Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
With all the talk these days about prepping for major events like earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, tornadoes and all the other wildness Mother Nature is throwing at us, there's something getting lost - and that's emergency planning for less dramatic occasions.
Bottom line - if you're prepping for major emergencies, you've probably got the minor ones covered, but if you haven't even started prepping yet, or all your preparation has been 'big picture', creating a level of domestic preparedness will definitely provide some peace of mind.
There are unexpected things that happen every day that at worst can be deadly (like a simple fall resulting in a serious head injury) and at minimum will put you into a stress response. And let's face it, you really don't need extra stress - we all know what it does to a body. And if you live in an isolated rural area, prepping for such events is even more important.
One recent morning, I was working happily at my home office, listening to the birds, building a new header for a client's website and updating my homesteading Facebook page. With a brilliant (or so I thought at the time) idea for a Twitter post, I headed out to the back porch to take a quick pic with my iPhone, shutting the door behind me to keep the chill out. Big mistake.
Somehow - and I still haven't figured out how it happened - the door locked.
So there I was, hair still wet from a shower, iPhone in hand, and a client meeting in 35 minutes, a 10 minute drive away. No cell service, no car keys, and not a soul around. At that moment, I was wishing I wasn't so security minded and had left a spare key somewhere by the front door.
I chose number 2.
Luckily, we'd left an upstairs window slightly open. 'No problem, I'll just climb in there'. Great idea, except the ladder was nowhere to be found. The only thing I could find that even resembled a ladder was a wooden rack for a shelf unit. But it was ladder-like enough for my purposes.
So up it went, and up I went, and thankfully, it got me close enough to allow a toehold on a very convenient exposed square log edge and I pulled myself into the window.
Lucky. If that window had been locked, my entire day would have been thrown off schedule - a stress I didn't really need. If I'd had a key hidden somewhere on the property, it would have solved my problem before it even started.
So yes, I've now got a key hidden.
Minor Medical Emergencies
Getting locked out isn't the only minor emergency you'll have living in the country, but it's one of the easiest to deal with. Some situations are a little more complex.
Late one evening in April 2010 I had an anxiety attack. It was terrifying. Alone with my son, in a cabin in the forest with no neighbours in sight, and I felt like I was dying. If you've never experienced a panic attack, pray you never do. It's awful. At the time, I was pretty relaxed, getting close to living a life I'd been dreaming about for years, enjoying a funny movie - 'anxious' is not a word I would have used to describe myself. Far from it. But years of intense stress and three massive life changes in 18 months had apparently taken their toll.
So there I was, 10:00 at night, my 6 year old son beside me, and my whole body feels like it's either going to take off or shut down. A very frightening feeling. Not one to ask for help unless absolutely necessary (gee, do you think that might have been the lesson here?), I actually debated whether or not I should call my parents to come drive me to the hospital emergency or 'wait and see'. But I did call, and ended up spending the entire night and into the morning under observation in the emergency ward. Of course, they found nothing physically wrong. All the tests confirmed it, including the cardiac tests they did a week later. But clearly there was something amiss - I just wasn't having a coronary event.
So what's the lesson here?
Part of the reason I wanted to move to a rural property was so that we could be more self-sufficient, which of course includes being able to function reasonably well without electricity.
So there you have it - while the nightly news talks about major emergencies, it's the minor ones that can add to our daily stress on a regular basis. By being prepared for eventualities that are possible in your neck of the woods, you'll have some peace of mind. And that's priceless these days.
Do you have any tips or advice on prepping for minor emergencies? Maybe something has happened to you that might help others in the same situation? Please share in the comments below...