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What to do when you sick?

Life is like a box of chocolates, someone said. I just found out that not all are good to eat. What will you do when you home alone and in a man down scenario (That be enough Hollywood references I think).

"Houston we have a problem"

I am generally healthy, so I was not too worried about getting sick or being unable to work in the garden. Oh boy, did that come back at me with revenge

Here is what happened, a perfect storm.

As life goes on, the kids get older and move out. At the struggling homestead, we are not immune to that. The oldest attends university in Melbourne, so it was time to pack up and move. Due to the distance, we opted for flying instead of driving. The wife got “roped in” to be a packing mule, and I dropped them off at the airport.  After saying goodbye, I drove back to the “farm”, had a cuppa and started planning my week. It is cool and rainy the next few days, so good for some garden work and harvesting. Little did I know what would come next. 

Food poisoning.

Rotating your long-term food storage is generally a good idea. Eat the old and put some new stuff back in. I have a bunch of canned beans that are getting on a bit, so I decided to have some for dinner. I can do it with some extra “gas” in the tank. 

The next day I started to feel a bit ordinary, and before you knew it, I was sitting on “the throne” wondering what in the world was going on. Cramps, headache, back pain (from an old injury), inability to walk (due to old injury), sinus inflammation and chest infection. On top of all that fever and the realisation that I am in a bit of a pickle.  So NOW WHAT? 

You quickly realise that:

  • The toilet is your new best friend.
  • A sinus infection gives you a splitting headache, so thinking is even harder than on a good day.
  • You can’t use your legs due to an old injury. Legs are kinda important. So you are not going anywhere.
  • You are coughing your chest out due to a chest infection.
  • Nobody is coming to help you

I realised, right then and there, I STUFFED UP. I put the SHTF in perspective quickly. I did not check the inside of the beans can for spoilage or damage. Now I pay the price.


Life goes on

Life goes on at the farm. Nature waits for no man/woman and for sure is not waiting for me, as I found out on my many trips to the toilet.  I said it was a perfect storm, and here is why:

  • I could not, and still limited, do anything.
  • We had nice rain, so everything in the garden exploded
  • All produce, melons, tomatoes, pumpkins etc were about ready to harvest. A lot are spoiled now as we had warm weather after the rain. 
  • The youngest, still at home, has school and only time to look after the animals.

The veggies, all at the perfect time to be harvested were not harvested, spoiling in the garden. This in turn created a heaven for bugs, which in turn exploded and moved on to the good veggies. Nobody was there to stop them. 

Cracks, issues and stupidity in my “system”

I just was “handed my arse to me” by mother nature, I was living the dream and the whole thing is a house of cards essentially. I am still wheezing and struggling to get my breath, so heavy work like pushing around sugar cane round bales is not going to happen. I used to push them around the yard with no problem, now I can only lean against them. 

But I did learn something.


My service dog was with me all the time, so there was some protection. Essentially I would be toast if someone decided it is a good idea to “go shopping at the homestead”. 

All my emergency contacts were out of state, go figure, and the youngest was at school. Eventually, everybody was back in play but there was a big window of “opportunity”


At the Trade Shack, we promote online connections for offline communication. GREAT if you have a connection :-), I had no phone or means to contact anybody. Laying on the bathroom floor becomes lonely and “old” really quickly. I now changed my rule about phones in the bedroom. I leave mine in the “office”, hence I could not reach it. It now goes into a faraday bag and is in the bedroom.

A plan is just that

I was cruizing along, giving myself a false sense of security. I am so glad that what happened did happen. I would like to feel healthy again so I hope the wheezing and chest congestion will go soon. (It will).  It is so easy to think all is smooth and will be fine until it is not. I can afford to lose crops, but if you are on a small plot you might not. You actually might not have the spoiling problem I had, but still, look into it. 

So here is what you should do, play an SHTF (no need to eat beans) scenario. In any scenario, practice. 

  • Where are your gaps and vulnerabilities
  • What do you do to mitigate, eg have enough food or how do you contact your “tribe”

Let me know what you would do in my situation, let’s have a chat about it at the Struggling Homestead discussion forum. 

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