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  1. Concerning carrots. I had great success in storing my carrots in 5 gallon buckets with sand surrounding the carrots in my cellar. I placed them in the buckets like they were growing in the garden. Only drawback was removing them was a little messy because of the sand. But they stored well into summer.

  2. Love the pic with the cat in front of the hay wall. Also, I really enjoy and appreciate reading this column. Priceless advice in my opinion. Thank you all for sharing. My son and I recently fenced in our back yard. It’s the 6′ x 8′ sections of privacy fencing from Lowe’s. Now our four canines can romp and get their exercise and do their thing without dragging us for a “walk.” We now have an extra 30 minutes now for morning preparations for work and other activities. Again, I love this blog. Thanks for all your hard work and everything you guys do to help us prepare. God bless.

  3. Took a vacation day on Friday and spent it out at the BOL. I got a nice wooden crate from work that is about 2’x8′. I bought a piano hinge to attach the lid and am going to use it for storage and additional bench space inside the barn workshop. Painted the workshop white for better lighting.

    The BOL home addition is slowly coming along. The builders hooked up water and drain lines and started to install tile floor.

    Today the family is spending a few hours in our attic to go through the stuff up there. Some of it was from my wife’s parents when they lived here. Cold and damp here today so it is a good day to work inside. Not moving any more “prep-stuff” until builders are totally done and gone. I have a “few” cans of ammo out and one commented about my “tons” of ammo. I had to laugh inside since I didn’t want to say that was just a very small part of what I have. But case in point, when people are working in your home they are looking!!

  4. Garden weeds: If possible make a movable chicken house, on skids or a junker trailer. Put chickens in old garden before fall tilling, they will clean up any missed produce, bugs and weed seeds. I do a 4year rotation, grains, row vegetables, heavy feeders like corn, squash, and sunflowers, then chickens. the chickens spend fall to fall on that section of garden and in the summer get pulled weeds, grass clippings, kitchen compost etc. Then the coop gets dragged to next section, cleaned out onto ground and fresh bedding put in. The birds will scratch and sift every square inch of that area and the weed populations will be gone.

  5. This week we worked on trimming and thinning the walnut, pine and cottonwood trees around the compound which could cause damage during storms or high winds. Hired a team of young men who could climb trees rather than trying to get a bucket truck in tight places. They elevated 10 very tall trees, cut down two widow-makers and thinned out the two huge 100+ year old live oaks trees which could do the most damage to the house. When we finish cutting the wood to size we should have two more cords of fire wood and a cord of kindling to make almost 8 total. One less thing I have to worry about.

  6. On storing carrots, had great success this year fermenting carrot slices. Add a clove if garlic or two to the fermenting vessel…yum. Fermenting is also great for those old tough carrots that were left in the ground just a little too long.

  7. Without actually being on the ground and knowing the conditions of your soil, I can’t say for certain this is the cause of your thistle problems. I also have thistle problems, by the way. Through piecing information together, it appears that the thistles, horse nettles, buttercups, etc, are caused by too much phosphorus in the soil. And that comes from manure. If you change the pH of the soil, it will discourage the growth of those plants. My pasture where I have my chicken tractors is laiden with them. Most people recommend putting lime down. Of course they recommend soil samples for everything. I just build a bon fire and burn some fallen trees and feed sacks. Or if you have a wood burning stove, put the ashes there. That will build the minerals also.

    Interestingly, most people see bugs and weeds as a problem. I used to, until I began to understand that those are the tools God gave us to balance out the minerals. Now, even though I live in SE US, where there’s lots of bugs, I’m beginning to breed bugs to feed my chickens. And the weeds, I try to find something to eat them. I have rabbits in rabbit tractors, that I pull over those areas. And chicken tractors. And yes, I’m well aware that these ideas don’t work everywhere, even on this farm, but certainly not much further north than here. My chicken tractors are mostly wire, and built lightweight enough to move with one hand. But we also don’t have much cold weather here, and this is the solution I came up with to get the chickens out of the muck that stays here all winter long. My goal is to get to where I can feed my chickens, guineas, peacocks, ducks, geese, and rabbits, entirely for free. I will probably still have to buy feed for my cow(s), but her milk will feed all the bugs that feed my chickens. If worse comes to worse (economically, our family is very close to that), I can just let the cows eat grass, but that won’t produce the butterfat of bought feed. I will also probably always have to buy minerals, though I hope to get our soil built back up enough that it’s minimal. At this time, I am growing all the food that we eat. It’s a fairly boring menu, and sometimes we splurge, but not much. As I said, I hope to soon be able to have our feed bill cut way down to almost nothing. That day will thrill my soul. I’ve always wanted to be entirely self sufficient.

  8. Enjoy this weekly posting. This week I noticed my chestnuts were dropping and ready for harvest. Although I share the bounty with the squirrels and other critters they don’t seem to be particularly honest in their ” sharing “. Not a problem ! There is plenty for all. Roasted some yesterday and they appear to be hunks of butter when opened – so sweet and flavorful. Garden did not do well this year due to location with sunlight and air circulation now starting to be impinged by 30 years of surrounding tree growth. Will remedy that this winter. I must say, I am beginning to see the wisdom of silviculture as contrasted with ” gardening “. Much bounty ! but I will always have a garden- just smaller and raised beds for 2019.

  9. Re the weeds.
    We use manure to fertilize our garden, and dump the ashes from our woodstoves onto our gardens. We also throw kitchen scraps (not meat), but compost scattered across the garden. The gardens get rototilled in the fall, then again in spring. In the spring, they are rototilled, and then again 2 weeks later, which kills most of the weeds just as they sprout. Right after the 2nd tilling, we plant, then put turkey poop in between the rows, and cover with a heavy layer of mulch (hay cut and put down still green). It is a very busy 2 weeks, but it delays any weed growth for several months. And, the bonus is, if it is a very dry summer (like this one just past) it helps the garden retain a lot more moisture so a good rain or a good watering from me 1-2x a week is plenty. The gardens are prolific, and the work is much less overall, which is important as we are getting older.

  10. We had our second frost, dragged in the rest of the lingering green beans, green tomatoes and all of the basil. Washed and froze basil. Yanked all potted flowers and garden flowers and saved a lot of seed. Would love to move west and have animals. Maybe some day, God willing. Love this blog and thank you for your advice JWR and Avalanche Lilly, as well as others on this post!

  11. Purslane was my problem weed this year. Still have pumpkin in the garden, everything else is processed. Some seed saved for next year. Sweet corn was dismal this year, but tomatoes were so abundant that we shared the wealth. Learning more about seed saving every year.

  12. This week was about riding out hurricane Michael and it’s aftermath. It has been a real test for our preps and planning. We were about forty miles from they eye and still saw wind in the 100+ mph range. We had a lot of downed trees and nearly every power pole is broken for about three miles. We are expecting to be with out power for at least a month. Real world off-grid training. Currently we’re running the genset one hour on three off during the day and seven off at night with a two hour bump to start the day. We may go to longer run times as gas becomes more plentiful. Luckily the hurricane was followed by a nice cool front so we finally got some mild days and cool nights and haven’t missed the AC at all. The goats came through fine, we did have some trees across their fencing but that was all repaired today.
    It looks like we will get some real world SHTF practice, so far so good but we’ll see how it goes for the next month or so.

  13. We store our carrots in damp wood shavings in our root cellar. We test our soil in the fall and apply
    amendments in the spring and use The Ideal Soil as our guide on what to apply. My garden started out as loamy SAND and did not and still does not hold water very well, but the produce has less bugs,
    less disease and better keeping ability and better flavor. I highly recommend The Ideal Soil.
    http://www.soilminerals.com. Deer ate all the cabbage and carrots, winter squash was a bust but we harvested 10 bushels of potatoes and 6 bushels of onions and put up 40 quarts of tomatoes, and have been eating lots of red tomato and red pepper salads.

  14. This past week saw our first snow. It also saw us put up 13 pints of sauerkraut… 30 chickens averaging 5 pounds… and 8 Broad Breasted turkey hens, running 22 to 25 pounds dressed. Our heritage Rhode Island Red layers are producing 2 dozen eggs daily. We don’t garden, but we trade poultry and eggs for the vegetables we need down at the farmers market.

    We don’t do “organic” because we believe organic to be mostly a scam to fleece the consumer out of a few extra bucks. Just this week, three Iowa farmers were charged with pocketing $2.5 million by selling plain old corn and beans as “organic” to unsuspecting customers.

    And look at what happened just last Thanksgiving… Diestel Turkey, sold by Whole Foods and other retailers at premium prices, says on its website that its “animals are never given hormones, antibiotics or growth stimulants.”

    But Diestel Turkey samples tested by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggest otherwise, leading consumers to wonder: Can these companies be trusted?

    According to testing conducted under the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) National Residue Program, samples of Diestel Turkey products tested positive for numerous drug and antibiotic residues.

    One of those drugs, Chloramphenicol, is strictly prohibited by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in food production because it’s known to have “severe toxic effects in humans including bone marrow suppression or aplastic anemia in susceptible individuals.”

    According to an amended complaint filed last November 13, against Diestel Turkey Ranch, the FSIS inspected Diestel turkeys on four dates in 2015 and 2016, and reported, in addition to Chloramphenicol, residues of antibiotics important for human use, veterinary antibiotics, a hormone and other pharmaceuticals.

    Get smart… buy local. Forget the organic hyperbole.

  15. I read “Pandemic 1918” by Catherine Arnold (A MUST read for any serious prepper person)… Filled the oil lamps and gave them a trial burn… Bought a couple pair of insulated bibs at the second-hand store… Froze a whole slew of raw eggs (whip gently and place in half-pint freezer containers)… Ground-up the heads, necks and feet from the birds we harvested and froze it for our Blue Heeler “Junior”.

  16. Fall is such a busy time. In addition to the traditional fall chores, we are building a sapling fence by using the temporary wire fencing to keep dogs in and critters out. I’ve cleared much of the brush and we’ve cut and hauled downed trees and limbs from the yard. I expect to be able to mow it soon.

    After the summer of getting our Wyoming house in order, I am getting our eastern camp in order too. It is a good feeling to know what is where.

    Took another pickup truck of trash to the transfer station. I suspect that I am really done with residual trash… finally!

    As to the weather cooling, that has been my opinion as well. We have a far more likely chance of a cooler climate than a warmer one. Interesting how most people are accepting of the opposite. Although I do not have a greenhouse yet, I have been trained as a Master Gardener and have taught in a hydroponics greenhouse. Getting there.

  17. My solution to weeding has come. down to companion planting,close sewn beans(a real multiplier-no weeds,nitrogen fixing,second crop after harvest)and green mulch(grass clippings). Had luck with freezing fried green tomato slices.

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