Turning A Neglected Field Into A Productive Plot Of Land

Recently I purchased an additional 60 acres of my grandmother’s old farm. I had to restore the land to its former glory and turn the neglected field into a productive pasture and wildlife habitat. Here’s my story.

My grandparents were cattle farmers. When my mother was a young girl, she and my grandpa ran a farm where they raised and milked dairy cattle. Back then, the farm was well taken care of.

The bottomland was planted annually, and the grain harvest was stored in the silo. The pastures were rotationally grazed and fertilized by manure spreaders recycling the by-products the cows left behind. It was a genuine “organic” farm.

When they got too old to manage their livestock operation, they leased the pasture out to neighbors to graze. Now, I have nothing against folks who lease the ground to graze, but when it’s not yours, you just don’t take care of it the same as if it were your own.

The fencerows were overgrown; locust and cedars popped up. After my grandma passed away, the farm was split up and sold off to different individuals. My mother kept the 60-acre piece, but it was not pastured anymore, and in no time, it was a jungle.

I hunted there and put in a little food plot. Not knowing exactly what would become of it, I neglected the piece as well except for hunting until my mother offered to sell it to me. One day, as I drove in on my small Kubota tractor to the back fence, the growth was so thick I thought I was going to have to walk out and get a chain saw to cut my way out. I knew then something had to be done quickly.

Changing things

changing things

Years ago, Mother Nature was the caretaker of the land. Buffalo and large populations of cervids occupied the country. It was well grazed, and natural fires started by lightning strikes were not contained.

When I was a kid, I remember folks burned annually to control the invasive trees, such as locusts, red cedar (actually a juniper, Juniperus virginiana), and weeds. They burned farmland as well as timberland. Without fire to rid the forest floor of leaf litter and dead limbs, pests like ticks can dominate. Our tick population and tick-borne diseases are rampant as of late.

Today burning is a no-no in most parts of the country. Neighbors may be afraid their place will burn, and landowners are afraid of being sued. Fear that many homes and outbuildings could be in jeopardy is a legitimate concern.

Regulations in most areas require that certified, licensed, and bonded companies specializing in controlled burns do the job. These companies are expensive and far and few between. Conditions must be just right, and some areas such as my new farm might even require an expensive bulldozer to create a firebreak.

Other options


Continue reading here

Supreme Court Declines to Rule on Warrantless Pole Camera Surveillance

This week, the Supreme Court declined to review the decision in Tuggle v. United States in which the Seventh Circuit had ruled that long-term, continuous, and warrantless pole camera surveillance of a home did not violate the Fourth Amendment. EPIC and a coalition co-authored an amicus brief last November supporting Supreme Court review. The coalition’s amicus brief called attention to rapid technological advancements in pole camera technology that make this surveillance more invasive and less costly than previously available tools. The brief also highlighted the disproportionate burden borne by those unable to use fences and other measures to preserve their privacy, such as non-homeowners and lower income people. EPIC regularly files amicus briefs in Fourth Amendment cases and remains committed to countering police surveillance and protecting constitutional rights to privacy.

Continue reading

Recipe of the Week: Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Snacks. These tend to get oily in the summer.

The following recipe is from blog reader L.S.. She notes that this recipe is best for winter, since these tend to get oily in the summer.

  • 2/3 cup peanut butter (I use part creamy and part chunky)
  • 1 cup quick-cooking oats (uncooked)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 2 Full Graham crackers (finely crushed)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of chocolate chips (optional)
  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Stir well with a spoon. Once mixture starts coming together, use your hands to work the mixture until it’s all combined (it helps to spray hands with cooking spray first because it is sticky).
  2. Divide the peanut butter mixture with your hands into four equal sections (you will make 3 balls out of each section). Spoon out a heaping Tablespoon and roll in hands to form a 1½” diameter ball (use more cooking spray on hands if the mixture is too sticky). Place all peanut butter balls on a plate, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Store in refrigerator.

Do you have a favorite recipe that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers? In this weekly recipe column, we place emphasis on recipes that use long term storage foods, recipes for wild game, dutch oven and slow cooker recipes, and any that use home garden produce. If you have any favorite recipes, then please send them via e-mail. Thanks!

Continue reading

How to Dry Meat in the Oven

Drying meat has been a process used for centuries as a primitive way to preserve protein-rich food sources in times when meat was not readily available.

We tend to envision products such as jerky whenever someone mentions drying meat; However, there is so much versatility in using dried meat that goes beyond those basic products which can inspire you to dry more, cook less.

dried beef in oven spilling out of glass jardried beef in oven spilling out of glass jar

While the basic concept of drying meat stays the same in most situations, there are a variety of methods by which you can achieve a delicious result.

Methods like wood smoking or using a dehydration machine are excellent if you have the proper tools, but did you know that you can dry your meat using a conventional oven found at home?

Using an oven can be one of the most consistent methods of drying small quantities of meat, as you can control much of the variability that occurs using other methods.

Of course, this is all dependent on what type of meat you’re using. However, let’s look at what’s happening to your meat when it’s drying to give you an understanding of why using an oven is a viable solution.

whole stake on wooden cutting boardwhole stake on wooden cutting board

It’s All About The Meat

As a general rule, you should only use meat that is lean or has all of the fat taken off beforehand. Fatty tissue on your meat harms the product once it is done drying.

If you use fatty meat for drying you will notice it going rancid afterward in storage. Look for meat where you can drop the fat content down to about 10 percent.

If you are using ground meat to dry, ensure you use it within a few days and try to find ground meat that is at least 90% lean.

Otherwise, cook the meat until the fat is rendered. Keep in mind that using this method can produce dried meat with an unusual texture that could be off-putting to some.

While this could have a detrimental effect on your health, it is mostly the flavor that suffers when deteriorating. It is also imperative that you check the meat for any signs of discoloration or parasites as it can significantly impact the final product.

When you hear about drying meat it is usually some cut from the bovine family as cows are readily available due to farming, although you can use animals from the Cervidae family (moose, deer, elk, etc.).

Beef is a popular protein used for drying as the texture and taste are enhanced, rather than altered. Beef is also an excellent vessel for flavor and relatively easy to dry without many tools.

Using birds (such as turkeys and chicken), or fish are viable options as they have relatively low-fat contents in their meat, although the texture could be off-putting…

Continue reading here

European Commission Introduces the Data Act

On February 23, 2022, the European Commission unveiled a proposal for regulating data obtained or generated by “smart” devices, referred to as the Data Act. The Data Act is intended to allow users more access to and control over industrial data connected with them and to promote increased data sharing with third parties, both through individuals choosing to share data and through measures pushing back on power imbalances between SMEs and large companies regarding data access. Additional components of the Data Act include mandating public body access to data in emergency circumstances and requirements regarding international data transfers.

Proponents of the Data Act argue that it will promote new innovations and potential developments stemming from currently-unused data, foster competition, and empower users. Industry critics are pushing back against the Data Act, particularly data sharing mandates, citing trade secret concerns. Privacy advocates wonder how the Data Act will align with the GDPR, particularly regarding data minimization and data protection principles. As the proposal moves forward, anticipate increased discussion on these points.

EPIC has long advocated more direct privacy and human rights protection regarding the Internet of Things, including through public comment, appealing to Congressional members, and agency feedback.

Continue reading

All War; Hot Cold, Geopolitical, International or Domestic, Is Always War Against All of Us?

By: Gary D. Barnett

“War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Ignorance is strength.”

~ George Orwell, 1984

Due to the recent (and not so recent) bombastic geopolitical idiocy by the U.S. pundits concerning Ukraine, there has been much talk about the possibility of World War III. These statements are meant to strike fear in the populace, and propagandize the idea that a single enemy exists, that ‘real’ global war is likely, and that ‘world war’ is meant to bring an end to tyranny. This notion is confusing at best, but everything reported about war by governments, mainstream media, much alternative media, and by the ignorant public at large, is little more than lies and deceit. The common thinking about war is literally absurd, as war has been continually waged throughout the entirety of our existence. As far as humanity is concerned, war is and has always been, perpetual. With that said, all war is not against a single or even multiple ‘enemies,’ but is against all of us. When governments exist, constant war is inevitable.

War takes on many forms; most of which are not openly discussed by the claimed ‘news outlets.’ Although the U.S. always claims moral superiority, history would dictate that the U.S. for example, has been involved in or prosecuting aggressive war for approximately 93% of its existence, but alas, it is most assuredly closer to 100%. Just because troops are not known to be harassing, tormenting, maiming, raping, and killing innocent people here or in faraway lands, does not mean that war, war plans, and psychological war are not always active in one manner or another. U.S. aggression is monumental, and surpasses all other nations on earth, now and in the past, and U.S. policy that is total aggression against its own population is never ending. The ‘covid’ hoax is just the latest example.

We are now witnessing the result of the long-planned, long-desired, and geopolitically-driven U.S. aggression concerning the Ukraine situation and Russia. It would behoove all to disregard most every report about this situation coming from the White House, the political pundits, the mainstream media, and some of the alternative media as well. The build-up of this coup, the aggression by the U.S. in that region for many years, the multi-billion dollar funding by the U.S. for support and weapons in Ukraine, and the election manipulation evident there and elsewhere by the U.S. this century, should be enough to bring light to the fact that this is no recent Russia/Ukraine debacle, but one that has deep roots tied to the U.S. and NATO. These statements should in no way be taken as showing any support whatsoever for the evil Putin, the Ukraine government, or any abhorrent political or governing system involved in this staged and pre-planned response by the world players. After all, it is always the people who lose; it is always the people who are considered the enemy of the state.

As reported, “Washington’s regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED),…

Continue reading

Looking Back Over COVID. To see what lessons I can draw and share.

I’ve been looking back a lot, for the last two months. We are slowly getting back to normal in the US. It seems there’s a degree of normalcy on the horizon albeit with a thousand possible dangers beyond it. Before I lose myself in preparing for that future I want to look back at the last emergency to see what lessons I can draw and share.

In many ways, because my family was generally spared tragedy, I can look at this as a sort of dry run. I don’t want to diminish those who lost, every life lost was a tragedy for someone, and you all have my condolences. Stepping back from the personal to the societal view though this could have been far, far worse. On the continuum between the sniffles and airborne AIDS, COVID was certainly closer to the sniffles. Thank God.

For this article I want to focus on the tangible side of things. I’m dividing them into failures, successes, and jury’s out. Then the surprises that hit me from considering what I did during the pandemic. I highly suggest running your own self-audit as well as learning from mine. Readers of this blog were more ready than most but looking back I think we all have things to learn and share.


Failures teach us far more than our successes but it’s human nature to ignore our failures when nothing bad occurred as a result. If you want to be prepared you don’t have that luxury. In my view, in the context of a pandemic, these are the largest failures I have found.

  1. My procedures did not keep sickness from my house

In the early days of the pandemic when there was so little known and China was actively obfuscating what they knew I took my precautions seriously. For my family one of us went to work about 1 time a week and worked from home the rest of the time. One person went grocery shopping 1 time a week. If you had been outside, you stripped your clothes off in the entryway, the clothes went straight into the washing machine, the person went straight to the shower. While out I gave everyone a generous 6+ feet of personal distance, went shopping at off-peak hours, and generally avoided being around other humans. We don’t have family nearby so we didn’t try to run a “bubble” with families or neighbors. We kept very isolated.

It didn’t matter.

The procedures failed to keep sickness out of my house.

Doesn’t matter if it was covid or some other respiratory disease. We went down. Compared to what I saw others doing we were more serious about our precautions than most.   How did it come in? Anybody’s guess. I didn’t disinfected the outside of each object that came into the house but if it was picked up in person that wouldn’t have mattered.

  • takeaway question: how long did your procedures keep illness from your house?

Bear in…

Continue reading

19 Weird Gardening Tips to Try This Year

This post may contain affiliate links.* Click here to read our affiliate policy.

Estimated reading time: 9 minutes

19 Weird Gardening Tips to Try This Year

When it comes to gardening, no matter where you live, many of us will take any of the tips and tricks we can get. From wives tales to science-backed evidence, we will try anything once to see how it works. 

Sometimes we can’t even explain why these gardening tips work, but no use in worrying about that when it comes to growing food for your family. Check out these weird gardening tips that you should know for this upcoming growing season.

Article continues below.

Want to save this post for later? Click Here to Pin It On Pinterest!

1. Plastic Forks as Pest Deterrents

If your garden is prone to rabbits, squirrels, or other critter damage, consider this unusual tip. Place the handle of plastic forks into the ground around your plants with the prongs facing up.

The shape is supposed to scare pests away and keep them from eating your plants. Use this tip to keep pets out of the garden as well!

2. Plant with Packing Peanuts

When planting in a container, add a good amount of packing peanuts to the bottom before adding the soil. This will help make the container lighter and shouldn’t hurt the plant roots. This tip is especially helpful if you plan on moving the containers around.

3. Use Pennies to Deter Slugs

One cent doesn’t go far these days, so why not use them to help your gardening? Glue pennies onto the top of the container rim, making sure the pennies touch or overlap. Slugs and snails don’t like copper and won’t cross the barrier of pennies if done correctly. Go through your coin jar and pick out those pennies that were made prior to 1982 for pennies that contain more copper than those made today.

If you don’t have any copper pennies, try using copper tape. Just wrap it around your container and glue it in place.

Copper Tape Around Pot

4. Eggs to the Rescue

There are many odd gardening tips using eggs. You can save eggshells and blend them up to create a calcium-rich powder for the soil. Broken eggshells sprinkled on top of the ground will act like diatomaceous earth in deterring bugs.

After hard-boiling eggs, save the water afterward and use it to give plants a calcium-rich drink. Some gardeners even place a whole egg in the soil when planting to help boost the nutrients underground.

Plant with Eggshells Around It

5. Deter Deer with Soap

If your area has a big deer population, keeping your garden safe can be a full-time job. Deer are very sensitive to smell, so some gardeners shave super scented soap around their garden to keep deer…

Continue reading here

What Life Is Like RIGHT NOW During the Ukrainian Invasion

If you’re new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting!

(Psst: The FTC wants me to remind you that this website contains affiliate links. That means if you make a purchase from a link you click on, I might receive a small commission. This does not increase the price you’ll pay for that item nor does it decrease the awesomeness of the item. ~ Daisy)

As The Organic Prepper predicted, yet did not hope for, the Ukrainian-Russian war has now popped off. There were simply too many signs to believe that anything other than a full-scale invasion would happen. (Seriously. If you believed otherwise, you need to quit trusting your TV.) Ukraine’s largest cyberattack ever. Massive blood shipments being staged.

It never was a “military drill” on Russian soil.  It never was “sabre rattling.” This was about war from the beginning.

And now it is here.

Russian forces began rolling into Ukrainian in the night hours of February 23, rapidly gaining ground in what is best described as a blitzkreig.

President Zalensky of Ukraine quickly began tweeting out calls for help, both to his own countrymen, and to the international community at large. Anybody who desired a weapon in Ukraine can now get one. It appears that all prisoners within Ukraine can now be released provided they fight for their country as well. This is liable to prove an attractive alternative by many rather than being placed in a Russian jail.

Air strikes have literally taken place throughout the entire country of Ukraine. Nowhere there right now is truly safe. In addition, there has been a significant portion of the country that has already fallen to the Russians. As of this writing, the Russians have made significant headway on the Eastern Front, are positioned in the north, and have made significant advances into the underbelly of Ukraine as well.

We’re not entirely sure what to make of the next video. Perhaps there was a military target nearby? Was this just fired into a neighborhood?

People are flocking underground.

Within the major cities, civilians are flocking to the subways in the hopes of being able to survive incoming missiles. There are some videos surfacing of civilians having been hit by rockets. We have not linked to them below as they are rather graphic.

Continue reading here

NPR: Texas sues Meta, saying it misused facial recognition data

The Electronic Privacy Information Center applauded the lawsuit. “A lot of the action around protecting biometric privacy has been centered in places like Illinois and California, but this case shows that other states are starting to take the issue seriously,” John Davisson, the center’s director of litigation and senior counsel, told NPR. 

“If the case succeeds, it could mean a major financial award for Texas,” he added, “which the state should put toward protecting privacy and compensating Texans who were caught up in Facebook’s facial recognition system.”

Read more HERE.

Continue reading