Saturday, March 15, 2014

Moving Toward More Self Sufficiency Given Your Location

Wall Garden    ( )

  One of the incredible benefits to reasonable efforts toward disaster preparedness, is that during an emergency, you have given yourself and your family choices.   Choices are something that go a long way in terms of helping families to manage risks.   If you are a new mom at home and there is an impending snowstorm, and you are using your last package of diapers and you didn't stock some washable diapers, some plastic pants, and an emergency package of wipes or disposables in advance, then pretty much, you have no choice.   You or your spouse might have to risk your lives heading out into a blizzard to get diapers for your new little one. Sometimes life is just that cut and dried. Some might argue that they couldn't afford the advance preparation for this, and that diapers are expensive.  Before my first child was born, I was 24, and only fairly recently out of college.  Friends from school asked what I wanted in terms of shower gifts, and knowing that we were all as broke as one another, I asked them to buy me a package of diapers. (Top price at the time for the larger packs was about six dollars.) Each friend bought me diapers of a different size, as I had asked.  One of their mothers bought me some cloth diapers that could be washed and were secured with velcro.  She didn't know I didn't have laundry facilities,at that house, but they were a welcome emergency strategy nonetheless.  In that first wintry year, we always had diapers, and in the year which followed, every single one of my friend's gifts were used.  When people ask you what you need,whatever the undertaking, don't be afraid to give them practical suggestions. Conversely, don't be afraid to act on them when someone else says they would rather have something practical !

                Several of my son's friends had a difficult time in college. They were approved for financial aid, and then found it taken back as they needed it when the semester began. One was left with no way to buy food for an entire semester.  My son took care of several of his friend's with emergency breakfasts by giving them large inexpensive packages of quick oats and a box of brown sugar.  One of them ate little else plus vitamins for an entire semester.  This was not a hardship for my son, and it was an incredible help to several of his friends.

               Many times, small inexpensive strategies and simple ideas we implement in advance of a problem can be the difference between succeeding or not.  Advance planning can provide us with an optimal number of choices.  The less spare money you have, then the better you must be at advance planning.   If you are a single mom with two small children and you are heading into flu season, then you MUST head to the Dollar Tree for an inexpensive package of ginger ale to aid in hydration for sick older children, gatorade, generic pedialyte packets, children's acetaminophen, a generic Vick's rub.  If you wait until everyone has the flu and you run to a nearby pharmacy, the same items may cost ten times the price than at the Dollar Tree in the Fall.  By buying early you will also sidestep the fact that during flu season, the pharmacy may well be sold out of the item you need the most. Advance planning is always wise.

            It is with all of these things in mind that I would like everyone to look toward more self sufficiency.  Again, this means very different things depending upon your family size, how much cash you have to spend, and where you live.  However, preparedness does not always favor the wealthy !   Evacuating an area can be easier with fewer things, and it can be easier to start again when you haven't lost as much.
           If you are in an apartment in a city, can you grow tomatoes in a pot on your balcony ?   Can you grow sprouts in a jar on your kitchen window ?   Both things can provide greens for sandwiches and salads. This year all summer I grew several varieties of lettuces in my front porch. I didn't buy any lettuce all summer and for part of the Autumn. We enjoyed terrific fresh salads and despite our harvesting from the plants every couple of days, as long as we watered them, just about daily, they recovered and recovered to deliver more lettuce to us.

     This is a link for growing sprouts:

And a prior link for storing potatoes and onions in the suburbs:

           Being more self sufficient means a lot of different things.  It can mean saving twenty dollars for your children's haircuts by trimming their hair yourself in between haircuts.

This is a post on learning to cut your children's hair, that I wrote some time ago:

        It can mean learning to change your own oil (yes, even if you're female.)   It can also mean learning to do many things on your vehicle, which might not be as difficult as you at first, may think.

       When I was a young college student, and a biology major, I had been a Pre-Med major.  I deliberately chose to change to Nursing, because although I thought I would likely enjoy medical school, I didn't think I could stay up all night working every two to three nights while on call during residency, as was the custom in the early nineteen-eighties, and to slightly less a degree today.  I didn't realize until I was home with two babies in the mid eighties, and working nights as an RN, that I was staying up every third night all night, to do my job !   I thought the same thing about engineering.  I had always thought of myself as a people-person. I was a verbal person whose strengths lay in reading people not machines. I was as far from an engineer as one could get, and I wasn't mechanical !     That misperception also had to bite the dust late one 3-11 shift when I was working in a medical ICU and I had to reset and debug an intraaortic balloon pump for my patient.  It's amazing how mechanical you become when someone's life depends upon it.

      So, toss out your perceptions of yourself.   You can earn extra money on Ebay !  You can earn extra on Etsy !   You can learn to change the oil safely.  You can grow your own sprouts, cut your kids hair without lasting psychological trauma ! You can make a wall garden project with your child.  You can grow onions and potatoes in containers, if need be, depending upon your location.  You can save more, and spend less.  You can have more choices !


Dani said...

Quite right. The only thing that limits us is our self-esteem, and a lack of impetus. Anything can be learned if we put our mind to it - we just have to want to.

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you, Dani. There are things I really can't do, but there are fewer of them than I once believed. My mother once took a book out of the library and reupholstered our couch and it looked absolutely beautiful. She was of the attitude that if you could read a book on something, you could probably learn to do it. I have never been able to upholster anything, and I wouldn't try my own brain surgery, but I can do many things, and many people can do a lot more things than I ! Thanks for posting.

Stephen said...

This series should be required reading, period. Well done.

kymber said...

Jane - there is much said about the "evil" of the internet. yes, you can access free porn, lots of bad advice from experts and just complete and total disinformation. but the internet can also be a place to learn.

you have one of the best preparedness sites on the web. it's mindboggling actually. you are not trying to sell safe-castle bunkers and you certainly don't fill your blog with other people's "weekly/monthly" entries (i think you know of whom i speak!). yes, there are preparedness blogs out there that are all about the merchandise that they are trying to sell, and they do provide excellent information, but i tend towards blogs that simply share information. some of those blogs are very amateur but i applaud them for trying.

this blog, your blog, is overwhelmingly full of good information that you research and source as if you were submitting an article to the AMA!!! i am so glad to have access to this blog, which is not trying to sell me anything other than your most awesome preparedness book. your education level is very evident...that is seen in how you can take difficult topics and break them down into steps that anyone can follow. THAT is a clear sign of intelligence, of which, you have much.

whenever i think of you, i think of a line out of an old tv show called "millenium". one character says to another - "to whom much is given, much is expected". the mere fact that you are as intelligent as you are, the mere fact that you have all of those rescue animals that you take care of, the mere fact that you help strangers in parking lots while everyone else looks on - you have been given much. and you are giving so much back. with this blog, and Daniel's.

you have the best preparedness site on the whole entire internet. that is my opinion. and you have the best preparedness book out there. and if you ever want to quote any of my words for anything - please feel free.

thank you for all of your time spent in researching, sourcing, providing backlinks and writing the best preparedness articles out there.

i would write all of this even if i didn't consider you a true nova scotian - bahahahahah! much love. your friend,

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank you for all the kind words Kymber ! They are all appreciated. I am truly worried for people who haven't given some thought to the ordinary and expected emergencies that befall us all, in addition to some of the more creative potential man-made ones of the past few years. Preparedness is most of all about mindset, and this is what I am trying to convey. I'm glad that you and Jam "got it" long before you ever "met" me ! Fondly,

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks so much Stephen,
We probably have limited time before the next "emergency" somewhere within the borders of our readership. Conveying hopefulness and empowerment is also very much the intention. Thanks for posting and for the encouragement !

Linda said...

There ARE things I cannot do, absolutely! I will try many things and usually am successful. Everyone has limitations. The older I get, the less I am capable of doing. I am reasonably prepared for many things but not absolutely and not for everything by any means.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, as we move through life we will be less capable of doing. Fortunately, with the kids gone, I wouldn't have to evacuate with a stroller, clothes and meds for them, etc. One person can usually prep for sheltering in place or for evacuation in a more streamlined fashion than a family of many. Thanks for posting. There is still a lot you can do, as evidenced by your lovely chickens !