I’m a homesteader. But first and last I’m a prepper.
The homesteading is the ‘bugging in’ part of prepping.
Living where I live in rural west Wales I don’t plan on needing to bug out if the bad times do come.
That is why I moved here.
You may or may not have noticed that the day number is counting down on the Pennsif’s Progress blog.
That’s because I’ve given myself 1000 days to get fully prepped up. Or at least as prepped as I can with the time, money and resources I have available.
Why 1000 days? Arbitrary really, but with the way of the world I don’t think we can give it much longer.
Reading the news at the moment 1000 days may be way too optimistic 😶
As I have set this 1000 day target I need to monitor progress to make sure I keep on track.
So I’ve decided to take a raincheck every 50 days to see what I've achieved and what I still have to do.
Here's my first 50 day review. Do tell me if I'm missing anything big time, and if you have any suggestions to help me progress faster.
The State of the Prep - Day 950 Review
FOOD [8.0 out of 10]
- The biggest area of progress so far this year.
- First polytunnel installed. Initial crops planted.
- Water source for polytunnel installed.
- First and second greenhouses installed. First one now in full production. Second one just entering production.
- Upper back garden now reclaimed and under production. First harvests already coming in.
- Original lower back garden and old greenhouse have been in full production all summer, with two additional raised beds. Continual harvesting.
- Second herb bed constructed and fully planted. Already harvesting herbs regularly.
- Targetting 200kg of vegetables, and 6 months of production this year.
- New quarter acre free range chicken run constructed.
- Two flocks of hens (now 13 in total) laying continuously (every single day of the year so far). Currently averaging 8 eggs per day.
- First batch of 8 broiler chicks reared, dispatched and frozen. Not sure yet if continuing with broilers.
- Considering options for second protein source - possibly rabbits, but maybe opportunistic lambs in the short term.
- Preparing an area to introduce bees - maybe this year, if not early next year.
- Researching options for fish as a food source either from the lake or the bigger of the two streams.
- Still estimating that in 3 years we should be able to produce 90+% of vegetables and 70% of fruit. Ideally on a year round basis.
- Alongside food production and preservation from the homestead, also gradually building up stocks of bought in tinned and freeze-dried storage food. Currently approximately 2 months supply of long term food stored. Want to increase this to at least 4 months by the end of the year.
- Food areas still to consider - milk/dairy and flour/cereal.
WATER [9.0 out of 10]
- Have our own spring. Must arrange for another water quality test soon.
- Also have well and lake as backups. May need water purification options for those.
- Have own septic tank. About to have this emptied again. Now having it emptied regularly every year.
- Have purchased a small water filter and a supply of water purification tablets as backup. Need to review quantities held and possibly increase.
HEALTH [7.0 out of 10]
- Been building up medical supplies - both first aid type supplies and required prescription medicines. Need to review and organise stocks to see what is still needed.
- Diet improvements progressing well - more fibre, more home produced food - less processed. Mainly organic where possible.
- Now using more fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kefir (both milk and water) - definite improvement on overall health.
- Transitioned totally from tea and coffee to herb teas.
- Working on improving general fitness levels. Need to work on getting more sleep.
- Continuing with gradual weight reduction - will hopefully reach optimal target weight by year end.
- Four out of five family members have now done some form of first aid training (St John Wales, at work, with cadets). Looking for options to develop training further.
- Building up dental first aid kit and supplies. Need to review.
- All family members now on regular dentist and optician checkup schedule (six monthly for dentists, annual for opticians).
- Attended an introductory Herbal Medicine course. Hoping to gain much more knowledge on this.
ENERGY [5.5 out of 10]
- Purchased small backup petrol generator. Still looking to add further to generator capacity and fuel diversity.
- Added some more UPS systems for short term backups when power cuts appear particularly with lightning.
- Have now ordered 6 PV panels. Hoping to have these installed and linked to a battery backup system for the main house before the end of the year - budget permitting.
- Exploring options with local renewables consultant to install some sort of pico-hydro scheme to add to energy resilience.
- Hoping to achieve potential full off-grid capacity, if required, with further PV installations over the next two years.
- Regularly monitor LightningMaps.org to predict if we are likely to have any problems with electricity supply and internet connections.
SECURITY [3.0 out of 10]
- Planted some prickly sea buckthorn as first line perimeter defence.
- Need to do a lot of work on fences and gates.
- Investigating options for trail cams and CCTV.
- Continuing archery and clay pigeon shooting with youngest daughter.
- Youngest daughter also doing regular shooting with cadets.
- Need to acquire suitable equipment.
- Investigating setting up a local PMR radio based alert system with neighbouring farms.
- Would like to build local prepping network. Only found a couple of like-minded people so far.
TRANSPORT [2.5 out of 10]
- Begun to consider better vehicle options, but no finance for change available yet.
- At least one 4WD vehicle is a must for winter.
- Considering swapping one of the two cars for an electric vehicle - the Nissan Leaf is the most likely candidate.
- Got both existing vehicles on a regular servicing schedule now.
- Considering getting a couple of ponies - for pulling loads, and maybe for riding.
- Daughter and I have been on horse riding lessons, also attended courses on using horses for farm work and logging.
COMMUNICATIONS [2.5 out of 10]
- Have now obtained amateur radio Foundation Licence and call-sign.
- Now need to get some equipment.
- Would like to find out more about getting involved with RAYNET.
- Have a number of PMR radios for use around the homestead. Less than one mile range at best in local hilly terrain. All family members proficient in their use.
- Would CB radio also be useful?
- Would like to build local / sub-regional prepping network.
SHELTER [4.5 out of 10]
- Have an old farm house and two large barns.
- Stone barn is usable with water and electricity, but would like to get it re-roofed to make into more of a second living zone for children and visitors. Costs too prohibitive at present. Looking to install a toilet before the end of the year.
- Main house in reasonably good condition. Leak in one of chimneys is due to be fixed before the end of the summer.
- Have one woodstove and one open fire - and plenty of wood. Would like to replace the open fire with another woodstove.
- Planning on semi-converting the attic for more storage.
- Need to regularly test the smoke and CO2 detectors. Fire extinguishers in place.
- Have plumbing insurance in place. Might get the same for electricity.
- Long term plan is to build some sort of cabin with compost toilet and PV etc down towards the lake for a secondary living location away from the main house and barn. This would be quite well hidden as the woodland grows up around it.
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