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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 [1] to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles [2], 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 Hurricane Irma preps.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

Summer has come to an end for us here at the Rawles Ranch. The children started back to homeschooling on Monday. Obviously, this takes up the bulk of our time in a day. This year our children are variously studying Biology, Chemistry, Algebra and lower maths, American History and Documents, American Literature, Current Events and writing position essays, Latin, Hebrew, Shakespeare, Reading through the Bible/Christian History/Literature/Apologetics/ Discernment/Eschatology, Philosophy, Spelling, Cursive, Review of English Grammar, World Geography: drawing, labeling, memorizing, and piano. Several of these subjects we do all together as a family and the other subjects they study by themselves.

The Garden

Despite our homeschooling activities, we girls this week, did can 27 quarts of peaches in light syrup, and froze four half-gallons of the same for later use for pie filing and for jam making. We canned six quarts of applesauce from our friend’s apples. Many of these apples turned out to be too ripe and became treats for the cattle and horses. We still need to can the cases of tomatoes this weekend. We’ve harvested more beans and Zuchinnis, which still need to be processed. We harvested seeds from two year old onions that sent out flower heads this summer. I will plant those seeds next year.


Also, from the straw that I laid around my strawberries for mulch this spring, there were oat seeds within it which gave us a small volunteer crop of oats. I harvested the dry heads this week and will be drying the heads out further for a few weeks, while awaiting the maturing of the other oat heads which are still green and growing. Then I will thresh them for the seeds. We’ll probably get about two cups of oats from these volunteers. Since our summers are often dry and it appears that Oats grow so well here, I think I’d like to try to grow them, and wheat next summer. We’ll need to prepare a plot  specifically for that this fall.


Our main crop of Broccoli took a very long time to mature this year and are finally beginning to put out heads. I’m very happy about that since it is one of our favorite veggies. It appears that we’ll be having an extended summer into September, at least for the next two or more weeks with no forecasted frost. We’re very happy about that, too.

We continue to mountain bike around the ranch daily for our muscle and endurance building workouts. There is just something wonderfully invigorating and freeing about riding a bike through the woods at near top speeds.

Jim was traveling this week, so there is no prep news from him.

Hurricane Irma Warning

Those of you on the Eastern Seaboard please be aware that Hurricane Irma, which formed two days ago and is now a Category two storm is forecasted to possibly strike the USA between the Carolinas and New York somewhere around September 11 as a possible Category Five, maybe even a dreaded “Six” (off the scale) hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, if the sustained winds are above 180 miles per hour when it strikes land. Please plan and prepare accordingly! You have ten days to plan, prepare and pray.

Get your food, water, fuel, lighting and pet preps together if staying at home and also get prepped to evacuate and know where to go if you must leave. Have a plan A, B and C. Get all of your documents/proof of insurance/ownership/meds, things that can’t be replaced like pictures, pets, gathered together in one place. They expect mostly high winds and a high storm surge along the ocean front, more than rain damage, but one never knows. Warn your friends and family to get ready This information is coming from the GFS Model through the Ventusky website. May the Lord Bless you all. We’re praying for you all and those suffering from the after-effects of Tropical Storm Harvey.  – Avalanche Lily Rawles


The Latimer Homestead had some unexpected events this week. While we were busy harvesting and putting our bounty up in secure storage, our house pantry was raided by a few tiny four-legged grey creatures that caused quite a mess. It seems they chewed threw a heavy plastic container of Hoosier Farm powdered heavy cream [3] and ate the whole thing. (leaving lots of little nasty presents for us.) They also hit other similar packages in our short-term storage area. As many of you know, we keep our long-term stored goods in glass under vacuum seal or in vacuum-packed Mylar bags inside wooden crates or five gallon plastic pails, where mice and other creatures cannot do damage.

However, we were quite surprised at the damage done. These creatures had suddenly raided, probably when the rain came. Anyway, when the first item was discovered, it seemed prudent to go through and check everything to verify what might be damaged and clear it all out and put everything into glass jars, where little teeth can’t do damage. With no food available, they have no need to be among us. We also became more vigilant about the dog’s treats and dog food bowls being cleared at night. It’s been quite a chore to repackage everything, but we see no more signs of these little invaders now. I’m sure they are quite disheartened that their picnic has been packed up, but what’s ours will stay ours.

Deep Cleaning

We had just done a deep cleaning and organization in the spring, but apparently it was time to do it again. It is important to be diligent about these things. In TEOTWAWKI, every morsel will be needed, and we will need to protect it from every kind of predator, as food is life. Be sure that you have the resources necessary to protect your home and stores from pests of all kinds.

This coming week, we plan to complete our work to upgrade our chicken feed and watering system as well as automate the lighting and then, as soon as we get this upgrade completed, move the little chicks to a neighboring area with the large chickens.


Again,  please share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments.

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#1 Comment By patientmomma On September 2, 2017 @ 10:12 am

HJL, I sympathize with your mouse invasion; they hit my house and garage (we live way out in the country) last year and it took us 6 months to eradicate the little buggers. Everything had to be removed and the spaces cleaned three times before we even found their entry points. All cardboard (think canning jars) had to be removed and burned. Once the basement and garage were sealed we cleaned and returned the shelving. Then the stored glass canned items had to be cleaned so I purchased clear plastic storage containers to put the jars in. The #10 cans of FD or dehydrated items had to be cleaned and labeled as the paper labels had been chewed off. It was a huge time consuming effort but a learning experience. Now I have four cats that patrol the basement, house, garage and attic and let me know it any uninvited critters are sneaking in.

#2 Comment By GWH On September 2, 2017 @ 11:07 am

We tried growing old fashioned hard red winter wheat. We planted an area 50’square. It was “new” ground and we used no fertilizer. We harvested it by hand, laid out a heavy tarp and thrashed it with sticks. We cheated and used a fan to blow away the chaff. We ended up with enough wheat to supply a years worth of grinding for flour for a family of three. Plus enough to reseed for another year. It was an experiment that was very successful. I would think, in our area, a 100′ square area using organic material for fertilizer would supply a family of five, have some left for poultry and reseed again. Now, when I see the vast wheat fields of Eastern Washington and Montana I understand why we can feed the world

#3 Comment By DJH On September 2, 2017 @ 12:53 pm

No fresh preps this week for me. I am conducting a full inventory of what I have. My BBB list is obviously smaller than I like, but I can concentrate on where I am the shortest and put it in some type of order. I am trying to find some more Estate sales, but most of the hand tools are gone by the time I get there. I am finding zero hand tools at the thrift stores and areas like that. Carpe Diem/Semper Gumby.

#4 Comment By ww On September 2, 2017 @ 1:18 pm

I use the little plug in ultrasonic repeller from Victor, I get them from tractor supply and they have really kept them out of my barn. Before they were everywhere. After a week they were gone with these little devices.

#5 Comment By NightBreaker On September 2, 2017 @ 1:19 pm

Jim, That Ventusky site shows Irma going in at Atlantic City NJ and parreling the coast as a cat 3 , where I live will get the North East Quadrant! Yikes we haven’t recovered from Sandy yet.
wind speeds show 120 mph + in gusts .Really bad situation if this pans out it will dwarf whats happening in Tx. Starting to get things in order. PACE applies , E plan might have to spend the night in the AC / FAA airport bunker.
hope this doesn’t happen.
Praying Hard

#6 Comment By Mark On September 2, 2017 @ 2:55 pm

Been at my folks in Rockport since the storm hit. Portions of their house are gone but everyone is well. I will send a full update of what worked well when things stabilize. Due to the preparedness of the 70+ year olds, the most common request has been bring ice cream.

#7 Comment By Kathy On September 2, 2017 @ 7:49 pm

Watching this latest hurricane and seeing it strengthen, I was reminded of JWR’s warning of God’s coming judgment on USA. We who are His recognize His sovereignty. Everyone else will call it global warming.

#8 Comment By Janet Wilkie On September 2, 2017 @ 9:40 pm

The house I live in had mouse poop everywhere when I moved in. The house is almost 100 years old, and you can see daylight in places in the cellar, which has a dirt floor. It cannot be sealed, as it also has a small spring on the uphill side.

Between my indoor cats, and a small, protected outdoor colony, the only rodents I now see are dead ones, and very few of those. There are three dead voles out on the porch. The outdoor cats are showing off.

And no more mouse poop. They don’t live long enough.

Also, cats love snakes. It isn’t mutual. They love to kill snakes. The only snake I’ve seen in the last seven years was a very tattered one being triumphantly dragged across the side porch by one of the outdoor cats.

Electrical gizmos won’t work in TEOTWAWKI.

#9 Comment By Roger D On September 2, 2017 @ 11:19 pm

God bless homeschooling parents. I have so much respect for you. Every Sunday I am in awe of our homeschooled children; so polite. During dinner afterwards they actually communicate with one another; the older ones naturally oversee the younger ones while their parents fellowship. The children are never disruptive and I’ve yet to see one staring at a stupid cell phone!

Honestly, when I see the behavior of government-schooled children I swear they are a different species. I stand by my view that the 2 best gifts parents can give to their children are Jesus Christ and schooling at home.

#10 Comment By Anonymous On September 3, 2017 @ 2:15 am

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#11 Comment By Bruce On September 3, 2017 @ 2:19 am

Your kids will learn more about the US Constitution in a week than most government school students will learn in their entire student careers.

#12 Comment By D. Schmidt On September 3, 2017 @ 2:22 am

The best repellent for mice that we have found is PURE peppermint oil. I get mine at Vitacost.com.
Be very careful when using it. It will clear any stuffy sinuses. Wear rubber gloves.
Remember that mice don’t usually run across a room, they travel where floor and wall meet, so putting a few drops of peppermint oil across the floor, threshold, and along the floor/wall is effective. A small piece of cotton or cloth with several drops of oil can be used to distribute the oil. This oil WILL linger in the structure. You may wish to leave the building for a time. Start with a small amount. Do a doorway floor, then add more after you see how it affects you.

#13 Comment By Gary Murphy On September 3, 2017 @ 8:16 am

Gideon Israel theres a storm coming your way …. make sure youve got food and supplies and gas up … hope you have a good exit strategy .

#14 Comment By MHL On September 5, 2017 @ 2:06 am

I found evidence of a mouse in my kitchen a few years ago, so I promptly cleaned & re-packaged items as needed & then put out a trap. When I checked the trap the next morning I was startled to find that my intruder was a hamster. None of the neighbors confessed to losing a pet. Aquisition a cat has solved the problem completely.

#15 Comment By Dirk On September 5, 2017 @ 2:07 pm

I just have to also reiterate, get a cat, or two, or three, best pest control around.

#16 Comment By JD On September 6, 2017 @ 3:53 pm

Please know that there isn’t a Cat 6 level hurricane, 5 is as high as it gets.

#17 Comment By James Wesley, Rawles On September 6, 2017 @ 7:41 pm

Technically the Saffir-Simpson scale only has 5 catagories. However, catagory [6] after the 2005 season to describe hurricanes with winds exceeding 180mph. There is controversy on the issue. Simpson claims that the scale is intended for measuring the damage caused to man-made structures and after 155mph there isn’t much difference in terms of damage. The criticisms of the existing scale are many. The scale has no way of describing the size of the storm nor the amount of precipitation dropped by the storm. By referring to “Catagory 6” we were referring to the “off-the-scale” destruction of a very powerful storm.