More on wheat.

As part of our weekly highlight of a particular plant and it’s usefulness to the prepper/homesteader, last week we touched on wheat on the Crisis Application Group Facebook page. As promised,  since wheat has been instrumental in man’s domination of the planet, I will attempt to shed more light on it’s importance to preppers.

There are lots of opinions and speculation as to the relevance that small grains play in the preparedness/homestead world. Some argue that there’s better alternatives such as potatoes and other crops. In some cases I think that may hold true. However, each of us are preparing or living a simple homestead life for a reason, whatever it may be. It is this reason that should dictate your decision making process.  I’ll admit,  some of us have some outlandish reason’s that have almost zero chance of ever coming to fruition. So check yourselves once in a while and think about the “why”. If you think it’s cheaper to grow your own grain instead of buying flour at the store, look into the labor and time it takes. The same can hold true for other DIY activities. But, if you want to know where your food comes from, it’s organic or maybe just self-sufficiency as a prepper,  then those reasons can make it a worthwhile effort.

Last week I demonstrated some typical yields of wheat and how that annual production correlates to food for your family and livestock. Even a small family in a subdivision can grow a plot in the back yard. I did it as a test and yielded 48 lbs from a 15×15 plot planted with 1 lb of seed (triticale). That’s enough for 1 loaf of bread a week for nearly a year.

The next step is harvesting. When I did the test, we cut the heads off and placed them in a 5 gallon bucket and I used a rod with a chain attached in a drill. The spinning beat the seeds out. Then we poured the wheat from one bucket to another with a small fan blowing the chaff away. One that was done, I placed the seed in the chest freezer to kill and bugs or eggs. After that it was into a mylar bag.

From a prepper standpoint, depending on your personal SHTF scenario, it may be easier to buy bulk grain and store it. You will need a method to make it useable. Whether it’s bashing it between two rocks, a hand crank stone or burr grinder, an electric coffee grinder or some other method, you need to think about that before you need flour.

The reason most preppers store grains whole is because it lasts longer. Flour just doesn’t keep that long. Freezing flour also keeps those mysterious bug from just showing up in a bag of flour. My wife always thought the bugs were from the house until I explained that the eggs are in the flour and they hatch and eat it from inside the container.

So, take it for what it’s worth and use the info as you see fit.

AL

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Turkeys

This week’s prepper animal. People often forget the turkey as a viable meat source.  Most tend to think of chickens. There are several good reasons for it. Turkeys are loud.  Brakes squeaking can get toms to gobble. Hens are always chirping.  When toms strut they  make a drumming noise. Like a rooster crowing in the subdivision,  these noises sometimes don’t go over too well with neighbors, the home owners association and or local ordinances.  They don’t lay eggs all year round which makes them more of a meat bird. Most chicken owners just have chickens for eggs so that puts the turkey at a disadvantage.  Baby turkeys are called poults. Unlike  the chicken’s 21 day incubation period, the turkey requires 28 days. Like chickens they must be kept warm in a broader until they can regulate their own body heat. Like most birds, you’ll want to have the broader set up and prepared to lower the ground temperature from 90 degrees by 5 degrees per week. If it’s over 75 degrees outside, they can go out once they are a MO the and a half old. You will need to have a high protein feed ready for them, something in the 20% and higher range. Like all livestock,  water 24/7 is a must.  You’ll need one waterer per 25 birds. This is for space not volume. So select a waterer adequate for their needs or refill it as often needed. The breed you have chosen will determine the length of time until harvest. The broad breasted bronze or white will take about 6 months to reach 20-25 lbs. Alot longer than a chicken but several times the weight.  This breed also has the largest am out of beast meat,  the kind we are used to. Heritage birds may never reach that weight and wild ones take much longer. A broad breasted bronze will have 3-4 times the beast meat. That even the biggest wild turkey will have.  Harvest just like chickens. There’s alot more to know about turkey raising and the different breeds so we will have to cover those at a later date. Now, go get your gobble on.