Carleigh Fairchild: Discusses Her Time on the TV Show Alone

There’s something primal that stirs within us at the thought of being isolated in a remote place. As social creatures, many of us instinctively shy away from situations that separate us from our fellow humans. Others are drawn to solitude, so that they may more clearly hear their inner voice — a voice that’s often drowned out by the modern-day electronic hum that permeates our lives. The latter individuals typically remain secluded only for a short period of time, before having to return to the social tasks their lives demand. However, there are an elite few who have grappled with not only the physical dangers of the remote wilderness, but also with their own inner demons for months at a time without another human soul to lean on for support. Carleigh Fairchild is one such person.

Since the age of 13, her life has been immersed in wilderness survival and survival skills training. After turning 18, she moved to Washington state to learn primitive skills, and tested herself by successfully solo backpacking 500 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. Having traveled the country honing her skills, she took on one of popular culture’s most difficult survival challenges by becoming a contestant on History Channel’s Alone — not once, but twice.

Carleigh Fairchild working on a pioneering project.

First, she went to the foothills of the Andes mountains in Patagonia, Argentina, on Season 3. She returned to the show on Season 5, which took place in Mongolia. Today, Carleigh uses her vast experience by teaching others how to reconnect with their surroundings and themselves, much like our not-so-distant ancestors did on a daily basis. We were able to attend a wild edibles class she was teaching at the Georgia Bushcraft Campground near Watkinsville, Georgia, and had the opportunity to sit down with her to learn more about her survival experience and what it was like to survive for 86 days in Patagonia, alone.

Carleigh Fairchild Interview

RECOIL OFFGRID: You started learning wilderness survival skills as a child, what do you feel drew you to that endeavor?

Carleigh Fairchild: My mom started me on the path of learning survival skills when she went to the Tracker School run by Tom Brown Jr. in New Jersey. They have a wide variety of classes. They start with their Standard Course which covers pretty much all of the basics of survival skills, and then there’s more advanced survival skills and tracking classes.

She came home from that and showed me the bow drill kit she had made. It was my first look at making a fire without matches or a lighter. I was fascinated that you could truly rub two sticks together and make a coal. I wanted to learn more. Luckily, I was able to attend a teen summer camp the next year when I was 13 to learn earth skills. I loved the connection the skills brought to me — connection with the earth, connection with my own abilities, and connection with others also passionate about those…

How To Raise Quail For Eggs And Meat

Whether for physical or financial survival, learning how to raise quail is a must when you’re homesteading or preparing for SHTF!

RELATED: Practical Quail Hunting Tips Every Hunter Should Follow

Useful Tips on How to Raise Quail for Eggs and Meat

The Homesteader’s Guide to Raising Quail

Want to learn how to raise quail? You’re not just one of the few because more and more people across the United States are raising their own food.

From cattle and goats to pigs, rabbits, and chickens, people are able to put fresh meat on the table all on their own. In this day and age, raising and growing your own food is becoming more of a necessity.

When SHTF, it’s comforting to know you can provide for your family. So take the next step in your homegrown protein-raising and adopt some quail.

As a matter of fact, raising quail is becoming more popular. Homesteaders and farmers (rural and urban) across the nation are having great success in raising this pint-sized fowl.

They are smaller than your average chicken, which means they take up less room, and they are easy to care for, too.

The Benefits of Raising Quail

Let’s talk about the benefits of raising quail for meat and eggs in more detail. Why have they become so popular?


This unassuming bird only happens to be one of the best options around for fresh eggs and meat. Here’s what quail can do for you.

1. Quail Lay Eggs Every Day, Just Like Chickens

If you decide on raising quail for your farm, you can look forward to their eggs. Coturnix quail lay daily just like chickens, and their eggs are spotted and speckled.

They are eaten just like chicken eggs and you’ll also find plenty of recipes for their eggs and meat.

In many parts of the world, quail eggs are considered a delicacy. Their eggs are smaller, so you will have to use more of them.

About 3-4 quail eggs are as good as one chicken egg. But, their quality is comparable to chicken eggs.

2. Quail Are Perfect for the Urban Farmer Who Cannot Raise Chickens

Where cities and towns do not permit chickens, raising quail is your best option.

Another great plus is quail do not crow. Instead, their calls are quiet chirps and coos giving little indication of their presence.

So they’re much less likely to annoy your neighbors than a 4:30 a.m. rooster wake-up call. It is important to note you cannot let Coturnix quail free-range (like chickens), as they fly very well.

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3. Quail Take Up Less Room

As a general rule, quail needs one square foot of space per bird. Raising quail this way means they’ll be less prone to behavioral issues and lead happier lives.

A 2′ x 8′ hutch…

13 Winter Survival Methods To Keep You Warm

Knowing a few winter survival secrets never hurt anyone. That’s why, we’ve outlined 13 in this article to help you when a winter storm brings in snowstorms, freezing rain, snow pellets, graupel, and rime.

They can also minimize your winter problems like having to keep the heat in check at home, blackouts, and frozen water pipes.

Winter Survival Methods: Keeping The Heat In Check

1. Preparing for the Cold Months

It is vital that people prepare for the different seasons of the year, most especially for winter.

Winter Survival Methods

This article will show you what you need to prepare for your winter survival kit.

2. Winter Storm Guide

Preparing for the ordinary winter months is good. Preparing for a winter storm is even better.

Winter Survival Methods

This guide will help you get through freezing rain, snow or sleet. Learn more about the ultimate guide winter storm.

3. 5 Steps To Prepare Your Car For The Winter

We can’t stress enough that preparation is always the key to surviving extreme weather conditions. These winter weather tips will show you how to get ready for a major blizzard:

Winter Storm Survival Tips

  • Put a winter supply box in your car.
  • Check your engine coolant and antifreeze level.
  • Check your tire pressure and tread depth.
  • Use winter windshield wiper fluid.
  • Switch to winter grade oil at your next oil change.

4. Learn How to Roll West Virginia Style

Are you tired of shoveling snow at home just to clear a path for you and your family? Well, this guy down south will show you how to do it in a jiffy.

If the snow falling in your area is wet and sticky, you can say goodbye to those backbreaking lifting and scooping chores for good.

5. Cover The Gaps

There are several life hacks to help you make it through the cold without having to go through little winter inconveniences.

  • You can warm up your home faster by putting a frozen bag of vegetables on top of your thermostat.
  • Place an electric blanket on top of the clothes you want to use for the day before taking a shower.
  • Keep your house humid and retain the heat by not draining the hot water in your bathtub after a bath.
  • Economize on your electric and heating expenses by covering the gaps under your doors with pipe insulation. This keeps cold drafts from entering the room.
  • Give your wheels more traction during the winter by placing kitty litter.

6. Tips on Survival for your Homestead

This article will show you how to protect your livestock, chickens and outdoor pets from freezing to death.

Winter Storm Survival Tips

There are also other methods to protect or at least minimize the damages for your gardens, farm equipment and other parts of your property.

These are

Recordkeeping Is A Useful Tool On The Hobby Farm

Sometimes, the most useful tool a farmer can have isn’t a powerful machine or a tried-and-true hand tool. It’s meticulous recordkeeping.

Whether you keep a journal, scrawl key details in a notebook, scribble must-remember data on scraps of paper, or punch notes into your computer or phone, keeping detailed farming records can be helpful on so many fronts.

Exactly what your recordkeeping might entail will depend on the type of farm you operate. But to give you an idea of the possibilities, let me share a few real-world examples of how meticulous recordkeeping helps me with my annual farm, garden and orchard harvests.

Planting Memory

I have a lot of garden beds, and though I have a good memory for details, I can’t trust myself to remember with 100 percent accuracy which beds contain which seeds and seedlings. One year, I planted two varieties of pumpkins and forgot which was which.

Fortunately, the resulting pumpkins were different enough to tell the plants apart once they fruited. But that might not always be the case. Ever since, I’ve taken more care to note the location of every planting.

Seed Planting Dates

When I plant garden beds each spring, I write down the date the seeds went in the ground and then take note when they sprout. I also keep track of the estimated days until maturity listed on the seed packets.

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Later, when the plants are mature and harvest time is approaching, I check my notes to determine when I should harvest—not too early, and not too late.

Note Blossom Dates

Every year, I write down the dates when my fruit trees blossom in the spring, and then mark down when the fruits ripen in late summer and fall. These dates can vary a bit from year to year, but keeping notes across multiple years gives me a good ballpark of when to expect ripe fruit.

Recordkeeping Is Just Handy

Some folks might get along just fine without all this farm recordkeeping. After all, the ripeness of an apple can be gauged by appearance and tasting, assuming you know what to expect from any given variety. And I know my beloved sweet corn is ready when the silks have dried to brown and popping a sample kernel reveals milky liquid rather than clear.

Even still, there are benefits to recordkeeping. If you’re a hobby farmer trying to grow a little of everything, maybe there are only a dozen pieces of corn on your handful of corn plants. Knowing when you planted them (and when they sprouted) can help you nail down exactly when they’re ready pick. From experience, I know that peak taste and quality can fall in a very narrow window of time.

Here’s another example: I’ve purchased many fruit trees from a nursery about an hour south of where I live, and the ripening dates they list for each variety tend to be earlier than the dates I experience on…

4 Apps To Help Manage The Farm From Your Phone

If you grew up on a farm or, like me, spent time on a relatives’ farm when you were a kid, you probably saw them pull out a notebook and write down things like how many eggs they had that day, how many chickens they sold or how many gallons of milk the dairy cows were producing.

Back then, journals and notebooks were the best way to keep track of data over time. Some people, of course, still use them. But if you’d like a more reliable way to keep track of everything happening on your hobby farm, it’s time to take a look at the different farming apps you can find in the App store or Google Play.

Beyond complicated farm management software for your computer, there are apps that are easy to set up, easy to use and will lend a helping hand to anyone with livestock, gardens and more. If you’ve never used apps to manage your farm, here are a few you can try right now.


Many farms are passed down in the family from generation to generation. But if you’ve just bought or you own a generational farm, one of the first things you realize is that you now own a lot of different trees, shrubs and other plant farming apps PictureThisfarm farming apps PictureThisShelly Wutke

Unless you’re a pro at identifying different greenery, you’ll need a bit of help figuring out how to take care of everything on your property.

That’s where the PictureThis app comes in. To use it you’ll just take a photo of what you’d like to identify, open the photo in the app, and it will tell you what the plant is. PictureThis identifies trees, fruit, leaf plants and flowers, and it can even identify weeds. The app will identify toxic plants and let you know if the plant is safe for your animals, and it can identify insects and birds, and tell you how old a tree is by identifying the rings.

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You can use it with or without a yearly subscription, and it’s been an incredibly helpful app that I’ve used daily.


If you have chickens and you’d like to track how many eggs they are laying every day, week or over the course of a month or year, Flockstar is a good choice. It’s a productivity app for all types of poultry, and you can organize your flock based on breed, egg color or species.

One of the reasons I like Flockstar is that it tracks your egg count on a daily basis. You can also use it to track expenses incurred and find out your profit when selling eggs or chickens. There’s even an option to take photos of receipts so you have your expenses on hand when doing taxes.

Cattle Market Mobile

If you have cattle and you’re wondering what the…

The Honest Truth About Marans, 3 More Chicken Breeds (Pt. 3) 

Looking to start or expand your backyard flock but not sure which chicken breeds to are the best? While I can’t tell you which chickens would be the perfect match for your particular situation—more than a dozen factors affecting your decision come to mind off the top of my head—I can share which chicken breeds worked for my family and which ones crashed and burned.

The following foursome comprise part three of my series (here’s part 2) honestly recounting my experience rearing these breeds of chicken.  

Dutch Booted Bantam 

My experience with Dutch Booted Bantams (pictured above) came about unexpectedly. These were amongst the adorable “mixed bantams” that I brought home from our farm-supply store as a result of chicken math.

There were only three in the entire stock tank, and all three came home with me. Sadly, two didn’t survive the first week. To this day, I’m unsure why they perished. They’d been active; were eating, drinking; and pooping; never experienced pasty butt; and were the same size and age as the other baby bantams in the brooder. P

erhaps Dutch Booted Bantams are delicate by nature. Perhaps it was just those particular chicks from that particular hatchery. I’ll never know.  

The surviving chick, Clarice, befriended the only lavender chick I’d seen in the mixed-bantams tank (and of course brought home). Edward and Clarice became inseparable, even as fully grown birds … which was all the more astounding since we discovered that Edward was not a bantam at all but rather an Easter Egger—and female at that. Another name change became imminent when Clarice began crowing.

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Edwina and Clarence were quite the pair. Clarence would ride on Edwina’s back, and the two would roost together at night, Clarence often tucked beneath one of Edwina’s wings.  

 I never saw another Dutch Booted Bantam chick amongst the bantams bin that year or in subsequent years, so I can only assume that the hatchery had issues with the breed. It’s hard to summarize an entire breed based on my experience with Clarence, but I will say he was a very gentle, affectionate and healthy little bird with beautiful feathering on his feet. Hopefully the rest of his breed follows suit.  

Japanese Bantam 

Japanese bantamJapanese bantamMarieXMartin/Adobe Stock

One advantage of getting to know the director of the local university’s poultry research farm is being alerted when hatching eggs and chicks were available for the many different chicken breeds being raised at the center. I carefully brought home one dozen of the tiniest bantam eggs I’d ever seen and watched them incubate with anticipation.

I was very disappointed when only one egg hatched. I learned soon after that Japanese Bantams, like Araucanas, carry a lethal gene that kills many of the embryos before they hatch.

The surviving chick, a gorgeous White Japanese Bantam I…

Episode 62: Frank Hyman

Rodney Wilson, senior editor for Hobby Farms and Chickens magazines, is a writer, editor and hobby farmer. His family farm, the Kentucky-based Goldfinch Farm, has raised Berkshire pigs, Dexter cattle, meat chickens and laying hens, but these days focuses on self-sustenance and beekeeping. Rodney lives in the Cincinnati, Ohio, area with his wife, a whole mess of kids and so many pets.

Poultry Profile: The Beloved Speckled Sussex Heritage Breed

Speckled Sussex chickens are gaining popularity in small backyard flocks across America. These speckled beauties are perfect for people desiring a cold- or heat-hardy chicken that excels at egg laying. With these traits, it’s easy to see why the speckled Sussex is gaining popularity.

But what else is making the speckled Sussex breed a popular choice for backyard flocks?


Bred in the mid-1800s in Sussex, England, the breed was initially developed as a meat bird. Before Cornish Rocks gained popularity, Sussex was the primary meat bird of England.

Even though the Sussex’s original purpose was to be a meat bird, they are not prone to the health issues often occurring with Cornish Rocks.


The Sussex comes in a variety of colors: speckled, red, light, Columbian buff and white. The striking speckled—a mahogany color with each feather ending in a black bar and white speckle—is the most popular color in the U.S. With each passing molt, the speckles become more numerous.

Speckled Sussex heritage chicken breedSpeckled Sussex heritage chicken breed

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Meat & Egg Production

Sussex chickens make an excellent choice for the table. They are known to have incredibly tender meat, especially when butchered at a young age. Each chicken should average a dressed weight of 6 to 7 pounds. However, speckled Sussex are slower to mature than Cornish Rock crosses (averaging 20 weeks to reach butchering age).

This trait puts them at a disadvantage to faster-growing breeds, who reach butchering age in 9 weeks.

Speckled Sussex are excellent egg producers who will lay eggs without declining for several years. Each hen averages four to five light brown eggs per week for the first four to five years of her life.


If you are looking for a pet chicken, you don’t have to look any further than the speckled Sussex. These hens crave human interaction and will do anything to get attention. Sussex are chatty, curious, friendly, intelligent and energetic.

They love being the center of attention. They also love to be held and will carry on animated conversations with their owners.

Hens of this breed are very energetic and benefit from directly supervised free-ranging. Even so, they still tolerate confinement well if allowed to stretch their legs. If bored, they often will find ways to entertain themselves. Sussex can bully other flock members when bored, so provide lots of mental stimulation.

Providing Entertainment

The Border Collies of the chicken world, Sussex are intelligent and energetic hens who require physical and mental stimulation. Providing your hens with fun activities will keep these chickens healthy and happy.

If you have a bored Sussex, try one of the ideas below.

Fresh Straw

Putting clean straw in your coop or run will provide chickens with endless entertainment. Even when your other breeds have tired of the game, your Sussex will continue to scratch happily through the straw.

Because if there is anything a Sussex likes to do, it’s scratch.


Homesteading: A Trapper’s Perspective – Part 2, by Lodge Pole

(Continued from Part 1.)

Our goal is to limit our trips to town by producing as much food as possible. There are still a few items we will need to purchase, salt, flour, etc., but those are easily procured in bulk to limit our trips. I am a student of history. I study how and what our ancestors did as they settled this country. They had to be resilient and self-reliant. They had to deal with heartache and failures. Most that pursued manifest destiny failed, but regardless, those men and women were tough. They kept on going. It is easy to romanticize a time we did not live in, but their fortitude eventually settled a wild land.

I have heard that it took two generations for our society to lose all “coping skills.” What this means is our lives have become so easy and reliant on technology. Most of the society does not have basic skills, like building a fire. We do not know where our food comes from, and we are driven solely by corporate marketing tycoons who tell us what to buy and when. Our society now values feelings more than knowledge and grit. We praise and worship creeps and mentally deficient individuals instead of trying to better ourselves. Our society is soft. As a nation, we appear weak.

So many people in this country lack the basic skills to take care of themselves. Look at how many people get stranded and die sitting in their cars during a snowstorm; a snowstorm they had been warned about for several days. We are not taught critical thinking or how-to skills. High school graduates don’t know how to balance a checkbook, make a healthy dinner, and some have no desire to learn to drive.

Why drive when you can play a video game? Through the lack of real-world skills, technological advances and a lack of interest, our culture no longer has the grit and perseverance that our ancestors did when they headed West for a better life. Can you imagine this generation leaving everything they have in search of a place they had never been just for the chance of a better life?

When I brought the first batch of chicks home to our new house, my one-year-old son waited anxiously. Obviously, as parents, we built up the occasion. He was so excited and loved holding them. Often, we have people ask us what our chickens’ names are. I always respond, “We do not name food.” These chickens are part of our lifestyle, not pets. It’s at these times when I remember what those working cowboys had said years before. Our animals are tools we use to give us healthier food, a sense of freedom from corporate products, and the plain comfort of knowing we have food regardless of the supply lines.

To this day, we have not named any of our animals and we have taught our son where his food comes from. On occasion, when we sit down…

Brush Up On Your Poultry Trivia With These Chicken Facts

It’s inevitable: Once you start keeping chickens, you become an encyclopedia of all things poultry. If you’re like me, you get your hands on every publication available in pursuit of new chicken facts. I have five bookshelves dedicated to chicken books. I have acrylic magazine holders stuffed with issues of Chickens and Hobby Farms. My browser features a folder full of bookmarks for reputable chicken web sites.

My phone’s Contacts app has entries for professors of poultry science, avian veterinarians and chicken breeders. You’d think that I probably know everything there is to know about chickens … but I don’t. I learn new facts about chickens with pretty much every article I research and write.

When I discover new facts, I get excited all over again and eagerly wait for my family to get home from work and school so that I can share my new knowledge about our chickens with them. Naturally they’re not as enthusiastic as I’d hope—perhaps because they’ve been at computers all day. But, luckily for me, I can share these nuggets with all of you.

Here are four sets of chicken factoids I recently learned for you to enjoy and perhaps share with your own poultry people.  

Production Pro 

The United States leads the world in poultry-meat production, surpassing the planet’s 194 other countries in output. America raises more than 513 million chickens and more than 216 million turkeys annually, with more than 59 billion pounds of that being broilers

Those 730 million birds brought in approximately $77 billion dollars in revenue in 2022.  As enormous as this seems, the U.S. actually only produces 17 percent of the world’s poultry, with China and Brazil following close behind.  

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Chicken Chow Down 

America not only produces the majority of the world’s poultry; it also consumes most of the world’s chicken. About 15,000 metric tons of chicken is eaten each year in the U.S., and it’s easy to understand why: chicken wings, fried chicken, chicken soup, roast chicken … Americas just adore chicken.

Not only is it a tasty protein, it’s also an inexpensive one, much less costly than beef, veal or seafood. Chicken’s affordability definitely helps put a chicken in every American pot.

But it’s not just the U.S. that loves chicken. Global consumption of poultry is estimated to be 136,000 metric tons in 2023, more than nine times what the U.S. consumes.The country that eats the most chicken after the U.S.? China

The Real Eggsperts 

The United States is also a global leader when it comes to egg production, with more than 109 billion eggs produced annually. According to United Egg Producers, more than 55 percent of America’s annual egg production is consumed right here in the U.S. Less than 1 percent of the US’s annual egg production—about 0.15 percent, or 160.8…