I recently was asked in a message on Facebook if I were a "Prepper". Huh??? Like this is supposed to me news to anyone who knows me! I was raised a prepper. We always had a garden, preserved and lived off the harvest as well as off the livestock we raised. Dad was a hunter and we had venison in the freezer each year. We made jams & jellies, ketchup, pickles, and just about anything we could come up with. Dad had a rifle for both the purpose of protection and for hunting. Growing up this way was so common to me that I never stopped to think about it.
When I was in my 20's, I had a garden and canned, dehydrated, or froze as much of the harvest as possible. At that time, I was in a church where putting food by was a common thing. By the time I was in my 30's, fewer families were gardening or putting their harvest by. They would simply use what they needed then give away the extra. Often, I would hear others say to me that canning and gardening were a waste of money and resources. I could buy the food cheaper that it cost to raise it. They had trouble understanding why I would want to go to the trouble when there are a grocery store in easy distance from home.
Now, here we are. I am in my late 40's and still gardening and canning. I actually can year round now, putting up jars of extra soups, stews, meat, etc. With the economy being such a mess, getting worse before it gets better, I am seeing a resurgence of gardening and canning. Families that have not had a garden in years are suddenly talking about putting one in. I am so glad that we have been doing this for a while now. Some years are more successful than others, but we always tried to get as much as we could. The years of practice and experience is serving us well now.
We are ordering garden seed twice this year. The first order will have enough seed for this year's garden. The second order will be seed for next year's garden. I can only imagine how expensive open pollinated garden seed will be in upcoming years. I plan to save seed from the garden this year, but have no idea yet how much I will end up with. For these reasons, I plan to buy as much seed as I will need for a full garden. The seed I save will be available to plant. The goal being to have seed for at least 1-2 years' of gardening on hand.
We are in a position this year to have the chicken coop set up. My son-in-law knows how to set up the solar power for the coop's heat lamps that we will need for the brooder and again this winter. He is also going to soon be showing me how to set up a small solar power system so we can charge up the cell phones and netbook computers.
Somehow, our self-reliant lifestyle has people now asking if we are preppers. I love a common phrase that is associated with preppers. "Prepare for the worst and hope for the best." That philosophy very much describes me. Do all you can to prepare for hard times while praying that the hard times don't come. If this makes me a prepper, then so be it.
We each have a responsibility to take care of our own family. We can't lean on others to do that for us. So, we are doing all that we can to go back to basics. In the Great Depression years and the generations before had it right. They knew how to garden and store enough food to get their family through to the next gardening season. Families literally lived off of their harvest and animals that they raised or hunted. They knew how to stretch their money and make it last. We are striving to get back to that way of life. With the Lord's grace and blessing, we will achieve that goal.