Survival Skills: Preparing For The Hard Times Ahead…

 

For the last twenty years, I have been studying and researching the basic necessities for survival. I had no idea what I was doing at first, it really started with my first marriage and my first home. My next door neighbor, Tina, was one of the smartest people I had ever met, and she was the one who put the tiny bug in me regarding sowing, growing and preserving my own food. I had gardened in the past, mainly with my father and one of my grandfathers, Leon, when I was little. I even had a toy house my father built for me when I was very young, where I would play “house” and keep silly things like linens and wood, old plates and glasses in there, in case I was in need of them. Who knew these tiny little things would one day become integral in my adult life. Sure, it sounds simple, if not a little silly to talk about such things, but our children today have NOT a clue about these things. In fact, the school district where my children go to high school do not even have a Home Economics class in their curriculum. No, it is actually called “Smart Consumerism”, which I later found most school districts in the country have. Most have not a clue how to sew, cook, clean, or budget. They only know how to make money and how to consume it. My sons actually had ONE cooking class, where they learned to make mini pizzas with mini bagels. No learning of preserving foods, growing them and harvesting them, and our town is actually listed as a rural area! This is what society is today. We have been taught not how to fend for ourselves, but that others do it for us, and we just pay them for their services.

A subculture decades ago started forming, many of which would be called “Preppers”. Those not in that frey joke and call them alt-right wing conservatives, gun toting born again fundies who live off grid and wait for the apocalypse to arrive. Sure, I am sure there are those who meet those characteristics, but the majority of these preppers are just individuals and families who have been quietly preparing themselves in the event an event would come about that would cause us to revert back to a more rustic way of living. 

I am one of those people.

I dove into the world of survivalism many years ago, and with the state of our society today, I’m all the more glad for it. Even though I’m not the greatest gardener, not the greatest cook, not the greatest organizer, I DO know that if our world comes to a halt, we’re going to be okay for a bit. Deep in the recess of my mind, I think I really wasn’t expecting this outbreak of the COVID-19 to happen. Well, at least, not of this magnitude. Our country has come to a halt, and because of this, many who do not know these skills were forced to spend most of their money to buy supplies, causing the supermarket to become bare of these supplies. People hoarded these supplies, taken over by greed and fear, price gouging others who didn’t get there quick enough. When in a state of fear, we revert to animal instincts. What happens, though, when our instincts have gone to the back recesses of our mind because society taught us these instincts were useless?  

 

Survival skills are not on most of our societies’ minds today. This is precisely what should have been instilled in our children at a young age, a proactive approach to preparing themselves so that in times like this current crisis, chaos and fear would not be the leading emotion in our society.

We have to be better than this.

We have to be smarter than this.

We have to stop blaming others for what’s happening and take accountability for our behaviors, and learn from this. 

We have to stop expecting someone else to take care of the issue because we were not prepared for it in the first place.

We live in an age of amazing technology, where so many resources are at the palm of our hands. Videos, articles, books, seminars, they are everywhere. Yet, most people turn a blind eye. I cannot necessarily blame them, many were brought up in the age of consumerism, where the free market has given us a way to live a life of privilege. And guys, let’s face it, most of us live in a privileged society. We have the privilege of buying what we need when we need it. From something simple like a candy bar to a case of bottled water.

Sooner or later, though, time was eventually going to be used up and we would eventually have to fend for ourselves. I believe this pandemic we have been facing is just the tip of the iceberg. If anything, maybe it is God telling us to stop playing around and get ourselves in order.

I want to tell you some of the things I have been doing over the last several years to prepare for these types of times that will be eventually coming to pass.

Wealth to me is more than money. It’s a fully loaded pantry, it’s a bountiful garden, it’s the knowledge I gave myself when others thought I was crazy for learning it. No degree will give you these skills, and no one can take them away once you acquire them. 

Food

When my Mom-Mom was alive, she lived with us for the last 6 years of her life. And every Christmas, she would request the largest bags of flour and sugar imaginable so we could bake our yearly cookies, cakes, pies and other desserts. I remember many years ago thinking how nice it was we had so much of these ingredients, because it resulted in less frequent trips to the grocery store. And we all know with the holidays, trips to the market can be tedious and overwhelming.

So, I started buying large quantities of flour, sugar, oats and rice. These four ingredients can make a multitude of things from breads, cakes, pie crusts, cereals, granolas, puddings, etc. I also started buying spices in bulk. If it was a dry good, I was buying a lot of it. 

I also started collecting mason jars and canning pots. I began with a simple recipe, sauerkraut. But I have also learned how to pickle everything I could possibly pickle. Fermenting foods are not just good economically, but in health as well.  

We also invested in a chest freezer, to keep meats and other goods preserved, so we could buy these things in bulk.

Paper products

Did you know that cloth and beeswax can actually do away with tin foil and plastic wrap? And cloth without the beeswax are great alternatives to paper towels and napkins. Can you only imagine how simple it is to get a piece of fabric, scissors and a needle and some thread? The possibilities are endless and you aren’t contributing to the excess waste that is killing our world. 

                One of the many beeswax covers I own, all in different shapes and sizes.

 

Cooking

I just informed my husband that my main project for this year is creating and building a cob oven for outside. It’s not a necessity, mainly because we have a charcoal grill that can easily be used with wood. But economically speaking, imagine how low your gas or electric bill would drop if you spent more time cooking outdoors? We have a chiminea and a fire pit, so no matter what, cooking will always be an easy task for us. To make a cob oven, all you need are bricks, glass bottles, soil, sand, clay and water. Most have all this already at your disposal. 

 

Gardening and Foraging

I don’t think anyone needs to be an expert to understand the necessity of gardening. Sadly, we have grown weak in the mind from the daily convenience of going to the grocery store and getting whatever produce we need. I feel I need to tell you, things are gearing up to change in this world, and the current pandemic is just a slice of what’s to come. I know plenty of people who have no desire in the world to garden, but I implore you, you will NEED to know this very thing in order to survive. Right now, imports are being put on hold, so many of our tropical fruits and vegetables will be less available, if any at all soon enough. What happens if grocery stores close? How will you feed yourself and your family? 

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Convenience has made us a very lazy society. We want what we want when we want it, and all we need to do is click on something from a smart device, or jump into a vehicle and go somewhere who has it made already for me. What will you do if these conveniences were no longer available?

Think about this – Look at our domesticated animals. Especially the new “toy” breeds that are out there. For society’s own self-interests we created these beautiful little beings. But if humans were no longer here, what group do you think will be the first to die from the feral population or just lack of supervision? We create things out of convenience and sometimes selfish desires, and we forget the consequences if something bad were to happen. It was easy before to look away from this possibility, but seeing where we are now, we can no longer ignore what’s staring right in front of us.

 

Waste Disposal

Now, many of my friends have poked fun of me in the past for this conversation starter, but I will remain steadfast in my interest in composting. Composting is simply a form of waste disposal where organic waste decomposes naturally under oxygen-rich conditions. (https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-composting-definition-and-examples.html)

So, whether its food waste, plant waste, human/pet waste, almost everything that is wasteful can be composted one way or another.

What would happen if water was no longer available? Meaning, the water company no longer worked and there was no water in the pipes for disbursing…What would you do? Did you know flushing toilets didn’t come until 1596 but honestly didn’t even become mainstream until the late 1800’s. Think about that. How did people go to the bathroom? Currently, many people living off grid/camping, etc use a tool called composting toilets. There is NO smell, and actually more hygienic than flush toilets. Unfortunately, our convenience-based minds cannot understand this concept because flushing toilets means that flush makes it go away from you. Out of sight, out of mind, right?  Seriously, all you need is a bucket, toilet seat, toilet paper and saw dust, and you’re all set. Sure, it’s not pretty, but it works and it’s a lot more hygienic than water flush toilets.

 

Home-Based Products

There are so many home products you can make on your own with just a few ingredients you may already have in your home. From detergent, toothpaste, soap, hand sanitizer, lotions, salves, balms, you name it, you can most likely make it. 

At the end of the day, you HAVE the ability to make life easier for yourself and your family by knowing these skills:

Light a fire

Cook

Make shelter

Foraging

Gardening

Navigating

First Aid

Tying a Knot

Purifying Water

Also, look into the concept of Bug Out Bags. These are emergency bags used for just that: Emergencies. I am in the middle of creating one bag but I need 4 for each member of my family. It’s just a simple backpack with clothes, food, first aid, and survival tools like a compass, batteries, solar chargers, knives, cooking equipment that can fit together if the need to vacate your home arises. 

At the end of the day, these skills WILL get you through tough times. No, we are not at The Walking Dead level yet, but if we continue to turn a blind eye and continue to make ourselves believe everything will still be at the tip of a finger/delivered to you when and where you want, you will be like the toy breed animals who will be naturally selected first. You’re better than that! So go learn these skills! Like I said above, NO ONE can EVER take that away from you!

Be safe and God Bless!

Bridget

The Homesteading Hobbit

 

A Year Gone By…

b5d47df272ab60bbb62da8dd7ba36a1b.jpgOkay, so yeah, I did say I was going to be blogging more regularly…BACK IN SEPTEMBER…so, obviously, I need to take a step back from promising things I am not 100% sure of.  But we’re here now, so hey!  What’s happening????

Lots has happened, I really don’t even know where to begin.  I celebrated my year being saved on November 18th, 2017 and was able to go to church the next morning and just worship till my hearts content; absolutely smitten with God in such a way I became incredible emotional during the FIRST SONG.  Yeahhhh…doesn’t take much anymore to bring on the old briny tears.  Think about it:  Have you ever been in love with anyone?  Or anything?  Like something takes your breath away SO much you cannot help by release the endorphins because it’s just too dang much for your physical body to hold onto anymore.  That’s how I feel about Jesus.  I know, it sounds weird.  And it’s not like in a romantic (obviously) way that I feel for my husband.  No, this is different.  I understand what unconditional love is, because you realize that NOTHING He can or cannot do will ever sway your love for Him.  That’s how I feel.

Unfortunately, my love for my God came with a big cost.  People who were a part of my journey walked out of my life so fast I couldn’t even blink fast enough.  People don’t like hearing about an absolute.  No, in today’s society, the idea of “whatever” is more apropos than having a solid foundation of 1 thing.  In a world where New Age philosophies are gaining popularity every second, one usually doesn’t even notice how these philosophies have infiltrated almost every mainstream religion.  And no, I am not condemning anyone here for living this life or believing these things.  I was there for over 10 years, and if there was anything that upset me more, was judgement over my beliefs.  Just because I no longer adhere to these principals, does not mean I am pointing my finger at others who do.  And sure, do I get criticized for not pointing my finger and trying to “save” those people?  Every time.  In fact, it’s one of the very reasons why I haven’t blogged here.  I found it emotionally exhausting trying to placate every single thing I was posting on social media, knowing full well there were some waiting on the edge of their seats for me to say something that contradicts their own ideas of anything.  Some times it wasn’t even about religion.  I realized that my life quickly was being looked upon the social media population with a microscope, and I’ll admit I had difficulty trying to keep a smile on my face every day. Look, I understand that I cannot make everyone happy, but it came to a point where one had to throw their hands up in defeat, realizing you couldn’t make ANYONE happy.  That has always been a point of weakness for me. I admit that.  In all my years of spiritual and emotional growth, I am still incredibly naive in areas of others’ opinions of me.  Here’s the thing:  I’m not here to “save” anyone.  That’s an intimate relationship with the divine, and my ego learned very quickly only I can save myself.  Everyone is on their own when making any final agreement with our Creator.  But if I want to be a beacon of light and help those who ask for it, in the words of George Costanza, I’ll do it every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

But, over the last 3 weeks, when my life changed quickly and drastically, I found out that it cannot matter anymore.  That no matter how much you try, it is really a battle that never can be won in the flesh.  Something I learned over this last year:  Don’t hate the person. You’re not fighting the person in front of you; you are fighting with an evil entity who is inside of them, creating a sort of chaos in their mind and body, allowing them to hate, ridicule and belittle anything and anyone for any reason.  You can be the most faithful servant to God, but you are still human. And when living on this 3 dimensional planet, where evil and demonic forces are everywhere, waiting to pounce on anything that shows weakness, it becomes a never ending saga of “how can I get around it next time”.  And that’s just suicide, folks.

Did you know that in the first prayer Jesus taught everyone, the Our Father?  Well, the ending part of the prayer, most say, “But deliver us from evil”, is actually INCORRECT.  No, the correct version at the end of this prayer actually says, “But deliver us from the evil one.”

THE EVIL ONE.

We are dealing with evil principalities on the other side who want nothing more than to see us fail and live in darkness and shame.  They thrive on it.  Where do you think the old saying, “When it rains, it pours” comes from?  When weakness is found, the feed on it until they are full, and sadly, their hunger for your demise is never ending.

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In the last 3 weeks, I have had a lot of time to think about life.  About MY life, and the people within this life I hold dear.  My husband and sons, my adult puppy, my parents, sister, extended family and all my friends…They are the ones that matter.  Nothing and NO ONE ELSE.  (Is it weird my brain went right to a Metallica song?  All of a sudden I was hearing James Hetfield in his low voice singing, “No, nothing else matters….” – That’s what I get for being married to a metal head).

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Tomorrow is my 44th birthday.  WOOHOO!!!!!  Grab the balloons and confetti!  This girl is another year older!  This last trip around the sun was definitely interesting.  So many high highs, along with just as many low lows.  But, the truth is, I’m still standing right here, with a big old smile on my face.  Sure, my smile looks a little more weathered, as the fine lines and little wrinkles here and there are starting to pop up in odd places, but I haven’t felt this peaceful in years.  Seriously!  I would love to tell you my secret, but right now, it’s not the time.  (But I promise I will, eventually!)

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(between the hundreds of cowlicks, the wrinkles on my forehead from years of scowling, and all that rosacea on that nose, my 44th is coming in full swinging!)

I WILL, though, tell you what I am doing NOW.  I’ve been a busy gal, working on a few businesses.  I am a Presenter for Younique Trademark now, as well as a Founding Consultant for EllaTina (a legging and soon-to-be more clothing styles company), a Consultant for Nutrasail, and of course we cannot forget the good old Bohemian Hobbit Apothecary Trademark.

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(Apothecary Goals)

I am currently in the process of laying out the 2018 Gardens.  Due to my faith change, the name of our homestead has changed as well.  I am thinking of calling it Morning Glory Homestead, as we are inundated with Morning Glories EVERYWHERE!  Some people, as well as lots of landscapers, say that they are this invasive weed, but this gal right here think they are just so beautiful!  So, I chose to just trellis them up, rather than remove them.  The Purpledead Nettles, on the other hand, are something that make me want to stick pins in my eyes.

I am going to be working 3 different types of gardening this year:  Garden of Eden, Hugleculture, and Core gardening. Each one has it’s place in Permaculture, but all with a different spin to it.  So, different areas of my property will house one of those ways.  2017 Garden was definitely more of a success than 2016, as we ended up with tomatoes and peppers galore!  And the herbs came back with a vengeance, by end of July, the gardens looked lovely!

(just some of the garden in its prime)

And lucky for me, this gal gets to continue, or better yet, start her gardening earlier than even this coming year!  Sitting in a box, is my little side greenhouse that will connect to our back doors.  I cannot even tell you how excited I am about this new journey with my gardening, and so happy my Dad is going to help me put it together!  Keep an eye out for the finished product in January!

And finally, we are hoping this coming spring we will finally get our kitchen window put in.  Having no windows in our kitchen makes it dark and rather gloomy.  And I need light to keep me happy.

So, I am prepared to have a lovely Christmas and New Year with family and my closest of friends, and I really am just so excited for what 2018 is going to bring.  I feel that 2018 will be a year of incredible blessings!  I truly believe that if I did not have the ONE thing in my life, I would not be where I am right now.

And I truly believe that He is up in my gardens in Heaven right now, tending to everything, waiting for my time to come up there and be with Him.  Over the last 6 months, I’ve been given visions through dreams of what it’s like up there.  I’d like to say that what I saw in my dreams were real.  Why?

Faith, my friends.  Faith.

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My next blog will talk about what I saw up there.  Until then, have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Happy 2018!!!!

 

Be Blessed,

Bridget