potatoes and corn

You Won’t Be Eating Much (or any) Meat After SHTF

potatoes and corn

I was out watering the garden this morning when I was thinking about a topic for today. As I was watering, thoughts entered my head once again as to what I’m trying to accomplish this year of gardening.

This year’s gardening experiments are entirely to do with the notion of self sufficiency and the probability of little or no available meat during a time period of post-SHTF survival.

Why won’t you be eating much or any meat during a post-apocalyptic time?

Although there are numerous hypothetical SHTF scenario breakdowns and outcomes (some worse than others), one might generally consider the following possibilities:

– Partial (or greater) breakdown of infrastructure
– Local, regional, national, global ‘just-in-time’ breakdowns
– Mega Farms may lose their ability to produce and distribute
– Lack of resources to maintain those levels
– Lack of feed for livestock on a sufficient scale
– Broken distribution channels cut off supply chains
– Even local small farmers will have difficulty
– Required refrigeration unless immediately consumed or preserved
– People will quickly hunt much of the wild game
– All easy avenues of meat procurement will be overloaded
– Ponds and Lakes will get heavily fished

So what’s left to eat?

Besides your own long term food storage, you are looking at foraging and vegetable gardening. But can you survive on that?

This is part of my vegetable garden experimentation this year. I am focusing on two of the highest calorie vegetables knowing that these would become extremely important for our ability to survive without starving.


Potatoes & Corn

Potatoes and Corn are my primary crop concerns for calorie yield. They are among the highest calorie producers that you could plant in your garden.

Potatoes and Corn each yield about 85 calories per 100 grams.
That’s nearly 400 calories per pound.

Garden Vegetable Calories List

My secondary focus is on this:

Winter Squash:
– Acorn Squash (255 calories /lb.)
– Butternut Squash (200 calories /lb.)

and Beets (200 calories /lb.)
and Carrots (180 calories /lb.)

Why these vegetables?
Not only are they high calorie producers but I can preserve them more readily for throughout the winter than some other choices.

Potatoes will keep about 5 – 6 months with my current dry storage method. I will be home canning the rest. The past few years I’ve chosen a particular variety that is especially hearty for long term storage (Kennebec).

How To Preserve Potatoes

The corn will be home canned. Here’s some of my corn from last year:

Acorn & Butternut squash should keep pretty well in dry storage (this will be my first attempt at discovering how long they will keep).

Beets and Carrots being root crops should also keep well if stored properly.

Again, home canning too will preserve vegetables.

A crop staple of mine is also ordinary green beans. I can them every year. They come in at 160 calories /lb.

Garden experiments with Corn and Potatoes

Knowing that potatoes are among the highest of calories for a vegetable, if we actually had to survive on our garden we would have to grow enough of them (along with the corn and other crops) to actually provide food on the table throughout a year.

So, that means optimizing yield while minimizing labor. This year I’m trying potatoes in big trash pails. So far they are growing like crazy. I believe I’m going to have great success (fingers crossed). I will be posting on this after harvest (I’ve been taking pictures throughout).

Once I determine how many pounds of potato yield per bucket, I will then be able to calculate how many buckets I need to grow in order to put food on the table for a year (again, combined with the other vegetables).

The experiment this year is growing MORE, and also growing them a bit tighter together (spacing between plants). Right now I have about 300 linear feet (10 rows at ~30′ each) spaced about 6″ apart and 1 foot between rows. Most of the corn came up so we’re looking at quite a few stalks (for just the two of us).

When it’s all harvested and the yields are calculated, I will know how much I need to grow in order to put food on the table all year.


It Takes More Than You Might Think

To grow enough vegetables to actually provide significant calories for a year for just one person takes more than you might think. Most popular vegetables are very low in calories. And even those higher in calories (above) will require a significant crop during post-SHTF where meat and other foods will be scarce.

How Many Calories Do I Need?

I’m planning for it now, during good times, so that I will know what I’ll need to do. Also, I just like doing it anyway (self sufficiency and all that…). I know where my food is coming from that way.

Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables


      1. Have to agree. What is Spam made of ayway? Lol
        With tators gotta have meat. (Spam might suffice) And an ear or two of corn.
        I’m with Dennis. No meat after SHTF party? I ain’t goin.

        1. ((What is Spam made of ayway? )) If you want to know ask any CDL driver on the PorkChop Express Route to Austin,MN.
          Been There Done That. That Hormel Plant is Huge.

  1. That’s why we raise meat rabbits and chickens. We would have meat as long as we could keep the animals safe from other varmints (esp the 2-legged kind).

    Rabbits can be raised in mobile cages so they can forage off of grasses (my friend does it with his entire herd). During the leaner, Winter months, he feeds alfalfa pellets. If he had no money for feed, he could use one of his fields of hay as a substitute feed, along with some other nutrients.

    So raising small animals for meat is very smart for a homestead, for ‘hard times,’ or for preparedness planning. Feeding rabbits or chickens without commercial feed can be done by anyone with access to green vegetation and a garden.

    Raising rabbits for meat without commercial alfalfa pellets would need to be fed dried hay, grasses, grains, alfalfa (a legume), veggies, fruits, and dried fruits & greens. Not all foods have the same nutrients, so if this is a goal, or a back up plan for meat, it’d be smart to gather information now.

    But guess what food source is great for rabbits? Wheat (as a grass or a dried hay)! So if you are storing plenty of wheat berries, and you are raising rabbits (and/or chickens), you already have a source of feed for your critters.

    1. It would be interesting to quantify the benefit/reward of the required feed that one would need to grow/acquire to feed livestock versus the calories yielded from harvested livestock during post-shtf. Some or much of this would also depend on one’s property and what it can produce.

      1. Ken a good question. Many studies about eating directly wheat/corn/beans etc. vs. processing through a critter. Not as many studies about how using “Found” feeds like road kill grub growing for chickens, encouraging them to free range and forage, sprouting wheat and other grains to triple the food volume and values for chickens and rabbits. Polyculture where poultry and pigs follow and eat from other animals wastes (eliminates parasites and improved feed usage) and other eco-friendly farming methods (mostly recovered from English small farmer farming techniques) improve small farming results vs. Monoculture Big Farming.

        John Seymour has written many books about English Small farming. Very good information, light on details but useful. A Quote from one “The wiener pig was often referred to by the Irish small holders as the Gentleman that pays the rent”.

        Dried beans, dried corn, stored beets/squashes/potatoes will indeed keep body and soul together but as I say too often look to history for success.

        Looking at history even near starvation cultures TREASURED their free range chickens as eggs, older stewed chicken and fertilizer. Treasured their rabbits for meat, fur and fertilizer. Ditto for sheep (often milked) Ditto for cows.

        Tomatoes and Peppers have little food value in calories BUT make eating corn and beans much nicer. Food is more than calories.

        Storing meat via canning is nice but there is a good reason worldwide that small animal production is so popular. A extended family can eat a whole lamb, goat or a pair of chickens. No storage issues aside from keeping them alive and productive.

        Don’t want to write a book and lose it here :-)

        1. @NH, which is why I focus on high calorie veggies first, and then that which compliments it second.

        2. But calories don’t necessarily translate to protein, and protein is an absolute requirement for muscle retention/growth. This is where the legume family comes into the well-balanced nutritional diet. Without the protein, the body will deteriorate over time. So be sure that your high caloric count has the proper protein.

          Have you been testing out this calorie-dense “diet” on a long-term scale yet? I know you’re not a vegetarian!

          [ Ken adds: FYI, I’ve posted my answer below – needed more room ;) ]

    2. There is an 8 day fodder system that produces a green, that literally explodes with use-able nutrition from wheat , barley, or other mixed grains/seed.. Those who use those systems say it can cut the regular pelleted feed costs down by as much as 1/2. Many feed both pelleted and fodder- for flexibility in feeding solutions.. I have watched several you tube video’s on different systems and needs to set a similar one up.

    3. Cricket I am reminded of the story of the Ministers and the Rabbi having dinner with a Chinese Warlord where the dish of honor was a whole pig before them. The Ministers knowing the Warlords temper razzed the Rabbi about the unclean pig issue. The Rabbi smiled and said “God told us to LIVE by the Tora not to DIE by the Tora” and ate the dinner.

      When death by starvation is before you the list of acceptable foods will expand greatly.

    4. Same here, no unclean foods for us either. I am going to make some elevated grow boxes for potatoes, beets, rutabagas and carrots. I have severe arthritis and we have severe gopher issues. We have 10 acres of dry land with oak trees in central California in zone 9.

      1. Melody B
        Check out gardening with Leon on U tube, saves water produces more food with less work. Could be a way for you to garden on less water.

  2. TSHTF aka “The Shi# Hits The Fan”; the ultimate weigh reduction Plan.

    Growing, Harvesting, Storing, Protecting, Cooking even 50% of the needed Vegetarian Diet will be an enormous undertaking. All awhile the world is falling deeper into a poop-hole, people becoming more desperate, looters and riots on the rampage, The .gov “TAKING” anything they want “for the better of the people”,

    Droughts/Monsoons/Weather (Climate Change), Bugs/Insects, Critters, Bad-Seeds, Broken tools, Ok Ok the list is endless on why this would NOT work.

    BUT!!!! What other choice may you have? If/When the EOTWAWKI hits with all it’s got or just dig a hole and jump in, right?

    So to get onboard with the Article; I know for a fact that a LOT of us garden, I also know there is NO way I can sustain life (Fat Boy Here) with what I grow now, BUT that’s ok, I keep a Garden for a few reasons.

    1st, to keep learning what and how.
    2nd I enjoy the hell out of the time spent away from everything/everyone and just killing weeds with my bare hands hehehe.
    3rd I really like knowing that at least some of the food I eat is healthy
    4th Seeds, I harvest seeds every year of those plants that really thrive.
    5th I like sending photos to some of my buddies that also Garden, it pizzes them off to no end LOLOL

    So, what to grow? Everything I can get my hands on, of course all of the Tomatoes I can fit into the Garden, even some in flower pots I happen to have left over. I’m experimenting with Potatoes each year, seems I like to water them to much and rot them out. Corn, not so much in a Raised Bed Garden, takes too much room.

    I do like the Squash, have probably 15-16 plants in, all going gang busters, FYI Ken, I still have a box or two from last year sitting in the Computer Room, not a single one has gone bad yet, so probably right at 8 months.

    Anyways, getting long winded, so Keep growing Stuff, tis a good thing.

    Ohhhh yeah, one more thing, you can grow all the “stuff” ya want to, but you had better know how to preserve it also.

    1. Just fed my last two butternut squash from two years in storage to the hens. It was a test to see how long they would last.

      Two yrs is pretty good :)

      1. grandee I bet your chickens LOVED that squash! Fodder Beets, Squashes, COOKED Potatoes (never feed raw) mashed up, Cabbage wheat dry and sprouted. Critter food BEFORE Purina Critter Chow. Often serving some foodstuff chopped or shredded makes them even more happy.

        Old food stuff we do not want to eat, small holders/farmers need to rethink what is “Trash”. Check out John Seymour’s books through your library. Your taxes at work.

        1. If you get a chance at the Tatuma squash, latch on to it/seed 3 plants are producing out the wazoo for my friend/south Texas. they are a runner, but not a climber so they will need plenty of space.(20 ft).. she planted 3 seed in a solo cup and put them in a single hill. mature they are a winter keeper, with a texture kinda like a spaghetti squash, young more like the acorn squash. For people that do not tolerate pumpkin/gas issues..these give no issue.

      2. Ken, It’s not just a matter of calories over the long-term — it’s how those calories translate into nutritional value that matters. Vitamins, trace minerals, and how foods are sought for their fat, protein, fiber contents matter.
        Read my other comment to you…

        [ Ken adds: See my reply below ]

        1. Grandee — our chickens love all of the orange/red veggies (squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, tomatoes) & they’re all so good for them!

          Never kept a winter squash for 2 years. That’s fantastic!

  3. Thus ham in the freeze dryer as we speak and chicken and eggs last week. Plus we need good carbs for energy and to fill us up. There is protein in whole grains.

  4. Also, knowing you cannot just get a package of seeds from the corner store, you need to know there are different ways of getting seeds from different types of vegetables. And how to store them.
    We grow only heirloom veggies, (no hybrids) so we know exactly what we will get from year to year. We also cultivate perennials like asparagus, rhubarb, raspberries, and strawberries. Trying to put in a couple of dwarf fruit trees this year. And we don’t use any chemicals on our lawn so the chickens can free-range for food if they had to.
    Just some thoughts – take care.

    1. Ken in CT (KT), Great insight.

      My neighbor down the road has a nice asparagus bed and rhubarb too. I’ve got to get that going on my property too. I love asparagus… (I know it takes several years to get it going, so I suppose I better get my butt in gear).

      1. Asparagus is one of the best vegetables we’ve planted. You have to harvest every day, you can almost watch it growing. It spreads also so give it some extra room. Also look at Asian long beans. They produce a ton in a small area but they like it hot outside. Good crop for here in Tx.

        1. I’m too late this year to plant Asparagus crowns. But early next spring I’m going to do it (4×8 bed – should be enough for the two of us) !

        2. Ken,
          in case of bumper crop, Used to know someone who pickled asparagus. Very good.

        3. Plant twice that amount. When you are slicing those tender shoots, you can’t help but eat half of them raw, right there in the garden. Oh so delicious!!

      2. Hi Ken,
        You can speed up waiting on asparagus to produce if you buy 3 year old root stock asparagus from sellers online. I ordered some 2 years ago and the first spring got a few asparagus Spears, but this spring they made lots and lots! I ordered the Jersey Giant plants and have been very happy with them.

  5. Great topic Ken!
    DW had a bag of Yukon gold potatoes stored (dark, cool, and dry) and all of them started sprouting. So I obliged and cut them up and planted them. I think I planted 53 pieces, and ended up getting 43 to actually grow. I am now down to 41 thanks to the local deer. I planted them on the outside of the garden fence as the deer supposedly don’t prefer them if other foods are available. They do keep eating the flower buds off of the plants. I need to research “does a potato need to flower to produce.” Anyway, they seem to be doing well for the most part. I hilled them up twice then weed-blocked with 4′ weedblock on each side and covered with hay/lawn clippings. We shall see how they produce later in the year. Also, we still have butternut squash stored in the basement from last fall. DW says they are getting dried out inside though, but still they stored and didn’t rot. We probably could have done more to make sure we used them before now.

    1. Sprinkle your plants with cayenne pepper this will discourage the dear.

  6. Getting by on less meat might be a good thing….we tend to eat too much of the stuff. Protein can be obtained from things other than meat. It’s why I continue to add permaculture to my little ecosystem…..pecan trees, coconut palms. bananas, figs, citrus fruit, avocado trees…..eggs from the hens and milk from the goats helps, too!

    1. American Black walnuts are good source of protein and will keep for years and years. Also Butternut. Last fall i ate some of these nuts that have been in the basement since the 70’s!

  7. Good evening, All,
    Good food for thought, Ken!
    Yes, besides raising some of your own meat, like rabbits and chickens (chickens are very easy to feed btw)…
    one thing to consider learning to grow is sprouts!
    Stocking up on organic sprouting seeds and a “sprouter” is a good investment.
    I am storing most of our sprouting seeds in 0 degree freezer
    Have several sprouters already…
    Check out the Easy Sprout Sprouter on AMZ not expensive and it works great…
    I sprout more in the cooler months just b/c we have abundance of other things now
    Also you grow them indoors very nice!
    You eat them as is, no cooking…
    They are so healthy here is a quote for you:
    “Most sprouts contain a variety of nutrients including fiber, calcium, thiamin, niacin, zinc, vitamins A, C, D, B6, B12, E, and K, protein, folate, riboflavin, iron, and potassium.”
    To All Good Health, Provisions, and Peace
    God bless you!

    1. I grow/eat a lot of Sprouts also. There is such a variety of seeds/seed mixes available that I keep trying different ones, as well as my own “mixes”.
      Super easy, relatively cheap, and VERY nourishing.

  8. We don’t have any livestock at this point in time, perhaps in the future. We do can quarts of turkey and chicken and we can pints of hamburger , pork chunks and beef chunks as well. We buy when things are on sale to help with expenses. We also grow our own potatoes , squash,green beans, carrots and beets.

    Per the earlier article on growing potatoes in barrels, we decided to make several spud rings out of scrap 2×6 boards. Basically a 30″ square box with no bottom in it. So far we are 3 rings high and things are looking good . We once grew potatoes in tires but too much hassle .

    We do buy canned meat such as spam and the 1 lb canned ham meat.

    1. Good luck with those potatoes! Let us know how it turns out come harvest time…

      1. Thanks Ken,
        I will let you know how the great spud experiment turns out at harvest time ..

    2. Bluesman you might want to think about storing in steel garbage cans 1 year + critter foods and have the needed materials (Welded Wire, rabbit cage clips, solar electric zapper for predators etc.) AND a relationship with those that DO keep your favorite critters.

      That way if SHTF you have TRADING material to get some breeding stock and set your self up.

      I mean HOW many Hens is a ounce of Gold worth? Value is relative. If I have hens/roosters and a way to keep them safe and fed how much in Gold can I charge for them? NOW If you have Feed to Trade me for a few hens and a rooster you have something I NEED.

      Survival is not a Solo thing, friends developed now can be wonderful later.

      I too am doing potato boxes this year but because of Voles and such I have hardware cloth bottoms. Lets trade notes later this year along with Kens trash can potatoes so all can learn :-)

      1. NH Michael,
        I do have the materials to build rabbit hutches or a chicken coop/run. Having a can or two of feed is a good idea,thanks. I have friends that do chickens , but am looking for a bunny rancher to do a little bartering with if needed. I put hardware cloth on the bottom of my bottom spud box too.

        1. Bluesman glad to hear! Please do NOT use chicken wire for anything other than the top of your chicken run, it barely stops determined hawks. 1 x 1 inch welded wire will keep out just about everything aside from a Bear. After SHTF getting replacement chickens will be hard.

          An solar electric zapper along with some “Training Aids” like a peanut butter salt water soaked sponge to Train those Bears to stay away works well. TRAIN your Bears Before they learn about Kentucky Raw Chicken bar is open. Otherwise you’ll be fighting that battle until you kill off all the local bears and have to train the next one that shows up.

          I FAILED at this this year and lost my flock by being Reactive instead of starting off with that Zapper. I will restart my flock soon but learn from my errors. A metal trash can will keep feed useful for years if in a cool and dry area. A metal trash can will help protect from EMP your solar electric toys like that zapper.

          NOW if anybody has suggestions as how to keep Voles, Ground Squirrels and other rodents from eating so much of the garden PLEASE let me know. I’m trying to talk my beloved into a ratter terrier. I am TIRED of planting 3 X what I need to feed those useless varmints.

        2. NHM
          I hear ya on being tired of other stuff eating your garden, i ordered netting and deer/poultry wire, have had it with the birds getting into and fouling everything, so the garden is going to get fenced and netted,

      2. (Survival is not a Solo thing, friends developed now can be wonderful later.)

        So true, I really wish I could find trust able like-minded people but it’s proving near impossible

  9. I am not saying that I would be looking forward to it but you can do vegan burgers on the grill and that with fresh bake potatoes and corn might take the edge off of missing that juice thick steak. We are trying some new things with our potatoes this year to improve yields if it works. And the spaghetti squash to help with pasta. But living in the city there are always lots of squirrels around that nobody seems to notice.

    1. If you can figure out a way to make potatoes taste like a nice juicy steak, let us know!! ;)

        1. You can Tommyboy, cooked potatoes are a well loved fodder for cattle along with fodder beets and cabbages (be careful with cabbage can cause dangerous bloat). All this information John Seymour writes about in his books.

        2. Can’t beat that, they go in potatoes and end up steak! That’s a bargain Tommyboy.

        3. Whole new kinda meat n potatos eh,,,
          My chickens eat em, so do the pheasants in my fields,,,

        4. Anyone ever try TVP as a substitute for burgers?

          I wonder how it taste? I know the texture is not right.

        5. Chuck, TVP is made from GMO soy. will increase a mans, female hormones. and help him grow bigger breasts. DH tried one of the vegan burgers, said only thing wrong with it was missing about 8 oz of ground angus…
          I bought a half pound,tvp, could not find a single product we could make with it and cover the “flavor”. would not even want to feed to my chickens…some may like and desire it, I will stick with my Dock and eggs..
          This is why we have moved on over into rabbit.,( meat goats or piggy will be our next venture..prescribed 90 gram protein,and illness when not maintained..means meat since nuts, beans and certain other food are indigestible.) can feed them greens and hubby can eat unlimited supply of greens processed this way.(medical issue) Chicken eat greens and can also eat my portion of cooked beans, that i like but can not digest. I am already gathering grasses from our untreated yard, and field for winter hay and bedding for nest boxes.If able to free range chickens can reduce bill to feed them significantly. From May 17- June 27th(6 weeks) have fed a total of 130-140 lbs of layer pellets..filled 30 lb feeder today. for 4t time…inclusive of that. coral calcium , apple cider vinegar and DE rounds out the summer feed. in winter i give some cracked corn…Oh that started out to be 22 full sized 9-25 month old chickens. coon took out 7. have had 15 since,the 28th of May.
          In short, the feed( 2.5 gal about 30 lb./ for one coop,15 ) they were going thru in 2.5 days now lasts 6-7 days, if weather is nice so they can run free range.one 30 lb garbage can + 2.5 gallon pail =200 lb pellets shaken down..=45$

        6. Chuck – TVP is not really a burger substitute. Just thinking about that makes me not like it. Prepared properly, it works great in place of cubed or coarsely ground meat. Spaghetti sauce, stews, plus a lot of ‘ethnic’ dishes, perhaps not too popular here
          Just Sayin’ – Good morning. You are alarming me with the female hormone talk and the implication of ‘moobs’ in my future. Grumble…. I’ve been eating the stuff since Reagan was in office, and you probably have too because many fast food places use it as a filler to conceal the quality of their ‘meat’. I’m palpating my chest area right now… Uno… dos…., ok; any outward distension seems to be pectoral muscle… thin layer of fat… nipples are small, seems very male….. I do know, and appreciate the difference (wink). Out of an abundance of caution, I’ll be checking my side profile in the mirror later on, but I think I’m OK….. could this “conventional wisdom” be the result of someone’s agenda? Someone, perhaps with a vested interest in meat production? Nah…. just my paranoia creeping… anyway, no moobs.

        7. Just sayin
          Re TVP
          If you are worried about soy,
          Try growing Gandule beans, (pigeon peas)
          I got original seed from puertorico, they are great, yall may have to start new every year because of the cold, but can eat them green boiled like edamame, or let them dry and use for flour or whatever. High protein ss well as other good stuff and no estrogenic problems. A good alternative you could easily grow, look them up, have seen bushes that were 7’ high and more wide, produces hundreds of the pods, good stuff

        8. The incidence of boob enlargement is real, not an agenda. have had it happen to 2 ppl close to me. One had to have mammograms and did NOT appreciate the experience. Left VISIBLE bruising…
          Result was a changed diet. .. no pre made patties, no mixes, few chips but organic only… read labels for un-necessary ingredients. ..using real butter, sour cream,yogurt with no added soy or sweetners OF any kind. these things will enable one to remove most soy from a diet.

  10. Well, here in Texas getting meat may not be a problem. Now, we have way too much free range organic pork (east coast lingo for feral hogs). It is not unusual to see 50 to 100 animals out in the field – can’t shoot them fast enough. I have lost 20 acres of corn in one night.
    Texas also has too many deer for their own good, up to 20 in a herd.
    Here on the ranch I have seen 40 turkeys in a flock, they are very pretty.
    On the down side we now have a large influx of varmints from California. The hunting season is closed on those varmints for now but if we have a true SHTF event that is sure to change. Those varmits do not respect anyone or anything. So much for a little Texas humor.
    Peanuts do grow well here but it takes 5 months to get a crop. I am now trying to grow chayote. Good day to all.

    1. – Texas Boy –
      Ditto on the ‘Free Range Organic Pork’. I have them coming up to my back fence and in the front yard fairly often. They do make decent eating, once in a while. A neighbor recently posted on FB that he and his wife had destroyed their 1000th porker on their little bit of property.
      Lastly, on those California Varmints… Was that you that put the billboard up on I-40 in Vega?
      – Papa S.

    2. texas Boy,Check with your game warden… re: harvesting animals in gardens is allowed out of season here in Tn,, but there are rules… have to apply for a permit?, report take/damage etc.. so that can take care of two needs protecting the garden and harvesting meat.

    3. TexasBoy
      Thats nothing, theres a herd of axis deer that hangs in the pasture land adjacent to our place that is easily in the 3-400 range or more,,quite the sight watching them, luckily we are infested with touchy feely ninny libtards who wont eat meat, so not much competition

    4. Are these “varmints” migrant farmworkers who never go back home or American citizen transplants? I read an article that Allied Van Lines stats show more people moving there than any other state.

  11. Beans, lentils, split peas…both my family & my husband’s family raised our own dried legumes and we often lived mostly on those and garden and orchard produce.
    We eat them regularly nowdays too…soups, casseroles, chili, salads, bean burgers, baked beans, etc. We can plain beans, navy bean, black bean and split pea soup and bean chili for fast meals. They are good sources of fiber, minerals like iron, antioxidents and fiber, easy to store and cheap and easy to grow. And of course, you have your seeds.

    1. IowaSue, dried legumes are high in calories too. I suppose one could get used to eating them every day and the consequences thereof? ;)

      1. Smiling Ken farting vs. muscle loss due to lack of protein…..

        I was a bit surprised your garden list did not have dried beans in it, or did I miss it?

        My beans are growing well given I plant twice what I want to succeed because the local critters seem to take a fair bit. What’s that old farmers planting song about “one for the cutworm, one for the crow, one for the deer and one for me”

        1. Grow and store Epazote along with your beans, thats what the Mexicans cook into many bean dishes, will reduce gas, it grows wild here on our place

        2. NH Michael – (I can’t believe the stuff I write at o’dark-thirty) Any-who couple of points. Lentils are very high source of protein. No meat in the diet since the late 80’s. I’m 6ft, 200 pounds and have been known to heave 120 pound parcels along with the UPS guy when he arrives late and staff are gone. Something too heavy, up on a shelf? Guess who they call. Regarding Ken’s flatulent side effects, fear not, for lentil farts are inoffensive, quiet, satisfying air biscuits of a neutral odor.
          Bottom line, most of you won’t starve in a meatless future. Some of you will be shocked, actually, when you come to grips with the fact that you feel better and are healthier. That said, there are some people who swear they will die without meat consumption… I tend to believe them to a point. To each their own, no problem. But for the rest of us, stop worrying about it. Come on over if the SHTF, my wife cooks good food.

      2. Heips if you eat them with some regularity and get used to them. Ask anyone whose folks went through the depression…we try for variety to keep from getting bored…lots of delicious recipes…burritos, red beans and rice, baked beans, etc. plus lentils and split peas, etc. that lots of folks eat anyway. Almost every culture has legume recipe favorites.

      3. Dried beans and peas contain about the same calories as pasta and rice (1,800 per pound).

        The high calorie stuff I grow included potatoes, corn, butternut squash, and peas. Last year I let my green beans mature and planted some of the seeds this year. I had lots of them left over and cooked some. They were very good. This year I am growing more beans and also some shelling beans (Jacob’s Cattle Beans.) So far they are looking good. I needed something that would work in our short growing season.

        Corn doesn’t work for me because you need to rototil the soil for next year. One year I tried growing them in containers and the roots used up all my potting soil. It would be very expensive to buy many yards of potting soil every year, and I didn’t get many ears of corn. The first ones were good, but the later ones didn’t get fertilized and they had little or no corn kernels.

        1. DaisyK, try the New England, Vermont Cranberry. It’s good for shorter seasons. I’m in upstate central NY and have also grown Jacobs Cattle. Good producer too. Personally I like Vermont Cranberry better. VT is productive, dry them or can them. Good for baked beans.

        2. DaisyK you know you can replace the rototiller with the lasagna gardening technique. 3-4 layers of newsprint or a later of cardboard covered with mulch will smother all grasses and weeds in about two weeks. You punch holes through the paper/cardboard and plant your Already started plants (yes even corn) and off you go. The earthworms love it and the soil gets pretty nice after a few months/years.

          Post SHTF paper and cardboard maybe hard to find BUT I bet I can salvage old carpet for the same grass/weed suppression as Roundup will be hard to get then also. The old farmers who built my house used carpet around the yard and I am still chopping holes through 70’s shag carpeting to plant.

          Fighting weeds and such in the garden is hard enough now, not wanting to fight them when I will have so many other things to do.

          A second way to clear/rototill/fertilize your garden areas is a Chicken Tractor. Park it where you want an area cleared and fertilized until they are done. A little research will tell you how many chickens in how many square feet for how long.

          Then move to the next area you want chickens to scratch up for you. They enjoy the work, you enjoy the eggs and weeds eaten up. Win, Win.

        3. NH Michael, I had to laugh when I read your comment on using old carpet. That is exactly what I did when we had to replace our living room carpet about 15 years ago. Carpet works great, water can pass through with no ponding like you can get with paper/cardboard. Then it breaks down over time.

    2. This is a troubling post for me… one problem I have been trying to plan for…since our bodies have let us know of our new limitations. .Our diet will definitely change..and we will not have our exact prescrition diet, but with time, we hope be to a place of compomise between the Rx’d diet and our availability., that will be digestable and not cause increased health problems for us..
      We now have chickens and are planning to get rabbits. sometime in the fall/early winter. will dedicate one area to feed room and stock as much feed as possible on our income/restrictions. I am giving the chickens wild greens and grass clippings thru the spring and summer…and we would be reducing our flock..to a smaller size.should a bad large area event affect us. We will have goals for having feed stores on hand to build us in a reserve time to get in more crops, raise more feed for the animals etc..
      Our prescription diets can NOT be changed to all vegetable. I have gastritis each time I eat nuts,beans, legumes, . DH gets blood clots with green veggies/high vitamin K. foods…including butterbeans, okra, greens, broccoli, cabbage.cauliflower,.etc.
      We have planted a heavy root crop garden this year , 25 day radishes took. 2 months,/ gave to chickens,… turnips never produced NO roots- only tops, will try again in cooler weather got too hot too quick. from freezing temps….Onions- nada..bulbing onions produced some 1/2″- 3/4″ sized bulbs and died… the good thing has been the raised bed with 21 inch band of fiberglass around has not been visited by rabbits, or tree rats.
      sweet potatoes are in progress still will be late fall before they are pready for harvest. Blue potatoes and golden yukon should be ready end of this month, Upon check have found an issue with blues, will try to mitigate on remaining.. same with yukon and russets…. red potatoes are just coming up… will give them the same extra benefits.. The few fruit trees we have are not producing this year late freeze got those…neighbor decided to cut our yard, which we appreciated… and ran over the 3 year old blueberry bushes that were loaded. one looks like it will survive.. The areas where blackberries grow are being sprayed by the power company with round up….can’t have those wild blackberries getting to the power lines….don’tcha know.
      . Of course we continue to buy the things we tolerate well in as much quanity as possible to have another few weeks. of what we need on hand..We are trying to “land race” some chickens with some traits we are searching for.. have the start, now for raising the babies..from what we have…and life goes on- until physical one ends.

      1. Just Saying you know you can propagate blackberries very easily by cuttings? Same with those old graveyard roses (they survive everything) and in two years give yourself a nice anti-personnel barrier that produces Vit C rose hips, berries and various herbal remedies like Blackberry leave teas to treat loose bowels.

        1. NHM<…We have some of the "grave yard roses" good name for them! I am allergic to all those nice smelling things…like honey suckle, multifloral roses .there is some on my parents property and the deer love the things.they still make a good barrier.
          . We have so many things in process, I have to stop and focus on some…very necessary things.. fencing, chicken run,gates, battery system…etc. before we add more plants. Hope to get some thornless black berries. and a few grape vines…put on the back, possibly his fall. have some grape vines trying to get rooted… from parents…place… Want some mulberries, and some pawpaw.
          .I use rabbit tobacco /Everlasting tea for IBS, Gastritis, all kinds of stomach issues.. .regulates both constipation and diarrhea. Rabbit tobacco smoke for asthma and sinus congestion..works as quick as albuterol and is free.
          Good timing on the layered garden. may be what i decide to do for the beans and squash going to plant this week..
          …. Will old carpet smother out poison ivy? I have an area I could use that tip… Only problem… is the chemicals that could be in the carpet, backing…in area where going to garden.The carpet i have does not have backing, so I got that one covered……

        2. Just Sayin’, not sure about the chemicals in the carpet but ours was so worn and ruined by pets that I didn’t think there were many if any chemicals left in it. I used the carpet in an area that was so over grown with poison ivy that I didn’t dare try to clean it out. I covered the whole area with the carpet. Nothing came through for about 4 or 5 years. Even now the poison ivy is almost non-existent where the carpet had been placed. Our carpet just happened to be brown, so it blended right in. It didn’t take long for the whole thing to turn green with moss, then it really fit in.

        3. Just Saying old carpet will indeed smother out poison ivy as will cardboard+mulch. However be aware if you do not cover at least 2 feet past the area of the poison ivy it will try HARD to grow out that way and thus stay a Pest.

          I have had so many people worry about “Chemicals” from the carpet in my food…. Get real friends. You walk BAREFOOT on that carpet, do you worry about chemicals soaking into your feet? Unless your eating 100% high grade Organic foods and 100% Organic Cotton Clothing a level of chemicals are everywhere. GASP Horrors even in that computer or I-Phone your using right now…..

          Post SHTF gardening is going to be messy. I prefer to garden as organic as I can BUT I can assure you I have chemical fertilizers and bug sprays in stock IF my Garden is my Lifeline to survival.

          Lets see a few day with out safe water you weaken and die, HOW many weeks of misery before lack of food gets you…..

          A supply of safe water/filters 2+years of food for man and beast seems like a reasonable option doesn’t it?

        4. NHM,
          Rabbit tobacco is also known as Everlasting. The whole plant is medicinal. In some areas grows wild 4 ft tall, other places is a skimpy 12″, initial growth is a flat rosette on ground..takes 2-3 yeas undisturbed to get full growth. Inidans used it extensively.. Deer rabbits, goats all love this plant. The Southern Herbalist Darryl Patton has a large write up on it, worth the read.. just do a search,. put in his name and Rabbit tobacco.. He also has You tube videos on it and othe herbs… I have some wildcrafted. I try to get some every year, best crops are every 3 years… it grows all over the south east…and up toward even into Can buy it but kinda xpensive. Has to be completely dried on stalk to have medicinal properties @ desired levels.

          I use leaves for smoke, esp if we are both sick Hubby smokes it and i sit near and breath the smoke, so 2 treatments for the price of one. It dries out the sinus’ and opens the head quickly as smoke also opens the lungs.Also works for DH’s asthma flares..can just breath the smoke to get benefit.( it does numb the lips).

          Made into a tea, it still has decongestant properties for the lungs… an ounce of concentrate…daily will greatly increase expectoration. . The same amount of concentrate, added to iced tea or drank diluted with warm water, will stop lactose intolerance symptoms on me. Diarrhea and IBS symptoms. When i use it every other day I can eat/drink any milk products..( I found this out by accident- I really wanted that 16 oz.mayfield eggnog, My BIL handed me.( he did not know i was lactose intolerant.)- I had drank a cup and half of RT tea the night before, because of gastric condition..- only difference NO gas.No problem)… the taste is really earthy and I have to pinch my nose to force it down..for regular use. a cup every week not too bad…. adding peppermint tea to it really does help…, is mildly antiviral..is cholergenic, restorative with gastric enzymes.( full assay is in report by herbalist.)

          To make a concentrate I bring a 8 oz water to a boil, allow to begin cooling , pour over approx ONE oz of whole dried herb.(stems roots dry flower head, leaves.).allow to steep for 20-30 min. covered. strain out plant material. press plant material dry collecting all drips. chill any remaining liquid after dose removed.
          …one serving of concentrate… is one ounce of liquid for an adult. .child dose would start with 1/3 dose for 7-12 year old., (10cc.) 3-7 year old 2-3 cc, if not fully effective can always give another cc.sweeten with syrup/honey /sorghrum according to age.

          It can be consumed via adding One ounce fo concentrate to 4 oz peppermint tea or orange spice tea… DO NOT exceed dose until you have determined your response. after about 3 hours can repeat with a half dose if required for stomach upset./diarrhea. Mom gave Dad this dose to break up his congestion of COPD. He only knew his chest was clearing. Mom never let on….:>). She added it to his quart tea jar.( discernable but tolerable.)

          Everlasting can also be used as a primary tea…I start with about 15 leaves, and a 2 inch peice of stem or root.. crush plant material- well.., pour very hot, not boiling, water over material let steep 20-30 min../cover with saucer.. may add a flavored tea bag or peppermint/spearmint leaves… strain out plant material, sweeten if desired, drink entire cup.

        5. Very interesting Just Saying. Thanks for something else I need to research and probably plant :-)

  12. Insects, Algae, Beer
    Other Options that I am just starting to read about… Think Bugs, Crickets, meal worms, termites, scorpions…
    We are talking Survival Right? Farming and production of insects are low cost and a renewable resource that rapidly regenerates. A few billion Chinese cant be wrong…
    Can’t wait to try General Tso’s Crickets with termite fried rice.

    Also Certain Algae are protein Rich…

    The Egyptians fed children and adults protein rich on filtered beer.
    Think outside the box.

    1. I have a nephew that raise meal worms for his chickens and also has a scrap bucket that hangs over the coop with other animal parts and stuff in it for the flies. Holes in the bucket let the maggots fall to the ground and feed the chickens. He said it worked pretty good but the smell was hard to take when you walked by it.

    2. If i cant hunt down or grow or raise stuff to eat i think i would rather just dangle from a rope than eat bugs, im not that into survival, if its that bad, im out…..

      1. Les Stroud eats bugs and survives just fine.

        But yea I agree bugs don’t sound all that great as a food. Even dipped in chocolate they don’t sound good.

        The only time I ever ate bugs it was not intentional, it was when I rode a motorcycle. You learned to keep your mouth shut.

        After buying the motorcycle it didn’t take long for me to put a windshield on it.

        Bugs and rain sting like heck at 60 MPH….

    3. WC – Good Lord, what parts of China did you visit??! Crickets and termite rice?? I’m going to have to ask my wife about this. Yikes, that’s gross!

  13. Dent corn and flint corn store well and can provide food for you and some of your livestock. But you have to learn to process dried corn for yourself to get the maximum nutrition. The process is called nixtamalization and involves processing the dried corn with lye (it can be derived from hardwood ashes) or Calcium hydroxide, slaked lime. You can find the right chemicals in Mexican markets or the canning supplies section of your grocery store labeled as ‘Pickling Lime’. Nixtamalization will transform the nutritional profile of corn and it is easy to learn and implement.

  14. Ken, since it is just the two of us right now, we don’t get much squash but we store our acorn squash in the “lower” pantry aka basement. Found that if we put in net bags and hang them from the rafters it keeps pretty good. We can get through the winter to summer with our squashes. Do not know if they will keep any longer because DH will forget and use the one I keep trying to use as a test.
    DH friend said his grands used to hang them from basement rafters( in grandma’s old CLEAN stockings) So we gave it a try using some of those net bags you get with onions. The grands think it hilarious we got squash hanging from the rafters but it works for us.

  15. I was actually just contemplating yesterday whether one could ever have too many cans of sardines, so I think I have my answer now. I like to think I have enough of these sardines stored until society revives or I can get to my long term survival spot. I’m such a penny-pincher, most of my last few years have been spent with multivitamins, sardines, and and green tea anyway so I don’t think much will change for me. When I get to a longterm spot I think I will plant soybeans (edamame) for this reason. Some day I will click my heels and get back to Kansas, where my home is surrounded by sunflowers and nut trees, so calories won’t be a problem. Pecans basically keep forever.

    1. Sunflowerpri
      I love sardines, cook up a pot of rice, sardines and kimchee on steaming hot white rice, yum!
      Or those sardines in tomato sauce are good too…
      Sardines on crackers!
      I have a few cases in thestash, the oil they are packed in is good for the diet too, need fats to keep going

      1. Tommy – Do you make your own kimchee? That could be very important in a bad situation. Incredibly cheap ingredients. And the massive load of natural probiotic in it should help a lot with digestion for these folks who think they can’t survive without meat. I have to buy mine; prices are obscene for what it is.

        1. I have before, grow won bak pretty regular and my Hawaiian chili peppers pureed with some onion and garlic and salt make a good seasoning for kimchi, pretty easy really,
          I also keep a few bottles of a commercially made Korean mix for making kimchee.

    2. – sunflowerpri –
      According to my Kiowa mentor, the Pecan was revered as the tree that could keep a man alive. A 20-year old pecan will produce enough protein and fat to keep a 20-yearold man alive through a year if need be, all by itself. Proven through multiple famines. Commonly planted anywhere they will grow though out the tribal area.

      The nuts will last for a year if kept out of the sun, and thanks to the tree’s liking for wet feet, it’s usually found near water. A small pond is not difficult to fish with crushed green pecan hulls, which are available when the nuts might not be, stirred into a five gallon pail of water, then poured into the pond… even an injured man could easily net or spear enough to have something to eat when the fish come to the surface for air.

      It will draw both deer and pigs, especially if there are apples around (Waldorf salad, anyone?), as well as small game. We have half-a-dozen 50-year old trees immediately around the house, within the fence. Even my half Lab/half Boxer loves them and will crack and shell her own.

      – Papa S.

  16. I believe that I read, as per ” The Blood Type Diet ” book, that the “O” blood type folks need to eat meat.
    The possibility of less of it later on is not a bad reason to stock up on, store, can, smoke, salt, and dry( in other words, just make sure that it’s preserved well enough to last) a decent enough amount for you and your dependents to ensure that you have it if you need it.
    This is beside, or for those who do, in addition to raising your own.
    As has been mentioned in previous articles, the longer that you don’t need it, the more that you’re saving on food costs due to inflation. Like putting money in the bank.
    Good article, as it’s always good to review the basics, or fundamentals.

  17. As far as meat, I believe all birds on the planet are safe to eat. Any air pistol or air rifle will kill a bird. Even a Red Rider (the ultimate low-power BB gun) will kill birds.

    Birds have the misguided feeling that they are safe when they are 30-feet up in a tree. This is not the case.

    Yea a bird is small and has little meat on it, but the planet has a LOT of birds and post-SHTF you may find the work of turning them into stew meat worth the effort. With an air gun you could easily kill a lot of birds in a few hours and do it with little noise.

    I have an air rifle (a Gamo) and an air pistol (a Webley Alecto) that can be used to kill small game. Both are .177 cal as that is the most common size for pellets. 20, 22 and 25 cal pellets are better at killing game but they are also harder to find.

    I also have a Crossman “American Classic” pistol (Mod # 1377) that is actually a pretty good gun for something that cost only $60.00 or so. It shoots much better then I can hold it off hand. It’s only drawback is it takes a bit of time to pump it up for a second shot. If I were to do some air gun hunting post-SHTF I think I would use the air rifle (a single pump) and then also have the air pistol already pumped up and ready for a quick second shot.

    I originally got these air guns to play with as I like to shoot guns. But they all will work in a survival situation. The Gamo fires a pellet at over 1,000 feet per second, and the Webley at 700 feet per second, and the Crossman at 550 feet per second.

    I have been an avid air gun user for 30-years and must have 40 or 50 K pellets. More then enough to last the rest of my life.

    If we did get a bad SHTF I would imagine rabbits and squirrels would be thinned out rather quickly, but birds maybe not so much.

    PS: If you are going to get an air rifle for survival I would think it would be best to stay at the 1,000 feet per second level. Some of the newer rifles go up to 1,400 feet per second and that is above the speed of sound and that will make more noise.

    My Gamo will kill a rabbit at 35-yards with a head shot. I have done it a few times when I found them munching in my garden.

    1. I agree very much regarding the ownership of an air rifle. I have a DIANA RWS 34 (.177) and it’s amazingly accurate (great trigger too) and of course comparatively quiet. At 1000 feet per second, it’s deadly.

      1. I use to have a RWA 34, and a Beeman R-1, Then I got divorce-raped and sold them to survive. They both are very good guns.

  18. What about using soybeans for nutritional energy. From what I have read, soybeans have over 400 Cal per 100 grams. That translates to around 1,800 Cal per pound. On the other hand, it takes more garden space to produce one pound of soybeans than it does to produce one pound of corn. Plus, I am not aware of non-hybrid soybean varieties available. I just never checked availability. Soybeans are widely known for their protein and fat/oil contents.
    Just some food for thought.

    1. Other beans might be better. I understand that soybeans were first grown in the states b/c their oil was/is used in the invention/production of plastic – mixed in with fossil oil. But, that aside, soybeans are very high in estrogen, which isn’t good for men. Probably to much estrogen isn’t good for women as it’s liked to cancer for them too. Plastic wrap, plastic water bottles, etc leach estrogen into water and food – not good for guys in a number of ways.

  19. So many good comments made by so many people today.

    Yes Ken I have thought about this topic a good deal having grown up with most of my extended family being involved with farming over the years. The following is a list of priorities I would establish if I were consulted to an agricultural cooperative/combined farm and ranch operation:

    Option #1 for the farmers: Shoot and eat the crop raiders. My primary job for several farms in Cali was to take out deer from across fields of green beans and leaf lettuce for years growing up. It was not at all sporting and I had a depredation permit. If you can hit a softball sized target at 300 yards with a scoped rifle from a blind with a bench of hay bales set up, that is the nature of this job. If times were to be tough, the salvageable meat would be gone within 30 minutes of the shot being fired. The game warden would arrive to find a bloody spot.

    Option #2 Trade vegetables for meat with a local rancher. Along these same lines, trade goods and services with a rancher for a share of meat when butchering time draws near. Every cattle rancher would appreciate a trustworthy individual that walks the fence line, repairs breaks in the wire and pops the occasional stock raiding coyote or unleashed dog chasing cows.

    Option #3 raise both vegetables and meat: Probably as close to self sustaining as one can be. Requires extensive body of knowledge or years of experience. (both of which I lack.).

    Option #4 Raise insect larvae to feed livestock. ( example is harvesting maggots to feed chickens and or tilapia within a fish tank.) The insect larvae are being harvested from the deceased bodies of roadkill varmints or moles, voles, skunks that were caught killing Dennis’s chickens or NH Michael’s vegetable garden.

    Option #5 feed ruminants like cattle fermented silage made from chopped up corn stalks. I could not believe how much beef cattle loved the corn stalks we ran through a wood chipper and let it sit in a big pile for 4 days under a warm sun. The microbes break down the fibers making the silage more easily digestible and the microbes breaking this vegetation down add to the protein of the silage.

    Option #6 as a suburban hunter and trapper, be prepared to eat things you may not have eaten in the past such as crows and ravens. ( you guessed it. it tastes like chicken.)

    I do not see protein being in short supply as I see fats being in short supply due to difficulty in storing it before it goes rancid, the ability to use fats to provide heat and light. (burns smokey butt it burns.) and its use as a skin protectant. Having hunted wild pigs in central California, I was always impressed by the lack of fat on the body of the wild pig when compared to the skinned torso of a farm raised pig.

    Remember: hunting crop raiders around your garden or hen house is similar to hunting over bait stations. I am only one redneck with a shotgun or rifle so the setting of traps is my force-multiplier that allows me to do multiple things at the same time.

    The best baits for these traps were either a mix of fats and protein for predators like oil packed sardines or an un-naturally sweet carbohydrate like marshmallows that draws the curious into the traps you have set. If the creatures are wiping out your vegetable patch from above ground, time to stake out the likely avenue of approach, look for sign and keep that rifle or shotgun loaded nearby.

    Trapping for others meant I was never short of protein. I could have always used more money though.

    1. Calirefugee have you ever live trapped birds with the cone trap? You know that very few birds can walk backwards and bait in a cone trap will find a live bird soon. I ask this because Trapping is what my redneck relatives did (never call it poaching that’s illegal) and keeping a few birds alive until you got a mess of them to cook up was nice. If a turkey happened to drop in all the better.

      Hunting small birds is in my mind a sport or maybe an opportunity shot at something while I am busy gardening. A lot of time and energy spent for a few calories of protein. Now a dozen cone traps checked daily can fill my harvest pouch and maybe reduce the damage done by birds in my berry patches/gardens.

      If you have free range chicken houses and happen to get a few live dove you can fatten them up in the free range cages. Not as valid as chickens free ranging but an option for those who need any livestock and can scavenge enough wire to make traps and cages.

      Wire squirrel noose traps work well as they will fearlessly run up that stick even with a fellow squirrel still twitching in a noose. I just find them really chewy when cooked BUT chopped in half the chickens love them.

      NOW if I could figure out a viable trap for ground squirrels and voles the BANE of my gardens I would rejoice to feed them to the chickens. Ground Hogs are worth the hunting. Tasty.

      1. A good and easy to make trap (that will likely kill them) that you probably already have the parts laying about is a board leaned against a tree with a large rat trap screwed to it.

        Mr (or Mrs.) squirrel runs up the board and sees the food in the trap, SNAP.

        You can deploy several of these around and have them working 24/7.

      2. – You may already know this, but dove can be caught by hand with a bright flashlight at night when they are perched on a wire fence. Works really well on these durn ring-necked dove (No legal protection invasive species) that have invaded our area. Quiet, but not good light discipline.

        Alternatively, place four stakes in a 4-foot square, and string wire from each one to the others at ‘shoulder’ height for the species you are looking for. Place a 4′ square piece of chicken wire securely on top of the wire, and scatter grain or other bait around the area and under the wire.

        When the birds start coming in, they will eventually start raising their heads. sticking them through the wire net and trapping themselves. Leave a couple, but the majority can be “reduced to possession”. Those left will call in more to the site. It is possible to catch a couple of dozen pigeon-sized birds in a couple of hours.

        Don’t try either of these techniques at home. They are poacher’s tricks, and will get you a hefty fine when the game warden catches you.

        – Papa S.

        1. Papa Smurf you are related to me :-)

          Ever think about raising Doves for eggs and Squab? Google Dovecote and find out how many middle eastern/Greek etc. used to have them.

        2. – Well, Cuz, pleased to make your acquaintance. Actually had pigeons when I was about 14 – 16 years old. and I do have a galvanized can full of feed in the back of the garage. Pigeon eggs are small, but taste just like hen’s eggs. Once your ‘wild’ stock are parents, eat them and the new, ‘tame’ birds will find their own food then come home for water and to sleep.
          I also have four currently unoccupied large rabbit cages with nest boxes and water bottles. Just need to find someone with rabbits to trade.

        3. – Well, posted that before I was finished with it. Meant to say, should all else fail, I do have a live trap and could catch some of the local wild bunnies and give them a try at domesticating, I suppose.
          – Papa

      3. Michael,

        How do you test feral birds and squirrels for disease? Or is this not a concern with sufficient cooking?

  20. Modern Throwback, to answer your earlier question about protein…

    You’re exactly right. Here’s more about how much protein you need and a list of protein sources with amounts listed:


    In summary, generally,

    Women (46 grams or 1.6 ounces)
    Men (56 grams or 2 ounces)

    Besides meat, other sources of protein include the following (percent protein by weight per 100 grams) (100 grams equals 3.5 ounces, or just about 1/4 pound)

    – pumpkin seeds (30 per 100 grams of seeds)

    – sunflower seeds (21 per 100 grams of seeds)

    – eggs (14 per 100 grams)(about 6 grams per hard boiled egg)

    – whole wheat flour (13 per 100 grams of flour)

    – soybeans (13 per 100 grams of soybeans)

    – beans (9 per 100 grams of beans)

    – peas (5 per 100 grams of peas)

    Other vegetables including potatoes and corn have some protein, though not much (~3)

    My protein plan?

    I’m looking at egg laying chickens. I grow pumpkins too and do enjoy pumpkin seed snack. Got plenty of whole wheat berries for wheat flour (13% protein) & bread (although I do not grow wheat here). Beans grow well here so that will also compliment in the protein category.

    We also have LOTS and LOTS of birds, rabbits, and other sorts of critters and game (the air rifle might get a work out). Fortunately I live in a very low population density region in the mountains and the wild game will likely not get pressured too much by humans comparatively to elsewhere.

    Additionally we have two chest freezers full of meat (solar powered, so no worries regarding grid-down).

    1. This info on protein comparison of grams to ounces is NOT correct
      . I have been on a 90 gram protein diet for 23 years. That is 12.8 ounces per day.. by eggs can usually get most of that in…30 grams for breakfast,34-42 for late lunch,..and remainder for late night snack…(keeps sugars from crashing in night… no not diabetic , extreme hypoglycemia.)
      . according to My Surgery team,, including nutritionists, and this article by livestrong.. 3 oz of protein contain 21 grams protein..
      That means someone needing 46 grams protein needs 6.5 oz, and 56 grams of protein + 8 oz.. Not 1.6 AND 2 OZ respectively. Anyone thinking they need 2 ounces of meat a day( to meet minimal protein) is going to come up short on energy , stamina, and cellular repair.
      Those who can eat beans, legumes, nuts, seed can meet a large percentage of needs with those…so actual meat could be reduced.Protein needs of those with chronic disease can vary widely. Each person should know their own needs…and tolerances to both low and high sides. Those with kidney dysfunction should go low , generally. Diabetics and with other sugar issues generally high., with lower carbs.

      1. @Just Sayin’, The numbers I referenced (and within the linked article with the longer list) are correctly based on per 100 grams of weight. I’ve highlighted it in the comment so as to make it more clear.

        1. Ken,..What confused me was just above what you highlighted…. this does not compute with me,…( ounces are not the same as 100 measured grams) I am not trying to be contentious, but trying to understand/clarify the application.
          …Would that not be 46 grams protein=100 grams x 1.6(not ounces, but hundred -grams of measured meat??
          So, 3.5 x1.6= 5.6 oz/woman …(.that gets closer, to the 7 grams of protein per ounce of measured meat.)..
          and for a man a full 200 grams of meat would be their daily portion of protein/according to article- so close to 8 oz. , and that would be a minimal…light work, nothing hard.

          “Women (46 grams or 1.6 ounces)
          Men (56 grams or 2 ounces)”

    2. Ken thanks for the refer-back to your article. I remember that one.
      Nutrition and dietary requirements are a complex science but our medical professionals generally don’t want to discuss what we consume and how it affects our bodies (and minds).

      Eggs are a great source of protein but for me, over the past couple of years, I’ve developed a food intolerance for them. I’ve never tried duck or quail eggs but have read that they are easier to digest. I really miss those weekend omelets with mushrooms, sausage, and melted cheese….what a treat!

      You’ve got your bases covered nicely. And in a low population area, your ability to hunt game is better than in most areas.

      1. Modern Throwback have you tried non GMO fed chicken eggs? I have two friends that developed intolerance to eggs and now grow their own chickens.

        Duck eggs are also an option for chicken eggs. Be aware intolerances can develop rather suddenly to a dangerous allergy so be aware friend.

  21. For those people who don’t have rabbits or chickens, you may have to rely on small and large game near you. We choose not to have meat animals at this point in our lives, so we have increased our meat stores over time. Another thing we do is feed the wildlife. That way they keep coming around looking for food. If needed we can harvest the small game that seems to be everywhere. Most people I anticipate will go after the larger game at first until they are depleted. Then move onto the squirrels and other small critters.

  22. Winter squash keeps very well for at least 9 months. The temp in the room keep should be between 50 and 60F, air dry and they shouldn’t touch each other. The handle on the squash has to be grey-brown and dry looking when you harvest it( no green). The ones with some green use right away, awesome in stir fry.

    I’m growing corn for the first time this year and lots more potatoes, beets, carrots, beans,kohlrabi,and winter squash. So far the late frosts have killed some of my tomatoes and touched a few potatoes, all of the cucumber. Oh well, mother nature in all her glory!!

    Also planted TPS(true potato seed) to see if I can be truly sustainable as your own saved potato for planting degrades over time. Started with 48 seeds and have 14 plants.

  23. Yeah, it’s amazing how much you have to grow to really feed oneself, and I have a household of two. Of course, if – when- we loose our ag-industrial and distribution system, we’re going to eat less than we do now. We’ll be working long days and loosing a lot of weight and solving some modern health issues. I have diabetes (II). While I won’t get insulin, hoping all the work and weight loss will mitigate the need. Starchy food won’t be as much an issue as I’ll be working it off.

    It’s fun to read how everyone is testing things out given individual resources and climates. As one person here said, history is really our guide. Have you ever noticed how small old china dishes are? Cus people didn’t eat as much as they do now. Some dishes these days look like meat trays and big dog bowls. We see, now, how that’s been turning out. The Amish men near me have frames and waists like when I was a Freshman in college and their in their 50s like me.

    I live in upstate central NY – cold winters. I understand why cabbages, potatoes, carrots, and beets define so much German and Eastern European diets. Beets are really good at detox. I guess that’s why some of these people can drink a lot of vodka. And still get on. You grow what you can where your at and what produces the most energy, and body heat in cold climates. Human ingenuity is amazing when you are connected to your environment, something that’s all but died in our time. You’d think that garden foods would be dead after long, cold winters and feet of snow. Nature is resilient when suited to climate. I have carrots, potatoes, onions, collards, herbs, dill come back in spring. I have parsley, and have even had dropped tomatoes, come back on their on. Horseradish and asparagus are naturals – but these take a few years of invested time.

    Back to the point of this blog. In SHTF, calories are really important, as life will be much more physical. Food takes less space than livestock, especially when factoring in growing their fodder. But, ultimately, we’ll need animal protein for strength and health. For most, small backyard livestock will be the first order, even if you have plenty of acreage: chickens, duck, guess, rabbits, goats, sheep. All are self grazing except for winter, but also eat garden and kitchen scraps. I should have my chicken coop finished this year, and space for meat chickens or rabbits, if I want them. These are some of the best sources for fresh meat. Hundred+ years ago, folks would eat meat only on Sundays. If you had a ham or sausages, maybe during the week too. But, people do not need as much meat as we now consume. It’s just become our cultural norm. Look at poor nations; their meat consumption is mush less than ours, especially for large livestock – more for the rich.

    Small livestock will be the norm because of ease of processing and storage. It can be consumed in on meal. Hogs and steer are a whole other ball game. Even if you know how to butcher these animals, preservation and storage are skill sets most of us don’t have, or the infrastructure for.

    However, there are options. I’m from Louisiana. Before electricity and it’s widespread use, neighbors would get together at a farm, slaughter, and butcher a hog or steer. Everyone would help with the various jobs and then the meat shared with all. Sometime later everyone would go to the next fellas farm and they’d do it again. It’s called a boucherie. Folks would take their cuts home to eat, preserve and store. You can imagin the unifying affect on community. This idea could extend to gardening/crops. In the beginning, were all small family units and growing lots of food is work. What if units of neighbors rotated around to each other’s house planting up the gardens, large scale hoeing, and then harvesting together, especially until family units get big again. (Sorry ladies, this is where you come in strong). Like the boucherie, neighbors take some shares home for sustenance till their farm was done. We’ll I guess this is enough for one post.

    1. Tom
      You mention cabbages, beets, carrots etc in the eastern European diet, the other reason besides the heartyness was because they can all be fermented, big part of those old cultures, (no pun intended) kraut was one of the most common means of preserving, along with curing into hams etc

      1. That’s right Tommyboy. I make my own sauerkraut and it’s far better than store bought. To ferment other veggies I understand one uses whey. I’ve not done this yet. One day I hope to have my own smokehouse too. I’ve got the stone bottom of an old barn long gone. I hope to build a stonesmoke house at some point. I inderstand smoked meats can be left in a smokehouse and you just do out and take what you went. That salves refrigeration issues. Although, you’ll bprobably need a pad lock on the door 🤣

  24. Things will be tough for sure, even in the Western Dakotas. We have great grazing land and lots of cattle. To dry for much else besides grains. Sunflowers and Corn in a few areas. Even with our remoteness things will be difficult. I was fortunate enough to hear my family’s stories of the dust storms in the Dakota decades ago. It is only a matter of time.

  25. To NH Michael:

    I shoot ground squirrels with a 17 HMR. a bit louder than a 22 butt the bullet will fragment and not ricochet. ( I use 17 grain Hornady VMAX load.). I have also used the box trap for gophers planting the trap carefully then shaving some carrot and onion around the vent hole of the end-of-trap.

    Sitting on the porch in the shade watching the hole sipping ice tea with a shirt or towel draped along the top of the handrail and the 17 HMR rifle across my lap. This is what I do at the end of working in the garden or I am up reading the paper.

    The best deterrent for squirrels within your fenced garden is that rat terrier that you mentioned earlier. Dogs are the most vigilant guardians of your vegetable patch you could ever bring home. My dog helps me herd my cats.

    1. ROTFLMAO I can see your cats being spun one way and herded back for second spin…..

      Calirefugee I wish you lived closer. I would enjoy your company. Maybe the gathering at Ken’s!

      Any hints as to what breed of Terrier you could suggest? I hear Jack Russell’s take a lot of attention or they get destructive.

  26. In regards to setting cone traps: Mine are longer and tubular ( Dude!)

    Yes, I have set them up in conjunction with temporary wire fencing. Mine were made from chicken wire and “sewn” together with baling wire. If you have a dawg it works even better because you let your dawg out or off leash and it runs around barking and the critter that is half way into the trap feeding goes further into the trap out of panic. I also caught rabbits this way. This works well with feral pigeons and small trails of bird seed.

    For those raising pigeons, I will apologize right now because I catch quite a few with bands on their legs.

    If said apocalypse were to occur, I have the bird seed on hand. I would buy or build a live catch pigeon trap and build a doe cote on my small back yard.

  27. To NH Michael:

    I have seen good results with just about any terrier mix to include Scottish terriers, skipperkees. Where I came from in California, the chihuahua mix were freakin’ everywhere.

    My wife like the pure breeds. I like to bring home the Humane Society rescues myself. For ratting, I would look at the smaller dog with the right personality to chase and kill rats. A trained ratter is every bit the working dog as the larger breeds one sees guarding installations or sniffing drugs. They like to be kept busy. God help you if they get bored and you have fine furniture.

    I usually take a dog out to a rat infested farm and shoot to wound a rat and see if the dog will finish it. Then I know the instinct is there to make a fine ratter. Breed is not much of a factor. The mix breeds seem to be heartier.

  28. Growing calories is also easy using technique. My fenced in raised bed kitchen garden grows a lot of food using the square foot gardening technique. In a 4×4 bed you can grow 16 corn with a yield of 32 cobs. Beans – 9 to one square foot is like a 36 ft row. I haven’t weighed the yield, but you guys have enough experience to know that’s a lot of beans. I also have beds bigger than 4×4, so that gives ya some ideas. The good thing it saves watering and weeding as the leaves shade out weeds and conserves water, plus you’r e not hoeing long rows in hot sun. The soil is never packed down, so no tilling. Scratch with a garden claw , compost, plant, water – done. I also have a separate row garden, but I’m using wide row for intensive yields like my raised beds. In the row garden I plants beans, potatoes, corn and squash/pumpkins since the take more room and I want bigger yields. Critters don’t seem to bother these crops too much. I divide it into 4 sections and rotate these crops forward each year. The crop at the head goes to the end and keep rotating up. Starting at the head section, beans. Second section, potatoes, Third, corn. Forth, squash or catch all. The bean adds nitrogen. The potatoe moves up and grow with muck/compost. The corn moves up to the potato, and then up to the nitrogen and the compost. You guys know corn is a heavy feeder, so it’s good for the corn to follow crops adding to the soil nutrition. Ideally, root and brassicas crops would then follow, but they’re in the fenced kitchen garden – critters ya know. Getting yield is more than just more space.

  29. I have a husky that kills possums and rabbits that get too close to my garden, I know it might be a loss of protein but at least , it saves the garden , she also does not like deer at all anytime they are close to the house she raises hell at them barking and carrying on I have even seen her circling them as if hunting them, maybe old instincts from being decendents of Wolves , and sometimes I wonder if she actually might jump on one .yes dogs sometimes might just help out protecting the garden.along with other jobs for them. Be prepared and ready. Keep your powder ready.

  30. Excellent article Ken….you got us all thinking and responding! We have been working hard the past few years to get our farmstead self supporting. Trees that will feed us and animals have been planted. Not all make it, but a large percentage have. Referencing that, those that did not fruit this year have an abundance of new and heavy leaf growth – so they appear very healthy. Berry bushes (current, gooseberry, raspberries, honey berry, blueberry, Nanking cherries) and returning crops (asparagus, rhubarb, Amish squash) have been planted. The old, red variety of rhubarb seems to be preferred and it seems to love the hugelculture planting method, as do all the berry bushes. This makes them less vulnerable to drought and flooding rains.

    We continue to expand our gardening areas, which are the holding area for our pigs in the winter so our once follow ground is improving each year. We follow crop rotation and I like the intense planting method which keeps the weeds down better for me. Our returning crops are planted in the berry garden area so the ducks can roam in there in the winter also, but all other creatures are fenced out. We will continue to expand so we will have many bushes that are not fenced for foraging, but I wanted enough protected also.

    For animals, I love the Ancona ducks over all the other poultry. They are pretty quiet (stealth), they stay in the area, would be evasive to strangers, amazing foragers, and provide an eggs that is tasty every single day that they are laying. Chickens are good too but require more work on my part and many are noisy. The Americaunas are amazingly broody and ours just hatched out a batch of my Ancona duck eggs! (Saved me the work!). I like the foraging prowess and docility of the Astralorps. Ours will hop out of their movable coop in the morning and run to forage rather than eat most times! The Amish around here often order in new chicks because they say the broodiness has been bred out of the chickens. Out of a dozen Americaunas, I have 8 broody hens. The other two broody hens are Easter eggers.

    I absolutely love the boer goats. You can put them in a weedy pasture that borders on a tree line and they go to town eating things you don’t want. That said, they don’t really eat the pasture down unless they don’t have a choice, and you would want to be careful about not rotating the to fresh pasture every couple weeks. They provide good meat when needed also and can be hardy if they are not raised being babied.

    The American Guinea Hog is the perfect pig to me. Small size, slow growing. Same pasture situation as my goats (rotate them through after the goats use the pasture). You don’t need to find another family to share the meat if you don’t want to. Theoretically. You could butcher one piglet a month for meat and eat for the year with one pair. Homesteaders used to keep these guys around the home to free forage and eat their snakes.

    We have a repopulated farmstead of wild turkey and tons of deer, along with a lot of other wild life here. We plan to keep them here by offering food such as white oak, American chestnut, serviceberry, and other wild berries….you get the idea.

    It is such s learning curve – some days I am not sure I can remember everything I need to know. And the work never ends, but we both love it. It would be nice to share the load with other like minded family, but everyone wants the easy, fun life. The best situation for us will be finding a younger couple interested in sharing the load and the benefits of our farmstead.

    P.S. We picked up the grands last weekend, they are here for the next 6 weeks. We love it and they love “their” farm. But they are still extremely young and live far, far away. Not sure the future will bring them here permanently.

    1. Sounds like you have quite the homestead going on over there! And as you said, the work never ends (which is why so many don’t want to do it).

    2. DAMedinNY Good Morning! Reading your post gave me a chuckle of joy with my coffee, Thanks!

      “Learning curve” Amen! Food Trees “Not all make it most do” Amen!

      For me its remembering I get to plant but God chooses what prospers. Sometimes my pride gets hurt when an expensive tree failed to thrive. So I slowly learn plant a 5 dollar tree in a 20 dollar hole and plant at least one more than I planned for. Thus failures are less and I give thanks for the extras!

      I read Ancona ducks are good egg layers and quiet (aside from the hissing noise when they are unhappy) but need broody hens to reproduce well. Are they friendly?

      Your hugelculture beds are you doing Sepp Holtzers version? What kind of tree wood are you using? I did hugelculture with my raised beds and knock on wood (Grin) the driest summers I still have nice damp beds with a little mulching.

      I wish you were a neighbor I would love to learn from you.

      Now I need to look up Amish Squash a perennial squash?

  31. For anyone who is interested in keeping animals in pens or cages try this idea. We use plastic pet crates we get them free 0r very low priced at yard sales. Easy to use and clean! I have not posted for a while always have poor signal were I live but follow when I can. Love all the great ideas I pick up here!

  32. What is the name of your open pollinated corn that you planted? I’m always looking for good tasting, non GMO, open pollinated corn that I can save the seed. We live in the south.

    1. Barbra are you looking for sweet corn? Dent corn that can be eaten early with a old fashioned corny taste or a flint corn? Jackie Clay at Seed treasures is my favorite supplier of open pollenated corn.

    2. – Good choices include:

      Stowell’s Evergreen if you want white sweet corn.

      Early Golden Bantam – Watch that it is not a ‘hybrid’ variety, as there is an heirloom variety. This is a yellow sweet variety that is very tasty.

      Reid’s Dent Corn makes a good field type variety of yellow corn that is suitable for human consumption.

      – Papa S.

  33. – Walked out into my front yard this morning. I had six cottontails looking at me like they owned the place, and how dare I disturb them. They stayed around for about 20 minutes while I walked out to the mailbox, looked at my mail, and strolled back to the house. I don’t think we will be terribly short of protein around here.

    – Papa S.

    1. Papa Smurf,

      Have several pairs of cottontails come up into my yard every day. Had been in early evening, now likely any time of the day or night. They feed right along with the chickens, our yard dog ignores them as if they are just more of our pets. They more or less ignore us, only hopping off if we get real close to them.

      Like you, I view them as possible meals should need arise, fun to watch in the meantime. Spent time grazing around my place today, gorging on vine ripe raspberries and blackberries. Life is good.

    2. Papa Smurf & Dennis,

      I have a family of cottontails living in my original burn pile….I haven’t wanted to burn it for the last 2 years so had to start a second one….BBQ rabbit has it’s place, but only when I can put it on a plate…..

      Was thinking if necessary, I can trap them and start a breeding program, lol!

      Great minds, and all that…..

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