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!  This week’s emphasis is on small arms mechanical training.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

It was another quiet winter week at the Rawles Ranch.  In addition to homeschooling and our regular chores, we did some review of practical  skills.  Part of this  was re-familiarizing the kids on how to field strip and clean our M4gery carbines. Unlike the U.S. Army’s standard soldier-level field procedure, we also include removing the extractor.  In the second practice session, we raced against each other.  That was great fun for everyone.  Lily even tried it with her eyes closed.  She only had to peek twice.

Note: To avoid losing any of the small “fiddly bits” parts, we had them practice while seated on an old bed sheet spread on the living room floor. Out in the field, we do so over a spread poncho. (And yes, we do carry a few spare small part in our cleaning kits! (At the minimum: A spare firing pit retaining pin, cam pin, and a full extractor assembly–with pin.)

Lily cleaned out the chicken coop yet again this week.  With the outside temperatures hanging around freezing and low forties during the past two weeks the coop becomes very damp and yucky much more quickly, so it is requiring more frequent cleanings.

Temperatures have consistently been above freezing inside our garden greenhouse.  The various lettuces, spinach, and kale have been growing, but quite slowly. They’re still only a half inch to two inches tall. Albeit the spinach is beginning to put forth it’s secondary leaves.  Lily is also continuing to prepare the spare room greenhouse, by laying down black plastic trash bags to protect the floor from moisture and by bringing in four busing trays filled with soil.  These are the trays that she filled in anticipation of the spring planting, back in October.  The soil has been allowed to warm up and Lily is contemplating what to plant in them, soon.

We have been enjoying reading comments from readers about your preps. Please keep them coming. – Jim Rawles


The Latimer Homestead is turning on a dime this week. Despite what you heard from Punxsutawney Phil this week, the warm weather is starting already. I’m thinking this may be the shortest winter I’ve seen in some time.

The shop is a fill-in-the-time sort of project so with the warmer weather, our focus shifted somewhat. Cleaning up the property took front and center for the outside based work and that led to reconsidering some of the waiting projects. Primary among those is a remodel of the kitchen. The kitchen has been due for an update for some time as the cabinetry is starting to show wear and tear and the oven is trying to retire. The kitchen is the heart of the home here and bringing it off-line is no easy task. If it doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen in the summer.

This week we started removing counter and open cabinet contents, cleaning and boxing things that we don’t immediately need. Once that is finished, Hugh will start working on the ceiling, making repairs and updating the support beams, then repainting. We expect that work to take a good portion of the week since we can’t completely decommission the kitchen while we live here. The changes should brighten up the kitchen, which is currently pretty close to a dungeon right now. Once that is accomplished, we’ll start on repairs to the cabinets, though that may be a next week project.

o o o

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


  1. It’s 19° here. 49° inside at 7am as I lay next to the Hearth stone Heritage . Just loaded her up . The days are getting longer ! But until they get warmer I stay inside as much as possible. I often think of Symo
    Hayha and our Native American ancestors on these bitter cold nights . Yes I have the Filsons and Smartwools but the Hearthstone keeps me warmer!I
    Bought the 10 year old boy a ruger 10/22 for Christamas . Hes already asking for a scope and 25 round mag (its not a clip son) . I say no. He bagged himself a few a squirrels and we ate them . A 1st for our family that normally has 3 freezers full of cow , chicken and fish .
    Building some basement steps this week and some other mini projects around the home .
    Normally workout and run in the mornings. Projects in the afternoon . Family at night . You know its the dead of winter in my house when the TV is actually plugged in . My antenna found a distant channel and low and behold Little House on the Prarie is on at dinner time ! Maybe wheel of fortune and jeopardy then immediately back off . This website has been a Godsend for me . I used to live in a metropolis 10 years ago . 50 hour work weeks . Average pay . Average debt .
    I now have a very desirable life and attribute much of it the daily reading and knowledge obtained through this website . Amazing . Thanks

  2. Back in the long, long ago when we had to use that platform we were taught to place the tiny parts (firing pin retaining pin, etc.) in our mouth. Tested at groggy in the middle of the night numerous times, this method worked, although usually left a bad taste in your mouth LOL. No one ever lost a part to the forest floor though.

  3. We have two places…one we rent in the American Redoubt since 2011 and one we are building on family land we now have a piece of back East. Much as we’d love to focus all of our efforts out West, it is because of our son and his college time that we are building this cabin instead of paying for dorm housing. His shoes passed muster for the AFROTC inspection! Praying for a scholarship in the (near) future.

    Since there are another 3.5 school years remaining, the plan is to put in fruit and nut trees, berries and other perennial food plants. Seems prudent to take advantage of this opportunity to prepare the cabin for future generations. As a school teacher, My schedule matches my son’s so we are able to get home quite a bit. I can also make twice what I can back home – and with full benefits. This will give is a chance to get ahead and get on to building out West.

    Right now, with the January Thaw, we continue to clean up the yard by gathering kindling and wood for the stove. We also continue to deal with the rodent problem in the inherited garage we cleaned out.

    Although we have been at this since 2011, a number of severe financial setbacks and low wages have kept us stationary on the plans although some progress has been made. Looking into self employment opportunities. Our plans to purchase land are coming along nicely. Just praying we will have 3.5 years to carry out our plan.

  4. Lots of enthusiasm on this end too.
    We took delivery of 10 yards of garden soil from a local farm. This garden soil is a mix of sand, peat and aged steer manure, that is where the magic happens.
    The delivery was very generous and we distributed between existing beds, boxes, and tubs. I piled some up for later use. Then we realized I needed to build more raised beds! Between persistent rain showers we wore ourselves out. We are happy with the results.
    Hugh, we understand the importance of that kitchen.
    In 2010 We renewed our 40yo kitchen. The Stanley wonder bar made my rip out a little easier. My wonderful Wife went with pullout drawers for pots and pans and she proved to me that Lazy Susans are not relics from the past. Good luck and God bless.

  5. Re JWR’s comment on damp chicken coops in cold weather: We noticed a step-change improvement in coop moisture when we installed a cupola in the roof. The natural draft ventilation extends bedding life several fold.

  6. After decades of planning a move to the now referred as “ American redoubt” we made the journey six years ago. Waiting for the “perfect” moment encourages indecision.
    The past week has been unusually warm, leaving the feeding of the horses and cattle a walk thru six inches of muck. This time last year was 20 degrees colder which led to feeding more hay to keep the weight on the animals. This summer we’ll need to mound dirt to give the animals high ground for the wet spring months.
    This week we have built an entire wall of brick and board book shelving in the basement. Love electronics, but a paper book to read while sitting in front of the wood stove doesn’t get any better… batteries not included! We trade books with our off grid, self made cabin, neighbor.
    Until next time…, thanks for the forum Survivalblog.

  7. Well we simmered the County Inspectors long enough on our “new” build of our 2600 log home. They came on the property, with my close watch over them, they walked around- took some pictures- asked intrusive questions – took GPS readings of propane underground tank and septic and water cistern, wanted to go inside and low and behold “my wife had the key and locked me out until she arrived back from the market.” snicker snicker! They said they would be back out in the summer and then every 6 years. I’m not sure what to do and do not want this harassment anymore from a governing authority and still figuring this one out! We moved to the redoubt for a reason, some of you may understand association dues and their harassment. We we want no more harassment from anyone under God’s land.

    God Bless

    1. My understanding, based on what happened to us after a major fire, is that assessors are required to check out a property so the tax bill matches the improvements to the property. Of course this is invasive, but it is also the job they have to do. Unless you want to mess with the tax man, there isn’t much choice. In my experience, being friends — offering coffee, asking about their lives, stopping into the assessor’s office for benign questions, overall making yourself “a friendly” — goes further than any stalling. Most people will think twice before hurting someone they know, even if they are bureaucrats.

  8. We’re working on plans for a new home. Winged is a good time for reading dozens of books on healthy homes, energy efficiency, root cellar construction, solar gain, design and contracting, as well as amazing videos on You Tube.

    I am thrilled by many incorporating the northern-european design mass heaters. The Permies website has some video links and a book titled The Book of Masonry Stoves by David Lyle. Its actually about heating units rather than cooking units.

    The You Tube stoves incorporate multiple aspects and debunk a lot of misperceptions about rocket mass heating. Now I know that Thule heaters are better than brick, and steel is undesirable because the best mass heaters get so efficient at fuel utilization that they get 90 percent fuel consumption at temperatures which destroy steel. So wood consumption gets reduced to a cord a year for heating. Amazing stuff to a guy who used to burn up 2-3 cords of wood per year in our little Blaze King.

  9. RE: Damp chicken coops, livestock stalls, etc; although an added expense, I have found “Dry Den” to be an excellent product and always use it as a base to the litter/ bedding system whether it be straw, wood chips or what have you. I especially like it over winter and during the rainy spring time as it soaks up moisture and urine when animals spend more time in doors. It is a biodegradable wood product. Even though it has a deodorizer in it, I still lime the floor to help with odor and smaller critters/insects on a regular basis. Just got done with cutting a tree off, and mending fence. Alway’s something between projects. The Boer does are starting to drop kids, and the barred Rocks are laying well. Time to start thinking about the garden, looks like another busy year ahead.

  10. Took advantage of the 54* weather in Colorado and shared the $300 expense with a neighbor to rent a 17yd rolloff. Got rid of the fence panels and trash that accumulated over the fall (had to replace 260 linear feet of cedar fence because of the storms last year). Since our county is on a perpetual burn ban, we had to suck up the cash outlay and have it trucked away. It is amazing how refreshed and energized we feel after removing the depressing clutter. Now to move the chicken coop to a better side of the back yard, and give the garden soil a good turn before the winter stuff arrives.
    Went through the precious metals inventory, placed an order for a little more brass and lead to fill the gaps caused by recent trigger time.
    Next is to clear and clean the garage to gain access to the main workbench for shut-in activities. Anything to keep the TV turned off!
    Semper Fidelis to all our Patriot family.

  11. We have planted onion and brocolli seeds in our greenhouse for transplanting end of March. Next we will fertilize strawberries 30’ row and a rhubarb plant. One rhubarb plant in the kitchen garden. We dont incorporate rhubarb in much eating. Maybe thats something i should look in to because the one plant does really well.

  12. Just got an old snow mobile track and tub, I’m in the process of building a sno dog. This will be good for getting ice fishing gear out on the ice, but, also for skiding brush and logs out of the woods. I’m really exited about this build, as I think it will be useful year round.

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