Wednesday, February 27, 2013

You Got To Have One

A Plan that is.
Every Prepper/Homesteader/Survivalist/Pioneer/Self Reliant-est/Self sustainable-est  or whatever you want to call yourselves has to have one type of a plan or another. There is really nothing more important than that.

I have had the opportunity to be around many new folks to the self sustainable lifestyle the past few months and the one thing I cannot stress more to them is to have a plan.
Stepping across the line from normal everyday living to being self reliant is very overwhelming. There are so many things to do, so many projects to build and just as many things to learn. The first few months of this lifestyle is filled with anxiety and the overwhelming feelings of trying to get too many things done at once. Even when you think you have it all figured out you will read a blog post or hear of a new political scare that kicks your brain in high gear and  makes you want to do too many things at once or have instant gratification by twinkling your nose or snapping your fingers.
You will struggle with spending what money you can between buying ammo or food, bug out equipment or bug in equipment, a power source or a water source, guard animals or farm animals, seed banks or gardens and the list goes on and on.Your mind will make you think this all has to be done NOW, NOW, NOW and being on a limited budget with little time brings in the anxiety.

"Then where do I start?"  With a pencil, a piece of paper and a plan.   
"What do I write?" Across the top of the paper, title it 12 Month Goals and Objectives
You have to set realistic one year goals. You know your budget better than anyone and you know your skill level as far as construction projects. To start off with a goal to be completely self sustainable in a year with a small budget is not reachable. Start slow and build. I know this is not what you want to hear, but it is the way it is. If you force it and try to deviate from your plan then your goals will be unorganized and cause undo stress and anxiety.
Here is a sample of a 12 month goals and objectives plan I helped set up for some folks that were on a $200.00 a month budget. That gives them $2400.00 to spend on preps for the year.
1. Three months of food and water storage.
2. One defense weapon.
3. Five hundred rounds of ammo.
4. Small chicken coop with Ten chickens laying eggs.
5. Four 4'x16' raised garden beds.
6. Vegetable seed bank.
7. Dehydrator and canning supplies.
8. Equipped bug out bags.

First we had to decide what path they wanted to take. What I mean by that is, are they wanting to lean towards the preeping, the survival or the homesteader sides. In this case they wanted to be more in the homesteading by growing some of their own food and dabble in animal husbandry.

Here is an example of Goals and Mini Goals;
1. Three months of food and water storage.
  • Create a inventory system.
  • Set up spare bedroom with shelves.
  • Add $75.00 a monthly to food budget. 
Each item is broke down into monthly mini goals. Take for instance the food storage. If the goal is to have three months in one year then they would need to increase their grocery shopping by 25% and create a inventory system. So a $300.00 a month food budget just went to $375.00 leaving $125.00 a month for other preps to reach the goal.
 With a limited budget the goals outlined was easily met. Each year their plan gets bigger and they become closer to reaching their ultimate goal. They soon found that once the gardens started being harvested their food budget was able to buy more food to put in their storage. They took classes to learn how to can and preserve foods and also started another income stream by selling eggs and what produce was left over in the farmers market.   
In this instance after only one year they were able to achieve and go beyond their goal by storing five to six months of food and water, have chickens, start with rabbits and learned how to preserve foods.    

Even a yearly goal and plan is too overwhelming for some. I know one couple where it is a month by month plan. This way it keeps the burden of trying to reach such a big outcome. In the end it still has the same result as a yearly, but mentally per month is easier to reach than per year. It doesn't matter how as long as you do. 
The idea is that once you get into the mindset of your plan and start living the lifestyle, the little things you spend money on like going out to eat, snack foods and whatever else can be absorbed into your goals which gets you closer to achieving your plan. 

My last point I will make is this, the plan and goals you create are not as good as the paper you it wrote them on unless you are devoted to it, change your way of thinking and are willing to change your lifestyle. The reason you started this in the first place has to be your motivation to continue until you succeed.
The main killer of inspiration is negativity and if you and your partner are not on the same page then your likelihood of success is diminished considerably. Sure there are compromises and certain things can still be done according to your plan, but the headache you get from your loved one will hurt your goals in the end. In order for you to have success you both don't always have to be on the exact same page, but you at least have to be in the same book.

I hope this was some help for the new ones out there just starting out. Remember, an idea without a plan is just that.                

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

It's Not On The List

Just like many of you, I am a list maker.
I know I have posted about my obsession before, but this is different.

I am sure you agree that your project list is a never ending and always growing list. Once one project is complete three more are added. It's job security as well as very frustrating.
With my OCD, I continually check my lists and see what projects can be started next. The order of importance on that list changes about as much as it's content.
The list is important because if a project is not on there, it has not had the chance to be thought through enough. If you are a long time reader of MDR then you know I think through every detail in my head, building and deconstructing it over and over again before pencil ever hits the paper. By looking at the list I can see the finished product of each project, in the it's location and it's functionality. Then in my head I tear it apart piece by piece until it's gone. I make notes the whole time I do this. this way when construction starts it is smooth and every problem has already been thought out.
Sometimes a item will sit on the list for a long time until every detail is worked out. Then one day when I have it, I start it. You may think this is weird but it works for me.

I know that was a long introduction but I needed to say all that to say this,
The wife came to me the other day and said she wanted a Aviary.
"But it's not on the list" I told her.
"Then put it on the list!" she said back without even looking over her shoulder.
 "I am not putting that on the list and that's that!" I mumbled back where she couldn't hear, putting my foot down on this idea.
Maybe she is not aware of the process of placing something on the list.

So anyway, this is the design of the walk in Aviary that is now on the top of the list.
Construction should start this weekend.            

Monday, February 25, 2013

I Saw It In Their Eyes

Here at the Mini Farm we usually give anywhere between 10 to 30 tours a year on how we live. During the winter months we are shut down so to speak because there is really nothing to look at. The gardens are empty, the grass is dead and most of the stuff is winterized and stored away.

Over the weekend, at the meeting we spoke at, a couple wanted to come by and see what all we do. They are interested in learning more about living like a Modern Day Pioneer and needed some visual ideas on how we do it. We invited them over yesterday afternoon and as soon as they walked out back I saw it in their eyes, "Is this it?" I saw what I took as disappointment so I went right into explanation mode. For some reason I felt I needed to explain why I did not live up to the expectation I thought I needed to uphold. I explained most of the solar stuff was put away, they caught me at the off growing season, the animal count was down due to winter and so on. I tried to give them a visual of what it looks like in May. I don't know why I needed to do that, but I felt I had too.
Most of the times when folks come over they end up taking pictures, they pick fresh produce to take home, play with the animals and ohhh & awww at the projects.

 The bathhouse did spark a little talk. They liked the solar lighting and the fact I use a straight razor, but the comment "We would have to have something cute if we wanted something like this in our back yard," made me press on.

The greenhouse sparked some interest, but not enough to really comment on. I felt at least there was something green to talk about, but it went nowhere.

The rain water harvesting system and hand powered washing machine did hold their attention, for about a minute. 

I guess out of desperation the wife showed off the food storage area and we never show our food, but the comment, "This is small compared to some folks I know" and "Did you know tornadoes target trailer... um, mobile homes?" made us end the tour.

I almost hate to post this because these are some really good city folks and I am glad we have met and got to know them. I can almost see their way of thinking and I am sure upon arrival they were expecting to step back in time and have the experience of a full frontier reenactment.
Or maybe they were just so overwhelmed they were speechless, yea that's what it was.        

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Something Fun

Last night I was the lead off speaker for a Preppers/Homesteader/Survivalist group that is in this area. I had a great time and I can't wait to go back for more.

It's really funny in a way, I worked a 65 hour week and didn't have time to prepare anything. Friday at lunch I scribbled down a few notes, but I was no where near ready for this crowd. I got home about an hour before the meeting and told the wife to sit down and see what you think, I needed to run through this at least once.
I got out the white board and set it up in the living room and started. About 15 minutes in I looked over my shoulder and the wife was playing on her phone, I had lost her. She grinned and told me to make it simple. Apparently I had way too many statistics for her liking. I didn't have time to redo the presentation so I just came to the conclusion I was going to have to wing it.

And wing it I did. It turned out great. The crowd of folks were great, everything was great. I had a blast.
The wife ended up opening her mouth and guess what, she is next months speaker on gardening. HA,HA,HA You should have seen her eyes when they asked her to do it, (Priceless)  

Thursday, February 21, 2013


I want to introduce and welcome the three newest members of the Modern Day Redneck family.
Melissa Small, Connie and Cherie Campbell
Thank y'all for hitting the button and being a part of all this. If you need anything you can always leave a comment and or email me. My email is on the right hand side of the blog.
Welcome and again, thank you.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Redneck Words Of Wisdom

Redneck Words of Wisdom

You show me a guy without hair on his knuckles and I'll show you a Backyard Barbecue King.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It's Not Good Enough

The wife and I have never left this country. We have never gone anywhere where we needed a passport. Over the past twenty two years all of our vacations have consisted of a weekend trip here and there or a few days camping at the lake. Only once in my adult life have I had a real week long vacation away from Texas.
Being a homesteader makes it where we really don't have the time to leave anyway. On top of that, I really don't feel comfortable leaving the house for any period of time. I guess you can say my comfort zone is at home.

One of the reasons we had children at such an early age was so we could still have fun before we couldn't and being that we have really never done anything we decided it was time to do something, so we booked a cruise. I am sure many of you have been on them and think it's no big deal, but we haven't and all this is a big learning experience for us.
First off we need to get out passports. I never had one before so I had to get schooled on getting one. Before you get one of those you need a certified birth certificate. We have never needed one of those either so now we had to get schooled on that as well. Something that sounds so easy right? I thought I had mine, it was the one my parents got from the hospital, but it was not good enough. I had to pay thirty bucks and get the one they want. How much more original can you get other than the one given to you at birth? I don't understand it. The wife had to spend thirty bucks and get hers from Austin because after a wasted trip into Dallas she found out by being born before 1982 the records are sent to Austin. I wish they would have told her that over the phone.
Now waiting on the correct birth certificates to arrive will put us over the time to get the passports back so now we have to spend an extra sixty bucks for hers to get here quicker, Unbelievable.

To make matters worse, the same cruise, the same boat we booked caught fire and is being towed back to shore, Unbelievable.
It's all my fault, if we would not have booked it then it would not have caught fire, that is how my life goes. I thought about changing and flying somewhere but I would not want something to happen to the plane.

It's so easy for others to have fun and go places, but for us it's always a pain in the butt. Maybe it's a sign?      

Friday, February 8, 2013

A Couple Of Things

On the 22nd of this month I will be speaking at a preppers/homesteaders group here in North Texas on Rain Water Harvesting techniques and use. If anyone is close by and wants to attend you can email me. On the agenda will also be a couple more hot topics you don't want to miss.

This is funny right here;
Here is something you may not know about me, some would call me a "Germaphobe" because I cannot stand people not practicing good personal hygiene. In public I find myself aware of what I touch, people around me and potential hazard zones that will get me sick. For instance, in the public bathroom have you ever noticed when someone finishes and just leaves without washing? I do and I have to find a creative way to open the door without directly touching the door handle. You can call me a freak, but it's just one of those things, I don't want to touch your junk. Have you ever seen someone sneeze or cough in your direction without covering their face and you act like the matrix and like slow motion you dodge the mucus mist? I do.   
The reason I am telling you all this is because for the past couple of years I have not even caught the sniffles. I contribute this to my daily herbal intake and safe public handling. All that came crashing down last weekend. I have been so sick this week I could hardly get out of bed. I have not called in sick to work in over 10 years but I really wanted to this week. The good thing is I am on the rebound now.
Last Friday night I threw caution to the wind and touched too many areas without bathing in sanitizer afterwards. I know that's where I picked it up. The one time I chose to live like all the rest and I have paid for it. I think it's a little ironic.
If I could never leave the safety of my house I don't think I ever would.

One another note, I want to give a welcome to Melissa Small and livelaughlove for becoming the newest family members of Modern Day Redneck. If you need anything, my email is on the right side of the blog. Thanks for joining and again, welcome.  

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

More Mouths To Feed

With a few goats in the pasture, a Llama and a dog protecting them, a pet pot belly pig, and dozen or so chickens running the yard I was content.
I don't need to raise and sell 3 to 5 hundred chickens a year anymore. I don't need to buy, raise and sell a hundred or so goats a year anymore. It's not that I did not like it, it was the feed cost. We went from a $500 a month feed bill to $80. I found the profit margin is the same same selling big or small. The bigger you are the more you have to sell and the harder you have to work but you still make the same per animal.

Got off track there, Contentment cannot last long around here. The wife adopted two more mouths to feed, literately.
My mom and Dad raise Boer goats and I raise Dwarf Nigerians. One of his goat mommas decided to reject these two little things and they don't have the time to care for them. So, the wife said she would do it. Now they are sitting in a playpen in the kitchen.

This is nothing new, we have bottle fed many babies over the years, but for some reason I thought those days were over.

I do have to admit it is nice to have new live on the Mini Farm again.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Tater Experiment

This will be the first time I have planted taters like this. Why not, last year my potatoes did not do well and I ended up having to buy some to have enough to put up. Worst case is, I will have to do the same thing this year to.

Being frustrated last year about the yield on the potato crop I set out looking for a new way to plant these things. I do not have the room to plow up 100 foot rows and just plant them like some folks so I have to come up with creative ways to square foot garden. This is what I came up with this year.

With only a few inches of soil in the bottom of one of the raised beds, I put news paper down covering the whole bottom. Of course the wind wasn't blowing until I started this. 

Next I wet the papers down to keep them in place until I could get the seed potatoes cut up and put and ready.
If you were wondering, yes that is 100% free rain water being used at 45 psi powered by the sun.

I cut as many eyes out of each potato as I could and rolled them in wood ash so they would not blacken or start to rot.

Then the potato chunks were set on top of the news paper, no digging.

This is really strange to me too. but that's how this is done. They say the roots will go do down through the paper and into the soil. This way the grass and weeds won't come up into the bed and around the plant.

Then I just covered it all with straw. No dirt, just straw.

You have to keep the straw moist to keep it from blowing away but other than that it's done.
I will add a little more straw when the plants come up and that's it.

The idea is when you need potatoes all you have to do is move back the straw and pick what you need without digging. This way the plants continue to produce for a longer period of time. Then when the tops dies off you harvest without any digging.
This one 12x4 bed has 12 plants in it. I don't know how many I could have put in it, but for now I didn't want to crowd it too much. 12 plants being harvested on and off until they are done will yield a lot of potatoes. I will know more once this gets going.

I also got the carrots in the ground this weekend and baby goats are everywhere, even in the house.

That's it for now. Baby goat pictures are to come.