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’ve been helping a relative for the past few days. I brought along one of my Stihl chainsaws and my Fiskars pole trimmer, and have made good use of both of them. Having the right tools handy is always a time-saver. And I should mention that it is also often safer.  If I had been up on a ladder with a bow saw instead of standing on the ground with my pole trimmer, I would have put myself at needless risk.

I took some of my own advice, and have been more aggressively buying pre-1899 cartridge guns, whenever I can find bargains. My goal is to gradually sell off much of my modern “trading stock” and replace it with pre-1899 guns, in the interval before the Democrat/RINO-planned “universal background check” law goes into effect. Enactment of some variant of this vile and entirely unconstitutional piece of legislation now looks very likely.  PLEASE repeatedly contact the White House, your congressman, and both of your U.S. Senators.

I now have just eight days before the second half of my book manuscript is due to the publisher, so I must make this entry short. We now shift our attention to my dear wife’s weekly report:

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This has been a nice weather week after nearly a week of clouds and rain, last week.  It has been quite a week!  During the early part of the week, it was necessary for us to run to various towns for three appointments and other needs three days in a row.  Going to town even for a brief errand or appointment generally takes up almost the whole day for us.

We are trying to hurry-up and wait to harvest the last of the produce, playing that game of, “How long to leave it to grow, before the frost comes and kills everything?”, and trying to get into the home-schooling rhythm.  Honestly, this time of the year (and the spring, also) stresses me out with the demands of gardening, preserving, and conducting school, conflicting with each other. Both I want to do. Both demand a lot of time and finding the balance is a challenge.  Well, I’ll just say that Bible, math, and American literature coupled with essay writing have our attention for now.  The other classes will take their rightful places in a couple of weeks.

Around the trips, I did manage to can nine more jars of carrots, freeze four gallons of Zucchini (I think I’m just about at the end of the Zuch. production), and freeze two gallons of Broccoli.  I harvested parsley and basil which still need to washed and put in the dehydrator. Our tomatoes are just beginning to ripen, finally.  I have harvested a few Orange Cherry Tomatoes this week, yum!  I have the following queued in the garden, nearing harvest:  at least thirty Spaghetti squash (I am very pleased with them. It is the first time, I’ve ever grown spaghetti squash.), pumpkins, beets, turnips, cucumbers, acorn squash, cabbage, kale, lettuce, carrots, red onions (I harvested all of my yellow onions already), French green beans, Yellow wax beans, sweet potatoes (I do not have much or any expectations for the sweet potatoes), and corn. In pots, I have gold potatoes, another spaghetti squash, a mystery tomato, and various mints.

In the greenhouse, I have more tomatoes, basil, parsley, butternut squash, a pumpkin, lettuce, kale, beets for greens, spinach, green and “black” peppers, and honeydew melons.

We are getting handfuls of Gold Raspberries, still, every few days from the Primocanes.  My red raspberry Primocanes will ripen next week or so.

In town, I purchased 8 more cases of various sized canning jars.  One can never have enough canning jars.

The girls and I also squeezed in a bike ride, and two short hikes in the late afternoons and early evenings.  One hike was hiking down/exploring a dry stream bed which flows into a lake.  I was hoping to reach the lake, but about a half mile down, we ran into a huge log jam with massive logs all jumbled together. The size of it really surprised me, because this was a fairly small mountain stream, but this was near the bottom of it’s course.  With the smallish size of the stream and the huge size of the logs and the log jam, I can just imagine the volume and force of the water that must flow through there during the spring snowmelt to carry those logs. Amazing!

The forests on either side of the log jam were absolute tangles of logs, brush, cedar tree branches, flotsam and jetsam, basically impenetrable without a battle.  We weren’t in the mood to fight through it to go around the jam, nor to climb over the log jam which was more than a hundred yards in length, and potentially very dangerous, so we turned around.  The streambed hike was a good 45 minutes duration. The other hike was to a local waterfall which gave us a good elevation to climb, 700 feet in over a mile, to get our hearts pumping, but not to exhaust us. This hike took about an hour and a half with a pleasant sit at the waterfall.  Most of our exercising this summer has been on the flat. It’s time to start going up hills.  We will, Lord willing, keep going for longer and higher elevation gain hikes in the future.

This time of the year we have a mouse problem.  The mice are finding their way into our home.  The problem appears to be worse this year.  We have been setting about seven snap traps throughout the house and have been making the three cats stay in the house at night to hunt the pests. The cats are doing a great job.  Every morning we find one to four mice dead on the floors where the cats leave them, and up to three caught in the traps.  It’s been a crazy late-summer for mice!  We do not put out poison because our cats do eat some of the mice. We love our cats and don’t want to lose them.  We have to make sure all food is off the counters. I have to wipe and dust every surface, every day. And I vacuum the whole house and under all of the furniture in the living room and kitchen and wash the floors. I’ve had to deep clean the bedrooms, too, this week.

Many of our potatoes that were harvested have Potato Scab. We had some in previous years, but I didn’t recognize what I was seeing.  But this year, I researched it.  Now it’s become a problem in my garden which means that I should not plant any more potatoes in the main garden for five years.  This means that I will be breaking new ground for new potato beds this next summer, down in our annex garden. I will also have to order new seed potatoes, instead of using my own, so as not to spread this bacteria. In the potato beds used this year, I will be planting crops that grow above ground since scab affects other root crops.  Additionally, I’m not sure these harvested potatoes with scab will store well all winter without rotting. Therefore, I will be sorting out the potatoes with minimum to maximum scab and will be canning many of them in the future. We live in a fallen, sick, disease and sin-ridden world. There is much we must learn and fight against.

Yes, It’s been quite a week.

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. Hi Lily

    Yes, absolutely positively don’t use your potatoes that have scab to start next year’s crop. And as you noted, move their location as well. I’d also suggest looking for some scab resistant varieties. Resistant doesn’t mean immune of course but it helps if you have land prone to scab. We now have problems with late blight in our area(what caused the “Irish potato famine”) and I have found it very helpful to grow blight resistant varieties.

  2. Lily, Today is the first time that I read your weekly report, I’m usually here to see what Jim has to say and to “steal ” some of his quotes ( I really enjoy them). But, in reading your post I got a reassuring look into someone else’s daily life in a broken world and to be sure I will be a weekly fan of your report. Thanks and God Bless You.

  3. try the bucket trap method for mouse problem
    you will catch more in one 5 gallon bucket then u can imagine. check youtube for tips

    also i would explore injection foam insulation to seal up entry points in your house. DIY companies like foamitgreen can shit the kits to you.

  4. We’re also finishing up our garden, and getting ready to close it up for the fall and winter. Just waiting on our pumpkins to come in. The grandgirls are excited to have them for Halloween!

    Our ducting under the house was full of holes, but we have a friend from our church that has a heating and cooling company, and said we could make payments on it. So now we have new ducting, and our house is so much cooler now! God has definitely taken care of us.

    I’ve been putting out deer corn all summer, and started with the mineral blocks. Hunting season will be upon us soon. Between me, my wife, and our youngest son, we can harvest quite a few deer, so we picked up another freezer to hold the meat.

    1. just checking to see where abouts in Mo. Hope gardening is better there than
      north fl. everything burns up to early here. Planning a move mid next year. Have
      two kids and spouses there just below springfield. We are looking just north of Branson. All the best.

      1. We’re north of Springfield. We planted late because of the rain (which we needed,) and still had a great harvest. Even in the dog days of summer we have now, our tomato plants are still producing, and we’ll have pumpkins ready for Halloween. Our growing season is really very good.

        Even though I grew up in the West and my wife in Texas, we like it here. The cost of living is low, Missouri is still very conservative (though not so much in St. Louis and Kansas City,) and the gun laws are excellent. Getting a CCW is easy, and we have permitless carry also. Stick with a smaller community, and I think you’ll enjoy it here. If you have any questions, I’ll try to answer them.

  5. I watched ‘After Armageddon’ (2011) a docu-drama produced by History Channel ($7 Amazon). I’d recommend it to any family planning to simply bug out of a highly populated location. You’ll have to suffer through the preaching by arm chair ‘experts’ from the insulated world of academia but the story is worth it. It has a powerful and unexpected ending.

    Watching this was not my Prepping Progress for the week. But it sure motivated me to order some more fish/pet antibiotics.

    I had previously found these articles helpful. Both are PRINTED and stored with our antibiotics.


    Comment: Maybe it’s my paranoia but in shopping online it seems more of these are now require a veterinarian’s prescription. Surely it is nothing. Just Big Brother keeping Spot safe. I love Big Brother. /sarc

    1. Montana Guy,

      I want to join you in recommending to Survivalblog readers “After Armageddon.” I had a survivalist mentality in the 1980s, but when the Soviet Union fell apart, I more or less lost interest because I was only focused on the global nuclear war threat.

      When I watched “After Armageddon” as part of History Channel’s “Armaggedon Week,” it caused me to adopt an entirely new perspective. While I was certainly aware of threats such as flu pandemics, EMP attacks, cyberattacks, and financial meltdowns, this program made me realize how I and my family still were vulnerable.

      I found myself agreeing with every “talking head” who was involved in the program, and I found the drama depicted to be very realistic.

      If readers don’t want to buy this DVD, they can watch the entire program on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OtP80Z08lfg. The picture quality is not as good as it would be with a DVD, but it has one special quality. It’s FREE.

      (While you’re at it, watch another program on YouTube, “American Blackout,” an excellent NatGeo docudrama about an attack on the power grid: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vi_Rz9mCTjM)

      Unfortunately, History Channel no longer has “Armaggedon Week,” preferring to carry almost non-stop fake reality shows like “Pawn Stars” and “American Pickers.” Most readers don’t understand that they are being conned, and ratings are all that matters in the entertainment industry. The situation now is that if History Channel could get better ratings by reading the New York City White Pages (if there still is such a thing), it would do so.

  6. We love our cats also and someone said I needed a dog yesterday. The problem is our dog friends don’t live all that long. I’m still missing my daily companion , Hawkeye in my walks.

  7. Put together my cement mixer that I got at Lowes on clearance. Spent time trying to clean up the new barn so the wife can park inside when the Snow starts to fly. Picked up a bunch of oil for the generator. Received 5 new Kiddie fire extinguishers to replace ones that were re-called. Found a GI pistol belt and GI fleece jacket at the Salvation Army.

    Stormy this week. I left the house to pick up my son from cross country practice and a storm was to the south where I was headed. About half way to his school I was going 5mph due to the rain being so heavy. The windshield wipers seemed useless. Then I started to see small branch with leaves coming down and a small amount of hail. Not a good situation. Made it through and pick my son up and started the return trip home the same route and the road was blocked by multiple trees down across the road. I thanked God for protecting me.

    I was letting the neighbor who has many mature fruit trees that I picked up a fruit picker that he and his kids were more than welcome to use since my trees don’t produce yet. He showed me the fruit crusher and cider press that he made himself. Very impressive but more importantly it demonstrated his skills for fabricating things post-TEOTWAWKI.

  8. Been there done that with the mice problem! Three years ago the basement and the garage got infested. They chewed the cardboard canning jar boxes for nesting. Amazingly the mice never got into the house probably due to the 4 cats and 5 small dogs which love to catch mice. Even the large outside dogs chased them and stomped on them when we dumped the cardboard in the fire barrel. We used sticky traps where the cats couldn’t go and animal proof containers with poison bate. It took months to get them all and to clean up the mess. Now we use clear plastic containers for jar and FD storage.

    Harvested 5 roosters this week and made dog/cat food and 8 qts of chicken broth. That is a two day process for me; the grandkids catch them, my son dispatches them and I do the skinning, gutting and pressure canning routine. Gave a neighbor a bag of shredded chicken and a quart of broth for her cats.

    Received an order of three fruit trees, ½ gal. berry bushes and a new lemon tree start. Since our winters are usually mild, we prefer to do fall planting, plus the plants are on sale. The smaller bushes and lemon start will be potted and go inside the hoop house when it gets cold.

    Dried more herbs, ran them thru the herb mill and vacuum sealed them in jars. Made cayenne hot pepper sauce and more jalapeno pepper relish. Bought more beef on special and preparing it now for the FD. Eighty percent of the meat I buy or harvest goes into the FD as my freezers are all full.

    I sent daily emails to the white house, our useless senators and house reps to stop red flag laws, the “Equity Law” and HARPA. Also emailed the top 6 house democrats and politely told them I considered them traitors for conspiring to over throw the U.S. Constitution. If there is a “list”, I’m sure this ole lady is already on it!

    Have a safe and productive week!

  9. My garden is more for experimenting/learning than for eating. I will leave it to grow late in the season, and perhaps past the first snow. Seed potatoes will have less time out of the ground as seed potatoes, and will have additional time to grow as they will. The whole garden will be tested to it’s limit to see how it handles frost. Plastic is at the ready to extend the season.

    What I do not ruin, I get to eat. So far so good. Giant Swiss Chard is the top performer of the leafy greens, blowing away all other contenders. The trouble with chard is getting it to go to seed. This plant needs to be cropped, and the root ball stored over winter, and only on the second season will it produce seed. Because of it’s outstanding performance, it is worth the trouble. Even after regular grazing on the crop, it grows like a weed, and in a day or two, looks like new. The rutabaga was intended to be an cold weather option, and supplement in general, in case of problems with potatoes. And it is an option in terms of the culinary, a change in texture and taste, another staple crop that insures regular eating. Rutabaga is said to have half the calories of potato, yet it is thriving in this cooler rainier summer weather that is supposedly 20 degrees cooler on average than last year.

    The potatoes that had a strong start in the first half, mysterious lost their momentum, and it is clear that the rutabaga is vigorously out performing the Yukon potato that did the best over other varieties of potato in previous years. Less calories, yet more rutabaga to eat, proves their value, and the utility of the general policy and generous applications of copious amounts of guess what (drum roll), “redundant redundancy”, even when it come to eating stuff. I also gotta get the buck out of the freezer, and into jars to make room for an early elk tag. This last minute madness winterizing vehicles, checking the wood stove for cracks and issues, and other is a tax on past time fun, but it has gotta get done.

  10. Just not understanding that pre 1899 thing. Who cares if there’s a paper trail on guns. You have much better weapons that aren’t black powder loaded. Can someone sell me on this. I’m open for schooling.


    1. Admittedly I don’t know a whole lot about firearms, but just because it’s pre-1899 does not mean it’s a black powder gun. Take a pre-1899 Winchester or Remington lever gun. Find one chambered in 45-70 govt or 30-30. Modern ammunition should work just fine and it’s readily available. Do a little research to make sure the powder load isn’t too much for the old firearm, but otherwise there should not be a problem.

      The same thing goes for pre-1899 pistols and, of course, bolt action rifles. Even some semi auto pistols and rifles were made prior to 1899. The Broomhandle Mauser pistol is semi auto, Mauser rifles, Enfield rifles, both bold action, and others were all made pre-1899 and will take modern ammunition of the correct caliber.

      I believe even changes to more readily available calibers are okay with the laws as they currently stand. If I remember correctly JWR has one of those Broomhandle Mausers that has been modernized, yet is still considered compliant with current law.

      Maybe someone with more experience with firearms will either agree with me or correct me where I’m wrong.

    2. Black powder is NOT the issue. Nearly any gun (except a machinegun, short-barreled rifle, or short-barreled shotgun) made before 1899 is NOT considered a “firearm” even if shoots smokeless powder cartridges. It is an “antique” and totally outside of Feredal jurisdiction!

      1. Sadly, I doubt many in the LE community know this and even if they do, confiscation will include anything with a grip and a barrel. While I usually agree with JWR, this is one topic I respectfully disagree with on…modern stuff for me.

    3. Okay thanks guys. The wife and I purchased an 1860 pistol at Cabela’s and with it fully loaded you can get six rounds off the same as a semi automatic or nearly about.

      The lever action rifles are just as fast as semi automatic as you see on you tube.

      If you get your hands on a gatland gun it’s essentually a machine gun of you can point it correctly and transport it easy.

      I suspect some will be die hard a in that when Betto Oroake comes forcefully to take the ARs and the AKs they will die defending the 2A.

      In addition, during hurricane Katrina everyone was disarmed no matter what. You couldn’t tell a Swat office “oh it’s pre 1899 six shooter pistol “.

      I guess if I’m getting this correct the issue is a paper trail when you want to resell. Again our firearms are owned for life and willable to our grand children. Yes I know that will need a paper trail but I’ll let those figure that out when I’m six foot under.

      God bless and stay vigilant.

  11. Greetings campers.

    Grateful for the swell articles and comments posted. Lots of informative material! We rejoice to see God’s Word magnified when you folks post holy scripture for all to read.

    Here at our place we continue to bust-a-move on extra firewood and are looking forward to constructing a new lean-to, 9′ x 16′, in the next couple of weeks. Materials ordered and delivery details arranged. Leaves began coming down a few days ago and we’re beginning to see the beautiful colors.

    Y’all have a nice weekend with loved ones. Cheers.

    “SALVATION IS OF THE LORD” [Jonah 2:9c]!


    -northern region of Michigan’s lower peninsula

    Weblog: http://thehoffmannreport.blogspot.com/

  12. I understand perfectly how difficult this time of year is with school and harvesting having grown up on a farm in a teaching family.

    We continue to focus on wood and preservation here. Lots of dehydrating and freezing going on.

    I keep adding more to my exercise routines to get stronger and prepare for winter activities.

  13. The two above are right about the potato scab. Also do not apply lime for at least one full year prior to planting potatoes. My experience has been that potatoes like “new” ground as well. I’d turn under a light cover crop 3-4 weeks before planting, rototill again the day of planting and fertilizer added then too. Very little compost, mostly fish meal added each time I hilled them as a side dressing. Lastly, of the 3-4 places I bought seed potatoes, Wood Prairie Farm in Maine were the best, hands down. Shipping was obviously more than buying locally but averaged 12 pounds harvested per pound planted of their fingerlings and russets, and about 8 pounds per pound planted of the other varieties.

  14. Re: Mice problems

    We have finally prevented them from coming into the house by spraying Coyote Urine around the foundation of the building. You can find it in little pump spray bottles in the hunting section at Walmart and, probably, at your LGS.

    The other thing to be aware of is the fact that mice can carry Toxoplasmosis, a single celled organism/parasite that is transmissible to felines who eat the mice they kill and can then be transmitted to humans through cat feces (ingesting dust while cleaning the litter box). Infection by the parasite can cause birth defects in fetuses if ingested by pregnant women and there is some indication that it can cause schizophrenia in humans. It is ugly all the way around.

    And, of course, some mice carry Hanta Virus which is a deadly viral infection passed to humans in the dust of dried urine. Humans can die from Hanta Virus in a matter of days.

    We have been fighting the mice ever since we bought our ranch in 2013. Now that we have (mostly) gotten rid of them in the house, we are fighting with rats out in the fields and grasshoppers everywhere. I don’t want to use poison because of all the other critters that kill and eat mice (hawks, snakes, coyotes) but we really need to get rid of them. So far, the coyote urine seems to be working as well as anything we have tried.

  15. I’m not sure what part of the country you live in Tunnel Rabbit, but up here in Montana I haven’t had any trouble getting my bright lights chard to seed. If fact, my husband and I were sort of laughing at all the volunteer chard plants that popped up this year. I hadn’t planned to grow many plants this year as there’s just 2 of us now. But we just give the extra to our chickens and ducks ☺.

  16. Dear Avalanche Lily,

    I can sympathize with your mouse problems… we are dealing with “flying mice” aka bats! Actually, they are kind of cute… but I’m not a fan of them being in the house!! Two little guys have gotten inside recently. One got knocked silly by the ceiling fan and was unceremoniously flung onto the floor where he stayed very still until my husband picked him up with a net and gently carried him outside. He survived. A second one was found dead, in a mummified state, under the sofa… yech! We have bat houses strategically placed on our property, some of which they use while others remain oddly vacant. I do appreciate that they gobble up mosquitoes, but they are not welcome in our house! Now my husband will have to go up on a ladder to put screen mesh over the openings in the roof. (The screen will only partially cover the opening and is bent outwards to ensure that any bats inside can safely exit but they then can’t get back in.)

    I also wanted to inquire about frozen zucchini… I never knew you could freeze it without it turning to mush and had always frantically turned any leftovers into zucchini bread. How do you freeze yours? Slice and freeze? Blanch it first? Sauté?

    I am taking some vacation time to organize things around our homestead, and specifically to button up the garden. I hope to create a few new garden paths, add aged cow manure to the soil, plant a few more perennials, weed thoroughly, then cover the annual veggie planting areas with cardboard and straw for the winter. I have also been collecting large glass apple juice and wine jugs and am now looking to purchase a quality glass cutter. I would like to transform each glass jug into a garden cloche. Given that I don’t have a greenhouse, I am hoping to use these next spring for an early start in my garden! Of course this means I have to organize the potting shed to make room for the cloche collection… My husband will be so happy to see all those glass jugs move from “his” garage (their current location) into “my” potting shed! 😉 We also recently did some organizing and found some stick-up battery lights and extra cans of “oops” pale yellow and glossy white paint -all of which (Good Lord willing) I plan to use inside the potting shed and feed shed. This will help keep things cleaner and make chores a bit easier and brighter during the long winter months when it gets dark so early. I am so happy and grateful to have this time to tidy things up during these glorious sunny and crisp/cool days, before winter sets in…. but it does occur to me… Who besides people of our preparedness mindset actually think this is a fun way to spend vacation?! LOL!

    1. Dear Grits in Montana,

      I just wash, slice and freeze on a cookie sheet my freshly harvested zucchini. When frozen, I put the frozen sliced chunks into a freezer bag and put them back into the freezer. I use it in stir fries all winter. It’s not mushy. I do not use them for anything else.

      Eeew, bats. I really don’t like bats, at all. I would be in a panic to think they were flying around in my house at night, especially because of the rabies potential! Though, from serious inquiry of local vets, rabies isn’t really an issue in the region we live in. Our cats are vaccinated regularly for it. May your “flying mice” vacate your home ASAP by whatever means necessary. 🙂

      Actually ,for the past two mornings there haven’t been any more dead mice on the floors. Yeah! Maybe the population density was wiped out for a time, by our cats and traps. I do think wild mice are incredibly cute, too, though not in my house. Here’s to hoping that their population has been drastically reduced, now!! 🙂

      May you have a blessed week,


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