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Friday, March 27, 2009

Hands on Prepping(with positive attitude)

Ernie wrote a good reminder on Indiana Preppers on harvesting local hay or grasses for your animals. On my family farm we work very hard to learn everything we can to prepare us for anything. Now we live in the desert so grasses do not just grow like they do back east. But we had major rains last year and my husband and I saw all the grasses and decided we would harvest a lot of it.

Prepping is so important if you can comprehend that it is not temporary but a complete and total change in attitude. I live to reduce cost and learn skills that complement this. Study your local area. Learn about the plants, animals, and weather as if it is a college course. Make notes, locate used books(buy new only as a last resort- as lowering cost is most important.) For me, I have mentally been preparing for the scenario that we may not have electricity for a good while. Now with the economy the way it is, and the leaders that seem only to be facilitating the demise of the dollar, I am happy for my prepping. I have decided that I will repost things I have written on the farm blog to share here with Preppers. Everything is tested by my family. We have live by the low-cost no-cost motto since his accident and have proven that money CANNOT buy the hands on experience.

Below is my post from Double Nickel titled: Farm? Only a Vision(at first)...I wrote this when I had several comment that if they bought a farm then they too could be doing what we were doing!(think The Little Red Hen)

Growing up in Ohio tainted my interpretation of what a farm was. I envisioned red barns, white fences and well green grass, trees, and a ditch or two. That is not the case here in New Mexico. Nearly every operation out here is referred to as a ranch. I was determined to be unique and therefore decided that we would live on a farm. But truth of the matter was that this humble piece of property that we have was never a farm, and most certainly only scrub desert. We saw beyond the thorns, cactus, sand, rocks and envisioned a FARM!

We are only one year into the operation, and it has left permanent scars on our arms, as the mesquite is not forgiving as you try to remove it, trim it, or work around it. Yet we continue. Our time line is at year 4 to look like the farm we envisioned. When our agent showed us the property we could not walk through and see much as it was overgrown. It took three weeks to realize that the back had a fenced in area for the yard!

So here are the lemons we have(you know-when life gives you lemons- make lemonade)

Clearing mesquite...click on the photo to see the thorns...I saw the beans growing on the trees(bush) and began to harvest them, and we dried them for the animals. Boy they love dried mesquite beans.

When the monsoon season flooded parts of the property and the native grasses grew...we harvested the grasses with homemade sickles...and had Jen sized bales for the animals!

We still have much of the property that is nearly impassible. Oh and shoes do not stop the thorns...one thing we have purchased excess of was tweezers and peroxide!!

Here is a photo near the front of the property with one of my sons wandering. We have clearings here and there that more dry, desolate things will grow in...
So although one may believe that we found a great deal on a fixer upper (former) farm, that is not the case. We just knew that often to make what you desire takes much more mental ability then actually things that are real.

Don't ever believe that you can't achieve something, as we here on the Double Nickel Farm know that with God-all things are possible.
@2008 Double Nickel Farm

Friday, March 20, 2009

Greenhouses and Mobile Gardens

The life of a prepper should NOT cost extra money. I know that this statement may not make sense, and perhaps you think I am ill prepared for any situation. Not the case, I just learned to prep with the vision of what can this be? This post shares ways to use milk gallons and 5 gallon pickle buckets.

Now I live in the southwest, and the temperatures in the evening can drop below freezing, even after a lovely day in the mid 70's so I created a mini greenhouse to protect my little plants. These are some pumpkins. I covered the bottom of the milk gallon at night with the top of it. When I empty the milk gallons I cut it in half and store it until I need it. These are reusable of course and so I find them cost effective.

Knowing the ins and outs of growing will enable you to provide foods for yourself even if the weather is not the best.

Here I planted the seedlings and the nights were still a bit cold. So I used the tops to continue with the greenhouses. To hold them in place I use the skewers that you use for cooking, but you can use a stick and run it through the top into the ground, just be careful not to poke the plant.

These are pickling cucumbers.

Another simple method to garden is in buckets. I gather buckets from the local fast food places(M*cDonalds, B*urger King etc.) I then have one of my sons drill 5 or six holes in the bottom and fill and plant. Buckets work great for potatoes and cucumbers, but I have even used them for my herb garden. Remember this about bucket gardens...they are mobile, if necessary.

Food is pretty important...of course so please check out my post on seeds and be sure to by heirloom seeds for your garden and storage.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Who Am I?

I read this post on Indiana Prepper's site and was a bit startled. You see I am not writing on this network as a panic frenzied person, or a religious fanatic, but one who thinks that it is sound advice to be prepared for whatever calamity befalls you.

I am not naive enough to believe that governments don't spy on their people, nor do I disbelieve folks die suspiciously. But I choose to go forth with my life and simple preparing because without this my family would have struggled. We had a life altering event that made us focus on the here and now, and food, shelter and clothing.

I see that times are heading down a slope economically and feel the need to share with others that one can survive something quite traumatic and go forth. I have learned how to do tasks that would shock you. I mean I live in the United States for goodness sakes! You see that is what prepping should be about. Getting over our pride and understanding that without some moxie we too could end up in a sport's stadium. Preparing for the worst and expecting the best is a lifestyle that we should all adopt.

Once I read the post I thought, wow, am I that threatening to others that I may need to be quieted?

Well let's see, I am humble, simple, short, not the thinnest gal on the block, over forty, and I have a brain and I use it. Perhaps that is the threat. Perhaps learning to provide for oneself and not expecting another to take care of you, becomes a threat when group thought is the norm.

I am you by the way, if all you do is choose. Choose to learn skills that will enable you to take care of yourself.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Farm Wife Brought to Tears

Read this link. I am sorry that it is not a heart wrenching, make you cry, feel good. Nope, folks I strongly suggest that you batten down and prepare as times are changing.

*cross posted on Double Nickel Farm

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Using Your Food Storage

Do you buy foods and then put them in an emergency pantry, and have no idea how to use them? Filling a pantry and preparing for any emergency is critical. But if you buy something like powdered milk and then have no idea how to use it then you have wasted money, storage space, and quite frankly your time.

I have used powdered milk for many years, as it is easier to use when I make arroz con leche(rice and milk) or oatmeal. As the years passed I slowly began using powdered milk for baking sweets and even bread.

So my pantry has powdered milk. This is a comfort to me to know that I can make the foods my family eats, because I have learned how to use powdered milk on my leisure and if a crisis occurs, I am totally comfortable baking with this.

I think that in the times we live in that one need to learn to cook/bake as many foods as possible from scratch. I challenge you(if you haven't already) to buy some powdered milk and then bake with it.

How much powdered milk should you store for your family? Here is a good link to get you started on calculating your food needs.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Seed Companies

I am sharing the links that I used this year to buy seeds for my garden. Each of the below listed companies was extremely nice and my order was processed quickly.

Onalee's Home Grown Seeds and Plants- I bought loofah seeds and cotton seeds here, in addition to a few standards.

Victory Heirloom Seeds- they have many seeds that are less common. I ordered tomatillos and ground cherries here with several other seed packs.

If you go to Double Nickel Farm and click on the link to Mountain Rose Herbs(because I get a teeny tiny payment if you go to their link through me) you can buy herbs and spices. I ordered nearly $40.00 worth of seeds from them, including the Medicinal Herb Pack.

We lived in town for a few years saving and preparing to buy the farm. Here is one side of our garden that we grew at the rental property. In town water restrictions permitted us to water only one day a week, and we still had a substantial crop. We began in February and harvested our bumper crop in late November. This is truly the main reason that one lives in the southwest because of the long growing season.

This was an early picture...

This is the same shot(more of a closeup) a few months later. We grew a tremendous amount of food here. By the way, notice the dirt, as without water or rain...nothing grows!

*If you haven't tried your hand at growing something for any reason I say that this is the year for a change. I included the photos of our city garden so you could see that even in an urban environment one can still have a garden.

Friday, March 13, 2009

What If?

I am reading on the MSM(main stream media) that all is fine, the recession is over...la la la! Go ahead and go forth, forget that we worried you with the doom and gloom.

Folks this is not the case- one cannot have the massive amount of debt that we have undertaken without worry and concern. We have no way to repay the debt, and at any point those that have lent us the money can call on their notes. Then what?

You probably have a home loan that is backed by foreign dollars. When you sign a mortgage note, there is the possibility that the note can be called at any time. What happens then?

This is a thinking post. It requires you to connect the dots and decide for you and yours the best solution to the possibility that I have given. I am certain that the rumors that allude to a one world currency are coming to fruition. I am certain that the lifestyles that we have come to enjoy are changing abruptly and that without constantly playing what if scenarios you may find yourself too emotional to respond with the expediency that you need.

Each post I am going to jot down a few things that are bits of regional information for New Mexicans.

-With our state bordering both Texas and Mexico to the south we are going to be impacted by the drug wars in Cuidad Juarez. The mayor of Cuidad Juarez(we just call it Juarez) is in hiding in El Paso...more than 1000 people have been murdered in Juarez since January 1...1000 people have been murdered... some beheaded, the police department all resigned, new officers are targets and have actually hired their own security guards, NO KIDDING.

So if you are planning travels to El Paso or any area of the border remember this, Juarez has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in the world-even any involved in a war...I would say not to travel to Mexico. This is not like oh the water will give you diarrhea, this is real danger.

I live in an area that is a corridor to Mexico by using the lovely mountain I take pictures of for my blog. It is a direct route to Mexico, and we have seen an incredible rise in the Border Patrol Airplanes, and even more off road patrol vehicles circling the area. If I lived in Juarez and it was a war zone, my family and I would bug out up north...so that is what we expect, families seeking safety, and apparently so does the border patrol.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Gardening With A Twist

Although many preppers have a plan to evacuate if the need arises, while in the surroundings you are in, you should be able to live your simple life. This life of preparing for the worst, expecting the best is not something that one does overnight.

This lifestyle is a learning curve, or I should say a reprogramming, as most of our lives we have been inundated with commercialism, spend as if money grows on trees, and nothing bad ever happens.

If you are reading this blog, and others in the prepping circle, you believe otherwise. We may never be required to vacate our premises, but we may have to adapt to not having money to spend on electricity, foods, or medicines. So then what? Is your place adaptable? If not then I would seriously consider finding a new home. The desert of NM is a hard climate to adapt to, but it is highly rewarding. Last year my family learned such an incredible tip to growing foods we have not been able to contain our excitement.

Growing foods rurally is tough and you have to deal with the rodents, varmints, and birds, but here we also lack water. So without a rigid watering schedule everything will die. But the varmint issue is not a problem if you plant under the Mesquite tree. We learned this by accident when we tossed an old pumpkin out during the monsoon season and 40 pumpkin plants grew up in the Mesquite!

The thorns of the Mesquite deterred the critters, and the tree became the trellis. I can tell you I would have never believed that 20 and nearly 30 pound pumpkins could grow up 5 feet above the ground! This year we have decided to plant all our our ground runner crops(pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber, zucchini, crookneck squash, acorn squash, and cantaloupe) in the Mesquite. The only thing we will do is keep a map of where we plant them so we can salvage the gray water to the plants.

In addition to this planting we are doing we no longer feel the need to clear the Mesquite, because it *hides* our home from the roadway, and keeps all manner of the two legged critters from wandering the land as it is a natural fence, as the thorn below shows. Each tree has thousands of these on it, and they penetrate even the best boots we have bought. We no longer are looking to buy a better boot, but we invested in a great set of tweezers!

I am always one that believes that while I am where I am I will live the simple life. I suggest that while we are watchers and preparing for the reality that is coming that we can get a jump on skills that are quite valuable. I suggest that we strive to live each day with a goal to become more self sufficient.

The Nitty Gritty Details of Your Storage

In preparedness some things are overlooked because of priority. Most preparers think of the Big Three: Food~ Shelter~Clothing, which are extremely important and brush over the details. Today I am going to go into one of the details, that if overlooked will cause problems in a stressful time. You see preparing for all manner of situations makes the best Prepper, whether it is natural or man-made, some things overlooked will tax even the most determined prepper.

What could be overlooked that could cause such duress? Well we cannot shut off going to the bathroom...When you stock up on foods and meds, have you stocked up on toilet paper? No matter how much you stock up, toilet paper goes fast. So then what?

Now I will not go into digging an outhouse today, but here is a link for you to go over, if times come to where you may need to build your own. But I am going to go over something that I first laughed at. Cloth wipes! Yes, we must never forget staying clean, even in a crisis, as if we don't our health and well being is at risk. Cloth wipes are an alternative to disposable toilet paper and in a crisis may be something good to have in the storage room. Here is a link that shares some easy wipes and how to use them(the picture gives you an idea of how to make your own). I would also suggest having one separate color wipe for each person in your group, so even after washing the wipes they go back to the same person.

Now on to another part often overlooked in a crisis: feminine products. If the world changes overnight then knowing that one can use an outhouse and use cloth wipes will make all the difference, such is the same as cloth menstrual pads. This link shares how to make your own, or have on hand for your family. Once again, we can stock up until we spend all we have, and it is not as impacting as knowing another method to bypass the need for a refill.

I am not sure what tomorrow will bring with government so frantic with the race towards socialism, I prefer to learn as much as possible that makes me prepared without spending money I do not have.

Save space and add to your storage, cloth wipes, feminine products(if you have women in your group) and even cloth diapers(if you have youngsters or are in the child birthing years).

Once again I stress that knowing this is an option and having the cloth products on hand is exactly like knowing how to plant and grow your own foods...it gives you the knowledge and understanding to take care of yourself!


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hello from Southern New Mexico!

Well I am glad that this is not a public speaking engagement because I can barely think of how to introduce myself!

Let's see, my name is Jennifer and I have been married nearly 21 years. I have been blessed with four incredible children(well now young adults). My oldest is in the US Army and most likely will be heading to Afghanistan by late summer. The younger three are still at home.

I am the daughter of a soldier killed in Vietnam two months before I was born, wife to first generation American, and I deeply love this land.

My path of preparedness began with my mother's frugal ways, which on 1 January 2005 all came to a head, when I had to step up the plate and walk the walk. Why? Because my husband had an accident that permanently disabled him. We went from 14 years in law enforcement(moving up the ladder) to a job change and a huge salary cut. I then had to decide did I marry the man or the money?(I will inject here that I am deeply, madly in love with my sweetie!)

So we adjusted our lives, decided that we could afford to move to a fixer upper and provide for many of our needs from a farm life. We haven't reinvented the wheel, by any means.

I think my writing here will let you the reader know that if we can transition to a very slow paced simple life, all the while weaning oneself from the world, anyone can. I am not suggesting that the world is bad, but Big Brother is working hard to not allow you to sever the tie, and that unless you learn now, the time may pass.

I also believe that preparedness is not because one sees the evil in government or that one is paranoid. Instead I see the prepping lifestyle as an incredible way to live. The box has always been too small to fit everyone, so with the option to think otherwise is great.

I could or should have said that I would keep this intro short(too late:), but I will share my main blog Double Nickel Farm. This is a general blog filled with family, politics, and preparedness...

I do plan on posting links of things going on that continue to chip away freedoms we enjoy, tips on cutting away things one things that they may need, food storage goals, gardening food and medicinal herbs, making your own toiletries, cleaning and well a lot more.

~and I will admit I do love feed back, so feel free to comment!
New Mexico Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. New Mexico Preppers Network is a trademark protected by American Preppers Network Inc. All rights reserved. No content or articles may be reproduced without explicit written permission.