You read the title correctly. Last night when I went out to do chores, it was 40 below with wind chill making it feel like 50 below. As cold as the surface of the planet Mars. It was close to midnight and my first chance to get outside. This is the kind of weather that makes me really think about what it means to be a prepper. I’m single mom of 7 kids, some adopted, some foster and some mine from birth. We live on a farm with 6 horses, 7 goats, 12 chickens, 2 dogs, 2 cats, 1 sheep, 1 llama and a gold-fish.
This IS my BOL. In the summer, I plant a big garden. In my pantry, there is enough canned, dried and frozen food for at least a year. I have my own well, rain water collection system, dugout and 18 x 34 foot swimming pool. Our house stays warm with geothermal heat but the wood stove and several cords of wood are ready to go if need be. We have a camper, several canvas tents, a tipi and a fully equipped insulated cabin hidden the bush. I can sew, knit, weave cloth on my loom and brain tan animal hides. I grind my own grain, make my own soap, cheese, yogurt, bread and pretty much everything else. My kids are home schooled but remain very involved in the community. I have my ham radio licence and am set up with a radio and antenna. Sweet? not.
Even with the power on, maintaining this lifestyle is hard work. Really hard work. That’s why my farm chores don’t get done until almost midnight. I can’t imagine how I will survive if one day I will have to wash the clothes by hand, cut and split my own firewood, use a hand pump to get water for all the livestock. And, what on earth will I do when the animals need hay for the winter? It’s time to sit down again and re-think the plan. I need to have a goal or a set of goals. What do I want to accomplish? How long do I intend to “survive” when things get bad? There are so many scenarios that need to be considered.
Sometimes, looking at my big picture (total self-sufficiency)- is just too overwhelming for me. I need to focus on little bits and then let the big picture come into focus slowly. For now, I have decided take another look at those scenarios that are most likely to occur and try to prep specifically to address at least some of my most obvious shortcomings.
Get at least 8 hours of sleep every night. No more staying up until 2 or 3 AM looking at YouTube videos of how to do home aquaculture. Drink lots of water that has been filtered through the Berkey water filter. Keep moving and lose weight.
Loss of income
Spend less money and squirrel away all excess. Really really work hard at this.
Increase in number of dependents
Being connected to the foster care system means that there is a real possibility that should there be a localized disaster, I may be asked to take in more children. I also have neighbors who have not prepped but know my lifestyle and would come knocking at my door in a heartbeat. It would be wise to stockpile for 20 rather than 8.
Do a weekend trial of living off the grid (but not when it’s 50 below) and make a realistic list of what still needs to be taken care of. Understand that loss of power also means loss of transportation (no gas pumps) so loss of incoming supplies.
Finish concrete “safe room” in the basement. Build earthbag building and store one third of supplies there and one third at cabin.
Ensure that there are no combustibles near the house – cut back bush and trees to no closer than 20 feet. Divide preps and store in 3 different locations.
Attack from hostile people
Take time to look into self defense for whole family, consider a fire arm and develop a plan to secure the perimeter of homestead.
Finish secret room. Develop and practice our “run and hide” plan.
Put together kit that contains instructions and supplies needed for scenario. Educate children.
Increase firewood supply to 10 cords and build shelter to keep it from rotting
Invest in some type of watercraft. Pray that we’re not hiding in April in our nuclear fallout shelter in the basement when the power goes out, knocking out the sump pump and allowing the basement to flood!
Check stock of potassium iodide to ensure that there is enough for family and “visitors”. Put together kit with supplies and instructions that can be accessed easily. Prepare safe room in basement to accommodate nuclear scenario. Continue to look into plans for “hobbit house” made from giant culvert buried in dirt.
The internet is full of ideas and recipes for pretty much anything you can think of. We need to sit still for a moment and think carefully about where we are physically, emotionally and mentally, within our family, community, country and the world. Then create a mental picture of our destination (this picture will change as time passes and your circumstances change – that’s ok.). Finally, begin to map the path to get there.
Now, it’s well after midnight, still cold like Mars outside and I have to go out and do chores. The reality of a real BOL. Cheers