The Editors’ Preps for the Week of May 15th, 2017

To be prepared for a crisis, every prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. Steadily we work on meeting our prepping goals. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors will share their planned prep activities for the coming week, ranging from healthcare and purchases to property improvements and food storage. We also welcome you to share your planned activities for increasing personal preparedness in the coming week in the comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!


This week, Lord willing, we’re continuing with cutting down trees for next winter’s firewood and will be burning yet more slash.

The Rawles Ranch is located in the northern half of the American Redoubt. Here, the snow melted from our ranch only a month ago. Since then, the weather has continued to be very cloudy, rainy, and cold. The high mountains surrounding our valley are still receiving occasional snowfalls, and they may even get some more snow this coming week. Our nighttime temperatures at the ranch this coming week will be flirting with temperatures near freezing. Therefore, we’ve been delayed in putting in our garden this year.


However, this coming week we plan on re-tilling the garden. (We like to till it a few times before planting.) We will begin to plant red, white, and fingerling potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, broccoli, cabbage, lettuce, et cetera.

A few more blueberry bushes and a Bing Cherry  need to be added to our orchard this week.

Avalanche Lily (Mrs. Rawles) has spinach growing in her greenhouse that is ready for harvesting and freezing. We’ve also already harvested chives. She also plans on harvesting a bunch of dandelion roots to dry in our dehydrator for Dandelion Root Tea. (We use no herbicides or pesticides.)

Chickens and Beef

We’ve had several successes during the past two years with incubating some of our chickens’ eggs. This first batch, this spring, didn’t succeed, probably because we didn’t watch their temperature, humidity, and oxygen levels as closely this time as we had in previous times. We just had too many other projects happening. Lily says she feels rather sad about it, but we’ll try again in June when life has “slowed” down a bit after the “spring rush”.

A few of our cattle have an appointment with our local butcher this coming week. We’ll post a follow-up about that.


Also, we’ve been wrapping up our homeschool program for the year. Those who homeschool know how much time this can take. However, we are preparing our children for their futures. Have a blessed week!


The Latimer Homestead is still picking up nails and debris from our roofing work of last week. It’s a bit treacherous for man, woman, and beast around the home and the outbuilding that was re-roofed also. First up, we will finish the cooler that didn’t get done last week.

Gardening for Livestock

The cool temperatures, snow, hail, and rain we had last week are expected to give way to hot temperatures this week. Two weeks ago we had warm temperatures also, so we are expecting that the ground is warm enough that we will be able to plant our chicken and oil garden this week. We are experimenting with expanding our garden area with a cover crop for our chickens to work over the next few years, allowing them to prepare and fertilize the weak soil and utilize the cover crop for food that we hope will attract the grasshoppers away from our other organic vegetable garden. We’ve chosen to grow a bush cowpea.

The chickens can eat the plants and pods/peas when they are green. We will store any mature pea pods for winter feed. The dried peas will have to be soaked before being used for feed for chickens, as dried peas and beans have acid and also will swell in a chickens gut after eating.We believe this project will save us money on chicken feed while improving their nutrition during winter months, help us prepare a larger garden area, and possibly reduce the grasshopper population in our vegetable garden, since this garden is close to our vegetable garden.

Sunflowers in the Garden

The “oil” part of this garden refers to the black oil sunflowers we plan to grow. Sarah has dedicated an area for growing them and plans to use them to help border two sides of the cowpeas garden to help corral the chickens in. We look forward to learning how to grow our own source for vegetable oil and providing a good source of nutrition for our flock of chickens in the winter. We will use the sunflowers  for both oil and chicken feed. (Another batch of chicks due to arrive in July.) We need to do some clearing and weeding on the garden borders.

Freeze Drying

The chamomile is in full bloom in the perennial herb and tea garden. So, we need to pick from this large patch and freeze dry. However, we are in the middle of relocating the freeze dryer, so that project needs to be completed first. We had the freeze dryer in the kitchen/dining area. However, we will move it to where our food is stored because of the noise. There is room to do some preparation and canning there. It may not be quite as convenient to vacuum seal there, but we will enjoy a quieter home environment. I will install the electricity for the freezer dryer. Eventually, a work table would be nice, but that will have to come later, as there are other matters more pressing at the moment. Chamomile and eggs will be  freeze dried this week.

Sewing Room

Sarah also hopes to get her sewing area operational again. Recent company motivated her to transform her sewing room into the guest room. We enjoyed the visit but are ready to get back to the routine. There are some projects waiting for her.

We invite our readers to post in the comments below what your planned activities are this week. Prepping is not a haphazard activity. It requires careful consideration of what your goals are, what your resources are (man, money and tools) and the knowledge to apply them both appropriately. Let us encourage each other by letting others know what your doing, but be mindful of OPSEC. Don’t post personally identifying information in those comments.

Don’t forget about the List of Lists to help you organize!


  1. Get tomatoes and peppers planted and beans in the ground. Fix the fence where the cows keep escaping. Pick and start drying this years herbs. Get the Sow and piglets out into the pasture.

  2. Livestock preps: This week we’ll wean lambs. Because of the drought in our area (the South East) we drastically cut back on the number of sheep we had. This year we have had normal rainfall and very good spring growth in our pastures. So much growth our sheep haven’t been able to keep up. We purchased 2 mixed dairy/beef calves to help with the grass. Last year it was difficult to find hay locally even in neighboring states. So one of the things we need to source is hay for later this Summer or even this Winter. We want to buy early and fill the barn. We were caught off guard last year and only had enough on hand to make it through late Spring – long enough we thought for the Spring flush of grass. This resulted in paying a premium for what was available.

    Downed tree: A recent wind and thunderstorm brought down a huge oak tree in our East orchard. Amazingly it fell between all the fruit trees so didn’t damage them. That would have been a bad set back as they are near fruiting age. However, the tree took down the fence around the orchard so the animals needed to be moved from adjoining areas to keep them from destroying the young trees. The fences need repairing and also the tree managed to put its crown in the area we planned on planting corn for Winter feed for the livestock. So the tree needs to be cut up and the smaller branches made into mulch for the orchard and garden. A big job that will take several days and the purchase of a larger chainsaw.

    The Garden was on hold while waiting for the replacement tiller form DR. Earlier this Spring while preparing the garden the old one broke beyond repair. The tiller arrived last week and will need to be assembled. The cover crop planted last Fall in the garden has been cut once and is nearly gone to seed already. The sheep have been turned in but will need to be moved. The garden will be mowed and then the cover crop tilled in before we can plant.

    Repairs to the mower will need to happen today.

    So many small and large tasks to get done. I laid awake thinking of the most critical ones and those that need to be accomplished before the next items can progress. Keep up the hard work because it is so necessary to be ready for whatever may come this year.

  3. If you haven’t tried letting one of your hens hatch the eggs the natural way you should consider giving it a try. All it took for us was to combine the days eggs from all the boxes into one box and within a day or two we had a hen on them. She hatched them successfully.

  4. My week’s prep will be a visit to the dentist to take care of a couple of loose fillings I have been putting off. I finally have the needed part from my 550B to load some rifle ammo, and I will be breaking out the dehydrator for the frozen veggies I have waiting. A freeze dryer would be nice, but that is out of my budget, for now. The family is looking for a new house in Middle Georgia, but that is an on-going process. Trust in the Lord, keep calm and prep on.

  5. For those of us at higher elevations in The Redoubt, successfully incubating eggs requires some adjustments from lower altitudes. We operate a poultry business at about 7,000 feet where we collect and incubate eggs from both chickens and Heritage Turkeys.

    Here are some helpful hints for others:

    1. Do not allow eggs to sit around more than a couple days before placing them in the incubator. We collect our eggs several times a day and suggest you do the same.

    2. Sanitize the eggs before placing them in the incubator. We use 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) of TEK-TROL diluted in one gallon of warm (100 degree) water. Wash any fecal matter or other dirt from the shell and do NOT rinse, but allow to air dry. The shell of an egg is porous and provide easy access for bacteria.

    3. LOWER THE MOISTURE! All the ‘experts’ will tell you to keep the moisture up around 50 to 60 percent in the incubator for the setting period, then raise it to 70 or 80 percent during the final 3-day hatching time. That is sound advice at sea level, but at high altitude, where the oxygen saturation of the air is reduced, you will literally drown the chicks. After much trial and error, we now maintain a humidity level no higher than 30 percent and have enjoyed great success. Remember, air must flow freely into the shell and moisture must flow out during the incubation period. A high moisture level will in effect, block this movement and your embryo will drown.

    4. For turkey eggs, the total time to hatch is 28 days. For chickens, 21 days. Temperature should be 99.5 degree F. Eggs should be turned at least twice a day for the first 25 days (turkeys) and 18 days (chickens). After that, raise the humidity up to around 40 percent and let mother nature take over.

    5. DO NOT attempt to “help” a chick or poult escape the shell. It just will not work and the bird will be either physically or neurologically damaged. Any hatchling with obvious defects should be mercifully euthanized. Believe me, you are doing them a favor.

    6. A ‘natural’ hatch by a setting hen is in most cases, a pipe dream. But go ahead if you have plenty of eggs to throw away. Who knows, you might just get lucky.

    7. For natural breeding success, a ratio of one rooster/tom to a dozen hens is more than adequate. The toms will fight to establish breeding rights and those fights sometime will continue for a full day. Don’t try to break the fights up.. it’s just Darwin at work.

    Good luck!

  6. Just came back with a load of Almond wood from the San Joaquin valley. Hundreds of trees have blown over or been taken out and firewood is cheap!

    Sunflowers- you know the bird seed with sunflower seeds in it is what has worked for me. I have a climate very similar to the Rawles ranch. I’ve tried Russian sunflowers from Siberia, a heritage type from the American plains–they all died. What grew really well were sunflowers from broadcasting bird seed.

  7. It is commonly thought that vegetable oil is healthier than saturated fats from animal sources. That myth has been debunked many, many times. Think about it: Which is more commonly available? Which is easiest to produce in your backyard? Lard or Tallow is the way to go. I also use coconut oil, though it is obviously not easy to produce on a homestead. It is also easier to store. Saturated fat will store sealed in a jar for a very long time. In fact, the old timers used it to preserve food.

  8. Goals this week “Spring Cleaning”.
    We are in the process of becoming empty nesters. Our goal this week is to go through our house and garage sale the things that we no longer utilize or may be out dated.
    We plan to upgrade items to accommodate our new preparedness lifestyle.
    We have also started working on our fitness and health , which a lot of folks tend to over look as they prep for TEOTWAWKI.
    Our long term goal is a “smaller footprint” while we transition into our new lifestyle and find a potential long term retreat/homestead that we can develop to meet our goals of self sufficiency.
    God Bless

  9. A lot of comments at our yard sale about the cast iron cookware; I put up the duplicates for sale. A good number of older people lamented how their adult children neither had any interest in their C.I., nor cooking. (Today cooking has been redefined as popping a frozen pizza into the microwave and a family dinner was something only the Waltons’ would do).
    The 30 volume “Handyman” books had no takers for $10; had there been any video games I could’ve easily sold those. With the money we made we bought seeds and vegetable seedlings to go into the garden this week.

  10. This week we will complete the move to our 3 acre homestead in rural Tennessee! I will move all of the long term storage food and buckets, along with the ballistic cans to the walk-in crawl space and out of the garage. I will begin clearing a portion of what I call the cliff, which is a precipitous drop off on our property, off the high ground to the valley below, so that I will have better view and access to my anticipated hunting ground this fall. We continue to work through the contesnrs if the deep freeze to make room for our change. We plan on consuming all of the store bought meat this spring and summer, so that we can begin our own “localvore” experiment. We live extremely close to world class fishing, so this summer we hope to lay in a good amount of trout and catfish fillets. This fall, we will (God-willing) take 2 deer, and will purchase a local side of beef around the same time. Next spring, we will raise a feeder pig and a flock of chickens, along with our 1/4 acre garden of potatoes tomatoes green and red peppers cucumbers and a stand of corn. This summer, we will also begin our mini-orchard, planting 2 peach trees, 2 pear trees, a pecan tree, and several blackberry bushes. We hope, as our garden and fruit trees grows, to be providing 90% of our own food within 3 years. Very excited to begin our journey

    1. Great to hear Jason – I moved my family to the eastern part of the state 2 years ago and it’s been a wonderful experience. I’ve had excellent luck with fingerling potatoes in the garden this year, they’ve done very well even in the clay just east of the plateau. I’ve also done well with popcorn and dent corn, but the sweet doesn’t want to grow for me.

  11. Goals for the week: It’s all about the animals. Last summer we moved to our own little slice of the Redoubt, to a farm that had been long abused. This week we will finish repairs to the north pasture fencing so that our cows can enjoy all that green grass on the other side of the fence! Our latest batch of spring chicks are particularly stupid, and won’t leave the shelter of the coup… once the cows are farther away from the barns I am hoping they will venture out, then we can rearrange the stalls and corral configuration to make a proper place for the bottle baby goats that is away from under the kitchen window! And lastly, our first litter of baby rabbits is due this week… loving the country life!

  12. Weather Has been terrible here in the NE a cold wet spring and snow this past weekend. Trying to put up next winters firewood and ready the garden around the most others here trying to get as preped as possible for what is coming but never seems to be time enough.

  13. Weather Has been terrible here in the NE a cold wet spring and snow this past weekend. Trying to put up next winters firewood and ready the garden around the most others here trying to get as preped as possible for what is coming but never seems to be time enough.

  14. I have several projects lined up for the week, but the biggest with the most bang is that my wife expressed an interest in going to the range to shoot hand guns. I normally shoot on some of my properties, but I do go to the indoor range from time to time. I told her that we’d go this week as I want her to be familiar with her revolver and then the many different hand guns that I have in the house. I’ve explained instinctive shooting to her, but I really need her to shoot many, many rounds down range to become comfortable with handling the gun. Hopefully I can provide and update on this.

  15. Does anyone know if sunflowers have been GMO-ed.Also does anyone have a good source for sunflower seeds with a high oil content. I’m not sure that bird seed sunflower are fit for humane consumption. Mary

  16. This is an opportune moment to dispel what my wife (lovely Asian bride) and I are up to this week. As a CPA and over that dreadful day (April 15) we are up on our Redoubt property (wither Montana, Wyoming, or Idaho for a clue).

    We are building out the three gables (12/12, 12/10, 12/10 pitches) of our 2600 sq. feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 1000 sq. foot hidden basement (you actually enter through pulling leavers on the fireplace mantel and the entire steel bottom moves up rendering a staircase down below—Hey you’ll never know our exact location of our property OPSEC). The next four weeks we will have the gables up, tongue and grove roof secure, interior beams, and porch constructed.

    To bring you up to speed, I setup an S-corporation in the State of New Mexico (one of the few states left which doesn’t require any tieback to you (SSN, Passport, other company’s EIN, home address, or any other identification to tie you to that corporation—its just a name) and I set it up with our Chinese family’s PO Box in Beijing, China. Heck Japan owns most of Hawaii-Why not China owning something.

    No we are really OPSEC with that property purchased in that manner and log package purchased the same—including all extra lumber and materials from Home Depot or Lowes. I had much fun in November of last year learning the KAT 210 excavator manual with an online tutorial—all in Spanish. Yeah! I don’t speak Spanish but watched the worker’s arm movements on the video with the joystick moves coupled with the bucket movement—then took copious notes. Once the hole was excavated, it was the footer being poured and then the ICF Styrofoam blocks in place. Once the concrete was poured to form our 8-inch thick basement walls and the subfloor intact, tax season started for 2017. Today, we now have the entire log package constructed (it’s like link-in-logs if you remember from childhood), now ready for the roof. That is what we are doing. God Bless!

  17. Survival blog family, We are in the redoubt, we have bred and raised Brebant/Belgian draft horses for many years and I am thinking of selling our horses. It is probably a certainty that about the time I liquidate our horses and harness and equipment … then the fecal matter will hit the oscillator!! If anyone is interested please reply. Yours in Faith and Liberty, DB

  18. Country life is simple but hard work! This week I hope to:
    -complete a new 5 cage rabbit condo which is half done;
    -finish canning 8 pds of strawberries into pie filling;
    -do succession planting of corn and kale, plant squash and beet seedlings;
    -pick and process honeysuckle and rose petals for jelly and fruit leather;
    -do a complete grooming (shampoo, haircut, nail trim) of two more of 11 dogs;
    -clean out an area on the sun porch for the new freeze dryer I just ordered!
    We’ll see how much actually gets done, by me, myself and I.

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