This post has been brewing around in my head for some time now. So it’s about time I wrote it. I want to talk about communication on the homestead. No, this isn’t about getting your knot-head teenager to listen. Or a tired toddler. Or even your spouse when he’s neck deep in his fantasy football picks.
What I’m talking about is how do you communicate while on your homestead, whether you’re working together on a project, or at opposite ends of the homestead/farm? Most folks might think, “Oh, I always have my cell phone on me.” And that might be a good option, but it might not. Because we live in a very rural area, sometimes our cell reception can be spotty. There have been a few times where my husband tried to call me from out in the coop early in the morning. I was inside the house, but my cell phone never rang and his call went straight to voicemail. Texting can be much more reliable than the phone connection sometimes. But if you’re in the middle of a situation, especially something urgent, texting isn’t that convenient.
Our communication solution in the Pasture
We have gotten into the habit of carrying walkie-talkie radios with us. My hubby bought this set. They are rechargeable and have a great, clear sound.
We used to use these, but they are not rechargeable and we got to the point where we were changing batteries pretty often. (This is not a Motorola endorsement. They just happen to be popular brand.)
I can’t count the number of times we’ve been working on a project and one of us has to go fetch tools. Being able to communicate on the radios saved many wasted trips, either trying to find said tools/parts, or to get something else we previously forgot. We’ve also used them on numerous occasions to call for “backup” when encountering something like a snake by the house or in the chicken yard.
Real Life Examples
Case in point the other night: just past dusk, while hubby was making his final laps working out, our dog Cisco was going completely nuts along the fence with our neighbors. Hubby called me on the radio and I went out with the spotlight in time to see a coyote bounding out of their barn yard…where a ewe had her four-day-old triplets! I think Cisco’s barking and the spotlight scared him off, but the response would not have been as immediate without those radios.
Very recently, I heard a story about a fellow homesteader who was attacked by a dog. As I read about his frightful ordeal, I thought to myself, this would be a situation where radios might have really come in handy. In the midst of a serious emergency, you may not have the capacity or ability to dial a phone or send a text. He certainly couldn’t have in this situation. But if you could get your hand on the mic button on your radio, even if you couldn’t speak, your family at the other end would hear the commotion and be alerted that something was happening.
As his horrific ordeal was unfolding, the thought crossed his mind about whether he was going to make it, and if he didn’t, how would his family feel when they came out and found him. He was very fortunate that his family just happened to come out the door and discover what was happening. His son was amazing and saved him from further injury (it was bad enough as it was), or worse.
On a side note, that’s is another reason we never, ever walk out of the house into the pasture unarmed. “Oh I’m just going to do ____ real quick” are famous last words. We’ve broken our own rules and run into a problem enough times to drill it into our brains that you’re never “just going to” do anything. Like this summer when we went to close the chicken coop wearing sandals (and that’s another rule – always take time to put boots on) and crossed paths with a water moccasin in our back yard!
And as I’ve been working on this post, I got a newsletter email from a fellow homestead blogger, Tessa at homesteadlady.com. She graciously said I could share this story with you. She had an issue recently over Thanksgiving where she went out to give some scraps to their pigs. For some reason, a boar – one of their own pigs – who had never been aggressive before, attacked her. She said the boar backed off after the initial attack, but he had gored her leg badly. With her leg gushing blood, she barely made it back to her house and called for help. Thankfully, she’s going to be okay, but it was an unexpected injury she’s had to deal with. She didn’t have anyone at home at the moment, but this just goes to show you that you just never know what can happen at any time.
What’s your plan?
These are a couple of real life examples from just two homesteaders I happen to be connected with. I’m sure there are many more examples.
So what is your communication plan? Do you have a way to communicate while you’re out and about working on your homestead? If not, I hope you’ll at least think about how something this simple could help your family in an emergency. Simple two-way radios are a great preparedness tool.
Until next time, chickens are my Zen.