Homesteading for preparedness – a way of life

I had lived for almost 20 years in an apartment in Germany before I moved to Croatia. I realized how difficult it is to be a prepper when living in an apartment environment. The only way is to get a garden and do gardening for a continuous supply of food and for stashing it. But guess what, most probably you won’t get a garden even near your apartment and you will not see what is going on there. In cities, gardens are often rather in the suburban areas. City preppers have to rely on stashing food and supplies. They can’t rely on living off the grid. In the end, if SHTF, they will all spread out in the province and loot (dramatization).

To make things clear

I am not a paranoid prepper preparing for the end of the world. Writing the last sentence in the last paragraph was rather amusing. I don’t like to talk about SHTF in that way it looks like a season of The Walking Dead. I don’t know what will happen in the USA, but in Europe, I really doubt that the government will fail to work in the longer term. They will make it work to supply the city with emergency supplies. Croatia has enough resources to self-sustain itself. We could do it now, but capitalism forces us to sell our high-quality food products and import the cheap shit garbage from eastern Europe (no offend here). In the end, a rather SHTF scenario would not last longer than a month maybe until the government and the agencies adapt to the new situation.

The point is to survive and fill that gap.

Living on a homestead makes you a multi talent

Living on a homestead gives you everyday challenges and you get a lot of experience throughout the days. In the end, you do all by yourself. It is hard and is a lot of work, but you get self-reliant with every day and week. Watching ALONE on the TV, I realized how much you need to just survive. You need a shelter, warmth, food and water. On a homestead, you got all of that in a non-depleting source. The only thing you have to invest are some sweat and tears, here and there some money.

In that period I learned how to do drywalling, welding, using tractor and machinery, cultivating soil, building greenhouses, bricklaying, concrete pouring, pork processing, lumbering etc…

Starting with a homestead is expensive

Before we started with the homestead, machinery, tools and building materials had to be bought. Of course, you can do all the work by physical labor but machinery eases up the work. Realistically, plowing an acre of a field without machinery is rather utopic without livestock. In the end, it pays off more to get an old used tractor with equipment than using livestock for heavy tasks like plowing or pulling a cart/trailer. But it makes you dependent on fuel. Honestly, it makes life much easier and stashing fuel makes more sense than torture yourself with livestock. Livestock needs a steady supply of food and care, also cleaning the dung they make.

Post-WWII generations and prepping

When World War 2 ended, former Yugoslavia (for all who don’t know, Croatia was part of Yugoslavia back then), the country was a mess. Communism took over, every homestead had to share their part. You had 3 pigs? One pig for the country, 2 for you. Sometimes they even took 2 pigs and left you with one. Got a shed full of corn or grain? 30% was took away. People started to stash food. Times were harsh, people had no money. Often goods were traded. E.g. my father went to the shop with 5 eggs to get a cup of sugar and 2 or 3 cigarettes. I can’t imagine how those times must have been for the people. Today’s generations are so spoiled, they do not understand how hard times can hit you very fast.

People started to get self-reliant and stash food. Somehow that mentality stayed until today. In suburban areas, 99% of people grow their own food here. They stash it for winter, they grow their own pigs, dry the meat, etc… Even people in the city buy pig halves from farmers and dry their own meat to conserve it for winter. Going to the shop is rather the last option for almost everyone. I think that is good thinking and good mentality. That is healthy thinking – self reliant thinking.

Make experiments, gather experience, TRY IT OUT!

In our first year on the homestead, we started with a huge project. I had no idea about farming but I was eager to learn. I registered at local farming forums, read books, asked for information, looked neighbors how they do it. We worked all the fields we had to see how much we can produce and how much work it is. That was probably one of the most busy years I had in my life. Working until 5pm and then heading to the homestead and work until it gets dark. Every day!

DIY watering installation

Selling surplus products

DIY greenhouse

Our healthy pigs

We started with a greenhouse 30x5m (about 90ft x 15ft), made a watering solution for the field farther away from the homestead, made a pen for the pigs. A lot of experience gained. For the watering, I got myself an used power generator and a submersible water pump. We pumped water uphill to a 1000L tank for watering the field in the heat of the summer. It worked! Plus, the power generator can be used in case of a power outage. We produced so many vegetables and meat that we sold the surplus and even made a considerable profit. The whole village bought seedlings and vegetables from us.

But after the season we decided to postpone such huge projects because it is not manageable when working 40 hours a week. We had no spare minute for us. All in all, we are young and want to enjoy our life. There is no need to get all paranoid for preparedness. Just slightly change your way of life to be self-reliant and if disaster strikes, you are not caught with your pants down.

Being prepared is a mindset

I can’t emphasize that enough, being a prepper is something totally different than that we are being told on social networks like YouTube. The most serious preppers don’t stash expensive gear, they live off the grid and self-reliant. All those preppers get expensive backpacks and gear like they are going to walk around the world in a SHTF? I think the best way to prepare yourself is to adjust your way of life so you can just overcome a gap of comfort that might occur during a SHTF. But some people make an impression like they can’t wait to go on a rampage with their guns. Maybe I lost the connection because I don’t live in a city anymore. In suburban areas, you have a stronger sense of community and solidarity. So if SHTF, the community will be strong against looters and gangs. I don’t see anything wrong in that. But again, that is most probably not the case in an environment of dense population like in a city, where you don’t know who lives in the same apartment building.

Next projects

For this year I have a chicken coop in mind and some improvements on my homestead. All in all, I will keep you posted on this blog. Due to the abnormal weather I have to postpone the seeding of new plants. It’s snowing today on -2°C and for the weekend they are prognosing +18°C. Crazy?!

Stay safe,

CP

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