Well Pack, it was a week of frugality, functionality, and flooding here on our survival homesteading retreat. I could call it a three Fs kind of week, but thanks to the flooding and some barbed wire entangling, there was another F tossed about by a few of our tribe members during work details…but I won’t chat about those outbursts here.
First, the flooding. We had weeks of no rain and beautifully hot temperatures (I really should have been born in the South) and then suddenly, the chill of fall (below 85, sometimes not even 70!) crept in and brought with it our second flood season.
A nice healthy balance of sunshine and rain would be awesome, but southern Ohio weather never seems to function that way.
The water had been up the far part of the driveway by the gate a few hours earlier. It was shocking that it went down during the rain, even though it was a brief lull from the heavy downpours. A bank down stream must have given way or something of that sort, which allowed some of the flooding to become diverted – but only briefly. Several more hours later, the water was back up around the gate again.
Brea had to run out for an appointment and went early and rushed back because we knew flooding was on the way. I could have gotten her back over in my trusty old Dodge farm truck – but I was only going through that once and definitely without telling Bobby about it until after.
But Colt had a doctor’s appointment the next day, and Brea decided she and the grandkiddos would stay overnight with her friend Emma to avoid having to cancel and wait forever and a day to get back in because of the high water. The small town where we used to live becomes and island when it floods, so her plan was a valid one.
She needed some toiletries and changes of clothes so I double bagged them and used my lasso to get them across the creek to her – we got it accomplished first go round!
The rain curtailed a lot of our outdoor work details, but being preppers, a plan B of chores that kept you mostly out of the downpours, was ready to go. The only thing wrong with our new house was a distinct lack of storage.
While we increased our land from a large corner small town lot to 56 acres when we moved, we went from a very large 2-story house down to about 1,000 or a little more square feet. No stairs from my cracking knees (thanks to my competitiveness playing sports and then coaching for years) to climb each morning and less to clean, but almost no where to put all of our stuff.
I love to move, must have something to do with my gypsy heritage, and sold or gave away all but the essentials and sentimental things I owned before we moved. My beloved Bobby on the other hand, did let me purge a little of his junk, but his junque filled the largest Uhauls they make 13 times – on top of truck and SUV loads.
The attached garage on this house will become a living room and library in the spring when he builds a detached garage. The garage is filled full of important tools and boxes of books at the moment. The pole barn is overly filled and not in a neat way, getting the myriad of junk and junque, and general stuff in their completely put away right, is nearing the top of the to do list.
So, the rain gave us time to work on our storage issues and a few other indoor homeschool classroom issues. Ok, there was no issue in the classroom – playroom – grandkiddos sleeping area, but I wanted to change the theme of the room to bring the outdoors in to make the space more exciting, imagination sparking, and to offer the chance to do some type of outdoor awareness and skills training even during the long winter months.
This is one of several cabinets we made out of junque from Bobby’s piles. It is old barn wood from the gorgeous 1800s era barn we had to partially take down due to safety issues. The facing on the doors is from scrap tin sheets that had been on the roof of my horse barn that had long since needed replaced.
I did not want to go purchase door pulls and decided to use fencing staples to continue the rustic look and make use of what we already had.
I clear coated the tin on both sides, I love the rusty look but did not want it flaking off and winding up in the mouths of the grandkiddos. We are using the same tin and barn wood to frame a closet around the exposed hot water tank and well bladder in the bathroom.
Oh, did I ever mention this house has only 1 bathroom – that should have be added to the downfall list but since we lived on secluded 56 acres, you can go outside if you need to or in one of our camping compost commodes situated by campers or the barn.
As many of you will recall me noting, our home was a hunting lodge that came with bare concrete floors and exposed pour concrete walls half-way up. I looked at it as a blank slate – at least there was no dang wallpaper to remove, that is never fun. Now, we will have an eclectic farmhouse making great use of free materials that double as prepper storage spots…some with hidden compartments.
We also found time to paint the rest of the kitchen and living room area. The cabinets were handmade using wood from the property by the former owner. I am going to use some corrugated metal taken off the old hog pen as a backsplash behind the stove and sink.
My cast iron lids, pots, and skillets will be hung along the wall above the counters as a storage space saver. The counter tops were junky old laminate that had seen better days. We decided to make new countertops out of stained and maybe intentionally burnt, plywood. So far, the panels are turning out really cool and will be installed this weekend. Anytime you can save money on a necessary home improvement project, it leaves more funds in your pocket to use for valuable preps.
The tree in the multi-purpose learning, sleeping, playing room will be ultra cool looking and interactive when I am done with it. There will be a little bridge dangling between the front branches that the kids will use their engineering skills to help me make.
Then I am going to have the grandkiddos and some tribe kiddos help me make Waldorf style bendy dolls and peg dolls that look like gnomes and fairies to “live” in and around the tree and stump. I will turn that handicraft project into a comprehension lesson based upon a book I am going to read while the kids tasked with gathering all of the supplies and crafting tools on a list I will give them from various bins. Unlike my beloved, all of my creative and educational materials are all organized.
Each child will have to work in tandem with both a buddy and then as part of the large group to get their parts of the project completed properly – another valuable self-reliance skill. One leader always emerges when we engage in projects like this.
We are going to make replicas of leaves from trees growing on our survival retreat to place on the branches using Velcro. Why not glue them, you ponder? Because I want the children to be able to pluck the right leaf from the tree when called upon to do so during learning sessions. I have a basket of real nuts, wood fruit, and blossoms made from felt for the kiddos to use to match what the tree produces with each leaf.
So see, my enchanted forest themed makeover of the room was not just part of a creative whim, it really does have a survival purpose, as well. Once the tree is completed, I can move on to reinventing the rest of the room – and it is going to be a blast doing so on rainy and cold days!
To make the tree, we (meaning my beloved) drilled holes into the stump be lugged into the house. Next we placed the branches into their respective holes and drilled three holes into them.
After that, we simply screwed the branches into place and the foundation of the tree was complete and awaiting adornments by the tribe kiddos and myself.
My Buckeye chicks are thriving and will soon officially be considered pullets. We started out with 10 and lost two that just keeled over, right off the bat. A snake snuck into the chicken run and swallowed three chicks hole – made me curse snakes which is something I rarely do unless it is a copperhead or a rattlesnake. We have five left, two of which will be roosters – so baby Buckeyes coming this spring!
This week’s questions
1. How have you (or will you) address preps storage issues at your house?
2. What junque do you have laying around your place that could be repurposed – and into what
3. Is prepping for small or medium natural disasters you are prone to a focal point of your survival plan?
And…how did you prep this week?