The Realities of Homesteading Today

The Realities of Homesteading Today
By William Kelland
Is homesteading still a possibility for those desiring a simpler, more natural life? The answer is YES, with some qualifications. Find out the realities of homesteading today in this article.
Homesteading today is unlikely to begin with finding free property. There are no national programs that provide land in exchange for developing it. The programs that do exist are local, and tend to be in remote areas of the country.
This means that most likely you will be buying your homestead property, and possibly acquiring a mortgage to do so. Even if you are able to acquire the land and build on it mortgage-free, there will still be property taxes. Therefore homesteading today will require more cash money than in pioneer days.
This means you will need a plan to support yourself, with one or more work from home businesses, or a job off -homestead job. It is possible to run your homestead as a mini farm, raising vegetable crops and livestock to feed yourself, with a surplus for sale.
However, don't underestimate the learning curve required to be successful at these endeavors; it can take several seasons to learn how to reliably and efficiently produce most crops. And if you are depending on your mini farm for cash flow, you will need to focus on crops that provide a quick turnaround.
This would rule out starting an orchard for example, as most tree fruit will take several years to bear a crop. Even most small fruit will produce nothing the first season. One business that does provide relatively quick cashflow is a market garden.
The start-up cost for this homestead business can be quite low, if you start smart. You could begin by growing vegetables for yourself and perhaps a few friends and neighbours. You could even solicit some cash from them to help with the start-up costs, and pay them back with vegetables from your garden
Market gardening is easily scalable; that is, you can start small, then as your skills and confidence grow, you can expand to the limits of your property (and your ambition). This fulfills one of the requirements of homesteading today.
Raising meat chickens and weaner pigs are two more possibilities for the modern homesteader. Day-old meat chicks will be roaster size and ready for sale in 10 to 12 weeks; weaner pigs will reach market weight in about 4-5 months. This means that, in most areas, these livestock animals can be raised in a summer season. Raising your livestock in warm weather only means low start-up costs.
These are great starter farm businesses, and the whole family can help out. Kids can get involved looking after the animals, and learn where there food really comes from.
These three homestead businesses have the potential to provide you food and folding money. But before you jump in, you need to ask yourself if you are ready for the realities of homesteading today. Needless to say there will be hard work, but beyond this successful homesteading requires a mindset of self-reliance.
You are 100 percent responsible for the success of your homestead; you need to value function over form, have a tolerance for setbacks, and have a genuine love for going your own way. Your life partner better have these characteristics, too, or it will be an unhappy little homestead.
So if you are immune to stress, treat every problem like a learning opportunity, and believe that the only real security is what you can carve out for yourself, you may be ready for homesteading today.
William Kelland is the owner of award-winning New Terra Farm and the author of 4 books about making a living on a small property. You can find out more about the realities of modern homesteading at Homesteading Today
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The Realities of Raising Chickens

(image: Katie Brady)
The Realities of Raising Chickens
By Amy Wicks
A lot of my friends have been interested in raising their own chickens in their suburban areas so I thought I would write a post on the realities of this age-old venture. Many of you know that my dad is a farmer and has many hobbies including raising chickens. I thought it would be great to get some insight as to how doable and how much work it is to raise chickens in a restricted space setting so I asked my dad for some advice.
1. What is the best thing about having chickens? It is fun to gather the eggs each morning and there is something about fresh eggs that tastes a lot better than store-bought.
2. How many eggs does a typical chicken lay per week? If the chicken is happy and well fed, it will usually lay one egg a day. Currently, we have 15 chickens so we gather about 7 dozen eggs per week.
3. What is the hardest thing about raising chickens? Surprisingly, it is keeping predators away. There are many predators of chickens but some of the most tenacious ones have been domesticated dogs. Other predators that raise a risk to chickens include possums and raccoons who will even tunnel under the chicken enclosure.
4. What do you wish you knew before starting to raise chickens? It is definitely an everyday chore, chickens need a lot of attention; you can't just up and leave for the weekend, you have to keep your eye on them, they need plenty of food and water.
5. What has surprised you about raising chickens? They need gravel in their gizzards to help them grind their food. Chickens have no teeth so you need to throw a bit of gravel in their pinned area so that they can collect it. Also, an interesting fact is that you can tell the color of the eggs by the color of their ears. Brown eared hens lay brown eggs, white ears produce white eggs.
6. What advice can you give about raising chickens? Roosters are probably not suitable for the city or a suburban area because they make a lot of noise, but if there is no rooster, one hen will take on the rooster role becoming dominant and protective over all the others. While in this role, the hen doesn't lay eggs.
7. What would you need to start raising chickens if you had very limited space in your yard? How much space is the minimum you would need? A movable coop is best for limited space; there are many plans for them and you can purchase them online, some weighing as little as a wheelbarrow. You need at least 1.5 sq ft per chicken, if you had a 7-10 sq ft space you could have about 5 chickens in a movable coop. I would start out with a minimum of 3 chickens as they are quite sociable and are happier in a group. The concept of a movable coop is that it is light, portable, and can be transferred easily around your yard. The issue is that any grass chickens are in will turn to dirt within a few days because chickens like to search for bugs, therefore, it is best to rotate the chickens around your yard if you do not have a dedicated coop area. Chickens also prefer to be rotated around and are happier with the change in environment as opposed to the traditional fixed coop.
8. Are chickens safe around children? Chickens are generally safe around children but they become aggressive and could peck if left unfed.
9. How much do chickens eat? Ten chickens will go through a 50lb bag of feed along with grass and bugs in one month. You can supplement some feed with vegetable trimmings and scraps even introducing omega 3's into the eggs by adding fish to their diet. They also need a calcium supplement which can be found in the form of oyster shells to help make their egg shells thicker. Chickens cannot eat potatoes or rice.
10. Anything else you would like to add about chickens?
  • You can keep eggs for up to 3 months at 44 degrees.
  • To help eggs last longer, don't wash them completely because they have a natural protective coating.
  • You can use an LED flashlight as a candler, what you are looking for is a blood spot within the egg. If you crack an egg and find one it needs to be discarded and is not edible.
  • They sleep up high on a roost, you can use a branch or dowel within your coop and they love it!
  • Twice a year, chickens molt, or lose all of their feathers and during this time they do not lay eggs.
  • They are very comical animals.

for more informative articles on DIY, home design, crafts and how to create your dream home please visit my blog!
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Getting Government Land for Free - Is it Easy?

(image: SnapsterMax)
Getting Government Land For Free - Is it Easy?
By Ian Pennington
Even in an economic downturn, housing prices are still rising far beyond the rate of pay. Many middle class families have found themselves simply priced out of the housing market. If you are a family in this situation, finding government land for free or at least very cheaply can sound like an attractive option.
There are a few ways to find government land for free or cheap. Although none of these are guaranteed sources, many people have used them with great success. You can use them as springboards for your own home hunting search.
1. The Bureau of Land Management. This government agency owns land all over the country, but it only is allowed to sell its land in the far Western states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. It doesn't usually give land away for free, although there have been a few notable exceptions, but it usually sells it for cheaper than average prices. These parcels are often in less populated areas but has been professionally maintained and may be ready to be built upon. If you are trying to get government land for free, the BLM may be a good starting point.
2. Homesteading. Although the federal homesteading act was shut down decades ago, many sparsely populated states have homesteading programs. These usually require the prospective landowner to build a house on the land in question and to put in electricity and roads. The homeowners must personally live on the land for five to ten years before becoming official owners. The areas that have homesteading programs are usually very remote and may be hours away from the nearest small town, so this is a great option for people who want to live off the beaten path--WAY off the beaten path.
3. Land grants. Another way to get land for free or very cheaply is to buy it with government land grants. These are available to help low income people, minorities, and women become property owners. Although few grants offer enough money to outright buy a home, many can be combined to take a supersized chunk out of one's housing cost. With information on these grants available throughout the internet, there is no reason to pay full price, or even half of full price, on your dream home.
4. Government Auctions. Although you will not find free land at a government auction, you will find land listed for just pennies on the dollar. If you are the only bidder, the price never goes up. Most people at a government auction are there looking for a deal, so the prices often never reach even half of what would be charged on the open market. If you buy a home and auction, you may be able to sell it for three to four times what you paid. If you do this a few times, you will have the money you need to buy your own home free and clear--without ever spending more than you did on rent. This is a deal that no American citizen can afford to pass up. Your taxes already paid for that property--why pay for it twice?
Ian Pennington is an accomplished niche website developer and author.
To learn more about getting government land for free [], please visit New Selling Real Estate [] for current articles and discussions.
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Prepping With Redundancies

Prepping With Redundancies
By Alex D Newton
Most preppers follow the "rule of three" which states that for every prep and every plan there is a backup, and for all of those backups there is another backup. Confused yet? Yeah, most people are confused. Part of the confusion stems from people not understanding when you need a backup versus when you need a redundancy, and the difference between the two. So, for this article I will fill you in on how I view them and how I use each of them in prepping.
Backups are very important in prepping. A good example of a backup is in your planning processes. When planning to Bug Out you will ultimately need to map a route from your location to your bug out location. Knowing full well that this route could become compromised for any number of reasons you would need to create a backup plan, which is a new route with the same start and destination.
When dealing with items (knives, guns, flashlights, etc) most people will use the term "backup" to describe a secondary device kept in case of a failure or loss of the primary device. I agree with this usage as most people don't ensure that their backup devices are the exact same as their primary devices. They will perform the same functions, but the make, model or style is most likely going to be different.
A redundancy is not just a backup, it is a backup of the exact same make, model or type. The advantage of utilizing redundancies is that it allows you to service your items if they malfunction with parts from other malfunctioned devices of that line. A good example would be a flashlight. If you have five flashlights of differing brands, sizes and lumens, then as they break they are useless in a SHTF situation. However, if you have five flashlights that are redundant to each other and one breaks due to a lens malfunction and another breaks due to a battery connection issue you can possibly use the parts to come up with one working flashlight. Instead of having three left you still have four, and so on down the line. You have in effect extended the life of the tool.
The most apparent need for redundancy in prepping (and least utilized) is in firearms. Many preppers will collect a vast array of weapons of differing caliber, make, model and type thinking that the sheer number of weapons will suffice. This is a false sense of security however as firearms will wear down and break over time. A smart prepper with multiple redundant firearms systems (all pistols, rifles, shotguns of similar makes, models and types) can easily extend the life of his firearms using pieces and parts from weapons that have malfunctioned or broken over time. Instead of having seven different pistols of differing specs, perhaps have seven pistols of the same make, model and type.
This goes beyond the common practice of making sure your weapons have interchangeable ammunition and into the idea of having weapons with interchangeable parts. In a true SHTF event it may be rather difficult to find the parts and pieces you need to fix your weapons. Having the ability to fix them yourself by scavenging from your own stock would certainly be a bonus.
Lastly, if the federal government does manage to incorporate a new assault weapons ban the parts needed to fix your existing weapons may not be available. It would certainly be advisable to have additional weapons or parts available during such a ban to keep your weapons operating properly.
Alex Newton
Plan and Prep -
Author - Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse
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How to Build a Wood Gasifier

Preppers and Survivalists: Who Are They and What Do They Believe?

Preppers and Survivalists: Who Are They and What Do They Believe?

By Mike Kuykendall

To many people, the word "Prepper" brings up notions of a camouflage wearing, gun-toting scary survivalist who is waiting for the end of the world. However, most Preppers are very ordinary people who don't stand out in a crowd. They are doctors and plumbers and lawyers and carpenters and school teachers. Most of them don't even own any camouflage!

So what is a "Prepper?"

Although there could be as many definitions as there are people involved in each movement, the basic definition is that a Prepper is someone who stores equipment and supplies and food in case of an emergency. That emergency could be a major natural disaster like a hurricane or a tornado, a forest fire or gas leak that requires a neighborhood to be evacuated, or anything up to a major collapse of the country's power grid. Preppers also take seriously the threat of how a terrorist attack could affect the power grid or the nationwide supply network that keeps our grocery stores' shelves stocked.

Preppers will typically have several weeks to a year's supply of food stocked up, along with flashlights, blankets, a water filtering system and usually a portable backup generator. These are people who are not affected very much by a multi-day power outage or a broken water main that causes a run on bottled water at the grocery store.

What is a "Survivalist?"

Typically a Survivalist is a hard core Prepper who, in addition to being prepared for a natural disaster, is very concerned about a breakdown in law and order. In addition to the Preppers' concern about "SHTF" (shit hits the fan) scenarios, Survivalists are concerned with "TEOTWAWKI" (the end of the world as we know it) and "WROL" (without rule of law) situations. Survivalists see the social order as being very fragile: dependent upon an increasingly burdened government welfare system that must keep over 44 million Americans on Food Stamps. They understand all too well that if America's extraordinary debt is not continually recycled by foreign countries willing to purchase our T-bills and bonds, we could face hyperinflation like in Zimbabwe and Weimar Germany that could cause massive civil unrest. Dangerous times and great risks call for precautions, and Survivalists consider their personal safety, and that of their loved ones, paramount. A Survivalist will have firearms and usually a very specific plan for "hunkering down" or "bugging out" if law and order break down.

What Can We Learn From Preppers and Survivalists

It would be hard to find a Survivalist who is not a Prepper, and likewise most Preppers have thought a lot about survivalism and protecting themselves. Anyone would greatly benefit from thinking about these two groups of people and what can be learned from them.

If there was a power outage that lasted for more than two or three days, what would you do? If the governments (city, state and federal) couldn't take care of the Hurricane Katrina victims, what does that tell you about being prepared? Have you considered that a natural gas leak, train derailment with hazardous materials, power outage or terror attack could turn your family into refugees if you don't have a plan?

What if disaster strikes and you are away from home? To learn the 5 things you should always have in your car to be prepared for everything, you can click HERE.

And to learn how you can become prepared and confident no matter what disaster strikes, you can go here: Prepared For Everything.

You may be surprised at how little preparation it takes to give yourself a great deal of peace of mind as you are positioned to meet disaster head on.

By Mike Kuykendall, Preparedness Expert

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Survivalist Vs Prepper, Is There A Difference?

Survivalist Vs Prepper, Is There A Difference?
By Gregory Shepard
Record numbers of people are purchasing supplies and trying to adopt to a more self-reliant lifestyle. Not so long ago having extra supplies was considered completely normal. Raising livestock, poultry and growing your own garden was a lifestyle, not a hobby. A recent survey found that over half of all Americans have less than a three day supply of food in their homes. Many people have no emergency supplies, not even a first aid kit.
A prepper is anyone who is concerned about not being a helpless victim in case of an emergency. They are primarily concerned about natural disasters, power failure, economic collapse, hyperinflation and job loss. Preppers have a lot in common with the people that lived through the 1930's in the Great Depression, in that they save, conserve, re-use and try to be prepared for anything. They maintain a long term food supply and can make do at least a few months on the food that they've stockpiled. Preppers are the resourceful people in your neighborhoods. Preppers are the kind of people you want to have around if something goes wrong. Not many who call themselves "preppers" would want to be termed "survivalists" however. Many preppers go out of their way to avoid the stereotypes that comes with the "survivalist" label. Prepping is just a new word for a very old way of life.
A survivalist takes being prepared as seriously as the prepper does. Then it's brought up to another level, with a focus on the complete collapse of civilization. In addition to food and equipment, the survivalist will stock up on guns and ammunition and have a plan for a retreat from populated areas when society collapses. Survivalists believe that there will come a time when they will definitely have to defend themselves, families, food and supplies. The average prepper does have guns and devotes time and energy to self-defense, generally not on the level of the survivalist. Survivalists will be more likely to concentrate their efforts on having a safe stockpiled place where they can retreat to if there are widespread riots and civil unrest. The survivalist is planning for the "TEOTWAWKI" scenario that is known as The End Of The World As We Know It. A survivalist is more prepared to go their own way for the long haul and often by living in the wilds.
Both preppers and survivalists are strongly focused on self-reliance. A prepper or a survivalist think in terms of learning skills to be able to survive while stockpiling the items and supplies that they plan on needing before a change in their living conditions. They share a need for being prepared for a variety of situations and will have survival kits at the ready in case they have to leave. Neither believe that the government will be able to stabilize the threats to our current lifestyle, and they will need to be able to take care of themselves. They look for signs that indicate an event is eminent and have a plan to survive. The fact is that there is not a lot of distinction between preppers vs. survivalists, they have a lot more in common than they do differences. It is just a matter of degrees.
Wikipedia defines survivalism as this:
Survivalism is a movement of individuals or groups (called survivalists or preppers) who are actively preparing for emergencies, including possible disruptions in social or political order, on scales from local to international. Survivalists often acquire emergency medical and self-defense training, stockpile food and water, prepare to become self-sufficient, and build structures (e.g., a survival retreater an underground shelter) that may help them survive a catastrophe.
So the differences between a prepper and a survivalist can at times be a little blurred. Which one better fits your attitude and mindset about being prepared instead of being a victim? How much confidence do you have that you will be okay if things start to come apart? Now that you know about some of the differences between a prepper and a survivalist, you can make your own conclussions. Even if you don't believe that the end of the world will be happening any time soon, you need to make a choice about how much you will become prepared for any emergency. With America's infrastructure and world economies becoming more fragile every day, it's a good idea to stock up, just in case. A good rule of thumb is to do what you can as soon as you can. Don't be part of the many that will be thinking "I wish I would have done... "
So if you think of yourself as a prepper or a survivalist, the foundation of your belief is the same, being prepared. Make a survival plan that fits your particular needs. There will be a lot of similarity between most survival plans, but it is important to look at your location and budget. At Get Real Essentials we have a wide selection of outdoor, security and disaster preparedness items. Stay prepared for anything with high quality products from, where we put your needs in life as our #1 concern. Worth checking out today.
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Outdoor Survival Tips for the Hunter

Outdoor Survival Tips for the Hunter
By Marshall Keller
Every year fishermen and hunters find themselves in survival situations. Due to the nature of our outdoor hobbies we tend to leave the trail. We venture to find the biggest fish or to shoot a buck. This naturally puts us out in the elements to begin with. The weather changes on us in a heartbeat or it's the dead of winter or the middle of the summer. Our surroundings don't have straight sidewalks with corners and street signs.
According to the Custer County Search and Rescue in Colorado, after the first 24 hours of being lost survival chances drop to 50%. Each day thereafter is drops another 25%. Usually after 4 days it turns into a recovery operation instead of a rescue. For well those of us who venture into the outdoors often we need to take steps to increase our chance for survival before even leaving the house.
The first thing sportsmen must do before ever leaving on their trip to an unfamiliar area is a map study. If you spent time in the area before this may not be as crucial depending on how many times you spent in the area. Everyone going on the trip needs to know as well as have a copy of a map for the area.
GPS devices work great, most of the time. Just like any other device they can break, get wet, batteries go bad, or not get a signal. Having a map and compass, even if it's a little thumb sized compass, can make the difference between staying in the woods for 5 days or getting back to the camp by night fall. As we said in the military all the time, one is none, two is one. At some point your first line of gear breaks, usually at the most in opportune time.
The second thing all sportsmen need to do is inform others of your plans. Make copies of the map you take with you. Give it to someone you trust. Also make plans to communicate with them when you can. Set time windows when you will call them. In today's day and age everyone carries a cell phone. Make sure to keep it charged. If you hike in and can't make a daily window, you need to make sure that you have a drop dead time that you will call. If things go south in a hurry, someone will know where to look. This narrows the search radius and ups your survival chances.
As your final line to your survival, carry the necessities to live. Rod Alne, a 27 year veteran with the Air Force Para-Rescue Unit and owner of The PEAK Inc., recommends taking the three Tier System. On your body Tier 1, in a pouch or fanny pack Tier 2, and finally in your back pack Tier 3. Tier 1 consists of the absolutely bare minimum suggested for survival up to Tier 3 which carries your comfort items that increase your odds for survival.
Learn more about the Three Tier Survival System at Rod Alne at The PEAK Inc. helped contribute the information on needed survival gear. Rod Alne is a 27 year veteran of the Special Forces and trains SAR units from all of the USA and Canada.
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Vehicle Bug Out Prepping for SHTF

How to Be Prepared Mentally For Survival

How to Be Prepared Mentally For Survival

By Lisa M Martin

In most cases, survival is ensured prior to catastrophic events. Knowledge of survival skills is necessary to help cope after life threatening occurrences. Nowadays, victims are taught the necessary mental skills to help rid them of their frustrations.


People should be able to manage stress, as it impacts both their mental and physical wellbeing. Lack of this knowledge would result in heavy mental illness that could lead to substance abuse. Victims of catastrophic events often find solace in substances that make it easier to ignore what has happened them. The ability to cope with stress is sometimes genetic, but is typically a learned survival skill. Lack of mental survival can result in some the following effects.

• Disorders in posttraumatic circumstances
• Severe to mild depression
• At some point suicide
• Debilitating panic attacks
• Psychotic breaks

Failure to cope with stress may result in physical illness, as levels of cortisols produced by the body will be high. This is the body's response mechanism in a fight or flight situations. An overload of this substance might go to the extent of seizures and hallucinations.

Cortisol provides a lot of energy and raises our body's tolerance to pain. Our attention capacity to dangerous situations also shoots up with it. However, it is not supposed to stay long in the human body, making it imperative that victims of catastrophic circumstances know how to handle stressful situations.

Coping Strategies

Some people have stronger abilities to withstand stress than others. This resilience comes from being prepared-either genetically or with learned knowledge-to handle these forms of calamities. Here are the characteristics of an individual who is well-equipped to handle stressful situations:

1. They view problems as opportunities and not impediments.
2. They exhibit a philosophy of having a will where there is a way.
3. They are able to think outside the box.
4. They have high emotional intelligence and self-esteem.
5. They are able to downplay their grief and focus on what they want to do.
6. They have wide comfort zones, thus enabling them to comfortably undergo unpleasant situations.

Resilience in Survival

Resilience is the reason why some individuals with past traumatic experience later lead successful lives. Overindulgence in substances is normally a follow up to a catastrophic event, but with time and guidance, one can get back on track and live fully once again. Here are some guidelines for being resilient:

1. Find something amusing in every moment.

2. Involve yourself in gaming activities.

3. Enjoy the healing effects of meditation.

4. Always keep a journal. Use it to narrate your fears and hope. This is a better way to help you handle your stress. With time, you gain insight into the solution regarding your current situation.

5. Do not berate yourself about a problem for which you were unprepared. Have in mind that everybody is a human are we are all bound to make mistakes. Learn from mistakes.

6. Take a considerable amount of your time to sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is recommended. Remember that your brain functions better with sufficient sleep. Sleep deprivation rapidly decreases our thinking capabilities. This leads to poor decisions and simple but costly mistakes.

7. Being afraid is normal. Come up with an honest appraisal of your situation. Take a deep breath and understand the reason why you are afraid. This will come naturally as a response to your feelings. Reacting appropriately to the situation and rectifying it as soon as possible increases your chances of surviving it.

8. As you prepare for the worst, have hope for the best. Learn how to convert impediments into opportunities.

Another area of importance is your anger. Learn effective means of controlling your anger. Engaging in gaming activities will help put your mind in a constructive mode. A combination of anger management skills and the above will ensure survival in any situation that comes your way. All the mistakes we do to get ourselves into daring situations are just mirrors for us to improve in future.

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