Preparing For the Worst…

I heard the saddest news today, a fellow homesteader shared that her husband had passed away this weekend in a tragic homesteading accident. My heart broke for her and her family and it made me sit back a reflect on the loss that they are experiencing. My husband is my best friend and we are a team in life as well as on this farm. I wouldn’t know how I could survive without him, let alone run a farm.

This topic is not the easiest to discuss, but I feel like it is one that needs to be addressed. The “what if” in homesteading could be a game stopper for many of us. There are many “What if” moments that could possibly happen, but I’m going to discuss something that I see everyday. Not many people know this, but outside of my farm life, I am a Surgical First Assistant in the operating room. I see life on life’s term and it does worry me that a family member or myself may one day be on that operating room table. How will my farm make it? We work together as a family to tend to our livestock and with one man down, could we still manage?

Life on life’s terms, this saying brings to light that we are only human and are stoppable. Everyone of us has or will experience a moment in life that will bring us to our knees and shake our total view on our existence. Our strength comes from getting back up and moving forward. Getting back up can be difficult if you are doing it on your own, but having a community of loved ones can uplift you when you are emotionally or physically down.

What is your plan if something bad happens? Most people go through life and take it day to day, but in farming/homesteading you can’t take it day by day. On our farm, we prepare for bad weather, livestock births, rotating our herds, animal husbandry, planting schedule, and so on. I am sure if you run a homestead or farm you have a similar schedule planned out, but do you have the big “What if” planned out?

Two years ago, I experienced a farm injury that resulted in me almost losing my dominant hand. My hands are my main tools in my career as well as my farming life. It was from one small puncture from barbed wire that manifested into a massive infection. Something so small led to surgery and months of physical therapy. I still experience pain and my hand will lock up every so often, but I manage. Now mix that horrible freak event with raising two young kids, being a wife, working full time, and running a farm. Without the care and support, I don’t know how I could have pulled through.

I know that thinking about someone caring for your livestock can be nerve racking, because there is a huge fear that the person will not tend to them the way that you do. I have heard horrific stories of farmers who hire help and they end up losing livestock due to dehydration. We are extremely selective on who we have help, because trusting someone for the care of a life should not come lightly. We surround ourselves with family and friends that see our vision and are always willing to lend a helping hand. This farming adventure has brought my parents closer and we have found a love for beekeeping TOGETHER! We also have two couples that are some of our closest friends that will help tend to the animals if we may need help. We understand that they sacrifice their time and we make sure to allow them to hunt on our land and stock their freezer to try to pay it forward. Farming does take a community and making sure you can trust someone will allow for a greater sense of ease.

I understand that not everyone has friends or family that could be available if help is needed. Researching hired farm help may be your only option. Please do your research and don’t be afraid to contact references and seeing if you could visit other farms before trusting someone with your livestock. As farmers/ homesteaders we prepare for just about anything, but being prepared for an unexpected incident can help with the emotional/ physical stress from being knocked down. Farming does take a community and having support is necessary for survivability.

Kaylee Richardson

It all started with six chicks and 2 ducks, now we have a fully functioning farm. I hope you enjoy stories from my experience and choose to live life as a producer rather than a consumer.

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