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!


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
The weather took an unexpected cold turn and plunged the northern part of the American Redoubt back into a round of spring snow showers. This week, in all, we’ve had nearly three inches of snow. If this weather pattern keeps up much longer we may need to go down the road and buy some storage hay. That would be storage hay from last year’s crop, at an inflated price. It would be sad and frustrating to pay a premium price for 10 month old hay with reduced nutritional value. Arrrgh!

My main prepping tasks this week were some reorganizing in our garage and down in JASBORR. I also ran the GhostGunner milling machine a few times, cranking out some more AR-15 lowers. My goal is to have several extra lowers for each member of my immediate family. In recent weeks I’ve also been busy mail-ordering complete upper receiver groups, Lower Parts Kits (“LPKs”), and full capacity magazines so that our family will have everything we need, in the event of another Federal ban. I’ve found many of these items on my favorite gun board, called The FALFiles Marketplace.  It is a great group of shooters with a fraternal spirit who are mostly congenial, knowledgeable, and helpful. Thankfully many of them like to swap, and a few of them will take payment in Bitcoin.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week, in addition to all of the animal and gardening chores, I reorganized and our collection of gardening seeds. Most of them are heirloom varieties. I now have nearly all of them stored in a large opaque plastic bin.  This will hopefully protect them from any sunlight degradation.  Most of the seeds were well-marked by variety and year, but there were a few containers of “mystery seeds”.  Some of those might be planted just to see what comes up. (Don’t worry, we don’t store any Amaranth seeds!)

Please continue to post comments about your own preps.

Thanks, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles


We’ve started our planting on the perimeter areas of the garden, but we have significant areas of multiple gardens that we are going to try laying plastic mulch in this year in an attempt to minimize the weeding work. So, we need to finish laying our water system and then the plastic before we can plant everywhere. This will likely be the focus for us this week and possibly longer.

In addition, while the kitchen is back in a usable condition, the cabinet doors and drawers still need to be finished. With the Feast of Unleavened Bread winding down this week, we’ll get back on that project as well. The cabinet faces were hand sanded and painted, but the doors are going to be sprayed. To facilitate that, part of the garage will be converted into a temporary paint booth so all of them can be done at once.

o o o

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


  1. Made it through winter with about a cord of split fire wood left over. Starting to split now for next year. Cut back the raspberry canes to about 3 feet tall. Have to tend the grapes today.

  2. Hard earned wisdom and a blessing…not raising our children on farm tractors as I was and having not been the safest driver as a young and impatient 20 something (my hard earned wisdom) I insisted that our children learn to drive safely in all weather conditions. Yesterday, in quite a slick spring snow, my son was run off the road. He managed not to hit the other car (that sped off – just typical here in our rural liberal state). We are replacing 2 tires and having the rim (s) pounded out. Not much other damage. The tires are actually studded, so we are having the all seasons put on and will deal with replacing the studded tires next fall.

    As we work to get two places up and running, I am pleased to say that we have a plan for a garden that will be quite out of view here at camp. Since there are still 3 years of schooling remaining, I have plenty of time to start a permanent garden. Last year I bought and healed in berry starts and brambles along with a grape vine. This year I’ll prepare a permanent place and add some young fruit trees as well. Adding rhubarb and horseradish will round out my permanent beds. Last year we scouted out wild apple trees and I plan to try my hand at making natural pectin as well as some apple jelly.

    Although we have replaced the rusted sap gathering buckets with plastic tubing, we just didn’t manage to find the time to make our own maple syrup. The neighbor teen told me that his BOCES class made some and I’ll buy this years worth from them.

    I did spend some money and buy a squirrel proof bird feeder. Our feathered friends are flitting around being fed and I am much happier not fattening up the squirrels. I am keeping in mind that attracting and fattening squirrels might come in handy in the future though!

    Still waiting for spring and keeping busy till than.

    1. I’m not worried about any of that. The garage door is 10’ and I’m hanging plastic from the door rails to create the booth and the door will be open when spraying. In addition, I’m spraying latex paint through an airless spray gun while wearing full body PPE.

  3. Here we are not so patiently waiting for spring, having to scrounge for dry wood for the wood stove… We are determined to fix this for next year in the form of a new stove that will use the wood more efficiently and finishing the wood shed so that we can have our wood here at the farm and not at a friends house… Dreaming of the garden upgrades for this year and planning on getting meat birds later on in the spring. Egg layers are in the plan for next year, although if the other projects get done faster we might be able to get the coop built and get some chicks this summer…

  4. Can relate to hay needs in our neck of the Ozarks, hay is at a premium due to drout conditions since the Fall. 10 month old hay round bales are going for $45+. Not counting fuel to transport.
    Just finished building pantry shelves. My wife is busy canning to fill them. Cows are calving. Chickens are pumping out eggs. 42 are producing on average 35 eggs a day.

  5. This morning I was outside doing some yard work and decided to gather in all the snow marker poles with fluorescent ribbons that guide where we plow along the driveway, and put them away til next winter. I remember having the very clear thought, “It’s almost mid-April, and we won’t have any more snow.” An hour later large flakes started floating down, and it’s been snowing all day since. Another lesson in humility! This year I have hoops and floating row covers for the garden to extend the season in both directions, but at this rate summer seems like a far off dream. Inspected and organized my seeds for the garden this morning, and will get some more plants started in the laundry room this week. All are heirloom from SeedforSecurity.com. Love their products, very hardy and excellent germination. Their varieties are selected to not cross pollinate with one another, which is important for seed saving as it avoids hybridization and helps preserve the original DNA. Cheers and well wishes to you all!

  6. Well this is a little embarrassing to relate, but hey, failures are a part of the journey I suppose. My wife and I planted our seedlings last week in the raised beds, not heeding the available resources that told us that it was still too early in the season, and last night was a nasty freeze and minor snow, and it’s apparent that we’ve lost all of them. I feel stupid, but this is our 1st attempt at large scale gardening, and at least it’s still early enough in the season to give it another go. Lesson learned, and Mother Nature remains undefeated. Other than that, we finished saving the money to rent the mini-excavator to get to our septic tank buried 4 feet below ground, so we can now get to it and have it pumped this week. Please don’t laugh at us too hard, we’re still learning….

    1. Jason,

      I am laughing but please know that it is WITH you, not AT you. Been there, done that! Every year I struggle with self control, counting the days until my little sprouts can go outside. I don’t know where you are but can tell you that based on years of experience (and yes, I am sure there are a lot of different theories, but this works for me every time), here in the Mid -Atlantic region, I harden off my seedling outside during the day for the week before Mother’s Day and then put them in the ground on Mother’s Day. It has almost become a bit of a celebratory ritual. The only caveat is that if I start them too soon indoors, I end up re-potting multiple times indoors before Mother’s Day which is kind of a pain in the rear.

    2. That’s okay. We all have these stories. And long-time gardeners will tell you that every years is different, so even when you do feel like you are experience, curve balls will come your way. I planted a combination of old and new seed in pots in our south window a few week ago, and a bunch of them didn’t germinate. Oddly, those were the new seeds, so … there you go. 🙂

    3. Jason,CAUTION! You are much better off hand digging (a lot of work) over your tank but the disaster you will have if you collapse the cover on your tank makes it worthwhile(4 ft of soil already is pushing its integrity) be sure to inspect tank and have cleanouts that allow both inlet and outlet to be rodded

      1. VT thank you for the heads up, but everything went off without a hitch. I did install risers on the caps (split chamber tank) and it is a concrete tank, so I don’t worry about the integrity too much. It was nice to have something go according to plan around here for once 🙂

  7. In regard to the use of plastic for mulch, tubing, bottles, etc.: evidence is starting to accumulate that the huge drop in men’s sperm count (50 percent or more) may be related to ingesting tiny particles of plastic.

    You may want to keep an eye on the research.

  8. Bargain shopped the local Sears closing;new kitchenaide mixer,tools,clothes,shoes,coveralls,watch bands. All 30%-90% off retail. Rearranged tool boxes. Started to transition from winter to summer clothes(unpack/repack totes)
    Waiting for ground to dry enough to till garden,will enjoy planting seeds I grew last year.

  9. These stories are one of the most favorite parts of this site. We are, also, waiting patiently for spring. A bit more snow flurries today and cold. We had some really warm days previously and I attempted to put my seedlings ( of hardy flowers…not veges) out in the sun on my protected deck, however, did not bring them in at night and had to replant them. Gardening is really unpredictable due to the weather. I planted pea seeds a few weeks ago outside, as I have done this early in the past and it had even snowed on them and they were fine, but no sprouts yet; so maybe have to replant. I have to admit the colder weather makes homeschooling a lot easier as the kids don’t have the itch to get outside as much when its wintery in spring. Getting bundled for walks and errands and outdoor fun is getting tiring and we are looking forward to lighter clothes.

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