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!
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
This week we were amid much smoke from regional fires. We were trying to homeschool, but harvest time chores got in the way.
Jim gang cut piles and piles of five- to seven-foot long larch and red fir logs with the chainsaw. He alternated days, splitting several cords of wood. Meanwhile Lily and the children stacked it in the woodshed. We had to get them in before the expected rain comes. We still have yet a bit more to split. But we got this stacked and covered with tarps. Getting in our own wood supply really is an all summer-long affair, I’ve realized.
Harvesting the Garden
The weather forecast is about to make an abrupt change this coming week. We can officially say “goodbye” to summer weather and it looks like even sunshine, after Sunday. There appears to be a river of clouds developing over the Northern Pacific. That pattern looks like it won’t break much in the foreseeable future. Bummer! Lily loves the sun. Parts of Idaho and Montana at elevations higher than 5,500 feet are receiving their first winter snowstorm at the very moment I’m writing this.
Thursday night we had a very light frost at the Ranch. So Friday morning Lily decided to harvest most of the garden. Lily and the children dug up 225 feet of red and blue/purple potato rows and 102 feet of white potato rows. These will be stored in our a cold cellar closet. While digging/pulling potatoes, she stacked the pulled potatoes plants and weeds that are going to seed in the burn pile to be burned after our first heavy rains come.
There are also still lots of rocks in the garden so opportunity was taken to toss those over the fence as they were encountered. Digging potatoes is like digging for a treasure. You never know what you’ll find and it’s always a delight to see a large number of them and to count them. (Our highest count was 31 potatoes under one plant. ) It is also great fun to find a huge giant one, or one that is interestingly misshapen. Freshly dug potatoes are so beautiful to look at.
Lily is an amazing gardener and very hard working. While the children went to do other chores/school, she continued harvesting all the different squashes, onions and turnips, pulling weeds and chucking rocks as she went. Another light frost is expected on Friday night. (It turned out to be a hard frost). On Sunday afternoon, Lily intends to get in all of the beans. The carrots, broccoli, cabbage can stay in the garden until the hard freezes come.
Lily is still freezing and dehydrating produce. This week she froze yet another gallon of zucchini. She dehydrated zucchini and celery, from the garden and greenhouse, respectively. Also some red, yellow and orange peppers that were bought at Costco this week. She also made some tasty pear leather in our Excalibur dehydrator. And she canned four more quarts of apple sauce. (The pears and apples had been given to us by some local friends.)
A Costco Run
We went to Costco for our regular pre-winter stock-up. It is more than a two hour drive to get there. We bought: White flour, (we also grind hard red winter wheat flour from stored wheat berries), sugar, which is mostly used for canning fruits and some baking. (Our main sweeteners are honey and maple syrup.) We also bought some spices that I am not yet growing or that come from overseas, potato chips and corn chips, pasta, mixed nuts, bags of almonds, raisins, and several 20 pound sacks of Jasmine and Basmati rice. (We have buckets and buckets of long-grained white rice, but prefer the taste of these other rices).
As usual, we also bought canned diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, and paste. (We really need another greenhouse dedicated to just tomatoes and peppers!) And, as usual, we stocked up on tuna and peanut butter. Although we do have freeze dried peanut butter powder, that is for emergency food only, for when the real stuff is gone! We also replenished our stores of laundry soap, dish soap, bleach, sponges, paper towels, TP, and facial tissue.
Remember: Always rotate your foods and stores, eating or using the older stuff first. “First in, first out”. (FIFO.)
On the mother side of things, this week, because the children are growing so fast, we replenished their clothing needs. We did so through mail-order, particularly in the dressing-up/going-to-town and church arena: new pants, sweaters, skirts, shirts, and jackets. Hah! As much as the children love to run around the ranch in hole-y jeans. t-shirts, and hooded sweatshirts, I love to see them dressed up in nice pants, shirts, skirts and sweaters on those going-to-town days, looking civilized!
The End of Calving Season
We recently had another heifer calf born, late in the calving season. What a beauty she is! She was begotten from sex-sorted A.I. from a high level genetic strain Jersey bull. What a looker he was in the catalog! This girl will probably be a keeper/milker for us. It’s very exciting to have babies about the ranch. Speaking of which, we need to arrange to get a couple of more cows bred in the next month. In the past, we have rented bulls and and have owned them. But we find at this season of our lives and for many reasons that it is not practical for us to own one. For us it is better to either rent, visit, or do A.I.. (Although, we haven’t had 100% success with AI.) All in all it is better to rent a bull or have our cows visit one.
The calf needs to be de-horned, soon. We’ll probably do that early next week.
May you all have a blessed week, – Avalanche Lily Rawles
The Latimer Homestead is busy harvesting all we can in the rapidly cooling weather. We are also collecting and preparing seeds for next year’s garden. It’s a bit of a chore to sort, clean, dry, and store seeds, but we’ve done this for years and are at least seven years into many of our recycled crops. Our seeds aren’t all in the condition that someone would buy out of a seed vendor’s paper package. Some are prepped by placing them, still in their mucilage, in pots outside. Others are washed, dried, and then stored in the freezer. Some beans are left on the vine an extra long time to grow large for seed use and then dried. While we have bought seeds some years, the plants grown from our own garden collected seeds have always outperformed the ones purchased.
This week we fertilized a few of our fall plants and pulled out more of our spent plants and weeded. We also weeded around the property and cleaned the chicken pen. While you can’t really tell yet, Fall is in the air. Our thoughts and preps are beginning to shift towards getting ready for Winter now.
o o o
Again, please share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments.