This was a Murphy’s Law kind of week on our survival homesteading retreat. If ever, just once, all the vehicles and equipment remain in full working order at the same time I am going to see if I can still pull off a cartwheel to celebrate!
On my way back from picking up my wedding ring from getting repaired I saw an old pickup truck stranded along the road. A biker looking woman was trying without success to stop a passerby, yet no one even slowed down. Such rude behavior is beyond odd for our neck of the woods. Perhaps it was because I was barely back across the county line and was along a state route that is traveled by far more than local traffic.
Anyway, I pulled over in our Dodge farm truck (oh, how I love that old beauty) and asked the woman if she needed some help – it was not a good cell area, to say the least. She told me that she and her “old man” ran out of gas and he was walking to the next village (In Ohio there are no “towns” you are either a city or a village and there are thankfully no cities at all in my county!) to get some gas.
The lady asked if she could get in the back of my truck and ride ahead until we came across her significant other and onto the gas station, which I said I was going to be going past anyway. I told her to climb inside the cab and we would go find her man and some fuel.
As we drove down the road she told me her boyfriend said no one would stop to pick him up unless they knew him because he was just an old country boy with long hair that people would assume was a hippie. I laughed really hard when her old man came into view and it was a cousin’s ex-husband. He is a good guy who is still considered family by our sweet cousin – and a prepper, even though he would never think to apply that label to himself, as most rural folks wouldn’t.
Anyway, when I did a semi-legal U-turn to pick him up he said the rear differential joint was going out in my truck. I had only an extremely vague idea of what that was but knew enough to grasp it sounded expensive. On the return trip back to their truck I did another semi-legal U-turn as he shouted to me a reminder to make sure and tell Bobby about the rear differential when I got home.
Well, when I pulled in Bobby and two tribe members were working on the 4-wheeler, something was wrong with it again – but it is now fixed. I asked him what a rear differential was and he did not smile while explaining. He said he didn’t know what made me think of that being wrong but it sounded fine to him. When I told him who had informed me of the issue, he immediately said to park the truck and they would climb under it – the cousin’s ex is a superb non-official mechanic.
After tinkering around a bit, it was decided the Dodge was indeed going out of service and parts needed to be ordered. I preferred to look at the situation as a positive. If I had not done a good a deed everyone passing by should have done, I wouldn’t have happened across an expert mechanic that could have saved me from a break down or an accident with grandkiddos in the truck.
The next piece of equipment to have issues was the Polaris Ranger – new starter ordered for it. Maybe for once the right part will actually arrive – law of averages… right?
Then, my dehydrator failed. It’s harvest time for goodness sakes, so not the time to be without a dehydrator – especially not one that I had just bragged about its durability during a video! I have used it hard for multiple years and it cost less than $100, so I really shouldn’t complain…yet I still uttered some words my mother would not be pleased with as we pulled useful parts from it before putting it in the trash.
Let’s see, I know more went wrong than that this week. Oh, yes, the hot tub. Yes, I know it is not a prep or essential piece of survival retreat equipment, but it was still infuriating. Actually, the water from the hot tub could be purified for use during a disaster, so I guess it really is a prep. Parts ordered for it too.
On the up side, and I refuse to ever fail to find an upside to mundane nuisances, we got a lot of trail work and wood cutting done this week. It never ceases to shock me how quickly we go from gardening and preserving right into putting up wood for the winter.
Yet, there was a mishap on that front as well. James bought a really nice new large saw to help with wood cutting. One could definitely cut down a large tree with it. The saw, which he thankfully took the full replacement plan on, stopped working after about three hours. Cleaning and changing the filter and checking a few other common problems that could cause a saw to stop working, failed as well. So, back to Home Depot it goes.
Our son-in-law’s new job allows him to bring home unreserved heavy equipment for his personal use on the weekends when it is not rented. That has been both an enormous time and money saver.
Bobby did some leveling work into the barn and pole barn area to help with water drainage and leveled out the entrance to the “Oh S**t” trail – I named it that for a reason. That particular trail work was recreational in part, sure, but it also will allow us to reach the furthest right side of our properly quickly and get us up to a vantage point that shows the entire valley and roadway below. We will be making a second LP/OP in that area and buy some more caches up there now.
James (SIL) also worked on the trail out to Mad Dog Drop. I named that trail about Matty last year after he created and worked on it. Partly because he did the work and definitely because one had to be “mad” to go out on that steep trail – but what fun it was! Mad Dog Drop leads to the rock formation that will be used as a primary LP/OP and sniper roust during a long-term disaster. The person or people in the spot can remain entirely secluded while still getting a clear view all the way down to the creek crossing a few hundred feet into the beginning of our driveway from the road.
Bobby also worked on making a “road” back into Brea and James’ building site. It is still rough, but now James will be able to get the bulldozer back in there when he brings it home from work next month.
We are still battling ground hornets, I loathe them. Yellow jackets seem to want to take over our survival homesteading retreat as well. We have completely destroyed one nest on the overhang of our house, but the dang things keep coming back to the same spot and rebuilding. While I admire their tenacity, I really want them all to die.
In our area of the Buckeye State, the yellow jackets and hornets are building their nests close to the ground. An old wives tale maintains that means we will be in for a harsh winter. I hope it is wrong after the winter that would never end this year, but such old adages are most often correct.
Bringing Bobby’s old amphibious vehicle back to life has finally made its way near the front of the to do chapter book – it’s way too long to call it a to do list, at this point.
The worst thing to happen on our survival homesteading this week was my Ruby developing a limp. We looked her hoof over thoroughly, and then her leg for signs of swelling or injury. I doctored her with natural anti inflammatories and massaged her whole front leg to withers area. The limp seemed to come and go, but refused to go away.
My Ruby and her sidekick Not Negan enjoying some hay. I did not force her into a stall, but entice her to remain in the barn with healthy snacks, hay, and fresh water to keep her off the bum leg. It was miserably hot, even by my sun-loving standards for most of the week, so the herd did not mind hanging out inside the cool barn with Ru and Not Negan during her recovery.
James’ dad is an experienced farrier, so he came over to take a look. Her hoof checked out fine, as did her leg, yet she was still walking incredibly stiffly. I thought she might have strained a muscle in her shoulder because that seemed to be the spot she favored the most. Jimmy thought so as well and decided the appearance of the limp coming and going depended upon what time of ground my Ru was walking one, i.e. soft pasture or our dirt road.
I just did not want to give her Bute, it can be so toxic to the liver of livestock and is full of chemicals I cannot even pronounce. Jimmy said he knows I always want to treat things naturally (I haven’t been to a doctor in over a decade, thanks in part to colloidal silver) but relieving the pain and swelling quickly was essential to Ru being able to recover without doing more harm to herself to compensate for the limp.
So, off to Tractor Supply I went for Bute. They no longer carry Bute, nor does Rural King or any similar store. In fact, they no longer even carry similar meds to relieve bumblefoot in chickens. I can buy penicillin, tetanus shots, and other strong meds over the counter at TSC or Rural King, but not Bute and related products. Why? “Thank all the druggies,” is what the guy at the local Tractor Supply Company said.
Apparently, hillbilly heroin addicts were buying Bute, bumblefoot medications, etc. to get high off of them! I broke down to buy manufactured medication, and then could not find it.
I decided to go with Naproxen, which is available over the counter in low doses for humans. It was originally developed at Equiproxen, a horse med, so I knew it was safe for Ruby to ingest. I used to take it for me knees – which cracked like an 80 year olds from the time I was 13 from playing and then coaching sports. The cracking and popping did not used to hurt, the sound just startled folks standing around, but it hurts now…hence my love of the hot tub!
After less than two full days taking Naproxen, getting rubbed down with liniment, and taking it easy, Ruby is walking like her old self again. Ru is coming 17, but can still beat nearly any young horse on either flat ground or a rugged trail. I don’t force her to be so fast, just try to keep her from hitting warped speed and hold on.
Invite To THE Prepper Event Of The Year
Just a short yet important FYI to y’all that I hope you will share with your prepper pals and on social media. There’s still a small amount of tickets available for Prepper Camp in western North Carolina next month. Attending the event and presenting there was the most fulfilling and inspiring prepping related thing I have ever done.
Although I am pretty good with words, I still find the feeling of immersing yourself into an albeit temporary prepper community for three days while engaging in hands-on presentations and experiences, difficult to do. Bill Forstchen will be the headline speaker. I doubt anyone if unfamiliar with him and his work, but just in case, he is known as the big daddy of prepping and wrote One Second After – among two follow ups and numerous other best sellers.
I had the privilege of introducing him during the first year of Prepper Camp – if the entire event would have been awful instead of filled with fabulous learning and kinship, it would have been worth the 10 hour drive just for those few moments. I am by far not the only one that feels that way, folks from literally all around the country attend year after year.
I honestly do not think there is a single integral aspect of homesteading and prepping that is not covered at each Prepper Camp. There are something like six classes an hour all day and then fun around the campfire in the evening. I never endorse or link to a product or event that I have not used or loved myself and would simply feel selfish not sharing this information with the Pack – my awesome new virtual prepping pals!
If you want to learn more about Prepper Camp and the incredible folks behind it – and are on Twitter, use the #PrepperTalk hashtag that Survivor Jane originated and has used to create the largest and most active online prepper community on social media – and of course, invite all new potential Pack members right back here to TSB!
My questions for the week, before y’all start sharing your own interesting weekly prepping stories.
1. Are you still harvesting your gardens and how much did you put up this year?
2. How much would do you put up for the winter and how long does it take?
3. If you do not heat with wood, what are your SHTF power grid down energy plans?
4. Do you use ATVs or UTVs as part of your preps? If so, how and why?