My Newbie Experience Buying a Milk Cow – Part 2, by SaraSue

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) A Calf is Born and Begins Milking It’s been a bit of a rodeo, but I am undeterred. She was gentle as long as you didn’t touch her. LOL. She was sweet and beautiful as long as you didn’t interrupt her grazing on the grassy knoll. She learned to come into the stanchion, which is basically a structure you build to milk your cow in if you don’t have a barn set up to use. It has a “head gate” so that you can hold the cow’s head still, and therefore her …




My Newbie Experience Buying a Milk Cow – Part 1, by SaraSue

Finding the Right Cow My grandpa grew up on a farm in the South. When I was a little girl I asked him what it was like. He said it was hard work and dirty. I asked him about getting milk from a cow and he laughed saying, “Do you know how many germs are in that milk?” When I was a little older, probably studying the Great Depression in elementary school, I asked him “What did you do during the Great Depression Grandpa?” He said, “Well, we all went back to the farms!” In my child’s mind I had …




Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year.  We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in your e-mailed letters. We post many of those –or excerpts thereof — in this column, in …




Progress on My Farm – Part 2, by Animal House

My son put the greenhouse kit together after the spring rains ended. It was quite an effort but he did a good job and added extra reinforcement to withstand strong winds. That year we learned a lot more about starting seeds and transplanting them into the ground. As fall began, we got some portable propane heaters, which were connected to small propane tanks. Those worked well until we had a three-day ice storm when we couldn’t leave the farm to refill the propane tanks. After speaking with my son, I decided to order a sawmill at the end of the …




Raising Meat Birds in a Garage, by SaraSue

I recently read that there are chicken shortages in the supply chain (specifically “chicken tenders”) and I’m not going to discuss why. I’m writing this because many people who read the blog do not have a homestead or even a large back yard and worry about supply chain shortages. I hope to give you some ideas on how you can raise your own meat birds in limited space or under restricted conditions. As I wrote this it occurred to me that I was recreating “factory farmed” chicken production. That made me sad, but desperate times call for desperate measures. The …




Combating Sheep Flock Parasites – Part 2, by Mike V.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The test is performed with the freshest stool you can get. You can corral the animal, get your gloves on and get in the rectum to get some pellets out, or any number of less stressful ways to get your sample. I just walk into the field and walk behind the sheep or lamb I want a sample from. They routinely walk away and I follow them until they get a little antsy and they will give you what you need in short order. You are not trying to spook them, just …




Combating Sheep Flock Parasites – Part 1, by Mike V.

My mother went back to school to be a social worker, and she did a project which was quite interesting. She taped (remember cassette tapes?) one of our dinner conversations and then played it back to us when her project was over. I do not remember what her point was but I do remember that three planes flew over the house and two trains went by and none of us skipped a beat with the conversation. We lived in the flight path of one of the largest airports in the world and the train tracks were right next door. I …




Lessons Learned From Going Rural – Part 2, by Animal House

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) The Septic Tank The age and condition of the septic system is important to know. The older the septic the stronger the chance of having trouble; which is something you don’t ever want to experience. The size of the septic depends on how many bathrooms, the number of people living in the home and how new the kitchen is; meaning is there a dishwasher, garbage disposal, automatic ice makers, etc. If you don’t know when the septic was last serviced, go by these fabled words: when in doubt, pump it out! It …




Preparedness and Homesteading as a Middle-Aged Woman, by P.B.

This is what I know, but I am no expert.  This is what I do and I am sometimes successful….most times half successful. I know about preparing for emergencies and learning to homestead.  I live a small homesteading life with my husband of almost 27 years while working a full-time medical job and caring for my sister who is wheelchair-bound and completely dependent.  We raise turkeys for meat as well as meat and laying chickens. I was inspired back in the 1970s by the television show The Waltons.  Living a simpler, self-sufficient life seemed the best.  Surrounded by a large family …




Raising Beef on a Small Homestead – Part 2, by K.R.

(Continued from Part 1. This concludes the article.) Transportation We started out not owning a trailer. We bought calves from someone who would deliver, borrowed trailers to purchase hay, and used a mobile butcher who killed and quartered the animals on site. I think it is possible to limp along in this manner for a while until one figures out whether or not beef production is going to be a permanent thing. We have since purchased a new Maverick stock trailer (from Quality Trailer Sales of Boise, Idaho), which seemed the best quality for the price. We bought a new …




Raising Beef on a Small Homestead – Part 1, by K.R.

Raising beef cattle may be outside the comfort zone of many Survival Blog readers, but it doesn’t need to be. At least that is what my wife and I found out. Doing so on a small, manageable scale has significantly upgraded our level of land management, food preparation, and enjoyment. Now we can’t imaging our high altitude (6,500 feet) American Redoubt retreat without full freezers of steaks, roasts, and burgers, all the nutritious compost we could ever hope for, and our two Highland cows roaming our mountainous 20 acres. Many might say that, “I’ve never raised livestock and want to …




Spring Update, by Animal House

Hello Survivalblog friends! This is just a brief spring update of what’s going on the farm. Every year I replace 1/3 of our chickens with new chicks ordered from the hatchery. This is usually 25 chicks. I change the breed each year so I can tell how old the chickens are and cull the useless eaters. Last year I added Rhode Island Reds and this year I ordered Barred Rocks. Both breeds are very hardy and lay large brown eggs. I have some older buffs which are ready for harvesting at the end of summer. I also incubator-hatch ornamental silkie …




Thoughts on an Amish Auction and Preparedness, by 3AD Scout

Previously, in my August, 2020 SurvivalBlog article titled Going Old School,  I discussed how when we prep by having a primary and back-up, I stated that one back-up should be old school or vintage to accommodate loss of electric and other technology in a prolonged (years) event. Practicing what I “preach” I sometimes attend Amish auctions for non-electric and off-grid equipment and supplies. Recently I spent a Saturday at an auction where the property of an Amish Wheel Wright and buggy maker was up for sale. My first observation was “English” (non-Amish) buyers were the minority. So, if you go …




Oral History: A Child of the Great Depression – Part 2

(Continued, from Part 1.) The Principal of Dinuba High School, Walter Hellbaum, came up recruiting at UC Berkeley, because Howard Page, his Agriculture and ROTC teacher–who was another Army reserve officer–had been recalled to active duty.  Daddy was a good fit for a position at Dinuba High School because he was qualified to teach both Agriculture and ROTC classes. But then a more experienced Agriculture teacher came along. So my father ended up teaching Math, Science, Spanish, and he led the Junior ROTC program. Daddy moved our family to Dinuba in 1940. We first lived in a modest two-bedroom rental …




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. …