OK… Lets talk about Emergency Preparedness (EP). I know what you are saying. I thought this blog was about “Homesteading”…? Well, for me EP has always gone hand-in-hand with homesteading. Whether it’s gardening, cultivating fruit trees and berries, raising small livestock or just about anything else going on around the farmstead, all roads lead to being better prepared. “Prepared”? Prepared for what? Well… prepared for whatever may come… (I know, that sounds even more evasive). Prepared for all the “what if’s” in life. You say you don’t HAVE any “what if’s”? Sure you do.
But… first I need to get the “P” word out there. You know, the word that’s all over TV right now. “Prepper”… there… I said it… but not too loudly. Why…? Because most of the “Preppers” being portrayed on TV are shown to be weird, crazy, obsessed, neurotic (though very colorful and entertaining) idiots….er, I mean… individuals. Having said that, it’s important to realize that the producers of the shows are trying to make sure we perceive them as such. But, the idea of being prepared is certainly not new. It has been around as long as human civilization.
Don’t believe me? OK, how far back ya’ wanna go? How about a few thousand years? Remember the Biblical story of Joseph? Long story short, he was given the keys to the Egyptian empire because he was able to interpret a dream for the Big Guy (his boss). Seven good years of plenty was a comin’, followed by seven years of squat… really… I think the actual Hebrew word was “squat”… it just didn’t translate very well. Anyway, his brainstorm was to store up lots of goodies in the good years, in preparation for the bad years. Boss man said “good idea, lets get ‘er done” (this was in southern Egypt). So, not only did they have enough stored up for themselves when the “poop hit the prop” (a phrase I have coined), but they had food to spare for all the surrounding folks to come and spend their drachmas on, or barter for. Boss Man got even richer (as usual) and lots of folks (including ol’ Joe’s peeps) were saved from starvation.
OK… you say that was a long time ago, right? Well, you’re right, it was… but depending on how old you are (I have recently entered into the sixto-generian club) you may well remember a time when there was no Walmart Supercenter, or Kroger, or Safeway or ANY sort of “supermarket“. I remember the corner grocery store, and what we considered, at the time, a big grocery store or two in town. But even the biggest store then, was nothing like today’s supermarkets. Aisle after aisle of goodies shipped from all over the world. But… if you think back about 60 or 70 years (ask an old person) almost EVERYONE was a “prepper”. Really. At least in rural areas they were. Most everyone had a garden, canned their own food… or… even if they didn’t grow and can their own, they stored a lot of extra in their pantries. You didn’t just run to the store when you needed a can of beans, you bought several cans, on the rare occasions when you went to town. So, the idea of relying on a local supermarket to give you anything your heart desires, is a relatively new concept.
Now… let’s cover another strange word. This one may be new to you… TEOTWAWKI… Never heard of this? It stands for The End Of The World As We Know It. I know what you’re saying… Dec 21st has come and gone, and we are still here, right? Well, look at what I just said. Not “the end of the world“… but, “the end of the world as we know it“. Big difference. It means something happened that change the future I had envisioned. Ask someone from the Jersey coast if Miss Sandy didn’t given them a TEOTWAWKI punch. It did. For millions of them. For some it was just a temporary inconvenience. For others, their lives may never be the same. Homes are gone, jobs are gone, shorelines have changed, plans put on hold, or cancelled altogether. The end of the world as we know it is just a fire, tornado, job loss or bad x-ray away. Or a myriad of other catastrophes. We just don’t know.
So… prepare. How much you do and how far you go is up to you, but consider this question. If your lights went out for 24 hours, how would you fare? I know… some of you would head for the nearest motel. But could you make it for a while, in place, if you had to? Do you have an alternative power source? Do you have another way to cook or bake? Would you be taking cold showers? Would you have water available to even take a shower? In other words, is there a Plan B in your life?
Homesteading is about Plan B’s. Putting things in place… on your place… to divert, or at least deflect the fastballs life throws at your noggin’. So start now. Consider what you would like to do that would be beneficial long term with regards to your family. Then start doing that, or at least planning that, right now on your homestead, or in your backyard. The size and scope of your “homestead” is not the determining factor of your success.
In future posts, I’ll write about where I think you should start… tin-foil hats are optional…