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:
We were quite busy at the ranch this week. While Lily was busy in the gardens, I did some more firewood cutting, here at the ranch. Most of what I cut was deadfallen Western Larch–the tree that most folks around here call Tamarack. The majority of those trees were small enough that each of the larger rounds will only have to be split in half–one stroke of the splitting maul, if done properly–to fit in our wood heating stove. And the rounds cut out of the upper portions of those trees can be burned as-is, as full rounds. That makes for easy hauling and easy stacking. No muss and no fuss.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week we had a fairly dramatic thunderstorm roll though. There was a lot of lightening and some incredibly loud earth shaking thunder.  It was quite exciting to watch and experience!

This week, I weed whacked the orchard.  I re-rototilled and then planted the Annex garden with: red, purple, Kennebec and red and white french fingerling potatoes, Alaskan corn, Hubbard, acorn, buttercup, pumpkin squashes.

In the main garden, I re-rototilled and planted tomatoes that had been started from seed in the greenhouse. This year I opted for a full covering of water-permeable black underlayment cloth, in place of mulch or plastic.  With a small hole cut for each plant, hopefully that will control the weeds and add soil warmth for a longer growth season.  In addition to the black underlayment, I am also enclosing all tomatoes under plastic hoops, this summer.  I’m really hoping for a decent tomato harvest this fall with theses warmth-increasing measures.  Our summer nights are typically in the high 40’s to low 50’s which are not the most optimal temperatures for ripening fruit, even though I purchase the shorter cooler season tomato   varieties: such as Siberian and Black Krim.  I also plan to put sweet potatoes under hoops this year.  I also planted two rows of mystery Cruciferous seeds that I had in unmarked plastic baggies.  We’ll find out soon enough what they are.

We went to Costco for a stock up trip and bought mixed nuts, dry roasted peanuts, pistachios (my all time favorite tree nut), almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, raisins, other dried fruit such as mango, figs and dates.  I bought mixed fresh peppers, strawberries, raspberries and asparagus to freeze.  My asparagus beds are finally looking as though I have found success with them and could begin harvesting next spring.  I expect to have a very good crop of strawberries this year.  I had a great setback last year when the cows broke into the garden in the spring and ate many strawberry leaves, setting back our strawberry harvest.  Fences have been very reinforced for this year and all looks good.  We also bought 100 pounds of Jasmine rice and some spices.  We have many pounds of stored generic rice, but this is a specialty rice that I buy which we enjoy even more than the stored rice.  So while it is still available we buy what we like to eat.

This coming week, we plan to get the rest of the garden planted.

May you all have a safe and productive week.

Thanks, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles


The Latimer Homestead is continuing our garden planting. This week we put in more vegetable seeds. We are pleasantly surprised with the results of the plastic mulch. Seeds are germinating much faster, weeds are better managed or eliminated altogether in most areas, water is directed where it belongs, and transplants seem more successful immediately. Among the vegetables planted this week, we put in our tomato transplants that we grew in large pots after crushing tomatoes last year. Usually, we suffer significant losses as we transplant very young plants, but that hasn’t been the case this year. Our red tomato plastic mulch around the tomatoes seems to be encouraging growth and stability, even in our tender, young transplants. In the coming week, we still have melons and peppers to plant.

Also, this week, we were able to clean the garage out so we can drape plastic and make a temporary paint booth. Hopefully, that means that Mrs Latimer gets her cabinet doors back in the kitchen this coming week and that project is finally wrapped up.

o o o

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


  1. got dirt for 1 raised bed and got mint transplanted to it. bed is dedicated to mint only. got tomatoes staked and tied up. completed 10 x 12 shed roof addition to shop.

    1. Good luck with trying to keep the mint contained. It likes to wander where it will, and is an escape artist, with both runners (above ground) and rhizomes (below ground).

  2. We increased our supply of fish antibiotics. We also PRINTED printed our bookmarked pages of information on their use, including JWR’s article of November 20, 2013. Someday I believe they may be priceless (or simply not available).

    For our BOBs we added LifeStraws. Only $14.99 each at Amazon. Why did we procrastinate so long?

  3. We are amazed at the production in our very small greenhouse.
    We should have put this in years ago.
    It seems we plant our seeds and the next thing we know we are transplanting into the garden.

    We will use weed block or plastic next year based upon your reports.

    Four of our tomato plants got a bug. We quarantined, then used Insecticidal soap.
    Our apple trees also got attacked by green stink bugs. We use our fingers to smash and flick. Can’t wait for our grandchildren to assume this duty.

    Mason bees that we harvested last summer hatched and did their job. We are hoping for Italian plums (prunes) for the first time this year.

  4. The bad news is our water well pump failed this week, but, the good news is our local well expert came the same day I called him. That is amazing! He and my son worked all afternoon to pull the old pump, starter, pipes, wiring and replace everything with new, up-to-date equipment. It was a lot of work!

    No specific preps this week, just the same ole homesteader chores; gardening, taking care of animals, collecting eggs, making bread, jelly and herbal remedies. Groomed two of the dogs and a long haired cat. Gave away fresh eggs to neighbors and tried to comfort a neighbor who lost a pet.

    Hope everyone has a good next week!

  5. Completed digging four holes ( three feet in shale / clay ) to install my posts for trellising the grapes. Cemented them in place just before rain was to develop 5 hrs. later. Grapes are already developing tendrils and immature grape clusters that will soon be open for pollination.

    My apricot tree is developing quite nicely – lots of very small apricots on it – but as I approached the tree I noticed gypsy month caterpillars have begun to attack the foliage. Tree is too tall for handpicking so will have to resort to a spray.

  6. Great success harvesting and fermenting carrots that were planted last fall. Delicious. Really enjoying experimenting with fermenting as an alternative to pickling with vinegar.

  7. We spent 6 hours yesterday digging below grade in one of our barn stalls we house our baby chicks in. After digging the dirt out we installed hardware cloth from side to side and front to back. We overlapped the wire and made sure it came up the sides, back and front then stapled to stall boards. Then we placed the dirt back in and leveled it out and added pine shavings. Our baby birds spent the night in the stall without fear of rats digging in and killing them. We will also be doing this to the next stall where our adult birds roost.

    I hoed/weeded the garden. If I could only get my vegetables to grow as quickly as the weeds. My corn, beans and pea seeds have come up. My transplanted tomatoes has grown at least a foot since I planted them and need to be tied to the hog panels they are planted in front of. Everything looks great and I’m optimistic about this year’s garden.

    Started feeding the steers in the back of the trailer so we can get them loaded easily when it’s time to take them to the processor.

    Sold the ram lambs and delivered them this week.

    Planning to plant lettuce in a bunk feeder set in the shade. Hopefully, we can get some lettuce to grow before it’s crazy hot.

  8. We are recovering our current green house, but are also going to build a new one as well. The old one will serve its last year in its current location while the new one is being built in another area on our land open due to heavy snow fall killed and damaged trees being removed for firewood.
    This new area will provide us greater sun exposure in summer, and the new greenhouse will be much larger with farm watering tubs converted into above ground planting beds. I am also considering adding a wood stove in the new greenhouse to extend our season on both ends of the year.
    The new greenhouse will also have a tool storage area as well as a better watering solution using a storage tank system with a 12 Volt DC pump from a motorhome and timer to turn on drip irrigation when needed.

  9. Continue to try to keep the immature chickens happy so they don’t fly over the protective fence and into the grateful jaws of my dogs (I’ve lost 2 to the dogs and one to a seizure type problem)…I’ve now spent another $200 to try out the movable electric fencing. Got my 40 ft storage container delivered this morning (still can’t believe the wife let me get it!) and now I’m waiting on the gov’t officials to come finish blessing my proposed culvert installation that will allow me have a U-drive.

    1. Have you clipped there wings? If not choose right or left as your standard. Use a regular pair of scissors and cut the feathers short on one wing. This throws them off balance when they attempt to fly.

  10. My son dug out a friend’s unwanted bed of Ragusa Roses (finally) and brought them back to our place. The plans kept getting waylaid, but finally happened. In addition, the garden group has volunteered rhubarb, mint, lemon balm and other perennial plants for my edible landscaping.

    Although many of the perennials have survived, there were losses after the heavy freeze-thaw-freeze-thaw winter. I’ll have to replace some plantings.

    In spite of last year’s hurculiean efforts to eradicate some invasive Knotweed, it has returned. I’m at the regrowth daily. The good news is that it is in the ditch by the road and the side of the driveway, so I’m not quite so upset about using the chemicals I’m using. It is vicious and definitely a battle.

    It’s slow going here since the family has gone back home. I continue to work and keep at the place for another month. Lots to do, but we are on the long plan. Getting 2 places going is a lot to take on; however we are following my mother’s advice to “make hay while the sun shines.”

    Wishing everyone a fruitful week!

  11. Spent last week in the woods picking morel mushrooms, this weekend we added garden soil to the raised beds, restacked whats left of the wood in the wood shed, adding ball valves to all the irrigation sprinkler heads this week.

  12. We’ve had a heat wave in our area this week. Highs were 96 which broke a record set in 1905. We ate our first green beans from our garden this week. Potatoes aren’t far behind. Both our corn patches are head tall and beginning to tassel. One variety is pencil cobb which we raise to keep our grid down supply of seed corn fresh. The other is Merit sweet corn we eat and can fresh.The “field peas” we planted are now 2″ tall and will need plowing this week to control the grass and weeds. we are in a mini-drought now. We have only received .2″ of rain in the last 25 days. However, the last rain we received was 10″ at one day in May. For those of you who are overrun with corn eating varmints, we tested a row of popcorn last year. Production was good and the squirrels and raccoons would not eat it. So if you want a tasty treat and something that will grind into excellent corn meal when dry, try some popcorn. Just pick up a bag or two that is just plain popcorn from the feed store and plant like regular corn. I’ve been waiting for some rain to fertilize our hay fields but with no rain, looks like I will start cutting and bailing next week. I hope this will not be another bad drought starting.

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