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,
Here in the northern portion of The American Redoubt, December started out dry and mild, but just at the solstice, winter arrived, in earnest. Since December 21st we’ve had about 40 inches of snow, and only one day above freezing. It looks like we are in for a hard winter.  The nearby lakes have now frozen over, so the Bald Eagles have shifted to fishing on The Unnamed River that transits the back end of the Rawles Ranch. We now see them daily.  Snow plowing with the pickup’s truck plow blade is a tiresome and time-consuming chore. But we realize that it is nothing compared to the alternative:  shoveling it all by hand. So we are thankful for God’s providence.

It is presently snowing heavily. We are expecting power outages in the next 24 hours. But we always stay ready for that. We are now in Shovel Mode. When we aren’t shoveling, we are inside staying warm near our wood stove. Winter is definitely here!

We are looking forward to reading comments from readers about your preps, this winter.  May you all have a peaceful and prosperous New Year, – Avalanche Lily Rawles


This past week the Latimer Homestead did not accomplish a whole lot on the prepping front with company here, but we were able to do necessary maintenance. The livestock was cared for and a few repairs on odds and ends were done. However, this coming week Sarah will be focusing on doing some sewing and mending as well as hearty meal preparation to go into the freeze dryer. Winter is a great time to use the freeze dryer for meals that easily reconstitute right in the jar with just a bit of hot water.


Hugh puttered around the shop a little though. He started work on the Digital Readout (DRO), installing the control head. Wouldn’t you know it, none of of the factory supplied brackets would work except for the control head itself. He will have to make the brackets himself for the mounting of the actual scales.

The other shop project entailed the cleanup of the table saw. After installing the sheetrock, we hired a guy to tape and texture the walls and ceiling. The guy’s work was first-rate though communication was a bit difficult. He didn’t speak any English and we didn’t speak any Spanish. The negotiation was all done through hand motions, drawings on the backs of small pieces of wood and pictures on the cell phones. He really did a good job and was very conscientious about cleanup. Sadly, the table saw was too large to move out of the way and was just covered with a tarp. When he finished, he removed the tarp and wiped down the top with a really wet rag. By the time Hugh got back to the homestead to inspect the job, the damage was already done.

Since the saw wasn’t being used, a coat of oil was liberally applied to keep further rust from happening and we just worked around the saw for the next couple of months. Now it’s time to bring it back online. This week Hugh used Naval Jelly and some elbow grease to remove the bulk of the rust, reapplying oil after the treatment. The next step will be to use Scotch Brite pads to bring the finish back to a new look before applying some wax.

o o o

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


  1. The cabin is coming along. I made flannel curtains and have been keeping the home fires burning in this frigid weather.

    Good to find that the wood stove works well and insulating made such a difference. Water is still problematic, but is going to be solved this spring, I pray.

    We are warm and cozy!

  2. Here in the UP of Michigan we have not had all that much snow yet, however -20 at 6AM has now become normal. I am lucky enough not to have to leave the house for work.

  3. Serviced my generator “just in case”. Years ago we had a very bad ice storm that deposited about 4″ of ice in Southwest Missouri. The power was out for about 10 days. I bought a generator after that but i didn’t need it for another 10 years. When I did need it it wouldn’t run so I’ve learned my lesson.

  4. On the down hill with two weeks of pneumonia. Was able to add another chimney stack and cap in 4 degree weather. Hooked up the coal stove in the basement and started her up. It makes a big difference upstairs and we are not using as much wood in the fireplace now.
    Starting back with splitting wood. Trouble starting splitter so added some “heet”. Still not working. Will continue when able. Still have plenty of split. Snow is coming in. Full pantry, family all cozy. Wishing SB and everyone a blessed New Year.

  5. My husband is working on setting up his second shop. This one is metal, so it won’t get eaten by termites. He has just bought himself a lathe and mill and is working on getting the wiring and insulation done. He’s presently building a hoop roof for the side door, out of galvanized conduit. He’s welding it with a coat hanger. He works on this shop every weekend.

  6. Here we are at the end of the year; I feel like this has been the fastest year of my life! I am in awe of you northern preppers constantly dealing with 4-6 feet of snow and minus zero temperatures. We southerners have difficulty dealing with below freezing temps which the jet stream blows our way! Just dealing with December weather of 6° F is difficult because our houses and vehicles are not weather-proofed to those temps. Despite others claiming global warming, some of my 2018 preps will be on improving cold weather living. May your new year be safe and healthy!

  7. Today was day 301 this year in which we did not have the generator start up to charge our batteries. We are completely off-grid in the UP, and the solar power is working out great. I’ve already starting cutting firewood for next winter, deer hunting season was a bust – rare for me, plowing the 1/2 mile driveway every few days as I get lake effect snow from north and south, and just enjoying some winter idle time in front of the fireplace with coffee.

    It’s hard to believe I’ll be starting seeds in only 2 months. I’ll need to replace 3 11 foot garden fence poles when the ground thaws. Of course, there are many more things on the must do/to do list.

    Many, many thanks to James Rawles and Survivalblog for being here and giving me the push I needed to make this dream come true. We bought the place in 2009. We’ve been living out here in the boonies full time for 3 years and still lovin’ it. I wish I could have done it sooner, before daily aches and pains became a part of life.

    1. The older people I know who take MSM do not have daily aches and pains, unless there is a specific medical problem causing them. MSM is an unbelievably powerful anti-inflammatory. It is a better pain killer than opiates because it blocks the pain from ever getting started.

      Sometimes this is a drawback: it took me all day to realize I had hairline fractures in two fingers after a fall because there was no pain. The swelling, and a strong desire to faint, provided a clue.

      MSM works for soft tissue pain (which is most of your body), joints, and bones. It works for about 80 percent of types of pain, and does absolutely nothing for the remaining 20 percent.

      MSM does not affect your nervous system, so you can drive, or fly a plane (but only if you already know how) when you take it.

      It is wonderful for recovering addicts who have been injured, as MSM is totally non-addictive, so if you know anyone in this category, please pass it on.

    2. Out of curiosity, now many KW of solar panels do you have? Also how many and what size batteries do you have. I live in southeast Michigan and am seriously considering moving North and desire to live completely off grid.

      1. We have a 24 volt, 20 cell Iron Edison battery and 2.2K of panels. We are frugal with electricity, or we would never have reached 300 days in a year on solar only.

  8. Comment to Hugh. When I was teaching wood shop, I always used WD40 with 600 to 800 grit wet/dry sandpaper. Then wiped down the top with dry rags and liberally applied a good grade of paste wax and then rubbed it down. When I left the school shop after 17 years the saw top looked just as good as when it was new. Good luck with your projects.

  9. JWR,

    As you know, in current my neck of the woods, is coming the 20th anniversy of the Great Ice Storm of 98′.

    35 people died as a result of being ill prepared that year because of it.

    A friend wanted me to remind others to make sure you safely heat your homes, and be aware of increasing Carbon Monixide levels in your home.
    (Apparently several deaths were a result of Carbon Monoxide poisoning).

    On a sidenote, what are your recomendations for a descent, cost efficent shovel,for a pickup?

    God bless,

  10. Here in Alaska we had a temperature drop on Thursday. Wouldn’t you know it. Our only pregnant goat also dropped her baby on that cold morning. By the time I went out for chores he was about dry but also about frozen. Baby and mommy goat were moved into the mud room (that is also the pantry and laundry room) – medical support given to baby – and this morning I took them both back to the barn and cleaned up the mess.

    A goid result with a shaky start. Always pays to have emergency vet supplies on hand and know what to do for your livestock. The large animal vet is several hours away and would not have made it here in time to help.

  11. We live in the South so extremely cold temps are rare for us; we might drop to 20 degrees on occasion. We are focusing on car maintenance tasks since it’s better to work in 35-40 degree temps than it is to work in 95 degrees with 90% humidity during summer time. Emergency kits have also been updated for each car. I am also shopping for a good generator in case of ice storms. So far the Honda clones sold by Harbor Freight seem to be a good value. We are well prepared for anything except for extended power loss. Currently leasing so there’s only so much we can do.

  12. You folks that live in real cold country may want to install “Block heaters on you vehicles. My 2006 3/4 ton ford PU I drove down from Alaska has both a “Block heater and a pan heater” I purchased the pan heater from NAPA. When I had my diesel rig the pan heater made starting much easier with the oil being warm. My gas rig starts easier and warms up quicker.
    Stay warm and watch the ice.

  13. I recently moved from sunny California to the northern area of the Redoubt, where we now have had two big snow storms in the past ten days. For five days at Christmas I flew south to visit family who have chosen to remain in California. On my return, I felt sheer joy as the jet took off down the runway taking me home to my winter wonderland. This was a great aha moment for me. Being a California native, I had worried that the cold northern winters would get the best of me. And I mean, I was seriously concerned that I would hate the snow and cold. But the opposite has happened, and I relish the beauty and purity of this season. It’s amazing up here, and this is the first time in my life that I have felt at home in a place. The friendliness, helpfulness, and sincerity of the local people, the beautiful wilderness all around, the peace and simplicity of nature, the spirit of independence and liberty, are delicious to my soul. I can’t express how fortunate I feel to have made the move up here. Thank you, SurvivalBlog, for keeping the lamp lit in the window for all of us. Happy New Year to us all!

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