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,
A lot of the accumulated snowfall has melted, here at the Rawles Ranch. But the weather forecast shows a couple of weak storm system approaching, promising a mixture of rain and snow, for the next couple  of weeks. But at least it looks like I won’t have to do a lot of snowplowing. I don’t plan to be outdoors for much more than just feeding the livestock, toting firewood, and checking on the stock tanks. This a good time of year for those indoor projects.

The Drafty Door

With the recent cold weather, Avalanche Lily noticed a bit of a cold draft coming under our bedroom door, from the hall.  This is because whomever built the house had apparently hung the door with eventual deep pile carpeting in mind, leaving a hefty 1.25-inch gap beneath it.  I first considered adding a thicker threshold piece, but I realized that we’d just be tripping over it. So instead, I solved this problem by extending the bottom of the door.  I used Torx head power screws and my trusty  Dewalt to attach a 1″-square wood furring strip and then a broom style vinyl-and-pile door sweep. (I was careful to first drill pilot holes for the screws, to prevent the furring strip from splitting.) Problem solved.

Our local farrier was out to the ranch a few days ago, for hoof trims on our horses. The horses (and their hooves) are doing well, despite the alternating wet and cold weather this year.

Ordering Time, Again

This time of year is also dominated by planning for spring and summer gardening and livestock.  Avalanche Lily has been sitting near the woodstove, pouring over her catalogs.  She just placed an order for some non-hybrid gardening seeds and more blueberries and some yellow raspberries. She also placed an order for four swarms of bees, for our hives. We are getting Russian queen bees this year. (We’ll be picking those “split” swarms up in late April.)  After weeks of deliberation, we decided on our next poultry order, from the Murray McMurray hatchery, in Iowa. This year we will be getting a straight run of  80 more chickens, a smaller batch of a different variety of turkeys, and an experimental batch of smaller game birds. Delivery of the peepers is expected at our post office in early April.  They always promise two-day delivery. But given our remote locale, it is usually three or four days. For several successive years, we’ve received the call from the post office on a Saturday morning. But thankfully, very few chicks have perished in transit.

We are looking forward to reading comments from readers about your preps, this winter. – Jim Rawles


This week, the Latimer’s Homestead had a bit of a dud in its preparedness efforts. A virus took its toll and slowed us down quite a lot. We did get some of our storehouse pulled and cleaned, but it was only a fraction of what we’d intended. The chicken pen is still in need of cleaning and more. So, this week we will pick up where we left off and try to get this work completed, as our strength is increased.

Our illness, we are quite sure, is a direct result of our break in our standard protocol. We got lax on our preventative doses of elderberry syrup and intermingled with a group we knew had been ill and apparently were still contagious. This experience reminds us of how important good hygiene, preventative measures, and natural health care will be in TEOTWAWKI!

o o o

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


  1. On our homestead this week we were able to continue to haul in a few logs, split and stack. We find we are not using as much wood now that we have our coal stove going in the basement. Also, the drywall mud continues in the pantry area. We are new at this so it is taking more time than we would like. The pantry/reloading room and garage area are just practice for the living area as we are finishing our basement. We had a few days where things were melting so we were able to put on the doors for the fuel shed. Had to shim the doors but it all looks good. We will pick up some more of the paint we are using for our outbuildings and finish it up. Several folks at our church have come down with the stomach flu. We just got over our illnesses, so we plan to take our germ wipes for after the meet & greet session and take our elderberry syrup before we leave. No joke folks, we are in our 60’s & 70’s and it takes weeks for us to get well. Too much to do to be sick again. Blessings to all and have a great week.

  2. Buying up the peat moss and soil amendments at the local big box store. Will get tilled into the garden once weather breaks. Placed my first order of the season with a seedhouse. More clearing for fencing, couple more burn piles to be made, and everything for the new pasture should be cleared and ready to start fencing in Spring. Starting to look at spring-seed starting as well. There are a few things that can be started 8-12 weeks before planting outside (that’s 3 months!) Guess it’s almost that time!

  3. This is the day the Lord has made. Knowing that, I must admit I am anxious for spring to come.
    We are trying heirloom seeds for the first time this year. One particular variety of black cherry tomato has us excited.
    We installed a fiberglass green house. After years of research we settled on a commercially available product made in Washington state.
    Cleaning and lubricating firearms is easily scheduled when it is storming outside. A few at a time.

  4. I’m in the process of buying a new battery bank for the solar system. For those in our area that use solar you quickly find that you can go for days without seeing the sun in the winter, and I need to add more capacity.

    The battery I’ve picked out is a 48 volt forklift battery rated at 800 amp hours. It literally weights a ton, so I’m currently reinforcing the area where it will sit and waiting for the ice to melt a bit more before ordering it.

    With this change I’ll be off grid this spring!

    1. If your in northwest Montana consider axmen in missoula. I’ve bought several solar related items from them. I purchased my 1250ah, 48volt bank from them. They even boomed the batteries into my 8’deep battery vault in my solar shed with there propane truck. They will price match as much as they can but I’m willing to pay a little extra for the local service.

      1. Guys

        I’ve heard mixed stories. My question is with overall power consumption. There are so many items out there even selling on amazon which run off of 12 v DC but not higher voltage as 24v DC. Like light bulbs and tools and the like. So does your converter turn your 48v DC into 110 v and then you power everything in your home with just wall outlets or do you have a mix of voltage needs such as gadgets running on both AC and DC.

        I’m asking because we have a neighbor that’s not so bright (pun intended) but he purchased those 12v items such as bulbs and what no and says it saves him power.

        We’re getting ready to go full solar in the spring and don’t want to overlook something.

  5. Was given a runt hog out of a confinement, got it all butchered out myself, got 75lbs of meat. Yesterday we canned 20 lbs of ground pork and found 18 lbs of venison in the freezer to can as well. Other than that, still building guns and staying in deep hibernation. Needs to get some seeds ordered this coming week.

    1. Just opened a new TSC near our MO location and they are carrying bee supplies. Prices pretty high but so is shipping from any of the big companies. Recent check of our hives show them all wintering well. Will soon start feeding for early buildup. Seed orders in and a few weeks until we open the greenhouse.

  6. We are in the process today of wiring in another 220v outlet within our back/mudroom so me may begin running our harvest Right FD once again. The garage simply gets too cold here in Northern NY. We are also redoing a bathroom as well.

  7. We have completed our wood burning stove with 6 inch flue chimney of the Log home.

    Question. We took back a stove which wasn’t putting out heat and now have a much deeper box and tripled the cubic feet with our new King stove. However we get plenty of heat to the upstairs just fine but to the back rooms of the first floor where the stove resides the heat just isn’t traveling that far back to the corners of the home.

    Do we need a fan? A duct ? Or another stove inserted?

    We have 1500 square feet of living space.

    Thanks for any advice and as always appreciate the blog.

    1. I will reply with the thought that you have a Blaze King “King” model stove. Do you have the catalytic version or non catalytic type? I have the King with the catalytic converter built it. It has been my primary heat system now for 6 years. I live in the interior Arctic and my home is just under 1250 square feet in size and I have a full size crawl space under the home that I can walk in. My stove has burned only clean, 2 year dry birch wood and never anything else.
      I use a heat activated electric fan to circulate heat when the stove it lit. The fan does a great job to circulate heat, and the temperatures under the house have never gone below 40 degrees during our burning season which is from September to late April.

      Be certain to never burn trash, paper or other items in your stove, and use well dried wood. When the temperature here are at 60 to 70 degrees below zero we sometimes have to open a window to cool the house in the living room where the stove is located.

      I hope this helps you.

  8. JA
    We have used ceiling fans to assist in distributing air to the back of our home. Not perfect but it seemed to help. I have thought about cutting a vent high up between the walls to provide passive distribution.

    J in WA
    I hope I don’t break a rule by mentioning the company. I can assure you I do not work for them.
    Like I said we researched for a while. We went with Solar Gem. I cannot comment on our experience as we have yet to grow a crop. The best deal we found was at Costco.

  9. Tonight’s snowfall will likely be rain. All I can say is how thankful I am that we moved the placement of our small cabin to higher ground because of sitting water in our unusually wet spring and summer. It delayed our plans by months and required a lot of extra work, but it appears to have been the smart move.

    We continue to reorganize and resupply as money allows. Bought the final 30 gallon trash can to store the rolled oats. Purchased a replacement battery charger to carry in the pick up. Since our other one died, we waited and bought one recommended on a regular blog I follow. It is a treasure trove of usefulness with a air compressor, multiple opportunities to charge electronics and quite the light source.

    As many of the veterans reading will know and fondly remember, our Air Force ROTC son has spent a bit of time polishing his new black uniform shoes while sitting round the woodstove. He has a but of Ironing to do before Tuesday as college starts up again.

  10. I will be very interested to to hear what is your experience with the Russian bees. We have Russian bees. They are an entirely different animal than the Italian bees. For every bit as loving as the Italian people are compared to how fisty the Russian people are, the same is true of the bees. I can work the bees and they will still remember me 3 weeks later and still be mad at me and come sting me if I step out of the house, and fly the 50 feet to where I’m standing and sting me. They also have longer and stronger stingers, so they will sting you through your usual bee suit, if you don’t have three thick layers underneath. It’s a JOY to work them in these hot Mississippi summers. (Smiles) On the plus side, they are extremely hardy, and are heavy honey producers. They do perfectly fine with only being worked once every year or 6 months. We finally moved them across the road in a less used area, so they can be mad in their own domain and leave me be in mine.

  11. Mr. Latimer,
    Sorry to hear about the sickness in your family. When I hear about someone catching the flu, stomach virus or some other communicable disease I have to wonder if we preppers who are holed up in our little groups after the SHTF will still be susceptible to all of that. I have to wonder if we might actually be more healthy. What do you think?

    1. @M-ray
      A good reminder to us that no matter how much you love the person/people, you can’t let your guard down when it comes to communicable diseases. We mingled, shook hands and ate with people whom we knew were sick. Choices have consequences 🙂

  12. taking advantage of winter weather and pork butt / 99 cents/# sale by trying our hands at making fresh polish sausage. once we refine flavor to our taste we will move on to a batch of smoked polish sausage. picking out this years garden experiments and improvements. getting our ducks in a row for 2018 homestead projects and repairs. thank you and keep up the good work. winter weather allows us to stay current with survivalblog. once the weather breaks we often have to catch up on our reading . would not want to miss out on all the great info you supply.

  13. Getting ready for our annual camping in the snow event this next month. Bought some new tent heaters (brand new in the box) and assembled them this weekend, will take them outside this week and fire them up for several hours just to burn them in and make certain we have no leaks. This year we are going to cross over to Canada and play with our friends in Canada; if the weather holds constant the average temps should be between – 25 F to – 45 F with a lot of snow pack this year. After the event is over and I’m back home, there will be a hot pot of cocoa ready and waiting by the wood stove. In mid March I am going to school for re-certification on Arctic survival skills. Oh joy for the coming of break up…. the Mrs. has her Siberian seeds set out and in late March will start her greenhouse sets. Root crops rule …

  14. Don’t know if you live in a modular or a stick built house, but that 1 1/4″ gap at the bottom is most likely for return air flow to the heating system. Newer modulars don’t have return air vents– just large gaps at the door thresholds. Basements often use the same method for return air flow.

    If you start waking up with headaches, restore your threshold venting to its original condition.

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