Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #13 Keep it Quiet aka OPSEC


OPSEC is a military term for operational secrecy. I am not talking spy stuff. Just thinking about what you say to whom. 

There are all types of warnings out there that pertain to not letting people know what you are doing. We have all seen and possibly been guilty of posting online that we will be on vacation or away from home during a certain period. If we think about this we must realize that this opens us up to theft.

As I start I realize that it may seem like I am telling you to do something that I don't. I am writing these articles trying to encourage people to be better prepared so that puts me on the radar. Yes and no. Sadly, very few people in my area read my blog. I try to tell as many people as I can and I encourage people to read what I write but there are still so many that just don't see the need. Even after a major event it doesn't take them long to get back into their normal routine. Remember normalcy bias.

You may also notice that I have not listed specific things that I have. There is a reason for that. I have listed things that every person should have but with only a few exceptions I have not said "I have this". Even with that I want to teach. That is what I believe I was born to do. I am willing to take the risks.

Why It is Risky

Getting prepared is exciting. I have heard it compared to becoming a Christian. As soon as you get started being more prepared you want to tell everyone. You want everybody to see how important it is to be self reliant. I believe one of the biggest mistakes new self reliance people make is trying to evangelize. You can be too pushy and not even realize it. 

Everyone who has talked about being more prepared has had someone say "Well if something happens I will just come to your house" a lot of them mean it. They do not want to do the work. Some people only want to take advantage of other peoples labor. Just look at the welfare state. I know there are some on welfare that do not want to be there and for them it is temporary, but others have made welfare a career choice.

I believe you should talk to people about being more prepared, but I do not like when people start asking specific question. Questions and statements I think you should be leery of include:

                  What kind of weapons do you have?
                   I bet you have some really cool gear.
                  What if someone tried to take your stuff away from you?
                  Where do you live?
                  Do you have a generator?

Questions like these should throw up a major red flag. These questions tend to be more of opportunistic interest than preparedness interest. Keep this person in mind. There will be people that you trust completely with whom you will want to share what you are doing. That is fine, but do not be discouraged if they reject what you say. Some will even call you crazy. Even for just preparing for short term emergencies. People ridicule anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.

In normal times I do not think people will break into your home to steal food. Someone who breaks into your home during normal times is going to be after higher dollar stuff. Firearms and generators being primary, but anything that a person can easily sell is high on this list. The more people know what you have the more you are at risk.

What to Talk About

Unless you are already on the fringe, when you start talking about being more prepared there is a percentage of the people you interact with that will listen. They may not take your advise (at first), but they will listen. Don't be pushy. Others will talk to them as well. Each person gives a different piece of the puzzle.

Do talk about weather and current events. If someone can look around and see what you are talking about they will be more open. I know that there are several things that I see coming that others do not. Some of these threats I do not see how anyone could deny the possibility. People just do not see the world the way I do. If I am talking to someone who is asking general questions about preparedness I talk about weather events, job loss, and things like that. If they bring up other and more devastating events I will talk about those, but I am not going to bring them up.

Answer questions do not preach. If you do not know the answer admit it. Tell the person "I don't know, but I will find out". Follow through. There are a lot of people out there who know a lot about preparedness, some are very level headed. If you have a question you can email me. I will be honest. theruraleconomist@gmail.com

There are some things that people prepare for that I do not think are credible threats. I admit that upfront. I do not discount their beliefs, but if ask about it I am going to tell you what I think. EMP and global polar shift are two that I just am not concerned about. If you are that is fine. I just think that statistically they are so unlikely that it is not very high on my concerns list. Besides the better prepared I am for the things I am concerned about the better prepared I will be for those.

Being Prepared Feels Good

If you had just gotten started being more prepared when we started this series than you are probably farther along than you ever thought you would be. We have tried to cover cost effective ways for anyone to take responsibility for you and your families well being. You probably feel pretty good right now and you should. You have taken a vital step toward self reliance.

You can still be an ambassador for preparedness. Do so through your actions. Allow me to explain. A couple of years ago, my wife and I were on our way to town. We saw an older couple who's vehicle had overheated. We stopped, and just took water out of the vehicle. We were able to help those folks. The man in the car asked if I always kept water in the car. "Yup, always do. Just a good idea to be prepared." 

This little event started a conversation. I don't know if he started working on being more prepared or not. I do know that at least for a little while he thought about preparedness. I am sure he has started taking water with him.

Conclusion

It is a really good feeling to know you are prepared for the things that are most likely to occur. Achieving a basic level of preparedness should be the responsibility of every adult. Sadly that is no longer the case.

Talk to your friends and family, but don't be pushy. Be selective about what you tell someone until they have proven trustworthiness. Lead by example. Be the person someone can come to for help. This is worth the effort.

I wish you
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.  

Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekly Book Bonanza Whole Wheat Bread Making



I just love the smell of home baked bread. I have made fresh bread several times in a bread machine. I love the flavor, texture, and of course the smell. I tried to make wheat bread a couple of times, but it never came out right. You could eat it fresh but after only a few minutes it would setup almost like concrete. Not very appetizing.

I gave up on whole wheat bread for a long time. I received the book Whole Wheat Bread Making by Donna Miller.

One of the things I really like about this little book is that it is written so you can make bread even if you don't have a bread machine or fancy equipment. This little book is written with instructions on how to make whole wheat bread either with a bread machine or just some simple tools and your oven. That is important to me. 

Donna tells us about using a grain mill. A grain mill ensures that your flour is the freshest possible. Fresh flour gives you a lighter and more nutritious bread. But Donna doesn't just cover using fresh milled flour, she also covers using flour that you can buy from the grocery store. 

Donna spends a good amount of time covering all of the needed ingredients to make whole wheat bread. She explains why some ingredients are superior to others. She also makes suggestions as to the best quality ingredients. 

I also like the fact that Donna takes time to explain the proper way to measure ingredients. I had never thought that there was a wrong way to measure ingredients. This alone may have been a reason my previous attempts at baking wheat bread were failures. 

Donna covers kneading techniques, what to expect during the rising process, what types of baking pans to use, free form baking (not using a pan), adding ingredients like herbs, eggs, or other liquids. And even includes an option to take free online classes withe the purchase of this book to help ensure success. 

After reading this book I will have to try my hand at making wheat bread again. I am looking forward to it.


I wish you Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes.

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email. Simply fill out the form below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Wild Edibles #6 Blackberry


Disclaimer: Some wild plants are not only edible but delicious. Other wild plants will kill you if you eat them. Be absolutely certain what a plant is before you eat it. Plant varieties differ from region to region. When in doubt, consult a local expert.

Blackberry dominates much of the eastern United States. There  is a blackberry in the western states but it is a different species than what we have here.

Blackberry is called by several different names but the most common are of course blackberry, bramble berry, or just simply bramble.



Blackberries grow from perennial roots on biannual canes. This means the first year the plant is visible it will produce no fruit. It produces fruit in its second year. The canes may survive one additional year after fruit production but then dies. The canes do not go away they just simply die and stay in place. After several years they can create what appears to be an impenetrable mangle of plant matter, so much so that people have actually used blackberry as a perimeter fence. Only the truly desperate or those with a tractor and a Bush hog can get through unharmed. All of the wild blackberry bushes have thorns. Razor sharp thorns. If moving quickly these thorns can easily cut through a denim pair of jeans. When picking the berries be very careful.

There have been thornless varieties that have been created though cross pollenization.  Some hybrids not only lack thorns, but the berries can be much larger. These have not been genetically modified. They have simply been cross bred many times to promote certain characteristics. Much the same way as many breeds of sheep, cattle, or dogs.

I love the flavor of blackberries. When I find a good patch it is difficult to put more berries in the bucket than my mouth. Sweet to slightly tart when fully ripe, blackberries are excellent for jams, jellies, wines, and cobbler. We made blackberry peach cobbler this year and it was incredible.

Blackberries bloom early spring, normally during a cool spell. We call this blackberry winter and it usually signals the last cold snap of winter. The berries start out a very pale green almost white. They turn red as they grow and eventually turn black when ripe. Blackberries ripen late June to mid July. There is an old wive's tale that states to pick your blackberries before the 4th of July because the devil pees on them after that. I don't care what they say, when the berries are ripe I will get them.

Nutritionally blackberries contain vitamin C, vitamin A, calcium, and magnesium. A single serving only contains 62 calories but provides 50% of the USDA recommended daily allowance of vitamin C.

Just FYI you can peel and eat young first year canes raw. Not bad, I could eat them in a salad.

As Medicine

Most of the medicinal properties of blackberries can be found in the leaves and root. The root bark containing a higher concentration of herbal properties.

Blackberries have the following herbal actions:

  • Astringent - causes contraction of body tissues
  • Depurative - purifying or detoxifying action
  • Diuretic - increases urine flow
  • Tonic - gives a feeling of well being
  • Vulnerary - good for healing wounds
You can see from that list of actions alone that the wonderful tasting blackberry has a lot more to offer than we thought. In fact blackberry has been used to treat cystitis, diarrhea, dysentery,  gum inflammations, hemorrhoids, mouth ulcers, sore throat, and thrush. 

There are two ways that blackberry root bark and leaves are used herbally. One is as a tea. The tea is used most often for intestinal problems. The second is a decoction. A decoction is when you extract the essence by boiling. Sometimes this boiling is done in water and sometimes wine. The resulting liquid is then strained. 

A decoction of blackberry in water can even be used as a general mouthwash to promote oral health.

When I was a child we made a cough medicine with blackberry juice, honey, and whiskey. It worked!


I hope you are enjoying learning about wild edibles. May the information we share help you achieve

Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

You can Subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form below. 

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Other Posts in this Series: #1 Wood Sorrel#2 Wild Strawberry and WoodberryWild Edibles #3 Dove's Foot Geranium#4 Broadleaf Plantain, #5 Queen Anne's Lace


Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Chicken Trials


Chickens can be a great addition to a homestead no matter what size. They can also be a major pain in the rear end. Especially when you have an escape artist. When you have one who consistently gets out of their pen, eventually the others will figure it out as well.

I have had chickens off and on my whole life with one big difference. We always had what is called dual purpose birds. Dual purpose chickens are birds that can be used for meat or eggs. I know you can technically use all of them this way, but a dual purpose breed is one that balances each of these tasks. The breeds I was used to were Rhode Island Reds, Orphingtons, Jersey Giants, and things like that. 

The heavier breeds are easier. Let me explain. Most of the heavier breeds are quieter, and many are just more pleasant. It is easier to make a heavy breed more of a pet than the lighter breeds. I know there are some of you that have been successful at befriending some of the lighter breeds, but in general this is not the case.

I have had penned and free range birds. Free range birds require more land than penned birds. We currently live on 1/2 acre in what I would call a semi rural neighborhood. What that means is no one cares that we have chickens. We could have goats if I thought we had enough room, but I don't. I can let them roam around without making anyone angry. No one will get angry, but that does not mean that someone will not pick up your chicken and take it home.

The last time we had chickens here we decided to let them roam. They were pleasant birds. The girls were laying eggs regularly. They were good. Then they vanished. Not a single feather was to be found. I think someone took them.

Both my wife and I wanted chickens again. We decided to get a strictly laying breed this time. This may have been an accident. Last time we had our birds in a chicken tractor. This time we have more birds so we decided to build a pen. I built the type of pen I always had before. Four feet high with a gate and and a coop area so they could have shade and a place to get out of the weather, that was it. The heavy breeds might have flown out a time or two, but as they grow they get too big to fly out. This apparently not the case with laying breeds.



When the chickens first started getting out I thought,  " No problem. I will just trim their wings." I have done this many times and knew how to do it without hurting the birds.  This stopped them for a day. Like I said, I don't mind chickens in the yard and my wife didn't either, at first. That was until they started eating the cats' food. At first it was only one bird. It didn't take the rest that long to figure out the trick.

Next I added another 2 feet of height to the pen. This stopped all but one hen for almost a week. Then they all learned to get out. Next we trimmed wings again. This time more severe. (Don't worry. I know how and did not hurt them). This finally stopped them from going over. But they figured out how to push open the gate. I now have that fixed. So far so good.



You see chickens can be a great addition to your sustainability and homestead. They can also be a pain, even to those who have dealt with chickens their whole life.

We should start getting eggs again here in the next week or so and they had better hurry. THEY OWE ME!

I have included my video on clipping a chickens wings. If you have the dual purpose breeds just this alone should keep them in the pen.

I wish you Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes.



You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email. Just fill out the form below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Getting Prepared for Beginners #12 Fuel Storage



Before I even get started, I would like to remind everyone that in this series we are covering what is needed to be prepared for the short term emergency. All of the suggestions I make in this series are the foundation to common sense preparedness no matter what you are preparing for. Doing the things we cover in this series will help you. I hope you enjoy these posts, learn a ton, and become better prepared.

Remember back in #7 Basic Energy we covered how to use your car and an inverter to power the necessities? Well this will only work as long as your car has fuel. Say you are like we are and you have 3 cars. You could just run one out of gas then go to another. What would happen if you got low on the 3rd car and no where close was able to sell fuel? Not a good situation. I will be the first to admit if I am running behind I will skip a gas station and keep on going to save time. There are countless times my van is below a 1/4 sometimes even in the danger zone. Not a good practice I know, but it is the truth.

Okay, so what if something has happened, you have been able to get home. The power is out but its no big deal, you have everything ready. Whatever has happened is something that you know will be back to normal but may take a bit. You have lights and are able to keep the fridge cool with the inverter we talked about in #7 and your car idling. Your car just idling doesn't use gasoline as quickly as if you are traveling. Your fuel can last longer than you think. At the same time as long as the power is out there is no where you can refuel unless there is a station close that has a backup generator. None of the gas stations around here do, so what we have is all we will get til power is restored.

There is also the possibility of having to evacuate even after a couple of days of sheltering in place. Floods regularly do this. It can be days after a storm has passed before a river or stream reaches maximum and begins to recede. I have seen news stories where people thought they were in the clear and still had to evacuate. This is not the only situation where you might have to evacuate even though you have been able to shelter in place for a couple of days. A natural gas line leak, a break in a water main, or even a chemical leak from a local plant or semi truck. It doesn't really matter the reason, you and your family have to go somewhere else. Are you going to have enough fuel to get where you need to go?

Enter fuel storage. By now you know the way I think. I am not going to tell you to buy a 100 gallon container and bury it, oh no. What kind of fuel you need to store will be dependent on what type of vehicles you have. If you have a diesel, you do not need to store gasoline and the same applies the other way. 

My suggestion is to store 5 gallons of fuel for each vehicle. Alright, I know some of you are saying "Really that is all?" and some of you are thinking "Really that much?" Yup. That just means that I am right in the middle. All I am saying is have a filled 5 gallon can for each vehicle. 



Now, if you will use each can of gasoline once a month and refill it the only cost you will have will be the cans. When I say use that can of gas I mean put the gas in your car's tank, put the can in your car and fill the can back up the same day. If you do this once a month you will not even need to worry about fuel stabilizer. If you would prefer to get it and forget it then you will need to use a fuel stabilizer. (I am not telling you to travel around with a can of fuel in your car. Your fuel storage should be at home. There is a rack that can be attached to most vehicles, on which you could carry a gas can. It is safe, but ugly.) The first link I included is a better product, but the second will work just fine and is more readily available. You will still need to treat the cans once a year. PRI-G does not expire STA-BIL does expire if exposed to light or after opening.


5 gallons of fuel will be enough to get you to a place of safety in most situations. If you are in an area that is likely to see hurricanes consider upping your storage to at least 10 gallons per vehicle just due to the size of the potential impact. If you will remember hurricane Katrina or Sandy people were running out of fuel trying to flee the storm. Remember 5 gallons of fuel per vehicle is your minimum goal. The wider the area of impact of whatever you are preparing for, the more fuel you will want to store.

After you have purchased the fuel cans and filled them the first time this practice will cost you zero extra dollars. Like I said you will be using the fuel once a month and then refueling the can. This means that you will be buying the same amount of fuel each month.

We are covering all of these topics so no matter what happens you will be able to live your
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.


Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.  

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lake Guntersville State Park and Our Mini Vacation


From time to time everyone needs a break. My wife and I decided that now was one of those times. So we started talking about putting together a camping trip. A camping trip for us normally means a state park.
We talked about tent camping but in the south this time of year it is difficult to do comfortably. Our youngest son (18) has asthma so the heat can be really hard on him. Enter my dad. He was gracious enough to allow us to borrow his 5th wheel camper and ton truck.

Now all that had to be decided was where we were going to go. For us it was no problem. We settled on Lake Guntersville State Park.

Lake Guntersville holds a special place in our hearts. My wife swam there countless times as a child and I have fished there many times. We had our honeymoon at the lodge. For us this place is special.
We start getting everything together for the trip. As the day for departure got closer I got more excited. My wife works nights so our plan was for her to come in and take a nap while I finished loading. This way when she got up from her nap we could leave. She was too excited to sleep so we headed out two hours earlier than planned.

The Park

Guntersville State Park was hit hard by the tornadoes in April 2011. Not many trees were left. The educational building in the campground was destroyed.On the mountain side going up to the lodge nearly every tree is broken. It really looks different. Still very beautiful but different.



Lots of trees have been planted and in a few years the shade will be back. Construction of a new education building is in the works.  Showers and bathrooms are scattered through out the camping area. You are never too far from a good shower or a toilet. The bathrooms and shower stall were incredibly clean. One of the shower houses includes a laundry facility, but it was fairly far from our campsite and we didn't need it. I never checked it out.

Lake Guntersville State park has 318 improved campsites. All of the improved site have electric and water. Several also have sewer hookups. They also have numerous primitive camp sites. You can place a tent on any campsite except those that have sewer. So if you have a tent and a portable air conditioner you are good to go.




We love the lodge. Everything from basic hotel rooms to suites. The lake view rooms are a little more expensive but worth the difference if that matters to you. The lodge has a full service restaurant, swimming pool, and work out room.

There are also chalets and cottages that can be rented. Two of the chalets are pet friendly and of course the campground welcomes well behaved pets on leash.

Things To Do

If you are like me there are plenty of things to do at Lake Guntersville State park. Swimming, fishing, hiking, and boating are the most common choices. There is also a championship golf course if you are into that kind of thing.


There is a good bit of wildlife. It is very common for deer to walk all through the camping area. Sorry, no hunting on the park. The trails are very good. A couple of them are fairly challenging. Caves, bluffs, a waterfall, and overlooks are in several locations.

Bald eagles can be seen from time to time. They are most often sighted in the spring and fall. I have actually gotten to watch an eagle catch a fish out of the lake. Lots of bird watching opportunities.
If you want to study plants there is an incredible variety of plants. Edible, medicinal, and toxic plants abound. There is something to learn in every season.

The best part for me is that camping seems to force family time. When we are at home our children spend most of their time in their rooms. When you are camping it is different.




My wife sometimes says that I do not have a romantic bone in my body and for the most part I guess it is true. Occasionally I will do something that takes her by surprise. We took the same photos as below 2 1/2 years ago on our honeymoon. I told her I wanted to drive around the park and did not tell her why. These photos were why. Score 1 for The Rural Economist.



During our stay I even took the time to record a couple of videos. One on camping tricks, I showed two. Don't worry more to come. I also recorded a wild edibles video on cattails.



If you would like a folding shovel like the one you see me using in this video you can purchase one with the link below.


Get out there and go camping. If you decide to go to Lake Guntersville State Park tell them The Rural Economist sent you.

Wishing you Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email. Simply fill out the form below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness


We would like to congratulate Christine Gascoine the winner of last weeks book. If you would like to pick up a copy of the Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living you can do so by clicking on the title and purchasing it through Amazon.

Once again I have not read this book. I will have a personal review on the book for next week. Here is a review of this book from a friend  of mine. I hope you win thus book.

The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness by Jim Cobb is like a primer for readiness for the novice and a foundational reminder for the veteran prepper.  There is virtually not a stone left unturned in this book but still it doesn't go too deep off track in one way or another as to distract from the goal.  Disaster Readiness can be a wide reaching topic but the author, Jim Cobb has done a wonderful job of streamlining it and compartmentalizing it without making it seem overwhelming.

From laying the groundwork of "Why to prepare" to finalizing some ideas of "Where to go" in a disaster, The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness will take you on a logical and easy to follow journey, yet still open up your eyes to some things you may not have thought of before.  Topics are wide, but so is the security of readiness, but unlike life itself, The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness  is neatly compartmentalized in the approach so you can find your area that need improving and refer to it regularly. 
Jim discusses this topic on levels that range from relationships (Children, Pets and Elderly) to supplies and skills.  I highly recommend The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness  for the novice and the seasoned veteran of preparedness alike.


Wishing you Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email. Simply fill out the form below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Death of a Yard Bird


It is not everyday that as soon as I get to work I hear come on we have to go get a chicken out of "so and so" person's car. In fact when I was told that ,I wasn't quite sure what was meant. Sure enough as soon as I get into work Josh my "partner in crime" tells me we have to remove a chicken. Okay! Why?
Here is the story.

One of the ladies I work with lives in a little subdivision. You know the sort of place I am talking about. All of the grass has to be a certain height. Restrictions on what type of plants you can have. Restrictions on what kind of animals are allowed. A perfectly sterile place. She really doesn't care for farm animals. On her way into work she goes through an area where "country" people live. She had noticed that at least one house had chickens. She was amazed that they just let the birds roam free.  There had been times that she had seen chickens in the road but that only normally happened in the evening. Well this morning was different.

We go to work early. When I leave for work the sun is barely up. This lady has to be at work at the same time as I do, so I am sure she leaves shortly after sunrise. On her way in this morning all of the chickens were in the road.

Like you would expect, the chickens scattered. Unfortunately, one hen didn't make it out of the way. She said she knew she hit the bird but never did see it in her rear-view mirror.

Once she made it into work she saw feathers and what she thought were the remains of the hen stuck in her grill. She started crying. She did feel bad for the bird. 

When my friend Josh and I walked up to this lady's car, I thought the hen was dead as well. The bird was literally stuck in her car's grill. We started working to remove the body and to both of our surprise the hen was still alive. Well that changes things. We had to be more careful.

Working ever so slowly we did get the hen out of the grill. It was obvious the bird was in shock. We brought the bird in and found a box large enough for her to have room to move around.We found a bowl for water and gave her some food. At first look, other than a scratch on her leg, she looked unharmed. I told everyone if the hen lived through this I was going to name her Super Cluck. 

Oh the chicken puns that went around. "Why did the chicken cross the road? It didn't cause she hit it." "So I understand that you like grilled chicken." "I hear you had a fowl morning." "Chicken slayer." You get the idea.

There is a point to be made here. After Josh and I retrieved the hen from the other employees car grill, nearly every employee stopped to check on the hen. People who had never had farm animals were interested in her survival. Something as simple as a yard bird was able to bring people together. Of course there were some who were not interested. A couple were even negative, almost hostile. But in general everyone wanted to see Lady Cluck pull through.

I hope the original owner of Lady Cluck realizes she is missing. I count our chickens daily and if one is missing I go look for the one that is missing. I would have known.

Keeping chickens can be challenging but it is also very rewarding. If you are allowed and able to have chickens I encourage you to do so. I am including links to two different books that could help you put.

I hope you get to live your
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes



If you would like to read my review of The Urban Chicken you can do so HERE.

Another Post you might like from my lovely wife.

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email. Simply fill out the form below.

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required

You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog. Any time you use one of our links for Amazon, if you purchase something The Rural Economist receives a small commission and it doesn't cost you any more. Even if you do not purchase the items I list. In this way you will help support us trying to teach people about self reliance and homesteading. Thanks for your consideration.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Personal Economy Revisited and Expanded



Two years ago I wrote this article as a way of sharing what our aunt went through and the advice I gave her. It  first was written when I first started this blog and as a result was not seen by many people. I had a conversation the other day that brought this back to mind. So I am re sharing with expansion. I hope you enjoy.

The Original post with grammar changes to make it past tense.

My wife's aunt lost her husband to cancer in February of 2012.  Some ,hopefully, well meaning friends were basically trying to take over her finances and trying to make decisions on her behalf when it came to the possessions of her late husband.  She was really torn up emotionally over selling his car and now then were pushing her to sell other personal items that he held dear. One of these friends had even gone so far as to take items and have them appraised, without her permission. I fear this happens far more often than we realize. 

I was talking to a gentleman this week that was going through a similar situation. His wife had died and his children were pushing him to sell many of their mother's possessions. Once again, I think they meant well, but this is not the way things should be done. In both of these situations neither of the surviving spouses really needed an inflow of cash. Both spouses that passed had life insurance that was able to cover burial expenses and more. 

So why were they being pushed to get rid of their spouses' things? In my aunt's situation I honestly think one of the people pushing liquidation wanted several of the items. I would not put it past him to sell several items and keep a couple, you know as a fee. I do not think this was the children's motivation or strongly encouraging their father. I think they saw it as an opportunity to get rid of things before their dad died too so they wouldn't have to deal with them.

FYI Two years after my aunt's husband passed away his office still looks like he just walked out and will be back any moment. My aunt has found peace by still having a lot of his things around. Time is what people need. No one should force a person to get rid of things. If a person wants to create a shrine for the one they loved they should be able to do so.

The advice I gave both was this. When you get ready to start selling or giving away your spouses things, I don't want you to just let people take them. I want you to take each item in your hands, physically touch each piece. Then ask yourself these questions; Do I need this? Do I want this? Will I be sorry if this is gone? If you cannot answer no to all three of these questions, you are not ready to give up that item yet.

Talking to her got me thinking. Why don't I modify these questions and apply them to my everyday life. The modified questions would look something like this. Do I need this? Do I want this? If I want this, why? Will it improve my quality of life or make me more productive? Will this item make me more secure? Will this item help me grow as a person? If I cannot answer yes to at least two of these questions I will not purchase the item.

Any time we are thinking about making a large purchase, my wife and I talk about it. We  research the item. We see if we can get the same or similar items somewhere else for a better price or at the same price with a better warranty or of better quality. In the process we are waiting. No purchase of a sizable amount should be made on impulse. Time should pass so you can be sure that this item is what you really want.

What is a sizable purchase? Well that depends. If you are a multimillionaire, you might have to make it all the way up to the price of a car before it would be considered a sizable purchase. If you are living on a limited budget you may have to think before spending $50.00 on a used dehydrator. It is all a matter of scale. There will always be the "Well, if I wait someone else may buy it." Yup, that is true. But you can only spend money once. As soon as it has left your hand it is no longer yours. You are no worse off if you do not get the dehydrator.

Honestly, if we all ask ourselves these questions how many things would we not purchase? How much better would our personal economies be?

On another note - sometimes a person's death spurs people to action. My grandfather died this past April. Both my wife and I wrote posts about him and our family after his death. His death served as a wake up call for several members of my family. He had taught all of us, my whole life anyway to be as self sustainable as possible. When he died he left a hole in our family. My dad and step mom moved in with my grandmother to help her cover expenses and to take care of her. Dad retired and has gone to farming full time and doing a fairly good job of it. He is teaching everyone he can how to take care of themselves by taking care of the land and so am I. 

My grandfather knew he was dying. Before he went into the hospital for the last time he started handing out things. He did this to make sure that who he wanted to have something was the one who got that item. I have so many things that I cherish that my grandfather gave me and I would not try to begrudge any of my family of the things he gave them. If you find yourself in a situation similar, remember to think of what the person who has gone would have wanted, but also remember the ones who are still here are the ones that are hurting. 

Other Posts you might enjoy:

I hope this post has given you something to think about and I hope it finds you well. May God grant you your 
Rural Dreams and Homestead Wishes

You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form below. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. 


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.



Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide Giveaway



Okay by now I figure you have realized that I am a pretty honest fellow. The below review of this book is not mine. It was written by a fellow blogger who gave me permission to repost. I haven't had the opportunity to read this one. If this is sounds like a book you are interested in the giveaway entries are below. If you are not into the prepper thing don't worry there are some homestead titles on the way.

This weeks giveaway is just a hodgepodge of ways to enter. There are some Facebook likes, some email subscriptions, some pinterest, and mine you just add my personal page to your circles on Gplus. If you would like to know what is going on around home, on the blog, and the YouTube channel consider subscribing to the email list. The form is below.

Week #4 of the Book Bonanza Giveaway offers the chance to win   “Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide.”

This is a great book written by best selling author, Jim Cobb who has authored several of the top selling preparedness books that have hit the market in the last few years.

Most people think that preparing for an emergency is a short lived plan.  However, in “Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living”  you'll see that short-term is not the case.  What if... things did not get back to 'normal'?  What if... the new normal was a way of life so foreign to us that we were caught unaware?  This book helps to address that with some thought provoking fiction and backs it up with more real life scenarios and planning.

The usual topics of Water, Food, Shelter etc don't stop with the 72-hour stock up but rather dive deeper and longer term into the future of sustainability.  Have you ever thought of surviving boredom?  What about what you'll do if you can buy new cloths?

There is an entire way of life that our ancestors used to live that did not rely on the systems, conveniences and gadgets that now tend to dominate life as we know it.  “Prepper's Long-Term Survival Guide”  helps us to think and plan for that historical Deja Vu that may be in our future.

Below is the entry for for this giveaway.  Enter for your chance to win this very thought provoking and empowering guide.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can subscribe to The Rural Economist by email by simply filling out the form below. Your information will never be sold or given to anyone else. 


Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required


You can like The Rural Economist on Facebook follow on The Rural Economist on Gplus. Or you can even follow The Rural Economist on Pintrest. We now have a YouTube channel and are doing a series on wild edible and medicinal plants. Hope on over and check them out, oh and don't forget to subscribe.

Affiliate Link Disclosure: The post contains affiliate links. I may receive compensation for links, endorsements, testimonials, or recommendations for any products mentioned on this blog.

If you do not have the free Kindle reading app, you can get it HERE. This is not a free trial. This is the eBook reading app for Amazon.