Posts Tagged ‘survival homesteading’

One of my goals here is to convince all of you preppers and survivalists that it isn’t a good idea to remain in a heavy urban environment if you really want to survive the coming times. I have long said that we are on the threshold of a new age, and as we agonize over the nuclear threat in Japan, war in the Middle East, the coming struggles we are getting into in North Africa, skyrocketing food and fuel prices, dwindling financial resources on the state and federal level and the rise in the virtual world we seem to be moving into, I think you’ll agree with me.

History shows that those who have taken care of their assets, had land of their own, and possessed a diversity of skills have always risen above the failures around them and came out of tragedies in a better place than those who have not. Suburban communities can be made livable in spite of the hard times upon us, but will take more effort to achieve the desired results. The best plan is to relocate your family to a place where you can grow your own food, raise your own meat and breathe the fresh air of freedom.

But many haven’t a clue as to where to start planning for the development of a survival homestead or farmstead. In “Surviving the Times” I’ve shared some of the things we need to prepare for and how, and in my next book, “Survival Homesteading”, I’ll go into more in depth discussion on how, why and where to set up your ultimate survival home for the coming times.

For now, you’ll have to settle for some research material I’ve put together in these posts that can help you get started. This first one, which I’ve split into two posts, deals with farm layout and planning for the construction of needed outbuildings on a farm. You probably won’t be building or planning for a large scale farm as this piece refers to, but the concepts are the same. It’s set on a 160 acre plot of land, which few of us can afford today, but it’s a goal to work towards. I’d like to see an increase in the numbers of small farms in operation instead of the declines we have been experience these last few decades. Small farms, in sufficient numbers, can reverse the problem of food shortages and increasing prices we’ve been experiencing. But more importantly, with enough land, and utilizing heirloom quality seeds, you can grow your own sustainable food supply.

This first piece is from the Breeders Gazzette;

FARM BUILDINGS.

LOCATION AND GENERAL ARRANGEMENT.

The planning and construction of farm buildings should be done with regard to the surrounding outside features as much as to the interior arrangement and convenience of the rooms. It is a common error to see little forethought taken in the placing of the buildings, in their relation to one another or to the surrounding conditions; the total disregard of a fine outlook that might have been had from the windows that are most frequented; many errors in the proper way to approach the house from the highway, and many times the utter absence of any attempt at ornamentation in the way of tree planting—nothing save bare sides and sharp angles of buildings open to all winds, storms and sun heat, or the opposite extreme, burying the house in a dense shade of loneliness.

Now this should not be so. When the advantages and increased value of the property as a whole are considered it is at once apparent. Anyone can distinguish between a nice farm and a place where it would be a pleasure to live, and on the other hand one that is bare and uninviting. The cost is a matter of forethought on the part of the individual at the beginning in the planning of the work, and the actual material to be used in beautifying the grounds almost always can be had for the gathering. One may easily find the time to do the work when once he has tasted of the pleasures there are in surroundings that are made attractive with trees and plants arranged to make a landscape that is ever improving and changing in scene.

When a beginning is made toward embellishment of the home surroundings then there is a new birth given, the feeling of attachment that reflects back into pleasant and longing recollections of the happy lives passed there, and the far-reaching influence of cheerful home surroundings on the character and future life of the growing generation toward the good and high of ideal life is above any estimation, besides being a source of interest and everlasting joy and pleasure alike to the owner and to all who enter here.

Farming is not all corn. There are many fine farms that are only such from the fact that there is a quiet natural park like effect resting over the home place, and if favored with a fertile soil and kind climate how much more blest we could be if we would bring about us more of the natural beauties so abundant everywhere. This need not detract an instant from the economical operation of the farm, but if practically planned should add many fold thereto.

We can assume that the residence and other buildings are already placed, or that building is to be done at some future time. With respect to the all-important question of choosing the house site, the custom in the city seems to be the law without recourse in the country, in that the house must stand facing square, with the best rooms toward the public road. If a better exposure or a fine scene lies in another direction, reverse the order regardless of the highway. Again, houses are dropped in a hollow, carried to the top of a bare hill, or placed too near dusty roads or stables, making things more disagreeable than convenience would compensate. The house should not be put on a poor or waste piece of ground just to gain a little extra tillable land.

Personal preferences should of course be taken into consideration, but as a rule many desirable locations are ignored. Among the specific directions to apply in selecting the home site are good sanitary conditions. These demand air and quick drainage of water. All this is secured on a dryish soil, slightly elevated if possible and fairly open to admit a free circulation of air. Any protection against prevailing north and west winds in the winter season, such as hills, trees or any other natural objects in the track of regular storms, should be made use of, but cool and refreshing winds should not be hinder ed in their direction during the heated season.

The distance from the highway is hardly a matter of importance. If the best place is 400′ from the road it should be chosen over another less desirable, though 200′ nearer. Besides this an entrance approach of reasonable length, if properly laid out among a grove of trees, will add much to the dignity and bearing of the place. The relation of the house and barn should be such that they do not appear as a part of each other, and in driving to the house one is not led first through yards and past gaping barn doors. The barn should occupy a position so that the prevailing winds will carry the stable odors away from the house, and not toward it, as is often the case. The exact position and arrangement of the outbuildings and enclosures will be according to their use, and to be convenient should be few, compact, and not scattered over a wide area. Pens, sheds and stacks should not be conspicuous in a general view of the farm.

In country houses broad simple design is much to be preferred. All about a house of this order there is a quiet dignity and homelike restfulness that is in pleasing harmony with every rural landscape. The rooms should be few and large. The veranda is right if one steps up from the ground and at least 10′ wide, and a porte-cochere or carriage porch should be part of every country house, as it is surely a comfort when rainy or windy to drive up to the door under a roof.

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As springtime nears we always see an increase in a few different categories in retail. I’ve had a few conversations over a couple of these categories in general that we’ve started to see increase in particular. One of these is potting soil, the other is bottled water. The bottled water is a expected part of any conversation regarding preparedness and survival, but potting soil? What the hell does that have to do with anything regarding preparedness? In a sense, not a thing, but taken as a whole quite a bit, really. It has more to do with our survival mindset than anything else, really.

Potting soil becomes an integral part of your food program as you can use it to start seedlings. You can also use it to enhance your year round indoor or greenhouse growing programs. But that’s not the point for discussion here today. What I’m talking about is how we have seen the combination of the things we buy turn into things that actually hurt us as a society in general, and the preparedness community in particular. Why is that?

It’s because we have become a nation of easy-way citizens. When I say that I mean that we have gotten to the point whereby even in the preparedness community we prefer to take the shortcut to any end result, rather than take the time and expend the effort in doing something right. By taking shortcuts we often miss some of the benefits, and frequently we also end up with less of a result than that which was desired.

Let’s look at the bottled water issue. Bottled water is a survival necessity; no questions on that point. So what is the problem as compared to the benefits? Well, the benefits are that we know the water is potable, or at least presume it to be so. Bottled water is portable, meaning we can take it with us. Bottled water is convenient, both in storage and ease of use. It sounds like a win-win argument, doesn’t it?

Let’s look at the downsides of bottled water. There are a couple of ways to obtain this product. One way is to obtain jugs or carriers to store it in. usually in a five gallon of six liter container, each one will hold a lot of water in a small space. Another way is to simply buy water in a 5 gal, 2.5 gal, 1 gal or smaller sized bottle. Convenient to buy and take home, these containers jack up the price of something that falls from the sky for free, to an incredibly high cost for what you are getting. Check out the little shelf labels that tell you how much the price is per unit of measurement sometime.

These containers also consume a lot of resources to create, in case you were not aware of it. Plastics are petroleum based, and as an asset can be severely limited dependent upon market whims and controls. But we keep buying bottled water to store this much needed resource in. and don’t forget about the energy that goes into creating the bottle, filling the bottle and delivering it to your supermarket. True, we use fewer resources by buying the Jerry Cans and filling them from the tap, but we’re still paying for and sitting on something that comes out of the sky for free.

Potting soil comes out of the ground. That’s right, potting soil is dirt. And yet year after year we traipse on down to the store to get the missus a bag or two of plain old dirt labeled as potting soil. And we gladly pay for it because of the fact that it’s better dirt than we have in our own back yards. The reason dirt in a bag costs us a few bucks is because it’s a perfect blend of minerals, decayed vegetable matter and clay suited for its purpose.

So again, what does all of this have to do with preparedness? It’s a simple answer. Why is it we are willing to pay for drinking water in a plastic bottle and dirt in a plastic bag when those very same resources can be had for just a little effort from most of our own backyards? We’re lazy, and/or too dependent upon convenience. That’s the answer in a nutshell, and for these reasons many people who embark upon a journey to preparedness drop out because as time goes by and we acquire supplies and learn new skills we discover it actually takes commitment and effort to achieve our goals.

We run down to the store and pick up we need in handy little plastic bags and bins, and pay for it with our handy little plastic cards. We store up gallons and gallons of water in preparation for a loss of the public water supply. But do we store up the skill knowledge and tools to get our own safe water when the supply runs out? We buy bags of potting soil to start our seedlings and grow indoor plants with, but do we have the skills and knowledge to develop our own nutrient and mineral rich potting soil in our own back yard?

Part of becoming prepared deals with the accumulation of stored resources, but it also requires that we obtain and develop the skills and tools necessary to maintain our existence after an event occurs. Part of my philosophy says that preparation is the act of you making a decision to react to an event prior to its happens in order to react on your own terms and thus increase your chances of survival, as opposed to reacting to an event after its occurrence on somebody else’s terms.

The next time you stock up on a product, ask yourself what you would do if this product was not available. What happens when there are no more grocery stores selling you bottled water? What happens when the local garden supply center closes because of a widespread failure of society? What then? How are you going to provide for you and your family and fulfill your responsibility to them as a provider?

Click the play button to listen to Preparedness 101:episode 3;

Episode 3 of Preparedness 101 is now available to listen to. In this episode we talk about the 3 Ps of preparedness and how the formula can help you to determine how much of your resources to allocate to any of the disasters or events that may occur where you live. Common sense is always a good rule of thumb, but sometimes we need a little help to determine what we really need to prepare for, and to what extent.

Memories can be hazy as time passes, and this is especially so for other people’s memories. What may be a severe problem in one persons mind may not really be such a severe problem when the facts are weighed, and this formula helps you to take those facts and put them into proper perspective.

As you develop your preparedness plans and create your survival homestead you’ll need to decide how to allocate your resources. For many of us those resources will be limited, and we need to determine what the best use of those resources will be. Listen in and find out how to do that.

In today’s episode we’ll look at some of the things we need to be prepared for in the coming times and why. Scripture says in Matthew 24:7 that there will be famines, pestilances and earthquakes, and then in verse 8 that these will be the beginnings of sorrows. We’ve been warned by the most trustworthy source of information we have today of these things, so why don’t we put more effort into preparing for these times? We’ll also begin to look at what I call the three P’s of preparedness and how to use the formula to determine what events we need to allocate our resources to in these coming times.

Things change in this world on a daily basis. Natural events come upon us without warning and the fragile geopolitical arena is under constant pressure and stress. Look at Tunisia and Egypt as examples of that fact. What will we need to be ready for here in The U.S.? just about anything, really. Tune into these broadcasts as we look at what, how and why to prepare for the coming times.

Tune into more of my preparedness planning broadcasts at my Podbean site, or at my Blogtalk radio site anytime, and I’ll continue to post my new episodes here as well.

Click onto the play button to hear episode 2 of Preparedness 101 now;

Click onto the button above to listen to episode one of Preparedness 101!

This post is a new treat for those who have been listening to my Blogtalk radio recordings. Join me in listening to my first episode of Preparedness 101. In this episode I will introduce this new series of recordings, and I’ll talk about what preparedness and survival planning is and why it is so important for us today as we get ready to survive the coming times.

Consider these episodes as a distance learning tool if you will, but the goal is to help you all learn the what, why and how of preparedness planning