A Few Hard-Learned Lessons- Part 2, by Grey Woman

I am continuing to share some of my hard-learned lessons as a single woman who moved out into the country. My story and lessons that follow, provided in no particular order, might save you money, time, injury, and humiliation as you make this journey towards self-sufficiency and preparedness. Yesterday, the lessons were on chainsaw, firewood, and wood stoves.

Bears, Birds and Bullets

One part of moving out of the suburbs and into “the country” that I was really excited about was being more in touch with nature, especially birds. I have always loved watching wild birds and hearing them sing and saw this as an opportunity to create a “wild bird friendly” environment in my yard, complete with multiple birdhouses and bird feeders to encourage them to hang around.

In addition, when I moved, I brought my suburban “back yard chicken” experience with me and was sure that I was ready for a real flock. I had visions of a cute coop that looked like a miniature of my house and happy hens scratching in the yard. I enjoyed watching the deer in the meadows at dusk and was charmed the first time a flock of wild turkeys moseyed up my driveway looking like a bunch of grumpy old men in dusty overcoats.

The dogs would have a blast chasing woodchucks, rabbits, and chipmunks through the woods and if there was an occasional fatality dropped on my back porch, well dogs will be dogs. I had heard that there were black bears in the woods. However, I hadn’t seen any and was assured that they were more afraid of me than I was of them and that as long as I kept my garbage secure and never got between a mom and her cubs, they would leave well enough alone. Besides, they would stay away from any yard where dogs lived.

Well, I had a few lessons to learn. They follow.

Lesson #1: It’s Not Fat Squirrels

When you find your empty birdfeeders knocked off of the shepherd’s crook hangers in the morning, it was not fat squirrels. After you decide to mount your birdfeeders on 12’ 4x4s that you sink 2’ into the ground with your handy post hole digger with a pully system to lower them to fill them up and you find the 4x4s knocked over and the birdfeeders empty on the ground in the morning, that was also not fat squirrels. Bears are strong.

Lesson #2: Bears Aren’t As Stupid as You Thought

When you decide that you will not be defeated by a stupid bear and you dig 4’ holes, sink 16’ 4x4s, and anchor them in 100 lbs. of quikcrete to hang your bird feeder pulley system and you find the poles standing but the empty birdfeeders and pulleys on the ground in the morning, you discover that the bear may not be a stupid as you thought.

Lesson #3: You Can Beat the Bear!

You might re-hang the birdfeeders and run the pully cords through 10’ 1 ½” pvc pipes that you mount onto all four sides of the 4x4s with brackets. Then when you go out in the morning to see a fully intact (if somewhat ridiculous) bird feeder system with muddy pawprint swipes and slide marks on the pvc pipes and tufts of bear hair caught on the brackets and you start laughing and dancing around the yard, you will know that you probably look more than a little crazy, but that through a little creative problem solving and a couple of trips to Lowes, you solved the problem. You beat the bear! At least you did for now.

Useful Bear Fact #1

People who say that black bears are herbivores are being somewhat optimistic. In my experience, black bears are opportunistic gluttons and will eat almost anything.

Useful Bear Fact #2

When people say that bears are more scared of you than you are of them, they are making a potentially dangerous generalization. Bears that have come to view humans and their homes as food sources do not always agree to follow this rule. Also, these bears appear not to be completely deterred by the potential presence of dogs.

Useful Bear Fact #3

Those DIY chicken coops that look like little houses and come flat in large boxes are actually fancy bear buffet tables. They can be knocked over or just opened up like a cheap tin can by a half way determined bear.

Useful Bear Fact #4

When you come face-to-face with these realities at 3:00 in the morning while standing on your back porch in your pajamas and rubber boots with an air horn in one hand and bear spray in the other, and the dogs are trying to chew through the back door to get out while you are watching a giant VW-sized bear easily remove the nesting box of your cute DYI coop and chew on one of your girls as you yell “Go Bear!” authoritatively and blow your air horn as you have been instructed, you will realize that the bear is not scared.

He is just mildly annoyed at the interruption. When he looks cranky and starts swinging his head from side to side and moving your way (still chewing on your favorite girl), you forget that the wind is blowing in your face and you are standing right outside your back door and could just turn around and go inside.

You lose your mind. You raise your hand high and squeeze the trigger on your industrial-sized bear spray with all of your might while screeching “NOOOOO BEAR!!!!!!!” at the top of your lungs. If you are lucky, as you curl up in the fetal position on the back porch in your pajamas and rubber boots with snot streaming down your face and your eyes swelling shut (oh yeah, the wind…), the bear will get bored or embarrassed watching you snuffle and sob and will just waddle away, leaving a long trail of feathers into the woods.

Useful Bear Fact #5

You will realize exactly how lucky you were when, less than a week later, you find out that a far better prepared individual than you was forced to shoot the bear less than a mile away after it charged people coming out of a local restaurant at night. (Apparently, unbeknownst to you, this bear had already been identified and designated as an aggressive nuisance bear.) You will also realize that it is way past time to expedite the firearms acquisition and training portion of your long-term plan and you need to get your very lucky butt in gear ASAP. (There will be more details on starting that process in a future article.)

 

Useful Bear Fact #6

While I am sure that there are many effective options, I think I’ve found the best way to protect chickens from being bear supper and to keep you from losing your mind and accidentally macing yourself (or maybe being mauled by Attila the Bear). This is to build a coop as if you are stick building a house and then install multiple strands of well-grounded electric bear fencing all around it, including on the door.

Bits and Pieces

There is no need for anecdotes here. I’m sure it will be obvious what this section is about.

Ladder

When you are looking for a ladder, spend the extra money on fiberglass. The difference in weight is well worth the difference in money if you ever actually want to be able to use it or put it away afterwards without throwing out your back or losing control of it and breaking a window.

Leaning the Ladder

Don’t lean your ladder against the gutters; lean it against the house. And don’t lean too far out on the ladder. Get back down and move it over if you need to, no exceptions.

Hammering and Wasp’s Nests

If you are going to be using that ladder to repair the roof of a shed, make sure that there is not a giant wasp’s nest in the eaves before you start hammering. This applies to other structures as well.

Wheel Barrow

When you are looking for a wheel barrow and think that it would be smart to get the light weight plastic tub kind, don’t. It will crack and break almost immediately as soon as you actually use it for anything more than leaves. This is a case where the increased weight of metal is really worth it.

Wheel Barrow Tires

Regarding the above wheel barrow, spend the extra money for a solid tire. Just do it.

Soils

There is a difference between top soil and garden soil. Know the difference.

Level

When installing an 80-gallon rain barrel, just thinking it looks level is not good enough.

For storing dog food, cat food, chicken food et cetera, invest in galvanized steel trash cans with tight fitting lids. Because of mice and bugs, keep in the house or basement and not the somewhat derelict shed because of bears and raccoons.

Filling Dog Craters

If your dogs repeatedly dig craters in the ground and you don’t want to sprain an ankle in the dark, fill the craters with wood ash from your wood stove (cold). For some reason they won’t dig through it.

Vicious Nesting Canadian Geese

  • If you see Canadian Geese on your property and they look like they are even thinking about building a nest, chase them away immediately and aggressively (or eat them). Geese guarding a nest are vicious. They will fly at your head like a giant feathered kamikaze. Stay away. You will not win this one once they get the nest finished unless you kill them from far away. Try not to have to resort to that because orphan gosling guilt would be a bummer.

In Summary

I speak from experience when I say that the whole preparedness world can be a bit intimidating to newcomers. It can be hard to imagine that you could ever accumulate the skills or preps that are widely discussed in these blogs. It can seem like everyone else already has years and years of supplies, a fully stocked bug out location, a fleet of EMP-hardened, armored bug out vehicles, an arsenal with the skills to use it, and a complex community of like-minded folks with military, medical, dental, engineering, farming, animal husbandry, and blacksmithing skills just waiting to implement the meticulously detailed action plan when trouble strikes.

In the beginning, all you may have is a queasy feeling when you watch the news and a list you printed up off of some random website about what to put in a bug out bag. Getting from there to the level of preparedness folks are discussing can seem overwhelming and discouraging to say the least.

A Beginning of Real Prepping

While experienced preppers may well view this article as silly (yeah, it kind of is) and wonder what this has to do with real prepping, I would respectfully submit that this journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step and for those closer to the beginning of the journey and still in, or relatively recently out of, the city or suburbs who are long on enthusiasm but short on practical “country” and survival skills, those first steps are the only way to get started on the long, hard road to preparedness. Hopefully presenting some basic tips in the context of my own real life “Darwin Award” worthy learning curve will make it all feel just a little less overwhelming and encourage them in their journey. Hey, if I can do it, anyone can.

In closing, while some of this hopefully made you laugh, I do know that I was incredibly lucky that I did not do permanent damage to myself and that the only real victims of my foolishness were some money, my pride, a roof, a window, and a very sweet Silver Lace Wyandotte (poor Gertie!). That might not have been the case if I waited until SHTF time to try to figure some of these things out. I hope I have provided not just laughs but some actual useful basic information for the less experienced.

Underlying Lessons for All Readers

The underlying lessons (that I am still working on…) that I would encourage all readers, no matter how experienced, to be reminded of are:

  • Don’t be so stubborn that you cannot admit, even to yourself, when you have made a mistake.
  • There is no shame in admitting that you do not know everything and cannot do everything all by yourself.
  • If someone knows more than you about something and is kind enough to give you advice, listen.
  • When you know more about something than someone else, stand ready to provide advice.
  • If you need help with something, ask.
  • If you can help with something, offer.
  • Most of all, be safe and remember to laugh at yourself, now and in the difficult times ahead.

See Also:

SurvivalBlog Writing Contest

Today features another entry for Round 75 of the SurvivalBlog non-fiction writing contest. The nearly $11,000 worth of prizes for this round include:

First Prize:

  1. A $3000 gift certificate towards a Sol-Ark Solar Generator from Veteran owned Portable Solar LLC. The only EMP Hardened Solar Generator System available to the public.
  2. A Gunsite Academy Three Day Course Certificate. This can be used for any one, two, or three day course (a $1,095 value),
  3. A course certificate from onPoint Tactical for the prize winner’s choice of three-day civilian courses, excluding those restricted for military or government teams. Three day onPoint courses normally cost $795,
  4. DRD Tactical is providing a 5.56 NATO QD Billet upper. These have hammer forged, chrome-lined barrels and a hard case, to go with your own AR lower. It will allow any standard AR-type rifle to have a quick change barrel. This can be assembled in less than one minute without the use of any tools. It also provides a compact carry capability in a hard case or in 3-day pack (an $1,100 value),
  5. Two cases of Mountain House freeze-dried assorted entrees in #10 cans, courtesy of Ready Made Resources (a $350 value),
  6. A $250 gift certificate good for any product from Sunflower Ammo,
  7. Two cases of Meals, Ready to Eat (MREs), courtesy of CampingSurvival.com (a $180 value), and
  8. American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) is providing a $300 certificate good towards any of their DVD training courses.

Second Prize:

  1. A Model 175 Series Solar Generator provided by Quantum Harvest LLC (a $439 value),
  2. A Glock form factor SIRT laser training pistol and a SIRT AR-15/M4 Laser Training Bolt, courtesy of Next Level Training, which have a combined retail value of $589,
  3. A gift certificate for any two or three-day class from Max Velocity Tactical (a $600 value),
  4. A transferable certificate for a two-day Ultimate Bug Out Course from Florida Firearms Training (a $400 value),
  5. A Trekker IV™ Four-Person Emergency Kit from Emergency Essentials (a $250 value),
  6. A $200 gift certificate good towards any books published by PrepperPress.com,
  7. RepackBox is providing a $300 gift certificate to their site.

Third Prize:

  1. A Royal Berkey water filter, courtesy of Directive 21 (a $275 value),
  2. A large handmade clothes drying rack, a washboard, and a Homesteading for Beginners DVD, all courtesy of The Homestead Store, with a combined value of $206,
  3. Expanded sets of both washable feminine pads and liners, donated by Naturally Cozy (a $185 retail value),
  4. Two Super Survival Pack seed collections, a $150 value, courtesy of Seed for Security, LLC,
  5. Mayflower Trading is donating a $200 gift certificate for homesteading appliances, and
  6. Two 1,000-foot spools of full mil-spec U.S.-made 750 paracord (in-stock colors only) from www.TOUGHGRID.com (a $240 value).

Round 75 ends on March 31st, so get busy writing and e-mail us your entry. Remember that there is a 1,500-word minimum, and that articles on practical “how to” skills for survival have an advantage in the judging.




66 Comments

  1. Why, oh why, can bears not eat pesky bulb eating squirrels and not have a hankering for beloved hens?

    As commented in your first article, I’d live next door in a heartbeat. Tenenacity and humor are qualities worth their weight in gold (or salt).

    1. Sounds good. Maybe we could barter: perhaps in return for the amusement of witnessing my daily “Ms. Magoo” type forays into self sufficiency, you could be available to provide the inevitably necessary first aide and trauma care?

  2. Grey Woman, Must admit that was the most entertaining articles I have yet to read on SurvivalBlog . I also must say you have offered good advice and I am glad you survived to tell it!

    Best of luck going forward.

    1. Locals will spot you as an outsider if you say Canadian Geese. And keep in mind that these geese mate for life, and that bonding leaves them acting grief stricken and desolate if their mate is killed.

  3. Good articles, though. Serious but lighthearted view of the prepping newbies. Things change. I’m now a widow, what we did together as a team, I must now do alone. It’s all not gonna happen. After 30 years of prepping and preparing for the “collapse” I’ve learned whatever is going to be, will be, whether I can do it all or not. At this stage I can’t do it all, have the time to learn it all, or even want to do it all.

    I’m at the stage I want to live a little, breathe free a little and tired of being burden by worry of am I prepared for the future enough to survive it. No, I’m not. It’s okay. I have today and I want to enjoy living and serving and being. I wasted a lot of precious life trying to prepare for something that never happened in those 30 years and I’m at the point it takes very little now for me to survive. I can’t use up what I’ve got stored, and some of it is having to be thrown away. Taking care of just myself never occurred to me all those years ago when we started.

    Prepping is for you young folks that may have to face the actual collapse, if that day ever comes. I don’t think it’s gonna happen like we thought it was gonna happen. Just don’t forget to prepare for being alone.

    1. Thank you for your heartfelt words. From what I have observed, there are many preppers in their golden years….let’s all remember to enjoy each day and not dwell on doom. I, too, have been “getting ready” for decades. I’m still not ready! Is 90% prepped enough? With no children and no spouse, and much closer to the end of my life than the beginning, what becomes of all this useful stuff I have amassed when I am gone? It’s a topic that has been on my mind.

      1. Great comments Didi. I completely agree that we should not dwell on doom. But much better to be prepared and have unused stuff than to face the alternative scenario of disaster unprepared. Maybe your questions regarding unused stuff would be a great topic for a future survivalblog article. Thanks and be well.

        1. Thank you for the comments. I am planning on meeting with an estate planner in the next couple of months, and hoping to get some good ideas on how to handle it legally. Can’t bear the thought of cases of freeze dried food being thrown in a dumpster. And is there a legal way to pass down ammo? So many questions.

          1. Didi, could you blog that as an article. Not the details, protect your privacy! But in general terms. What does a good estate planner look like. All the best to you. Don

    2. Indeed, one should never prep to the point you miss out on life. If prepping doesn’t ENHANCE your life experience, you’re doing it wrong. That being said, “I can’t use up what I’ve stored” is a hell of a lot better position to be in than not having anything, and needing it. My philosophy; prep, then go about your day. You’ll NEVER have EVERYTHING you need if the SHTF. No use in dwelling on what you don’t have. I’m pragmatic about my prep as well; I may not survive whatever comes down the pike. I have a wife and kids though. If I don’t benefit from my forethought, they will. If not them, whoever God designates will get my goods.

      Prepping is a modification of my lifestyle; not its dominant influence. What harm is there, having a few months worth of food put up? Where’s the downside of keeping the Jeep’s tank at least half full at all times?… that kind of thing.

      If you’re still here, God has purpose for you. Enjoy your days… with eyes open…

      1. Great thinking Peter. My stockpile of numerous #10 cans of freeze dried food does indeed enhance my life experience. I have the peace and satisfaction of knowing I can get by for a few weeks and that is a stress relief. So much better to be prepared than not. If some stuff gets passed on to others after I’m gone, so be it. Considering the extended shelf life of #10 cans, it’s unlikely that this food would go to waste. God Bless, we are just passing through this place and all we can do is our best.

  4. Grey Woman, well done!
    The school of hard knocks teaches us all. One more tip for your readers; in the summer use caution when wearing short pants in the area wear ground bees have set up camp. Please do not ask.
    PJGT is right, you would be a great neighbor.

    1. Taking care of ground bees can be simple if you can spot the entrance to the hive. Wait until a few hours after dark. A headlamp makes this far easier than a flashlight. Boil a large pot of water and slowly pour all of it into the entrance. A few may stumble out but won’t make it far. You can assess the destruction in the morning. This has completely solved the problem for me every single time.

      1. A small amount if gasoline down the hole than seal with dirt works good.. Mark the hole with something in the daylight so you can find it in the dark.

      2. If you have raccoons in your area, just throw some table scraps around the ground bee / yellow jacket hole, and raccoons will come in the night to eat the scraps, then will dig up and also eat the ground bee nest!

  5. I sense a kindred swollen and itchy spirit! Ouch and thanks for the tip. I will also mention that the tip on leveling a rain barrel also apparently applies to stacking firewood to an even greater degree.

  6. Love this article!! I am in a rural area now and considering moving farther out in the boonies as it is building up more than I like with people both from South Fl and mostly from the North-East. So will definately keep these tips in mind.

    One thought for people moving to the “country” where ever it may be. Be a considerate neighbor and do NOT let your dogs run free OFF of your property, or at least do the best to let others know if they are gone. I have one with a wonderlust that is unbelieveable, and a fence does not keep her in when she is determined. So to run free she gets a Jolly Ball attached and she is off to stay on my property. Now I do enjoy her company but she does not like to hear the word COME. In fact that is when she will turn her tail and go the opposite direction. (I know about the various training methods to stop this, but as I said she is Very determined.) And she loves to play keep-away. The reason for the Jolly ball is that she (and her sister from another mother) will dig 6 inches for a hole to get out. Fortunately they have not figured out to dig another 6 inches and take the ball with them. By keeping your dogs controlled you do not have to apologize to neighbors when their livestock has been injured or killed, you won’t have to pay for said livestock or vet bills, and you won’t worry when the dogs do not come home due to being shot or hit on the roads. And one other neighbor is now watching their little Chi-mix more closely since it came through my fence one time too many and my dog caught it. It is not dead but it did get chewed on a bit and it happened on MY property so I am not responsible for vet fees.

    Just my two cents worth.

  7. We didn’t see a bear for years, then they suddenly moved in. One mama bear ripped the feed room door off its hinges & tried to haul one of the feed bins (an old small fridge) out the door. It was too big so she dumped it for her 3 babies to eat.

    After several years of dealing with the bears, they’ve taken off again – haven’t seen one for several years.

    Skunks were our main problem last summer – we killed 12. I really hope their relatives don’t come back this year. We lost several chickens to the skunks, including a pet hen. That made it personal.

  8. How prescient you should start out with chainsaws. I’ve been thinking about chainsaws lately. No, really

    Am longing to get a used RV in about a year and travel the country and then do so full time if I like it. And I want a wood stove for it. Yes, there is one made specifically for small spaces and that brings us to wood. I’ll eventually try my hand at boon docking, I know, and I initially thought it would be incredibly handy and useful. Another site suggested a small battery operated one and gave a well known brand name. I’ll not be limiting myself to the sunny side of the country so I could make my own heat and save money doing it. And besides, even if I didn’t run out of fuel, how marvelously empowering to know I could do so. Besides, who can possibly not like looking at a fireplace?

    Then you had to show up with the reality of the thing. And the comments were like a lifetime of experience on the subject. Sure, I knew it was dangerous, but how so and in what ways I never imagined. I’ll not be felling huge trees, of course, but maybe small limbs, and I don’t want to lose my limited number either.

    If I boon dock it’s likely I’ll be alone. One commenter suggested to never do this alone
    and now I really understand why. I’d still like a fireplace but I’ll spend far more time on the subject because you shared and others did also. Maybe I will decide this is not a good idea after all. Now I have information to work with and plenty of time to make a good decision.

    This is why I love this blog. You learn so much. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Ladywest,
      As you state, you will mostly be cutting limbs. A battery powered sawzall with the proper blade will work well for that purpose and be much safer. Also, it will store more easily in your limited space vehicle. Remember that you want to cut limbs from dead and DRY trees if you want a good fire.

        1. If you haven’t already done so, check out the YouTube van living videos by Bob Wells. He has lots of great info for living the mobile life. If you install a wood stove, let us know what you chose and how well it works. I am considering a wood stove for van traveling, but have not researched it, and would love to know what you do.

          1. Only researching now but will let you know when I eventually do it. Am already working my way a little at a time through YouTube on tips pros and cons about RVing. I am amazed how many people do it full time.

  9. Raccoons are also soooo cute but frightened my 8 year old son terribly trying to get the compost he was taking to the compost pile. He passed that chore on to his dad.

    A deer is not an adorable Bambi but a destructive critter. The loss of flowers is sad (so choose them carefully) but destroying fruit trees is what makes my husband really dislike the varmints.

    Bears break branches off of fruit trees if the orchard is not inside a really strong fence.

    The beautiful countryside can be like living in a hostile environment but I don’t want to live in the city again. It’s all a learning curve. Some parts are steeper than others but you never want to stop learning.

    Thanks for the memory reminder. My theory has always been: you can laugh or you can cry and you will probably laugh later so might as well do it now too. And I laughed again with you.

  10. Another thing for new preppers to remember is that in a rural area, everybody knows everybody, and everybody knows everything about everybody. Each local person is likely related to at least 20 other locals, as well. You wouldn’t believe the earful of information I got about my neighbors from my rural mail carrier the first week I moved out here.

    So it behooves you to remember, keep OPSEC always, keep your lip zipped about your plans, your preps, why you moved. Don’t just move in and start calling yourself a prepper. Homesteader, yes; prepper, no. Once you reveal pertinent information, you cannot call it back.

    I decided on giving out a true story which simply omits information that would expose me as a prepper, saying that I had retired and had always dreamed of living in a cabin in the woods. Period, the end. No mention of food storage, amounts of ammo, golden hordes, politics, nothing. Just how happy I am to be here breathing this fresh clean air and enjoying my retirement.

    With time you will start to meet other like minded but if you are a blabbermouth about your own prepping, they will not trust you with their own story.

  11. Grey Woman, loved your articles (:(: Just a little comment on the firewood and tinder…why does it seem so hard to get across to people that a match stick will not lite a 6″ to 8″ log? I’m helping my daughter and family get set up on their little homestead, they have a wood burning fireplace…. I have explained the concept of fuel/oxygen/heat but my son-in-law still tries to start what he calls kindling (2×4, 4×4 sized wood) with a little paper and a match!!! My six year old grandson has now taken over the job of starting the fire. He takes the time to make a small teepee of (real) kindling and with one match and no paper has a fire roaring in a few minutes. Oh, the teachability of the young!

    Hey Gray Woman, you don’t have a twin sister I can steel away to my homestead out in NE AZ, do you?

  12. I think the world should be greatful that there is only one of me! Can you imagine the chaos that would ensue with that kind of double trouble? Might be the rare case where 2 heads are not better than one…but thanks for the smile.

  13. Chicken coops should be made with strong wire.Chicken wire ain’t that.Top and bottom also. An electric fence(with a strong charger) Will help fight off the hordes of animals that find chicken tasty! I would consider this for your garden and greenhouse also.

  14. I would recommend snaring a man. A three strand cord is tough to break [as God states in his word]. I don’t recommend the advice about “girls prepping by themselves” in a single configuration. When the grid goes down, sadly women will be rapped and physically abused without her “crown” a husband. Think about young men today not allowed to marry until well into their 30s and 40s due to society and how it is setup – men are sexually starved as it is. Girls have power today, only because of law enforcement and attorneys. I recommend any Prepper woman [starting now] to be married and set the standard for future generations of girls. There will be no more “Girl Power” when the grid goes down and I’m sure there will be some upset men having to put up with all this genderfication for so many years.

    Nice article otherwise…. Funny!

    1. Goodness, Gran. Well, I had a husband but got tired of the abuse. I now love and value my freedom, and at my age am not interested in “snaring” anyone. I live in a low crime area surrounded by God fearing law abiding neighbors. I am well armed and trained. A nice county sheriff lives across the street. This is the life God has planned for me, and I am grateful and content with it.

      1. After prayer, I’ve decide to leave some thoughts. It’s not 4-billion men that are abusive. There is a good Godly man out there for you! Sorry you had to meet one bad one out of a sea of good men. Also, the Sheriff across the street would attest, domestic violence also has a component of domestic button pushing–which is the common thread in our media stories today! Lastly, my husband of 50 years would claim that he’s a better man because of me [a woman] in his life. The only way to make men better is to be involved in their lives as it’s difficult for men to live single and alone [for a lifetime].

        God bless, we will be praying for you and your hurts in the past- there’s no excuse for it.

  15. From bear country – Take the time to store your Bonemeal inside the house. Bears think it is very tasty. I discovered this the hard way when one morning I discovered a mauled 30 lb bag halfway down the lane from my high tunnel greenhouse. The claw marks determined the culprit. Luckily, I had accidentally left the doors open to the greenhouse that night, or I might have had to replace the plastic of my high tunnel greenhouse…

  16. Your self deprecating approach will take you a long way. Laugh at yourself first. If others beat you to it they may not be so kind. You are to be commended. You have made it obvious that you are good people. Thank you so much for sharing. Real life can be a hard teacher but you have chosen to acknowledge, adapt and overcome. Can’t tell you how many times after a screw up I quietly whisper to myself “dumb a*s”. Keep on keepin’ on and thanks again for an awesome article.

  17. As a thoroughly experienced landscaper, I’d suggest plastic wheelbarrows are much better than metal ones IF you buy quality. Those from big box retailers are often junk but those from suppliers in the industry will last almost forever. It always pays to shop wisely and avoid Chinese junk.
    As to solid wheels, they won’t go flat but are harder to use, especially in soft dirt or sand. A can of fix a flat will keep a normal tire inflated. One of the most useful things a property owner can have is an air compressor. Mine moves around in a plastic wheelbarrow with a non-solid tire.
    As to bears, coons or skunks, think 12ga with a good light on the barrel.

  18. What a great writer. Unlike some , she doesn’t push her faith on us, make wack a doodle predictions or subscribe to the theory she knows everything .

    Good read

  19. I love your can do attitude and humor. It can and is taking you so much farther than those who just think and dream. Most of us didn’t grow up with a prepared mindset and have had to learn as you’re doing. Your stories are delightful and full of good advice. Please keep on sharing your real life experiences.

  20. Grey Woman and Others: Thanks for your good comments! Respecting privacy and OPSEC, it is helpful to give us readers a very rough idea of your homestead locations to better visualize and relate to the terrain and climate you are dealing with. Some of us have bears and some of us have rattlesnakes, some have garden soil and some have rocks. Northern Rockies, eastern Utah, Mojave Desert, Everglades,etc. gives us readers a general clue on type of environment and resource options. For example, I’m a grumpy old man living alone in the lovely central Sierra foothills:) Thank you all and good luck!

  21. Grumpy, that is a good point. My travails occur in the mid Atlantic area. Surroundings are a mixture of heavily wooded and farm land. Pretty sure there are no rattle snakes but with my luck you never know…

  22. Dear Grey Woman,

    Oh my goodness, oh my goodness, you literally had me rolling on the floor laughing hysterically at your descriptions of the bear encounter. I’m still laughing and even have tears rolling down my cheeks. It takes a lot to get me laughing like that! You have just the right knack with your words describing your experiences. Anyways, thanks, I needed it. Sometimes we’re way too serious here. We have the “weight of the world” on our hearts. We’re so very concerned with the news of the events of our country and of the world.

    So thanks for the laugh, I’m looking forward to your future articles. Please be careful in all your prepping adventures and be blessed.

    Avalanche Lily, Rawles

  23. So glad you enjoyed it. Two of my favorite quotes are “Earth laughs in flowers” Ralph Waldo Emerson (perhaps this is how I justify the time and energy I spend on my flower gardens when there are more practical things I should probably be doing – they make me smile and remember that nature’s beauty can be it’s own purpose ) and an old Jewish proverb: As soap is to the body, so laughter is to the soul. Be well and laugh often.

  24. This article reminded me of many lessons that I learned the hard way . I may not have laughed then but have since learned to laugh soon after if not immediately and for the rest of our lives . A sense of humor regarding our daily troubles is a very valuable tool . We really enjoyed your article . Thank you and keep up the good work .

  25. “…keep (galvanized steel trash cans with tight fitting lids) in the house or basement and not the somewhat derelict shed because of bears and raccoons…”

    I once purchased a 50 lb bag of wild bird food, and put it into the shed. Sure as God made green apples, a rat found the stash, and started helping himself to it; a really LARGE rat. So… I moved it into the house, putting it into a cabinet in the kitchen. A couple of days later, my wife heard several things hit the floor in the kitchen. Upon entering the kitchen, she saw the boxes of cereal we stored on top of the refrigerator on the floor, and the tail of a rat disappearing behind the fridge. The next day, I went for the wild bird food, and found the rat had once again found it. The rat had entered the house through the drier vent, chewed through the exhaust hose, and helped itself to not only the wild bird food, but everything else it had found.

    Moral of the story; don’t store “feed” anywhere you don’t want bears, raccoons, rats, …

  26. Might have to be a block party bbq. In this case I think you could say “It takes a village to eat a bear”. He was truly huge. In case it was not clear, the photo was not stock. That was a picture of the actual former bear (check out the size of the bears head vs. the size of the shooters hand). …I think I need a bigger basting brush!

  27. Thank you for such an entertaining AND informative piece. Just recently, while looking at mountain locations, I rolled my eyes at the admonition by several different agents concerning not putting out bird feeders OR the need to bring them in at night. My spouse got a smile as well and said “We’ll put them up very high.” I gave him a glance as I’ve heard that not only do bears ………… in the woods but that they also climb trees….

    Now my spouse is a primitive camper so we’re not talking the usual city-bred boy (though he is but he is also an old time boy scout and an avid off-the-grid hiker and explorer). And he’s encountered bears, panthers and wild pigs (and if you believe him, a big foot or two). So I halfway believe his solution to bears and bird feeders. However………..

    Thanks to you, I’m a believer………for all things bears and beyond. I’m saving your piece, both for amusement and sage advice. My eyes and my mind have definitely been opened.

  28. Glad to have given you a giggle. If you want to keep you bird feeders safe, refer to the picture in the article – that is one of my “crazy person birdfeeders”. It’s been a few years now and they are still bear proof. The PVC and concrete were the key for me. If the PVC is on all four sides, they can’t climb it and if you mount it deep enough in enough concrete, they can’t push it over (a grizzly might be able to, but thankfully that’s not an issue where I am). I use paracord for the pulley cords and it is tied off right down at ground level under the bottoms of the PVC – they haven’t figured that out yet…One caution: don’t lose hold of the paracord when you are lowering them to fill or the birdfeeders will fall down on your head – I’ve had the lumps to prove it and the suet holders have sharp corners…

Comments are closed.