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:

This week I’ve been traveling out of state, helping an ailing elderly relative. So my prepping has been limited to just physical exercise, helping relatives to prepare, and placing a few mail orders. Most notably, I placed an order with Palmetto State Armory, for a few extra complete AR uppers, to add to my barter stock. It is amazing to see that they’ve resisted the urge to raise their prices. That is a commendable. I intend to swap those uppers for some pre-1899 guns when I’m at guns shows, in the next few months.

Although President Trump appears to backing off from his previous position on criminalizing private party sales (“Universal Background Checks”), there is still a risk that he will acquiesce to the demands of the Leftists and RINOs. I am also quite concerned that there will be serious economic trouble in the next year, leading to the Democrats prevailing in the November 2020 Federal election. The prospect of new gun restrictions — either sooner or later — is not appealing. So I’m consciously and deliberately doing some hedging.

My dear wife Avalanche Lily has been very busy in her garden, so I’ll ask her round out this column.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week here at the Rawles Ranch was a race against time,  I pay attention to the long term weather forecasts and saw that our region of the American Redoubt is expecting the earliest fall snow storm in many years on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  Our valley could get anywhere from 0-12 inches of the white stuff.  I have mixed feelings about that.  Thus, the race was on to harvest the garden before the frosts come.

In the garden I harvested and froze the last of the zucchini and yellow crookneck squash and pulled all of their vines.  I harvested the thirty pounds of pumpkins (and pulled their vines), more spaghetti squash (and pulled their vines), over one hundred acorn squash, thirty pounds of cucumbers (and pulled their vines), beets and their greens, mint, the Mandan corn–about 200 ears, and gave the stalks to the cows and horses to eat. I also harvested kale and all of the green and partially ripened tomatoes in the garden and greenhouse about one hundred and fifty pounds or more. (The latter will finish ripening in the house.).

I hope the frost that comes after the rain and snow isn’t too hard, because I have run out of time to harvest one row of red onions.  My carrots are not mature enough yet, to harvest, I have some young cabbage, that I’d like to see mature if they survive the cold and we have temps up above freezing again for a few weeks.  Also I have a lot of green raspberries on the Primo canes that need to ripen.  We love eating them fresh.

I harvested from the greenhouse about eight small Honeydew melons, one lone pumpkin, two butternut squash and six seven-inch Luffa sponge squash.  Hmm, these crops were experiments which didn’t do so well.  Butternut squash has done much better in the past in the greenhouse.  I’m not sure what happened this year, unless they didn’t like the open door at night.  Also, I did get a later start on planting the seeds in the spring.

I have about eight trays of sweet green peppers in the greenhouse that are beautiful this year and are producing abundantly.  These I brought into the house and put in the guest bedroom for the weekend storm.  If the weather improves outside again after this storm and cold front passes, I may put them back out in the greenhouse for a few more weeks, otherwise we will be putting the grow light in the bedroom again this fall. I also brought in three hot pepper plants and the celery plant.

I mowed the garden paths twice because of all of the rain causing the grass to grow quickly.

In the orchard, I weed whacked the main path of the orchard. I planted that Bing Cherry tree that I was babying on the porch because it arrived mail order looking dead from dehydration.  The three Pecans seedlings are in the guest bedroom for now.   I harvested about ten Mackintosh apples from our baby Mackintosh tree.  Miss Eloise promptly made an apple crisp with them.  Yum.  Hopefully the tree will double or triple that amount of apples it produces next year!!

I transplanted over a hundred runner strawberry plants into the bed that had held the acorn squash.  I had been wanting another bed of strawberries and this was the perfect time to do it.  I hope they put down roots and survive the frost that is coming.  I will be covering the bed with plastic at night to help them get established before being forced into dormancy…

The girls and I got in only one walk, but I was running around the garden and digging a bed and pulling plants and pulling weeds, too, I am always pulling weeds, like a woman on a mission. This time of year I’m busy in the garden up to nine hours a day, so that counts for exercise for this week.

We cleaned up the property putting things away, such as the hoses, lawn chairs and did lots of other things that needed to be accomplished outside before the snow flies.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

P.S.: Update, 10 A.M., Saturday:  The storm has arrived. The snow level is down to 3,000 feet. We expect snow on the valley floor tonight.  Oh, and the local power is out, but that doesn’t affect us very much.

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.


  1. I always like reading JWR, but come on now, you surely realize that Trump doesn’t control the economy. Most readers realize that the Federal reserve is no more federal than the Federal express. It is owned and run by the people really running the world. All hail the Rothchild bankers.

    1. I never intended to imply that Trump controlled the economy. If the banksters want him out, then all they need to do is crash the stock/housing/auto markets between now at the November 2020 elections. And yes, THEY CAN, if they want to.

      1. I agree with your bankster comment but would add two things.

        1. I personally believe in the natural business cycle. The President and government in general do not control the business cycle fully. IMO neither do the banks. I believe it is almost like a natural cycle population cycle in nature. Trump walked into the end of a long although anemic expansion. We are “due” for a recession just through the natural business cycle. IMO Trump has delayed it and it remains to be seen if he can mitigate it or not.

        IMO this part of the problem is normal and healthy although the timing right now is not great.

        2. Trump has done nothing about the national debt. I did not expect him to although I voted for him and will again given the chance. Once again IMHO no politician can. Why? Because they cannot get elected and stay elected doing the things that would be required to clean it up. I am unsure whether the debt can be cleaned up without some terrible economic pain.

        One of my pet peeves with fellow conservatives is their simplistic way of looking at our economy as if they are not on the government dole just because they are not on welfare or are not employed by the government. Make no mistake, if when government spending tanks, everyone will be effected at least short term. The government employee who does not buy the new car, who impacts the auto worker, who impacts the steel worker, etc. The farmer who does not receive the subsidy or conservation payment and does not buy the new pickup or defaults on the new one he just bought. The carpenter who was working a mix of government contracts and private house building…for other people whose business partially supports government contracts perhaps through the supply chain. The waitress who sees her tips evaporate and hours shrink because the carpenter and steel worker and the government employee and farmer eat out less.

        Nobody is an island in this situation.

  2. Mostly the usual farm chores this week: feeding animals, cleaning pens and cages, replacing straw in the coops and clearing most of the garden. Oldest son worked on the hoop house during the cooler hours of the morning. My location still has hot weather, but will begin cooling off in October. Harvested some of the apples. The lemon tree is loaded with fruit but won’t be ready for harvest for another month.

    Did get some veges in the freeze-dryer, vacuum sealed and stowed away. Canned hot peppers, jalapeno relish and green beans. Made bread, dried more herbs and vacuum sealed the herbs. Repackaged 25 pds of beans and rice into buckets with gamma lids. Picked up 2 months supply at the feed store to begin laying in the winter stock up.

    BTW, BayTec Containers is having a fall sale on gamma lids: https://www.bayteccontainers.com/5-gallon-gamma-seal-lid-section.html Free shipping on order of a dozen lids, no tax to most states, plus an additional 11% off, use code FALL11.

    Received an order of hunting supplies. Have a great week!

  3. The rain has continued where I live, so it wasn’t possible to do as much as I was hoping this week in the garden. I was able to harvest a lot of herbs and my wife is currently in the process of drying them. I was able to pick up a few baofeng radios on ebay, and I hope to get them in the mail next week. I was also able to take advantage of the rainy days to finish the last PSA kit that I have. Hopefully I will be able to get more in the near future to build out the last of my lowers. I’m hoping that a helpful Survivalblog reader can recommend a good reference book for the proper care and maintenance, as well as how to properly store, an AR rifle.

  4. Congratulations Lily! My first year here garden yielded only a few gallons of each thing I planted. I was surporsed a first year garden would have root maggots, but sure enough they got into our Yukon Golds, beets, turnips.

    While stationed at Fort Ord for three years, I decided the best shot to meet and marry a cowgirl while indulging in my favorite cowboy sports and skiing would be to move to Bozeman, deep in the heart of the redoubt.

    In late September during my first year there, the clouds grew to huge towering red monsters high above the surrounding Bridger Mountain chain. Three feet of snow grew to five feet that winter. My old posi-traction international pickup did fine with chains on unless it high-centered on snow.

    Later, I was able to get an old four wheel drive pickup with high clearance, and learned to chain up all four tires. One area neighbor would put two sets of chains (not cable-type!) on each tire to get enough traction to plow driveways.

    That winter in Gallatin county taught me about -50 degree weather living. I grew up in show country but had quite a bit to learn about pacs on your feet, neck rags, scotch caps, de-icing fuel lines, changing U-joints in snow miles from electricity and shelter. Aah, the good old days.

    Last year we were in the big blizzard that destroyed thousands of power poles across north Montana. Now another storm is getting ready to hammer the area from Denver to Canada.

    If you have a vehicle, get one of these for emergency power:


    It clamps onto your battery, and with your vehicle running outside safely away and downwind from you, you can plug your extension cord in and run a heater limited to 750 watts, and a light bulb or two in your house when the power goes out again:


    Soleil also makes ceramic 250 watt heaters.

    Here are some 5 watt bulbs you can screw into lamps to have basic visibility:


    How much power are you pulling? Here’s how I found out when I was worried about my freezer and refrig running on my little setup:


    Another important thing I learned was to never carry the little snow shovel you clear driveways with. I carried the biggest aluminum scoop shovel I could and would strap in on top of the car if I couldn’t fit it inside.

    We are seeing lots of those black woolly caterpillars with the brown band around them. We are heading for a good wintry winter.

    Best wishes everyone.

  5. I agree with JWR about people blaming a bad economy on Trump as well as his take on firearms restrictions. I have a recommendation if you have representatives in your district that are contrary to your views. Just follow the democrat lead. Start bombarding twitter and the internet with anonymous sources reports that so and so is a pervert that was seen running around exposing themselves prior to preschool, dressed up as a hobo on Halloween thus denigrating the homeless, reportedly had dealing with communist on Ali BaBa etc. Just leave out the salient details and provide proof by innuendo. 2nd and 3rd party hearsay witnesses are quite acceptable when launching an unfounded smear campaign. It is sad when a majority of people are so gullible that they do not question politicians, the media, and my favorite: unnamed self appointed experts.

  6. Purchased 10 handles for various hammers, picks and axes along with some wedges and rivets (for shovels). Tractor supply had buckles on clearance, 2 for 99 cents so I picked up 5 sets to put in with my leather

    Started installing the stainless steel mop sink in the mudroom. Above the sink I am putting a French cleat like system to hang wire baskets from. The idea is in the winter when we come in we can place snowy/wet hats, gloves, etc in the baskets and the water can drip into the mop sink. The mop sink also will give us a place to wash off boots or dog paws.

    Went through some “surplus” preps and took them to auction. At the auction I picked up 4 knives, 2 sets of binoculars, a bunch of 20ga shells, a large pelican type case, a hand cranked fuel pump and the best deal was I paid $10 for a word burning furnace with blowers. Will be putting the rest of the proceeds from the auction back into preps (FD food for sure and maybe some ammo). Two of the knives are vintage (Vietnam era) and are in very nice condition. One is a Ka-Bar 1209 and the other was a made in Brazil “Garcia” knife with hollow handle that has a very interesting history. The other 2 knives a Camillus and a cold steel will go into the barter inventory.

    I also had my yearly physical and got my flu shot.

  7. Regarding the banksters and how much they control, including the Rothchilds and other family’s that started this fiasco and is now continued with the unconstitutional Fed Res. Remember that unless you Physically control your wealth of whatever constitutes wealth to you, whether it be land, gold/silver, tangible assets, you have nothing more than a promissory note that is only worth what the value of the paper it is written on is worth. Most as a meager scrap of a fire starter, and a poor one at that.
    PS : Ms Lily, I am extremely envious of your gardening and hope to get there one day. Mine is, shall we say, a work in progress. I enjoy reading of the abundance you produce.

  8. This week? Let’s see…
    Our new (to us) Suzuki Carry kei truck arrived and shortly after the Bercomac snowthrower to put on the front. We also upgraded three security cameras on the property.

    Thanks to the warno here, we bought additional Baofengs and spread the word and placed orders for some others as well. Our order arrived Thursday and the rest will he here Monday. On the communication prep I also started studying for my Technician ticket.

    Our garden has been dormant for a week but we did all the winter prep mid-week. Weeding, covers, irrigation system blow out, and bed repairs. We have the same storm happening and glad we beat it.

    Still working on the shop extension. Finished walls this week before the weather turned. Next week plan to do the rafters and then finish the build. The extension is for needed space but also for a discreet well cover.

    The snow was wet and thick but no accumulation today; we’re a bit further south than you. Hope everyone stays safe and ready!

  9. A few months ago I was promoted to a top level engineering position with our company as an electronics engineer; though I am still hourly the amount of overtime has been so huge that payroll is now complaining about my excess hours … and to me how it has impacted my free time at home. We finally got the last 3 1/2 cords of firewood cut , split, and stacked. In January we’ll take delivery of another load of logs (70 + logs in a load) and in the spring cut,split, and stack them for use two years from now. We only burn Birch and occasionally Spruce that is two years or more dried in our catalytic wood stove out primary heat; up here in the arctic this is a life saving chore, not an option.

    Our “garden” this year was successful beyond our expectations, but a huge task in time and effort to grow food. There is no natural soil here so all soil has to be brought in and taken care of to keep it useful. We cannot compost so we build up our soin year to year by heating up compost in “sun barrels” that absorb heat. The barrels are 30 gallon drums that are black and can keep heat to dry and set off the compost we put in. Just add water and some nutrients to get it started, dump in the fall when tilling the barrels we grow in … in order to grow enough for two to eat year around via canning, dehydration, or freezing we will need to increase the size of our garden greenhouse by double or more …

    The overtime though has helped us to pay off bills, clear out credit cards, and soon to order food supplies for at least two years. Thinking Mountains House and some cans of various vegetables, fruit, and staples like milk, eggs, and nuts. If I had as much of food storage as I do bullets and reloading supplies I’d be well set for many, many years ahead … love these articles of this forum and learn so much. God bless all of you …

  10. Wow! That’s a Lot of work! But you’ll be able to enjoy great food this winter . we’ve been busy gathering up our garden and greenhouse produce too. There’s a lot of satisfaction in producing your own food.

  11. Quite busy here with produce preservation and wood work. I had hoped to start canning meats again to refresh my skills, but will save that task till winter doldrums.

    Took stock of the winter outerwear containers and found that there are needed items for restock. Keeping warm and dry is important for both health and safety. I prefer to replenish through thrift store purchases rather than full price whenever possible. Bought yet another pair of winter boots from the thrift store. Like new Sorel’s that are basic with removable wool liners. Also snagged a beautiful pair of waterproof, insulated and fleece lined women’s mittens.

    Still getting a lot of exercise walking/hiking. The dogs are listening better with training. They listen very well to my son, but needed more training to do as I instruct right away. Not sure who was being further trained…the dogs or me!

    Although higher in altitude than you here on the continental divide, this storm is only bringing rain our way. Thankful for that as we have not yet changed out (need to buy new this year) the winter tires.

  12. Today I made tomato sauce from my tomatoes. This year is the most productive year ever, thanks to using organic tomato fertilizer and generous watering. I watered everything because hot weather is forecast for this week. I also ordered replacement analgesics for my on-the-go medical kit. The current ones expired in November 2018 — very sloppy of me. I also made enchiladas and chocolate cake in my solar oven — yum!

    I love reading everybody’s comments. There’s so much wisdom to tap here. Keep it up, everyone!

  13. Have managed to get 30-40 Baofengs in the hands of like minded friends and family over the last month! That’s a good feeling. Plus got around another 10-15 within our group. Compiled a great CSV file to program everyone’s radio. Includes some direct Simplex codes, all NOAA weather bands, all FRS, GMRS, MURS and Marine VHF frequencies as well as all the big repeaters across the state.

  14. Just reading this on Monday while listening to Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings. Lovely.

    I hope you folks who had the early snow drop on you are weathering it well.

    I just returned from an appointment with a new doctor, an osteopath–part of my preps is high grade medical care now.

    Am enjoying prune plums, tomatoes, onions, bananas, and mangoes from a local grocery store dumpster. The money I save goes to buy long-term preps. For the first time, my sweet spouse joined me at the lip of the dumpster. She wants to cut down on her food expenses, too. All the produce was right on top, in great shape, and some of it still cold.
    I was able to give some away to friends and I may dry some of it.

    The tomatoes and onions I cooked up with a big batch of greens from my garden. So bountiful. I am grateful. In fact, when people ask me “How are you?”, instead of answering “Fine or Okay” I say “Grateful”, which reminds me to be thankful for what I take for granted. I then ask, “What are you grateful for today?” Leads to sweet conversations.

    Carry on

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