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:
I was finally able to burn my slash piles this week. I waited to burn the three largest ones on a rainy day, for the sake of safety. Those briefly had flames going 30 feet in the air. Only two of the piles had any stumps. As usual, those were the ones that took several days to tend. The other piles were completely consumed in less than eight hours each.
With a tractor, we hauled more manure in to the main garden. After rototilling that in, the garden will be ready for winter. The greenhouse is still producing well. We presently have tomatoes ripening in too great an abundance to can them all before they would start to spoil. So we are giving a lot of them away to neighbors.
To get ready for winter, I’ve been busy stowing two of our three ATVs in an outbuilding. Sta-Bil was added to their fuel tanks, per my seasonal SOP. I’ve also been draining and bundling garden hoses. There is now possible snow forecast within two weeks, so I will need to pick up the pace of my pre-winter preps!
The Latimer’s vacation has come to an end and the long trip home has been accomplished. Now the unpacking starts. As usual, some things worked as planned and other preparations will need to be modified. Some equipment worked well and others didn’t. While not quite failures, they certainly show the importance of trialing your preps.
In particular, my son had a brand new tent and one of the fiberglass poles broke on day one. We had the supplies to repair it and keep it from being a disaster, but I’m disappointed by the performance. That is a company that will be hearing from me.
Other, more complicated systems like the water filtration, worked flawlessly. The solar power system struggled to keep up with 800 watts of panel barely managing to generate an average of 450 watts in the high humidity haze. Some days didn’t even make 50 watts. While more than adequate for the original design, convenience has won out and electricity is in higher demand. Two laptops and numerous electronics such as phones, tablets, cameras and a drone made it difficult to keep up.
Back to the drawing board.
o o o
As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.
With the help of my brother and nephew we put up plywood on the walls of the pole barn workshop (that didn’t have peg board). Also put in the door that I got in the mark down section at Lowes. Today I will be putting up two 2’x4′ sections of dry erase board. Next to the dry erase board will be the aerial photos of the BOL and surrounding area as well as the Topo map of the area. The map and photos will have over lay on top to protect them and allow grease pencils to be used on them. After that we will be concentrating on organizing stuff in the room. My daughter calls the barn my “Man Palace”. She says it’s too nice to call a cave.
On the trip to Lowes I picked up some extra Aluminum Flashing (10″X 50′), a handful of 2×4 hangers, 2 spools of electrical wire (for DC projects), an assortment of U bolts, extra Lenox Hacksaw blades, and a package of extra blades for a mini-hacksaw.
Chimney sweeps visited this week and cleaned our two fire places. Got a jump on cutting, splitting and stacking firewood by starting earlier than ever before. Last year we ran extremely low and if another “Polar Express” had descended on us we would have been breaking up furniture for firewood. Watching weather very closely so we can pick the best time to give our herb garden a low haircut and hang everything up to dry. Major garden project will be started this coming week. Will be putting up 7-foot high fencing to hopefully deter deer next year.
When I moved to this property the garden was already fenced with chicken wire six feet high, with poles being at least one foot taller. I had a handyman/homesteader build me a raised bed inside the fenced area, and while he was here, asked about putting a higher board along the top of the poles to further protect against deer, as six feet chicken wire didn’t seem high enough to me.
He strongly advised against it, and explained that because the chicken wire is hard for deer to see, they are unsure about just how high it is, and will not risk a jump. He said if you put boards along the higher part, it is a more definite demarcation; they can calculate whether they can make it and could give it a try. If successful, they eat your garden; if unsuccessful, they can end up taking down a section of fencing in a tangle, and break a leg in the process. I left it as is, and so far two summers with no deer.
The week started with an small accident using a hand grinder. No big deal, we have totes of medical supplies. Right? Long story short, we now have well-stocked practical First Aid Kits READILY AVAILABLE in our home and vehicle.
My mother used to keep an emergency eyewash kit in exactly the same spot just inside the back door, in case anything happened to your eyes while doing yard work and you would be blindly groping around for help. My mom, the original prepper….
Eyewash station and ACCESSIBLE first-aid kits are important. Think “accessible” as in, “I just cut one hand badly enough that I can’t use it…Can I find, lift out, open, and use the kit with one hand? With one eye closed?”
On burning slash piles. It is a very satisfying exercise (not to say fun). But if you have enough space to let them lie without their being in the way or promoting spread of wild fire, then I will suggest that it is much better to leave them, for two purposes. First is that if you build fires frequently, as for cooking fires either open or in a wood cook-stove, you need kindling and small wood as much as large. The branches in a slash pile, if you leave them to dry, provide your kindling. The second reason is that most parts of the country have suffered from moderate to severe historical soil depletion, Wood eventually rots to humus, the sine-qua-non for soil with good tilth, nutrient availability, and moisture management
This week we updated our rain water collection system. Drained and cleaned drums, added stronger spigots and moved drums to a more protected spot. Added more building lumber and hardware cloth to the inventory to take care of a couple of winterizing projects and to build some rabbit cages.
Finishing up the FDing last of the sweet peppers, hot peppers and winter squash. Saw an ad for 50 pds of whole egg powered for $321 and it was on back order; I guess the Hurricane Florence floods in NC and SC killed a lot of chickens and pigs. I’ll start making whole egg powder next week.
I’ve used PRI-G for many years, to stabilize gasoline. I’ve never had a problem even with 10% ethanol blend gasoline
Mr. Rawles, you may wash and freeze tomatoes as is. When needed for chili or spaghetti, just open the ziplock bag, run under very hot water and the skins will fall off with little effort. Then just put in a pot and use for cooking. I do this when I can’t keep up with them.
We finished harvesting our carrots, washing, peeling, blanching. Also brought in the small remainder of celery. Still have green beans, believe it or not, and healthy basil. Cucumbers and tomatoes are done….few cherry tomatoes hanging on.
Love hearing about everyones preps!
Extra tomatoes? Slice them about quarter inch think, dab on olive oil, put on dehydrator racks, sprinkle with kosher salt, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and parmesan sprinkles. Mine dried in under 12 hours. When you rehydrate them in your mouth it’s like eating pizza.
I was able to cook my last wild hog shoulder in the crock pot to make some great pulled pork barbeque. I also made a batch of Alabama Fire Crackers (saltine crackers with special seasoning) that are always a hit with guests. I was able to get a lot of fall food plots planted yesterday and something I like to add for both the deer and myself are purple top turnips. If I recall correctly the total acreage I planted comes to about two acres and I covered every bit of it with turnip seeds in addition to the wheat and oats that I planted for the deer. Hopefully in a few months I’ll have plenty of turnips to pull. I did uncover a yellow-jacket nest when plowing yesterday and was lucky enough not to get stung. This usually happens every year. Today while cutting back limbs that are growing into my roads and trails I heard the wild pigs down by the creek. It always makes me nervous when on foot and coming up on the pigs. Hopefully I’ll harvest another one for the freezer before long. Today I was able to take in a gun show after I finished with all my plowing and planting I had scheduled out. I had no intention of purchasing anything, but I could not help myself and picked up a slightly used FN 509 pistol at a good price. I’m looking forward to shooting some steel with it. Seeing the picture of the slash piles burning is a reminder to me that I have to burn off my planed pines this winter. I’ve never burnt property before and the thought of doing this always makes me anxious.
Found Foxfire,#2 and #3 on my library’s “free rack”
I spent much of the weekend leading an Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) Simulated Emergency Test (SET) for our county here in Ohio. This was part of a larger, multi-state exercise endorsed by the ARRL.
The scenario was of a winter storm that affected transportation, utilities, and cell phone services. We successfully deployed both voice and digital radio coverage to the local hospital and to the county volunteer/donations center to pass real-life service requests for clothing, shelter, transportation and skilled volunteers.
This exercise allowed several of us who are preppers to learn and practice “grid-down” communications with the cooperation/participation of county agencies and the hospital.
We are planning to do a “host wash” this evening and write an After Action Report (AAR) to help us identify what we need to work on and prepare for next year’s exercise.
I recommend that every group have a couple of members focus on learning and practicing radio communications skills. This will facilitate sharing intelligence and getting news from surrounding areas in a grid-down or civil war situation. Volunteer with your county Emergency Management Agency (EMA) to learn valuable skills and join your area ARES team! You will meet like-minded preppers when you do!