April 29, 2014 at 10:42 am #11632
Have been canning a bunch of stuff the last two days so the subject came to mind and thought I would share my thoughts in case it might help someone.
The subject of feeding yourself and family when SHTF overwhelms many people. What to store, how much, what to grow, how to grow it etc. Gosh only knows how many millions have been spent by ‘preppers’ on storage food. Here is my suggestion to make the entire issue of feeding yourself easier to approach.
Simplify your diet.
Look, really look at what you and your family eat now. If you are inclined, take that and see what that translates to actual nutrition wise. Like everyone, you probably eat the same sorts of things/dishes over and over. (leaving out dining out/impulse cravings). What does it take to make those things? If the ingredients aren’t simple and/or easy to come buy or grow – consider making some changes now to a simpler diet.Familiarity in food is a huge comfort when things around you are topsy turvy.
I examined what i actually eat on a regular basis. Then I ‘watched’ what I tended to add to my diet as a ‘treat’ – what I reached for. Then I considered the actual ingredients it takes to make those things with a view to SHTF. A couple of things I just stopped eating now so I wouldn’t miss them when SHTF and added things that I like but had not been regularly including because …well because I, like many, was just previously following habit.
With that worked out, I developed both my first basic level of food storage, as well as my gardening plans.
Here is what I ended up with as basics to my diet:(not including seasonings)
- potatoes (lots) – I plant potatoes everywhere all over my property, grow them inside in winter, have storage of different forms
- salad/greens – i grow lettuce in different forms all year round, indoors and out and add foraged dandelion and chickweed in season
- cheese – have storage cheese (canned/dried) and have miniature nubians and make my own cheesea ll the time
- bread (flour and etc required to make) – have flour/wheat to grind, salt, baking soda/powder etc, keep yeast starter going and grow small plots of wheat every year, also oats and hand thresh/harvest
- rice – am growing an upland rice as a trial this year which should be fun plus have storage
- carrots – grow all year round and have storage
- onions – grow and store my own
- garlic – grow and store my own
- pasta (flour and etc required to make) – see bread – with a pasta machine I make my own and store
- chicken – I raise them myself and also can a bunch
- beef – I raise them myself and trade a portion of a cow for the butchering/processing and can a bunch
- bacon – I have shares in a hog and can my own bacon
- corn (on occasion) – I grow it because I love the plant itself and can a lot. Plus I grow field corn for livestock feed
- butter – make from my goats milk
- mayonnaise/eggs – see chickens!
- apples – have a small dwarf fruit orchard
- peanut butter/almond butter – have producing nut trees and grow peanuts in a special bed
If I have most of that, now, I am quite happy. Would other things be nice to have? Of course. But could I eat and thrive on these things. Absolutely. So, can you see how this simplifies what I store and what I grow? Yes, I grow other things but I more or less plant them and let them be saving my time and energy for the core of my diet). If they produce well it’s a bonus – if not – I still eat well.
A ramble I know – but nonetheless I wanted to plant this idea of a way to think about your food/storage/growingApril 29, 2014 at 11:44 am #11649
Sounds like your doing a great job. I sure hope you have helping hands. I’m thinking about what happens in a EMP, lack of fuel kind of thing for someone that has your set up. (I know you have thought it through)
Just curious what you have for a tractor, making a guess how big your garden is, plus mowing and such. The requirements can be covered easily with modern machinery. What is now a small tractor can do an amazing amount of work. You can use a single or double bottom plow, cultivator, sprayer in the orchard, 3 point hitch mower, post hole digger, front end loader/ fork lift, PTO driven blowers, hydraulics for a wood splitter. plus other equipment I didn’t list. (not saying you have all this stuff)
Of course what I’m wondering is what is the conversion factor for a tractor to horses. I’m thinking a team of draft animals is needed to replace even a small tractor just for the plowing and mowing (with a youth to run the team).
As a side note: If the rice variety you planted fails for some reason, you might be able to grow the type of wild rice that grows on the lakes and rivers in Minnesota. Of course it could be that is what you planted.April 29, 2014 at 1:32 pm #11662
tweva, You are going to do fine, you have the food problem covered. Many do not including me. In the city I have limits to how much I can grow. I will grow a lot but only enough to add to the stored food that I have. I will need the stored food too! Can’t grow enough food for four all the time but can do a lot.April 29, 2014 at 1:41 pm #11667
Hi 1974 – no I really don’t have lots of helping hands at the moment on any sort of regular basis – but do use help from some strong young men that will be part of our group when needed. So, ok1 974 you asked, so here’s the basics of what I do. Sorry will make as short as I can.
Now don’t faint,please! I don’t own a tractor. I ditched it because 1) I am not interested in mechanical stuff – I have zero patience (and that after almost 60 years of trying to develop some) and 2) it makes me too dependent on others to fix it and of course SHTF considerations. Why get used to it/keep using it? I love to solve/experiment fixing problems/issues/alternative solutions.
My orchard is all dwarf trees and aren’t any taller than I am so I maintain them easily by hand and use a simple pump sprayer for organic oil spray when needed and net them due to pests, mostly the damn stink bugs. The nut trees just do their own thing on a different part of the property. I have a pet baby doll sheep I graze there to keep the grass around the trees in check. I turn the chickens out there as well from time to time to eat bugs and stuff. I have espaliered apples in particular around the perimeter of my enclosed main food garden.
My Main Food Garden is entirely enclosed/fenced with solar wires at top. I use raised beds with t-poles at the ends that allow me to water with soaker/drip hoses when needed by attaching 5 gallon buckets to a hook on each side from which a piece of 6′ garden hose is attached to a fitting I drilled and installed at the bottom sides, the soaker gets attached to that. Rain barrels can be used to fill them but I usually use a hose from a pump that runs from the well. My beds are 4′ x 25′ and there are 12 of them, plus one larger 24x 24 bed I grow oats, barley or wheat in to gradually build and replace my stores. Around the perimeter with the espaliered apple trees (not in raised beds around perimeter) I also grow various sunflowers, principally the oil seed variety. I keep rabbits in a big pen in the corner (it’s a little bit of a ‘cute’ building for looks ’cause I like that, being orderly and all and visually inclined) that I use at the moment solely for manure purposes. Don’t need to wait to add it like the chicken manure/bedding I let self-compost outside their shed/enclosure. I built a washing/prep station in another corner from salvaged wood pallets with a sink I run with an elevated rain barrel. I mulch everything with straw that I shred up and wood chips I rake up from firewood cutting. In winter 1/2 the beds are covered with pre-cut pieces of wood so don’t have to weed them in the spring in order to plant. The other 1/2 have frames I place over them (2 sections for each bed) that I made that have double-walled sheeting on them that allows me to walk in carefully and stay standing and work/harvest the beds and extend my season. I have a hobby greenhouse that came with the place but they put it on a concrete slab and ran propane to heat it – and well propane is expensive and growing in pots is not so productive so I only use it for starting seeds for spring/overwintering stuff. I intend to build a walipini this summer God willing. then I will sell the thing.
My fields consist (a former horse farm) off four fenced turnouts about 1/2 to 1 acres each and one large field beside and around the spring fed pond (which is fenced). There are about an acre or more of woods at the back and one side with a stream. Entire property is about 12 or so acres. One turnout has a small run-in I converted to a chicken house and large chicken runs (which I grow grape vines over to protect them from hawks and such) on one end with an automatic solar powered chicken door ( I rotate them to let grass grow back etc the whole chicken tractor thing was a nuisance/more work seemed to me) – the other is for tools. The rest of this turnout/field is the nubian goats kingdom (and their guardian miniature donkey) although I pen them up in their shelter at night due to coyotes. (My pet sheep follows me around the farm and either hangs with the goats during the day otherwise, but she lives at night in the barn in a stall).
The other three turnouts and the fields I use for my two horses year round almost – one , the biggest, next to the pond is where I grow wheat or alfalfa during the summer. One draft cross, one quarter horse I ride. In bad weather they are in the barn. In winter they are fed small round bales at present but last year I practiced cutting hay from a neighbors field with a scythe (art to that) and making a few hay ricks. In spring I bring in young cattle and first rotate them through the 3 paddocks then out into the big field. I use movable solar powered electric tape fence to section it off and rotate them through portions of the field at a time to keep the grass growing and available for them. In the early fall I stop rotating them and start feeding some grain (which I buy at present) to pick up their weight and let them graze down the big field. (They are watered by a solar pump that pulls from the pond) While hay is cheap I then confine the horses to two of the turnouts and feed hay when needed until after the cattle leave mid/late-ish fall and I have harvested the wheat or alfalfa. It’s a bit of a dance I worked out.
When I plant wheat or alfalfa in the one turnout I run a cultipacker over it then heavily seed it – that’s about it. I do currently use a friends sickle bar to cut it but I could do it with my scythe if I felt like it/had time or when I get the draft horse and old sickle bar I found on the place working.
The fields and turnouts are over-seeded in late fall with tillage radish. It fixes nitrogen in the soil, helps un-compact it as it has hugely deep roots, takes a couple of hard frosts to die, horses love it, and then rots in the spring.
Equipment I use a Polaris Electric ATV and a few attachments around the place if needed. (Got a great deal from guy retiring/moving) I can recharge it from my solar generator if nedeed. Mostly I use it for the seeder, cultipacker, gang reel mower and a small trailer to haul stuff. Any ‘lawn’ is mowed with the Polaris/gang reel or a solar powered push mower.
I use a scythe instead of a weedeater around the pond and the fence lines every once in a while. Some fence lines I use vinegar on to kill the grass so I don’t have to do that in certain stretches for ‘looks’
Barn lighting/equipment shed/chicken shed and watering is solar powered.
Use a small electric chain saw for cutting up small stuff. We have a wood cutting party on a different friends place, and we rotate, every year and we all pitch in. I want to have one of the wood splitters I previously posted about made this summer to use to split it meantime.
That’s the basics 1974! of what I am doingApril 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm #11669
1974 – PS the rice I’m going to trial is called Koshihikari – a friend has been having luck with it.n o flooding neededApril 29, 2014 at 1:58 pm #11677
Your narrative should be a sticky for other peppers and back to the earth types to follow. GBYApril 30, 2014 at 12:23 am #11777
Thanks 1974 – I know not everyone has the option to have a BOL such as mine, …but knowing these things (skills/ideas) would make them very valuable, potential members of groups outside urban areas.
I have fought long and hard for my place and ‘given up’ much as the world we choose to see, ‘sees’.. and I would not have it any other way, following the little, small voice within me that has encouraged and directed me so.April 30, 2014 at 12:46 am #11782
Freedom…I think perhaps .you are limiting yourself ..thinking there are limits to what you can grow in your available space.April 30, 2014 at 1:45 am #11792
tweva, I am working on it. I am building spaces for more planting, I am first working on the area for more fruit trees, then am working on the garden area too. I am growing about 35 pineapples all have the pineapples, working on getting 15 banana trees. The tomatoes are growing right now and I have squash growing too.May 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm #12326
tweva have you ever waxed cheese for storage? Sorry for the odd ball question, I noticed to have cheese in storage and waxing is something we’ve talked about but never gotten around too….
(Great OP btw)
If at first you don't succeed, excessive force is usually the answer.May 4, 2014 at 7:54 pm #12345
tweva, looks like a good food plan. We also do a lot of canning (salmon, tuna, elk, fruits & sauces, etc.) and it’s a must have skill for preppers. Like you we own shares in farm animals that we don’t have–good idea. Thinking through food plan will go a long way towards self-sufficiency. Add in water supply and there you go. Some preppers spend far too much time on the next fancy weapon upgrade and not enough on what you’re doing. Kudos! The health benefits are big plus too!May 4, 2014 at 8:04 pm #12346
Thanks for sharing Tweva.
At BOL we also grow potato,wheat, corn, carrot, beans and similar stuff. Also cows and chickens are there. From the fruit there s mostly plums and apples ( plum alcohol is favorite here, drier too).
While working on land is not my primary objective inside the group, I am doing my best.
For hunting there s mostly deers and boar.May 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm #13397
My wife has gotten big into juiching (begetables and fruit) to get extra vitamins and nutients in.
Now, juicing might not be doable in a shtf situation, but we also started growing out own wheatgrass, which gives you lots of vitamins and nutrients. Its easy to grow indoors and you dont need a lot of it everyday (about 20 ml per person each day). Instead of juicing you can.just chew on the grass and spit the pulp out.
Would that be helpful when food might be scarce?
Besides growing wheatgrass, the seeds can be made into flour for bread, pancakes, etc.May 11, 2014 at 4:06 pm #13399
Dutchie,If you can grow it, that is great for SHTF. Also if you can grow it inside that is even better.May 11, 2014 at 4:23 pm #13402
Cool, any exta nutrients would help i thought. We grow for a family of 6 (7 in 2 months) and it takes up 3 or 4 shelves. A 25kg (about 55 lbs?) lasts us over 3 months and cost us €40 (about $55/60?)
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