Thursday, March 15, 2012

Redundancy On The Homestead

Wether we live in the city or out in the country, it's a good idea to look at our homes as a series of systems. Those of you reading this who have a homestead may already know this. Perhaps you don't. I bring this up today because an acquaintance who owns a small homestead, and I, were having a discussion about systems and how they enable us to be successful.
I asked her how she manages to get so much done and she told me that her secret is to manage "systems", instead of "things". For example, she has a water system on her property; a well. Like me, she believes in having backups for everything possible. Her back up water system is a highly developed water catchment system. Every building or enclosure on her property, including her woodshed, has gutters that direct rainfall into water barrels. These barrels are emptied into main water barrels. This water is then boiled and cooled for her chickens. One less drain on her well. She treats and boils this water for most of her cooking also. This is a working backup for her water system.

Using this example, what else can we apply this theory to? Chores, skills and any projects we may have around our own homesteads, no matter how small. I have boys that would rather play X-Box all day than feed chickens, clean their room, or help put groceries away. I suspect most kids are like this. But X-Box and Nintendo won't teach them the value of a job well done, teach them the right way to stack wood or how to get water when the well runs low. So let's say you're going raise chickens next year. You teach yourself everything you can about this monumental task. You find yourself raising happy, healthy chickens one day and you feel pretty darn good about that. Hooray! But think about a backup plan. What if you get sick or have to turn over chicken care to someone else in the family for a few days? Does someone else understand chicken care like you do? Now, while you have the time, is a good time to develop a back up plan for yourself. Teach someone else in the family what needs to be done on a daily basis for your birds. Teach that person what is normal chicken behavior and what isn't. There may come a day when you'll be very glad you did. So what if your livestock is the family dog? Same rule applies. Make sure someone else knows the ins and outs of feeding, walking and favorite treats.

Food can also be scrutinized. Your food system is different than mine, your tastes and dietary needs will be different. But again, do you have backups? Are you able to make a couple of meals ahead and freeze them? We all know how cruddy illness can make us feel, and if you are the sole food producer in your family, or even if you live alone, the day is eventually going to come when you'll need those backup meals made ahead.

These are just a few elements of our "homesteads" that we can develop backup systems for, and why we should. Even a home on a mid-sized suburban lot is a homestead once you develop it. Can you develop a water system if you don't already have one? How will you cook your meal if the power goes out and stays off for a number of hours? How would you heat your home in the winter?
One of my favorite sayings is "Have backups for your backups". This requires careful planning and frequently, trial and error. But it's well worth the time spent today to make your life a little more comfortable down the road.
Do you have backups?

1 comment:

Jacquelineand.... said...

Yes I do, they are called Jess and C.