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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Second Till

The new bed needed a second till after it was fed a couple of things so that is going on right now thanks to my soon to be bone rattled husband lol. Tilling isn't easy that's for sure. So far between my neighbor and I, this bed will have corn, green beans, okra and potatoes. I don't think it will be too late for potatoes but if it is, heck I'll plant more in the fall. Tomatoes will also go in soon. I'm just trying to keep up with all I want to do and what has to get done. I like this part of the growing season, it's like life, young and full of hope.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Bed

The new garden bed in the neighbors yard has been tilled up and will be re tilled soon. My beds are part of the way tilled. Seed potatoes have to go in...soon. I didn't get to go to the farm supply this time around and I think that it was on purpose. I love the farm supply store and wander around there for a while. Plus I have been threatening everyone with baby chicks so no one was going to take a chance on me going lol. Seedlings are doing well and by the end of the week I will have plants to put in the ground. Usually by now I worry that things will sell out fast but I think as anxious as everyone is to get going with their gardens they are taking their time and letting things heal after the cold winter. The weather has been nice during the day and cool at night. It has been perfect weather for the clothesline we put in last year and I smile every time I take a load of laundry off the line knowing Didn't have to pay the electric company for it. I am still decluttering the house..I think things breed in the house when no one is looking. I am optimistic about this years garden and that it will yield enough to give me an excuse to buy a pressure canner. Maybe a dehydrator.
Looking at current events, the President thinks the Tea Party people are wrapped around a core group looking to take him down. I don't think ever before has a President so outwardly ridiculed, not congress, but actual Americans who did not agree with him and to try to tie it in as a conspiracy theory is an insult. He did it during his campaign and he has continued to do that throughout his time in office. We have a bailout that is not straightened out, we have health care issues, a war and this is what he is worried about. I've been to one tea party meeting..all races, all ages, children playing, no racial slurs, no violence and no death threats. I think Haley Barbour doing a great job calling out the media for giving the Obama administration the longest wet sloppy kiss in regards to health care.
There will be some parts of this you are going to scratch your head about with this post and I have to apologize. Blogger is not being very helpful today.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It just comes in small doses

I was just thinking about the past couple of nights of dinners we have had. One night I made a stir fry with five different vegetables, the other night spaghetti, pork chops with squash and cabbage, and tonight roasted chicken with sweet corn and salad. The majority of all my meals were made from the things I grew. Of course, not the meat, dang zoning laws but it made me smile. Happiness comes in small doses my friends, enjoy it when it happens.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Two different views on the same problem

From Tim... [this was a work in progress when his last post was added here]

It has been a while since I have written a post. I started this post over a month ago after a conversation with an extended family member who had lost his cooperate job. He had been out of work for about six months when we had our conversation and now it looks like he has taken our talk to heart and it has helped his family.

Let me first give some background. The reason that he came to me was because I, too, had gone through a lifestyle change a couple of years back where my income had been cut to less than half. This is when my family truly started living a PREPPERS lifestyle. This family member had seen us pack up and move to a small piece of land in the country, living in our travel trailer while we built a small house. He had thought I jumped off the deep end. It wasn’t until he had been without work and was slowly watching his life crumble around him, and my family only thrive, that he started thinking that there might be something to what I was doing.

When he came to me he still wasn’t ready to take the big plunge into a prepper’s lifestyle, but he was looking for a way to get off the downhill slide. Both he and his wife had corporate jobs. They were the stereotypical American family living in the big house in the suburbs, commuting into the city, three children in private school involved in what ever activity the Jones’s kids were, all the newest things. You know them. This family had been blessed financially. They had been able to build up a good nest egg over the years and they’d been using it to replace his income since he had lost his job.

When we had our talk he was down to his last few thousand in the bank, and there was no hope on the horizon for new employment that matched his former income. What I am about to relay in this post is close to what he and I had talked about. Let me say that I am by no means a financial guru. The things that I bring up here are for the most part common sense. I believe that it is good for every one to take a look at what he or she has going on in his life and to see what he or she can do to make things in life better. For those that are just getting started down this road of preparedness, or for someone that is in the thick of the financial crises and needs encouragement, I hope this helps.

The thing that we looked at first was his expenses and what he could cut. The first thing on the list was the credit cards. He and his wife had cards at every store you could think of. Most of them had no balance but they were being eaten alive by fees. To their benefit they had stopped using them for the most part when he had lost his job. They had less than one thousand dollars on credit but when you added up what interest they were paying and the fees it was coming out to over $345.00 per month.

Next thing that we looked at was the food budget. I have eaten at their house many a times, and it always amazed me what was on the table and in the fridge. This family was always on the go like so many people today, the majority of their meals either came out of a box or a bag and the only cooking was the heating except when it was time to have friends over and cook something that made the TV chefs proud. They were spending over four hundred a week on food. After explaining to him that with some planning and actual grocery shopping he could easily cut the food bill down to four hundred for the month saving another $1200.00.

We then looked at were the extras that so many today think are necessities: the cable, the high speed internet, the fancy cell phone, and on and on. When we were able to get all this on paper and see what he could live without this came up to another $300.00 a month saved.

If I hadn’t made him bleed enough, I pointedly asked him why the kids were still in the after school program with him not working and it looking as if he wasn’t going back any time soon. His answer was that the kids got a lot of good out of it. What I said next will let some of my personal views through, but it is the way I feel. I asked if he thought that some underpaid person at a day care was better suited to give his children what they needed or was he. This brought a tear to his eye when he truly thought it through. Needless to say that the kids are now at home every day getting his attempt at home cooked meals. This cut another $900.00.

As we kept talking and I was on a roll, because it is always easier to help others than your self, we looked even harder into what he could do to cut back. The next thing that I asked about was his cars. He had three cars, they were making payment on two and had way more insurance than they needed. I talked him into selling they paid off extra and using that money to pay off the family car. He also cut the insurance down to the lowest that he could in his situation. This saved $560.00. We also looked into other areas that they could cut and found $275.00 more in monthly expenses to cut out.

Just the basic number that I have shown here come out to $3580.00. The amount that we cut out is more than many people make in a month.

I know that some are thinking about how there is still much more that can be cut, and others that think that these things are easy and why he hadn’t come up with this on his own. Just think how many times you have been frustrated trying to find your keys, you have looked everywhere to no avail, then your spouse comes in and walks right to the table next to where you are sitting and says are these the ones you are looking for. It is easy for people in the middle of a situation to not see the things around them. People have things in their lives that they know what the best choice of action is; it just helps to have another’s view to make it clear. Personal finances are a big part of being prepared, it is wise to always look at what you have coming in and going out. There might be things that need to be re-prioritized to get you to your goals.

P.S. in the early eighties there was a key ring that when you whistled it beeped back at you. Does any one know where to get one of those today I sure could use one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Symposium Postponed

Due to work overload on the farm, the APN Symposium is indefinitely postponed. Our apologies to everyone and as soon as we get things up and going again there will be futher announcements.
Plenty of things to do though! Talked with the neighbor and we hope to make plans to break ground on another, larger garden plot soon! I'm trying hard not to be so anxious to get started with the rainy week we have ahead.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Don't knock old fashioned

From our buddy Tim, who's had some computer issues of late but is back.

I try to make all my posts here to the preppers network be as related as possible. I also try to write posts that are things that have happened in my life that I think someone else might read and walk away from with a new skill or another outlook that helps them be a little more prepared than they were before they read it. This leads me to something that happened to me around the first. Any of you that live down by the MS coast might remember the weather. It was raining hard with a cold stiff wind. On my way to work someone had ran off the road and taken out a neighbors cattle fence. We suspect it was teenagers, because they had been pulled out and were gone before any one was there.

Any one that knows cattle knows that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, so when this car from heaven showed up and left this gaping hole it meant that they all had to go out and explore. I wish that you could see the site as I came around the corner. The first person that had arrived on the mass exodus was a businessman dressed for work. He was standing in front of the cows and calves jumping up and down trying to get them to go back. I brought the truck to a stop and jumped out. This person was afraid that one of the cows might get hurt. For me it was just second nature to reach in the back seat of my truck and grab my full length duster, the green wool hat, that used to be brown, and a pair of gloves.

As I started to get around the cattle the gentleman that had stopped first thanked me for the help and said he needed to get his coat out of the car. What I saw next kind of surprised me. He walked over to his care and pulled out what looked like a B.O.B. He reach in and pulled out one of the newest fanciest rain suits you can buy from the best backing store you can think of. He slipped it on and got right back into the round up.

Just about when we would have them headed in the right direction a calf would shoot past him and knock him down. I was impressed, it was apparent that this gentleman had never been around cattle before, but he wasn’t backing down. After about forty minutes we had all the cattle back in the pasture securely. I asked him to stand in the gap while I went to my truck to get some wire to patch up the fence. This gentleman helped me straighten up two T posts and get four strand of wire back up.

After we were all done he asked me where I had purchased my duster. It was at this time that I took a good look at him. I felt terrible. He was a mess, here he was just being a Good Samaritan, and his rain-suit was torn, his clothes, and shoes were ruined. I know that just the rain coat probably cost over three hundred dollars. He was soaked from head two toe.

It was about this time that the owner of the cattle came around the corner and in an upset voice asked what we were doing messing with his fence. After a few minutes of explaining he settled down and thanked us. We all shook hands and were headed in our separate ways, myself of to work, the business man headed home and change before heading into work. I actually spent most of the rest of that day in the rain at work and never gave much thought to the morning events until later that evening when I was looking at a sportsmen’s catalog and saw one of the rain-suits like the gentleman, and all that it advertised to be. In less than an hour of actual work his had been torn to shreds. It was at this time that I truly started to think of what I had on that morning and how it had protected me from the elements and where my clothes backgrounds were.

All the clothes that I had on that day had been designed over a hundred years ago, and for the most part had been unchanged in the last hundred years. Let’s look at it from top to bottom. My hat is a crushable wool brimmed hat, not a cowboy hat but more along the shape of Indiana Jones. It has just enough brim to keep the sun and rain out of your eyes. And it keeps your head worm in the coldest rain. My coat was a full length oil skin duster. I was wearing a long sleeved wool flannel shirt over a long sleeve t-shirt. I had on a good old pair of wrangler jeans, and some leather boots. This is about as old fashion as it gets, but here I was dry, warm, and unscathed by the events of the morning.

I know all the arguments against these old fashioned materials and people talk about buying high end mill speck clothing for there prepps, I have been in the military and have torn through many a pair to BDU’s doing things that would have glanced off a pair of old canvas pants. There is a reason that some designs don’t change. They stay the way they are because they work. For the clothes that I am going to take into a survival situation in the elements, I would take something that holds heat better, but for most of the things that we are getting prepared for we hopefully aren’t going to be living out of a backpack hiding from zombies in the woods. If this is the situation I land in, than I have done something wrong in my preparing. I agree that there is a place for these new materials in our lives but as you are purchasing things for the future don’t get caught up in there hype. Most of what we will be doing after the ball drops is old fashioned hard work, everything that is so easily available today will take hours of work to either make, grow, or repair. It is important to have the clothing that will last through the longest hours of hard work. In these times it is good to have the clothing that has proven itself over the last couple centuries.

P.S. I feel really bad, I didn’t fully catch the gentleman’s name, I think it was Dave, I have past him on the road a couple of times and we both wave. If that was a B.O.B in his car, than maybe he is reading this and we can get together for a cup of coffee at the donut hole.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Goodbye Winter Blahs

This was a beautiful weekend on the coast. My trees are budding and today I got my rear in gear and got some things accomplished. I pulled up some old dead plants out of the garden beds from the winter garden, cabbage and Jerusalem artichokes still going, and then I entered the greenhouse. Depressing. Two of my non-variegated spider plants lived, that's the bright side. After disposing of the bodies, I set out to work. I planted in pots more avocado pits, my two gorgeous avocado plants froze, and set out to pot the blueberry bushes to establish a stronger root base. I have four, a Rabbit Eye Tifblue, a Rabbit Eye Climax, a Highbush Jubilee and a Highbush Misty. They are 2 year plants. This week I hope to start seeds, I'm a little late on that and maybe snag some tomato plants. I also evicted a two year old oak out of the greenhouse that I had been growing thanks to the squirrel family in my live oak, and am thrilled it made it through the winter. It will be a gift to a friend of ours who wants more trees surrounding the house on his homestead. I had taken pictures to share but today my computer does not feel like reading my camera card. I wonder how well a computer tower would work as a planter hmmmm.....

Friday, March 5, 2010

One Year Anniversary

I was looking through old posts I had written, I try not to be redundant most of the time, and that's when I found I had been writing for Mississippi Prepper for a year! It has been a great experience for me and I have met so many wonderful people. Thank you for sharing your lives and experiences with me. This has already been a great year with blog posting. Marica has new land to break in and you have already met Tim through his great posts. Marica is also heading up the Symposium later on this month!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Some Helpful Articles for Budget Gardening and Living

I read a lot. That is what helped me learn all the things I didn't know how to do. I was browsing through my magazines and marked the articles I hoped would help with this subject then went to the sites to find the ones you can read for free. Countryside Magazine has an article on How to Survive on Half of Your Income. They also have another article on there called
How we went from $42,000 to $6,500 and lived to tell about it! And last but not least there is a short article there on the $2 Garden. But wait! Not to be out done, Backwoods Home Magazine has an article titled the $1 Garden. Gosh, you didn't think I would post article links without including my favorite magazine, did you? And last but not least, Mother Earth News has an article on how to Grow $700 of Food in 100 Square Feet!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Debt and Preparedness

I think I have a pretty firm handle on spending and debt and maybe that is why I don't bring it up too often, but the other day I received a phone call; "Good afternoon, I am wondering if you know a neighbor of yours Mr. So and So?". The caller then explains how they have been trying to get in touch with them and could I give them a message or can I give supply current contact information. After I ask what it pertains to I am told it is a personal nature. My response varies when I hang up to the mood I am in and no I do not give out information on my neighbors. This burns me up for two reasons, one is if it's personal why are you embarrassing them by calling their neighbors and two, why are my neighbors living the high life and I have collection agencies calling my house for them? I'm not sure if I have written about this before but it is becoming a common occurrence.
Outside of utilities and mortgage I have no debt. I went down that road with an ex-spouse who could shop you into oblivion and refuse to go back. Part of being prepared is also getting rid of unsecured debt(credit cards), and paying down or off your secured debt(mortgage). I don't know about you, but I don't think being prepared is about sustaining and providing for your unsecured debt. Are there emergencies? Sure! What do you consider an emergency though? You need your car, you need your house, medical, but how much of it is habit?
You need to budget. What you pay first is roof over your head, food in your stomach and utilities. By utilities I mean gas, electric and water, and by food I don't mean NY strip and lobster. Then pay yourself, I don't care if it's only $10 a month. Credit cards, should you work to pay off the one with the lowest total balance first? Only if it has the highest interest rate. The new credit card law is in effect and you can read this on an appropriately named site Creditcard.com. There is no cap to the interest rate and I was talking to a friend the other day, they carry a high balance on all cards, that she already received notice that her interest rates will go up and she wishes for a 35% interest rate now.
What if I cannot pay the minimum balance after mortgage and utilities? They have companies that can negotiate your payments for you, I have never used them but you can negotiate them for yourself. You can call or contact in writing the credit card company and tell them what you can afford to pay. Again, not having done this myself I don't know if it will keep creditors from calling the house.
If credit cards are a habit then the first step is to stop using them for anything but emergencies. A deal you can't pass up? I have yet to see that, okay except for one thing and that was land I should have bought, but I'm young enough yet and there will still be opportunities for that and as much as I would have loved the land I would have not loved the stress the added expense would have cost at the time.
Shop debit or cash for your groceries, entertainment and necessities. Plan ahead if you can. Know the car will need a new battery soon? House needs new windows? Kids need summer clothes (this is mine lol)? Start to put a little aside every payday.
If you shop solely with cash you will better keep track of your expenses.
Need to know how to prep on the cheap? There is more to come.
Mississippi Preppers Network Est. Jan 17, 2009 All contributed articles owned and protected by their respective authors and protected by their copyright. Mississippi 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.