In the last weeks of winter, you can sometimes find yourself in limbo. You’re itching for spring and the smell of the freshly turned dirt, the magic of planting seeds, and the good weather to get outside and have some fun. Meanwhile, it’s still cold, possibly slushy, and definitely too soon to plant or bring home baby animals for the farm in most areas. This week, the Self-Reliance Weekly Report is about taking some time to audit your self-reliance, get organized, and plan some projects. (And if you’re getting a big tax return, that might help fund your efforts.)
The Self-Reliance Weekly Report is a collection of strategies, made up of the articles, books, DIYs, and products that I found useful on my own little prepper’s homestead.
Being organized is incredibly important. It’s always nice to have a home in which you can find tings quickly, but in a disaster situation that takes on a whole new level of importance. If the lights are out, how quickly can you lay hands on needed supplies? How long would it take you to find a vital first aid item while a family member suffered a medical emergency? This article will help you get your home and preps more organized. And while it’s all well and good to put things away properly, it’s also important to document where you put stuff, especially when your “stuff” is prepper level and placed in various hidey-holes all over your home. (Speaking of hidey-holes, here are 20 places to stash your preps.) Finally, here are a few hacks to help you stash things away.
Are you just getting started with your preparedness endeavors? This guide is your outline. If you want to be prepared, break it down into simple steps so you don’t get overwhelmed. Make sure to use checklists to document what you’ve done, what you need to do, and how you plan to do it so that you stay on track. This article can help you build a one-month food supply quickly so that you have at least some supplies while you work on your survival plan. If you have a tax refund coming, here’s a guide to spending it on preps.
Are you absolutely positive you want a prepper “team”? In fictional accounts, people always band together with others who are like-minded, and indeed, going it alone is difficult and dangerous. But building a team is also rife with potential conflict. Read these scenarios and think about how to avoid the problems that go hand-in-hand when you team up with others.
Have you ever dreamed of going completely off the grid? My personal long-term survival plan doesn’t include fancy solar arrays that work in the shade, whole house generators, or propane fueled modern appliances. If there was a power outage with no end in sight, my goal is to go low-tech. The best way to do that successfully, of course, is to begin creating your off-grid lifestyle now. Read about how one family transitioned to a completely off-grid homestead for a fraction of the cost you might expect. While every idea may not work for you, the couple’s creative solutions may inspire solutions that will work.
Use your tax return to improve your homestead. No matter how big or small a lump sum of money is, you can use it wisely to improve your homestead. This very thorough list gives suggestions for all budgets. If you are looking for some tried-and-true mechanical items, this lifelong farmer recommends his top 4 tools.
Are you using raised beds for your garden this year? I am a big fan of raised garden beds because they help you amend and water only the soil you need, two things that are very important in my hot, dry climate. Those aren’t the only reason to switch to raised beds – check out this list of why raised beds might be the best choice for you, too. This is a very simple, inexpensive DIY to make your own raised beds for your backyard garden. If you aren’t into building, I’ve had some excellent success with these cloth raised beds by the company that makes Smart Pots. (They’re very budget-friendly, too.) And if you’re just getting started, here are 10 of the very easiest things to grow in your new raised beds.
It’s seed starting time – woohoo! Last year, because of when I moved, I ended up buying plants at the nursery. This year, I can hardly wait to start my seeds indoors. There’s something magical about nurturing those teeny little seeds and watching them sprout, and it’s far more economical, too. This page has a ton of absolutely fantastic articles on seed starting that you should check out before you do anything. By the way – don’t spend a lot of money on storebought seed mats or seed tape. It’s unbelievably easy to make your own using common household supplies.
- How to Disinfect and Sterilize Medical Instruments
- 25 PVC Pipe DIYs for the Homestead
- Grow Onions from Seed
- How to Retread Your Old Shoes With a Car Tire
- Easy DIY Soapmaking for Beginners
- Adding a New Chicken to the Flock with Less Fuss
- How to Get Rid of Aphids
- Make Your Own Seed Mats
Books and Products
The following are products that I personally use and have recommended in the article above. (These are affiliate links, and purchasing through them costs you nothing extra but provides a small commission.)
If you’ve ever thought about creating your own off-grid homestead, do I have the book for you. It’s called Creating Your Off-Grid Homestead: Radical Inspiration and Practical Advice. I read this entire book in one sitting, then went back over it to choose some projects for my own homestead. Teri Page documented her family’s creation of a home that is completely off the grid. She is careful to point out that not every family wants to live like hers does, and ends each chapter with a list of thought-provoking questions that will help you to make decisions that will actually be workable for your own situation. The family spent very little money creating their homestead, so don’t think this is a giant undertaking only fit for the very wealthy. I strongly recommend this book for anyone who wants to go completely off the grid or for those who want the capability to function when the grid is down, while still enjoying their modern conveniences today.
Check out this economical raised bed solution. If you are looking to add raised beds to your yard but don’t have the money to invest in high-quality wooden beds, try these fabric raised beds from Smart Pots. I had excellent luck with them – they provide excellent drainage while keeping moisture in at the same time. You can easily move them the following year if you want to relocate your garden, unlike a more permanent structure, and, best of all, if you don’t have good soil or an actual yard, you can place these on a patio or deck. A 50″ diameter bed is only $32.47 at the time of publication. I plan to use mine again at my new location for some of my veggies.
Get organized and get prepped! I’m a huge fan of lists, and The Prepper’s Workbook: Checklists, Worksheets, and Home Projects to Protect Your Family from Any Disaster does not disappoint. You can use this book to go through your preps and get the satisfaction of marking this off that you already have. Then, with what you have left, you can make an easy list of the things you need to still acquire. The book is laid out in a workbook format that is simple to use. You will be far more organized after going through the steps in this guide.
We had a big success at the homestead this week: we had our first meal of home-raised meat. Those pesky ducks went over to a friend’s place last week, where I bartered one of them in return for having the others butchered. (Due to our impending move, I just wasn’t quite ready to embark on butchering them myself.)
I don’t think I’ve ever had a more satisfying meal in my life. No, it wasn’t cooked absolutely perfectly. (This was my first time cooking duck – total learning experience.) It wasn’t gourmet. But the fact that I provided a good life to these animals instead of the suffering that occurs at factory farms combined with the fact that we are finally realizing some food from all of our efforts made it seem like the finest feast that was ever served.
I picked up some farmer’s market asparagus and served it with some squash from the root cellar. Here was our dinner:
Also from the food front, we’re getting 5 eggs per day on a regular basis. I’m hoping that this is the year we finally accomplish our goal of raising more than half of our own food.
Hopefully, I can keep up with my publishing schedule over the next couple of weeks, but if not, you’ll know that I got buried under a pile of boxes. Moving when you are a prepper is such a vast undertaking, and one I’ve done way too many times.
While renting is awesome in that I’m not paying the $18,000 bill to relocate our septic system and pump it up a hill, what isn’t so awesome is the lack of control you have. When you rent, even with a lease, you are subject to the whims of the home’s owners. If the property is sold, sure, you still get to stay because of your lease, but there may be changes that put a damper on your homesteading activities. If something goes wrong, the repair timeline is completely out of your hands. Fellow renters, I’m sure you can relate. Anyway, 3 more weeks and we’ll be done, just in time to welcome our baby chicks and start our seeds.
What’s going on at your farm or urban homestead right now? How’s the weather in your area? Please share your updates in the comments below!