Smart farming on a large lot

The desire to own land has been moving the prepping and off-grid communities for generations. Having a few acres that give you room to do almost anything you can think of is a dream for many of us. Even more, achieving self-sufficiency on such a lot, and having a large pond or a small woodlot, is the ultimate life goal for some.

Owning half an acre or more provides you with endless possibilities when it comes to farming and you must become as efficient as possible to avoid wasting time and resources. With a large lot, you just won’t have the time to do everything you want, and you will keep yourself busy all day trying to cover everything that needs to be done.

Tools are needed

If you have a plot of land ranging from one to five acres, you will need certain tools to make your life easier. For example, a chainsaw can be used for both landscaping jobs and rough carpentry if needed.

If you plan to build a fence, you will need various tools to do the job right. A 13-pounds maul is an indispensable tool for wooden posts, and if you use fence wire, you’ll need wire stretchers.

The more fencing you have; the more work will be needed to keep vegetation from growing up in the fence lines. In such a case, a string trimmer becomes mandatory to clear the weeds.

Pulling and lifting jobs become impossible chores without a hand winch, a tool that becomes indispensable at times.

A sturdy barn

As time goes by, you will acquire more and more tools, and you’ll find that a barn will become the ideal place to store all those tools. Even more, it will keep feed dry, it can host machinery and protect it from the elements, and it can accommodate your livestock. It can host a milking parlor for goats and pretty much all the utilities you can think of.

Most people go with the two-story, gable-roofed barn since this design passed the efficiency and time-lasting tests. Some folks incorporate their chicken coop into their barn, especially if one side of the building provides access to a pasture area. Also, keep in mind that your barn should be connected to a corral. By doing so, you will be able to move livestock between pens but also load them into a truck with ease.

Building a barn is not easy since you’re dealing with a large construction project, and it becomes a major responsibility. Your barn needs to be strong enough to hold a heavy load in the upper loft and be able to also keep the elements out.

When you decide to build a barn, look up the term “pole barns” since these empty shells can be erected for a reasonable price. Once you have the framework up and the roof in place, you will also be able to work on the rest of the…

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Survival Gardening: The Most Vital Prep

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.)

Your crops should be started indoors 4 to 6 weeks before you’re ready to put them out. Since your space is small to start, you will only need one or two 72 cell starter trays; you can also use egg trays or make pots from rolled up paper. When you are selecting your seeds look for heirloom or “open-pollinated” seeds; they will be labeled on the seed packet. Since you will be harvesting next year’s seeds from your little garden, you do not want hybrid seeds. Heirloom and open-pollinated seeds will reproduce true every generation. Hybrid seeds will grow, but you cannot be certain what characteristics will pass on. Put two seeds in each pot or cell. You can prune one out if they both sprout, but you double your chances of success that way. Sometimes you only get a 75% sprouting rate, so doubling up is the best way to compensate. You can use a shop light for germination and early growth, but if you can afford it get a small led grow light system. These have better light spectrum properties and are cheaper to operate. Light intensity decreases exponentially, meaning you want the light as close to the top of the plants as you can without letting them touch the bulbs. You can even sprout them in a window if you need to – it will take a bit longer, but it will work.

A week or two before you want to transplant them, they need to be hardened off. This can be done by making a small tent from PVC piping and shade cloth, or just putting them in a shady location. You can also watch the weather and look for a cloudy day – but you risk a sudden break in the clouds which can make things dicey. Keep them watered, remember those trays are small and do not hold much moisture. You should water daily unless it has rained. If the temperature is going to drop into the 30’s, bring them in at night. Remember that bunnies, groundhogs and other critters love tasty little sprouts, so protect them.

Transplanting

When it is time to transplant, you need to imagine each plant as a full-grown specimen and ensure there is adequate space. You can put things closer, but it will not allow each plant to reach its full potential. The seed packets you purchased will have spacing information you can reference. Add a handful of compost into each hole as you dig. When you have them planted, it is best to put some form of mulch over them. This can be purchased, hay or straw, or just weeds you have pulled from the ground. Pile this between the plants. This accomplishes three things, it reduces moisture evaporation, helps deter weeds and keeps the plants from splash-back during heavy rains. This is often the source of many diseases that plague your crops. Bacteria and viruses in the soil get…

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The Ultimate Guide To Bugging In

Estimated reading time: 23 minutes

The Ultimate Guide To Bugging In

Sometimes the Best Escape is No Escape.

We’ve all heard of bugging-out, but there are times when staying put and hunkering down or “bugging in” makes more sense. Bugging in means staying home but keeping a low profile. You don’t go out, you don’t shop, you don’t interact with outsiders and you stay alert… sound familiar?

Many people have adopted this lifestyle as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, but people have been doing it for thousands of years.

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What Causes a Bug-In?

As with a global pandemic, there are many good reasons to step out of society for a while. Here are some of the incidents and events that have caused this lifestyle to emerge based on past precedent.

Catastrophic Manmade Disasters

Catastrophic Natural Disasters

And while there are other natural disasters from tornadoes to floods, some disasters like a wildfire could require an evacuation regardless of someone’s desire to stay home. It’s unfortunate, but if a wildfire is heading for your house, you have no choice but to abandon ship. 

But most disasters affect an area with only the side effects of the actual event rather than the full force of the disaster. A tsunami may ravage coastal areas but inland areas can be without power or in the case of the Fukushima reactor incident, people can be severely threatened for hundreds of miles from radiation exposure

Why Bug-in?

People bug-in for two fundamental reasons. They either have nowhere else to go or their current location is safer than anywhere else. And to be clear, when people actually do “bug out,” it doesn’t always mean they are escaping to a remote log cabin in the mountains or a buried compound in the desert.

Some bug outs are as simple as staying with a relative or friend who lives in an area unaffected by the disaster. But even the kindness of others can be a challenge. And in the end, there’s still no place like home.

Bug-in Realities 

The mixed blessing of the current pandemic is that it has acquainted us with at least some of the realities of bugging-in. It’s a scenario where there are few of the options we have come to expect with everyday living. Things like going to the movies, a concert, large get-togethers with family and friends, even going to church, weddings, funerals, school, and work. 

In a violent disaster like a civil war or nuclear incident even essential services like grocery stores, pharmacies, and gas stations may be a thing of the past. It’s also quite possible that hospitals and doctors will be overwhelmed. Some parts of the world have seen that with COVID-19, people everywhere are delaying routine medical care…

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What to Know About Adding Animals to Your Homestead – reThinkSurvival.com

Homesteaders everywhere choose to add animals to their property. Animals make excellent pets, companions, workers and even food sources. Sometime along your own homesteading journey, you may think about adding your own animals to your homestead.

There’s a lot to know before adding animals to your homestead, though. Multiple animals mean that you have numerous more mouths to feed and water. Plus, they need proper attention and care, especially if you’re using them for sustenance.

An important factor in homesteading is the ability to sustain yourself. You learn to provide for yourself while limiting your carbon footprint on the environment. However, suppose you don’t consider everything there is to know about adding animals to your homestead. In that case, you may end up back at the grocery store purchasing animal products, selling your animals or making a larger carbon footprint than you intended.

Animals deserve to have healthy homes with reliable owners, whether they’re on a homestead or not. If you’ve been considering adding animals to your homestead, then you have probably thought about the various questions that come with it. Whether you’re a beginner homesteader or are a professional homesteader looking to add cattle or chickens, this guide will help you understand what to know about adding animals to your homestead.

Know Your ‘Why’ for Wanting Animals

First, you need to know your ‘why’ for wanting animals. Farm animals are undoubtedly cute, but you don’t want to purchase farm animals for their cuteness. Eventually, they get bigger and grow older, and they’re no longer the baby animals they once were. That’s what happens with pets, too, when families purchase a puppy or kitten as a pet, but then no one wants it because of the responsibility and care that goes into it.

Why do you want animals? Is it for food purposes? Do you want them to be productive, or are they for show? Do you plan on keeping any as a pet? Will you sell any of the animal products to other people? Consider these questions before purchasing animals for your homestead.

Ensure You’re Allowed to Have Animals Where You Live

Some places may have restrictions as to what animals you can keep on your property. If you live in a more urban area, like a town or a city, there are likely rules on which kinds of animals you can own and keep on your property. Check with your local homeowner’s association (HOA). You should be able to call, email or read up on animal regulations.

If you’re not allowed to have large farm animals, there are still plenty of options! Most urban areas are loosening their restrictions on having backyard chickens. Plus, you could have rabbits or even a beehive to get your animal farm started.

Consider Your Space

Next, consider your space. Homesteaders fortunate enough to have multiple acres of land should have little to no problem sheltering a herd of cattle or flock of chickens. They still need to ensure the land is…

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6 Tips for Choosing a Quality Hunting Rifle

Choosing a Quality Hunting Rifle

When it comes to hunting, it’s important that you pick a firearm that’s reliable and efficient in any condition or climate. Whether you are new to firearms or have been a lifelong carrier, you need to spend ample time comparing brands and knowing which rifle best fits your needs. 

 

However, it doesn’t take much to choose. You just need to focus on the most basic features and other considerations. Here’s what you need to know when picking a hunting rifle.

6 Tips for Choosing a Quality Hunting Rifle

  1. Know your hunting style

How do you describe your strategy for hunting down big game or fowl? Are you more into concealment or are you focusing on precision? Whatever the case may be, you need a rifle that matches your style. This is an important point of assessing if a rifle helps you achieve optimal mobility and accuracy. 

 

If you’re willing to go beyond your comfort zone, you can try different rifle actions and cartridges. A little research will go a long way, but it’s always advisable to stick with rifle types you are at home with instead of investing in a rifle that won’t exactly suit your style of hunting.

 

  1. Know your game

Apart from your hunting style, you also need to consider the game you are hunting. This is important as not all rifles are optimal for hunting certain game. 

 

If you are hunting bears, for instance, enthusiasts would suggest anything in the mold of a Marlin 1895 or a Remington 700. You can also opt for any rifle that accommodates 7mm and .338 caliber rounds. For duck and other fowl, you can look towards a Winchester Model 12 or a Benelli Vinci. 

 

When it comes to small game, you might want a firearm that can accommodate the more common .22 caliber ammunition. You can shop for the best 22LR rifles that are ideal for hunting squirrels, rabbits, and turkeys. 

 

For most preppers, however, an all-around rifle would be ideal in any situation and against any game. The trick is to mix and match rifles with sighting systems and cartridges. Remember, this is all a matter of taste. If you are planning to get an all-purpose rifle, be sure to get advice from experienced hunters. 

 

  1. Consider the type of action you want 

In choosing a rifle, you will be asked about the action that fits your needs.  In most cases, a bolt-action rifle would be preferable for any type of game or condition. 

 

When it comes to long-range shooting, bolt-action rifles win by (literally) a long shot. Despite using only a few rounds, these types of rifles are incredibly accurate and durable. More importantly, it’s easier to clean and maintain. The only downside to these rifles is their low rate of fire.

 

Another favorite among…

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What I Did To Prep This Week: April 25th – May 1st 2021

Hey folks, just wanted to take a few minutes to check in with you all – even though you are in great hands with James. I will connect with you all again in a couple of months once we are past the Old School Survival Boot Camp event.

I hope you are all doing well. In spite of the ever changing spring weather – with it sometimes feeling like winter still, all is going well here on our survival homestead. A lot of new additions have been happening and one more to come very soon.

We acquired more meat rabbits to add to our cache of survival livestock. Two Pygora babies were born, and our wonderful new Pygora Billy goat is thriving in his new environment. It took him a while to learn how to truly be a goat – he had been kept more like a pet inside of a small fence.

One of our mini donkey, Jennies, will be giving birth soon – with two more to follow in about six months. These will be the first mini donkeys born on our survival homestead, so I am very excited.

With the roaming group of coyotes that keep paying us an unwanted visit, the more donkeys the better. They love kicking the stuffing out of coyotes for sport, making them superb livestock guardians of our growing goat herd.

Our gardening efforts are coming along nicely, and I still have seeds starting indoors. These dang noisy Banty hens are going to the outside brooder after it warms up in a few days, they are the noisiest chicks we have ever had and I am ready for some peace and quiet at bedtime.

We canned some milk and butter this past week, along with more chili and vegetable soup. We are making a big effort to not only grow and raise more of what we eat, but also to get into the habit of canning year round to stockpile more shelf-stable foods of all types.

A lot of our time has been spent working on the Old School Survival Boot Camp event – May 14 through 16 is just around the corner. Working the event has been massively time consuming to make sure it is pulled off flawlessly and it is well attended, but our efforts will be worth it.

Over 1,2000 folks to date will become far better prepared for disasters both large and small as well as being more self-reliant and less dependent upon stores, on a daily basis.

Here is a video preview of the event from our YouTube page to check out, I hope you enjoy it.

This Week’s Questions

  1. How are you preparing for a time when going to a grocery store is not possible – for either a short time or an extended period of time?
  2. Do you keep livestock as part of your food assurance preps – why or why not?
  3. Have pandemic restrictions loosened where you live, and…

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