Urban farming is what I call my food growing style, hopefully me living in Iowa doesn’t automatically exclude me from that title.  If the proper authorities are reading this post, you let me know.

I grow food in my front lawn, I grow food in spare corners of church lots, I grow food in parks and in other people’s lawns. Most of the time I love it. I get my cardio in as I’m hauling kids and tools in between plots. I get to visit with lots of people in my neighborhood.

It does have it’s downsides though. One of the main drawbacks is that space can disappear. Not like it vanishes, the dirt is still there, but suddenly I find out that my share of it is only 10% of what I expected (or less) because now the old gal wants to let a girl scout troupe plant it to earn badges.  Or the church decides they are much more comfortable with spraying Round Up around the food plots than they are about letting me hoe and mulch the weeds into submission. Or the vacant landlord returns and no longer wants vegetables there.

The girl scout one is what happened this past weekend. It lost me my largest plot. I tried not to be mad about it. For a minute or two I was, because this is my food we’re talking about. But I know the crazy old gal is interested in seeing more of her elder granddaughter, who’s one of the scouts. I’m sure I’ll swing by with seeds for the girls. *sigh*

I knew I couldn’t wait around about finding new dirt though.  Spring thaw waits for no gardener, and every warm day counts up here.

Kale 001In this case, social media came to my rescue.  I am on the town trade/borrow/swap board on Facebook. All I had to do was post a need for garden space and my quaderant of town and I had a reply within 12 hours from someone who had sunny space with access to water.

So because I stayed flexible, and in a way, because of the crazy old lady, I have access to a LOT MORE SPACE, more than I could really handle this summer, if I planted all of it. With better access to water, I was doing a lot of hand watering at the old lady’s plot. And all in time for spring planting.

Whew.  One thing’s for sure, this spring is full of surprises. Like the snow yesterday, that was a surprise.   O_o

How’s your spring shaping up? Do you have your gardening spaces sorted out for the season? Shout out in the comments!

- Calamity Jane

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Maybe I’ve been out of the loop for awhile.  Maybe I’ve been asleep at the helm.  Maybe the world has just been passing me by, but how it is that I didn’t know about all the prepper expos going on around the country? I was surfing through the news the other day and read a story about an expo that had just ended in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  After reading the article I got curious and did a Google search and bam!  A pile of hits.  If you’re curious you might want to check out Prepper Shows USA to find an expo.

Or you might want to check out unknown.Com’s list.

If one of these ever comes to Maine, Mass., or Vermont I might have to go check it out.  I’d love to be around that many folks who are all there because they’re preppers. Living in Maine I think a good many people share a little bit of the prepping philosophy because many of them have been stranded at home for a day or two because of the snow.  You’d think that would teach a person a little self reliance.  Usually it does, but I still know people with nothing more than a day’s food in their cupboards.  These are the same folks who say, “Well, if anything happens I’ll just come to your house.”

To which I answer, “Fine, as long as you want to work your ass off to help survive.”

Anyway, I digress.

I can’t imagine being at one of these prepper expos and hearing someone say that.  He or she would probably get their ass kicked back to Mayberry.

If we ever have one in Maine I need to look into setting up a booth for SHTF Blog.  How much fun would that be?  Hanging out while all you secret readers popped in to say hi to me and Road Warrior.  (I doubt Calamity Jane would drive too far from her doomstead in Idaho.)

I could run some Land Nav courses and Road Warrior could do some cool gun stuff.  I’d do it just to meet lots of awesome people.

Anybody out there been to one of these expos?  If so please let me know what it was like in the comments section or email me at jarheadsurvivor@gmail.com.

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

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coffee canHave you ever cooked your own coffee beans, ground them up and then made coffee before?

As you all know if you’ve read the blog for awhile I’m an unabashed coffee addict.  I love coffee.  Give me a good strong cup of black Joe and I’m a happy camper.

Well, what do you think will happen to coffee when TSHTF?  You won’t be able to run down to the local Walmart to pick up a few cans especially if it turns into a long term event.  Eventually all those cans you have stored in your cellar will be used up and then what?  No coffee?  I might as well be dead.

Then I talked with Asher Angell at Happy Home Coffee and he told me a better way to do it.  If I were to buy the coffee beans and roast them myself I might be able to hold onto the coffee for a lot longer.  Imagine that!  I’ve never roasted my own coffee beans before, but I’m willing to try anything.  He sent me a can of his coffee beans and I set them aside for a few months just to see how it would affect the flavor.green beans

This weekend I dug the can out of my basement and brought it into the light.  There were instructions printed on the side of the can explaining how to roast your own coffee beans.  Brilliant!

I dug out my cast iron skillet, turned on my stove, and started roasting beans in the kitchen.  Allow me to help you if you’ve never done this before.  I like my coffee good and dark and when I cooked the first batch of beans I barely had them dark enough to tell they’d been cooked.  Fail!

So the next day I got out the rest of the beans and took them outside to cook on my grill.  I have a propane grill that has one of those burners on the side for heating corn or whatever, so I set the skillet on that and tried to roast them that way.

Ever had one of those days when nothing was in your favor?  The reason I’d gone outside was because of the strong smell these beans emit when cooked.  Mrs. Jarhead wasn’t all that impressed with yesterday’s trial and directed me to take my project outdoors.  Well, it probably roasting beanswould have worked well if the wind hadn’t been blowing about 25 mph.  It kept blowing the flame out on that little burner and even though the beans weren’t cooking all that good I personally was reaching a slow boil.  It was one of the these days where I tried to throw the spatula on the table and it bounced off and fell through the one crack on the deck big enough to allow it to pass through.  I tried to move the plate and knocked the chicken seasoning all over the deck.  I tried to make a wind break out of deck chairs and tarp and it kept blowing around with zero effectiveness for keeping the wind off the burner.  Anyway, you get the picture.  Imagine something going wrong and it probably happened to me that day.

Eventually I got sick and tired of that pathetic little grill burner and ran downstairs and grabbed my Coleman propane two burner stove. coffee beans Hell yeah, that did the trick!  I fired it up, put the skillet full of beans on it and within minutes the beans were cracking nice as could be.  This time I didn’t get scared and I let them darken right up.  I let them sit outside for a couple of hours and then made some coffee for some family we had coming over.

So how was the coffee after all that trouble?  It was delicious!  It seems strange to say it, but you could actually taste the freshness of the coffee.  I ground the beans up very fine and that’s when I really started getting an idea of how good it was going to be.  It smelled so good and fresh.  These were Arabica beans and I probably drank four cups of it that afternoon.

Hard to believe it came out of a can that had been sitting in my basement for months!  He packs the beans in such a way that no air gets to them keeping them fresh and ready to roast.

If you’re like me and love a cup of coffee you need to check out Asher’s web site and get yourself some of his coffee.

Questions?  Comments?

Sound off below!

-Jarhead Survivor

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Stay Out of Debtors Prison

April 10, 2014

You should make sure this one is on your radar.  As municipalities and states continue to feel the budget crunch of the long descent, they start coming up with novel ways to wring blood from stone. One of the many services some have privatized out to the highest bidder is the process of collecting fines […]

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Range time!

April 9, 2014

Well, everyone, I know much of the country is experiencing spring already, but up here in the Northeast, the temps are finally rising above 50 degrees semi-regularly. The plowed-up snowbanks in my front yard have gone from 6 feet high to knee-high, and we finally have bare patches in the yard. Spring is here! That […]

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Canning for Beginners

April 8, 2014

We had some questions about canning from readers. It’s one of those subjects that needs it’s own post to have enough room to cover everything. It’s a great skill to have in your prepper skill set. It’s a way to store fresh foods for a long time, in a shelf stable state. Admittedly, you won’t […]

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Chef 5 Minute Meal Review

April 7, 2014

Awhile back I received a package from Chef Minute Meals.  This was one of those packages I love to get because there was food in it!  What’s really cool about these meals is that it’s a little like an MRE.  It doesn’t have all the extras like peanut butter and cheese, but it does contain […]

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Giveaway: Urban Survival Course with Prepared Associates

April 4, 2014

Hey everyone, it’s Friday! And to celebrate the awesomeness that is the oncoming of the beloved weekend, we have a really great giveaway for you today: Prepared Associates, a Maine-based company committed to helping people learn to prepare for the worst, is giving away a slot for one of you, our wonderful readers, in their […]

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Guest Post: Armored Vehicles

April 3, 2014

I was contacted a couple weeks ago by a representative for The Armored Group, LLC, asking if we’d like a guest post on something a bit different – armored vehicles. The Armor Group specializes in selling new and used armored vehicles: everything from strengthened limos and sedans all the way up to ex-SWAT vehicles, money […]

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Guest Post: Adventures in Survival #3: Firearms

April 2, 2014

If you’ve been following along these past couple days, NoSox has been donating a series of articles about how he’s getting rolling being prepared. He’s been organized and kind enough to share prices of items he’s bought, mindsets, and why he’s gone about things the way he has. It’s been great, and here is his […]

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Guest Post: Adventures in Survival #2: Water Storage

April 1, 2014

We hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post, NoSox’s contribution about getting started in food procurement. Today’s post he goes over how he gets his family set up for water storage. Lots of good ideas here, but mainly it’s about just getting off your hindquarters and doing it. He shares how much he spends, which makes it […]

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Guest Post: “Adventures in Survival #1: Food”

March 31, 2014

A couple weeks back, we had a fellow who goes by the handle “NoSox” write up a pretty good blog post and it went over quite well….and he was kind enough to send us a three-part series called “Adventures in Survival” about how he gets his preps rolling. He has some really great, organized ideas […]

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How do you prepare for THIS?

March 28, 2014

  You wanna know what scares the holy living bejeezus out of me? Tsunamis. I live about 25 miles inland from the Southern Maine coast, and it’s relatively flat land, with little terrain until you get immediately west of me. Worse yet, I work about a mile from the coast of the Atlantic ocean. If […]

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