Editors’ Prepping Progress

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,
After enjoying three weeks of spring-like temperatures, we’ve received another 11 inches of snow so far this week at the Rawles Ranch. And another 15+ inches of snow is forecast for this weekend. The last I heard, our part of the Redoubt region was already at 125% of normal snowpack. With more snow coming, there is certainly no shortage of snow! We will probably have a late spring this year. (I suppose that I should send a bill to Al Gore for the extra hay that I’ll need to buy. His climate forecasting stinks.)

This year’s heavy  snowfall has shifted our activity pattern. On the snowy days, we plow our road and barnyard. We also switch our focus to indoor projects. We also try to do some snowshoeing after each storm. And when there is a long delay between storms, we are often able to hike on top of the packed snow in regular boots, without much postholing.

We did have two very pleasant sunny (but chilly) days this past week.  That provided us the chance to do some ice skating on one of our low-lying pastures that tends to flood. That was great fun. That sunshine also briefly brought our large garden greenhouse up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. But it won’t be until at least March that we can expect consistent growth of our seedlings in the greenhouse.

I’m making this entry brief, because I have to go plow 10 inches of snow before dark. Right now, I’m feeling a bit like King Sisyphus, because if my reading of the projected Jet Stream direction is correct, then it looks like we’ll have another 8 to 10 inches to push, by Sunday.

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


The Latimer household is still limping along without a kitchen. We are busy working on the kitchen ceiling and supports as well as prepping kitchen cabinets. The ceiling and beam support should be concluded within the next day or two, and then we will all focus on clearing the remainder of the cabinet contents, cleaning and prepping the cabinet and drawer surfaces, and prepping them for paint in the week ahead. We had hoped to be further along at this point, but cold weather and high humidity have slowed down the drywall curing process.

We knew the kitchen was important to the operation of the household, which is why it’s getting this much needed renovation, but we really miss it at this point.

o o o

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


  1. With so many Buy-one-get-one-free sales around us, we have been building up the food storage. A few recent events have reduced it, so it’s important to bring it back up to par levels.

  2. We are without a kitchen right now at camp as well (and have been). We understand! It continues to be a difficult adaptation. This experience has, however, brought out our resourcefulness. We quickly tired of processed foods. If this is any indication of difficult times, living off food storage without running water, electric, store access, restaurants and quick cooking capabilities will keep us alive but be extraordinarily difficult change to handle.

    With our unexpected break in weather, refilling the water tank and wood shed is going to be easier than anticipated. Our indoor activities this week are to reorganize the storage closet for easier access and use.

    On a different preparedness note, my focus this week is to have all the family dental and doctor checkups, yearly tests, cleanings and any spotted problems attended to asap. Getting the family’s heathcare fully attended to will bring us to a good point should care ever not be available. Living in the outdoors as we do keeps us healthy! But, preventative care is important too.

    We need to run the farm truck and it won’t start. My engineering son can deal with that. One Snowmobile also won’t start and we are stumped. Our neighbor is a mechanic and has given us ideas. Hmmm…

    BTW…snowshoes are on the porch waiting for snow instead of rain. Some winters in our camp area are just a tad warmer and, therefore, rainy.

    We can step up our dog training now that we have the training collars. That process has started. We had a porcupine incident that was just awful last fall. Lesson learned!

    Presidents’ week always reminds me of the sacrifice, diligence and clear vision our early leaders believed in.

  3. Harvested 6 barnyard-mix roosters in the fastest time yet; a new record for me. Processed the roos and canned 9 quarts and 9 half-pints of bone broth. I use the half pints as a quick drink of elixir and immune system booster; just heat and drink. Made 5 dz dog treats from the meat.

    Received an order of Chaga wild mushroom powder, which is anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and boosts the immune system; it can be added to soups, drinks and casseroles. Also received a 1 pd bag of pure vitamin C (L-Ascorbic Acid) which stores long term. My order of ginger juice arrived; it is added to recipes for lung and stomach support. When we are out-of-sorts I don’t want to spend a lot of time shaving and brewing fresh ginger; the juice is quick and easy to add soup or a drink.

  4. OH wow, I have a friend in North Dakota, and he said they are also getting snowed in this weekend. It’s a good thing God placed me in the south. I am so very much in the mood to get something growing. I have squash and basil coming up in hanging pots. My tomatoes are about 2 inches tall, and I plan to transplant some of them today. We will still have another freeze or two, so I’ll just cover them up whenever that happens. My geese and chickens are setting, and I’m fixing to put some eggs in the incubator too. This is why the south fusses over the month of cold we have, because we never get used to the cold. We only have about a month of it, and then we’re back in shorts. I do wish it would dry up. The USDA (US-duh) says we are in a drought, but when I have to wear rubber boots because the mud is a foot deep, I tend to not believe it.

  5. It finally stopped snowing every day and now we’re having a melt down. Supposed to be above freezing every day for at least ten days. Some of the locals were decimating the coyote population with all the snow we had, I’m hearing reports of 50+ inside a 8 mile circle of me. GET ‘EM BOYS!
    Really doesn’t make much difference, I’m in the shop every day making a living anyway, got more work than I’ll ever get done, which is a good thing!

  6. Started a new workout program to keep things from being too redundant, and to mix up the stress on my knees. Finally got a good soldering station, makes a big difference. Testing a small cheap portable HF loop antenna, and working on my morse code. This weekends tasks: beef jerky. In theory the jerky is prepping, in reality it never lasts that long. Oh well.

  7. 40 degree weather for the last couple of days melted most of the snow, but will snow later today.

    This week we worked in the pantry/supplies and reloading room; finished the drywall joints, sanded, primed and painted. Hung the peg boards and will hang shelving above the room for more storage possibly today. I really appreciate storage space.

    Was able to cut several widow makers out of the woods, haul them out, cut, split and stack.

    Made a trip into town for supplies, provisions and lunch.

    Giving thanks to our Lord for His continued watch over us and His many blessings.

  8. All the snow this week is giving the plows extra work. My property patrols have to be done on snowshoes of course and I’m planning on a backup set of shoes and cross country skis and those will be purchased for spring or summer when people are less proud of them. The solar panels have to be swept off frequently.

    People moved in near me during the summer and falll. Their dogs are running free on my property and killing my chickens. They say it’s ok because the dog is a higher life form. This proves that I’m a higher life form than bad neighbors. I dislike being put in the position of having to harm their animals to protect mine. Nearer to me are other new “homesteading” neighbors who came onto my property to accuse me of being a trespasser and tell me I couldn’t be armed either. Pretty bold. I’m comptemplating an article for the blog about being a good neighbor when moving to the redoubt although if you don’t already know how to behave yourself then there is little anyone can do to help you.

    I’ve been researching tiny, boat cast iron wood stoves for the cabin as a backup source of heat and cooking as well.

    I’ve found clever reversible camouflage/white winter outer garments that appear promising for this area especially now. In this part of the world to make a fashion statement you wear either camouflage or a plaid shirt with the sleeves removed and that’s just the women.

    1. I have found that often — though not always, it’s true — new neighbors are less respectful and defensive when they don’t actually know anyone else nearby or worked together. Somebody might have to swallow hard, but how about trying to have a get-together of some type (that keeps op-sec), a simple invitation for coffee or BBQ, before it gets worse? It may at least ease some of the tension. Might give a chance to share some of those “truths” about the country they obviously don’t know, such as, “we are all in our rights to shoot animals that come onto our property and kill our livestock” etc. It might not work, but I’ve seen neighbors get very ugly before even speaking a civil word, and it can build to the point of court action. (And it is a witness: the family I’m thinking of are out-spoken Christians, and their one-up-man-ship and threats against the neighbor clearly represented a lack of love, and evidence as to why so many young people have abandoned the faith.) So, why not try peacemaking?

  9. In reply to 11Z.

    Dear 11Z,

    Please do write an article on what a good neighbor looks like, if choosing to move to the American Redoubt.

    It is very important for everyone to be aware of, and also a great reminder: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”. The books of Proverbs and Leviticus have many great examples of how we are to treat one another.


    – Avalanche Lily Rawles

    1. 11Z:
      YES!, I have to agree with Mrs. Lily, write the article Good Neighbors and Good Community Building is almost everything. I would welcome a chance to read what you have to say. That is one of the many reasons while this Blog is here and while many of us do not always agree on all subjects, thank god, we can still learn from each other, which I believe is VERY COOL!
      Stay Frosty!
      God Bless

  10. got fruit trees ordered. planted early onions, turnip and mustard greens, carrots and lettuce in raised beds. cut up seed potatoes. finally completed all renewal paperwork to renew my paramedic license and work another couple of years(over 30 years in EMS)

  11. My Stepson once had a problem with new neighbors dogs killing his chickens. When an angry neighbor came up and asked him if he had shot their dog. He asked them if their dog had killed his chickens. They said ” No, My dog wouldn’t kill your chickens”! Then he told them, “then I did’nt shoot Your dog”.

    1. Now that’s funny, I almost spit my coffee out. Reminds me of that old WWI quote. Reporter asks a soldier is it hard to shoot the enmity? Soldier answers: very difficult, you see, they move around a lot, and won’t stand still.

    2. I made the mistake of calling the County Animal control office once when this was happening. I told them that if the dog kept coming back and chasing my chickens I was going to start shooting it with my pellet rifle. “Oh No, that would be animal cruelty and you could be arrested” they exclaimed. I’m not letting the dog kill all my chickens I retorted. The Officer replied in a bored manner ” If an animal is killing your livestock you have a right to protect them”. Enough said…SSS from now on.

  12. In Montana we also have a good snow storm coming over the weekend followed by more single digit temperatures. I guess it was a mixed blessing not breeding our dairy goats last fall for February kids. We have not been forced to deliver kids in subzero nights, but we did have to pickup seveb 3-day old bottle kids from a local organic dairy. They are now going on 2 weeks old and those late night and early morning feedings in below zero temps does get old. We have switch to 4 feedings as of this weekend which will help a lot. We raise our meat kids to 80-90lbs by this fall and end up with 25-30lbs of meat in the freezer per kid. For those with small acreage we have found goats far superior to lamb in both growth rates and flavor. Castrated males (wethers) taste somewhere between venison and grass fed beef, where as the lambs we raised at the same time on the same hay and pasture turned out very gamey and had a greasier meat.

  13. Have finally collected all the materials to put up a barn owl box. Will install it this weekend. Hopefully it will be occupied quickly and the owls can knock back the gophers.

  14. It’s mostly planning for me this week; gardening is on my mind. I will plant more winter squash for over-winter storage next winter. I’m also planning my first attempt at parsnips, which I am told keep well in the ground over the winter. Will triple my planting of Provider heirloom green beans as they are hardy, so easy and absolutely delicious. Also ordering 1K red wiggler worms to enrich my soil. Planning to put in another half dozen seedless red raspberry bushes as they did very well last summer.

    I have some seed starts going in the kitchen window, but it’s still a little early for this far north. I’m thinking about cover crops for part of my hillside, probably white clover and/or cereal rye-grass. The previous owners planted a pesky maple tree right in the middle of the garden area. It was so beautiful with its fall foliage that I can’t bear to cut it down (yet), but have arranged with the tree people to come this spring and cut it way back. Cuttings will be mulched for compost.

    I’m watching it snow hard outside now, meanwhile remembering the madness of my former life in SoCal, and feeling so blessed and grateful to be here now. Anyone considering a move to the northern climes of the American Redoubt, don’t be scared, come visit and you’ll see how wonderful it is!

  15. Where I’m from if a dog kills or even attempts to kill any livestock then that is a death sentence for that dog. I’ve had to kill trouble dogs in the past and it’s something that I’ve hated to do. However I’ve learned of a less than lethal alternative that seems to work just fine. Now I will shoot them at a distance with a shotgun with bird shot so that it stings like the dickens and that along with the loud bang makes them stay away forever. And if you don’t hit them too hard where they bleed the neighbor will probably never know.

  16. I find it amusing sometimes here in NC when folks from up “Nauf” move down here and start regaling us with how they do it up north. Here in the coastal plain two inches of snow can cause a minor disaster when it turns to ice on the trees and roads, especially with downed power lines. I remember being in a grocery store some years ago when the crush was on for milk, bread, and diapers in preparation for what was going to be considered a major snow event (about 4-6 inches). One of the northers was making loud, obnoxious and disparaging remarks about the local yokels not being to smart, etc. This continued from a while and I sort of ambled over to him and whispered in his ear that he was about to get his butt kicked back up to NY or NJ or wherever he was from. I suggested he stop running his mouth and look around (situational awareness) at the number of people who were staring at him and even mentioned there seemed to one or two men outside the door who seemed to be waiting on someone special to exit. All of a sudden he decided he needed to do some more shopping and kill some time. Having live up north for 14 yrs I spoke to him in one of the aisles and advised him he should rethink his comments and maybe keep them to himself…..I have had similar experiences with others from that part of the country. One suggested to me that I should complain about the neighbor across the road not maintaining his yard very well….it is a 10 acre farm field that had just been harvested from his wheat crop. To this day I have told him any different.

    1. Now that’s funny. I’m one of those “Nauf’ers” moved to NC. There’s a lot of difference to adjust to. (Listen up if you plan to move to he country from the city). For instance, talking in line, and talking to he catch register attendent. In the country, that’s being considerate and friendly, do that up north and it’s like giving the middle finger to everyone else in line. Big difference.

      So, when my friends come down to visit (I won’t go back up there), to grill (and by the way, I’ve been informed that grilling is NOT the same as a barbecue), and go shooting.

      I often have to tell them this: do you know why everyone if friendly here? It’s simple, almost all of them are heavy armed right now. Grandmas purse isn’t that big to cary tissue paper, it’s so she has a place for her colt python. You can keep it up, but warn me first, hollow point 357 can get messy.

      That usually gets them to come around.

  17. Getting ready to go play Army in the snow for a few weeks; my “kitchen” will be MRE’s, some really great Mountain House meals, coffee, and my trusty Jet-Boil. Right now it’s still snowing, but that’s expected this far north into the arctic. Ya’ll keep warm, I’ve started a diary that I plan to write an article for submission to the blog. Who knows, maybe it’ll win me a prize. 🙂

Comments are closed.