Monday, September 29, 2008

777 End of the world? nope

Dow dropped 777 and change today.
The panic is all over the net, people want their money and don't want congress to give it to bad businesses.

Our "leaders" want the bailout to pass but they are afraid to be the one to vote for it with elections in five weeks. You know if this happened mid term they would pass some form of giving away our money to people who misused it to begin with.

We have been borrowing against our future for years and someday the payments are going to come due. Our country is a great nation but I don't see mention of it in the studies of the end times that I have done. Yes MAYBE we could be the great Babylon but I doubt it. I feel we are going to be unable to do anything when the whole world stands against Israel.

This means we will be destroyed or powerless. Either way it should serve as a wake up call to those who are on the fence about whether they should prepare or not. Have you taken care of your debt? Do you have a way to feed yourself? Keep yourself clothed, or a roof over your head?
If you had to could you take your family and live in the woods?

Think it's far fetched? read Mark chapter13 or Luke 21
I do not think the USofA will be a force in end times.
Many think we are coming into the very last days......if you do prepare.
Your first step if you haven't already taken it is to receive Christ as your savior.
Then you have taken care of your eternal preparations.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Two weeks and all's well / Freecycle

Here we are two weeks into The Prepared Christian blog and I haven't given up yet. (don't worry I'm not even thinking of it)
A quick check before I started writing shows 340+ total page views since we started two weeks ago. So that's a little more than double from our one week anniversary.

From the little bit of feedback I have gotten it seems you all are enjoying what little I have written so far. If you know me or have been around the forums I have frequented for the last nine years.(see my links on the right) You will know I post a lot of my mistakes hoping that someone will learn a lesson from it and not have to go through what I did. Some people don't see why I do this and think I am a clumsy fool but I hope you see different.

Some projects I am working on posting:
-I built an Outhouse from scraps
-loads and loads of lumber from a remodel at work
-raised beds out in the poor soil where the barn was torn down
-Tanya wants a cold frame to plant greens in. I picked some windows up from freecycle I can use for it.

Speaking of freecycle if you haven't joined a local freecycle group you really should.

What it is in a nutshell:
People post things they are willing to give away. People see these posts and if they are interested they will contact the poster and arrange a pickup. You can also post things you want or need and you never know you might get it.

Things I have gotten:
-laptop computer (old but ok for my writing)
-2 dozen blue ball canning jars
-the previously mentioned windows
-a Mac computer
-15 volume bible commentary from 1864 (not complete but awesome study)
-gas grill
-riding mower(needed work)
-brand new 2.5 briggs engine for a push mower
-boxes of books
-trash bags of cloths for the kids
-2000 baseball cards from the 80's and 90's (yes really 2000 of them in two nice plastic boxes delivered to my work)
-lots more.....

We have also listed several things to give away
- the Mac computer (realized I didn't really need it)
-lots of veggies from the garden
-a bunch of chickens more than once

You see this plain and simple recycling all of it free thus freecycle.
People give away yardsale leftovers all the time. I even saw someone who cleaned out their garage and said "come and get it". A person could make a small living if they stayed on top of all the stuff listed and then sold the good stuff on ebay. It is a Yahoo group and you can get emails every time someone posts in your area. I am signed up for two areas since I live between two small cities.

Don't be bashful about leaving a comment here about The Prepared Christian
Tell me what you like or don't like.
Also what would you like to learn more about?
Their are so many avenues to explore in this lifestyle it would be impossible for one family to go down them all.

I am working on a study in Matthew 25 about the ten virgins.
This will probably be the next bible study I post.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Got Melamine?

You have no doubt heard about the melamine in the Chinese milk by now.
It has been in pet food they have sent us and baby bottles and now even the milk.
If you have not heard here is a link:
Nearly 53,000 China babies sickened by milk powder

Where does your food come from?
Do you know the farmer who grew it, or the rancher who raised it or how about the butcher who cut it up? If you don't, you really don't know what you are putting in your body. It could be as bad or worse than the Melamine.

In order to be prepared we need to have some control over our food supply. What can you grow?
Even someone in an apartment can grow a window box of lettuce and spinach. At least try to hit the farmers market in season. Buying locally may sound like a liberal talking point but it is a good idea.

Being on the homestead I am striving for some control of what we eat. Just today the farmer who rents one of our fields combined his soybeans. I took Ivy our three year old daughter for a walk across the field and she picked a hand full of missed beans. I could fill a five gallon bucket in a hour or so without a problem just from the beans the combine missed. Yes these are roundup ready GMO soybeans but they are still unprocessed and nothing has been added to them.

We will do the same thing when the corn is picked. The farmer has about 15 acres planted on our land and there is always plenty lying around when he is done. We are getting some more chickens soon. We sold our 50 this summer and I sure miss the roosters crowing. The feed bills were just killing us and people stopped buying eggs. We had hundreds of eggs with no way to get rid of them. We gave away a bunch at church every Sunday.

I think a grass based approach will be the best for us someday. Grass grows for free and goats sheep and cows are made to eat it. I read an article somewhere (sorry can't remember or I would cite it) about making and selling butter. The gist of it was the butter fat is taking nothing form your soil and it is pure sunshine. I think it was called selling sunshine from your farm or some such name.

Our shortcoming right now is fence. When I was a kid the whole countryside was fenced and cross fenced. I now have one on my north boundary but it is far from animal tight. I was just talking with someone a couple weeks ago and he said the price of fence as gone out of sight. Everything takes money but is your health and safety worth it?


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Working in the woods

Cutting firewood was a little warm today, temperature was around 80.
It took a lot out of me, I guess I should add fitness to the preparing list.
I cut about a tank of gas worth of wood this afternoon.
I cut mostly red oak with one 20 foot length of ironwood and a little basswood.
I know basswood is terrible firewood but I burn it in the fall and spring when the demand is not as high and it does a good job. I can also burn dead wood I pick up off the ground at that time so I can save my good wood for the dead of winter.
The ole poulan pro seems to be running good in it's 3rd year. Not the best saw but the 20" bar cuts pretty good. Not even close to dad's 20" Johnsered but the Johnsered has about 15 more cc's. I am cutting up the smaller stuff in the woods and as soon as the corn is off I will start pulling logs up to the house with the tractor.

We had the woods logged three years ago and I have been cutting left over tops and whatever falls down. This is a view of a part that was logged looking northwest. Very overgrown with vegetation and lots of very small saplings. I am trying to set up a trail system that I will be able to make a circut in the woods to harvest wood in the future.

The picture was take from the same spot looking southwest. The whole woods is mixed like this now. I'm hoping the deer will like it and they will pay me back with venison. I noticed several very large basswood trees I would like to cut down. Plus there are some nice saleable trees that could be sold now but we will wait at least five more years. The forester said 10 years between cuttings is about right so it will probably be seven more. If I had the money I'd get a portable sawmill and load up on lumber.

Thoreau was right about wood warming you twice. Once when you cut and another when it is burnt.


new article on homesteading

I have written a new article on Helium about generating income on the homestead.
It is not a comprehensive article by any means but is meant to jump start your idea process.
If I have learned anything about homesteading it is that as much as we have in common, what works for one person will not necessarily work for the next.
The whole purpose of the prepared christian is to get you thinking about how you can use what God has given you, for His glory and to expand His kingdom.
If you look at the last point I made in the sermon on "Living a quite life" you will see I said something like we can't help others if we are the ones that need the help.
The way this country is headed is frightful if you don't have Christ.
If you do have Christ then you have taken the first step.
I pray you will be able to take more.

You can see the article here:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

One week old today

The prepared christian blog is a stunning one week old today.
According to my tracking we have had about 150 page hits this first week.
Good job everyone....get the word out and tell your friends.
I picked up the car this evening and it ran!!! So now I will be getting at least a 10mpg improvement over the truck.
Planning on cutting firewood on Saturday.
I'll put up some pictures.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The challenge of vehicle ownership

I wrote in an earlier post about how we are having all three of the vehicles worked on this month, it cost about $1000. It has been a real challenge to remain calm in dealing with this issue.

Our van blew a brake line last week. When we bought it we purchased an expensive extended warranty from the dealer. This warranty has almost paid for itself but the company refused to pay for the brake line because the dealer did the repair while he was waiting for the company to call back with the authorization. The company did not call back in the time they had said they would and the dealer knew the repair needed done regardless so he did it.

From what I understand the dealer went round and round with this company and went up the chain two supervisors but they still refused to pay. The dealer told Tanya that he lost his cool and yelled at the supervisor and it really takes a lot to make him lose his cool.

So it turns out this company who shall remain nameless(this is not going to be one of those kind of blogs) decided they would rather lose myself as a customer and my dealer as a representative over a $75 repair bill. So if my dealer is telling the truth he tossed all the warranty sales material in the trash.

In addition to this I had the car in for a new fuel pump and a tuneup. I went to pick it up last night and the battery was dead. So I called the dealer this morning and he put a charger on it and I went to pick it up tonight. Well it wouldn't start unless I gave it gas. It's supposed to start on idle since it's fuel injection. Once I got it started it died every time I took my foot off the pedal. So I took my keys back around and put them in the key drop. I guess I get to talk to him again tomorrow. You would think he would be tired of hearing from me by now.

This is just the latest in the rash of vehicle failures in the last couple months. They have eaten into the budget big time. But that's what the emergency fund is for right?


Monday, September 15, 2008

Basic Muskrat trapping

Knowing how to trap fur is an important part of being prepared.
Many times you will see on the web that someone has "put away" some snares in case they need them to feed themselves. Trapping is a learned skill some even go as far as to call it an art. If things are put away they are not being used and skills are not being improved upon. These folks will find out shortly after they need the food they are trying to catch how much skill trapping, and snaring in particular requires.

If you are preparedness minded you should put together a basic set of trapping gear and learn how to use it. Most trappers learned to trap catching a few muskrats. These little critters can provide fur, food and funds for the prepared person.

I have an article on Getting started in muskrat trapping here:

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Living a quiet life (Sermon)

I Thessalonians 4:9-12
9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. 10 And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more; 11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; 12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

I. Brotherly Love

Paul here starts out with a commendation to the brothers in Thessalonica .He states “Ye need not that I write unto you” .
The brothers know the greatest commandment.

Luke 10:25-28 “25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life? 26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou? 27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself. 28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.”
Not only are they loving their neighbors but are loving “all the brethren which are in all Macedonia”
In verse 9 Paul states “for ye yourselves are taught of God” he is referring to Isaiah 54:13a which says “And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord” Christ also teaches this in John 6:45a “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God,”.
Psalm 32:8 “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. 9 Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. “
As Brethren (believers) we are taught by God in several ways such as revelation by the Holy Spirit, reading His word (the bible) and meditating on his word.
As good as they were Paul urges them to “increase more and more”
Christ said in John 15:11b-12 “and that your joy might be full. 12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.”

You can see the complete article here

Liquid organic fertilizer

I made this super compost tea producer this summer.
It came after years of thinking about it and is an improvement of an earlier design I used when I gardened in Gunnison Colorado.

I should explain what my garden was like out west.
Gunnison is zone 2 in good years. The last year I gardened there I believe was 1998.
On July 2 we had 24 degrees in the morning. It didn't outright kill everything because I had everything either in tires or planted on ridges and the cold went down in the trenches between them.

The soil was so bad the water would bead up on the surface and run off. I had been adding coffee grounds and compost for three or four years to improve it. The main garden I raked into ridges and valleys and to water it I would flood the valleys with the hose and let the water soak in.
My first super compost tea maker was a stack of tires I placed so that they straddled one of the valleys.

It had a hardware cloth bottom and was four or five tires high. I started putting all of my scraps into it, along with all the coffee grounds I could snag at work. When I watered I would run the hose into the top tire and let the water run over everything inside and then into the garden. Water and weak fertilizer in one shot. It worked well that last year there. The people who bought our house required in the contract that I remove the gardens along with the tires and the big compost bin I had built from pallets. I almost cried as I had to haul everything I had worked so hard on to the dump.

So with that in mind I have been meaning to build something here in Ohio to make my own fertilizer and here is the result.

Don't be confused by the propane tank. The tank is just a convenient place to put it. I had on old trash can sitting around that I tried to store ears of corn in a couple winters ago. If you look close right above the handle in the front you can see one of the holes the rats chewed in it to get to the corn. There is also a nice big hole in the bottom which suits my purposes now.

I built a stand out of 2x4's that was high enough that I could slide a five gallon bucket underneath to catch all the goodies. I put some aluminum sign material in the bottom of the trash can to keep everything from falling right through. I work next to a sign shop and I snag all of their throw away signs. It is either plastic or plastic sandwiched between aluminum. I have used it for many many things here on the homestead. I added a couple of large rocks so it wouldn't blow over.

After I built it I put three loads of grass clippings in it from our bagger mower. Then we started adding our table scraps. The chair is there so the kids can reach to dump in scraps. I also discovered tomato worms can't crawl out of the can so they all went in. (we picked over 25 from a single brandywine plant this year) Whenever there gets to be a lot of scraps I put in another bag of grass clipping to keep the flies down.

Here is what comes out of the bottom.

I haven't used it near as much as I should of this year, and our garden is poorer because of it.
Tanya has been dealing with severe allergies and hasn't been able to do as much in the garden as she would like. I did dilute some and sprayed it on the Indian corn while it was setting ears just to give it a little boost. I have only used it when the rain has filled the bucket. Otherwise I could pour water through and make tea anytime.

My thoughts on the future of producing your own fertilizer lead me to think someone could take a tank and built a septic type system with a garbage disposal to run everything through on input. You could add any organic material and let it cook in the tank and get a low level fertilizer out the other end. Just some thoughts.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Where we live

In 2001 my grandparents moved into the nursing home. My parents didn't want to live on this run down farm so my wife and I and our infant son moved from Colorado to this homestead. I call it a homestead because my great great grandfathers brother bought it in 1866 and started farming it. In the 1870's my great great grandfather bought it from his older brother and it has been in a direct line ever since. Our two sons and daughter are the sixth generation of our family to be on this land.

When we first moved onto the farm we were just renting it from grandpa. After a year or two he had a financial need and we were unable to purchase the farm so they cut off 70 acres and sold it to a neighbor. A year or so later we were able to purchase the 29 acres that remained.

We have 5 acres of woods where we cut our winter heat. We have an outdoor wood furnace. It's a lot of work and uses lots of wood but that is better than the $1000 a month propane bill.

Our driveway is 1/3 of a mile long. It is a real challenge in the winter if we have any wind with our snow. I have a 4x4 truck that I use to break it open when I have to get to work.

The house is a very large 100+ year old farm house. It is very drafty but with the wood furnace we can keep the thermostat at 74 and be comfy. Much better than freezing at 65 trying to save money.

We rent 17 acres of cropland to the neighbor that bought the 70 from grandpa. It is enough to pay our land taxes but not a lot more.

Speaking of paying.... part of the reason for this site is to help others make it on less. We are a family of five and our oldest is seven. I am the only one employed outside the home. We get by on less than $30,000 a year all told. Yes we do tithe on that also, the first 10% goes to God through our local church.

Things get tight like this week when all three of the cars had something wrong with them. We are spending about $1000 to get them fixed, My car is still in the shop so I have been driving the truck to work it's a 50 mile round trip. The truck gets about 16 mpg and holds 32 gallons. It has it's own problems, like a sucked valve that we finally diagnosed after driving it like that for five years. A few more won't hurt right?

We always try to be frugal. Last time we ate out was fathers day when we went through the drive-thru at burger king. I know this all sounds so boring, but it's not. So much to do and see out here. The kids and I went down to the fire ring after supper last night and sat around the fire while Tanya picked bunches of peppermint and lemon balm. She has the last batch bagged up for sale and might already have it all spoken for. If you need some let me know and I will see whats left.

We had two peach trees out back that my grandma planted from seed but last winter killed them so no peaches. She also planted two apple trees from seed. She got it from her family's old homestead thinking to carry on the variety. She didn't know apples don't breed true from seed.
Those trees had gotten huge since they were never pruned. One put out and apple so bad the bugs wouldn't even attack it, the other put out a nice early transparent that got destroyed every year by the bugs.

This last year I decided these trees were going to produce or die so I pruned then severely. I cut them off flush at about 10 feet. We will see what happens next year since I didn't get any apples from them this year. We also have an ancient Grimes Golden apple tree that is a survivor from the orchard. I pruned it also but not as severely. It has apples but they are buggy and gnarly.
I am going to have to read up on organic orcharding, and take appropriate steps.

There are two old pear trees left over also. They produce lots of small hard pears but my mom took some a couple years ago and made some wonderful pear jam. You need to pick them while they are still green and let them ripen in storage to avoid the hard grit they get if you leave them on the tree.

My mom also came and picked a couple buckets of Green Gage plums this week. These were planted by my great great grandpa and have grown to a tangled mess. I really need to thin them out. Anyway the trees are loaded more than I have ever seen them this year. The branches are all bent down with plums. They need some organic fungus control tho, since the brown rot will get them.

Hope you enjoyed the little overview,

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Playing with the boxes

Adding links and quotes, even put in adsense.
The Blog is hopefully going to be of value to the reader so I feel ads are ok.
If they annoy you ignore them like I do.
I am going to try to put up my first How-to this week end.
I have a liquid fertilizer maker that I made this summer.
It creates BLACK liquid mega compost tea. (More to come)

The corn is looking the best it has since we moved onto the farm.
I grow what started out as Mandan Bride Indian corn in 1999.
I live in the middle of corn country and it is impossible to isolate it so it crosses a little every year.
I have grown organically since we started here.
Every year the weeds get the best of us so this year I check planted the corn in hills and ran the tiller both directions between them.

Knee high by the forth of July with no added fertilizer.
It is between 6 and 9 feet tall today. Not as many or as large of ears as the roundup corn in the farmers field but it is more than enough to feed us.


Welcome to the prepared christian blog.
My name is Randy and I am here to offer insight and help to those who are interested in becoming more prepared for whatever comes their way.
You may look around the site after it is built and think "hey this is a survivalist site".
If you define survivalist and someone who tries to prepare their family for whatever God has in store for them then fine and good. If however you define survivalist as some who runs around at night training in other peoples back yards toting an "assault rifle" then no I am not about that.
I hope you enjoy the site and can grow with it and me along the way.