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:

Late summer is always a busy time for us here at the Rawles Ranch. We are getting our second load of hay this week. Stacking it is tiring, but it leaves us with a sense of accomplishment. Just one more load after this, for a total of 18 tons.

I also had a trailer tail lights re-wiring project this week, and did a bit of AR gunsmithing.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Some friends came over for a day-long visit and helped us harvest potatoes. Thanks, you two! It was a great big help to me and greatly appreciated. Altogether, we harvested about 200 pounds of French Fingerling, red, and white potatoes. But there are still a lot more to get.  It is a good harvest but might be smaller than last year’s.  I think it is because on average our nights were colder this summer than in most previous summers.  The average night time temp was between 48 and 52 degrees.

I harvested about two pounds of garlic seeds/scapes from my garlic plants and also pulled them up. I’m going to plant the seeds and see how we do with growing the garlic from their seeds.   I also weed whacked the garden paths, yet again.  The week has mostly been dedicated to homeschooling. We’re being very diligent with our time.

There is so much to do here with the garden. But with school and visiting friends last weekend and visiting relatives this weekend it’s getting tough to get things done out there.  In a few weeks our life should quiet down.  Our tomatoes are slowly ripening and if the frosts hold off, we should have a nice harvest of them.  These are the tomatoes that are out in the garden under the plastic hoops.

May you all have a very blessed and productive week. – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles



Things are getting hectic around the Latimer homestead this week as we begin preparations for the Feast of Tabernacles. This is the time of year that we look forward to all year long, but the weeks leading up to it can get crazy. Spending time fellowshiping with our favorite friends is well worth the effort though.


We are still struggling with the bacteria in the irrigation hoses though. About once a week, I’m having to pull the hoses apart at every filter and wash the filter out. If I don’t also let the water line run free during that time, the filter plugs up almost instantly. I’m not sure why it is suddenly a problem this year and I’m beginning to wonder if it’s related to the rubber hoses that we use.

The irrigation system is split into several parts. There is an underground feed line that runs around the property. This is 1″ poly hose buried beneath the frost line and it has several frost-free spigots that emerge around the property. From there, I have a short section of contenental black rubber garden hose that runs to a manifold that has the standard orbit irrigation valves. From each valve, there is another length of black rubber garden hose that gets the water to each section of the garden. These sections start out with black poly hose as a header and either transition to poly drip tape or just individual drippers plugged into the poly line.


There is an easily cleanable filter right before every irrigation manifold and then an inline filter at the hose/polyline junctions. These junctions are the ones that plug up. The hose sections that feed them are typically from 10 feet to 50 feet and they all seem to suffer from the same problem. I’m wondering if the rubber hose is the problem? But this is the first year we’ve had this problem and the system has been in place for several years. The only change we made is in the headers. The last few years, the header was made out of PVC, but this year I made them out of copper pipe so they would last longer.

Of course, the whole point of the system is that at the end of the growing season, I simply remove the headers and roll up the hose. Any ideas would certainly be appreciated. The sludge that plugs the filters is greyish in color and doesn’t appear in the pre-manifold filters.

o o o

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


  1. Hugh, you might try a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water to soak your hoses in, fill the hose and soak in a tub to kill anything growing on the outside also. Be sure to soak all the other fittings involved. Rinse well. Perhaps this will help.

    1. Joe, I think the vinegar is a good idea.
      Hugh, you might also plan to swap your hoses out on a certain schedule throughout the growing season. Sanitize, then rotate the cleaned hoses in.

      The root cause might be the drip system allowing water to sit in the hose. I am thinking that while camping, if we take water from a steam we look for fast moving water. I know the water warms up quickly in our rubber hose when we leave it charged. The warmth might allow some growth. Adding a valve to periodically flush those rubber hoses might also help. Might need to get that water moving.

      On a semi-related subject I checked the water in my rain barrels. The water was stagnant. I had ignored it all summer. I used products from an American company, Well Safe, to clean the water in my barrels. I will now flush the barrels and let them recharge this new rain water. That product is chlorine based so not suitable for gardening.

  2. The GREAT REORGANIZATION has started. We continue our preperation for our move to the BOL in early summer 2019. Worked on the bench in the pole pole barn workshop. Move even more equipment and supplies to the pole barn. I had several tool boxes that I have been consolidating into 2 rolling tool boxes my father gave me. Printed off labels for the tool box drawers and labels for other totes/containers. This will help others, like the kids, find them. The pole barn has multiple foot lockers, totes and other containers laid out as we re-organize containers and their contents. For example we took all of the stored wooden clothes pins and put them in a non-food grade 5 gallon bucket.

    Today I’m headed out with the kids. My son will be cutting the grass and continueing with the insulation. My daughter will be wiping down all the foot lockers, totes, etc from all the cement dust from construction. We are headed to Lowes first for more plywood, insulation etc.

  3. Monsoon season here in Iowa. Grass grows 3″ a day (exaggeration, but not by much) of course the mower croaked and had to spend a day fixing it. Don’t know how many fixes are left in it.

    Oodles of pears coming on. Tomatoes are all but done. Potatoes are all dug, not an impressive yield this year. Sweet potatoes look exceptional, but haven’t dug any yet. Still have peppers and tomateos coming on. Kale is going crazy but I got burnt out on it.

    Rivers are all at flood stage so no fishing. With all this rain i’m sure the mosquitoes are thick in the woods, going to have to wait for a frost before squirrel hunting.

  4. Here in the UP of Michigan, we seem to getting back to somewhat normal weather, This spring and summer have been very hot rainy and humid. You would think that would make for good growing, but alas not so. My tomato plants are huge but hardly any tomatoes. Cabbage grew to basket ball size and then split in half. allowing lots of ugly bugs to infest them. This year is the off year for my apples. There are some but not very big. Sweet Corn was blown over flat in late June, but managed to upright itself in a couple of weeks. This seems to have cut the ear sizes, but did still harvest some. My cucumbers for pickles went nuts. I had enough to make about 14 quarts and still sell some.

    I am getting a bit older and find weeding difficult in the dirt garden, so I am going to completely change how I garden next year. I am going to raised beds and containers. It will be an arduous task, hopefully I can hire a local high school kid to help with work in the spring.

    God bless you all

    Carl in Da UP

    PS, does anybody know whats going on with Ol Remus?

    1. His pc must have died, he posted this:

      Relax, all is well.
      I have not gone gently into that good night.
      A new Woodpile Report follows PC replacement post haste
      or double your money back.

  5. Hugh,
    Your irrigation line problem sounds like you’re dealing with a biolfilm, not just bacteria. Here’s what the scientific journal Nature (nature.com) has to say:

    “Biofilms are communities of microorganisms that attach to each other and to surfaces, for example by bacterial adherence. Biofilms consist of both the cells and the extracellular matrix produced by the cells. Biofilms can be problematic in certain places, for example inside pipes or on medical implants.

    “A biofilm comprises any syntrophic consortium of microorganisms in which cells stick to each other and often also to a surface. These adherent cells become embedded within a slimy extracellular matrix that is composed of extracellular polymeric substances (EPS).”

    Biofilms are hard to get rid of–once the conditions for formation are met, they come back persistently as long as conditions are right. I fought a similar problem with a biofilm causing recurrent clogging in a 2mm plastic filter and even with repeated chlorine disinfection, it would recur.

    Finally, I decided to try salt (table salt) as a drying agent. Scrubbed the filter with the dry salt and an old toothbrush and left it to sit, covered in salt, for a morning, then wiped all the salt off and exposed the filter to strong sunlight for the afternoon. That solved the problem for most of a year. It does seem to recur in late summer when air and water temperatures rise.

    In your situation, you may be dealing with a biofilm that has infested the hoses too–which would make eliminating the biofilm even tougher. Joe has a good idea about the hose soak with vinegar.

    Basically anywhere there is a substrate, moisture and bacteria/fungi/algae, the slimy stuff can form. Biolfilms can be a cooperative effort with more than one type of cell, which makes them particularly hard to treat. (As an aside, if you have a biofilm in one place, it pays to check others since the stuff will form just about anywhere, even on metal filters like faucet filters.)

    Hope that is some help.

  6. Hugh, It is not rocket science. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) But it I engineering.

    What is the source? As you state, something is growing in there. What is it using for food? It is either organic matter in the raw water or your piping is damaged and something from the soil is providing either nutrients for what is growing or is the origin of the “bugs”.

    My suggestions: First, remove the filters and flush the system completely, the higher the flow rate, the better. Second, super-chlorinate the system and let it sit for a while, maybe a day. Be careful where you discharge the chlorinated water as the high chlorine concentration would kill vegetation that you might not want to kill. Third, consider if the sun warming the above-ground hoses/piping could be making the growing environment just right for whatever is growing. Shade the pipe or cover with dirt?

  7. Greetings Hugh, I too keep the Feast of Tabernacles and the rest of the Holy Days. I am alone in doing so. If there is any one who would be willing to communicate via email, I would appreciate it.

  8. I purchased four boxes of tomatoes, and have canned 26 quarts so far. There’s still a box & a half of under ripe ones that I’ve put in the garage for now, until Mrs Deplorable and I can get back to them. Hopefully they will have ripened enough by then.

  9. Bacteria? Or mold? Bleach will tend to fix the latter for a while, but you have to get every last spore. Any kind of mosture will let mold grow even in areas that seem like there can’t be anything to feed on.

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