If you are a regular reader or subscriber of this site, you’ve probably seen my Survival Saturday posts and newsletters. Because I am a voracious reader and a current events junkie, I decided that I’d write a weekly post and let you know what I found to be the pertinent news stories of the week.
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect this feature to be so incredibly popular. The feedback, the number of views, and the encouragement has been astounding.
So, I figured if you liked the same news stories that I like, you might also enjoy some other types of articles. Just to try it out, I wanted to do a couple of extra posts per week of the things that I have found valuable that don’t necessarily fit into the Saturday news post. Today I want to introduce something I’ll continue weekly if you enjoy it, tentatively named “The Week’s Best Self-Reliance Strategies.”
This will be a collection of articles, products, and books that I found personally helpful during the week. The topics will be related to our shared love of self-reliance: prepping; homesteading on all levels (whether you have a balcony or 100 acres); DIY projects so you can make stuff instead of buying it; and some posts that will inspire you to seek independence in all things. Mixed in, I’ll talk about some of the things going on here at my little farm, so you can see how I found these articles to be relatable, and just because it’s nice to get to know each other better.
Your mission, should you choose to accept it (cue Mission Impossible theme music) is to share the things that YOU learned this week. I really want to see a community grow here, where we can discuss things, teach each other, and ask questions. So please, comment! And if there is an article you found someplace that deserves a mention, please feel free to share it. There is not a single prepper out there who has all of the answers. It’s a journey for us all, and we can really speed the way by sharing our own experiences and information.
I’m putting together one more post of this type – be looking for it on Friday. Please let me know what you think. Do you love this format? Hate it? Wish I’d stick to articles? Have suggestions for other topics for a weekly round-up? Please share your thoughts below.
Introducing the Self-Reliance Weekly Report
Do bargain buys make a prepper stockpile? Just because a food is cheap, it doesn’t necessarily earn a place in your emergency food stockpile. Every time I see those coupon-clipping maven’s pantries, I just cringe. Not because there is anything at all wrong with coupons and buying things at a bargain price, mind you. But often the foods are totally bereft of nutritional value, they’re just placed on a shelf in their original packaging, and those who choose foods strictly because they’re cheap won’t end up with a very balanced pantry. This article talks about working the bargains into your stockpile strategy. If you’re new to prepping, you can also check out this guide to learn about building your pantry from square one.
Winter is coming…finally. It seems like winter got a late start this year for most of the country, but this week, the weather could be making up for lost time, bringing ice, snow, and high winds in a “colossal” storm headed to the Eastern part of the US. Weather like this makes power outages likely. It isn’t enough to just have some food on hand (although you should definitely have emergency food!) – have you thought about how you could stay warm if a power outage meant that your usual heating method didn’t work? Check out these tips for keeping warm in during a winter-time power outage. As well, check up this round-up of 20 ways to winterize your home and homestead before the big storm hits.
Are you trying to come up with the money to start homesteading? I can tell you for a fact, it’s an expensive process, buying animals, setting up shelters, and modifying your property, and the rewards don’t come overnight – it took me nearly 8 months to realize any food for my efforts. I wish I had come across these tips for getting started frugally when I first began. Actually, I just got my new fella, Bon Jovi, for free using a tip from the article. Here’s a picture of him in all of his colorful glory.
How do you introduce a new rooster to your girls? I asked two experts: Janet Garman, the author of Chickens from Scratch and Jess Lane, the brains behind The 104 Homestead. Why? Because Mr. Bon Jovi, a 5-month-old Copper Maran, was a bit overly enthusiastic when I let him out of quarantine to meet my ladies and my Silkie rooster, Orwell, who is awfully cute but not necessarily the toughest rooster around. (He’s sort of like the metrosexual male of the chicken world). First, I learned that age 5-6 months is like a cross between the terrible twos and teenage angst in the rooster world, so hopefully this shall pass. Then, with some further reading, I learned a bit more about how they naturally sort out their pecking order. (Isn’t it funny, when you start raising livestock, how much you discover about where all of those old adages come from?)
Want to get a jump start on garden season by planting a little earlier? Simple garden structures can extend your season on both ends of summer by helping to protect your plants against cold weather. I’m going to make these simple row covers for my small raised beds to get my spring veggies going as soon as possible.
Do you have medicinal herbs in your garden? I’m going to try my hand at growing these 10 particularly useful plants. I’m also going to add some tea herbs like peppermint and chamomile because we love them. Herbs are an essential part of your natural medicine cabinet. Do you have other recommendations to add to the list?
- Here’s a new homemade laundry detergent recipe made with nontoxic ingredients (no Borax, no naptha-containing soap)
- How to build your own AR (If that’s not the ultimate prepper DIY I don’t know what is!)
- 50 DIY prepper projects (Not only are the projects useful, but this is a great way to get into a prepper state of mind)
- How to dye yarn with a common plant (for the fiber artists among us)
- Check out this primer on identifying animal tracks (Great activity to do with the kids when the snow flies)
On guns and self-reliance…If you’ve read many articles here, you know that I’m a strong advocate of concealed carry and the safe use of firearms. If you’re just getting started, the slower schedule of winter allows you some extra time to get some instruction so that you can become more comfortable with your weapon. For new gun owners, there are some common mistakes that you’ll want to avoid. Being able to defend yourself, your loved ones, and your property is an essential part of self-reliance. Remember, if you can’t protect it, you don’t really own it.
On the current efforts to centralize agriculture…From the very beginning, America’s founders realized that a strong and decentralized agriculture was essential for the maintenance of a free and independent republic. Because of this history, we should really question the current state of our country’s agriculture. It seems that only huge corporate farms with unsavory practices are blessed by the USDA, while small farmers have to jump through hoops and scramble around legal barriers to make a living. Here’s why this matters.
We’ve had some epic chaos here at the farm this week. Due to the massive rains (that California desperately needs – not complaining!) we are partially underwater. Unfortunately, the victim of this low-level flood is my septic system. Last weekend (of course – when no help was available) it began backing up into my bathtub. The groundwater is pouring into the system. Here’s a photo of how quickly things were filling back up. This was taken 5 minutes after 2000 gallons of sewage mixed with water was pumped out.
In other (and much better) farm news, I did some bartering with 6 of my ducks, and the others will be headed to “freezer camp” as soon as I can clear out the space in my freezer. I’ve ordered 25 meat chicks to get a start on next year’s freezer supply. They’ll arrive in March. I took the advice of a reader and went with Freedom Rangers.
Little Gus, our recent adoptee Yorkshire terrier, is thriving and making friends with the big dogs. He’s almost up to 5 pounds now and his confidence is increasing daily. Here he is with our guard dog, Thor.
What’s going on at your farm or urban homestead right now? How’s the weather in your area? Please share your updates in the comments below!
Books and Products
The following are products that I personally use and have recommended in the article above. (These are affiliate links, and purchasing through them costs you nothing extra but provides a small commission.)
Spark Naturals are the essential oils we use. I like the fact that Spark doesn’t have the hype of some of the multi-level marketing oil companies out there. They are simply good products at a fair price. ORDER HERE (and put DAISY in as the promo code for an additional discount.)
My new oil diffuser just arrived a week ago, just in time for my septic system crisis (thank goodness). This one has an automatic shut off when the water runs out, and dispenses a light mist that isn’t overpowering. My friend Gaye, from Backdoor Survival, recommended it and she’s never steered me wrong. I love this little gadget. ORDER HERE.
Numanna is the only emergency food that we use. It’s non-GMO and free of the nasty ingredients like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, and soy. They also have gluten-free products, which is of particular importance to us since two family members suffer from a fairly severe intolerance to wheat. ORDER HERE.
This is my new chicken-raising Bible. After Janet’s sound advice regarding our new rooster, I picked this up. It’s warm, friendly, and makes all things chicken sound easy and approachable for even the least experienced wannabe farmer. ORDER HERE.
Jim Cobb’s book is a must-have to get you into that prepper state of mind. The projects all use basic items you will find around your house – there’s not an expensive shopping list in sight. The best thing about this book is how it helps you to tap into your inner MacGuyver and learn to solve problems using whatever you happen to have on hand. (Here’s my review of this book for more information.) ORDER HERE.
This book tells you how to build a pantry based on healthful, nutritious whole food, even if your budget is tight. This is the second edition of the book. The original edition was my first person account of rebuilding our pantry from scratch after we moved back to the United States from Canada. We weren’t allowed to bring our food with us, so we started from square one. The new edition is greatly expanded, with more how-tos, more lists, more budget advice, and even a bonus chapter full of healthy, pantry-based recipes. ORDER HERE.