New Mexico Urban Homesteader

Hello, I am A 50 Something, Prepper ;-}; former 60's Flower Child, don't believe in taxpayer subsidized special interest groups (political parties), DO believe in the Constitution and Bill of Rights (1st 10). Long time Independent & Informed Voter. Lover of the outdoors and firm believer that History Teaches - if only we will listen!

(No longer Urban or in NM. Now Rural in the mountains of Maine.)

This blog was started at the request of some dear friends that wish to become Preppers.

“No man who is not willing to help himself has any right to apply to his friends, or to the gods.”

Demosthenes (384–322 BC, Greek statesman and orator of ancient Athens)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Where to Find Your Community's & States Emergency Management Plans & Agencies

So you are building your family preparedness plan and need to know what plans your local governments have for your area … Great! Now for the hard part, finding this information!!!

The quickest and easiest way is to search the net. Do something like "[state, county or city] emergency management plan" and then have-at-it until you find the site or hopefully a PDF with the plan.

Here are some links to get you started and remember to do a web search on your city and county too!

To get to the links for Occupation Specific, New Mexico, Bernalillo County (NM) & Albuquerque (NM) sites see

State by State Lists

FEMA: List of State Offices and Agencies of Emergency Management
Emergency Management - USA State Emergency Management Organizations
Ready.Gov List of Community & State organizations/offices and Agencies
Service & Care Providers Emergency Managers Emergency & Disaster Preparedness Project for the Elderly & Disabled Persons State by State list
USA State by State Emergency Management Organizations (non-government list)
Disaster Relief Agencies and Non-government Organizations


National Emergency Management Summit: Home
National Emergency Management Association (NEMA)
National Response Plan - Department of Homeland Security
Federal Energy Management Program (EERE) Home Page
OSHA Safety and Health Topics: Emergency Preparedness and Response
OSHA National Emergency Management Plan - Occupational Safety Emergency Preparedness
Transportation Emergency Preparedness Program
OSHA How to Plan for Workplace Emergencies and Evacuations
National Consortium on Disaster Preparedness and Emergency planning for people with disabilities
NOAA National Hurricane Center Family Disaster Plan - Be Prepared (NOAA Home )

“If you are prepared, you will be confident, and will do the job.” Tom Landry
From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Some 2nd Amendment News & Local Like Minded Meetup

Just a quick note to all Abq NM'rs

Sons Of Liberty Riders Invite ALL NM Oathkeeper's to a Meeting July 10th in Alburquerque

SOLR New Mexico Official Startup Meeting*******

July 10, 2010 from 12:30pm to 2:30pm
Golden Corral
2701 Coors Blvd.
Albuquerque, NM

Golden Corral is just north of I-40 on Coors. There is an Applebee's in front of the Golden Corral.

Second Amendment March Co-Sponsors America's Victory Shoot!

Note from the Founder

Dear 2A Supporters,

Just a short note to share our vision for 2011. We are already busy planning and organizing the mother of all 2nd Amendment extravaganzas. I can't share details with you now, but trust me when I say "You're going to love what we've got cooking here in the 2A kitchen!"

The 2nd Amendment movement has taken a real beating by the mainstream press for several decades, and they've weakened our public image. I say it's time to fight back! My biggest goal for 2011 is to improve the public image of gun owners by bringing an unprecedented number of new supporters into the shooting sports and 2A activism. We need more women and families in our ranks.

All our events for this year and next will be focused around that goal. I was proud to help co-sponsor America's Victory Shoot ( ,and I'd love to see as many of you there as possible. It's a real opportunity for some great training at a great price and I hope to see you all there with me on the range.

All the best.

Skip Coryell
Founder, Second Amendment March

P.S. Don't forget to support our friends at They have quality products at low prices!

On The Border - Bleeding Arizona

Take care and Keep On Prepping !

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Week 1- 24 Weeks of Crisis Supply Procurement

Week 1

Grocery Store

  • 1 gallon of water
  • 1 small jar peanut butter
  • 1 large can juice (90-100% juice)
  • 1 can meat
  • Hand-operated can opener
  • Instant: tea, coffee, powdered flavored drink mix (Gatorade and the like). If you have a hand operated coffee bean grinder then get a small bag of coffee beans instead of instant.
  • Permanent marking pen
  • 1 gallon of water for any pet
  • Pet food for any pet. Note: If your pet eats dry food, it will need more water.
  • Infant Items (if needed): Diapers, baby food or formula – Think ahead if you are going to be potty training and or your infant will be weaning to toddler food - do not purchase for more than two weeks worth of these items.
  • 3 Ring Binder

To Do:

** When quantities are listed that is per person in your household.

“It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.” Whitney M Young Jr

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

As a note to those that have a coffee beans & hand grinders

** Don't Forget to get a non-electric camp percolator ** or something similar to brew your brew ;-}

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Ready, Set, Go! - 24 Weeks of Crisis Supply Procurement

Each Sunday for the next 24 weeks I will provide you with a list of items to acquire for your household’s Crisis (emergency) Kit.

To get started:

  • Check your house for supplies that you already have on hand
  • Decide where you will store your supplies
  • Meet with your household to discuss your procurement and crisis plans
  • Explain how to prepare and when and how to respond
  • Discuss what to do if you need to evacuate
  • Discuss and plan for vacations and outings that will allow you to learn a new skill like: milking a cow or goat; making cheese; map and compass; spinning and weaving; trapping and snares, soap & candle making and the like.
  • Have drills and practice your plan (at least once every 3 months)

Supplies may be stored all together in a large plastic garbage can or food may be kept on kitchen shelves. Remember to rotate your food storage supplies and change out your water storage every six months.

Select foods based on your household’s usual meals, needs and preferences. If your household eats a lot of tuna salad, think what you need to make this: Mayo, onion, celery, etc. Pick low-salt, water-packed varieties when possible. Canned meats may include tuna, chicken, raviolis, chili, stew, Spam, corned beef and the like.

For condiments think dehydrated and freeze dried like: milk, sour cream, cheese, peanut butter, mayo, eggs, gravy mix, etc. And don’t forget your spices!

Note: One small can of unsweetened evaporated milk to one quart of powdered milk will produce a quart of milk with the texture and taste of 2% milk. Gelatin, unflavored and un-colored can be used in recipes in place of eggs.

If you have extra funds available each week, use it to get another of your specialty items like dehydrated meats, vegetables and fruits; compass, Leatherman Tool, GI can opener, gardening stuff and the like. If you can or dehydrate your own items – all the better!

Note: Avoid getting all “mixed” fruits, vegetables and meat entrées – these are less flexible and you will get bored with them. It is better to get single items that let you make your own soups, stews, goulashes and treats.

The Week 1 list will be posted tomorrow. The time is now!

Keep On Preppin’

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Friday, June 25, 2010

Take the Crisis Preparedness Challenge!

Are You Prepared for Winter Storms, Blackouts, Flooding, Forest Fires and Earthquakes?

Yes/No 1. Do your family members know how to keep themselves safe in a disaster?

Yes/No 2. Do you have a Grab ‘n Go kit for each member of your family?

Yes/No 3. Does your family have a REUNION PLAN in case you are separated during a disaster?

Yes/No 4. Do you know what plans your children's or grandchildren’s schools have developed for protection during disasters?

Yes/No 5. Do you have at least 7 days of drinking water (7 gallons or 31.5 litres per person) safely stored for your family?

Yes/No 6. Have you collected and stored emergency supplies to provide for your family for an extended period of time?

Yes/No 7. Have you conducted a Home Hazard Hunt?

Yes/No 8. Do you have the means to prepare meals if the power is out for an extended period of time?

Yes/No 9. Does each member of your family know how to turn off home utilities such as water, gas and electricity?

Yes/No 10. In a sudden power outage, could you quickly locate a flashlight or have you purchased home power failure lights?

Yes/No 11. Do you have a basic First Aid Kit?

Yes/No 12. Do you know where your local Emergency Reception Centre is located?

Yes/No 13. Have you determined how you will signal for assistance, if a disaster strikes?

Yes/No 14. Is your workplace prepared in the event of a major disaster?

How Did You Do?

• 14 out of 14 yes answers - Congratulations!
• 10 – 13 yes answers - A little more work to do here
• 7 – 9 yes answers - You are halfway there
• 4 – 6 yes answers - This weekend would be a good time to continue preparing
• 0 – 3 yes answers - Please get started now

If you answered "no" to any of these questions, now is the time to act.

DISASTERS HAPPEN!! Don't wait until it is too late!

Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday

* From the Cowichan Valley Emergency Preparedness Workbook found at

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Preppers on the Radio Tonight

From APN 6-24-10

Bill and Janet, members of APN and authors of the book "It's a Disaster, and what are you gonna do about it?" will be appearing tonight (Thu 6/24) on the Proof Negative Show
during the 3rd hour from 11p - 12p Eastern / 10p - 11p Central / 9p - 10p Mountain / 8p - 9p Pacific

Proof Negative Show airs 9pm-12pm EST/10pm-11pm CST/9pm-10pm MST/6pm-9pm PST (Weeknights)

Call-in Number is (347) 324-3704

Can listen live (or to archives) at

Yeah, yeah I was a little late getting to this notice but you can catch it and future shows at:

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Swimming Through the Frustration of Getting Prepared

You feel the need to get prepared for some kind of crisis. As you listen to people talk, review news sources and other information gathering tools, you feel you are being pulled eight ways from Sunday trying to determine just what you should prepare for and how to do it. You are now not only concerned, maybe even worried or scared; you are frustrated to no end too! Welcome to the human condition.

With any major goal we need to approach this methodically and precisely. This means that there are some steps and questions that must be addressed in a progression in order to formulate a plan and then act upon that plan to accomplish the end goal. In this case – Preparedness.

Some Terms Used

Because I like the term “Crisis” as it has a “glass half full” attitude of opportunity, I will be using this term instead of emergency or disaster. When I use the terms “Tools, Skills, Knowledge” I am including Defense and Hunting items. Food Storage includes water, medical and dental items.

A Few General Rules of any Crisis

All crises will fall into one of the following Categories:

  • Bad Luck: An illness, injury, accident and the like.
  • Natural: Weather extremes, including space weather, universe/planetary actions out of human control.
  • Man-Made: War, economic, civil, terrorism, social; including the failure of man-made structures and ideologies.
  • Metaphysical/Spiritual: Armageddon, Nostradamus, Mayan Calendar

All crises will have a Scope of Involvement:

  • Small: A few families or individuals to Local to your city, town or county
  • Medium: State to Regional
  • Large: National
  • X-Large: International or Global

All crises will have a Duration. Duration is the time from the point the crisis hits to the time recovery brings one back to a pre-crisis environment.

  • Short: Hours to 7 days
  • Medium: 7 days to 4 weeks
  • Long: 1 month to 2 years
  • X-Long: 2+ years

Hint: The Larger the Scope, the Longer the Duration

What do you need to prepare for?

This may seem like a simple question, however it is not. To make it as easy as possible will take a few steps. Make a list of what do you Feel you need to prepare for. Rank the items on this list in order of Your perceived urgency. This is your Possibility List.

Take this Possibility List and do a little research to determine what the scientific and educated guess’s indicate are the most likely to occur. This will be your Probability List. To assist with this research see “U.S. Risk Map Links” at

Now take the Possibility and Probability Lists and create your Crisis List. This is a combination of the two lists.
The Possibilities are what you are most concerned about, afraid of or losing sleep over.

The Probabilities are what science indicates are the chances or odds of your concerns occurring are.
Remember the Possibility that in the next 15 minutes a rather large asteroid will crash through your house, is real and valid. The Probability of this occurring is rather slim.

Considering this; if you have a Possibility that is keeping you up nights, yet is rather low on the Probability list, don’t just go with the Probability ranking, but do NOT place this Possibility in the number 1 slot of your combined Crisis List, rather rank it no higher than #2.

Your Crisis List is the moderation of your concerns and fears compared to educated/scientific projections.

Determine the Scope of Involvement and Duration

Next take this Crisis List and determine what the Scope of Involvement and Duration are likely to be.

Where is Everyone Usually?

Then make a list or calendar of your Family’s Activities and when they usually occur. What days/hours of the week do you grocery shop; go to school; go to work; play sports; go out for entertainment or other activities?

This is an important fact that most people overlook when they start Preparing for their Crisis List and overlooking this can be deadly.

Think about this. A crisis can occur at anytime of the day, any day of the week, in any given week of the month or any month of the year. This is why I choose to list this step before deciding on a “retreat” or “safe house” for sheltering during the duration of any particular crisis.

Odds are you will have to be mobile at some point (even for just a little time) during or immediately after the crisis.

The Crisis Retreat/Shelter

Now study your Crisis List and the possible scopes and durations and determine at least two (2) safe locations or retreats for your shelter during any of your identified crises. This will be your Crisis Retreat.

This can be your primary residence, a cabin or camp site in the woods or some other type of location that provides you and yours with the safest, most secure and holds the most life supporting needs to live out the duration of the crisis. This is where you will store or cache most of your preparedness items for your crisis, especially the long duration ones on your list.
  • The greater the distance each family/group member needs to travel to reach your Crisis Retreat, the greater the need to have more than one pre-planned route to reach the designated Crisis Retreat.
  • The more spread out the family/group members are likely to be, the greater the need for at least one if not two rendezvous spots and alternate communication signal are needed.
This communication signal is not something that just anyone can stumble upon and understand. It could be as simple as a symbol carved into a particular tree trunk located on the corner of a particular park, that any member of your family/group will need to pass to get to the retreat that will alert them that so-n-so has been through here, waited 10 minutes and went on. A good source to develop your own communication signals is the “Boy Scout Field Book” (not handbook, field book.

This Field Book is great for learning other good survival skills like compass and map reading, trapping and snares and the like). The sign for “Go Right” could be used as the “Johnny has been here and moved on” sign. When you have your drills, use colored dots or some other temporary sign that will not be around when the crisis actually hits. If anyone stops you and asks what you are doing; just say you are kind of on a scavenger hunt.

Needs and Acquire Lists

Review your Crisis List and determine what goods, skills and knowledge are needed to survive each crisis on the list with respect to its scope and duration. This is your Needs List.

Modify this Needs List so that any item, skill or knowledge that you Do Not have is listed first or on one side of this list and what you already possess is listed on last or on the other side.

Prioritize the items you lack in order of importance to your survival for each of your crises
. This is your Acquire List.

Budget, Budget, Budget

Examine your Budget. Be realistic and modify your budget so you have at least $25.00 each week to set aside to obtain the items on your Acquire List.

The Plans

Now you are ready to formulate a Plan for each crisis on your Crisis List. These plans will be the same basically, but will vary according to the crisis itself. Each plan will include your Acquire List goods, skills and knowledge items along with the building of your Documentation Book/Binder and Food Storage needs. (See “Preparing Your Emergency Documentation Book/Binder”

Your budget should account for each Plan and should include:
  • Documentation Book/Binder
  • Go-Bags
  • Food and Water Storage
  • Tools, Goods, Skills and Knowledge
  • Practice Drills

Go-Bags are First Remember that a crisis is may occur when you are Not at your Crisis Retreat. You will most likely be mobile at some point just to reach and or collect your family in your primary Crisis Retreat. The first things to budget and plan for are your Go-Bags or 72 Hour Bags or Bug-Out Bags. Yes plural. These are very important if for no other reason but to get you safely to your primary Retreat Location. They are also key to your survival if you must evacuate your primary Retreat Location.

All Go-Bags should provide for one or more people with three (3) days worth of the basic needs to human survival.

There are three (3) types of Go-Bags:
  • Individual: One for each person and pet in your household
  • Household: Large enough to cover three (3) days of minimum human survival needs for the normal number of people likely to be in your house at any given time or at the least a combined Go-Bag that covers your immediate family and pet members.
  • Vehicle: This covers the minimum human survival needs for three (3) days for the maximum number of people that can be in the vehicle at any given time.
Backpacks are the usual “bag” of choice; however this can be shoulder duffel, a doggie backpack or a rolling suitcase and the like. Whatever works for you and yours as long as they are able to be carried or dragged with the minimum amount of damage to the contents and with relative ease for the person that has to do the carrying.

Your Go-Bags are also where Protein Bars, MRE’s, dehydrated and Freeze Dried foods come into play. Along with water containers and purification tools and other multi-functional tools like the “Leatherman Tool” and “Swiss Army Knife”.

Food Storage is # 2 and On Going

Food storage includes water, medical, dental and hygiene needs during a crisis as well as actual food. All Food Storage requires an even Cool temperature with very little if any variance.
  • Dry
  • Bug and Rodent free or proof.
The two most common mistakes in Food Storage are:
  • Not rotating and utilizing your food stores during non-crisis times. IE: Stock Piling and forgetting.
  • Purchasing all of one type of food preservation technique. IE: Getting a “Food Survival Kit” that includes foods you do not normally eat or are all freeze dried or all canned or all dehydrated or all MRE’s.

Goods, Knowledge, Skills

  • Goods are all the tools and storage items from food, medicine, nails, hammers, sleeping bags, hunting, fishing, defense, lanterns, cooking and eating utensils and barter items – all the reusable and consumable Stuff and your “mental wellness” items like books, journals, guitar, harmonica and the like.
  • Knowledge is all of the intellectual know-how but not necessarily the application of this know-how or maybe one no longer has the physical ability to do the application of this know-how.
  • Skills are the practical application of the knowledge know-how.
Be sure you are honest and realistic when you determine what your family or group has and what is needed.

Practice Drills

I know of way too many “Preppers” that have a plan, have all this emergency stuff, but have never had a family or group crisis practice drill. To top it off they have rarely had a family/group “What If” game.

You do not see great sports teams that have not practiced either “play books”, the theory or knowledge (What If) and then not practiced this on the field – the practice drill which develops the skills behind the knowledge.

These great teams practice over and over again. I have watched coaches in practice purposefully have one player “miss his mark” so the play does not go as planned, just so the team has practice at improvising on the spur of the moment.

We all have office, school and home fire drills – we should all have regular Crisis Drills. We want to be prepared to think fast during a crisis and not loose precious seconds to the fog of panic, shock and confusion.

All the great sport teams, all the really prepared Preppers, practice regularly so they will Act and Win instead of React and make do or loose.

Immediately after a Crisis Occurs Quickly Determine the Following:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Clothing
  • Shelter
  • Illness or Injury needs
  • Defense
  • Bug-out or Stay Put
  • Basic Tools to achieve and maintain the above necessities to life

Prep On This letter is not to cover all the specific details for creating your own Crisis Plans, stocking your Go-Bags, making a Budget, determining what you have and what you need or where and how to stock your Retreat. Instead this letter is to help you organize yourself and strip away all the confusing “side tracks” so you can develop your own plan and ultimately achieve your Preparedness Goal.

If it is to be, it is up to me. William H. Johnsen

For all the detailed nitty-gritty stuff start with the references in this letter (see, they will lead you to other more detailed and crisis specific resources. Then tweak and refine to meet your Crisis List and implement your Preparedness Plan.

Check out the right side panel of this sit
e for links to the other Homesteading, Preparedness & Survival web sites, magazines and downloads.

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Stocking the Homestead Kitchen

No matter where you live, stocking your kitchen will be a critical step in having a useful and viable home. This is one of those areas that you really cannot skimp on for your basics. Your most critical items for your kitchen, outside of the appliances, will be your cookware and your tableware.

It seems that today most people either go for “super casual” (as in use and toss) or “faddy formal” (as in special shapes, colors and designs). Neither of these extremes will work for a frugal or homestead kitchen as we do not have the gumption (or ability) to re-purchase disposable items or the next fad in tableware. Considering this it is far wiser and cheaper over the long haul to think Multi Functional.

For pots, pans, other cookware and tableware that basically leaves us with Cast Iron Cookware and Enamelware. Neither of these can go in a microwave but are durable and can be used on the cook top, in the oven or on an open fire.

For more information go to:

Good luck Huntin & Cookin

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Monday, June 21, 2010

Give An Inch They Take a Mile - Bill Could Shut Down Internet!

S.773 - Cybersecurity Act of 2009

Bill could allow government to turn off the Internet in an emergency!

Here we go – this started in 2009 and is now active again in congress.

For details on the bill, including the text of the bill, actions to date, Money Trail and various news reports, go to:

There are two sources to download the bill’s PDF:

Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Another Free Giveaway – 1,000 Rounds of 9mm

M.D. Creekmore at the The Survivalist Blog – a survival blog dedicated to helping others prepare for and survive disaster – with articles on bug out bag contents, survival knife choices and a wealth of other survival information is giving away a 1,000 round case of 9mm – 124 Grain FMJ (a $200 value – donated by LuckyGunner)! To enter, you just have to post about it on your blog. This is my entry. Visit The Survivalist Blog for the details.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

5 Common Items That Don't Need Electricity

  1. Wind up alarm clocksWay better than the electric version. The alarms are generally metallic sounding and irritating. Best of all when the power goes out your alarm will still go off. This type of alarm clock does not tend to be expensive and has a nice ticking sound.
  2. Dover Beater, also called a Hand BeaterYou can find these at antique shops, thrift shops, and flea markets as well as new. This was the cutting edge kitchen tool for decades. It mixes up cake batters, whips cream, creates mayonnaise, and anything else your hand mixer can do. These things last forever. The one I am using was a gift to my mother in 1936 or so.
  3. Hand Cranked Ice Cream MakerTruly this is the crème de la crème of ice cream makers. I am not sure why but for some reason hand cranked ice cream has a better texture than its electronically created cousin.
  4. Food Mill This is similar to a food processor. Depending on the exact model that you get a food mill is more easily controlled to get exactly the results you want. The top of the line food mills will do everything from grinding wheat berries to pureeing peas.
  5. Clothesline I know, right? Everyone knows this. There is nothing like clothes that have been dried outside. They smell fresh, feel cleaner, and it really doesn't take much longer once you get the "hang? of it. This is a significant savings, too.
Got any other items you can add to this list?

Prep On!

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

End Of Fee Free Usage of Debit Cards?

Congress is considering a law (H.R.4173 - Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009 & S.3217 - Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 that will charge us for using our Debit & Credit Cards!

In typical governmental fashion, they publicize all the benefits of the caps on overdraft fees and other negative hidden charges and actions of the banking sector and then sneak in a clause that will hurt not only Credit Unions but us consumers too - A fee for every use of your Debit Card !!! Are we all so hypnotized by the marketing and advertising hype of flaunting the "good" in a bill that we don't read the fine print ourselves to gain All the facts and Truths?

Bill Passed in Senate Broadly Expands Oversight of Wall St. May 20, 2010 "... The legislation is intended to prevent a repeat of the 2008 crisis, but also reshapes the role of numerous federal agencies and vastly empowers the Federal Reserve in an attempt to predict and contain future debacles. ..."

"NEW MEXICO (FFCU)—The clock is ticking to stop congress from infringing on your debit/credit card payment rights. This could mean the end of fee free usage of debit and credit cards. Can you imagine having to pay every time you use your debit/credit cards or merchants not accepting them at all? Very recently the U.S. Senate approved the Financial Regulatory Reform Bill. While the overall bill takes a balanced approach, there is one provision that should be removed because it is harmful to Credit Unions and may be of great concern to credit union members like you...." Act Now if you're concerned. This Credit Union website will allow you to contact NM Congressmen with your vote: &

"Today is the Tomorrow that you worried about Yesterday"

From a a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Friday, June 11, 2010

Food Miles & What that Means to Us

Ever since some study came out a while ago about the average distance most American food travels from the Farm/Ranch to our stores being 1500 miles, there has been a furor of debates – ranging from the age and ripeness of the items to the distribution carbon footprints, as well as its quality. As a result I have been attempting to find out more about this subject.

What I have discovered is that this report from Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture in Iowa ( that apparently started all the debates), made the average based on Chicago, IL as the “model” urban area, being that it is centrally located in the United States. Which I guess is a decent approximation for a high-production state like California, where crops are grown from north to south. But what about Oklahoma, whose capital city is smack dab in the center of the state or us here in New Mexico?

I tried to see what the average travel miles are for New Mexico produce and came up with a big fat ZERO. The closest I could find was on California and it averaged 1200 miles for most fruit and vegetables and that nearly 270 million pounds of grapes arrive in California, most of them shipped from Chile to the Port of Los Angeles, a 5,900 mile journey. Which in and of itself shocked me to no end, since one of CA’s major exports is its farm produce and wines. See “Miles to California: How Far Has Your Food Traveled?“ @ for some eye opening details.

Depending on the food item and type of farm/ranch, the produce is often picked before it is ripe and ripened while in transit to its point of sale – our grocery stores. This is especially true of commercial/corporate produce farms, where much more than 50% utilize this “cost cutting” strategy and even more true of commercial greenhouse produce. As a side note: The most common ripening process is some kind of gas (yikes!) AND most of this produce is grown from GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) hybrid seed! Meats are also shipped here and there for final fattening, slaughter, purchasing and finally packaging – IF it happens to be raised here in the States or not.

Next I discovered that all this travel is to “process” the produce after it is harvested. Depending on the item, it travels from farm/ranch to various “plants” for a particular process. Like: cleaning; sorting; packaging; bulk buying; etc. - all before it reaches our store shelves!

Did you know?

  • Hawaii imports 90% of its food.
  • In 1866, 1,186 varieties of fruits and vegetables were produced in California. Today, California's farms produce only 350 commercial crops.
  • Communities reap more economic benefits from the presence of small farms than they do from large ones. Studies have shown that small farms re-invest more money into local economies by purchasing feed, seed and other materials from local businesses, whereas large farms often order in bulk from distant companies. Large factory livestock farms also degrade local property values because of the intense odors they emit and other environmental problems they cause.
  • A typical carrot has to travel 1,838 miles to reach your dinner table.
  • In the U.S., a wheat farmer can expect to receive about six cents of each dollar spent on a loaf of bread—approximately the cost of the wrapping.
  • Farmers' markets enable farmers to keep 80 to 90 cents of each dollar spent by the consumer.
  • About 1/3 of all U.S. farms are located within metropolitan areas, comprising 18% of total U.S. farmland.

In 2001 the US imported:

  • 68.2% of our fish and shellfish
  • 27.3 percent of confectionary products
  • 21.4 percent of fruits, juices, and nuts
  • 15.5 percent of vegetable oils
  • 9.3 percent of red meat

To me locally grown food is better tasting, probably fresher and helps my community, instead of the big “Mega Buck, Mega Profit, Mega Quickly” mentality of corporate America. As a bonus I can control if I want organic food or super processed food, as well as help to preserve the diversity of our food sources.

Bottom line: Whether or not the 1,500-mile figure applies to everyone and everything, or how it's been misused by our media and environmental groups, it had better raise our consciousness about where our food comes from and how it is grown and processed.

Yes Virginia, it really matters what you buy, where it came from and where you buy it!

Read all the details @

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

HR 5175 Selectively Silences American Opinion

From Gun Owners of America News Letter June 8, 2010

Obama Moves to Silence Gun Groups and Other Political Opponents

-- Bill clears committee hurdle, going to the House floor soon

Gun Owners of America Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Fresh from his efforts to seize government control of the health services sector (ObamaCare) and the financial markets ("finance reform"), Barack Obama has a new priority: silence his political opposition.

As satisfying as it was for Obama to seize control of one-sixth of the economy, he has had to suffer protest from the "little people" (like us). So he is pushing the Orwellian "DISCLOSE" bill (HR 5175) to make sure gun groups and other pro-freedom forces cannot mobilize their members in the upcoming elections.

When Obama says "disclose," what he really means is "disclose gun group membership lists"

Not surprisingly, these efforts to shut down free speech don't apply to Obama allies, like Democratic-leaning labor unions. They only apply to groups which are not reliable Obama allies, like Gun Owners of America.

But, for those groups whose free speech is targeted for Obama's wrath under this bill, the consequences are severe:

* Under Title II of the bill, GOA (and other groups, as well as many bloggers) who merely mention public officials within 60 days of an election could be required to file onerous disclosures -- potentially including their membership lists.

* Also under Title II, GOA could be required to spend as much as half of the time of a 30-second ad on government-written disclosures.

* In addition, Sections 201 through 203 would potentially put the government's snooping eyes on any American who voices a political opinion, despite the fact that the Supreme Court, in Buckley v. Valeo, declared that Americans have a right to voice their opinion to an unlimited extent, if unconnected with a political campaign.

Here's an idea: If Obama is so irritated at the Supreme Court's defense of political free speech by groups like GOA, why doesn't he apply his sleazy new rules to his political allies, as well?

ACTION: Please urge your congressman to vote against the anti-gun HR 5175. This bill has moved out of committee and has now been placed on the House calendar.

You can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at to send a pre-written message to your Representative.

----- Pre-written letter -----

Dear Representative:

I urge you to oppose HR 5175, a bill that will deny the free speech rights of all Americans. Under Title II of this bill:

* Groups like Gun Owners of America (and other groups, as well as many bloggers) who merely mention public officials within 60 days of an election could be required to file onerous disclosures -- potentially including their membership lists -- even though the Supreme Court has previously ruled in NAACP v. Alabama that membership lists (like those of GOA's) are off limits to government control.

* Also, groups like GOA and the NRA could be required to spend as much as half of the time of a 30-second ad on government-written disclosures.

* In addition, Sections 201 through 203 would potentially put the government's snooping eyes on any American who voices a political opinion, despite the fact that the Supreme Court, in Buckley v. Valeo, declared that Americans have a right to voice their opinion to an unlimited extent, if unconnected with a political campaign.

Here's an idea: If Obama is so irritated at the Supreme Court's defense of political free speech by groups like GOA, why doesn't he apply the new rules in HR 5175 to his political allies (like the labor unions), as well?

Suffice it to say, if you care anything about the First or Second Amendments, you will vote against HR 5175. GOA will be scoring this vote on their rating of Congress.


What if the May 1921 solar superstorm occurred today?

NASA Plans for Large Scale Failure-Power, Grid is “Particularly Vulnerable to Bad Space Weather” A great article from APN & SHFTplan Read at:


FAQ: The End of the Light Bulb as We Know It

In December 2007 Congress signed into law a bill to phase out the 125-year-old incandescent bulb in the next four to 12 years in favor of a new generation of energy-efficient lights that will cost consumers more but should return their investment in a few months. In 2012 the “phase out” begins in earnest.

To find out what this means to you read the article at:

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Friday, June 4, 2010

U.S. Risk Map Links

“To be prepared is to anticipate risk and to prudently act toward prevention.” Wes Fessler

Complete list of links can be found at:

Tips on Selecting Members for a Successful Preparedness/Survival Group - Getting Along Today and Tomorrow

"Emergency preparedness is a team sport.“ Eric Whitaker

Getting along with others is a necessity and it will become even more critical in a SHTF world and when choosing people to become a part of your preparedness group, as well as, for having a successful group - pre and post SHTF.

So I decided to do some research into this. I questioned family, friends, neighbors, church associates, went to the library and read some books; along with surfing the web. Boy is there a ton of stuff out there on this subject! I next took all my notes and tried to make a list of key points and some specific points for us Preppers and Survivalists. Hope this helps.

Getting along FAQ’s:

• Is tough enough in our everyday current world
• Tougher still when seeking others who prepare as we do
• Even tougher when you consider human nature
• At some point we need to trust not only our own “gut”, but others too
• The same rules & tips apply before & after a crisis - with added caveats just for us “Preppers”

A fantastic article for us Preppers on personality dynamics called "FRIENDS OR ALLIES" can be found at: To me this is a must read as it very simply explains how friendships and family relationships WILL be affected by the type of crisis planning we do.

Read the "FRIENDS OR ALLIES" article and then apply the tips listed below. Combined these will give you all the intellectual tools you need to not only with the people around you in harmony, but also how to recruit people into your group successfully.

Read the complete article, including Risk Map links at:

Keep On Preppin

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Survival Seed Packages VS Saving Your Own Seeds

I was recently asked by some friends which Survival Seed packages/cans are good and which are scams. My answer is as follows:

I haven't looked too, too closely into survival seed packages. As a general rule of thumb though if LDS sells them or recommends a brand (same with MRE's & Dehydrated foods) - then they are reliable. According to their sites, if the vacuum sealed envelope has an oxygen packet, the seeds can remain viable. I stress - can remain viable - as other typical storage factors apply no matter how the seeds are packaged.

The other criteria - I - add is that the seeds MUST be Open Pollinated and not hybrid. They can be heritage seeds, but don't need to be, as All Heritage seeds are open pollinated, but not All Open Pollinated seeds are heritage. Hybrid seeds will NOT produce hybrid offspring and many ar
e sterile so seeds must be purchased each planting season.

Next check and be sure the seeds are "naturals" to the environment that you will be growing them in. In NM we need drought and alkaline tolerant seeds. Where I plan to move, in the far north, I need high altitude and short growing season plants/seeds.

I save my own seeds from my garden as these are items I will eat. A lot of the seeds, in even the LDS survival seed packages, are for veggies that I cannot or will not eat - for me that is almost 2/3 of the average survival seed package, which means that these packages would not help me survive.

I usually utilize my seeds the next growing season, but I do set some aside for long term storage and then utilize (and replace) them every 2-3 years to keep them viable.

I probably "over package" my stored seeds as after prepping them (yes different seeds need different preps for storage and sprouting), I wrap them in wax paper, put in a labeled zip lock bag where I have removed as much air as possible, then put that bag in a Seal'a'meal vacuum package with an oxygen packet. I have been averaging 80-95% sprout and mature rates for the last 12 years.

On a side note when my grandmother passed in the 80's and I was clearing out her home, my cousin and I found a 3 lb coffee can full of paper wrapped seeds of our grandmother's. At the time of her death she had not gardened for 15 years or so and yet my cousin and I had almost a 90% sprout and mature rate from those seeds.

Seeds will not replace good food stores - because depending on what time of year the crisis hits, combined with the growing season needed and soil condition - it is possible that even if all the seeds in the package sprout and flourish, it could be up to 3-9 months before you can harvest any to eat. (Fruit and nut trees take an average of 5 years to mature to fruit bearing stage and can take up to 3 yrs to acclimate back to fruit bearing after transplant.)

Another thing to remember is that it takes an average of 2-3 years to get the garden soil up to speed for high success rates with any kind of seed or plant. All soil must be prepared correctly for the plant(s) being sown. In the SHTF world you will not have access to all the additional fertilizers needed to bring the soil up to par quickly in one season.

This is on top of any garden will have its share of "Murphy’s Law" incidents which will reduce harvest from time to time. You absolutely cannot rely solely on Survival Seed Packages to supply your food. Food stores, saving your own seeds and constant gardening will do more to help you survive (food wise) than any Survival Seed package no matter how much it is recommended.

Bottom line: Rather than purchasing "survival seed" packages. Save your own!

Online companies for open pollinated &/or Heirloom seeds:

For second to none in NM go to Plants of the Southwest -

The following are recommended by LDS & by users of several of the major "survival/preparedness/homesteading/self-reliance" blogs including

Be Prepared (emergency essentials) -
Seed Trust -
The Ark Institute -
Territorial Seed -
The Seed Savers Exchange - (I have used these people for years and never been dissapointed)

Other trusted site recommendations:

Slow Food / Slow Food USA
Heirloom Seeds and Heirloom Tomatoes - and
Seeds of Change
Native seeds/SEARCH E-mail: (I use these people and Plants of the Southwest almost exclusively here in NM)
Victory Seeds
Eden Organic Nursery Services Inc
Orchard House Heirlooms
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange -
Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -


Open Pollinated Seeds For Self Reliance Who recommends th
e following in that article:
Abundant Life Seed Foundation, P.O. Box 772, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Bountiful Gardens Ecology Action, 5798 Ridgewood Rd., Willits, CA 95490
Native Seeds/Search, 526 N. 4th Ave., Tucson, AZ 85705
Seeds of Change, P.O. Box 15700, Santa Fe, NM 87506-5700
Seed Dreams, P.O. Box 1476, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-1476
Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, P.O. Box 170, Earlysville, VA 22936

Harvesting Seeds

Saving Seeds

Saving Vegetable Seeds

Saving Seeds In a Small Way

Seed Saving For Beginners Gr
eat step by step instruction for common garden vegetables.

**** Svalbard Global Seed Vault or Doomsday Vault My big concern here is that the DuPont Corporation, Monsanto Corporation, the Rockefeller Foundation and the World Bank are among those who help manage the trust fund for this seed bank.

Prep On

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper ;-}

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Urban Suburban Rural Security Landscaping and Lighting

I was reading a blog by “Riverwalker” and got to thinking … No matter our age or if alone, a couple or in a family unit, urban, suburban or rural, we all want to be safe while in our homes or yards and we want our homes safe when we aren’t there. On top of that we also want our “homesteads” to look nice and be relatively easy and cheap to care for.

I currently live in Albuquerque, NM, which is rather unique in that we have a rural valley that runs through the middle of town that we affectionately call “The Bosque”. Part of the city is dubbed “The East Side”, which means by the Sandia Mountains on the east side of town. My home is in the “Heights”, on the northwest side of the mountain and the east of the river.

I have survived the “autumn of the bear” in my backyard and the “spring of the bobcat” in my trash; I’ve walked the Bio Park and seen a family of (5) coyote not more than ten feet from me; Have either a falcon or hawk that lives in my neighborhood and keeps the pigeons at minimum and a roadrunner that loves my birdbath; I’ve had to get help to remove a rattler that slithered its way into my garage and someone to get rid of the black widow and tarantula nests I’ve found in my xieroscaped yard. But what scared me the most, upset me the most; was helping to thwart several intruders/burglars in my neighborhood. All of this in my noisy crowded city? If all of this can happen here, what about the country?

I have been living alone for quite some time now and had done some research on security landscaping, which I implemented for my current urban home way back in the day. Now I am planning to retire and re-locate to a rural area soonest. Add to this what I have experienced here in the city and my memories of my grandparent’s farm, not to mention me currently battling squirrels, chipmunks and scoundrels, while my rural friend’s battle deer, elk, moose and bear - I felt this subject warranted new research. After all I want not only myself, my family and friends, but my home, its contents, my animals and garden to be safe from four and two legged uninvited guests too. I at least want enough time to arm myself if need be.

So I decided to re-research this subject from the rural and older age perspective and I thought I would share what I have learned. I not only searched the web from landscaping to law enforcement to homesteading sites, I also talked to my area professional landscapers, law enforcement, friends and neighbors. Believe it or not, even Homeland Security has something on this subject. Go figure. Then I talked with my friends in Maine, upper Michigan, Tennessee, Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Texas, Oregon and Arizona. Most of who are living the rural, if not “boonies” lifestyle.

I found one FBI statistic that stated that there is a home burglary every 15.4 seconds somewhere in the United States. Most burglaries occur during the day, when occupants are away. Most occur during July and August, with the fewest in February. Most burglars are young males, under 25 years old, looking for small items easily converted into cash. About 70% of burglars use some force to enter a building, but open doors and windows are of course preferred.

Intruders also look for no to few obstacles blocking quick exits, and public access on at least one side of a property fence. Homes next to schools, along drainage ditches, and near parks or similar venues are among the most vulnerable.

To avoid getting caught, the intruder’s ideal home is one they can get into and out of quickly, easily, and not be seen. Above all they are opportunists.

While most police will say that dense landscaping is an invitation to trouble and that statistically houses that cannot be seen from the street are at a higher risk for break-ins than houses that are, there are other landscaping tips they do not stress that they really should. Like their own "3-7" rule, especially if combined with thorny plants. IE: security landscaping.

The 3-7 Rule is to keep shrubs near the house no more than 3 feet high to deprive a potential intruder of a hiding place; Keep tree limbs at least 7 feet away from the side of the house and at least 12 feet off the ground, to deprive the intruder of easy access to a second level window or balcony.

This means thin out overgrown foliage on large shrubs to expose branch structure; if you can see through large plants, no one can hide behind or in them. If a plant is too overgrown, remove it and start over with one that's slower growing or lower to the ground. Prune shrubs for clear views from windows.

If you live in an urban or suburban area and you are considering building a wall or fence, you need to think about building codes. Securing an area usually requires complete enclosure and possibly a structure eight to 10 feet high. Most local building codes allow only six to seven feet, unless you obtain a variance. Vines on walls can help discourage graffiti but some vines will make the wall or fence climbable. Thinking security may dictate where walls or fences are installed and how high they should be. And high cinderblock or other thick walls can muffle noises like a neighbor of mine found out after he raised his backyard walls to 12 feet and an intruder accosted his wife. Us neighbors heard some muffled noises but could not quickly determine if it was kids playing one block over or from their house. As a result, we were a little slow to alert the authorities and help.

If you are determined to have a fence in these populated areas, consider picket fences, lattice with large openings, walls with open patterns or other see-through design, chain link (not pretty but cheap) or solid iron picket (nice looking but expensive).

If these walls or fences need a gate, avoid one from a deserted alley or pathway or blind corner and the like.

Seating in a fenced or walled area should be placed not only for relaxation, but in a place where you can see passerby, around your compound and so forth.

If you are in a rural area, a fenced courtyard or backyard would be nice to keep the kiddies and pets in and others out. To accomplish this and still more or less, follow the 3-7 Rule, my farmstead friend created a solid straw bale four and half foot high wall and imbedded broken, very sharp wine and beer bottle glass all along the outside and top of it. She has told me it was high enough that her children could not touch the top until they were old enough to know it was sharp and the deer were discouraged from the wall, even at night, as the motion sensor lights would reflect off the glass on the outside and top of the wall. She also told me that the glass did not stop a two legged intruder, but the wireless driveway alarm alerted her at the same time the lights startled him and even though he continued to intrude, she was alerted in time to give the bugger a very armed “welcome” and detention (tied up in her root cellar) until the county sheriff arrived to take him away.

Again, if living in an urban or suburban area, be sure to mow your lawn and have someone pick up newspapers and mail if you are away – IE: Don’t advertise that your home is ripe for the picking.

To keep burglars from reaching upper windows, remember the 3-7 Rule and keep ladders and your tools (garden/homesteading) out of sight and locked up! Windows in outbuildings on the compound should be at least 10-12 feet higher than the ground level outside the structure. This deprives the intruder from seeing inside and from having easy access to get into the structure, while still allowing plenty of light to shine in. Don't place sturdy trellises and gutters against walls of buildings that might be climbed to gain upper floor or high window access.

If your house is near a road or in a neighborhood, make sure your landscaping provides a clear view of your house from the road. Hidden homes are ideal for burglars. One of my friends on a semi-rural farm in Tennessee used to have several large evergreen trees and bushes, blocking most of their house from view from the road. Thieves took advantage of this one time when they were away. They have since cut them back.

So even if you live in the country it is not wise to have a thick border of shrubs blocking the view of your house from the road. If you do, it is best to keep them pruned low enough to allow visibility. Remember that 3-7 Rule. Or have some kind of wireless alarm or motion detector lighting that will go off and alert you.

As a homesteader or rural living person, even if your house is hidden from the road due to a long driveway, it would be wise to have a good clear view of all entry points around your home or inner compound and a wireless driveway alarm or two, to avoid “surprise” visitors. If you have additional buildings in your compound like barns and work sheds, it would be a good idea to utilize additional wireless driveway alarms and motion detection dusk to dawn outside lights for blind spots and the like. The additional seconds that these devices give you to protect yourself and yours, could be life savers. One of my friends in Idaho has wireless, motion detection sprinklers that go on when tripped. As he put it “a very cold, soggy, running away icicle intruder, that made cracking noises as he ran, is easier to hear, spot and catch than a dry quiet one.” Needless to say his intruder experience occurred in the winter.

As an additional incentive, a friend of mine in Wyoming uses the lights and alarms around his vegetable garden and orchard. He set the wireless audible alarm to blast (like an air horn) at the site instead of in his house and the motion detection lights to strobe –he says this has scared away bear, cougar, deer and elk. Not to mention that it alerts him, even while inside the farmstead sound asleep at o-dark-thirty. He is off-the-grid so the energy needed must be minimal or solar.

Urban, suburban or rural it is always wise to have good lighting in dark corners around the home and in the immediate yard or compound. Solar powered dusk to dawn coupled with solar motion sensor lighting is the best and shouldn’t drain your energy supply. Even the fancy “up lighting” for trees and tall shrubs will help deprive intruders of a place to hide and many are solar powered as well. Not to mention that they make the compound look good to boot! My dear Montana homestead friends have these up pointing under the second story windows to rooms they do not have populated on a routine basis as well as on trees around their compound. They give them festive colors around the holidays. Looks great.

For additional tips see “Survivalist Uses For Solar Landscape Lights” By Joseph Parish @

For great ideas on Wildfire Landscaping Defence “Landscaping Tips Tips to Help Defend Your Home from Wildfire” by University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources @

The next step to security landscaping is thorny plants. It’s easy to see why intruders hate these plants because we hate to prune and trim them for the same reasons. But if security and defense are your wishes, these are great protectors and they look good to. Be forewarned: I had to look up the more official names and descriptions to most of these plants, so get someone in the know to help you.

Professional landscapers have often said that planting thorny thicket hedges, etc. are a very reliable way to secure your yard or home from intruders. However, careful planning and pruning is needed or these same hedges can become cover for intruders instead. Don't plant these kinds of thorny plants where children play, climb or dig with their hands. These shrubs can and do draw blood! Thorny plants also tend to collect trash and leaves. So make sure you wear thick gloves, longs sleeves, long pants and sturdy shoes, when pruning or removing debris that gets caught in the branches of these babies.

If you live rurally, the fruit that some of these plants produce may draw four-legged interlopers closer to your home and livestock than you would like. So research and plan carefully.

As with any plant, be sure to ascertain the plant’s growth habit and size at full maturity, before purchasing or planting. You want to make sure it’s scale and pruning needs match your lifestyle and your home. Also beware of non-native plants and try to find out if they will become intrusive in your environment. If they do, they will become way more work for you than the security they provide and in some areas are illegal to boot. I learned this lesson the hard way.

Some plants that are likely to wound intruders are: dwarf conifers, such as bird's nest spruces; low growing shrubs, such as English yews and globose blue spruces (Picea pungens), also known as "Glauca Globosa"; or thorny plants that stay small, about three to four feet high and wide. One shrub that people aren't likely to hide behind, with its tight mass of thorny leaves, is Rotunda Chinese holly; hardy oranges (Poncirus trifoliata); and devil's walking stick (Aralia spinosa) are also good.

On the west coast and Rocky Mountain region, there is a wide variety of thorny landscaping plants to choose from.

Pyracantha and Barberry are two fast growing, evergreen shrubs with wicked thorns. Both can reach heights of about 15 feet and can be pruned into a tight, impenetrable hedge. The pyracanthia has red, yellow or orange berries in the fall. The Barberry is characterized by their three-spined thorns. These are excellent to use along the perimeter of your property, smaller varieties are effective under windows.

Roses are beautiful solutions for creating security. One friend of mine planted a 75 foot rose hedge along the fence wall of his west side home (west of the Rio Grande), which has been effective in keeping people from hopping the fence from the arroyo that borders that side of his property.

Another variety of rose, called the Japanese rose, or rosa rugosa is a suckering shrub which can spread quite fast. It can grow between 5-7 feet in height, forms dense thickets and has zillions of wicked thorns on its stalks. This rose blooms once a year and is very attractive to nesting birds.

Oregon Grape is a large evergreen shrub mostly found in the Northwest. It has a leaf like a holly, but produces small blossoms in the spring. In the summer, the berries resemble small concord grapes. Oregon Grape is one of the few plants that seem to do well beneath pine trees and in areas of little shade. This shrub grows to 4-6 feet in height, with a spread of up to 10 feet. These are excellent perimeter shrubs as well and practically impossible to crawl through. I had a cousin who made it through one of these as a kid. He still has the scar on his back as proof.

Holly is another variety of thorny plant. There are nearly 400 varieties of both trees and shrubs growing anywhere from 6 to 60 feet in height. Holly produces a bright red berry, which is mildly toxic. It's not a plant recommended with small children in the yard.

If your home is along an irrigation road, canal, arroyo, gully or alley, a row of blackberry or raspberry bushes provides a practical deterrent for any trespasser. These are fruit producing, suckering vines that can be trained to grow along a fence, like chain link. Left alone, they can turn into thickets as high as 10 feet. Berry bushes spread quite easily and are difficult to get rid of once established. They are best planted in areas where they won't interfere with other landscaping, gardening or agriculture.

Bougainvillea is a thorny vine with purple or yellow blossoms that can grow to lengths of up to 35 feet. It prefers warmer climates, and blooms frequently. Bougainvillea is ideal for fences and trellises.

Natal plums are another variety of southern plant that prefers warmer climates. This evergreen shrub reaches up to 7 feet in height, with a spread of 8-10 feet. It's characterized by a unique mounding shape and white, star shaped flowers.

For desert residents, spine tipped yucca and prickly pear cactus are excellent plants for chasing off would be burglars. Prickly pear cactus are especially effective beneath windows. Many of the berry, holly and Pyracantha grow well in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas too.

If you want thorny trees try: Hawthorne, this dense hedge grows 20 to 25 feet high and produces fragrant pink and white flowers. It has sharp thorns, which can range from 1 to 5 inches in length; Hardy Orange is a fruit-bearing tree often used around prisons. These grow 15 to 20 feet high and wide and are covered to the ground with lacerating thorns; Black Locust is resistant to rot and pollution and produces creamy white flowers and a pair of short thorns at the base of each leaf. My grandson calls them “surprise needles”, as they are somewhat hidden from view. These are poisonous to horses and in some areas considered invasive.

Basically, unless you surround your home with an electrified, walled, gated, razor wired, mined and moated compound, you'll never be able to keep people completely off your property and even then I doubt 100% is possible. But, by planting thorny shrubs and placing lighting and wireless alarms in areas where trespassers tend to collect or cut through or can hide, you will make your home, yard or compound less of a target for two and four legged intruders and at the very least, be alerted to the intrusion in enough time to protect and arm yourself and yours.

You can download this article @ and be sure to check out “Defending the Homestead or Home Beyond the Usual” @

From a 50 Something, soon to be rural homesteading, Prepper.