From David in Israel on Expedient Shelter/Greenhouses

James: I was looking over some of my old Mars proposals and wanted you to give a spin off to try in your colder area. This is an idea that popped into my head during my 105 minute bus ride as I thought about how most survivalists have no idea how to feed themselves or where they will live once they bug out. The idea is a double wall UV-transparent greenhouse with spacers between to make for good airspace insulation. Hydroponic tubing of a larger diameter would be connected to a curtained off outhouse toilet (and a runoff gutter rain …




Heirloom/Native Seed Source

Thanks to Kirsten over at the Survival/Gulching Forum at The Claire Files for mentioning the Native Seeds/SEARCH seed bank. See: http://www.nativeseeds.org/. Here is a quote about their specialized heirloom seeds for desert environments: “Today, the Native Seeds/SEARCH seed bank houses approximately 2,000 different accessions of traditional crops grown by Apache, Chemehuevi, Cocopah, Gila River Pima, Guarijio, Havasupai, Hopi, Maricopa, Mayo, Mojave, Mountain Pima, Navajo, Paiute, Puebloan, Tarahumara, Tohono O’odham and Yaqui farmers. Over one-half of the collections are comprised of the three sisters — corn, bean, and squash. An additional 48 species of crops and wild crop relatives wait in …




Letter Re: The Micro-Farm Tractor

In response to the excellent article, “The Micro-Farm Tractor”, I have to say my best bet for all-around small farm tool would be the diesel all terrain vehicle (ATV). ATVs have quickly infiltrated into many farms today, as haulers, sprayers, snowplows, transport, and so on. You can purchase many available farm accessories that make it into the equivalent of a mini-tractor, as well has many hunting related accessories, since they appeal to the hunter’s market as well, like gun racks, camo, storage, and essential noise-cutting mufflers (very effective units can be had at Cabela’s). I would suggest a diesel unit, …




The Micro-Farm Tractor, by “Fanderal”

My goal, like so many of us, is to be able to pre-bugout, to a retreat I can live on full time. I dream of having a few acres out in the country where I can mostly support myself on what can be produced on my own land. When I first started to think about it, and plan for it, the first question of course is “How much land?” After getting past the obvious answer, “As much as possible”, came the more reasonable answer of: “enough to do accomplish my primary goal of optimal self-sufficiency.” After more study I came …




Archives of JWR Radio Interviews on Pandemic Preparedness Available

For two successive weekends, I was interviewed by Dr. Geri Guidetti of The Ark Institute on her shortwave/webcast radio show. The topic of both of these two hour interviews was family preparedness for a potential influenza pandemic. These interviews are available for free download from Republic Radio in a variety of audio streaming formats at: http://mp3.rbnlive.com/Geri05.html




From The Memsahib: Countryside and Small Stock Journal

Another issue of my very favorite magazine just arrived and I wanted to tell you all about it. It is “The magazine of modern homesteading”: Countryside and Small Stock Journal. Unlike most magazines out there, C&SSJ has a very low ad to content ratio. It doesn’t waste page space with lots of pretty photos or other fluff like the other “country” magazines. And it is written by the subscribers. C&SSJ is 130 pages full of practical information! The Nov/Dec.2005 issue contains full length articles about purchasing and using a masonry stove, how to build a “cut back” thermostat to reduce …







Two Letters Re: The Importance of Using Non-Hybrid Seeds

In a recent post, you said: “…we will be discussing how to collect (“save”) and store seed stock in detail in some upcoming blog posts. – The Memsahib” When it comes to storing seeds long term, I think you will find this article of interest. See: http://www.echotech.org/network/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=84 This describes a safe and easy-to-create liquid that greatly increases the long-term viability of seeds. I bought both chemicals from http://www.chemicalstore.com/ , but after checking this morning, they apparently no longer sell glycerol. It is a safe and widely-used chemical, so it should still be easy to obtain after doing a bit of …




From JWR and the Memsahib–The Importance of Using Non-Hybrid Seeds

Modern agricultural science is a two-edged sword. Hybrid vegetable and row crop varieties have tremendously increased crop yields in the past 50 years. Along with chemical fertilizers and pesticides, this has allowed the Earth’s population to double in the past 45 years without mass starvation. Unfortunately because the seeds from hybrid plants do not breed true, it makes farmers captive to the seed companies an dependent on modern chains of supply for seed distribution. Any seed that is saved from crops typically produces less yield than traditional non-hybrid progenitors. In the event of a global TEOTWAWKI, I anticipate that catastrophic …




Letter Re: “Square Foot” Gardening Techniques

You should certainly stock up to protect against a disaster, but meanwhile, here’s a website which will teach you how to start “square-foot” gardening now, so you can take care of yourself and yours now and post-disaster, See: http://www.squarefootgardening.com/ Note: this method will also provide work/food for everybody/anybody you find under your wing. And the “work” part: a feeling of being a contributor may be as important as the food. I heard the man lecture and this Saturday I will attend a workshop on constructing and completing a square-foot garden–but clearly it’s not rocket science. It is something everybody can …




Letter from John Adams Re: Foraging

Last week Abigail and I were out picking elderberries. After harvesting all we could find at our place we stopped and asked the neighbor if we could hunt for some on their farm. My neighbor’s’30 year old son, who has spent a lot of time in the woods, sent us to one spot his Dad to another. When we got to the son’s spot we indeed found a huge batch of berries, but they were pokeberries, definitely not what we were looking for! Lesson learned: Make sure you know what you are picking and eating. It did get me to …




John & Abigail Adams on Survival Gardening

At times I hear from folks that are concerned about raising their own food during a WTSHTF situation. I have heard, it will be a tremendous amount of work, there will be no seed to put out, there will be no fertilizer to feed the plants, we’ll use up all the nutrients in the soil and will need to leave it lay fallow for a year and other concerns and worries. If you don’t mind I’d like to address some of those issues. Abigail and I have been using our current garden since 1982. Over those 23 years we may …




Letter Re: Subarus and Heirloom Seeds

Hello, I’d like to compliment you on having one of the most informative new blogs I’ve seen. I’ve enjoyed reading it, so far. I have a couple of things to contribute, one on the subject of gardening, and one on the subject of good cars to have around. On the car, first, as it’s short: Subaru stations wagons, 4WD drive ones, if older–all new ones are all wheel drive, are fantastic vehicles for rough driving conditions. Their only drawback is that they are not diesel. My Outback has actually done the stuff you always see in Subaru’s commercials–and then gotten …




Wheat–From Broadcasting Seed to Baking Bread, by John and Abigail Adams

I thought that the SurvivalBlog readers might like to hear about our experience in raising wheat for our own use. My wife and I have lived on a small farm for many years. We raise most of our own vegetables, have chickens for eggs, run a couple of steers in the pasture and at times feed out a hog. We both have full time jobs so there is not enough time to raise everything that we need but we do what we can. As most of our kids have moved out or are off at college we no longer need …




On Climate and Growing Season

“Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” – Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love When starting your search for a retreat location, concentrate on “dry land farming” regions, and of those, the ones that specialize in truck farming. Dry land farming regions are where crops can be grown with seasonal rains and are not dependent on electrically pumped irrigation water. Remember that when grid down, the areas in the West that were originally desert will revert to desert, in a hurry! Even an area that might otherwise look good for a retreat at present may be uninhabitable …