GROW: The Book
How did everyone get started in preparedness? Baby steps.
Its a work in progress for me.
Yeah, it pretty much has to be a work in progress. By the time you get a well-stocked pantry, some basic tools and emergency supplies, a small garden and such, you come to realize that real preparedness lies in having the skills that make you self-reliant and resilient, no matter what happens. And once you start learning the skills, there's no end to the learning. But you still have to take it one step at a time, and each step, however small, gets you further along.
One area I need to work on is construction and carpentry. Its hard to find some around her that is reliable and that I can afford. Its better just to learn to do as much as I can myself. And then I need to buy, trade or barter for tools!
@MaryRowe this fall I worked on stocking the pantry. I am in very good shape and have actually shared with other family. This spring summer and fall I need to harvest more and work on stocking up herbs.
This year we are working as a family to can and dry food. My brother and his 3 children will all be helping ove her to prepare for winter and stock the pantries.
I'm trying to let go of as much unnecessary stuff as I can, I just don't want to worry about what to put where, or spend time tidying and cleaning instead of doing things that matter. My husband has been wanting to learn to hunt for a long time, and is finally going on a "hunt and learn" next weekend, he is so excited and plans to take our daughter on one soon as well. Our chickens are hanging in there, and my gardening skills are, well...I try! This summer I am upping my preserving game...pray for me! Lol
I think once you have stocked up and planned for being as self sufficient as possible, the next thing would be to compile a list of what other skills and services are available in your area. No matter how self-sufficient we choose to be there is always something that is either beyond our capabilities or that there is just no time for. This offers a list of barter possibilities, too. Sharing equipment can reduce costs of running a homestead. Is there someone growing things that you can't due to space confines or microclimate differences? Does someone in the area have a cider press? Is there a grain mill? Is there a blacksmith or a wheelwright or a harness maker? Who makes soap, candles, baskets, pottery? Does someone have a kiln? Is there a spinners & weavers guild? Are there health practitioners?
Knowing that you have these skills or services around you can bring peace of mind to being as prepared as possible.
Yes- thanks guys- that's great answers. My good friend is making all these well thought out strategic plans for all kinds of different scenarios that could go down and I was feeling a bit under prepared. I don't have grab bags, i have emergency supplies but not like a kit (except in the car I've got a decent little one).
I forgot to mention, but I've said this before. Take a first aid course.
@Denise Grant There are few things that give me such a sense of security ad a well-stocked pantry. It's great that you can work as a family--wonderful that the kids are joining in and learning these skills. I don't have family, so pretty much on my own with this. Friends can be allies or a truly total disaster, as happened to me in March.
I had hip replacement surgery in March, a week in the hospital and 2 weeks in a nursing home after. Two very dear friends volunteered to look after my place while I was away, and I was grateful for that. But they took it upon themselves to surprise me by rearranging the furniture to accommodate the walker I'd be using for a few weeks after I got home, which apparently led them to decide to surprise me even more by doing some house cleaning,which somehow led them to decide to really surprise me by completely clearing our my pantry!
Though so very well meaning, they are city folk, and understand nothing about home canning, dehydrating, long-term storage foods, or preparedness in general. Mice had got into the house while I was gone and made a mess of anything they could get into, which freaked my friends out. Then they found a couple cans of something past the "best by" date--so obviously that, along with anything however well sealed, that had even a speck of mouse dirt on the outside of it, had to be thrown out. All the dehydrated fruit and vegetables looked strange to them--well obviously that stuff must be spoiled, so they threw it all out, even the jars! I had 5 five-gallon buckets full of whole grains. They thought they found meal moths in one, so instead of putting them out on the back porch to freeze and be sifted clean, they threw all five buckets of grain out....and on and on it went. They threw out a dozen cans of freeze-dried meat and vegetables because they didn't know what they were looking at and thought the stuff was expired and spoiled. They even threw out all my herbal tea, because I reuse tea tins over and over; they looked at the dates on them and assumed the tea was expired....
When I got home, I found my pantry EMPTY, except for some boxes of instant oatmeal, hamburger helper, and such like fake food that they replaced the real food with. Well, they wanted to surprise me, and I surely was surprised....They were so proud of the amazing job they had done, that I really did try not too get too harsh in explaining to them what they actually had done, but it wasn't easy! And since I got home in early April, despite the lockdowns and shortages, I have been frantically struggling to restock my pantry. I am not back to where I was or want to be, but at least I am back to a level that I am comfortable with. And looking forward to a new year, a new garden, and a chance to fill my pantry properly again.
So preparedness never ends, especially when you have well-meaning but clueless friends trying so hard to help!
Oh, that's awful @MaryRowe. All your hard work and the time involved with all that preparing. My sympathies. Here's wishing you a bumper crop in the coming months for replacements.
Definitely take a first aid course. I have taken first aid courses since I was a girl. And while I don't take one every time my certification expires, I try to get around to taking a basic first aid class every so often. I have also take wilderness first aid classes. I think that is a good adjunct to the possibility that we may be without for whatever reason for some amount of time. In my younger years, I loved hiking and I also was on a search and rescue team for a while. My mentor taught us survival skills in case we got lost or injured during a search. Not all exactly related to prepping. but great life skills. As a friend of mine once told me her mother told her, "You never know where your life may take you."
@MaryRowe I am so sorry. What a shock and financial blow
My family hs just started to help with the food and panty ideas. We will see if it works out. They are terrified with our current uphevel in life. My one niece is still going week by week in the food department but she is planning for next year and a new garden and herb garden.
My really weak area is being able to do a lot for myself. That area my family does not help at all. I'm getting water back in the house (broken pipes that were old enough everything has to be replaced) and my barn fell in and has to be cleaned up and maybe replaced. Life can be challenging!~
But being prepared for what we can will help.
@torey thanks for your well wishes. I wasn't able to do much gardening in 2020, but I'm back on my feet to the point that I've been out clearing beds, laying down compost and mulch and such--just generally getting ready for the best garden ever in 2021!
@Denise Grant If there is a silver lining to the situation these days, it's that more people are becoming more aware of the need for preparedness and making an effort to start. I surely know the feeling of facing big stuff like broken pipes and a collapsed barn and trying to figure out how to handle it by yourself. It's tough and it's frustrating.
But something occurred to me as I was telling the story of my pantry disaster just now (other than how much it still upsets me to think about it!) The better idea that occurred to me was all of the new options I've ended up exploring when I found my old ones blocked. For example, , when my usual sources for flours and whole grains were totally sold out, I went searching and found Janie's Mill, a wonderful family operation that grows and mills their own grain in Illinois. And when I wasn't yet able to get out and do much gardening this summer, I greatly expanded what I knew and was doing about indoor gardening, especially with sprouts and microgreens. And I've lost track of how many good leads and ideas I picked up on this forum--Misfits Market, the reminder and inspiration to get back to my old habits of foraging off my land, encouragement and information to start learning herbal medicine, and lots else. These and other adaptations to fix an empty pantry will be a permanent part of my preparations from now on.
So I guess bottom line of that story is that attitude and adaptability are probably the most important part of preparedness--you need the tools and supplies, you need the skills even more, but most of all you need to be able to turn obstacles into opportunities. It really has to begin with attitude and adaptability.
Roadblocks (aka obstacles) I deal with this way. You can go over them, under them or around them. In some instances, it's just easier to barrel right through them. I have a number of my roadblock opportunities stashed in other places.
You are a very positive person @MaryRowe. Many others might have had your challenges and given up. Good for you!