Suburban Prepping at our Chateau

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Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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Suburban Prepping at our Chateau

Greetings Fellow PPers! I put together a video (about 25 minutes) that illustrates the approaches my wife and I have taken towards preparing for a variety of potential crises. You can find the video here. A few things to note:

1) I'm not a professional video guy, so take it as an amateur using his family camcorder and some basic video editing software, because it is.

2) Our preps are nowhere near complete. We have tons more to do, tons more to purchase, and tons more to learn. I suspect it will always be that way!

3) As Rector pointed out to the community on another thread about a month back, we are NOT prepared for every crisis. We have taken what he and others have reflected on - from fires to hurricanes to flooding - and are reassessing how we can expand our preparations to include responses to those problems.

4) I'm not sharing this with the intent of showing how everyone should prepare, nor to show the best preparations one can make, but rather only sharing what we're doing. Please feel free to give us suggestions, since the many minds of PP's community are far better than our two heads. We haven't thought of everything.

5) Yes, I am extremely lucky to have a wife who is "on-board."

6) I use the term "TEOTWAWKI" a lot. It was coined by James Rawles in this book, and it means "The End Of The World As We Know It," which isn't to say complete destruction and Armageddon, but rather any major alteration to the way the world is currently running, whether that is economic, social, environmental, or political. There are simply too many crisis strands coming together in this moment to know which is the one that snaps, or how strands snapping will affect all the others, to prepare for any specific shift. What my wife and I do believe is that, as Chris frequently says, the "next 20 years will be [vastly] unlike the last 20 years." 

7) We're doing our best. It's all we can do.

8) We don't own gold, not because we don't think it is an important hedge, but because we prefer to spend our capital on basic preparations right now. That may change someday.

 

Anyways, we hope you enjoy and we hope this helps someone out there in the community!

 

-Snydeman

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Absolutely awesome video from suburbia

And I imagine you could upscale your garden quickly if needed.  I lust after you pressure canner, too.

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Geedard
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Kudos to you and your wife / family Snydeman

Great video and heartening to see "reality".

Also your humility, honesty, thoughtful approach - mixed with a good sense of humour.

Finally - your courage - to bare all and say it how you see it. Kudos. Impressed.

Thank you.

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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sand_puppy wrote: And I
sand_puppy wrote:

And I imagine you could upscale your garden quickly if needed.  I lust after you pressure canner, too.

 

That's the idea. I've toyed with buying a kick-operated sod remover so that I could help neighbors quickly convert their lawns to growing spaces too, but I'm not sure; it's far better to turn the soil than just remove the sod in the long-term.

 

The pressure canner is awesome, but I'll admit I owned it for years before working up the courage to use it. When the thing gets going, every alarm bell in my head was going off and telling me I was "gonna dddiiiiiieee," so it helps to follow the directions step-by-step and NOt wing it. That's why I finally started using it this summer (and because my pole beans produced sooooo mannnyyyyy beannnnsss). My next step is to try and do it on the Pioneer Princess, which will require finesse and constant attention.

 

-S

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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Geedard wrote: Great video
Geedard wrote:

Great video and heartening to see "reality".

Also your humility, honesty, thoughtful approach - mixed with a good sense of humour.

Finally - your courage - to bare all and say it how you see it. Kudos. Impressed.

Thank you.

 

Thank you for the compliments, Geedard! Above all else, I try to keep things real, and that is why I created the video; just us, aware suburban 'Muricans, doing what we can to prepare for fundamental shifts we feel are coming. 

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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Summer produce canning

Made an ole barrel (steel) stove for canning outdoors. Watch yard sales for pressure canners w/o gaskets. We have three canners on the ready, saves time.

we have a "sweetheart" kitchen cook stove. I couldn't imagine canning indoors on it. 

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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robie robinson wrote: Made
robie robinson wrote:

Made an ole barrel (steel) stove for canning outdoors. Watch yard sales for pressure canners w/o gaskets. We have three canners on the ready, saves time.

we have a "sweetheart" kitchen cook stove. I couldn't imagine canning indoors on it. 

Robie,

I still need to come down your way to discuss how to grow Broccoli, so I could take a gander at how you use the barrel to can. I'm intrigued

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
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Marvelous video!

Do let us know how the straw works out. 

I love Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. We try to keep a rolling seed bank here, too, for the same reasons. 

I envy your cookstove, since all I have is an electric one with a cooktop that I cannot do pressure canning on, but we do have a turkey fryer base for that. I was terrified of our pressure canner, too. My husband is a controls technician and he does all the pressure canning at our place. I'm a wimp when it comes to things that might explode.

Love your pantry - the idea of putting things into the back for rotation is brilliant. No one has basements where we live - the water table is too high --so we do not have that. Looks like you've done very well for your circumstances although, as you point out, there is always room for improvement.

You wanted suggestions? Concord grapes--as in Welch's Grape Jelly--are dead easy to grow and grow in your climate! Just put a trellis somewhere in your back yard. 

David Allan's picture
David Allan
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Excellent

Thanks for that fantastic insight into your world. I really appreciate the effort you've gone to with the video. We too have one foot in each camp due to uncertainty of timing and what will actually unfold. It's always encouraging to see others take prepping seriously. 

Snydeman's picture
Snydeman
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Wendy S. Delmater wrote: Do
Wendy S. Delmater wrote:

Do let us know how the straw works out. 

You wanted suggestions? Concord grapes--as in Welch's Grape Jelly--are dead easy to grow and grow in your climate! Just put a trellis somewhere in your back yard. 

 

Wendy,

The straw worked amazingly, at least insofar as it was designed. The only weed issues I had were at the spots where I cleared the straw away to plant things, but that's so much less weeding than it was in previous years. I'm not sure yet how it will change the pH of the soil, though, so I can't say it is THE solution to weeds so much as "a" solution, albeit with possible side-effects I haven't discovered yet.

 

Concord grades -- YES. We've been looking for a fruit to grow here, and preferably one we could convert to wine, since we figure that the skill of producing alcoholic beverages will do us more right in the long run than holding a precious metal, and will be a tradable skill in any collapse - or at least one we can leverage to make us happy right up until the bitter end. We will begin looking over our back yard area and assessing where we might put a few trellises in. Great suggestion!

 

-S

David Allan's picture
David Allan
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Posts: 94
A couple of thoughts

Have you tried growing drying beans? We just let the pods dry out on the vine then pick and shell them. All you need is a pest proof container for storage - no preserving required. Many varieties are also good as green (pod) beans and fresh shellout so you get 3 hits at the same crop.

You'll need to do more seed saving at some point. Many seeds are quite easy to save but some are a bit tricky. I'll never be able to save carrot seed for example, as we have carrot weed everywhere which cross-pollenates with my carrots. And brassicas like broccoli need quite large numbers of flowering plants to give long term genetic stability. 'Seed to Seed' by Suzanne Ashworth is a great resource.

Another book for your library, if you don't have it is The Resilient Gardener by Carol Deppe. This focuses on growing the staples potatoes, beans, corn, squash in emergency conditions. Like you I don't read all of every book when I get it - but it is good to have the knowledge available for when you need it.

By the way I use straw too and have done so for several years. There are no bad side effects except the germination of a few embedded seeds - easy to pull out. A positive side effect is that the straw eventually breaks down and increases the organic content of the soil. My experience anyway.

sand_puppy's picture
sand_puppy
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Drying Beans? What is this, David Allen

Can you point us to a specific plant?  Maybe a link to a seed company or pictures?

David Allan's picture
David Allan
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Beans

Sand Puppy you're really going to have to start spelling my name rightsmiley. Or maybe I should just get myself a pseudonym too, as seems to be the fashion ;-)

Drying beans are simply beans that dry and store particularly well. One of my favorite varieties is an American Indian bean I know as Gila Beans.  Another favourite is Borlotti Stoppa. Some are climbing beans, some are dwarf. You just need to soak them for 24 hours or at least overnight before cooking them - like chickpeas. I'm sure you could find some in a health food shop.

Dry beans are an important staple because they are concentrated food value and they keep for years. And the bean is the seed. Once you've found a variety you like just set aside some beans to plant next year.

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fated
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Graet video

Fantastic video Snydeman to actually 'see' what someone else is doing in their preps/changed way of living is great.

I envy you kitchen cooker - you don't owe your wife on that one - she owes you!

And the progress on the garden is plain to see. You can easily save seeds from your favorite peas, beans, broad (fava) beans, tomatos, peppers, corn and cucumbers to save from having to re-purchase from the catalogue each year.

As David says above some things are harder to save, like carrots (biennial) and things that cross pollinate easily (brassica family). Beans are about the easiest and it looks like you have that nailed!

We have used a variety of mulches for years, pea straw, oaten hay, sugarcane, autumn leaves, and even pulled weeds. As above you may get the occasional shoot growing which is no problem, and as the mulch breaks down it adds to the soil without seeming to do any harm.

I think like us all you have come a long way, and who knows how much further we all have to go.

 

fated's picture
fated
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Reply to #12

Hi Sand Puppy,

As David explains it's any of the beans which you can dry easily and store to eat (and/or re-plant) after they have gone beyond a good eating stage when fresh on the plant.

I've tried to upload a pic but failed miserably. - nope - just learned about compressing and removing identifying information. Persistance pays off.

I keep jars of them in the pantry over winter to eat in soups and stews, always leaving a good handful to re-plant. We have L-R below: Red kidney beans (small bush bean), Lima/madagascar beans (perennial/biennial climber), plain old green beans (var. blue lake), and two jars of Mostoller goose (climber). There's also a jar of store bought mixed soup beans there that I plan on removing the chick peas from to sow out this year. My first attempt at chick peas was a hot, dry and windy summer and I want to try growing them again. I also have envelopes with about 20 other varieties in my seed box.

You might buy 20-50 seeds in the little yellow envelope shown and this is what you can harvest, dry and save from a crop. No need to purchase those varieties ever again (fingers crossed) if you plant a couple or more bushes out every 2 years or so. Beans dry and store well, have a good shelf life for re-sowing and fairly much self pollinate so are easy to keep genetically pure. I leave them on the plant till the bush dies off, pull out the whole bush if it is a bush type, or harvest the pods from climbing varieties into a bucket. I leave all this under shelter of the carport for a week or so to dry further, then have a great de-shelling. I discard any pods that look mouldy or bug eaten, and any beans that are small, shrivelled or just not the same as the others. I then leave the beans in a cardboard box or old colander inside to dry for a bit longer before I place into envelopes or jars for storage. Similar process with my peas and broad beans and corn.

Hope I haven't bored you all with that but beans would be my favorite plant to grown and harvest.

 

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