It is essential to ensure clean and accessible water during times of stress.
There is nothing like waking up to another peaceful morning spent on the farm. As the sun rises, the beauty of a whole new day is ushered in and with it a new source of energy to fuel us throughout our day. Much of the satisfaction can be had by watching our farm progress as planned. Like that first hot cup of coffee, it can be assumed that each day will go exactly as planned. But what if Mother Nature has her own plans? Naturally, she has the upper hand and would probably get what she wanted. As a result, our plans are changed, and we may have to resort to one plan A, B or C, or even all three!
Basically, a farm is mired in self-sufficiency. Which is probably one of the many reasons we chose the family lifestyle in the first place. Most homesteaders quickly realize how essential their backup plans are to overall self-sufficiency. This is never more critical than when a natural disaster strikes. Realizing the importance of a homestead contingency plan, it is always a good idea to update and review these plans periodically. What better time than the present to revisit viable plans that could greatly affect your property’s positive outcome during a natural disaster?
Since no two farms are the same, and each may be located in a different climatic zone, with varying concerns, each farm will need to consider its own needs during a natural disaster. This blog is not intended to be prescriptive or exhaustive to meet the needs of a farm. It is intended to review common areas that may merit further consideration when it comes to general family disaster planning and preparedness.
Starting with two of the most critical elements in most life forms, we should first look at hydrogen and oxygen, which when properly combined form what is known as water. . So often when a disaster strikes, we immediately turn our attention to food, clothing and shelter. But in fact, when it comes to preserving life, water deserves our full attention. We can survive considerably longer periods without food than without water. Water is our most enduring life force. Yet at the same time, water is often the most damaging force of all; in the event of a natural disaster, it is responsible for causing the most damage to life, limbs and property.
Water, when it is clean, pure and free flowing, is a good thing. But when it’s contaminated, stuck or frozen in a pipe, it’s not such a good thing. Ideally, the water should be kept as cool and fluid as possible. Electrically powered water pumps, cisterns and other catchment systems, such as rain barrels, may need adjustment in a natural disaster, when water shortages or overflow issues may become a factor. accessibility to water.
You can keep your daily water needs under control during a natural disaster by learning what your typical daily water needs are. During the disaster planning stages, take a look at all areas of the farm and its daily water consumption. Try to have at least a rough idea of how much water is used in each area over a 24 hour period. Once this figure is taken into account, you will have an idea of the amount of water required for the proper functioning of your property. You will benefit from knowledge to identify the most and least water consuming areas. With this information at your fingertips, you may be able to better manage water use in certain areas of the property.
You may be able to direct or redirect water to and from planted crops. Also consider the water requirements of plants housed inside greenhouses or greenhouses, especially if they rely on automatic irrigation systems. Whenever possible, take advantage of the use of rainwater by opening the louvers of greenhouses or discovering certain arched crops.
Animals require special planning.
Photo by Lucas Hartmann on Pexels
Drinking water for animals
Make all reasonable efforts to provide animals with clean, accessible drinking water. Take special care that the water tank is very secure and does not risk being knocked over or overturned. Keep in mind that freezing conditions, if not handled properly, will essentially leave your animals without water at all. There are a few things you can do to keep your pets’ water from freezing.
1. Put the water in a large container or trough, as small buckets will freeze more quickly.
2. You can insulate a waterer by completely surrounding it with a thick layer of hay or other insulating material. Secure the insulation securely with cardboard or other lightweight, wind-resistant material.
3. Move the water to a location where it will receive full sun during the day. This will help prevent the water from freezing.
4. Place smaller water containers, like the one used for chickens, behind an old window or sturdy sheet of glass. Make sure the window or glass is securely propped up and facing the sun. The reflected light will act like a greenhouse by heating the water. Hens will also enjoy warming up behind the window or glass.
Food for animals
Ideally, during a disaster, try to provide at least 3 days of food for all animals. Try to keep feed or food from getting wet. Consider moving food or animals to an area with sufficient coverage. In some cases, and for some animals, you may be able to quickly erect a small cover over the food, while still allowing the animals to feed. For optimal use and portability, consider switching to different types or forms of food during natural disasters. An automatic or on-demand feeding system can be a temporary solution when you have to leave the property for short periods. Also, during natural disasters, if possible, consider using smaller amounts of food for some animals.
If possible, move animals to higher ground as soon as possible. Waiting until the last minute, as the terrain becomes slippery, wet and swampy, can make it difficult and dangerous to move heavily loaded trailers.
The importance of developing multiple shelter plans for people and animals cannot be overstated. You should start now to find places inside and outside the city that could provide adequate shelter. Shelters have size and operational constraints that make their availability very unpredictable. This is especially true in times of natural disasters, when evacuation orders can affect everyone. If the situation allows, you may be able to create a temporary environment or shelter in place for some animals using a tent or bullfighting equipment. In many cases, the most critical climate protection is protecting animals from the damaging effects of blowing snow or wind. Before moving certain animals or livestock, consider whether permanent shelters are absolutely necessary or if a temporary solution on the property can be considered.
One of the safest places to store fuel is in the vehicle’s fuel tank. It might sound strange or obvious, but it can be used to your advantage when it comes to your fuel storage needs. Many homesteaders have reasons to store fuel during normal operations, even more so during times of natural disasters. When storing fuel, it should be stored in safe and approved containers. Fuel should never be stored inside the house, because of the dangerous vapors it gives off. Fuel should be stored in a cool, protected place away from direct flames or sunlight, such as a garage, tool shed or barn. Storage locations apply to both gasoline and diesel fuels. It is also advisable to keep your vehicle at least half full, in case you need to evacuate.
You may not be able to safely store all of your fuel for your property’s needs without the proper tanks or amount of storage, but to get an idea of how much fuel you would need for short periods of time. emergency or natural disaster, take an average weekly fuel consumption count around your property. This amount may vary depending on heavy usage factors and the time of year. But it will give you an estimate of how much fuel is needed to meet, perhaps, some of your property’s most critical fuel needs. Ideally, try to plan for the types and amount of fuels needed to keep running for 72 hours. Consider switching to an alternate fuel source, if possible. If a battery-powered or electric chainsaw can be used, use this type of electrical equipment to save fuel and vice versa.
Solve solar panel issues, adjustments, or battery issues well in advance. Many power companies across the country have adopted net metering programs. Participating companies allow solar customers to accumulate an energy credit during periods when excess energy is produced over the energy actually used. The surplus energy gives rise to an energy credit. The accumulated energy credit can then be used during periods of low sunlight or rain.
They say that the best plans are paved with good intentions. Make sure your plans are shared and reviewed often with everyone who needs to know. With farm disaster planning no plan is perfect, but with a few well thought out plans your farm stands a much better chance against any plans Mother Nature might have.
Monique Blanche is a freelance writer, member of the Georgia Air National Guard, and avid runner and cyclist who enjoys the great outdoors and all things DIY. She divides her time between Tampa and her property in central Florida, where she is developing a self-sufficient homestead. Connect with Monica on it outdoor lifestyle blog, to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Read all about her NEWS FROM MOTHER EARTH posts here.
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Originally published: 5/10/2021 10:02:00