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’m getting close to my September 2nd manuscript deadline, but I managed to squeeze in some more firewood cutting time. This week it was a large dead-standing fir. This tree was 28″ at the butt, and felling it was complicated by the fact that it was quite close to a corral, a shed, and a fence line, That only left two narrow  paths for it to fall, safely. So I used the “Phone a Friend” method: I called my neighbor who owns a backhoe.  We attached a heavy chain and a come-along attached to a choker around the base of a nearby tree that was in the intended direction of fall. I watched the top of the tree almost continuously as he dug, snapping roots.  I kept the tension tight on the fall-steering cable. Since he had a lot of experience at this felling method, the tree dropped right where we wanted it. Success!  Then my kids got busy with the limbing (with lopping shears and an axe), while I broke out out one of our Stihl chainsaws. The stump was so large that my neighbor had trouble dragging it with his tractor. So I attached an extra length of tow chain and dragged with my pickup — in 4WD “Low.”  I had no problem getting it to a slash pile.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Whoa, this week, I very suddenly realized, that we are at the end of the summer (where did it go?), and that home school needs to start for Miss Violet next week.  Therefore, I had to spend some hours getting her homeschooling curriculum together, setting up her on-line math class and checking in with her piano instructor to get her lesson time scheduled, ordering a biology workbook (Apologia), and while in town, buying a few school supplies that we were short on.   In addition to Piano and Pre-Algebra, she will be studying Biology, American History, American Literature, Hebrew, Driver’s Ed, Essay writing, some American Government and Economics, current events, and more Music Theory.

Miss Eloise graduated this spring and is taking a gap year to explore her interests and to work part time.  She also enjoys writing and is working on some stories that may someday be published.

So, in light of time constraints caused by home schooling, I am looking around to see what I can do to finish up as much of the gardening and preserving as soon as possible.

I pulled more onions this week and dug some potatoes, 1/3 of a row, from the area that was planted last fall and overwintered to see what kind of production I might be getting.  I think it did fairly well.  I will be digging some more this coming week.  We picked, washed, snapped, blanched and froze a gallon of yellow wax beans, and dehydrated another 17 large Zucchinis with another 15 awaiting in line to be next.  I washed and chopped, blanched and froze five green cabbages and refrigerated another six red cabbages.  I froze another two gallons of red and gold raspberries.  Their summer production is just about done. But I have a large number of Primocane raspberries that produce raspberries on the tip of first year canes into the fall until the first hard frost.  It appears that they will be producing heavily in another two weeks.  Last year I was picking raspberries into October from the Primocanes of both the reds and gold raspberries.  I need to prune out the spent raspberry canes in the coming weeks.

I picked the last six finally ripened Transparent Apples.  My young plum tree, after five years of growing in the orchard has finally produced some plums, which are just beginning to turn slightly purple.

I pulled weeds in the main garden.  And I stacked some wood one morning, for Jim.

I transplanted around 15 fir, spruce, and cedar saplings that I had pulled up from areas around an outbuilding, about three weeks ago.   I had put the saplings in water and they grew new roots while in the water. I didn’t know pulled tree saplings would recover from that kind of trauma.  I was surprised that they survived.  So I planted them in areas where we want more trees.   In light of that successful experiment, (we’ll see if they take to their new homes), I again, went around some other of our buildings and pulled saplings that were growing where they ought not to grow, and put them in water to see if they too will grow more roots and be able to be replanted.

We have family members visiting. We are enjoying many good times together.

Miss Violet and I rode our bikes four days in a row for 40 minutes of concentrated exercise. We are rebuilding our endurance again, after a summer of doing garden work and lawn mowing for my main exercise.  Also the weather is cooling down a bit making it more conducive to want to ride.

Please continue to pray for our relative with the heart issue.  We are believing that she is healed, in the name of Jesus.  By His stripes, she is healed.  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. I don’t have much experience cutting trees, but I’ve been using a silky saw and you can make some pretty precise cuts, have had to drop a few trees between the house and other trees and it works great at least for 30’ ish foot oaks. Good work out too lol.

  2. It takes a lot of practice to learn to fall a large tree. After 30 years in Alaska you learn how it is done. When we had a bad one we ran a cable to a log choker up on the tree as high as we could get it and backed of and pulled with a winch on my truck it always went where we wanted.
    Probably a lot of you are not familiar with a “LOG Choker’s”. Go to a shop that handles cable and have a couple made they are worth there weight in gold. Fast to use and remove.
    God Bless Gman

  3. I use a large (7/8″) bungee cord salvaged from a piece of equipment to put elastic stress on trees that need precise felling. I tie it to my tractor or pickup, pull and then cut. Great for a one man cut.

  4. JWR,

    Any little snippet on your new book. Is it along the lines of Patriots, Liberators, or a totally different genre? Can you clue us all in, i.e. same characters from before, an extension of a previous work, is it a financial collapse–EMP?

    Now don’t give a spoiler alert please…. Just something to tease us!

    1. It is a non-fiction book. The working title is:

      The Ultimate Prepper’s Survival Guide — An Advanced Preparedness Handbook for Uncertain Times

      1. Thanks JWR…

        We will be praying to see this through for you! God bless you and your calling on this Earth in the Lord.

        Secondly, hats off to ALR… reading about her escapades on the ranch, homeschooling, cooking from her stock, shoeing horses, hiking, and who knows… maybe skydiving, there’s a reason for her being allowed to do this… YOU-her man have set this all up. I would pay $200 a signed copy if your next book was training up young men to be leaders, men, Godly men, who can create a nest for a young lady to take root as his bride. You have the American dream, the life, a pioneering spirit, all in the midst of LEFTist chaos taking root all around us. My wife and I would love to see a column on married couples talking together, talking it out, and doing the things you have afforded your bride.

        Please consider a marriage book for Preppers… NEXT! There are so many forces around us, and feels like we are living in the last breath of freedom before a massive clampdown [wait till Trump leaves office, just wait!].

        God bless…

        1. JD,

          Well, I’m chuckling. Skydiving, um…no! I do not like experiencing THAT much adrenalin. However, I am interested in learning how to fly what I call, a “put-put” plane: a Cessna or Piper or a Trike.

          I just found a ground school course on YouTube, which Miss Violet and I, and maybe Miss Eloise, will be watching to start learning, about planes and flight, just for fun, for now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uyUGxyn8xAU&list=PLnjaM9eVs4pvHFgcSAkepEbWwQpGtbY5c&index=2

          Flying has always fascinated and terrified me at the same time. I love the power of jets, taking off. I love the views and the excitement of going to new places. However, I hate the idea that it could fall from the sky and crash, and kill us all. I’d rather not experience that kind of terror before meeting my Maker.

          As you can imagine, I’m the passenger who is very tense, with my face pressed against the window for the take off and landing staring out the window watching and enjoying the views but all the while engaging in heavy duty intercessional prayer for the pilot and the plane during most of the flight. So you could say flying for me is a love/hate relationship.

          Perhaps I would feel much more different if I was in control??? 🙂

          About a Marriage column, Jim and I talked about it a bit and, I’m thinking about writing an article about what we believe and how we interact with each other and how we make decisions together. I think my article could be an example of what you are looking for and in the article we’ll ask other married couples to also consider writing about their marital beliefs and decision making processes using my article as an example.

          I will say, that I am so thankful and blessed that Jim chose me! I love him and the life he has given me and my children. Jim is a very giving man and wants us all to be happy and to pursue our interests. He has given us a home of love, faith, safety, education, adventure and freedom to pursue our interests. We love living in the wilderness on our own property and I wish I had more energy and time in the day to do ALL the things that I would love to do. Thank You JD for your kind words and for giving us more ideas on what to write about.

          Many Blessings to you, your wife and your family,


  5. Anyone know of a curriculum/book that teaches about English history in the middle ages through present day? Specifically about the PEOPLE guarding and protecting their God given rights to freedom against kings who would tyrannize them?

  6. “The Ultimate Prepper’s Survival Guide — An Advanced Preparedness Handbook for Uncertain Times”

    The title is fantastic as is. There is no doubt that this will be the epitome of the genre.

    After acquiring many other skills to go along with my gear, such as radio, reloading canning, chain saw repair, solar systems, etc. one of the most important skills I’ve neglected is medicine. There is no way I can travel to the ‘big city’ for an EMT course, but I have found this source to be the most educational and entertaining. I will never have enough knowledge about medicine, but what little I’ve acquired has kept me out of the hospital many times, and save me thousands. So I share it with you:

    Survival Medicine Hour: Equipping the Medic, Heat Waves and Their Consequences


  7. I’m with you on concentrated exercise. I added a mountain climb to my walking regime. I take the dogs and continue to work on their training as well.

    Found multi sets of much needed sheets and extra pillow cases for our beds. Only one more blanket though.

    We continue with wood preparation and preserving whatever produce is available.

    My current project is to inspect and put away the tents, sleeping bags and backpacks now that our son has returned to college. I’ll be getting out the avalanche gear and a couple packs for those winter adventures. Hoping not to have snow before Thanksgiving, but we never know. Preparing the cars for winter driving is next.


  8. A great read is “Rising Prices Empty Shelves Warning Signs That Triggered the Greatest Famines in History” by Bill Heid. It is a fascinating account of millions who have died in the past due to the various causes of famine throughout recorded history. Food shortages can come on slowly or quickly, but we would not want to live through one. Honestly, keep stocking. Never buy one of anything! Looked carefully again today at the shelves at Walmart. Besides blank spaces, they are not stacked very deep. Some things are okay. Grabbed another 20-pound bag of rice, cleaning supplies. Added to my sardine stash etc. We dehyrated a lot of peaches this week. They are so good! I saved my first ever tomato seeds. I don’t know why I put it off. It is easy! Anything imported will be going up so now is a good time to get our Christmas shopping done.

  9. Jim Rawles, I salute your life balance. Many authors just isolate themselves when facing a deadline. You give your creative energies a break by doing something practical.

    When I was in graduate school, I noted that all that reading was taking me away from life. It was an exercise in delayed gratification. Thus, I would reward several hours of book work with housecleaning and washing the dishes. Immediate gratification, and it got me off my butt. I actually learned to enjoy washing the dishes. Still do.

    Carry on

  10. We planted too many bean seeds. This caused the extra vegetation to crowd out the necessary light reducing our harvest accordingly. Lesson learned, have patience, do not replant too soon.
    We are also working on firewood. Whew, getting warmed the first time.

    We decided it was time to replace the old hollow core doors in our 50 year old house. This also gave me the opportunity to tighten up our security with solid core doors and better latches.
    I am certainly not a carpenter but I do know one.
    What would Jesus do is absolutely the right question to ask when hanging doors.
    I could not have completed my task without him by my side.
    I learned that it is much easier to install and make solid the frame on the hinge side without the door attached. Then attach the door to finish the top and latch side of the frame.

  11. Have been working on getting all of our medical supplies in one spot. Received all the Dewalt bins & storage boxes I’ve ordered for them and put everything in them. I like these because they latch well and you can see everything in them for quick access. I also organized and printed out information/dosage sheets for all of our prescription medications. I also have quite a substantial amount of medications that either I, my husband or parents have filled but for reasons like stopping or changing medicines I keep them since insurance covers the cost. I keep these as they may be useful in a SHTF situation. Things like: (Coumadin, blood thinner and Uloric, for Gout) etc. The Uloric particularly as without insurance it can run around $1,400 !! I know I probably shouldn’t be saving these but they may come in handy if used properly and by a medical professional.
    I’m ashamed to admit it but all of our supplies were scattered all over and it took me two weeks to get everything organized but at least I learned from it.
    We also redid our kitchen floor this week. Our house is 150 yrs. old & were trying to update it little by little.
    We moved to this rural area in Illinois to get away from the western suburbs we grew up in but our ultimate goal is to move out of this crazy, corrupt, NON- freedom loving state, but right now I care for my parents who are in their 80’s and both have different stages of dementia/Alzheimer’s.
    It’s very hard to see them deteriorate but I thank god every day that I get to spend so much time with them!!

    Have a safe and happy week everyone

  12. Our garden harvest is just starting to kick into gear. Harvesting blueberries, raspberries, turnips, currants.

    Still slogging forward on deer/elk proof fencing. Treated with wood preservative and then tarred 10 posts, let tar dry in sun for two days, and just set them in holes until I’m ready to pull the alignment string alongside them before actually setting the posts.

    Fence posts are 5×5 and 12 feet high. Setting them in 2.5 to 3 feet deep. Winds frequently hit 35 mph in summer, and when the 8 foot tall elk proof netting is on, the fence needs to handle winds to 80 mph.

    I will be running trellis wires on the inside of the posts to grow vining crops such as pole beans and grapes next year, and possibly espalier fruit trees. Total area is 100 by 160 feet, but always plant more than you need and maximize usage area.

    Still running sprinklers on our hayfield for fall regrowth. Building root reserves in early fall is critical to maximize the following spring regrowth potential.

    Cougars have been sighted a mile from our place this week, bald eagles are hunting our property, coyotes having been going number two in our orchard, so must watch out for our four legged hired hands on rodent watch.

    Draining our small farm reservoir now using a 1 inch hose to siphon all water onto the hayfield, preparing for an excavator to clean out sediment and sludge, thus increasing water storage capacity and build up the edges of the holding area. Winter rains will refill the reservoir.

    Can’t do much chainsawing with worn out vertebral discs, so bought 2 cords of rough-quartered rounds and took delivery. I split it into stove dimensions and got it all tucked into the woodshed, with a new wall installed to weatherproof it better. Heaving many contented sighs with a good supply of firewood. PTL.

    Took delivery on another bulk box of 7.62× 51.

    Starting a church Bible study on Kings, Chronicles, and Isaiah. Topic today was on sinful leaders. 2 Kings 15: ” And did evil in the sight of the Lord,………,which made Israel to sin.” Beware of our elected officials which make us do evil.

    God Bless

    1. I’m reading Kings and Chronicles currently as well. I have a difficult time with this section of Scripture, because it makes me sad. It takes so few generations to go from a solidly God-fearing king and citizenry to a totally depraved one. It would have broken King David’s heart to learn how his descendents went from being faithful to faithless, and how God had to chasten the people so severely because of it. And it’s frightening to know that this can happen in one’s own family as well.

      May God bless your Bible study and also your garden preparations!

  13. Work on the new wood shed is on going.The sweet pickle canning project went well.Only broke one jar.
    We inventoried our remaining canning supplies to get ready for the tomatoe marathon next week.
    No Bible Study this week so granny is knitting away on her beautiful winter throw blanket.
    There is a hint of fall in the air.Our humming bird pals left this week.We will miss them.
    I’ll service the four wheelers this week,and call the bulk supplier to fill the tanks for the winter.
    God Bless All,and Long Live The Republic!!

  14. Today my husband and I picked most of our beets, blanched and froze the beets, and washed and sliced the stems and froze them for soups/casseroles, and washed and froze 4 gallons of beet greens for smoothies. We also picked tomatoes and froze a gallon of green/wax beans . Fall is in the air. We made a trip last week out to Idaho where dear daughter is going to law school. My husband and I cannot wait to move…much more north of where she is, however. God has to give us the go ahead. We are waiting patiently to hear His plan. We have one son in college here and are homeschooling our last son one more year before he graduates. We got as far north as McCall, just beautiful!

  15. I did nothing for 2 solid weeks. All I will say about that is that life itself is going to be absolutely brutal on those of us over 50, should we ever find ourselves in a long term grid-down world. There are some things you just cannot plan for, things you cannot fix when they go wrong. Life is going to happen to us the way it used to happen, but without the benefit of modern medicine. Sorry for the downer, but it was certainly a wake-up call for me.

  16. Lily,

    Two questions: 1) what variety of potato do you use, and how to you store them (and for how long)? I’ve found the varieties for home gardens don’t always last more than a few weeks, even when stored properly. And 2) how do you ensure you will use all your preserved produce? You have a prodigious amount, so I’m wondering, do you meal plan, or just go day-by-day based on FIFO and storage recommendations? (Maybe those answers are for a post on the site??) Thanks!

  17. I pressure canned over 50 pints of various nuts- cashews, pistachios, almonds and walnuts. They will stay good for years. Good protein to have on hand, just in case. I also canned up about 50 half-pint cans of bacon bits. I found a great deal on bacon (99 cents a pound) and needed to preserve it. Looking at canning up tomatoes in the next week or so. Happy to can as much as I have as our garden did not produce very well due to the torrential, non-stop rain we had from April through July.

      1. I couldn’t believe the price either. I thought it was a typo in the ad but it was true when I got to the store. Anyways, I got the recipe from the rural-revolution blog that Patrice Lewis writes and I have been canning bacon bits for the last few years. Here is the linkhttp://www.rural-revolution.com/2012/09/canning-bacon-bits.html?m=1. Happy canning!

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