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Would the ultimate Bug Out Location be a Homestead?

Instead of trying to maintain a home in an urban area, and a remote camp, why not build a homestead and make it your Bug Out Location? This way your time and money are not divided between two separate places.

For a lot of people, living in a rural area is not an option. Their job is in the city, and that is where they need to live. There are a number of people that live in rural areas, or in small towns. Lets talk about the people who are thinking about relocating to a rural area away from town.

For this article lets focus on 5 things – food, water, shelter, security, and some other small topics that we can group together.

Food

One of the main purposes of a Homestead Bug Out Location is to be able to grow fresh food. Its one thing to have a years worth of dried beans and rice stored in mylar bags, its something totally different to have access to fresh fruits and vegetables.



Sooner or later the #10 cans will run out, sooner or later the mylar bags will run out,,, and then what?

In my chicken coop project I learned that its going to take an estimated 6 months to get a small farm off the ground.

Its possible to work the soil, plant some radishes and have food ready to eat in a matter of 4 – 5 weeks. Radishes grow quick and the whole plant is edible. But who wants to live off radishes? Once you start talking about squash, corn, greens, potatoes and beans, you are looking at 2 – 4 months.

Australorp, Rhode Island Red and Barred RockIf you throw chickens into the mix, chicks take right at 6 months before they start laying eggs. The chicks my wife and I bought in February and March 2012 took 5 months before they laid their first egg.

The pullets (pullet is a hen that is less then 1 year old) took another month for the eggs to get larger. At 6 months the pullets are laying at a regular and steady pace. With 13 pullets, my wife and I are getting around 6 – 10 eggs a day. I think some of the pullets still are not laying. Black Jersey Giants are slow to mature and I do not think they are laying yet.

Lets say the crap hits the fan tomorrow, you and your family head to the remote camp, then you have to spend another 2 – 6 months getting your food production up and running.

That 2 – 6 months is “if” you can find the hardware and lumber to build a chicken coop, chicken yard, goat yard, tools to work the fields, barbed wire, nails, screws, hammers, saws, and find any chicks or goats you can buy or barter for. You think farmers are going to give away livestock when people are desperate?

Instead of trying to get the food production up and running after SHTF, why not have those items in place before hand? That is one of the benefits of having a Homestead as a Bug Out Location. You can be working on your farm and garden as a hobby before you and your family have to live off of the land.

Water

There is a saying I like to use, “without safe drinking water, life as we know it can not exist.” My water plan for the Homestead goes past drinking water. I want 3 options for water – well, rain barrel and access to a stream. My three main uses for water are for people, livestock and garden.

People and livestock need access to safe drinking water. If there is a chance the water is contaminated with pathogens, then it goes into the garden.

Well – The plan is to drill a well using 3 inch PVC pipe and water. There are some videos out on the net showing the type of well we plan on putting in.

On top of the well I want a pitcher pump, and not a low quality one either. If the power goes out, I want the ability to go to the well and draw drinking water.

Rain Barrel – On the backside of the house I am thinking about putting something like a 250 gallon rain barrel, or maybe 2 X 55 gallon drums. Maybe have a rainwater barrel on the chicken coop? The chicken coop is going to be in the edge of the garden. So why not catch the water off the coop and then use it in the garden?

Rainwater would be used for the garden. I thought about using rainwater for livestock, but why take the risk? During a SHTF / TEOTWAWKI situation, livestock will be essential to my long term survival plans.

If nothing else, the rainwater barrels could be used to water the crops.

Stream – When all else fails, get some water out of a nearby stream and run it through a filter for drinking water.

Something I would like to experiment with on the stream, is to setup a solar powered water pump to pump water from the stream for use in the garden. If the solar pump works, then my family would have a long term solution during times of drought.

The solar powered trickle pump would be used to fill the rain barrels. From the rain barrels the water would be used to irrigate the garden.

Instead of using a solar powered pump for crop irrigation, there are some foot powered pumps on the market. The pump looks like a stair-stepper. One person stands on the pump, works the peddles like they are walking, and the pump pulls water from a stream to irrigate crops.

We need long term options to survive a long term SHTF situation, . Using gas or diesel powered pumps for crop irrigation are not long term solutions.

Shelter

One of the many benefits of using a Homestead as a Bug Out Location is the shelter. Would you rather sleep in a shed, tent or home?

To a lot of survivalist, a Bug Out Location should be nothing more then a tent or a small building. In some cases the building would only have 3 or 4 rooms – sleeping area, kitchen / dining area, bathroom, and that is about it.

Would you rather have a home with all of its comforts, or would you rather be sleeping in a cramped shack?



When my wife and I get moved to the farm, we plan on building a 20 foot wide X 30 foot long covered area off the backside of the house. This will be a cooking and recreational area. About 40 feet from the edge of the covered area will be the garden. This 40 foot area is the “common area”. It will be a place for the kids to play, and other family events.

Instead of having everyone cooped up inside the house, the goal of the covered area is to provide the kids a safe place to play outside, and an area to cook and eat.

With the bar-b-q parked just next to the common area, I should be able to cook for dozens of people at one time. The pit has a cooking surface of 6 feet 9 inches long and 29 inches wide.

My wife and I also have a propane grill and crawfish boiler. But propane is not a long term solution. A couple of times during the spring my family and I will have a crawfish boil. Good times, good food, good memories.

Instead of having everyone inside the house, we will have an outside open area to cook and play games.

Security

One of the things about bugging out to the wilderness, how much security will you and your family have?

With the Homestead, you and your family will be on private property that nobody else has a claim to. In other words, Homesteads have the homefield advantage.

The common area I have planned will be behind the house. If someone drives up, the children and other people will not be in immediate danger. The goal is to provide a safe-zone for the family to be able to relax in.

Other items worth mentioning

So you and your family Bug Out to the wilderness, and then what? Where will you plant your crops, what about your livestock, safe drinking water, security,,,?

Besides livestock, hunting and fishing can be used to add fresh meat to the dinner table. Does your bug Out Location have access to lakes, streams or ponds where you can fish?

Does the Homestead have access to hunting areas for small game such as squirrels, rabbits, hogs or deer?

During the great depression wildlife in parts of the United States were hunted to extinction. Areas like East Texas had to be restocked with wild turkeys and whitetail deer because the animal populations had been devastated by deforestation and overhunting. During a long term SHTF situation, hunting is not a long term option. Wildlife will quickly be wiped out by excessive hunting, just as it was in the 1930s.

Sanitation

Raw sewage poses a serious risk to human health. Want to see widespread disease in a matter of days? Give flies and biting insects access to raw sewage. Then there is the runoff of sewage into streams, rivers, lakes and ponds.

By having some kind of sewage solution in place, we help minimize the risk of sewage.

One example, a fly can land on raw sewage, then land to your food where diseases are carried on the feet of the insect. This can be a vector for diseases such as Shigella.

Why did people decades ago have screen doors? So the doors can be opened to let air in, but keep flying insects out.
 

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Homestead, Florida is filled with "thugs" and "gangstas" because of the low income housing in the that area....when shtf, thats not a place i wanna be....NOW, 3 months after shtf, Im definitely up for homestead. Farm land central!!!!
 

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My home is my BOL for all those reasons and several others. I have 5.5 wooded acres. PLenty of firewood and fertile soil for my garden and edibles. Plenty of space to raise chickens. There is a small creek on the back side but for my water, I have a springhead coming out of the ground on my property as well.

My place is paid for and I'm spending my time getting set up in such a way that when SHTF, i can just ease on home and be fine. I won't be fighting mad lines at the grocery stores if an ice storm hits. If i get laid off,I'll be plenty good for a while.

Being set up like this brings a lot of peace of mind. I don't have a lot of the other worries about bugging out. It's all right here. I do have a 45 minute one way commute to work each day but the trade off is well well worth it.
 

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sounds like a real solid plan. well thought out I hope to be able to put together something much like it. still unsure of where. Still drawing up my basic plan. for where i am now. and looking for that bug out location. and hope to make as much as possible movable.
 

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Jihaadi GoBOOM
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Me too. Short of a nuke, in which case see ya in Queensland if we can, I'm staying put. In my case I have shelter, 3 water sources, space, forest, good neighbors, deer(won't last) darn near all I need except farmland, and that is close, and accessible if necessary. And I don't feel like moving all the lead again...
 

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OP, you have some good details and rationale there, I appreciate them. However, its not clear to me exactly where the homestead concept is being employed. Is this exclusively a rural proposition? How remote? And don't you think most people would embrace this concept if they had the resources to do so?
 

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I am building my existing home as my BOL when the SHTF, currently having at least a month of food, water, and chickens. Water is difficult with a well being 300 ft down, and being the only source of water ATM.... however I am planning on install gutters and a slow sand filter to give safe drinking water. :)
 

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OP, you have some good details and rationale there, I appreciate them. However, its not clear to me exactly where the homestead concept is being employed. Is this exclusively a rural proposition? How remote? And don't you think most people would embrace this concept if they had the resources to do so?
OMG, you just questioned Kev, (the owner of these boards) about his thoughts on what he posted?! Oh, shame on you. Now, you're gonna be put in time out. :D:;) JUST KIDDING PEOPLE! Thought I would throw that out there before yall threw me under the bus.
 

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Hubby and I moved to our bol in '93. We have 5 water sourced and we are seculuded in a wooded mountainous area. I do not have the best garden area, but am doing more and more permaculture and it has improved a great deal.

We have lots of friends and aquaintences in our valley and lots of information about houmesteading, hunting or diy projects.

You need to get to know your neighbors near your bol because they will be an important part of your survival plan.

And as always, practice what you learn. Practice it often.
 

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I Wonder about the reference to hunting during the 30's. I don't think we have the same situation today. There is currently an overabundance of deer where I live. One of the Causes of Limited hunting during the depression is loss of habitat, rather than overhunting. I would seek an area that has lots of woodlands, obviously everyone can't do that. but a lot of people think planning for hard times is silly, anyway.
 

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Wonderful idea, unless a nuclear device is exploded near by and you have to run away from the fallout :) another drawback is that such a large place needs a few defenders in case the zombies or other 2 legged animals come by..but nothing is perfect anyway...
 

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While I think that is the ideal, of course, it's just so hard to actually FIND a location like that within specific parameters. For example, a person goes to find a location for those things within a geographic area because it is near family or driving distance to a business or job and you can be in for a long haul!

I've been doing just that. It is so incredibly hard to find running water, easily accessed ground water (not a super deep well), level growing land and building land AND ability to run utilities for less than a king's ransom...well...it's like winning the lottery to find it at a reasonable price and of a decent size without being enormous.

Very hard to do. And even out in the country there are now zoning issues to consider in a lot of places. On top of that you have to do a historical search for old industry and pollution. One place I looked at was almost perfect, until I found out that the waterway was once used as a discharge of arsenic contaminated industry. That has soaked into the ground all around the place. Great. And that was MILES away and NOT in the sales report.

And then there is the lesson my family learned during the war. What do governments do when they think you have too much land or have it in a place they'd like to have (and give away to others)? They tax you out of it. So, on top of finding all those things you need on the land you've got to make sure it is land that no developer or any government entity would want. That's the hardest part.

My little place in the country is in a state where we have no family and there is zero capability to earn significant funds. It is also, despite being in the middle of nowhere, zoned so that there can be no farm animals. So, while it is a semi-cleared acre with access to lots of firewood and I can build almost as I like and have unlimited time to do it and so on and so forth, until S actually HTF and no one cares about zoning, I have to deal with what I have to deal with. AND I have to wait a couple more years till I retire to do much with it.

It's just one of those things.

I am genuinely happy for people who CAN manage to live at the place where they would BO to if they had to and make a comfortable and secure life. I just think that so many of us, the majority of us, can't find that or live there when we do find it.

It would be great if someone would start a real estate thread that posts really high probability real estate for those of us in the endless loop of trying to find one! Anything near you, Kev?
 

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I am in the So Cal burbs and stuck for all intensive purposes. It hurts and every day I drive by the public transit station near my home I see every reason to get outa here, but I can't right now. But what I can do is Homestead as much as I can and try to save money to escape while learning all the skills I need to make it on a rural homestead if I ever get one. A total SHTF I'm screwed Economic fall out I can probably make it. I just have a small unlevel lot which makes it very difficult(Read Expensive)to have a garden. I'm doing it though!! and I have horrible pocket gophers. I just purchased "The Backyard Homestead" and I am realy jazzed. I am currently growing in protected raised beds and pots all over my place and have plans to neighborly commandeere extra growing space if not lease a plot from a neighbor.
 

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sewage

I would definitely look into a composting toilet. Not only does it take care of raw sewage the composted poo is safe to spread in any area. Although you can not use it as fertilizer!! It requires no electricity and can be installed almost anywhere. Best brands are SUNMAR and ENVIROLET.
Good Luck.
 

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Just a note on chickens. My wife and I bought 6 ISA Brown chicks last spring. It took them 5 to 6 months to start laying. They lay 5 to 6 (4 to 5 are large eggs) eggs a day and they are pretty friendly. Of course my wife spent about 15 minutes a day with them when they where in the basement (will not do that again). I am no chicken expert, but if eggs are what you want. I would suggest ISA Browns.
 

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Homestead -vs- bug out location

We spent several years living inside the city of Tallahassee, FL in an apartment, we joined a hunting camp 45 min. away. Positioned our bug out campers there, and planned on this being out BOL. We had a well, some tillable land, game and most of all 2200 acres of remote property.
But! During the same time we searched "Daily" for a place to move to out of town that met our hopes and dreams of a secure homestead. Due to bankruptcy, financing a place threw a bank was not an option. First of all we rented a small single wide on 2.5 acres 10 miles out of town, for half the price we were paying for Apt. rent. Then we spent the next year and half saving the difference for a down payment. Needless to say it was a big adjustment going from an upscale apartment dweller to a rural renter, But we managed and started our chickens, Rabbits, garden and continued to hunt for meat at the camp to supplement our grocery bill. We continued to look for an even more remote location that had flexible funding options and finely found a 10 acre place, with a half mile drive way off the road, 40 miles out of Tallahassee, further north near the GA. Line where there was a lot of farm land, and still a great amount of forest. We ended up getting this "Owner Financed" with the down payment we saved up. Now I have a place to hunt close to home and trap since it works 24 hours for you. I have one way in and out security off the main road, gated, and can cut it off for traffic in a moments notice. Year round flowing stream, 500 gal. holding tank that is used for our now Turkeys, Ginni's, chickens and rabbits. We also have a functional fireplace, fire wood galore, a great garden area, and so much more. The nice thing about it is that we are spending 45.00 less for this place than our apartment rent in town. Now I work at home so daily commute was not a factor that I had to consider. The key to our progress was to Plan ahead, making small steps and putting into place what we could ahead of time and continued to work towards our goals daily. Once we committed to making a change for the better, it took us a year and half to do it. Sure there are small towns closer to us now, but not near the nightmare we would have to experience living inside the city limits of Florida's Capital.
Thank you Kevin for this post and most of all introducing my family in a different way of thinking and a different way of living over the last 3-4 years.
 

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Hi Kev
We're trying to implement something along the lines of what you are talking about. Several years ago we purchased out homestead land with a home equity loan off our suburban home. We chose the route of keeping our day jobs and staying in our suburban home while developing the homestead. That stratege has worked out well for us, and we are now close to paying off both the mortgages on the house and the land. Very soon we will be completely out of debt.

I'd have to say you're way overly optimistic about things like growing food and producing water. I'd say talk in terms of years instead of weeks, and multiply your water capacity 20 fold or more. Think you're going to hit water in Texas drilling with a PVC pipe. Sorry, I can't imagine that happening. Collecting water in a few 55 gallon barrels? That would last one day here in California. You want a 250 gallon storage tank? Here 2500 gallons would be considered small. My mountain location gets about 20" of rain per year. I assume that east Texas gets between 20 and 40". Is that correct? Is your stream flowing throughout the year, or does it dry up in summer? I'd say you'd need about 10-15K gallons of water storage to have anything sustainable. Right now our homestead is at 10K gallons, and I want to expand that to 25K in the future.

Food production has be realitively difficult for us. Besides the ever looming water issue is animal damage from deer, ground squirrels, gophers, and mice. When we first planted our orchard six years ago, I lost about 25% of the total orchard to above ground or below ground animals. All our trees are now totally encapulated in steel, planted in wire pots in the ground, with chicken wire surrounding each tree above. Still something is getting our fruit. We had peaches, apples,and cherries on several trees this spring. By July every single fruit was gone. Most likely either raccoons or squirrels. EVERYTHING! Besides the animal damage is time. At home in the back yard, we can expect trees to start bearing fruit in one or two years. In our ranch's orchard though we didn't see anything at all untill year 5.

I tried planting potato towers with old tires. I surrounded every single potato plant with chicken wire. Mice went through that and eat each and every potato plant.

What I'm trying to say is not that it won't work, but it is a step by step incremental process that takes years to refine. Don't for a minute think all you have to do is plant a garden and have everything you want in 90 days. It just ain't gonna happen! I'd say a realist goal for you is that if you start gardening next season, you'd expect to start getting good enough in three years or so to start producing significant amounts of food.
 

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Infraction Collector
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Heya Kev,...

We have laying hens too,....

Have you ever seen how they lay when you dont give them lay pellets,...just free range them.

Its not good,....nowhere near the yield like when on pellets....but they will still lay,...just not as consistent.
 

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I think a homestead is the ideal option for permanent full time living. But if you are living there, it is not a BOL, it is home. No matter how well set up, there are things that could make it prudent to abandon it for a while. For this I prefer the idea of a couple or three minimal bug out locations with caches of supplies. I just don't see how a homestead can be set up as a BOL and maintained without someone living there and taking care of it.

Just my opinion.
 
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