Here on the farm, every year there are a couple of months that are more difficult than others. The good thing, those difficult months are a learning experience. Part of those experiences are observations on how things change with the seasons. Then, how do would someone take that knowledge and apply it to prepping?
Let’s cut to the chase, January and February will be the worst months after SHTF / TEOTWAWKI.
For the sake of discussion let’s say some type of event happened. This could be a new viral plague, nuclear war, meteor strike… etc. Something happened to strip society as we know it to its very core.
At first people were somewhat ok. Rural farmers should have enough diesel in their trucks and tractors to work up garden plots. Things will be rough, the cities will be starved out, but people will make it. However, things will change when winter arrives.
The second winter after a collapse will probably be the worst.
My grandfather told me when he was a child a flu epidemic hit the community he lived in. This would had been in the late 1930s.
Without modern antibiotics, diseases like pneumonia will be killers. Cold weather allows various infectious diseases to live longer outside the body.
The cold wet weather of January and February will be deadly to a great number of people.
When it comes to gardening, January and February are dead months. Someone may grow turnip greens, or rutabagas, but that is pretty much it.
This is where stuff like winter squash comes in. Winter squash does not grow in the winter months. It grows late in the fall and can be stored through the winter. Unlike yellow squash of summer, fall acorn squash can be stored for months in a cool dry location.
Potatoes harvested in the mid-summer months can be eaten through the winter months.
Canned food, such as canned beans would be good for winter months.
Dried foods, such as dried corn or beans can be stored through the winter months.
Predators will look to livestock as an easy food source. People who did not put up enough food during the summer months will start to get desperate.
Either you have enough food to last through the winter, or you don’t. I see this every January and February when predators try to get into the chicken house.
During the spring and fall I lose chickens to migrating hawks.
The months of January and February I lose chickens to various predators. This makes maintaining a chicken flock rather difficult.
If the door to the chicken house is left open, eggs will be gone, and chances are a chicken will be missing or killed.
As I wrote this article, the weather has been raining for two days, so I have not closed the chicken house up at night. I went out there tonight, and there are feathers on the ground where something killed and ate one of the chicks that hatched out a few months ago. Since it was inside the chicken house, chances are it was an opossum.
The chick was a mix between a Rhode Island Red and a White Leghorn. It would probably had laid around 250 eggs in a year. So an opossum (called a “possum” locally) cost my family and I around 250 eggs over the course of a year.
After a collapse of society, that would be a lot of eggs.
February is probably worse than January. February is the last month before things start to sprout, and migrating birds return on mass. In March, things start to spout and new life starts.
February of 208 has been unusually wet. Things are so bad my front yard looks like a swamp. Combined with the wet weather, I have been fighting a cold ever since I came back from the 2018 SHOT Show. At least now I have the option to go to the doctor.
Every year the months of January and February are the same. They are cold, wet and predators desperate for food.
I worry about the day when possums and raccoons are replaced by people desperate for food.