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:

This week at the ranch I was very busy with firewood cutting and slash hauling. I also hauled some topsoil and rocks. The largest rocks (small boulders) were too big to lift, so I rolled them on to my trusty old stone boat and dragged them with my utility ATV.

I’m hoping to be done with most of the firewood project by the end of July.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week we made a Costco run for paper towels, dish soap, laundry soap, peppers, cherries, raspberries, pistachios, asparagus, rice.  I blanched and froze the asparagus, chopped and froze the peppers, and sliced and pitted the cherries and froze them.  Additionally, I have harvested a gallon and half of strawberries from my strawberry beds.  I also washed and froze most of them.

My black raspberries are turning red and a few have ripened.  Yum!

In the greenhouse, I finished preparing a bed for my fall crops.  In this bed, I planted seeds of broccoli, cabbage, carrots, Red Leaf lettuce, Bib lettuce, spinach, beets, turnips,  basil, cilantro, oregano, Blue Lake Bush Beans and 54 day Summer squash.  I interplanted some of these seeds and am very curious to see how they’ll fare being so close to each other.

I harvested some of our first broccoli and onions.  The onions are about three inches in diameter and we have another eight weeks of growing season.  They’re going to be huge.

I’ve weeded in the main garden and cleaned out the hen house.  We have been rotating the sprinklers around the orchard, main and annex gardens.

I would just like to say that Spiritual preparation is even more important than physical prepping. Please, if you don’t know the Lord’s salvation: Jesus the Messiah. Please get yourself a Bible and read it and repent from your sins in the name of Jesus.  Beg Him to give you discernment of the great deceptions taking place at this time in our World.  Time to get right with the Lord God, because times is running out.

Many Blessings, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles


This week was spent cleaning up the damage from the storm. Early in the week, that entailed being on the hands and knees gingerly digging out as many plants as we could from the nearly six inches of muck and mud that covered the garden. While we were able to recover all but about one fifth of the garden, Mrs Latimer was still heartbroken. The area that took the heaviest damage was the area that had her garden favorites. The areas we were able to recover had the majority of the staples in it. Corn, beans, potatoes, onions, and tomatoes will all make it with only a few plants lost. However, the lettuce, melons, peppers and others are gone for this year.

Most heartbreaking for Mrs Latimer was how hard she had worked over the years to keep this garden wholesome and organic. All the work is pretty much down the drain. We have no idea what sort of contaminants washed into the garden, but based on the smell during the rain, there were several. There is no smell in the aftermath, so the sheer volume of rain may have cleared it away, but without testing there is no real way to know.

When we moved into this house years ago, the previous owners had spread more than an acre of plastic and gravel in an effort to create a low maintenance xeriscaped property. We’ve spent years scraping and moving gravel, gradually clearing it away to be able to use the land to plant ornamentals, fruit trees or garden. We’ve had these giant piles of what we called dirty gravel on the land; gravel that has too much dirt in it to be useful for much of anything without major cleaning. One of these giant piles became the basis for a levy this week. The dirt/gravel was just the right mixture to pack down tightly and Hugh spent a day on the front end loader moving the pile and forming the levy so this flooding never happens again. Too bad that wasn’t done years ago.

The shop also received some much needed attention. SurvivalBlog readers encouraged me to install feet on the lathe when it was leveled. Apparently, most lathes were designed years ago when the average man was several inches shorter than he is today. For some reason, lathe design has never accommodated this overall growth trend of several inches. The lathe was raised about two and a half inches by using 5/8″ bolts, nuts and washers. Since the bolts were manufactured using a stamping process, the bolt head was faced off in the lathe, but other than that and trimming the bolts to the proper length, they were just standard Home Depot bolts. Afterwards, Hugh said that he was pretty sure his back uttered an audible “thank you” as he worked on the lathe.

o o o

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


  1. Sorry to hear of your crop damage. We used to sigh when our Redoubt garden made it through a year without hail damage, (and a young family with 4 kids relies on that food)…..about a third of the time. But as Forward Observer notes below, perhaps this was again our Lord stirring you to the response which you made. God Bless.

    Massive hurricanes due to changing weather patterns could be on the horizon

    The most severe hurricane classification is a Category 5, but in the near future, it’s possible there could be even larger hurricanes – Category 6, which have never before seen. For what it’s worth, weather and climate experts say hurricanes are becoming slower and wetter, meaning they are more likely to linger for longer periods over areas of the country and drop even more precipitation. There is still debate over whether hurricanes will be more numerous, but most researchers do believe they will at least be stronger. “There’s almost unanimous agreement that hurricanes will produce more rain in a warmer climate,” said Adam Sobel, professor of applied physics at Columbia University, where he is director of the Initiative on Extreme Weather and Climate. “There’s agreement there will be increased coastal flood risk, at a minimum because of sea-level rise. Most people believe that hurricanes will get, on average, stronger. There’s more debate about whether we can detect that already.” Timothy Hall, senior scientist at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies said it’s possible that by the end of the 21stcentury, monster hurricanes featuring 230-plus mile-per-hour winds are possible. Of note: Hurricane Patricia, which hit in October 2015, featured winds that reached 215 miles per hour. [source] Analyst comment: Predicting the weather 10, 20, 50 years from now is a very inexact science, so all researchers really have to go on is current data on storms and storm systems that have already occurred. Like intelligence analysts, they look for trends and once found, those can lead to accurate conclusions. Some trends already noted include higher winds, slower moving storms, and more rain per storm – all of which means more damage, more flooding, and greater costs to communities and the private sector, not to mention deleterious effects on infrastructure and commerce.

  2. Putting in a protective levy in front of the garden is a very good use of old dirty gravel. On our farm we had to increase the slope around the house so water from the gutters ran down the hill instead of sitting near the foundation.

    This week we did maintenance on the standby generator; changed the oil and the battery, checked the propane levels and cleaned the interior and exterior. The portable generator for the barn was cleaned and prepped so we are ready for thunderstorm season.

    Made and canned tomato sauce, stewed chopped tomatoes, pasta sauce and jalapeno pepper sauce. Made two batches of stuffed hot peppers, but they got eaten before I could freeze dry them! Dried more kitchen herbs.

    Are there any rabbit growers on this blog? One of my Giant Flemish rabbits gave birth 5-days early; kits all perfectly-formed but either died right after birth or were still born. Doe has consistently kindled 6-8 kits and all have lived as she is a very good mom. She is only 2-1/2 years old and bred 3 to 4 times a year depending on the weather. Still trying to figure this out.

    1. Rebreed her, something (T storm, snake, shadow, etc ) could have scared her, or it might possibly be a food change. Sometimes it don’t take much. (I’ve had them kill and eat their kits)
      Unless it happens again I wouldn’t worry.

      Rabbits is funny animals, they have 2 horns to their uterus and both sides may conceive if you leave the buck in overnight, this can result in malformed kits and early miscarriage. But usually not near full term.

  3. Oh the dog days of summer! Trying to keep up on the watering and harvesting of zuccini and peppers, swiss chard, various herbs and spraying the fruit trees (I gave up on organic fruit this year – way to many codling moth, peach tree borer, scale and such).

    HJL, you can’t see everything coming your way. When I lived in Mesa Arizona in the early 80’s and watched the dry Salt river bed turn into a raging torrent of +200,00 cfs. It took down every bridge in the Phoenix area except the old Mill avenue bridge. Nobody thought it could happen…….
    Good idea on the berm.

  4. If you subscribe to Netflix be sure to watch “How it Ends”, an original Netflix movie just released on the 13th. It has some unrealistic scenarios but it does a great job of showing how quickly society breaks down and how different people react to it. It has kind of a let down ending but otherwise I’d give it an A-; This week we filled our many 5 gallon gas & diesel storage cans — we emptied what we could into our cars & tractors first so we’d have nice fresh gas in storage; we are experimenting with a late crop of tomatoes which we just planted from seed, it should be warm enough to see some early Fall results (still warm here that time of year); we ordered some more silver and a plantinum coin – platinum is super cheap right now; mostly we are working to finish picking our tomatoes, corn, peppers & cucumbers; final summer garden harvest is in August – melons, peanuts & sweet potatoes; late August we will plant a small fall garden; made a wally-world run & stocked up on some more cleaners & soaps; The weary need some rest!

  5. The heat wave and dry weather has changed the landscape fast in Montana and impacted the garden. Everything when from lush and green to shades of light green, yellow, and brown. I am hoping this does not make a bad fire season come August and September.

    In my garden, the lettuce is going to seed and my potatoes have fallen over and started to brown. I decided to just dig up the potatoes to plant fall crops of beets, brocolli, and some other cold hardy crops. We ended up with almost 3 five-gallon buckets of potatoes from the main garden. Everything else is the garden is growing good and we are being overrun with snap peas and various summer squash. The rhubarb is also ready to harvest again for more strawberry-rhubarb jam, we have made 18 pints so far.

    Yesterday we picked up some corral panels purchased from an older couple whom we helped rehome their horses. We spent this morning setting them up so I can till the soil and start adding sand for a round pen to train our horses.

  6. Hi, Lily. I’m glad to know I’m not the only person who blanches vegetables before freezing them. Every year I freeze enough beans (limas, fordhooks, purple hulls, black-eyed peas, lady peas) to last the winter. Some of the dealers I buy from tell me all I need to do is put the unwashed, unpicked-through beans in a pillowcase and stick them in the freezer. I’ve found far too many small worms and bugs to do that, so I go through the whole routine of carefully examining, washing (3 times), blanching, cooling with ice, draining, and bagging before anything goes in the freezer. I really can’t tell the difference between fresh and frozen. I had a smart Mom. Good luck with the rest of your harvest, which sounds delicious.

  7. I am so sorry about your garden. I have always tried to have at least two years of canned foods for just in case i have a crop failure for whatever comes up. It s definitely something to consider if you plan to live off of what you raise. Gardening isn’t a sure thing as you well know. We also freeze foods but running freezers off grid uses a lot of power so i can a lot and will be able to can all frozen meat rather quickly if i need to. I am glad you were able to slavage the majority of what you planted.

  8. We have completed our gold and silver purchases; using companies who advertise on SurvivalBlog; we were not dissapointed in the extremely fast and well organized service that was given us. We will of course order more since the prices have fallen quite a bit, but the large purchases we made are made and nothing can be done now except know that were prepared in that area. Though we have plenty of food and weapons / ammo, our current push is now to become debt free.

    The mortgage is our primary debt, all but one credit card is now paid off, and that will be finished soon.

    A large multi season green house in now in progress, last winter we had a lot of “rainbow trees” due to heavy snow loads so these will be culled out and the wood used as much as possible for construction of a green house that we can heat and use for mst of the year in some form or another. Our summer season is very intense, but also short; already we’re loosing daylight so the biggest project we face is being able to grow basic food staples well beyond our normal growing times. The necessitates a heated green house with wood being the primary fuel since it is in abundance for us. I installed a new pump in our well and piped it out for use in the new greenhouse area. This pump runs on 120 Vac power so our generator is able to handle its needs quite handily.

    I purchased a solar panel system and using very large salvage batteries from work I’m building up a solar power system capable of running basic survival need power; that being LED lights and the water pump. My communications equipment all runs on 12Vdc so no need to worry about that part of our preparations.

    For the last several years we have been forming a “Constitutional minded group” of friends and fellow members of our faith fellowship as a nucleus of believers who will support and defend one another in a time of need. This has been utilized several times already due to unforeseen tragedies within our group, but looking back upon these experiences it seems to me as they are what we were preparing for, just not on a grand scale expected in a TEOTWAYKI situation; I almost said grid down but up here grid down is the normal situation for weeks at a time during the winter season …
    In summary, read daily the word of God, live Christ, read the Constitution and find Christ in it HE is there. Teach Christ in the Constitution when you learn it and pass on to the next generation the fundamental truth of freedom and liberty. And, as the Boy Scout Motto says: “Be Prepared.”

  9. Moved a bunch of firewood out of the storage area on the house at the BOL in preperation for the addition that will take it out to add a full basement under the addition. The new pole barn site at the BOL has been prepped and gravel leveled and compacted. Making a mess of the grass but that gave me an idea to gravel the areas tore up by the Bob Cat dying the prep work. Materials are to be delivered Monday for the Barn and hoping work starts the same day. Clock is ticking since we have been waiting for pole barn to be built to empty the garage at the BOL that is used to store much of our prepping equipment- want it both out of the way and out of sight of the crew doing the addition. That will be a chore. After moving the wood the neighbor came over to take a bunk bed and dress that we will not need when we move out there. In exchange we were offered fresh home made butter and cheese for awhile.

    Added some info to my prepping binders on gardening, 7-10 rule, etc. checked stock of dosimeter logs.

    Planning for next weekend since the one town near our BOL is having the community heritage days with blacksmith demos etc. planning on taking the kids to that and to a gas and steam engine show.

  10. Hugh:
    Nice job on the elevated feet for your lathe. I have one more suggestion. Having your machine tool elevated will make it much more convenient to use, no doubt. You’re using bolt as an adjustable leveling foot. Each bolt has a pretty small surface area, and the bolt head is in contact with the concrete floor. There’s nothing to absorb machine vibration. The solution is simple. Any of the the big box stores will have these. Here’s link for Home Depot. I really like this particular style. I use them for a lot of applications, including my diesel generator:
    Also, get a wide area washer that you can put inside the recess in the middle of the pad. That way, the load of the hex head on the leveling foot will be distributed more widely on the shock absorbing leveling pad.



    1. @+P+
      Thanks for the ideas. I really wanted to bolt the machine down to the concrete floor, but was unsure if this concept of sitting on bolts, nuts, and washers would even work. Nor am I sure that where it sits is where I want it long term. My concern with the pads is if they have any settling as well. The pads I purchased from Grizzly (recommended by them) were woefully cheap in construction. What I used was probably overkill as there are 8 bolts and the machine only weighs about 1300 lbs.

  11. It has been an interesting week. I have finished going through every box in storage and just have books and sewing supplies to organize. I found that we are lacking in bed linens and will be looking for thrift store options or super sales to keep spending low as we are also working to get debt free again.

    We brought a trailer load of wood in from the national forest where we have a permit you cut. Getting ready for winter.

    Most interesting was when our college aged Eagle Scout and his trusty dogs were a couple hours late getting in from their hike. It was now well past dark and I realized that I really trusted his skills and instincts. We were just about to leave the truck at the trailhead and head home for the night when he appeared safe and sound. Seems the dogs’ collar controller had fallen out of his pack and he went searching for it (quite expensive to replace). He found it. As my husband said, our son has extraordinary woods skills. Good parent test for his military deployments when he finishes college and officer training.

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