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.
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.
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!