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Prepper or homesteader with a gun?

I’ve been reading a lot about what to do once we pour all of our 401K monies into a fairly remote homestead in the heart of the American Redoubt. I mean, is it our retreat?  Does all of those funds just sit there “in case” something bad happens?  I guess if I had a lot of money and only invested what “I can do without” then I could just leave it empty ready for that emergency.  The same way that the government of the United States does with its “just in case bunkers” because they are important, or what the super-rich are doing with their just in case bunkers and fancy condos in old nuclear silos, because they are important.  My family is important and I know that tomorrow is not promised.  We are economically headed for a cliff, but in the mean time there are a bunch of Black Swans flying around the room.  I will shelter them if I can, come what may.

JoelSalatin2Recently I’ve thought it is a shame to leave a fully functional potential homestead empty and continue to live down here in the lowlands, in the deep blue death-spiral states.  As you have seen in recent posts, things are becoming untenable for us, even without me loosing one of my jobs.  In the last 24 months energy cost have increased 40%, gas is a third more than other parts of the nation and cost to be employed are steadily rising.  This is not including the incredible increase in fees.  Now as you know I have long rejected the concept of sleeping in an RV on boxes of MRE’s and ammunition waiting for TSHTF.  That is a great way to be single and miserable.   I am also moving from having a retreat “in case of emergency” to more of a Catholic Land Movement motivated self-reliant homestead.  Thus, we are warming up to the idea of moving sooner than later.  Not simply because “something bad might happen” but in search of a simpler, freer, better life.  A growing desire simply to live a better life, no matter if anything “tragic” happens or not has led me to look at the homestead as not simply a “retreat” in case of emergency, but as a homestead.  You have detected that in my writings.  This has started me down the path of using the land, farming the land.  And that has led me to sustainable farming and self-reliant living, which has led me to Joel Salatin.  The point of this post.

Joel Salatin describes himself as “Christian-libertarian environmentalist capitalist lunatic Farmer.”  He seems to be a leader in the sustainable farming for quite awhile.   I have included the video of a presentation of Joel Salatin made in 2014 to Idaho Center for Sustainable Agriculture annual symposium on 18NOV2014 in Nampa, ID.  Some people define sustainable farming as “an integrated system of organic or non-genetically modified organisms (GMO) plant and organic or animals who have not been modified by antibiotic and hormonal treatments production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term.”  The opposite of sustainable farming is GMO mono-culture crop and “industrial” farming methods with animals that are modified by hormones often to grow faster and antibiotics so they can live in cramped conditions including their own feces.  Check out the video “factory farming.”  It has a point, but I apologize for the over the top vegan “animals have rights” back stop.    Joel Salatin’s family lost their farm in Venezuela to a socialist purge, and he has created his family’s new farm the 550-acre farm called Polyface or the Five Face farm.  Polyface farm is located far outside of the American Redoubt in a rural area of Swoope, Virginia. His farm includes meat and egg chickens, pigs, turkeys, and rabbits.  I have enjoyed many presentations he has given over the years.  He is focused on taking any plot of land and making it a money making sustainable farm.  One of the things Salatin is pretty serious about is supporting his local community.  He focuses selling his farm produce to his local community.  He calls his beef “beyond organic” and he appears to be correct.  You can buy some of his produce at Relay Foods.  I wonder if we have a similar online organic food store in the American Redoubt.  Joel Salatin is not exactly prepper, but he believes we will have a “…balancing of nature’s (profit and loss) PNL statement…” in the future.  He thinks the best way to prepare and / or avoid this potential environmental issue is to develop natural sustainable farming methods and spread those around the nation and planet.  I feel his approach is food focused soft secession.

Quote-First-Supermarket-Joel-SalatinOne of the things in listening to Joel Salatin I’ve started to think about “cover crops.”   A cover crop is a crop planted primarily to manage soil erosion, soil fertility, soil quality, water, weeds, pests, diseases, biodiversity and wildlife in an agroecosystem.  One of the primary uses of cover crops is to increase soil fertility. Now I realize “…no plan survives contact with reality.” However, remember the other side of that (I think I added) is “…only a fool starts an endeavor without a plan.”  I also understand that I am not a farmer. However, I like to read.  And I like to plan.  Some of you may have land laying “feral” in remote areas, why not work on planting a cover crop on that land in the mean time.  Using sustainable methods to improve the soil and land for its eventual use?   If you don’t have a dream, a vision, an objective, it is hard to realize the success.  It seems Joel Salatin is a huge proponent that your land should always be “growing something.”  And there are a lot of things that you can plant that can put nutrients into the soil.  I didn’t realize that.  The problem with “cover crops” is they should be for a purpose.  You have to figure what you want to do with the land, and then you ask for them to help you provide a mix of cover crops that you can plant and let them heal and strengthen the land.  After thinking about it, my theory is this:

1.  I want to choke the weed Yellow Thistle.  It has invaded about 2 of my 5 acres.
2.  I want to support a small garden plot.

When looking at a small garden plot, I thought, my family is not a vegetable family.  I mean we only like carrots, and love broccoli, really like radish, onions, mushrooms and asparagus.  I don’t know if potatoes are a vegetable, but we eat them like they are going out of style also.  Thus, I realized we do like vegetables. On meat, we simply eat a lot of chicken.  A lot.  We eat good amounts of beef and port, but chicken is our stable.  We tried rabbits several times, and we could live with them if we wanted to, but rabbits have a lot of bones for the meat.

Then I thought about what animals we would try our hand out.  The problem of animals is that I have come to realize that all farming is the management and movement of crap, droppings, “manure” if you are using your big boy words.  My youngest daughter says she wants a “pony” when we move to our homestead, I said, sure as long as you pick up after it and feed and water it daily.  She said sure and thus she is solely caring for the dog.  We will revisit her desire in a month or so.

The other problem with animals on a homestead is you can’t leave.  An adult or adult-like person must always be on the homestead as long as you have animals.  We like to travel, and sometimes we like to travel together.  Here is the solution I thought up.  We should first look at animals we could harvest once a year, and then travel, and then repeat for the next year and see how that goes.  Thus the “starter” homestead animals we came up with:

1.  Pigs.
2.  Meat / egg chickens
3.  Goats

Thus the hypothesis is that we can raise a “crop” of these animals through the school year, harvest them and then as we like to do, travel.   The last bit of our homesteading dream is to have a small orchard of apples, pears, and grapes.  Again, what we want to grow is scientifically decided by what our family eats.  We have gotten smart enough to think through dwarf fruit trees that are breed to be disease resistant.   Perhaps it is not a great plan, but it is where we like to start.

Covercrop1Thus, when I look at the cover crop, I want lay down I can now say the objective.  I would like the two acres to be purged of the demon weed (Yellow Thistle) and then turned over to open range for chickens and goats.  I would like to put down a small orchid of apples, pears and grapes on a portion of the land and small plot garden to grow carrots, broccoli, radish, onions, mushrooms, asparagus, and potatoes.  We will also have an open area / grass for grass for goats and pigs.

What do you want your land to do?  What is your plan to add fertility to your land?  What is your dream objective for your plot of land?