Tag Archives: Survivalism

The Most Redneck Thing I’ve Ever Done (or Roadkill Deer is Perfectly Edible)

Growing up in a small town in Kentucky, I’ve done a lot of redneck-y things in my lifetime.  But I think most people would agree that that today’s actions rank at the top.

I planned on writing about chicken changes: my brother said he’d bring a handful of young chickens to me after some Thanksgiving festivities, so last week I quickly boarded together a phase-two-temporary-coop.  There’s plenty to write about in that, and I have pictures, but that was before today.

Today, while getting things situated for the new chickens, I spooked some deer in my woods.  I was randomly going to see if one of the junk-filled sinkholes on our property held a piece that I was in search of, and about 10 yards in front of me a deer bolts across my path.  It was followed by another one fairly quickly.

As the first ran towards the edge of my property, I glanced down the road to make sure there wasn’t going to be an accident – because we live on a busy road, and accidents are fairly common.  (If I’ve not mentioned it before, I watched a girl’s truck slam into the telephone pole in my front yard while I was working at my kitchen table)

There was, indeed, a car coming.

The first deer runs across the road, and I think to myself, “Surely the driver saw the deer and will slow down.  Everyone knows there’s never only one deer that crosses the road.”

The second deer runs across, still with plenty of distance between it and the car.

Again, the thought crosses my mind, “I’ll bet the car will slow down now, after seeing two.”

The car did not slow down.

As I’m sure you’ve already gathered, there was a third deer.  It didn’t look like the car hit their brakes, so I was bracing myself for the bang! that I heard soon after the deer darted through the tree line that hid that spot of the road from my view.

I ran to the road to see if the driver was ok, but I didn’t see anything.  I ran a little closer to where the deer ran out, and I saw her laying on the side of the road, her tail and head still moving, obviously in pain.  I called my brother, who had left my house a few hours prior, with two questions.

  1. Would a .22 bullet be enough to put her out of her misery?  I was still a good distance away, but I could see enough blood to know that there was no chance this girl was pulling through. I couldn’t just let her lay there suffering for an unknown amount of time.  At first he mentioned that my 9mm would probably be more efficient, because there was the chance that the .22 wouldn’t kill her immediately – but we both agreed that it might not be the best thing to see a guy executing a deer with a pistol on the side of the road.  Especially because I’d already seen 4 police cars drive by in the last 10 minutes, and I don’t have my concealed carry permit yet.  Even though I wouldn’t conceal it, a guy walking on the side of the road with a pistol in his hand (even on his own property) might land me in a situation I’d rather not be in.  I ended up not having to use my gun, because by the time I grabbed my rifle and came back, she was dead.  And question number 2…
  2. Is it safe to eat a deer that has been hit by a car?

Don’t judge.

I’d only been deer hunting once this season, and only a couple times in general before that.  Venison tastes great, and here was this big hunk of fresh meat that otherwise would sit on the side of the road for a few days, bloated and rotting.  I mean – I was doing everyone a favor.  Nobody from the county would have to come pick it up, and the driver could sleep at night knowing that the animal they hit didn’t go to waste.  (Well, the driver would never know, because they didn’t stop – but I’m looking for more people I’m doing a favor for)

So, I think from this situation I learned the following lesson:  If at first you don’t succeed at hunting, wait for the animal to fall down dead on the road by your house.

Anyhow, my brother enthusiastically said yes, roadkill deer is perfectly edible.  Sweet!

So, I dragged the body into the woods a little ways, because again – a guy with a knife inside the belly of a deer right beside the road isn’t a situation that everyone would be completely comfortable with.  I got it into a clearing and texted my buddy Lane to see if he wanted to come help because he’s a new deer hunter as well, and he and his wife hopped in his truck.


I donned the hunter orange just in case there was anyone illegally hunting on my property and couldn’t tell that the deer was already dead.

I started before Lane got there, though.  And just like last time with the chicken, I had absolutely no clue what I was doing.  Times 100.  I called my brother again, and put the phone on the ground next to me on speakerphone.  I felt like I was on a tech support call, because I was trying to describe what I could see, and he was trying to explain what I should see, and neither one of us really knew what was going in the deer in front of me.  I think he joked at one point, Have you tried turning it off and on again?

I’m sure the NSA is already tapping my phone (I’ve sent out too many texts about my frustration with the government), so they were probably watching my house before the call was over.  “Wait – which part of the ribs do I stick the knife in?”  “Do I just get a thin layer of skin, or do I cut deeper?”  “Are her lungs supposed to be gray, because there’s this big gray thing on top of her heart.”  And that was before trying to describe cutting around the butt hole.


I call this piece “Bald Spot.” Credit to my lovely wife for capturing the essence of the moment.

I’m pretty sure it took me well over an hour to simply field dress the thing, so Lane got there in plenty of time to help.  We had both been around cleaning and butchering deer before, so we both had the general concept – but that’s much different than actually knowing how to do it.  So we flailed together, with my redneck tech support on the line.

We finally got her hung up in my car port (I’m sure that was my wife’s first choice for location), after first using a rope that sagged so much that her neck was laying on the ground.  I really should get a GoPro, because I just can’t explain how hilarious it probably was to watch us.


We opted to have a column in our way because, well – we just didn’t think that far ahead.

The next few hours were spent cutting while on the phone with various people, watching YouTube videos, and trying to remember details of the last time we’d seen a deer butchered.  It definitely wasn’t the prettiest butchering job ever seen, but it resulted in a fridge full of meat, so I suppose that’s all we could ask for.


High fives!  Er…  Hooves.

I probably should have taken pictures of the meat after it was cut, but I didn’t.  Just imagine that you walked into a butcher shop, but the normal butcher was out sick, and his son (who wants to be a poet) is filling in.  It will definitely still cook, but looks like somebody tried to murder it.  It’s sitting in the fridge right now, and over the next few days I’ll cut it up a little further to freeze it.  For now, though, leaving it in the fridge for a while will apparently help it not to taste too “gamey.”  Because we’re extremely picky about our roadkill.


We were incredibly lucky to get our house and property.

(Actually, that’s not true… I don’t believe in luck – I believe whole-heartedly in the sovereignty of God. More on that later, I’m sure)

The House

Beautiful on the outside, the inside of the house is what we describe as wonky.

won·ky (wäNGkē) – adjective, informal
weird, whacked out, messed up, not working for no definable reason
(Urban Dictionary)

It was originally built without any bedrooms. Years after it was built, the previous owners’ health prevented them from going up the stairs to their loft where they slept, so they converted a garage into a bedroom. And it feels like a garage converted into a bedroom.

We obviously knew this going in, so we were totally prepared to renovate by adding bedrooms and fixing bathrooms, etc. What we were not prepared for is the process of getting the county government to approve permits for adding bedrooms.

We’ve been in the house for close to three months, and we’re still waiting on getting permits for changing our septic system to handle more bedrooms. Mind you – not the actual work, but permission from them to possibly do work. We have to have our soil tested, have duplicated soil sites the same size as the proposed septic system.

We had soil testing done well over a month ago, and the results were sent to the county, but their response was basically “meh.” They said the duplicate sites weren’t big enough. So – even though we have enough room for the septic system itself, the duplicated areas didn’t seem big enough. Then the guy said “you have seven acres, I’m sure you’ve got it.”

Then just give me the freaking permits.

I don’t get the requirements here… If I were to have an inadequate septic system, it would not affect them in any way. You and I both know that if there was an issue with my tank overflowing, I’d just dig a hole in the backyard while we fixed the problem. But I guess they’re just trying to save absolutely everyone from themselves, because it’s not fair to me to let me make my own decisions. But I digress.

After a month, the soil guys are back out today, and hopefully we’ll get that part squared away soon.

The Property

The house is nice (or – will be nice), and that’s what excited my wife when we first found it. But what gets me pumped up is the Land. (Yes – land is different than Land) I envision animals, gardens, orchards, etc, all over the place, and that means I’m happy to put up with a stressful time of renovating the house.

One unfortunate thing about our land is that it’s incredibly rocky. I don’t mean when you dig a hole, you find a handful of gravel; rather, there is a rock quarry about a mile away, and we have a natural rock patio behind the house. (As such, I realize that the soil guys have their work cut out for them)

Another unfortunate thing about our land is that the previous owners (or whoever “maintained” it for them) dumped garbage literally everywhere. There are a number of rock openings that someone deemed as landfill areas, I guess to avoid the two mile drive to the local dump. It amazes me that someone would live in such a beautiful area and treat it so poorly. I’ve got a truckload of junk that I need to haul off, and I’ve barely scratched the surface.

My dad let me borrow Big Bertha – his name for a mower/bushhog/beast that will tear through underbrush like it’s cotton candy. I’ve been on it for probably at least an hour a day for the past month, and the overgrown forest now looks like a state park. (Disregarding the landfills, of course)

You might say to yourself “Hey – I thought this guy wanted to go off grid! Why is he using machinery and gasoline to devour wonderful trees?” This is Geek Off Grid, mind you.

I love technology.

My plan for getting off the grid includes solar panels (which I already have – more on that later), Arduino projects, homemade generators and general nerdiness. More than survivalism, I want to be self-sufficient and self-sustaining. My homestead will be similar to one that you could have seen 200 years ago, but upgraded.

Homesteading 2.0

We’ve got a long way to go on both the house and property, but I’m enjoying the process. (Well – the process outside; not so much the process of getting permits)

Preface: The Mission

So we’ve got a house and some land – big deal?

I have high hopes for the coming years, and though I’m sure things won’t work out exactly the way I’m planning them right now, getting any of them up and running is better than living on a postage stamp lot and relying on corporations and the government to get me what I need to survive.

I didn’t always have this mindset… I grew up on a crop farm and – to be perfectly honest – I avoided work when I could. (My parents will probably call me about that, saying they knew it all along) I suppose that as a kid, I just assumed that the table always had food on it, and water always came out of the faucet regardless of what I did. In recent years, after I got out into the real world/got married/got a job/etc, I started realizing just how different we live now than people did 200 years ago. What’s interesting is that folks 200 years ago didn’t live so different from folks 2000 years ago. Fashion changed, entertainment changed; but what you did to exist was the same.

In normal circumstances, in order for a human to survive, we need:

  • Clean water
  • Food
  • Shelter
  • Security

Everything else is just comfort or entertainment. If you had those things and absolutely nothing else, you might be lonely, but you’re alive.

Whether you were born in 13 AD or 1813 AD, a lot of people were farmers and/or hunters. Why? Food is somewhat important. Now, food is a thing that we put into a cart at Wal-Mart. Until maybe 100 years ago, it was incredibly common to draw your water from a well every day.

While technology have made many things easier to obtain, it is creating problems of its own. Food is riddled with genetic modifications and toxins. Water flows with chemicals and unnatural impurities.

And then there are the systems that deliver those things to us. Disasters halt delivery of goods to people who (during a disaster) need them most. Even small incidents can cause water to stop pumping from the city plant to our houses.

So, basically, after creating technology that will make our lives easier, we’ve become completely reliant on it. We promote industry to the point of poisoning our food in order to mass produce it.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-corporation or against capitalism. In fact, I’m all about capitalism.

I just don’t want to be reliant on a system that will eventually break. I don’t want to keep paying for someone to do something for me that I can do myself – and that I can do better.

So, let’s go back over that list, and figure out the plan.

Clean Water

The house that we bought already has a well. Praise the Lord! One of the requirements for the house we were going to buy was that we could dig a well on the property, and having one here already sure save a ton of headaches (especially because we have pretty rocky ground). There’s even a filtration system already set up!

The only current problem is that after using the well for 27 years, about two years ago the owner connected to city water and disconnected the well pump. Well – not so much disconnected it as much as cut the pipes to pull the pump off and just place it to the side. I don’t know why they did that. So – during our upcoming renovations (more on that later), I’m planning on getting a new pump and reconnecting it. I already talked to a neighbor who is on well water, and they’ve had no problems with their water supply (one of my fears when hearing the previous owners connected to city water).

As time goes on, I’d like to add storage tanks, rain collection, and incorporate some DIY filtration.

Difficulty Level: Somewhat Easy


This is the piece of the puzzle that is going to take the most work and time.

  • I’d been planning on raising chickens after watching my brother do the same for a couple of years. I’m hoping that I can learn from his mistakes and victories… The nice thing about chickens is that you get meat once, but eggs (almost) daily.
  • I want to keep some honeybee hives, which don’t necessarily bring a large quantity of food – but man-o-man I love honey. And I’d love to eventually convert my consumption of sugar to wonderful backyard honey. I have family that also make maple syrup, so at some point I figure I’ll tap into their knowledge. (And yes, I did mean to use that horrible pun)
  • We’ve already planted some fruit trees, and I’m on my way to Tractor Supply right after I post this to get some fertilizer. (My cherry tree leaves aren’t looking too good – most have already fallen off, and the remaining are yellowed, which google tells me that means they need some iron and nitrogen)
  • I didn’t think I’d be much of a gardener (again – as a kid I avoided it at all costs). However, I got a handful of plants (from my aunt’s greenhouse) when we first moved in, and to my surprise, I’ve really enjoyed …gardening…them… We don’t have a working kitchen yet, but I’m doing everything I can to keep pulling ripe tomatoes and peppers off the plants. I’m freezing them for now, hoping that they will be useful in the end. I keep moving them around, because we currently don’t have a lot of sunny spots on our property (mostly trees).
  • Eventually, I’d like to raise other animals. Holly’s not too keen on the thought of raising pigs, but I’m hoping I’ll wear her down. Man cannot live without bacon, right? The thoughts of goats, sheep, etc are definitely in the mix, but I haven’t thought that far ahead.
  • Fortunately, my wife’s mom owns a cattle farm – so we have access to natural, grass-fed beef. The way God intended a steak to be raised.
  • I need to figure out how to make my own reese’s cups…

Difficulty Level: Hard


As long as I keep paying my mortgage payment, we should be good there.

Difficulty Level: Done


I very much appreciate our second amendment (and Thank God that America’s founders had the foresight to write it down, because there sure are a bunch of people in the government who oppose it now), but I still need to get my carry permit. If the crap hits the fan, I’ll be focusing on security a lot more, but for now I’m focusing on the other things above.

Difficulty Level: Easy

So – there’s the plan as it stands now. This blog is chronicling my journey of a fully on-the-grid American to a fully off-the-grid survivalist. I’ll try to take pictures!