The Editors’ Preps for Week

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 share their planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We also welcome you to share your planned activities for increasing personal preparedness in the coming week. (Leave a Comment with your project details.) Let’s keep busy and be ready!  This week’s focus is on NOLO Bait.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

This has been a very busy and hot week for us here in the American Redoubt.

A Camping Outing

We had a marvelous time with our friends camping during this past weekend. It was a somewhat primitive campground, located on the shores of a reservoir. We didn’t have any running water, nor toilet facilities, nor power. We brought our own well water for drinking and for hygiene from home. Cooking was done both over a fire in cast iron pans and over a propane stove; Beef stew, pancakes, sausage and eggs were cooked over the fire.

The children and adults swam, fished, and went rock hounding and collected driftwood. Children played board games while the adults talked about world and spiritual issues. A 30″ Northern Pike was caught. Jim gutted and cleaned it, and our friend cooked it over the campfire in coconut oil and a mixed Cajun seasoning. It was quite tasty. The children, surprisingly, really enjoyed it. Some of us took a hike to identify the local edible plant species that will be producing their abundant fruit during the next weeks.

Independence Day

We celebrated Independence Day by reading a text about the Declaration of Independence and then reading the actual Declaration out loud together. Then we traveled to a regional theme park. We spent the early part of the day in its water park playing in its river, wave pools and slides. In the evening we went on all the ride attractions and then went to a large open field where we saw the best most spectacular fireworks display, that I think we’ve ever, ever seen. They were truly amazing.

Our Preps for the week were less than the usual because of our camping trip and the celebration of Independence Day and some very hot weather at the end of the week. We had about three very late nights with very little sleep between camping and our Independence Day Celebration. We tired ourselves out. Thus the cool mornings were spent outside weeding and watering the garden and the greenhouse and afternoons were spent in the house, reading, studying, cooking meals, and, dare I say it, having a few siestas. Lily did a little bit of weedwhacking of the daisies and knapweed in some of our meadows. The orchard was ignored, as well as the chicken coop. Well, there is always this next week to get to these projects.

Outdoor Activities

Jim excavated an area outside one of our outbuildings, hauled about 1,800 pounds of rock from there, and then planted grass seed in that area. He cut up more trees he had previously dropped, hauled lots of slash and made large piles that we’ll burn in the fall after the first heavy rains come. Late in the week Jim also delivered some livestock to a friend.

The Children and Lily have begun a serious study of edible and medicinal herbs that grow in our area. The children have created beautiful Nature Journals in which to draw and color the plants, label them with their common and Latin names and then write about how it’s identified, it’s use, and how to prepare it, et cetera. We are gleaning our information from several books. The main two books we are using are titled From The Shepherd’s Purse and Edible & Medicinal Plants of the Rockies.

So for this coming week, Lord willing, we’ll continue with our plant identifying hikes, the usual gardening and weeding, and weedwacking. At this time we don’t have anything really special planned for prepping so we’ll tell you what we accomplished at the end of the week.

May you have a very blessed week. – Avalanche Lily Rawles


Gardening – NOLO Bait

The Latimer Homestead was busy this past week working in the yard in spite of the heat and some rain. We spent multiple days working the weeds. Not only within the gardens but in the perimeters around the gardens and on the outlying property. The battle against pests in our all-organic gardens are raging, but we are faring well. We have legions of ladybugs keeping the aphids and larvae populations under control. The NOLO bait seems to have minimized the grasshopper population, as we are rarely seeing any now. However, the cucurbits are being attacked and flea beetles have hit. So, out has come the diatomaceous earth, nettle leaf powder, and several of our organic sprays. The powders have taken care of the flea beetles it seems this week.

Then, the corn is reaching a point we are seeing those wasps that lay their larvae as well as tomato moths. So, this week all of the cucurbits, corn, tomatoes, radishes, beans, peas, potatoes, celery and broccoli got a good spraying of various forms of organic treatments, as these were all showing evidence of pest damage, pest presence, or future pest damage (from eggs that would evolve into destructive corn or tomato worms). Fruit trees were also sprayed.

Garden Adjustments

We also made significant progress on staking and stringing plants this week, though there is still a considerable amount of work to be done to complete this task. The peas in the poultry garden were fertilized, as some of them are showing signs of stress as well as pest damage. Sarah fertilized first and then sprayed. We believe that some of the loss of plants is due to rabbits but some is also due to inadequate or excess quantities of water in various areas and stress from the high heat temperatures with poor quality soil in this first year of growing. We will be amending the soil more often and have made adjustments to the water schedule to attempt to rectify some issues.


Hugh is finally making progress on the shop and garage. This project has been pushed off for so long that we can’t even remember the last time it was cleaned. It seems we’ve been pushing piles around for months and looking for the proper tool takes as long as actually doing the job the tool was needed for. It will be good to complete this project!

Next week, we need to continue our weeding projects, as many undesirable plants, spurred on by the heat, are beginning to go to seed. We also need to thin some plants in a few garden beds and fertilize them. And the chicken coop is in need of a thorough cleaning, and the run area needs to be shoveled and some of the compost moved to our compost pile to complete its decomposition for use in fall or spring planting.

Additionally, Sarah has some potted plants, including some potted vegetables and herbs that need to be repotted into larger vessels this week.

Hugh will continue the work in the shop/garage. First on the list will be additional insulation though. When we built the garage, it was intended to have 3 bay doors. Though only one was installed, the remaining two were roughed in and just covered with the siding. With the sun beating down on those uninsulated sections, significant heat is pumped into the garage. This is not good for the food storage. That will be rectified this week!


  1. My wife was heading to the orchard a couple days ago and observed a fox charging the chicken run fencing. Apparently it understood it couldn’t get in and was attempting to convince them to fly out.

    So nice free reminder to check on fencing condition and energizer on the electric portion. Wish I had been there.

    Reading Joel Salatin’s Everything I want to do is Illegal. Good book for liberals and people who are right in the head– both.

  2. As a new gardner,(only 15 years or so) we seem to have a large selection of sprays, dusts and fertilizers! There is ALWAYS some new bug, mold or mineral deficiency. My point is, in a shtf moment, how much would all of this “stuff” be worth? While everyone else is trying to get beans and bullets. This “stuff” will be everwhere. At least for a little while.

  3. Greetings from the Great Midwestern redoubt! It is now the “Attack of the Japanese Beetle season”. Being one armed for another month I am now the official “beetle squeezer”. Nice job eh?

    Foxes: I almost always get them when they’re trying to pull a chicken back through the fence. They are so occupied with what they are doing it’s easier to put the sneak on them and take them out. Of course it does cost a chicken that way…. Local fox population seems to be exploding lately, not sure why. My two Mountain Curs have brought me two opossums so far this year as well, not bad for squirrel dogs!

  4. After losing more chickens and ducks this year to our local fox population we have finally invested in a livestock guard dog. He is a Komondor Akbash cross from parents on a working ranch, it is critical to buy from working parents NOT pets. His parents (and the other 4 members of their pack) have fought off bear, wolf, coyotes, cougar, and bobcats at their ranch south of Helena MT in the Elk Horn Mountains. The new pup will also add some comfort for us during kidding season for our goats as we have bear and cougar spotted within 1/4 mile and a large wolf was take about 5 miles away last fall.

    1. One dog is not enough. Please get at least two more with the kind of predator pressure you have. One dog cannot fight off a cougar or bear nor be everywhere at once. Coyotes have been known to distract while the others attack elsewhere.

  5. We’ve had our retreat/farm for 4 years now. My wife and kids moved there full time in June 2016 so we could start getting livestock and the garden/orchard going. Over the Independence Day holiday weekend, we finally got around to building the first of two workbenches to get all of my tools out of piles on the floor of the 30’x40′ shop building. We also assembled several shelving units and started to organize things we moved from our other home. We also finished the initial installation of a dual IBC water tote rain catchment system, including a first flush system, that will be used to irrigate the garden. We’ll add more totes to the system over time, but it was good to get the initial system collecting water. It was quite rewarding to see the progress over 2 1/2 days of hard work.

  6. Were I not a city dweller, I would have some weld, indigo and other natural dye plants growing. Next year I hope. There’s no question that I have a green thumb- but one hour of shady sun on the balcony will not do it!
    As it were, I’m reading up on natural dyes used to color both cellulose and protein fibers (cotton, wool). Getting plenty of good books on inter-library loan. The wonderful local librarian even purchased one of them for their collection.
    My interest is locally derived products for dyeing which are also known to be highly colorfast. Fading being an issue with some natural dyes. Of interest, also, is some of the tannin dyeing processes in Japan which they say creates a UV shielding and water resistant fabric.
    And who knew that avocado pits will create a lovely pale pink on a properly prepared fabric! And that oak galls are priceless for the home dyer (they will mordant a fabric without leaving a dark stain behind as compared to acorns and other heavy staining tannins).
    Lily good luck with your plant studies.

  7. Limited projects this past week with the 4th and more rain that popped up. I did refill my automatic feeder (not for livestock nor deer) I have a place that is infested with wild pigs so I keep a feeder running year-round to keep these pork chops on the hoof close by. Because these are viewed as an invasive non-game animal, you can take them over bait, at night with a light or trap them so long as you do not relocate them (alive) to another area. Anyway, I filled the feeder with 200 pounds of feed corn, changed the battery in the feeder, pulled the camera card to see what is coming and going and called it good for another two months. I did work on a knife that the handle design was just not right for my hand. A little metal grinding and trimming of the scales made the knife fit my had a lot better. After that my wife told me that the air compressor was leaking so bad that it would not charge. The hose had a hole in it where it comes off the compressor and makes a slight bend. I cut the hose off, used a threaded brass coupling where I put a connector on both sides, one to connect to the tank and the other to slip the hose over. I had to rob a clamp off of my sprayer tank to clamp the hose to the connector. The first try did not work. As I torqued the clamp down I pinched the hose and put another hole in it. So, I cut that piece off and tried it again not being so aggressive with the clamp this time. I plugged it an and no leaks. The wife was then able to get back to checking and filling trailer tire air for her boat. She has an urge to go to the river. I have an urge to eat a home-grown tomato sandwich.

  8. While brutally hot up here on the Canadian border, as Jorn moves unto the farm where there is no power, and therefore no freezer, Jorn will have to jar up 125 pound of meat as quickly as possible, marathon fashion, as the meat will only be stored in a home made (field expedient) ice chest. Fortunately the material on hand allowed the construction of a heavily insulated ABS plastic box with drain, that is also shielded from IR with large sheets of a rugged Mylar material salvaged from central heating ducting. Canning times have been revised upward in recent times. One quart jars require 160 minutes at 12lbs of pressure for an altitude of 3,000 feet, verses 110 minutes of older recommendations. Both of Jorn’s canners hold 7 quart jars. Setting up a temporary kitchen using two portable propane camp stoves in the barn so as not to heat the house, estimated processing time might be 4 hours per canner. It is going to be a longer and even hotter week than expected. Canning in 100 degree weather is not a good idea.

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