We live on a hill with a deep well that precludes using a hand pump if the electric pump is not powered. This system that Engineer775 demonstrates includes some of the things we have installed and/or discussed including a storage tank and solar power for the pump. I am sure it is costly, but would be very valuable in a grid-down situation. I like his reasoning for keeping the storage tank relatively small (1,000 gal) to insure good turnover for fresh water. I also like the UV filter.

My friend, Donna Miller, of Miller Grain House, is having a whole grain baking retreat for women on May 1-2. The price is discounted right now, but expires today, March 31. Beginning April 1 the cost will be full price. I have attended 3 of Donna’s retreats and learned how to bake wonderful bread an other baked goods using whole grain. This is also a great way to meet other women with similar interests. I met some great preppers at the first retreat I attended. Here is a clip from an email Donna sent.

Hi! I just want to update you in case you were not already aware.

TODAY – 3/31/15 – is the last day of the DISCOUNTED Retreat Registration!

We’ve added more options to attend that you may want to check out and share:
• Friday or Saturday One Day Registration
• Local Resident 2 Day Registration
• Share a Room with a Friend You Know
• Share a Room and make a Random Friend
See the map to the Lodge area
You may be surprised just how close really you are!

Quite honestly, the get-away itself to the Lodge is something I look forward to each time it rolls around. So Peaceful, so Comfortable… a place of rest and relaxation.

I hope you’ll join me and several other new friends who’ve already registered while we enJOY great company, relax and play with our food!
Best Blessings and I hope to see you in May,
Donna Miller
Gentlemen, You can send the Ladies in your Life…
Ladies, gather some friends and come as a group…

Click HERE to register or get more information.
…or come on your own and make some GREAT friends!


This April 6th-12th there is an online gathering of 30+ experts in backyard food production, homesteading, and off-grid living. Presented by the worlds leading researchers, organizations, and best-selling authors to help you become free of supermarkets and grow your own healthy foods more easily and productively no matter where you live!

This is the biggest event for home grown food ever organized online. Sponsored by Mother Earth News, The Natural News, & The National Gardening Association just to name a few.

It’s FREE. Reserve your spot by clicking here: www.HomeGrownFoodSummit.com

Get started growing, take your skills to the next level, or if you’er a newbie, be inspired!

This Summit has something for everyone.

This is an article written by a prepper friend who is a medical doctor in North Carolina. It is a good solution to the problem of storing bulk food in such large quantities that it is impractical to open them for daily use.

We found that when we first stored food in the large buckets about 35 years ago, that we never opened them for the reasons my friend describes. Now we make it a point to use our stored, bulk food to rotate it, it is cheaper, it is healthier than more processed food, and we like it. What we found works well for us is to pack most of it in smaller Mylar bags that hold 8 to 10 lbs of grain, rice, and beans. This is a good size for us to get through in a reasonable amount of time. Some things like lentils, I put in bags I cut in half. I have a Mylar sealer that makes it pretty easy. Here is a link to a post I did with pictures.

Novel use for nylon hose

photo 3I hate the fact that when I open a food bucket Mylar bag I am kind of stuck with an open container of 40 pounds of rice then I have to open another bucket with 30 pounds of beans. That represents a lot of food to open at once. Also if I was bugging out I might be able to grab a bucket but would be forced to grab either the bucket of rice or the beans. It has been hard for me to easily make a mixed bucket until I came up with this idea. I have used a nylon hose to hold my beans which I twist tie shut, place in mylar bag, then pour rice around the sack of beans and then throw in the oxygen absorbers and seal. The pore size of the stretched nylon should easily allow the oxygen to be removed with the absorber yet keep the rice and beans separate. Thus a mixed bucket is easily made. If most of my buckets are mixed then as I use them I may be able to get by with only one open bucket at a time thus reducing the risk of spoilage. I mark the outside of the bucket with the number of pounds of beans and how many pounds of rice. I have attached pictures where I made a crude cardboard tube over which I stretched hose ( a large wrapping paper tube works best for this). I then poured the beans into the tube and pushed the beans down into the hose which I then twist tied. I dropped my nylon filled bean bag into the Mylar bag and finished filling the Mylar bag with rice then added oxygen absorber then sealed. You can easily see the beans through the nylon hose so oxygen removal should be easy. I hope this may be a helpful idea.

photo 1photo 2




There are a few seats left for this free class on Saturday, August 30, 2014, from 1:00 to 5:00. The deadline for registering is Wednesday, August 27, 2014 .

If you are serious about attending, send me an email, sarahboonegd @gmail.com (remove space in front of @) to register so I can send you the address. There is no charge for this class.

A couple of years ago my husband and I attended a class with several other preppers in Albemarle, NC taught by a surgeon and chiropractor with whom we have become friends. They did a great job and are offering the class again on August 30, 2014. They are both knowledgeable preppers who want to help folks like us learn some basic emergency medical skills in the event traditional medical care is unavailable. The class will include a suturing practice session using tissue simulants and tools provided by the doctor under his supervision.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Found on NCEM website:

Are you ReadyNC? Here’s an App to Help.

North Carolina now has a mobile application that will help our residents and visitors prepare daily for everything from minor traffic emergencies to severe storms.

This all-in-one tool can provide the latest weather, traffic and hazard information and tells you what you need to know to be safe in all types of emergencies. The app is free and available (look for ReadyNC) in the AppStore for iphones and Google Play for Android devices.

Using this app does NOT replace calling 911. It is not intended to report emergencies to local officials, but it can be used to find life-saving information.

Some of the features include:

  • real-time traffic and weather information
  • critical information on how to be safe during different hazardous events
  • real-time information about opened shelters for evacuees (including addresses, capacity, directions and if the shelter is pet-friendly)
  • real-time updates on flood levels of major nearby creeks and rivers
  • phone numbers and links to all North Carolina power companies to report outages
  • basic instructions on how to develop emergency plans and what to put in your emergency supplies kit
  • real-time information on which counties have issued evacuation orders
  • contact numbers and links to websites for those who need help recovering from a disaster
  • direct links to the ReadyNC.org and NCDPS.gov websites and social media accounts

We never know when the next storm will threaten, but we do know that those who are prepared before will fare better. Use this app to get your family ready.

Be safe,

Mike Sprayberry

Update: Last summer we raised 7 Red Ranger (meat) roosters from one day old chicks until they were 12 weeks old, then butchered and processed them in one morning using the technique and checklist below. It worked well. One change we made was to fasten the cone to the frame of our firewood storage stack so it doesn’t move while in use.

We have killed only two chickens, but I am willing to share what we learned.  If you are sensitive to this type of information, please stop reading.

We killed a hen using the technique of a pole on her neck then yanking up on her feet to separate the spinal column. It worked fast and is the best way to kill rabbits. But you still have to cut the chicken’s neck to bleed it out, and she flopped around after she was dead.

Chicken Killing Cone

Chicken Killing Cone

We used the cone method for a one year old rooster, and it worked very well.  We bought a traffic cone and cut a few inches off the tip so the rooster’s head and neck would fit through. He was very sedate and didn’t struggle at all. Make sure you have a VERY sharp knife.

We hung the cone by a chain from my clothesline pole and put a bucket under him to catch the blood. Once his neck was cut, we let him hang for about 15 minutes to drain. There was no flopping around. Before we use it again, we will fix the cone to something more stable using some boards.

We had a large pot of hot water heating on our outdoor gas burner (camping stove).  It was about 145 degrees. We dunked him for 30 seconds until his feathers came out easily.  We added a small amount of dish detergent to allow the water to soak through the surface tension of the feathers. I was surprised how easy he was to pluck.

The rooster was a year old.  It was difficult to cut through some of his bones, particularly the back bone to remove the internal organs. It was very much harder than cutting up a broiler or store-bought chicken.  His thighs and legs were very large and the meat very dark.  Even though I don’t typically like dark meat, his meat was very good.

I have included a list we prepared for ourselves to use whenever we butcher a chicken. We read a lot of confusing information so got things organized to suit us. We used two books as references: Raising Chickens for Dummies and Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.

Here are some videos that demonstrate the harvesting and cleaning of chickens.

Respectful Chicken Harvest Part 1

Respectful Chicken Harvest Part 2

Poultry Processsing

Checklist for Butchering Chickens

Don’t feed chicken for at least 12 hours prior to killing.

  • Table
  • Cone
  • Very sharp, large knife
  • Heavy scissors/poultry shears/pruning shears
  • Big pot of hot water (140°-150°)
  • Water thermometer
  • Rubber gloves
  • Soap and water
  • Bleach
  • Rags
  • Paper towels
  • Large stainless steel bowl
  • Garbage bag and trash can
  • Needle nose pliers (to remove pin feathers)
  • Dull bladed knife (to remove pin feathers)
  • Garden hose
  • 2 pair exam gloves
  • Long handled tongs
Killing and Bleeding
  • Place chicken head down in cone
  • Stretch neck out
  • 2” cut just behind jaw from front to back
  • Let bleed for 15 minutes
  • 145° water with Dawn dish soap
  • Immerse bird for 30 seconds
  • Lay bird on table
  • Remove feathers
  • Use needle-nose pliers or tweezers to remove pin feathers
  • Rinse with clean water
  • Cut head off
    • Use poultry kitchen shears
    • Close to body
  • Cut off feet
  • Remove oil gland and tail (Storey P. 396)
    • 1” above glands nipple, deep enough to reach tail bone
  • Cut Back Open
    • Start at rear
    • With poultry shears, shallowly cut backbone from back to front
    • Be careful not to rupture the intestine
    • Remove entrails
    • Carefully remove the liver without bursting the attached gallbladder which will cause the meat to taste bitter.
    • Rinse with clean water