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 took some of my own advice and bought another box of five Baofeng UV-5R transceivers.  For the next few months I predict that they yield better returns than money in the bank.

Since I was so busy writing the book manuscript for Carlton Publishing, I didn’t have much time for many outdoor activities. But I did take advantage of some cooler weather to do some turkey slaughtering and butchering.

Now I need to finish up my firewood cutting and hauling project for the summer. We have plenty of downed larch and red fir that was either deadfall or purposely cut in the past two years. But it needs to be cut to stove length, hauled, and stacked under cover.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week, we had a fair amount of rain and therefore was very quiet around here.  A lot of time was spent praying, researching, and planning.

I rode my bike numerous times.  I do my best interceding/praying while exercising.  The Lord knows all things and is in control of everything that happens in our lives. We need to always trust in Him.

I spent some time weeding and adding more straw mulching in the Main Garden and mowing it’s paths.  I did some transplanting in the greenhouse: parsley and the last of the peppers.  The celery that I had planted outside did not fare well.  So what survived, I dug up and brought back into the greenhouse and planted it in a bed that I had left open.

I picked and ate our first three ripe strawberries!

Next week the strawberries should ripen in full force. This past week I froze two gallons of strawberries that we bought from a store.

It looks as though we’re going to have a bumper crop of raspberries, this year. Yes!

I washed and chopped turkey breasts from the butchering that Jim did, and froze it.

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. JWR, with respect to the radios, will this yield come from potential buyers understanding the changes? will you be posting for sale such as with the FAL Files or do you mean the utility value is where you will gain?

    1. I recommend stocking up both for farm/ranch/retreat commo utility, AND for potential resale gain. But the window of opportunity for the latter ends at the end of August.

      1. What happens in August? Will these radios no longer be available? Do you believe that Baofeng will not introduce a new radio that complies with the FCC ruling of 2018? Please expand on this. I have read your earlier posts about this issue but what is the imperative about August 2019? Thank you.

        1. I’ve read that the new models MAY be programmable, so that they can again be “opened up”, to transmit in other bands, like the pre-ban models. But at the minimum that will required a special cord and the use of CHIRP software. There is also a chance that they might also make actual hardware changes, for band limiting. Typically this has been done through use of blocking diodes, with other brands of radios. But given the highly-integrated circuit board architecture, it will probably be a “software only” issue. But then there is the legal aspect. If you have a post-ban radio that carries markings for ham bans only, OR for FRS only, then the possession of one that has been post-ban modified to transmit in BOTH bands could become illegal. However, with the pre-ban Baofengs, that won’t be an issue. The only thing prosecutable for those will be actual OPERATION cross-band, not mere possession. And that is already the case for someone without a ham license.

  2. Ah, dear like-thinking community,

    This is my last week here at our camp in the east. I will come and go; working on projects that need to be finished and ridding the spot of brambles and brush, but mostly just using it as a way station when visiting. If need be, this little place is now setup as a safe haven out of harm’s way as much as is possible in the eastern part of our country. I thank everyone for the advice and suggestions. It was most helpful.

  3. Patching the gravel drive is on the schedule.
    We are also being warmed the first time by our firewood supply. Feels better in the winter!
    As JWR always reminds us, don your safety gear every time even if you are only going to make a few cuts.

    I “found” another ground hornet nest, it found me. It was very close to the house and the hornets had burrowed under an azalea bush. My wonderful wife (WW) had the bush on her prune it list. I thank and give all credit to God that she hadn’t gotten there yet.
    This one was tough. After tending to my wounds, I started out by spraying water from a safe distance away to identify the location of the nest. I used binoculars to observe the bees. I actually used a fully extended pole pruner to carefully expose the entrance, then I was able to kill the nest. I also completed the pruning so WW was happy.
    I dislike using harmful chemicals on our property but in the case of white (bald) face hornets I do make an exception.

    God bless you all.

  4. Time had come around for discharging, re-charging and testing my AA and AAA rechargeable batteries using a Goal Zero solar charger. It’s actually kind of fun, especially for an old coot like me.

    Rechargeables should come with ‘birth dates’. The method that seems best for me is keeping them in groups of 4 and marking ‘birth dates’ (unique to just one group) on them.

    Incidentally, JWR was correct (of course). The 6-year old eneloops have proven superior to the other 2 brands.

  5. re:
    ‘store-bought’ strawberries

    According to Environmental Working Group, non-organic strawberries consistently earn their place on the DIRTY DOZEN because of pesticides residue.

    For my loved ones, we prefer to not consume any of the tons of petroleum-based chemicals our species dumps on crops.

    * * * * *

    Speaking of poisons…
    Did you see the YouTube video about worshing off poison oak oil?

    The gent says soap is not enough. Vigorous friction using a worshcloth removes the residual oil. He demonstrates using black axle grease so we can see the remaining oil after scrubbing with different soaps designed for removing oils.

    Any time you are near poison oak or sumac etc., he recommends a worsh station with soap plus a rough scrub-cloth to remove oils. Friction is essential!

  6. I hate moving- this week we spent most of our time saying “oh that is at the other house” or “do you know where the box with ‘X’ is?”.

    Just finished putting up the molding in the mud room. Will start putting together the gladiator storage unit Sunday.

    This week I found a hamburger patty maker, doughnut maker, Nice old pair of Crescent tinsnips ($1), another pair of binoculars ($9) and a bunch of nails and other hardware. I have been starting to buy and put away flywheels, pulleys, and collars.

  7. We had a thunderstorm this week which some how took our Hughes internet satellite off line. Of course that means almost no comms on the farm. So spent about an hour on the phone getting educated on how to use the troubleshooting and fix-it app. The young off-shore call-center person was patient and took me thru all the steps until everything came back online. Another reason I should try to get a HAM license. I did take JWR’s advice and ordered a box of 5 Baofeng UV-5R transceivers, better antennas and replacement batteries, etc.

    Our little farmstead is surrounded on 3 sides by cattle ranches. This year the cow flies are much worse so we made fly traps from plastic bottles and spaced them down at the barn, the garden and else where around the farm. They don’t work as well as the rescue traps so I ordered a few of those for around the house. One by the front porch actually filled up with flies within 2 days.

    We cut and stocked another cord of wood over the last few days. Trees were already down but hadn’t cut them to stove length. Stocked up on bulk spices, dawn dish soap, laundry soap and hand/body soap which were on sale. I can make soap but it is time consuming so while it is still cheap I just buy it.

    Found a really good sale on sirloin tip roasts so bought all I could. I make my beef jerky from sirloin tip and it is delicious. I give it away for Christmas presents to all the service people who drive out to the country to deliver and fix items. It is a really popular gift.

    Summer in the mid-south mean up early and chores done before noon. It also means cold soup and salad weather. Made a batch of cucumber soup for the hot weather this week; it is so refreshing!

    One of my does is kindling for the first time today, so have to watch her closely. Others due in the next couple of days. Won’t breed them again until fall when the weather is cooler.

    Have a good week.

  8. Novice Gardening:

    I went with mostly short season, cold weather plants, such as turnips, rutabaga, beets, spinach, chard, carrots, onion, and the like. Very happy with the results. It is an ‘experimental’ garden grown in different soil types, in raised bed, containers, and as a traditional garden. Different varieties of each type was used, but they are all open pollinated. In general, the turnips are doing good, but when compared to everything else that is growing like crazy, their performance is mediocre. One onion variety is much slower than the others, but they are healthy. But of course until it the root crop is pulled, all we know about the garden, is what can be seen. The garden so far is a 99% success. Although a small garden, the yield is surprising. Because I will not be lacking for food at the moment, much of it will be let to go to seed. I need seed, and do not want to pay for it, but most important, I to learn that part of the process. As we are going into a Super Grand Solar Minimum, this spring as been cold and wet, just perfect for this type of garden. Looks like a second planting will be possible even up here in NW Montana.

    Other observations and comments. The Yukon Gold potato, although not a cold weather plant, is also growing surprisingly tall. Of 5 varieties planted last year, Yukon Gold produced far more than the others. Considered a potato substitute by some, but with only half the calories, yet it is a cold weather vegetable, is rutabaga, aka., the Swed. It is far outperforming the Turnip, and crowding others near by. Impressive. How does it eat? Don’t know, but I’m gonna find out for sure…

    As far as chickens go, we are a bit short on those, but added ducks which are proving to be reliable layers. One chicken was reassigned to incubate 2 peacock eggs that the white in color peacock hen abandoned. I call this chicken, Super Chicken. It never ceases to amaze. Just be sure to get out of it’s way and let it do her thing. Although few chickens are involved, it appears that we have plenty of eggs to crow about. Adding turkeys into the mix, there is plenty of foul to choose from. And then there are rabbits, everywhere…. By virtue of their excessive numbers, I believe they do a good job of keeping competing varmints away, including weasels and mice. Rabbits are territorial and by accident, they protect the garden.

    While watching the garden grow, the slow tedious process of canning up of possibly a 150 pounds of bear continues. It was an unusually large black bear, yielding more meat than originally estimated. It is good as stew meat. The canned fat should last 2 years, or more, and there is lots of fat on this one. Impressive for a ‘spring’ bear. The wild life around here is thriving. I almost ran out of jars, but a neighbor showed up with 7 cases as a part of trade for services rendered, and saved the day. The process has been made easier considering that we narrowly missed war with Iran the other day. It would not be just another Middle Eastern war like we have become accustomed to. And it still has the possibility igniting, and becoming a huge war that tanks the economy, and possibly much worse.

    1. I’m not a war hawk by any means but I have to wonder if war with Iran is inevitable. Should we be hitting them on our terms sooner rather than later, rather than when they have more capability?

      On a side note, those smaller black bear make good eating. Steaks on the grill are delicious and ground bear makes a very decent chili.

      1. To WIHunter,

        We do not need war, war with Iran would be a very bad move for many reasons. For one, it could easily escalate into WW3. Putin recently came out and said to the effect, that the danger of WW3 has never been higher. Putin sees what is going on in this country, and may share some of our views, and he is very concerned. WW3 is inevitable. The globalists want war with Iran real bad, and have been pushing for it for over a decade. Trump did not get sucked into it this time…. but they will find a way to provoke it.

        Yes, bear chili is good eat’n. Had it last night. This one is a bit tough, about 18 years old, and huge. Pressure cooker makes it as tender as roast beef, and that how it becomes chili, stew or sandwich…

        1. My gut tells me to agree with you regarding Putin…or at least Russians in general. Russia is a traditionally Christian culture with the Orthodox Church having apparently survived far better than would be expected given the murderous persecution by the Communists. Even Stalin had to resort to using Asian troops to carry out his barbaric treatment of German civilians at the end of WWII.
          We also face a common enemy in devout Islam.
          I wonder how much tension between the U.S. and Russia could have been defused by Trump if the DemonRats were not so intent on destroying him at any cost.
          Against Russian warnings we overthrew Saddam and Gaddafi, and were attempting to overthrow Assad in Syria. Not saying they were/are nice guys but they suppressed the more radical/devout elements of Islam and their citizens, especially Christians, fared far better than with the devout Islam rule that is the alternative.
          The Iranian people are largely secular and it is their crazy leaders that are problematic. However, we helped put them in power by interfering with their government in the 50’s. And when the Iranian people attempted to rise up a few years ago, our government, under Obama the Islamic Sympathizer, helped pull the rug right out from under them.
          I believe China is by far our most dangerous enemy. A hard line Communist country with essentially no historical Christian culture willing to kill their own citizen human beings in order to sell their organs, mass genocide against their own people, stealing of intellectual property, bribing our politicians (Clinton–both, Biden, etc etc).

  9. Summer came on the Solstice as my man visited the local farmer’s market without me and still spotted the purple hull peas. Locally grown and sold, I put up bushes of beans/peas every summer to see us through the winter. I’m aware of the problems that can come from freezing food (what if the electricity goes out?) but I’ve been doing it for so long it’s second nature, and I’m also working steadily at accumulating canned goods. I use both; canned peas are for when I need a quicker meal. Frozen are for when I can cook real Southern style, which means boiling the beans for two hours with a big slab of bacon.

    Another great food to freeze is yellow crooked-neck squash. If you think you don’t like squash, try cooking it in an iron skillet with finely minced onion and bacon drippings.

    Oh, another note. We had a wind/rain storm last night and this morning when Hubby went to Walmart their computer system had been knocked out. It was chaos and a line wait of over an hour as they struggled to cope. A good example of what will happen if the grid ever goes down.

    Good luck to everyone as we harvest God’s bounty.

  10. Busy week here on the urban homestead. Planted two sets of beans, six days apart, for a staggered harvest. Covered them with straw so I know exactly where they are.

    Also planted the next group of kale and collard greens, with a few beets. Then a friend dropped off some fennel, already tall. That will be yum yum in a couple months.

    Harvested many of the first group of greens along with comfrey leaf, nettle, lamb’s quarter, and sow thistle. All of that is drying as I write this. Guaranteed nutritional eating in January. I hold the opinion that a mix of domestic and wild (weed) greens makes for a dynamic diet.

    Also gave away a basket of greens, comfrey leaves, and garlic scapes to a young friend who is going through a significant transition. The rest of the garlic scapes will feed me and my bride the next few days.

    Oh, and the mulberries are finally ripe. Ate some off another tree–bland as often described. The tree here produces sweet mulberries. For that I am most grateful.

    Carry on

  11. Good morning, all. We harvested the spinach yesterday. The tomatoes aren’t growing too well here in the midwest as it has been cold and wet. We’re to get warmer temps this week, hopefully this will help. Green beans are taking off as always, and we have a lot of blossoms on the raspberry bushes. Will harvest the lettuce tomorrow. We want to move so badly to the redoubt. Not able to yet. God bless!

  12. I ordered a 6 pack of the radios on Amazon Thursday night (6/20/19) and got them Friday Afternoon (6/21/19) !!! Prime Free Shipping. $198.00 total for 6, includes all the accessories (mike, headset, charger, antenna, and the cheap belt clip holsters (actually came with 10 of those).

  13. Gardening, ha! Here in Wyoming the first day of summer was 45 degrees. On the other side of the range west of us there was snow yesterday. The garden is up, but even in the wall-of-waters the tomatoes are pretty chilly.
    Tried a new thing over the weekend. Ran the leftovers of last year’s crop of Jerusalem artichokes through the meat grinder and then the dehydrator. Now they look like small nuts. Will try them out in baking and cereal as nut substitutes, which are hard to grow at our elevation.

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