Top 10 Examples: Miseducating Young Adults Into Children

It seems that some of those adults charged with the “higher education” of America’s youth are hell bent on miseducating our children into perpetual toddlerhood.  Not only are our children being taught that feelings are the only barometer of right and wrong but they are also being taught that there is no dishonor in trampling the rights of others.  Additionally, sensitivities in these infantilized adults are intentionally being heightened to such an extent that they would have left our ancestors quivering in puddles of their own urine instead of carving the land of the [formerly] free and the home of the [formerly] brave out of a continent of wilderness.  What follows are the Top 10 Examples of Miseducating Young Adults Into Children from the past few weeks.

  1. MiseducationMelissa Click of the University of Missouri who insisted that she needed “… some muscle over here” to prevent a journalist from reporting on a public demonstration taking place in a public place.
  2. The master of Yale’s Pierson College said his title reminds distressed students of slavery.
  3. Wesleyan University’s student government threatened the budget of the school newspaper over a column critical of campus’ leftists.
  4.  A Washington State University professor indicated that she would lower the grade of any student who described those who immigrate to the U.S. in violation of U.S. immigration law as “illegal immigrants.”
  5. Another Washington State professor’s syllabus for “Introduction to Multicultural Literature” states that white students should demonstrate their “grasp of history and social relations” by “deferring to the experiences of people of color.”
  6. Another Washington State syllabus for “Women & Popular Culture,” threatened failure for those students who use derogatory or oppressive language such as “referring to women/men as females or males.”
  7. The University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion suggested replacing problematic pronouns such as “he, she, him, & her” with gender-neutral terms such as “ze, hir, xe, xem, or xyr”.
  8. The University of California system’s sensitivity auditors declared the statements “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” and “America is the land of opportunity” as “hostile” and “derogatory.”
  9. The University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point’s list of racial microaggressions includes “America is a melting pot” and “There is only one race, the human race.”
  10. Mount Holyoke College canceled its production of “The Vagina Monologues” because it was considered insufficiently inclusive of women without vaginas…meaning men who ‘feel’ like they should be women.

Thanks to George Will for compiling the above list and more in his article, America’s higher education brought low.

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.

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.

Top 10 Thoughts For Better SHTF Nutrition

Providing better nutrition is always a concern, even in the best of times. In a SHTF scenario, it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Food security/preparedness is one of the 10 tenants of the Full Spectrum Preparedness Doctrine, and providing better nutrition is a key component of that.  In the interests of helping you improve your food preparedness and security through good times and bad, Prepography presents the Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition:

Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition

1.  Think Chicken & Eggs – It doesn’t matter which came first as Chickens provide the cheapest animal protein, pound for pound, to produce. Their meat is low-fat, and high in nutrients. They also produce eggs, which provide additional nutritional benefits. Chicken meat and eggs can be prepared a variety of ways for consumption and storage. Even egg shells can be boiled and finely ground then added to food for additional protein.

2.  Think With Your Guts – Actually, think about guts.  Liver, kidneys, hearts and even blood are can be very nutritious. Many people turn their noses up at them for a variety of reasons and liver was considered to be dog food until the Great Depression but there are many ways to prepare them to make delicious meals.  One of the axioms in food prepping is that if you don’t eat it normally you won’t eat it in times of crisis so give some of these other protein sources a try with the following recipes.

Note: 1. These are ‘good times’ recipes to introduce you these foods which can also be prepared in more austere conditions. 2. Those with certain medical conditions should avoid organ meats. Consult your physician about dietary restrictions for any chronic medical conditions you have.

3.  Think Beans, Peas, Lentils And Other Legumes – These provide a good, inexpensive source of protein. That’s why legumes are a key staple in most Preppers’ pantries.  Not only are these inexpensive to buy but they are easily purchased in bulk quantities and if properly packaged they can last for decades.  Also, don’t forget include legumes in your garden.  They are easily grown and help fix nitrogen in the soil for the benefit of subsequent and companion plantings.

4.  Think Green Leafy Vegetables – Kermit the Frog is famous for quipping “it’s not easy being green” but it also isn’t easy staying healthy without your greens.  Green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin A, iron and other essential minerals.  These veggies promote good vision, support regulating genes, help maintain healthy skin, enhance the immune system and help produce red blood cells.  Eat lots of green leafy vegetables to ward off vitamin A deficiency which can cause impaired vision and increases susceptibility to infectious diseases.

5.  Think Corny – Unprocessed corn (maize) is deficient in niacin, which is problematic when corn is used as a staple food in a diet. Soaking unprocessed corn in pickling lime, aka nixtamalizing, provides better nutrition by freeing up Vitamin B3 and reducing mycotoxins (a type of fungus that can be dangerous).  Additionally, nixtamalized corn is more easily ground and has a better aroma.

6.  Think Whole Grains – Rice, wheat and other grains are more nutritious without the outer husk removed. They are important sources of nutrients, minerals and dietary fiber. Whole grains can also help with reducing the risk of heart disease, gastric problems, weight management, and can help during pregnancy and fetal development. Since whole grains are less processed than other grains they also tend to be less expensive.

7.  Think About How You Cook Your Food – Boiling meats and vegetables removes nutrients, decreasing their nutritional value. Steaming is a great alternative to boiling vegetables but if you must boil a food, use as little water as necessary and drink the water you used to recoup some of your lost nutrients.

8.  Think About Wild Fruits, Berries & Nuts – Foraging for wild fruits and berries can provide you with a rich source of vitamin C and sugars.  While this is a very seasonal method of finding a low-cost foods, it is a very good one and there are preservation methods to store your harvest. Nuts are a great source of protein that typically don’t take much energy to acquire.  In addition to improving your nutrition, nuts, fruits and berries also provide variety to your diet and fruits and berries can be surprisingly satisfying to your sweet tooth if it hasn’t been spoiled recently by processed sugars.

9.  Think Like An Iron Man – If you find yourself eating a diet deficient in iron, find ways to add iron back in like cooking your meal on/in cast iron.  Some folks have gone to very creative, sometimes dangerous extremes to add iron to their diet by doing thinks like adding a horseshoe to the bottom of a non-iron cook pot or placing iron nails into water enhanced with citrus (acidic) squeezings to leach the iron out of the nails…this isn’t a recommended technique for obvious reasons.

10.  Think Like a Baby – Baby food is nutritionally dense, well-balanced, portable and has a long shelf life.  Adults and children of all ages can benefit from these foods if they can be purchased affordably.  These also make a safer diet to use for a member of your group who has become ill and is unable to eat rougher foods.  Mix with cereals or other ‘gruels’ as your invalid becomes more robust.

Bonus 1:  Think About Your First Meal – Studies have shown that breast milk will help protect babies from a long list on illnesses. Additionally, it helps babies from developing allergies. In times of crisis, breast-feeding my also be the only option for providing proper nutrition for newborns and toddlers.  If yours is a formula family…consider this more natural alternative.

Cassava LeavesBonus 2:  Think about Cassava Leaves – If your environment is tropical or subtropical think cassava.  Young cassava leaves provide good nutrition due to high content of protein, minerals and vitamins. They can contain up to 7 times the protein as other vegetables. In addition to reportedly increasing stamina, they also contain vitamin A, vitamin B1, vitamin C, calcium, calories, phosphorus, protein, fat, carbohydrate and iron. Used as herbal medicine they are said to aid or relieve rheumatism, headache, fever, fester and diarrhea.

If you intend on using Cassava to supplement your other foodstuffs make sure to learn how to properly prepare it to remove any residual cyanide.

Conclusion to the Top 10 Thoughts for Better SHTF Nutrition

It bears repeating, at this point, that your brain is the most important tool in your preparedness and survival inventory. Creating and executing a proper nutritional plan is key to living a long and healthy life. The ideas listed above should not be looked on solely as emergency options. They should be looked at as practical, everyday ideas that can be integrated into your daily diet as well as your preparations. Not giving consideration to your nutritional needs as you develop your supplies could easily lead you to be missing key ingredients or components. Even if you are able to scavenge some of what is needed above, chances are it will be of inferior quality, or you will be fighting others for a limited resource. Plan and lay in your supplies now for better nutrition later and so that when the SHTF you aren’t left wanting and searching for other options.

Prepping for Riots & Civil Unrest – 10 Tips

Ferguson Response NetworkAs the mainstream media positively salivates over the anticipated civil unrest and rioting that’s expected following the release of the dual Grand Jury investigation and Department of Justice investigations that are expected to exonerate Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown, a teenager of African decent we thought it might be a good idea to review tips on prepping for riots and civil unrest.  According to a knowledgeable multi-juristictional law enforcement analyst the law enforcement community is more concerned about the aftermath of the Ferguson shooting information release than any event since 9/11.

A riot or period of riots/civil unrest is best avoided and the Prepping for Riots and Civil Unrest tips below should help you avoid or if necessary safely escape a dangerous situation.

  1. Avoid:  Riots and protests that could easily become riots are often organized on social media including sites like this one currently being used to organize protests and riots following the release of the results of the Grand Jury investigation into the acts of Officer Wilson.  Sites like these tell you where and in some cases when ‘actions’ will occur.  They tell me what parts of town to avoid like the plague.  If you find yourself in a mob, avoid confrontation…don’t argue, verbally engage or negotiate.
  2. Know What Time It Is:  Many planned riots and protests that could easily become riots happen in the first few hours and days after the precipitating event.  Keep an eye on breaking news that could trigger a riot and go out of your way to return to safe areas or stay out of danger areas entirely if there is a potential precipitating event or planned release of information like the Officer Wilson Grand Jury and Department of Justice investigation results.
  3. Stay Calm:  Keep a calm, clear head and don’t get emotionally involved and compromise your decision making skills.  Mob mentality really exists but you must its lure even if you are sympathetic to the precipitating cause or excuse for the violence.
  4. Move Carefully but Decisively:  By staying calm you’ll be less likely to move quickly or rashly.  You want to keep your footing and avoid falling to the ground at all costs where you are in danger of being trampled, kicked or worse.  Move with intention through the crowd with a stern look on your face…don’t stop just continue moving and gently force your way through to safety.  One technique that works well with crowds that haven’t turned violent yet is shouting “make a hole, coming through…” as if you own the place…people will just move out of your way and continue on their business.
  5. Fade Away:  If you find yourself in the middle of a crowd that might get ugly get away immediately and quietly before a problem starts.  Move to the outer edge of the mob and fade away into a side street.  I was backpacking through Europe in the mid 1980s and stopped over in West Berlin (when there was such a place) for a few days and found myself drawn to what I thought was a street fair and parade.  After just a few short minutes I realized that I’d walked right into the middle of an anti-American protest complete with effigies of President Reagan being burned and lots of anti-nuclear propaganda being given out (it later came out that the Soviets organized and financed these types of protests in West Germany for decades)…anyway, as soon as I realized what was going on I silently pointed it out to my buddy so no one could hear my language and accent and we moved our bluejean (not something Europeans wore in those days) wearing asses down the nearest side street and outside of the danger area.  I didn’t know that it would turn violent but I wasn’t going to take the chance and the riot police on hand were conscripts from the same population that generated the protesters.  Reports I’ve read over the years indicate that if just 1-2% of a crowd turns violent then there is a potential for mob mentality to set in…become the grey man and fade away.  Don’t overlook the possibility of moving through a building if necessary but be very careful to avoid getting cornered or stuck.
  6. Strategic Relocation:  One thing I quickly noticed while living in Baghdad in 2006-2007 was that the same neighborhoods seemed to erupt in violence over and over…and I’m talking about Iraqi on Iraqi violence…turns out these were the neighborhoods on where Sunni and Shia neighborhoods met.  If you find yourself living in an area that’s a demographic fractional divide…find a way to move someplace safer.
  7. Don’t Lose Your Life With Your Property:  There are wonderful stories of business owners of Korean descent putting on a show of force outside and on the roofs of their stores to deter looting during the 1992 LA Riots but I’d be very cautious about trading my life for my property because in the end you may lose both.  This caution assumes that the property you lose only represents a financial loss and doesn’t represent you or your family’s best chances of survival.
  8. Be a Voice Of Reason:  The best way to keep riots from starting in the first place is to multiply those willing to act as the voice of reason.  Become that voice of reason in your community by encouraging adherence to the rule of law and oppose extra-jurisdictional killings, lynchings, ‘payback’ activities and post sports championship winning car burnings.
  9. Employ Camouflage:  If possible look like the group you find yourself within until you escape the immediate area at which point your camouflage might make you a target for rival groups or police.  When I found myself in that situation in West Berlin I really stood out in my American blue jeans.  Rearrange your clothing, add or remove a cap or pick up discarded items in order to look as much like the folks you want to ignore you as possible.
  10. Keep Together:  Don’t allow your group to get separated.  In dense crowds one technique to stay together is to hold hands or place a hand on the person in front’s shoulder and follow the leader very closely until you’ve reached safety.

I hope you never find yourself in a riot but if you do…I hope Prepping For Riots & Civil Unrest helps get you out safely.

10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden

Winterizing your garden for winter is a hot topic these days.  In fact there are a slew of on-line articles coming out right on the subject and it is an important step in making sure you have a healthy, vibrant garden come spring time.  The time and effort spent in the late fall/early winter in preparing your garden for winter will pay huge dividends come spring planting and harvest time.  We’ve already had our first hard frost here at Grumpy Acres, so we may be a little late to the party but like the old adage says, though, “better late than never” and we have a unique take that we call the 10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden:

10 Tips To Winterize Your Garden

1) Prune:  Trim back perennial plants, that’s a plant that lives for 2 or more years, to just above the soil with the pruning shears. Pruning back like this promotes a healthier plant come spring time, and improves the appearance of winter beds. Discard or compost the plant refuse.

2) Harvest:  Harvest remaining frost-sensitive vegetables, before the first frost. Eat and store the edible food, and compost or discard the rest.  Unripe tomatoes can be picked ahead of the frost and put in brown paper bags to ripen.

3 ) Pull Up:  Pull up annual vegetable plants from the soil. Remove the entire plant, including the root system. Put healthy plants, which are free of insect infestation in your compost bin. Throw away any plants that have insects or are diseased.

4) Clean Up:  Rake up leaves as part of general yard clean up. Dead and decaying leaves will smother your grass over the winter. By removing them you’ll end up with a healthier, greener lawn come spring time. Add them to your compost pile for use in the spring by your garden or shred them and use as mulch on your garden beds.

5 ) Mulch:  Mulch any vegetables that are hardy enough to produce during colder temps; such as carrots, beets, parsnips and onions. Cover them with about 8 inches of mulch. These types of vegetables will keep producing well in to the winter if you keep them insulated.

6) Put Perennials To Sleep:  Put perennials to sleep by mulching any perennial vegetables that will go dormant over the winter such as asparagus. Apply 2 to 4 inches of mulch to cover the plant crowns and the surrounding soil.

7) Cultivate:  Cultivate the soil to a depth of about 6 inches. A spade, or rototiller will do the job. Cultivating before winter sets in will help aerate the soil and keep it from becoming too compacted.

8) Fertilize:  Add fertilizer, if you use it to augment your compost. Putting it down in the winter will allow it to soak deep in to the soil, which will allow for better usage by your spring plants.

9) Compost:  Spread a 2-inch layer of compost over the garden by raking it evenly into the soil. This will not only help protect the soil it will also add valuable nutrients to the soil which will feed you plants next spring.

10) Protect:  Put barriers up to protect shrubs or young trees. Heavy snow can damage young trees and shrubs. Barriers that will keep snow from building up on them will help them survive the winter. Barriers and such will also help keep deer and other animals from eating them as they search for food in the winter.

Bonus Tip #11

11) Put Away:  Do a general clean up of your garden, yard or homestead. Tools and equipment that won’t be used over the winter should be put away and moved to a shed or protected area. Finding something when the snow falls and everything is covered can be hard; even dangerous. If you need to find something in winter, move it now.

Top 10 Steps To Food Security On A Suburban Lot

Food security, assuring continuous access to quality food,  is an ongoing or rising concern for many people.  Rising food prices, political instability, and the possibility of widespread disruptions to a fragile supply chain are justifiable causes for this concern.  Since a majority of the people on the planet live in or near large metropolitan areas and the suburbs that surround them how does one approach the problem of assuring their family’s food security on a suburban lot?

Top 10 Steps To Food Security On A Suburban Lot

1: Plant a Garden

One of the easiest and most common way to get started taking control of your family’s food security on your suburban lot is to raise a garden. Gardening is scalable to the size of your lot as well as your abilities. On the small side you can raise edible plants in containers to reduce your food bill. On the larger and more aggressive scale, you can use perma-culture techniques to raise 1,000’s of pounds of food every year in just a quarter acre. Some preppers, gardeners and permaculture enthusiasts have even been able to completely do away with trips to the grocery store for fruits and veggies all together…preparedness is a renewable food supply!

Unfortunately many municipalities have regulations limiting the size of gardens or where a garden can be located on your lot.  if that’s the case or you’re just interested in something more aesthetically pleasing check out our second tip…Edible Landscaping.

2: Edible Landscaping

Edible landscaping is a permaculture idea that is really taking off. Instead of planting purely decorative plant in flower beds around your home, you can plant edibles. The flowers on many edible plants are just as varied and beautiful as decorative perennials and annuals. The kicker is they produce healthy and nutritious items that go a long way in providing food security on your suburban lot.  Another benefit of edible landscaping is that it’s less noticeable than a traditional garden giving you your own stealth food source.

3: Water Catchment

Food security on your suburban lot does not just entail food. It also includes the water necessary to grow and raise that food. Even in arid climates a moderate rainfall can produce thousands of gallons of water pouring off the typical suburban rooftop. Most homeowners lose this water to the lawn or down the storm sewer. Building a water catchment system will capture that water for your use. Most of it will go on to your garden but in an emergency it can be purified for drinking and hygiene. For around $125 USD, you can build a rain catchment system that will hold well over 200 gallons a precious water.

4: Raise Small Livestock

Many suburban localities are beginning to amend local ordinances to allow people to keep small livestock on their property. Chickens and rabbits are the most common small breeds which are helping more and more people towards food security on a suburban lot but some cultures consider other animals like guinea pigs to be suitable for livestock. They can provide your family with much-needed protein and are a healthier and less expensive alternative to store-bought meat. As an example, a single rabbit buck, and three  doe’s can produce over 190 pounds of meat every year, for just pennies on the pound.

5: Fish Farming

Food security on your suburban lot can also be pursued by rasing fish, also known as aquaculture. Many people stock their fish ponds with edible species, instead of decorative ones but virtually all freshwater fish are edible. Perch, carp and catfish are popular in the more temperate climates. Tilapia is a favorite in more tropical climes but is likely regulated as an ‘invasive species’ so make sure you know the requirements. Think you can’t raise fish because you don’t have a pond…think again, fish can be raised in disused swimming pools, or even drums and tanks.

6: Aquaponics

Aquaponics is the fusion of aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (raising plants in a liquid medium). It is a system where the fish waste provides nutrients to the plants. The plants in turn clean waste harmful to the fish out of the water. It is a very symbiotic system. Done properly plants raised this way grow faster and produce more fruit than plants grown traditionally. Start up costs can be expensive but the pay off is well worth it. Aquaponics is another great way to build food security on your suburban lot.  When building your system make sure to build one that isn’t reliant on electric power or develop a backup power source.

Andrew’s Note:  In my own aquaponics experiments I found plant growth within the system to be three times the growth and vegetable output in my control group. 

7: Composting

Even the traditional lawn which most homes still have produces a lot of waste in the form of grass clippings, leaves and branches. Suburbanites generally take this waste, stuff it in bags and set it by the curb for the garbage man. The suburban kitchen, gardening and raising small livestock also produce a great deal of waste. Instead of sending all this waste to the landfill you can compost it. Composting is the process of managed decomposition of organic matter. Compost provides fantastic organic fertilizer for your garden. Additionally, if you have chickens they can pick over the pile for bugs and food scraps, and rabbits love grass clippings and leaves. If you want food security on a suburban lot, composting is one thing you must do.

8: Beekeeping

Beekeeping, also known as apiculture is a very specialized way to move towards food security on your suburban lot. The benefits of apiculture are two-fold. First it will provide your family honey that is not only delicious, but healthy as well. It is a product that will literally last for 1,000s of years. Locally raised honey has also been shown to help people suppress allergies. The other benefit is that as the bees search for food, they will pollinate your garden, making it much more healthy and productive.

9: Food Storage & Preservation

The average American household throws away about 25% of its food. That is prepackaged, processed and store-bought staples, produce and meats. Home grown and home raised foods will spoil quicker because they do not contain all the added preservatives. That is a lot of healthy food going to waste. After you’ve reached a higher level of food security on your suburban lot you must now preserve it for storage. Learn how to can foods, study root cellaring, buy a dehydrator and a vacuum seal system for even longer term storage options. Organize your pantry with a can rotator. You can also learn how to smoke and preserve your own meats. There are so many food preservation and storage options available to help you keep the fruits of your labor edible longer. Try to learn, and practice them all.

10: Sell, Barter, or Give Away Your Excess

If you have done any, or all of the first 9 suggestions for food security on your suburban lot and you have been diligent, chances are you’ll have more than you can eat. Use that excess to your advantage. You can sell it at a farmers market, making a bit of cash to offset your expenses. You can barter with others to get food items you can’t raise or items you may need or you can give it away. You may gain absolute nothing materially from this last act but in the long run you’ll be building family and community ties that may come in handy in the future.

Top 10 Camping Essentials Infographic

‘ Be prepared!’ isn’t just for Scouts and campers.  The Top 10 Camping Essentials is a good read for Preppers too.

10 Camping Essentials Infographic

Top 10 Fire Starters Infographic

ScoutMasterCG.com has developed a neat infographic on the Top 10 Fire Starters…really ten fire starting techniques and tools that should be combined to cook that food, purify that water or warm up that shelter.

Top 10 Fire Starters Infographic

10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed

Recently I talked with a fellow Prepper who was positively giddy over the purchase of his new ghillie suit.  I held my tongue, for once, but all I could think of was the “10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed” if you try to play sniper.

Now, there’s no doubt that in the right hands a Ghillie suit is a phenomenal piece of kit but like many types of military tech, this particular piece of kit is better suited to use within a military campaign than a Preppers storehouse or bug out bag.  That may seem like a strange thing for me to say…as I often talk about the use of or adaptation of military techniques or technology to the Prepper’s use, but this is one piece of kit that you should carefully before including in your preparations.  Now, if your reason for wanting a Ghillie suit is to improve your hunting odds and that’s all you’re going to do with it than only some of these cautionary statements will apply to you and you can probably safely look like a big bush while out hunting.

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘Ghillie Suit’ it’s used to describe a type of camouflage over-garment designed to make a person blend in with heavy foliage.  These suits were reportedly first used by Scottish units in British service during the Second Boer War and have earned their place on the battlefield, in the hands of highly trained and specialized soldiers.

Depending on the situation, environment and wearer I find Ghillie suits amazing, cool, ridiculous or comical…and sometimes the wearer just looks like some kind of sasquatch wanna-be.  Now if you’re a school trained sniper with a trusty spotter and the discipline to take a half day moving fifty feet while adapting your suit on the move to match the foliage you travel through… keep in mind that this article isn’t meant for you…it’s meant for the rest of us… the amateurs who haven’t developed the skills, discipline and team that it takes to properly use this particular military tool.

Top 10 Ways Your Ghillie Suit Will Get You Killed

  1. Make You Stand Out:  It takes skill to build and modify a Ghillie suit to match the terrain, season and exact location that you intend to use it and merely moving a few dozen feet in any direction may require that the entire suit be modified to match its new surroundings.  Professional snipers spend weeks learning and entire careers refining this skill so that they don’t stand out like a sore thumb.
  2. Ghillie SuitTelegraphs Movement:  Professional snipers are taught the discipline to hold still for long periods of time and continue to practice that skill as long as they are operational.  If you’re like me and have a hard time holding still you’re much better off behind a ‘blind’ that will hide, rather than telegraph your movements…bushes don’t move unless there’s wind…and if they move in the wind they move the same way the surrounding vegetation does… if you’re trying to look like a bush, you better move like one.
  3. No Cover:  Wearing that Ghillie suit, which you know isn’t a magical cloak of invisibility, might still tempt you take up a position that’s more exposed than necessary.  That exposed position won’t offer you the benefits of cover to stop incoming rounds.  Remember that ‘cover’ and ‘concealment’ are both your friends but that cover stops or slows down bullets.  A well built and maintained Ghillie suit may help conceal you…but it won’t provide any protection.
  4. Live Stuff:  If you add live vegetation to your suit remember to replace it frequently as it will soon die and change color and texture which makes you more noticeable.
  5. Dead Stuff:  Conversely, if you add dead vegetation to your suit you might make a great deal of noise when you move…think about walking on dried leaves stalks, etc.
  6. They Can’t See You But Can You See Them:  Ghillie suits are meant to be a part of a sniper system that includes the sniper, his weapons and equipment and a spotter who helps provide security as well as a second set of eyes for the sniper.  Many of the commercial Ghillie suits sold and patterns used to make custom suits limit the shooter’s field of view which is just one of the reasons to have a trained spotter.
  7. Time To Move:  Ghillie suits can be heavy (especially when wet), bulky, awkward and can catch on the surrounding vegetation.  This is not the outfit you want to be wearing if you have to run for your life and running for your life is a great survival skill when used at the appropriate time.
  8. Fire:  Many of the commercially available Ghillie suits that are treated with a fire retardant but even if you get lucky and can buy one that matches the exact terrain, season and location where you need to use it…you’re going to need to add textures and colors from the surrounding environment so at least part of your suit will be vulnerable to fire.  I can imagine few things worse than being caught in a Ghillie suit that catches fire and its scary how easy fires can start in the field from weapons fire, pyro & simulators or even a careless smoker.  Flame retardant sprays are available for treating your suit back at your base or retreat but if you are properly using your Ghillie suit you will constantly be adding and removing items from the environment.
  9. Heat:  Ghillie suits are very good insulation.  That’s a good thing if you’re dealing with arctic temperatures but if it’s 105 in the shade then that extra insulation will aggravate your body’s ability to cool itself and potentially lead to life threatening dehydration or worse.
  10. Like An Anchor:  Ghillie suits should never ever be worn over or near lakes, ponds, rivers, streams or ditches.  There’s no swimming in a Ghillie suit because of the weight of the thing when it gets wet as well as the way it can entangle your limbs or become entangled with obstacles in the water.

A Ghillie suit is a great piece of military tech in the right hands but there are much better ways to spend time and money for the typical Prepper.  If you want to dress up like a bush and go hunting…more power to you…that’s what the Scots used their Ghillie suits for before they headed to South Africa but leave the military/security use of the Ghillie suit to the trained professionals.  I imagine there are more than 10 ways your ghillie suit will get you killed but these are the ones that came to mind.  If you decide not to take my advice and want to get giddy over your own Ghillie suit… at least make your own!

Prepography‘s Firearms Editor, Infidel was kind enough to comment on an advanced draft of this article:

You are spot on. As you change environments, you need to change the suit and whatever vegitation you put on it. Just going 100 yards may make you stand out. I almost took first place in stalking at the FBI sniper course.  60% of the class had brand new ghillie suits. The others had standard military bdu, or marine corp stuff. Not me. I had a badly faded bdu top, bdu bottom, desert boots, a turkey hunting face mask and mesh gloves. All the guys that had ghillies, got busted because they came out of woods into a field and stuck out like a sore thumb. Using the terrain to mask myself instead of going straight in and using the previous paths of other snipers let me get within 60 yards of the objective…an easy shot but that would have neen dangerous in real life. So my point is be a sneeky mother*****r and you’ll be successful without the suit. Use terrain masking, bushes and large clumps of weeds instead.

Infidel

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