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The concept of homesteading is not exactly congruent with the trendy, everything-is-disposable lifestyle of excess that people our age are supposed to strive for.  But even to our friends who like living within their means, our interest in homesteading seems strange.  Lately, I’ve found that my explanation for our way of life is anecdotal and as a result, somewhat confusing. 

A few months ago I received a forwarded email that I should commit to memory for clarification…

Can You Sleep While the Wind Blows?

Years ago, a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands.

Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.

As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals.

Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer.

“Are you a good farm hand?” the farmer asked him.

“Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man.

Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him.

The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.

Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore.  

Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters.

He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming!  Tie things down before they blow away!”

The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”

Enraged by the response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot.

Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm.

To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins.

The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops and the doors were barred.

The shutters were tightly secured.

Everything was tied down.

Nothing could blow away.

The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant,

So he returned to his bed to also sleep while the wind blew.

 

This is why we want to homestead… to sleep while the wind blows.

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Spoiler Alert:  While I’m not divulging any plot secrets, you may not want to read this entry if you have plans of reading the books or seeing the movies. 

Jon and I read The Hunger Games trilogy a few weeks ago.  I know we’re behind the times.  I have to say, despite my initial reluctance, I thoroughly enjoyed the books.  They were a great combination of light reading and make-you-think books.  One of the most frequent things it made me think about?  I wouldn’t last more than 48 hours in the arena and that’s if I got lucky.  Really lucky.  Like my district was Hogwarts and my token was an invisibility cloak lucky.  Wait, I’m mixing up my teen fiction…

So, I started pondering the skills of these tributes.  These skills are valuable for survival, or preparedness or even every day living.  And it came to my attention that we are lacking them.

Sure.  I could walk across the arena in one day.  I’m sure I could.  However, I would need a rest the next day.  No doubt about it.  And I certainly couldn’t climb a tree for that rest. 

I would have no problem eating the various nuts, berries and plants that were indigenous to the region.  I would, however, have to pick them up at the arena’s local farm stand. 

I could tie knots for snares and other such things as long as they rely on the half hitch, square and Celtic heart knots.  Celtic heart knot.  These people, while fictional, are using knots for survival and I spend 30 minutes on youtube learning the Celtic heart knot.  Eye roll here.

The long and short of it is these are useful skills to have.  And we don’t have them.  So, I’m setting forth a goal, nay, a to-do list for our family. 

1.  Walking across the arena – They say you should walk 10,000 steps a day.  I know that we fall short of that nearly every day.  TO-DO LIST: Walk 70,000 steps a week.

2.  Eating from the arena – We should start to learn how to identify our local flora and know what is edible and not.  My grandfather was fantastic with that.  Anytime we’d go on a walk, he’d find a snack.  At a bare minimum, we’d be sucking on mint leaves.  Sound familiar?  TO-DO LIST:  Learn to identify at least 1 “useful” plant a week.

3.  Tying knots in the arena – Knots are just plain useful.  My eagle scout father taught me tons of knots when I was younger but I haven’t kept them in practice.  Jon has no official knot experience with the exception of shoe tying.  Sorry honey.  TO-DO LIST: Learn and master 2 knots a month.

So, there it is, folks.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.  Thank you, Hunger Games.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

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One of our goals for 2012 was to finally put together a 72 hour kit.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, a 72 hour kit is a large backpack that contains everything you might need to “survive” for 72 hours should you need to evacuate your home in an emergency.  As this project is going to take some careful planning and purchases, we thought we’d start small by organizing our firebox.

As our home is small, our firebox is small but it’s big enough to hold what we’d need to keep safe.  Inside you’ll find:

  •      2 extra credit cards – one in my name, one in Jon’s
  •      last year’s health insurance cards – none of the information has changed
  •      our marriage license
  •      our birth certificates
  •      our social security cards
  •      our latest expired driver’s licenses – to serve as a photo identification
  •      Jon’s passport – mine has expired.  I plan to apply for a new one this year.
  •      life, car & homeowners insurance information
  •      bank account information
  •      immunization records – for the pup & cat also
  •      list of family & friends phone numbers and addresses
  •      individual medical information for each family member listing blood type, allergies, diagnoses and other important tidbits
  •      map of our local area
  •      map of our state
  •      cash

 

All of this stuff fits, albeit tightly, into a gallon Ziploc baggy on which we’ve written an inventory of it’s contents. We also plan on putting duplicates of many of these items, as well as a flash drive with scanned copies, in our 72 kit.  But now we can easily grab the originals in a hurry, if needed.

Happy Homesteading,

Kris

 

 

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