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’ve been fairly busy writing a nonfiction book for a publisher in England. Per my contract, that manuscript must be completed by mid-September. It is scheduled for publication in the summer of 2020. I’ll post more details on that book in the weeks to come.

We finally had a change of weather. We’d had three weeks without rain, and had resorted to running sprinklers on our gardens. But thankfully we got good downpours of rain on Thursday and Friday. That provided relief for our pastures and saplings!  Speaking of saplings, this past week we transplanted more than a dozen volunteer fir saplings from places where we don’t desire shade (e.g. south of our garden) to places where we do want shade. This sort of planning requires visualizing the shade pattern of 20 to 70 foot trees versus the currently puny 3 to 6 foot-tall saplings. This is long term stewardship planning for our ranch that will span generations. Hopefully we’ll have grandchildren living here that will appreciate our foresight and our efforts.

As I recently mentioned in the Economics & Investing column, I decided to transition from HK91 rifles to AR-10 rifles, for our family’s primary rifle battery. Because original pre-ban German-made HK rifles and accessories have become so valuable, it is not tenable to keep them at the core of our family’s battery. Selling just one minty pre-ban HK91 will now generate $3,000+. This rifle switch makes a lot of sense. After liquidating three HKs, 400+ box magazines, 10 drum magazines, bipods, claw mounts, magazine loaders & unloaders, spare parts kits, et cetera, I will end up with at least six AR-10s with 30+ magazines each, beau coup spare parts, premium optics–such as Trijicon ACOG tritium scopes, and some cash left over. This transition will be a gradual process.

I’ve already started selling some HK magazines and my Hensoldt scopes with HK claw mounts. The scopes  are all going to a local friend who declared: “I’ll take all of them, sight unseen.”  I started out by listing just the magazines, at The FALFiles Marketplace. (I should mention that I’ve also set aside 20 new-in-wrapper magazines for each rifle, to sell only with the rifles, or after the rifles sell.)

The aforementioned rifle cross-leveling exercise adds credence to my position that investing in tangibles is logical when living in a world dominated by inflating currencies. Silver and guns are my primary investments. Various “balances” and “shares” and electronic “coins” can be taxed, or legislated, or blipped away, but most tangibles cannot. It is our guns that are our premier tangible assets. They are useful tools that can even be used in defense of our ownership thereof. (No other investment vehicle–except perhaps edged weapons– can boast that claim.) It would require force of arms to pry these guns from our grasp. I may be old-fashioned and a veritable investing dinosaur, but we’ll never see our nest egg fully wiped out by some crash, glitch, or effrontery of government.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

The beginning of our week entailed a brief getaway to celebrate our anniversary.  We went to a regional hot spring, did a lot of swimming for exercise, two 45 minute sessions of active lap swimming, a lot of soaking for enjoyment, and some hiking and sightseeing.  It was a very lovely time to be alone together. We really need to do this more often, Jim.  🙂

Upon our return to the ranch, we entertained some unexpected guests for a day.  Of course you know that that entailed a frantic massive house cleaning and fresh food procurement, and preparation.

I was very involved with helping Jim transplant those saplings and did a lot of digging/refilling the holes.  Later that afternoon, we helped a neighbor do some of her yard work.

After morning homeschooling, the girls helped Jim sort through all of the HK G3 magazines into stacks, by maker and by year. Then they helped with packing, padding, and labeling the boxes. It was a full afternoon project.

I mowed the paths in the main garden and pulled weeds in many of the beds.  The potatoes, beans, 800 onion bulbs and carrots are now sprouting.  Yeah! It’s almost time to harvest chives and rhubarb.

I reorganized a few of our bookshelves.

The rains came, so on Friday I curled up for a day with my books.  I needed to rest after putting out so much energy earlier in the week.

Next week, I need to get into the Annex garden to plow and plant it.  We need to get back to working the horses… I want to hike in our forests to see the wildflowers…

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. We, too, keep moving volunteer trees; however, we are looking to shield the cabin from prying eyes. I realize it will be quite some years before that happens and am looking forward to letting my grandchildren know just which trees I planted – probably as I’m sitting on the porch with a cold glass of iced tea in hand.

    Awesome son had his wisdom teeth out and he and the dogs just left for the Redoubt. Keeping up with medical and dental checkups and procedures is a high priority for me as I believe that, just as we need to be fully prayed up for the future, we also need to have our medical, dental and financial houses in order. And, due to circumstances beyond my control, we did not. Now is the season to catch-up and keep up. God is gracious to give us this time.

    I ordered more vitamins and supplements because of a really good deal. I do not buy solid pills or tablets after reading the research on how ineffective they can be. I have also stocked up on folic acid and prenatal vitamins to have on hand. I added liquid vitamin E gel caps to the first aid kit for topical help with healing of scars, and I added vitamin D as we have had blood tests in the past couple years that have shown we are low even though we are outdoors a lot. We used the recommended liquid form that tastes awful until our levels were back in the normal range and now take gel caps. My optometrist also suggested a comprehensive vision capsule for eye health. So, I take no medications but for vitamins and supplements and count myself fortunate that I have the opportunity to do so. As a Master Gardener, I have studied the declining nutritional value of our food and feel I must combat that since I do not grow or raise all of our food.

    Not much else happened this week because of cold and rainy weather (we even had snow) and work. I did dehydrate a number of bags of frozen corn and peas when the store had them on deep discount. More food put aside for the future.

    1. I concur with the taking of supplements. I have also stored up a supply of “Super Greens” and protein powder , as well as synthetic HGH and Testosterone boosters which I take daily. As we get older, testosterone diminishes as does muscle mass, bone density, energy levels, etc. Can’t have that!

    2. Taking a hot, soapy shower after being out in the sun all day will wash all the gradually forming vitamin D on your skin right down the drain. A cool to lukewarm shower, with soap used only for spot cleaning, will allow it to remain on your skin and be absorbed.

      This is especially important for growing children, who should only be spot cleaned, with a full bath no more than once a week, unless urgently necessary.

      This is why Americans who are outdoors a lot are often vitamin D deficient. The vitamin forms from the interaction of sunlight and the oils on your skin. No oils, no vitamin D.

      1. Thanks for the info JW; I did not realize vitamin D from sunshine could be washed off! We normally suds up in the shower to get the crud and bug spray off and to look for ticks. We will be more careful now.

        1. You are welcome. Please pass it on, that would be the best thank you possible..

          I got it from Adelle Davis’s Let’s Have Healthy Children. It’s old, but still has some very good information. I don’t know anyone else who explains how to have beautiful children! (Nutrients and bone structure.)

        2. Animal House, please keep soaping up and washing off repellant and looking for ticks. Your body synthesizes all the vitamin D it needs in 10-15 minutes of direct sun exposure. It far more important to wash off the repellant and search for the ticks. Vitamin D is produced in the epidermis and loaded into the blood. It’s taken to the liver and then the kidneys. It is an essential component to use calcium in the body. Years ago it was thought Vitamin D was made in the sebaceous oil glands in the skin. It has since been proven that Vitamin D is produced in the epidermis. I don’t mean to be contradictory, but I thought it needed to be said. My ex-wife is an expert in this field. Trust me, I paid plenty to get her through med school.

          1. Thank you BG for putting to rest the old, scientifically dis-proven, and flawed “knowledge” that one can ‘warsh’ away all the good stuff.
            I do not wish to disparage previous commenters, but science is science, and Ole Aunt Mabel may have been a Sainted woman, but she taught someone wrong information. The human body is wrapped in a water-proof suit that is meant to be cleansed as often as needed. Stay away from harsh soaps, but otherwise lather, rinse, and repeat as necessary and keep yer bits and pieces clean.

  2. Took Wednesday off and spent it at the BOL since we had a delivery arriving. Put items up in the pole barn loft out of the way. Put hinges on a 8′ long 15″ wide by 2′ high wood crate I picked up. Great for storage. I also added a piece of chain with a hook to keep the lid in place when lifted up. Finished building one of the firewood sheds I got from Northern Tool. Pop rivets are used to assemble it. I am really becoming a fan of the pop rivet. I’m not a fan of the assembly instructions. Manufacturing products in China is one thing but why companies let the Chinese write the instructions is beyond me. My wood shed doesn’t have a roof it has a rood. I will also be adding some bracing to it since I don’t think there is enough Strength for the snow load around here.

    Stocked up on hardware nuts this week. I purchased a bunch of stainless steel carriage bolts last week but the nuts were not included. Added wire cable ferrules in different sizes, and picked up 5 different packs of various tubing. Scored again at the used store, picked up what looked like a brand new pair of “Mickey Mouse” boots for $10.

  3. Jim those AR10’s Robust enough for Extended field use? I too decided to sell my PTR (HK91 Banned in my state by name) and re-equipped with a M1A type rifle had enough for an even swap , I like the ability to use strippers for fast loading (faster than swapping mags for me) . right now there is a glut in my AO for used arms and the prices are way down due to the fact private face to face sales are banned , so much for living behind the occupied lines . You will like the ACOG read up on it depending on the reticle chosen you can do a lot with it, very fast sight acquisition and ranging capability.
    .308 is definately the way to go in case of up coming festivities become a reality.
    see that story about Gmail keeping track of purchases? interesting times .

  4. Comment on Mt. St. Helens – I lived on Long Island, NY in 1980. Volcanic ash landed on my car, as I discovered when I went out to wash it. There was too little to see, but the strange, sharp grit was unmistakable. I’ve never felt anything like it before or since.

    Long Island is at the tail end of a jet stream. Everything gets dumped off there. Including radioactive particles. I visited a friend in the 1960’s who lived there. He had a Geiger counter that was going nuts, and he couldn’t figure out why. Now I know.

  5. We’ve had a lovely spring but we are now transitioning into summer as the temps are pushing 90. That means earlier rising to do the farm chores before the heat wears us down. We killed two copperheads this week thanks to our Anatolian Shepard dogs who barked the alert. We have to weed wack around the house and outbuildings more frequently now so we can see the serpents and dispatch them before they do any damage.

    Put up honeysuckle and strawberry jelly and pulled out older jarred fruits and vegetables to check them. Tossed a couple of items but the seals were good on 98% of the jars. Received some large orders of people grade wheat, oats and corn and added an extra 3 weeks of animal feed to the storage barrels.

    Have a safe week!

  6. Kale in the raised bed coming up nicely…2nd gen kale got a bunch of pods for seed collection; Tomato plants doing very well and some with blossoms already. Just started asparagus sprouts which are doing well also.
    Got a mole in the back yard…putting out some bait for him to munch on…hopefully soon…
    Reloaded 500 9mm (124 jhp)…FC nickel plated brass…looks good and shoots nice…
    Picked up some mre’s and packed up 2 5lb buckets with rice, lentils, sugar, salt, oatmeal (in mylar bags)…taking it slow and easy….Blessings to all…

  7. I chime in with Nightbreaker on the 7.62. Last of the wood-and-steel battle rifles, the M14 platform has the best iron sights ever put on a rifle. Great rifles such as the FAL and others got the rifle right, but plopped some junky sights on them as an afterthought. The HK has decent di-opter battle sights, but lack handy windage adjustment control. The HK91 bruised my face, mutilated brass, drove a dozen other shooters off the line because of enthusiastic ejection of brass (my bad). Dreadful trigger, and the safety tab was out of reach for my hands. The Germans must have enormously long thumbs!
    The Stoner AR-10s worked pretty well, but friends have had dreadful luck with Armalite rifles in the last 15 years. Can’t speak to current product. I’d be wary of cheap AR-10 rifles . I’d go with LaRue Tactical, Noveske, Daniel Defense….these guys don’t cut corners. Bolts are a big concern, and more than one recall of them has occurred in low-echelon manufacturers.
    The M14, introduced to me at age 15 at Missouri Military Academy in 1970, impressed me so much I own a bunch of them today in the form of the M-1A. I believe Fulton Armory makes the best example of the M14 on the market. As mentioned, stripper loading from the receiver, good ergonomics, priceless battle sights, and excellent trigger….make it my primary “You Shouldn’t Have Done That” rifle. A competent shooter who understands how to run the sights on an M1 Garand or M-14 is a holy terror at great distance depending on the terrain. I prefer irons to glass sights in daylight, and have no trouble putting a lot of hurt on steel targets out to 400m, even with my 64 year old eyes.
    Jim, I’d put two or three thousand rounds through one of your new AR-10s before trusting them. Too much variation in QC in these rifles.
    We see cheap ARs go down fairly often in class, and even last week, my trustee Model 60 Chief’s Special broke a return spring during a battlefield pickup exercise. I was tickled pink it happened in a place where it was safe to fail, and not where I needed it badly. We lost a front sight on a G17 as well.
    Shoot your important gear rigorously, people. Find out what breaks now, not later. Serious AR shooters (contractors) carry a spare bolt/carrier group in their field kit in the event a bolt or cam pin fails. Remove and replace the group in seconds instead of being reduced to rocks and a sharp stick in a situation.
    My favorite exotic wish rifle is the Swiss Stg 57, either in 7.62 NATO or 7.5×55 Swiss. Light, accurate, great winter trigger that folds down for use with mittens, the Rolex of battle rifles. 7.5×55 Swiss ammo is excellent (the real Swiss stuff), and competitive with good 7.62 ball in price.

    1. I cringe every time I see people forking out 3 grand plus for a Daniel defense rifle. The reality is most of it’s the same thing. You want better accuracy get a better barrel and trigger. I am having my ar10 barrel made. It’s under a third of the cost.

  8. We FINALLY got around to setting up some supplemental ‘pet preps’ (canned food). At least they will help us buy a little time before hard decisions have to be made.

    1. Unfortunately, the two sequels that I was writing had to be put on hold. I’m presently writing a nonfiction book under contract from Carlton Publishing, of England. And my agent is in negotiation with a New York publisher for another non-fiction book. Sorry about the delay!

  9. I have rototilled my garden 3 times because it has not stopped raining long enough to plant in a swamp! So hopefully this week.
    On a lighter note on the mention of Mt. St. Helens in may of 1980. I was painting the roof on the City of Tolono Illinois watertower white a few days after the eruption. I had to repaint it because fallout from Mt St Helens fell into the wet paint turning it a gray.

  10. I was a young mechanic working in south Seattle when the mountain blew. The other older mechanics jokingly said they should have thrown me in the volcano earlier that week ( I was unmarried and still a virgin) . Now sadly it was to late ! At least I hope they where joking !
    My father and brother owned 100 acres near Chehalis WA. Very close to St Helens. After the eruption the whole land was covered in extremely fine ash up to 12″ . It took a few years but the land came back and grew like crazy for the next decade !
    I still remember all the car and truck engines and transmissions destroyed due to the ash.

  11. My long-dormant sciatica made itself known after I planted

    Fingerling Potato sets
    100 purple onion sets
    Buttercup squash
    Champion radishes
    Purple top turnips
    Scotch kale
    Purple carrots
    Snow peas
    White radishes
    Detroit beets

    All on Tuesday..

    The row tunnels daily amaze me with the huge increase in growth rate. I’ll be installing my third 20 foot tunnel and am going to order more.

    Our 3 acre hayfield has moist soils, but dry weather. Very little rain for the past 6 weeks. I’m running irrigation water continuously, through the little one inch outlet I am allowed on the irrigation district pipeline.

    Another update on the biologic warfare started last December, after I traveled across two counties to get feral, sterile cats from the shelter, to battle rodents: Our neighbor just told me 6 rats migrated to her livestock barn after I got the cats confined into my big shop building last winter. My place has been rodent-free for 6 months now. Rats had even chewed into a case of plastic water bottles on a shelf for their water supply. I make sure to give affection to our cat there now, in appreciation for her efforts! From time to time she’ll stop purring and make a shredding swap at my hand, just to make sure I’m not getting complacent.

  12. Raven Tactical, all too often during carbine courses, we see bargain rifles break. I usually have a couple of spares to loan when this happens, as it occurs more often than not. All rifles and their components are the same. Bolts vary widely in quality, and this component alone is a closely guarded secret among manufacturers. Pins, barrels, carriers, bolts, controls and receivers are subject to short cuts and shady quality control. It’s not about accuracy…it’s about robustness and reliability. Soft parts wear out quickly, and if you’re in Afghanistan and your rifle breaks, you’re in real trouble. Where’s your nearest armorer and parts distributor? Barrel extensions range from trash to excellent.
    Other students grow impatient as we all wait for the bargain rifle to clear stoppage after stoppage. But, he SAVED!
    I own the full spectrum of AR rifles, about 9 of them. From Olympic to Colt to Eagle, to STAG, to Noveske. I train and work with other trainers. There’s trash, adequate, and top drawer.
    A ton of small time manufacturers still don’t grasp the difference between .300 Whisper and .300 AAC Blackout chamber dimensions. Some, even Smith And Wesson, think they are the same. They’re NOT! That’s why, when my first run of hand-loaded .300 BLK would not chamber in a new S&W M&P rifle chambered for the caliber, a new research project commenced. Funny, I could turn to my friend, who used an AAC upper in the caliber, would gobble up any and all cartridges without complaint. So rounds that would stick in the chamber a half inch out of battery in my S&W ($650.00) rattled around in the AAC chamber. That’s because Smith used a .300 Whisper reamer instead of a real, .300 AAC BLK reamer….probably because if fired with factory ammo it would print tighter groups.
    I had to send two rifles out to Michigan for reaming to Blackout specifications to get the result I wanted.
    The other problem was caused by ME….and that was, I didn’t resize the formed brass I got from a brass cutter in a full length die before assembling….as he suggested. My bad! Once i did that, everything ran fine. But the fact that the AAC chamber ate the oversized cartridges without complaint was an eye opener.
    I want a rifle that will work in the ditch, at night, in the rain. I don’t want a bench rest rifle to shoot tiny groups I can brag about to my friends.
    Holland and Holland makes heavy game double rifles costing up to $140,000.00. A friend visiting the factory in the UK questioned the price and the salesman, in a $5,000 suit, said, “if you find yourself facing a charging rhino at fifty feet, your rifle MUST WORK. What’s YOUR life worth, sir?” I think my life is worth more than three thousand dollars.

  13. Does anyone have multi-thousand round experience with any of the AR-10 platforms? Looking for reliability information and parts interchangeability between the manufacturers.

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