Friday, June 22, 2012

What If It Doesn't Happen? What If It Does?

This morning, I'd like to share something important to me with all of you. Even though I'm a writer, I could not have expressed this as eloquently as Gaye does over at Backdoor Survival. Please read this carefully, and all the way through. As you do, I ask you to think of the wildfires in Timmins, Colorado, California and all over the country. Think of Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans. Think of all of the communities that have been wiped out by floods and hurricanes, think of the families who have no choice but to go to the food banks to feed their kids. Think of the rising unemployment numbers and how that translates to re-claimed homes or vehicles. Think of all these while you read with an open mind.
Thanks go to Gaye for making this letter available to share with all of you.

An Open Letter to Family & Friends
I’m writing this letter because I care about you. Please take a few minutes to read it and think about what I’m saying.

Why the Letter?

Our lives are crazy. We take care of our family, work, eat, play chauffer, pay the bills, etc. When we have a little bit of free time, we like to just veg in front of the TV and watch some brain numbing pictures flicker across the screen. We can go at it like this for days, weeks and even months, not knowing what is going on in the world outside our local community and just getting by with the talk around the water cooler.
And when we take life in these little chunks, separate blocks of our time and attention, it seems a little bit more manageable. We move from one task, event, errand, chore to the other.
The problem is when we look at our lives from a big picture perspective. What if our lives all of the sudden changed? What if the stress of the day came bearing down at you all at once? How could this happen? This can easily happen during an emergency. I’m not talking about your son just stuffed his GI Joe down the toilet, or the dog is out of food emergency. I’m talking about the BIG stuff.
The Big Emergency
The BIG emergency is the one that stops you in your tracks. It can be personal, based in your local community or worldwide. But it is the one that everything else stops and all resources and energy are put towards it.
The problem is that most people are not prepared for the BIG one.
Are you and your family most people? Do you have an emergency fund for financial emergencies? Do you have insurance for medical emergencies? Do you have food and water if there is a food supply/transportation emergency? Do you have other means of cooking and preparing your food if utilities weren’t available? Do you have first aid supplies and extra medicine on hand? Do you have basic skills that could help you: fire starting, water purification, gardening, first aid, etc.?
This is the whole reason for my letter. I want to help you see the importance of being prepared and to start being more self-reliant. It’s not too hard, but it does take time, planning and effort. But then again, what would the time, planning and effort that you put in ahead of time be worth in the middle of an emergency? You’ll be glad you did!

Action Steps
  1. Make a plan – What are you preparing for? What needs to be done? Don’t look at the magnitude of the plan, that can be overwhelming. Take it in chunks. In reality, you will never be “prepared.” You can be “not prepared” or “overly prepared,” but never “perfectly prepared.” Consider the basics: financial, medical, etc. but also keep in mind your region of the country; hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, fires, etc.
  • Set goals – When do you want _____ accomplished?
    1. Get a 3 day supply of food. Then move to a 3 week supply.
    2. Revisit insurance: house, vehicle, medical, life, etc.
    3. Start an emergency fund – 3-6 months of expenses
    4. Start a garden
    5. Take a class: first-aid, sewing, gardening, firearm, wilderness survival
    6. Watch some videos on YouTube (search preparedness)
    7. Read blogs and articles on “preparedness” and “prepping”
    8. Get active – go meet your goals!
The world of preparedness/prepping can be an addictive one. It can suck you in, mess with your emotions and get you seeing the world in the fragile states that it is in. It is always best to approach preparedness within community. You should go it alone only if no one else is willing. Eventually, they will realize that you were right, even if that is in the midst of a storm.
It is not in the scope of this letter to discuss all the possible emergency scenarios that you should prepare for. But outside of regional, natural disasters, it is important to me to briefly mention our global situation. Things outside our local community have gone from bad to worse! At first, we might not care about what is going on in some Asian or European country, but the fact is that we are ALL tied into each other now. What happens over there, affects us over here.
There are many “End of the World as We Know It” type scenarios out there. One such scenario is an economic collapse. Someone recently replied to me and said, “Yes, times can get hard, but we have been through it before during the Great Depression.” The fact is that it is way different this time. Our country didn’t have the debt that we have now. And, if for some reason the world loses faith in our government’s ability to pay its debts, we are up the creek. It really isn’t too far-fetched to imagine this happening if you’ll look into it. The concern has gone beyond the foil hat people. Just research it!
Do Something
Please take this letter seriously. If you prepare and don’t need it, the worst is that you have some food (food costs are going up/buy now at cheaper prices) and other supplies. But if you ever find you are in a position that you do need it, you and your loved ones will be glad you were prepared!

For more information, visit Backdoor Survival

Monday, June 18, 2012

It Is The Age of Doing

I read a lot of blogs, but the ones that I tend to return to  time and again are the ones the authors try and live their truth. They DO.  There is much merit in ideas and theories but after a time, we have to get off our behinds and do something with those ideas. Whether it's to "beat the rush and collapse now" as the ArchDruid suggests or to start preserving, recycling and de-cluttering, we need to stop talking about it and start doing.
We here are following my own advice. We are de-cluttering, even though it's frightening, enlightening and blatantly shocking sometimes. (Note to self: de-clutter more often than once every dozen years)
When I first started planning on growing our own food, I learned all I could about season extension. But as I've been comparing the overall weather and temperature of the new homestead to where we live now, I find that I've neglected a very important factor in food production. Drought.

drought |drout|
a prolonged period of abnormally low rainfall; a shortage of water resulting from this.
• [usu. with adj. ] figurative a prolonged absence of something specified : he ended a five-game hitting drought.
• archaic thirst.

One of the ways we'll be dealing with drought is to store water in rain barrels. Over time, my Dad has been gathering the barrels and spouts, next comes the gutters and downspouts and screens to keep out bugs and other nasties. I'll be developing raised beds in which to grow our vegetables, instead of the traditional rows, because this will allow me to grow more intensively, rotate crops, grow green manure crops, grow sprouts for the chickens and even put a temporary chicken pen over temporarily fallow beds. I'll be able to cover the beds in case of frost, marauding birds or excessive sun, as well as keep out the friendly rabbit.

An important element of any homestead, I'm learning, is drainage,  whether it be in the garden or the septic leach field. I mention this because last week, I had an epiphany. The last time I lived on our mini-homestead, I didn't need to worry about the infrastructure of our place, my parents worried about that. But life has changed us and our circumstances. Now I need to know how well our land drains. I need to learn how the septic system works, where it is and how to manage it. I need to learn not only about this but about so many other things, and then I need to make the management of the homestead a working part of every day, while I learn about all the other things I haven't realized that I don't know yet.
I need to learn, to do. I need to do what it takes to build on what is there, do what it takes to build our success year after year, and teach others by demonstration, on both my You Tube channel and this blog and my freelance writing.

Indeed, it falls to each one of us to learn how to survive the coming decline of our economies as well as society. It is the responsibility of each of us to learn how to lives with less, do more with what we have and pass on our knowledge of these things. In this way lies our best hope.

It is time to do something.
What will you do?