How to prepare your family to survive and thrive in todays uncertain world

An Update From The Kearney Household

While the world around us descends into chaos, I thought I’d keep it light for tonight and talk a little bit about some of the things that are on the agenda for the Kearney household this spring and summer.

Final Planning For Our New House

So as you know if you’ve been around for a while, we want to build a house on our property in Eastern Washington for cash. No banks for us. As part of that, we’re going to be building it phases so we have something that’s livable faster.

We have an architect engaged who should be starting the preliminary drawings next month. Based on those, we’ll be able to estimate how much we’re going to need to come up with to get this thing built.

In the mean time, we hope to spend some time doing final site planning, as well as some longer term improvements like putting in an orchard, fencing in some of the pasture, and building a totally awesome tree fort for the kids.

Rudy the Beekeeper

So I have a garage full of wood that needs to be assembled over the next few weeks into hive bodies and frames. I’ll be running two hives at a local farm that has good access to a variety of different nectar sources.

I’m going to try to document as much of the process here as I can, but much of that will depend on the help I get from the family. One of my girls has said that she’s willing to help me by going with and taking pictures as I work, but I don’t know if that will actually happen!

In any case, my bees arrive in about a month. I’m getting Italians from Heitkam’s Honey Bees this year.  Conveniently, they show up the same day my mother in law is coming out for a visit, so I have a ready made excuse for disappearing for a while …. just kidding! (or am I?)

Long term plans for this include adding a couple more hives (at least) next year. When we move I hope to eventually grow up to 50-60 hives, though one of my bee mentors says that once I get past 20, going up to 200 or so isn’t a huge deal. I’d like to have bee products as a side income at some point. We’ll see how that pans out.

Garden Expansion Project

I mentioned this the other day, but we’re going to take advantage of self watering containers to grow quite a bit more food here than we have permanent beds for. I’m not willing to put in more permanent beds at this point, so the SWCs are a perfect fit.

Off the cuff, we’re looking at increasing our space by a factor of five or six. Most of this will be a various experiments in growing stuff that we have either never grown or make good longer term storables.

I have to admit though, I’m going to try my hand at growing some giant pumpkins for fun. There’s a few varietals out there that claim to be able to get 1000-1500 lb pumpkins. That’d be entertaining.

I’m pretty excited about this, because not wanting to do more permanent beds has certainly been a downer for us and for our production.

I’m also planning on plumbing some of these containers together to make it easier to water.  I’m not completely sure how to do it yet, but it’ll make leaving for the property much easier if we can just set it to water on a schedule when we’re gone.

Rudy’s Ranch

With my parents living full time out at the property now, Dad and I have been discussing running a few head of cattle on the pasture and getting some hands on experience running beef. We had cows when I was a kid, but we haven’t had any since then.

It should be a good learning experience, and it will also help us decide if raising grass fed beef is something we want to do at a larger scale when we move out there. Right now it’s definitely on the list but that can change of course.

We may also get a couple of pigs. Tasty! Ideally this helps us offset some of our food costs for the year and gets us some good hands on experience as well.

Time for Bed!

Well, it’s late and I’m heading off to bed now. My beautiful wife is already there sound asleep and it’s an early morning for me tomorrow. I just thought I’d give you a heads up on some of the things we’re planning for the year.

That does lead me to a quick question though … do you guys like this sort of thing, where I talk a bit more about personal stuff, or do you prefer it when I stay on topic and talk only about prepping stuff and current events?

Let me know in the comments…

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22 Responses to An Update From The Kearney Household

  1. Heck Yea. keep them coming. they are your preps. seeing your plans and hopes for the future help me hone mine.

    thanks Joe

  2. I would read and research the idea of raising pasture. Joel Salatin writes about grass farming. He would be a great resource. The cows, pigs and chickens are raised in concert.

    • Yup, his books are good stuff. I especially liked his ‘Multi Generational Farm Testament’ book, the name escapes me at the moment though…

  3. Hello Rudy,

    I like to hear your plans for your family, as well as information to help up to be prepared for whatever emergency comes our way! I saw the bleach sanitizer amounts to use table. I am wondering, if I have several CLEAN 4 or 5 gallon plastic food grade buckets that need to be sanitized, can I transfer the solution from one bucket to another, TO SANITIZE THEM, and if so, how many buckets could be sanitized with the same solution? I am thinking of using some 4 or 5 gallon buckets for water storage, and was planning to use reverse osmosis water from the health food store. They charge 39 cents for a gallon, if you furnish your own container, so I have been refilling plastic gallon water jugs.

    Thanks,
    Rebecca

    • When we clean buckets, we just use dish soap and then a quick sanitizer bath … since it’s clean already, I figure the sanitizer stays relatively clean for a while.

      Another thing I’ve done is simply put the sanitizer in a spray bottle, spray the buckets down, and let them drip dry.

  4. Ferrocement house is a way to go. Go underground. Hopefully your’re building a house that is zero energy, able to be secured, radiation, earthquake, and volcano proof…………jeez. Makes you want to go bury yourselves in a hole, eh?

  5. I like the personal stuff as much as the prep info. They are both an encouragment and it gives us something to cheer your family on for! We also will benefit from your sucesses and failures. (Just keepin’ it real here) Keep up the good work and know that your readers appreciate all you do.

  6. I also appreciate hearing about the more personal actions you and your family are taking to prepare, as I don’t see these posts as somehow different from talking about “preps.” And because my wife and I are now talking about buying some multi-use land (some arable, some pasture, some woods) ourselves and building a house on it for retirement/retreat, it’s always interesting to read about someone who’s further along than we are in this process.

  7. The educational info is very helpful, but i also enjoy your personal accounts. Our family (mom, dad, two kids) has lived off-the-grid in a solar powered home since 1997, but we’re just now getting into greater self-sufficiency by growing/raising our own food and preparing for whatever may come down the pike.

    I have a question: I’m doing our preps just based on our immediate family. Do many people work with neighbors/friends to form what might be called “resilient” communities in the event of various disasters?

    • We’re already building a resilient community with the neighbors at the new property. I think it’s absolutely the way to go.

  8. I’d like to hear more about your house…

    One floor, two floors? How do you plan to heat it? Solar panels or a passive system backed up by a wood stove, etc…? Do you have a well on site? Do you have plans for a “harvest room”? (To me, a “harvest room” is one room off the kitchen where I can set up for butchering animals, canning my garden produce, etc.)

    Are you planning for some sort of interior “safe room”??? A safe room in this situation would be for storing your firearms, coin collection and whatever else of value you have… I always liked the idea of a walk-in type closet that had rebar on 6 inch centers between the studs (installed before putting up the sheetrock) with a metal exterior door with a deadbolt. The idea with the rebar is that if someone broke in and failed to kick in the door, they would still have a tough time trying to cut into the room with a chain saw.

    Anyway, like I said, let’s hear more about the house plans…

    • Probably more than I want to comment on here in the comments section, so I think I’ll make an article about it instead…stay tuned!

      • Can’t wait!!! I’d like to see photos of the progress too… Maybe some technical data as well… Since you are going to stay away from the banks, I would be interested in seeing how you calculate the cost per square foot, or how you wired “task lighting” on a 12 volt system you charge with a solar cell (if you plan to do that sort of thing…)

  9. Have you considered long term crops in your garden project??? Long term meaning something like a few cherry or apple trees???

    Part of my property is a bog and I considered a small scale blueberry or cranberry farm… Home-made jelly or jam might be a good complimentary product to your beekeeping items…

    • Yeah, we’re putting in berries and an orchard this year, with longer term goals of building a food forest type situation. We have enough land that we can just kinda ‘help things along’ in many areas and let nature take it’s course, while cultivating more closely in other areas.

  10. We live near Houston Texas and about 5 M people so hearing about your plans to do something special for your family with a long term goal and located away from the crowd is wonderful. We (wife and I) are wanting to move to either Colorado Springs or Fort Collins Co. and would like to meet other like minded people who feel the need to make personal preparations for a very uncertain national and global future. I am feeling time is becoming short and major changes (not for the best) are on the horizon for the economy, national security, and personal safety. Rudy, we enjoy all of your imformation and look forward to learning more as you make preparations.

    • Dear Robert,
      My husband and I live NE of Colorado Springs at 7000 ft elevation and love it here. It’s great for solar power–we have PV and solar thermal–even through most the winter. Re: gardening, we have to contend with a SHORT growing season. Cattle raising is fairly easy but cougars, coyotes, foxes, hawks gobble up chickens. In Colorado, you need to make sure you have good source(s) of water.

      • Good to hear form you Deb, thank you. Colorado is one of the better locations in the country for quality of living for many-many reasons once you look into it. We would lke to have a small garden, as well, at our new home and perhaps a few small criters. Your location sounds very nice especially being able to be some what self sufficient. We are looking forward to the change and a new way of living away from the big city. Rudy’s daily information sharing I find to be very helpfull and encouraging.

  11. Please make it personal! I love hearing about your plans for your family and your new home! Keep it coming!