Establishing an RV Base Camp Homestead Living Issues

When we started on our homestead journey, we had no idea how challenging it would be.  After our circa 1900  farmhouse was practically destroyed by our first contractor we had to make drastic decisions.  That included finding a way to live on our property.

Being newlyweds this was a difficult way to live.  Not many people return from their honeymoon with the expectations of living in a camper full time.  We certainly did not.  But, in the end, it brought us closer together.

Have you ever wondered how someone can live in a Tiny House or RV Full Time?  We did it! With 2 children!  It’s really not all that difficult.  Here are some helpful steps to help you get started with establishing your homesite “Base Camp.”

#1 – Find an area on your property that is flat, secure, and most importantly dry.  You don’t want your living quarters sinking in the mud.  Watch the water flow on your property and make sure you identify a location that has plenty of run off and no standing water.  Also check your flood zone maps and expect the unexpected.

#2 – Water.  Having a reliable water source is essential for any living environment.  Wether you are going completely off-grid or using minimal utilities, water is one you simply cannot go without.  Either establish a rain water retention system, or find a water source such as a pond, lake, river, stream, creek, or well.  If you are setting up near a natural water source, refer back to number 1 and take it very seriously.

#3 – Human Waste, where will it go? You could build an outhouse, rent a port john and have it serviced, or, if you are living in an RV you’ll have the black tank which can be serviced by a portable waste company.  If there is a septic system onsite, you can hook up your black tank to the system.  If you don’t have a septic system, you could establish a way to keep your gray tank flowing freely (just keep your cleaning organic) and bi-weekly have your black tank pumped.

#4 – Electricity.  Electricity is a must have in today’s society.  You can either use a generator or you could have a temporary power pole installed.  A temporary power pole is a great choice for someone living for long periods of time in an RV or Tiny House.  Most of the time these poles can only be obtained IF you are building on your property and have a proper permit.  If you aren’t, here’s a solution.  BEFORE brining your RV  or Tiny House to the property apply for an Agricultural Temporary Power Pole.  In most states Agricultural uses are protected and therefore applying for and getting a pole for that use is allowed. Be cautious of the fact that hooking up your RV to one of these poles full time is not allowed, so keep it hush hush if you do.

#5 – Water proof covering.  Most RV’s aren’t designed to simply sit out in the weather for months and days on end, while newer designs do very well, older designs require A LOT of maintenance.  We suggest building a cover over the RV for UV protection (that’s protection from the sun) as well as rain protection.  This will not only improve the water resistance of your living space, but also provide better cooling.  If you can’t build a structure, you should at least find a way to seal your roof a little better.  We used silicone roofing paint.

#6 – Deck or Mat.  If your living quarters are small, you will need a way to get out and enjoy being out.  Additionally, in small spaces it’s very difficult to keep things clean when you are walking inside with your dirty shoes, having a small deck, mat, or some sort of landing will solve this issue.

Bacon Wrapped, Jalapeno, Salmon Patty Recipe

Salmon Patty Recipe

I’ve read a lot of salmon patty recipes online and decided it was time to create my own. Salmon Patties are an inexpensive meal.  Here’s our recipe for the best salmon patties I’ve ever… well, made.

Bacon and Jalapeno Salmon Patty Recipe by Yanasa Ama Ranch Cooking On The Range.

A very simple recipe for Salmon Patties:

2 Eggs
1 Jalapeno
5 pieces of bacon
Ground Pepper to taste
1-2 T of Dijon Mustard
1/2 Cup of Bread Crumbs
2 T freshly chopped green onion
1 T freshly chopped basil

Served with salad and asparagus.

 

Learning Self-Defense Could Save Your Life

Self-Defense isn’t necessarily something I had spent much time learning, but there’s always the big what if that looms over you.  What if I’m in a position that requires me to protect myself?

About a year ago, my nephew entered the Marines to embark on his own life adventures.  I was not wild about the idea, the Marines are being trained to go into combat and that’s the last place I wanted to see my nephew.  But the training he has received is impressive.  The honor he has developed for himself and the purpose he has found make the Marines a valuable education tool for young men and woman.

The Marines aren’t like any other military force in the world.  The young men and woman in the Marines are trained to protect, disengage, and dismantle their enemy, not extinguish.  Though they do have the ability to completely end a conflict, what makes them truly an effective force is that they are trained to first remove the threat without extermination.  For this reason, Marine self defense training is likely the best in the world.  After all they have the best resources available to them to train.

Last weekend my nephew took some time to teach me a few necessary self-defense moves.  Basic moves that everyone should know to protect themselves from assault, an intruder, or any type of attacker.

I learned quite a bit from James, although I do not think these moves are easy, and practice is necessary.

Self-Defense moves everyone should know against common attacks.

James taught me how to counter and defend myself from the front choke, how to put someone in an arm bar from a rear punch, how to do a take down leg bar, how to take a pistol or rifle from an attacker, how to stop an assault, how to free myself from a headlock or bear hug, how to block a punch or a kick, how to break free of a front choke or side choke, and many more self defense techniques.

James shows some self-defense moves particularly for woman as well. He may not be Master Wong or Mike Yap but he’s got some incredible military self-defense moves.




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How to Grow Seedlings in your Vegetable Garden

Seed Germination

There seems to be a lot of information and fancy tricks out there for germinating and sprouting seeds.  But are any of them truly necessary?

I find it ironic that we are constantly trying to improve upon a method mother nature has already mastered.  Now, in saying that, I do agree that nature has placed plant varieties where they belong, and seeds tend to germinate best under particular circumstances uniquely designed for each plant.  Think of it as mother natures master landscape plan.  As humans, we are always trying to change it.  In some cases it’s for good reasons, like food production.  In other cases it causes serious harm from invasive species.

Hopefully you are reading this article because you are looking to produce food or grow a native species.

I’ve only met one person, my grandfather, who had a truly natural green thumb.   The ability to grow just about anything with no artificial tricks.  He used the soil in the ground where he lived and the compost he produced in his natural environment. It never occurred to me how valuable it was to learn from such a master green thumb, that is until I was in a situation where I needed to start growing my own food as well.

Now, I’m sure there are many green thumbs out there, but it’s not necessarily an essential skill parents teach their children anymore.   My dad also has a green thumb, but he did learn from the best.

Growing your own garden is becoming more and more essential in modern society. Over the past fifty years more and more herbicides and pesticides and other invasive yet very innovative chemicals have been making their way onto our dinner plates.  These chemicals effect us.  The effect our moods, our health, even our cognitive abilities.

This is serious.  But it isn’t feasible to stop.  Why? It’s simple.  The cost of living and inflation are a restrictive trap.  Certain necessary for people to properly survive such as land are becoming too expensive.  It’s nearly impossible for most people to live under natural conditions due to our own enslavement of monetization.  The irony of that is that money is actually worthless.

Let me get back to growing food and save monetary enslavement for a different post.  Here’s the thing, homesteading used to be a way of life.  Sustainability.  If you didn’t homestead you were likely looked down upon in society.  Even the richest of them all ran a homestead, whether they worked the fields or paid others to do it.  America was very much a homesteading society up until the mid 19th century.  Civil War broke out impoverishing much of the country and displacing or flat out eliminating many men from households.  How then do you get food.  North Eastern society was all ready vastly defendant upon farmers (ironically the farmers they killed off in the southeast trying to control their food trade).  But in the overall scheme of things most of society pre civil war was homestead dependent.  With what was left of those who could farm came an alternative to economic recession, the industrial boom. Off they went to grow the railroads and other essentials for industry growth.  Money began to flourish, time began to vanish.  As a result many homesteaders began buying their groceries.   As industry thrived, commercial farmers thrived.

Over the next 100 years this pattern continued.  We had textile booms, technology booms, media booms, social media booms, and even baby booms.  The need for food has increased, but with all that booming, monetary policies have inflated driving consumers and forcefully motivating financially enslaved workers.

The cost of land, labor, and equipment, have soared to unattainable levels.  The result is simple, people cannot afford to feed themselves.  They don’t have the time or capital. Commercial Farmers now have a task (they very willingly fulfill) of growing enough food to feed the masses.

A simple principle applies to quantity and quality.  The more the quantity the less the quality.  The more a commercial farmer must produce the more he needs to influence his plants to grow and find more effective ways to protect crops from disease, bugs, weeds, and other natural elements.  This requires chemicals.  The honest truth about humans is that if convenience means more time and more money, it is worth a slow death.  We will eat what is cheap and easy irregardless of it’s contents to provide us more time to make money.

Anyway, enough of the rant.  The point is, growing seeds naturally is actually very simple.  Yes, you can grow your own organic (and I’m using organic not in the industry standards but actual organic) food without using extremely tricky methods to germinate a healthy plant.

There’s really nothing oddly crazy about how we germinated and grew our seeds in 3 days.  It’s simply a method of planting them and providing them with the natural resources they need.  The seeds do the rest.  I learned this from my grandfather.

Do It Yourself Sub Irrigation Planter – Gardening

Sub Irrigation Planter

Today I decided to build my own sub irrigation gardening system.  Granted this is a small scale operation, but it works.  My system is designed slightly different from the other sub irrigation systems you may have seen online.

This is an easy do it yourself sub irrigation raised bed planter.

The way our system works is through evaporation.  The typical evapotranspiration of a plant is pretty simple.  Water precipitates from the sky, we call this precipitation, rain.  It then soaks into the earth.  In this stage plants are able to absorb some fresh rain water.  The precipitation either will flood off the surface or absorb into the surface. The water that penetrates the ground eventually makes it’s way down into the groundwater.   This is pretty basic and simple hydrology.  Ground water can be reached by the roots of some plants, but not all.  As the sun heats and cools the earth, the ground water slowly begins to evaporate.

Evaporation is when the water turns from a liquid state to a vapor state.  The vapor rises.  Have you ever noticed the morning dew on plants and grass?  Where do you think it has come from?  Most of us assume the water has come from the air, which is partially true, however it also comes from the ground.  As the cool morning temperatures begin to rise, the moisture from the ground also rises causing water vapor.

During the evaporation stage plants are able to consume more water.

The transpiration part of evapotranspiration is actually the plant itself releasing water vapors back into the atmosphere.

So, back to sub irrigation watering through evaporation.  We found an old watering trough for our horses that we decided to turn into a raised bed planter for our tomatoes and beans.  Because the metal of the trough can get pretty hot sitting in the sun, and the trough can fill with water and become stagnant, we decided to create a sub irrigation planter that works off of evaporation.

By using this technique, we are utilizing the troughs heating elements to actually water our plants.  Because water vapors cool as they rise, our plants aren’t getting too hot growing inside a metal or galvanized metal planter.




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Fried Cod and Rice Recipe Blue Apron

Fried Cod Recipe

Blue Apron is a great resource if you are living in a tiny home, RV, or simply a long drive to the grocery store.  When we moved into our RV and were living in an RV full time, we didn’t have a lot of room for fresh vegetables or other necessary pantry items.   This proved to be a difficult challenge when living with four people in an RV.  How to you store enough food?

Blue Apron was one of our many solutions to this problem.  The company would send us 2 meals a week that were large enough to feed a family of four.  The meals are “cook from scratch” type meals.  So when the box comes, it has all sorts of ingredients and knick knacks as they call them.  Basically everything you need to cook the meal is normally in the box accept for pepper, salt, olive oil, and of course milk.

The great thing about cooking with Blue Apron is they always introduce some sort of vegetable or ingredient we’ve never used before or heard of before.  Their cooking from scratch style also taught us a lot about cooking and learning different ways to combine ingredients to make a meal. It also gave us something to do while living in the tight space of our camper.

Anyway, if you haven’t tried Blue Apron, you should give it a shot.  Here’s one of their recipes I cooked the other night.  Blue Apron Fried Cod Recipe:




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Farmer Boy Rant We Live on a Farm and Supergirl is the Best You Know

I was out brush hogging some of our over grown areas on the ranch the other day and our 7 year old farmer boy picked up the camera and had quite a few words for our viewers.   We call this one the farmer boy rant.

Ah yes the mind of a seven year old.  It is interesting to hear his perspective.  All you have to do to mow the grass is “cut down trees.”  Obviously daddy gets a little carried away on the tractor sometimes.

I don’t think I could be any prouder of a parent than knowing my son takes videography and documentaries so seriously.  I’m not completely sure what he meant when he said “my daddy dreamed that he was a big clown” but if he’s putting me in the same category as “super girl is the best you know.” I’ll take it!

How to Manage and Control Snakes

As Indian Jones very clearly states, “I Hate Snakes.”  I’m sure there are reptile lovers out there who adore snakes, but I’m seriously not a big fan.  But to each there own.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of snakes, I do not believe in killing them.  Snakes serve their purpose on our incredible earth.  Even though serpents have a seriously bad rap with most people, their purpose is more useful than one would think.  The feeding habits of our slithery friends are a natural pest control.  Small snakes reduce the population of harmful bugs while larger snakes keep larger rodents under control that could otherwise overrun and destroy crops and personal property.

Like most things designed by mother nature, snakes help keep the system balanced.  Therefore, killing and removing snakes creates an imbalance. If you are trying to build a homestead, keeping a balance with nature is extremely important.  That means learning to coexist with snakes and wildlife.

Snakes can be dangerous, especially vipers.  Many people try to keep black snakes and kill venomous ones.  Keep them both.

Wildlife can be trained.  That’s right, I said it, trained.  All the creatures that creepeth upon the earth have habitats and tendencies.

Snakes tend to like several things.  Abundant food, coverage, and warmth.  Snakes are warm blooded.  Have you ever noticed that you often see them sun bathing on roads?  That’s because they enjoy the heat.  That also means scrap metal laying around your yard is a perfect spot for slithery things.

Understanding snakes is all it takes to keep them in check.  Keep your grass mowed, they don’t like short grass it’s hard to hide in.  Keep junk and debris from piling up around your house, it’s another hiding spot and many things like metal and plastic generate heat, another attractant.   Reduce the food source, cats are also avid hunters of rodents.  Between keeping your grass cut and having a couple outdoor hunters like cats and beagles, you will reduce the food source making it less desirable for snakes.   Which reminds me, don’t leave trash around! It attracts rodents and thus creates a great food source for snakes.

Whatever you do, do not kill or remove snakes.  If you do you are worsening the problem.  Like many animals, snakes do have territories.  Would you rather deal with one large copperhead or several small ones?  Allow them to adapt and create a territory but then control the territory.  It will go a long way.  Wild animals who frequent your property will become accustomed to what’s there, and will develop their own habits.  By directing those habits to safer areas of your property you are providing snake control by training them to exist where it’s safe.

Boom Pole Tractor Implement

What is a boom pole? What is it used for? Should I have one?

Think of a boom pole as a mini crane for your tractor.  It is a heavy duty lifting implement that operates from the hydraulic lift or your tractors 3 point hitch system.  Even if you do not have an operating PTO drive, this implement will work.  We use our boom pole for a lot of things around the ranch.  It lifts heavy boulders and objects.

I had no idea what a boom pole was when we first started operating a farm or as we call it, a ranch.  But I can honestly say the boom pole has proven to be one of our most useful tractor implements on the farm.  If you are interested in learning more about Essential Tractor Implements stay tuned in!  We’ll be posting all sorts of information on implements.

How to Repair Universal Joints

Not too long ago I had no idea what a universal joint was, nonetheless how to repair it! But, if you own a tractor and have implements, universal joints are everywhere so you’ll likely be repairing universal joints on a regular basis.  Especially if you are as rough on your equipment as I am.

Universal Joints are fairly easy to repair, I would say the most difficult part about repairing the joints is pulling them apart and pressing them together.  They do make tools for this, however, we simply used C-Clamps to press the joints back together.  I’m sure it wasn’t the easiest method but it was the most cost effective and our only available resource at the time.

Explaining how to repair universal joints is better done via video than me typing a bunch of words on the screen.  Check it out.

Hope this helps you out!