Country Living Series

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Friday roundup

So what's today -- Wednesday? Oh well, I've decided it's time for a "Friday" Roundup which, as you recall, is posted so we can all check in on what steps we've taken, big or small, to inch us incrementally toward greater preparedness (regardless of what day it's posted).

Now that spring is here, we're getting more active. Here's what we've been doing for the last couple of weeks:

• On March 1, I was a guest with the "Advanced Prepping Intensive" webinar run by Preppers University on the subject of -- what else -- homesteading and rural living. Really neat course if anyone's interested in signing up for future classes.


• I organized our medical supplies. This is necessary not only to keep things in easy-to-find order, but it also allows us to determine anything we're short on.


• A neighbor and I attended a day-long gardening seminar with multiple workshops. Of the various subjects offered, the one thing we both wanted to learn something more about was permaculture. The hour-long class we attended on this subject was, of necessity, little more than an intro, but we may be attending a 12-hour version coming up later in the spring. If permaculture lives up to its hype, it might be a decent solution to the problems of growing gardens in a dry climate with minimal water.


• We peeked in at the bees -- and they're still alive (yes!). We'll be making a new little "bee lot" to put the hive (we're also getting in two more nucs in a few weeks) near the house so we can keep an eye on them. We'll also be putting out wasp traps to catch yellow jacket queens in an effort to avoid the disastrous attack that killed one of our hives last summer.


We're also going to get some pollen patties to feed to the bees when the weather is warmer and they can start foraging. Pollen patties stimulate brood, so we don't want to feed it to them too early in the season.

• I backed up my computer and my blog. I urge everyone to do this!!!


• I planted two tiny sweet cherry bushes (they look like tall twigs at this stage). These are probably the last fruits we'll plant in the garden. Right now we have a wide variety of wonderful fruits (some of which haven't yielded produce yet): peaches, pears, apples, plums, grapes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, sour cherries, and now sweet cherries. The nice thing about planting fruit is they're perennial and low-maintenance.


• We cut, split, and stacked a bunch o' firewood. Before:


After (hard to see, but there are three layers of wood):


• We augered holes, inserted railroad ties, and made the first of what will be several "airlock" gates to keep cows out of the driveway or otherwise go where we want (or don't want) them to go. As we get older and the girls are not available for cattle roundups, we need to find ways to guide and direct the beasties. Via this gate, the cows can go directly from the wooded side of the property to the field side without having to be directed through the driveway.



• We made an appointment with the regional mobile butchers for early April to dispatch six or seven more cows (and steers). Yes, you read that right. We're halving the size of our herd and shifting the focus of our farm a bit to make things more efficient. Cattle are wonderful prepper livestock to have, but we don't need that many at the moment and we can ramp things up with very little effort (and the help of a willing bull) at any time.

• I cleaned chicken coop. Heavens how it needed it.


That's about it for us. What has everyone else been doing?

23 comments:

  1. Hi Patrice! Curious what you do with so much beef when you downsize your heard. That would fill a lot of freezers! Do you sell it locally?

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    Replies
    1. Some we'll sell, some we'll keep, some we'll trade, and some we'll donate (church food pantry).

      - Patrice

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  2. With regards computer backups there are many ways to do things. Having lost many hard drives and computers down through the years I no longer trust any backup scheme that requires me to remember to do anything myself. At the moment I am using CrashPlan which backs up my computers to their storage space in the "cloud". It keeps copies of all older files that may have been deleted or changed which is critical. I could also have CrashPlan make additional backups to computers I own. CrashPlan works slowly and may take hours to days to back up changes to your computer.

    In addition to CrashPlan I store all my important files in DropBox. While this does not backup the entire computer it works within seconds to copy everything in the DropBox to the "cloud". By default it only keeps copies of older changed or deleted files for 30 days, but for an additional fee it will keep the older copies forever. DropBox will also near instantly copy the files in the DropBox (or selected portions of them) to other computers I own. I have it keep a full copy of the entire DropBox on computers I own in two different states.

    Between these two different services and by keeping a dedicated "storage" computer in two different states, I am about as certain as I can be that my files will not be lost in any emergency situation. Best of all I do not have to remember to make backups on a regular basis. The programs take care of that for me.

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    Replies
    1. Both of these services use Amazon Web Services for their storage services. While Amazon is truly great, if you're thinking that two is one and one is none, I'd keep Crashplan and not use Dropbox but something like Box.com or Google Drive.

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    2. You and Chris are smart about having backups to backups. But all of your eggs are in one basket (internet). The LAST place in the world I'd want my files is in cyberspace. Once uploaded they will exist forever. Not even you can permanently delete them. Nor can you control who has access to them. And you can lose access to your files, perhaps forever. Many governments including FedGov have the ability to take down the internet. Do you trust governments?

      Not to be smug or preachy, but you stated, “I no longer trust any backup scheme that requires me to remember to do anything myself”. That mindset is totally opposite to one of self-sufficiency and survival.

      Montana Guy

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  3. I'm weak in the area of medical preps. I have the usual first aid stuff. I would even say I have advanced first aid supplies. However, I know I'm weak in more substantial medical supplies. Can you help? Where can I get antibiotics? (I have some fish mox. One member of my family is allergic to penicillin, and another is allergic to sulfa drugs.) Do you have IV fluids? Where can I get that? What kind(s) of medical instruments do you have?

    I have members who can use these things, but I need to get the supplies. I don't discuss it with them since they don't see the urgency to prep as I do.

    Any advice and information is appreciated. Thanks.

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  4. Looks like you put your wood right against the siding of your house. How do you keep carpenter ants or termites controlled or how about the woodpile damaging the siding?

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    Replies
    1. We go through the wood fast enough that moisture or insects don't build up.

      - Patrice

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  5. Planted sorghum and learned how to make sorghum molasses in the kitchen. Also learned how to make Kombatcha. (fizzy fermented tea) Learning is one thing,,,,doing is next. Cleared a small room out to make ready for my medical supply store.I do have a ton of stuff for this! Made a shade for my back porch, to shade the morning sun and for privacy. Next is front porch. The shade will keep house from heating up so much in summer. Made a fertilizer 'tea' to feed all my new trees, vines and veggies. (( I have my first lil cauliflower!! My joy runneth over!! )) Put a heavy duty lock on the INSIDE of my tool shed. I can get into the shed from my house believe it or not. Put up permanent clothesline in my laundry room and ordered stuff for outdoor line. Went to a church sponsored Skeet-Shoot. All I can think of, off hand!

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  6. You could try hanging up some of those fake wasp nests around your hives. We have a watermelon festival in our town in the summer, and there are huge piles of watermelon slices on tables under shelters, and other shelters full of people eating watermelon, and nary a wasp b/c of those fake nests! :)

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  7. I'm curious about your yellow jacket traps. How do they keep the honey bees out? Or are the bees just not attracted to them like yellow jackets are? I'm hoping to plant a small area just for pollinators this year. I am deathly allergic to yellow jackets, but not honey bees. Thanks.

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    1. The scent which baits the yellow jacket traps holds no appeal whatever to bees, so they don't go anywhere near it. We're hoping to trap YJ queens before they start breeding.

      - Patrice

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    2. I once read that if you hang a small piece of meat and have a bucket under it with soapy water, that YJ/wasps will gorge themselves on it and drop and drown in the soapy water. I have not tried this and I do not know if a honey bee will be attracted to it.

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  8. So jealous that you have a mobile processor. So jealous. I had to book an appointment for 2 steers. I called in Feb and the earliest opening was June 20th! Plus we have to load and haul. You are lucky!

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  9. Thank you for adding Common Cents to your blogroll! We linked to you as well...
    http://www.commoncts.blogspot.com

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  10. I made a comment a couple of days ago, and it still hasn't posted. Is there a problem with the site or with my comment/questions I asked?

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    Replies
    1. Actually, Don is working on a lengthy response and it will be a separate blog post since your question was so relevant. Thanks for being patient!

      - Patrice

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  11. My wife fusses about the quantity of first aid supplies I keep in the house and cars, plus the ones at work. I see we have nothing on you.

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  12. Something wrong with memory sticks?

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  13. Ugh. I cleaned out all the winter layers of straw and hay in the coop, too. Chickens gorged themselves on "pinkies" and any older mice I could nail. Next, cleaning out the heifer lean-to in time for calving. Our first time at calving. So exciting.

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  14. Got the materials to build a 2 line clothes line across my back patio. My son in law is going to install it for me using, (sry brain glitch), those rock climbing clamps so that, if it becomes necessary, anyone needing to work on my furnace or house can drop the lines and anyone taller than my petite height of 5' can walk back there without being "clotheslined", LOL.

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