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With the state of the economy, a possible world food crisis looming over us, uncertainty as to the future of the USA, and all the other cool stuff that has us tinfoil hat types crinkling down our helmets extra tight as of late, is anyone else feeling it's necessary to start doin' a little more on the homestead in the way of food producton?.....I dang sure am.
I grow quite a bit of food here. I eat out of my garden quite a bit, but it's mostly a hobby and how I spend quality time with my daughter. It's never been something I've had to depend on, though, and there's never been a contingency plan in place in the event that some of the crops are hit with a blight, disease, or fail for whatever reason. I have veggies from the summer garden year 'round, but I haven't done much canning lately, so my stores are in the freezer, an option that I might not have some day.
So.....I'm doin' what I can to fast-forward some projects here.
I got some timber thinned over last summer, and had the timber dudes clearcut a coupla' areas while they were out here to free me up a little more sunlight for more gardens, fruit trees, more blueberry bushes, and whatnot. It's a mess....a daunting, soul-crusher of a mess, but I'm working my hind end off getting it plantable, and starting to see some daylight. Combined, the new areas make up maybe a full acre, and they should be ready by our early Mississippi spring.
Rooting through my junk pile of salvaged materials today, I've determined that I've got what I need to put together a small chicken coop/yard, at least one big enough for maybe a dozen hens.
I've got a fenced area of around a half acre that needs maybe a day of work to finish repairing the damage that came by way of hurricane Katrina, and was followed up by damage courtesy of the morons that cut trees for the electric company, as there's a power line easement that runs nearby. It's six feet high, trenched into the ground, I built it real solid, and it oughta' have a few meat goats gettin' fat in it.
I ain't lookin' to bite off more than I can chew at once, but I'm confident I can get that much handled by spring.
Anyone feelin' a little pressured to take it up a notch on the ol' homestead before the fan goes totally brown?
This is gonna' blow the heck out of the $ that I could use to rebuild the arsenal after last years burglary, but I reckon if I can't defend myself with a
.44 mag lever action, a coupla' .22's, a 9mm, and a .357 mag, it must just be Nick's time to take the dirt nap.
 

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New priorities here, too.

Built a 30x8 greenhouse for year round food. Will also establish a garden near that this spring when the snow melts. We grew a garden last year and it froze before much production. I need to put a film type greenhouse up to extend the growing season.

I will also be planting wheat and corn, 2.5 acres of each, next spring.

I manage a 25 acre hay field on my neighbors ranch and we split the hay.

I have beef on the hoof. Chickens laying eggs. Mountain house and similar stored. Grain stored.

Horses for motive power.

I have 1000 gal of diesel, 500 gal of gas, 800 gal of propane.

Plenty of business-type guns and ammo.

I live on 160 acres and have great security. Clear sight and 4 dogs. And a Watch Goat.
 

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Got lots of guns and ammo but will be getting much more.

About 20 mature blueberry bushes, 2 pear trees, 3 apple trees (not counting the wild ones on the hill). Planning on greatly enlarging the orchard next year. Veg gardens equal about 1/2 acre but next year I would like to bump this up to at least a full acre (7 adults and 5 kids on this property- plus MANY older relatives nearby if SHTF). Planning on planting 1/2 acre of BOSS plus experimenting with growing oats, wheat. Gonna go wild with squashes, the chickens and I LOVE squash.

I have access to 3 acres of property to hay if I can find used equipment really cheap.

This year started meat rabbits, next year this will be greatly enlarged (with NZ's and mutts). I also have 24 dual purpose chickens who are now starting to lay well and we are planning on hatching and raising many more (from them) in the spring. Next spring is goats- I'm doing milking goats, BIL (possibly) starting a meat goat venture. The spring-fed watering hole will (hopefully) be turned into a pond big enough to stock some fish in and get some ducks. Possibly getting a couple beefers. We will be getting pigs and plan on keeping a couple sows and a boar permanently. Gonna experiment with a heritage breed of turkeys.

I would love to get a greenhouse in next year. I would also love to dig a root storage cellar into the side of the back hill. I would like to experiment with growing rice.

Hubby and I would LOVE to train FIL's springer for birds. She's got good instincts and would love the workouts. BIL's dachshund is a good rabbit dog (although my Flemish Giants make him a wusy boy lol). Total of 6 dogs on the property everything from my rott/dobe to my chihuahua (the ears of the operation) so nothing gets on the property without us knowing. If the coyotes get bad, we may get a couple LGD's.

Niece would love a horse, but I don't think that will happen next year.
 

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I sure am. Way prices are here. Potatoes are high. Veggies are high. I want potatoes for me and sons and root veggies and stuff to can. I am stocked on jars okay just need fill them. Seems the foxes here and the raccoons are not around now. So hopefull can grow corn. I do feel the money pinch here. Just me here on this small acreage but would like to give to the boys the way things are going.
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i've been working for a few years, little by little, on restoring more land to the point it can produce. it sure is hard to make the choices of which trees to cut, if i want to cut them, to allow sunlight where i need it. overgrown brambles, berries and briars, sure are a chore to deal with as well. i have decided to stop letting some neighbors mow the gas pipeline easement and to plant something worthwhile there. the problem is deer. that piece borders state forest and fencing just isn't in the budget. i am thinking of onion production...one or more keeper varieties, walking onions, shallots etc. as well as maybe another potato patch. i considered grains, but i have no idea what grains i could grow that deer wouldn't eat.

i finally have enough of another field cleared to establish more workable brambles...instead of wild patches. i plan to plant at least 200 feet of berries this spring. since we had the woodlot timbered a few years ago, i have a few sunny areas now in what was mostly pine forest, so i am thinking about planting a dozen blueberry bushes on one sunny hillside.

when things work out the way i want, i have enough room for most of the veggies i need. i do plan to build a few more raised beds to suppliment my standard garden. what i would like to have is more space for larger crops of dry beans, golden bantam and dent corn. i have bloody butcher corn and i really like the pa dutch brown beans i have. it just takes so dang much space for beans if you want dry beans in any quantity.

i am left with the task of clearing about 1/2 to 1 acre of hawthorn trees so i can transform a current horse pasture into garden space for golden bantam and put the horses on the hawthorn lot. that stuff is terrible to work with!

i don't want to get chickens until i can produce at least 50% of the feed. i considered meat goats, but i would have to keep only a small herd and cull every fall so as not to overwinter too many. i figure that with soem electric fence placed just right, i could move them around and keep some areas free of the overgrowth.

it sure takes a lot of planning, but yeah, i am feeling the need to expand. it also takes a lot of money initially. i NEED a deer fence around the main garden plot. i saw something this year i have never seen before, and i have gardened here all my life. i had deer eating my maters'. they ate the fruit and the plants. i finally got a grip on some disease issues only to have varmints eat my work.

i see where my needs are. i need more tater's and more maters'. a few cold frames would help with greens. the silver queen works out pretty well each year for my needs. onions would do better with a little more work. i would really like to have some sort of grain, so that is where the bloody butcher corn comes into play until i can learn to grow some sorghum.

i guess i have lots of irons in the fire, and this post is representative of my planning and needs...a big mess right now. :)
 

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We are definitely expanding this year.
The garden is bigger.. a lot bigger. There's nothing in it yet, but it is there.
We got the pigs.. only pbp, but a proven boar and a proven sow. Her last farrowing was 7 piglets and she raised them all. Good girl. PBP are small enough that we could butcher ourselves without too much trouble.
I am getting apple trees for Christmas.
We have more than doubled our flocks and the rabbits are doing well.
I do need a greenhouse and a cistern.
Those are the biggies to really doing well.
 

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I have been expanding since last year. Of course this was after downsizing for several years because I had more jobs than I could handle.
I have been really looking at a small greenhouse, too. A very basic one that Countryside Mag had in it a few years ago would be marvelous! Slowly working on the fruit trees as the lay of the land is not too condusive for them close to the house. The critters are even worse away from the house. My current project is to research pastured chicken. We have a hatchery close by and the meat birds (only) can be purchased for .10 each. That would allow me to raise a batch of 10-15 at a time. I have to work at being able to process them myself. I have kown for several years I need to do that and it keeps getting put off... I don't want to have to depend on anyone for the help. I just recently relearned that lesson. There is a butcher that has a moblie unit. I called prior to ordering birds and set up a time. Well fifty birds later and time to butcher and he bailed on me the night before. ARGH! Back to calling my brother!
Defintely plan on having birds for eggs again. They are sorely missed. Plan is to have a flock that could sustain itself for a few seasons by hatching, if need be.
All of this stuff does take time and money but the economy really is sliding into the septic and these thing have to be looked at as an investment.
We have a freezer full of meat with a half of beef coming in January. It does concern me that it is frozen but I can only can so much and I don't think DH would be into the dried stuff ;) . Now that I am back up on that I plan on staying up as that is another item that slid these last few years and did I ever miss it! Been checking on replacing the oldest freezer and possibly getting an upright for the veggies.
Meloc,
I think you need a rifle in there to take care of the deer eating your garden. I swear those things can aquire a taste for most anything growing! They love my broccoli. We now have a puppy (talk about an investment of time!) so I hope she earns her keep by scaring the deer out of the yard. So far, she seems to like that job :). Just have to keep her from chasing!
 

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I'm looking at putting in my first greenhouse, and also have bought a few more cases of canned foods than I thought I wanted stored.

Hubby got me a meat smoker for Christmas so I'll be learning to use that too. It just looks more and more like nobody can afford to shop every week and hope the prices and availability will be there.
 

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We had found a mate for our pekin duck. We will be getting them together soon. I got my first 16 chicks from Ideal. We are down to 14 now and they are doing well. We expanded our garden area. Our original plot is 50X100 feet and I am trying a much smaller lasagna garden behind the chicken coops this spring. We are planning on expanding and getting rabbits for meat soon. Will be purchasing blueberry bushes this spring as well. We currently have plenty of blackberry bushes. I would love to get pigs and goats but we are taking it one step at a time!
 

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Everything on a bigger scale here too. Right now I have 16 laying hens and two roosters, will start hatching and separating meat from egg layers in the spring. Going to bring the flock of layers up to about 30 by next fall. I tilled the garden to 3x last years size, been laying manure on top all winter, I tilled leaves and old dried grass in last fall. I found plans for a home made greenhouse here on HT a few weeks back. I bought a bunch of new Heirloom seeds recently and can't wait until planting season to get started. I also found plans for homemade generators while reading Deep Winter and Shatter last week. Buying and filling every 5 gallon can of gas I can each payday while the price of fuel is down. I More fruit trees going in, planting a lot of new blackberry bushes too. I found a place in PA. that makes canning jars, lids and rings... We are driving up in January and buying $700 worth of new canning jars and lids. I sold my horses and am in the process of changing the barn around to house rabbits and dairy goats. My daytime job is in a Chevrolet Dealership... So as you can imagine I am working the homestead hard trying to get ready for what is coming.


I currently have a freezer full of beef, with some canned as well. I have a heavy stock of grains, pasta, sugar, salt...etc... But one can never seem to have it all :)
 

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Master Of My Domain
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what's the info on that canning jar place?
 

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Can I tell you how jealous I am of everyone? I would sooo love to live where I can keep livestock and grow big gardens! I have been looking for the last year for a house that has some land in a more rural area but I cant sell my house! At this point we would probably just break even if we did. Finances are so tight right now because my business has dropped about 60% in just the last year. I am limited to where I can move to because I need to be within a reasonable driving distance to my ex so my kids can see him every week.
I love reading about everyones prepping and storage, but I am sooo jealous!!!
 

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I have been working all year long to try and turn as much of my urban lawn as I can into a food producing garden. I am still a novice at growing veggies and I have a ton of large trees which shade a lot of my back yard so I am working through some issues and hoping to find good solutions.

I have also been doing research on things like asparagus that can be planted and reproduce for years and I am thinking of trying my hand at potatoes this year. I have planted blueberry bushes up along my front walkway, it will be nice to have more berries this year, I only had two bushes last year. I am also thinking about trying to raise some fish, crawfish, anything aquatic and I want to get rabbits and chickens, I have quail already.
 

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Fillmore containers has jars and lids in bulk. I oredered 10 dozen jars there when I couldn't find them locally. They were not as cheap as buying locally but much better than other online places. Lids are name brand and very reasonable by the case.
 

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Master Of My Domain
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i'm just west of gettysburg, so they aren't too far away. i recognized the name "fillmore" from discussions of reusing lids. i may have to check them out if i get out that way.
 

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Meloc, You can watch the thrift shops for jars. Here now they do not seem to have them now much but use to. I stocked up as I could get. I had canned in qts for family now just me qts too big. Knew I would need more pints and 1/2 pints. My old half pints were 63's and can not get lids and so bought mason size. You have to watch make sure good and the price. I plan to use some qts for dried veggies and my son says he can use qts. It seems more are canning .THis also means putting shelves in between the shelves in cellar to get more shelf room. I have some of that done. These shelve I have look like built for gallons. Way far apart. I have even been able to find a couple dozen 1/4 pints. Not sure what to use for but I thought pimentos and such.
 

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i was just curious about such a business that is usually handled by "the big boys".
 

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More gardens for me and trying to better manage my poultry this year. I have turkeys,chickens and ducks. I have some fruit trees but late frosts and hungry critters make that very low producing. I would love a green house and had the backhoe man dig out the pit for it when he came and dug the hole for the 1700 gallon tank we sank in my backyard for roof rain water to use in my gardens and for my poultry. Just never had the time and resources to finish it. This just may HAVE to be the year......
 

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Jakk - I am in much of the same situation. I live in town, on a fair size lot. Last year, I put up guttering (can hook up a rain cachement system if needed - although storage might be a problem). I also have a well (unusual for a lot this size). I've put in two vegetable beds and have left the scallion and onions that were growing already. This spring, I plan on starting strawberries in my existing flower beds, expanding my garden, and getting some chickens. The chicken coop will be an opportunity for my son to earn some money (jobs for teens here are scarce).

Fortunately, chickens and even goats are not unusual in my town. Most of my neighbors have gardens - in fact, the elderly man on the corner has one that is breathtaking! Even my young next-door neighbor has one that is amazing (last year, his tomatoes were over 10 foot tall).

I guess we all need to "bloom where we are planted" - :D
 
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