4 months ago
like preparing for the inevitable storms of winter, illness is one of those parts of life one really ought to see coming. in permaculture, it’s the principle of having multiple ways of fulfilling critical functions. on our smallholding we were tested this week. now, my family does have skills in this area, having faced down two rounds of major surgery in my recent history. they know how to pull together to keep the household running and the animals tended, everyone fed, the fire hot. we duplicate more and more of each other’s skills (see child with ladder skills. she can read that tree and tell me what to cut, and now just needs to learn to use the tools.) our eldest cycles to the shops and handles much of the cooking, learning new methods dictated from the sickbed, nursing the ill (yours truly) while my sweetheart is busy all day working from home. this time she even helped him with the toilet composting. our youngest collects in the kindling he splits and she can carry plenty of logs up from the barrow he delivers. she can mind the wood stove, bring rounds of tea, give the animals attention, soak oats for porridge, keep the sourdough culture fed. they all do beautifully. nevertheless, i was unprepared. as we are carless in the countryside, we need to be sure to have more staples squirreled away. as we have food sensitivities, avoid plastic, and value cooking and baking from scratch, it would be wise to support that with frozen dough, a store of meals cooked in triples and frozen in jars, broths at the ready. we had a crock of sauerkraut, yes. we had home remedies, yes. there was enough food for the animals, and enough wood, certainly. we even still own a clothes dryer, when it is just too much to cope with hanging every load as we have for over a year. a stash of crackers and homemade soup would’ve eased the days, though our pantry otherwise supported us very well. the trick now, as with backups and redundancies in case of a storm, is to put them in place while the sun is shining and we are all well again! do you have meals stored away for a rainy day? can your household take over your usual tasks with equanimity?