The Homesteading Tab

THE HOMESTEADING FUNCTIONAL AREA

The Homesteading Functional Area is designed to provide the skills necessary for families and small communities to thrive and not just survive. Nutrition, Agriculture, Livestock, and Low Technology Living Skills are the focus of this learning path. Many of these skills are taught on our Affiliate "teaching Farms".

The BASIC Homesteading Program

Designed to build strong foundations in Self Sufficient, Sustainable, Long-term family and group skills. This skill program is intended to build on Individual Survival Skills and improve family, team, and community agriculture and livestock programs. The skills learned in this program are constantly evolving and very diverse.
Those that meet the requirements of this program will earn a Basic Homesteading Tab.


Earning the Basic Homesteading Tab

A PREREQUISITE to earn the Homesteading Tab is you must have previously earned the CAG Survival Tab.

There is one path to earning the Basic Homesteading Tab:dsc 0371 150x150

The Member must attend a Course OR Show Proficiency in Each of the Four(4) Homesteading Subject Categories.

  • Courses must be provided by CAG, a CAG Affiliate, or an Approved Third Party (Coordinate with CAG Prior)
  • Proficiency may be shown either by providing Nationally Recognized Certifications, or by Providing Photo/Video Documentation of a Project for that Category.
  • Photo Project Documentation must always have the Members Name, Project and Member Number prominently displayed on a card in the photo, no photo edits please.
  • Video Documentation must always begin with the Member clearly stating their Name, Project, and Member Number, no video edits please.
  • Members should coordinate all projects, courses, and Certifications with CAG Management in advance to verify they meet the CAG Training Goals for the Category.

The Homesteading Categories are Arranged as follows with Suggestions/Guidance for Course/Projects Subjects:

Again, these are merely suggestions. Members should submit for and gain approval for their ideas for Course/Project Subjects to CAG prior to comitting to them.

MENTOR Program Assistance is available, Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we will attempt to assist you in your learning!

Nutrition / Food

  • Food Harvesting, Preparation and Storage (Garden/Orchard/Wild Harvesting and Methods used to Store those foods safely)
  • Canning, Fermenting, and Dry Packaging Food (Safe Pressure and Water Bath Canning for Meats, Fruits, and Vegetables)
  • Meat Preservation - Smokehouse, Drying, and Salt Pack (Safe Processing from raw meat to long term preserved)
  • Livestock and Game Processing (Safe and Efficient killing, gutting, skinning, and butchering for Livestock/Game)
  • Cheese/Butter Manufacture (Process from raw milk to fully processed product)
  • Austere Nutrition and Mass Food Production (Establish and Operate a mass feeding program in an Austere Environment)

Livestock Management

  • Domestic Livestock Management (Safe and Efficient Care and Feeding and management of Domestic herd/flock animals)
  • Fishery Management (Safe and Efficient Care and feeding of a Small Scale Fishery program)
  • WIld Game Management and Conservation (Efficient management practices for maintenance of sustainable population of wild game in a geographic area)
  • Hide and Fur Processing (Safe and Efficient Processing of Hides/Furs for personal use or profit)

Agriculture

  • Small Scale Garden Management (Efficient, Sustainable home gardening methods for personal use or profit)
  • Small Scale Orchard Management (Efficient, Sustainable Orchard methods for personal use or profit)

Living Skills

  • Basic Sewing and Clothing Repair (Safe and sustainable maintenence and fabrication of clothing items without access to external grid power)
  • Soap/Candle Making (Safe and Efficient Soap and/or Candle manufacture at home for personal use or profit)
  • Weaving (Safe and Efficient collection of natural materials and production of woven products for practical use)
  • Thread/Yarn/Cordage Manufacture (Safe and Efficient collection, processing and spinning of Wool or Fur to produce thread, yarn or cordage)

 

To Request Tab Credit you Must:

First, ensure that you are logged into your personal profile on www.CAGMain.com and that your profile is complete.

  • All Course/Project Videos and Presentations should be submitted by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • On the CAG Home Page, Select the MEMBERS ONLY Tab
  • In the drop-down menu, select the REQUEST TAB CREDIT tab
  • Fill out the blocks completely, incomplete submissions will be accepted
  • Upload an electronic copy of your Certificates into the block provided or Email Videos/Presentations as directed above
  • Don't forget to hit the SUBMIT button
  • The CAG Staff will process your request and contact you.
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Running CACHE Networks

Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article

Shady stuff in the hills

What is a cache? Caches are prepositioned resources put in place to support a future activity. Classically we "visualize" them as buried treasure but they don't have to be buried, and we will cover that a little later in this article. Having been to a Special Forces school for this, I'm happy to say this subject is one of my favorites and an area that I have plenty of real world experience. The challenge of this article will be keeping it unclassified, so if there seems to be a "gap" in the flow of the article, accept my apologies up front I'm trying to make everyone happy... Caches have been used for centuries, there's nothing new about them but in todays fast paced disposable world they are usually overlooked as lacking imagination or to time consuming. Of course the big army (or military) as a whole doesn't really use caches, but a cache system doesn't make sense for our modern army. They come complete with supply trains and never really know where the next operation will take place. They are designed for mobility. You however are not.

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You KNOW where you will be staying, working and traveling. A cache network would fit easily into the busiest modern schedule and as we will discuss lighten your bug out loads considerably. Caches are the difference between a 100lbs Bog out Bag (BoB) and a 20lbs BoB. Use caches to offset your emergency weight and have enough that you can afford to lose a few to the elements. Caching is a process not a singular event. Why use them? DSC_0114Caches will drastically offset the amount of weight and equipment required to get from A to B on any map. If established correctly, you could have a cache set up at all of your major check points and if you don't need to contents of the cache, bypass it and save it for later. If you have ever wondered how commandos get away with traveling so light, its because we aren't just moving to a safe area I'm admitting we are cheating, and picking up food and ammo along the way that someone else buried before hand. Like a magician, the trick isn't magic, its the assistant who skillfully positions the tools needed ahead of time when no one was looking.


[gallery type="rectangular" orderby="rand" ids="2365,2366,2367,2368"] Site selection criteria. Its not good enough to just pick a gnarly oak tree and have at it. In theory you should have dozens of these located all over the place so site selection criteria has to take on a consistent, and more primary role as you develop your network. Consider:

  • 24 hour all weather access
  • Enough cover and concealment to hide loading and unloading of the cache
  • You must have access to the site, and avoid places like banks daycare or municipal buildings that will draw unwanted attention (or security footage) of your activities. There's nothing illegal about caches, but it doesn't look good hiding in the bushes of a children's park.....
  • Will it develop? Will your cache be a burger king next year?
  • Anchor points. If the cache site proper doesn't have good visual markers it may make sense to identify a reference point nearby. For instance, 3 yards due north of the North East road sign at the intersection of Mayberry and main St.
  • Anchor stakes. It may not make sense to map directly to a cache, if that's the case map to a tent stake with a string leading you to the buried goods. Experiment with different methods.
  • Always consider that SOMEONE ELSE will have to service the cache. Don't assume you will be the one who is unloading the goods. What if you're hurt? or busy saving lives? Don't assume the tree you picked is unique enough for a stranger who has never been there to pick out of the crowd.

Types of caches. I like to build caches based on themes so that's what ill discuss in this article. Most of my caches are simple food and water 24 hour kits, small and easy to hide. I have 1 large cache, that remains unmarked and only I know where it is that contains everything I need to start over... I bury this early and let it season in the elements. Consider:

  • Support cache. Food, water, clothing and medical supplies.
  • Action Caches: Ammunition and "other" supplies, just in case I get disarmed.
  • Recovery cache: Important documents, cash, food, water, ammo, perhaps a weapon, family pics you name it. If your house burned down right now, what would you need?

You can build and camouflage caches out of anything, you're limited only by your imagination. Just make sure they are double weathered sealed. Consider using packing grease when storing working "metal" parts for long periods of time and using metal containers for water. Metal containers don't leak into the water like plastic bottles do. How to organize them into usable networks. Its all about the mapping. I break my mapping down into useable blocks that are easy for family members to follow and understand. There are 3, maybe 4 basic sketches you need to learn:

  1. Macro Sketch. Think state with multiple ports of entry like airports or interstate intersections. This way my cousin Earl can drive in and find his way around.
  2. Navigator Sketch. Now that Earl has his bearing from the macro sketch, its time to get him to the area where the cache is. This is the street map level sketch that references the major ports of entry from the previous sketch, BUT gets you to the road intersection where the actual cache is located. Google maps works well here, and several navigator sketches can be support by a single Macro sketch.
  3. Micro Sketch. Now that Earl is at the right intersection, he needs to know exactly where to dig. This sketch should have the precise pace count and reference points required to walk right up to the cache and it should also include any pertinent details the user needs to know: Police station near by, bring a shovel, service between this hour and that, etc....
  4. Point of view (POV) sketch. In some cases a site may require a perspective as if seen from the person performing the task, this is the case when the person loading and unloading the cache is face with multiple but similar choices in a given are. For instance multiple paths or multiple telephone pole. It doesn't hurt to include one in every report, but frankly they aren't needed unless you gauge the circumstances to warrant the work.

Here's an organization example of how I set up my cache mapping:

  • Macro (2GA1FEB2015)
    • Navigator Bug out (Husbands work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA323-01
      • Micro (Support) GA323-02
      • Micro (action) GA323-01a
        • with POV
      • Micro (Recovery) no mapping
    • Navigator Bug out (Wife's work and home)
      • Micro (Support) GA324-01
      • Micro (Support) GA324-02
      • Micro (Support) GA324-03

I would keep all of these in a book and even supplement the data with a Google earth maps overlay. Ideally when I forward a cache I want the information as simplified as possible yet accurate. This way in a pinch I could simply "text" it to someone and send them on their way.

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Under this organization I can group my caches and maps into zones, and maintain an underground supply network that supports multiple family members in different locations, perhaps a child in college and so on. [gallery columns="2" size="medium" type="rectangular" ids="2353,2355"]

Mapping.

Mapping is the trickiest part of all of this. Caches are aren't any good if YOU are the only one who can use them. But for OPSEC or data reasons you may not have access to accurate enough mapping to make this work. So make your own! [gallery type="rectangular" ids="2360,2361,2362"] The trick to this is finding the right amount of detail with out over crowding your work. Practice this amongst your own group to see what I mean. Have one person draw a map to an unknown location, and another person navigate to it with out any assistance. Then you will see how your assumption over the obviousness of a particular reference point may not be as obvious as you previously thought. There is an art to it and it must be learned and rehearsed. We wont go to far into mapping in this article, its an article all its own but we will write it up as an addition to this cache piece.

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Of course here at CAGmain we offer a wide variety of classes and that includes how to cache. Caching is a hybrid of field craft, administration and art its not just bury MREs in the woods for a rainy day. Play with Geocaching and get a feel for the venue and see what other folks have done. Its fun and family oriented I think you'll like it. Click this link to learn more! As always thank you, and please ask questions!

TR

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Apartment Meat!

I'm a practical guy and I like practical solutions. I was thinking about my often neglected apartment dweller readers recently. I was trying to figure out a way for them to produce their own meat when I recalled a conversation that I had with a retired Green Beret and Delta Force operator that was an instructor with me in the 18 Delta course. We had many conversations about farming, survival and austerity. He had mentioned to me that he was going to raise guinea pigs (aka cavi or cuya) on his quarter acre property in downtown Fayetteville North Carolina. Initially I laughed and thought the idea was crazy. At the time I was raising pot belly pigs, chickens and goats in a subdivision on 2 acres, what could be crazier than that?Pet's Fer dinner!?!
I'm a practical guy and I like practical solutions. I was thinking about my often neglected apartment dweller readers recently. I was trying to figure out a way for them to produce their own meat when I recalled a conversation that I had with a retired Green Beret and Delta Force operator that was an instructor with me in the 18 Delta course. We had many conversations about farming, survival and austerity. He had mentioned to me that he was going to raise guinea pigs (aka cavi or cuya) on his quarter acre property in downtown Fayetteville North Carolina. Initially I laughed and thought the idea was crazy. At the time I was raising pot belly pigs, chickens and goats in a subdivision on 2 acres, what could be crazier than that? He explained the process to me and how they were common food in South America.

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As I pondered this article, I considered that many folks already have guinea pigs in their apartments. Once you get over the social bias that we have in America towards eating what we consider pets, it seems like a logical idea. In a small amount of apartment space you can grow wheat grass like many folks do for their backyard chickens. This and scrap vegetables can provide you a sustainable food source for your guinea pigs. Some things they cannot eat like mustard, parsley, and potato peels. You can raise them and harvest them with no one knowing. You could use their droppings and litter to provide much-needed nutrients for your apartment vegetable garden. You could use the skins to produce clothing.

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The cavi could provide someone looking to grow their own food in a confined space, or to have a survival food source, an excellent renewable source of protein. Not to mention a nice break from canned spam in a SHTF scenario. At 21% protein and 8% fat, the cavi has less cholesterol and more protein than beef pork and chicken.There are many restaurants on both the east and west coast that are catering to an Andean expat crowd. This is opening the door to make "cuyas" not so taboo.

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Amazingly they can out breed rabbits. With just two males and 20 females, a family of 4 can provide all of their protein requirements for a year. That is about 200 guinea pigs per year. Check your local laws if you happen to live in one of those ever controlling places like New York City or California, as it is illegal to eat guinea pig. However, if you do decide to give it a try, like rabbits, a blow to the back of the head will render them unconscious then quickly cut the jugular and hang them up to drain. Afterwards, drop them in boiling water for a few seconds and the hair will easily pull away from the skin. Cut the carcass from anus to nose without cutting the intestines and remove the contents as you would any other animal. Now it can be roasted or deep fried or cooked however you see fit. I hear there are always free guinea pigs on Craigslist. Try one for free!

LOGOMAIN

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