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 Spring cleaning


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
We’ve had fairly mild weather for the past week here at the Rawles Ranch. Despite some recent dustings, the snow is now melting faster than it is accumulating. And of course the days are starting to get longer. We can see spring on the horizon. My darling wife (Avalanche Lily) is getting her typical late winter itch to start the vegetable garden. Given our northern climate, that will be mostly sprouting indoors until March, and then only starts inside the greenhouse until at least May.

Healthy Hooves

On Thursday we rotated our horses and cattle into a new winter pasture. We typically do this in the late winter each year, to get them off of any sodden loafing areas. The intent here is to reduce any risk of hoof rot. As usual, when we turned them out to change pastures there was much joyous galloping around and kicking up of heels (well, hooves, that is).  That little ritual is always fun to watch. This time, one of our Jersey cross heifer calves was feeling particularly rambunctious. She started to chase a pair of doe mule deer around the newly-occupied pasture. This brief, playful chase took place on about a foot of compacted snow. Seeing that gave us a good chuckle.

All but one of our pastures at the ranch is partially wooded. In the new pasture there are plenty of clear spots (with no snow) beneath fir and cedar trees. Hopefully these fresh loafing spots will keep hooves healthy.

Cabin Fever

We have been doing some spring cleaning and organizing at the ranch house. We are all feeling a bit of Cabin Fever. We can hardly wait for the snow to come off.  It will be great to be able to get out away from the house and tackle some chores like fence maintenance and firewood cutting.

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


We are cleaning garden beds and prepping for the early spring harvests and plantings, such as asparagus and onions. Orders are going in for onion sets, since we didn’t get enough seeds put in this fall. The chicken house was also cleaned this week, but we need to do a little smoothing in their run area this week and pull out more of that wonderfully rich compost to spread in the gardens.

On the Kitchen front, the cabinetry has been cleaned and scrubbed. It took longer than anticipated to accomplish this particular task, but the worst is over. We’ll make it through the weekend and on Monday, we’ll begin sheetrock repairs after covering the cabinetry with painters plastic. This will be the hardest part as the kitchen is basically shutdown during these repairs due to the plastic covering everything. Thank goodness for all of those freeze dried meals we put away over the last year!

o o o

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


    1. I can relate. Here in Michigan we’ve got over a foot on the ground, more coming for the next few & haven’t seen the good side of 30 degrees in a month or better. Arizona is sounding more & more like haven. I LOVE the desert!

  1. I found this to be extremely effective against hoof rot. I call it Special Sauce: One part Venice Turpentine, One part Tincture of Iodine, AKA 7% Iodine, and One part formaldehyde.

    Mix it up in a heavy plastic jug, and store it in the jug, but put some in a paint brush can, the kind that most hoof dressings come in. You can buy them online, sometimes find them at feed/tack stores.

    Paint this on your critters clean soles, paying special attention to the crevices near the frog, and avoiding the soft parts of frog and heels.

    (Don’t worry about it if you do slop it around some, just try not to do it all the time)

    Use acid proof gloves for handling this stuff. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen.

    Having horses in the NW leads to hoof rot, soft feet, and stone bruises. This Special Sauce prevent all three. Put it on after trimming, and every day or so for a week after when it’s wet. Then you can you can cut back to a couple times a week for the remainder of the wet season.
    In the summer, after trimming, then every week or so.

    This stuff really really works. It will get rid of hoof rot, and prevent it. It will greatly improve the toughness of horse feet, and prevent most stone bruises. I have been using it for decades on my horses and goats.

  2. I’ve decided I am going to tackle the diseases and molds in my home orchard like cancer this year. Making sure all the sprays are in order and purchased before the trees approach their late dormant season . A GREAT free source of information can be obtained by pdf on the internet through the Purdue extention. Managing Pest in Home Fruit Plantings. id-146-w.pdf . Its a 34 page download with detailed color images that ive printed off numerous times because a neighbor always wants to “borrow” it . It includes organic and natural ways to conquer these pest that destroy our orchards. In a garden you can plant another seed. You have to wait another season when dealing with trees.
    Might I also suggest a great source of information for the garden as well. A book called the Kitchen Garden Growers Guide is highly recommended. Found it at my local library and have since bought it for myself and as a gift twice. A natural way to conquer pest in the garden is by companion planting. This book list companions for each vegetable and has a lot of knowledge layed out in a simple manner.

  3. What a mixed bag of prepping our family has. A friend rewired my truck so trailer lights will work again. He’s also programming a set of revamped commercial Motorola radios for 320 channels of emergency services, weather, marine, GMRS, simplex, and a bunch of repeater stations across the Redoubt. Last winter I upgraded to General Class and now many of our group are training for their licensing test.

    If you can find the good old commercial grade Motorola radios they are much sturdier for mobile operations than the amateur radios, although not as refined communications as new equipment.

    My wife and I are devouring dozens of books on home construction to prepare for building our retirement home.

    And I continue to find solace and comfort in my Patriots Edition of the 1599 Geneva Bible. Our daughter’s baby was stillborn with doctors inducing labor at 8 months on January 5th after Edith Cupcake’s heart stopped beating. Last summer her 2 year old sister was shown a cupcake to demonstrate how big she was at that point. So that name stuck.

    In our grief also still reflect on how truly hopeless it is for those facing death of loved ones who are not in a loving relationship with God Almighty, Our Lord and savior Jesus Christ, and the Counselor. We know that Edith went directly to our great comforter while we yet struggle and sorrow here.

    Our daughter and son in law will hold the memorial next week. I’ve long since adopted the practice at any memorial or funeral I attend, to give the salvation and resurrection message to any who will listen, especially to those who don’t outwardly profess the faith.

    Prepare for earthly travail advised in John 16:33. Prepare as advised in Proverbs. Prepare for the tribulations that are prophesied on a schedule known to God our Father. Prepare your hearts for the way of the Lord. For He will wipe every tear from our eyes. But we must endure and persevere to the end.

    Thanks so much to all who share here. Comments and writings without rancor, laden with seasoned advice and experience, are a great comfort. May God bless and keep you all.

  4. Our geese are starting to set, so I pulled the ducks out of that pasture and put them in a different spot. The ducks would get eaten if left out at night. The geese won’t. So now I can leave the geese out. I set up their feed differently so the calves in that pasture can’t eat it. I put it under a roof so it won’t get wet when it rains. I have no idea if the geese will set this year. It’s their first year, and I’m reading that often, they won’t hatch till the next year.

  5. Today we finally filled the last of our raised garden beds! What a chore that has been building & filling them for the last 2 months.

    Having successfully experimented with 6 raised beds over the last 2 years, we decided to convert 2/3 of our garden to raised beds so that as we age, we can continue to garden without tilling, bending as much, etc. Charles Dowding’s “no dig” and Huw’s Nursery YouTube channels have been inspirational in our raised bed journey (this is not back to eden gardening – no wood chips to rob nitrogen from the soil).

    We now have ten 4 x 16 foot beds and thirteen 4 x 8 foot beds. Quality top soil is in the bottom of each bed and garden soil/compost mix is in the top half. It took two dump trucks of each soil type to get the job done.

    We will plant everything in raised beds except corn, melons, pumpkins and beans this year.

    Our lettuce, spinach, etc needs to go in a bed this week. And within 6-7 weeks we’ll be filling the beds with summer seeds and plants we’ve started indoors from seeds. Spring is indeed almost here!

  6. Lotta snow. Lotta snow. We’ve had 7 nights where it was below zero. One fine morning it was 19 below. Wouldn’t you know it? That’s when the starter on the old Farmall M chose to break. The old girl is our link to civilization, with a half mile of driveway to plow. We got it rebuilt no problem, though. The drive spring had broke and jammed so the shaft would not turn. Other than that, I’ve been refilling the indoor firewood room. We can fit about 13 face cords inside.

    Oh, and cabin fever? You betcha! We can’t wait for spring. We have at least 2 feet of snow on the ground and it’s deeper in the woods.

    To be honest, I feel we’ve been getting somewhat complacent on any prepping lately. We’re mostly just living the dream our here in the Yooperboonies.

  7. we to this site. I like it. Have spent last month in learning about new subjects, reviewing others. We also had a family death this last Monday, and dealing with family weirdness has taken most of our time. At least there was no sadness from folks regarding her relationship with God, cuz her heart belonged to Christ.
    Replaced our water pipes last week so they are less apt to freeze. Went through 72-he kits to rotate and replace, and in one case, lighten the load.
    Hubby has been going through urban search and evasion tactics with me, sort of a refresher, as two uncles taught me well during my college years. The concept of a gray man is not new.
    Getting ready to plant some seeds for starts for the garden when our eighth month of winter finally ends (may or june). Using the winter to learn more about herbal medicine.
    I like this site.

  8. Well, our winter has been mostly ice thus far making the decision to buy studded tires for the car a very good idea. The Jeep has good tires and 4WD; not to mention my whopping 8 mile commute. Our son drives to college and cross town for AFROTC daily at about 1.5 hours each way, so he needs the tires. He has about 45 minutes to get out of the back country before hitting a highway.

    If it’s snowless next week, I’ll be able to get quite of brush moved. We will also have to replenish water for our tank from the spring during this break in the weather.

    Surprisingly, there are only a few concerns with our cabin set-up after this first winter. Keeping things really simple made all the difference.

    I’ve decided to plan a garden and start preparing the ground even if I end up not using it. The grass will always regrow.

    Finally, the collars arrived for the dogs, so we can move their training up a level. Thankful for that and for all our blessings.

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