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!
This week, after a break of several months, I finally made my way to a gun show. Getting there was a five hour drive, which is not unusual in the American Redoubt. I found a few items on my want list, including some .450 Bushmaster ammo, some primers, a few magazines, and most importantly a few AR-15 lower receivers. Of the latter, I got a mix of stripped and complete lowers.
One item on a table at the show made me laugh for a moment, and then frown: A gent was selling a new-in-the-box bumpfire stock. Those will become “machineguns” and a felony to possess on March 26, 2019, under a horribly unconstitutional ATF ruling. It is quite troubling that there is no grandfather clause. Perhaps that dealer sold it to someone from Washington State, where they cut loose some State funds to pay $150 for each one turned in for destruction. (Up to five per owner. Presumably you must have a Washington driver’s license to qualify.) I assume that this 11th-hour Washington “buy up” was partially a CYA move, since they had earlier legislated an unconstitutional taking.
Avalanche Lily Reports
This week we had six simply gloriously sunny days, making the Vernal Equinox really feel as it should. The snow is coming off quickly, boo hoo! The temperatures were in the 50s and low 60s in the afternoons. I skied twice this week, once in shorts and a T-shirt. That was a first for me! And, I got my bike out and rode around the barnyard/parking area for about 20 minutes.
Starting on Thursday and Friday, I decided to do my walks with one of our horses to get her in shape for this coming riding season. I put a halter on her and took her with the lead rope and we walked and jogged for a half hour up and down the driveway and around the parking lot. The other animals: cows and horses, who were also loose, with, of course, the herd mentality: “we all stick together”, followed us. Our bull calf, bawled the whole time, not understanding what was going on. Funny boy! So everybody got in more exercise than the usual. I love being with our animals. The horses all got brushed. The last few weeks of winter, the horses seem to get really bored, so they were quite excited to be getting some attention from me and enjoyed the bonding workouts and brushing.
I also got into the trailer tack room and took a look at our tack. The leather saddles and bridles had some mold on them. So I got out my vinegar bottle and made a half vinegar, half water mixture and sprayed all of the mold on the saddles and bridles and let the saddles dry out in the sun. The vinegar and sun combo killed the mold. They are looking quite good. Next week, I’ll wash them with Murphy’s oil soap. I’ll be keeping the saddles in the house now, until the spring rains stop in about June. I need to do a deep clean and reorganize the tack room, soon.
Using some specially cut beef from one of our steers (cut by our friends at Boar’s Head Butchery, in Weippe, Idaho), I got busy again. This week I made one batch of South African Biltong. (bil means butt, and tong means strips, hence: buttstrips.) It is still in the dehydrator as I write this. It’s recipe is very simple: 4 pounds of beef strips, I rinsed them under water and then koshered them for a half hour in salt water. Then put them on a tilted dish drainer, sprinkled them with rock salt on both sides, let sit for an hour and a half, letting juices drain into the sink, then scrape off the salt with a knife. Put the beef strips in apple cider vinegar, 2 at a time, for 2-4 minutes, then heavily sprinkle both sides with coarsely ground black pepper and coarsely ground coriander, put hooks in the meat and hung them in the dehydrator to dry for 12 hours in our Excalibur dehydrator, set at 155 degrees Fahrenheit.
Since proper Biltong is hung in strips to dry, rather than dried on trays, I did a little temporary conversion to our Excalibur. I removed all of the tray except the top-most one. On that tray I hung some S-hooks that were leftovers from a batch of bungee cords that we bought a few years back. Those had failed very rapidly–obviously a bad rubber formulation. But Jim has a habit of saving useful hardware, so he had set aside all of those s-hooks. They were perfect for hanging Biltong strips. We will let you know how it turns out. We have about five more packages of specially-cut Biltong meat in the freezer, so I’ll be making this more often in the future.
Look, I know that I am contradicting myself when I made the statement last week that “our family does not like pepper”, and now here I am making Biltong with a lot of pepper. Unfortunately for our palates, I am fairly certain that the pepper is part of the curing process and therefore cannot be omitted. Therefore when the time comes to eat it, we will be brushing off as much pepper as possible so we can lessen that pepper burn. I have eaten Biltong in South Africa in the past and I really enjoyed it, once most of the pepper was brushed off.
This week, I also went out to the greenhouse and cleaned it up a bit, turned over the soil in three beds to get them ready to plant some seeds this coming week. I still need to think on how I want to use the greenhouse this spring and summer, which is why I didn’t yet plant anything in there, this week. This coming week, I’ll be getting my thinking done concerning the greenhouse, gardens and what I want to start in the house, and will get going on it. Time is a’wastin’!
May you all have a blessed and safe week, – Jim and Avalanche Lily Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.