Basic Fruit Tree Pruning Tips

Pruning is best described as a horticultural practice involving the selective removal of certain parts of a plant, such as branches, buds, or roots. This may be done for a number of reasons, with the method and timing being of some importance, particularly when flowering and fruiting plants are the subjects – and we wish to achieve a good yield of high-quality produce.

The main principles of pruning

When we prune, there are a few basic objectives to achieve healthy plants, which will then reward us crops for as many years.

Firstly we need to remove growth that is dead. Once plant cells have died, they cannot fight infection, so they are an entry point for diseases to enter. Cankers, Coral spot, and Silver-leaf are all diseases of fruit trees and bushes which could gain entry through dead wood, which should be cut out, back to a suitable place in good, healthy growth.

Growth that has already become diseased also needs to be removed. Plant diseases will spread through the plant and may eventually cause death. Pruning should remove infected wood by cutting back to healthy growth to help prevent its spread both through that plant and also to neighboring fruit trees and bushes.

the main principles of pruning

Fungal diseases, such as Apple and Pear Canker and Coral Spot, can usually be controlled by good pruning, but Bacterial diseases such as Bacterial canker (plums and cherries) and Fireblight will colonize the plant cells far more quickly and will usually necessitate the whole tree being removed to help prevent spread.

Damaged shoots and branches are more prone to infection by diseases, which can then spread. This can include damage to the trunk by rabbits or deer, particularly in the winter, which is why guards are so important when planting. Branches of fruit trees and shrubs may also break when carrying heavy crops, especially in windy conditions. A good, clean cut is far less likely to become infected with a disease than a torn off limb.

Pruning, particularly of fruit, will also aim growth which is generally termed as displaced. Branches or shoots that are ‘in the wrong place’, such as crossing or rubbing, should be removed as these are more prone to damage and infection. Removing these, as well as other congested, surplus, growth, helps airflow and the general health of the plant. Letting more light in will ensure better quality produce and help improve the color of the fruit.

The basic rules of pruning fruit trees and bushes

Here are the basic rules you need to learn for pruning your trees:

Use sharp tools, secateurs, loppers, or saws, depending on the size of wood being cut. Do not overstress your hands or your tools!

Generally, do not remove more than one-quarter of the living growth as this can encourage too much vegetative, nonflowering growth the following year. This could then lead to a biennial bearing…

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Farm Self-Sufficiency: Progress on My Farm

The following is an overview of our farm progress at the end of 2021. For those of you who don’t know me, I am a widow and grandmother of retirement age. Eight years ago I bought a country property in the mid-south 300 miles from a large metropolitan area and two-hours away from a large city and one hour away from a small city with a hospital and medical specialists. The closest town has two gas stations, a pharmacy, a medical family practice, and two grocery stores, some fast food places, and a few other family-owned businesses.

The property had a very old barn which was used as storage, a water well, electric power, and lots of acreage, but no septic system. The sellers used the old pipe to the woods system but they put in a new septic system as a condition of sale. The house was old and needed a new kitchen and another bathroom before we could move in and I splurged on a whole house backup generator. The other updates are done as we can afford them and they are still ongoing. My oldest son, a truck driver, moved closer so he could help me when he was not on the road. Eventually, he moved on to the property permanently.

My goals in moving out to the country were to: (1) be more secure; (2) become less dependent on buying from stores, (3) have room for my kids and other family members to come to if and when things fall apart for them, (4) learn skills to develop cottage/home business(es), and finally (5) learn to be more self-reliant so I could live in freedom and independence. It has been lots of hard work, with some failures. But over the years, we have gained confidence in our abilities and acquired new skills. Everything we have done has been on a very tight budget and everything is paid for in cash; I have no debt. This is a summary on how we have developed the farm over the years and where we are at the end of 2021.

Year 1: After the house was made livable, the first thing to be done was to fence a half-acre of the back yard for the dogs; at that time I had 5 small dogs, a stray red tick coon hound and one feral kitten which came out of the woods. The coon hound had 6 surprise puppies. She was so emaciated even the vet didn’t realize she was pregnant! That brought us up to 12 dogs; we eventually gave most of the puppies away, but kept two.

Next came a chicken coop and fence around the chicken yard. A neighbor down the road gave me a bunch of hens, a rooster, and a couple of ducks. I had never lived in the country nor had I raised chickens before; thus I lost 5 hens the first six months due to inexperience and predators; a fox, raccoon, owls, and hawks. Since…

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Keep Birds Entertained With These Fun & Tasty Chicken Treats

Chickens can be an absolute blast to observe. Toss a few worms or chicken treats out and watch them dance! Although a chicken will eat just about anything, you need to watch what treats get thrown into the scrap bucket.

Some things you might want to share with them can be harmful and even deadly. In this article, we’ll be checking out a few foods that are safe to share, some to avoid and a couple of fun chicken treat ideas you can put together to entertain your flock as well!

Pulling Hen’s Teeth

You might have heard the expression “like pulling hen’s teeth,” which refers to something impossible to do. Chickens don’t have any teeth. Rather, they simply consume their food whole and use their tongue to help push it to the back of their throat.

Because of their lack of teeth (and swallowing the food whole), chickens need small rocks or gravel in their gizzards to help break up the food. After the food is eventually ground up, it can pass on through the rest of the digestive system. 

Before you start giving your birds extra chicken treats or table scraps, make sure you’ve worked out a properly balanced feeding plan for them. Their needs will vary depending on their age, kind of chicken (layer, fryer, etc.) and environment. Once you’ve made sure they have a regularly balanced diet, you can start to supplement and add a few extra treats in every now and then. 

As the seasons change, so can your treat-feeding habits. During the winter, it’s good to focus on high-energy food that will keep your birds busy and warm. When summer rolls around, look for treats higher in water content to help keep them hydrated.

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During the hot summer days, it’s fun to make a few frozen fruit cups for your birds. You can offer a mixture of leftovers from your fridge or expired produce from a local farm stand. Call around at the end of the growing season and see if anyone is about to dispose of leftover fruit or vegetables.

I once got several 5-gallon buckets full of cantaloupes from a local farmer, simply by making a phone call. Those were some affordable chicken treats! 

Table Scraps

Animals are fairly intelligent about not eating things that can harm them, but still stay cautious and avoid throwing out chicken treats that could be toxic. If you’re rummaging through the fridge, remember you can slice up leftover apples or pears to share with your flock.

Bananas or other fruits with a peel should be peeled and then fed. Leftover strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. make great options to scatter around at snack time, too! 

After a cookout or summer BBQ, don’t let the watermelon rinds be tossed in with the rest of the trash. Set out a 5-gallon bucket to collect them and feed to the chickens later. (The best ones are the rinds with a little pink left on…

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The American Third World: We’ll Soon Be Living in It

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by Fabian Ommar

Author of Street Survivalism: A Practical Training Guide To Life In The City

It’s that time of the year, and instead of following tradition and making new predictions and forecasts (which we preppers do all the time anyways), I usually look back into the recent past, review my (and other’s) work and previous analyses, what transpired (or not), where my perspectives need adjustment and where, and so forth.

I decided to review and expand on a few topics addressed previously here and see where we are on those. In April, I wrote about the thirdworldization of the United States, as both it, and the rest of the First World is gradually shifting towards the Third World.

It’s not only happening, but accelerating. And the entire world is going that way, too – or soon it will, judging by the signs. These things have a delay and don’t happen linearly, but in waves.

Thirdworldization 2.0 – When the First World becomes the Third World

Let’s see some more about how life can be in places constantly suffering with economic crises, political upheavals, moral degeneracy, authority demoralization, institutional failure and social decadence.

For anyone who’s never lived in such a context, understanding the dynamics of the system and societies in the third world (or any place in which the order has changed drastically, yet not totally evaporated), can be a good way to prepare for what’s already underway.

The current crisis is global and unlike others seen in recent times

Notwithstanding the crap lining up just waiting to hit the fan – a pandemic, a debt time-bomb, geopolitical tensions, and lots more – the capacity to deal with all that is at an all-time low. Even wealthy nations look exhausted, depleted, and lost like never before.

There’s zero willingness to cooperate and coordinate a solution, despite authorities’ constant and oddly similar declarations to the contrary. Speaking of the leadership currently in charge, it’s as mediocre, misguided, and uninspiring as it can possibly be.

And this is everywhere. We’re screwed.

It’s impossible to say for sure whether or not all that will end up in a full-blown SHTF of some kind, much less when. It can take a year, or ten. What’s certain is this: until things reach that catalyst point, degradation will force large swaths of populations worldwide, in most if not all countries, to take a few steps back in many fronts.

As I said before, it’s already happening.

The Third World will get much worse, and the First World will become a lot like…

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Coturnix Quail Prosper At Bushel And A Peck Homestead

When the COVID-19 pandemic caused Courtney Shorr to be furloughed from her teaching job, she followed a love of “getting my hands dirty” and jumped wholesale into the homesteading lifestyle.

“We only live on one-sixth of an acre. But we added everything we could afford to our homestead at the time,” recalls the Utah-based Shorr, who broadcasts her adventures via the Bushel And A Peck Homestead Instagram account. “I became beekeeper, started raising Coturnix quail, planted a micro orchard and tore out a third of the grass in our backyard to expand our garden.”

Looking back on the period of change, Shorr says, “It not only kept me busy during a stressful time. But it all made me happier than I’d ever been.”

We spoke to Shorr about how to avoid food waste and the joys of teaching children to appreciate nature. We also got the scoop on adding quail to your suburban homestead.

Forging a Food Connection

“There is something so special about eating the food you grew, raised, baked and worked so hard for,” says Shorr. “It gives you a connection to your food and health that is hard to find when buying the things you eat.”

Shorr adds that she’s noticed how her children become excited to “eat the things they planted and watched grow.”

Read more: Take your growing to the next level with ecosystem gardening!

Pride in the Old Ways

Embracing the joys of old fashioned methods is a key part of Shorr’s homestead. Case in point: When Shorr and her kids bake bread together, she’s noticed how they “get to feel that pride that comes from working on a skill that people have been living by for thousands of years.”

Tips for Avoiding Food Waste

Minimizing the amount of food that goes to waste is something Shorr is passionate about. “Besides loving our compost pile, we always try to save our vegetable scraps to make stock,” she explains. “As we use various vegetables in our regular cooking I freeze the extra bits in our freezer until I’m ready to make a batch of bone broth or chicken stock. It’s a great way to add flavor with the parts of the plant that most people typically waste.”

Appreciating Coturnix Quail

Shorr and her family live in a suburban neighborhood that’s subject to homeowner association (HOA) rules. So she and her family can’t raise backyard chickens.

“But I was determined to add an egg food source to our home,” says Shorr. “So I did a lot of research and discovered that there are no regulations in my area against Coturnix quail. Win!”

Talking about raising quail, Shorr characterizes her “wonderful little birds” as a great egg source that doesn’t take up an abundance of space. “They are quiet, healthy and easy to care for too. We think they are the perfect addition to any suburban homestead if you’re looking for an alternative to chickens.”

Read more: For some people, quail…

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A few pointers for picking your pistol

Buying a handgun can become a challenge, and your reasoning for picking one should be governed by the “why?” question. Why do you need it?

Owning and using a firearm requires a great deal of responsibility, and these tools shouldn’t be bought on an impulse.

You shouldn’t get a pistol because it’s the right or the cool thing to do, and you should buy a handgun because you need it. A handgun is not a toy or an accessory that can be flashed around whenever your feel like it, and in untrained hands, these tools can become dangerous.

Hopefully, this article will provide you with some pointers on why you need a handgun and how to narrow down your search.

Doing your homework

Before you buy any firearm, you should have an idea of what you’re looking for, how much you’re willing to spend on it, and your main reason for purchasing the firearm. If you want to get a handgun, this research will help you figure out if you need a semi-automatic or a revolver.

You should stick to your homework and your personal beliefs, and you shouldn’t let the person behind the counter convince you otherwise. Most often, they will sway you one way or the other, and you may end up leaving the shop with something that isn’t exactly what you needed or wanted and for which you’ve paid more than you can afford.

You don’t have to feel pressured to buy something right then and there, and it’s wiser to shop around until you’ve found what you’re looking for.

Also, another thing that becomes mandatory is doing a little bit of research and learning about the legal rights and implications of owning a firearm.

Various laws and responsibilities govern handgun ownership and usage, and these may vary from one jurisdiction to another. For example, you should learn about areas where you expect to carry your gun and research the limitations you may encounter.

If you want to go with a semi-automatic pistol, you should know that these handguns use a detachable magazine that feeds the ammunition. The gas expelled from the first round will drive the bolt back and allow another round to be automatically fed into the chamber. You can fire several shots depending on the magazine’s capacity, which varies depending on the ammunition used and other factors.

If you go with a revolver, you have to keep in mind that these handguns operate thanks to a mechanical system involving a rotating cylinder that holds the rounds. Pulling the external hammer will rotate the cylinder, and a round will be put into the firing position.

Also, revolvers are single or double action, and this means that a single-action revolver will require for the hammer to be pulled manually each time you shoot, while a double-action one will automatically rotate the cylinder with every squeeze of the trigger.

The problem with revolvers is…

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Top 5 Tips for Saving Money to Buy a House

Saving Money to Buy a House

When you decide to buy a house, there are several financing options at your disposal. However, regardless of the option you pick, you need to make a down payment. This is compulsory before you can turn to mortgage loans. Before selecting a mortgage, you should learn about the types of mortgage loans in Dubai. So, before starting this journey, you first need to determine how much you can afford. This will depend on how much money is available at the moment. You can save enough money with time over the year for the down-payment. However, how do you do that? Here are simple tips for saving money for a down payment.

Set A Budget

This is the first and most important thing you need to do if you want to start saving. If you are not aware of where each penny goes, it will be hard to save. So, go through your spending to see where most of your money goes. Know how much you spend on essential things like school, utilities, and rent. Then, check how much you spend on unimportant things. After categorizing these expenses, look for the areas you need to reduce the expenses. Plan how much you will use in each area and stick to that.

Downsize Your Expenses

Another way you will save for down-payment is by cutting back on expenses. You will need to start living below your means if you want to save enough money. Even with necessary expenses, check how much you spend and consider downsizing. You can move into a smaller house, or move away from the city. You will still enjoy life.

Set a Reasonable Goal

You cannot know if you are saving enough if you don’t have a goal. So, it is best to set a goal and make sure you try your best to achieve it. Target a certain amount of money you want to save each month and make sure to include a timeline. Remember, the goal should be attainable.

Evaluate your Bills

While looking at your monthly expenses, take a closer look at the bills. Do you notice any bills going higher than usual? If there is a problem, the first thing you will need to do is to evaluate why the increase, then find a way of reducing this expense. For instance, if you have a membership that renews every month but you don’t use it, consider cutting it off. Call your phone service provider to see if they offer discounts. The important thing is to find ways of cutting down these expenses without losing the services.

Cut Out Bad Habits

If you have poor habits that use a large part of your money, consider reducing or cutting back on them. For instance, if you have a shopping impulse where you buy clothes even when you don’t need them, consider working on that. Avoid eating fast foods. Cook your meals at home and pack some for your lunch.

The Takeaway!

These are not the only ways…

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Can You Survive Without Meat When The SHTF?, by Ken Gallender

I’d like to start this article with saying that I am not a tree hugger. I love meat, eggs, cheese and fish. I’m not trying to convince anyone to quit hunting and fishing. I have been an outdoorsman my entire life. I drive and use 4×4 trucks and ATVs every week. I just want to impart what has profoundly changed my life.

I have given a lot of thought to how we would survive and provide the protein requirements for my family if suddenly we were faced with the prospect of having no supermarket or source of meat and dairy products. I keep fish traps, gill nets, minnow seines, etc. as a silent means of catching fish and crayfish (“freshwater lobster”). I also keep traps for small game.

I recently learned, quite accidentally, that you can not only survive, but actually thrive in the absence of meat, dairy, and fish. I learned that with the exception of vitamin B-12 you can eat just one food and sustain yourself for a lifetime. That food is the sweet potato. You only get B-12 from the bacteria in your food, it is not found in the meat and dairy products, only the bacteria consumed by the animals and winds up in the meat and dairy. Cheese is full of bacteria. To get the vitamin D your body needs is easy. Go stand in the sun with your face and arms exposed 10 or 15 minutes a week. You can get all you need taking a short stroll every day.

As I entered middle age, I became obese and no matter what I tried, I was unable to drop the weight in any meaningful amount. I developed high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes. My ankles would swell to the size of softballs after a day at my desk. My knees hurt and my activity was severely limited. I was 80 lbs. overweight. I started researching my diabetes and I discovered a video of Dr. John McDougall and watched his video on YouTube titled Stop Eating Poison. I watched in disbelief at what he said and it was directly opposite of what my doctors advised, and everything I have heard and read for the past 30 years.

I have spent years not eating anything that had a carbohydrate in it. I ate huge amounts of chicken, eggs, cheese, green vegetables, etc. I never lost weight. I started intermittent fasting where I consumed nothing other than unsweetened coffee and tea, three days in a row each week. I once went on a 7-day fast and guess what, I was still 80 lbs. overweight. Sure, I would lose 4 or 5 pounds here and there, but nothing substantial.

According to Dr. McDougall, you can obtain all the protein, and more, that you need eating rice, potatoes, corn and legumes (beans). He recommends avoiding all processed oils (olive, corn, peanut, etc.). It turns out that the oil blocks the insulin from doing its job. I…

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8 Habits Linked to a Long Life (Backed by Science)

8 Habits Linked to a Long Life (Backed by Science)8 Habits Linked to a Long Life (Backed by Science)

People born in the US today can expect to live to 79 years on average. The actual figure is 78.7 years or 78 years and eight months, according to recent data from the CDC.

This is much better than a century ago when life expectancy in the US was only about 54 years. Even better, studies show that if you can live to 65, then chances of getting to 82 are very high as people die at a slower rate between those two ages. Those lucky enough to hit 85 are also more likely to reach 92.

What’s most interesting about these figures, though, is that the main factor that determines how old you can eventually live is your lifestyle.

For instance, the life expectancy of smokers is about 10 years shorter than nonsmokers. So, if you smoke, you’re most likely to die before your 69th birthday. However, if you quit smoking before 40, your chances of dying from a smoking-related cause decreases by 90%, meaning that your life expectancy bounces back to around 75 years.

Alcoholics, i.e., people addicted to alcohol, are also likely to die much earlier than non-drinkers. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, alcoholics die, on average, 24-28 years earlier than people in the general population.

8 Habits Linked to a Long Life

You can already tell that quitting smoking and alcohol are the first steps to a long life. The following are eight other lifestyle changes that can prolong your life.

1. Get enough sunshine 

Going outside just 15 minutes a day and exposing your hands and face to sunlight can prolong your life by up to 33%. Why? Because your body critically needs vitamin D, especially as you age. Vitamin D is essential for bone health. It also alleviates depression and is good for heart disease and diabetes, among others. Be careful not to stay in the sun too long.

2. Form strong social relationships 

Since the 1980s, studies have shown that people who enjoy close relationships with family and friends are more likely to live longer than their socially isolated counterparts. Two psychological explanations are given. First, people in thriving social relationships are shielded from the negative impacts of stress and crises. Secondly, loving friends and family are more likely to encourage the individual to make healthy life choices.

3. Exercise daily 

Regular, moderate activities, such as brisk walking, are associated with longer life expectancy. For instance, studies show that people who engage in moderate exercises for 150 minutes every week live about 7 years longer, on average, compared to those who don’t. Remember that daily exercise doesn’t mean going to the gym. Stretching, free weights and yoga are all excellent exercise choices.

4. Have more sex 

You probably saw this one coming. Regular sex can improve your general health, leading to a longer life. In one study, men with a high frequency of orgasms showed a 50% lower mortality…

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Review: Leatherman Wave multi-tool

I like stuff that works. When I find a piece of equipment that works well for me, I hang on to it and use it extensively. About 10 years ago, I got a Leatherman WAVE for Christmas. Here’s why you might need one.

by Leon Pantenburg

In remote areas, your knowledge and gear will keep you alive. Learn as much as you can, and don't compromise on equipment quality!

In remote areas, your knowledge and gear help keep you alive. 

A buddy, Jay Brandt, and I were fly fishing for steelhead on the Umpqua River near Steamboat, Oregon.  It was one of those days – we’d been wading, casting a streamer and working that stretch of river for all we were worth.

But when Jay reached up to adjust his sunglasses, they came apart in his hand. Luckily, my WAVE has a glasses-hinge screwdriver on it. I was able to fix his glasses in a minute, and we continued fishing.

My son Dan is a musician, and is on the road constantly with his band the Autonomics. A Boy Scout for seven years, Dan knows all about being prepared. (The guys in the band also swear by the small LED lights with an on-off switch. They work great for fixing sound equipment in the dark.) Dan’s WAVE rides in his guitar case, and the tool is used constantly for stage setup and teardown. When he comes to town, I may touch up the blade for him, but other than that, Dan’s WAVE is holding up quite well to the constant use.

The WAVE was listed as one of the 25 best knives ever made by Field and Stream magazine. But when I got mine, I wasn’t particularly impressed with the tool. Then I started carrying it. Like my Swiss Army Knife Classic, I went from wondering what good it would be to how I had gotten along without it.

The multi-tool idea is not new. But most multi-tools used to be gimmicks and gadgets attached to a knife, and the quality was poor. The Leatherman company was founded in July 1983 by Timothy S. Leatherman and Steve Berliner in order to market his idea of a capable, easily portable hand tool with multiple functions. That same year, Leatherman sold the first multitool, which was called the PST (Pocket Survival Tool).

Most importantly, IMHO, Leatherman used quality steel, which resulted in a tool that could take hard use. The Leatherman name became synonymous with quality multi-tools.

Today, specialized multi-tools are available from just about any cutlery manufacturer, designed for whatever your particular outdoor passion might be.

Here are the specs of WAVE:

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Leatherman Wave

  • Length: 4 in. / 10 cm closed — 6.3 in / 16 cm open
  • Weight: 8.5 ounces / 264 grams
  • Materials: 100% stainless steel (Optimum grade…

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