Posted by Kyle
Our family values and beliefs have been slowly evolving over the last number of years. As we transitioned to our new life on the homestead it became clear to us that the services we came to rely on as city dwellers were actually very fragile things. We learned this the hard way when our well stopped pumping the week we moved in. It was reinforced when our effluent pump died and we had no way to dispose of waste water. Add that to a number of power outages and you very quickly realize that you are not prepared to deal with unexpected situations.
In today’s uncertain times preppers are often cast as doomsday scenario nut-bars who have bunkers and enough ammo to last them a lifetime – but this is not an accurate depiction of your average prepper. For those of us that identify as preppers, it is much more simple than that. All we ask ourselves is this: “If something where to happen where we no longer had access to electricity, water, money, basic supplies, would we be able to keep our families fed, warm and safe?” Simple. We don’t have iodine pills in case of nuclear fallout (but maybe we should…), we don’t have an arms cache that would rival law enforcement and we don’t have a fallout shelter in our backyard. We simply aim to be more prepared in case an unexpected situation arises by having, food, water and a reserve heat source available should we need it. We also are building our skill set to lessen our reliance on store bought items by learning how to do things like make soap, grow and preserve vegetables, raise chickens for eggs and keep bees for honey.
Looking back at 2017 there were no shortage of natural disasters that tossed people into situations they were woefully unprepared for. We all saw the photos of looting and bare shelves when hurricane after hurricane was pummeling the US. We saw what happened in Puerto Rico following a hurricane where most of the population was without power for weeks and even months in some areas. And if anyone is following what is happening in Cape Town right now, all citizens are rationed to 55L of water per day (for context the average shower uses 65L of water) and are facing a total shutoff of city water. These are all crazy situations that are easily filed in the “it won’t happen to me” bin, but as a prepper we always ask ourselves the question… “But what if it did?”
I’ve got a challenge for you to test your preparedness. Starting right now only eat what you have on hand. See how long you can last eating from your fridge, freezer and pantry. Don’t make a stock up run to the store first. Try and see what it would actually be like if all of a sudden you didn’t have access to the endless aisles of food at your local supermarket. Post your wins and struggles in the comments – we did this and it exposed a large gap in our preparedness and allowed us to zero in on the things we were missing.
Now I bet if you make it through that challenge you will probably say, “Okay, okay you got me Kyle. But none of that matters because I have a steady paycheck and some savings.” Well, I’m glad you said that because that is the perfect segue to the most relatable scenario I can think of – losing your job.
It wasn’t all that long ago back in 2010 when unemployment levels in the US peaked at 9.5%. Unemployment in the European Union right now is sitting at 7.6% and looking at just youth unemployment that number is as high as 25% in some countries. Taking a look at my own country of Canada, in the month of January alone we lost 88,000 jobs (and no that’s not a typo). So I ask you, what if one of those was yours? How long would your food stores last if you didn’t have an income? My guess is not as long as you would need. I know this because ours wasn’t either. That is why every time we go grocery shopping we now buy a little extra to can or dehydrate and add to our pantry. Sometimes it is just vegetables like potatoes or carrots and other times it is ingredients to make soup or chili. It doesn’t matter what it is so long as you are building a store of food that you can use when the going gets tough.
I know nobody likes to think about bad things happening, it is depressing for sure because these are real situations happening to real people with real families who never really believed it could happen to them. But as the old saying goes, I would rather be prepared and have nothing happen then have something happen and not be prepared. This is why it is so important to look at the world around you, assess the risks and have a plan in place to deal with a situation when it arises. This is a big part of why we have started learning skills that are no longer common in today’s modern society. Here are just a few of the things that we have done in the last 6 months that we very little prior knowledge of:
- Soap Making
- Candle Making
- Cheese Making
- Pressure Canning Food
- Collecting Firewood
- Cooking From Scratch (for the dogs too)
We will also be adding chickens and bees to our homestead along with a large vegetable garden as soon as the snow melts.
Now are we fully self-sufficient? No, of course not! Are we fully prepared? Definitely not. We are just at the beginning of our journey; But with each passing week we are honing our skills, learning new things and adding to our stockpile so we will be ready if we need to be. Homesteading is a marathon, not a sprint, an ongoing process that can never truly be completed. But isn’t that what makes this such a rewarding pursuit? The ability to live freely, adapt to changing situations and provide for yourself and your family? Living this way allows you to spend time doing the things you love, with the people you love, all the time. That’s the dream and that will be the reality.
The beautiful thing about this is that you don’t need a big acreage to do any of the things we are doing. The list above can be done in any kitchen, anywhere in the world. You can garden on your balcony or in your backyard. You can store extra food just about anywhere and it doesn’t take any room at all to learn how to cook from scratch. Many cities will even allow you to keep bees and even chickens in your backyard (… Just not the city we moved from)! What I’m saying is that there are lots of ways to homestead without a lot of land. The key is to just do it. So many people say to us, “I couldn’t do what your doing” or “I’m so jealous of what you are doing, I wish I could do that” and to them I say, “THEN GO DO IT!!!!” There is honestly nothing stopping anyone from learning how to do any of this stuff other than their own ambition. And please – Don’t be jealous. Nothing about this was given to us… Not the knowledge to cook, or can, or garden, things that SHOULD have been passed down through the generations but weren’t. We are achieving this on our own through our own hard work and by making a conscious choice to spend our time and money a certain way. We don’t spend a lot of time at movies, or Starbucks.
So as a homesteading adrenaline shot to the heart here is personal challenge #2. What are you going to do this week to get a little bit more prepared? It could be something small like buying a couple jugs of water or could be learning a skill like how to can food. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you are taking a step towards preparedness and I promise you will feel better and have fun doing it.
Let us know how it goes in the comments 🙂