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!

Jim Reports:

I was on the road for more than two weeks, helping an ailing elderly relative. I just returned to the Rawles Ranch yesterday. The only progress that I made toward our prepping was returning with a couple of boxes of citrus that I picked. We’ll eat some of that fresh and juice the rest, and freeze it.

Oh, and I also stopped by a gun shop on my return trip and bought a complete Bravo Company AR upper with a stainless 18″ barrel. I intend to mate that with a spare Palmetto lower. That completed AR will be set aside for the grand-kids. With AR parts prices presently quite low, I consider this the ideal time to complete some gun builds and “stack them deep.”

Avalanche Lily Reports

Dear Readers,
Yahoo, Jim is home! Hallelujah!  It was a very long two plus weeks without him.  I am super glad that you’re back home, Jim!  My beloved hubby!!

This week, I re-rototilled the garden.  I planted the 25 yellow raspberries, 154 potato halves/about 50 pounds of Kennebec potatoes, and over 800 onion bulbs of various types. I still have about forty pounds of red potatoes to plant.  I’m playing that hurry-up and wait on the weather game for planting the rest of the garden.  We had two frosts this past week.  The second frost was really hard. When I saw the truck covered with frost early in that morning, I dashed outside to the garden to hose down the strawberry leaves, rhubarb, and raspberry buds, to melt the frost before the sun hit them.  I think I saved them.  A few more days will tell us the story. I wasn’t expecting the second harder freeze.  This coming weekend we are supposed to get a weather system that could give us snow, and afterwards, drop our temperatures into the high twenties at night.  So it’s been wise that I haven’t planted any thing else out there, but the root crops. The colder temperatures are supposed to last until the end of the first week of May.

In the greenhouse, many of the trays that I planted are beginning to sprout their seedlings.  They did fine with the two freezes this past week, but this coming week, I think I will be building a fire in the woodstove in the greenhouse for the coming below-freezing nights, and/or bring some of the seedlings trays into the house.  Some squashes, cucumbers, and tomatoes have sprouted, since the frosty nights.  I’m not sure, that I will trust them, in particular, out there on these next frosty nights, even with a fire in the woodstove…  The broccoli and cabbage have sprouted in the trays, but I’m not worried about them.  They can handle some frosts.

Early in the week the girls and I washed, chopped, and froze some, and dehydrated some, of those 20 pounds of sweet peppers.  The dehydrated ones filled a mason quart jar. We will be adding the dehydrated peppers to soups and sauces in our future cooking.

This week we experienced our first thunderstorm of the year, and saw our first two rainbows over our mountains of the season.  Beautiful!.  Miss Eloise saw the first hummingbird while sitting on the porch in the sun reading her history.  Cooper hawks or sharp-shinned hawks are giving their mating calls all day long around our ranch.  Robins, Pileated woodpeckers, Flickers, Canadian geese, Winter wrens, and other birds are all also singing their hearts out.  Spring has sprung here in the American Redoubt and it is glorious!

Two of our horses developed a leg or hoof problem this week, and thus have been locked up in a corral while being doctored by Miss Eloise and I. One has received Epsom salt and iodine hoof soaks with a dose of Bute. After two days of treatment, has shown much progress in recovery. This particular horse will remain in the corrals until our meadows dry out, since she is prone to hoof problems from the wet conditions. Grrr! Our other horses have no problems with wet meadows.  The other horse has been receiving Bute and forced gentle walks and is slowly recovering. We think she was kicked by one of her buddies. Horses!  All of them were brushed and hoof-picked.

This week has been exam preparation week for the girls, so lots of studying took place.

The girls and I squeezed in one short hike, this week.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

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


  1. Picked up a bunch of hot dipped galvanized nails in various sizes (about 16 lbs total), 150′ of various diameters of stainless steel cable. Some stainless steel pop rivets, and some other items for post-TEOTWAWKI projects.

    Went though my books and packed up 3 boxes of books for the move to the BOL. Will be loading up and moving the remaining gun safe and ammo this morning. All Long-term food storage has been move already. Tried to get as much Prepper gear out of the house before realtors started to come through the houses we are selling.

    1. That is a smart move, 3ADscout! I am always thinking of stealth and decoy, too. We are blessed to look like a part of the rural farming community here at the cabin, yet I am still looking to hide in plain sight. I still remember when I was growing up on this land the couple of time things (and once the late summer garden picked clean one night!) were stolen. It was that transition time between “we are all farmers here and no one ever locks their doors” -to- second home buyers coming in with different values (not everyone, just need a couple to spoil everything).

    2. Could not agree more. Just over a year ago my wife and I loaded up all the guns, gun safe and ammo by ourselves and moved it to our new location some 300 miles from our house before we put it on the market. It was a lot of hard work but for OPSEC reasons we asked for no help. Having unknown people wandering around the house has many issues. It can lead to people coming back to steal things or some over zealous busy body reporting to the authorities that you have a “cache” of weapons. This is a good idea for anyone who is moving.

  2. Stopped by the neighbor’s to ask about lilacs and horseradish. No horseradish, but I will go by this weekend with my shovel and dig out some lilacs. They will provide pretty cover for our water tank. It is also the weekend to move all the baby evergreen trees from the yard and start to nicely block the yard to the east. Than I can finally mow the yard for the first time in two years!

    Took the dogs to the free rabies clinic for their three year rabies shots. They were very well behaved after our directed training. We have adopted both older dogs and, this last time, puppies. Although a lot more time and attention are required, adopting from puppies wins hands down!

    Need to refill the water tank from the spring and set up the rainwater barrel system. This year we have a mesh to cover the gutters, so I expect they will be easier to attend to. We were not going to set it up, but have decided to go ahead as it does look like we will be here a bit longer than planned. Flexibility is the key! So much to get done in such a potentially small window of time.

  3. Ah, spring frost! It must be that “global warming” the weather has been quite different up here in NW Montana this year. Makes me fall back on my mantra, adjust, adapt or overcome.

  4. We put more seedlings in the garden and a few baby plants which we purchased. I have not yet succeeded in planting lettuce varieties from seed; spinach does fine, but those tiny seeds are a pain. The tomatoes and cukes are up about 4 inches so we put cages over them. The various melon seedlings are up and will get planted next week.

    I found this tip on old seeds and thought I would share it. The contributor is Chris Belvedere from another site: “Here’s a little tip on seeds and seeds get older not stored correctly dry whatever food grade hydrogen peroxide it’s about a couple tablespoons per gallon of water soak seeds in mixture of food grade hydrogen peroxide in water overnight they were literally sprout within 12 to 24 hours even the old ones that you think are no good anymore most of the old ones anyhow.”

    Retired a couple of my large breeding rabbits and moved them to another area where they can relax and enjoy old age. I usually do not harvest my breeding rabbits, but occasionally a doe will kill her babies, which guarantees being harvested. 

    Last year there were some large parcels of farm land sold and now builders are starting to develop parts of that land. With each new development, people arrive with different values which changes the dynamics of the community. Last year we had a nuclear family (3 generations) purchase an old house and about 10 acres near by. I went by to introduce myself and invited them to come over. We found out they were all vegans and pretty much allergic to everything, which makes it difficult when they’re surrounded by cattle ranches and farmers. Their saving grace is one of them is a nurse and could be an asset to the community if they’re able to adapt.

  5. Well, 3 generations of vegans may be a good source of veggies if they garden!

    Finally got my fertilizer machine running. I ordered a bagging system for our riding lawnmower and started harvesting grass and got it mounted. I mowed and hauled enough fresh, nutrient-rich grass to mulch 60 fruit trees a foot deep and two feet radius.

    Still plugging away on filling trenches by hand with mixed soil, wood shavings. Only 150 more cubic yards of trench to fill by hand, mixing subsoil, topsoil, turf, and sawdust. And only about 30 cubic yards of sawdust left to shovel and transport to mix as I backfill with soil.

    Still getting frosts here, and more to come, even at our lowland elevation. Peach and nectarine trees look dead with no telltale leaf or blossom buds bulging. But they have green cadmium when you make a tiny nick into the bark, so they are still alive.

    All the bare root trees just planted this year, which need to grow new root systems, got pruned back. Then I carefully cut off all fruit blossoms on every one while leaving the leaves intact, in order to direct all energy towards healthy tree establishment this year.

    Finally, I got the new mailbox stand made and the concrete footing is hardening. It is made to hold both my and my neighbors mailboxes, at my expense. I discussed security concerns with them and we’ve each bought good quality locking boxes to mount on it.

    Neighbor was making noises about me paying for it all, and I asked for eggs once a week from her chickens, as her contribution.

    I had to get some shopping therapy for all this back aching labor, so bought a holster-worn Glock 21 with 8 mags yesterday.

  6. Wheatley Fisher,

    I learn so much about fruit trees from you. Have you ever seen the multi-year comparison pictures of two trees planted side-by-side after one was properly planted and the other just plopped in the ground? Tells all.



  7. Ahem. Yeah you make me remember a few earlier efforts.

    One of the most difficult things for a ‘budding orchardist’ is to remove blossoms and young fruit from a new tree. Difficult mentally. But if you don’t, you’ll dwarf the tree and loose huge amounts of future productivity.

    And I typed in cambium…. but software changed it to cadmium…..

    Perennial fruit production is a good goal, but root crops make much more sense for longer seasonal food availability in a resiliency setting, if you can build your soil to do it:

    Beets, mangels, Jerusalem artichokes, turnips, potatoes in four or five varieties, sugar beets, day lilies, onions, asparagus, and others provide healthier food than fruit, which has good vitamins but lots of sugars.

    Nut trees make a lot of sense, to pun a truthyism.

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