Raising Rabbits

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new-zealand-rabbit

Rabbits are one of the best meat producing animals one can own.  They multiply quickly (31 day gestation period) and provide a very healthy meat (less fat than chicken and more protein than beef!).  Rabbits eat food that you grow such as weeds, grass, clover, carrots (of course), corn, lettuce, etc. etc.  Having a farm I grow alfalfa which feeds my goats primarily but is a daily staple for my rabbits as well.  Consequently, rabbits are considered some of the cheapest meat you can raise.

Rabbits wean at about six to eight weeks.  They are butcher size at 8 to 10 weeks (I prefer 10 weeks myself).  Rabbits typically birth six to eight bunnies.  You breed a doe to your buck and pretty much on target the vast majority of the time 31 days later you have your bunnies which the Doe feeds exclusively for at least six weeks maybe up to eight.  Then, you put them into separate cages ( I generally place up to four per cage).  Where I feed and water them for two weeks and then butcher.  By timing all my breeding two weeks apart I am assured of having enough cages (I have three extra) to house the bunnies for the two weeks needed.

Commercial rabbit raisers will breed the doe four or five weeks after birth (yes, before the litter is weaned!).  I don’t think this is healthy for the long run so I wait until two to four weeks after the litter has been weaned.   A litter of eight bunnies will produce about 40 pounds live weight or about roughly 15 to 20 pounds of edible meat!  And you should be reasonably able to get 3 to 4 litters per year or 45 to 80 pounds of meat from one doe!

My four does I expect will produce about 180 pounds to 320 pounds of meat per year!  That provides on average about 3.5  to 6 pounds per week.  Now that is of course if everything goes perfectly which it never does.  I generally figure for my four does I will get about 200 pounds per year or just about 4 pounds per week.  Still impressive for the low overhead in feed.

What you need to get started:

You will first of all need cages to raise the rabbits in.  Mine I made myself and they are 36 inches wide by 24 inches deep and 30 inches high (rabbits like to sit up).  My cages are made from garden fencing material with holes about 1/2 inch by 1 inch.  This spacing allows their waste to fall through yet provide a comfortable walking and sitting platform.  Here is a site with instructions on making rabbit cages with good information.  They are slightly different than mine (I like giving my rabbits a little more room for instance).
Building rabbit cages
They will go over the materials and tools you will need to make good rabbit cages.

Another item is the food bin or feeder, I feed my rabbits pellets (as well as the other plant and vegetable items) and this is a great feeder to use.

rabbit-feeder

For the alfalfa and other plant materials I feed my rabbits (main source of their diet) I just place them in the cage…be sure the cage is free from droppings and contaminated plant material (urine).  I always empty out any left over debris each day before feeding.

Rabbits need water…when it is hot they will drink a quart of water in one day!  I use water bottles like below

rabbit-water-bottle

However, when temperature drop below freezing these bottles will not work.  I have used ceramic bowls with a small water heater in them, but I found the electricity costs a bit so I use smaller bowls (I have two per cage) and change out the water bowl two or more times per day.  This is labor intensive so one has to balance time versus convenience and cost.  I am at my farm pretty much all the time, or someone else is who can share in the responsibility.  But, I did use the heaters for a couple years and it was much easier.  You can water once a day generally.

You will also need a nesting box for the pregnant doe.  I make my own out of 3/4 plywood.  You can also buy them, but stay away from the grass ones…the rabbits eat them.  Mine look similar to below.
rabbit-nesting-box
I put the same wire as I use for the cage on the bottom to allow droppings to fall through, although I always put grass or straw in the bottom for the doe to make a nest in so not all of it falls through of course.

I raise New Zealand breed rabbits, they are all white which allows me the ability to dye their fur.  I have not yet made anything from rabbit pelts but are just beginning to save the pelts and tan them.  I hope to make my wife a rabbit and deer fur hat for winter soon.  Rabbit skin is easy to tear so by sewing it upon deer leather it will have the soft, warm qualities of the rabbit fur with the strength of the deer leather.  New Zealand rabbits are good meat producers, California rabbits are also good.  You can research and find which rabbit breed works for you.

I dispatch my rabbits that we are going to consume by carefully and gently bringing them out of their cage and outside the shed they are in where I shoot them in the head with a .22 pistol.  I have seen videos where one breaks the neck and you may prefer to do the same.  I like the speed and lack of violence one can dispatch them with with the pistol.

To butcher I made a gambrel which is a device with which to hang the animal for comfortable and more accurate skinning.  Here is what a large animal gambrel looks like:
large-animal-gambrel
I made a adjustable small animal gambrel utilizing 1 inch dowel rod and thin braided rope and meat hooks.  I drilled holes about every two inches along the dowel to insert the meat hooks into so that I can butcher various sized animals like rabbit, squirrel, raccoon, etc.  I have a large animal gambrel like the picture above for deer and goat.

Here is a link to a video to get you started on skinning and butchering a rabbit.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wm5EeDx-LDE

Generally speaking I cut the skin (not the meat) just below the paws, then cut diagonally from there to the anus.  I do both sides then slide the pelt off by pulling downwards.  I don’t use the hide around the head so when the pelt is pulled off to the chin I cut it.  Which then gives me a full “tube” pelt which I can then slide on the fur stretcher I bought.
rabbit-fur-stretcher
This allows the hide to dry and makes it easier to cut the fat that is adhered to the skin off.  Which must be done to keep the hide from going bad.  Then I hang it on the stretcher from a rail I have in the ceiling in one of my shops and let it dry for a few days.  Then you wash it, dry it again and rub tanning solution on it.
tanning-solution

Then dry and rinse after a couple days and your hide is ready to use for making things like hats, gloves, slippers, etc.

Rabbits are a great food animal to raise, they are relatively easy in control, feeding, watering, processing, etc.  You can learn more by reading books or looking up information online.  One of my favorite books is Storeys Guide To Raising Rabbits.
https://www.amazon.com/Storeys-Guide-Raising-Rabbits-4th/dp/1603424563/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1473817688&sr=1-1&keywords=raising+rabbits

Many urban areas will allow raising a few rabbits, you can do so in your garage or even your basement.

 

 

 

 

 

Milling Your Grain

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Old fashioned hand crank mill

Old fashioned hand crank mill

There is something very satisfying from milling one’s own grain grown on your own property.  I have just begun doing this this year.  I researched a bit and found the Victoria Grain Mill to be the one I wanted.  It is a very simplistic design that has been around for about a hundred years.  I read reviews where people boasted theirs lasted for many years.  The picture above shows the Victoria Mill I picked up.

Storing flour has a relatively short shelf life.  We can prolong the life by sealing them in a vacuum package but probably the best way to store your flour is before it is ground.  In other words, storing the wheat berries, corn kernels, dried beans, etc.  Each of these products can be made into flour to create delicious wholesome meals and food products. Storing whole grains offers much longer shelf life and most importantly will retain the wholesome vitamins and minerals better as well.  I plan on taking my 50 pound packages of wheat and rice and my home grown corn (several varieties) and beans (several varieties also) and packaging them in one to two pound Seal A Meal bags or vacuumed (with Seal A Meal adapter) mason jars. The vacuumed bags can be put into plastic boxes with lids to store more easily on shelves or even on the floor.  With the double seal there is little chance of mice bothering the grain.

Then, as I need the flour I will grind it fresh.  Grinding enough for some flour storage for convenient use but also not so much that it gets old and stale.

There are electric grain mills out there and I will probably end up buying one of those also as they will produce more flour more quickly.  For now, with just a few people to cook for we just use the old fashioned hand crank Victoria.  I like using it, kind of fun to contemplate the miraculous creations God made for us to live well while grinding His food into flour to make delicious foods like bread, pancakes, cakes, grits, corn bread, etc.

Whole wheat berries being ground

Whole wheat berries being ground

I can testify that using the hand crank variety of mill will take some getting used to.  My first venture I ground whole wheat kernels to make a flour for pancakes and bread.  I proudly brought my “flour” up to show off to my wife who immediately retorted…it is too coarse…it is like Bulgur (which you can make with a mill).  Undaunted, I went back downstairs and ran the “flour” through two more times, this time confident that I had flour.  I mixed the baking powder, vanilla and other items that I like to add to my pancake mix and added the soy milk.  I hate to say it but my pancake was more like a hockey puck that the nice soft but flavorful pancakes I am accustomed to making.  The moral of the story is to grind, grind, grind until it is flour…there are no shortcuts!

Grain mills offer you the ability to store your grains in whole form for much longer than you would flour and to use very fresh flour for baking which makes for healthier eating as well as more flavorful delicacies.

Rapid Food & Water Supply And Storage

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monastery farm field

I have been asked by several readers how to develop a food and water supply now so that they can feel reasonably prepped.  Being prepared now has its obvious advantages and also gives one a long term capability right away as well as having extra if garden or water source fails down the road a few years even.


WATER

There is probably nothing more important that keeping a fresh water supply available.  You may feel secure in your water source(s) but, I always like to try to consider the “what ifs” when it comes to prepping.  Remember, a mistake or miscalculation can have serious repercussions…so the cliché “better safe than sorry” really applies here.

Even though I have two wells and live next to a creek I have a few barrels of fresh water, just in case.  The general rule of thumb is to keep one gallon per day per person for drinking and cooking.  I would probably use boiled creek water for cooking and washing, but still have applied the one gallon per day per person rule.  That way I probably will have more than I planned for or as is more likely will be able to take care of more people with what I have on hand.

Personally, I use 55 gallon water barrels and treat the water with the chemicals included to keep the water fresh and potable (usable) for at least four years.

Auguson Farms 55 Gal water storage system complete.

Auguson Farms 55 Gal water storage system complete.

There are other water storage barrels, this happens to be what I have purchased and use.  I like the complete package and the assurance of having water on hand if something bad happens to my water supply sources.  I keep three of these barrels on hand, giving me over  a month supply for four people.  However, I think it is more probably a two week supply with more people using.

Another way of having ability to get fresh, potable water is to have good quality water filters on hand.  I keep several, my favorite which I have used on backpacking trips is the Katydon Vario water filter.  This is a high quality water filter that is easily transportable and offers the owner flexibility if one has to move from home site.

Katydon Vario Water Filter

Katydon Vario Water Filter

I have used this very model numerous times and can say without a doubt that if following instructions properly…means get to know your tools!…it is very easy to use and really a pleasure to have the freedom to not have to carry tons of water with you.  You still need to carry water bottle(s) with you but don’t have to carry as much.  I also carry a collapsible one gallon water jug and fill it just after setting up camp, it is my cooking, washing and drinking water for the evening and oftentimes there is enough left over to fill my water bottles in the morning.  I always advise people who buy these to actually use them, even with tap water and clean them so that you are familiar before you really need to use it.  There are other styles and brands, this just happens to be the one I personally use.


FOOD

The next most important asset to have for survivability is food (shelter can oftentimes be more important, but for the purposes of this article we are assuming you are at your home or place of refuge).  There are now many brands of emergency food preppers may choose from.  I use Augason Farms brand food buckets.  I liked the price, calories per day, food selection, the fact that each bucket contains a water filter good for 100 gallons and a small fire starter disk to help start your fire if you need.  Each bucket is self contained which means even if you have multiple buckets you just need to open one at a time.  They have a shelf life of about twenty years (under right conditions).

The Auguson Farms one month/one person food storage bucket.

The Auguson Farms one month/one person food storage bucket.

Prepared freeze dried food offers us the ability to have long term food storage rapidly, I keep a four person one year supply on hand personally.  The other advantage to keeping a good supply of long term storable food on hand is in case of need to move , especially rapidly, or if your other food sources dry up.  Or, if ou are simply awaiting your first crop to come in.  These buckets buy you time to adjust and are literally worth their weight in gold if you truly are in need of them.

Another advantage to buying the freeze dried foods in a bucket is the bucket itself which is extremely handy.  Not only can you store things in it…you can: carry things, dig with it, hoist things up with a line with it, trap small animals, use it as a seat, use it as a closed toilet, etc.

When shopping pay close attention to daily caloric intake offered, general healthiness of food, packaging, as well as price.  Generally as you buy larger quantities the price comes down considerably

As we travel further into the storm, it is important to remember to rely on god’s mercy and remember Him who gives life and creation.

The ideas expressed in this article will provide you with a means by which you can be quickly prepped in regards to food and water within a few weeks.  If you have questions, please ask them in the comment section below.  This way everyone will be able to see them.

Report on CDC Teleconference To Faith Based Organizations

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October 18th, 2014

Many of you probably know that I have been involved in disaster relief with the American Baptist Men Disaster Relief since Katrina. I have done somewhere north of 18 missions (lost track) and have been at pretty much most of the major natural disasters in the US since Katrina and a host of smaller ones as well.  Having said that, I am not an expert in any sense of the word on Ebola…although, I have been researching extensively and feel like I am beginning to get a good handle on general issues involving Ebola and ramifications for areas suffering from the outbreak.

Because of my experience in disaster relief I am included in the VOAD network. VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is a non-profit organization that is national in scope and helps coordinate and communicate throughout the Faith Based Disaster Relief industry.

The Center For Disease Control (CDC) utilized VOAD to announce and invite the various organizations and members to attend a teleconference where the CDC’s stated intention was:

CDC will provide information about the Ebola outbreak, and updates on what CDC is doing to help stop it. Reverend Miriam J. Burnett of the Resource and Promotion of Health Alliance, Inc. will discuss the potential role of places of worship, community, and family in addressing Ebola concerns of those living in the US.

There were two speakers, the first was a Dr (didn’t get his name) who was a member of the first team to Dallas when Mr. Duncan was diagnosed with Ebola virus. His responsibility was to identify, locate and give instruction for self- quarantine of those healthcare workers who had exposure to Mr. Duncan.

The first thing he explained was that some of those who were being quarantined had been suffering threats and were being ostracized. Evidently, some in the area were fearful and expressing their fear through negative behavior.  This left some of the families feeling alone and persecuted. He expressed that a role we could play would include helping lower fear in our community and to make certain those in quarantine received compassionate help.

Then we heard from Dr. Bennett she explained that we could help by helping our communities learn facts about Ebola and help organize our local churches to help provide compassionate attention to reduce or remove the negative aspects of those being quarantined.  They reassured us that they did not expect us to in any way, provide any health care aid…that requires special training that we simply do not have.  Our roles were to do what we do in disaster relief by providing compassionate spiritual help and to help our local churches plan for aiding those parishioners who may be quarantined.  They strongly emphasized that the chance of actually having to implement these measures was low for most areas, but important so that if it is needed that it is in place prior to needing.  They offered suggestions which included recording sermons and providing those who were quarantined with CD’s or even DVD’s of those sermons.  If they belong to Bible Study group perhaps arrange for the group to have their Bible study meeting where they can utilize a phone with speaker capability and the quarantined person can phone in to participate.

Other issues included organizing a plan for food delivery and prescription medications (ones they were on before quarantine…there are none at present for the Ebola virus), and perhaps even movies…games for families, etc. so that they may continue to not only receive those items they need to aid in comfortable living but also offers us an opportunity to provide more spiritually uplifting social aspects which can help them to know Christ is with them (last part mine, not CDC’s). Much of what we do in disaster relief…oftentimes more important than the physical cleanup, is to provide real spiritual help to victims.  Indeed, most of us who work in this field have felt the Holy Spirit working through us to bring Christ’s grace to those who so badly need it.

Dr. Bennett suggested also that in the unlikely scenario where there are enough infection outbreaks to require travel restrictions we need to plan for things like individuals and/or families who may get stranded in our community (who live elsewhere) to provide housing, food, etc. and issues, like transportation and help in getting those who may feel ill to health care facilities.

Then Dr. Bennett suggested that churches and secular organizations begin policies of more sanitized, hygienic, social events and gatherings. For instance, churches can consider putting hand sanitizer dispensers or bottles in each row of pews.  Communion process would need to be considered so that sharing of one cup would change to individual cups, etc.  Things that are actually a good idea for this time of year (flu season) for protecting people, especially the elderly.

It is difficult to accept this new reality. There is always something in us that wants to look the other way or to discount the reality.  There is even a name for this…it is called “normalcy bias”.  But, it is important we have the tenacity to look at reality as it is.  Most of us have a low odd risk of ever having to deal with or even be near this kind of infection.  However, that doesn’t mean it will not affect our lives.

Consider the widespread reaction and activity to control an outbreak from just three persons being infected within the US. There are schools that have been closed, businesses, recently a Cruise ship had to cut its trip early because one of its passengers was a person who had been exposed (but not actively infected) with Mr. Duncans blood samples.  There are about a 1,000 other people on that ship…consider how fearful they probably were when they learned that not only was a person who should be quarantined on the ship but that the ship was denied port in two cities and had to return to the US, cutting their vacations short.  There are about a 1,000 people on self quarantine status just from the one lady who is infected with Ebola and flew to Cleveland and back over the weekend before hospitalization.

If, God forbid…we get to where there are several hundred individuals infected, especially if over a wide geographical area there can very well be strong economic repercussions as people avoid work, shopping etc. There may even be travel restrictions from one are to another disrupting commerce transportation.  The risk of exposure for most of us would still be quite low, but we would certainly feel the economic and perhaps commerce aspects.  As a prepper, I would recommend that you stock up on food, water, and fuel.  Read the article I posted recently:  Thoughts On Prepping for Ebola  for ideas and resources.

As I receive more information that can be useful to you I will post. In the meantime, please do research by going to the CDC.gov site to educate yourself with what is going on and other helpful considerations.

May God bless you.

Thoughts on Prepping for Ebola

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suit-sm_1024x1024Recently we have witnessed the arrival of the Ebola virus to the United States.  Last summer we had some medical missionary’s who were exposed in West Africa and came back for treatment which was successful.  More recently we had someone who lives in West Africa come to the US and who ended up being ill with Ebola.  After some confusing attempts to get medical help he did get admitted to  Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital where he received treatment but died.  Now we are learning that the healthcare workers had little to no training…the CDC reportedly told them to give them a call for instructions!  These brave workers evidently didn’t even have proper haz mat suits for the first couple days.

We were assured by the CDC that they were “monitoring” the 76 healthcare professionals who had been in contact with the ill man.  Then we find out that one of the workers became ill with the virus.  The CDC claimed that she did not follow protocols, a claim which is being disputed by the Nurses Union.  Again, we were assured that this virus is under control and there is nothing to worry about.  Today, we learned that another healthcare worker has been confirmed to have the virus.  The CDC told us that she had taken a commercial airplane flight Monday from Cleveland back to Dallas.  We were assured that she had not shown symptoms until after she got back to Dallas.  Nothing to worry about…

Now it has come out that indeed she had a low grade fever and there were another 132 passengers additionally crew on the flight.  Not to mention other people she may have exposed at the airports, restaurants, etc. that she traveled through.  As you can see this situation is very confused without clear focus on containing the virus in a knowledgeable manner.

I have been doing disaster relief with the American Baptist Men Disaster Relief organization since Katrina.  I have been on over 18 missions indeed, most of the major disaster in the US since Katrina.  I was surprised to receive an email from Illinois VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters) which is part of a national VOAD organization.  The CDC is using VOAD to spread the word to groups like the American Baptist Men Disaster Relief Organization to announce a national telephone conference this coming Saturday.  Part of the stated purpose is to be updated on efforts in West Africa.  The other purpose was put as stated below:

Please share this invitation widely with your colleagues and partners.

CDC will provide information about the Ebola outbreak, and updates on what CDC is doing to help stop it. Reverend Miriam J. Burnett of the Resource and Promotion of Health Alliance, Inc. will discuss the potential role of places of worship, community, and family in addressing Ebola concerns of those living in the US. “

Reading between the lines of government doublespeak I became a bit suspicious. The email also asked that if one has questions to email ahead of time as there is likely to be many people on the telephone conference and questions would not be taken live. So, I emailed the following question:

Will the CDC or some other governmental organization be providing training to help local groups handle possible scenarios in case of Ebola outbreak?  If yes, what kind of training, when and where?

To the point and difficult to dodge.  I did not expect to get an answer but was hoping to have it answered at the conference.

About twenty minutes later I received the following answer:

John,

Thanks for your inquiry.  We’re looking into what trainings may be available at the local level and will get back to you. 

Sincerely,

Vivi S

I am very pleased that the CDC is moving quickly to organize at the local level.  I also understand the ramifications of the probable meaning of the purpose of this conference.

It is time for those of us inclined to protecting our families to adjust our prepping strategies or rehash our existing strategy for preparing for Ebola risk.

Probably the first and to me the most difficult consideration is the trigger point at which to go full tilt from prepping to action.  I have not figured that out fully at this time…I have some general thoughts however that may help you.  I don’t think that a magic number of those infected alone is the correct answer.  For example, if we hit 10,000 infected that may not a adequate trigger point.  The reason being, I am thinking… is that the infected could be relatively limited geographically and perhaps proper restrictions on travel are in place to help stem the spread of the virus, so a simple number may not be a good trigger point.

Of bigger concern for me is the breadth of the infected area…the geographical range, as well as the growth rate of infected. Each of us will have to figure their own trigger point in which to take action.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently estimated that there have been about 1,000 new cases (worldwide) per week for the last four weeks.  However, their concern is that there will be somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 new cases per week within two months.  Read the report here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-14/who-sees-up-to-10-000-west-africa-ebola-cases-a-week.html

If we see the same kind of geometric increase here we can literally overrun our health care system.  We are quite limited presently with only a handful of facilities which are truly rated for adequately handling Ebola.  That is why the nurse whom just became known to be infected is being flown to Atlanta.  The possibility of over saturation of our capability to handle the disease is most worrisome.  That is probably why the CDC is very wisely acting now to activate local groups to help out.  There is a learning curve we will have to deal with in order to expand the ability to handle the spread if infections become even moderately widespread.

Consequently, the numbers do not have to be all that high, but for me the dispersion of those infected will in combination with the infected growth rate determine my personal trigger point for action.

What does that mean?  That is the point at which I bring my children, parents, and other family and some friends to my farm and we basically shut down.  I hope and pray that does not become necessary but so far this whole thing has been handled in such a  ironic collection of errors.  I was speaking with a young man I have known since he was a toddler.  He is in his mid twenty’s and is a farmer.  He is very concerned and been paying attention to the  news stories as they break.  He mentioned to me that it is like watching a B rated horror film where the actors are so stupidly oblivious to the danger that they literally stand and stare at the danger watching as it slowly comes their way leaving the audience screaming “MOVE”.  I think that is an apt description for what I see as well.  The CDC seems to have a leadership problem although I am confident their hearts are in the right place.  But, the collection of crazy errors in judgement, like just learning on the news that the second health care victim who flew on a commercial plane while having a fever had called the CDC before she flew and was told it was okay to fly even with her fever!  And they knew she had had exposure to the Ebola virus.  It is just crazy.

I had been investigating protective clothing and equipment recently and have learned that for a limited risk as hopefully we will be, we can get by with relatively inexpensive stuff.  For example, I have purchased some Tyvek suits complete with hoods.  I have also recently bought medical exam gloves, which I will wear under heavier rubber type gloves should I need to suit up.  I have military grade gas masks with respirator filter suitable for biological or chemical warfare that goes with my gas masks.  I need to pick up some goggles and shoe covers yet.  I have stockpiled some bleach and include spray bottles where I store them.  I found this site that appears to have good information and products, but I don’t endorse any particular business or products: http://ebolavirus.us/

Bleach kills all viruses and if you find yourself in a situation where you need to suit up for instance I would recommend a complete and very thorough bleach “shower” using the spray bottles you have stored with your bleach.  It may hurt your nose and eyes but it will kill the virus.  One of the major danger points for infection is when you have to undress from your protective clothing.  Hence the exam gloves under the rubber gloves.  Extreme care, even after the bleach cleaning, must be taken not to touch the outside of any of the gear which has been exposed to the virus.  You bag the Tyvek suits (they are disposable) your gloves, boot covers, etc. and wash the exam gloves with bleach (I would just plain immerse them while on my hands) then finally take them off and carefully place them in the bag, or a neat pile on the ground.  Pour gasoline on the bag or pile and burn it completely.  Here is what the CDC recommends:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/prevention/index.html

Another consideration that you need to think about to design a good plan is how you will handle those who come to receive help.  They may be family, friends, or just some sadly desperate people.  If you decide to help them and a widespread infection is in affect for your region then you should quarantine them for at least 21 days.  Don’t touch them or things they touch without gloves.  You can have them sleep in a tent and do not allow them to come close to you or your living quarters during that quarantine time.

The experts claim that Ebola cannot be transferred by air, except in the case of sneezing,coughing, spitting or something like that…where you actually are receiving some body fluids which have traveled through the air.  However, there are some scientists who claim that the virus can live for several hours on a dry surface…like a glass or cup or plate.  And longer in moderate temperature liquids.  So, be very careful if you find you have close proximity to an infected person.  Best to get them to a local medical facility or area as quickly as possible and without putting them in YOUR car.  Hopefully, if it gets bad enough there will be military or volunteer help to bring infected individuals to facilities.  Here are the CDC thoughts on transmission:  http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/transmission/index.html   I have read and listened to scientists who feel there is probably more propensity for even more casual transmission than the CDC lists.

Other issues like food, power, etc. for survival are in other articles and links on this site.  Hopefully you have been familiarizing yourself with prepping strategy and actually prepping yourself.  Remember, when disaster strikes your prepping is most likely over and you will be limited to whatever you have stored and prepared for up to that time.

As I get more information I will post more articles that hopefully will help you protect yourself and your family.  In them meantime, this is a very good time to open your heart to God and develop a very good relationship with Him.  He is all powerful and will protect your soul forever.  God bless.

Articles & Resource Links

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Below you will find article and resource links to help you learn about prepping and independent, sustainable lifestyle.

I think the first link would have to be to Backwoods Magazine…they have years of articles and magazine issues…they have a deal where you can buy CD’s of all their past issues reasonably priced.  I have had a subscription to them for several years now and come to rely upon their wisdom.

A great resource for products non-electric and old fashioned country is Lehman’s… we buy from them often…although be sure to check the prices on eBay and Amazon just to be sure you are getting the best deal.

This prepping website is a good hub for links to articles and other resources you may want to look at.  It is called the Prepper Website surprisingly enough 🙂

Here is another really good prepping website, American Preppers Network.  Lots of resources here.

Growing Food

I will be writing more on intensive use of small land spaces.  This entails planting vegetables and herbs in very tightly packed small garden areas and producing two to three harvests per year per area.  Once set up the gardens require less weeding because the plants you want are filling in the entire space of your small garden areas.  This is called square foot gardening.  Most sites you will go to suggest raised beds…but I practiced square foot gardening principals in my “small” garden area when we lived in Salt Lake City and my garden was about 12 x 30 feet.  I was always amazed at how much food you could grow in such a small area.  Here is a gardening site with some more info to get you started (I will write an article explaining more fully at a later date).

I mentioned in one of my gardening articles the idea of planting heirloom seeds…which produce fertile seeds you can plant the following year and generally are non-gmo (they will say if they are).  Heirloom seeds of good quality are more expensive than the hybrid seeds we commonly purchase…but, you will not need to buy seeds again if you plant heirloom seeds and save some of the seeds from that years planting for the next.  I just “harvested” some dill seed yesterday.  My plan is to sell seeds locally and plants in the spring to help offset costs of my good give away program.  Here is a good supplier of Heirloom and rare seeds that I have bought from before, there are other companies as well.

Gardening requires  some tools and perhaps even equipment if your garden is large enough.  I generally shop around carefully, reading reviews and checking around (especially eBay and Amazon) but start my shopping at some higher quality stores including Gardener’s Supply,  Lehman’s (mentioned above also), and Home Depot.

I will be adding more links to this “article” and adding articles of my own so be sure to come back and take a look or sign up for notices of when something is posted.  Thanks, The Preppy Prepper!

Mulching The Day Away…

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John Deere lawn mower with DR Lawn Vacuum and Chipper

I have always liked the idea of using my grass clippings as mulch in my garden.  I do not spray anything on my lawn and it always seems like such a waste to just leave all those wonderful clippings to compost in the lawn!

Last year, we expanded our garden area to about four times larger than previous years.  I spent days collecting enough mulch and never really covered as well as I would have liked over the entire garden areas.  So, this year…with permission from my boss (wife) I purchased a DR Lawn Vacuum with Chipper.  As you may know, I believe our nation is at high risk of failing.  Food shortages may occur if that happens.  I feel led by God to provide food for those who cannot otherwise garner food if there is a crisis.  So, I am on a learning curve to greatly increase my production capability while being as efficient (low labor) as possible.  So, I bought the largest lawn vacuum DR offers!  It will hold 500 pounds of clippings per load.  I found that it rarely gets completely filled so I figure about 400 pounds per load.  I can easily produce about a ton per week of mulch with the acreage I mow.  This seems adequate for a lot of expansion.  I also use the chipper to make my own wood mulch for placing around trees and shrubs.

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Wood chip mulch protecting a small Blueberry plant I just planted.

Mulch provides various benefits for plants we wish to protect.  First, they keep weeds down which not only is good for us (not having to pick them…) but also for the plant as there is less competition for nutrients and water.  And, speaking of water, mulch helps retain water in the soil for longer periods of time, helps your garden to be more drought resistant.  In the vegetable gardens I really like using grass clippings because they provide biomass and nutrients to the soil and hence the plants it surrounds.  Grass breakdowns fairly quickly and by spring of the following year I just till in the mulch into the soil making it very rich for the following growing season.

Most of you probably have smaller gardens that do not require tons of mulch, you can easily mow your grass clippings into rows and then rake them up into a wheelbarrow or small cart.  I put my mulch about 8 inches deep, it compacts to just a couple inches that way.  In my case, I spread the mulch around the plants and in between them to make rows so that I can run my smaller tiller one more time or so before filling in that area.  The tiller is a quick way to weed and gives one time to acquire enough mulch to fill in between the rows. 

Another advantage of mulch in your vegetable garden is when growing squash, melons, etc. which normally lay in the soil will sit upon the grass mulch and will be more resistant to rot and even bugs to some extent.

I cannot express enough my gratitude to God as I was mowing today…indeed, harvesting my grass clippings to produce more food in service of our Lord to bring food to the local food pantry and to help prevent me from having to spend so much time weeding!  I literally get where I spend less than 8 hours per week weeding on average once the mulch is finally complete on about an acre and a half of vegetable gardens!  And, it really gives the garden a professional, neat look about it.

This photo below shows the DR Lawn vacuum box filled with grass clippings (about 400 pounds) and some of the areas I had already mulched today.  Another neat thing about grass clippings is you don’t have to worry about making a mess, just till in the mulch you spill next time you till!

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Full box of grass clippings and some already spread.

Give mulch a try you will reduce labor, increase production and help your plants be more disease and drought resistant.