Is This the Worlds Most Awesome Chicken Coop?

We have used many things for chicken coops over the years. A garage, dog crates, pet carriers, pens constructed from insulation panels, scrap wood, and mismatched cuts of wire fencing, plastic, and whatever else could keep chickens contained. It was a shantytown for poultry but it did the job.

With a change of residency came the opportunity to actually construct a coop that would be something I could stand in, walk through, and not worry about it falling over. Being a thrifty type, using an old travel camper that was on our property seemed like the only natural choice.

The 1970s-era camper was fairly gutted but still had some remnants that needed to go. We took out the remaining lights, shelving and extras, and then The Man of the Place built a frame on each side to create a ledge. We put leftover roofing steel on the front of each, to cover that underneath. These ledges were for roosting or feed or whatever. We used the top of the air conditioner box to hold a roosting rail, fastening it across to the other side of the wall. We had to put a bracing wood underneath, bolting that in. For the seating, that was pretty much it.

Emergency Power Alternatives Made Simple Part II

Battery Bank / Power Inverter (READ PART ONE HERE –EMERGENCY POWER ALTERNATIVES MADE SIMPLE Part I Solar Panels and Charge Controller) By Robert B – http://keepingupwiththepreppers.blogspot.com/ The battery bank is the most important component of your system. Once the sun goes down, the battery bank will provide electricity throughout the night if built correctly. The […]

Our Off The Grid Solar System

This is a follow up to a reader’s question I received from a previous post. As a reminder, my wife and I are the couple living alone 100 miles in the Canadian bush. Back around 1980, when I first started on my off-grid journey, both money and experience were in short supply. One might say I was young and clueless. Nonetheless, I set out to homestead in northern Maine and I outfitted my cabin with an off grid setup which was so small it bordered on the absurd. I had one small solar panel, small charge controller and a car battery. I planned to power a car radio and tiny TV.

Raising Meat Rabbits – The Easiest Way For Preppers to Put Meat on Their Table

Raising rabbits as a source of meat for your family is an excellent addition to any prepper’s homestead. I realize that this is not an original idea, people have been raising meat rabbits for years. In fact, rabbits were a common backyard food source during the Great Depression and during World War II Uncle Sam encouraged families to raise rabbits and chickens for protein to go along with their victory gardens. Even the poorest of families could provide a steady source of meat for their children because rabbits were relatively inexpensive to raise. Their diet is made up entirely of grass, vegetables (fresh from the garden or scraps from the table), and clean water. There are also numerous commercial feed options.

The rate of reproduction for rabbits is pretty astounding! Gestation is about 31 days and the does nurse the kits until they are about 5-6 weeks. Litters range from 4-12 kits. The kits will reach butcher weight between 8 to 12 weeks and, depending on the breed, can provide about 5lbs of meat each. A doe can be bred every 45 days to produce the maximum number of kits each year. So under optimal conditions, a single doe can easily produce 150lbs+ of meat in a year! Rabbit meat is lean and packed with protein.

A Great Idea For Preppers – The Biogas Digester

A digester is a great homestead appliance. You put all sorts of refuse in it and get fuel from the other end. However, it requires some work. First, we have to decide whether we want a continuous flow system or a batch system, there are pros and cons to each. At this point, I want to impress to the readers this is an old technology, been in use for decades if not centuries. It has even been shown in post-apocalyptic movies like Mad Max. So when you see it on a social media site being trumped up as a new thing, it’s not.

A batch system is just that, you place all your materials in a container and seal it, keep it warm and in a couple of months, you will start getting methane gas. Once the charge is exhausted it has to have the sludge removed, refilled and stated over. A person can have several small batch systems running to maintain an uninterrupted supply of gas.

EMERGENCY POWER ALTERNATIVES MADE SIMPLE Part I Solar Panels and Charge Controller

Building an off-grid power source for your home or “Bug Out” location is not as difficult as you may think. Having power can drastically improve the quality of life during a long or short term power outage. After losing all of our food during a three-day power outage after a severe storm, we learned quickly that taking the power grid for granted was not a good time.

Please keep in mind that we are not experts and there are always dangers when dealing with electricity.

Choosing and Installing a Tankless Water Heater

When I purchased my country property several years back it was in dire need of updating.  Over the last few years I have gradually replaced many items which were hanging on at their end of life!  The conventional 50 gallon tank water heater was approximately 15 years old and while it worked, it took between 5 to 7 minutes to get hot water to the master bathroom, depending on outside temperature.  I knew it needed to be replaced so I began researching tankless water heaters.  I have no connection to any brand mentioned other than being a happy customer.  I had already decided to use propane gas as a fuel source as I did not want electric and I don’t have access to natural gas. This article describes my research and choice of a water heater.

I lived in Europe for five years and most of the housing had tankless water heaters so I gained some valuable experience with on-demand water heaters; both good and bad.  Fast forward a bunch of years and the on-demand heaters were becoming the rage in the USA because of the high utility costs of conventional tank water heaters.  But I stayed with my 50 gallon tank and paid the price of heating water 24/7/365.

Our experience introducing chickens to our homestead

Our first experience with raising chickens was very interesting… we bought from a local who obviously knew more about chickens than we did at the time and took it as a chance to unload some “damaged” goods. We started with 6 of the ugliest stinkiest chicks we had seen. By 3 months it was obvious these were not normal chickens. They were mixed breeds and mixed up. Some were bantams, all but 2 were roosters and we had everything from deformed feet to hens that would not lay an egg. At one year old we had one dominant, mean rooster that killed every other male in the flock in one afternoon. The two hens remained free ranging with him because we didn’t know what to do with him. Then he started charging my 2 yr old and the lawnmower and ended up pushing up daisies. The other 2 hens never laid an egg and were killed by something a lot larger and hungrier than they were. That experience taught us what we did not want.

Preparing for and Protecting you Home and or Retreat from Forest Fire

I had another post in mind to submit to you folks but forest fires are a subject that is near and dear to my heart. I’ve recently become aware of the fires burning in various areas particularly in the Southeastern United States. In fact, it finally made the National news tonight. I thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail many years ago and I can’t imagine the number of fires or amount of territory now burning through those areas.

As some of you know, we’ve had our share of forest fires out here. They’ve literally had us running for our lives. I can’t think of too many things that demand immediate attention more than walking out the door and seeing a billowing curtain of gray/black smoke rising skyward in the nearby forest.

Off Grid and Free-My Path to The Wilderness 

I want to thank MD and all the wonderful people who read my first post and made such thoughtful comments last week. All of you have made me feel welcome here. Thank you!

I had lots of questions which have given me good ideas on things I can write about for future posts. One of the questions dealt with fuel and it’s storage.

Long ago, I had questions myself in regards to fuel storage and did lots of research on the topic. I found a lot of confusing information and nothing really definitive. Depending on the source, there was a wide array of viewpoints on the subject.

What I will do is simply pass on to you what works for us. Because we are a fly in location only (via float plane) and we only shop and get supplied twice a year, we need to inventory a lot of things, including fuel. The three fuels we have here are diesel, gasoline and a small quantity of kerosene. The kerosene is for a small kerosene heater used in the greenhouse in spring.

Equipment we have here includes a small 6KW single cylinder diesel generator and gasoline powered chainsaw, brush cutter, rototiller, brush chipper, Honda water pump, ice auger, boat motor and snowmobile.