Personal Miscellaneous,  Scouting,  Self-Reliance

Scouting, Preparedness, and Self-Reliance

I’m not talking about writing today. I’ve been in a bit of a slump, a mix of post-Covid tiredness, burnout, and taking care of my kids 24/7 that has made it difficult to summon any effort towards writing. But I’m not worried. I’ll be working intently on my novel once the school year starts up, and until then I’ll keep up my journaling and writing exercises.

Today I want to jot down a few things that have been on my mind lately. A few goals.

I’m sure most people would agree that the last few years have been an eye opening experience. I know I’ve lived my life up until the pandemic not thinking that much could change. That our society and world order were quite stable.

But these years have shown me how interlocked and interdependent our society is. Like a spider on its web, a disturbance of one strand far away can easily be felt wherever we may be.

From the pandemic and the George Floyd protests and the events of January 6th to the droughts, heat waves, wildfires, and power grid failures all the way to the war in Ukraine, inflation, food shortages, and supply chain disruptions, I’ve lost the feeling that I have any certain ground to stand on.

Not that I think the world as we know it will end or that some vast conspiracy is behind everything. I just happen to have been a bit shaken up by all of these major historical events and I want to make sure that I’m prepared for any further ones.

I need to learn some of that good old self-reliance!

Gardening

I’ve had a decent little garden over the last couple of years, but this fall, once we escape the brutally hot summer that has plagued Texas this year, I want to really expand it.

I’ve had two decent sized plots, but my goal is to remove the bricks I’ve had around both of those and expand it into one giant garden that stretches further towards the back fence. I also want to install drip irrigation that runs with a solar powered timer.

To add to that, I would like to plant an orange tree, get some large containers to grow blueberry and blackberry bushes, and some hanging planters for strawberries.

Food Preparation and Storage

I have never canned or vacuum sealed or done any sort of long term food storage. I’m completely new to it all. But as I’m growing more of our food, I want to be able to save it. I’ve been enjoying the Mary’s Nest YouTube channel, which focuses on traditional scratch cooking, food preservation, and food preparedness.

My goal is to buy some supplies for food storage by the end of the year and start learning the process.

Water

Another project I’d like to do is to save our rainwater and funnel it into a storage tank. I think this would be a great way to provide irrigation to our garden and to have extra water on hand when needed. I also need to learn how to treat and filter water and get supplies to do it.

During the winter freeze in 2021, we had no power and no running water. Thankfully we were prepared with drinking water due because we stock up for hurricanes. However, we did take ice and snow and melt it to use for our toilets.

Skills

I also would like to learn to be more handy. I really don’t know how to do a lot of home improvement or woodworking or really anything manual apart from gardening. I’ve enjoyed following Anne of All Trades to see all of the skills she has learned and shares with her viewers. I also am starting to read through magazines like Backwoods Home, Self Reliance, Family Handyman, Grit, Mother Earth News, and Backwoods Survival Guide.

Health

I need to get healthier. I’m calling this my fat summer. Covid made me really lazy and I started eating a lot of junk food. I don’t know why. But I need to be in good shape.

I have a gym membership and my goal is to go 3-5 times a week, and to alternate cardio and resistance training. The days I don’t go to the gym, I go on walks or ride bikes.

I need to watch what I eat and track my calories, make sure I get enough rest, and do my best to destress (I’m not too good at that last one).

Scouting

Finally, as a den leader, I hope to pass on some of my newfound knowledge and skills to my scouts. I didn’t grow up with a scouting background, and though I love the outdoors, I don’t have the amount of knowledge or experience with hiking and camping that I would like.

So I’m reading, watching videos, and listening to podcasts. I’d like to learn to fish. I’ve also never gone hunting and would love to try that sometime.

I don’t want my scouts to grow up with the sparsity of knowledge that I had. And in order to do that, I need to educate myself, learn, try things, and give them hands on experiences. I want them to learn knots and how to use tools and how to plant a garden and other useful skills. I think we’ll all have a great time learning these things together.

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