Hello Pack. We are nearing the end of another year of prepping. I hope it has been a productive, satisfying, and educational experience for all of us. This week on our survival retreat we have been busy with holiday happenings and a birthday party, but have managed to work in some vital prepping, as well.
We are back to that nasty time of year when it is impossible to keep poultry waterers from freezing, and I have to beat the shallow end of the pond with a pry bar to break up enough of the ice to allow the livestock and flock to drink.
I really HATE winter. It is time to close the front gate on our farm road again (even though the herd is not being rotated into the lower pasture) so they can drink from the creek.
All but one week since we have lived here, we can keep the ice cracked up at the creek crossing by vehicles going through it to use it for livestock watering – except for the flock. To keep them in water I still need to go take out fresh about every three hours when the weather gets really bad – like the ice storm we just experienced.
I am either going to have to break down and get a solar generator to hook a waterer hot pad to or run outdoor extension cords from the garage all the way out to the coop, or get a dusk to dawn door on the coop run, and just teach them to come to the house for fresh water to save me multiple treks out in the cold every day. Except for those dang Buckeye chickens my birds are highly intelligent and easy to train.
My beloved’s purchase of a load of coal from a local mine to use when the temperature dips really low, has turned out to be an excellent idea. I am not sure why we never thought of it before.
Putting one big lump of coal in our woodstove keeps it going all night long, even if we go to bed early because we are exceptionally tired.
I really hate waking up chilly in the morning and wishing one of us had stayed up later or had chosen the “nighttime logs” a bit more wisely. Shivering while starting a fire when you have yet introduced any caffeine into your body is not a fun way to start the day.
One of Bobby’s Christmas presents is a DIY manual pottery kick wheel. I will be sure to share some photos of it later. I consider this a prep because pottery can be used for so many things.
He has wanted one for years but they are ridiculously expensive and were never enough of a priority to work into our budget. This DIY pottery wheel cost me only $40 to make because a tribe member and I scoured Bobby’s “junque” piles for materials and only had to purchase two shseets of pressure treated plywood and some more nails.
It is hard to believe that we were so low on 1 ⅝ of an inch nails, but we have engaged in a lot of home improvements this year. Bobby has copious amounts of nails, screws, washers, nuts, and bolts in a myriad of sizes, but apparently there is really a bottom to all of those old coffee cans.
Once we get past Christmas and New Year’s, an inventory of all the “smalls” in his garage is going to be a priority weekend prepper records to do item. Our lists and lists of lists keep growing and getting updated. It is a tedious chore, but a necessary one to get a better handle on what you will have at the ready when needed.
I tend to turn our various inventory sessions into a date night activity, a few adult beverages and some good music turn a dreaded chore into a productive and fun way to spend time together.
In other preps this week, I killed a rooster. I simply have had it with him. I did not want to kill him before taking on more Bantys in the spring, but he chased people one too many times. He was as docile as could be until his mediocre egg laying hens walked over and wanted attention and to rub on your legs like they were cats.
This is the same rooster that I whacked in the head with a narrow board a few months ago, not intending to kill him but to thwart another assault.
He was a tough bird, that’s for sure, he was a fighter right up until the end – and the end again because it took more than one go to kill him.
I can admire his grit better now that I do not have to grow eyes in the back of my head every time I tend to the flock.
I miss my rooster that wasn’t generally people friendly either, but would fly up on my shoulder and hang out while I delved out feed in the barnyard each morning.
Flock Leader was a white leghorn, they are not known for their docile personalities, but we had an understanding and got along just fine. A banty rooster named Sassy that I had at the same time, was a sweet as a hen every single day – until a mink got him.
A prepper without a rooster to bolster flock numbers is not a good idea. But, my ducks can serve as meat and egg bird breeding pairs if the SHTF before I select a new rooster. I just did not want to deal with him anymore.
After two years of searching for Buckeye chickens and really want to help a vulnerable breed type – and keep a heritage breed, I am also so done with them.
The hens are just not good egg producers, at least not the ones I have, and they have zero farm smarts to help keep them alive. This breed did not live up to their “super free rangers” billing.
I hope others have better luck with Buckeye chickens than I have had, I truly do, but I am done with them. I am going strictly back to my bantys and their smaller white eggs.
My dreams of large farm fresh brown eggs are over – at least for now. I did not care for Rhode Island Reds either, I wanted to, but they were not good free rangers, were skittish, and were lousy sitters.
My bantys have always done it all, great at free ranging, great layers, superb sitters, never get broody, and don’t seem to have a mean bone in their tiny bodies.
Merry Christmas everyone! God Bless the United States of America, our president, and all of you!
This Week’s Questions
- Please share a “prepper year in review” of your activities this year.
- What will you do differently or expand upon next year in your prepping habits?
- If Santa Claus could bring you one prep this year, what would it be and why?