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Gosh Darn It, Prepping is Hard Work!

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 12, 2016
Gosh Darn It, Prepping is Hard Work!

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In a show of hands, I want to know who thinks prepping as easy?  Okay, I can’t see you for real but my guess is that only a few of your raised your hand.  The truth is that prepping can be hard work.

First there is learning what to do, what to buy, and what skills you need acquire.  Then you have to find both the time and the money to do it all.  And did I mention storage?  You need that too.  Add to the mix a penchant for homesteading with a plot of land, a garden, and perhaps some farm animals and your work is really cut out for you!

Prepping is hard work

Today I am sharing a muse on the unglamorous side of homesteading and prepping.  It was written by my new friend, LeAnn, the Homestead Dreamer.  You know how you get that warm and fuzzy feeling when you start working with someone?  Well that is what happened when I met up with LeAnn online.  It probably helps that she lives in Alaska, one of my favorite places in the world (next to New Zealand and of course, my home on San Juan Island).

But I digress.

Here is her story.  Laugh with her, cry with her, and learn from her.  Yes, there is hope for all of us!

The Unglamorous Side of Homesteading/Prepping

Homesteading and Prepping is hard work.

It is dirty, sweat filled, bruise-causing work. It is also hours of reading material that you have to pick through and decide whether it is relevant, logical, and reasonable. It can be very hard to sift through the fluff and get to the ‘good stuff.’

Of course, the ‘good stuff’ is defined differently for everyone. Recently I posted an article about some of the Prepper/Homesteader Resources I use. I have spent literally hundreds of hours reading and researching these sites to learn things about different projects and systems we want to implement into our homestead (when we get the land).

I am using the time I have now to learn the skills I need so when the time comes, we can hit the ground running. Other than research and reading, there are many other ‘back office’ things that have to come together to make prepping or homesteading succeed. Some of the more significant ones for me have budgeted, storage issues, and lessons on limitations.

Budgeting is of paramount importance because homesteading and prepping is not ‘cheap.’  You need to consider how much it will cost to build a simple raised bed. Some of you may scoff at that statement but consider this: if you do not have quality soil, you will need to amend it and that costs money. What about a shovel, seeds, and a good way to water your crops?

At some point you will end up spending money for the tools and supplies you need. Add in the sweat, scraped fingers (unless you bought gloves!), bruises and dirt under your fingernails and the picture is not as charming as seeing a clean, well dressed person standing next to the end result. Just like a house needs to be done in layers (foundation, walls, etc), so does the garden or any other project. Not many of us have the funds to just run out and buy it all, we have to get things here and there and build it up. Budgeting is the key.

Storage. When you decide to homestead or ‘prep,’ storage quickly becomes an issue. For us, I noticed we were going to have a storage problem when we started getting stuff for canning and gardening. We needed more shelves to put things on and get it off the floor so we could actually move around in the small storage spaces we have. It is a constant game of musical boxes around here, depending on the season.

For example; There isn’t room in the cupboards for the water bath canning pot and the pressure canner, so they are ‘stored’ under the table. There isn’t room for the dehydrator to just sit on the counter all the time. We are constantly moving things around from storage to storage and it is rather cumbersome.

Once we are able to get some sturdy shop shelves (taking us back to the budgeting aspect) it will be considerably better. We may still move stuff around but it will be much easier. I have seen some articles around the internet about people getting very…creative with their storage spots. Personally I am not up for taking my door apart and filling it with mac-n-cheese boxes or tucking cans of food into air ducts but then again, I do not live in a large city where space is that much of a premium.

Life has a way of putting you in your place sometimes. It is also good at giving a reality check.

Accepting the limitations that assuredly will be placed on you is a hard lesson to learn. Well, it was for me anyway. I couldn’t understand why something would take so much longer than I thought it should.

An example is the day we were putting some final touches on the greenhouse. I expected all these little things could be done in a day with ease and I was wrong. As we were cleaning up I turned to my husband and mentioned I was disappointed that we didn’t get more done. He looked at me in disbelief and replied, “What do you mean?

Today we built a cold frame, designed, crafted, and installed a window in the greenhouse, tilled up soil, cleaned the whole area up, and started building a strawberry patch!” Well, when you put it that way, it does seem like a lot. In my mind though, we should have done all that including filling the new cold frame with rock and dirt, build the lid for it and attached the hinges to ALL cold frames.

It is a learning curve that I am still struggling with. I like to manage my time to get the most out of it and seem to have a hard time correctly judging just how long it will take 2 people to accomplish a task that involves construction.

In this lifestyle, you will sweat A-LOT, bleed, and maybe cry while you work to build the infrastructure of being more self-sufficient. To so many people (myself once included) the mere mention of all this is enough to make them say, “No thanks!” and return to their life of instant gratification and convenience. And that is OK. I do not judge them for it whatsoever.

There are times though, that I wish I could show Mr. or Mrs. City Dweller the joys of it all. It makes you slow down and pay more attention. It makes you learn more about yourself and your place in the grand scheme of things. To pull a bright carrot out of the ground that you grew from a tiny seed gives you more satisfaction than that luxury car ever will.

But then again, perhaps that is just me.

The Final Word

I remember when I first started prepping.  The word frantic is not descriptive enough.

The first time I packaged beans for storage I laughed.  Later, when a 50 pound bag of rice split and spilled all over the place I laughed even harder.  And then there was the dark side when I couldn’t figure out how to keep a fire going let along prevent the smoke from asphyxiating myself. That is when I cried.  I thought I would never “get it”.

I would like to thank LeAnn for allowing me to share her story.  She has a newish blog that I believe you will enjoy. Visit her at the Homestead Dreamer and watch her grow!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Bargain Bin: Here are some items to consider in your quest to be a modern, 21st century homesteader.  Of course the rule of thumb is always this: first purchase what you need to get by and later, as budget allows, add the extra items that will enhance and add dimension and depth to your gear.

Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet: This purchase changed the way I cook. I use my cast iron cookware for everything from burgers, to bacon and eggs, to biscuits. Be sure to select the Value pack Skillet with Silicone Handle which is less money and a better deal.

US Forge 400 Welding Gloves Lined Leather: These well-priced gloves provide complete heat and burn protection. They are perfect for keeping your hands and arms safe while cooking outdoors over an open fire.

Swedish Firesteel: Using this basic pocket fire-starter, you can get a nice fire going under almost any conditions.

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.

Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none.  Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people.  This is worth the splurge.

Gerber Gator Combo Axe II: This Gerber axe and saw combo is useful around the yard (or the farm or the ranch) for all sorts or medium to light duty tasks.  The rigid part of the axe handle is glass-filled nylon for a rugged construction and light weight.

Rothco Type III Commercial Paracord: You can get 100 feet of Paracord for very affordably. This is a real bargain but be aware that price can vary substantially depending on the color.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.  Using D-cell batteries, the Dorcy floodlight will light up a dark room or a dark stairway in an instant.  I can not recommend these enough.

Quikclot Sport Brand Advanced Clotting Sponge: A must for any first aid or emergency kit, Quikclot Sport stops moderate to severe bleeding until further medical help is available.

Israeli Battle Dressing, 6-inch Compression Bandage: This is another inexpensive, yet critical item for your first aid kit. Combat medics, trauma doctors, and emergency responders all recommend this Israeli Battle Dressing (IBD) for the treatment of gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, deep cuts, and other traumatic hemorrhagic injuries.

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6 Responses to “Gosh Darn It, Prepping is Hard Work!”

  1. I just watched a show where the homestead had 2 septic tanks, one for black water and the other for gray water from laundry, dishes and baths. This keeps the black water one so the bacteria can do their job w/o the extra water which makes the system last longer. I also liked that idea of filtering and recycling the gray water into the flushing of toilets, watering the garden and other uses. Might take some extra work and $$ to get it going but I do see the benefits. Especially when drought may be more a common occurrence.

  2. If you haven’t been to the Summer of Survival webinars you might want to be there tonight (see the link in the right hand column here).
    Tonight it will be Marjory Wildcraft covering “How to produce half your own food in your backyard in less than an hour per day”
    It comes on at 7 pm central time and is well worth the hour (maybe a bit more) that you will spend listening to it.

  3. Great article! After 2+ years of prepping, I’ve reached the point of accepting my ‘prepper part-time job’! It’s always a lot of work, but when I compare my BP (before prepping) life, I see how much I’ve grown…learned to make really good cheese, started raising chickens, starting hunting, increased the ways I preserve food, etc. It’s quite the adventure!

  4. Boy you said it!!! After making lists, researching, purchasing, dividing and packaging if necessary, storing and cataloging, food storage alone is work! Then add tasks such as gardening, canning, dehydrating, raising chickens and collecting eggs, building GHB’s, taking skills classes such as ham radio, fire building, emergency medical training, firearms safety and tactics, to name a few, who has time for anything else?
    After 2 years of ‘frantic’ prepping, I’m now getting comfortable , to a degree, with what we have and know. The ‘to do’ list is still there, but getting smaller. What used to seem overwhelming, preparing for 10 people, is becoming just another aspect of a more ‘normal’ everyday life. Gaye, your site has helped me more than any other with getting through these past 2 years. Thank you for all your hard work. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey with you, just at a little slower pace!

  5. Raised garden beds!
    Assemble the boards, fill with good soil, plant seeds, water…plants start popping up – Great!…plants are blooming….WHAT HAPPENED?….now WHY did the lab decide to start digging and sleeping in my raised bed?!
    Guess next year I’ll have to put a fence around it to keep her out. (Can’t blame the lab, digging is one of their characteristics…so, gotta blame myself!)

    • LOL she’s just telling you she likes that soft feel when lying down. Give her an alternative and she may be just fine. Which also means give her a reason to dig somewhere else? 😉

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