I hear that some folks are tearing up their front lawns to plant gardens? I also just read where some people are thinking about butchering their own hogs. Would this have even been a thought a mere few months ago?
The art of being a "prepper" did not occur only recently. Historic farm families were always "preppers."
Farm families that lived in my growing up years did both of those things without even a thought. Our garden was below our farmhouse and was guarded by a woven wire fence to keep the critters at bay. The story of Peter Rabbit and the farmer held a lot of truth in that if a rabbit were to have been spied nibbling on the lettuce, it would have been sent to rabbit heaven with one well placed shot from my dad's .22 rifle.
Most of the produce that came from that garden was canned and stored in the earthen cellar that sat just behind our house.
Even as a kid, I felt a kind of self-reliance when the harvest came in from that garden. Digging spuds was especially rewarding when one saw how many potatoes could come from just a bag full of seed. Seeing bushel baskets of russets and reds being dumped into the back of our cave provided some kind of a feeling of security that you wouldn't be starving in the coming winter.
I doubt that my mother ever bought a pound of potatoes from a grocery store.
Butchering was also a normal exercise. We butchered a steer and two hogs annually. My dad always warned me and my siblings not to name any farm livestock lest we become bonded to the animal. We never knew which of the steers or hogs that we fed every day would end up at the end of our dinner fork.
I'm sure Dad only selected the best of our animals to use for food. Having the choice of what you would be eating also gave one a sense of independent living.
It would be interesting to see how some novice would take on the task of butchering his or her own animal. I can only imagine some of the pitfalls that might be incurred by the experience. There are butchering stories telling of a missed shot and the target heading over the hill followed by a running human with a rifle in hand.
And, one would find out early on how heavy a fully mature hog or steer was. There is a reason that butcher trucks have winches attached.
Early farm neighbors worked together when butchering day came. Our neighbors would designate dates when they would gather at the neighboring farm and help with the task. Many hands made short work. Most of the meat in pre-freezer days was canned or smoked or hauled to a local town's locker plant.
I remember the miracle it was on the day when my family obtained their first chest freezer. All at once we didn't have to venture into the locker plant to pick up our meat or vegetables. All we needed to do was just skip down the basement stairs. That might seem a trivial thing in modern times, but it was a miracle then.
The local electric company even rewarded us with a free 50-cup coffee maker since they knew we would be purchasing more electricity as a result of owning a freezer. Do they do that anymore?
My wife, daughter and my garden are lying in wait just below our house as we speak. It has been duly plowed and fertilized for the coming garden season. Rabbit fencing is going in place and electric wires will be strung to keep the marauding deer herd from nibbling on the broccoli.
I'm hoping the weed burner fencer still has a spark of life enough to deter any rambling bear or raccoon. I knew the fencer was working one day when my mother-in-law inadvertently backed into it with a bare leg a number of years ago. She informed me it was working. It barely left a scar.
So, if anything good can come out of this coronavirus situation, it may be that we Americans might actually discover that we can actually do some things for ourselves. It's the way I grew up.
And doing for oneself was far more liberating than carrying any message scribbled on tagboard and yelling at a building or a politician. Let's get busy.
See you next time. Okay? Stay safe!