I’m writing this as a stand-alone article. However, if you would like to read more about our journey through the world of preparedness and our homestead, please see my previous article in the SurvivalBlog archives for November 26-27, 2019. As a follow-up I am writing this to explain what we have done just in the past 100 days and how the global pandemic and possible near-future economical collapse has impacted us and our preparations.
100 DAYS OF FINAL PREPARATIONS
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a mindset of preparedness, partly because of my background as a first responder and a disaster preparedness educator. But I became a true prepper (if one can define such people) about eight years ago. The shelf of extra canned goods turned into an entire room and a half full of supplies for our family of four during normal times (and 7+ during a bug in time), piles and boxes and containers of food, medical supplies, ammo, non-electric kitchen tools, and whatever I think we might need to survive The end of the world as we know it (TEOTWAWKI).
And then COVID 19 hit. I remember reading about it early in 2020 here on SB.com and thinking, “Is this what might push our society down the slippery slope of chaos?” In January when national media picked up this news I had already begun filling in any holes in my preparations. I didn’t give into panic buying, as had so many people, but I began to have this sense of uneasiness concerning the future.
This “sense” was nothing new. In the past, I have felt the urgency to prepare for the future in different areas of need. I contribute this nudging to God’s Holy Spirit and have tried to be obedient to His leading.
As the situation within our country began to worsen, I started reaching out to others (followers of Jesus Christ who are also preppers) to get their take on the situation. I did this for two reasons: to see if it was just me with this sense of uneasiness and to listen to the opinions of others who are more knowledgeable regarding the situation- those in places of authority in our county who would possibly have access to more information regarding the COVID 19 situation. The responses were the same–this could be the perfect storm that brings our world to a crashing halt.
So the following is our family’s response to what could be TEOTWAWKI:
On March 23 our state (Ohio) enacted the Stay At Home Order and all non-essential businesses were closed indefinitely as a way to curb the spread of COVID 19. Two out of three in our household were among the blessed ones who are considered essential and are still working. I am mostly retired and get paid as a disaster preparedness educator, although the social distancing order forbidding gatherings of more than 10 people has placed my work on hold.
In this year’s first quarter our term life insurance came up for renewal. The rates for our $350,000 insurance increased 5-fold — from $50 a month to $250 a month, so this was cancelled. Also at this time the stock market was volatile (sounds like such an innocuous word). Then our Midwest state became one of many with Stay At Home Orders. Although most members of this household are considered essential workers, the household income has decreased slightly, and remains uncertain for the future months.
During this time I had my quarterly meeting with my financial adviser- only this meeting was different. He didn’t have my report on his big screen television nor did we discuss my account. We spoke of the world pandemic, my family, and our farm. A day later, I realized that never once did we talk about my investments- so I called him and found out the (disappointing and drastic) news that I had lost 20% of my retirement in 3 weeks!
And I don’t blame him because many times in the past year SurvivalBlog has advised the readers to lower their risks by getting out of the stock market all together. And since I had read the warnings (even if I hadn’t followed them) I knew what I needed to do. My husband and I had discussed many times the idea of purchasing silver and gold but had never acted on this thought. But as soon as I received the news about my financial losses I withdrew 70% of what was left and purchased silver and gold. My advisor suggested to me to withdraw the rest and place it in a CD where it could earn at least something (albeit very little)- and where I could gain access to it more readily.
We have a small “hobby” farm with a few beef cattle, sheep, chickens for meat and eggs, ducks, and rabbits for meat. What we don’t raise is hay to feed our animals in the winter or grain to feed them year round. So this was an area that was lacking and needed help. My husband contacted a local farmer and purchased these supplies from a local farmer a local granary. Should the ability to purchase this in the future become impossible, we are set for the next year.
We contacted a local couple who had a ram they were willing to share for stud services in return for some of the lambs.
We also contacted a friend who owns a large apple orchard and asked about any extra trees he might have after the spring planting. We will soon be getting almost a dozen apple trees. Another local beekeeper gave me several frames of capped brood that his bees left before they died this spring. I was able to extract about 15 pounds of dark, rich honey from them. In exchange, I keep him supplied with fresh eggs from our hens.
Especially now, I realize how important it is to develop these relationships (with local farmers/tradesmen) before we are desperately in need of them.
SHOPPING AT STORES
- FARM SUPPLY STORES
We have four family dogs and we made sure that we stocked up on their food, although they can eat just about anything. But one of the dogs must be on a special diet . So his handler made sure to order several more months’ supply of his food. If/when we run out, their new diet will include rabbits that we raise. We picked up some farm penicillin should the need arise for the animals- both 2 and 4 legged. (Wink, wink).
- GROCERY STORE
I looked over our pantry inventory and decided that we were basically well covered, with the exception of facial tissues. This was taken care of in January- while everyone else was rushing to get toilet paper. I also made a trip to our local bulk food store to grab the basics like flour and sugars. Although we have several hundred pounds of sugar and flour, as well as several cases of wheat berries in #10 cans, I felt like these staples are always things that we can use. And if stored properly these will not go rancid. We also purchased several 1-pound packages of yeast. I also picked up supplies to make more laundry detergent and 2 toilet plungers. These will come in handy is the electricity is not available to run the clothes washer. I plan on using a 5 gallon bucket and plunger for washing clothes!
- PHARMACY STORES
For the humans in the home we made sure all prescription meds were stocked as best possible. We also stocked up on extra medication for one of our dogs. I picked up additional Vitamin C tablets.
- GARDEN CENTER
Before our local garden center closed to inside shopping, I was able to purchase several dozen packs of seeds and several more bags of potting soil. The latter was more for new raised beds rather than for the established beds, for which we use rabbit manure. I started seeds: tomato, melons, peppers, and a few herbs. Now, six weeks later, they are ready to be transplanted into the garden. I am finally making good use of my greenhouse.
- LUMBER YARD/HARDWARE STORE
I picked up some cedar fencing boards to make more raised beds, as I see a need to increase the amount of food we raise this year. We also got stain for the deck to complete a spring project when/if the rain stops!
(To be concluded tomorrow, in Part 2.)