Pennsif's Progress - The Days are Numbered // Day 949 : The State of the Prep - 50 Day Review

in prepping •  2 years ago 

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 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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Sounds like you are on track for becoming self-sufficient. You could be right about needing to move quicker, we may not have 1000 days.

Have you seen the Flow Hives? They look interesting and we may give them a try next year.

We too have a septic system but with a slight difference. We have a bio filter and the water from this is used to feed the bananas and plantain. It takes a little planning and space but it is worth it. We have gorgeous bananas.

We have a full fledged emergency kit for people and animals. We live 2 hours away from good quality medical care, so this is a necessity.

We have two small gasoline powered generators. We are looking into solar and wind power in the near future, budget allowing.

Built a perimeter wall 5 meters high and installed CCTV cameras. A good investment by far. We are armed with tasers, pistols and a rifle. Both my husband and I are experts in archery. Kids and grand kids too.

A four wheel vehicle is must. Have you considered diesel? We have had for years and are happy with the choice. CB radio is an alternative to cellular.

Hi @cecicastor thanks for all the suggestions.

I have been looking at Flow Hives, although most traditional beekeepers here in the UK seem to be against them. But I am definitely keeping that as an option.

I would love to grow bananas but until I get the tropical greenhouse of my dreams the weather in Wales won't permit it.

A 5m perimeter wall sounds very impressive - what is it constructed from? We have nearly 20 acres so we will probably need to designate an inner area closer to the house and outbuildings to secure, although we are on the side of a mountain so it is a bit trickier.

Alas it is not so easy to own guns here in the UK.

Diesel vehicles are being phased out here in the UK for pollution reasons, but in the short term because of that it will probably be cheaper to pick up a good second hand bargain.

Very interesting stuff, you've got a new follower here!

Thank you - glad you liked it.

Reading this I have a lot to live up to you get my upvote and resteem.

Thank you x 2 - much appreciated for the resteem.

Wow @pennsif. This must be the most comprehensive attemt I've seen to date. I really like the deadline you've given yourself as its the only way to keep accountable for ongoing progress.

You have an excellent range of fields that you are chipping away at which is great. Have you considered a "simulation" category?

By this I mean trying to simulate a real world scenario by relying on only your off grid prep for a day, week, whatever is practical and achieveable. That's a great way to discover any holes in your planning.

By the sounds of it you're in the top 1% so they say. The transport is a big one too and often ill-considered.

How visually obscured are your efforts from the road or property boundary? Security can also come in the form of obscurity and it seems the area of protecting what's been prepared from others can be one of the biggest challenges.

Family buy-in is essential too which you're working on.

Do you have much in the way of excess for trading reasons? Gold, silver, tools, even skills?

Really outstanding job. Would love to visit and checkout what you've done as it sounds fascinating but we're a long distance apart!

Keep up the great work!

Thanks for the tips and ideas @nolnoclaup. The simulations would be worth a try although we often get snowed in for a week or more in the winter and can't get off the mountain so have to go native on those occasions.

Visual obscurity is something that we are quite strong on. We are about a third of a mile from the road and have now planted about 10,000 trees between the house and the road. As they grow up we are disappearing from sight on the road.

I am trying to build up some surpluses - particularly in medical supplies and tools - for trading.

Doing great things. Instead of a gas generator, consider a propane generator as propane will not go bad like gas will. Great Job!

Yes I have a propane generator on my radar as it is much easier to store propane. And living in the countryside there are propane tanks all over the place.

The only area I see not covered is "one is none, two is one", back ups to back ups.

Ah yes definitely - always have backups, and backups to backups. I even have my kids chanting that - one is none, two is one...

Wow! I am very impressed. You and your family will survive anything that comes your way. I don't have a farmstead but I do like to be prepared. I love what you did for security; planting prickly sea buckthorn. OUCH! I really enjoyed this post! : )

Thanks. I think we still have a long way to go. Security is my biggest concern. It's no good having a load of preps if someone can just come and take it away when the bad times come 😞

Isn't that the truth. That is my main concern too. I only have bear and pepper spray and a baseball bat. Oh well, better than nothing. Be safe!

Wow pennsif that is seriously impressive. I love the idea of the 50 day check in, I only found you a couple of days ago so this gives me a chance to catch up with your progess :) all the best man this is great info.

Thank you. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts. I spent a year in Cape Town as a penguin catcher.

WOW very impressed.

Thank you and thank you for the resteem - much appreciated.

Lots of food for thought here and some great ideas. Makes me want to look into any acreage again.

A couple of thoughts occurred to me. You are getting the septic tank emptied regularly; what would considerations be if in the long term that service was no longer available? Would you turn to composting toilets? For me, water is so scarce here that as much as I prefer a flushing toilet I keep coming back to a composting or vermiculture toilet as the best option.

Also, why are you personally not sure on doing broilers again? I've come to the conclusion myself that I probably wouldn't have purpose raised meat birds, as there are plenty of other sources that come with breeding animals anyway. Few people want male chickens and quail after all. However, I'm waffling now and I was wondering why you are not sure about raising them again.

I have wondered about what we would do if couldn't get the septic tank emptied commercially. I'm guessing we might try to do it ourselves by some means. Then we could keep all our toilets, shower and bath fully operational.

Regarding broilers, I'm hoping to swap to dual purpose birds if I can find the right breed - possibly Ixworths or something similar.

I'd love to hear your what you decide on the dual purpose birds and if you can figure out a way to empty the septic tank. Do you know if the sludge from it can be composted somehow?

I'll do a post when I do make a move on the next chicken breeds.

Septic tank sludge - will need to research this for sure.

Impressive work. I was actually wondering what the countdown was for.
I'm by no means a prepper in the doom and gloom sense, but I'm a homesteader and a big fan of common sense.
Your post made me realised that we've dropped the ball on a number of things we used to do before becoming parents. It's time to pick that ball up again and get going.

You might consider having a personal hygiene category: feminine products, tp (family cloth?), soap, lotions, shaving gear, ways to wash clothes, etc. Some are more wants than needs, but frankly, I would like to thrive and not just barely survive if it came down to it.

Good point re personal hygiene products - added to the 100 day review coming out this evening. Thanks for the reminder on that.

Tsk! tsk! @pennsif Still no mention of getting a T-1 line and a toilet paper stash. You might want to check out this forum that I have been part of for years. I do not think that you have to be a member to read. The general site is free to join.

No T-1 line yet, but now working on two FTTP (fibre to premises) links before Christmas - coming in via different routes and from different providers for extra resilience. Thanks for the link.

Well done! Keep it up sir.

Thank you.

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