Welcome to Home Shalom!

Welcome to Home Shalom and Shalom Farm. We pray your visit here be blessed. We are learning to walk in the Ways (Torah) of our Father YHWH and follow Y'shua, His Messiah until He returns to "set things straight". We call it a "Messi-Life". Our walk is neither tidy nor perfect, but it is filled with passion, devotion and desire to serve our King. We are learning to be humble servants, and to be good stewards of the things that He has entrusted to us: His Word, our marriage, our children, our family, our community, our health, and our farm. Hitch your horse and stay a while--our door is always open!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Homestead Preparation Checklist

I thought it would be good to do a little mental check-up on our preparations for hard times to come and our ability to be self sustainable. These are questions I find I ask myself in intervals every so often to check our progress and condition. Where am I weak? What needs the most attention? Have I been neglecting any of these areas?

1.Spirituality- I place this first on the list, because I believe it is! Regardless of circumstances, good or bad, feast or famine the most important thing to being "prepared", come what may, is the condition of my Spiritual walk with Yah. All else hinges on that. Am I following in the footsteps of Yeshua? Am I leading a life of worship... a life that is sold out for Him? Not a life of perfection mind you, but one of devotion and service, one of listening and responding, one of generosity and love toward my fellow man. Without love, I am nothing. The following preparations are worthless if I am not "sold out for YHVH" and I am not able to hear his still small voice and be willing and ready to drop all my plans in an instant to respond to His direction at any given time. We believe we are in His direction as we are doing these things, but to those who know Him and have walked in intimacy with him, we know that He works in mysterious ways! It is possible that He may not having us do all these things for the reasons and outcome WE THINK!

2. Developing Skills - I have been "reading" about homesteading for years, but actually doing it, is quite another story! "The proof is in the pudding " as my Mamma always used to say. :-) It is so easy to stay in this "hobby fascination" place. Or get swooped in the romance of hanging clothes on the line and baking bread. But it is not until you GIVE UP the dryer and trips to the store - that you really start to "own" these skills fully. It is so easy to make excuses about starting things "when we get some land, all the while living on "someday isle". But there are LOTS AND LOTS of skills that can be developed before one ever gets their acreage. Skills can be developed NOW, even if you life in an apartment or very small plot. We need to learn to work with what we've got and make the best of it! That is what is at the heart of homesteading and preparation! The land and "supplies" do us no good if we don't develop the skills, to use them well. Yes, I know, somethings WILL have to wait...but so many things DON'T. Not to mention if one is still waiting for their land, it really makes that time frame much more productive AND enjoyable!

Here is a list of some very useful skills that can be developed before one ever gets a farm:

Learning to 'do without', prioritizing things so that it will hasten your goal and move you TOWARD self sustainability. For instance, if the microwave breaks don't replace it. Consider a pressure cooker instead! If the TV fries - consider it a blessing! (Or here's a crazy thought - get rid of a working one!) :-) Learn to prepare everything from scratch, eating whole foods, preserving foods, natural health care (learning, making and using natural remedies and methods of healing and treating things), home improvements, mechanics (on everything from small engine to cars to appliances), composting, sewing, small scale gardening (in a pot even!), support your local farmers, sprouting, starting plants from seed/root, saving seed and the list goes on and on. Do what you can where you are, and those skills will go with you to the farm - when the time is right. There will be A LOT more new things for you to learn when you get there! But what a blessing it will be to have some of these things under your belt by then! Does all this sound overwhelming? If so, you might reconsider some things!

3. Supplies - I ask myself - what are the things I would hate to be without. Now if I were to answer, my curling iron, espresso machine, air conditioner and microwave.... well...I think we could probably stop this line of questioning right here...because there wouldn't be much that could be done from that point. :-) However, what I am talking about here is supplies for living in desperate times, the things which help sustain us! I can't help of think of American pioneers who settled America. They could only take so much 'stuff'. I know we can take more...but it is good to test our resolve and commitment in this same way. What are willing to do? What are we willing to leave behind? I have accumulated lots of things that could assist in this, over time - likely more than I need...but I LOVE 'tools'. :-) I think there are very different approaches to this category. Both of which I try to be aware while stocking up. One being homesteading survival supplies for here on the farm and the other being wilderness survival supplies if called away from the farm. Some double in function - but really they are very different categories.

What would I want on the homestead to survive a long term "depression" of some kind?

  • Independent access to good water. For us, that meant change. Our farm is on "town water". So we have to pay for our usage. (Not to mention the junk they put it it to "treat it" is NOT OK with us.) This does not bode well for one who uses water for animals, family and food! So that had to change. We started collecting water off our barn roof and dug a well. We did not want to have the well be subject to electric service to be drawn up, so we decided on a pump, that is run by solar with a manual back up. It will be powered by the sun (not the power company) and if something goes wrong with that system, we have good ol' man power to bring it up! We are not sure if filtration is needed yet, but if it is - that too will be done in a way that does not require power to be supplied from elsewhere.

  • The things we need to grow, raise, preserve and store food - We are developing this as well and will take the most time. We have started planting trees and are in the process of putting in a root cellar. We have stocked up with supplies to preserve our own food (without electricity). We still have electrical system in place (freezers, fridges and some electrical appliances) but we have lessened that and will continue to. We have chickens producing eggs and meat, as well as sheep for meat in our fields. We have more birds planned for this year and also hope to add a dairy and beef cow (and maybe some work animals - but that is a whole 'nother topic!). We have the space to sustain the animals on grass and eventually grow the grain or supply the environment for the birds to be sustained through the methods of permaculture. (Yet a whole 'nother post!)

  • Healthcare and First Aid supplies- Do I have what I need to administer and treat illness or injury? Of course the skills to do this also MUST be developed ahead of the time of need in severe cases and is VERY helpful in less severe cases. What I am speaking of is a lifestyle of learning how to "be Your own Doctor". It takes a passionate commitment and time to develop well. It takes resources and materials to "practice" with, and the wisdom of those who have gone before us. It a huge responsibility that many people will never want to do. However, my family's health is a very important thing to me. It is something I want to be prepared to maintain!

  • Shelter- For most people, this is a given - where one starts. We had a small house on the property, but were willing to "rough it" and build our own if that was the place Yah took us. We did live 'roughly' for 6 months during the move and work that was done on our little house when we first moved. This house, has no basement and we have discovered that we live in a tornado rich area...so the root cellar will act as that emergency shelter for us as well.

  • 4. Survival Skills and Tools - What if all the preparations we put in place fail us? Like a disease strikes our livestock or insects plague our gardens. What if a tornado, earthquake, floods, fire, vandalism rip through our farm and leave us with nothing? Anything could happen! The Scriptures warn us that in the end these thing WILL happen more and more...Could we survive if I couldn't "buy" food, clothes, water, medicine, or shelter? I do not want to sound like an alarmist...I am not. Nor am I conspirator. Just one who sees the possibility of this being a reality and wanting to be prepared while at the same time equipping my children to be prepared too. We Americans have gotten so "comfortable". We have gotten very arrogant in our wealth as a nation. I don't know if you have noticed...but our country's financial stability is teetering on the edge of disaster! Our culture is also less than virtuous on the whole, so it is very possible that those who were seen as "poor farmers" before could be seen as "millionaires" in the eyes of the desperate.

    So these are the questions we find ourselves asking in regards to that:

    Knowing that I have Yah, I ask what my responsibility beyond that is. Could we survive in the wilderness? If we had to flee and were "on the road" would I have the skills and supplies to keep my family safe and alive without the security of my homestead?

    There are some things we have done in this area, but it is the area that I am less than confident in. These are my goals in order or importance to me:

    * To have a GOOD working knowledge and PRACTICE of wild growing vegetation, so that we could treat ailments or eat from the "weeds" we see all around us.

    * To have a family "go bag" as my friend calls it. A small efficient emergency pack that you can grab and go, that would supply you with emergency rations, clothing, tools, clean water, basic first aid.

    * Develop wilderness/or bush skills. Understanding nature and using it to my advantage. Learning to be acutely aware of my surroundings. Understand the body and it's limits. How to make shelter and fire and food out of "nothing".

    5. Community - People you can trust are priceless! I have to ask - Do we have people whom we would trust with our lives? Do we have people whom would give THEMSELVES up for us? Would we do the same for them? Do I have a place designated for my children to go (permanently) we were to die or be permanently disabled? It seems to me, that the ONLY way, we could find these people, is if we were to BE these people first!

    6. General Health - This is something that we do NOW. We need to take responsibility for our health now. Without it, we can not effectively do the practical things required of us on the homestead. Homesteading is work. You are right - you can have a gentleman's farm where everything is run for you by others..but that is NOT a homestead. Learn what it means to be healthy and choose those things over the other...simple on paper - right? This is simply something we can not ignore...if we do not have our health - our whole quality (and quantity) of life is compromised or traded. Yes, there are events in life that may steal one's health that could not be prevented - but more often than not - so many of today's health issues CAN be prevented or fixed by making deliberate changes in our daily habits and convictions. These are things which it is our resposibility NOT to ignore.

    7. Fight or Flight - With the hostility of the climate of freedoms on parents, farmers, homeschoolers and the faith community rising in leaps and bounds. I have to ask myself - what would I do if..... If state or federal authorities told me I HAD to put my children in state institutions (schools) or could not buy or raise my own healthy food (just their modified kind), or that I could not teach them the Bible, or that I had to administer some sort of mandatory drug to them that I understand to be unsafe, or any number of things!! (Now I know this sounds conspiratorial - but honestly, I really only go here long enough in prayer to ask for guidance and advice from Yah! However, these are questions I must ask myself.) The fact is - the answer is not clear for me accept to lean into HIM with all I am for guidance on that specific instance IF it arises. I will do what He should have me do at that moment. It causes me to increase my intimacy with Him, so that I know, that I know, that I know HIS voice. So that I may be prepared. It causes me to realize how very dependant I am on HIM and that there is not better place to be!

    8. Money- Some people want to chalk everything up to "money". In our time together as a married couple we have experianced a extreme spectrum the yearly income difference over the last 17 years (from 6K - 300K yearly!). It is from that experiance I can speak. YES, it is nice to have a lot of money at your command. However, I have learned, that even more importantly than HOW MUCH you have, is what you do with what you have that really matters! Are you spending it wisely? Do you use it to glorify the Father or yourself? Does it reflect HIS values? Do you live WITHIN your means or do you use credit, always living just outside your means? Do you live generously toward others? Do you sqaunder money on things that tickle your flesh (no matter how big or small)? Do you use your money to purchase things that are contrary to the vision that YHVH (God) has put in you? These are all questions that must be honestly answered in this area of preparing. The topic of money is very revealing as to our spiritual condition; and so we return back to the 1st point once again (Spirituality and our relationship with Yah). This is so typical of how YHVH works and so typical of the patterns He sets forth in His Scripture...His creation, His plan and His training take us in cycles...year after year and we learn and grow and get willingly wittled into the Master's likeness. I wouldn't have it any other way..I am so thankful that HE prepares me!

    May your cup overflow with love to spill onto others. May your barrel always be full of grain and your bottle full of oil. May the work of your hands glorify Him. May you have sweet fellowship in His Kingdom. May your days be numbered with great vitality and passion for His ways. May you let YHVH choose your battles. May you invest your skills and 'talents' wisely to edify your Master. May you be ready for Yeshua's return with your lamps full and your hearts pure.

    Blessings in Him, pamela

    This post was shared at Preparedness Challenge


    Jennifer said...

    I love this post so much that I am going to print it and read it several times. We don't own a home yet, but I am trying to develop homesteading skills. Since spring we have not used our dryer, and I've also been making homemade laundry detergent that I keep in a yogurt container. I've been planting in pots for now (I need to develop gardening skills!). My husband bought me a sewing machine but I am afraid to use it. Do you know of any good/simple resources for sewing? I also would like to learn canning, especially making jams. I like to know what is in the food we are eating, and make as much from scratch as I possibly can!

    Andi said...

    I agree with Jennifer, I may have to print this one off for our trip to MI! Great information Ben and Pamela - thank you for sharing!

    Mommy Set Free said...

    Hi Jennifer,
    That's great! I am a firm believer in working with what Yah gives us at the moment! There is an old saying I like to use alot and that it to "Bloom where we have been planted". :-) (It helps me to remember to content in my circumstances and make them best of them.) I can't hink of any good sewing resources off the top of my head, but I will post them or PM you on the forum if that changes. (My brain works on limited capacity after the sun sets...as a rule.) :-)

    How long will you be in MI? I am itching to go to see my Bro(in MI)...but not sure how we can do that with the needs of the farm now.

    Thanks for the encouragement! That is a very nice way to say it is avery long post. (I know how long that drive is!) Tee Hee. You know I can't stop myself sometimes. :-) Much Love!! p

    lusi said...

    Pamela and Ben this was such an inspiring, challenging and encouraging post to read! Thank you! Will be rereading over this one many times and asking Yah to continue to teach and lead me in it all.
    Love lus x