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 often 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 was fairly quiet and sedate at the Rawles Ranch.  Jim’s main duty was snow plowing with our trusty old pickup. There had been more than 20″ of snow in the preceding week, so there was plenty of snow to move. Since we are expecting  heavy  snowfall this winter, we’ve opted to  push the snow much farther back than usual.  We’ll need a place to put all of the snow that is expected in the weeks and months head.  Based on the long range forecast, we figure we’ll get at least 9 feet, this winter!

Meanwhile, Lily has been busy tending the winter plantings in the greenhouse. Her “greenhouse within a greenhouse” experiment has gone well.  Lily put thermometers in each hooped bed (covered with visqueen plastic) to measure air temperatures. She is regularly checking them–at least twice a day.  With a heavy layer of fairly fresh manure beneath the beds, the soil temperature is holding between 42 to 55 degrees. The air temperature inside the hoops has been 32 to 60 degrees and the temperature outside of the hooped beds has been as low as 27 degrees and as high as 90 during the past week all depending on if the sun is shining or not.  Germination remains yet to be seen with the seeds that were planted last week.  The seeds planted three weeks ago in the non-manured bed are germinating and growing, albeit very slowly.  I started out the week running the woodstove in the greenhouse, but with a couple of sunny days and moderating temperatures, outside temperatures now hovering around 32 degrees day and night, decided to let it go out.  This week we’re in the high 40’s during the day and low thirties at night, so there is no need to keep the stove going.

For Lily, besides running out to the greenhouse for temperature checks and once watering of the beds, she has done the usual ranch winter life activities. These include animal chores in the AM and PM. Then there was snow shoveling paths to the greenhouse, compost pile, woodshed, chicken coop, corral gate and around the main gate.  And of course homeschooling, cooking meals, house cleaning, and some deep organizing of two kitchen cupboards this week. Nothing too exciting or interesting, but just maintaining our normal way of life.

I’m looking forward to reading comments from readers about your preps for winter.

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


The Latimer Family has remained busy caring for the chickens and also wrapping up the chimney and stove for one of our out buildings. We had some re-roofing required some time ago, and we have some buildings with metal roofs. So, it has been a learning experience to put in a chimney on a metal roof for the first time. We’ve cured our wood-burning stove and delighted this week at the beauty and warmth of it in this work space.

The week ahead looks like it should be fair weather for this time of year, so we will do some clean up in the area and possibly some further seed collection in addition to a beginning a bit of fall cleaning in preparation for guests for the upcoming holidays. We are also processing cranberries, making craisins, since they were in abundance at Costco when we made our monthly trip this week, and we’re baking and smoking meats for the winter. It is sure a tasty time of the year, though lots of work!

o o o

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


  1. $70 Greenhouse Adventure! [YouTube Video].
    Published on Nov 3, 2017
    “We spent $30 on the little plastic tabs to join the wood and $30 on the 6 mil painters plastic with a few dollars thrown in for screws. If we had had to purchase the wood it would have been more but we scavenged the furring strips from a local cabinet making shop!”

    Link for Connecting Tabs:
    GEO – The Geodesic Dome Connector,

    1. It is an old Schrader plate steel airtight stove, built in the 1980s. I bought it used for $75. All that I needed to do was a bit of wire brushing, re-line it with new firebrick, re-do the “rope” door seals, and re-paint it with some black high temperature paint.

  2. Here in the UP of Michigan we went from relatively nice fall weather to winter on Tuesday afternoon. It turned cold and snowed from about noon on. Friday morning it dropped to 2 degrees, Overnight we got about 2 to 3 inches of snow. But they say it will be back in the 40’s by midweek. I still have a few winter preps to do, and am looking forward to next week.

  3. We moved out of the Redoubt after 26 years there, but if we moved back my first investment would be a wallipini with mass-encased rocket stove. They work well in Canada and so would be good if your designed structure include snowfall management. Fresh greens and other cool season fresh foods through the winter are just wondrous.

  4. Just a quick “thank you” to our veterans for serving and protecting our freedom!

    My son reconfigured about 100’ of fencing in the front yard and added hot wire to keep dogs in and predators out. I haven’t done much this week as I slipped while feeding my rabbits injuring my ribs and shoulder. Thus, I’ve been taking it easy for a few days. I dehydrated greens and hot peppers from the garden, made a pot of chili to share with my elderly neighbors and crocheted three sweaters for my small dogs. Hopefully, next week will be more productive.

  5. Started running the wood stove for the first time this winter. Received two chickens, a rooster, and two ducks from a friend who could no longer care for them. All the new birds are integrating nicely.

  6. JW, Check out the Super Hogg & Big Pigg snowblower made in Idaho… I always ran out of room with the Boss snowplow…closer to spring always ended up using a cat. Happy winter !

    1. Melisa, I know your question was not directed at me, but I love home education. I hope it’s ok if I explain what we used. Our family discovered that we had better results using different curriculum for each subject. We also changed curriculum several times. MathUSee work well for us until Algebra II. Momma just couldn’t teach past that level. We then just had them start taking classes at the local community college. Alpha Omega was great for Language Arts and History. It also has tons of elective subjects. Our favorite science was Apologia. I liked it because I could order the kits that had most of the things for the experiments. Our favorite years were the years we used History Alive by Diane Waring. I loved being able incorporate the Bible into the study of history and show my children the true history of our world. Plus, all grade levels could be taught together. It was a great bonding experience for our family. We would sit together to listen to the CD’s and read the verses that went with the lessons.

    2. Just jumping in here, too. I used the Charlotte Mason method, which incorporates nature and handicrafts heavily (both necessary in homesteading/prepping). There are lots of resources for doing CM, but if you are looking for a packaged curriculum I’ve heard good things about My Father’s World.

  7. Got alost 20″ of snow at our nw retreat here at 5000′. Used the arps 6′ snowblower for the first time this year and she works as good as ever on the back of our ford 1910 4×4 tractor. After 5 winters here in the redoubt I consider a big snowblower a must half. We had 11′ of snowfall last winter and never ran out of room. Neighbors ever with graders were starting to have very narrow driveways.

  8. Am very interested in the greenhouse/greenhouse experiment. We live in the Northern Great lakes and have been referencing “Four Season Harvest” by Elliot Coleman for years but have never gotten past small hooped tunnels. (The book is on my top 10 gardening books if you’re in the cold climes.) Please keep us updated, maybe write a full length article on it this spring or even a series during the winter. And THANK YOU TO ALL OUR VETERANS on this day. You all are in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. Hi JWR,

    I did a recent presentaion for my unit about the “Great Ice Storm of 98” that hit the area I am currently posted in hard.
    35 people died that year because of it,perhaps because of their lack of preparations.
    I pray my presentation sunk in for the military and civilians in attendence.
    Hopefully, they will be better prepared for crisis in whatever form, because of it.

    Happy Veteran’s Day to you who has served, and the many readers who have as well,
    Sheepdog and Son

    1. Most units would be totally immobilized by a ice storm. We lost a HMMWV and 5-ton when officers wouldn’t listen. Even arctic kits don’t include necessary tire chains. (Outside experience is necessary to train drivers in operation on ice with chains). Don’t forget boot spikes/cleats to walk over ice covered areas.

  10. I have been neglecting a throiygh cleaning of our goats 3-stall lean-to. On Friday i went to out local post and pole company to get a load of wood chips. Normally they charge $5 for a pickup load, like their firewood it is all self service. They produce a lot of wood chips and the owner decided to give me the load free of charge, after seeing me help an older customer load his firewood. Just goes to show you never know who sees you perform a kind act. When I got home the fun began, i don’t habe a tractor so i use a shovel and pitch fork to hand clean the stalls down to the bedrock floor. This toom the better part of the day but I now have two very large compost piles in next year’s garden locations and clean stalls that smell like fresh pine. I normally do the deep clean twice a year in spring and fall, this time I was about a month late but the job is done. I will get another load or two of wood chips to get a deeper bedding before the weather gets colder though. I try to have about 1 foot of wood chips to absorb moisture and keep the goats up on dry ground.

  11. On getting seeds to germinate:
    find out the temperature range for sprouting, soak proper time for that specific seed ( usually 8 to 24 hours) , and spread out on paper towel ( in dark) in proper temp enviroment ( hopefully your home) and allow them to sprout as witnessed by little tails coming from seed, then spread out into garden bed and slightly rake same.

  12. I have been making cheese this week. It’s so much fun. The byproduct of cheese is whey, which is very nutritious, but hard to use in large quantities. I have scoured the Internet and recipe books looking for recipes. There were a few unsatisfactory suggestions. I didn’t want to use it for fertilizer. Most sources said to feed hogs or chickens. So I finally came up with the perfect solution. Soak corn in whey. It ups the protein, and makes a liquid into a solid so the chickens will eat it. I am so excited! Except now, I don’t have enough whey.

    1. Hi, Rose,
      Have you considered using some of your whey to ferment veggies? There are lots of YouTube videos about fermenting vegetables. One of my favorite channels is Off Grid with Doug and Stacey.

      1. @Granny Stout, Yes, I likely will ferment some veggies and fruit in whey when summer rolls around again. It certainly won’t use up all of the whey I will have though. I am slowly finding a few small things to use it for for human consumption. I am venturing into alternative grains in baking and apparently whey is a good thing to use for that purpose, in very small quantities. I’m slowly learning! I appreciate the idea for sure. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas. Hopefully with time, I’ll get a lot of really good ones. In the meantime, I’ll feed chickens!

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