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Building a Chicken Coop

Haven’t been posting lately. Been building a chicken coop and chicken run (formally a dog run) for the chickens. What a production. It kept getting bigger and bigger. I started out by building the frame on the back deck. Had to move it into the garage to put the sides and nesting boxes on it. Now the reason I moved it to the garage was to get the chickens out of the Dining Room. They were getting to big for the brooder box and dusting the place up and it was still too cold to put them outside. Just threw a sheet of plywood on top for a temporary roof hung the heat lamp added chicken nipples for water until I could move everything outside.

So this past week we finally had some sun to move the coop out in the back yard. It took 4 of us to get it there. Had to disassemble it somewhat to lighten the load. So, out the garage door, down the driveway, over a wall, thru a gate, under a tree to its almost final spot. A little left, a little forward, this spot is better, that spot is more level, going to have to build a bridge to the chicken run…final spot. Dug out the sod for the pier blocks, put the sides back on, done, it ain’t moving again. The only way to move this is with a saws-all and sledge hammer. If the county wants to know what my snow load and wind load calculations are, the chickens shredded them for bedding and fun.

ImageAnyway, back to the coop. I gave the roof a 4-12 pitch. I still have to put on the eve-drip, and tin sheeting. Finish installing the gable ends, install venting (one is dry fitted in the pic), Add hinges for the lid over the nesting box. Cut a hole in the back wall for the bridge to the chicken run (bridge is already built, see pic), Build chicken wire frame over bridge for containment (the movie “Chicken Run” is going thru my head as I write and build), Re-Plumb water lines to coop and run, so I need to hit the hardware store for some Tee’s and Elbow’s (need to write down the list so I don’t forget anything.) Hinges, I need hinges …and a latch for the lid., liners for the paint pan, 2 sheets of 1′ foil backed foam insulation and a sheet of plywood for the other end. Should be good to go.(hay for the nesting boxes)

I should have posted pics of the process as it was being built, but that’s not my job. My job is to design it, material logistics, build it, paint it, give the chickens a final walk thru, sign the papers then on to the next project.

In the words of Red Green, “If you can’t be handsome, be handy”


Battery options for your off-grid home

Battery options for your off-grid home by Rex A. Ewing from the November/December, 2007 issue of Countryside & Small Stock Journal.

Rules for Survival

Rules for Survival

SurvivalCache Blog contributor Bama Bull wrote a review of lessons learned from his 10 Best Survival Movies. I copied the rules only and not the reviews because I thought they were very relevant in today’s world in general. I will add more as I think of what is relevant.

* Take care when traveling roads and contact with other people.

This is just plain common sense for traveling anywhere. Always be aware of your surroundings.

* How to haul your survival supplies over long distances.

On foot, you can haul about 90 lbs in a backpack if you’re in good shape.

* Starvation is a long, slow process.

Gender Age Sedentary Moderately Active Active
Child 2-3 1000 1000-1400 1000-1400
Female 4-8 1200 1400-1600 1400-1800
9-13 1600 1600-2000 1800-2200
14-18 1800 2000 2400
19-30 2000 2000-2200 2400
31-50 1800 2000 2400
51+ 1600 1600-2000 1800-2200
Male 4-8 1400 1400-1600 1600-2000
9-13 1800 1800-2200 2000-2600
14-18 2200 2400-2800 2800-3200
19-30 2400 2600-2800 3000
31-50 2200 2400-2800 2800-3200
51+ 2000 2200-2400 2400-2800

Daily Calorie Intake Table

* “Keeping the fire,” and are you one of the “good guys?”

* Benefits of carrying both firearms and low-tech weapons.

Firearms can and will jam at the least expected and most critical time than you want them to.

* How to barter for what you need.

* You have to be prepared to kill bad people or they will kill you.

This will test your grit and fortitude. If they are going after my wife, kids, grandkids, or me, in a heartbeat.

* Your faith can sustain you and help guide your actions.

* Survival against the cold takes planning and good gear.

Remember – 3 hours without shelter, cotton kills, what’s in your EDC

* Big urban cities make escape very difficult.

Most cities have a river that runs through it; bridges will be a choke point.

* You have to consider and plan for bad weather conditions.

Where do you live? NE, SE, Mid-West, Rockies, SW, Pacific Coast… Where are you going to?

* Listen to Dad, sometimes he knows what he’s talking about!

LISTEN to your elders; they may have more experience than you.

* Importance of having basic bug-out gear and supplies on hand.


* Crowds are dangerous and can get you killed.

Whether it’s Mob Mentality or the Stampede Effect, safety isn’t always in numbers.

* Stock up on food and water at first opportunity; get a backpack.

Check, check and check.

* Don’t lose your weapon – you may need it for the crazy guy.

WeaponS, you better have more than one.

* It’s good to have a set of basic survival rules – you’ll live longer.

‘Nuff said. I’ll say it again if you didn’t understand it the first time, It’s good to have a set of basic survival rules – you’ll live longer.

* People will trick you, take your stuff, and leave you stranded.

This is a reality; self-preservation is a strong instinct, so is hunger, thirst and normality.

* Don’t scare people if you don’t want to get shot.

Scared people have twitchy trigger fingers, even cops.

* It is good to remember “Rule 32” when you can.

(Enjoy the little things.)

* Malls can be a good refuge if you can secure the doors.

* You need to determine who you can and cannot trust.

This is a tricky one, family and close tight friend’s, you should be able to trust but in a crisis, self-preservation can make them sell you out. The farther away from the family tree and bonding of friends the percentages drop rather fast.

* Have a break-out plan and a destination.

Always have a Plan C and D and E and …

* Every group will have a**holes you’ll have to deal with.

* A dog can be a good survival companion.

They can give off early warnings or give away your hidey hole.

* If your defenses are good, you don’t need to sleep in a hard tub.

Early warning devices are many and inexpensive, a dog, empty cans on fishing line, battery motion detector driveway sensor, solar/battery motion detector flood lights, … Reinforced entry points on doors and windows,

* Plan to be home or off the road before dark.

* Be careful when scavenging and entering buildings.

* Light and noise discipline is a must at night.

If I can see you or hear you, I know where you are. If THEY can see you or hear you, they know where you are.

* Buckets on the roof help to collect rain water.

Buckets with upside down open umbrellas are even better. Plastic sheeting in a pickup bed. (SouthernPrepper1 gets credit for this.)

* Short cuts may be worse than taking the long way around.

The known route is always better the the unknown route.

* Be wary of government troops.

All I can say is Katrina and gun confiscation.

* People will fight over resources.

The have-nots will want what you have period.

* Be prepared to defend your campsite.

A show of force may be all you need, but an act of force may be necessary.

* There is strength in numbers and provides for a division of labor.

Work parties should be in groups of 3 at minimum, 1 to work for 10 – 20 minutes, 2 to watch your back while you work and then rotate. Remember calorie intake table above.

* You can supplement your food stores with local fish and game.

As long as there is local game and fish to catch.

* People who band together have a better chance at survival.

Safety is in numbers, 12 adults is a good number to start with because you can’t sleep with one eye open.

* Teach basic survival skills early, others may need them.

Buy a Boy Scout Manual, the SAS Survival Guide, any survival book and DO learning projects out of them.

* It is hard to argue with the people who have the guns.

* Americans know “freedom is never free” – it’s earned the hard way.

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigues of supporting it.

-= The American Crisis, No. 4, September 11, 1777 =- Thomas Paine

Rain Water Storage for your Garden

Rain water is better for your garden than city water. I put together a rain water storage system for our garden. It can be converted to drinking water storage in a pinch with a flush and filter kit added on to the collection system. If you are going to use for drinking water only I suggest you buy new barrels. This system is gravity fed so you will need a height of  at least 94″ to get water pressure more than a trickle. Our yard is sloped, so collection is at the top, application is at the bottom. A 12v RV pump could be added if you don’t have a sloped yard for distribution. It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, so here is a picture.

This is setup is using Drain-Vent-Gravity. Vent at the top, drain at the bottom, gravity to delivery area. Setup and installation is simple if you can work with hand tools, but power tools are better and faster (and having sons/son-in-laws to carry the heavy stuff is nice too).

This is 350 gallons of water always at the ready if they are full.

An Open Letter to Family & Friends

This is a letter that was posted on Prepper Website by Todd Sepulveda, the webmaster at  He has graciously allowed the re-posting here on ours. Prepper Website is the Drudge of prepper sites with links to other sites.

Open Letter


An Open Letter to Family & Friends

I’m writing this letter because I care about you.  Please take a few minutes to read it and think about what I’m saying.

Why the Letter?

Our lives are crazy.  We take care of our family, work, eat, play chauffer, pay the bills, etc.  When we have a little bit of free time, we like to just veg in front of the TV and watch some brain numbing pictures flicker across the screen.  We can go at it like this for days, weeks and even months, not knowing what is going on in the world outside our local community and just get by with the talk around the water cooler.

And when we take life in these little chunks, separate blocks of our time and attention, it seems a little bit more manageable.  We move from one task, event, errand, chore to the other.

The problem is when we look at our lives from a big picture perspective.  What if our lives, all of the sudden changed?  What if the stress of the day came bearing down at you all at once?  How could this happen?  This can easily happen during an emergency.  I’m not talking about your son just stuffed his GI Joe down the toilet, or the dog is out of food emergency.  I’m talking about the BIG stuff.

The Big Emergency

The BIG emergency is the one that stops you in your tracks.  It can be personal, based in your local community or worldwide.  But it is the one that everything else stops and all resources and energy are put towards it.

The problem is that most people are not prepared for the BIG one.


Are you and your family most people?  Do you have an emergency fund for financial emergencies?  Do you have insurance for medical emergencies?  Do you have food and water if there is a food supply/transportation emergency?  Do you have other means of cooking and preparing your food if utilities weren’t available?  Do you have first aid supplies and extra medicine on hand?  Do you have basic skills that could help you: fire starting, water purification, gardening, first aid, etc.?

This is the whole reason for my letter.  I want to help you see the importance of being prepared and to start being more self-reliant.  It’s not too hard, but it does take time, planning and effort.  But then again, what would the time, planning and effort that you put in ahead of time be worth in the middle of an emergency?  You’ll be glad you did!

Action Steps

  1. Make a plan – What are you preparing for?  What needs to be done?  Don’t look at the magnitude of the plan, that can be overwhelming. Take it in chunks.  In reality, you will never be “prepared.”  You can be “not prepared” or “overly prepared,” but never “perfectly prepared.”  Consider the basics: financial, medical, etc…but also keep in mind your region of the country; hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, etc…
  2. Set goals– When do you want _____ accomplished?
    1. Get a 3 day supply of food.  Then move to a 3 week supply.
    2. Revisit insurance: house, vehicle, medical, life, etc…
    3. Start an emergency fund – 3-6 months of expenses
    4. Start a garden
    5. Take a class: first-aid, sewing, gardening, firearm, wilderness survival
    6. Watch some videos on Youtube (search preparedness)
    7. Read blogs and articles on “preparedness” and “prepping”
    8. Get active – go meet your goals!


The world of preparedness/prepping can be an addictive one.  It can suck you in, mess with your emotions and get you seeing the world in the fragile states that it is in.  It is always best to approach preparedness within community.  You should go it alone only if no one else is willing.  Eventually, they will realize that you were right, even if that is in the midst of a storm.


It is not in the scope of this letter to discuss all the possible emergency scenarios that you should prepare for.  But outside of regional, natural disasters, it is important to me to briefly mention our global situation.  Things outside our local community have gone from bad to worse!  At first, we might not care about what is going on in some Asian or European country, but the fact is that we are ALL tied into each other now.  What happens over there, affects us over here.

There are many “End of the World as We Know It” type scenarios out there.  One such scenario is an economic collapse.  Someone recently replied to me and said, “Yes, times can get hard, but we have been through it before during the Great Depression.”  The fact is that it is way different this time.  Our country didn’t have the debt that we have now.  And, if for some reason the world loses faith in our government’s ability to pay its debts, we are up the creek.  It really isn’t too far-fetched to imagine this happening if you’ll look into it.  The concern has gone beyond the foil hat people.  Just research it!

Do Something

Please take this letter seriously.  If you prepare and don’t need it, the worst is that you have some food (food costs are going up/buy now at cheaper prices) and other supplies.  But if you ever find you are in a position that you do need it, you and your loved ones will be glad you were prepared!

Make Mine Freedom ,1948

A fun little cartoon circa 1948.

What are the types of Government

If you want to learn what is happening to our country watch this video and draw your on conclusions.