When I was sixteen, I both met and moved in with my father. As if this wasn’t frightening enough, my dad is actually an avid doomsday prepper. I had seen many negative documentaries about preppers, so when I saw the 100 pound bags of rice, I knew this would be an adjustment. Growing accustomed to living with him took several months. A big part of getting to know my dad was learning about the way he lives since he spends most of his time innovating his methods of food production. At first, all of his efforts seemed pointless to me. Instead of waiting for the right time to harvest our own carrots and eat them, I thought it would have been much simpler to just go buy some from Walmart. Living with my dad for two years taught me all about leading a more sustainable and more prepared life. Here, I will share with you the five lessons I’ve learned to prepare for the end of the world.
Step 1: Forget hot water, A/C and heating
My dad is a big believer in roughing it. I, however, am not. It snows where my father lives, so in the winter I lived in my footie pajamas and prayed for the days I would sweat instead of shiver. Heating water uses almost 20 percent of consumed electricity within a home. By not utilizing a hot water heater, we save a tremendous amount of energy. My first few cold showers were terrible, but now, even living in a modern apartment, I only really take cold showers. My dad is currently configuring a piping system that will use solar energy to heat our water on the roof of our home.
Step 2: Keep bees
My dad is a beekeeper and currently owns and operates about 25 hives. About 90 percent of the food that we eat depends on bees to pollinate it, so it is true what you hear about bees being necessary to our survival. We harvest our own honey and use our waxy byproducts to make candles, soaps and cosmetics. My dad never raised girls since I am his only daughter. When he threw out all of my lotion and shampoo, I was furious. However, he somehow was able to recreate the cosmetic products I usually bought from Walgreens with our beeswax and herbs from our garden. Surprisingly, I haven’t been stung a single time! It’s actually fun to put on the bee suits and work on hives together.
Step 3: Cook outside & Can your food
The night I moved in with my dad, I walked through the kitchen to realize that he didn’t have a stove; this was a shocker. My dad cooks everything outside, either over a fire or with a propane tank heating system that he made. No matter what he makes (spaghetti, stew, sloppy Joe’s), he has to make massive quantities to later pressure cook and can.
Step 4: Trap Animals
My dad works as an animal trapper both for businesses and home owners. Watching him innovate and brainstorm different ways to make animal traps was extremely interesting to me. We spent many nights by our fireplace making snares together; my fingers are much smaller than his, so I can even make some traps that he can’t. Having the knowledge to trap is extremely significant because not only is meat a hearty food source, but not many people today know how to catch animals without the use of guns. I imagine when the end of the world comes, meat will be a hot commodity. Since so few people have the knowledge to trap their own meat, I could barter meat with other survivors for their goods.
Step 5: Grow your own food
We have a massive garden that we grow all of our produce in. When we don’t have enough of what we need, we go to local farms where you can pick your own produce. We never buy fruits or vegetables from the grocery store. My dad is very concerned about GMO items. As a result, he does his best to recreate unhealthy treats for me as naturally as possible. When I moved in with him, my favorite snacks were Fruit-Rollups. He created a way to dry fresh fruit in the sun and create an even better tasting fruit roll-up for me.
At first, all of this seemed really excessive to me. In just a few weeks though, I noticed that I had much more energy, clearer skin and my hair had begun to grow longer. Even the things on this list that are time consuming are ultimately worth it to preserve our environment. Our house runs completely off of solar energy, and it’s amazing to see how much energy can be used for our house, all from the sun. My dad is currently working on a piping system that should naturally heat our water, and I am ecstatic to see hot water finally become a reality at our house!