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!

JWR Reports

This week, I helped Lily muck out the poultry house. It was real, and it was fun. It just wasn’t real fun. But it did provide some great exercise. I also went walking twice for exercise this week.

Also this week, FedEx delivered us a quantity of the Federal 5.56mm M193 55-grain ball ammunition that was on sale at Natchez Shooters Supplies. I couldn’t pass that up because they were offering both a 5 cents per-round factory rebate and free shipping. That was a tremendously good deal, and I hope that some of you blog readers also took advantage of it.


Avalanche Lily Reports

Dear Readers,

This week was beautiful and very busy.  For exercise, I skied five times this week and walked twice. I finally got myself motivated to make jerky.  We had five packages of frozen jerky meat in the freezer from butchering cows and steers last summer and the summer before. I should mention: that butchering was expertly accomplished by the folks at  Boar’s Head Butchery, in Weippe, Idaho.  So I retrieved and thawed them.  The first batch I just rinsed off in water to get rid of some of the excess blood.  Then I marinated it in Himalayan salt and maple syrup for eight hours and dried for 12 hours in our Excalibur dehydrator, set at 155 degrees Fahrenheit.  It was an instant hit with the whole family.

The second batch consisted of the last four packages.  I rinsed the blood out and koshered the meat in salt water until no blood appeared, then I divided it up into three types of flavors.  The first was plain with just Himalayan salt, the second was a light curry, cumin, garlic, cloves and more mixture, and the third was a coriander, nutmeg, Himalayan salt and a maple syrup mixture.  These are still currently in the dehydrator as I write this.  So we don’t have a success verdict, yet, on them.  Our family doesn’t like really spicy hot or peppery foods, at all.  We can handle mildly hot foods and even like the flavors of a little bit of hot spice, very little.

[Update, Saturday A.M.: After the jerky came out of the dehydrator:  We all loved the coriander, nutmeg, maple syrup and Himalayan salt recipe the best.  YUM!  The curry, cumin, garlic, cloves, not so much at all…]

In our freezer we still have some meat cuts from our last butchering to make a South African type of dried meat called Biltong.  I’m thinking of getting at that this coming week.

While going through our spices for making jerky, I cleaned, washed, refilled and organized my spice jars in my spice cabinet and made lists of of spices that I need to resupply or want to further stock up on.

May you all have a blessed and safe week, – Jim and Avalanche Lily Rawles

o o o

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


  1. Spent some time working on wiring the workshop in the barn at the BOL. Met with a contractor to get a quote for some new windows at the BOL.

    Picked up a used Made in the USA “candy” thermometer and a book on gardening at the Salvation Army Thrift store. Bought some more rivets for the leather projects kits.

    Purchased some stainless steel eye screws, and other hardware (and of course a few spares) to hang AR500 steel targets up at the range.

    Made up a radiation reading log to document/track radiation readings in our shelter area or other areas. Also did an individual radiation dose log. Printed off several copies of each and they will be stored in our binders, just in case.

    Added several pages of information to the “Dad’s Book of Apocolyptic Knowledge” (my daughter named it). Added info on black powder, thermite, and cheese clothe grades.

    This morning the son and I will be heading out to work on more wiring and will take out another load of food buckets to the BOL. This will probably be the last trip for buckets.

  2. Reasonable weather has returned and, with it, brings my annual “burning of the bad wood” season. Since we live a “waste not want not” lifestyle, all the wood that I have gathered from clearing the yard is stacked outside to burn when a not-so-hot fire is wanted. It means much forethought as the wood needs to be dried out first and the fire closely tended. Yes, the interesting weather this winter produced very wet wood, but I mix it with some good wood and have a go at it. Cleaning the yard while saving the hot burning split wood for cold days. Bags (I use dog food bags for this) of kindling and bark have come in real handy with this winter of ice, sleet, hail, massive snow drops followed by rain and bitter arctic cold. I’ll be replacing the stash this spring. I’ll also be grabbing more cardboard and newspaper to have a backup supply should shipping come to a stand still. I use a lint/TP roll Firestarter, but am looking to try the suggested egg carton/lint/wax mix. I’ll just have to make some up this weekend.

    This week I furthered the city daughter’s hunker down away from riots supplies. I ordered and had sent to her a toilet bucket kit (might I say that it was cheaper to order the kit with the bucket and snap on lid than to order them separately or put together here and ship), a hand crank flashlight and a weeks supply of dehydrated food in mylar. I didn’t tell her the toilet was coming, so we all had a good laugh with that surprise. She has black out curtains, so is good on that.

    Am spending this week working further on food storage. Some supplies still need to get into mylar for long term storage and organized. Temperate weather means I can also finish organizing the barn, garage and RV. With possible visitors coming, I need to free up RV beds and fill the propane tanks.

    Had ye old farm truck’s 4WD and door fixed so now I can actually use it when needed. I drive it to work a couple times a week to keep it mouse free. Good thing I don’t care what my (mostly) liberal coworkers think!

    I need a new lock in the garage door and thought of a keyless deadbolt with a battery pack and replaceable batteries. Any thoughts on that?

    1. PJGT,

      Re- keyless dead bolt- I would HIGHLY recommend that whatever you get also uses a key. I have several installed and some seem to go through the batteries quicker than others- of course you find this out at the most Inopportune times. I also have one that the batteries tend to pop out of the battery hold and thus don’t work.

      Something else to consider about the key back up is the “sequence” to use the key. I had one that was as complicated as a secret society handshake.

  3. PJGT we have zero experience with electronic locks around our homestead.
    I am sure others will weigh in who do have experience.

    I do know that I have to maintain the key locks to keep them working. I need to stay on top of our exposed outdoor door and padlocks especially in the winter. They can freeze up.
    Deadbolts by design are very secure which can be a challenge if they malfunction. I am old school and I would probably opt for a keyed lock.

    Keep up the good work. Our children are never to old to be free from our “help”.

    1. Even I could probably break into this garage. I might only be keeping honest people honest. But the door won’t stay shut now, so I might as well get a good deadbolt since I have to replace the entire handle anyway. Besides, I’d like to keep nosey neighbors out of our business. For some reason, people now think it’s OK to snoop because they wish to. I actually had one neighbor accost me in the grocery store about if we were warm enough because they saw us trimming around outside bringing in wood. I cannot wait to get back home to the Redoubt!

      Gotta love our children and their trying out new places. I think she’s finding that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence after all.

  4. What a week for prepping. I dodged the blizzards that wreaked havoc from Idaho to east Nebraska, then experienced a raucous lightning storm dropping three inches of rain on mom’s place in central Nebraska, watched the following evacuation and flood, then receding water damage exposed. She had a blizzard on her 85th birthday.

    300 miles of Interstate 80 were closed for 2.5 days. Over a thousand motorists taken from stranded cars in CO. Stranded drivers rescued by school busses in east WY. Hundreds of semi trucks shunted into small towns along I80 for a few days.

    Most rivers across NE flooded, roads and bridges damaged everywhere, over 60,000 evacuees. Many small businesses, post offices, etc., closed due to flood contamination. Nary a word on national media.

    I tried the Hastings Nebraska gun show today. Private sellers refused to sell pistols to me directly. Same for stripped lowers, telling me they could be used for handguns so would have to go through my home state FFL dealers.

    Time to head back to the PNW homestead and get busy on the garden.

    God Bless

  5. Pellet stove pellets are great for fire starters. $5-$6 gets a huge bag. Put into egg cartons or other flammable container. Cover with melted wax. Let cool and you have your own mini-presto log fire starters.

  6. The 20 boxes of books in my basement were picked up by the founder of a Charlotte Mason school in our area for their library. In case you don’t know, the Charlotte Mason method is a fantastic fit with a prepping lifestyle, due to the heavy presence of nature study in the curriculum, and regular handicrafts practice. She and I laughed at her descriptions of children getting dirty, learning about guns in the presence of guns, etc. (You can look for a CM school near you at everythingcharlottemason.com)

    Waiting for my celery seed to emerge. Got a few lettuce sprouts poking up. Need to get my broccoli seed for indoor planting later this week.

    Spent a couple of hours hacking around a couple of trees that fell over the winter thanks to heavy (wild) grape vines. They were near a light pole and gas line along the road, and I noticed a loose cable, so I need to call JULIE to get that looked at it. I deliberately kept my distance even though it appears to be basic co-ax.

    We are struggling, too, to find a church. The one we’ve been going to was an okay fit, until recently when we found out the pastor’s theology on a key doctrine is different from the church body’s … and the congregation doesn’t seem to mind. We find this confusing — we like traditional, orthodox and CONSISTENT!!

  7. The seedlings under lights are looking so robust. Just keep watering them, I tell myself. Lost one generation due to inattention and they dried out. And, they were special tomato seeds I had saved from last year. Live and learn.

    My friends and I went grocery shopping. In the store, then [discards] behind the store. Apples, potatoes, bread, and those prepared deli meals in plastic containers. All free for the effort. We shared our bounty amicably. So grateful for these generous friends.

    Carry on

  8. Due to a temporary slowdown in OPTEMPO at work and the boy being home on spring break, I took a couple of days off to catch up on some things around the farm. We’ve had a mild but wet winter down here in the SC Midlands, which combined with a very busy work schedule, has made it difficult to keep things up. On a good note, the blueberry bushes are blossoming and the hens have been producing at a higher than expected rate, which has allowed us to share some fresh eggs with some family and friends from church. We performed some much-needed maintenance on the chicken coop, the vineyard, and a few other areas. We also built and installed 2 more raised beds in preparation for starting this season’s planting in a couple of weeks. Finally, my clever wife was able to locate a gently used rotating compost bucket for an excellent price, which will help us next season as we continue to slowly but steadily expand our efforts.

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