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The theme for the blog for the month of March has been gardening, but in light of current events, I decided to break this theme a little. I know a lot of people are concerned about a quarantine in the United States. Many U.S. schools are shut down temporarily right now. Italy has been in lockdown for a while now, and France just went into lockdown as well. And as of this writing, the San Francisco Bay area just went into lockdown.
Even if your area doesn’t officially go into lockdown, you may still see many local business shut down to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Many government officials and health professionals have been suggesting “social distancing”. Whether or not it is mandated in your area, this is something you should consider, especially if you are elderly or have a compromised immune system.
I don’t want to spread fear. Social media is doing enough of that. Instead, I want to give you some tips and tricks of how to handle a quarantine. Just in case you’re faced with it in the future.
Don’t hoard supplies
You will need to make sure you have up to one month of food and supplies, but please don’t hoard! Hoarding takes away your neighbors’ ability to get what they need. And it only exacerbates the current situation in the stores. Right now, almost all groceries are out of basic necessities (including toilet paper!).
I know that it may be very difficult to get the basic supplies your family needs right now. But don’t panic. The grocery stores will continue to get stock so you will be able to get more. FEMA has suggested for a few years now, that everyone should have at least a 2-week supply of food and necessities. So hopefully, most people have that.
If you, for one reason or another, don’t have much of any food supply, please start. Don’t panic, and don’t be frivolous. Get what you will need to survive. If you need more direction on what you might need, I have a post on emergency preparedness that you may want to check out.
Try to keep yourself healthy
It is each person’s responsibility to try to keep themselves healthy. We don’t know much about this new virus, but we can try to take common sense precautions. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and try to avoid large crowds (even if there isn’t a quarantine).
It would be wise to take a multivitamin or Vitamin C daily. Get lots of sun for your Vitamin D. And try to eat healthy, vitamin-rich foods. Vegetables, protein, and whole grains should be on every plate.
If you take prescription medicines on a regular basis, talk to your doctor about getting an extra supply. Or just do another refill if that’s not possible.
If you are into herbs at all, I would suggest a few that may possibly be of help. Immune-boosting herbs such as elderberry, astragalus, ginger, garlic, oregano, and echinacea may come in handy to ward off illness. Adaptogenic herbs such as ginseng, ashwagandha, turmeric, and tulsi can help to temper the body’s response to stress, and may keep you healthy as well.
Please note: I am not a doctor, nurse practicioner, or certified herbalist. Please do your own research, and ask your doctor if you have any concerns. As none of us really have the answers to this new virus, I just wanted to share what MAY be helpful.
Make sure you get in some physical activity every day as well. Physical activity is key to staying healthy. With the extra time we will have on our hands in the event of a quarantine, you may consider trying a new activity. Maybe try some yoga, martial arts, or dance? If you have cable TV, you may even be able to find a good workout program that you can work on.
You may want to work on your mental health as well. Maybe consider meditation? Being quarantined with your family may be a very stressful time, and you will need some time to yourself to unwind. Aromatherapy may be beneficial as well.
With a little extra effort, we may all just end up being a little more healthy overall if we are quarantined for a while!
Get a one month food supply
Please do this in moderation, or you will be contributing to the hoarding situation we have right now. Be realistic about how much your family will really need. You don’t have to have a year’s supply of food right now, especially if you’re just starting out on this preparedness journey.
The best thing to do in this case is just to increase your food buying. If you normally do your food shopping every two weeks, simply double that amount. Likewise, if you normally do once a week shopping, you will have to quadruple it.
You may want to consider opting for more shelf-stable versions of the food you normally buy. Powdered milk will be a good investment right now, since milk won’t last a long time. That way, if a quarantine doesn’t happen, you’ll still have a good start on your longer-term food storage.
Beef up your cleaning supplies
In light of this pandemic, you will want to be more diligent in disinfecting. If possible, get powerful disinfectants like bleach and Lysol. The CDC has some helpful tips on cleaning to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
As much as I wish they would, essential oils and other alternative cleaners will not kill the Coronavirus. I know that around here, there is very little bleach and Lysol on the shelves right now. Hopefully that will change soon when the stores are able to re-stock.
Learn, and teach your kids
With school being closed temporarily, it is up to us to teach our kids. Why not take this opportunity to teach your kids the things they don’t learn in school?
A full-on quarantine will result in most of us being home a lot more than normal. You will have a lot more “free time” on your hands! What will you do with that extra time?
I think that this is a perfect opportunity to learn things that you’ve always wanted to learn. I would suggest learning more old-time skills. We will still have internet access, so get onto YouTube and learn some new skills!
Here are some ideas to learn, and to teach:
- Cooking from scratch
- Mending clothes
- Salt curing
- Sprouting seeds
- Growing microgreens
- Purifying water
Start a garden
With looming threats of quarantine, and wonders about food security, there is no better time to start a garden! The first day of spring is just a few days away, and most people in the U.S. should be able to put plants in the ground soon.
If you’ve never gardened before, do some research. Test your soil. Buy some seeds. Gardening is a very fulfilling hobby. Sunshine and fresh air is very helpful to help prevent “cabin fever”. And you’ll get fresh veggies!
If you don’t have room for a garden, or are short on time, why not try sprouts or microgreens? Sprouts are grown without soil, microgreens are grown in a thin layer of soil; and both can be ready in as little as 3 days. Botanical Interests has a great beginner sprout set that you can set up anywhere.
Spring clean your home
In the event of a quarantine, we will still be able to spend time on our own property. And with all the extra time on our hands, we might as well try to be productive. Most of us do a little extra cleaning in the spring anyways!
Take this time to clear out the clutter in your home. You will feel so much better being “cooped up” in a home that is fresh and clean rather than cluttered and messy.
If you have paint, why not paint a focal wall? If you’re handy with a hammer, fix some areas that may have been neglected due to lack of time.
Take a look at the outside of your home and see what needs freshening up. Rake and clean up the yard. Fix things that need fixing. Reseed the lawn if you have grass seed. If you have flower seeds or bulbs, plant them now.
If you have livestock, now is the perfect time to clean out their pens and shelters. Start a compost pile to add beneficial organic material to your garden. This will all take some time, but I think we’ll find ourselves with time to spare anyways in the event of a quarantine.
Plan for entertainment
With so much downtime as a family, you might want to plan some activities for entertainment. Maybe start a tradition of a Friday movie night with popcorn? Or how about a game night? Read that book series you’ve wanted to read. If your family plays musical instruments or sing, you could even start your own band!
Children should have extra coloring and learning books or flash cards. If you enjoy crossword puzzles, get a few extra. Puzzles, board games, books, and cards will all be valuable resources to keep the family entertained.
With this wonderful age of technology that we are in, we are at a huge advantage. Schoolwork and learning can still be done online. Many places are offering virtual tours to help provide entertainment for those who are practicing social distancing. Ever wanted to tour The Louvre? You can do that and so much more, right from the comfort of your own home!
Help others if you can
In troubling times, it is human nature to just be concerned with yourself. But at this time especially, it’s important for each of us to watch each other’s backs. Reach out to the elderly, your neighbors, and long-lost friends. See if any of them are in need of something that you can provide, without putting yourself or them in jeopardy.
If you have chickens, maybe offer some extra eggs to someone that may be in need. Most stores near me are completely out of eggs. Some people may be going without some of these necessities. Help out your fellow man!
Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst
Hopefully, this pandemic will fizzle out before becoming too devastating for us. I hope and pray that this isn’t TEOTWAWKI (the end of the world as we know it). There is a lot of speculation and conspiracy theories going around. But none of us actually know what the outcome of all of this will be.
Always have a backup plan. We have decided as a family that in the event of a mass quarantine, we will hunker down and just ride it out. We don’t feel this is a bug out situation yet. If something else major happens (FEMA camp roundups, social unrest, or mass food shortages), then we will resort to our bug out plan.
I know several people who have stated (joking or not?) that they will come to our farm if things get bad. But please keep in mind, your family’s safety is your responsibility. Do what you can now to secure that safety. In the event that you need to join forces with another family, please bring whatever supplies you can, and plan on contributing to the well-being of the group.
I urge each of you to decide what you’re going to do if it becomes too dangerous for you to stay put. Stock up emergency essentials in your bug out bag. Keep a full gas tank, and even extra gas cans if possible. Come up with a feasible bug out plan. Don’t plan on going farther than 1 full tank of gas can take you. And please don’t plan on going to the woods if you have no wilderness survival skills!
If you are just starting out on your preparedness journey and don’t know where to start, I have something that may help you. It’s our Emergency Preparedness Bundle. It has 3 resources, perfect for beginners, to help you and your family be more prepared. Go check it out!
So, what’s next?
None of us ever know what is going to happen in the future. All we can do is prepare for the unexpected. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst.
I hope this post has given you some food for thought. My goal here is to help you overcome fear, and to encourage readiness. There is something so calming in being prepared. Hopefully you will be able to help your family overcome this pandemic, and any other emergencies that may come your way.
This post may be shared on Family Homesteading and Off The Grid Blog Hop, Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Farm Fresh Tuesday, and Old Paths to New Homesteading & Self-Reliant Living.