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 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 homemade bug spray for livestock.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
This week has been very warm, sunny, and hazy from some distant regional forest fires.  Relatives are visiting for the next three weeks, so not much prepping other than gardening will be occurring.  This week we did dig up/rob many volunteer potatoes.  We had a few meals with only what we have raised here on the ranch: Lettuce, cucumber, tomato salad, beef roast, fried potatoes, fried zucchini and lots of raspberries for dessert.  We made chicken soup from our own chicken, celery and potatoes.  It’s very exciting to eat food that you have raised yourself!  This feeling never gets old to us.   We did freeze more zucchini, red and black raspberries from our garden. We also froze some purchased blueberries, from Costco.

With the young’uns, we’ve continued to practice and refine our water safety, rescue skills, and swimming strokes and endurance. Also we continued evening mountain bike rides around the ranch in up in the adjoining National Forest.

Homemade Bug Spray

Next, some readers wrote in, wanting to know the proportions of the ingredients in our homemade bug spray for our horses and cattle.  We use: One cup and a half of water and two cups of white vinegar with about 15 drops each of Citronella oil, Tea Tree oil, Eucalyptus Oil, Lavender Oil and Peppermint Oil, and two squirts of  dish soap.  Mix it up and put into a 32 fluid ounces (or 950 ml) Windex  style spray bottle. We spray the horses  and cattle very liberally. We soak ’em fairly well.

Safety Note: Be sure to guard their eyes when spraying their ears and chin.  I cup my hand over each eye as I spray each ear front and back.  I do not spray their faces with it.  (You could wipe it on their face with a washcloth, if you are careful not to touch their eyes or nostrils.) We spray them about three times a week.

Jim’s Projects

Jim (“JWR”) has been busy for the past week clearing a field of rocks. Having a utility ATV with a dump bed on the back end is a great labor saver! He’s also been hauling slash to burn piles.

He also installed a replacement hand pump on one of our backup wells. The old pump, which had trouble holding prime overnight (regardless of the handle position) will be getting a rebuild kit installed. After that it will be greased up set aside in JASBORR as a spare.  Remember:  “Two is one, and one is none.”

Finally, this week he has also done some annual forest fire prevention work. This year, it has entailed cutting any dead limbs off of trees within 200 feet of the house and barn, to a height of 15 to 20 feet.  Here, it is the closely-spaced fir trees that are the worst offenders.  For this, he uses a Fiskars brand 16-foot adjustable length manual pole trimmer. It has both a saw and chain drive (mechanical advantage) lopper actuated by a pull cord. It works wonderfully. These are designed in Finland, but manufactured in Taiwan. I should add that we always try to avoid buying anything made in Mainland China. We have no objection to buying things from Free China.

That is all for this week.  We’ll be touring relatives around the Northern Redoubt this coming week.  So, not many prepping activities will be occurring.  May you all have a safe and blessed week – Avalanche Lily Rawles


We’ve had a busy week, primarily in the garden, and also with a few minor homestead maintenance projects. We had to work on additional trellising for and positioning of tomatoes, cucumbers, peas, green beans, and melons in addition to maintenance weeding in these areas. The vines are growing aggressively and requiring more support. The pests always need ongoing management, since we use only organic methods. Many vegetables are being harvested, with new additions added to the harvest routine weekly. Every day our harvest baskets are more full and over flowing than the day before.

Also, it is time to begin preparing the spaces designated for late summer/fall crop planting. Brussel sprouts, broccoli, and other vegetables will soon be planted. We simply need to get these spaces cleared of weeds and the soil loosened, some compost worked in, and the surface smoothed. It is our hope to get some of the areas completed this week so we can begin planting the following week.

Growing Chicks

Of course, the three week old chicks are requiring quite a bit of attention too. They are so cute, we don’t mind much. This flock is quite strong. They’re leaping and flying up to perch already. So, we had to get busy and do another clean up of the next area of their transition to be out next to the big chickens. They seem to be about ready for much more space, especially tall space where they can run, hop, and fly. Where they currently are does not allow them much elevated space, though they have a lot of run space. We are expecting the transition to go smoothly, as they will have their own space in the hen house and segregated area of the run.


Our peaches appear to be about ready to harvest. We salivate as we look them over, wishing they’d hurry up and lose the green on the underside. Oh, how we are looking forward to some delicious peach cobbler, possibly before the end of next week!

Basil Harvest

It certainly looks like we will have a large basil processing effort going this weekend and early in the week, as some is just beginning to bud or blossom and we need to cut and process it before it reaches this stage. We sure do enjoy our homemade pesto, salad dressings, marinades, sauces, and more made from the various types of basil we grow on the property! Some will be processed into concentrates and frozen in olive oil while the bulk will be freeze dried. We grow multiple varieties of basil. If you haven’t tried lime basil, you are missing out on a real treat. (Freeze-dried herbs are the best, short of fresh! Although dehydrated isn’t bad either. Dehydrated herbs are better than air dried, because the faster you get them dried after picking, the better.)


Hugh had time to put in two more HD cameras in the security system. There are about 3 more needed for security purposes and there will probably be some put in just because we want to observe things. The dog-resistant chicken coop has been wonderful in keeping the coyotes and feral dogs from killing the chickens, but we’d like to catch them in the act rather than just seeing the evidence.


  1. This week we killed three snakes; one poisonous and two non-poisonous. A county road crew scared up the copperhead but my son killed it before it made it inside the fence line. A big black snake had been feasting on chicks when we killed it. The last snake was hanging out near the rabbits and tried to strangle one of the young smaller rabbits. I found it before it got big enough to kill a rabbit and chopped its head off. All part of living in the country, but when they get within the compound, they get chopped up with the shovel or weed eater!

    Eleven new chicks hatched and were moved to the protection of the “transition” coop. Now that we killed the chick-eating snake, these should make it to pullet stage.

    Harvested basil, lavender, rosemary, parsley and the last of the dill. They will be drying this week. FD 8 dz scrambled eggs, stuffed hot peppers and 10 pds of link sausage. Made 1 qt of jalapeno hot sauce and 1 qt of cayenne pepper hot sauce. Dehydrated 1 dz habanero peppers.

    My son has processed 4 cords of fire wood in the last 5 weeks and has one more cord to go. Depending on the temps, we use between 2-1/2 to 3 cords each winter to supplement the propane heater. Our goal is five cords in place by October.

    Made a run to the closest city with big box stores, filled up empty diesel and high octane containers. Got lime, DE and found seed starter mix at 60% off and got 8 evergreen trees/bushes half off. The evergreens will go along the front edge of the compound as a privacy screen.

    Finally, the usual garden chores,harvesting and preserving the fruits and veges. It has been a good productive week!

  2. The peach cobbler sounds wonderful, but then again I am partial to it as I live in a peach growing area where the orchards span over the horizon in some places. Still, it is far better to grow your own and have the pleasure of eating what you’ve grown and produced. For me this week I purchased a Kahr 9mm to add to my collection. I also got to test it out on a timber rattlesnake that decided to stretch out in our back year. I must say it was very accurate as with one shot I took the viper’s head off. I also went by the gun smith to check on a shot gun that I am having shortened and re-threaded as well as my antique 9mm VIZ Radum. The guns have been there for three weeks and I found that they had not been started. I had to re-explain the need of having the shotgun back prior to Labor Day as the dove season comes in and I was intending to use it. Looks like I may have to go with the old standards I normally use. I can’t complain much as the guy is active reserve and has to go do the reserve thing that limits his time in the shop. This reminds me of one other thing, not really related to prepping, that I did Friday. I took my team from work to the National Infantry Museum where we watched a movie about the War of 1812 and the National Anthem, toured the museum, did a simulation run in a Humvee, ate lunch there and then took off the remainder of the day. I personally could spend days going through the museum reading and learning the history. I think they all really enjoyed the outing.

  3. Wow, great hearing of all the ham tests takers blessings on your tests. look forward to hearing new folks on the air,
    getting older takes it’s tole. maintenance takes longer, I find hiring youngsters is now important. replacing older equipment and maintaining equipment is very important now. my brush hog needed new belts, the gas started gelling in the log spiltter carb cleaning was the order of the day. Not this OLD one, but the mechanical one. seems the Ol’ back cant do much anymore. Had a new stove installed and converted to propane. That’s something to keep in mind when purchasing new equipment. Oh and it’s time now to perform all the maintenance on the generators and snow blower.
    Oh, yes and the wood splitting will be a priority while I have family here to help. Looking to stack at least 5 cords, for the house and two for the shop.
    Good luck to all you ham test takers. even if your just going for tech, take the general if you pass the tech. you may just surprise yourselves.
    Blessings to all Dave of Oregon

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