Episode 25: 11 secrets of keeping your homestead alive for a vacation or emergency

By JM Davis



Podcast 25 show notes.

Hello, I’m Janet Davis and welcome to Food Plus Freedom Podcast. Today is March 19th, 2024 Episode 25  11 Secrets of Keeping Your Homestead Alive For a Vacation or Emergency.Please subscribe to our Food Plus Freedom podcast wherever you listen to podcasts, so you never miss an episode.  Visit our website at foodplusfreedom.com for more podcasts, articles, and videos. Plus sign up for our free weekly newsletter, that keeps you in the loop.Food plus freedom is a solution based podcast for freedom loving people just like you.

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Don’t forget to stay to the end of the show for the tip of the day.
Now on with the show Episode 25, 11 Secrets of Keeping Your Homestead Alive For a Vacation or an Emergency.Homesteading, growing food, and stocking food and supplies is your way of life. You gain more control and freedom the more your self sufficient through growing your own or buying locally from others who grow like you do Or stocking which gives you peace of mind. What happens when you want to take a vacation or worse, you have an emergency?If it’s a voluntary situation away from the homestead thing. One of two things happens. You find excuses why the family can’t go, or someone gets left behind to watch the homestead when everyone else goes and enjoys themselves. If it’s an emergency. Well all hell just breaks loose. Why? Because you haven’t planned to be away from your life.I know it’s very difficult to be away from your homestead life. The world you’ve created, where it’s home, happiness, and your sanity is all dependent on your place. But life changes, things happen, and you want to have freedom to enjoy all of them.
For example: When the kids were small, there was no reason to go visit them. They were always here. Now they all have their own lives all over the country. I like to go visit the kids, well no I like to go spoil the grand kids. Plus, we aren’t on the 7 to 3 grind anymore, and think there might want to go do. Lastly, something we don’t want to think about. Emergencies do arise and you need to be able to be present and not “stuck” on the homestead, either mentally or physically.So how do you prepare to be away from your homestead? Here are 11 different steps you can take to have your place ready for someone else to watch, giving you a little time off the homestead if you want it or not. Mindset: Keeping your animals and garden alive, and your place safe while you’re away.
The first step is definitely a mindset thing. You need to change how you look at your homestead. It’s just brief period of time. You’ll be okay, your homestead will be okay. Remember, you have your way of doing things and no one is going to take care of your homestead like you do. So instead of thinking of your homestead as a flourishing place that is always progressing forward, with a million projects and ideas, that gives you food security. No. Instead think of your homestead as a place you just don’t want anything to die while you’re gone.

Yes, it is lowers your expectations, but it takes the high expectation aka stress off of you and allowing someone else to watch your place so you can get away. Plus, it’s easier to have chores set up for someone else to do if it’s minimal. Figure out what doesn’t have to be done will create a simple, easy place for someone else to keep your homestead alive.

Evaluating the minimum that has to be completed in order to have a safe and alive homestead when you return. Do the cows really need to be moved to the next paddock for the week you are gone? Maybe you can move them before you leave or wait until after you get back. Depending on your animals and how long you’ll be gone will dictate how much you can finagled the chores for the person helping you.

Be okay with animals not having the exact schedule as they do when you’re home. Yes, ideally it would be great if your homestead ran exactly like it did when you were there even if you are away. But don’t put this pressure on you or the person taking care of your place.

No, it might not be ideal for your chickens, which you normally let free range during the day to be locked up. But it is better to have them locked in their coupe with food, water, and a light then dead from a fox.
Figure out what doesn’t need to be done and get that off your chore list for your helper.

Think Food and water. At the minimum your animals and plants need food and water. You can have simple automatic watering systems for both your garden and your animal watering bowls. Or have hoses which can be dragged easily from one area to another.

Food depends on the livestock you grow and how you grow them. If you raise grass fed beef it’s easier to have someone watch your animals in the summer, when the pasture is open. However, water is more difficult because it needs to be monitored twice a day, unless it rains. Placing watering buckets under spouts will help lessen the burden of carrying water or moving hoses during rainy season. However if you get cold freezing weather you will need extra buckets of water or a heater system to keep water unfrozen for your animals.

Make sure all buckets of feed are labeled with what’s inside and what they are used for. For instance Layer Chicken Feed, Meat Chicken Feed, Minerals for cows etc. Make sure your helper knows where each animal is located and the terminology on the bucket. If you have for rumen animals they may not know what a rumen animal is. For example your helper may not realize the difference between the layers chickens and the meat chickens.

Marking all your food containers is something that can be kept done all the time. It helps everyone one the homestead be on the same sheet of music and you keeps you organized. You know what you put in the bucket, or do you.

By having your feed marked it makes it easier if you have an emergency and need to give directions to someone over the phone on how to feed your animals.

Some feed is simpler than other. It all just needs to be marked. For instance, we use sprouts, fodder, and hay for our animals. This means we need to have our helper try to keep our sprouting system going while we are gone. We set it up so if they don’t it is easy enough for us to start it back up again when we get home, and they don’t run out of food. And we take out the amount of hay they need to feed out. For instance we will put extra hay round bales in for the cows so they even need to touch the hay. We will take down square bales for the other animals and put them close to where the animals need to be fed out, so they don’t have to think about what that animal is eating.

Now that you’ve thought about food, water, shelter and everything else that goes into your homestead you can create a minimalist list of chores needed to be done on your homestead, in your house, garden etc. while you’re gone. These chores as I’ve said before needs to be bear minimum unless your homestead sitter is part of the homestead on a regular basis and knows what to do. It’s better to be basic and have them do more, then complicated and have dead food. Or worse, make it so crazy that you don’t want that person back at your homestead, and they never want to come back either.

Make this list as specific as possible. If you have different areas in a barn put the instructions for those chores in that section of the barn. On one trip we took, I tapped a piece of paper to the door of the middle rabbit colony with instructions for all rabbit chores. It made it easy for her to look, do, check things off and be gone.

We’ve talked about weather having an influence on directions for chores. Keep this in mind, because there are things you just do, and might not remember to write down all the instructions sheet. Like keep lights on, or check heated water tank if it rains. Etc. Go over all instructions and make any changes as you’re showing your helper what needs to be done that doesn’t make sense. Remember you have your way of doing everything on the homestead. That doesn’t mean who ever your helper is looks at everything the same way you do.

Encourage your helper write notes onto your notes, because they might understand or call something different than you do. Be open minded and flexible. Who knows maybe your helper will gie you some great ideas you can implement when you get home.

Make sure your helper has quick access to your phone number, your address, and your back up person. They need the address in case of an emergency and first responders need to be called. This isn’t something one thinks about much, but it’s better they know the address, than not. It’s about safety.

It’s best to have your helper do the chores with you a few time before you leave. At the minimum show them in person and have them explain everything back to you. In a case of an emergency you can always walk through with them on FaceTime or video Chat the first time they come to do chores. This is all providing everyone has a connection and the technology.

Ideally, it’s nice if someone can stay on your homestead. Then not only are they apart of the homestead, your house doesn’t look vacant. Plus, might give them the homestead bug too.

Have a list, however small or large, of people you can call to come help if there is an emergency and you need to leave for a period of time longer than a day. Look at this same list for people who you can paid or bribe to watch your home and homestead. Plus, back up people. Whenever you’re gone for an extended period of time, it’s peace of mind knowing there is more than one person looking out fro the homestead.

Be realistic on you don’t want dead animals or food. Yeh, that didn’t sound to good did it. What I mean is that if you have a bunch of baby chicks when you leave one or two might die. If one of your rabbits have kits, they might not all make it. No you don’t want to come home to all your kits dead, but remember there are things you would notice and take care of immediately that your homestead that your helper probably isn’t going to recognize.

If someone is house and garden sitting encourage them to use food from the garden. This creates a win, win, win situation. A win for the people taking care of the garden with fresh fruits and vegetables. A win for the garden, for many plants having their fruit picked encourages more growing. A win for you because when return there will not be a mess of spoiled food for you to clean up.Have a list of people you can call when you’re gone in case of an emergency. These are people who know your farm and are familiar with your animals. They aren’t people who you’d ask to watch the place the entire time you’re gone unless there was an emergency. Having someone on call gives both you and your helper peace of mind.

When we leave, we normally bribe one of our adult grandkids to stay at the homestead and watch everything. Depending on his schedule, sometimes we have to have him stay in the house and have someone else come in to take care of the animals. We also tell our neighbor who is familiar with our homestead, but has their own place so it would be too much to take care of for a planned tripped. Plus, we have a family member who drives by our house daily to keep an eye open.

If you don’t have anyone you can count on to watch your place, start working on training some people. Invite people to do things on the homestead with you, or connect with other like-minded people in the area. Thank you or listening, this is Janet Davis from foodplusfreedom.com.
Remember homesteading is a peace of mind not a piece of land, and anyone can do it.
Now Hang tight for the tip of the day.Tip of the day. 

When you’re leaving the homestead may I give you a few pieces of advice. Some might sound like no brainers, but they are all worth going over quickly. 1)Tell your closest neighbor you trust you are leaving. This way there is a second set of eyes on your place. 2) Make sure they have your phone number encase they see something and need to get in touch with you. 3) Don’t post your vacation or emergency on social media. If you must post on social media do it when you get home. There are enough creepers out there, you don’t need to give any of them a heads up that you’ll be gone. 4) Be present where ever you physically are, even though you might need to be available for a call here and there from the homestead. If you’re not present and why leave the homestead in the first place. Now you know, until next time.

Grow food – Eat local – Gain Freedom
And Enjoy the freedom away too.
Until Next time.

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