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catfish hunter

Learning from older farmers

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A discussion on another thread got me thinking of this.


I have grown up in a rural ag community and have had the benefit of learning from some really sharp and diverse people. I currently work on a family ranch with my dad and grandpa. Growing up some of my Grandpa's stories about the old days (he's 86 now) seemed pretty neat. Since I began prepping I'm asking to hear these stories again and listening to them with a whole different mindset. I have been awful lucky growing up to have known him and some of the other older folks I grew up around. Thinking back through some of the things they told me I realize how lucky I was. I really had 3 other "grandpa's" as well growing up who lived nearby that I spent alot of time with as a kid, and that I really looked up to while they were still with us. Not all blood related, but they were sure a big influence on my life. One neighbor in particular when his health was failing was willing to let me use his equipment and teach me to reload for my rifles in return for some me catching him some channel from his pond and filleting them for him. He had some great stories about other things to tell while we spent those hours in his basement also besides teaching me to load and fish. Stories about the good old days, big fish,wild hunts, horse wrecks, etc may grow over time but there is usually something to be learned in their telling. Others taught me tricks they used before you could call a veterinarian to come out when an animal needed help, how they got well when medicine wasn't available, how they put up feed without tractors, etc. These people have a wealth of information that they are often very willing to share. The wives of these old timers have a wealth of knowledge of their own on how to make do with basics, store food, and be self-sufficient.


In your area there are probably some older farmers around. Maybe they are still working, proud to still be farming their place and living independant. Maybe their health has failed and they are in a nursing home. Many have lost their spouse, kids moved off to bigger things, and they would love to have someone to tell their stories to. Time is getting short to learn from these people while they are still around. If you can think of someone it might be a good idea to visit them. If they are still living on their own farm or ranch could be that they could use a little help from someone younger and you could learn alot from doing it. An old farmer with a big empty farmhouse and some good land might be a great friend to have if you have to bug-out, just be sure to make sure you are welcome and think of what you can bring to the table also.

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We've been prepping for a better future for over 12 years and for us each day does look brighter.


It's been our experience to learn and benefit from others who have come before us. It is our secret recipe for avoiding the mistakes and pitfall of others. Learn, practice and horn your skills. I hope to see many post from you so that we can benefit from you as well. I do some blogging about living on our Homestead and making a living from it. It is like a uncharted diary. I also blog about Heirloom Seed preservation, recipes, medicinal usage, etc with vegetables.


Hope for the best and prep for the worst! This requires making plans and re-evaluating those plans (from time to time). Now is a better time to start than any.


Warmest regards,

Troy B

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There was a couple of brothers that lived down the road from me when I was growing up who lived almost entirely off the land, they grew damn near everything they didn't hunt or gather( their strong point) as far as learning they weren't much for teaching but I caught a tip or two, and gardening with PaPa as a kid taught me a lot, those old farmers taught me to birthem',feedem' and cleanem' on critters from rabbits, chickens and ducks to cattle, horses and pigs. The cost of tuition was just an honest day work at their side. They are almost gone but some of their sons and daughters learned the lessons and now we just have to get them ( our parents) to remember enough to teach our kids, because just like us they don't listen to dad, but grandpa, he knows.

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One thing I have noticed that if a person writes a book whatever his beliefs he has a tendency to flog you with them through the chapters.


and if your not successful you may feel it is your fault it may not be, some techniques are not suited for certain climates

or water or soil some water has a lot of salt or too much other minerals that do not suit certain plants.

the soil may have been over planted with the same plantings like tobacco an extreme example but this is for an example.


the one thing is to get in touch with your nearest Agricultural college and county extension agent also


you can get your soil and water tested and I advise people do this before buying land as there are and have been some

weird things dumped on land legally but if you try to sell it it may not be as easy as you bought it drilling mud has been

dumped on land that is not as bad as it sounds but that depends on a few different things.


your water I think I posted on wells but if I did not here are a few things to ask local people first know how deep your well is then ask your neighbors if their well draws down in the summer and how deep it is if your friendly and tell them your considering buying

in the area you do not have to be specific but they may give information and may know the property as most locals know

more than you might suspect and some may warn you if there are any anomalies or previous problems but that is not always

GOOD information check county records a lot of owners is a red flag.

ask the local well drilling company how much to sink another well and know how old your well is and if it has been serviced

get information of equipment is it still made can you get parts and are there other old wells on the property and why were they

capped are they capped.

lok for depressions they could be old burn pits or sink holes natural elements read some on geology of the area.


the more you know the better off you are the larger the property the more you need to investigate drainage flooding

timber types has it been logged before any mines or caves mineral surface and if you can see about sub surface mineral rights

you might find some useful facts out buildings see if they are useful for material or need to be taken down


creeks or streams are ok if they don't flood their banks a lot and remember a creek or streams can be dammed so do not count on

this water 100% also beds hold nice wash rock and it makes good building material.


how old is the septic system were is the leach field a probe will help you to figure if it can be increased in size it is not common

but some land is only a layer of dirt over rock so you don't dig you drill or blast to put in sewer and leach fields and water wells.


some of your land may be vertical if it is are you responsible for damage from rock or dirt slides to local roads if they are near by.

in certain states it takes a certain size property to hunt find out what that requirement is if you intend to hunt if it is 9.9 acres

and it takes 10 now of days the powers that be are looking for any way to curb your enthusiasm.


learning from locals is an ongoing process some will let you kill yourself and then tell you that corn won't grow there.

{some people are azz holes by nature} some farms and ranches were killed out from diseases animal and human

check news papers for stories of any epidemics yellow fever, brucelosis hell there are a ton of them and they have cycles or they may have been introduce but knowing helps you plan some areas will not grow root crops too wet

some need irrigation constantly as the soil leaches quickly that increases water consumption therefore cost.


I only bring these topics up so you know what questions to ask or try to find answers to and there are as i said


local papers archives

county extension agent

area water well drillers

even check epa records and web site do not speak directly with them it peaks their interest.

have the water tested and soil you do not have to let anyone know your doing it

check old maps geological information.

previous homes or buildings on property lets you know where there may be burn pits septic tanks and pipes

area flood map for 100 year flood plain and figure it could be worse and is it seasonal or can it be predicted

wild fires floods wind snow there is an area north of here within 20 miles is a freeze line it freezes north but not usually

south unless a real front comes in it is these little things that can help you make a decision.

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