Saturday, May 14, 2011

Preparedness Challenge #8

I wish that I could say I've done a lot on prepping this week, but the truth is... this rummage sale is consuming me. Never again will I let so much stuff accumulate for one sale. I had actually paid for a booth the last two years, but it kept getting rained out and I couldn't do the alternate date, so stuff just kept getting added to the pile. In the future, I'll use the thrift store more!

However, this week I did manage to order some extra baking soda and bulk herbs, plant more potatoes, lettuce, and peas, watch some videos on making tinctures and poultices, and brush up on my sewing skills. (I assessed my fabrics and made a few things which I'll show you this coming week in a post.) 

You may not think of sewing as prepping, but skills are so important to have in times of crisis, particularly economic depressions and recessions, etc. It would be good to take stock of the skills you currently have and consider a list of skills you may wish to acquire. Knowing how to treat your family with herbs, mastering hunting and fishing skills (including how to butcher or fillet), understanding how to start a fire, and having experience with a host of other things can help carry you through when others are still just trying to figure out how to cook a meal from scratch.

And there are people out there who don't know how to do these things but want to learn. You could be the person to help teach them! Forming a local homesteading community group is another way that you can be prepared for hard times. So don't think that you can't do anything to prep if money is tight right now. In fact, the Lord has been putting it on my heart to consider an area that our family can excel in so that we have a skill or product that can be bartered in a pinch. I'm not sure what that is right now, but my mind is churning with possibilities. 

And how about teaching our sons and daughters to master one skill or trade that they can use to contribute to the family and community no matter how tough things might get in the future. Do any young men learn to make things out of wood with hand tools anymore? Or blacksmith? Saving seeds? And daughters... how many of them even consider the possibility of learning to be a midwife, an herbalist, or beekeeper?

I'm just thinking out loud here. A penny for your thoughts...

Won't you join me and link up with how you prepared this week. If you don't have a blog, leave a comment. And if you're new here, you might like to read how the Preparedness Challenge began. Just tell us what you did this week to prepare, be it one thing or several. We're helping each other out here by holding one another accountable!


  1. It's funny that you mention sewing clothing. That's exactly what I've been working on this past week. Just finished a skirt for my daughter and am working on a kuspuk for my other daughter (it's like a dress that you can wear on its own or over other clothes to keep them clean - some Native Alaskans wear them - they're very bright and colorful...very pretty). If you'd like to see what I've been working on, please visit here:

  2. Planted 15 raspberry bushes and purchased fencing for vegetable garden to keep the rabbits out of it.

  3. The Thomas Jefferson Foundation and Southern Exposure Seed Exchange are holding the annual Heritage Harvest Festival at Monticello in September. We recently learned about the festival, and it sounds great. They are offering a variety of free educational sessions, along with educational sessions that cost $10-$15 for an hour or more of teaching. Everything from herbal medicine making, sustainable gardening practices, wild fermentation and raising chickens to making your own honey, food preservation, making cheese, starting a small farm, and learning about natural fabric dyes. This festival would be a great way to learn a new homesteading skill.

    For the preparedness challenge this week, we worked on financial preparedness. We moved my office to the town that is the center of my client base, and the rent for the new office is $150 a month less than the old office. We also added to the pantry stock, planted sweet potatoes, and planted more corn. My husband worked on construction of the cabin this week and worked on the old well that is on the property.

  4. Amy, I'd love to keep talking about learning new skills and teaching our sons and daughters to master skills as well. I have a hard time finding resources to learn skills as well as even choosing the skills in the first place. I'd love to hear what others are doing.

  5. I give a large amount of credit to my husband for showing our children how to work with tools and participate in building projects. Show one, teach one, do one! The best way to learn sometimes is to teach yourself and then show others. I love learning new things that are useful whether it is quilting, canning, or gardening! Don't be afraid to learn new things. I was not shown any of these growing up, but I had the desire to learn in my adult years. I am glad to be able to show these gifts to my own family.

  6. I don't have time today to write a post, so I'll chime in here.

    Our older two girls (ages 12 and 10) have been learning how to sew and hand quilt at a friend's house once a week this school year. She's an older grandmotherly lady and their Sunday School teacher so it's a sweet relationship they have formed. I don't enjoy sewing nearly as much as she so I figured it best they learn from someone who really enjoys it. : )

    Once our goat milking stand is built I'll be teaching a few of the kiddos how to milk the goat. She kidded almost three weeks ago and I've been squatting down milking her while she eats her breakfast and dinner. I'm freezing the milk to make soap with. Once the stand is built and I know she won't step in the bucket I'll milk her for us to drink it.

    The boys are taking care of their chickens...meat birds and layers. The oldest (14) keeps track of egg production, feed, cost, etc. on your printable chart. He's even plotted a graph so we can see how they did last year at a glance!

    Our large garden is off to a slow start since the chickens and goats have taken top priority and hubby's not done teaching school until early June. I'm hopeful that by Memorial Day weekend we will have it in. Once it's in, though, the kiddos have their own areas they will weed and take care of.

    Well that's about it on our homestead!

  7. The week has been more on the side of relaxing. However I did have my boys (young men) cook dinner last night. They are both campfire cooks but last night they brought their skills indoors. It's surprising how uneasy they felt about that. I guess I'll have to return the skill learning by cooking them a meal on the campfire.

  8. Personal skills have been on my mind a lot lately, too. I haven't sewn much since junior high, other than mending. (The clothes I sewed turned out very ugly.) I'm hoping I can barter with neighbors on that one. I've been tossing around the idea of the boys and I asking for training from a local carpenter, a small engine repair guy and a short wave radio operator. I do plan to sign us up for Hunter's Safety classes this fall. I need more hours in the day!

    Today I linked up a post on planning for storage crops. One of the qualities I look for in crops is how well and how easily they store, since we have a relatively short growing season. I've been nibbling at the edges of my garden this past week, but it's been tough going because we've had so much rain. I added more personal care and cleaning products to my storage stash, aand will be buying more bulk food through the buying club next week.

  9. I did a little research this week about tinctures (watched a video,too!) also, read up on drying veggies and fruits for storage. Then ended up becoming ill and researched DEHYDRATION: in people, me mainly! Coincidental, I'm
    I also read up on cloth feminine pads-- and sewing those.
    Did post any of it. #1 was sick in bed for 1 1/2 days, #2 -- blogger was acting crazy!

    over all the research was good information-- my Homesteading Journal is filling up!
    -Love these little talks, Pat

  10. We had an emotional week: more radiation for my father coming up, a biopsy for my husband, and a daughter very near labor. So, we chillaxed with the living history documentary (not a silly drama) Victorian Farm and Victorian Farm Christmas on Youtube. Very enjoyable and I learned a thing or two. They play in 15 minute segments so it's easy to regulate your time watching them. There are more in the series,
    such Edwardian Farm. And, Praise God, we finally got some rain!

  11. I just discovered this link-up and am LOVING it! Thanks so much for hosting. Lots of happy weekend reading for me now. :)

  12. Great post! I just wanted to pass along to any fellow Pennsylvanians on here that Landis Valley Museum in Lancaster County has a series of summer workshops you can pay to do that teach you how to do old crafts like smithing, herbal medicines, old-style dairying, etc. It kills 2 birds with one stone: keep history alive by passing on those skills, and reintroducing them to today's world that is realizing we need to relearn these lost arts.

  13. You said, "You may not think of sewing as prepping", but indeed it is. My wife is preparing a series of classes to teach the young girls at our church how to sew (and future classes on cooking, canning, etc.). In preparation for that, I have taken up the hobby of restoring old sewing machines. Our office now has 6 old sewing machines (made between 1893 and 1963) that will be used by these young girls to learn a very valuable skill. When they have daughters of their own, they will be able to tell them how they learned to sew on a treadle machine and even a hand-cranked sewing machine. They will have photos to prove it.

    As for the future classes on cooking and canning and other skills, Homestead Revival has given us some good ideas.

    Stephen Clay McGehee

  14. This week we worked on our 72 hour kits again. We are almost finished. We're also about 1/2 way to having enough for our Berkey water filter. I planted herbs and tomatoes on my back deck. :-)

  15. I'm going to be making my first tinctures soon. I ordered herbs for an adrenal tonic and will use some of them to make into a tincture for adrenal support also. I like this post, as I've mostly avoided prepping posts anywhere simply because we don't have any space to store extra items. We want to move, we just can't find what we want in a price we can afford.

    I've been thinking of suggesting to the moms that meet at the park if they'd like to join forces and each of us teach something the others don't know how to do. Is that what a homesteading community group would be like?

  16. I am amazed at how much I've been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time! We are very low income so I've been doing just a little bit each week, but my pantry is really filling up! This week I bought: four tomato plants, more peanut butter, coffee, baking powder, oil, flour, pasta, and pasta sauce. Hubby and son are working on getting ready for our milk goats. Garden planting will be in the next few days!

  17. Kelly, yes... that is an excellent way to start a homesteading group! You'll find that you have common interests in certain areas and things you need help with, etc. Also, we split bulk orders on everything from chickens to herbs!

  18. We do order from Azure Standard, but I'd like to start buying from local producers in bulk also. A couple of the moms would probably be interested, but many aren't to the point of willingness to pay the extra cost for the better quality. It'll be a start though!

  19. I say more than a penney for your thoughts Amy. This is all really good stuff. I think I will link up with you today, as we just put in our summer garden and this always makes me feel more prepared for uncertain times.

  20. I made my first batch of soap and was surprised how well it came out and that the lye didn't "eat me alive" (or something!).

    Cleaned out the big freezer....picked up the 1/2 beef.

    Made household cleaner, laundry soap and homemade granola.

    Not sure what else I did, but found a very interesting article on Lemon Grass. Toward the end of the article, there is an excellent food chart! Here is the link:

    May your Sonday be blessed,

  21. Linked up!

    I definitely agree with learning the "lost trades." I am teaching my children to sew (by hand, first), and they are working with me in the kitchen whenever we do anything. Love that they are learning such important skills!

  22. This week we:

    -Installed an old-school hand pump on our well.
    -Installed a rain barrel for collecting water.
    -Continued sowing and growing and harvesting.
    -Learned to can fruit.
    -Taught the neighborhood children that onions REALLY DO come out of the ground (they were fascinated!!).

    Bless you for your inspiration and instruction and reassurance!

  23. Donna Rae, I got a bit teary when I read that you "taught the neighborhood children that onions REALLY DO come out of the ground"! And bless you right back for doing that! The next generation NEEDS TO KNOW! (Yes, the'd figure it out, but how much better that they learn it from someone who loves what they do and they are just as fascinated - so much better than from a text book!).

  24. That's great that you're getting your food storage built up. It's important to go through that every once in the while and make sure things aren't going bad. It's good to have a nice water filter on hand too just in case of emergency.


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