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Episode 176 S5-13

Homesteading Basics


Special Guest:

Dark Days in Denver Ch 13

~Jane Austin~

Waiting for their friends to arrive, the Dark Days in Denver adventure continues. Erika and Daniel spend time within the walls of the homesteads. The homesteads have become a major source of food production and an integral part of community survival after the Great Quake. Today, Jane Austin a.k.a. Survivor Jane, joins us to discuss the basics of running a homestead.

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A homestead usually infers that you are self-sustaining as much as possible. Usually this begins with a garden for your own food production. You don't need a huge piece of property to accomplish this goal. Using a gardening technique that Jane's husband calls, nature culture, you can get started with as little as one half of an acre. Rick came on the show to talk about his secret garden of survival and it is a spectacular system. 

Basically you start with a tree and surround it with berry bushes, then your herbs. You continue planting perennial circles everywhere and during the spring you add your annuals in at random spots. After time, nature will take over and blends with what you have planted. There is no watering and no fertilizing. If you plant in rows, you will need much more land. When bugs attack your plants, they can go right down the row destroying all the plants of the same type. That won't happen with the secret garden.

When you decide to take the leap into the homesteading world, you have to learn how to leave consumerism behind. However, you will know exactly what has been put into your own food supply when you supply your own. In order to supply a year round food supply, you have to harvest, can and freeze products all summer long. You will be hoping to get a big crop next year but what if you don't? You have to have extras to last you, just in case. 

A greenhouse can have multiple uses but it also helps give you a year round supply of food on a smaller scale. 

You do not need to grow corn!!!!!! Corn has been completely genetically modified in many ways. 

Growing your own food allows you to be responsible for your own food. It's not about dieting, it's about changing your diet. You will be eating healthier foods with less pesticides and additives. 

Save your seeds! Dry them out and preserve them for future years. You have to use different techniques to preserve different seeds. Things like peaches and plums have to be put into the fridge to hold them in a state of hibernation until the next year comes around. The pit contains the seed. It is not the seed. Smaller seeds can be stored in a cool dark area.

For protein, dairy goats an be a great source. The provide an ample supply of milk for all your cooking needs. Rabbits are another great options. Jane raises Champagne D’ Argent Rabbits. She can make 4-6 meals for her and her husband from each rabbit! You can bake them, fry them, make pulled rabbit, etc. The meat will take on the flavor of whatever you season it with and it is a great white meat substitute. You can also raise ducks for protein. Survivor Jane raises Khaki Campbell ducks. They are prolific layers. They lay 350-360 eggs per year. They raise Pekin Ducks as meat birds. Jane and her husband also raise Rhode Island Red Chickens. 

There are many ways to streamline your household processes. Necessity encourages creation. If you need to find an alternate way of doing something you will. For example, Jane's washing machine broke so she started washing the cloths in the bathtub. The common belief if you can use a plunger to accomplish the task. However, it was hard for Jane to push it up and down so she put some holes in the plunger. Then the water shot through the holes so Jane made a Tupperware guard to block the water. Deciding the stick was too short, she fished that by putting a broom stick into the plumber head. She was also ringing out the clothes by hand. This makes your hands really raw. The wringing machines re expensive and hard to find. However, Jane was able to solve the problem with a pair of rubber gloves and the broom handle. She wraps the clothes around the bar and uses that to help her. 

There are many more ways you can think your way around any obstacle. Jane has come and talked to us before about alternate hygiene products. Most products made nowadays aren't build last and most Americans have grown soft. Learn to do things by hand so you are already used to doing it that way if things go wrong. Learning to sew is a fine example of a skill you should know how to do by hand. If you don't practice, you won't have a skill.

Learn what grows naturally in your local area. Plus, you need to know your geographic zone. This will give you an idea of how much water, sun, and weather you are expected to receive each year. This will help you understand what you can grow and what grows naturally. You can also help to propagate natural plants that are useful and you would like to have more of. Acorns are a fine example of natural resources that are abundant throughout the country and under utilized as a food source. They can also be made into a warming acorn tea.


I asked Jane if she ever felt like running a homestead was a thankless job. She said that before you venture into homesteading you should do your research. If you have a partner and you lose them it will be exhausting picking up their slack. However, once you find a way to make it happen, you can rise to the challenge. Once you conquer the problem, it gets easier and easier to operate the homestead. It is insurance for your future.


You need to practice your preps!! What would you really do in a grid down scenario? Could you really survive. If you practice, your necessity will encourage your creativity.


When you are looking for property to start your homestead, research it well. Don't just look for nice features like a stream or a pond. Check the laws in the area. Will they allow animals and water catch systems? Check the local, state and federal rules. Every place is different. There could be deed restrictions that change the future viability of the property. Look around the property. Will a neighborhood grow up around you?


Vacations are non-existent in a homesteading lifestyle. You will basically be living your vacation all the time because you are no longer a slave to corporate America. When you have a large homestead you have to hire someone to take care of your animals and then you will wonder how the farm is doing the whole time you are gone. When you live the quieter lifestyle, crowds may become more intimidating.

When I asked Jane if she would trade it for anything she said absolutely not! There is no need for a lot of money. On the homestead you have less stress. You are not stuck in the rat race and you live an overall happier life. All money gives you is the power to buy more stuff. Choose to live your life. 

Champagne d’Argent Rabbit
Champagne d’Argent Rabbit

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Dark Days in Denver Ch 13

~Jane Austin~

Like so many women, Jane was a self-professed "oblivious-to-what-was-going-on-around-me" city girl. She was clueless about politics, the economy and the ever changing weather patterns around her.

It wasn't until she personally experienced a life-threatening assault at gun-point, live through several violent hurricanes, and watched as her 401k dwindled down next to nothing that her eyes began to open to what was going on around her.

In 2008 she took a huge leap of faith - quit her corporate job, sold her home for next to nothing, cash-in my 401k which was even more next to nothing - and moved to Western North Carolina to learn to live a more self-sustaining and self-reliant lifestyle.

Giving up the life of eating at different restaurants each night and having her nails and hair done every two weeks - she began to research how to prepare for uncertain times and still retain her "girlie-ness". While searching preparedness web sites she noticed that most were "male-oriented". Frustrated at the need to research a word, phrase or term that she didn't understand each time she went on one of these sites, it began to dawn on her that the reason she didn't understand these sites was because a lot of them were written by men, and as we all know, men and women speak a different language and therefore process information differently.

Jane decided then and there to make it her mission to educate others; with an emphasis on women, on how to better prepare themselves by creating the website - writing on a multitude of topics dealing with disaster survival and preparedness; while interjecting bits and pieces of humor on personal experiences, discoveries and her journey along the way. also reaches preparedness-minded men who may have just begun their preparedness journey, or have sent the women in their lives, albeit, girl-friend, wife, daughters, mother, aunts or grandmothers to the site and in the process was also helped to better understand preparedness from a women's perspective.

As an additional outreach, Jane uses social media networks. She is the creator of the internationally recognized hashtag #PrepperTalk on Twitter that brings preparedness-minded people from all over the world together to discuss preparedness ideas, suggestions and information with one another. It is currently the Largest Prepper Community on Twitter.

Jane has been featured on National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers (Season Four) and in Newsweek Special Edition Off-Grid, Prepper and Shooter Magazine, Prepared Magazine. She is a contributing writer to National Geographic Channel's Doomsday Preppers BlogTV.

"Where There Is No Cosmetic Counter" and it's 1st Revision: "Emergency/Survival Hygiene" were written out of a need to bring more awareness to one of the most overlooked areas in Preparedness: "Personal Hygiene" by showing easy ways to make survival personal hygiene products. After all, infectious diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide.

In her book "What Could Possibly Go Wrong: How To Go From Completely Clueless to Totally Prepared" she "talks to the reader" in easy to understand language about her personal experiences and what she has learned could go wrong around us and how we can better prepare ourselves and family for these uncertain times. 

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