Preparing Your Children for Disasters

This is one of the scariest things a prepper parent thinks about. What if we are not together when a disaster hits? The best way to ensure their safety is to get them prepared!

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PrepareYourChildren

By Pat Henry – The Prepper Journal

Preppers try to plan for all manner of situations in which their lives or health could be in jeopardy. We take steps to mitigate the bad effects of disasters so that our family will be as least impacted or safe as possible. When we start to make plans for situations where one or more members of our group are separated from us, the possibilities are endless. How do you prepare for every conceivable option possible for someone who is away from you? Is the main goal for those away, to get to your location? Do you rendezvous at a central location or are they supposed to wait to be collected? When do you know it is time to go? What rules do you have to consider breaking to survive?

This is further complicated when the person you are making these plans for are…

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How to Save Squash Seeds

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Seed saving is one of those skills every self-sufficient gardener should have. But it can get complicated and confusing when you are growing multiple varieties. If you are not careful about who is pollinating whom, your precious heirloom varieties can quickly produce the dreaded hybrid seed. Hybrid seeds may or may not sprout, and if they do, they may or may not bear fruit. Squash is one of those plants that can easily cross within species. Those giant yellow flowers look so tasty to pollinating insects, and they will just hop from one plant to the next, seemingly without any discretion or cognizance of their wrongdoing. Trollops.

Fortunately, there are ways to grow several varieties of squash without squashing your carefully protected genetic lineage.

There are 4 species of squash, and the species will not cross with each other. The trick is to pick 1 variety within each species to grow and save seed from to keep your genetics true. Below are a few examples from each species:

Curbita maschata:

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  • Butternut
  • Long Island Cheese
  • Musquee de Provence
  • Violina

Curbita maxima:

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  • Banana Squash
  • Hubbard
  • Turban
  • Buttercup

Curbita pepo:

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  • Jack-o-lantern
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash
  • Pie Pumpkins
  • Acorn Squash

Curbita mixta:

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  • Miniature pumpkins
  • Cushaw

To save the seeds:

Choose seeds from your best mature fruits. Wash them thoroughly and set them on paper towels or plates to dry. Be sure not to let them touch each other or they may mold. I usually let mine dry about a month or so. After they are dry, you can gently wipe away the papery outer layer (if your variety has that). Store them in a sealed container away from temperature extremes and light, preferably in the refrigerator. Now you have a whole new generation of seeds for next year! WooHoo!

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!


Seed to Seed: Seed Saving and Growing Techniques for Vegetable Gardeners, 2nd Edition


Jiffy 5227 Seed Starter Greenhouse 72-Plant

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Cheater, Cheater, Homemade Bread Eater

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“Bread machine? What kind of self-sufficient homesteader are you anyway?!”, you say.

The sometimes lazy kind, seriously. I have hand made many a loaf of gorgeous, crusty, artisanal bread in my time, and I love me some good bread. But sometimes you just need a yummy sandwich loaf, without too much work.

This lovely loaf is so flippin’ simple. It does what it’s supposed to do, just about every time. This is a recipe for old reliable. It’s delicious and wholesome and made in your bread machine! I use this Oster and I love it. (Note: you can, of course, make this loaf by hand if you so prefer)

  • 1 1/4 c water
  •  3 Tb sugar
  •  3 Tb vegetable oil
  •  2 c bread flour
  •  1 c whole wheat flour
  •  1 1/2 tsp salt
  •  2 tsp yeast

Add all of the ingredients into your bread machine in the order listed. Follow your bread machine’s instruction manual to set it for whole wheat. Press start. All done!

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!


Oster 5838 58-Minute Expressbake Breadmaker

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Hatching Coturnix Quail

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They are so flippin’ cute! They always look very disapproving. Hehe.

We started raising quail because our HOA will not allow chickens. Phhhht. I know, it’s crazy, we live out in the middle of rural nowhere. But, they are super fun, easy, and they lay eggs! (The quail, not the HOA.) They have turned out to be key in our plan for food self sufficiency.

I had a really hard time gathering all the info I needed for the first hatch, and I thought I would help out all you would-be quail farmers with the details of how I did it.

I started by researching incubators. There are a lot of really fancy ones out there, with humidity control and auto-egg turners, but the reality on the farm was that we just couldn’t make that kind of investment. I ended up buying this model, the Janome 10.

incubator

It worked like a charm. Kept a constant temperature, and has a nice window all around for chick viewing. It also re-warms very quickly after you have opened it to turn or candle the eggs. It does not have an auto turner, so you would need to turn the eggs manually. Also, it does not have a humidity sensor. Coturnix quail are not too sensitive to humidity, so I just filled the inner well with water for the first 14 days, then filled both wells at “lockdown” (that’s the last few days of incubation, where you don’t open the incubator). Alternately, you could buy a sensor and put it in there.

I ordered my Jumbo Brown Coturnix and Texas A&M eggs from PurelyPoultry.com. They arrived on time, with none broken, and they had even put in a few extra! We lost a few to overzealous farmer children as we were numbering them with sharpies, and putting an “X” on one side and an “O” on the other. You do this so that you know which ones you turned in the incubator. Also the dog ate one, but I still love him.

I set the temp to 38.2 C. Coturnix take 14-18 days to hatch, so I dutifully checked the water and turned the eggs 3 times a day for 14 days starting on the day after the eggs went in the incubator (By convention, that day is day 0).  I candled after about a week. I found that it rook a little more than a week to really be sure whether or not the eggs had chicks in them. Eggs with chicks will have veins or a dark mass in them, whereas a dud will just light up. Maybe we will have a post on candling later, eh?

On day 15, the eggs go into lockdown. Turn down the temp by 1 degree, increase humidity a tad, and wait. Don’t do ANYTHING.

Mine started hatching on day 16. You will start to see little “pips”. This is when the chicks make a little air hole in the egg. They probably will take a rest after that, maybe even a whole day or more. Then, they will start “zipping”. This is when the chick cracks the egg all around in a circle to create a little door which they then kick out of. This process can take a long while too, so be patient. After the chick kicks out, he will be all wet.

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Leave him in the incubator for 12-24 hours before moving him to the brooder, or he will get too cold. All chicks go for a little while without needing food or water because they have absorbed the yolk sac into their abdomen. Quail chicks need food sooner than chicken chicks though, so 24 hours is the max drying time.

Congrats! You are now on your way to having a flock!

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!


Fluker’s Repta-Clamp Lamp 8.5-Inch Ceramic with Dimmable Switch


Zoo Med Ceramic Infrared Heat Emitter 100 Watts

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How not to get overwhelmed when you start prepping

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When we start prepping, it usually happens because our eyes have been opened by something we’ve seen or experienced. Maybe you’ve just been through an earthquake or a tornado. You look around, and have a terrible revelation: If something happened, you might not make it. What if there were a run on the stores and you had no food or water for you and your family? What if roads were washed out and you couldn’t even get to to the store?

You vow to make an emergency preparedness kit. You begin by researching. Then, the veil is further lifted as you pour through article after article about all of the terrible things that could possibly happen. Panic sets in. Get more food stored! Get medical supplies! What about water? HOW IN THE WORLD AM I GOING TO TACKLE ALL OF THIS!!!!

Take a breath.

Congratulate yourself on taking the first step toward preparedness for an uncertain future. Just knowing that you need to start is a HUGE step. But the lifting of ignorance can be powerful and overwhelming.

There is no way you can be prepared for everything, and be prepared by tomorrow. This is a journey. And every journey needs a map, or you will get hopelessly lost (just ask how I know).

The map below is by no means complete, but it is a great starting place. It starts with the most likely events, and trickles down to those less likely, but possibly more catastrophic events. The levels also build upon one another such that the skills and gear you acquire at earlier levels apply to later levels as well. This makes it possible for you to prepare for the most likely scenarios, while also making further levels more achievable. Sweet.

I’ll present one example here (more below):

Say you are preparing for level 1: job loss

You decide to store 3 month’s worth of staple food items in case you can’t afford to shop for groceries like you normally do.

Later, when you are preparing for say, level 2: Earthquake, you realize, “Hey! I already have 3 months of food stored away! Huzzah!”. Maybe you’ll put away another 3 month’s worth of food.

Then, when you are later preparing for Level 3: Economic collapse, you have 6 month’s worth of food already! Yay you!

So, without further ado, here is the map:

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Prepping Map

As you can see, each level has some sub categories. Feel free to add subcategories as you see fit for your geographic location and life circumstances. My suggestion is to pick one of the Level 1 subcategories and go for it! You will find that preparation for your chosen subcategory will most likely help along your preps for the next subcategory, and for all the levels that follow.

Here are a few examples:

In Level 1, you prepare for robbery or attack by learning Karate. That would certainly help on levels 2 and 3 if food ran out and otherwise pleasant folks were trying to steal from your larder.

In level 1, you build yourself a nice first aid kit. This will come in handy if a Level 2 or 3 disaster occurs, and a trip to the emergency room is out of the question.

Or, in Level 2, you prepare for power outage by learning to use a few electricity-free tools such as a manual drill or a dutch oven. That would prepare you for Level 3, EMP/CME.

We usually feel pretty scared and overwhelmed at this stage. Try to keep in the back of your mind that our preps should help us feel more secure, not less. Every little step counts!

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Food Storage from The Ready Store


Ever Ready First Aid Fully Stocked First Responder Kit, Orange


Mountain House Classic Bucket

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My tree has worms!

TentCaterpillars

Well, not worms really. Tent caterpillars. You can see the little babies in the photo above, along with all their little droppings (YUK).

Last year was a “bloom” year for these nasty crawlies on the island I live on here in the Northwest. They were everywhere. Ev.er.y.where. On the trees? Yes. On your car? Yes. In your hair? Your shoe? your collar? YES. They populate the tree canopy till it is so full that they burst forth like some horrible demon fart onto your lawn, garden, and person.

So…that was last year. This year, not so much. But I did find a nest of them on a dwarf cherry I was liberating from the confines of a large pot today.

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So how to combat these tiny tyrants without using a chemical laden pesticide (or a blowtorch)?

Enter Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis). This is usually marketed under the name “Thuricide“, and although I’m not usually fond of using any product with “-icide” in its name, this one is an exception. Bt is generally considered safe for use around children and pets, and is used in organic gardening and farming. In fact you can easily obtain organic Bt from your local garden supply store, or if you would like to support this little blog, from the affiliate link above. (I am not paid in any way for this review, this is merely my experience with the product.)

Bt is a soil-dwelling bacteria found widely in nature, but in its concentrated liquid spray form targets the larvae of the insect species Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies). So don’t spray this on your butterfly-attracting garden species. The way it works is that the larvae eat the bacteria, and the digestive enzymes of the caterpillar allow the release of a toxin that paralyzes the digestive tract.

I have found that his stuff works wonders. Even though it is natural and organic, be sure to follow the label directions. Wash your hands, don’t get it in your eyes, take the necessary precautions.

A few tips:

  • Be sure to either clip off affected areas of your tree, or open up the nasty little cocoon that they make to protect themselves from predators before you spray. The spray does not always penetrate the nest.
  • Be sure to spray as often as the label tells you to. This is not a chemical pesticide that will keep working over long periods of time.
  • Bt only works on the laval stage, another reason to keep up with your spraying regimen.

Good luck! You have a formidable foe…

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Charley Davis

A disclosure about affiliate links: Affiliate links allow me to make a small commission from sales related to posts. This is what keeps Funny Little Farm up and running, so if you would like to support the farm and you see something you need, this is a great place to get it!

Bonide 803 Thuricide BT Insect Killer, 16-Ounce

Safer Brand Caterpillar Killer with B.T. Garden Dust, 8 oz.

Smith 190238 1.5 Liter Home & Garden Handheld Sprayer/Mister

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Welcome!

Funny Little Farm is a blog about being self sufficient, about food, fun, small-scale farming, and being prepared. We have a great time here on the farm, and I hope our adventures can help you on your Funny Little Farm as well. Look for new content each week!

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Charley Davis

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