Hello Pack. It has been an exciting and productive week here on our survival homestead. There are many downsides to having a lack of work because of the ongoing disaster, but that does leave more time for on the farm work that ramps up this time of year anyway.
Thanks to the extra time off and good weather, we did copious amount of forest schooling lessons with the grandkiddos this week.
The pandemic shutdown was extended in Ohio until the beginning of May, which means store shelves are still fairly bare on some days and a host of new rules have been put into place when you venture into any store.
At our local grocery, there is now a rule for only one cart per person rule. That makes it hard for a woman with children out of school who has a husband still working and parents in the “vulnerable” age group, and cannot help out with babysitting.
Many folks around here are venturing to the next county over where there is both a Kroger and a Walmart, and taking advantage of the order online and pick up in car option.
Bobby and I do not shop at either store because they chose to exercise their First Amendment rights to encourage the taking away of our Second Amendment rights.
I fully embrace their ability to make anti-gun statements, I simply will not longer give them another dime of my hard-earned money because of it.
We were without a grocery store in our county for almost three years after a bad regional storm took out the power for over a week about nine years ago.
I sure would hate to see so many people opt to shop out of the county for safety or because of the recently initiated social distancing shopping rules that we end up not having a grocery store again.
While we are still working toward our 100 percent food self-sufficiency plan and are making substantial strides in the right direction, we do still go to the store for odds and ends.
This too shall pass, and our county has so far been spared a single case. There have now been three cases and one death in an adjacent county where my family lives, and one case in another adjacent county.
Hopefully our economy will not suffer from the nearly nationwide stay at home order for very long. It is one heck of a good time to have a businessman in the White House, that’s for sure.
The pandemic stimulus check we will receive is likely going to be filtered into an ongoing workshop construction project. Bobby is going to pour a concrete pad, and then place shipping containers on either side of it.
They as well as the open area in between will be covered in a roof. One side will be an equipment shed that houses tools, the welder, and farm implements.
The open space in the middle on the concrete pad will be used to park some of the tractors, and offer a covered space to work on them, as well.
The other shipping container will be used as a blacksmith shop, a reloading shed, and the porch that will stretch across the front of the entire structure will house the DIY manual pottery kick wheel that a tribe member helped me make my beloved for Christmas.
We have spent some time this week measuring out the space available next to the woodshed where he wants to locate the workshop because it will be easy to tie it into our electric from there, and working on our design sketch.
The sketch is a simple one, but Bobby can render it more like an architecture drawing so it is to scale with his real estate appraisal software.
By placing several simple elements inside of the sketch, like work tables and cabinets, we can get a better idea of both where and how everything will fit.
This week’s many preps on our survival homestead included tearing off all the boards on the hay wagon, some were in worse shape than others but none of them were going to last another baling season.
There were two holes in the boards that were all walked around last year – trust me that was neither an ideal or safe situation when you are tired and slinging around 50 pound bales of hay.
A member of our tribe set up a trade for a few truck loads of good pressure treated lumber for a fairly new John Deere riding mower of ours that we never use.
When you have free ranging goats, horses, ponies, and other critters a mower is something you will never need to waste gas on.
My duckweed is growing well, and all of our poultry birds enjoy eating it. The duckweed and a handful of other varieties of aquatic plants are going to not only be a money saver, but help us create a sustainable food source for the meat and eggs birds during a long-term disaster.
We had a sick pig this week, but he has recovered now. I am still not sure what caused him to catch a slight fever, stop eating, drinking, and to become constipated.
But, between my amateur herbalist skills and a tribe member’s knowledge stemming from years raising hogs, we nursed him back to health.
One of the preps that I am most proud of this week involves two of the three youngest grandkiddos.
Colt (just turned 5) and Auddie (just turned 4) can now work the two step latches and chains on all of our gates, and get them pushed open to where they do not fall back into place.
Only two of the latches on all of our gates are the same, so they had to figure out how each worked, with me giving as little guidance as possible, and then use their tiny hands to work the hardware.
Cognitive skills, intuitiveness, and independence are some of the primary focuses in their homeschooling / forest schooling here on our survival homestead.
While millions of little ones are stuck in small chairs at equally small tables all day at preschool (when there is a global pandemic, of course) being told exactly what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and have their every move be adult guided and supervised, my little grandkiddos are free to explore and adventure and learn through doing.
They know their colors, shapes, can count, and do some interactive learning activities to begin recognizing letters, but all other formal types of learning are going to wait until age 6, just as my favorite child education and wellness guru, Charlotte Mason staunchly recommended.
Even then, these kids will never spend more than an hour or two a day – at different times, doing seat work. Learning should be an adventure, and there are far better ways to learn and discover than being chained to a desk.
One day, I will finally have a hands-on self-reliance homeschooling curriculum finished for preschool through senior year. When I do, all pack members are welcome to a free PDF version of it.
Even if you children or grandchildren are not homeschooled, the lessons and activities will still be highly beneficial and anticipated by the children when they are allowed to come home from government school and be with their family.
If any of you are struggling with ways to continue your child’s learning at home, consider using this time to use common everyday things as true learning experiences.
In the photo below you will see my beloved teaching Colt how to use manual tools to assemble a little chair for the playroom:
Not only did he gain more self-reliance knowledge about tools, he honed his listening skills, answered questions about the process while anticipating what came next, learned some new vocabulary words (thankfully no 4-letter ones, lol), and garnered a sense of pride and accomplishment in a job well done.
I used snack time as a learning experience with the grandkiddos. I bought some coffee mug treat cakes, I am not sure what they are actually called. But you make a little individual cake and icing to go on it in a coffee cup using the microwave.
They again had to listen, remember, and follow directions, measured wet and dry ingredients, and practiced their number recognition by pressing the buttons on the microwave.
It was a simple and short lesson, but it puts academic skills into practical practice – which is one of my favorite learning outcomes. Knowing what you are learning is useful makes an impact on the desire to master it – in my personal experience.
We are still living like someone left the gate open here on our survival homestead. I cannot imagine how awful it would be to be cramped inside of an in town house or apartment right now. Just thinking about it hits my claustrophobic button, hard.
Stay safe everyone. We are Americans, I have no doubt we will get through this pandemic, and any economic turmoil that is caused and come out not only victorious, but better for it.
I have no doubt that the number of newbie preppers in the United States is in the midst of growing by leaps and bounds.
This Week’s Questions:
- What would your dream workshop look like and how would you use it?
- Has living through this pandemic changed how your prep?
- Will living through this pandemic prompt you to move, if you are not a rural prepper already?
- What did you do to prep this week?