The Editors’ Preps for the 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 songbird migration.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
This has been another busy week for us here in the American Redoubt. The weather this week has been very sunny and dry with seasonal temperatures in the 80s.

Songbird Migration

Around the third week of July, the height of summer, is rather a sad time for me. Why? Because all of our migrant birds that arrived between March and June who filled our mornings and evenings with their beautiful  chorus of songs, have now finished raising their young and have already departed for southern climes (Hermit, Swainson, and Varied Thrushes, Common Snipe, Red Wing  Blackbirds, Hummingbirds, Bluebirds, Winter Wrens, Warblers, Catbirds, and many more. Our mountains go from lovely singing voices one morning to silence the next morning. It is that profound. I’ve been listening for it during this past week and it has happened.  By Friday morning, I woke up to that profound silence.   It makes me feel very sad, because it tells us that the summer is already waning and fall and winter are coming. I want to put the brakes on it. Time is moving too fast. Hey, slow down the summer!

In the Garden

Over the weekend and during this week, Lily and the children got very serious about weedwhacking the garden paths and gaining the upper hand on the weeds. In doing so, they’re hoping to totally decimate the mosquitoes hiding places and sincerely hope that their population will diminish significantly in the next week.

This is the time of the year to plant fall crops that can handle light frosts and much cooler weather, such as carrots, broccoli, spinach, peas, turnips. More about that, next week. Lily had started some broccoli in the greenhouse and transplanted it in the garden for the fall crop, this week. We have had some chilly nights, this week. The temperatures dropped into the low 40s. So, I’m wondering if we’re going to have a cold August or a warm one? A few years back we had a killing frost on August 17th. I’m hoping that we have a warm August for the garden’s sake. This means that we have to be diligent in watching the night time temperature predictions, so that we can cover plants or water the larger sections all night if a frost is expected.

I harvested Zucchini, washed it, chopped it into stew sized chunks and froze it. Here, I should mention that I do not blanch our freezer stored Zucchini. I just chop and freeze it on trays and then put the frozen chunks into gallon-sized freezer bags and put them in the freezer for future stews and stir-fries.

We’re presently harvesting blueberries, Black, Red and Golden raspberries, lettuce, and kale.  We’re eating and freezing the berries.

In the Orchard

Jim and Lily weedwhacked the orchard.  We lost one sapling this year, but otherwise the summer has been kind to us in the orchard.  One of our young apple trees is so laden with apples that we will either have to prop up some branches and/or do some fruit thinning.

Survival Skills Acquisitions

We’ve been identifying/reviewing weed plants in the garden as we pull them and studying our plant guide books.

Youngest child was given a brand new backpack and has been very busy transferring and updating supplies and equipment into a new Get Home Bag.

Mountain Biking and swimming were our modes of exercise and endurance training this week.

Other Outdoor Activities

Jim was very busy hauling firewood from our on-ranch woodlot, and stacking slash to burn next fall.

He also converted one our smaller outbuildings, to ready it for straw storage.  (With the rush of stacking hay at baling time, we had chronically been getting our straw bales buried in our barn under hay bales, each summer and fall.  Now, with separate storage, that won’t be an issue.)  We store and use about 25 bales of straw each year, mostly for animal bedding, for the poultry shed floor, and for some mulching in the garden.

Also, our local Farrier came and trimmed all of our horses’ hooves.  The whole family assisted. We always like to be there to watch and learn, if nothing else.

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


The Latimer Homestead is looking pretty spiffy this week. The weeds are fairly well under control. Though there are several small and outer areas that need attention, the bulk of the property is manicured and the gardens mostly managed.


Our baby chicks have arrived and are doing well. We were just barely able to get their new home area cleaned and prepped in time, but they seem to like their new home and are acclimating well. All the chicks seem strong and healthy and they are drinking and eating with no problem. We enjoy handling them as they get used to their new “family” and home. The children look forward to coming over in the next few days to spend time with the chicks. We are excited about our time with the children!


We smoked another batch of beef bacon that we cured for seven days and then smoked. Unfortunately, we had a bit of a mishap with our smoker and didn’t get as much smoke on the bacon as usual. Still, it is quite yummy! We used a brisket cut this time, with a little more fat on it than the loin roast we used last time. And we think the brisket is better.

Freeze Dryer

The freeze dryer is running nearly full time with herbs, vegetables, sauces, and more. We also look forward to running some fruit in the dehydrator so we will have some chewy fruit “candy” for the grandkids when they come stay with us. I’m going to try some of the ideas that Survivalblog readers gave me and report back on them.


This week we will likely spend some time teaching the grandchildren homesteading skills. Some of the things we are considering include gardening, managing livestock, bread making, candle making, and more. It’s not often we have so much of their undivided attention, so they will have our very focused attention. With the youngest, we may make some homemade pasta, which we think she’ll enjoy, since it is similar to her “Play Doh”. Only, we get to eat our homemade pasta with sauce on it!

We are very much looking forward to the adventures of this week with them! What blessings they are!


  1. My project over the past three years has been to clear up the deed on our property. The original survey of the redoubt state we live in there was a tract of land never identified as actually as anyone’s. In 1957 my grandfather brought it up to the state as an error which it took them over 25 years to actually admit to my father that they didn’t have any claim to it but we did have a strong case of ownership. After much cost and over 3 years, we finally got clear title to the property which improved the value of the property at least four times the money spent. I also learned what kind of neighbor I have due to him trying to lay claim to it but again he had no case. I paid him a small sum for legalized extortion to go away which was cheaper than paying my attorney to take him to go to court. Moral of the story is to carefully weigh any decision before going to court and make sure the benefits outweigh the cost without allowing pride to get in the way. Only let God lead which he orchestrated the whole thing for us in his perfect timing.

    1. Comment to pig farmer….we bought our first retreat acreage in 1993….being green to the process we were so thrilled to have a little place of our own that we over looked the seller trying to include acres that were actually the neighbor’s….fortunately our lawyer caught it at closing and we got it straightened out…when he was confronted; the seller quickly caved because he was trying to pull a fast one and got caught….when we bought our current place we made sure the survey was recent and that the property lines closed…that helped for a better closing experience…there’s lots of good info on this site concerning retreat properties and potential buyers would be well advised to study it….one final note…once you experience the satisfactions of living “beyond the sidewalks” you’ll never want to go back to suburbia….best wishes to all.

  2. I got discouraged today. I wanted so bad to get my boat out tomorrow on the lake and do some fishing so I bought two new batteries for around $160.00. Installed them and tried to fire the boat up. It turns over hard, but no firing. I shot some starter fluid in the carb and gave it another try and still no fire. I took the plugs out and went and bought some more. After replacing the plugs I thought I had it licked, but no go. Nothing worked and no firing at all. What’s frustrating is when I parked it for the winter it was working fine, now it doesn’t so it looks like I have to haul it to a shop and no fishing for me.

    I’m thinking tomorrow about purchasing a little wire welder from Harbor Freight. Just something to tinker with. I saw a really neat rocket stove online a while back and I already have some metal tubing so I’d like to try my hand at building one of these for the get away spot.

    The other thing I want to try after seeing everyone’s stuff on dehydrating is either some jerky or fruit. I’ve had a dehydrator for years and it’s never been out of the box. I think it’s about time.

  3. For us living near the Arctic Circle the day of reckoning is always June 21st. On this the longest day of the year, our sun will begin to make its journey closer to the horizon from its place almost constantly overhead providing us with our very intense but short summer season. It marks the seemly quick journey of winter to our land once more, for 9 months of virtual darkness. In the deep of winter darkness comes a night sky filled with a waterfall of light from the aurora borealis in a very deep and profound silence. I well understand JWR the silence you speak of; but I also remember the hand of God painting a tremendous portrait of His incredible beauty for us to warm our spirits in the vast cold.

    My message is to take heart in all of God’s time, a time to wake, a time to work, a time to rest, a time to live and just love God.

  4. Absolutely love all the comments and stories here. Where we live our tomatoes will be coming in soon, although I had some trouble with yellowing leaves and brown/black spots…perhaps a fungus, so got some spray for that unfortunate event. Wondering if a year of rest for the soil may be needed, but would not have enough to store for two years use. Green beans are in, lettuce and spinach done…too hot…peas still coming in. Beets and carrots doing well. Would love to move to redoubt someday. Get away from our growing suburb and have some chicks as mentioned above…and more land. Thank you for all of the comments and stories shared…truly a blessing! God is good all the time!

  5. I’m curious. Are you sure that the birds have migrated? After they get done raising their young the territorial instinct is gone and so there is no reason for them to sing to protect their territories. Even here in Minnesota most birds are done (except for yellow finches that don’t nest till August). It is mostly quiet but I see them around feeding. I know that the migration is occurring when many species are congregating before leaving and eating fruit off the trees (mountain ash and crab apples).

  6. RETREAT OWNER PROFILES: Read them again. Can you indicate when they were written? Can you ask the authors to provide an update? Can you add new profiles? Found them to be very interesting. Any available from Florida or Tennessee?

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