Several years ago, I used to be a regular contributor on SurvivalBlog. Then in 2011, I bought my dream property and began prepping in earnest.
It is completely off grid with spring-fed water, solar panels and propane generator for power, wood stove for heat, composting toilets, and satellite for Internet and phone. In that time I found that it was the small things that were the biggest problems.
During tick season, I’d have five ticks on me just from a moment in the garden. One bite got infected. My whole arm swelled up. If it were not for antibiotics, who knows what would have happened. Now, I wear white tickproof clothing into the garden during tick season and have plenty of tick tweezers handy.
After a week away, I came back to holes in all my structures (domes). Was it meteorite strikes? No. It was woodpeckers. I learned to mix grape flavor with white paint (because birds hate it) to cover my domes again after patching the holes. I also now keep a semi auto Benelli 20-gauge by the door. The camo paint made the birds think the domes were just big trees, I guess.
Mice in Diesel Generator
Another day I was trying to figure out why my custom diesel Lister generator, for which I paid over $20K, wasn’t working. It was EMP proof and could run on nearly any combustible fuel. What I discovered was that mice got into the generator head and made a nest.
After replacing the wiring, I welded a grid over the place they got into. The generator works fine now and is for sale if anyone is interested.
Redo My Spring
Then I paid a dowser to redo my spring. It was a tough decision. I’d heard, “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” But, could it be improved? After walking by the spring, the friendly old man assured me that he could at least double my water supply. Several days later after much excavating, he told me that, “Well, there’s more water you’re not getting, but who knows how deep it is.” That means he is never wrong, since if we don’t strike water then it’s just deeper, right? Should I have left it alone?
A few weeks later, I checked a water tank and it smelled off. I look inside and find 10 or more frogs just swimming around and no doubt urinating and defacating into my water supply. How did they get there? In the six years I’ve had the tanks, they never been there before. Then again, I did open up a working spring, With a pool net in hand, I finally got the last ones out, dumped in a bunch of Chlorox, and sealed up the air holes in the top of the water hatch with silicon. (You can never have enough of this stuff.) I wanted to be sure, just in case that is how they got in. Frogs aren’t so cute anymore.
This summer, the ants weren’t so bad. They didn’t march across our kitchen floor or up into our bed. I guess the multiple poisons I put out for them last year are still working.
What’s still on the list? I already have an industrial air filter. (There is lots of smoke out here.) Yet, I will need to clear the ladder fuels (low branches and brush) from around the buildings so a grass fire can’t ignite the trees.
I’m redoing the drip irrigation with hard PVC all around. This way there won’t be any thin, black, poly “spaghetti” irrigation lines popping out at random intervals
I’m adding another water meter just about the garden with a remote meter so all I have to do is look every morning at the water use from the night before to see if I have a leak.
I’m sure I’m not done learning yet, after all I was a city boy to start. However, the point is that you just don’t know what you don’t know until you actually start doing it.
There’s a saying that you don’t know how to farm your land for at least five years or so. I understand that now. Some of the crops I was assured would grow at my location didn’t thrive. Others I was told wouldn’t do well were very successful. The same is true with a survival property. You have to put in the time to find out where your weak spots are.