Madness has descended upon my neck of the woods this week. The coronavirus hysteria has arrived and local grocery and big box stores are being bought out…ie no perishables, no toilet paper, no water, etc. They have emptied the shelves of chemical cleaners and sanitizers. People are wearing face masks and filling up their carts like the apocalypse descends tomorrow. I had no desire to go out and be a part of that but for me it was any other Friday, my grocery shopping day and with my kid’s school being cancelled for the next few weeks I wanted a few extra things.
All of the panic around me highlighted the fact that I am not very panicked about or unprepared for something of this nature. Homesteading skills, prepper skills, and wildcrafting skills are useful tools in my arsenal that allay fears. While this experience has shown me there are some areas that need improvement, overall I am grateful to know I am ready, willing and able to weather a storm, like a pandemic, if it comes my way. It gives me a huge sense of peace during a time that could cause great anxiety and certainly does to many others.
Here are a few of the ways in which homesteaders are already equipped to deal with coronavirus and other turbulent times…
Homesteaders Often Use Homemade Cleaning Products
I did not have to worry in the slightest when all the disinfecting wipes, rubbing alcohol, and hand sanitizer went missing from stores. I would never, ever buy that stuff anyways and certainly would not start now. I have everything I need already…
- Baking soda
- Castile Soap
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Essential Oils
I always keep several gallons of vinegar around because you can use it for so many things. Though I have not done so lately I can even make my own vinegar. I also have lots of castile soap for the same reason, you can use it in so many ways…shampoo, laundry, dishes, carpet, pest control…it is amazing. Hydrogen peroxide can easily replace bleach and be used to clean a variety of surfaces. Essential oils like tea tree, eucalyptus rosemary, and lemon are also great for cleaning and sanitizing. You can use them to make a DIY hand sanitizer. These products are safer, cheaper, and usually already on hand in the home of any homesteader or prepper.
Homesteaders Are Not Food Insecure
Homesteaders do not like to be entirely reliant on grocery stores for their food supply. That is not to say we don’t utilize grocery stores at all but we strive to be more self sufficient in this area and many have the skills to survive and thrive if these systems were to collapse. That is one of the main goals of homesteading…being self sufficient as much as possible. Knowing how to hunt and forage can be a game changer. Raising chickens, bees, rabbits, or other small game can be an important source of food. Gardening and growing your own produce is key, as is knowing how to identify the abundance of edible weeds around you.
If the stores around me closed to tomorrow I would be secure knowing I have stocked freezers, seedlings steadily growing under lights indoors, weapons to hunt, fishing gear, and plenty of crops on my property to harvest soon including asparagus, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, elderberries, apples, pears, peaches, cherries, garlic, and tons of herbs. Many other crops will be ready to go in the ground in spring. I also know how to find wild edibles and herbs in my area. I would be completely capable of feeding my family if I had no stores to rely on.
Homesteaders Can Find Natural Remedies
Just as we have learned to be more self sufficient when it comes to food, the same applies to medicine. There are numerous herbal remedies at our disposal. Using leaves, flowers, roots, or dried herbs to heal what ails you may sounds to some like a bit of Hocus Pocus but homesteaders know that herbal remedies are easy, natural, inexpensive in relation to pharma meds, and they are very effective for a broad range of ailments and complaints. You can use plantain for wounds, echinacea and goldenseal for infections, ginger for tummy troubles, peppermint for sore throats and congestion, elderberry for viral infections and flu, and chamomile for nausea and diarrhea. Knowing what plants can be found in your area and their uses could be vital.
Homesteaders Aim for Self Sufficiency
One of the big things selling out at stores right know is water. It never even occurred to me that I might want water because I am covered. We have a Big Berkey water filter and while we do rely on public water rather than a well (we are in the city) we chose property along a creek and this filter is so amazing that we could easily filter creek water if we needed to. There are so many small ways homesteading has helped me be more self sufficient.
We have rain barrels to collect rainwater for our garden. We compost and plant strategically to improve soil quality and health. We can grow lots of our own food. We don’t use nasty pesticides so the wildlife (big and small) is abundant on our property and we can source that if needed. We don’t lives lives of waste…we use it up, we wear it out, make it do, or do without. We have plenty of firewood for our fireplace and woods on our property for more. We have handled our money in much the same way we do our homestead and so we have ample funds stocked away for emergencies and we despise debt.
The most important skill that homesteaders have is that we are always wanting to learn more. This experience has shown me the the gaps in my knowledge base and also the ways in which I can be even more self reliant in the future. If this whole coronavirus experience scared you more than it should, think about how you can change that going forward. An amazing starting place is gardening and learning how to forage.
If you don’t own any property you can still take steps and homestead in an apartment, condo or rental. Anyone can start a path to more self sufficiency!