Why You Should Consider Flood Insurance for Your Homestead

I have been reticent to complain about the over-abundance of rain we’ve been getting in the Mid-South lately for a handful of reasons:

1. Too much rain is better than not enough rain,
2. Rain is much better than ice, and
3. I can’t complain about the rain here when I see the rain in Texas.

The flooding in Texas reminds me of when this area experienced significant flooding a few years ago. We live on a hill and were mostly unaffected by the floods, but my coworkers at the time experienced terrible flooding in their home. The biggest problem for them wasn’t that their home was damaged, however — it was that they had no flood insurance. They, like many people, were not aware that home owner’s insurance does not always cover flood damage. The last thing anyone wants to find out after experiencing damages or losses due to flooding is that there is no financial safety net to help pick up the pieces, but unfortunately for many that becomes reality.

Floods aren’t at the forefront of most people’s minds, except perhaps those who live in very flood-prone areas or lowlands. Depending on where you live in the U.S., you may experience more tornadoes, hurricanes, ice/snow storms, droughts, or even earthquakes (hello, California!) than major flooding. Because of this, you may not have considered getting flood insurance or finding out whether flood damage is covered by your insurance. If you live up on a hill like my family, you may not even need it!

But floods can happen anywhere, as Texas has reminded us the past couple of weeks. All it takes is for the right weather conditions to come together at the right time to cause massive damage to property. For homesteaders, those losses can have even more impact. In addition to damages to homes and vehicles, homesteaders can also experience damages or losses of farm equipment, hay, gardens, livestock, livestock feed, and other homestead structures such as barns.

It’s always a good idea to be prepared for the unexpected. As homesteaders we’re already ahead of the game because we don’t rely as heavily on others to provide for us. However, it’s easy to forget about taking precautions such purchasing flood insurance.

If you’re property isn’t covered by flood insurance, talk with your insurance agency to find out if a policy is right for you. That way if the rains come down and the floods come up, you’ll be protected.

It also might not hurt to buy a boat. 🙂

Cheers

Signs of Spring

You don’t need a weatherman to tell you when spring is on its way. You can figure it out all your own if you just pay attention!  Here are a few of my favorite signs of spring:

– Frogs chirp

– Buttercups sprout

– Birds migrate in and out

– Mud — lots and lots of mud

– Livestock shed their winter coats

– Babies are born

– Chickens start laying more frequently/regularly

– Days get longer

– It rains more frequently

– Days are warmer

– The sun is higher in the sky

– Trees begin to bud

– Bugs swarm your flashlight at night

– Maple sap starts flowing

– The air smells fresh and earthy

What are your favorite signs that spring is near?

New Website — New Beginnings

Greetings from our new home on the web!

homestead education

I recently created and shared a survey to find out what needs and wants people have in regards to homestead education. If you haven’t taken that survey, go here to do so. It’s a short survey of only seven questions, and your input is highly valuable!

A few trends have stood out in the survey. I will share the most relevant ones with you here. (These images show the statistics of the survey as of 1/20/2015. I am leaving the survey open for a bit longer for those who haven’t take it yet.)

First, a majority of people who are interested in attending our annual homesteading conference want the classes available for view after the fact. I phrased the question in regards to posting videos online in a members-only webpage, but I also received other suggestions in the comments such as giving the option to purchase a DVD of the classes or having attendees pay an additional fee for video access. I am not sure yet how we will go about it (though it likely won’t be the latter suggestion), but we do hope to have videos available through some means for conference attendees this year.

survey1

The survey also revealed that the most popular class topics are raising livestock, growing gardens, and making value-added products from things grown or raised on your homestead (such as soaps, fiber arts, leather, canned foods, etc). However, interests were also extremely varied. There was no one topic that I had listed that no one was interested in. So, it seems there is a lot of ground to cover and a lot of needs to meet. Getting to all of them in one conference would be impossible, but thankfully the conference isn’t the only means of sharing information — but we’ll get to that in a second.

survey2 survey3

And lastly, I also asked if people would be interested in additional educational opportunities throughout the year aside from the conference. Overwhelmingly the response was yes, with only one out of 70 respondents not being interested. Although each “yes” option received some votes, people were most interested in two things: hands-on workshops and short educational videos. In the comments of this section, people were most excited about the possibility of workshops. One person said that more frequent workshops would make them feel more involved. Someone else commented that having more frequent in-person classes would provide more opportunities for people with busy schedules to find a class that works for them. Another suggested the idea of “take away” workshops where attendees could make something and then bring it home with them. All good points, in my opinion.

survey4

The comments and responses to the survey were extremely helpful and really indicate that there is need for homesteading education that is not being met sufficiently in this area. In response to this need, I am going to start incorporating these suggestions in 2015. I have changed the name from “Mid-South Homesteading Conference” to “Mid-South Homestead Education” to reflect the broadening of our scope, and have subsequently changed over to a new website as well and one which I feel will better serve people. Going forward, this website will serve not just as a registration page for our conference (like our former website was), but also as a place to share all of our upcoming events and our online educational resources.

I do want to point out a couple of other things quickly. While I am working toward expanding our educational resources and opportunities through both in-person events and online resources, it will be a work in progress. I am not an expert in all things homesteading (as much as I would like to be!), so meeting everyone’s needs will take a lot of collaborations with other people with specific areas of expertise. I am looking forward to working with other homesteaders who can teach me a thing or two, but it does take time to coordinate schedules and find experts with whom to work in all these many various fields of interest.

MHE is also a fledgling operation. 2014 was our first year to venture into the world of educating other homesteaders (aside from helping people one on one and teaching a couple of soap making classes at other events). We are very new to organizing these kinds of things, so please bear with us as we find our sea legs.  Eventually, through your input and the help of others, I believe we can become a well-oiled machine capable of helping people in the Mid-South area and beyond, but I’m sure there will be a bump or two along the way.

If you have been with us from the beginning, I cannot thank you enough! You know who you are, and your support means the world. If you are new, welcome! We look forward to getting to know you and taking this exciting journey together.

– Rachel