Growing Hedge Rows for Privacy and Security

We’ve all heard that particular proverb. Good fences make good neighbors. For those of us reading this venue, we all have a specific mindset that probably keeps that at the forefront of our minds. We have our space. We have our preps. We have spent time and effort placing a lot of emphasis on keeping ourselves one step ahead. So how do we keep out everyone else?. Better yet… how do we keep prying eyes out? Still best, how do we create our sanctuary without drawing any attention to ourselves whatsoever?

We can build a fence, but a fence can be cut. Fences cost money. …Money that perhaps we would like to spend on other things. We could conceivably dig a moat, but if our land isn’t flat (let’s face it, it’s probably not). A moat also isn’t much of a deterrent unless it’s filled with something particularly unsavory, like crocodiles or piranhas. Furthermore, a moat is going to take a lot of effort, probably employing heavy equipment, and again, costing a great deal of money.

What we really need is something that serves as a hardy physical and psychological barrier, screens what is behind it, costs very little, and mostly takes care of itself. Maybe it could even get more robust as time goes on… Impossible, you say? Perhaps not.

In Europe, one long standing tradition of creating a fence against neighboring property is to plant a hedge. Now before you scoff, push out of your mind the juniper bushes freshly trimmed at waist height. What you want is something a bit more robust. Something wooly and wild and impenetrable…

A customary European hedge is initially a row of one particular type of woody shrub or tree planted about 1-2 feet apart. Once the tree reaches approximately 10 feet in height, an axe or hatchet is used to notch the tree at the base so that it can be bent over, and it is laid over at about a 35 degree angle from horizontal. When the entire row is done this way, the branches are woven and tangled together to form a rough and difficult to penetrate screen. As time passes, new vegetation grows up through the toppled trees and adds height to the hedge, further screening from the neighbors. This was primarily designed to contain livestock.

What we need is a system to keep out a much more ingenious invader than neighboring livestock. We want something that will stop anything short of a bulldozer or perhaps a tank. And best of all, if it’s all the same, we want something that looks nondescript and uninteresting to the passerby. If the hungry refugee has nothing to stop and look at, he likely will keep on going. The roving gang isn’t even going to slow down if they see nothing of interest. So what we need is something much more robust than the European hedge.

European hedges are often grown from the local native shrubs and trees. Locally, here in the midwest US we have several tree species that would work especially well for this type of application. Your local flora may differ a great deal where you are. My particular favorites for my location are the honey-locust, Osage orange (notably named the “hedge tree”, locally), and western red cedar. All three of these are known throughout the region as a pest. They are all fairly prolific and fast growing. The best bet is to look around and see what grows where you don’t want it to. Those will grow into the most robust living fence you can imagine.

I have not made these three tree choices lightly. These trees are chosen because of their quick growth ability, resistance to insects and blights, and ability to interplant very closely with other trees. Hardwoods such as Oak, hickory, and especially walnut, tend to crowd out other trees with chemicals secreted by their roots. However, you can interplant fruits such as mulberry, apples and pears among the locusts, Osage, and cedars.

Now, plant your trees spacing them out in a row approximately 12 to 18 inches apart. Water them. Fertilize them if necessary. Let them grow to about 5 feet in height (tree tubes may help them achieve this height but are by no means necessary). Make sure that all trees are trimmed of most side branches and splits split trunks are pruned to one side or another. This makes the final arrangement easier.

Once the trees have reached the appropriate height ( I said 5 feet, but this is not necessarily the case) you will need to notch the trunks approximately 3 inches above ground level. To notch the trunk, you should take a sturdy knife and carve approximately 2/3 of the trunk out. Alternate which side of the tree you notch, as you will be weaving the trunks together.

Once you have notched your trees, beginning with one pair, lay your trees over to about 30-to-45 degrees crossing in the middle. Go to the next set, doing the same, making sure that you achieve a true weave (in front of one, behind the next, etc). Once done, make sure that where the trees cross the second row is done in the same manner. What you end up with should look a little something like a chain link fence.

Next you need to wait for the tree to grow some more, and repeat the process as it gets taller. Since trees don’t grow at angles, it’s likely that either your initial stem will grow straight up, or perhaps a side branch will take the initiative to take off. But either way, you will be trimming from a ladder and weaving in the same way.

Obviously, one should grow other things outside the wall. Poison ivy, stinging nettles, thick brambles and rose bushes all serve as a primary deterrent long before anyone actually comes to the hedge. Making it look natural helps all that much better. Eventually your hedge will bush out and look less like a giant lattice and more like an impenetrable wall of vegetation.

Like anything, this process can be as big or as small as you want it to be, and it’s all about how much you put into it. I envision two hedges side by side about ten feet tall. The inner hedge mostly fruit trees and honey locust, while the outer hedge is made up primarily of cedar and Osage orange. Between the two is a wall made up of old tires with one sidewall cut out, filled with sand. The tire wall is about 5 feet tall and serves as a bullet stop for stray small arms fire. Above the tire wall the two hedges have been intertwined to hold it all together. The occasional observation post (OP) has been fashioned into the design and only accessible from the private side (inside) of the wall.

With a setup like this and an alleyway to a locked gate, access could be controlled in such a way that the vagrant who wandered in would automatically be covered and unable to escape. In the same respect, anyone who attempted to raid a place reinforced in such a way, would encounter a lot more resistance than they would want to, if in fact they even knew it existed.

Obviously this process takes time. Lots of time. And that is its primary downfall. Time may be something we all lack in these uncertain and trying times. It also takes a lot of work. Hard work. Expect to have scars. Consider that as better than the alternative.

For those of us who may have that place in the woods, and are just biding our time, this might be a thing worth doing, even if just for facing a public road. If one life is saved because of this information, then it has all been worth it. Good luck and God bless to all of you.

source

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Published in: on April 11, 2009 at 1:38 am  Leave a Comment  
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Survival Fire Starting Video

Explanation and presentation of various fire starting tools. Fire is essential to staying alive in a survival situation. There are many ignition options for fire making. For wilderness survival some are clearly better than others. Fire provides warmth in cold weather, allows you to boil and purify water, cook food, boosts moral in a scary situation, and so much more. Also discussed are some home made and man made fuels and tinders. Swedish Firesteel. Strike anywhere matches dipped in wax for waterproofing. Magnesium fire starter. Various types of lighters. Magnifying lenses.

Published in: on April 7, 2009 at 1:33 am  Leave a Comment  
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Frugal Living and Self-Sufficiency

I went to a local Farmer’s Market last weekend, just to browse, and see what local farmers had to sell. While I was there I began talking with a kind woman, probably in her late 30’s, sitting behind a table with eggs and handmade soap for sale. I told her I was really interested in finding a dairy farmer, who I could buy milk from. She said, “Well… I have a milk cow. I’m just now allowed to sell the milk here since I’m not inspected or licensed and all that stuff. I bought the cow years ago because I have five kids, and I had to feed the whole bunch of them!” I said, “Really?! Well, if you were to sell some, how much would you sell it for?” She told me that she actually does have a couple people who buy it from her, and she sells to them for $4-$5 per gallon. Whew! A little too much for me! I thought (not knowing then what a good deal that actually is). I said, “Oh, okay.” I asked for her name and number, just in case, and then went on my way.

I kept thinking about her all day long, about how I’d really like to get some milk from her. Just not at that price. Then it occurred to me, work out a trade! But, what do I have to offer? I began thinking, and I decided I was going to offer to teach her about CVSing, so that she could get her toiletries and things for close to nothing, in exchange for a gallon of milk every couple of weeks. I was very excited at the idea. Surely she would be interested in saving money on shampoo, deodorant, toothpaste and stuff.

The next day, very enthusiastically I called her up. I said, “I was wondering if you might be interested in bartering.” She was excited when she said, “Sure! Whatcha got?” I told her about my idea. When I was finished explaining she was silent for a moment, then said, “Well, I kinda have a system that I use. I only go shopping twice a year, once in January, and once in June. Each trip I spend $150 on stuff that I need to last me for the next six months.” My jaw hit the floor. I was absolutely flabbergasted! Did she just say $150 for 6 months?! I blurted out, “Oh my goodness! Are you serious?!” She explained that she figured out how much flour, laundry soap, everything, that her family uses in 6 months, and budgets on that for her trip. She said she makes her own soap (a head to toe, hair and all, bar of soap!), laundry detergent, dish soap, etc. As I listened I said to her, “I need to be learning from you!” In my astonishment I became filled with questions, and asked her tons of them. Towards the end of the conversation she told me that she is having to dry her milk cow up right now because it’s going to have a baby. But she offered me some blueberry bushes if I wanted them. I made plans to visit her a couple days later.

Now, I could go on and on about my 3 hour visit with this incredible family, and this amazing Christian woman, but to keep it as short as possible, and interesting for you I will just name the things that I learned from her about how she saves her family money.

They live in a humble single wide trailer, on 3 acres of land.

They drive an older model van.

They have a garden, and raise all of their own vegetables.

They have tons of different fruit trees, bushes and plants.

For meat, they raise their own cows, chickens, rabbits, pigs, a turkey (for Thanksgiving) and hunt for deer. The cows are gifts from some dairy farmer friends of theirs. It costs $.34/lb to butcher beef any way you want it.

They keep the rabbit fur to make mittens and other things.

She freezes, cans, or jellies all of the food that they produce.

She gets her milk from her cow, and makes her own dairy products, including some cheeses, yogurt and ice cream, among other things.

She never bought baby food.

They get their eggs from their chickens.

She doesn’t own a dryer. She line dries everything. And she only washes on Mondays (unless the weather says otherwise).

She buys her flour and grains straight from the mill. She says they are fresh, and much cheaper.

They have well water of course.

She only turns on the air conditioner three months out of the year: June, July and August.

For a heating system, they have a Water Stove. First I’d ever heard of one! It’s like a huge wood burning stove. It has coils inside that hold tons of water. There are two pipes which come out of it; one goes into the house, through a car radiator, and heats the home. The other goes to the plumbing and supplies the home with hot water for dishes, laundry and baths. People bring them lumber and boxes to burn all the time.

No internet. No cable TV.

She makes a menu and plans 3 full meals a day. She said a typical meal would be: BBQ deer meat, green beans, potatoes, and a fresh apple pie. All made from scratch.

She buys all of her spices and cooking needs from an Amish store. She said they are much cheaper. For instance, a whole cup of cinnamon would cost just about $1.00. You buy by weight.

She bakes goods for about a week in Fall to sell at the Fair for her shopping money.

Her and her daughters collect cans when they find them, to recycle for about 10 cents per can.

She uses herbs for medicinal needs. She showed me a few growing in her yard, for teething babies, and bee stings.

If they feel like having a Frosty from Wendy’s, they make one at home themselves. Though, they do treat themselves with a rare splurge of going out to eat.

She was even recently given a wood stove for cooking on. She hasn’t begun using it, and is still learning about how to heat it properly and such, but she is very excited about the idea.

As I left there, I realized just how ignorant I still really am about how to live frugally. This woman truly is an example of the Proverbs 31 woman we all should strive to be. I am filled with even more questions now, and I can’t wait for my next visit with this wonderful family. What surprised me the most about Mrs. Adelia was when I asked her how she learned all of this, if it was from her Mother. She said, “Oh, no. My mother fed me Pop Tarts and Spaghetti O’s growing up. I decided when I was 29 that I was going to get a milk cow and make my own milk, and it started from there.” She began asking around about how to do certain things, and found that the very elderly, 80-90 year old women at a nearby nursing home could tell her the neatest things. And she has just learned along the way. What an inspiration! I honestly didn’t know people still knew how to do these things. I am excited about what more I have to learn.

by Kendra source

Published in: on April 2, 2009 at 10:00 pm  Leave a Comment  
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