Hello Pack. It has been a busy week here on our survival homestead once again. As you can see in the adorable photo above, my guineas have now outgrown my Banty chickens. In spite of their small stature, I still firmly believe they are the best survival chicken breed on the planet.
You will have to keep a lot more of them to use them as meat birds, but they are year round layers who always (in my experience) sit their own eggs, and are excellent momma hens.
Each year I think spring is the busiest time on the farm, as we prepare to get the garden in, and tend to newborn critters in the barnyard. But, then summer comes, and I think summer is the busiest time on the farm as we work the garden and bale hay.
Then fall comes along and I think finally, a little break from all of the necessary manual labor. Why I continue to think this year after year I will never know.
When the leaves start to turn color and the temperature drops it is time to finish harvesting the garden, put up the groceries that we grew, preserve the herbs from the apothecary patch, fruit from the orchard, and finish up any firewood chores that should have been all completed by now but typically are not.
I used to almost look forward to winter – except that I loathe when the temperature gets cold enough that I have to wear sleeves … or worse yet, pants. But the first few years on our survival homestead I nearly did grow eager for winter. I thought that then the workload would slow down a bit.
But alas, not if you want to make good use of the cold weather “down time” and process wax from the beehives, turn all of the preserved herbs and foraged plants into medicines, tap trees for syrup, and catch up on all the book learning you were excited about when stumbling across cool prepper books and articles throughout the year.
So, this fall I have vowed to never think any season on a survival homestead is going to be a leisurely one – at least not if you want it to be a sustainable one operated by self-reliant folks.
In other preps this week, we are starting to prepare the beehives for winter. At Prepper Camp a beekeeper shared her bee pollen patty recipe to help ensure they will have enough food for the winter.
Thankfully, I had a healthy crop of spearmint this year because it is among fall and winter snacks the woman suggested – and the bees seem to love it.
The grandkiddos were sad when berry picking season was over, but they are now overjoyed that it is nut picking time. We are keeping buckets in the back of the side-by-side so we can collect acorns, hickory nuts, walnuts, and beechnuts.
I am hoping to collect enough walnuts this year that I can also use some of them to naturally tan hides. I am very much done with making lye with wood ash to tan hides.
No matter what gloves I wear and how careful that I am – while working in an open space, my hands are always burnt and my lungs hurt once I am done. Brain tanning is how I am going to go when tanning hides come spring… after the winter “slow season” is over!
This Week’s Questions:
- What are your most important fall preps?
- How do you use winter “down time” to improve your preps?
- What do you forage in the fall?
- What did you do to prep this week?