Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, 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:

Other than hosting some guests, this week was fairly quiet here at the ranch.  The weather has been intermittently rainy. One day was dry enough to be a designated poultry day. I slaughtered, gutted, de-legged, and skinned 17 chickens and one turkey. Meanwhile, Lily worked tirelessly with the remainder of the cleaning, butchering, and prep-for-the-freezer tasks, on all of those birds. We had a very busy day!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

I hope you all had a great Independence Day celebration.  Over the weekend, some relatives stopped in for the afternoon and night while on their travels through the American Redoubt.  It was super wonderful to see them.

On Monday evening, we kind of celebrated Independence Day with friends, the parent’s and siblings, of Miss Eloise’s best friend, who spent the past month with us.  We had some good food and fellowship with them and were sad to say good-bye to her.

On Independence Day, we attended the local parade and then spent the rest of the day relaxing and getting ready to travel.  We were too tired by evening to go back to town to watch the fireworks.  Eh, we’ve all seen many fireworks in the past, and most likely will see them again in the future…

In the garden, thus far, this summer, we’ve mainly harvested greens, grown in our greenhouse with which we have made salads and many awesome, healthy smoothies. They’re healthy, Jim!  They’re not “The Green Death” !!  🙂   This is a family joke!  I make them for me, Jim and Violet.  Most of the time, Miss Eloise flat out refuses them. I put a lot of sweet fruit in them.  I love them.  (The lettuces planted in the garden will be ready to pick within the next week or so)

I harvested the first two yellow squash this week from the greenhouse, and chopped and froze it.  I also picked and froze about a half gallon of some lovely, sweet strawberries!  I can’t wait for all of the other crops to be ready to harvest!  I re-weeded the Mandan corn and re-mulched it with straw.  I pulled tall weeds from around the golden raspberries and found and ate the first three ripe ones. YUM!

Most of those chickens that we butchered, I de-breasted and took the thighs and froze them.  The rest of the carcasses, all of them, except the three biggest birds, which were frozen whole, were boiled down for broth and  meat.  The girls deboned the carcasses and we froze that meat for future stews/stir fries.  When we return from our travels, I may dehydrate and can some of the deboned chicken.

During our travels, we’ll be visiting some museums, national parks and theme parks of high interest to us, and will also be visiting with many friends and relatives.  Sometimes we need to take a break from our regular life and spend other quality, relationship-building time with family.  We have some dear friends taking care of the watering, berry and zucchini harvesting, and animal care for us while we travel.  We are not expecting any other crops to ripen during the duration of our trip.  Thank You so, so much, you guys!

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. Strawberries just finished up and now the cherries are on. weeds are taking over the garden fast, mulching is high on the list for today. My old ’89 Ford PU died a couple weeks ago….spent the past two weeks looking for what may be my “last truck”. Got a used Toyota Tacoma. It’s been 20 years since I bought a vehicle, made payments or been in debt…..what a shock. Buying cars stinks, I come away feeling taken advantage of.
    The smaller rivers have come down and I’ve been catching some incredible smallmouth bass. Nice catfish too. Finally getting a surplus of fish back in the freezer.

  2. Kale is coming in like gangbusters. Harvested some ‘better boy’ tomatoes, zuccini, and some yellow squash. Green beans are coming on and could begin to pick the early ones very soon.
    Completed an AR build…took advantage of the PSA 29.99 lowers. Picked up a ‘couple’ and they are excellent.
    Reading in Jeremiah and John….Have a great weekend.

  3. It has been hot and very humid pon our”homestead” this week as we continue to unpack and organize our new home.
    At the flea market I picked up a nice adz for $10, coil of 1/4″ stainless steel cable (25′) for $10, a 20′ section of copper tubing, a new roll of solder for $1 as well as a bunch of hinges. Due to our lawn tractor’s mower deck biting the dust we went to the auction and pick up a used riding tractor with 46″ mower deck for $225. When our old house sells and we get a new tractor that one will be sold. The auction didn’t have a lot of stuff but we picked up a small parts organizer that had several new/used antenna connectors for CB or Ham radio, plus some glass fuses and audio connectors for $2, a garden stool for $2, and a Mr Heater my little buddy heater for $2. Spent some time organizing the new man cave. During the move “stuff” was just dropped into the room. Now plate carriers, Molle vest, magazine bandoleers, assault packs and CPF90 pack all are hung up. Ammo cans that didn’t fit on the shelf are on a pallet on the floor. Organized the barn by putting up extra T1-11, plywood sheeting and 8×4 sheets of 3″ form insulation. Hung up my machetes. Started to consolidate and organize equipment and supplies that are in totes in the barn (lighting, food prep).
    Watching the earthquake swarm in Southern California. The chance for a large quake in a swarm area is statistically high. There has already be some high 6’s and a 7 but I don’t think we have seen the last of the quakes. I believe we could see some in other areas (other fault zones) due to the significan ground movement in the current swarm area. A major quake in Sodom or Gomorrah (San fansisco and L.A.) could have supply line issues and negative impacts on the economy.

  4. Sad to say death visited our farm this week due to my forgetting lessons learned long ago. I have diligently practiced water harvesting here, placing troughs under barn roofs, installing IBC totes for storage, etc.

    Sadly, I had forgotten that one should never use water collected from galvanized roofs for consumption, or in my case to place your farm goldfish which are both a mosquito control bioweapon and delight to grandkids and grandpaw.

    The metals in the roofing continuously leach out, abetted by the acidic pH of our rainwater here. The same applies to those zinc strips placed on asphalt roofs to kill attempts by moss to establish themselves.

    The zinc also was killing the duckweed I had placed in the trough with our goldfish.

    I finally returned 5 of the 38 fruit trees form Costco last week, got full refunds. The return service person told me many folks were disappointed by the trees this year. The providing company shipped beautiful big trees with all the roots chopped off, crammed into the little bags filled with sawdust. Most of the trees I got from them had a very hard time generating leaves, even after three months planted in the soil with good growing conditions.

    The stonefruit trees were particularly hard to revive, the apple and pear trees doing much better.

    I taught another emergency power and communications class this week.

    Hilled our potatoes again with cut grass and sawdust.

    Getting to know our neighbors (some whom privately disparage eachother) continues to be good. One gave us about 700 ladybugs she collected in two batches, eggs, and fresh produce.

    Off to the monthly Ham club breakfast now.

    God Bless!

  5. Do you have any thought on how a SHF situation in th US will affect other parts of the civilisded world. I am an expat and have a small farm 8 achres and am quite self suficient with water storage chickens ducks and pigs and a genrator. I live now with my small family in Colombia.

    1. D. E. Carter, it might be possible to make an educated guess.

      1. When an SOS signal is sent, asking for help from someplace in the World, the USA answers the call, >or helps pay the bill. … The USA is a major source of funding for the United Nations. ‘The US Navy leads the way in assisting people in distress worldwide. Plus, the US Navy tries to reign-in piracy on the open seas.

      “The United States contributed nearly 40 percent of the budget for the UN refugee agency last year,” + “the United States contribution to UN peacekeeping, which amounted to $2.4 billion in 2016” + “the $2 billion that the United States provided to the World Food Program in 2016 was a purely voluntary contribution.” [From Council on Foreign Relations 9/28/2017 with a link at the site for more details.]

      2. “Medicine production is highly concentrated in the industrialized countries, where just five countries – the USA, Japan, Germany, France and the UK – account for two-thirds of the value of all medicines produced.” World Health Organization [old date 1999]
      [~>My thoughts, = China and many other countries may make needed medicine now days, but they don’t >give anything away.]

      3. “The United States is Colombia’s largest trading partner.” [There’s a list of products and the value sold by Colombia (more than just coffee) to the USA. [Embassy of Colombia]

      4. “The US Congress is set to finalize a 2018 budget that maintains aid to Colombia at its 2017 level, $391 million, despite efforts by President Donald Trump to slash the amount.” [Colombia Reports 3/23/2018]

      5. “In 2018, 18.1 million people used the illicit drug (cocaine) worldwide, consuming almost 2,000 tons of cocaine produced in the Andean region, according to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.
      The demand for the drug comes primarily from the United States and Europe, but South America has also grown into a major consumption market.”
      [Colombia Reports, 6/26/2019 Just Maybe = When there’s no market, the irked drug dealers will be looking for easy-money in the neighborhood. We might experience the same problem in the USA during a SHTF.]

      6. Christian Churches in the USA send a lot of money to other countries. It’s not easily tabulated from the information quickly found on the Internet. ~ Food, Medicine, Clean Water equipment, clothing, hospitals and schools are provided and/or supported by ~>’suitcases’ of money from USA Churches.
      [I heard that term, used by a Protestant Minister from Argentina, asking for a gift in a Southern Baptist Church, here in the USA.
      As a note: The Southern Baptist Churches do the same thing in the USA, when disaster strikes. SBC has ‘food cooking trailers’ with supplies that are sent to disaster areas here in the USA. They feed everyone including hateful Atheists.] FYI: I’m NOT a Southern Baptist (It’s a Church that supports charity).

      7. God will provide the rain and sun to Colombia. But the USA supplies some of the needed wealth and materials, to people outside of the USA. … Every place and situation will be different. >Politicians in every country proclaim, “We need your money for ourselves.” ~ The USA is the ‘piggybank’ for many politicians worldwide. … God has Blessed America.

      1. 1 The USA are definitly not alone in this and has also received help.
        Has the US started paying their debt to the UN?

        2 China does make Medicine

        Other countries give away Medicine, but the US going down would be a disaster for the Medicine production the US is the greatest market and importer AFAIK

        6 They´re not alone

        7 A very stingy piggy bank, other nations give relatively much more than the US

        1. ThoDan, you have a very cryptic reply.

          1. Wikipedia, United States and the United Nations: = The United States is the >largest provider of financial contributions to the United Nations, providing >22 percent of the entire UN budget in 2017 (in comparison the next biggest contributor is Japan with almost 10 percent, while EU countries pay a >total of above 30 percent).
          …. [As pointed out by Trump. The USA also finances a large part of NATO, which was designed to protect >Europe from Communist aggression from the old USSR and its satellite countries.]

          Wikipedia (about the debt): The UN has always had problems with members refusing to pay the assessment levied upon them under the United Nations Charter,[citation needed] but the most significant refusal in recent times has been that of the United States. Since 1985, the U.S. Congress has refused to authorize payment of the UN dues, in order to force UN compliance with U.S. wishes, as well as a reduction in the U.S. assessment.

          After prolonged negotiations, the U.S. and the UN negotiated an agreement whereby the United States would pay a large part of the money it owes, and in exchange the UN would reduce the assessment rate ceiling from 25% to 22%. The reduction in the assessment rate ceiling was among the reforms contained in the 1999 Helms-Biden legislation, which links payment of $926 million in U.S. arrears to the UN and other international organizations to a series of reform benchmarks.

          U.S. arrears to the UN currently total over $1.3 billion. Of this, $612 million is payable under Helms-Biden. The remaining $700 million result from various legislative and policy withholdings; at present, there are no plans to pay these amounts.

          2. The USA is a >very generous Piggybank for everyone else.
          A. +The USA gives money through Churches for life savings aid to people in need.
          The other wealthy (financially capable of giving) nations are relatively stingy godless places. [When it comes to private charities.]
          B. The open secret about Government Financial Aid: It benefits the Arms Trade. & A life of luxury for the leaders of foreign countries.

          ……… Any money gift quoted from a Government, should also include, where the money is ultimately going. Does it really reach people going hungry? … +There are credible accusations here in the USA, a substantial portion of the Welfare-Dollar ends up in the pockets of bureaucrats and fraudsters.
          ……. Of course, we can have faith; = such things don’t happen to Government Aid in other countries. (sarcasm)

          ….. ~The most expensive presidential cars in Africa 2019~ for photographs.
          If countries produce enough wealth to buy luxury cars, why do they need foreign aid?
          ….. +European sponsored troops are used to keep dictators in power.

          Foreign Aid through Churches is freely given for ~ Food, Medicine, Clean Water equipment, clothing, hospitals and schools.
          A good >secular organization: doctorswithoutborders(dot)com. = To recognize the good things being done by the >many secular organisations too.

  6. That’s a lot of poultry to process in one day. We cut our chickens up. We wrap the breasts separately , then wrap 4 thighs together, 4 drumsticks together, and place the wing tips in baggies for a future meal. These are frozen. The backs and necks(we try to keep the necks long) are cooked down in my pressure cooker until the bones are rather soft. I then clean up the meat , strain the broth and can it. As far as I can tell, the broth is bone broth and is said to have health benefits. I do know it tasts good and works well in various recipes.

  7. My wife is excited to finally get her first avocados from the tree we planted, we have a bumper crop of apricots, all the rain this winter did its job, first crop of pecans is coming this year as well.

    Spent the morning siting in a couple of rifles and assessing the property for any damage from the very large earthquake last night, thankfully none was found, but we live far from the epicenter.

  8. Like the Rawles family, we are going on vacation next week, just as the peaches, pluots, and some honeydews will be ready to pick. Our house sitters will be getting some tasty treats. Introducing some Silkies into our small chicken flock today. Crossing my fingers for a smooth integration that is complete before we leave town.

  9. Just back from camping in the quiet woods to escape local late-night fireworks. My sweetheart, who stayed, said I was wise as Thursday night sounded to her like firefight until midnight.

    Lotsa edible weeds jumped up while I was gone. Mix those puppies with kale and collard greens, some curry, and chow down. I’ll be drying quite a few, too. Many berries and cherries ripening in the community, where generous people invite us to gorge ourselves.

    Carry on

  10. I was happy to read that you just skin out your fowl, too. Around here, folks pluck (with greater or lesser success), but I never had the knack – even using a drum plucker I borrowed. Whenever I tried to pluck, I always ended up singeing off a lot of feathers. Now, I don’t have to feel like such an odd ball.

  11. I saw a smart homesteaders garden senior to us; and she was doing a lot of tomatillos. I wasn’t very familiar but I knew I wanted to act like smart people so I started some from Territorial no problem. I just acted like they were tomatoes from transplant to smart pots with drip.

    Well they are coming on strong now, no tomato is ripe yet and I’ve harvested miltomate tomotillos twice. They are lighter feeders than tomatos and so far they have been pest free.

    Saw a yt video about 8 pounds of the berries dehydrated and pulverized then vacuum packed into a mason jar mostly as the main ingredient for salsa verde. I tried this powder on oatmeal out of curiousity. Don’t do that it’s basically natural pectin with some sweet and sour essence.

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