These are certainly unprecedented times, aren’t they? The amount of change that has happened in our society over the past few months is hard to even comprehend. It can all seem quite scary. The future can seem increasingly blurry. Things that you may have once thought would never change may now be different.
What should you be doing in these uncertain times? All it seems we hear from the media is stay inside and wash your hands. If I washed my hands once for every time I have heard it, the skin would be falling off my hands! If I hear “wash your hands” one more time, I may lose my mind!
Not that it isn’t important, being a healthcare professional I understand why you need to wash your hands. It just seems like we keep hearing the same info, over and over again! Are you tired of it yet?
So what can you do about all this change and uncertainty taking place around you? Me and my family are grateful to have our faith to fall back onto, knowing that God is not surprised by everything taking place. He is a Rock in such uncertain times. But even the Bible encourages us to prepare and be ready for whatever lies ahead.
This spurred on me and the family here at the farm to start brainstorming a bit. We came up with things you can do right now at home to help yourself feel more empowered during this corona virus pandemic.
Some of these things are easy to start with, while other things may take a little planning or forethought. Trust me though, once you dive in and start doing something to help yourself feel empowered, all the blurry and change will be come just that much less scary, knowing that you have the ability to take care of yourself! Let’s get started!
1. Grow Something Green
The number of people planting back yard gardens right now is sky rocketing! When you head to the grocery store and see the empty shelves, this is certainly no surprise! It is interesting that we are getting back to our agricultural roots in a time of panic. But this is nothing new.
During the second World War, many foods were actually rationed, including sugar, butter, milk, cheese, eggs, coffee, meat and canned goods. Food became so scarce that a federal program was started dubbed “Victory Gardens”, that provided land, seeds and instructions to citizens who wanted to plant their own gardens. Over 40% of all fruits and vegetables that were produced during WWII came out of these victory gardens.
So what can you grow? Easy plants to start with include your cool crops (which can be started right now in mid-April), like lettuces, spinach, kale, beets and onions. On a side note, if you have been feeling sluggish, beets are an excellent food to help repair and rebuild your oxygen carrying cells (hemoglobin).
As we get warmer weather coming in mid-late May, tomatoes, peppers, summer squash and green beans are always hardy growers in our garden.
For a great resource on growing a back yard garden, checkout The Vegetables Gardeners Bible written by Edward C. Smith. We also get almost all of our seeds from Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, they have a beautiful website that you should really checkout, if nothing else for the beautiful photos!
2. Sprout Seeds
No land to grow a garden? No problem! Even in a condo or an apartment, you have the ability to grow something incredibly healthy and very fresh, that is sprouted seeds! The idea is really simple, you take some sprouting seeds, put them in a jar with water, and within 5 days you have a nutrient packed edible green that requires no dirt to grow!
One of the places we get our seeds from is www.sprouthouse.com, and the steps to get your seeds sprouted are pretty straight forward!
- Soak seeds: Place 2TBSP of dry seed in a mason jar and fill with water, then let soak for 8-10 hours in a dark place.
- Drain: Drain out the water while keeping the seeds in the jar. They do sell stainless steel mesh lids to help you do this, or you can just use cheesecloth (a little slower draining) or we have even cut out a section of old window screen and tightened that down with the lid band.
- Rinse: Twice each day, once in the morning and once in the evening. You want to thoroughly rinse the seeds, but not leave any excess water in the jar. Once the sprouts have just started to pop out, remove the jar from the dark place and place in a sunny spot, such as a kitchen window sill.
- Enjoy! Your sprouts are ready for eating in 3-7 days, depending on the variety.
One of our favorite seeds for sprouting is broccoli, and we really enjoy topping a salad with them, or even making them a salad all by themselves! Either way, you will be flooding your body with high amounts of vitamins from these sprouts!
3. Get Some Backyard Laying Hens
Have you ever walked into Tractor Supply around late May, and found a bunch of baby chickens that they are practically giving away, because there were too many left over? I’m betting that will not be the case this year, as most of these feed stores are actually selling out of baby chicks early! Just as a record number of people are staring back yard gardens, so it is with folks getting into back yard chickens as well.
Word of caution here, you may want to be careful about getting some back yard chickens, as it may cause you to go and start an entire farming operation! At least that was the case with us! We certainly never knew that buying 10 laying hens on our little 2 acres over 12 years ago would lead us to be full blown farmers. But can you imagine, waking up to fresh eggs every morning? Then it becomes bacon, then you want your own steaks, and it just snow balls from there!
Chickens are one of the easiest farm animals to raise, and as long as they have food, water, shelter and a place to get outside, they will be happy. A word to the wise, you will need to do your research first before jumping into this endeavor.
How and where will you start your baby chicks? Will you have a fixed coop or a mobile one? Who will do the chicken chores and collect the eggs? Will you have free range chickens only eating grass and bugs, or will you supplement with feed? All good things to ask yourself before you start into your back yard chicken adventure.
An entire blog post could be dedicated to raising backyard chickens, and I don’t have room for all of that here. But, I can provide you with 2 excellent articles from one of my favorite magazines, Mother Earth News.
The first article talks about raising your baby chickens, and the second article talks about coops, breeds, supplies needed and more. At least this will be a starting point to find out if back yard chickens will be a good fit for you.
We are all about helping family’s find ways to simplify life and “get back to the basics”. In fact, my mom and I have such a passion for empowering people towards self-reliance, we are already brain storming online video courses to bring practical help to curious minds like your own.
If you have questions about raising back yard chickens, or want to come to the farm and see the chickens for yourself, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We would love to help!
Trust me, raising your own food is one of the most satisfying investments of your time and energy. When you are eating your own eggs in the morning, right alongside that steaming cup of coffee, well, it’s just the best!
There you go, 3 things you can do right now to empower yourself and start increasing your-self reliance! In our next blog , we will continue down the path towards self-reliance, as Gina will be talking about the best sources of immune boosting vitamin C, plus foraging for wild edibles! Stay tuned!