If you’re a homesteader, chances are you have already discovered the joy that comes with being able to produce at least some of what you need to survive. Many people decide to homestead to get out of the busy, rat race of the city life. Some people homestead to be closer to nature, get back to simple basics of our ancestors, or out of a love for animals.
As a homesteader you realize that there will be periods during each year where produce and meat are scarce. To plan for lean times, homesteaders have learned about long term storage and how to home can or otherwise preserve excess food to sustain the family during the leaner winter months each year. Sometimes as a homesteader it can feel like every day is about putting out one “fire” after another. But most homesteaders understand that every skill learned moves one closer to self-reliance and that living frugally reserves limited budget and resources for future projects.
But homesteading is very hard work. If you get sick or injured, the work on the homestead falls behind and an extended period of down time could cause you to lose your garden, your livestock, or even your home. And the other downside to homesteading is that you are putting literally all your effort, money, and resources (eggs) into one basket.
- Could you really survive a full year on just your stockpile if you lost your crops this year? Can you survive for months or even longer without access to a grocery store, public utilities, and other societal amenities if SHTF?
- If a disaster occurs that forces you to leave your homestead, what would you do?
- Are you prepared to leave with your family on very short notice?
Are you ready to get more prepared for SHTF events? One way to be a more prepared homesteader is to take a lesson from the preppers. Sure there are some preppers who go to extremes but let’s focus on lessons from the more moderate preppers. Here’s how to tweak the way you do things to prepare for SHTF if you’re a homesteader so you can be even more prepared.
Ramp Up Your Emergency Planning
If you’re a homesteader, you are certainly no stranger to emergencies. In fact, some days it may feel like all you do is “put out fires” on your homestead when things go awry. Being able to handle whatever life throws at you in the moment on the homestead is a great skill to have and one that will serve you well when SHTF.
But preppers focus on analyzing potential threats so they are well equipped for an emergency event in advance and they plan ahead for emergencies which could require them to defend their home to the death or abandon their home and retreat to a safer location.
When you think about the types of emergencies or things that have gone wrong over the last several months or years on your homestead, is there any pattern?
- Do you find yourself fixing the same section of fence every Fall or Spring?
- Is there a section of property or even part of your home that floods frequently? Can you reroute that water to use for garden irrigation or watering animals and prevent the flooding before it happens?
- Are there any events that come up again and again that you could prevent or handle with less stress if you prepared ahead?
- What kinds of natural disasters are prevalent in your local area? Is your property protected against wildfires? Hurricanes? Earthquakes?
- Do you and your family have a safety plan in place for each of these types of emergencies?
This kind of reflection and planning is something preppers do well and it’s something you can do to tweak the way you do things to prepare for SHTF.
Extend and Expand Your Stockpile
As a homesteader, you’re probably used to having to stockpile food and supplies to get through the lean winter months each year. If all goes well, you can replenish your winter stockpile from each year’s harvest.
Preppers as a whole stockpile gear and supplies in an attempt to prepare for whatever might happen, no matter when it comes. For many preppers, the focus is on stockpiling supplies such as food, water, first aid, communications equipment, firearms and ammunition.
Preppers know that when SHTF, grocery stores and other public services will be the first to shutdown and in a serious grid down situation it could take time to rebuild. To prepare for this, some of them have food and supplies to last their family a year or several years.
One of the ways to tweak the way you do things to prepare for SHTF is to extend your stockpile gradually. Make sure your stockpile includes store bought staples such as flour, salt, sugar, beans, and rice. Include items you might use to make all natural cleaning solutions such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, or essential oils.
Plan for Renewable Resources
One of the things many experienced preppers do is to plan for renewable resources in the event of a SHTF situation where the power grid and other public services are shut down. As a homesteader, you may already be heating with a woodstove or using a well for water but modifying your woodstove to heat hot water for personal hygiene needs and obtaining a solar powered or hand pump for your well is a good idea.
Also consider adding solar power as a backup if the electric grid goes down or a rainwater catchment, a greywater drainage system, and composting toilet or outhouse. To expand your ability to cook and preserve food, build an outdoor brick oven, rocket stove, traditional spring house, or smokehouse.
Beef Up Your Homestead Security
For preppers, a large part of the focus is on being able to defend their property to the death. Homesteaders are used to defending against animal predators and the occasional four wheeling or hunting trespasser but are you prepared to fight if attacked? If an intruder or a group of intruders come looking to take your food and supplies, your family will suffer if you aren’t prepared to fight. The best defense of course is to keep them off your property for as long as possible and avoid confrontation.
Analyze potential options for additional passive security around the perimeter to deter intruders. But when SHTF, some intruders will be persistent. You can take a lesson from preppers if you stockpile firearms, other weapons, and ammunition and plan to team up with trusted neighbors or relatives that will help you protect your homestead from an aggressive attack.
Prepare to Get Mobile
Many preppers also place a big emphasis on bugging out when needed to an alternate location. As a homesteader, one of the ways to tweak the way you do things to prepare for SHTF is to have a bug out plan. It’s also a good idea to identify ways to make your garden portable or at least on how to store and transport seeds to an alternate location.
Scout for an alternative location that would keep your family safe if you did have to leave your homestead. Learn knot tying, animal tracking and hunting, and how to build shelters from natural materials or scavenged materials so you can feed and shelter your family in a temporary location if needed.
As a homesteader, you are already in a great position. You are likely at least partly self sufficient and can withstand short periods of lean times on your homestead already. Many of the skills preppers know are needed for a SHTF situation, you are already practicing everyday on your homestead.
Things such as cutting and splitting firewood, making simple meals from food on hand, repairing a fence or fixing a tractor, and learning to plan meals according to what’s in season are second nature to you as a homesteader.
By stealing a few tweaks from preppers, you can turn your homestead into an impenetrable fortress with renewable resources which will help your family survive and thrive following a SHTF event.
A mother of four and grandmother of nine boys and one girl, Megan is living the lifestyle any prepper would want. Gardening, homesteading and constantly planning for emergencies big and small, she’s a beacon of knowledge in the prepping community.