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  1. Living without power, mini-marts, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. We’ve compiled a list of homesteading skills to learn from pioneers to help you along your way. Mindset This is the first skill that you’re going to need. You need to stop thinking about running to the store to buy exactly what you need. Think instead about how you can make what you need from what you have, or how you can find a way to simplify the process so that you don’t need anything that you can’t make or trade for. Think self-sufficient and basic – it doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to work! Consider the Structure of Your Land before Building Carefully consider where your water sources are. You don’t want to build your house too far away from water and you’re not going to want to build your chicken house, barn or outhouse too close to it. Also, build close to running water. It’s less likely to house disease, it’s the last water source to freeze and the easiest to knock a hole in when you need water. Also, consider trees and terrain. Is that huge old oak going to fall on your house in a storm? Is there a particular area so rocky that you’re going to have a hard time planting a garden or digging footers in it? Is everything easily accessible from the house in the winter? Is it going to catch the morning sun or be protected from strong wind somehow? Follow the “measure twice, cut once” principle when planning your homestead. Think Ahead and Be Prepared You may have enough fire wood to get you through the winter, but what if spring is late coming? What if you break your leg next spring and can’t get enough wood in for next winter? The same thing goes for food. There is no grocery store to run to if you have a rainy year and can’t get your garden to produce next year. Always consider the “what-ifs” and be ready for them. Build a Root Cellar Just about any old homestead that you come upon is going to have a root cellar, and there’s a good reason for that – you need one! Canned goods and root vegetables (thus the name) keep much better at the cool (but not cold) temperatures that a root cellar maintains. Also, you don’t have to worry about vermin such as mice coming into the house in search of those potatoes if they’re stored in the root cellar. You save a ton of space in the house or basement that would otherwise be taken up with food storage. Finally, and probably most importantly, if the house burns down or is destroyed by an act of nature, you still have food to eat. You can start over because all is not lost. Have Backup Heating and Cooking Sources If you’re still depending on electric, even if it’s of your own making, there’s still a chance that something will break or go wrong. Have a backup source of cooking and heating. You’ll notice in most old (preserved) homesteads, there a cooking stove and a heating stove. If one breaks, the other will serve the purpose of both. Plant Perennial Edibles Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, are packed with nutrient, dry well, freeze well and make delicious, nutritious jams, jellies, pie fillings and syrups. Rhubarb has laxative effects in addition to being delicious and will come back every year long after you stop coming back! Fruit trees are definite additions too, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the best part about perennials is that you don’t have to do much to them in order to gain the fruit. A little trimming and pruning a couple of times a year and you’re golden. Learn about Herbs and Doctoring The knowledge of how the human body works is perhaps the greatest advantage that we have over our early brothers and sisters. We know about germs and we know what causes many illnesses and diseases. We also know what herbs work to treat those conditions, so gain knowledge that will keep you and your family healthy, then grow as much of what you need as you can so that you don’t have to depend upon external sources. Become a Jack of Most Trades and Learn to Barter Competence will serve you well. You don’t necessarily have to be a master at everything but having enough knowledge to get by with as little help as possible will give you a tremendous advantage. For instance, know what types of soil your garden will grow best in and then learn how to tell what kind of soil you have so that you can correct it if necessary. Know how to build a fence, work on your equipment, set a broken bone, shoot a gun and milk a cow. You don’t have to be a pro, but it will pay to be proficient in as many areas as possible! For those skills that you just don’t have, learn how to trade for that good or service. Know the value of your skill or your product and know how to barter with them in a manner that’s fair for everybody. Live a Life of Gratitude The life of a pioneer wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. They buried children and went cold and hungry. They dealt with bad weather, failed crops and hostile travelers. They didn’t leave behind everything to live sustainably or to go “off the grid”. They took a huge gamble that they would be able to build a better life for themselves than the one that they were leaving behind. Because of where they came from, every win mattered. A finished fence, a functional barn, blooming plants – all were reasons to be grateful, because they were one step better than they were the day before. When you learn to think like that, to focus on the positives, the negatives don’t seem so huge and life is beautiful. That may be the best homesteading skill to learn from pioneers of all!
  2. Americans love potatoes, eating about 125 pounds, per person, per year. Although potatoes are easy to grow, many off-gridders on small plots of land avoid them because traditional growing techniques take up a lot of space. However, by using the caging technique, you can get a high yield in a small space. Caging refers to the practice of using a wire cage, wooden box, barrel, or any other device designed to grow potatoes vertically. By using this practice, potato yield can be increased by anywhere from two to 10 times using the same area of garden. Here’s how caging works: 1. The container The author’s potato box. Select the container, or cage, for your crop. It should be 18 inches by 18 inches or larger, with room for 1 to 4 feet high of soil. On my homestead, I use either a 4-foot-square or 5-foot-square raised bed, constructed of wood, which is 16 inches high. There are also commercially available cages designed for growing potatoes vertically, but instead of spending your hard-earned money, I’m sure your off-grid homestead has materials available for constructing one. 2. The soil Before planting, set aside enough soil to fill the container. For potatoes, a slightly acidic soil that drains well is ideal. I like to use a mix of peat moss, native soil, compost and vermiculite. 3. Planting Fill the cage with 6 to 8 inches of soil. Plant the seed pieces 3 to 4 inches deep. Let the potatoes sprout and grow to a height of 8 inches or so. The photo above is from my 5-foot by 5-foot potato cage for this year, where I have Yukon Gem potatoes that have grown 6 to 8 inches high. 4. Fill up the Cage Once the potato plants are about 8 inches tall, like in the photo above, it’s time to partially bury the plants. Take some of the soil you’ve set aside and gently bury the plants about a third of the way. I just did that in my garden. The photo here shows the potato plants after they’ve been partially buried the first time. Continue the process of letting the vines grow higher, and then partially burying them, until your cage is full. Take care not to ever bury the plants by more than one-third to a half, and make sure there is adequate moisture. Tips for Maximizing Success Successful potato growing begins by selecting the right cultivar for your climate, and growing vertically is no exception. Potatoes originated in the cooler high altitudes of South America, and thrived for centuries in the cool weather of northern Europe and Ireland. So if you live in an area where the summers get hot like I do, choose a variety that has been developed for heat resistance. These include Butterfinger, Defender and Yukon Gem types. The reason caging works is that some varieties of potatoes will continue to form tubers from parts of the vine that have been recently buried. However, not all potatoes varieties are created equal — some excel at this and some don’t. So for growing vertically, consider those types listed above, as well as All Blue, Carola, Dark Red Norland, German Butterball, Yellow Finn and Fingerling potatoes. Final Thoughts Potatoes should be grown on every off-gridder’s garden. They give great yields, provide lots of needed carbohydrates for the hard-working family members, and store for months without electricity. If you’ve shied away from growing them because of traditional space requirements, try caging today.
  3. Living without power, mini-marts, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. We’ve compiled a list of homesteading skills to learn from pioneers to help you along your way. Mindset This is the first skill that you’re going to need. You need to stop thinking about running to the store to buy exactly what you need. Think instead about how you can make what you need from what you have, or how you can find a way to simplify the process so that you don’t need anything that you can’t make or trade for. Think self-sufficient and basic – it doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to work! Consider the Structure of Your Land before Building Carefully consider where your water sources are. You don’t want to build your house too far away from water and you’re not going to want to build your chicken house, barn or outhouse too close to it. Also, build close to running water. It’s less likely to house disease, it’s the last water source to freeze and the easiest to knock a hole in when you need water. Also, consider trees and terrain. Is that huge old oak going to fall on your house in a storm? Is there a particular area so rocky that you’re going to have a hard time planting a garden or digging footers in it? Is everything easily accessible from the house in the winter? Is it going to catch the morning sun or be protected from strong wind somehow? Follow the “measure twice, cut once” principle when planning your homestead. Think Ahead and Be Prepared You may have enough fire wood to get you through the winter, but what if spring is late coming? What if you break your leg next spring and can’t get enough wood in for next winter? The same thing goes for food. There is no grocery store to run to if you have a rainy year and can’t get your garden to produce next year. Always consider the “what-ifs” and be ready for them. Build a Root Cellar Just about any old homestead that you come upon is going to have a root cellar, and there’s a good reason for that – you need one! Canned goods and root vegetables (thus the name) keep much better at the cool (but not cold) temperatures that a root cellar maintains. Also, you don’t have to worry about vermin such as mice coming into the house in search of those potatoes if they’re stored in the root cellar. You save a ton of space in the house or basement that would otherwise be taken up with food storage. Finally, and probably most importantly, if the house burns down or is destroyed by an act of nature, you still have food to eat. You can start over because all is not lost. Have Backup Heating and Cooking Sources If you’re still depending on electric, even if it’s of your own making, there’s still a chance that something will break or go wrong. Have a backup source of cooking and heating. You’ll notice in most old (preserved) homesteads, there a cooking stove and a heating stove. If one breaks, the other will serve the purpose of both. Plant Perennial Edibles Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, are packed with nutrient, dry well, freeze well and make delicious, nutritious jams, jellies, pie fillings and syrups. Rhubarb has laxative effects in addition to being delicious and will come back every year long after you stop coming back! Fruit trees are definite additions too, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the best part about perennials is that you don’t have to do much to them in order to gain the fruit. A little trimming and pruning a couple of times a year and you’re golden. Learn about Herbs and Doctoring The knowledge of how the human body works is perhaps the greatest advantage that we have over our early brothers and sisters. We know about germs and we know what causes many illnesses and diseases. We also know what herbs work to treat those conditions, so gain knowledge that will keep you and your family healthy, then grow as much of what you need as you can so that you don’t have to depend upon external sources. Become a Jack of Most Trades and Learn to Barter Competence will serve you well. You don’t necessarily have to be a master at everything but having enough knowledge to get by with as little help as possible will give you a tremendous advantage. For instance, know what types of soil your garden will grow best in and then learn how to tell what kind of soil you have so that you can correct it if necessary. Know how to build a fence, work on your equipment, set a broken bone, shoot a gun and milk a cow. You don’t have to be a pro, but it will pay to be proficient in as many areas as possible! For those skills that you just don’t have, learn how to trade for that good or service. Know the value of your skill or your product and know how to barter with them in a manner that’s fair for everybody. Live a Life of Gratitude The life of a pioneer wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. They buried children and went cold and hungry. They dealt with bad weather, failed crops and hostile travelers. They didn’t leave behind everything to live sustainably or to go “off the grid”. They took a huge gamble that they would be able to build a better life for themselves than the one that they were leaving behind. Because of where they came from, every win mattered. A finished fence, a functional barn, blooming plants – all were reasons to be grateful, because they were one step better than they were the day before. When you learn to think like that, to focus on the positives, the negatives don’t seem so huge and life is beautiful. That may be the best homesteading skill to learn from pioneers of all!
  4. How To Develop Your Bug Out Location Into A Homestead Survival Safe Haven Once you’ve locked down your bug out location, you need to figure out how to establish this place. That’s where homestead and survival come together. You want to come up with a plan to develop your new found property into a SHTF safe haven. A self-reliant homestead survival home, where your family can thrive. Establishing your bug out homestead will be a difficult topic to cover. There are so many homestead survival possibilities. There are no absolutes. There just isn’t one right way to build up your homestead survival establishment. Read amd the rest of the article HERE
  5. Living without power, mini-marts, cars, electronics or running water may seem like a nightmare scenario but to pioneers it was just the way life was. Having the skills to survive without modern conveniences is not only smart in case SHTF, it’s also great for the environment. We’ve compiled a list of homesteading skills to learn from pioneers to help you along your way. Mindset This is the first skill that you’re going to need. You need to stop thinking about running to the store to buy exactly what you need. Think instead about how you can make what you need from what you have, or how you can find a way to simplify the process so that you don’t need anything that you can’t make or trade for. Think self-sufficient and basic – it doesn’t have to be fancy; it just has to work! Consider the Structure of Your Land before Building Carefully consider where your water sources are. You don’t want to build your house too far away from water and you’re not going to want to build your chicken house, barn or outhouse too close to it. Also, build close to running water. It’s less likely to house disease, it’s the last water source to freeze and the easiest to knock a hole in when you need water. Also, consider trees and terrain. Is that huge old oak going to fall on your house in a storm? Is there a particular area so rocky that you’re going to have a hard time planting a garden or digging footers in it? Is everything easily accessible from the house in the winter? Is it going to catch the morning sun or be protected from strong wind somehow? Follow the “measure twice, cut once” principle when planning your homestead. Think Ahead and Be Prepared You may have enough fire wood to get you through the winter, but what if spring is late coming? What if you break your leg next spring and can’t get enough wood in for next winter? The same thing goes for food. There is no grocery store to run to if you have a rainy year and can’t get your garden to produce next year. Always consider the “what-ifs” and be ready for them. Build a Root Cellar Just about any old homestead that you come upon is going to have a root cellar, and there’s a good reason for that – you need one! Canned goods and root vegetables (thus the name) keep much better at the cool (but not cold) temperatures that a root cellar maintains. Also, you don’t have to worry about vermin such as mice coming into the house in search of those potatoes if they’re stored in the root cellar. You save a ton of space in the house or basement that would otherwise be taken up with food storage. Finally, and probably most importantly, if the house burns down or is destroyed by an act of nature, you still have food to eat. You can start over because all is not lost. Have Backup Heating and Cooking Sources If you’re still depending on electric, even if it’s of your own making, there’s still a chance that something will break or go wrong. Have a backup source of cooking and heating. You’ll notice in most old (preserved) homesteads, there a cooking stove and a heating stove. If one breaks, the other will serve the purpose of both. Plant Perennial Edibles Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and blueberries, are packed with nutrient, dry well, freeze well and make delicious, nutritious jams, jellies, pie fillings and syrups. Rhubarb has laxative effects in addition to being delicious and will come back every year long after you stop coming back! Fruit trees are definite additions too, for obvious reasons. Perhaps the best part about perennials is that you don’t have to do much to them in order to gain the fruit. A little trimming and pruning a couple of times a year and you’re golden. Learn about Herbs and Doctoring The knowledge of how the human body works is perhaps the greatest advantage that we have over our early brothers and sisters. We know about germs and we know what causes many illnesses and diseases. We also know what herbs work to treat those conditions, so gain knowledge that will keep you and your family healthy, then grow as much of what you need as you can so that you don’t have to depend upon external sources. Become a Jack of Most Trades and Learn to Barter Competence will serve you well. You don’t necessarily have to be a master at everything but having enough knowledge to get by with as little help as possible will give you a tremendous advantage. For instance, know what types of soil your garden will grow best in and then learn how to tell what kind of soil you have so that you can correct it if necessary. Know how to build a fence, work on your equipment, set a broken bone, shoot a gun and milk a cow. You don’t have to be a pro, but it will pay to be proficient in as many areas as possible! For those skills that you just don’t have, learn how to trade for that good or service. Know the value of your skill or your product and know how to barter with them in a manner that’s fair for everybody. Live a Life of Gratitude The life of a pioneer wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination. They buried children and went cold and hungry. They dealt with bad weather, failed crops and hostile travelers. They didn’t leave behind everything to live sustainably or to go “off the grid”. They took a huge gamble that they would be able to build a better life for themselves than the one that they were leaving behind. Because of where they came from, every win mattered. A finished fence, a functional barn, blooming plants – all were reasons to be grateful, because they were one step better than they were the day before. When you learn to think like that, to focus on the positives, the negatives don’t seem so huge and life is beautiful. That may be the best homesteading skill to learn from pioneers of all!
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