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Planning & Preparedness for the Unknown

Planning for the future and being careful with your resources are imperative when homesteading. We don’t know what the future holds, here’s how we can build security for the unknown.

A large garden with raised beds, rows and a hoop house.

Homesteading is not for sissies. When you combine human beings, nature, animals, and plants, you’re absolutely going to have things that go wrong.

This year is a perfect example of nature (the weather) not cooperating with our garden season. Here in North Idaho we already have a short growing season, so cutting it even shorter can be problematic.

But when you’re a family that depends on your harvest to provide food for the family, cold and rainy weather that keeps your crops from growing is an issue.

We can look to those generations that have had to overcome hardships and learn from them. Great-Grandma Jeanie taught us many life lessons from the Great Depression and I’ve shared the top three things to increase self-sufficiency as well.

But one saying that I love is that “Those who are prepared are usually spared.” So learn the steps to be prepared and spare your family hardships when they arise.

Onion seeds in a brown paper seed packet.

Keep Two Years of Seed

There’s an old saying that everyone should always keep two years worth of seed. Many people are misinformed when they buy seeds that say “packaged for 2022” that those seeds are only viable for that year.

Many seeds, when stored properly, will last for years. The germination rate may be lower, but you’ll likely still be able to grow a crop, even from old seeds.

You never know when you’re going to have a crop failure and have to plant again before harvesting new seeds, so having extra is a must-have homestead essential.

A mother and her children direct sowing seeds into the garden.

Build Skills Now

We believe it’s so important to be honing in on your homesteading skills now, while it’s not an emergency. Then when it is an emergency, you’ll have the skills needed to provide for yourself and your family.

Learn to grow a garden and start on a smaller scale with an instant garden that you can grow on your balcony.

If you’re not raising any meat animals, consider starting with a flock of backyard meat chickens, or maybe get some egg-laying chickens.

If you’ve never learned to can, buy some bulk produce this year and learn to put up food for winter. If you need someone to teach you, check out my canning course right here.

A black Jersey milk cow and an egg laying hen.

Build Redundancy in Your Systems

This year the land that we’ve been trying to grow up for pasturing our animals is under standing water. Last year we seeded that same pasture, only the weather was so hot that all our seed got burned up.

If this was the only option we had for feeding our animals, we would have been in trouble two years in a row now. Thankfully, this isn’t the only pasture we have available, but it’s shown us why it’s so important to have redundancy.

Having that redundancy has saved us from having to purchase feed for our animals two years in a row.

Woman holding up a jar of canned chicken with "chicken '21" written on the lid.

Two Years of Food

In the same idea of creating redundancy, we like to have two years’ worth of food stored for our family (and two weeks’ supply of stored water in our long-term storage).

It does take time to get to where you have a two-year supply, but once you reach that goal, then you’re just topping off your reserves each year and it’s no harder than any other year.

Learn how to build up your food supply here, and see how we use large food-grade barrels to help us store our food. Plus, these are the seven pantry staples I’ll never be without!

The reason you want two years’ worth of food is that there will inevitably be years where a certain crop doesn’t do well. Whether that’s due to weather, pest infestation, or even life events that keep you from being able to harvest and put up your crops.

A woman holding up a jar of freeze dried food with filled pantry shelves of home canned food behind her.

Plan Ahead

When you can plan ahead for the “what ifs” on a homestead (or in your own home) then when and if they happen you’ll be prepared.

We’re constantly re-evaluating everything we do on the homestead to make sure it makes sense for us.

  • What if we couldn’t buy food at our local grocery store?
  • What if our garden doesn’t produce food as we expect in any given year?
  • What if the grocery store food costs less than it does for us to grow it? Would we start buying or continue growing?

If you’re thinking ahead and you’re analyzing your options then you can usually mitigate a lot of those issues.

If you’re having a year that’s not quite the “norm” this year, take heart, next year will probably be better.

But keep moving forward, keep finding solutions, keep looking around you and analyzing what you can do right now to move forward, learn from what you’re experiencing and do better next year.

A man and wife smiling.

Welcome to Homesteading Family!

Josh and Carolyn bring you practical knowledge on how to Grow, Cook, Preserve and Thrive on your homestead, whether you are in a city apartment or on 40 acres in the country. If you want to increase your self-sufficiency and health be sure to subscribe for helpful videos on gardening, preserving, herbal medicine, traditional cooking and more.

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