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 review their week’s prep activities. They also 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 always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready! This week’s focus is on garden plumbing.
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
This week in the northern part of the American Redoubt the weather has been very warm and dry, the high temperatures in the high 80s and low 90s and the night time temps right around 50 degrees. It has been optimal garden growing temperatures.
For Lily and the Children: Not much out of the ordinary happened this week, mostly more of the same from last week. We’ve been mountain biking on the ranch and in the surrounding National Forest, swimming, and taking short hikes to identify and review trees, plants and herbs for education, fun and exercise. This week with swimming, we’ve been working on water safety skills and refining our breath control and stroke techniques: Crawl, Breast, Side, and Elementary, in order to swim more efficiently.
In the Garden
We’re continuing to weed and put well-aged compost around a few slower growing plants. This week we planted carrots and spinach for fall and overwintering crops. Black and Red raspberries are being harvested, eaten, and frozen. Yellow, Green and French beans are flowering and are beginning to produce fruit. I froze more zucchini. Buttercup, Acorn, Hubbard squashes are flowering and are beginning to grow fruit.
In the Greenhouse
The vegetables in our greenhouse are going gangbusters. Butternut squash are producing lots of fruit for harvest in the fall. I harvested my first few Orange Cherry Tomatoes for his year. Yum. Cucumbers are finally growing fruit. The celery crop is doing very well.
Other Outdoor Activities (Garden Plumbing)
Jim had an outdoor a plumbing project this week, replacing one of our frost free yard/garden watering hydrants. Since we live in a northern climate zone we have to bury all of our water pipes at least four feet deep. This means lots of digging whenever we must dig up a valve. (Thankfully, most of the maintenance and repairs on a Campbell valve can be done from the top. (But not when a tractor runs into a hydrant and breaks the 3/4-inch PVC pipe, four feet down!). Note that it is important to use only lead-free valves if they are on the same system as your domestic drinking water.
Since we are having an unusually dry summer, we’ve been irrigating one of our pastures with a couple of large stand-mounted Rain Bird type sprinklers. We have good water pressure, so these cover 100+ foot diameter circles. Dragging hoses two or three times a day is a bit tiresome, but we need to keep that pasture greened up.
Jim also started cross-cutting the mostly dead-fallen and dead-standing firewood that he felled, bucked into five foot lengths, and hauled in from our on-ranch woodlot earlier this year. The splitting and stack might begin next week. Just the cross-cutting of five cords is a big job.
May you have a very blessed week. – Avalanche Lily Rawles
We have had some adventures this week. Some were unexpected challenges of the technical kind, and others were health related. All simply required our family’s resolve to rally, persevere toward resolution, and support those who needed the extra help. Fortunately, all those challenges appear to be minor in the grand scheme of things. Unquestionably, the positives of the week far outweighed the negatives. And those “positives” would be grandchildren! We have relished the lengthy visit with them while they helped us work the livestock and the gardens, clean, prepare meals, and do some projects.
These projects included the making of apple cider vinegar. Though they are on break from their school work, we took time to do a little science experiment with vinegar and eggs. They were excited to see the yolks float inside the squishy, almost clear eggshells that eventually formed after the calcium dissolved in the vinegar. But just as expected, a few eggs were broken.
Other activities included making homemade pasta, going through the whole process from whole grain berries to finished, cooked pasta topped with tomato meat sauce on our plates at dinner. They learned about growing grapes, collecting seeds, preparing soil for seeds, sequential planting through the seasons, and harvesting various types of beans (various green and dried) and tomatoes. Some art projects also kept them entertained and inspired creativity, so little television or media was necessary this week. Still, we heard that they were very happy with their visit. That makes us happy. And we are told that there were a couple of highlights of their time with us. These were apparently the chicks, which were just one week old when they arrived; their time with our friends’ children, who were just a little bit older than them; and getting to play with and hold the goats, especially the baby goats.
Back to work
But with them gone, we will need to get back on some major projects. We’ve had some grain orders arrive that we have not had time to deal with. We need to process these grains and get them into our vacuumed storage containers. The garden is producing more and more each and every day, and the pests are a continuing annoyance. We need to do another organic spray and increase our food processing, as green beans are just becoming active producers as are herbs and zucchini and tomatoes and okra and the list continues. We need to trim blackberry bushes and cut some of the poultry garden cow peas. Also, the chicks need frequent attention throughout the day. It should be a fairly busy week with these activities on top of getting the house and routines back in order after all of the company leaves. We sure will miss them!
We will be adding additional cameras to the security system this week as well as several infrared illuminators to extend the nighttime visibility of several key cameras.