Unfortunately, I was either busy or sick for much of 2012 and so my posting here wasn't as regular as I would have liked. Nevertheless, I managed to make progress on my preparedness goals. Here's the list of goals I had last January. I didn't accomplish everything, but I'm not unhappy.
In 2012 I :
- Added a bit to our first aid supplies. This is definitely an area where we fall short. I will admit to being a wee bit complacent about first aid since Hubby Dear is a medical professional. I need to improve.
- Expanded our garden and learned some hard lessons during a very poor growing season. Our area of the country experienced the hottest year on record as well as one of the driest, so our garden was far less than stellar.
|Delicious heirloom fruit and vegetables|
- We added to the orchard we established in 2011. We planted apples, blueberries, pears, and an almond tree. I learned a lot about organic orcharding from an amazing book, The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way. I immediately started implementing the principles from the book and saw an amazing amount of growth in our existing and new fruit trees. I can't recommend that book enough.
- I planted comfrey in our orchard area. It's part of the whole holistic orchard deal, but the bonus is that it is also a medicinal herb. I learned about permaculture and now have plans to have a bunch of medicinal perennials growing among the trees in the orchard.
- My favorite item on the list (and new obsession) is poultry. We started raising chickens, ducks, and turkeys. Having livestock was a big stretch for two former city kids like Hubby Dear and myself, but we have really enjoyed the journey. We started off with chicks and poults from hatcheries and ventured into hatching eggs with an incubator. Our chickens gave us 1,645 eggs in 2012; the ducks provided 124.
|Some of our ducklings|
- Related to that last one, we butchered our first animals. It was so rewarding to grow our own meat and butchering is definitely a worthy skill for any prepper.
- All the manure that started appearing on our property provided the impetus for us to begin composting.
- Managed to keep our strawberries alive! We won't have to re-plant this year. I am hopeful that we will have a generous crop next spring.
- Another success: I learned all about sprouting, an easy way to grow fresh, nutritious greens all year 'round.
- My success with sprouting for people encouraged me to grow wheat grass for my birds. It took a couple of tries (and a horrible infestation of fruit flies), but I finally got the hang of it. I'm also proud of the black oil sunflower seeds we grew for the chickens.
|A Peredovik black oil sunflower|
- I survived pneumonia. That should count for something, right?
- I stocked up on reusable Tattler canning lids. I used them for all the canning I did and I finally got the hang of using them. They are a little different than standard metal canning lids, but once you get it, you won't go back.
For 2013, I remain focused on building up our homestead. One reason is that I just like doing it. I love puttering around the garden and taking care of my birds. I have expanded into breeding poultry for pleasure and profit, so that also takes up a lot of my time and energy.
The other reason that my preps are centered on homesteading is that I feel it is quite necessary. The shenanigans in DC regarding the so-called Fiscal Cliff made me sick to my stomach, but I hope that it will serve as a wake-up call to many. I fear that our country is in an irreversible decline and our prosperous American lifestyle is in serious jeopardy. In short, I think we're screwed. I feel that being as self-sufficient as possible will be incredibly valuable in the days ahead. You might not live on 5 acres in the country like I do, but I hope you are thinking about things you can do to help your family weather whatever storm may come.
With that said, here are my goals for 2013:
|The north half of our garden, May 2012|
- Continue to add to our orchard. We have peach, nectarine, cherry, and plum trees ordered for the spring. We'll plant more peach, apple, and apricot trees in the fall. Here's the master plan for our orchard if you haven't seen it.
- Expand our garden again and try some new varieties and methods of cultivation.
- Try new types of pest control in the garden. We garden organically, but haven't ventured much into companion plantings to attract beneficial insects. That is a priority for me this year. We will also experiment with row covers to flummox the evil squash bug that has plagued us in the past.
- We tried starting seeds indoor last year. We had mixed results, mainly due to lack of sunlight. We are building an easy DIY seed starting kit that should really help out.
- Water storage is a huge issue for any prepper and the horrible drought we are in has really brought it to my attention. I hope to get rain barrels installed and may experiment with using greywater.
- First aid - the perennial topic for me. I've got to get going here.
- Food storage - I need to take inventory of what we have used up and refill as necessary. I will be canning and dehydrating the produce of our garden and herb garden.
So that's me. What about you? What do you have planned for 2013?