Hello Pack. It has been a weird week here on our survival homesteading retreat. I think we have had three seasons of weather in just one week – fall, winter, and spring. Which is kinda commonplace for Ohio, but still weird.
The day we went from rain to freezing rain, and back again twice was probably the least productive day of our week.
It is looking awfully green for this time of year in Appalachia. The possibility for a little early grazing by our horses, mini donkeys, pony, and goats has really helped us conserve on hay bale use.
There surely is not enough growing outside yet to sustain them, but being able to do some early year nibbling is definitely a plus.
This week’s preps included more seed planting to get ready for when spring does arrive and stay. I was able to save some calendula, mullein, and echinacea plants from damping off, but not all. I am currently winning two good grow lights on that bidfta.com website I have mentioned a few times.
If any of you have tried the website and scored some great preps and awesome prices, please share your finds in the comments section. I am bidding on several other prepping related items now, but will have to scale back my purchases after that with a granddaughter’s birthday coming up.
Our pear, chokecherry, and apple seeds are coming along nicely. Only two of our harvested apple seeds have germinated so far, but that is two more trees we can add to our fruit grove that did not cost us a dime:
I love the fact that one day the seeds our grandchildren helped to cultivate will bear fruit that they and their own children will be feasting upon.
My Bobby ordered an “edibles” live tree group from our local Water and Soil Conservation Agency. They have a tree sale once a year and this year the selection was quite large.
We will be adding more apple, cherry, elderberry, and peach trees to our growing orchard for a fraction of what it would have cost to but the same young live trees from a nursery. I believe there were one or two other varieties in the same group but cannot recall exactly.
The fruit grove had to be moved due to a gas pipeline project, and we worked on that this week also. They paid handsomely for the temporary space to park vehicles and to put in a gravel access road to the existing lease, so I am really not complaining.
They are going to scoop the gravel up and put it in a pile at our request, so it can be used as part of our ongoing maintenance of our half mile farm road. The cleared dirt road will be a perfect trail to use for ATVs, horses, and foraging hikes once the project is complete in a few months.
They paid for the potential loss of the trees we relocated. They are still young, and I think they will recover from the shock of the relocation, hopefully. The spot they are in now is actually going to be a lot better but was not usable when we first bought the farm and planted them.
In other preps this week, we harvested seeds from our water dipper gourds and will be planting them and make use of the gourds they came from for actual water dipping and for some art projects.
One gourd will be turned into a birdfeeder for a cardinal that attached itself to use nine months ago and comes to our window daily – multiple times, to say hello and get a bit of feed. We call him Matty – after our tribe member who passed away, that you may remember me mentioning.
A cardinal coming to call is supposed to be a visit from a lost loved one. Since Matty started the gourd growing on the farm, it is only right that his namesake gets one to call his very own.
Bobby is finishing up his browsing for a new side-by-side ATV. Our Polaris Ranger may have finally bit the dust. I drove it down to check the side pasture gate before doing morning turnout the other day and when I drove back up our hill by the house, may a quarter mile stretch uphill, it seemed to have an odd smell.
I decided to go on to the chicken coop and see if it had gotten overheated – which would be odd after only a short drive.
Well, as I pulled up the knoll where the chicken coop is, barely more than a good softball throw away on level ground. First smoke then fire came out from under the hood. I ran back the yard to my truck and got a fire extinguisher and put it out.
As I type, a tribe member is here to look at the Ranger and see if he can tweak things and get a little more life out of it, but I think this time it is really finally done. I have been missing the winch on it more than anything this week when we did some repairs to the pond fence, and another section of fence by the barn.
The grandkids missed it during the unseasonably warm weather simply because hitting the trails on it is fun.
If you are going to live on large acreage, having a way to get around anywhere you need to and do so quickly is a must – even before the SHTF. Our horses will always be a mode of transportation during a survival situation, but the mud bog we have been living in could be dangerous to them on some of the steep trails and I see no need in risking them unless it is an absolute must.
Our tree tapping is coming along well, excited to see how much sap we collect to make syrup from this year. The next big project on our agenda is getting a hog breeding pair, and perhaps adding some more beef cattle to our list of survival livestock.
I also did some clean up and rearranging of my apothecary patch, and mapped out a planned addition to the growing space that I am extremely excited about starting in the coming weeks.
This Week’s Questions:
- How are your garden preparations coming along?
- Do you have a perimeter hardiness and patrol plan for your bug in location or bugout retreat?
- With all the Coronavirus reports on the news. Have you reviewed your pandemic preparation plan or started one? How would you ride out a pandemic in the United States?