Return of the Prepper #8 : Proof of Egg

Today we got our first egg of the year.

That might not sound such a big deal, but it is still January, it is still cold, it is still winter and we only have one chicken.

So well done old girl!

As I mentioned in a recent post I am experimenting with cutting down the externally sourced feed.

I am now just giving the hen and her companion guard goose corn every other day. Instead I am giving them more food scraps and providing piles of compost for them to dig through. I am also investigating meal worm breeding again.

Their compound is over a quarter of an acre so they have a good area to roam around, scratch and graze.

Although we are vegetarian rather than vegan we don’t tend to eat that many eggs these days. Half a dozen eggs per week will more than enough.

In the brighter, warmer days our one remaining hen will just about manage that. But to give us a bit more resilience and longevity on the egg front I will be looking to get another two or three hens in the spring.

I hope they will get along together.

We probably won’t get a rooster at present, particularly while the goose is still about. When he goes I may reconsider that particularly if we are wanting to raise some more chicks by then.

If we do start getting a surplus of eggs with the extra birds we could always pass them on for vaccine production.

With the current coronavirus outbreak growing so rapidly, once a vaccine has been developed it is going to be all eggs on deck…

I was going to write about the dramatic growth of the coronavirus again today, but the situation is changing so rapidly I feared I might I get my facts scrambled.

It is turning into a very serious situation. Definitely not something to yolk about.

If you do fancy a little horror story before bedtime, check out the graph in the bottom left corner of this webpage…

In the meantime it’s goodnight from me, and it’s goodnight from Jim.

[ images from @pennsif ]

Return of the Prepper #4 : Prepping in Old Age – how to prepare for that?

I am not old, but I am not young. I will be 60 this year and I know life is changing.

My health is not too bad, no major life threatening ailments for either my wife or I. But we both have minor issues that have the potential to get more serious and more impacting on our lives and lifestyles.

Part of our prepping is planning for all eventualities. One of these is declining health, and particularly mobility.

Our style of prepping is very much focused around the bugged-in, homesteading, grow your own, self-sufficiency model.

That does require quite a bit of physical labour – chopping wood, shifting compost, digging beds etc.

While I can still do most of it, a back injury is already preventing me from lifting and carrying heavy weights for any distance. This is likely to get worse over time.

So we must plan, and adapt. Find ways to achieve the same but with less manual labour.

In the garden for example I am, as much as possible, moving to perennial crops that will stay put in one place and continue to produce food year in, year out without much physical input.

I am also moving over to the ‘no-dig’ method of growing food as promoted by Charles Dowding…

At some point when funds permit it would be useful to invest in a powered wheelbarrow to allow me to move heavier loads more easily.

I didn’t even know these these existed until I did a search on Amazon and found there are quite a range of models available. Alas mostly in the region of $1000 and upwards. They are mostly battery powered so potentially could be charged from solar PV.

Something like this might be good…

If we really want to go to town, my dream list would include an electric gator type vehicle for moving around our property. I don’t know how much these cost but an adult sized one of these would be good…

There is probably a whole bunch of equipment we might want to get in the coming years to make prepping lighter on the body. A log splitter for example would be useful.

Perhaps the ultimate older person’s preppring gear will be an exo-skeleton. In my Future Diary 2030 series I thought these were a thing of 10 years time, but I have now discovered they are already arriving in Japan…

The physical labour side will be a major part of prepping in our advancing years but there will be many other areas to consider. Some I am already aware of, some I am not.

Building up stocks of any medications we may need to take regularly is one thing to plan for.

We might also need to consider how our diets might change. Also our mobility and what sort of vehicles might be best suited for us.

Most of these issues do have something of a negative twist to them.

However one area where I think there might be some positive gain with getting older will be community networking.

As I gradually move to retirement and cut down my employment, I should have much more time to get involved with local organisations and activities. I am looking forward to taking on some volunteer roles in local community groups. This will be a great way to improve our connections in the local area.

Having a strong and diverse local network is a key element of a good prepping strategy.

As this is a fast approaching area of prepping for me I would be interested to hear of any tips and ideas from other older preppers and homesteaders of how they are adapting in their advancing years.

Thank you.

[ image from ]

SoS Daily News : news about the State of Steem @ 28 February 2019

Two new shows launched on MSP Waves – 60 Minutes of Steem followed by The GAME Show.

Another update from Steemit Inc.

Power House Creatives win the 20,000 SP Delegation.

New mobile app released for DTube.

STEEM heads for Bitmama Exchange.

And battles are coming to DrugWars.

60 Minutes of Steem and The GAME Show on MSP Waves

Following the end of the first series of the State of Steem Forums, @pennsif launched two new shows in the Thursday 3 hour slot.

60 Minutes of Steem was a one hour show to discuss current issues on Steem. Kicking off the series was a special brainstorming session for the 10,000 Minnows Project initiated by @steevc.

Joining @steevc on the session were @carrieallen, @jackmiller, @paulag, @surfermarly, @starkerz, @theycallmedan and @wwf.

The recording of the show is available for anyone who missed it…

Following straight after 60 Minutes of Steem The GAME Show included interviews with @plantstoplanks (co-ordinator of the weekly Steemit Fruit and Veggies Monday Competition), @yabapmatt (co-founder and developer of Steem Monsters), @disregardfiat (co-founder of DLux and @dlux-sm), @hightouch (CEO of Futureshock and creator of DrugWars, OnGame and Fundition) and @arcange (SteemitBoard).

Both shows will be hosted by @pennsif with regular co-host @teamhumble.

The recording of The GAME Show will be available shortly.

Steemit Engineering Update

The Steemit Inc team has given another update on progress on current projects including Condenser/Wallet Split, Cost Reductions and MIRA/RocksDB…

Power House Creatives win the 20,000 SP Delegation

@theycallmedan has announced that Power House Creatives @steemitbloggers have won the poll for the 20,000 SP delegation for a year.

Dan has also given a 1000 SP delegation to all the 19 finalists in the poll – @celfmagazine, @cn-malaysia, @cnstm, @crypto.piotr, @freewritehouse, @help.venezuela, @homesteaderscoop, @la-colmena, @naturalmedicine, @onelovedtube, @qurator, @partiko, @rutablockchain, @sc-v, @steemchurch, @steemnurse, @team-cn, @teamcn-shop, @wherein.

The 5000 SP bonus delegation was randomly selected from the finalists and went to Steemchuch Venezuela @sc-v.

Mobile App for DTube

Vlogger @blind-spot has posted about a new mobile app for DTube.

Dtube Client has been worked on by @immawake, @vaultec ( and the @onelovedtube team (@graylan @techcoderx @d00k13)(dtube.uploader).

STEEM heads for Bitmama Exchange

Nigeria based crypto exchange posted the question on Twitter “Which coin do you want us to add to our platform?”.

Led by calls from @jrcornel and other leading steemians including @therealwolf, @theycallmedan, @enginewitty and @mindtrap the Steem community tweeted into action.

Within hours the job was done with STEEM taking over half the votes (51%) against TRON on 26% and EOS on 23%.

Battles are coming to DrugWars

The @drugwars team have announced that Battles will commence at midnight on Saturday…

> Battles will be available in less than 48h, precisely on Saturday at midnight with the new client.
If you haven’t built your Army yet, now is definitely the time, remember your Army is also the defenders of your Empire against intruders, so if you don’t plan to attack you should also think about the defense.

KEY DATA  [ from CoinMarketCap & @arcange ]

(change on previous day in brackets // n/c = no change)

Steem price US$ 0.427 2019-03-01 3.19am UTC
SBD price US$ 0.997 2019-03-01 3.19am UTC
Market Cap US$ 133,578,111 2019-03-01 3.19am UTC
CoinMarketCap Ranking #41 (+9) 2019-03-01 3.19am UTC
No. of Whales 36 (-2) 2019-02-27
No. of Orcas 340 (+2) 2019-02-27
No. of Dolphins 1970 (+1) 2019-02-27
No. of Minnows 9215 (+3) 2019-02-27
Alexa rank ( #4588 (-18) 2019-03-01 3.17am UTC
Unique visitors ( 242,309 / day 2019-03-01 3.17am UTC
Page views ( 736,621 / day 2019-03-01 3.17am UTC

Follow @penguinpablo & @steem-data for more statistics.


@steemitblog – Steemit Engineering Update: Mira, Split, Cost Reductions

@steemitblog – STEEM Now on Huobi Exchange

@steemitblog – Steem Basics: Understanding Private Keys – Part 1


@steemalliance-es – Post de Nominaciones al Grupo de Trabajo de Steem Alianza!

@steemalliance – Townhall Recording From February 24, 2019

@steemalliance – Townhall Recording From Feb 17, 2019 & Request for Input



@alexvan – Steem Foundation Proposal

@bluefinstudios – Foundation Proposal – GROW THE CHAIN

@impactn – DeCentra Steem – a foundation proposal for Steem-village

@jackmiller – STEEM UNITED – “The Separation of Powers” by @jackmiller

@surfermarly – Welcome to InterSteem – The Decentralized Project Accelerator on Steem [Foundation Proposal – Stage One]

@upheaver – Steem Alliance: Foundation Proposal by Witness @upheaver

@ura-soul – Overview and Introduction to My Proposal for a Structure for the Steem Foundation – @ura-soul


#64 @dragosroua – STEEM Briefly Hovering Above 10,000 Satoshis, Stabilized At 9,769

#64 @dragosroua – STEEM Just Broke Above $0.4

#126 @demotruk – Steemian Generations

#126 @demotruk – Which Generation of Steemians Do You Belong To?

To keep up to date with more posts from witnesses follow @witnesspage …


@apshamilton – Why Ethereum & EOS are eating Steem’s dust – Steem is now the best blockchain for tokens as well as DApps!

@blewitt – Hiding Contests in Plain Sight

@chrisroberts – A Gamer is Reborn Through Steem!

@cryptocurator – Gaming and Blockchain : Match Made in Heaven?

@dobartim – Steem Blokchain Synergy Brings Visible Results – We Become a Multibillionaire Steem Society

@hashcash – Time To Be Honest – Do We Want To Kill Steem?

@jongolson – Going All In Is Scary…The Alternative Is Even Scarier…

@mindtrap – Steem crossed the 0.40$ line…while Samsung is about to launch their…new crypto friendly smartphone

@nateaguila – Steem Studio – We Have Lift Off!

@nathanmars – I’ll be Powering down to give you more power to you, 300,000 SP delegations will be distributed to Twitter Hustlers next month

@steevc – 10k Satoshi Steem and $1 SBD

@tarazkp – Going Green and being seen on Steem

@taskmaster4450 – Steem Marketing Materials: steemstudio-io

@teamhumble – why all #steem dapps (mainly games) need to be thinking like fortnite does with season passes

@techcoderx – Did Twitter censored Steemit Inc’s accounts?

@theycallmedan – Congratz To Power House Creatives aka SteemitBloggers For Winning The 20k Delegation!

@toofasteddie – STEEM: Impressive 24h VOLUME


SIN3 / @mediahousent – A brief overview of the ideology behind SIN


@redrica – Our 2nd London Steem Meetup of 2019 is a wrap!

@adetorrent – London Steem Community Meet Up In Kensington

@breadcentric – So I went to a London Steem Community Meetup. Wzięłem i poszłem na Steemitową Schadzkę w Londku Zdroju. [PL/EN]


@dougalporteous – LONDON STEEM MEET UP

@soyrosa – Steem meet-ups are the best – London Edition

Visit the Steem Meetups & Events Calendar for a full list of meetups coming up…


@steemdapps – Daily Report – Wednesday, 27th February 2019

DTube / @blind-spot – What? There is a Mobile App for DTUBE?!

DTube / @vaultec – DTube IPFS full community node contest! / @holger80 – How to build a steem-engine token upvote bot

Steemhunt / @mtimetraveller – [Steemhunt Rewind] Steemhunt February 2019 Round-up


@drugwars – Drugwars – 48h to get Ready!

Steem Monsters / @exyle – Steem Monsters Season 8 Ending today! Daily quests and tournaments

If you want to check on progress of development on Steem, check out the GitHub here…

If you want to check on the current list of full API Nodes witness @holger80 provides this via @fullnodeupdate…


TechWorld – Social App Review: Steemit


This is #88 (28 Feb ’19) of this daily news service.

Please let me know of any important posts or key data that should be included. Comment below or message me on Discord Pennsif#9921

[ graphics by @pennsif ]

Pennsif’s Progress – Selling Up and Moving On (it’s not quite what you think)

The next couple of years are going to see major changes for my wife and I and our family.

I will turn 60, my business will have been going for over 25 years, and all three of our children will be passing through university and on their way to the big wide world.

We will be left be with 17 acres of homestead, 11,000 trees of all shapes and sizes, half a dozen chickens and one naughty little dog.

I love our land and I love our trees. And I have for the longest time assumed this would be my final resting place.

But what we have is a liability. It is difficult to get away when you have animals and land. And there is always something to fix.

And with the health of both of us deteriorating the physical endeavours of managing the homestead will become ever more challenging.

So we are beginning to consider alternatives.

I would love to keep this homestead for ever. But the realities are becoming different.

The costs of running the place, with local property tax, insurance, oil, electricity, maintenance etc etc are fast approaching $1000 a month. It is unlikely any of our children will want to live here. And the limitations it places on us are growing.

For the past 20+ years my focus has been on family, business and house. Holidays and travel have been very, very sparse.

Which has been sad. In my younger years I was a keen traveller spending many months hopping around the world.

But there is still much of it to see. Now time and health are running out.

Maybe it will soon be time to weigh anchor, don a pair of wings and fly.

I would like to think we could have our cake and eat it, but the likelihood is that we would have to sell the homestead to fund the travels and free up future financial liabilities from inheritance tax or asset seizure to pay care bills.

Maybe we sell, divide off a suitable chunk to put in to trust for our children and then stuff our pockets with the leftovers and take to the road, or the seas.

My daydreams are currently mulling over two story lines.

In one we buy an RV, sell most of our possessions, give away the rest and hit the road to nowhere and everywhere.

I have never driven an RV but if I can still manage it I would love to have a go. Maybe it could become a tour of all the steemians in Britain (and maybe even Europe). That could be fun and a half.

On the other side of my daydream record we take to the seas and just go cruising.

I really, really want to try a cruise. The prospect of living in a posh ship, with all meals provided and no washing up, and visiting new places every day or so really grabs me big time.

And I read a story recently about an elderly woman who lives on the sea, just hopping from one cruise to the next. By looking for  deals and being a regular cruise goer she found it cheaper than living than living on dry land.

The financial equation does look tempting. If you find the best deals on long term cruises (3 months+) the daily cost for a couple would down around the $100 mark – and that includes all meals and utilities. And not a scrap of housework to do.

Tempting, tempting, tempting.

Oh I wonder. If steem went up a few notches on the money stick could we earn that $100 a day from steem?

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Might this be a Mary Poppins moment? Could the steem cruising dream be real…

Pennsif’s Progress #569 – What resources do we have – cataloging our flora and fauna

We are blessed to live on 17 acres of Welsh mountainside.

Our property includes 2 streams, a lake, around a thousand standing mature trees and 10,000 younger trees that have been planted over the past 6 years.

We also have copious amounts of rock – welsh slate, granite and quartz to be precise.

Having not had chemicals used on the property for at least 20 years, and having not had any intensive grazing for 15 years, there is an amazingly rich and diverse ecology here.

I am not a permaculture expert, but I believe one of the principles is to make use of the resources you have on your own property first.

We have many resources. The obvious ones – wood, water, timber – are obvious and abundant. But at a more micro level I have little true knowledge of what we have here in terms of the massive treasure trove of flora and fauna.

I would like to remedy that.

So my plan is to commence a systematic documentation of all the flora and fauna on the property.

I will be starting with the plants. Partly because I have some small botantical experience, partly because they don’t move when you are trying to identify them, and partly because I am fascinated to know what potential medical and food resources lie forgotten and unrealised in our 17 acre organic floral haven.

Trees, plants and fungi will be included. The fungi particularly excite me.

We constantly find new fungi – and they are all so beautiful and tantalisingly tempted. I am sure there are riches unknown and untapped amongst our fungal friends.

I am hoping, with the help of @cryptocariad and the rest of the family, to make this a mixed media project with photographs, illustrations and possibly even video.

Our medicine chest and our pantry may never be the same.

Pennsif’s Progress #572 – Last Duck Down

Today my last duck died.

He was very old and the last of five brothers who came to us as homeless muscovies about 3 years ago.

Mr Goose is now the only remaining member of the Aerial Defence Unit in charge of keeping the buzzards away from the chickens.

New recruits will be needed.

But first I must spend a few minutes to honour my fallen duck friend.

He and his four brothers were given to us, along with their lifelong friend Mr Goose, three years ago when a couple of our friends were forced to sell-up their smallholding (homestead) due to illness. They managed to sell off their more economically useful lifestock. But no one wanted five old muscovy ducks and an orphaned greylag goose.

So we gave them a home.

Alas two of them were only with us very briefly as they flew over the fence on the second day. Their previous owners had told us they didn’t fly. I guess they smelt our lake a few hundred yards down the mountain.

Unfortunately they didn’t stay on the water or go to the island in the middle of the lake. I guess they made a good meal for our local foxes.

The other three ducks, along with the goose, had a good life with us, guarding the chicken flock from the buzzards and kites. Two died last winter of natural causes. This last one made it to about 9 years old.

You can read more about them in one of my early contest posts on steemit – What the Muscovy Brothers would do with $50 SBD

They even featured in a YouTube video…

Farewell my duck friend – you served us well.

Pennsif’s Progress #573 – I go out to dine every day, and it doesn’t cost me a penny


One thing I like to do it each day is go out to dine.

But I don’t go far – usually just down our lane and into our fields.

I gorge myself on berries and leaves and buds and seeds.

Ever since I got a copy of the original edition of Richard Mabey’s excellent ‘Food for Free’ (now reprinted) I have been hooked on foraging.

I just love being able to graze on little bits of nature as I walk around our property.

Of course you have to be a bit careful of what you eat and where, but there are many excellent foraging books available as well as lots of great videos and articles online. And if you do have the opportunity to attend a local foraging course go for it.

My hit parade of favourite foragings varies with the seasons but three of my favourites at the moment are…

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)

As mentioned in yesterday’s blog me and the dog just love gobbling up the blackberries as we are out on our walks.

And we have lots of blackberries – wild and organic – all over our 17 acress, so we will never run out.

Nettles (Urtica dioica)

We have loads and loads and loads of nettles.

I started drinking nettle tea about three years ago. Then we started adding nettles to soaps. And then I got the idea from a @papa-pepper video of eating them raw as a green leaf. Tasty … and you will soon get the hang of picking them without getting stung.

Pennywort (Umbilicus rupestris)

This one I picked up on from a foraging course about 4 years ago.

This grows in good abundance along our rather shaded quarter mile long lane.

Pennywort is lovely and juicy and succulent. It tastes a bit like fresh peas.

It is definitely one of my favourites at the moment.

Foraging is a key skill…

For any prepper or would-be prepper.

Oddly they rarely seem to feature it in most post-apocalyptic / SHTF type movies. The main characters often seem to get close to starvation rather than grab any of the abundant free food all around them.

Learn to forage and you will never starve.

Pennsif’s Progress #574 – The apples are coming & my dog loves blackberries

The apples are coming, the apples are coming…

Finally our pruning work in the old orchard is paying off. This year’s apple crop looks like it is going to be a bumper one.

Our old orchard has suffered badly over recent years through goat attack, a domineering holly tree, too much chicken attention and a good dose of plain neglect.

Two years ago we started on a much needed programme of restorative pruning and clearance of competing and heavily shading competing trees.

We opened up the trees, brought down the height and generally got them in better shape.

This year the frosts stayed away at blossom time, and the sun and the rain came in the right amount at the right time.

It looks like we are going to be gifted with our biggest apple crop ever. And the plums and greengauges are making a good showing as well.

Not only is the old orchard going strong, the new fruit trees that we have been planting over the last 3 years have started coming online this summer as well. We have even had a few figs and peaches – not bad for a usually wild, wet and windy west Wales.

Just in time for a good old apple and blackberry pie, the blackberries are plumping up nicely with the recent rain.

And there comes the dog. I have discovered she loves blackberries. When I am picking blackberries she follows me along and will sit patiently at my side waiting for her share.

She does try to bite them off the bushes herself but the prickles make it difficult.

Anyone else got a blackberry loving dog?

Pennsif’s Progress #578 – Mr Goose saves the day

This afternoon I heard the chickens scream.

The puppy started barking. Maybe because of the poultry panic. Or maybe because of me jumping into action.

We rushed to the compound.

The cacophony grew more frantic as we got closer – chickens, goose, duck all joined in.

Then as I reached the gate, there it was. A guilty looking buzzard flew up from a clump of nettles with feathers in its beak.

The goose was shouting and screaming, the duck was flapping its wings trying to look big.

They were doing their job as best they could to frighten away the aerial predators.

So far they have been successful. Before goose and duck arrived we regularly lost hens to the buzzards. But since their arrival the negative score has been zero.

Today, though it looked like they had met their match. After a through sweep of the compound I could not locate our fifth hen.

Only an ominous scattering of bunches of white feathers.

Farewell Mrs Hen, you served us well.

But hold fire before you book the funeral band.

When I returned this evening to put them all to bed, the hens again numbered five.

All hail the hiding hen. Somewhere she had gone to ground too scared to come out.

Too traumatised I think. On close inspection the hen appears to have lost a few rips of feathers from its neck.

This time she got lucky – saved by the goose’s guarding, or perhaps by my arrival.

Happy hen day.


We are investigating getting one or two alpacas soon.

I know they are reputed to be good for deterring foxes.

Anyone know if they will keep buzzards and kites away as well?

Pennsif’s Progress #591 – Reducing my footprint, increasing my impact

As I get older and the days tick by I find I am increasingly refining my goals in life.

At a certain point in life one realises that the phrase “you have all the time in the world” no longer has any bearing. Time becomes your most precious resource. And every day counts.

So dreams of opening a restaurant, or building a house with a balcony, or learning six languages, or writing a science fiction novel, or travelling to every continent, while still valid and potentially possible, have to be filtered.

The realisation, and acceptance, that you are unlikely to achieve everything in life you had hoped to is harsh but necessary.

I have now signed that pledge of acceptance and am narrowing my life plan to those things I do so want to achieve.

In fact that want is more than just a want, it is a desire I am fiercely whipping up into a compulsion.

Compulsion can be read with a negative inflection but as I mentioned in a previous blog I only have two modes of operation – full-on or not at all. I don’t do half-ar$ed.

So what I am going to do, I am going to do to the biggest, the best and the boldest of my abilities.

I have now settled on my two remaining goals – to minimise my footprint, and to maximise my impact.

Minimising My Footprint

I live on a homestead. We have our own water supply and we deal with our own sewage, we produce much of our own food and the percentage increases year on year, and we have planted 10,000 trees on our property.

We have traveled some fair distance on our journey to reduce our footprint on the planet.

But we still have a long way to go.

Our electricity usage is one area we are really keen to cut down on. In fact as I wrote about yesterday our goal is to move towards going offgrid – but frustratingly steem’s low price is holding us back on that at present.

The second big area I want to deal with is our use of petrol for car transport.

Living in a very rural area, reliance on public transport is not viable, so getting an electric car would be the next best option.

And if we could charge that car from our own solar electricity even better still.

There are a thousand other ways in which we can, should and will reduce our ecological and carbon footprint. But we are on the right path and I relish the challenge of day by day getting better and better.

Maximising My Impact

I have always been an activist, campaigning in one form or another for a better world.

I think I got it from my mother. She wouldn’t take any crap, and she was always getting involved in local community activities.

Much of my early adult life was spent working, at various levels, for one of Britain’s major environmental campaign organisations.

Then I took a few years out to set up a business and raise a family. But these past few years I have been retracing my steps and rejoining the battle.

And in the past year steem, particularly through A Dollar A Day, has opened a new channel to bring about some worthwhile change.

Now I am ready for action and I want to do more.

And more.

And more.

I have just today launched a new @communityaction project where I will be focusing most of my activity bridging the on and the off steemchain worlds.

Hopefully this will give me one more route to make a positive impact on the world.

I don’t want to have my name in lights or on a plaque on the wall, but I do want to do my bit.

And one day when my grandchild asks that fateful question “What did you do Granddad to save the planet?” I will be able to answer “Everything I could”.




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