Prep Monday—Weather and the Little Things


As a homesteader, you’re going to be at the mercy of the weather more so than your city counterparts. There will be things that must be done, regardless or rain or snow or wind or extreme temperatures, and it could be the difference between life and death—at some point, if not immediately—instead of just an annoyance.

Today, for example, it’s a little windy, a little chilly, and a lot rainy. Fortunately for me, I have plenty to do inside the house—or barn—but if I had animals at this point, there would still be feeding and care and for that I’d have to brave the weather.

But a lot can be said for planning ahead.

Normally, I do laundry on Monday. Today is Monday. It’s pouring rain, and I use a clothesline. If I wasn’t paying attention to weather, I might be going commando today, but I washed clothes yesterday when it was sunny and 70 degrees.

I also got the strawberry plants in the ground, and a small tree, and trimmed and mowed the orchard—because when the weatherman says, “Ninety percent chance of rain,” I tend to believe that we’ll get some precipitation. Probably.

Better safe than sorry!

The worrisome forecast is coming up, though: high chance of rain for the next ten days or longer. Not thrilled about that—it’s not good to work the soil when it’s super muddy and at this rate, my weeds will be bigger than my potato plants. And they’re looking really good!

Something else we have to consider around here is burning. I’m a fanatic about fire safety, or so my husband says, but I won’t allow burning if the wind is higher than 10 mph. Period. We still have some of that old house to burn down before we bury the rest, but yesterday the conditions were ideal: no wind, and rain in the forecast.

That fire is completely out now, good and proper, thanks to the downpour.

Trash burning, too, should be done in low-wind conditions. As I have to say around here, repeatedly, it does NOT MATTER if there’s a grate on top of the burn barrel to keep large pieces from flying around.

“It only takes a spark,” and all that . . .

 The Little Things

I brought the laundry in yesterday and put it away, shaking out each piece to get rid of any lingering dust or whatnot. Last night, as I put on my robe, I noticed something green on the sleeve.

A tiny worm.

Cute!

I flicked him off and let him take his chances with the cat. Or the dog. Whichever got to him first.

I kinda feel bad. Kinda.

I’m certainly NOT going to “set him free” outside. Good grief. I’m sure there are plenty more where he came from . . .

But it got me thinking—my daughter is coming down on Friday. She’s never been here. She’s not what you would call outdoorsy or anything, unless that means lounging by the pool on a layover; she’s a flight attendant.

She is not a fan of bugs. Not. A. Fan.

When she was six, she saw a spider on the living room floor. I told her to step on it. She refused. I bet we spent at least 15 minutes arguing over that thing. I finally squished it and told her to take a Kleenex and pick it up and throw it away.

She refused again.

Another 15 minutes later, Spidey was in the trash and my daughter was in tears. So was I, come to think of it.

From laughing.

I mean, sheesh, a dead spider. Never did get the fear of spiders thing—and I was bitten by a brown recluse when I was 16.

Oh, and she will dispose of them now—twenty-five years later. But not without, I suspect, lots of shaking and shuddering and squealing.

I’m just wondering how she’s going to manage down here . . .especially if a worm gets on her sleeve!

 

Prep Monday—How Much is Too Much?


Is there such a thing as over-prepping? Yes, particularly when it comes to food.

I finally got my supply closet a bit more organized and was a little surprised to discover 12 bottles of ketchup. Twelve.

Now, when there were three of us or even five of us, I think we went through a bottle maybe once a month. Since we’re down to just two, I’m estimating that bottle would last two months.

Which means I have two years’ worth of ketchup, an item that I can make myself if the tomato crop is good. And I’m not even sure how it happened, but I’m guessing it’s for the same reason that we have two jars of Miracle Whip in there too:

My husband doesn’t look in the cabinets or closet before he goes shopping.

To be fair, he used to call me like ten times—okay, five. Seriously. During a shopping trip my phone would ring off the hook. So to speak. And the reason he was going, and not me, was because I had a lot of things to do already. So he’d call.

I broke him of that habit, but the trade-off is that we have extra stuff that he might think of at the store and just grab “in case.”

I think, though, I have a solution:

I hung a whiteboard in the supply closet to make a list of things needed. Take a picture before you go, and voila, you have the list to pick up any sale items. Plus, of course, the regular grocery list.

IF SHTF happened any time soon, we’d be ready. And ketchup is a vegetable, right?

Just kidding. But we’re nearly fully stocked for a good six months—for two-three people. And this is how it should be.

The other side of prepping is this:

For example, I have a couple packages of store-bought cookies in that supply closet. Now, of course they need to be rotated like everything else, but they’re “emergency” cookies. My husband and I have very different ideas of that word. “Emergency.”

I’m all for cutting back and toughing it out—even with food. I cook a little less; not less often, I’m talking about portion size. It’s something we’re trying to get back to, particularly since as one ages, one needs fewer calories. Yes, I take the workload into consideration. But the typical diet in the US consists of overinflated portions, restaurants and at home alike.

So if I feel like having a Chips Ahoy cookie, and I know where they are, I might or might not take a stroll and grab that package. But only if I happen to being going that way anyhow—I’ll wait and maybe remember to get it.

See, when SHTF, you’re not going to be able to run to the store just for a cookie, and you might really NEED that damn cookie. The heck with your appetite or calorie intake, your emotional health is important too. And cookies make a lot of things better.

And this is the other side of prepping: your mental and emotional preps. Get used to doing without or doing with less now, and if it happens, you won’t be caught by surprise. It’ll be just another day as far as your habits and health are concerned.

But you can always make oven fries to use up all that ketchup:

Oven Fries

Scrub potatoes

Slice to your preference

Toss with olive oil

Season with whatever you like: garlic, onion powder, pepper, anything in your spice rack/cabinet.

Bake at 425 for about half an hour or so, stirring once or twice, until as crisp as you like.