June 22, 2017

Setting Hens and Baby Chicks

We've got both! Although I have to say that the setting hen business has gotten a little out of hand.

Chickens seem to be bad about wanting to lay their eggs in a setting hens nest, so that I can't keep track of which have been there for awhile and which are freshly laid. Then the other day our first chick hatched.

And then another so that this mama hen has two.

Yesterday I found a second 'Lorp mama with two more chicks. That still left three hens on the nests! I've not been allowed to get close enough to take many pictures, but hopefully the setting and hatching business will be done soon so I can get a chick count.

June 19, 2017

Dan's Workshop: Carport

It's been awhile since I gave you an update on Dan's workshop. In the last one, I showed you how Dan added the girders to the main structure.

So here's the workshop with our home-milled lumber
in front of that, and the carport slab under the lumber.

His next step was to frame out the attached carport.

For the piers, Dan used pre-fabbed ones leftover
from another project, rather than making his own.

Three posts and a beam were needed to support the roof. The beam was 17.5 feet, about the length of the carport. Even though the timbers had been curing for about a year, it was still very heavy. Here's how he moved it one-man fashion.

Using a strap and two short logs. You can see two
of the carport posts on the ground at the right.

Close-up. As the beam is moved the logs must be repositioned.

He attached the posts to the beam on the ground.

But the kneebraces pushed the posts farther apart than the piers were set. So Dan used the ratchet and strap pull them together and added some weight in hopes of correcting that problem.

The following weekend we were ready to raise the bent. First a final inspection.

He used the tractor the same way he raised the other bents.

To make sure it didn't move around too much on us when we got it on the piers, he first paced a slice of a 4x4 in the center of each of the piers.

In the center of those blocks he sank a piece of rebar (missed photos for that one), and then measured and drilled a hole in the bottom of each of the posts. Happily the posts slipped easily into place.

With flashing, because the posts are untreated

And here it is.

The last step was to remove the straps and brace the bent. Roof is next!

Dan's Workshop: Carport © June 2017 by

June 16, 2017

Here's One for Your Bug-Out Bag: Prepper's Survival Navigation

I've reviewed quite a few prepper books lately, but I've got one more that I seriously have to share with you - Prepper's Survival Navigation: Find Your Way with Map and Compass as Well as Stars, Mountains, Rivers and Other Wilderness Signs by Walter Glen Martin.

Dan grabbed this book as soon as I got it, so I've had to wait my turn to read it. When Dan was in the Air Force his map and compass training was something he really enjoyed, so he was very interested in this book. Comparing it to his military training, he pronounced it excellent!

The author starts by discussing the need to be prepared and why land navigation is an important survival skill. Most of us are so used to Google Maps and GPS that if we had no electronic devices to tell us how to get someplace, we would be lost indeed. But what if you have to take off cross country, with no roads or other drivers' landmarks to guide you? Or if you got lost on a backpacking or camping trip - would you know what to do?

For the completely unprepared, chapter one will teach you how to find north without a compass. For those who want to be a little more prepared, chapters two and three discuss the topographical map and the compass and how to use them. You'll learn how to calculate the measurement of a curved path, adjust for declination, and orient a map. Dead reckoning is calculating your current position by using a previously determining location and using time and speed. You'll learn that too. Also how to use the terrain to find your place on the map.

The remaining chapters deal with getting lost, finding shelter, how to prevent and treat exposure, obtaining water, fire craft, and survival medicine. In the epilogue you are challenged to practice the skills taught in this book by starting your own adventure!

Prepper's Survival Navigation is part of the Ulysses Press prepper series. It's very reasonably priced and available in both paperback (recommended!) and Kindle editions. You can read more about it at Ulysses Press, or buy it now on Amazon.

© June 2017 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/

June 13, 2017

Goat News!

Twins for Anna!

They were born last Tuesday around 10:30 that night.

Firstborn - a buckling

She wasn't due until Saturday, but Tuesday morning I noticed her standing in the stall, shifting her weight back and forth, not paying attention to anything going on around her.

There was no discharge (a very tell-tale sign), but I've seen this behavior in does before, usually half-a-day or so before they start pushing.

Second-born - a doeling.

I checked on her frequently but there was still nothing happening at dusk so I put her in the kidding stall for the night.

Right before I went to bed I made another check. The two babies had already arrived!

The little buckling was already on his feet and Anna was giving him a good cleaning. The little doeling must have just arrived because she was very wet and covered in the birth membranes.

So I had gotten there just in time to get her cleaned up and put her next to her brother so Anna could give her a good licking too. I think that's an important part of the bonding process and imprints each kid's smell on their mother.

Anna is a first time mom so she wasn't too sure about them at first. It took a little encouragement for her to realize that nursing them wasn't a bad experience after all.

Later the next day I let her out because she was hollering for the other goats. She ran off after them, and then remembered that her babies were still in the barn. Back she ran.

That first day out my two February born doelings (Ellie and Sky) took to butting the little ones so that I had to put them back up. Anna just looked confused.

The following day when I let them out, the first thing Anna did was flatten Ellie and Sky! Everybody keeps a respectful distance from her babies now.

So kidding is officially over for 2017. Five doelings and four bucklings made for a good year.

Goat News! © June 2017 by Leigh 

June 12, 2017

A Few Good Reads I Just Have to Mention On the PrepperBundle's Last Day

PrepperBundle availability ends tonight at midnight Central Daylight Time, so I'm almost out of time for book reviews. There are just a few more I want to mention because they are really interesting reads.

I'll start with this one, A Prepper's Anthology of the Collapse of Venezuela, a case study by Daisy Luther. You may recall that I've reviewed Daisy's work before, see "The Prepper's Canning Guide." This book is not your typical prepper material, but it is an extremely interesting read.

This economic and political disaster did not happen overnight but over years. Daisy has been observing the events surrounding and leading up to it for the past four years. What makes this book so eye-opening is that she has been able to sift through these events, compare them to similar problems in other countries, and formulate patterns. If you follow American news and politics, much of it will sound uncomfortably familiar.

Daisy is a long-time advocate of preparedness, and so has lots of good ideas addressing these real life events. A must-read, especially for those who think it couldn't happen to us.

Your Family Matters by Todd Sepulveda is a collection of essays based on his observations of real-life situations he and his family have experienced. It is extremely well written and interesting, because the essays are based on situations that are typical to all of us. The astute will pick up on the clues, but we also get a better glimpse into why people don't prep and why they don't think it's necessary. Lots of practical advice and ideas here to prepare you and your family for problems ranging from common to uncommon.

Aftermath: A Story of Survival by L. M. Edmundson might seem an unusual addition to the PrepperBundle, because it's a work of fiction. Some may scoff at that, but I have to tell you that I have long believed fiction to be a fantastic teaching and learning tool. At 282 pages Aftermath a full-blown work and although I haven't finished it yet, it hooked me from page one.

The PrepperBundle will be available midnight tonight (Central time). You can choose online access to download the bundle for $29.97, the flash (thumb aka USB) drive option for $54.97, or both for $59.97 (one for you and the other as a gift).

BONUS: If you buy the bundle through my blog, I'll gift you with your choice of one eVolume from my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos. After you place your order simply email me at 5acresandadream @ mail. com, and let me know which one you'd like. I'll send you a link to download a free copy.

Tomorrow ➡ goat news!

© June 2017 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/

June 11, 2017

PrepperBundle: Low Tech Alternatives to High Tech Living

I don't think it's any secret that most of today's society is addicted to their electronic gizmos and gadgets. Most of you have probably seen those "Top 50 Things to Disappear in an Emergency" lists, and it's no surprise that batteries for those gizmos and gadgets is on them. Most preparedness supply checklists include batteries. But as we all know, all batteries eventually die, even the rechargeable kind. In fact, they will die without ever being used, because their lifespan is based on a chemical process that begins as soon as the battery is assembled. So no matter what kind of emergency scenarios you feel compelled to prepare for, finding alternatives for those battery operated items is only prudent.

Along those lines, Low-Tech Solutions to High Tech Problems from Patrice Lewis's Preparedness Series is a excellent addition to the PrepperBundle. I love this book for its common sense approach to prepping. Patrice is right - we don't need all the fancy, expensive prepping supplies and products that are now offered via preparedness marketing, we need simple, realistic solutions to our lifestyle needs. And this book offers them. Highly recommended.

Fifty Ways To Make Survival Tools From Trash And Household Items by Kenneth A. Youngquist is a book with a lot of outside-the-box ideas. How about cooking in a plastic bag, pull-tab fishing hooks, making glue out of styrofoam cups, or milking a tree for water? All that plus a lot more clever ideas for firecraft, fishing and trapping, cooking, water, and other miscellaneous tools, all made from common discards and other items that most of us have available.

And then there is The Guide to Primitive Survival Traps by Blake Alma from The Outdoorsman's Art Radio Show. Most of us probably can't envision going trapping, but if one doesn't have a kill-worthy weapon and there are no fruits, vegetables, nor grocery store around, it might not be a bad idea to know how to do this. Blake begins by discussing making a survival kit, and then goes on to show the reader how to make a variety of easy snares and traps. Includes how to find the best places to place them.

The PrepperBundle will be available through tomorrow night, June 12 at Midnight (Central time). You can choose online access to download the bundle for $29.97, the flash (thumb aka USB) drive option for $54.97, or both for $59.97 (one for you and the other as a gift).

BONUS: If you buy the bundle through my blog, I'll gift you with your choice of one eVolume from my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos. After you place your order simply email me at 5acresandadream @ mail. com, and let me know which one you'd like. I'll send you a link to download a free copy.

© June 2017 by Leigh at http://www.5acresandadream.com/

June 10, 2017

Water and Energy Preparedness

Yesterday we discussed some of the food preparedness resources in the PrepperBundle. I'd say this is probably a number one concern for most people. Along with food, of course, comes water, and then energy, because most folks don't like doing without electricity for very long. If

People can live longer without food than water, which is why water preparedness is a must. After a tornado, hurricane, flood, or earthquake, it's not uncommon for people to be advised to boil their drinking water. Having a well is no guarantee of a water supply if you have an electric pump. We've experienced that first hand, and it's not just cooking, cleaning, and bathing water you have to consider. Without electricity to run our pump we couldn't even flush the toilet!

Several of the books I mentioned yesterday address water from a preparedness viewpoint, plus there are a number of lists and plans to help you get organized. This book, however, is dedicated to the issue of water safety in an emergency situation.

The Prepper's Guide To Disaster Water Security by Steven Chabotte is about as comprehensive as it gets. It begins with a list of disasters that can affect water supply. Then it discusses the negative effects of lack of water (dehydration would be a horrible way to die), potential water toxins and contaminants (bacteria, viruses, parasites, heavy metal contaminants, nitrates, pharmaceuticals, poisonous chemicals, etc.) The author helps you build a comprehensive water storage plan, little thought-of water sources, how to test water safety, and the various methods of water purification. Most of us probably wouldn't want to drink water treated with bleach (chlorine) but if it's between that and cholera, well, which would you choose? Includes charts for quantities of water and chlorine or iodine, and how to disinfect a well. But he also tells us how to make a variety of homemade water filters, so maybe that's a better way to go! The appendices are filled with useful resources.

The PrepperBundle includes a couple of good books on off-grid living. While I realize most of us aren't planning to go off the grid, the still contain useful information that can be applied to a grid-down situation. Then there's this book by Lee and Joan Crain.

Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System: How to Create and Configure An Off-Grid Power System With a Portable Solar Generator. What is a solar generator? Technically it's a battery centric, electricity storage device which utilizes solar panels to collect the energy and store it in batteries. If you are thinking about getting a generator, you may want to look into one of these. No need to store gasoline or diesel fuel!

The authors tested two such generators and the first part of the book is an honest evaluation of each. It then details how they evaluated what they could run on each, how they prioritized their needs, and how they worked out solutions for those needs. A very interesting read for anyone wishing to evaluate their own electricity usage.

The PrepperBundle will be on sale through Monday, June 12 at Midnight (Central) You can choose online access to download the bundle for $29.97, the flash (thumb aka USB) drive option for $54.97, or both for $59.97 (one for you and the other as a gift).

BONUS: If you buy the bundle through my blog, I'll gift you with your choice of one eVolume from my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos. After you place your order simply email me at 5acresandadream @ mail. com, and let me know which one you'd like. I'll send you a link to download a free copy.

June 9, 2017

Food Preparedness

Back in the late 1990s Dan and I lived in an area that experienced severe drought for a number of years. At the time we had well water, and so could water our garden without worrying about our water bill. Our next door neighbor was a well-respected old-timer who knew everybody in the county. One day he and Dan were talking about our gardens and he told Dan about a lady he knew who had decided to give up on growing food because of the drought. She couldn't grow food so she was just going to buy food from the grocery store. Our neighbor chuckled over that and said, "Doesn't she realize that food in the grocery store has to be grown too?"

Last summer was a tough year for gardeners all over the country. It was either too hot, too dry, or too rainy for almost anybody's garden to produce well. I daresay that most of us who rely on growing our own food had to dip more deeply into our pantries and supplement more from the grocery store. I'm sure we're all wondering what this summer will bring!

So that brings me to food preparedness and how the PrepperBundle can help. It contains some good books on food storage, and also a few that touch on things we don't always think about.

Kitchens Prepper Style by CM Beck starts with her idea of the ideal prepper's kitchen and then explores alternate cooking methods, cookware, and utensils. One statement that caught my attention was what she said about water safety, "The Red Cross advises boiling water for use in an emergency, but boiling water will make chemicals more saturated. This method will kill bacteria though." What's the answer? She recommends distilling water before using. I thought the book was quite thorough in things a prepper needs to consider for her or his kitchen. Plus it contains a lot of good tips on frugal stock-up shopping.

Do you remember in the solar cooking class when Paul explained how a Sun Oven could be used as a "Wonder Box?" Consequently, I was very pleased to find Megan Smith's Wonder Oven Recipes in the bundle. What is a wonder oven (or box)? It's a method of cooking that utilizes retained heat in partially cooked items to finish the cooking. It can save up to 50% on fuel or heating costs. The book tells you how to make your own easy "wonder box," explains the basic concepts, and then gives 28 recipes. I plan to try this with my Sun Oven!

The Mini Seed Saving Course by Melissa K Norris gives you access to her online seed saving course (of course). I haven't taken it yet, but plan to. This just makes sense for any gardener/prepper, so I look forward to any new tips I can get!

I also have to mention this book, The Bohemian Lady's Journal of Wild Edibles by Lindy Mayberry Sellers. Not just because foraging is an important preparedness skill to learn, but because the water color illustrations are absolutely gorgeous! Recipes are included for each of the common wild plants presented.

Click here to see everything that's included in the bundle, plus options available and pricing.

Or click here to head on over to the PrepperBundle website.

Or, stay tuned for a few more reviews on the PrepperBundle books.

Food Preparedness © June 2017 by

June 8, 2017

Preparedness For What?

There's a lot of hoopla about preparedness these days. Some folks are preparing for the end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI), while others don't see the point. I suppose it depends on how much confidence one has in the government, economic system, and those who run them (or fight over who runs them).

It's no secret that Dan and I are on the no-confidence side of the fence, but I honestly have no idea if or when the system will collapse. That lack of confidence is one of the reasons we choose to homestead (the other reason is that we love it.) But also, we have experienced months of joblessness and no income, plus natural disaster which has left us for days without electricity and water. It was only because we took steps to be prepared for situations like these that we were able to stay warm, clean, and happily fed. Consequently, our experiences have caused us not to just focus on preparedness, but on self-reliance.

That's why I was glad to see this book included in the PrepperBundleKeys to Successful Homesteading by Scott M Terry. Some of you may be familiar with Scott from his Christian Farm and Homestead Radio podcasts. I've been on his show a couple of times and can tell you from experience that Scott is extremely knowledgeable about all aspects of farming, homesteading, and agrarianism.

His book is probably one of the most practical books on homesteading out there. He doesn't give you details on things like how to plan a garden, how to build a chicken coop, and what kind of critters to get; rather he tells you what other homesteading books omit, i.e., the bottom line make-it-or-break-it stuff that is only learned from years of observation and experience. What he teaches you is how to have the proper mindset, realistic expectations, and make good choices. These things don't come naturally in the modern world, which is why this book is highly recommended.

But what if you aren't able to buy some acreage and homestead? What if you can't rely on self-reliance? Then this is the book for you - Family Preparation in the City and Suburbia by Susan K. Stewart. It covers everything a suburban home or apartment dweller should be concerned about: water, heat, food, lighting, medical, money, entertainment, education, employment, protection, and community. Includes printable forms to help you with situation assessment, electricity assessment, and a document tracking system.

To see the list of everything that's included in the bundle (PDF eBooks, videos, courses, and bonus offers), check out my "Introducing the PrepperBundle" blog post. In addition to all of those, if you purchase the bundle through my blog, I'll give you an eBook from my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos collection - your choice for free! After you place your order simply email me at 5acresandadream @ mail. com, let me know which one you'd like, and I'll email you a link to download a free copy in the format of your choice.

How much?
  • Online access to downloadable PDFs: $29.97 (That's a 90% savings over buying each title individually).
  • USB thumb drive version only: $54.97 (portable and won't disappear if your computer dies).
  • BOTH online access and thumb drive: $59.97
$1 of all purchases will be donated to veterans' charities.

Questions? I'll be happy to answer them!

Preparedness For What? © June 2017 by

June 7, 2017

Introducing the Prepper Bundle

So, what is the PrepperBundle? It's a collaboration by 28 preparedness and homesteading authors to offer a collection of 30 PDF eBooks, courses, and videos, all focusing on preparedness.

What are the resources?
  • 50 Ways To Make Survival Tools From Trash And Household Items by Ken Youngquist from Survivaltek
  • 6 Steps to Your Quick Win Emergency Kit by Shelle Wells from Preparedness Mama
  • Aftermath: A Story of Survival by LeAnn Edmonson from Homestead Dreamer
  • A Prepper’s Anthology of The Collapse of Venezuela by Daisy Luther from Organic Prepper
  • The Guide to Primitive Survival Traps by Blake Alma from The Outdoorsman's Art Radio Show
  • Building A Cob Style Rocket Mass Heater video by Paul Wheaton from Rich Soil
  • Build Your Own Emergency Off-Grid Power System by Joan Crain from Family Survival Planning
  • Canning 101: A Primer by Lisa Barthuly from Homestead Originals
  • Canning Day Prep Checklist Printable by Chaya Foedus from Pantry Paratus 
  • Family Preparation in the City & Suburbia by Susan Stewart from Practical Inspirations
  • Food Storage Made Easy by Jodi & Julie at Food Storage Made Easy
  • Homemade First Aid Kit by Sheri Ann Richerson from Exotic Gardening
  • How to Bake Without Baking Powder by Leigh Tate from 5 Acres & A Dream
  • How To Embrace an Off-Grid Lifestyle by Tammy Trayer from Trayer Wilderness
  • How to Stop Burglars Dead in Their Tracks by Damian Brindle from Rethink Survival 
  • Keys to Successful Homesteading by Scott Terry from North Country Farmer
  • Kitchens Prepper Style by Constance Beck
  • Living Off The Grid also by Sheri Ann Richerson
  • Low-Tech Solutions to High-Tech Problems by Patrice Lewis from Rural-Revolution
  • Meal Planning for Long-Term Food Storage by Charisse Merrill
  • Mini Seed Saving eCourse by Melissa K. Norris
  • Organization: Your First Step To Getting Prepped by Lisa Bedford from The Survival Mom 
  • Prepared Kids by Angela Paskett from Food Storage & Survival
  • Preparedness Planner: Firearm Edition by Jennifer Osuch from Self Reliant School
  • Prepper Supplies Checklist by Nettie David from Preppers Survive
  • Simple 72 Hour Kits by Misty Marsh from Simple Family Preparedness
  • The Bohemian Lady’s Journal of Wild Edibles by Lindy Sellers
  • The Prepper’s Guide to Disaster Water Security by Steven Chabotte from The Weekend Prepper
  • Wonder Oven Recipes by Megan Smith from My Food Storage Cookbook
  • Your Family Matters by Todd Sepulveda from Prepper Website
  • Your Shelf Stable Pantry also by Misty Marsh

Plus the bonus offers from:
  • Sun Oven - $164 off a Sun Oven package (in case you missed the offer from my Solar Cooking Class last month. 😉 )
  • Trayer Wilderness Academy - 1 month membership free
  • MadeOn Skin Care - Free bug block stick (just pay shipping)
  • Pioneering Today Academy - one month free access.
  • Seeds for Generations - 25% off organic heirloom garden seeds
  • Beyond Off Grid documentary film - Get 25% off the Beyond Off Grid DVD + online pass - or - get $50 off the Summit Online Course
  • SCOUTbox is a monthly subscription box service providing outdoor and preparedness gear, accessories, and educational materials for children and adults. Started by two Eagle Scouts! Get an extra 10% off a 3-month SCOUTbox subscription.
  • Mike The Gardener - 40% off a Seeds Of The Month membership

Plus a bonus offer from me! If you purchase the bundle through my blog, I'll give you an eBook from my The Little Series of Homestead How-Tos collection - your choice for free! After you place your order simply email me at 5acresandadream @ mail. com, let me know which one you'd like, and I'll send you a link to download a free copy. (Since my How To Bake Without Baking Powder is already included in the bundle, you'll probably want to choose something else.☺)

AND! For every bundle sold, the organizers will donate $1 to veterans' charities.

How much does it cost? Okay, so let's cut to the chase. Individually the titles would cost over $300. By working together we can offer all of these resources at a 90% discount!
  • Online access to downloadable PDFs: $29.97
  • USB thumb drive version only: $54.97
  • BOTH online access and thumb drive: $59.97

How long will it be available? Now through June 12.

So please click here if you're interested! If you'd like to know a little more about the books first, stay tuned. I plan to do a series of book reviews this week. I'm familiar with some of the authors but others I'm really happy to know about! Personally, I love this collection, love having these new resources, and, as always, love sharing.

Questions? Ask away!