When the time changes, I start to get antsy for the longer sunny days that will be coming. After being cooped up in the house all winter long, there is just something so satisfying about being able to stay outside without a coat on that motivates me to get busy.
For those of us that live in cold weather states we get a little cabin fever this time of year, and also a little anxious to get out and get things done. Even if you live in one of the warmer states, these tips will be useful to keep your preparedness plans on track.
This week we talked about springtime prepping and planning, and how to stay motivated throughout the summer months. There are some things you just can’t do in the winter months, so it’s important to take advantage of the good weather while you can.
SPP145 Springtime Prepping and Planning
Get Outside and Exercise
This is really easy to do in April because we are all chomping at the bit to get outside. Use the spring and summer months to their fullest by going camping, working in the yard and even taking walks with your bug out bag on.
We talk about being “farmer strong” later in the article, and we need to be physically ready to handle life without all the modern conveniences. Taking hikes, or walking with your bug out bag on is important because you want to know how you will handle it if it becomes necessary.
Plant identification classes, wilderness survival classes, first aid classes and even heading out to the shooting range is a great way to sharpen or add skillsets to your preparedness arsenal.
Like we talked about in the prepper groups podcast, these classes are also a great way to meet people in your area that might be preppers themselves…or at least possible future preppers.
Plan a lights out weekend
This is a great way to test out your preps without the added weight of an emergency situation. It’s also a great way to open the conversation about prepping with family members that might not be completely on board.
Be careful how you approach this though. If someone in the house is completely against this you might want to shorten the length, or think about not shutting everything down at first.
Activities With and For Kids
Getting your children interested in prepping is easy when you do things that they enjoy. It’s actually easier to get small children interested than older children because older children have already formed some opinions.
Doing things like the boy scouts and girl scouts do are fun ways to open the dialog with children about how there is more to life than cell phones and video games. Getting them involved with your daily prepping chores also makes them feel involved and important.
Setting goals might be the most important because if it’s in your face you are more likely to accomplish it. Like the saying goes “out of sight, out of mind”
Don’t make these goals too extreme, make them attainable. Set some small goals, some tougher goals and then some stretch goals that are going to be hard, but realistic with a little hard work.
Preparedness Plans List(s)
For me, the best place to start is with my handy dandy notebook! Start by making different lists of things you want to do this summer. You can categorize each list, or just make a huge list of what you would like to accomplish over the summer. By planning now, you will have a working list of projects to choose from throughout the spring and summer months.
Right know the garden is taking all of my focus. We still have about 4 weeks before we can start planting outside, but that doesn’t mean I can be ready to go once all danger of frost has passed us. Dale can already begin working in his greenhouse (lucky dog) but I have to wait. So during the winter I was plotting and planning my garden beds, and how I will use them this year. Cleaning out the dead and decaying plant material as well as beautifying the garden itself are things I can do now while waiting. It’s also a good time to start some seeds inside, so I can get a jump start on my planting.
Also scouring my own seeds to know what I have, as well as ordering seeds from reputable sellers so I will have everything ready to go once the time has come to plant outdoors.
The Garage, aka The Workshop
You can be doing garage projects during the winter, but for me, it is a lot easier to organize and clean and work in the garage (my workshop) when I can keep the overhead door open. Also, our garage gets COLD, so I don’t really like working out there when the temperature outside is below zero. It isn’t any fun to work in the cold when I can see my breath, no thanks. So I make my plan of attack happen when the temperature starts to rise.
I start by opening the doors, and organizing the shelving units, and looking to see where I can make more space for camping gear, and I also rearrange my gardening equipment and outdoor tools, to take inventory of what I have, and what I will need.
By doing this before I need it, I will be able to make the most of my evenings and weekends without taking extra trips into town which would cut into my time to be working. And when thinking about trips into town, I try to do the planning so that when I do get a lunch while I am at work, I use that time to run to Home Depot, or wherever I need to go so I won’t have to make an unplanned trip once I am already at home.
I also make a list of different projects I want to complete over the next several months which include building a farmhouse dining room table, and building several sets of horse jumps in order to fund our prepping expenditures throughout the summer.
While most people are planning family vacations to faraway places, ours are a little bit different. Instead of spending a lot of money to go really far, or making one vacation plan, we choose to explore the beautiful country we live in.
We will plan smaller weekend trips to places we can drive. We don’t have to worry about getting a hotel room, because we bring it with us. We were able to purchase a pop-up travel trailer for a steal, and fix it up. So now, we can go places and basically bring our hotel with us.
You also don’t need to really go that far away from home. Do a weekend nature walk, learn about what is in your area as far game, plants, and resources. Or you can take a weekend class in firearm training, or outdoor skills.
As the summer will go on, our long term food storage and home canned goods will need to be rotated as we add to it with freshly canned vegetables jams and fruits. So before we start canning like fools, it is good to know what we have, what we love, and what we have plenty of. This also goes into my gardening plan, so knowing what we have helps.
Now there are some things we won’t have a lot of control over, such as blueberries, apples and pears, because we plant those once, and they keep producing every year. But, by learning how to use the annual harvest will help. So learning new ways to use the prolific fruits and vegetables will add new recipes, as well as making us be able to use what we have every single year.
This is also a good time to start or add to your long term food storage with items from Legacy Farms, or Augauson Farms. Dedicate a small amount of money each paycheck to increasing your long term food storage, just in case.
This one is my favorite! I don’t know about you, but I HATE working out, or I should say I hate working out just for the sake of working out. However, I do LOVE being outside, and beautifying my yard, and playing in the garden, and working with my horses. So instead of going to a gym, I work out while I am doing things that will benefit me, or my family.
For example, my daughter bought me a Fitbit for a Christmas present. And I have a bunch of people that I compete with on a weekly basis to see who can get the most steps. I like it, because it makes exercising fun and adds some competition to the mix, I love it! But on the days where I basically only walk at work, I have to push myself harder than I do when I am doing chores around the house. Typically I will get around 10,000 steps a day, and I have to really work to make that happen. But on the weekends just by working in the yard or garden, I will get around 18,000 steps a day! That is huge!
And have you ever worked a piece of land for a garden, carried chicken or horse feed, or dug some fence postholes? It is hard work! You will use muscles you didn’t know you had. If you make a concerted effort to do this type of work on a daily basis not only will you get in shape, but you will get strong…farmer strong!
So make an effort to get your work out by doing things that have the added benefit of making you more self-reliant. You will get in shape in a fun way, and you will be saving money, you don’t need a gym membership to get in shape, just do things to benefit your home, garden or property and use the money you would have used for the gym, and put it back into your ‘homestead’.
Food Forestry, aka Permaculture
Instead of planting flowers in beds, plant food! You can have vegetable beds intermingles with flower beds. Plant herbs in pots. If you do plant flowers, be sure to use flowers that are beneficial to the bees, as well as having medicinal benefits such as lavender, peppermint or Echinacea.
If you are planting a tree or shrub, plant fruit trees and shrubs. If you plant fruit trees, you will get the beauty of the tree, but also the added benefit of a harvest in the fall.
If you have never started a garden but wanted to, put it on your list. Thinking about raising your own chickens? Put that on your list too. Put things on your list that you don’t necessarily have to do, but would do if you had the time. Here are some examples of what I put on my list:
- Starting beekeeping
- Redo the chicken house
- Make my vegetable garden look like a garden in a magazine
- Plant 5 fruit trees
- Redo all flower beds to be vegetable beds
- Repaint all garden beds
- Build a root cellar
- Build a farmhouse dining room table
- Make vanilla
- Make homemade Vick’s
- Trim all tree branches for fire mitigation
- Add 5 birdfeeders
This is why I like making lists so much. I add things to it, and eventually I end up getting it done! It is pretty inspiring to look back through lists that I thought were pipe dreams, and they are now a part of my everyday life. So inspire yourself, make some lists, and get planning for what you would love to be able to do this summer. You are only limited by yourself, so stop limiting yourself, and just do it!