This weekly Snippets column is a collection of short items: responses to posted articles, practical self-sufficiency items, how-tos, lessons learned, tips and tricks, and news items — both from readers and from SurvivalBlog’s editors. Note that we may select some long e-mails for posting as separate letters.
Our Editor-At-Large Michael Z. Williamson suggested this interesting article: How I Persuade Free-Roaming Ducks to Lay Eggs For Me.
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Video of congressional testimony by a Special Forces veteran on the aftermath of Biden’s shameful handling of the Afghanistan withdrawal: Retired Lt. Col.’s Remarks Receive Thunderous Applause From House Foreign Affairs Committee.
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I recently purchased a couple of flexible antennas for our UV-5R multiband handi-talkies. These antennas are American-made by a small company in Virginia, called Tactenna. They seem to be quite sturdy. My initial tests showed that they work quite well on GMRS frequencies. The quickest and easiest way to order them seems to be via Tactenna’s eBay store.
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France On The Brink Of Revolution? JWR’s Comment: Vive La Résistance!
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The American Partisan reports: Nashville shooter ID’d As “Audrey Hale”, Identifies As “He/Him”.
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In case you missed hearing the news, there is a definite trend, in Portland, Oregon: All of the Cracker Barrel stores are closing permanently in Portland. And all of the Wal-Mart stores are closing permanently in Portland. Oh, and all of the Portland Green Zebra grocery stores are closing, too. Back in 2021, Portland also lost four of its Salvation Army thrift stores. Many other Portland restaurants and bars are also closing. Businesses can’t operate in places where “buyers” feel like they can get away with walking out with whatever they want, without paying.
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A few follow-ups to SaraSue’s recent snippet about raising hogs:
SaraSue wrote, in response to Paul G.’s comment:
“Butchering here in Tennessee is cheap! And if you use a non-USDA processor (custom meat butcher), it’s even cheaper because you avoid all the USDA charges that effectively double the cost. The meat is for my family so I don’t need USDA certification because I’m not selling it. I just contacted the one I’m going to use and they said it’s a $45 kill fee and 75 cents per pound hanging weight (same for cattle and pigs). There may be other charges, like a disposal fee, but the overall cost is low. Regarding infrastructure, inside a fenced area we are stringing electric fencing and building a small shelter. I will probably reinforce the existing fencing with pig panels just in case. The location is a small unused garden area (maybe 1500 – 2000 sq ft). I’m sure the pigs will destroy it, but I will cover crop it after they go to the butcher. The location will allow for critically important water access. I may regret doing this, but I’m going to try it. Thanks for the advice! “
Reader A.R. wrote:
“It is probably not going to be fun for most people to raise hogs free range, which means, as Paul G. said, you will want some hefty infrastructure to hold them. When we built our hog parlor several years ago, it was several thousand dollars. There is nothing quite like a hog to tear up a fence. Even hog panels tied to T-posts isn’t sufficient if the hogs want out. All livestock require way more money and effort to raise it yourself than to just buy it at the store. We are in the era of cheap food, though not necessarily better food.
As far as what to do with all the extra milk when milking a cow: I feed a lot of it to dogs, cats and chickens if I don’t have anything better to do with it. I also bottle feed lambs and goats to get them gentle, which is totally worth it to me to do, because that’s the easiest way to get friendly sheep and goats.
Breeding cows: You actually don’t have to re-breed a cow, even if you have dried her up. Just start milking her again, and feeding her more, provided she has been bred once, and she will come back in milk. The same is true of humans. Most cows will lessen their milk supply in the wintertime, so if you are wanting to dry them up safely, that is the best time to do it. If you want to keep them in milk, increase their feed a little, then wait for springtime and they will pick back up. The cow I’m milking has now picked up her milk production since the grass has greened up.
Helpful herbs: Sage helps to decrease milk supply when drying the cow up. Plantain (either wide leaf or narrow leaf) seems to help to lessen the inflammation from mastitis. Which ever cow I’m milking in the early spring always seems to get a touch of mastitis, and so I’ve started to just give her some plantain to clear it up. I keep some dried for that purpose. You also need to watch when drying them up. They can get mastitis if dried up incorrectly, which you will find when they come back in milk.”
“I would like to add to discussion of hogs. I live in an area where wildlife abounds. It wanders over the landscapes in a complete cycle of survival migration and feral hogs are a big group that is integral to the direct and indirect survival of not only animals, but, plants, water, etc. The numbers of feral hogs are huge and trapping them is what man does here. We harvest these guys. They seldom have any fat even though they indulge in large quantity of acorns that are part of their diets and essential to the groups and nature longevity. The taste and quality of meat is significantly different than domesticated hogs and much like deer only the back strap is eaten as a slab while most else is either smoked or cooked/shredded to make consumption possible. Domestic hogs raised under USDA rules are a luxury along with cattle, chickens, etc. that man has domesticated for easy food. In doing so the price of compliance bears heavy on small homestead seeking self reliance. When functioning in more self reliant mode much of these laws need to be questioned since setup is a complete system and keeping for individual/family not outright purpose of selling as a commodity on the open market.
How man becomes obese is no different than hog. They have been domesticated and raised by overfeeding to create huge fat reserves. As with all survival, fat is an integral part of what man needs to survive, so having hog(s) as that source of fat makes sense and may actually be the reason to keep, not necessarily the meat that we seem to focus on.”
Richard K. wrote:
“These days I enjoy my morning coffee reviewing the news. Not the mainstream media, nor the typical news outlets but select sites. One such site for several years has been SurvivalBlog. I enjoy and want to encourage many of the contributing writers. Writers such as Sara Sue. Reading your story, your trek into survivalism, I might describe it as a evolution of sorts. Having said that I would like to add a few points. I suspect Sara Sue already knows these but simply were left out for the convenience of the article. My response is more for your readers attempting a similar transformation as Sara and looking for insight.
First, just having a seed inventory without the experience will probably lead to failure. I consider growing as much about learning when to plant, what to look for, how to respond to threats [pests, fungi, wildlife, domestic critters such as chickens or ducks and…collecting seeds for the next year. Yes, collecting seeds from a tomato is easy, learning the best ways to collect others [and dependent upon your growing season] can be more of a challenge. For us, here in the midwest, we have found that brassicas [cabbage, broccoli, etc] it is best to plant additional late season fall plants and overwinter them for seed production. Some might say, but you then won’t have seed for that following year. My response is simply, that is why we keep about a literal ton [2,000] of seed on hand at any time. Crop failures WILL happen! I will guarantee it actually. The only question is which crop and when. Practice today. Consider it adding to your education into your life, and to be honest, your neighbors.
Butchering is a similar situation, and Ms. Sara has alluded to those needs and skills. Practice NOW. When the world goes sideways your may find yourself holding an M4 [AR variant] while skinning. Holding a book, reading page 39, while also skinning and holding that same M4 will likely not work out so well. Likewise, learn and practice those preservation skills now. Canning, smoking, dehydrating are great skills and I encourage you to learn them. I can assure you once you have a whole hog or beef hanging is not the best time to apply those food preservation skills to 200 lbs of meat. It is preserving at a whole different level.
Lastly, be prepared to adapt in ways you may have never imagined. I have lived this lifestyle for 50 years, yet we do not grow produce in the same ways we did just 4 or 5 years ago. This lifestyle, it is a “practice” of sorts. Looking back I can see how it has evolved. We love our Jerseys, but they represent a larger target and are more exposed to two-legged vermin than say a milk goat that you can put in a barn at night. Our chickens, ducks, and boilers are tremendous producers…but Coturnix quail are easier to hide in structures should it become necessary. Adapt, survive! To Sara Sue, and in fact all of your contributing writers, I encourage you to continue to present those experiences. You are likely a light and inspiration to your readers. May Adonai watch over and bless you all.”
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A video for folks who enjoy math: How Quantum Computers Break The Internet… Starting Now.
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SaraSue sent this snippet:
“This past week was all about repairs, drilling a well, and a vet visit for the Jersey cow. The Hen House roof and milking station roof were replaced. Necessary due to previous damaging straight line winds from the last big storm. The fence still needs repair. And HALLELUJAH. PRAISE THE LORD. The well drillers hit the jackpot on the well. 10-12 GPM at 120 feet and fantastic water quality. Best well in the entire area, they said. The driller couldn’t believe his luck. I told them I asked God for a miracle and He did it! WOOHOO. HAPPY DANCE with tears streaming down my face. I was just hoping for 3GPM. (Reminder, there are 2 existing wells on this property and both bad.) Man, am I blessed this week!
Next steps are piping water up to the house, pastures, gardens, and hoping I can afford a solar powered pump as a backup. Gardening delayed due to the amount of rain fall, but it’s mostly planned out. My neighbor is a master gardener and he wants to help get it all set up. I’m so thankful this week. The pig pen is planned out and the solar energizer I purchased a couple of years ago, will go to great use for a hot fence electrical source.
The pig shelter is being built out of free pallets, and some scrap tin siding, salvaged from one of the barns, for the roof. FYI on pig math: our local non-USDA custom butcher charges a $45 kill fee and 75 cents a pound (hanging weight) for processing pigs or cows. No other fees unless you want special cuts or patties or sausage, etc. FYI: I did NOT buy a bull. Cooler heads prevailed. Vet visit for the Jersey cow was potential uterine infection and treatment, disease testing, etc. A Jersey bull has been located and once my girl tests clear she will go to the bull in May for a couple of cycles. A good week in spite of global insanity. Yes!”
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And lastly, a recent podcast interview: Infrastructure To Crumble; Will You Be Prepared? — James Wesley Rawles.