Fishing Rods – a bug out bag guide

I thought it would be worth throwing my hat into the game to talk about fishing. The prepper community talks a lot about small fishing kits with a little bit of line and some hooks to throw into your bob (Bug out bag). If you are into serious survival tools, then read on. A fishing rod is one of the best tools you can have to put food into your belly if you had to bug out. Don’t skimp on this component of your mid length bug out plan.

Rod Selection is something I don’t see bloggers talking about. In fact, many simply tell people to use a stick. You will be much more effective if you have a good rod and reel to put into your bob. There are some ultra light to medium rods suitable for freshwater fishing and light inshore fishing that are collapsible or telescoping. Here are a few recommendations. I am not affiliated with any of these manufacturers.

Diawa Spinmatic ultralight rods – for small species like trout and crappie (Multi-Piece). I personally own one of these, it has been fantastic.

Diawa Procyon rods – spinning and baitcasting models suitable for bass/trout/walleye and maybe catfish. (Telescoping)

Diawa Ardito Surf Rods – for those near beaches, heavyweight options here if you are near big water such as a salmon river or the ocean.

Okuma Voyager – light rods for trout (multi-piece)

Kastking Blackhawk II series – many sizes and known to be fairly durable

Choose a rod that you can pack in a pvc tube to protect the guides. The pvc tube can be used to stuff additional fishing gear such as the following items: packages of hooks, split shots and other weights, swivels and a few choice lures. In a true survival scenario, bait will take you much farther than lures, but a few lures will help you start fishing immediately.

Choose a reel that is compact, typically loaded with 8- 10lb line for most bug out scenarios. If you are in big water, a braided line #30 to #50 might be appropriate, but your location would determine the best line/rod fit. Don’t forget to add an extra spool as well. This bug out bag exercise has to help keep you fed for several weeks.

Wrap your reel in a pair of socks or other clothing to keep it protected inside of your bag. If you use a spinning reel, collapse the reel handle to make it a bit more compact in your bag. With these few basic tips, you’ll have a much better solution for fishing than the tiny spool in a tin can.

Lastly, add a small rod repair kit with tips and rod eyes. This can be had for a few dollars on amazon. If you are using your rod, an eye or tip will break at some point. Be prepared to fix it in an shtf scenario. It would be the equivalent of carrying a wet-stone to sharpen your knife.

If traditional rod and reel is not your style, consider a telescopic tenkara fly rod of about 10′ in length. Keep a few tippets, leaders and flies available. This setup is a bit more compact than the above, but still more versatile than the hand line I see recommended on many sites.

Good night and good luck. I’ll add a few more articles about what I think composes a good bob in future posts.

Mr. SNH.

April 3rd Harvest

We had a good harvest today, taking a nice cabbage, the first of the golden wax beans, a few peas, finished out the carrots and 3 bundles of collards.

I also had a great time cleaning out the chicken coup (NOT). Still a bit of work to do in there, but much better than before.

Lastly, bed #2 is cleaned up and fertilized for the next crop. I also rearranged the grate to grow a few louffa gourds on the end.

Today’s harvest
More cabbage is ready
Trellis rearranged in bed #2.
Bed cleaned up for the next planting.

Food not lawns continues

We finally made good on planting up some new figs. This will help give us more fruit consistently in the coming years as they grow as discussed in a previous article about staggering harvest times with your perennial plantings.

I still need to finish up with some nice mulch and a decent ring around them. I found that the previous homeowner left the remnants of a plastic garden border buried. That is the thing sticking up between the figs in the picture. I planted the larger Brown Turkey in the corner to fill that area of the yard, leaving about 6′ of space between the fence. I plan to keep both trimmed to around a max height of 8′.

Yeah, they really are twigs at this point, but they arrived well packed from Isons Nursery.
Close up with the Celeste

We also did some harvesting over the last few weeks.

A little SNH’er with a great flat dutch cabbage!
More carrots from the regen bed. Very happy with how this bed is being reconditioned from the nitrogen poor soil it was growing in. Beans will be filling this bed next.
I started to keep track of the value the garden is bringing this year. $18. That more than covers the cost of the seeds planted for those harvests.

Get Growing!

Mr. SNH.

Biochar in my sand? Yes, we are doing that!

I was inspired by some youtube surfing the other day to get busy and try making some biochar. I used the DTG method of digging a pit and burning the wood laying around the property. The pit is in a new 10×4 section next to the blueberries, but with some separation. I don’t think the ashes left behind will affect the blueberries PH, the proximity is not close enough.

After the big burn, I put the charcoal in a wheel barrow where I topped it with all of the grass that I had just torn out. Biochar needs to be “activated” before becoming and effective nutrient battery for your plants. To activate it, we soaked the charcoal and weed mix to form a batch of “Dave’s fetid swamp water”. The charcoal absorbed it for a week, I hope it is enough to become somewhat effective in the new bed. After the heavy rains today, I furrowed a section of the new bed in the center and dumped that nasty foul smelling water with the charcoal into the ground and raked it over. It might become my watermelon patch tomorrow. I have 4 starts, and a 10×4 sounds like a good area for 4 melon plants.

New bed cleared and filled with biochar and swamp water

I also did a few other things in between the rain. Found out that the potatoes popped up. I also threw in a few more rotting red potatoes in the row just to fill it out.

Potatoes popped up this week. I clearly had some weeding to do as well.

The 3rd generation of our pretend homestead black eyed peas is in the lettuce bed to help regenerate the nitrogen loss. I did not yet pull the couple of rashes that are left in the bed in hopes of getting some seed out of the radishes.

Since my yellow wax beans are doing well, I planted another 8 row feet in the “shed bed”. This harvest will be about 3 weeks behind the first one. I am trying to stagger some of the plantings to make more consistent harvests.

About half of the tomatoes are now in ground. I still have green zebras and brandywines waiting to be planted, but don’t have a spot for them yet. I’ll likely interplant basil with the tomatoes to get a harvest from some “small structure” plants like I did with the blueberries last year. Oh, I also placed an order for some everglades tomatoes. Those are the ones I truly hope to have abundance with.

2 of the Seminole pumpkins have germinated. I was thinking of growing these into my fence just to see if they survive weaving in and out of the chicken wire. I have long way to go in the season with pumpkins, so I can start another set if this group fails.

None of the peppers germinated. I think we got into weather where the nights are just too cool. I’ll probably set some up under a grow light in the garage.

My Florida grown raspberry plant is starting to ripen. Can’t wait.

Raspberries are ripening. Maybe the berries will make it after all.

I picked up a purple sweet potato for a grocery store garden bonus. I’ll start working on getting slips going as soon as I can. Does anybody know where I can identify sweet potato varieties?

Lastly, I did some off the cuff math. It appears that the chickens have paid off about half of their coup through their egg production over the last year. Keep up the good work ladies. Mrs. SNH found out that some organic eggs in California are selling for $11/dozen. That hasn’t hit us here in Florida, but I wouldn’t be surprised if we get to $7 or $8 / dozen soon. Food not lawns people, it’s the smarter way!

Tips for dealing with a down market

Since the weather outside is frightful today and Mrs. SNH is out traveling the States, I thought it was about time to get onto a financial post.

I am sure many of you are out there looking at your 401k and pondering how the US markets have lost about 12% since the beginning of the year and some funds losing much more if you happen to be in sectors like Tech. I am sure that the conflict in Ukraine and rapid inflation have something to do with it. How are you combating it?

S&P 500 (* source yahoo finance)

I have put into place a policy of holding cash in my IRA until the markets start looking better. I am not pulling out of any investments that I have made since this has a fairly frequent history of happening and I am holding long positions. By holding “dry powder” in my portfolio, when a really solid opportunity comes around, I will have the cash to make a really good move.

For example, the real estate group “O” has lost 9% which is better performer than the S&P 500 index yet retains excellent value, returning dividends through the downturn just as it always has since 1994. I am using bellwether stocks such as O to gauge the right investment time to deploy cash when the market turns around and sentiment grows again.

O vs S&P 500 (* source Schwab)

These are key tools I am using to maximize my market moves to reduce losses in the down market.

For folks with a longer time horizon like myself:

  • Keep a clear watch on overall markets
  • Don’t pull investments just because you are frustrated. Those returning dividends in a drip cycle offer you the opportunity to lower your cost basis through the drip.
  • If you do decide to place money into an investment, be hard nosed about which companies your are putting into. When we are in a bull market, everybody makes money. When we enter into corrections and depressions, analysis is king. Follow the advice from Ben Graham, Warren Buffet, and relative newcomers like Brian Preston who find true value in their investments and offer rock solid advice.

For folks with a shorter time horizon (those in or near retirement):

  • Measure the impacts on your income
  • Evaluate your market risk with a financial advisor
  • Based your expected needs, form a plan to get through the hard times
  • Look into alternative moves to reduce expenses or bring the income gap and keep your capital working.
    1. Rent out a spare room
    2. Move in with in-laws (if that is appropriate)
    3. Reduce services such as Cable TV. Antennas are fantastic for basic tv, and a low cost subscription on a roku work really nicely for media consumption.
    4. Garden – yeah, that one reduces your inflationary effect from rising food prices as well as gives you some great fresh air and exercise.
    5. Make your travel plans more local so your planned trips don’t cost as much.
    6. Plan your trips out during the day to maximize your gas cost
    7. Eat a bit more at home

I hope this helps ease some fears out there. Remember, rough times are ahead, but we can overcome them!

Work smarter, not harder!

Mr. SNH.


Happy March SNH’ers, harvested a few carrots this morning for a crockpot pork roast this evening! Had a great time chatting with other gardeners on a david the good live stream. I highly recommend checking out his youtube content. Tons of information, it has helped me improve my growing.

In other crop news, the tomato starts are about ready to plant out, the yellow wax beans are starting to get fairly large. I am planting another row soon. I decided to open up another section of ground at a 10×4 size which brings me to about 450 sq feet of space. My goal is to get to 1500 sq ft, even though it may not be possible in our yard space.

Small Carrot, big on flavor

Inflation…Offset it with a garden!

I worked a good bit in the garden today and had to share some of the pics. Our winter veggies are starting to get too hot. The lettuce is bolting, the last of the turnips were given to a neighbor and I pulled some of the old Tabasco and Jalapeno’s that didn’t make it through the short freeze.

The good news is that I have been planting lots and lots. Tomatoes, peppers, seminole pumpkins, eggplants, cucumbers, some old cantaloupe seeds and watermelon.

The blueberries are on their second year of growth. I bought them as twigs and most are now about 2′ high. Next year will be the year for getting berries off of them. They take so long to get into production, but well worth the wait.

Lastly, I put in 2 peach trees as bare roots making good on my plan for citrus, peaches and figs to extend the fruit harvest over different periods. The peaches are actually flowering and now have a good set of leaves. I was a bit worried as I bought them from TyTy in Georgia which has some mixed reviews. In this case, I would give them a thumbs up. They came well packed and are so far fairly healthy.

I’ll end with this thought: in Florida you need to have a plan to battle the sugar sand. It seems like it is just swallowing everything that we put into it. I am making more of an effort with mulching in the walkways to get some humus underneath. I’ll rotate the humus into the gardens when it is broken down a bit. I also want to experiment a bit with biochar as a way to re-charge the sand and store nutrients like a battery. When folks in the neighborhood trim trees, I’ll collect some of the wood and start the biochar project. Sound like a good thing for a late summer night. I have been excited to see the work from David the Good and have taken a good bit to his teachings. They are practical and centered on food production.

Tomatoes Started: Roma, Sweetie, Pink Brandywine, Green Zebra and few Brads Atomic Grape. I still have a few varieties to start, but this is nice. Below is a seed tray with purple bells, California Wonder Bells, Early Jalapenos and jimmy nardello peppers. We are just getting to a 60/70 degree daytime temp, so this is about the right time to start them outdoors.
Planted a row of red potatoes. I hope to see between 5 and 10 lbs from this planting.
Yes, we have raspberries. I really didn’t give it much of a chance, but here it is. Our blackberries are also producing! The oak leave much is also below to help feed the plants and create some life below the soil. Sure is sandy down there.
My yellow wax beans popped up! The real reason for this planting is to get some nitrogen fixing into this soil. This is the bed where the old shed used to be.
Yep, the girls are laying again. 3 a day, and soon to be 5. If you need some eggs and live in the brevard county area, I am open to a weekly drop at $5/dozen since we cant eat that many.
Romaine Lettuce is beautiful and going to seed. We could not eat enough of it. I am working to find a balance between how much we should plant for each type of crop for maximum use. More beans, sweet potatoes, carrots. Less in lettuce category.

A hodge podge post

Hello SNH’ers, the family has been busy this December. A few things to note: the garden is producing well for our winter items. Lots of lettuce, pickling cucumbers and pak choi are coming in. I also have a good amount of collards, mustard and some swiss chard growing.

We got to bake some really tasty things, like some great gluten free peanut butter cookies and a peach upside down cake.

On the investment side, I am still seeing lots of inflationary effects and have diversified the portfolio to include some income producers like JEPI, QYLD and some stabilizers like SCHD. We are seeing slower growth rates in both the 401k and Roth accounts, typical of the political and business climate right now. I am working to weed out the portfolio from items that haven’t performed and don’t maintain the same outlook when the initial positions were taken.

The winter brought some awful service issues to our home. First, we had to replace a septic pump, then an air conditioning issue hit us up. Lastly, we had to repair an alternator. That really has wiped out a few months of savings, so our new year will see us get back into the black.

Here are some nice things to look at from the last quarter:

Winter pickling, great harvest on a whim planting them in October.
Red potatoes dug 12/29, going into the chicken soup tonight
Some great baby Pak Choi that came out of the lettuce bed
We’ll just see what ‘turnip’ in the garden today
A little SNH’er filling her bucket with purple hull black eyed peas
Mrs. SNH out petting the cows at our local orange upick orchard.
Yes, a handwritten recipe for a great peach upside-down cake
We ate the whole thing that night.

Lastly, I have really been enjoying watching David the Good on youtube. I encourage you to check out his videos. They can bring a dose of practicality to an otherwise crazed gardening world.

Have a great afternoon. Mr. SNH.