10 Lessons We Can Learn From HoneyBees

I found this post on the Barefoot Beekeeper blogsite. I thought it was very well informed and well put together. It can be looked at several ways; from a beekeepers perspective or a preppers, a naturalist or the eco-crusader. No matter how you look at it, these are good lesson that we all can use. Hope you enjoy the read.


10 Lessons We Can Learn From Honeybees

We can learn many things by observing the behaviour of honeybees. Here are ten examples of lessons we could usefully apply to our own lives.

1) Honeybees live within their means. There are no banks, loans or credit cards in the bees’ world; only the resources they themselves gather and store. Like us, bees need to eat every day, and they do everything in their power to ensure a constant food supply by storing it – not so much for themselves, but for bees yet to be born.

2) Honeybees achieve extraordinary things by working together. Fifty thousand workers can shift a lot of stuff. Co-operation is the key to their success: tens of thousands of individuals behaving as a single organism.

3) Honeybees demonstrate that division of labour can be highly efficient. And everyone knowing how to do the full range of essential jobs makes for flexibility and adaptability. Bees move through a series of jobs in the hive before finally emerging as food-gatherers. In an emergency, they can revert to their former occupations to make up for losses.

4) Honeybees make honey while the sun shines. Bees are opportunists, taking advantage of available food as soon as conditions are right. Even when their stores seem full, they will find odd corners to pack with food,

5) Honeybees behave as though individuals matter, while the common good is always their first priority. Ego is not a feature of honeybees: their first duty is to the colony and bees will sacrifice themselves without hesitation if they perceive a threat to the colony.

6) Honeybees understand that hard times happen, and they are always prepared for shortages as well as disasters.

7) Honeybees share: they know there is plenty for everyone, including other species. Honeybees do not compete head-on with other species: there is overlap in their food sources, but they do not need to drive others from their territory.

8) Honeybees adapt to their surroundings. They know that this is the only effective survival strategy. This extends even to their use of propolis, which varies according to local conditions, and can protect them against localized pathogens.

9) Honeybees understand that honest communication is at the heart of community. Bees are great communicators, using vibrations and pheromones to pass complex messages around their colony. As far as we know, they are incapable of telling anything but the truth as they understand it.

10) Honeybees’ survival depends on selecting high quality, un-tainted food from a variety of sources. Because we have assumed control of much of the available land for our own purposes, we are responsible for ensuring that they continue to have access to flowers untainted by toxic chemicals to which they have no defence.

For almost all of the last 80 million years or so, bees have had flowering plants to themselves. Only in the last 100 years has their natural diet been contaminated with substances they can never before have encountered: man-made chemicals designed to poison them and their kind, some of them cunningly incorporated into the very bodies of the plants they feed on. More and more of these toxins are being spread on crops and on the soil, and the bees have no chance of surviving their onslaught.

We must reform our farming methods. The alternative is a world controlled by corporations, intent on bringing the food chain completely under their control.

The elimination of ‘nuisance species’ is already underway by those who stand to profit from GM crops. To those who stand to make billions of dollars from maize, wheat, rice and cotton, the honeybees are irrelevant. They simply don’t care if they disappear: they have no use for them, as all the crops that grow from the GM seeds they sell are wind-pollinated.

Ironically, some of these very same corporations are already making profits from breeding and selling other bee species – such as mason bees and bumblebees – to those whose crops do require pollination. Because these bees need to be bred in quantity and renewed every year, they have found a way to commercially benefit from the developing situation that must raise questions about their involvement in the demise of the honeybee.

Have they, in fact, deliberately poisoned the honeybee in order to exploit the resulting gap in the market?

Posted by The Barefoot Beekeeper

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Prepping at the dollar store

Dollar 1

My new Survival Knife

Well its taken me over a week to get this article together. Not because we have been laying around, quite the opposite. We have been going pretty much non stop during the day.  One of the things that has taken up a good amount of time, was going and getting two new pot belly pig boars.  If you want to know more about that check out the Around the Homestead section.

The other day we went to the dollar store and the following are the results. I will post pic’s first then tell you about them.

Over view of all the stuff I found.

As you can see there is a lot of stuff here. I haven’t set down and figured it out yet but I bet there is enough stuff on those five shelves for a family of three to pack a 72hrs kit or a Bug Out Bag/BOB. This would be great for a small family with young children or with one older child.  I can easily see packing all this stuff into 3 inexpensive school type backpacks. Of course, you are going to remove all the excess packaging that they come with. In the Marine Corps they call this “field stripping” your gear.

I’m just going to list the stuff on the shelves. I will discuss uses in a later post.

A close up of a couple of the shelves.

Top two shelves

Top Shelf

Disposable/ packable Aluminum baking pan 3 of them, Aluminum foil Heavy Duty, Aluminum baking pan (non disposable/packable), Ramen noodles, Bamboo walking stick 3/4″ dia., 000 steel wool brillo pads,  plastic garage bags, 4 boxes of matches ( I later found  a 3 pack of lighters), corn chips, Mesh laundry bag, Gauze pads, antacids, Ibuprofen(Motrin) or Aleve, triple antibiotic, Elastic bandage(Ace wrap).

15 items on this shelf.

Second Shelf

 Paring knife, plastic screw lid container, Aluminum water bottle, wet wipes, 2 pack of hand sanitizer, bottle of alcohol, bottle of Clorox, ceramic mug, 160 count coffee filters, petrolatum jelly, 100% cotton balls, 1 gal of water.

12 on this shelf.

3rd and 4th shelves

Third Shelf

3 pack of razor blade box cutters, heavy-duty cloth work gloves, 2 different types of rope, package of bungy cords, round mirror, 4 pack of shoe laces, 2 pack plastic rain poncho, 2 pair pack of socks, 3 pack of wash clothes, 3 pack of tissues, flash light, matching batteries (not on shelf but were there).

12 on this shelf as well.

Fourth Shelf

Light duty cloth gloves, 3 pack of magnifying glasses, Tooth brush set with tooth paste and a protective cover, floss, mouth wash, candle in a metal tin, feminine pads or tampons, deodorant, chap stick, metal safety pins, metal paper clips with or without plastic coating, garden spade, gardening trowel.

15 on this one.

Fifth Shelf

Fifth Shelf

Air horn, 4×6 index cards, Sharpe, bible, 3 bars of soap, 2 decks of playing cards, baby powder, candle in glass jar, harmonica.

9 on this one.

Well if you were paying attention that was a grand total of 63 items. That means for about $60 you could equip 3 nice 72hrs bags for your family. For a family of 3, that’s $20 bucks a piece. I consider that very affordable and good piece of mind. I know a couple of the items were luxury or nice to have’s or for fun, but in a stressful situation having a little fun is really a stress reliever. Also don’t forget to pack a bag for each of your pets that you would take with you. Whats nice about animal, if they are sizable enough, you can train them to they can carry their stuff and some of yours too.

When I get a bit more time, I will start a 5 post series in the “Stairway to Prepping” category where I will discuss how each item on the shelves (one shelf at a time) can used. Stay tuned and hope you enjoyed the read.


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I have to admit that R and I are a little bit in love with pizza. In fact, R’s motto quite possibly could be “Pizz’Amore!” In the spirit of full disclosure, I am only in love with MY pizza where R could really care less where it comes from as long as it is hot and cheesy.

I guess it is no surprise what was for dinner tonight is it? I used a pizza dough recipe from King Arthur Flour Company that is quite easy to make. This recipe does require pre-planning. If you’ll remember I tend to not plan my time accordingly, but I was relatively successful in the planning arena today and made the polish (starter) in the morning (as opposed to the night before) and let it rest all day long. This dough recipe is SUPER YUMMY! Yes, it does require full on caps and exclamation. It is crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. Just the way I like it.

Now R is strictly a cheese pizza kind of guy 93% of the time. The other 7% he will opt for pepperoni. I always know that R will eat like he has been starved for weeks on pizza night. Other nights it is a bit hit and miss; he may clear his plate, he may not. When it comes to Jay and me, we like a little bit of the tropics. We are firm believers that fruit DOES indeed belong on pizza. Yup, you know it… Hawaiian for us. However, when I make pizza at home, I opt for a “white” pizza. I really, really, (did I mention REALLY?) like a white sauce with chicken and fresh spinach topping. When I can find green onions and some good looking tomatoes, it just makes my pizza. If I am feeling like I deserve just a little extra yummy-ness, I’ll even add some bacon bits!

I know that to be a bit more authentic, I should use a pizza stone… and I do have one. I just can’t be bothered to dig it out of the box it is hiding in.

Tonight’s results….

Here is a link to the recipe. Since I was trying to use what flour I had left over from dividing it all up the other day. I used equal amounts of bread flour and all-purpose flour instead of just all-purpose. I did not use any dough conditioner. Also instead of cooking the pizzas at 500ºF, I cooked them at 400ºF for just a little bit longer.

I made a “paste” of fresh pressed garlic, onion powder, garlic powder (could use garlic salt if you choose), Italian seasoning, and EVOO. I don’t have measurements as I cook by feel when I make things up on my own. I spread this paste on both crusts prior to the first cooking. On R’s pizza I used shredded mozzarella and shredded colby/jack cheeses. On mine and J’s I used alfredo sauce, shredded mozzarella and shredded colby/jack cheeses, fresh baby spinach, and grilled chicken. After cooking ours, I added fresh tomatoes and then fresh ground salt and pepper to taste. A few more photos to enjoy…

I hope the next time you are in the mood for pizza and feeling adventurous you will take a chance and make your own!


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The Dollar Prepper

Well this weekend went very fast. Saturday was basically a kicked back day. I did some outdoor practical skills with my daughter. It started raining so we put up a quickie tarp shelter and did some skill building on fire starting. Shortly after starting, we were interrupted by family to come visit with family from out of town. S and I finished our fire building then we all headed into town.

Saturday night had my 5yo come over to have a sleep over movie night with our 8yo. We watched “Real Steel”. It was a good movie. Sunday morning they both slept in and then spent the balance of the day on the Wii as it was drizzling most of the day. About 3:30 the other 3 came over to visit and hangout. We all had a good time. I like these kinds of days.

I was able to get some work done on projects downstairs while they played the Wii. I continue creeping closer to finishing the tincture press and I did finish rebuilding my vibrator tumbler. Now I can clean, debur, and or shine parts without having to do it by hand.  I need to get started on my garden this year and get my starts going. I plan on putting swales in the garden for the beds so when it hits July and August hopefully the plants will have plenty of water. We are also in the process of planning the chickens. I guess I need to start making a couple of tractors.

Now to the main topic as it were. I was walking around Wally World Saturday evening with Sabrina. It’s not my favorite place, but it is a necessary evil. Anyway, they had toothbrushes and tooth paste on clearance for $0.94 each. We said to each other for that price we can put away a few in long term storage and do so reasonably. I know for us, trying to build our stores and make the ends meet is difficult to say the least. This got me thinking that I could go to a dollar store (you know the ones where everything is actually a dollar) and stock up on some basic stuff to pack away in the long term storables. This could be a great way to stock up. If TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it) happens I know I won’t care- and I doubt many people will- if they have name brand stuff to cover the basic necessities. I’m going to go this week and wander through the store and see how much stuff I can get to stock up on. Just to see what is possible. I will post the results and hopefully some photos of all the stuff. I might even see what kind of stuff I can find there for a BOB (bug out bag) and Bush-crafting.

Hope everyone had a safe and relaxing weekend.


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Power of Flour

Today was super busy!

Jay continued working down stairs on his multiple projects. He arranged to have “the bigs” (the two oldest kids M and S) come out so he could start teaching them some survival basics. Today it was all about writing down information so they could reference it. Perhaps the next step will be a “memory test” to see if they have been studying their basics before they actually go out into the bush. He was also helping M. to plan out his Boy Scout Troops’s Appalachian Trail trip.

About a week or so ago I planned out a month’s dinner menu. I decided a trip to Costco was in order to buy bulk meats. I had the idea that having the menu would help me to know how much meat to purchase for the month and how I would need to break it up. We spent right about $185 and I was able to repackage it all into roughly 45 meals. I can’t be exact since most of the meat is repackaged to feed three but I’ve also portioned for the days when it will need to feed seven. (Four of the kids only stay on some weekends and every now and then they will come over during the week.)

One of those menu items was for pulled pork sandwiches. We had friends and family over last weekend and Jay smoked a bunch of meat. I didn’t buy any hamburger buns as I really wanted to try to make them. I also have to be careful of the ingredients list as one of the kids has a casein allergy. So today I tried my hand at the buns. I failed to plan my time accordingly (sadly a common occurrence for me) and I didn’t use a hamburger bun recipe. Instead I just used my bread recipe and divided the dough into eight 3 oz. balls. I then used a rolling pin to “flatten” them a bit into the bun shape. I don’t have a hamburger bun pan so I put them on a cookie sheet to bake. They seem to have turned out nicely but they look more like pita buns instead of hamburger buns. I think that is due to the amount of dough per bun so next time I will make 4 oz. buns.Image

The buns got good reviews from Jay and the kids! I think they were a little bit “heavy” as I used whole wheat flour, spelt flour, bread flour, and ground flax. Next time I will try a recipe from King Arthur Flour which seems to have really good reviews.

And now it is really time for bed! I divided 100 lbs. of flour and 25 lbs. of sugar into food-grade 5 gallon pails, made one “bag” of hamburger buns, 2 loaves of whole wheat and splet flour bread, 2 loaves of herbs and cheese bread, and a batch of granola. (Mad props to good friend  Storm for recipes!)

Nothing like “over achieving” to make one tired!



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Getting back on track

I don’t know about you guys, but this past Christmas season kicked my butt. With being laid off two weeks before Christmas; fighting with the people at the state unemployment office to just get registered; dealing with family and the people at the stores. It was all just downright exhausting!

January started a new year, a new month, a chance to get back to normal and relax… maybe. Then it’s February before you know it. And that’s where we’re at.

Now, I did finally find a sane person to help get my unemployment straightened out. It only took a month and a half and they act like that’s fast!  School and Scouts are on again, report cards came home (the kids all did well). Routine is now status quo ante. (Yup that is a new term for me! Hope I’m using it correctly. All I wanted was to make sure I was spelling status quo correctly and I learned some new terminology.)

Today I started back on some projects that people have been waiting (patiently I might add) for me to finish. While I worked on several projects, the largest and most severely neglected is a tincture press for my good friend Rod over at   http://belfirebotanicals.wordpress.com/. I know the amount of work he does with tinctures and this press will not only save him time but also increase his yield. I will post pictures when I get it finished and painted.

I also worked on organizing my tools and boxes of “stuff” in the basement. Not a fun job, but I keep telling myself I need to do that first before I work on my “fun” jobs.  “Business before pleasure” as Sabrina tells our son quite often. Some of my fun jobs are finishing two knives I started last year and building a forge so I can try my hand at blacksmithing.  I have so many outdoor projects I want/need to work on especially coming into spring; gardening, the bees, working on bushcraft skills and just exploring the woods.

Out of all the work today, none was more enjoyable than sitting outside with my 8yo son and working on his pinewood derby car with him for cub scouts. I have been teaching him to use some woodworking tools and about design and layout. Oh and let’s not forget aerodynamics! (We really want to do our best to win the races!)

Hope y’all had a good day and did something to improve yourself, your home, or your family bond.


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Getting Started

This blog is to chronicle our journey of preparedness and sustainability. We are normal people with the desire for a better life through our own hard work, not government handouts.

We enjoy gardening, bee keeping, and raising livestock.  Currently we have bees, a pig and are looking to expand this spring by adding chickens. Future plans include goats and other livestock.

Who we are:

Jay- I have been lots of things in my life and have a varied background. It ranges from student to hospital corpsman to prison guard to a machinist. And that is just the professional. I have always been a survivalist and outdoorsman. I have become a prepper and a homesteader over the last few years. I enjoy making and building things and always have several projects going at a time.

Sabrina-I was raised as a “city girl” but am finding that country life is more my style. I enjoy crafting and have always loved cooking (not necessarily the clean-up!) I am expanding my cooking skills to include homemade breads and baked goods. So if you have any recipes that you want to share, just send them my way! I’m a firm believer that reading recipes is just good old “soul sustainability”. : )

The Menagerie- Our children… the two-leggers and the four-legger.

Through this blog, we hope to learn more, meet new like-minded people, make new friends, and to help and inspire others with the goal of becoming more self sufficient, self sustainable, and self reliant.

“It’s a long road; the only way down it is with small steps and good friends.”-JAH

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