarmer says:

            This is one of the reasons for some of my intentional weeds, lots of perennials lots of self seeding annuals, when i let it all go the fields just look like pasture and borders look like weeds,

        • slingshot says:

          KUlafarmer.

          No Garden first year of the reset.

          Interesting strategy.

          Can all the food from your garden before the reset. Put away enough Non perishable supplies to carry you over.
          This tactic will allow more free time to attend to other items like security. You removed a food source from the raiders and draw less attention to yourself.
          Start up the next year with less hassle from others.

    17. slingshot says:

      Rat Traps. Lots of Rat Traps.

      Kill the varmints and get a food source.

      I hear they serve “Vole” in expensive or alternative restaurants.

      You can go from Field Mouse to Wharf Rat. As big as a cat. That contestant on “ALONE” ate plenty of them. Hahahaha!

    18. Jill says:

      I live on a saddle of a mountain at 7600 feet, very rocky. We only get 11 inches of rain if we are lucky. we have been gardening for 15 years and had all of your problems in the beginning. We now have raised beds, totally enclosed in chicken wire and a drip system we installed. We still have new things crop up, like a grasshopper invasion or the 2 summers of 1000’s of wooly worms. We started an enclosed orchard with 18 semi dwarf trees in lick tubs. We are still working on it, but the apples were great this year. Every year it is something new, no way would I want to start after shtf.

    19. Nicus says:

      … or learn to eat deer, gophers, and hornworms!

    20. Think First says:

      Raising your own vegetables and fruit takes a lot of time and effort? Really? Thanks for the pointer Einstein. I’m continually amazed by people who just figure this out……….Wait until you realize you have to somehow preserve that bounty if you plan to eat all winter. I’ve grown and canned my own fruits and vegetables for decades and I kill and process three or four deer a year. I can’t even remember the last time I bought meat of any kind in a store. We raise chickens, but we don’t kill our chicks, we wait until they’re grown and no longer producing to do that. We keep honey bees. Contrary to what you claim, living off the land isn’t difficult at all if you have even a little bit of common sense and a lot of initiative.
      Reality check……..You’re not as special as you think you are. A whole lot of people are doing exactly what you’re doing but doing it much better because for us, this is how it’s always been. Just goes to show ya, you can take the folks out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the folks.

      • nopittypartyhere says:

        There are lots of folks just waking up, and they DO believe that they can store seeds and just wake up one day and plant a garden and be self sufficient. It was a very well thought out article and being from the south I was amazed when I met someone in CT who knew a thing or two about gardening. Some folks think a garden is the produce section.

    21. ARscout says:

      Back to Basics. An old Readers Digest book, has been a staple of my homesteading knowledge since I was a child. I recommend everyone picking up a copy. It is very refreshing to see an acutal article about sustainable living on this site again. I came here years ago for the knowledge that the prepping community could offer me. Over the last year or so, that seems to have been replaced by the “doom porn” as so many call it. Mac, Can we look forward to more articles like this in the future? PLEASE…..

    22. slingshot says:

      Have any of you ever eaten Pine Bark Beetles or their grubs in dead pine logs. Florida has a bunch of them.

      • Slingshot:

        I know you are joking, at least I hope you are joking. But rat traps are very good to have. You can catch small edibles such as rabbits and squirrel. I’ve eaten rabbit once in a French restaurant. It was supposed to be a delicacy. I was only in my first or second year of highschool. Many sunsets passed. I think it was OK. But kind of a lot of wine and spices I think went into the preparation. We have tons of wild rabbit but they look small. I’m thinking of buying some meat rabbits and releasing a female. Maybe we can get some meat DNA circulating. They could also be a lot of young rabbits as they are such prolific breeders. I never ate squirrel. Not looking forward to it either. But desperate times. The mailman looks meaty. Just kidding.

        • sixpack says:

          Squirrel is okay, but be sure to spit out the buckshot — LOL!

        • Archivist says:

          Squirrel is good. My mother would cook it with pastry. It was just like chicken and pastry, except the bones were smaller.

          If times get bad, the squirrels and wild rabbits will be scarce quickly. You will need to trap other animals that the general population won’t be as keen to try out. At least right now, we have plenty of possums, raccoons, foxes, otters, and birds.

        • Buck says:

          Domesticated rabbits will not cross breed with wild rabbits in the USA. I believe they will breed with rabbits in the UK if I’m not mistaken though. Google it

    23. Wild game will be gone in 30 days max get a 50 gallon drum or two drive it to a feed mill fill it with wheat rolled corn witch is kind of steam sterilized or whatever they have on sale it unbelievably cheap and easy with a pick up truck or u haul trailer and roll it in a rental storage unit which a plastic 50 gallon drum you can get at a car wash lay a2 inch thick 4 by 8 foot sheet of styrofoam on top to keep it cool and you at least got something for very long term crisis

    24. Daisy daisy daisy! I see no thinking outside the box. I dont see any raised bed planting with old tires as a lining deterent. I was really disappointed that you didnt use predator pee.

      You’re making it harder than it has to be.

      • Genius says:

        Read my above post. Growing stuff is way easy and low work. Hell you can do it in an apartment.

        • Borodino says:

          Looking forward to an article authored by our very own GENIUS on the topic of aquaponics! Be sure to include stats about the solar energy inputs.

          • TnAndy says:

            Won’t see it. If he had to actually FEED himself out of a 600sqft greenhouse, he would have already starved out. Only reason he keep posting this crap is he can order pizza and have it delivered.

            • Genius says:

              Look idiot, I never said I supplied all my food with it. Don’t put words in my mouth. When I get some time off I will post some plans (which you obviously don’t know shit about) For those interested. Like I said, it’s so easy a caveman can do it, which leaves you out lol.

              • Genius says:

                TnAndy, When you get done cornholing your cousin you might want to get online and check out what I am saying. You sound like a jealous freak or something. I actually do all the things I post about. But you are a newbie so I can kind of see why you think I post crap. Go back to my hundreds of posts over the last 4 years and you will see I post a LOT of valuable info. Can you say the same? I don’t bullshit and I call out people that do. If you disagree with something I post then man up and say what. I will gladly respond and if I am wrong I will admit it. Don’t be saying shit about me without doing your homework or I will bury you. I am not some keyboard commando parroting bullshit I heard, I post my personal experience with the things I say. Call me a liar and you will have hell to pay as I will disect every post you make. Friend or foe it’s to your advantage to be my friend because I will back up every true statement you make and then some. I don’t use the name Genius because I’m stupid. I offer a lot and say things that go against the mass brainwashing of the sheeple. I am a fortunate man and use my fortune wisely. I hope you do too.

    25. Wood Burner says:

      Good advice for the uninitiated.

      Our garden continues to produce more than we can use. Tomatoes, squash, cukes, peppers are all prolific producers if given a chance and some good compost. Rotate to reduce pests.

      Meat goats eat garden waste and produce meat quickly. I don’t like goat but others do. Would rather feed a young steer or heifer to 1000+ lbs. and have meat for the next two years. Can as much as you are able. Meat easily accessible in our area-turkey, deer, pheasant, geese, ducks, etc., but I would rather eat beef produced on farm.

      Quail are very hardy (especially coturnix) and will produce eggs within two months. The eggs are bigger than you would think and are delicious. Keep them penned or you will never see them again, however. No refrigeration required for the eggs.

      We heat exclusively with wood since we live in and near hardwood forests. Only take dead standers and blowdowns. Utilize the resources where you are. Bottom line is go with what works in your area. Talk with old timers, they love giving the benefit of their knowledge.

    26. I like reading all the prepper comments and back and forth debates and discussions here. We have some good folks and some intense personalities. Just saying… so I think this :

      http://www.sott.net/article/303619-SOTT-Earth-Changes-Summary-September-2015-Extreme-Weather-Planetary-Upheaval-Meteor-Fireballs

      Is what the PTb are really getting ready for.
      we have economic, enviornmental, military, cultural, political perfect storm. All fun for the preppers. I’m sorry there are so many retards in the world who refuse to listen.

    27. Anonymous says:

      No, “white man’s” farming won’t help you, come shtf. Expecting to preserve the nice little Anglo-American “life”style is trying to keep the very culture that will have hit that proverbial fan! And good riddance to it, if you want to avoid being re-enslaved to a bunch of militia warlords who have plans for restoring their “republic”, with them as the new Big Business, Big Government and such.

      Storing white-man’s kind of food won’t save you either. Reliance on the creation that God created (which white man is psychologically nearly incapable of having any faith in–hence, the world of problems that have resulted) is what will be “economically”, militarily and ecologically sustainable to any individual having such reliance (faith), come shtf.

      There won’t be any more “Walmart” to go an buy your self-loading chemical-based gunpowder, and such, that’s essential for guns to be sustainable. Can you locate and mine those rare and hard-to-find chemicals and other resources???? Can you deny those resources to the enemy and dislodge him from your supply of the same?

      Do you have the metallurgical know-how (much less the materiel, the sustainable, repairable or, in the likely event of its capture or abandonment in order to escape, its reproduction or, the time or other resources for applying your know-how) to make a gun from scratch? You see, that technology has made gun manufacturers rich from your purchases of it but, it would be insane for anyone to be hooked on it and expecting to preserve or sustain it, much less fight a war of resistance with it, come shtf.

      The same goes much more for cars, trucks, planes and electronics. Trying to save any of it for a totally hostile environment for those Big Infrastructure-dependent gadgets is pathetic.

      Medieval or ancient technology is more accomplishable and sustainable, come shtf. Yes, it works as good and, in some cases, just as the modern, completely man-made infrastructure-dependent forms of it which are usually far more shackly and unreliable than are the antique prototypes for the stuff.

      Are you savvy to it? You’d better be…IF you plan on surviving shtf!

    28. Trying to protect your crops from two legged preditors all night every night without getting yourself ambushed they’ll sneak through anything they’ll kill your watch dogs how will you water or weed or harvest without being shot from cover there will be no exposing yourself for at least until the massive die off and then the canibles must be delt with it will probably take years we’ve stuck our necks out so far depending on so much that can be gone in a solar storm defending your crops will be almost impossible until the weeds are separated from wheat and the Tares are burnt it almost sounds like a big culling of the ones that don’t believe so won’t prepare

    29. taxdn2poverty says:

      Attempting to homestead any parcel of land, great or small, including gardening is a death sentence. I’ve farmed/gardened in Sudan, Uganda, Philippines, Peru, Mexico, and Haiti. We had to guard everything 24/7 to keep it from being stolen and sooner or later we lost it all simply because we couldn’t watch everything all the time. You will never be able to protect what you have, and each other we might add, after teotwawki. No matter how far you live in the country, people will find you. They will murder you, and enjoy the fruits of your labor, until someone finds them and murders them too. Do any of you honestly believe you are going to wake up in the morning and walk out into a field/garden plot and work peacefully while the wife prepares breakfast in the cabin. You are dead meat before the 9am break. Guerrilla farming is your only hope and then the deer and other wildlife, not the two legged lowlifes become your major problem. Plant a few plants here and a few there along the way in the woods, hopefully with a good irrigation water supply close by. We have practiced this for two years and it works wonderfully if you can keep the critters out of it. The other aspect that you have to be aware of is that you will not be able to allow enough time to let the plants bare fruit, so to speak. Peas, butterbeans, beets, carrots, radishes, etc, may have to be eaten ‘leaves only’ style. Just don’t break out the tops or runners and the plants will keep putting on new leaves for your consumption. And can be eaten raw. If possible allow some to go to seed for next time. You got to learn to live off the plants nature provides for you if you run out of the garden varieties. Plantain, pigweed, purselane, ash tree leaves, chickweed, and lambs quarters are good ones to start with. Please discard any ideas you have of homesteading during teotwawki and stick with guerrilla gardening and foraging. You won’t survive a month at the most on a homestead. They are coming far you and there will not be an escape route.

    30. eppe says:

      Junk Vegetables

      The elementary school cook prided herself on the healthy meals she provided with lots of vegetables and fruits. When the power failed one day, the cook couldn’t serve a hot meal in the cafeteria, so at the last minute she whipped up great stacks of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches.

      As one little boy filled his plate, he said, “It’s about time. At last — a home-cooked meal!”

    31. Plan twice, prep once says:

      I was once looking at what the most dangerous professions are, turns out one of the most dangerous is raising cattle including dairy cows. They are huge potentially dangerous animals that can kill you without even meaning to.

      Knew someone who was a newbie that got a couple chickens. The city allowed up to six hens, no roosters. She bought all the right feed, lights on timers, all the right nesting stuff. After a couple weeks she was getting scared the hens were egg bound and might die. I suggested downloading some rooster calls and playing them off the laptop. Birds primarily use auditory mating calls, it worked, within 24 hours the eggs started coming. All the hens started laying. She was laughing because the hens came to associate her with the rooster calls, and cooed and cackled at her whenever she came near their pen. Cute story, but after the SHTF there may be no Internet to download the rooster calls or any information for that matter that we may need.

      An extremely important resource is a preppers library.

    32. TickTock says:

      Off topic, I’ve been thinking about some of the colorful personalities that frequent this site’s comment sections, and I think I might have a few ideas. One particular personality (who I can relate with, btw) is known for such terms as “lead nutrients” and “ventilation teams”. Wouldn’t it be cool if a new brand of affordable ammunition was manufactured and marketed under a brand called “Lead Nutrients”, with a tongue in cheek “nutritional label” on the box? Hell, I’d buy it. I’d also be interested in a custom designed velcro backed “Ventilation Team” moral patch! Maybe come out with a line of “agency ass clown” targets, assuming someone can come up with a suitable design (what does an agency ass clown look like)? These items could be sold here on Slavo’s site. T-shirts, stuff like that. Just thinking aloud here…but if anyone decides to make it happen, I want a cut since it’s my idea 🙂

    33. skeptic says:

      Daisy;
      I enjoyed the article. Somehow I didn’t realize that you were so new to the game. We have lived this lifestyle for years and we still have bad years here on the west coast of US> We have electric fence but the deer and elk can still get in on their good days. Plant enough to overcome it. Also, I was surprised by your meat chicken time line. Get cornish cross chicks and feed them well. 4 to 5 weeks and they will be at 4.5 to 5 lbs dressed out. Congratulations on getting out but you make us feel real good about our setup. Learn to use body clenching traps on moles and gophers. The gophers eat your plants but the moles are just chasing worms while they ruin your food crop. Good point about the fire potential with the heat bulbs in your chick pens. We use the metal reflector lamps and wire them up with several backups. I still worry about losing our barn. Also, if the power goes out all of those chicks die and on top of losing your meat, it tugs at your heart for the little guys and girls.

    34. Charley Waite says:

      Nice article. Mac, we need more like this and less fear porn.

    35. swinging richard says:

      Thanks Daisy. Well written and informative. Would love to see more like it.

    36. Tennessean says:

      Daisy’s points are all well taken. I suggest folks might want to read my late summer essay at http://www.survivalblog.com on “GrowingFoodEfficienty” which has many ideas and suggestions Daisy did not cover. Carol Deppe’s “The Resilient Gardener” is a must have book. Gypsum is best for loosing clay soils. Micronutrients are VERY important, get “The Art of Balancing Soil Nutrients” by William McKibben. Sawdust is cheap and adds a lot of tilth to soil. We are very big on saving seeds and keeping careful records of the yield per 100 feet of row of different cultivars of veggies. One MUST concentrate on high calorie crops that are easily stored, as per Deppe’s suggestion. And make thyself a root cellar. Grow pole beans not bush beans. As an example, we now have 350 pounds of winter squash stashed away from this year’s effort. And 300 pints of tomato pasta sauce and tomato-bean soup. Along with the field peas and Bloody Butcher field corn, sweet potatoes, “Irish” potatoes.

    37. Good write-up.

      Remember to rotate your plantings in your gardens every couple years or you will get diseases. I compost my leaves (I live in the woods), grass clippings, newspaper, cardboard and coop waste every year. I never had my soil tested. Lucky?

      Buy dual purpose breeds of chickens. You will get a few less eggs, but the meat will be better for more than just a stew pot. Orpingtons are a good breed that tolerates cold well, are good brooders and are pretty good meat birds, too. I put one compost inside the chicken run for food scraps and they eat what they want. Saves feed costs. I’m not a big fan of spending a lot on bird food although I use chick feed as needed and some layer mash. I get boxes of day old whole grain bread for 2 bucks a box and they also free range some.

      Chickens seem easy to me…as long as the system stays together, I guess.

      Grow a couple bushes inside your run and the birds will use these to hide from hawks. It works. Also, if you mount an owl on your fence, it seems to keep them away. Black snakes or mice…take your pick. I pulled a five footer from one of the nesting boxes this spring. Walked it way out in the woods. I won’t kill a black snake. Sure, they like eggs, but they also help keep the mice at bay. He’ll be back…

      I certainly don’t grow enough food to be completely self sufficient, so I don’t wish for the collapse to come.

    38. Waking You Up says:

      Dear Everyone,

      If you don’t want your children, grandchildren, and yourself exposed to MORE RADIATION, then you had better pay attention to this and SAY NO –>

      https://www.change.org/p/united-states-nuclear-regulatory-commission-protect-children-from-radiation-exposure

    39. Babycatcher55 says:

      Build your chicken houses on cinder block foundations with hardware cloth floors. Most of the poop goes thru and can be scooped up, and most predators can’t get in. Only visitor I’ve ever encountered was a young skunk, and we had to encourage him to leave with firecrackers thrown in the main coop door, and he went out the nest box door! Then we nailed him!

    40. very much enjoyed your ideas and views on bring a farmer. it brought a knowing smile to my face. I have a small farm in So Ca with 6 milking does, a few pigs, 25 rabbits (at the moment) and a bunch of chickens. I also have 24 grow boxes and they are the best way to grow the veg’s.
      I’ll add a few ideas.
      A barn cat can be the solution to a number of problems. They can protect the garden from some pests i.e. wild rabbits and gophers, rats or mice and mine catches birds.
      The other point is you need to have a breeding pairs, both mom and dad or doe and buck, F and M. No babies without a roo or boar and that means maintaining them all year too. I offer breeding services to off-set the costs to feed them but either way, each year that guy is a must to have. With pigs, it’s twice a year.
      Raising rabbits has an additional benefit because you can use their poop to fertilize
      the garden without a need to decompose first.
      I’m functioning as a single male here and would greatly appreciate having a companion or group because I know farming is a lot of work so as you plan, realize just what you can do reasonably.

      • Old Guy says:

        I have a pot belly sow. every year I buy a young boar shoat about a 100 pounds. Its always a common type pig like a Hampshire ect. after he breeds my sow I castrate him and after he has healed up I slaughter him. And I get a litter of 1/2 pot belly pigs. This years litter is 7 all doing great. The sow is getting old I plant to keep 2 gilts and raise her replacement. My goats I simply buy a really good billy and after he,s done breeding I sell him. Its a break even deal on average. The last years billy I paid a $110 and sold him for $85 this years I paid $120 and he sold for $175. That way I can keep my best does female kids. they aren’t getting bred too young and im not inbreeding. I cant give any advice on a female companion. I got mine when I was 21 and she was 14 and raised her to suit me.

    41. Anonymous says:

      If you’re a prepper who intends to deal with difficult times own whatever you like.

      But if you’re a survivalist who intends to survive dangerous times don’t own anything you’re unwilling to walk away from and leave behind.

    42. Johnnycomelately says:

      Fine article Daisy, some wisdom here.
      I would like to add something that you folks may not of heared of to help with your preps and homesteading.
      Anoint your land and homes. If you are Christian this is important. When I bout my 7 acres of the Kingdom I went about all the steps layed out in sources like Mother Earth News and the like and worked my backside off with little return. Then a friend introduced me to the Biblical teachings on farming. I was ready to try anything so we took some olive oil and prayed over it asking the Lord to Bless our land and our home with fertility and security for all that live on it. We then took the oil to each corner of our land and again prayed while pouring a little oil at the corner post. We then did the same to our house and smeared oil on the door post and lintel to repel evil. This occurred in the fall (not a requirement) The next year the produce was prolific and abundant and I worked a lot less than in previous years.
      Go to God first and success will be yours, God Bless all of you here at SHFT and may the ‘S’ not hit you so hard.

    43. Later... says:

      uhhh, I checked out a list of ingredients on that Non GMO no MSG food you recommended and I found suspicious ingredients.
      Non dairy creamer is garbage, first on the list for the cheddar broccoli soup. Hydrolyzed Corn Protein – pretty sure that is GMO. I have found it is impossible to get any of this 25 year storage food with out it being chemical laden or just full of too much salt.

      INGREDIENTS: Non-dairy Creamer (Maltodextrin, Palm Oil, Sodium Caseinate, Di-potassium Phosphate, Mono and Di-glycerides, Natural Flavor, Annatto Color), Modified Food Starch, Sweet Whey, Dehydrated Vegetables (Onions, Broccoli), Cheddar Cheese Powder (Cheddar Cheese (Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture Enzymes), Salt, Lactic Acid, Natural Flavors), Cheddar Cheese Powder (Pasteurized Milk, Salt, Cheese Culture, Enzymes), Vegetarian Chicken Base (Maltodextrin, Hydrolyzed Corn Protein, Salt, Corn Starch, Cane Sugar, Onion Powder, Garlic Powder, Parsley, Spices, Turmeric, Silicon Dioxide), Sea Salt, Cheddar Cheese Powder (Organic Dextrose, Maltodextrin, Whey Solids, Organic Corn Starch, Salt, Silicon Dioxide, Guar Gum, Annatto, Turmeric), Xanthan Gum, Spices, Natural Butter Flavor (Whey Solids, Enzyme Modified Butter, Maltodextrin, Salt, Dehydrated Butter, Guar Gum, Annatto, Turmeric), Natural Color, Sugar, Ascorbic Acid.

      pass.

      • Check out Thrive Life for a great food storage option. It is almost all Non GMO, with no artificial colors or flavors. Many of the products are gluten free and they have a few products that are organic as well with hopefully more to come. The food tastes great so you can store it and integrate it into your daily life. – thrivelife.com/kshop

    44. Goat Lady Pam says:

      Wonderful article, Daisy. I read you regularly. Maybe I have forgotten the trials and tribulations from our initial prepping days, or maybe we have been incredibly lucky. But in nine years, we have been blessed with much success with our Chickens and goats. In fact, lately the major problem has been how to get rid of the excess. I have to throw in the towel and take this year’s 30-kid crop to auction.

      We did much as you suggest. We bought an old farm with a lot of buildings on their almost last legs. The house was even a wreck, which is the reason we could afford the 40 acres. Our chicks all lived but for the extra one the nursery sends. Since the house was a wreck anyway, we put their brooder right in one of the bedrooms and made sure that the enclosure was big enough that they could get out from under the heat lamp as they grew and needed less heat. We used a kiddie pool from Walmart for 25 chicks, put up a little “fence” to keep out the cat, and tended food and water daily.

      Since then, we’ve renovated a big hen house and just rear the little ones with the same method there instead of in the bedroom. This year I bought 25 pullets and 25 straight run chicks, hoping for about 35 egg layers in 6 months. Ha! Every dang one of that straight run was a cockerel. So, watch out for that!

      Our first kids were born in the dead of winter, but it happened to occur on one of those rare warm days we get out here in fly-over country. . We had bought adult does that had been exposed. We had to buy hay the first year, but have improved our pastures with goat-y grasses, forbs and legumes. We rent a pasture to a neighbor, trading work for pasture time and he’s got some great equipment we could never afford.

      Our worst trial was losing almost an entire kid crop one year to coccidiosis. We had had so much success that we weren’t familiar with the symptoms or the cure. By the time we figured it out, most of our kids were real sick. That will never happen again. I treat scours like the devil it is. Never let a scour last a single day!

      Off topic, but of interest perhaps. I just bought a $2.50 clothes drying rack at a garage sale. Just in case of TEOTWAWKI. I’ll be able to dry clothes in the winter by setting it up by the wood stove.

    45. Houst/Cypress/Katy/Shtf says:

      Daisy Luther is correct. Luckyly me and one of friends have a thriving good garden producing enough organics sustaining itself, and we have mastered and combated the insect wars, by terminating them with other competitive varities of plants from the wild such as lemon grass, etc. We have it down, the concerning thing for us is this, without a water source, we are f,….ked and cannot sustain that garden. If your close to a water source and roaming post shtf survivors find it, then they will destroy our crops then come after us, then we will have to kill. So its alot more challenging. It took us over 1 year to master the situation in growing healthy crops. So all the seed collectors who are hoarding seeds, who do not study soil conditions, and how to shield plants from the excessive sun light since we proved that the sun is heating up, since we almost lost the crops, because of the heat, we know know for a fact that growing crops in sun light all day means dead crops even with ample water supply.. You will need to be so far from the cities that it would take literally 5 hrs at 100 mph to get to you. That aint happening. Plus all the dead JH15 and foreighn soldiers will be dying of starvation in the major cites when i find out that they were used on us to allow a safe exist of the elites to the DUMBS..iTs coming down, to get the f…k out of town when it hits. The more and more i read the facts from articles like this plus our personal experince growing produce, is the more i have learned to respect the scieintist findings from his inside sources. We are as dead a f,,,k and hopefully i am not captured and eaten for my lean protien and gamy tasting meat since i eat such much organic, and probably taste like deer meat or worst long pork./hog.

      Aka,

      HCKS..

      Yep, we are really truly, completely, totally f…..ked.

    46. Wonderful article, Daisy. I read you regularly. Maybe I have forgotten the trials and tribulations from our initial prepping days, or maybe we have been incredibly lucky. But in nine years, we have been blessed with much success with our Chickens and goats. In fact, lately the major problem has been how to get rid of the excess. I have to throw in the towel and take this year’s 30-kid crop to auction.

      We did much as you suggest. We bought an old farm with a lot of buildings on their almost last legs. The house was even a wreck, which is the reason we could afford the 40 acres. Our chicks all lived but for the extra one the nursery sends. Since the house was a wreck anyway, we put their brooder right in one of the bedrooms and made sure that the enclosure was big enough that they could get out from under the heat lamp as they grew and needed less heat. We used a kiddie pool from Walmart for 25 chicks, put up a little “fence” to keep out the cat, and tended food and water daily.

      Since then, we’ve renovated a big hen house and just rear the little ones with the same method there instead of in the bedroom. This year I bought 25 pullets and 25 straight run chicks, hoping for about 35 egg layers in 6 months. Ha! Every dang one of that straight run was a cockerel. So, watch out for that!

      Our first kids were born in the dead of winter, but it happened to occur on one of those rare warm days we get out here in fly-over country. . We had bought adult does that had been exposed. We had to buy hay the first year, but have improved our pastures with goat-y grasses, forbs and legumes. We rent a pasture to a neighbor, trading work for pasture time and he’s got some great equipment we could never afford.

      Our worst trial was losing almost an entire kid crop one year to coccidiosis. We had had so much success that we weren’t familiar with the symptoms or the cure. By the time we figured it out, most of our kids were real sick. That will never happen again. I treat scours like the devil it is. Never let a scour last a single day!

      Off topic, but of interest perhaps. I just bought a $2.50 clothes drying rack at a garage sale. Just in case of TEOTWAWKI. I’ll be able to dry clothes in the winter by setting it up by the wood stove.

      I wrote a blog for the first six years and surely within that I recorded trials and tribulations I have long since remedied or forgotten.

    47. Burt Gummer says:

      I planted some spaghetti trees last year and still waiting for mu first harvest…

    48. “And trust me, it’s way better to experience failure when the feed store and the hardware store are only a short drive away.”

      Not to mention it’s way better to experience the learning curve when you have a steady income!

      Anyone remember that old movie with Diane Keaton, Baby Boom? She quits her job and moves rural with a new baby. She starts to can baby food. If you’ve never seen it, get it. It highlights just how messy homesteading can be!

    49. Hey Later…says,

      Check out Thrive Life for a great food storage option. It is almost all Non GMO, with no artificial colors or flavors. Many of the products are gluten free and they have a few products that are organic as well with hopefully more to come. The food tastes great so you can store it and integrate it into your daily life. – thrivelife.com/kshop

    50. Chris says:

      I tottaly respect this. We just finished our 3 year of having a garden. I’m in the northwoods and the wild life love my garden. We are putting up a deer and rabbit fence for next year. After 3 years the deer became very aware of where my garden was. I was only able to can 3 batches of beans, my tomato plants got flooded, deer are half my beans and all my peas and corn. Squash did good. We had a heat wave and my spinach aend lettuce bolted early. Lucky last year did better and we still had left overs canned

    51. Ketchupondemand says:

      Had a nice comment to add earlier today and when I hit “submit comment” it vanished like so many of mine do.
      Mac blames it on the “robots” but really, WTF?
      Or do those comments go straight to nsa hq?
      OK, when I come on the site, my screen name and email (!) appear in the “Leave a Reply” boxes like they always do. Is that the norm?
      I suppose firefox remembers this, but MOST of my comments vanish.
      What a way to run a forum. Sheesh.

    52. Diane D says:

      Daisy, excellent advice. Food stored for long-term is so valuable not only for consumption but also barter for other things including labor. Food will be currency.

    53. I agree that planning on homesteading instead of practicing homesteading is not the way to go. For me, my husband is not on board with prepping, so I have to find a way to get things done that don’t interfere with normal life. I see the value in storing food and I have that down. I feel like you need at least a year or more food stored, to get you through 1 or 2 growing seasons. But more than that, if you don’t have the assets(seeds and livestock) and the skills beyond that 1 year period, you are going to be in a world of hurt when it runs out. Store food to survive the bad, but sustainable food production needs to be part of the plan if you want to continue living.

      I’m doing the goat thing for now, I have three Nigerians and I rent pasture. I’m basically giving myself classes, one at a time. Right now it is “Keeping a goat alive 101”. Next Spring it will be “Chicks 101”. Next fall it is “Goat breeding 102”, etc. Rabbits next fall as well unless I feel confident enough to start them in the Spring or Summer.

      My goal is skills. Even if for some reason I have to sell off all the goats, I’m learning animal husbandry right now that can serve me in the future.

    54. Enemy of the State says:

      Only your enemy wants you unarmed

    55. Thank you very much for yet another extremely informative and useful article!

      I feel sorry about your ordeal.
      Please remember: when all else fails, you still have one option: cannibalism…

      🙂

    56. ThereIsNoOtherStream says:

      I always laugh when I see those “survival seed” advertisements. I imagine a person sitting their, thinking should a survival situation occur, all they have to do is pop open that can and “POOF” they’re saved… NOT! It has taken me going on 10 years of heartache, disasters, bugs, rabbits, disease, drought, flood, late frost… to learn living on what you produce is far from a sure thing. After you get the hang of how to produce it, then you have to learn to preserve it…
      I’ve leaned it is impossible to do on your own. It takes a community, because there aren’t enough hours in the day. It is more than a full time job. And there’s a long learning curve. I don’t discourage anybody from getting started though. The point is to do it. Don’t wait.

    57. Big Don says:

      There will be no shortage of food in a collapse. You just need to adjust to cannibalism.
      http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/butcher.html
      Those who have no resources will be coming after those who do. Just pick ’em off on the way in…….

    58. Old Guy says:

      I grew up on a farm. dad raised mostly hogs and cattle. We also had a garden and chickens and goats. Im well into my 7th decade and still learning . I now have both raised beds and in ground conventional gardens. 6 ft chain link fence to keep my goats confined and deer out. We grow probably 80 % of our food. and its time consuming work. We have crossbreed goats for milk & meat. Bantam chickens and rabbits. Also potbelly pigs. And we plant as much field corn as we can. Nothing worse then having animals and nothing to feed them. A hot pepper mash and artificial light will keep hens laying during the winter. Diatomaceious earth is great wormer for everything including humans. its a good dust for mites & lice. Don’t have all you eggs in one basket. and you need enough food stored to last two years. Cannibalism isn’t a viable option. You will get whatever diseases the victim had. For the times when you cant grow your own food there are lots of natural plants and roots that can be eaten. Im afraid that when it all goes south a homestead will just attract human predators.We wont be able to live a 1800,s type lifestyle. It will quickly revert to a stone age existence. a Root Hawg or die survival of the fittest. only those with the constition of Rasputen and the fighting ability of Gengis Kahn will survive.

      • MiVidaLoca says:

        LOL – only on a website like this do people rationally discuss the possibility of cannibalism.

        It’s worth noting, however, that this was a choice made by many an ancestor in troubled times…Donner party comes to mind.

        Vegetarians know that by combining certain foods, one can get enough protein to stay healthy (beans and rice, corn and beans, etc.) Meat is not always a necessity. However, if you have no grains, legumes or vegetables to mix together, you have to resort to meat-eating.

    59. twilightskies says:

      i’ve spent about 3 years now transplanting and multiplying black raspberries, wild golden-yellow raspberries, red raspberries, and blackberries. all wild. my black raspberries are all staked (8′)individually and tied up. about 100 bushes. golden-yellows about 2 dozen staked. still have to organize the rest. i got to tell you, for 3 weeks in july, all i do after coming home from work is pick berries. about half of the black raspberries i moved this spring, so they went through root shock and didn’t produce nearly as much as they will next year. i still froze about 50 quarts of berries. then, i have an old yellow-transparent apple tree i’ve been grooming for the last 3 years and this year it was just LOADED with apples. for three-four weeks in august-september, i was picking two grocery bags full of drops every day. i froze 50 quarts of slices and dehydrated 52 quarts worth. basically, 6 weeks of my evenings were consumed just by two products.
      i was quite happy when the apple tree finally ran out of apples. i have a lot of pie making material now. when cherries come in at the stores, i buy about 40lbs worth and pit and freeze them… until my own cherry trees start producing. i have an old (very large) cortland tree too that dropped hundreds of apples and i wasn’t able to utilize them.. just picked up an old cider press. that kind of waste won’t happen again. started a fruit orchard with about 30 trees of various fruits and nuts. it’ll be a few years before they produce though. but at least they’re in place… and every freakin’ wild thing out there wants to kill or eat your trees. i’ve actually had to replace probably 30% of them since i started… lots of lessons to learn.. deer, mice, wood borers, japanese beatles all will kill your trees…not to mention diseases and black spider mites. 4 dozen grape vines going… wild turkeys or deer ate most of the grapes… but this was the first year the plants were really developed enough to grow anything even decent size… i didn’t mind loosing them too much.. next year they’ll be better protected. bought some citrus trees, but those are potted and come in for the fall and winter. have to keep those clear of scale (little bugs that suck the juices out of the limbs and will infest and kill the tree). collecting materials for a large heated greenhouse. getting close to having what i need. planning on a 16′ x 36′. this is all a lot of work for sure. but i love my raspberry and apple pies. i just need to find a good woman now. this is challenging doing it all alone.

    60. Lone wolverine says:

      Again trailer 50 gal. Steel drums to feed mill fill with wheat, rolled corn,oats ,peas, Get plastic drums from car wash for water .Rain collection without containers ? Dehumidifier are pure water making machines.And animal grade food is better than no food .Should run it over a magnet I used to work at a feed mill.Rolled corn is steamed before its rolled so kind of sterilized ?

    61. Anonymous says:

      After reading this I realized how spoiled I am. We were taught almost all of these things by 10years of age. Hated it at the time but truly has been a blessing. And after decades am still learning from new mistakes

    62. Thedirtup says:

      This article helped me realize how blessed I am. My family are the odd balls of the farming community but learned all of these things by age ten. Not bragging but we are very diversified compared to almost all of our farming neighbors who only know corn and beans…..maybe wheat. But the thing is after decades of raising our own food and seed we still learn something new every single growing season. Experience is worth more than a million silver Eagles.

    63. MiVidaLoca says:

      I am also on the West Coast, in the Northern California foothills and we have 13 acres. I knew it would be a lot of work to have a place out in the country, but I didn’t realize it was THIS much work. I work harder on the weekends than I do during the week on my “day job”. Donkeys are also good at figuring out how to get out of fenced areas, but thankfully, not as well-versed as goats. There is always something to be repaired or replaced, like sprinklers and fences, because, you know, a draft horse happens to just know where to step to break the pop-up sprinklers with his huge feet or where to lean up against the gate and bend the crap out of it. And, unlike Daisy, I haven’t even gotten to the garden and chicken phase yet. Thank you for the head’s up on that!! It’s much appreciated.

     
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