Is War Coming?


I’m sure you’ve all heard or read the news lately, and there’s a lot of talk going around. Are we going to be “at war” as we probably think of it? Our troops have been fighting here, there, and everywhere for years, decades even, in one skirmish or another, but it could come to our country itself?

Of course. And even if battles didn’t actually erupt on American soil, there’s always the threat of terrorist actions and a credible one of cyber-attacks. But what exactly does that mean?

A wide-scale attack could interrupt gas and oil delivery, banking, food supplies, and utilities. It could happen in weeks, as has been suggested by Homeland, sooner, later, or of course, never. Do you really want to be caught unprepared by brushing this off and ignoring the possibilities? Here’s what to do:

First, when possible, avoid places where a lot of people congregate and involve either government facilities or symbols of capitalism, such as malls, theaters, and concert venues. If you can’t avoid these places, or aren’t yet convinced it could be an issue, practice situational awareness. It’s better to cancel plans or leave if you’re nervous about something and risk looking stupid than to be blown to smithereens.

Second, make sure you’re as healthy as you can be and if you’re taking prescription meds, get them filled if you can. Insurance companies often don’t do early refills, but you might be close enough to empty that it’ll work. Drink lots of water and exercise as you’re able.

Third, stock up on any items that A) you can’t live without and B) you can’t make yourself. Include seed packets too, just in case. A lot of vegetables can be grown inside or in a small pot on the deck or patio. For instance, our grocery list this week included alcohol and cigarettes because I don’t want to face whatever happens without either of these and because I don’t know how or have the capabilities to make them.

We always have six months, minimum, worth of supplies on hand, such as food, OTC meds and first aid supplies, household needs like toilet paper and trash bags, and so forth. In spite of having a well and a pond—and a pool, in a pinch—we also keep some gallon containers of water to be used in the interim if the well or pipes should have problems, until we can fix it.

Make a list of what you use every day and start shopping. Go heavy on shelf-staple and lighter on perishables. Don’t forget snacks, and make sure the stuff you buy is what you actually like. And yes, fill up water containers or buy gallons, again, just in case.

Fourth, stop by the bank and withdraw some cash in smaller bills. It doesn’t have to be much, it’s an emergency stash and you can always put it back once the threat has passed. Why do this? Well, if the internet goes down, or the power grid, both businesses and individuals will only be accepting cash; you might have hundreds of dollars, or thousands, in the bank, but you won’t be able to use your debit or credit cards. Sock it away somewhere safe and know that it’s there if you need it.

And finally, self-defense. No, you don’t need an arsenal and you don’t even have to carry if you don’t want to, but check your home for escape routes, hiding places, and weapons. Keep your cell phone charged as well as your laptop. Make a plan for your family’s safety.

Preppers have been doing all these things for a long time and are more ready for whatever may happen. You might think this is all overkill, and maybe you’re right. Or maybe not. My motto is to be ready for anything, because then you’re set and you don’t have to worry.

Homestead Series IX—Homesteading by the Seasons


Here is your handy-dandy guide to homesteading throughout the year, including gardening and livestock care. Any additional things you may do, such as home-schooling your kids or working a day job, will take extra time each day, as will the work you do to build up your homestead in the first place—such as:

Perimeter fence

Livestock corrals

Garden fencing

Your house building/remodeling

Livestock shelters

Storage for foodstuffs, tools, etc.

Winter

Plan your garden, order or purchase seeds, feed livestock, break the ice on your water troughs, pick a nice day to replenish your woodpile from all the winter deadfall; plan your trips to town around the weather so that A) you don’t get caught in the snow/ice/rain and B) so you don’t run out of groceries and feed/hay. Check any heat lamps/heaters in your greenhouse or pump house on a daily basis, as well as fence lines.

Toward the end of winter, in addition to all the daily things mentioned above, you’ll need to fertilize your garden and check/repair the fence.

Spring

Keep doing all the aforementioned chores, and plant your seeds indoors or in your greenhouse. Plow up the garden, and till and rake it. In mid-March, start your outdoor seeds. You can probably, at this point, take “breaking ice” off your list, as well as checking those heat lamps—but still pay attention to the weather. And it’s probably time to go back to the clothesline and give your dryer a break.

As spring progresses, you’ll be weeding, watering, and tilling that garden at least 3-4 days a week. Pretty soon, you’ll be harvesting some early vegetables. And of course, each week or so will be time to plant additional crops. You’ll still be feeding your livestock and checking fences and making repairs too.

Summer

It all comes down to the weather—when it’s cold,  you work outside later in the day when it’s warmed up as much as it’s going to, and in the summer, you get an early start so you don’t die of heatstroke. When it rains, you do indoor work or run errands; when it’s dry, you’re outside.

Now’s the time to be harvesting and processing your vegetables. And by late summer, you’ll need to start getting that woodpile ready for winter.

Fall

Still working on that woodpile, and doing all the other daily chores, but the garden is winding down. You’re probably done with the weeding/watering/tilling by now, too, but it’s time to start winterizing everything. You’ll need to check those livestock shelters again, and fence lines, and cut and split more wood—yes, I say this a lot, but if you’re heating with wood, you certainly do not want to run out. Best get it done and have it ready, so you’re not outside in a blizzard.

Set up heat lamps, heat tape, tank heaters, whatever you need and use to keep your water running. You also do not want to be outside in that blizzard, trying to thaw underground water pipes. Experience speaking, here!

And you’re back to winter, the season of little sun, a lot of cold, and of course, the S-word. Long nights, short days, but you can focus now on indoor chores, a little remodeling, some deep cleaning, or any hobbies you might have to keep busy. Keeping busy is the best way to get through winter, even if eating and sleeping seem like the best idea at the time…that’s usually my go-to if I get bored, and we all know that’s just not good for you.

The longer you homestead, the easier it gets, the more of a routine you can establish. Just like wherever you live now, you have a routine, you have things you must do each day or each week. Same principle, but you do a lot more physical labor and probably a lot more outside chores.