That’s Why They’re Called Chores

A long time ago, let’s see about 25 years ago, we were at a doctor’s office. Frank was talking to him about the things we were doing or needed to do around the homestead we lived at then. The doctor looked at him and said, “That’s why they’re called chores.” Chores are daily routine tasks. If we were all sitting together in a room tossing out ideas that come to mind we could make a big, long list of chores that lots of folks do every day, week or month. I was thinking about the idea of chores this morning as I, yes you guessed it, was completing some of the chores.

  • Make coffee and fix breakfast
  • Feed the cats, chickens, pigs, dog, goats
  • Milk the does
  • Strain and cool the milk

  • Clean up the chore related stuff, like buckets and such
  • Grind wheat and make a batch of sourdough bread; left to rise
  • Wash the dishes
  • Frank stripped the bed and started a load of laundry before he left this morning, so I put them in the dryer. Later the bed will need to be made and the clothes folded and put away.
  • Now for a different kind of chore, a project chore. Remove the barrels from the greenhouse, rinse out and hose off each one, let it drip dry, then towel dry. Sweep the floor and plywood pieces before replacing the barrels on a square of plywood and replacing the table top board. Repeat until all were finished.
  • Some of these chores are repeated throughout the day, like fixing meals
  • Evening animal chores include everything listed above, except add watering all the animals to it. This time Frank goes with me.
  • Wash the eggs, put the milk away

  • Strain and feed kefir
  • Bake bread and eat a sample. The eating isn’t much of a chore.
  • Get the coffee pot ready for tomorrow
  • Some days include gardening, mowing and all kinds of other things

Now take your daily routine and throw in the need to do everything yourself, with or without the help from others, for all of your daily needs. You knew I would be talking about this, didn’t you? It’s what we’re all trying

to prepare for. Our daily routines, once the collapse occurs, will be filled with chores from sunup to sundown. Chores that will be required if we expect to survive. Chores that will make us wistfully wish we had a few of the conveniences that we now enjoy, things that would make our lives much easier. Like turning on the faucet and having safe drinking water at our fingertips, or hot water at the turn of a knob. We live in the lap of luxury and yet many days we will hear complaints about doing chores. I think that’s what prompted the good doctor’s comment. “That’s why they’re called chores.”

Okay, so let’s use a little imagination and see if we can describe even a small portion of the chores or events that may happen in one day post TEOTWAWKI. Ready?

Wake up and get out of bed. Are you sleeping in a bed? Or were you on guard duty all night and find relief at the rising of the sun so you can go to bed?

How about a hot cup of coffee? Do you have any coffee left? Do you have a cup to drink it out of? Did you store enough to last a while, even with rationing? Okay, do you have the type of coffee pot that can withstand the heat of a fire or the top of a wood stove or rocket stove or whatever device and fuel you have that will produce heat? Did you bring in wood last night for the fire or do you need to gather it this morning? Okay, we have coffee and heat, now we need water. Did you haul and filter the water last night so it will be ready this morning? Does it need to be boiled before it can be made

into coffee? Where is your water coming from? Is it a public source? Do you need protection to go there and get it? How much can you haul at once? How are you going to haul it? Or are you able to reroute a water source through your existing plumbing and continue to use your kitchen faucet? That would be a luxury in a collapse situation.

By the way, when you got up this morning, assuming you weren’t on guard duty, where did you go to the bathroom? Have you been able to take care of a safe, sanitary toileting location? This isn’t something people talk about much, but let’s face it, everyone of us needs some hygienic way to take care of toileting. Yes, we still haven’t decided on the location of our outhouse, but we will soon.

Okay, toileting taken care of, water, coffee and heat. Now I’m hungry. What’s for breakfast? Are you going to cook? That brings a whole new set of thoughts and questions. Where did you get your food? Did you grow or raise it? Does it need any preparation? Are

you going to have a piece of bread and butter and call it good? Where did you get the bread? Did you make it or barter for it? Where did you get the wheat or flour, leavening, oil or fat and salt? Do you have an abundance of those things on hand? How did you bake the bread? Do you have a functioning oven, wood stove, cast iron dutch oven or something else to bake in? Do you have the fuel it requires? Do you have the pans you need? Now for the butter. Where did it come from? Are you milking an animal that is giving you enough cream to make butter? How are you keeping the milk, cream and butter cool enough to prevent spoilage? 

You want some eggs with that bread? Do you have chickens living under the right circumstances to provide you with enough eggs for breakfast? Again, how are you going to cook them? Serve them? Do you have plates and forks? Salt and pepper? A table to eat off of?

Now it’s time to clean up from breakfast. Do you have any soap or cleanser? A dishcloth and towel? A sink, basin or dishpan? Now we’re back to water again. Did you heat up enough water to wash dishes while you were making coffee and cooking the eggs? What are you going to do when you run out of soap or cleanser?

Okay. Now I’m tired and we have only talked about getting out of bed, making coffee, fixing breakfast and cleaning up the dishes. That is only the very beginning of the day. Now is when the real work begins, work that will entail the basics of daily living,

obtaining water, fuel, food and remaining safe. Everyday, day in and day out, chore after chore after chore. Like Frank said recently, there will be no commercials, no time outs, no vacations or mindless distraction staring at a big or a tiny screen. I really don’t think some people will be able to handle the drastic change of life as we know it and the expectation of having to work hard everyday just to stay alive. I feel sorry for the people that can’t, won’t or don’t give it any thought at all. There will be many people that are unable to cope with such changes. They just won’t and that is very sad.

Please spend some time reviewing the list of chores you will be required to do when the SHTF, and everyday after that. There will be many things we haven’t thought of, even though we feel like we have been preparing for this all of our lives. I know there will and have tried to prepare myself for that. Even if there are things we haven’t acquired or prepared for, we need to be prepared mentally for that shortfall and not let it devastate us or stop us in our tracks. We will do the best we can with what we have, that is all we can do. And it will be enough. 

Until next time – Fern

Homestead News, Volume 2

I don’t know where the time goes, but lately it has gone flying by. So much so, that I really have to think about everything we’ve been doing. I’m sure I’ll forget some things that I wanted to tell you, but here goes. News from the homestead.

Before

It’s easier to remember what happened today first. We started off by taking Pearl to the vet for a haircut. For the past few years, I have been giving her a haircut with scissors, and we were looking into some clippers when we discovered that the vet’s wife gives a ‘country cut’, or that’s what she likes to call it. So this morning Pearl was transformed. And all that hair only weighed two pounds! She will be much cooler with our hot, humid summer weather coming.

After

 

The next exciting thing that happened today is that Penny, her two boys, and Buttons moved to Faith’s house. Faith has long wanted to have goats, so today was a dream come true for her. She asked me when they were leaving if I was crying. She knows I have cried before when some of my adult does have left, but not this time. I was excited and happy for Faith. Besides that, we went over and visited them already this afternoon. Faith and her husband have a great place set up in their barn for the goats, as well as lots and lots of pasture/wooded area for them to graze once they get acclimated. That made this a very neat day.

 

Penny and boys
Buttons

At their new home

The garden is really starting to grow well, and to my eyes gets more beautiful every day. I ran our Mantis tiller around the squash hills and here and there to knock down the weeds before this latest round of rainy weather hit. I also managed to replant the okra and some of the cow peas, cucumbers, carrots, spinach and beets that didn’t make it. The green beans that I replanted last week are doing great. It’s a new variety that we haven’t tried before. I’ll let you know if we like them.

 

The new section of the garden didn’t grow anything. I’m not sure if the seeds were old or got washed out by the heavy rain we had a few weeks ago. So far the only thing I have replanted there was more pinto beans along the trellis. The rest will have to wait for drier days again.

We have started eating turnip greens and salad fixings from the garden regularly. Tomorrow I am going to try my hand at freezing turnip greens like you do spinach. I have the directions in Stocking Up, and thought I would give it a try. We don’t expect the actual turnips to make since hot weather is coming, but are very happy to be able to enjoy the greens for now.

 

We moved the water tanks away from the barn so Frank could brush hog there. Our plan is to put down some heavy plastic, build a base with treated lumber, fill it with sand, allow that to settle in, put guttering on the barn, place the three 1550 gallon tanks on the pads, and run the guttering into the tanks. This will give us water for the animals, as well as the ‘animal feed’ garden we are going to plant in this pasture if it ever dries up enough to really work on the ground.

We’ve continued to make wheels of cheddar about two days a week and are up to 12 wheels aging in the frig, with 4 more drying on the cabinet. We will make two more wheels tomorrow and wax at least two of those that are drying. 

We have been saving eggs for the incubator which Frank will fire up tomorrow. This will give us some meat, but the concentration on this first batch will be replacement hens for our current flock. We have a Buff rooster which we like, and he will add some good qualities like size and demeanor, to our next flock of hens. We will probably hatch two more batches through the summer to resupply our freezer and some jars with meat.

This coming week we have another big event taking place. One week from today, if all goes according to plan, we will be bringing home three piglets, two boars and one gilt. We are beginning a whole new adventure raising American Guinea Hogs. One of the boars will be raised for meat, the other for breeding. We will share our adventures, which we hope will be mostly successful, as we go along. This is something we have never done before. We have fed out a few feeder pigs along the way, but never raised any to breed, so keep your fingers crossed for us. We have chosen this particular breed for very specific reasons, which we will discuss in more detail in another article dedicated specifically to the pigs.

We continue to make and consume sauerkraut almost everyday. The batch we started on April 22nd was removed from the crock yesterday. We used one whole head of cabbage and it made about a quart and a half of kraut. Instead of removing about a third of it and leaving the rest in the crock, this time I removed all of it and started another batch. The new batch consists of about one and two thirds head of cabbage and about two cups of shredded carrots. Since I have started shredding the cabbage there isn’t any issue with having enough natural juices to cover the vegetables in the crock. I continue to add a good amount of juice from the previous batch to boost the fermentation process. We have really begun to enjoy the kraut and are very glad we have been learning this process.

 

Each time we walk out the door, if the wind is not blowing too much, we are greeted with the wonderful aroma of honeysuckle. It is blooming in profusion.

There are also lots of wild privet blooming here and yon around the house and along the fence rows. It is more subtle than the honeysuckle, but smells wonderful all by itself.

The wild blackberries are growing by the bazillion. I really look forward to picking and picking and picking. Last year I did an article about free food for the picking. I wonder if anyone else around is eyeing all of this free food the way I am.

We are picking just enough strawberries to have some each morning with our breakfast. There is just no comparison to frozen and fresh. They are a welcome addition to our daily fare.

Now, it’s time to go feed and milk the goats, gather the eggs, put the chickens to bed, feed the dog and cats, and see if any of the goats laughed at Pearl’s haircut. She does look rather different. Then it’s time to fix supper, finish up this post and wait for the next round of storms to come through. Life is busy and blessed. 

Until next time – Fern

Neighbors & Friends

As some of you know, I recently had major back surgery. Even with the best laid plans, there is always a gap, and sometimes a large gap. A couple of examples. 

We never thought about a bedside toilet. We didn’t realize there are some made for smaller people, bigger people, taller and shorter folks. Not trying to sound crude here, but it would be nice if the people that designed these bedside toilets would actually take the time to sit on one of them. Sometimes it is apparent that these are not designed for use by a man. 

Next example. Bedpans. While in the hospital, I was advised to just use a bedpan. Okay. A short review here. I have 16 staples in my lower back, am in unbelievable pain and am told, just put it underneath and let it go. That just doesn’t work. I can see where a metal bedpan would be a tremendous benefit during a hail storm, or if you want to play pirate with your kids, but otherwise, I saw no practical use, with my accompanying condition and the use of a bedpan.

We did some modifications to the couch before my surgery. Instead of spending a lot of time on my back in the bedroom laying down, this gives me another option closer to where most of the living and doing occurs in our house. 

I had a good plan of building ‘legs’ to go on the legs of our couch. And in our opinion, that was one of those great plans, but the couch was just not meant for long-term sleeping right after surgery, as I quickly discovered. But in just a few days, when I could move around a little better, the raised couch became a very good resting place.
 

We discovered these small sliders on the bottom of the legs.

I got out my forstner bit and fixed that problem.

The real reason for this post is the utilization of your neighbors and friends. I am, by all serious nature, a hermit, recluse, loner, pick any term you like. And I’m also one of those types that seldom ever asks for help. But there are times that we adult males need to get over some of these things. When I arrived home from the hospital, there were more cars parked in front of my house than I have ever seen. One of my male neighbors and friends, was there to help me up my steps, which if you can’t hardly walk, steps are tough to negotiate. It seems that everybody and their cousin has extra medical supplies that were gently used once and are now available for loan.

But, let me back up a little bit. I have a neighbor, who is also a relative, and we share a common fence line. She was nice enough to come over and open up our chicken house every morning, then come back and close it every evening. Since the hospital is an hour and a half away, for Fern to make two trips a day, would be a minimum of six hours driving time, not to mention the time on site doing chores. So, opening and closing the chickens saved us about four hours a day.

The animals need feed and water. Other neighbors from down the road, helped feed and water our animals several times, which was an unbelievable help. This helped Fern cut down her trips to do chores to once a day. That puts us down to three hours drive time and 30 minutes chore time. 

As most of you are aware, if you let yellow squash get too big, the plant will quit producing and gradually die. So, what does that mean to us? We are not going to be using any of these crops right now, but after my back issue settles down some, we would still like to have harvestable crops. Some more neighbors of ours helped us by harvesting the mature crops in the garden. You think, well, that’s free food for them, and that is true. But the bigger issue to me is keeping our garden producing. It’s also good for the neighbors, because some of those crops did not do well for them this year.

Other relatives picked up our mail at the post office for us and drove to our closest pharmacy, 25 miles away, and had our prescriptions filled. It’s nice to be able to call the pharmacy and talk to the folks there on a first name basis. 

Our local preacher and spiritual adviser has called to check on me everyday. He also came to see me in the hospital. We have not always attended his church, but I have known this man for over 30 years and appreciate the time he takes to contact me everyday.

I know I’m going to leave some events out here, but it humbles me to know that there are people, good decent people, that will step up to the plate when someone is in need. Some of these are friends, some are neighbors, some are relatives, and some are combinations of the above. So, when I get over this, I will still be a hermit, but I want to genuinely thank everybody that helped and are still helping. I also want to thank everyone for their prayers, because I do believe in God and the power of prayer.

Well, it’s about nap time. Be appreciative of what you have, and for those around you. Now if I could just get someone to wash my car….

We’ll talk more later. Frank

 

To Chore or Not To Chore

A number of years ago we were visiting with a doctor. I don’t recall the exact topic of the conversation, probably something about keeping things going at home. His comment was, “That’s why they’re called chores.” Chores are just something you do, most of them everyday. Seasonal chores, daily chores and some people have weekly chores, and I guess there are some we do monthly. 

Getting the chores done is what keeps things going around the homestead. Chores aren’t punishment, but they can be. Chores aren’t meant to be fun, but they can be. Some think of a chore as a negative, it all depends on how you look at it. 

Frank used to teach his high school kids this story. Picture two guys working on a car, both are changing a water pump. One man is building him a hot rod, and he loves changing that water pump. The other man is working on a piece of broken down equipment, and he does not love the job he is doing. Both are doing the same thing, it all depends on how you look at it. Some kids love feeding their dog, and some kids hate feeding their dog. 

Would you consider making a living a chore? For this conversation we are. Some people love their jobs, some people performing the same job, hate their jobs. I was at a function not too long ago and overheard someone say, ” You’re not supposed to like your job. It’s just a job.” Kind of like chores, I guess, some people like them and some people don’t. 

But it dawned on me that some people don’t do chores anymore. Some people leave their trash where it drops. Some people don’t appreciate anything. I used to give things away to people that I thought were needy, and I quickly learned that when people have nothing invested in something, then it often means nothing. Example: We used to raise dogs, nice dogs and charged a nice price for them, too. But on occasion, we would give a dog to a needy family. Those animals were seldom ever treated well or respected. The folks that paid top dollar for an animal, took a whole lot better care of it. I used to give away a lot of chickens, still good hens, producing. Then you hear talk come back around of how stupid that guy is that gives away things. So I don’t give things away anymore either. Sometimes I may charge a dollar or two, but I don’t give them away.


So, what does that have to do with chores? I think if you do a chore everyday, or weekly, or whenever, you have a vested interest in it. I wish everybody could find some happiness in doing chores. Many a child has been taught to feel that he or she is a contributing member of a family by doing the smallest chore. So, are chores good for you? People that were raised doing chores would tell you, yes, of course they are. People that drop their trash on the floor and wait for someone to do everything for them, would probably tell you that doing chores is stupid or beneath them.

Frank’s Daddy did this in World War II.

I have only changed a couple of diapers in my life, and it’s not a chore that I would enjoy doing. And I don’t think I could kid myself to where I could find it to be enjoyable, until you look at that smiling baby. Then you know that someday that child will be doing chores, too. I don’t think that our society values doing chores anymore. I wonder if my daddy and all my uncles considered fighting in World War II a chore? Maybe one of those

things that you just do for your country? Yea, I wonder where ‘chore’ picked up the bad meaning along the way? So, is it a chore to load everybody up on a Sunday morning and go to church? It would be easier to stay in bed, wouldn’t it?


Gotta go. Got chores to do.

We’ll talk more later, Frank.

When You’re Sick & Down

What are you going to do when you’re sick and down and out? Who is going to do your work for you if you’re so sick you can’t? My first thought is, well, I just can’t be that sick. But I don’t think we will always have control over that, will we? Or the weather, or the economy, or the actions of others, or bugs in the garden, or…or….or….


We were amazed by the pictures and stories of everyone trapped out on the highways and in stores and schools during the severe weather in the south. It really warmed my heart to see businesses open their doors to these stranded folks. It reminds us how important it is to have some things prepared and with us all the time. Mom With a Prep just did a post about her husband’s emergency pack that he keeps in his vehicle, so that if something happens, he can get home. I keep my vehicle emergency pack with me wherever I go. I work 25 miles from home and want to be able to get home if some type of disaster or collapse happens, or if my car breaks down. I wonder how many stranded people had

emergency supplies with them. I also wonder how many people will

now start carrying emergency supplies with them because of this weather event. Maybe God is sending out a few more messages trying to get a few more people to see how important it is to be ready, to be even a little prepared. The people in the south had a few days to prepare for this storm. They knew it was coming. We all know a storm is coming. Are we going to be prepared when it comes? We all have storms in our lives of one type or another. Sometimes it’s a tornado, sometimes it’s a hurricane, sometimes it’s the flu or, heaven forbid, the death of the family bread winner. We all have storms.

And speaking of weather. We have all been the recipients of wave after wave of unusually cold weather this winter. There are many people, businesses and organizations that can’t get the propane or heating fuel they need. There is a major drought in the west affecting the farmers ability to grow the crops we have all come to depend upon for part of our daily bread. Frank and I were talking about it the other day and also wondered how this severe cold will affect the ‘bread basket’ states and the winter wheat crops. There are many things occurring now that may have a devastating impact upon our food supply in the near future. 

You know what else I noticed yesterday? The ‘brick’ of tissue we buy at the warehouse market that holds about 10 boxes now gives us about 160 less pieces of tissue. Just another way of buying smaller packages of things for the same amount of money. It really bugs me that we are being tricked into thinking things aren’t so bad, when we are getting less and less product for the same amount of money. But we are told, there is no inflation and things are getting better everyday. Just wait and see.

Frank has been sick for a week and will be for a while yet. I have been down for a few days. It really makes us stop and think about how we might manage if we were on our own. Do we have what we need for daily sustenance? Yes. Can we do our chores and take care of the animals? Yes. We’re not that sick. But what if we were? We have been able to get the medical attention we need, for now. What if we couldn’t? Then what? It really gives us food for thought.

So, now we challenge you to put yourself in the shoes of the folks that were caught in this recent storm. How would you do in that situation? Now put yourself in the shoes of the folks that can’t get enough propane to heat their house or cook. How would you manage? Or even if the propane was available, what if the prices had doubled or tripled and you just couldn’t afford it, then what? What if you or your family member was really sick and you couldn’t get any medical attention? Then what?

Don’t be fooled by what you are fed by the mainstream media. Really take a good look at what is happening around you. Did you know that more and more big banks, you know, too big to fail, are limiting how much money you can withdraw from your bank account? Some of them are even requiring a reason for the withdrawal, and if it doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to them, they are denying access to the account. I find this to be unbelievable. But it is just one example of many. Don’t be fooled into thinking, “All is well.” It is not.


Sometimes when you are sick things look a little more gloomy than they really are, and Frank and I have been sick. But this is one instance that our illnesses are not the reason for our outlook on what is happening in our country. It has just given us more time to ponder. We hope that you will do the same. What can you do for yourself or your family today, not tomorrow or the next day, that will prepare them for the challenges of the near future? Think about it. Then get to work. Time is short.


Until next time – Fern


P.S. A family asked if we would provide this link for you to view.