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. It seems like Mother Nature was out to get many of us this week! This week, massive rains and flooding have caused our septic system to make our home almost unlivable. No matter what’s going on with our home, of course, we still have a responsibility to our livestock, for producing our food, and for maintaining our self-reliant lifestyle, and that’s true for preppers in every situation, including those who have been dealing with crippling winter storms in the East.
Septic system issues are a nightmare. This piece from Backdoor Survival was certainly relatable to my family this month. As the rain continues to pour down on California (yay!!!!) areas that have had little water are suddenly flooding, and causing issues that no one expected. For us, that issue is flooding that is pushing the contents of our septic system into our house. Even though we now have “too much” water, we had to resort to the most stringent of our water conservation strategies because we were forced to limit what we put down the drains. Take some time this weekend to check out your septic system or sewage system and learn how to keep the contents thereof from backing up in an emergency. The clean-up was bad enough with power – imagine facing this type of disaster during an outage. Even though I’m a renter, it’s important that I not fully rely on someone else to solve my problems in an emergency, so I ordered this book to learn more about my system.
Sometimes, disposable products are the best choice. This week, with our septic system issues, I certainly had reason to be glad that I stock disposable paper products for emergencies. We often take water for granted, but there are many reasons why you might have a crisis in which you can’t run your washing machine or dishwasher. Although I had plenty of water, I was unable to send much down the drain without risking my septic backing up into the house again. Here are some other tips I used for sanitation while limiting my use of running water this week.
How does your bug out bag measure up? With our issues this week, we nearly had to bail and stay elsewhere. Of course, we always have bug out bags ready to go. Is your bag packed? You truly never know when an emergency will occur that requires evacuation. If you haven’t checked out Graywolf’s Ultimate Bug Out Bag, you’re missing out. And while you’re busy packing your own ultimate bag, here are 20 of the best foods to include. After reading that article, I revamped some of my food choices.
How efficient is your homestead? There are several things that separate a productive homestead from an expensive hobby farm. One of the most important is your efficiency at recycling nutrients back into the production system. (These 3 tips can help you be sure to use absolutely everything.) Another great exercise in self-reliance is growing fodder for your livestock – this will supply you with nearly unending nutrition for your animals, even when there is nothing for them to graze on due to winter weather. Some of my homesteader friends are relying almost solely on fodder this winter and their animals are thriving. Not only is it super-nutritious, but you’ll also save a fortune on your feed bill.
Do you raise meat chickens? Now that my layers are finally producing, my next big project here on the homestead is meat chickens. I bit the bullet and ordered 25 Red Ranger chicks that will arrive sometime in mid-March. I chose the breed based on advice from The Frugal Chicken. (This is an excellent guide that I’ve been referring to often while preparing for their arrival.)
Are you an urban or suburban homesteader? Then do I have the book for you. Angela England has really outdone herself with this beautifully illustrated guide to stealth gardening. She offers lovely suggestions for planting even your front yard with edibles that won’t have the neighbors calling the head of the HOA to rat you out. When space is at a premium, you need to be able to use every bit of your land. Check out Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape.
- DIY Incubators – If you are planning to hatch fertile eggs, check out these inexpensive incubator ideas.
- How To Make An Outhouse Seat That Won’t Freeze Your Hind End
- The Easiest Homemade Chapstick (Nice pure ingredients!)
- How to Season Cast Iron Cookware (Don’t pass up those rusty yard sale finds!)
- How Saving Money with DIYs is Better Than Earning It
Even though I have had a billion other topics to write about, we are still sticking (mostly) to our Once a Month Shopping Challenge. I have to confess, December ended up being a wash. I started out well, with a fully loaded fridge and freezer. But then with houseguests, holidays, and a spur of the moment vacation, we shopped several times throughout the month for food.
The good news is, aside from a trip to the feed store for the animals, we did not have to do any grocery shopping for the month of January. My cupboards and freezer are still bursting. These months of only shopping one time have not only saved us money on our groceries, but quietly and with no added effort at all, my food supply has multiplied. I guess when you focus on things that will get you through a month, you begin to move away from the perishables that most of us pick up constantly. February will be the last month of our six-month challenge, but we fully intend to stick with the once-a-month shopping plan.
In other news, the septic system issues may well be unsolvable. Estimates for repairing the system are far in excess of $10,000. This is because the current system was installed before some county regulations that will force it to be completely relocated, pumped uphill, and other ridiculous and impractical requirements. (I’m incredibly thankful right now that I rent and that bill won’t be coming to me.) However, the bill that WILL be coming to me is the one for relocating. And when you have livestock, finding a home that is set up for it (and will allow it) is easier said than done. It’s so disappointing – heartbreaking, really – because it seemed we had found the perfect place, but it appears we will be forced to move as soon as we can find a place. The air quality in a home with issues like this is not conducive to good health and, of course, that has to come first.
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.)
Gardening Like a Ninja: A Guide to Sneaking Delicious Edibles Into Your Landscape: Turn your yard into the envy of the neighborhood while adding to your dinner table! Learn how to garden like a ninja as you sneak in plants that you can use for everyday cooking, creating a sustainable and beautiful landscape that’s easy to maintain. Save time and money using the visually appealing and edible designs and harvest the fruits from your delicious paradise! (ORDER HERE)
Have you joined Spark Naturals Oil of the Month Club? It’s the least expensive way to build your supply of essential oils. All oils are 15ml bottles – shipped out to you once a month (on the same date you ordered the product). The price is $15.99 a month and includes shipping and tax.I like the fact that Spark doesn’t have the hype of some of the multi-level marketing oil companies out there. They are simply good products at a fair price. ORDER HERE
If you’re considering switching your livestock to a fodder system, this excellent guide to getting set up is free for the moment. Sprouting fodder is the best way to stretch your feed and still give your animals plenty of nutritious, high-quality goodness.
The Septic System Owner’s Manual: This clearly written, illustrated guide addresses that need, emphasizing conventional septic systems powered by gravity flow, filtering through soil, and the natural soil organisms that purify sewage. The book discusses maintenance, what to do if things go wrong, and alternative systems such as mounds and sand filters. Additional chapters cover graywater systems, composting toilets, and a unique history of water-borne waste disposal. (ORDER HERE)
The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water! When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow. (
Let’s hear your Self-Reliance Weekly Report!
With half of the country covered in a crippling blanket of snow, I’m sure that many of you have been dealing with your own issues with Mother Nature. I would LOVE to hear some stories about how your preparedness endeavors have paid off this week, while many residents dealing with the blizzard were panicked and unprepared. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a round up of “How Prepping Helped Us Survive the Blizzard” stories? Please share yours in the comments.
What’s going on at your farm or urban homestead right now? How’s the weather in your area? Have you participated in the once-a-month shopping challenge? Please share your updates in the comments below!