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!


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

This week we rushed to finish harvesting our main outdoor garden. In all, we harvested more than 700 pounds of potatoes, of four varieties.


We also dehorned our most recently-born calf–a heifer. She was 10 days old on the day she was dehorned. We use Dr. Naylor’s Dehorning Paste and a wrap of duct tape that goes all the way around under the calf’s jaw to prevent it coming loose. That tape is left in place for 5 to 6 hours. (A method that we learned from fellow blogger Patrice Lewis. She is the Editrix of the excellent Rural Revolution blog.)
This time of year we do our annual chimney cleaning.  It is SOP for us to change our smoke/CO detector batteries at the same time. We tend to run our woodstove fairly hot, so we’ve found that it only needs to be cleaned once a year.  But if you burn your stove “tight, low, and smouldery” at night, then cleaning it twice a year is more apropos.

To be ready for winter, we also drained, coiled, bundled (with cable ties), and stored all of our garden hoses. The only exceptions are the short ones we use for filling our stock tanks, and the one that we use inside our greenhouse.

Just ahead of a late summer storm front, we had a neighbor come over with his tractor to scrape manure from our corrals. About 40 front-end buckets of well-rotten manure (with a bit of straw) were spread in our garden and in our fenced orchard plot.  Roto-tilling this was completed just a few hours ahead of the rain. Then, just as forecast, it poured.

After a few more weeks of sporadic rains it should be safe to burn our slash piles.

Septic Pumping

One unusual thing that we did was have our septic tank pumped. We do so only about once every five or six years.  Yes, it costs money. But this is cheap insurance.  If you let the level of “solids” in your septic tank creep up to the level of the leach field pipe outlet, then it will clog the pipes, necessitating a very costly excavation and replacement. The  wise old saying is:  “You can pay a little now, or you pay a lot more, later.”

May you all have a blessed week, – Avalanche Lily Rawles



The Latimer Homestead has been busily harvesting and putting away as well as continuing our seed collecting. Our tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, and cilantro has been at a peak and so it is a great time for salsa making. Mrs. Latimer prepared more than a gallon of it this week plus canned and freeze-dried several more gallons of tomato sauce. We also processed a variety of beans, okra, basil, onions, cucumbers, and more. We also shifted some of the dried sunflowers from our poultry garden to long-term storage. Oh, how the chickens love these! These treats are almost as popular as their meal worms.

Bug Out Trailer

We also worked on our bug out trailer, checking on our water filtration system, improving our solar panel support bracket system, and more. Hopefully the harvest will continue a few more weeks, though the weather is getting drastically cooler quickly. We are pleased to see that the young and adult chickens seem to be accepting each other and are likely to get along well when we merge them in a few weeks, since a few have intermingled without incident lately. They will want to huddle together on these upcoming cold nights!

o o o

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


  1. This week I made several gallons of super tonic. Equal parts of fresh onion, ginger, hot peppers, garlic,turmeric if you can find Any, horseradish. Grate and place in at a half full. Add organic apple cider vinegar. Invert twice daily for at least a month. Strain. Add raw local honey. Store in GLASS jars. Take a tsp daily for immune health. If getting sick up it to 4 times a day. All these vegetables have been researched and proven to kill many forms of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

  2. Thanks for this great tonic…….could you be a little more specific about amounts of each ingredient please. Am excited to have this ready for winter illnesses if needed.

  3. I am curious about how you cure and store your potatoes. We also harvest hundreds of pounds each year, but have trouble with keeping them more than two to three months. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    1. Dear CW,

      We don’t cure our potatoes in any way. To store them, we brush all dirt off our potatoes, (never wash them), make sure they’re dry, sort and separate large from small, (for convenience when choosing for cooking), set aside the beautiful ones for seed potatoes for spring planting, put them all into burlap sacks (Burlap sacks allow airflow around the potatoes, which helps keep them longer), and store them in our closet cold cellar. The closet cold cellar is dark and cold, but doesn’t freeze. (Any time potatoes get frozen, they’ll begin to rot.) Come spring, right around the end of March when the air warms up just a little, the potatoes dehydrate, become wrinkly and rubbery, and sprout in the burlap bags. When they do this, it doesn’t mean they’ve gone bad and are no longer edible. It just means that their internal clocks are telling them it’s time to produce again. They’re still edible. We just cut away the sprouts as we peel them and put them in our stews, or whatever we’re cooking. While cooking they absorb the waters and reconstitute themselves. Their texture and taste are just fine.

      So the key words for storing potatoes long term are: dark, cool (just above freezing to 50 degrees), dry potatoes, medium humidity, and airflow.

      If anyone else has tips of potato storage please share them with us.



      1. Lily, thank you for sharing your method of storing potatoes. I’m assuming you do something similar with your winter squash. We did not receive near the normal rainfall this growing season, but God has still blessed us with an abundance of garden produce. I simply can’t waste it.

        Also, thank you so much for your efforts. The weekly updating of Editor’s Preps is my very favorite!

  4. Tatters…we just brush the dirt off and store them in bushel baskets in the basement. i’d prefer colder storage but we just don’t have it. They store exceptionally well anyway, we are still eating the last of last years crop, shriveled though they may be they are still tasty.
    I’m having some great success storing sweet potatoes, same way as the regular spuds. Last years crop still looks great, you’d never guess they were that old. I need to get to digging the sweeet potatoes in a couple weeks. The ones that store so well are red outside and orange inside and grow like a bunch of fingers right under the plant, you don’t have to dig all over the place to find them like other varieties. They are good sized as well. Unfortunately I don’t recall what variety they are, we got them from the Amish 5 or 6 years ago. I sprout slips from them and root them every spring.
    Or summer long drought was broke by 4″ of rain a couple nights ago. Some hours after the rain a front came through with 50 mph winds and blew all my Russian mammoth sunflowers down. Gonna have to cut of the HUGE heads and dry them out.
    Tomatoes are still coming on gang busters, giving them to my physical therapy gals to freeze, they love them and the tomatillos. Unfortunately they won’t take many of my jalapenos…I always grow to many.

    1. Thank you, Brooksy…great and helpful information! I also planted sweet potatoes for the first time. I’m looking forward to good and healthy eating this winter. We also have peppers galore so guess I had better dehydrate some of the excess…I just love the fall season!

      1. My wife pickled loads of jalapenos last year. Delicious!. She cores them so there are no seeds or ribs and slices them long ways. Tastes like jalapenos with out the hot.
        My hot rod mechanic’s wife loves jalapenos, I got to get a big bag over to here this week. Never hurts to take care of the folks that can do things you can’t. (I’m not much of a car mechanic)

  5. My grand parents would “cure” their seed potatoes in a paper bag with enough sawdust so that the spuds could not touch. Then they would place the bag into the warm attic to dry and go dormant. I don’t remember if they were left there or not, by that time I was back home with my parents for school.

  6. Did you talk with the person who pumped the tank? Get a report on how high the solids were(5-6 years is a long time) much over 1\3 endangers your field. Also make sure the outlet has a elbow on it. Do you have a accurate map of your field? A neglected field can sometimes be saved by a knowledgeable person but it can be hard and expensive(a lot cheaper than replacing if even possible)

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