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:

I now have just two weeks left before my nonfiction book manuscript is due to Carlton Publishing, of London. So I’ll make this entry brief.

Our nearest neighbor (only 1/4 mile away) reported seeing a large adult male black bear near his house, so we’ve been on high alert, for the safety of our livestock. In our region bears can be real pests. Folks like us who living outside of city limits have to leave their trash cans indoors. And the county trash collection dumpsters have to be kept inside of special fences. Often, these fences are electrified. (See the photo above this column. That one–seen on a recent road trip that took us up the length of Idaho–had a particularly tall fence.)

I’m nearly finished with my annual firewood cutting project. I really feel blessed that we can cut all of the wood that we need, just on our small ranch. I’ve never had to go get a U.S. Forest Service domestic wood cutting permit. (But if need be, they are readily available, at minimal cost.) Just our wind-fallen and dead-standing timber is usually enough for us each year.  I’ve also gradually thinned out a few trees that would never be marketable, or that were detracting from the eventual marketability of the other timber. Those culled trees were all either oddly-forked trees, ones with snapped-off tops, the weaker-looking halves of Siamese Twin trees, wood ant-infested trees (with big Pileated Woodpecker-notched holes) or a few trees that were apparently snow-damaged as saplings and that have subsequently grown up at odd angles or otherwise disfigured. Now, after more than 12 years of thinning, we have a very healthy-looking stand, with more than 10 tree species.

Lily has lots to report as, she is nearing the peak of harvesting, in her garden. Over to her…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

It has been a very busy week preserving food. My parents have arrived to visit with us for the next month.  We’re very happy to have them here to share our life with us and to see what our daily life is like.

Here is what we did this week…

Mostly this week was all about food preservation. Early in the week, I harvested and froze more Wax and French beans, four gallons of red and gold raspberries, zucchini — the usual suspects, ya know.  I froze the two gallons worth of broccoli, which I had bought at the end of last week.  I canned another 12 quarts of water, and 9 quarts of store-bought organic carrots.

I dehydrated two more quarts worth of zucchini and another quart worth of store bought green peppers.

Our Transparent Apple tree, which has been growing in our orchard for three years, it’s probably about eight years old, in all, produced enough apples for me to can 7 quarts of apple sauce.  Yum! This was very exciting for me to have enough of our own apples, now, to do this.  Lord willing, next year, there will be even more apples.  I have six other very young apple trees.  Only one other is producing apples this year.  They will be ready to pick in late September.

I finished pruning out the black raspberries and weeded one of my potato patches where the weeds were about to drop their seeds. Whew, I will say that area was a close call.  If I hadn’t have pulled those weeds when I did, I would have had thousands of seeds going into the patch which would make gardening very difficult next year.  My other potato patch needs me to get into it, too, and weed.  Lord willing, I’ll do that next week.

I harvested the garlic and half of my onions.  Both of which are now drying in the greenhouse.

I mowed the garden paths and helped the girls stack about four cords of wood on three evenings this week.

I’m fairly certain that “A” went into heat this week. “S” our bull followed her around with far more interest and intent than his usual, on Thursday and Friday. Although I didn’t see the “deed” I saw other telling type of behaviors among the herd.  Exciting!  If all their plumbing worked, we’ll have a calf from her in May or early June, 2020.  We are also expecting calves in January.  Thankfully we have a good barn to shelter them in.

Our horses are on a bit of a vacation and are outstanding in their field. 😉

We have a serious prayer request: A close relative had a recent checkup and was found to have a potentially serious heart issue show up. It needs further investigation under anesthesia which will take place within the next two weeks.  Please pray with us that it will come to naught, that she will be healed, that she will not have to go on meds. Also: that the doctors will do only their job with sure hands, and that no weapon formed against her will prosper.  In Jesus’ name!  Amen and amen.

Thank you!

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. Will keep your friend in our prayers.

    Put up 4, 3200 Lumen LED shop lights in the barn. Put up a new shelf in the barn and moved items onto it. Trimmed some pine trees up. Brought a load of “stuff” from the garage from the house in town to our homestead. We are very close to having everything out now. Picked up an AR500 steel plate target, some original formula Hoppes #9, and a nice set of leather work gloves (on clearance) along with a 2 pack of extra chainsaw chains (also on clearance). Scored a bunch of small items (hardware, tools) at the flea market for a few dollars. Picked up a case of canning jars, a pair of woodland camo BDU pants and a small first aid kit at the Salvation Army.

    Read some more pages of “The Knowledge: How to rebuild civilization in the aftermath of a cataclysm”

    Printed of a copy of “Eggcycolpedia” available for free at the American Egg Board website at https://x9wsr1khhgk5pxnq1f1r8kye-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/eggcyclopedia-fifth-edition.pdf

  2. Before the heat arrived this week, my son elevated two 40′ trees inside the front fence that were shading the blueberries. The limbs were 10” round at the trunk and about 15′ to 16′ long. He bucked the limbs to fit in the tractor bucket and brought them over to work area. They will be added to the seasoning wood pile. The day after he finished, we had 3 days of 100°F+ heat index so we took care of the animals early in the morning and retreated to the AC.

    I opened a #10 can of jalapeno cheese sauce and distributed contents to pint jars and water bathed them. Still have another #10 of plain cheese sauce to do. Everything tastes better with cheese on it! Made more habenaro hot sauce. Still FDing veges.

    Separated the weaned bunnies from their mommas this week; have about another 4 weeks before I have to separate the males. Last year I was a little late separating the males and the dominate male tried to castrate the other males.

    FYI, Federal is have a “Rule the Range” promotion and is giving a rebate on .223 ammo; Three cents per round, minimum 300 rounds. $30 rebate on a bulk order of 1000. Info at: https://promotions.vistaoutdoor.com/EN/US/Promo/16/157/EntryForm.

  3. Just curious why you’d want to can water as opposed to using much larger containers coupled with easier preservation methods? I have a months worth of drinking water in food-safe 55 gallon drums to meet short-term needs coupled with cases of bottled that are easier to transport should the need arise.


    1. Hello Tim,

      Canned water is sterile water. It can be used for medical purposes such as flushing wounds and medical equipment, as well as for drinking. It is important to have some on hand. I mentioned in last week’s Editor’s Preps of the week as to why I am doing this. In a nutshell, I was awoken at 3AM in the morning with the words spoken in my mind, insistently, four or five times in a row, “You need to can water”. Canning water was not on my radar ever to do. However, I am obeying the words that woke me up. If these words were spoken to me there must be a good reason for them which will be revealed to us in the future. One of my thoughts is, if the west coast were to have a major volcanic eruption and we lost power, our surface water, our river, could be clogged with ash, etc. It’s just another added source of water to our supplies, and it’s sterile that is ready to be used at a moment’s notice, whereas regularly stored water would have to be boiled, which takes time and a fuel source.



        1. Hello Mary,

          I am water bath canning it.

          Basically, one brings water to a rolling boil and boils it for five minutes. Then you put the boiling water into a sterilized, hot jar, cap it, and put it into the water bath canner. Bring it to a boil again and time it for ten minutes. Take it out and let cool down, etc.



      1. Thanks so much for the explanation. Having sterile water on-hand makes a lot of sense. I was thinking of water just for drinking and cooking.

        Best Regards,

  4. This is just a FYI. I understand that the AR500 0.5″ steel plate is sometimes used in body armor and for just plain target shooting. A while back we were shooting 223 and 308 into the AR500 targets and never doing anything but light pimple dings into the 0.5″ steel, but I decided to use up some old reloads I had, 300WM 165gr spire soft points, three were fired and ALL three cut through the 0.5″ steel like it was butter, the holes looked like I had used a cutting torch to cut the holes. I was not expecting that to happen, so I make this observation, know your armor before you go into the battle.

    1. I saw one chart showing Level III could stop both the M80 (7.62×54) and M193(5.56) but it took a Level III+ to stop a 5.56 green tip, then took a Level IV to stop a 30.06. Just saw it on Farcebuk today bit couldn’t re-find the link to post here.

      The chart made me re-think what I’ve been doing, which is stocking up cheap older M80 stuff insrtead of more modern 308 supplies.

        1. Thanks for catching my typo.

          I’m watching too many Soviet videos on Netflix these days and jumbling. I always see my typos….as soon as my response posts-Hah!

          I know very little about body armor comparisons. I’d be interested in reading a current explanation of types including the + rating and comparison article on SB. I think others would appreciate one too.

          I’m 74″ tall and the plates I wore in AFGN in 2006-7 seemed short to me.

        2. I have been part of a crew videotaping armor plates shot with different 5.56 and .308 rounds and based on what I have seen, I would only wear III+ armor or better.

          I have personally shot AR500 steel armor plates with M80 ball at 50 yards and it has not penetrated. However, it does not surprise me that a 300 WinMag would do so. They send a 180 grain bullet at close to 3000 fps while the .308 is 2700 fps for a 168 grain bullet. In general, expect faster rounds to penetrate where slowed ones do not. Even a 20-inch AR barrel can make a difference.

          The good news is that when I have seen AR500 body armor penetrated by 5.56 rounds, the rounds have always been stopped by LeveL IIIA soft body armor behind it. In fact, it often looks like it is a slug of steel pushed out of the armor that gets caught in the Kevlar rather than the bullet body itself. I hypothesize that the bullet breaks up on impact and does not penetrate but pushes a slug of steel out the back of the plate.

          The Level IV plates we shot stopped everything we hit them with, but the deformation on the back face was shocking.

  5. We got work started on a new wood shed.Our hope is to have 10 cords under cover by the time the snow flies.
    Canned up 25 pints of Flathead cherries,and bagged sugar with the Meal Saver.
    Put in an order for Wapato canning tomatoes.The case lot sales will start in the next few weeks, so we are clearing storage space,and are hoping the prices haven’t gone crazy.
    Keeping a close eye on the world business and financial situation.We all want order and certainity in our lives,but I’m not seeing it at this time.
    I feel that when the SHTF hits,that whatever you have on that day,will be all that you will have for a very long time
    God Bless All and Long Live The Republic!

  6. Chuck,
    We feel the same way: Musical chairs and when the music stops, nobody knows! Stopped at Trader Joe’s today and loaded up on nuts, cinnamon, etc. And then my credit card was declined, I guess because I was 85 miles from home?! Lesson learned. I should have brought cash as a backup. The cc company said the wait would be 13 minutes at 8:00 on a Saturday morning, time I did not have. I decided to give it a try and they came on the line and cleared up the “problem” in about 7 minutes. I must admit I felt like I had just seen a “cash only” sign, coming to store near us all someday.
    Lots of sorting and organizing going on here, as well as house projects to make sure everything is in perfect order.

  7. This past week I made Ghee. I stocked up on butter, but only used 4 lbs which produced not quite 4 pints. I have another 12 lbs of butter to go. Why Ghee? Because it makes butter a shelf stable product, primarily. Secondarily, I wanted to learn to cook with it, and wanted something that could be obtained locally in our ranching community, avoid the GMO type oils, realizing that Olive Oil may not always be available. I saved the skimmed butter fat and used it in a pie crust. Sprayed the apple trees with a Neem oil concoction – the pincher bugs are persistent. As well, we broke ground on the new greenhouse which will be a permanent 30×60. We’re debating as to geothermal capability, but we may not be able to go deep enough due to the fact that we live in a Valley and it seriously flooded this past spring from the snow melt. I’ve ordered the seeds and supplies for the organic heirloom vegetable starts, and hoping to get a transplantable fall/winter crop going while the greenhouse is constructed. We’re calling this year the Dry Run for growing vegetables through out our cold Zone 5 winters here in Idaho. We’re excited but scared. LOL. I’ve been frequenting the Farmers Market in a neighboring town and hating the high prices charged. Our goal is to provide to our local community here, small town that it is, our own families, and also provide for any needy families. I too am waiting for the case lot sales!! But I noticed our local Ridleys buys from local farms and a lot of produce is on sale this week. I will be canning, freezing, and drying.

  8. I canned 10 cases of pint and 1/2 pint fruit jams, peach, plum, dewberry, mustang grape and cherries this past week. I bought the cherries, the rest came from our orchards and property. I’m now working on dehydrating pears. I have hundreds of pears still to pick which some will be quartered and canned and some will be made into jam/jelly. The pears always seem never ending, they grow really well here!

  9. Finished putting up all solar panels for our off grid power source. This is the last year for maximum federal tax write off. Each subsequent year it will be reduced until phase out on solar.

  10. Still working on increasing our blanket supply and mending some winter gloves. Wood work for this winter continues, so we will not be at all dependent on electricity to keep warm. I’m glad it is there for when we need it, but prefer to be self sufficient.

    We just set up a day bed (looks very much like a couch until the pillows are pulled off) in the loft for even more sleeping accommodations should we need them. It’s amazing what can be purchased at thrift stores these days. Now is a good time to think ahead and scout out the thrift stores.

    Finished 3 beginner herbalist courses and printed all of the information. I want to have it all in a binder at my fingertips if needed. I also bought one of the recommended herb encyclopedias – used. I’ve been making some of our own products, but reached a place where I needed more education. There are just so many products we can store.

    I keep putting away whatever food I have available; however we are still eating down the freezer.

    Spent a but of the week hiking, biking and stretching. We need to keep our bodies strong.


      1. I went with basic courses (thus far) through The Herbal Academy. As a Master Gardener, I can grow the herbs (or wildcraft them) but needed more education on how to use them. I like their approach and professionalism. Also, they do not assume I have any prior knowledge which I appreciated. I wanted to start at the beginning, and did. The courses I took weronline and self paced.

  11. JWR

    I notice you are on a contractual schedule for a new book. As a non-writer that seems quite difficult to me.

    How do you know how long the book will be and how long it will take to write? Do you have an outline before you enter into a contract? Do you just sort of already know what you want to say before you write it and just have to flesh it out? How does it work?

    1. Once the book is nearing publication (around October, 2020), I will post some details. I’ll do my best to describe the whole contractual, writing, editing, and photo selection process. I’ll also seek permission from the publisher to post a sample chapter. Stay tuned.

  12. I planted 3 apple trees two years ago and another last year all old varieties. Blacktwig,Aunt Rachel,Royal Limbertwig, and Buckeye Beauty. Three of these trees are fall bearing and one is summer bearing. I planted one Paw Paw tree this month and have several more in planters that I put through the cold stratification process that I intend to plant this fall. We have one Concord grape vine that did produce this year but suffered badly from june bugs eating on it’s leaves this summer. Thanks for sharing your homestead updates.

  13. Our maritime garden is just starting to produce beans and summer squash. Still working on deerproof fencing. My homemade deer repellent is working. A buck has been coming in every few days and only hit a few twigs I had not sprayed: urine kept in a sealed plastic jug a few weeks until it becomes ammonia. Stinks bad but is a good source of nitrogen as the ammonia breaks down.

    The biweekly outdoor flea market was good this week. Found the first four Foxfire Books in good condition. Ten bucks for all four.

    Did more intel collection on our new home county, at the fair. You know you are in the right county when a canned jar of Elk Stew Meat wins a blue ribbon. The jar nearly fell into my gift bag….ahem…..always fighting temptation! Had to get a chilidog to satiate the hunger urge.

    I interviewed another candidate for our church safety team, who had been on the team at Candlelight in Coeur d’Alene. They have a very thorough program there and hosted a Sheepdog Seminar there last March.

    Cut firewood this week and am looking to buy more to prepare. My aged bones feel a long cool winter coming here, and I keep getting daytime visions with a feeling of comfort .. of drawing the blinds to conserve heat and stoking the stove.

    I suggest people get fuel cans filled with treated gas using PRI-G and sealing them very tight so no vapors can be smelled. Prices are still not too high. And take advantage of low propane prices before September hits.

    PSA is having some great sales now. Take advantage.

    God Bless.

  14. Only hours ago, I rescued six melons, twenty kiwi fruit, and many peaches from a local dumpster.

    Already ate a few. Yum.

    The melons and fruit are usually tossed when they are “overripe”, aka perfect and sweet.

    I’ll be giving much of it to a friend who supports a large family.

    Carry on

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