Top 10 Benefits To Raising Meat Rabbits

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series Raising Meat Rabbits

When many people think of raising rabbits, the image of a cute and cuddly pet comes to mind.  If that’s your only frame of reference for raising rabbits than beware as this article discusses a far more important reason for raising rabbits…raising rabbits for meat production.  Raising rabbits is an inexpensive and potentially stealthy way to help your family become more food secure and self sufficient. Throughout mankind’s history, and in many cultures, domesticated rabbits have been valuable source of food.  The following is a list of the Top 10 Benefits To Raising Meat Rabbits:

Production Benefits of Raising Meat Rabbits:

1.  Rabbits are one of the most productive and economical livestock available.  One rabbit can produce 6 lbs of meat on the same amount of feed and water that a cow produces only 1 lbs of meat.  Think about that for a minute…600% more efficient than beef!  The only livestock animal that can out produce the rabbit in terms of turning feed into meat is the chicken due to egg production.

2.  Rabbit are prolific breeders.  Because rabbits are prey animals; an animal that provides food for the higher level predators, they are biologically hard wired to be prolific breeders.  Let’s face it, a rabbit’s primary functions in nature are to make babies and get eaten.  Female rabbits are fertile 365 days a year unless environmental stress causes them to temporarily become infertile.  Their gestation period is about 28 days, and a female rabbit can become impregnated again within 24 hours of giving birth.

3.  Rabbits mature quickly.  Again, genetically rabbits are hard wired to grow quickly.  Baby rabbits, known as kits, wean at about 4 weeks. It only takes about 8 weeks for a rabbit to reach butchering weight.  All this means that under an intensive and highly managed breeding program, a buck (the male rabbit) and 2 does (the female rabbit) can produce enough kits to give you almost 300lbs of meat a year.

4.  Rabbits take up a relatively small footprint.  Depending on the size of the breed, adult rabbits only need from 1.5 to 5 sq ft of space, each. Typical meat breeds need from 3-4 sq ft to be productive.  Because of this small foot print, many rabbits can be raised in a given space that larger livestock, like say cows, pigs, or goats.

5.  Rabbits can be raised where other livestock can’t.  Even though there is a nationwide movement in the US, there are many places where raising livestock is prohibited, or highly regulated.  Because of the small foot print and zoning laws in many municipalities, rabbits can be raised where other livestock can’t.  Often rabbits are allowed even in places that ban chickens.  Except if caught by a predator a rabbit is nearly silent…no noises to bother the neighbors into calling the authorities.  If I was unlucky enough to live in a town that didn’t allow me to raise meat rabbits, I might just have to have a few rabbits as ‘pets’ and because they are also relatively clean, so they don’t generally raise any red flags with neighbors or city officials.

6.  Compost.  Rabbit create a prolific amount of poop.  This by product is excellent for composting as it is high in nitrates.  Composted properly you are left with high quality amendment that can be used in your garden, or sold to others.

Production Bonus Benefit:  Raising Rabbits With Children.  Home rabbit production provides an additional benefit to those with young children.  By including your children in the rabbit production process your kids should come away with a greater appreciation of what it takes to put meat on the table and the fact that meat doesn’t really come from a Styrofoam package. 

Heath Benefits of Raising Meat Rabbits:

7.  Rabbit meat is high in protein.  In fact, out of all the readily available protein sources (store bought and farm raised), rabbit meat has the highest percentage of protein.  A 3oz serving of rabbit contains about 24.7 grams of protein.  The proteins in rabbit meat are also easily digestible.

8.  Rabbit Meat is very lean. Rabbits do have fat, but unlike beef and other livestock, the fat is not distributed throughout the muscle but is primarily deposited around it’s internal organs.  In fact, a 3oz serving of rabbit meat contains about 6.8 grams of fat which is about 1/3 of the fat that you’d find in a comparable serving of beef.  Because of this, there is actually a risk of starvation if you eat nothing but rabbit meat but as part of a well rounded diet it’s a very lean, healthy protein.

Rabbit meat is low in calories: Because it is so low in fat, rabbit meat is an excellent meat to eat in order to maintain proper weight. At 167 calories per 3oz serving, it comes in below both beef and pork as a healthy food. During normal times eating rabbit meat, along with vegetables and fruit, you can maintain a proper diet. In a survival situation, though, you will want to have other high calorie foods available to supplement the rabbit meat.

9.  Rabbit meat is low in cholesterol. If you suffer from elevated cholesterol, rabbit meat is a good alternative to other protein sources.  3oz of rabbit meat contains about 70mg of cholesterol.  The American Heart Association recommend no more than 300mg a day, and no more that 200 if you already suffer from heart disease.

Culinary Benefits of Raising Meat Rabbits:

10.  Rabbit meat has a very mild flavor.  Unlike beef, rabbit meat does not have a strong flavor.  This means that it makes a very good canvas for other flavors in the dish, much the same way chicken does. This makes rabbit meat a very versatile food to cook with.

Culinary Bonus Benefit:  Rabbits have a high meat to bone ratio.  Meat rabbit breeds have been developed to yield a high meat to bone ratio.  This means that there is more edible meat on the carcass of a butchered meat than can even be achieved with chickens.  A live 5lbs rabbit will dress out at about 3lbs.

Raising Meat Rabbits: Conclusion

Rabbit Cacciatore

Rabbit Cacciatore

I have been raising rabbits for meat production for about 5 years.  I have learned a lot along the way.  There is something fulfilling about knowing exactly where my food has come from and what is in it.  I’ve also gotten a lot of enjoyment out of the process.  I enjoy going out and spending time with my rabbits.  My family makes fun on me, because I talk to them and interact with them but just because a creature is livestock doesn’t mean that it should be treated as, well…livestock.

While rabbit isn’t on the daily menu for most of us here in the U.S., rabbit recipes abound especially in the culinary traditions of Northern Italy and France.  If you can’t find a rabbit specific recipe that sounds good to you, do not fret.  Because of it’s versatility, you can substitute rabbit in many recipes that call for chicken.  Low (temp) and slow (time) are the watch words when cooking rabbit.

I’ve gained a lot of perspective while raising rabbits both on my family’s nutritional needs and the mechanisms we use to fulfill those needs.  When raising my rabbits, I endevour to provide them with a healthy and happy existence before they are butchered, dispatch the animal humanely and utilize as much of the rabbit as possible.  The rabbits we consume are making the ultimate sacrifice for me and my family, and it is the least I can do for them.  If you are looking for an alternative source of meat, during the good times, as well as the bad, raising rabbits is something you should seriously consider.

Econo Prepping: Make A Simple Dehydrator

In the Prepography post entitled “Top 10 Food Dehydrating Tips“, I detailed the benefits of dehydrating your own food. One of the most important pieces of equipment for dehydrating in the modern era is the store-bought dehydrator. Shocking, I know! There could be several reasons why you haven’t already run out and purchased a new dehydrator based on my sage advice. The price of a new one could be outside your budget. You could be a cheapskate and don’t want to spend the money. or, you could be one of those industrious types that thinks you could build one cheaper, and better than one bought from a store. Well, this post is for you and will help you make a simple dehydrator.

In fact, you can make a simple dehydrator using nothing but household items.  It will by no means be as good as a Nesco or Excalibur but it will; given time, patience and attention, get the job done. Gathering the parts to make a simple dehydrator will take longer than actually putting it together and making it operational.

WARNING:  Your home-made dehydrator won’t be the subject of an ISO testing regime so make sure to use it only in a fire-safe area that you closely monitor during the dehydrating process.

Materials Needed To Make A Simple Dehydrator

Make A Simple Dehydrator

Step 1: Select a large cardboard box. A suitable box should be able to stand on its end for easy access. Make sure not to use a plastic box as there may be the risk of off gassing when the dehydrator heats up or melting. Line the inside with aluminum foil using tape. Double sided tape works best for this step.

Step 2: Insert and mount your heat source, with the cord running through the side or back of the box. Try and keep the hole as small and insulated as possible, in order to cut down on heat loss. A word on the heat source, use a bulb that gives off heat. A 75w or 100w incandescent bulb works great. An LED, or CFL bulb won’t give off the necessary heat.  Make sure there are no exposed wires in contact with the aluminum foil, as moisture may accumulate inside your box.

Step 3 (Optional): Insert and mount your fan.  Place the fan opposite your heat source. Adding the fan to the process will help with the dehydrating process by circulating the warm air and helping remove moisture from your food.

Step 4: Cut holes in the sides of the box to slide your wooden slats or dowels through to place your racks on.  Some suggest that you could use PVC for the rack supports but due to the possibility of off-gassing, my suggestion is to use wooden dowels, slats or a freestanding rack.

Step 5: Make vent holes at the top to allow the moisture to escape. You want to use numerous smaller holes, rather than fewer larger holes.  The reason for this is that moisture will collect on the areas where there is no ventilation.

Step 6: Insert the cooking thermometer into the side of the box, at about the level of you rack supports.  Ensure you can read your thermometer from the outside of the box.  If you were to place the thermometer inside you would have to open the box to read it and would lose valuable heat in the process.

Step 7:  Place your newly constructed dehydrator in a fire safe area.

Step 8:  Place your food on the racks and mount inside your box.

Step 8: Close your box, turn on your new dehydrator and let the food dehydrate!  Make sure to monitor your dehydrator for safety during the dehydration process.

Using Your Simple Dehydrator

Some notes on using your home made dehydrator.  First and foremost, do not leave you dehydrator unattended; safety, safety, safety.  The next thing is managing the heat.  Different foods need to be dehydrated at different temperatures, for best results.  The table below shows you the proper temperature for different foods:

Dehydrator Temperatures
Fruit & Vegetables 130°-140° F
Meats 145° F or higher
Herbs 95°-110° F

You can manage the heat inside the box, by leaving the box slightly open or closing it up.

10 Random Thoughts

  1. Moving To The Retreat:  Moving from a great prepper home in a neighborhood to a retreat is a lot like starting your preparedness journey over in a lot of ways. Mature, well thought out plans, supplies and preparations are just a start when you need more people to work and secure the land while moving from food storage to food storage and production preps. The good news is that water preparedness can be much easier on your own piece of land.
  2. Serenity:  The movie Serenity is starting to look a little dated but still holds up visually and as an adventure story. The freedom & liberty themes are timeless.
  3. Lots Of Rabbits: My rabbit colony seemed to be stuck in the winter doldrums so I decided to liven things up a little and was getting ready to expand the colony anyway so I decided to run the buck in the doe’s colony…could be upwards of 100 little ones on the way for spring.
  4. Quote:  This is a pertinent time to recall a famous quote attributed to Leon Trotsky: “You may not be interested in war, but war is interested in you.” It is obvious that President Obama came into office without any interest in waging war – he preferred to pursue “social justice” through income redistribution and an expansion of the welfare state. Unfortunately for him, and for us, is equally obvious that the butchers of ISIS have given him absolutely no choice. War is very, very interested in President Obama.  Bill O’Reilly via Searching For Strategy
  5. TEOTWAWKI Company: “I’m planning on coming to your place…” those words have been bothering me a lot lately. I’m a stealth prepper from all but a very small subsection of our close friends and family members but loose lips have clued in a couple of other friends in our circle and not one person that’s told me they are planning on coming to my place has asked if it’s OK, offered to preposition supplies, offered money to have me purchase supplies for them or sought any type of training.
  6. Obey: Shepard Fairey, the artist behind President Obama’s ‘Hope’ & ‘Change’ posters is most famous for his ‘Obey’ street art…an anti-propagandist…whodathunkit.
  7. An Important Shop Tool: The internet has to be extended to the shop…there’s a dozen Youtube videos on how to do just about anything. Projects aren’t good just because they get things done but also because you learn things and if you build with friends…they are fellowship.
  8. Dogs: I’ve written previously about concerns with the potential for dogs to be OPSEC liabilities in neighborhoods post TEOTWAWKI but out on the farm they make a great early warning system when strangers are around.
  9. Camo: Not all folks can pull off camo as civilian wear…but nobody can pull of wearing multiple camo patterns simultaneously.
  10. Life is Short: I started adding up all the time and money required for me to take all the different classes I want to take this year and I’m not sure there’s enough of either… don’t get overwhelmed, just get started and do what you can.

10 Steps To Sharpen A Chainsaw

My recent Prepography article “8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw” gave the basics on using a chainsaw. Having a sharp chain is very important for safety as well as productivity. Chains will dull very quickly, especially if cutting an extremely hard wood such as hedge. Knowing how to sharpen a chainsaw is an important skill to have. Not only will it increase the effectiveness of your efforts, it will save you money to boot because you’ll use fewer saw lubricating oils and won’t have to pay someone else to do it for you.

How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps

oregon sharpening kit - How To Sharpen A Chainsaw In 10 Steps1) Determine Your Chainsaw’s Gauge – You will need a rotary grindstone or chainsaw file that matches the size of the chain’s teeth. You can also buy a chainsaw sharpening kit that has everything you need in it, like the one to the right.  Typical sizes are 3/16, 5/32 and 7/32 of an inch in diameter.

2) Thoroughly Clean Your Chain – Use a brush and solvent to clean dirt, dust and debris off the chain.

3) Inspect Your Chain For Damage – Look for chipped, broken, or bent teeth. These will make a chain dangerous to use. If a tooth is worn short, it is at risk of breaking during operation, which is extremely dangerous to the operator. Replace any chain that is worn or damaged.

4) Place Your Saw On A Solid Surface – For safe and accurate filing your saw must be stable and the blade firmly supported. Use a vise to clamp the bar while allowing the chain to rotate freely is the best option.

5) Locate Your Start Point – The lead cutter on a chain is the shortest cutting tooth on the chain. If you can’t locate it, just take a permanent marker and mark a tooth as the starting point.

6) Set Your file Into The Notch On The Front Of The Cutter – The cutter is the angled “tooth” on the front of the flat surface of the chain link. Your file should exactly fit the curve of the face of the cutting tip. The top 20% of the file diameter should be above the top of the tooth.  The file should be at the same angle as the cutter. Also check your saw’s specs to find out what that correct angle is. Usually it is a 25 or 30 degree angle

7) Push The File Across The Face Of The Cutter – Using a twisting motion push the file across the cutter. The twisting motion help get the metal filings out-of-the-way. Do this on every other tooth until you have made one full rotation of the chain.

8) Reverse Sides And Repeat – Once you have sharpened all the teeth from one side, switch to the other side of your saw and repeat step

Be sure that all the cutters, on both sides, are filed to the same width. This is important, because the teeth need to take the same size “bite” from the wood. This will make for a smoother cutting process.
Chain Tooth Parts

Chain Tooth Parts
(Image courtesy of http://www.forestapps.com/)

9) Check The Clearance – Check the clearance of your depth gauges which are also known as the rakers.  These curved hook shaped pieces link the cutters. They govern the amount of wood that the cutter removes on each pass. They should be about one tenth of an inch lower than the cutter. A special tool called a Depth Gauge Tool is available online or from chainsaw dealers or hardware stores. You can eyeball it if you don’t have one but the tolerances are pretty small so use the depth gauge if possible.

10) Oil The Chain & Check Tension – Saturate the chain with oil. Then, check the tension to ensure it is not too loose, or tight. Adjust as needed, and you should be ready to cut again.

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Using a chainsaw to cut wood is an essential part of maintaining a homestead and providing your home with an alternative heating fuel source. Both of the aforementioned are integral parts of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine. Whether you are an experienced chainsaw user, or a novice starting out, any time of year is a good time to cut wood.  In my book, now is the best time, though. Late fall is upon us, and we’ve had our first hard freeze. This is for a variety of reasons:

  • It’s not too hot, or too cold; making cutting wood much more comfortable.
  • Most of the things bite, sting and make you itch have been killed off with the first freeze.
  • The small underlying vegetation and leaves have died back, or fallen, making it easier to move around and get to trees that will be cut.

With this in mind, here are Prepography‘s:

8 Tips For Using A Chainsaw

1) Select a model that is dependable , that you can handle, and is the right size for what you are cutting.
Chainsaws come in a variety of sizes, from a number of manufacturers. Like anything else you buy, “you get what you pay for”. There are some inexpensive reliable models, as well as some more expensive unreliable ones. Consumer reviews are great at helping you decide which one is best quality and best suited to your needs. Chainsaws range from small electric models with 12 inch bar blades, suitable only for cutting small limbs, to huge industrial ones with large bow blades used for lumberjacking. A novice would not want to start with one of the latter, as it would be too unwieldy for them. Conversely, they may find the smaller one incapable of doing what they want. As a rule of thumb, you should be able to comfortably lift the chainsaw, and the blade should be about 1/4 to 1/3rd larger than what you want to cut. Engine power and size, known as HP and displacement, are usually dependent on the blade size, and are matched at the factory. The biggest reason all this is important is safety. When using a chainsaw, use the proper tool for the proper job.

2) Get familiar with your chainsaw.
Before you even start your chainsaw, read the operators manual. Book learn the tool and its operation. Know how to maintain it. Learn proper safety precautions for using a chainsaw. Thanks to the internet, there are videos, and online courses you can watch. Your local chainsaw dealer, or big box DYI store might even offer training courses as well. Lacking all this, find someone with experience to teach you. Even if you are an experienced chainsaw user, it is good to periodically review the manual; lest you become complacent or forget something.

3) Do a maintenance and safety check on your chainsaw.
Before using a chainsaw, check to ensure everything is in proper working order. Check all the fluid levels, and ensure that you are using the proper ones. Chainsaws use a special mix of small engine oil and gas. There is also specially weighted oil for use in small engines. Using improper fuel and oil will cause damage to your chainsaw. In addition to the fluids, make sure everything is mechanically good on your chainsaw. Ensure nuts and bolts are tight. Ensure the chain is fitted properly and sharp. Not only is all this important for the long life of the chainsaw, but safety as well. Once you’ve done all the above, fire up your chainsaw and make sure it runs properly. Be sure to always use two hands when operating your chainsaw.

4) Starting your chainsaw.
The proper methods of starting your chainsaw is as follows:

  1. Engage the chain brake before you start your chainsaw.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand and lock the body of the saw head between your legs.
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.

Alternatively

  1. Place the chainsaw on the ground and put your foot through the back handle to hold the chainsaw down.
  2. Hold the front handle with your left hand
  3. Pull the start cord with your right hand using short, fast strokes.

5) Suiting up and safety gear.
When operating your chainsaw, be sure you have the proper safety clothing and gear. At a bare minimum, you should have proper heavy-duty outdoor work attire, safety gloves, safety glasses/goggles, and hearing protection. Additionally, you could wear a leather apron and chaps to protect your torso and legs. A safety helmet and face shield also improves safety. Other gear that improves safety are straps or chains with a come-a-long, for securing things being cut and a maul and wedges in case your blade gets bound in a cut.

6) Know your cuts.

There are four basiccutsthatare made with a chainsaw. The cuts are:

  • Felling: This is the act of cutting down a tree.
  • Limbing: This is removing limbs from the tree before or after it is felled.
  • Trimming: This is cutting limbs back or taking off branches on a limb.
  • Bucking: This is cutting the “log” or trunk of the tree in usable pieces, for instance, fireplace lengths.

Each of these have considerations addressed. Where will the cut piece will fall? Are there any obstruction, like power lines, buildings and vehicles. What is the proper length I need to cut the wood in for transport and usage? These are some of the more prominent questions that need to be asked. You may come up with others, each time you cut wood.

Beware of Kickback When making Your Cuts: This occurs when the blade of the chainsaw catches, comes to a sudden stop and throws back toward the operator. Most of the time this happens when the upper tip of the cutting bar gets in to the cut. So, avoid getting this part of the blade into the cut if possible. Having a firm grip on your chainsaw, a firm stance, and a stable location will help in the event of a kickback.

7) Inspect the area and have a plan.
After you’ve taken your properly working chainsaw in to the field and before you make your first cut, have a plan. Inspect the area you will be working in and what you will be cutting any hazards you should know about. Hidden barbed wire, rocks, or other obstructions could cause you to trip, with a running chainsaw. Or, they can be embedded in the tree you are cutting; hitting which can ruin you chainsaw and/or cause you injury. If felling a tree, look for lean, excess growth, or obstructions. All of these could cause the tree to fall an unexpected direction. If cutting a fallen tree, or limbs, check to see how they are laying. Make sure that when you cut a limb, the whole thing won’t shift, because you’ve just taken a support out from underneath it.

Safety Tips For Using A Chainsaw

Drawing courtesy of Mother Earth News

8) Begin cutting you wood.
Once you’ve done all the above, you are ready to start cutting. Here are some safety tips for chainsaw use from the US Forestry Service:

  • Keep upper tip of bar in solid wood.
  • If cutting a log from below, do it in two stages: first cut from above, then make another cut from below to meet the first.
  • Hold the chainsaw with both hands.
  • Grip the handle by putting your thumb around it.
  • Keep your elbow locked.
  • Never cut above shoulder height.
  • Keep the saw close to your body.
  • Use a saw with chain brake.
  • Start every cut under full throttle.
  • Keep the chain sharp.

Hermitage Update

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks around The Hermitage that necessitated a short break from writing and editing.  Thought I’d bring you a Hermitage update.

  • Completed our move to The Hermitage, our full time retreat
  • Completed construction on our workshop
  • Completed half of our trim carpentry in the house
  • Installed a doggie door for daughter #3’s pet…still haven’t figured out what you’re supposed to hunt with a purse dog
  • Finished up some light fixture installations in the house
  • Built food storage area in the house to expand the pantry
  • General cleanup both around the house and the workshop…salvaged a lot of materials for future projects
  • First deer hunt on the hermitage
  • Went shooting with son-in-law #1 and new extended family
  • Hosted daughter #1 and son-in-law for a week

On top of all that we celebrated Thanksgiving and married off daughter #2 to a great guy who I’m proud to call son-in-law #2.  What the new son-in-law lacks in practical skills he makes up for in common sense and being willing to lend a hand…not to mention that he treats my daughter like a princess and is a hell of a good shot…both great survival skills.

What a great few weeks!  Back to our regular schedule later this week!

Virus That Makes Humans More Stupid

Virus that makes humans more stupid discovered – Science – News – The Independent.

Andrew’s Note:  That explains a lot…it must be incredibly contagious…

Prepping on $30 A Paycheck – Intro

How “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” Came About

Prepper Axiom # 1 – Change your mind and your tail will follow. (Cognitive)

The kernel of the idea that led to “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” came from a conversation I was having with a co-worker one day.  He was not in to prepping  or self-sufficiency at the time.  He was interested in the topics of what I did on the weekend and after work. I could tell he had the makings of a convert. He just needed a little nudge, and some guidance. I finally asked him outright, “You are interested in prepping, why don’t you just do it.” His response was, “I don’t have a lot of disposable income; I can’t afford it”.

Oh man, my head hurts. Trying to wrap my mind around a statement like that, coming from someone who lives a comfortable middle-class lifestyle really pains me. OK, this is where I don’t want to be “that prepper guy”. I told him that it really does not take a lot of cash to start out. I laid down the number of $30 a pay-day (bi-weekly pay schedule), as a very realistic, and achievable goal to set aside for prepping. He was a little dubious on two accounts. First, he didn’t believe that anything substantial could be done for that amount. Secondly, he said that he would have a hard time coming up with $30 out of his paycheck. I gently pointed out that he spent way more than that over a two-week period eating out, going to the movies, and in wasted groceries. He begrudgingly conceded that point. I then pointed out that even though I spent more than $30 a paycheck now, when I started that number was it. If it didn’t fall within my budget, it didn’t happen. I put forth the proposition that if he would set aside $30 every payday, I would help him navigate the waters of becoming “prepared”. He mulled over what I had said, shook his head and said he would give it a try.

Prepper Axiom #2 – The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. (Cognitive)

Almost as soon as my co-worker said “OK”, “Prepping on $30 A Paycheck” got sidetracked. He started having marital problems, and was extremely distracted. It was obvious his heart wasn’t in to much except his problems.  Our little experiment wasn’t going to happen anytime soon. I gave him support and kept working on him  I tried to get him in the right mindset. Things started to get back on track in his life, and he slowly came around.  He perked up and began getting in to the mindset of doing little things to be more prepared.  We discussed prepping on $30 a paycheck, again.  It seemed that it was back on. Then, he got another job and abruptly left. I haven’t heard from him since his departure. Still, before he left, I made him promise that he would continue trying to put himself in the right mind-set. He said he would, and added that he would continue adding items to his prep list as he went. I believe he would, as his outlook on his prep status was not as fatalistic as it was in the beginning.

So where does that leave us with prepping on $30 a paycheck? Well, basically, I don’t have a guinea pig. Honestly, there is no one in my life at this point in time that is at the place that they would be willing to take the steps towards preparedness and self-sufficiency it would entail. There are a couple of people who are almost ready; none that are ready, though. Being an “evangelical prepper”; that is some one who enthusiastically extolls the virtues of preparedness and self-sufficiency, I think it is necessary to move forward with the idea.  I hope that someone reading this would take it to heart. Take it to heart and take the first mental steps down a path that will lead them to a higher state of security from being prepared, and peace of mind from leading a more self-sufficient life-style.

So, in the interests of the community; that’s another FSP doctrine, I have decided to be my own guinea pig. I mean, why not? Why should I ask someone else to take my advice, if I am not willing to do it my self. Yes, I know I said I started out this way, but my methodology was scatter-shot at best. I honestly did not have a solid plan, even though I did a lot of reading in books, and on the web. I didn’t know any other people who felt like I did, outside of the internet. I also hadn’t met Andrew J. and didn’t know what FSP was. A good dose of hind-sight will allow me to put together a more comprehensive and detailed plan on how to go about prepping on $30 a paycheck.

I am going to start from square one, with the idea that I have nothing set aside. I will take my $30 and apply it as I would under those circumstances. I will detail my second journey as best I can. This is a serialized Prepography feature, so you would expect that I will be posting an article every two weeks; on my pay schedule. That may not happen, in fact I guarantee that it won’t, because I have some real life concerns. As I write this, deer season and the holidays will be coming up.  My time will be limited, somewhat. I will endeavour to stay on track best I cane with my purchases and postings.

Andrew’s Note:  We’ll set up an index page for this series in the near future so that it’s easy to keep up with Grumpy G’s preparedness odyssey.

Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead.

That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events.

I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker down during a hurricane or wildfire and hope to survive, or that you don’t relocate to a safer area if you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy or have ‘mailbox income’ and the time and willingness to develop new social networks… but it does mean that even if you’re not tied to a geographic area by family or financial requirements you should strongly consider setting up your retreat or homestead in the safest location with the best resources within own social geography.  This was the epiphany I had as I watched civil society in Iraq tear itself to shreds.

Even before I returned to the states I’d started researching prospective homestead sites and on my return we started looking in earnest.  Over the years I developed a network of real estate agents and bankers (for foreclosures) that tipped me off to new properties going up for sale, wrote absentee landowners to make unsolicited offers and set up standing queries on a number of real estate sales websites.

Over the years we refined our homestead evaluation tools and learned how to move quickly to avoid the day late, dollar short disappointments we experienced early on.  It’s important to note that until the last 18 months of our search we hadn’t developed our wish list sufficiently to effectively analyze, compare and decide if a prospective homestead was right for our needs.  I hope that by sharing our evaluation criteria we will help you find your homestead/retreat more quickly than we did.

Check back tomorrow for more on finding your Prepper homestead as we discuss the Homestead Evaluation Criteria that led us to find The Hermitage.

Finding Your Prepper Homestead

Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat.  Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’  I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead.

That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family.  Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic.  No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events.

I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family.  This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat.  Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.).  This doesn’t mean that you hunker down during a hurricane or wildfire and hope to survive, or that you don’t relocate to a safer area if you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy or have ‘mailbox income’ and the time and willingness to develop new social networks… but it does mean that even if you’re not tied to a geographic area by family or financial requirements you should strongly consider setting up your retreat or homestead in the safest location with the best resources within own social geography.  This was the epiphany I had as I watched civil society in Iraq tear itself to shreds.

Even before I returned to the states I’d started researching prospective homestead sites and on my return we started looking in earnest.  Over the years I developed a network of real estate agents and bankers (for foreclosures) that tipped me off to new properties going up for sale, wrote absentee landowners to make unsolicited offers and set up standing queries on a number of real estate sales websites.

Over the years we refined our homestead evaluation tools and learned how to move quickly to avoid the day late, dollar short disappointments we experienced early on.  It’s important to note that until the last 18 months of our search we hadn’t developed our wish list sufficiently to effectively analyze, compare and decide if a prospective homestead was right for our needs.  I hope that by sharing our evaluation criteria we will help you find your homestead/retreat more quickly than we did.

Check back tomorrow for more on finding your Prepper homestead as we discuss the Homestead Evaluation Criteria that led us to find The Hermitage.

« Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: