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:

Another week raced by at the Rawles Ranch. This is always a busy time of year for us.  Not only is it deer and elk season, but we are usually wrapping up the preservation of our fall garden harvest.  We’ve had a lot of rain in the past week. Thankfully, I had completed all of my fall slash burning before the heavy rains arrived.  If the current Jet Stream path continues and all this rain transitions to snow, then we will be in for a very snowy winter!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week in the American Redoubt, the weather was all about rain.  The weather has definitely shifted into fall rains and high mountain snows which will soon to descend to our valley, perhaps during this upcoming week.

For me, most of the week’s activities were inside: organizing, cooking, and schooling.

I spent the early part of the week going through our homeschooling books, culling out our double copies. That was either the fault of Amazon (very slow delivery) or me not remembering well what we’ve already got when at book sales. There were also texts we no longer need or will not use. I’ve already placed them into our new Classified Ads. While searching for un-needed books, our bookshelves were reorganized.  We have boatloads of books!  I found about thirty books that I still want to read.  I wish there was more time in the day.

The chickens that were down in the Annex garden for two weeks suffered a predatory loss of two from their population by what we suspect was a raccoon, so they were brought back up to the hen house.  We need to butcher many of the remaining birds.

On Thursday, I harvested more broccoli, carrots, and cabbage in the main garden. Now that we’ve had about eight days of rain, our night time temperatures are back above freezing, for now, thus the broccoli has begun to produce tiny flowerets again.  Broccoli’s hardiness is amazing!

I worked in the greenhouse, pulling the spent summer crookneck squash and bean stalks, reworking the soil in those beds, and planting spinach and winter lettuce seeds.  I also double covered the beds with hoops and plastic. What I mean by this, is that inside the greenhouse, I have set up hoops over the beds to put on plastic to retain more heat around the beds.  Usually, the plastic has been doubled over the hoops.  So essentially, these beds have double and triple protection from cold.  I still have green peppers producing in there.  I’ll probably be taking them out next week.

I brought a large planter pot of still-growing mint into the house. I put it in the garage to over winter. I had about five feed bags of kale seed pod branches drying in the greenhouse that became damp from the high humidity caused by the rain, so I brought those into the house to dry. Once they have dried out I will thresh them in the bags for their seeds.

Some of my broccoli and red cabbage plants produced seed heads this summer, so I harvested those, too, and brought them into the house to dry.  Again, once they dry out, I will also thresh them and collect the seeds for next summer.

Each time I prepare non-hybrid squash, tomatoes or any veggie with seeds for a meal (from our garden), I collect the seeds and dry them out for next year’s garden.

As I’m wrapping up the main gardening for the year, I am assessing what did and did not do well and planning what I want to plant next year and where, and how and where we are going to continue to expand.  I will discuss this in greater detail in a later column.

We all need to seriously think about growing our own food in the very near future!  The Grand Solar Minimum is ramping up. This year alone there has been a 20 to 60 percent loss in grains from bad weather around the world. Many countries are not exporting their grains this year: China, and Russia.  The global grain reserves are at an all time low.  Food prices will be sky rocketing. In fact they already are with further package shrinkage–less product for the same prices.  Don’t be deceived.

For more about the Grand Solar Minimum, take a look at the Ice Age Farmer videos. We definitely need to employ more crop extending and protective structures and weed control methods.

For those readers who live north of 30 Degrees latitude, I recommend buying grow lights to grow inside, hoops, plastic, black underlayment for weed control and heat retention. And of course greenhouses if you don’t already have them.  Get thinking, planning, and preparing for what is coming.

May you all have a very blessed and productive week,

Avalanche Lily




The Latimer Homestead hopes to find time to do some fall cleaning outdoors and indoors this week. The chicken coop is due for cleaning. The seemingly never-ending weeding and flowering tree pruning is needed. Also, it is time for some closets and storage areas to be cleaned and reorganized. Though the closet and storage area cleaning and sorting is likely to require multiple weeks, we hope to get a good start on it this week. Sarah also wants to go through and organize all of her seeds collected from this year and get them stored away until spring/summer, since the pumpkin, squash, melon, dill, and basil seeds have been captured and dried this past week. She only has a few more plants from which to gather seeds; the okra is almost dried on the stalk and ready.

Most exciting, with the vast carrot and celery harvest as well as the yummy apple juice we have already, the family will be making a large amount of tasty blended juice. We enjoy this family project, especially the consumption of it! Guess we’ll need it to get all of our extra work done around here!

o o o

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


  1. Mentioning your gardening efforts and reference to Solar minimum coming upon us – a GREAT RESOURCE is: http://fourseasonfarm.com/how-we-farm/

    Give it a ” look-see ” , it made me realize the importance of hoop structures, cold tunnels and hoops w/in cold tunnels approach. Although it concerns production in far northeast ( Maine coastal to be exact ) I think it would be practical for your area as well. Lastly, he has a number of books that are exceptional reads and which would make a nice addition to your library !

    1. Hi Ron,

      I have his books. I do base my gardening ideas from Eliot Coleman. His methods do work here. 🙂 Thank you for the reminder.

      For all SurvivalBlog Readers, We highly recommend that you would acquire Eliot Coleman’s books for ideas and methods for year round gardening.

      Furthermore, I will add that during the Grand Solar Minimum, which is supposed to last until 2025 and perhaps beyond; cold, snow and very unstable year round weather conditions will extend far into the south, especially, east of the Rockies. Therefore, not only should we prepare in the USA, but EVERYONE, worldwide, should be looking into acquiring season extenders and crop protection implements. This is a worldwide event.

      Avalanche Lily

  2. Cleaned out the rabbit shed and spread all the manure on the garden and tilled it in. Why do dogs think rabbit raisins are so good to eat? Smoked a whole smoker full of carp yesterday, delicious but I tire of it quickly. The neighbors ended up with far more than I kept. Still have another batch yet to smoke that will fill the smoker again. Got a new website up last week for my business. Tried to do it myself but after two days I came to the conclusion I’m a moron….I had always suspected this anyway. I guy I met at a gunshow in KY last August volunteered to set up the whole thing for free for me….Whew…..

  3. Lily, thanks for the words regarding the Grand Solar Minimum. I have been wondering why this site has very little attention placed on this other than from the Rawles. Everyone needs to pay attention to what is taking place now as it will affect us all. It is not only changes in the climates, but more greater threats possible in the future. I believe everyone should read John Casey’s books especially Upheaval. His lectures can be found on Youtube. It is during these periods in history that The New Madrid fault, Charleston SC earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions like Krakatoa occurred. If these repeat it will disrupt society enormously. This is not to mention the fault zones we already pay attention to off the west coast. You don’t live near a volcano you say. But if a VEI 8 erupts, it can block out the sunlight for a year or more. History is our greatest teacher. The Carrington Event and the year without a summer both occurred during a Solar Minimum. Not only does IceAge Farmer give good information, but Adapt 2030, Oppenheimer Ranch Project (this PHD Paleoclimatologist is very informative but can be very abrasive) as well as Lee Wheelbarger all give good content. The troubling factor regarding this Solar Minimum is that we appear to be descending into it faster than other Minimums closer in history.

  4. We cleaned out both chicken coops this week; put in new straw along with some DE for bug control. The next day I cleaned out all the rabbit cages and scrubbed the poop trays. Found a few repairs that need to be made so added those to the to-do list.

    My feed store was giving away free starter plants so I planted a dozen collards in containers near the house as we have already cleared the garden. Blanched and froze the last of the brussel sprouts. Worked on drying and storing various vege seeds. Pulled about half of the peanuts and they are drying on the sun porch.

    I’ve been following the Grand Solar Minimum news so I’ve been looking at green house and hoop house kits. In my mid-south location the drop will not be as severe as up north, so I think a hoop house will do the job. We cleared a spot near the garden for it but will need to setup a level foundation as the land slopes.

    If you have not voted early please vote on Tuesday. Have a great week

  5. This past week we went through some longer-term food stores and selected many items approaching best-use dates. Those items were culled and will be donated to a food bank nearby so the nourishment does not go to waste. I spent half a day going through the portable water containers (6 gallons or less) and found many were in need of a good cleaning. Dust, grime, and whatever else had attached to the plastic and some of the water smelled musty- probably safe, but we are blessed with the ability and abundance to swap it out, so I dumped them all. One thing I found which I had not considered before was the ‘helpful’ adhesive stickers the manufacturers placed on the lids to cover the spout access. The adhesive held dirt all around the openings and created a fertile ground for bacteria and other nastys to grow. I will from now on remove the adhesive when containers are purchased and thus remove the Petri dish media. I emptied the water into the gardens, scrubbed down the containers to remove surface contamination, and sanitized them with a bleach solution. Now they are refilled and I feel better about having healthful water stores for our family.

  6. A.L.,
    Always good to hear your perspective.
    We are still harvesting carrots, potatoes, etc on the underground edibles.
    I’m amazed at the late harvest!

  7. I.m still wondering why no body mentions geothermal green houses. I know it’s hard to set up but should make winter growing a whole lot easier. Or am I missing something?

  8. Here in Western Montana, the recent rain and moderate temperature has really helped with my first attempt at Brussels sprouts, and it now appears they will be ready to harvest before our first hard freeze this coming week. In the meantime, sweet alysum and foxglove continue to surprise me with their ongoing blooms. I’ve never seen anything like this before and am pleasantly surprised! Feeling grateful for the blessings and harvest the Good Lord has given us.

  9. I am attempting to charge the batteries for the Baofeng radios I purchased. Think I have a faulty battery on one. The charger continually flashes red/green , red/green. The other ones switched to steady green when they were charged and were steady red while they were charging. My sister charged all 10 of hers successfully. Now I just have to learn how to program and use them. They came with a very small disk (like a dvd but tiny). Don’t know what to do with that. Taking grape cuttings , harvesting tomatoes (they are slowing down) and doing the last dehydration of summer squash. Planted winter crops of lettuce, bok choy, radishes , chard, onions, and edible pod peas. Pruning overgrown grapes, roses, and wisteria on one of the patios. Washing the final things that have to dry outdoors (ie. overstuffed chair) that have to dry outdoors before our temperatures get much cooler.

  10. Finally did get a berry patch laid out in anticipation of a spring planting.

    Should the opportunity arise, a woodstove for the greenhouse would be a perfect backup should the electric go out. Along with proper exhaust piping, of course.

    Around here, we are still focusing on cleanup and wood work. We also are building more stone walkways and stonewall for gardens. I divided out the daffodil bulbs and replanted them for some spring beauty.

    I am going to order some more zone 3 open pollinated seeds from Seed Treasures (Jackie Clay) this week. Just a backup.

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