My Preparedness Evolution, by Melody Channel

I was six, and there was very little food in the house that night. I rummaged around in a cupboard and pulled out a nearly empty peanut butter jar, and using a table knife and my finger, I scraped out every bit of it and went to bed early. Being young, I don’t remember if this time lasted days or weeks, but the gnawing feeling of hunger made a profound impact, and from the roots of that childhood experience came the mindset for preparedness and survival. Everyone has a story, and this is mine. It is hoped that by sharing …




Composting Your Black Gold – Part 2, by Hobbit Farmer

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) After your pile is built you wait. The microbes do the work. One helpful tool in this part of the process is a compost thermometer that will probe temperatures 18”-24” into the pile. The internal temperature tells you what is going on inside the pile so you know when to turn the pile. We will only be turning the pile once. As you can see this pile is cooking at around 140 degrees, which means my microbes are in turbo mode. You probably don’t want it much hotter than this. The lower …




Composting Your Black Gold – Part 1, by Hobbit Farmer

Composting: Microbes, Black Gold, and Growing the Best Food A search of the SurvivalBlog archives will uncover pages and pages of articles mentioning compost and its value in gardening. However, if there was a startup composting guide I missed it. If you are an experienced composter hopefully you can still learn from this article, but everything here will be geared toward someone just starting out. Be warned I don’t use a sophisticated “fast” method. I work with God’s design, and let the microbes do the work. Well-balanced compost takes time–8-to-12 months with this method. This means you need to start …




Maximizing the Homestead Apple Orchard, by Eric K.

“Surely the apple is the noblest of fruits” – Henry David Thoreau American homesteaders and gardeners have a high degree of familiarity with eating and growing apples.  Who hasn’t enjoyed biting into a fresh, crunchy apple on a cool fall morning?  Most homesteaders plant an apple tree or two early on in the process of establishing their property.  This makes sense – the apple is deeply connected to American pioneering history and culture.  Johnny Appleseed traveled the Ohio River Valley and parts of Appalachia planting apple seeds.  Oregon Trail settlers carried seeds and seedlings with them when they came west …




The Secret Salad Garden – Part 3, by D.G.

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.) Microgreens That I Have Grown What follows are descriptions of some of the greens I have grown so far with a few observations I’ve made along the way. If you are planting trays several times a week, you’ll have overlapping harvest periods, and this gives you flexibility in terms of the different combinations you can make at dinner time. Basil Basil grows more slowly, at least initially, but is well worth the wait. I sowed a couple 1020 trays more sparsely than I would normally, and let them grow for a full …




The Secret Salad Garden – Part 2, by D.G.

(Continued from Part 1.) Gear and Materials: Soil The first trays I grew using ordinary Central Texas yard dirt and the results were good. But dirt from outdoors can introduce mold, gnats, and other insects, so I have been using potting soil ever since. Professional growers will use various mixtures which might include perlite, vermiculite, compost, or coconut coir. Some grow hydroponically. Some add fertilizers and nutrients. It’s very likely that, by following their recommendations, or through experimentation, I might increase yield or see other benefits. But I’m satisfied with the results I’m seeing for now, and I suspect in …




The Secret Salad Garden – Part 1, by D.G.

Introduction In the spring of 2020, it became apparent that the coronavirus posed a potential threat to public safety. The severity of the threat was unclear, so my wife and I, being reasonably well-prepared, decided that our family would ‘batten down the hatches’ until we could better assess the situation. Like many people, we learned a lot. We learned how prepared we were, and we learned how prepared we were not. We had never made a trial assessment of our ability to adapt to a situation like this, so it was an eye-opening opportunity to learn and improve. One of …




Adventures in Central Texas Gardening – Part 2, by Lisa

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) — First let’s go over how I built my raised beds. The materials needed for 1 raised bed are: 4 – 8-foot landscape timbers (try to find the ‘untreated’ type) 3 – 12 in by 1 in by 8 foot yellow pine (untreated) 1 ½ – 1 ¾ inch deck screws 2 – 3-inch deck screws 8 – small “L” brackets (approx. 2 inches) 4 – 7 in. 16-Gauge Galvanized Reinforcing L-Angle – Note: I am not a professional carpenter and I was shopping at my local ‘mom and pop’ hardware store …




Adventures in Central Texas Gardening – Part 1, by Lisa

As a child growing up in North Texas, my family was of the Depression era. We raised beef for the freezer, milked our cow for milk, raised chickens for both meat and eggs, raised a hog occasionally but always had a huge garden. I can’t tell you how many times I spent a summer day picking green beans on what seemed like the endless rows of the ½ acre garden. Of course, as I grew older, being the typical teen, I couldn’t wait to leave the country and move up in the world to the big city, which I did. …




Prepper Project Suggestions, by R.H.

I have compiled a list of possible projects that can be accomplished by people of average skill with the usual tools and supplies. This list is just to get you thinking about what you might need and what you could use in the event of an emergency. Luckily, we currently have the Internet to easily find plans for these projects. Print the plans now and start a “to-do” list. The Internet is great but also have some how-to books on hand. The time is upon us. Water In keeping with preparation priorities, let’s first discuss water projects. One of the …




Introduction to Beekeeping – Part 3, by K. in Tennessee

(Continued from Part 2. This concludes the article.) V – The Bees Apis milifera is the Latin name we’ve given the bug we call the “Honeybee”. Not to be confused with the bumble bees, wood bees, sweat bees, and other pollinators we share this planet with. It is a specific breed and different than the other small bees you come across in your environment. It took me several years before I could visually discern the difference, and there are even differences within the types of honeybees. Much like dog breeding, it is becoming a whole additional avenue in the hobby. …




Introduction to Beekeeping – Part 2, by K. in Tennessee

(Continued from Part 1. ) III – The Hive The Beehive is the home you provide for the bees. It is supposed to make your task of managing the hive easier, while giving the bees what they want for a home. This is where you show your mettle and what you have learned. If the bees don’t like your home, don’t worry, they’ll just leave! The signs are all there if you know how to read them (an experienced mentor can help immensely). There are several styles of hives out there. Top Bar and Langstroth hives are the most common …




Introduction to Beekeeping – Part 1, by K. in Tennessee

I – Introduction I started researching beekeeping as a hobby for several years before I got my first bees, mostly due to life’s circumstances. Once I settled down and had a piece of land to call home, I was able to get some bees and find it rather enjoyable. It’s quite unlike any other hobby, not the same as gardening, or NASCAR. Keeping wild animals in a wooden box isn’t for everyone. It has challenged me and I’ve learned a lot, and that’s what I find alluring – the more I learn about it, the less I know. Beekeeping has …




The $100 Homestead Grain Winnower – Part 2, by PapaP

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The “L” was constructed from a scrap piece of 1″ thick pine board which was about 9″ long and cut 7/8″ wide. The longer side of the “L”was about 6″ long and the smaller piece about 3″ long. The 3” piece was then screwed to the longer piece to form the “L”. This “L” provides the gap between the two plywood sides, allows a piece of metal strapping to encircle the plastic inlet, and holds the blower securely in place. To secure your particular blower assembly you will have to design and …




The $100 Homestead Grain Winnower – Part 1, by PapaP

One of the pillars of homestead food production is growing small grains such as wheat, barley, oats, etc. The classic text for homestead grain production is Small-Scale Grain Raising, by Gene Logsdon (1977). His focus is on using small-scale or appropriate technology, usually human powered. For example, harvesting small grains would entail the use of a scythe for cutting the grain, a flail for threshing the grain followed by tossing the grain into the air to winnow or separate the grain from the chaff. I was raised on a traditional farm in the 1960s and 1970s where we used farm-scale …