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  • Writer's pictureBrian Wells

Homesteading In Uncertain Times

Today’s post was supposed to be a happy and exciting one. I am working on a project that I think will be very helpful to my listening audience. And I was going to lay out my vision for it and preview it in this week’s post. I had hoped to get some feedback from you to help guide me in developing it. But, the serious events of this week lay heavy on my mind. And so, this post will be a bit more serious and somber in nature.

Today Russia invaded Ukraine. Political opinions aside, I do pray for the people of both countries as I don’t believe that the average citizen of either one wants this. War is hell. There will unfortunately be an immediate and direct impact on the citizens of both countries. Already in the Ukraine we are hearing of the loss of lives as a result of this action. And, my heart grieves for them.

But, I also realize that this will also have impacts on us as well. We are already seeing it in the stock markets and oil and gas prices. Today at my day job we received an email from the head of IT for us to be extra vigilant in emails that we open from the outside because they are fearful that the Russians might ramp up their cyber warfare efforts. On top of increases in goods and services due to unprecedented inflation and COVID related supply chain issues, we will now see a spike in energy prices and other commodities as a direct result of this conflict.

On top of that, this week it was reported that they have confirmed that the latest version of Avian Influenza has arrived in New York State. It was found in a backyard flock in Suffolk County which is 3 to 4 hours away from me. While I am thankful it wasn’t closer than that, I have no reason to believe that it won’t make its way to beautiful upstate NY. And while I try to practice good bio-security and only source birds from flocks that are certified as free of pullorum and avian influenza, it does appear that this is being transmitted by wild birds and the fact that I do allow my chickens access to the outdoors leaves me with a certain level of vulnerability.

As avian influenza sweeps across the United States, it makes me wonder whether or not they will decide to shut down the sale of chicks via the mail. That doesn’t worry me a whole lot. I keep a rooster and also make sure I have Buff Orpingtons in my flock every year simply because they do have a tendency to go broody. But, if they refuse to go broody, I do have an incubator just in case. So, if push comes to shove, I will be able to hatch out some barn yard crosses for meat and egg purposes, of course, provided that our flock stays free of avian influenza.

It’s at times like this that I’m glad I’m a homesteader. There are certainly a lot of things taking place right now that are outside of my control. As I said before, even before the Russia/Ukraine conflict, we were seeing prices rise quickly due to inflation and supply chain issues. I think we’ll see feed and hay prices continue to rise. We may find it difficult or even impossible to get chicks; especially meat birds. I think lumber prices will remain high for the foreseeable future, making any projects we do to better our homesteads that much more expensive.

But, there are a lot of things I can do to take control of my food sources. Whether it is raising a garden and preserving the harvest or raising animals for meat, I certainly feel like I am in a much better position to weather the storm that others might be. And I want you to feel that same level of security. It’s never too late for you to start your journey towards self-sufficiency, self-reliance and sustainability. My hope is that you’ve already started that journey and are several steps down the road. But, if not, don’t wait. Perhaps it's the pessimist in me, but I think it’s going to get worse before it gets better.

If you’re not sure where to start, while my podcast in general is dedicated to helping people get started, let me suggest a few episodes for you to listen to that are specifically geared to people starting out:

I would also strongly encourage you to connect with like minded individuals to help encourage you to keep headed in the right direction. The Homestead Journey Podcast Supporting Listeners program is a community filled with people like that. I’d encourage you to join us there.

Until next week, keep up the good work!!


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