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:

We are always busy in the Fall, since homeschooling has resumed, and we are busy with food preservation and last-minute tasks to get ready for winter. For instance, I will soon be installing snow tires and attaching our pickup truck’s snow plow. Once hunting season begins, everything else takes lower priority.

The fall colors are now at their peak, and that means lots of “oohhs” and “ahhs”, as we round each bend in the highway on our trips to town. I really love the fall season.

I spent almost one full day using my neighbor’s borrowed backhoe to cut a trench out in our barnyard, and then installing a 90-foot long poor man’s French Drain, to cure a chronic large puddle in a low spot. That puddle looked like a small pond, after every long downpour. It was only three to five inches deep, but up to 35 feet long. With heavy clay soil beneath, this puddle often lingered for several days. Because we have plenty of rock on the ranch, and I have a tendency to pile them up when clearing areas (such as our gardens and orchard), so I had plenty of rocks stockpiled–ranging between golf ball size and pineapple size. Most of them were about the size of my fist. I also had a truck load of gravel stockpiled. I ended up using most of that, too!  And since I didn’t have enough permeable underlayment on hand, I used the old homestead trick of laying down straw on top of the rock layer, before back-filling. Straw doesn’t fully decompose when buried for decades, so that should keep the soil above from clogging up the French Drain rocks. Hopefully, completing this long-delayed project will mean: Goodbye, megapuddle!

It feels good to be ready for winter, with hay and firewood stacked, a full larder, and logs crackling in the woodstove. There is some snow forecast within the next two weeks. Let it come.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Well, this week up to the time of writing this, I have not pressure canned anything, but I will get back to it, soon.  The girls and I, did water bath can 12 quarts of apple slices in medium syrup, made five pints of apple jelly, dehydrated a full gallon’s worth of apple cinnamon chips, and started three half-gallons of apple cider vinegar.  I have never made vinegar before, so I am very excited about it!  It is a lot easier than I ever expected it to be. All one needs is apples, organic sugar, filtered water, (not chlorinated, fluoridated tap water), a clean jar, glass follower or small glass jar, and cheese cloth. I am using the burping caps and glass followers from my fermenting package that we bought this summer. After three days, I checked on it and it is bubbling and is looking and smelling quite good…  As you can imagine, it was a lot of apple washing, coring and slicing that we did this week. We still have about 50 more pounds of apples to preserve, in some manner.  We have another 50 or so, pounds in the fridge for fresh eating. I forgot to mention last week that we yielded 14 gallons of cider which we froze,. This was from the apple pressing outing with our kids and grand-kids, two weekends ago.

I chopped and froze nearly a gallon of our own home grown green and purple/black sweet peppers.

In the bedroom green house–in two more of the dish bussing trays–I planted seeds of French beans and cucumbers.  In a tray that had held a solo pepper plant, I planted celery and cilantro seeds around the pepper.  I brought two large-ish pots of soil and two tomato trellis cages in from the outdoor greenhouse. I then planted yellow sweet tomatoes and a small red tomato from seeds that I had just saved.  We’ll see if they will germinate, so soon after gathering. We shall see how they do.  My peppers are doing well and are re-growing the leaves they lost while being in the bedroom briefly without the grow lights. I am thinking that, cucumbers and tomatoes may also do well in there.  Perhaps we’ll have fresh tomatoes and cucumbers to eat come January, grown in the house?

I also moved the celery plant into the bedroom, since it didn’t look too happy on the windowsill it had been on, in our great room.  I think it was too close to the wood stove. It looks much happier now under the grow lights.

The beets, mixed lettuce, and kale are already sprouting well.  The spinach is just getting started with a few sprouts here and there…  I’m quite excited about the bedroom greenhouse.

In the outdoor greenhouse: The consecutive hard frosts during the past two weeks killed the tomatoes and zucchinis that were in there. So I pulled them and turned over those beds. I am thinking about planting spinach and kale there, too, though at this date, they won’t do too well, until the end of February, or in March when the sun begins to come out a little more often.  I do have established beets, kale, lettuce and spinach growing out there currently that I planted in August. Those, the frosts did not kill.  They were under plastic hoops in the greenhouse– my “greenhouse within a greenhouse”. Those greens are what we’re using in our smoothies, at the moment.

In the garden, I harvested a second batch of carrots in the bed that had over-wintered carrot seeds and I had already harvested earlier this summer and then replanted.  They were very small.  Most of them went to the cows and horses.  I still have another two main beds of carrots, that I planted in the spring and did not do well. There are also a mixture of fair-sized carrots and too small carrots that need to be harvested. These didn’t do well for perhaps four reasons: One, I planted way too many seeds all together/over crowding. Two, I didn’t thin them out. Three, the soil may not have been as fertile as it needed to be.  It was an area that had not been manured in two years, because we ran out last fall and I was manuring other areas that seemed more important. And four, maybe the weather or sun wasn’t what it should have been for them.

I also harvested my experimental sweet potatoes.  Two of the plants had one each of an enormous potato and lots of finger thin potatoes.  A few other plants had just the finger thin potatoes.  In the middle of August I put a small hoop house over some of the plants.  Therefore, I suppose if I were to put them all under a hoop house 24/7 for the whole summer, then I might have a real sweet potato harvest, next year?

In the house, I reorganized, refilled and consolidated many of the jars in the baking goods cupboard. I cleaned out the refrigerator.  We are slowly transitioning the refrigerator to having only a few condiments, a quart of milk, and very few left-overs.  I’m trying to get to the point where we won’t need it, anyhow, when and if, we ever lose power long term.  This transitioning does not yet include the electric freezers. (One of our chest freezers is propane.)

Part of the transitioning includes making smaller amounts of food per meal so that we do not have many left overs.  I like eating left overs for a day or two for breakfast and lunch.  But we don’t want to have too many that we forget them and waste food. My time limit for food in the refrigerator is three days.  It either has to all be eaten by the third day, or on the second day be frozen.  The food left over to the end of the third day is either for the chickens or gets composted. This also means in the future, preserving some food items in smaller jars so that they are eaten quickly before going bad, such as small jars of jams, relishes, ketchup, and salsa.  I am also trying to transition us away from store bought condiments and foods.  We are already well on our way in this goal.  I just need to make that ketchup.  I am waiting for my tomatoes to ripen well, before I attempt it again.  I will probably will make it on Sunday.

Currently, what is in the refrigerator is:  apples, carrots, milk, butter, eggs, block of cheddar cheese, lemons, tortillas, Worcestershire sauce, maple syrup, jelly, ketchup, mustard, relish, salsa, apple sauce, wheat germ, ground flax seeds, almonds and walnuts, lemon juice, chopped garlic, medicinal elderberry wine, Probiotics, livestock meds, coconut chips, and a few leftovers.  Much of this doesn’t even need to be refrigerated. Some of it could be kept in a cool dark place in the summer and in a cooler on the porch in the winter and all would would be fine.

The girls and I helped Jim move rocks for the French Drain project this week. That puddle would get huge and quite deep.  I canoed it once for grins, and another time, we were able to ice skate on it.

Our neighbor also moved some of the extra soil down to the orchard to level out eight low spots that we had in it. I then leveled out those areas with the rake. When we began the orchard, five or six years ago, the neighbor dug holes much larger than what we needed with his back hoe.  When we planted the trees, the soil settled in and left deep holes and pits near some of the trees.  When I would mow, sometimes the tall grass would hide a pit and I would step down hard into it not expecting it, especially when backing up with the mower.  Now that we’ve filled in all of the pits and leveled them, it will make mowing the orchard next summer much easier and safer.  I’m very happy to have this job completed.

What do I need to be doing in the coming weeks before the snow falls? These are some things that I have been putting off to concentrate on schooling and food preserving. Some of these things that I have been putting off will reveal to you, that I don’t have everything all together all of the time.  I am human, and I forget to do things, sometimes, I avoid some chores that need to be done in order to do the other chores that appear more pressing, or more easier and enjoyable. Some jobs take more time and energy than I want to expend at a given time, or will interfere with school, etc.

I need to bring more manure down to the Annex garden.  I need to weed whack it one more time and gather those weeds and burn them and rototill it.

I would like to plant some potatoes down there to over winter before the snow comes to stay like I did last fall for an experiment that worked fairly well. That way, I don’t have to plant in the spring.

I need to clean out the chicken coop. It has not been cleaned out since the big butchering that we did sometime this past summer. Currently we’re down to just two birds which is because we butchered most of them for meat this summer. We had kept four birds: three hens and a rooster, in case we wanted to incubate more eggs.  However, the birds got out one day in the past two weeks.  The person who caused the escape, by the main door in the morning, should have opened the gate to the chicken run, but forgot to do so. If so, when night came they could have gone in on their own. However on this day the gate wasn’t opened and come night time nobody remembered that the birds were loose and that they needed to be let back in to the hen house, until the next morning.

The next morning, I thought it was oddly quiet outside when I went to do the chores. Chores usually consist of feeding and watering the chickens and giving hay to the cows and horses.  We have large water tanks for the horses and cows which Jim keeps filled for me.   I noticed the gate was closed and peered inside the hen house and saw that nobody was inside, “Uh oh!”  I then remembered seeing the birds out loose the day before. I looked around the hen house and saw the rooster dead next to it with chunks taken out of his body, “Eeyew”. And then I saw only one hen walking toward me.  “Oh no!”  I looked around and did my chicken call. I found the second hen a little while later.  There was no trace of the third hen. Sadly, the rooster and hen were eaten by something, probably a raccoon.

The main reason why we had reduced our flock, besides for meat, and hadn’t yet replaced it, was that we also thought we might all be traveling this fall and winter, and wanted to lessen our caretaker’s load of animal care.  But now, only Jim will be traveling to help his elderly mother.  It is less stressful for mum to just to have Jim there with her.  Jim and his siblings are taking alternating turns, caring for their mum in her own home.  I support this whole-heartedly for two reasons:  maybe, my parents will need me for a time in the future, and Jim will let me go to them, and, two, we are setting a precedence for our own children to see.  Maybe someday if we need help in our own homes, they’ll come to us to help us?

Therefore, since we girls won’t be traveling this fall and winter, this week I ordered 50 more chicks. Because half of us in this family are intolerant to eggs, we ordered mostly males, to raise for meat. We give most of the eggs away and feed some to the cats.  And sometimes make foods with egg in them for guests.  All of this to say, I will be cleaning the hen house this week to prepare for the coming chicks.

I need to be wrapping up the main garden.  There are still carrots and turnips to be harvested.  I need to finish pruning out the spent canes in the red and gold raspberry patches. I need to burn all of the grass and weed seeds that dropped because I didn’t pull those weeds in time. Then I need to put composted manure on parts of the garden and then rototill the whole garden, and plant garlic and walking onions.

I want to develop the new area of the main garden, I guess we called it the “Expansion garden” here in the blog last spring, of which we haven’t yet done anything with, except take out some trees, last spring.  It needs to be manured and minerals brought in and to be rototilled and have fencing put around it.  The fencing part is Jim’s job, but the rest is my job.

I need to get back on the horses’ hooves.  I haven’t done them since the last time I told you about it…I  feel really bad about it.  I need to clean out the cow stalls.  The stalls have been open all summer so the cows and horses have access to them when they want shelter from rain and bugs.  No one has cleaned them out in months.  The animals, spend most of their time out in the meadows and under the trees, but they have spent some time in the stalls, too.

About our exercise: Unless I tell you what I did during a week, It didn’t happen.  I feel bad about that, too.  Last year, I did a lot of bike riding during the fall.  This year, I haven’t.  Life seems to be going much faster this year.  There just doesn’t seem to be as much time as there used to be. Last year I found time to play.  Exercising for me is in the “play” department, and this year I’m not exercising much.  The days seem a lot more serious and busy with growing food and food preservation. Some of the time that I used to be exercising, is now being used as a prayer time.  Some of it is walking very fast/pacing while in heavy intercession….and deep mourning and tears, for friends and family who cannot see what is coming…who won’t listen to me…concerning the truth of the word of God and the state of our country and this world, who are not repenting or preparing. And, I especially have a heavy heart for the tribe of Judah, Romans 9, 10 and 11.

May you all have a very blessed, productive and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

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


  1. re:
    reducing store-bought ketchup etc.

    Thumbs UP!
    This results in reduced waste containers to bury or re-cycle. On our place near Eugene Oregon, our rule:
    * Every jug, bottle, can has a second use prior to purchase.


    egg intolerance

    I do better with pastured poultry.
    Notorious omnivores, chickens and ducks are fine eating bugs, shoots, mice, and all forms of vegetation.

    Our poultry avoid scratch with grains and soy… the ‘Paleo’ lifestyle.
    Our dogs and swine are Paleo, too.



    Thumbs UP for healthy guts.
    We nurture our microbiome with prebiotics, the good ‘food’ for our gut.
    This includes inulin, fiber from vegetables, cassava, sweet potatoes.
    Occasionally, although none of us tolerate them more than a few times a year, we cook rice or potatoes, cool, then use it in a cool dish such as potato salad and rice pudding.
    Cooked-then-cooled rice or potatoes is a ‘resistant starch’, indigestable in our stomach yet an ideal food for our healthy bacteria in our gut.
    Only cool rice or potatoes works.
    Re-heating turns rice and potatoes back into digestible starch, eliminating the benefits to our healthy gut bacteria.

    For this reason, we avoid grains such as wheat because of its tendency to shear the gut lining, resulting in ‘leaky gut’, perforating the gut lining and allowing undigested proteins to enter the blood… and hyper-activating our immune system.
    This manifests as ‘allergies’, but there is always a pill to compensate for fast-food and HappyMeals™, so some people believe the Standard American Diet == S.A.D. == is long-term livable.
    And some people believe ‘health care’ comes from our gardens, working in them and eating from them.

    I read we have several billion times more bacteria than human cells.
    I read our vagus nerve connects our gut directly to our brain.
    I read >90% of our immunity comes from our healthy gut.
    I read our mental health results from gut health.
    Caring for our healthy gut bacteria sounds like it could pay-off…

  2. Lily, glad to hear you are making some apple cider vinegar and you are right, very easy to make. For the most part it just waiting.

    Found lots of great stuff at the Amish Auction last Saturday. The largest item that was actually on my “Look out” list was a 300 gallon diesel fuel tank. Everything else was smaller items like replacement axe, adz and sledge hammer handles. Picked up a lot of 7 small kerosene lamps, a small plow, a beat up seeder (it was included in a pile of stuff I got) I think if I put new handles on it it would would work, the Metal is in very good shape. Several axe, and sledge hammer heads, a box of about 20 wire top Ball canning jars. Will have to get some of the rubber seals for them however. I got a box full of galvanized hardware (lag screws, washers and nuts) and other types of hardware for $2. I got it home and just the stuff that still had the “clearance” prices on it add up to over $50. Picked up a small gas engine for $5. Got a hand operated dough mixer. It was great to look at the do-it-yourself projects, adaptions and other things that this particular Amish guy did. Got to see a lot of old farm implements as well.

    One of the local consignment shops had a Wiard walk behind plow for $100. It was in rough shape but they are eager to sell it so we’ll see how that works out.

    It was wet and cold here this week, so I only got a few hours in out in the barn organizing things. I ran out of parts organizers (plastic boxes with segregated compartments inside. So I picked up 5 of those. Spent most of my free time in the basement “man cave”. Still trying to get that room situated from the move. When we bought the BOL/Camp I had split much of the prepper inventory up between our two homes. Now I am having to consolidate those caches again for the sake of saving space.

  3. I have grown sweet potatoes reliably here in northern Michigan for decades. The secret is to find a variety that does well in the shorter seasons (I plant Mahon’s), and plant through black plastic. I use a technique that is opposite of regular potatoes – I plant the slips on the top of the mounds rather than down in the trench.

  4. We are never as busy (or maybe its productive) as you two…

    This week, yesterday in fact, we finally managed to shingle the roof of the shop addition. Next up is wall panels! But we beat the rain as it started last night and is expected to continue for the next few days and I’m ecstatic to get that done before winter. The bump is a quiet prep – one that people can see but no one really knows it’s full purpose – and has been a learning exercise for us. From foundation to roof we have stretched our skills with this one!

    I continue to study for the technician class Ham license and will test in November. There is a lot to learn and we want to ahead of the learning curve on maximizing radio use _now_ when other options still (mostly) work where we live.

    We also finished revamping our evacuation gear. With the addition of my elderly mother, we’ve had to really rethink some of our plans and load outs. We have “Roll Out” boxes for our vehicles and this week we revised them to match the new considerations for an additional family member.

    Our Kei class mini-truck continues to be a great addition. We used the lift while building the rafters and finishing the roof on the shop addition. We used the dump bed to haul half-ton of gravel to areas to fill prior to snowfall and spring melt. Light enough to drive over lawn areas and tough enough to outperform every UTV out there – she is a beast. Work on her this week included installing rear hitch, installing the front receiver and planning out wiring runs for a winch and the Bercomac snowthrower. The winch and snowthrower will, I hope, be completed items next week.

  5. I’ve been busy this week and this month. October is the best time of the year for outdoor projects. It is usually dryer, less humid and cooler. We had overnight temperatures in the low 40’s and even into the 30’s. I love it!

    I didn’t have a garden this year and was hoping to plant some things for a fall garden but the garden was over grown and unprepared so that didn’t happen. Also the temperatures were in the 90’s during the last part of September and I just couldn’t make myself do anything out there.

    I read an excellent book this summer, The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way by Michael Phillips. So I’ve been trying to follow the recommendations this fall. I pruned the stone fruit trees (peaches, apricots and plums) this week while it was dry. Apparently I have been fostering disease by pruning them in the winter while it was wet. I am waiting until the pome fruit trees are dormant then I’ll prune them.

    I cleaned the chicken stalls out and took many yard wagon loads up to the garden and spread it. I want to try a deep mulch garden next year to increase soil biology and to hinder weed and grass growth.
    While taking my mother to the local animal shelter to adopt a dog, I spotted the large pile of chipped tree and brush from the county easement clearings. I went back and loaded (by pitch fork) 3 pick up trucks full. I spread this in the garden as well. I have many more loads to go before I cover the entire garden area. Then I will work on mulching the orchard trees and bushes.

    I readied the barn stall for my baby chicks when they out grow the brooder. After removing old shavings, I spread lime then peat moss. I purchased another chick brooder heating plate now I have 2 that are 50 chick size. They really don’t fit that many chicks after about 2 weeks old. I purchased 50 chicks a week ago and lost just one. I bought layers (Welsummers and Easter Eggers) to increase the amount of eggs we get and also to sell the majority in the late winter and early spring when demand goes up for nearly ready to lay pullets.

    Another orchard task was to spread milky spore and water it in very well. We’re hoping this will help in June with the masses of Japanese Beetles that decimate our apple, hazelnut and nanking cherry bushes. The extra chickens should also help with this. We needed to water it in because we haven’t had any rain to speak of in 2 months.

    We are expecting some rain today and if we get enough to fill the pond (not likely, it has been bone dry for weeks for the first time) we will use a polymer pond leak sealer to hopefully keep it from leaking.

    We have an annual gathering of family late every October on our farm. We put up several family members and others camp or stay in a local hotel overnight. We have a bonfire, have smoked brisket or pork usually from our animals we raise. It’s a nice time to have an extended visit. So I have been preparing meal checklists and washing bedding and general cleaning. Weeding and leaf blowing and all manner of inside and outside cleaning up and beautification projects.

    This is my favorite time of the year because it feels so nice to work outside and it is so beautiful.

    I hope everyone has a wonderful fall and accomplishes tasks they set for themselves.

    1. Beware the wood chips in the garden,they are almost completely nitrogen deficent and can put your soil into a nitrogen deficient state for years(microbes need nitrogen to break them down) even large additions of nitrogen won’t help.

      1. Thank you VT for your comment.
        This is a hot topic to be sure in gardening circles. Who would have thought? I have heard about that wood mulch could and does tie up nitrogen in the soil but I have also heard the opposite. Great discussions all around. For me it’s going to be an experiment. What I really, really dislike is weeding in a garden in the south when it is hot, humid and buggy.
        So… I’m going to try it and see what happens. For me I’d rather have a failure in the garden then have an overgrown jungle in it. One reason I didn’t have a garden this year. The year before last I was on it, weeding early in the spring several times but alas, the weeds worked over time and I gave up on hand pulling and resorted to mowing between the rows. I even used weed block. Horrible, the fire ants love to build their homes under the weed block. I couldn’t even walk in the garden without getting bit.
        I have found some support for using wood chips on the top of the soil not rototilled in. https://permies.com/t/58634/urban-myth-woodchips-nitrogen
        Also I don’t know if you have seen any of the You Tubes on the Garden of Eden. This guy uses wood chips every where.
        I’ll give this a try and maybe I’ll write about my experience next year at this time.

        P.S. The pond did fill with the rain last night and we spread the Damit Pond Sealer this morning. Hope it works!

        1. I have had great sucess controlling weeds with intercropping/companion planting and using grass clippings as green mulch(almost nothing can grow through a couple inches of mulch unless you want it to) it also is a constant source of natural compost,keeps moisture in ground and cools soil in heat and is directly tilled back into soil for next planting. Good luck

  6. You are an amazing lady.

    Thanks for taking the time to write about your life as a survivor, wife, mother, and teacher. Prepping is living. May you all live long and healthy lives.

    Again, thanks for what you do. Your writings illuminate how important skills are to self-sufficiency, as well as the work required.

    My favorite morning coffee break is with you, Jim, and all the contributors to SurvivalBlog.com

    I’ll see you in the morning…. with coffee cup in hand!

  7. Lily, you are awesome! You have inspired me to try to make some ACV. I have a lot of apples to process this coming week. Also, I really need to inventory my empty jars. I buy cases and lids every time I see them when I go to town or the city, then I stash them where ever I can find room.

    Like Lily, I feel the urgency to quickly stock up on many items. I know our society is more evil now than Sodom and Gomorrah, so things will go from bad to worse extremely quickly. Please prepare now to protect your families. I am trying to get to a two year supply of non-food items. Every month I add a little more to the stock of OTC meds, hygiene items, antibiotics, first aid supplies, and animal health care and medications. Got four large bags of DE which we use for flea and parasite control for the animals.

    This week the local grocer had beef roasts on sale for $2.99/pd.; some were top round (London Broil) others were bottom round. I cooked the roasts in crock pots on low until they were falling apart tender but still a little pink in the middle. Then I shredded and freeze-dried them. The cost for 13 pounds of beef was almost $39.00. By the time it was FD, I had 1.75 pds of beef. Augason Farms sells 1 pd of FD beef for $55.00 so an approximate cost for 1.75 pds would be $96.25. If I calculated correctly, I saved $57.25, plus it will store for 25 years! I also canned 3 qts of rich beef broth, much better than the stuff that sells for $2.50 for 16 oz. Also FD green beans and brussel sprouts.

    Have a great week!

  8. It is so inspiring to read not only what you and Jim are doing but that of the other contributors as well. Like everyone else, motivation, needs, learning curves and life in general all influence our progress yet reading what everyone is doing spurs me on. I agree with Frank. Saturday morning coffee and these updates is my favorite time of the week.

    Now to reality. I managed to clean, organize and refill my dry pantry. I’ve taken many of the spices we buy and put them in glass jars to preserve them and eliminate contamination from plastic packaging. With Mountain Rose herbs in my area Ther is no excuse for not updating both medicinal and cooking herbs.

    We committed to cleaning up and organizing our garage and shop. That means building shelves, putting items in clear, labeled bins and weeding out items we no longer need. It’s amazing the stuff that accumulates. We’re three days into this project and probably will need at least another week.

    Still on the list for fall is pruning the raspberries and fruit trees, cleaning some of our growing beds, laying in some gravel to fill holes in our gravel driveway, turning the elderberries I harvested into syrup and always more canning.

    We are also trying very hard to eliminate processed and store bought foods. I keep taking this process one step at a time. I doubled my canning this summer concentrating on the most common foods we eat including jams, jellies, tomato juice and sauce, apple sauce, pears etc. now it is time to turn to pressure canning meats and finished meals such as soups, stews etc. There are many items I have yet to try such as ketchup but they are on my list.

    Love my Saturday mornings!

  9. There is just so much to do to get a farm/ranch/home up and running. I often think how much I take for granted on our place back east…spring house, fields, fencing, gardens, buildings, rocks removed and piled, etc.). Getting a place started can be an overwhelming prospect. Still debating if we want to here in the Rockies. How long have you been at it on your current place?

    I fully understand working toward not being dependent upon refrigeration and store bought items. I did this with our family a few years ago and learned a lot. We now have a much larger herb and spice collection.

    Snowmobile guy wasn’t able to come this week after all. Although I do not think it is as supportive for a family as it should be, knowing how to tune and fix small machinery would be a great part-time /side job. Along with basic welding and heavy machine operations. We will have to wait for Snowmobile guy or our son from college. Would be nice to have them ready for when the snow comes, and it is expected to be an early winter. But we can wait if need be.

    I like the idea of growing some greens inside this winter under grow lights. With company coming, we’ll have to wait till January, but I’m going to set up some mesclun trays to try. It should also help my sprouting as well.

    Finished setting up our house finally – both practically and pleasing to the eye. I bought wall hooks for the outdoor deck broom and shovel and indoor broom and mop. Living in a more modern cabin, there is a surprising lack of common sense storage.

    Continue with the basics of food dehydrating and wood work. Glad I was able to assess our winter clothing in the last couple weeks as it has made the transition to the early colder weather much smoother. I also cleared out under the kitchen sink cabinets and now know what needs stocking up on. I hope to never have to make soap from ashes, so continue to stock up on soap and soap making products. I was reminded how important having backups of the large nail clippers was this week as I needed a pair desperately. I had only one left! The others were either lost or have broken. Small yet important items to have in abundance and keep restocked. Looks like I need to reassess my record keeping system to something that is easier to use to avoid such mishaps.

    1. Dear PJGT,

      Jim and the Memsahib bought this place about 14 years ago. Except for the house, a woodshed, and a falling down “barn”, it was un-fenced raw timber and pasture land. Jim spent the first year fencing and cross-fencing the place. Then the second summer that they were here, Memsahib became ill and she died after 17 months. We married a year later and I will have been here ten years, this next year. Basically, Jim and I have been developing the ranch since we married. God works in mysterious ways. My, how time has flown.

      Blessings to you,


      1. Mrs. Rawles

        I have been following the blog since 2006, and I remember the posts on the Memsahib and everything since then. You and your husband are an inspiration to all of us. Thank you both for this blog and everything it has given to the community for so long.

  10. We just had a hog and steer slaughtered, meat for the year is stored up. Pecans should be harvested soon, rest of the crops are in. Just need to lay up more firewood and bring on winter! Glad summer is finally over.

  11. We spent the summer reveling in and learning about our new Kubota B2601 tractor.

    After years on the homestead doing all the heavy work with a 1993 Honda 4×4 ATV and the “toy” accessories that attach to it, we have bush whacked, graded, tilled, harrowed and planted our fields to reduce weeds and cut down the fire danger.

    We cleared, bucked, split, and stacked 5 cords of standing dead wood, leveled our driveway and spread a huge 6″ deep layer of 1 1/2 -1 gravel, so no more parking in muddy loblollies.

    We applied the same gravel to our dirt floored barn to have a safer, dryer work area, and cleared and graded walking trails in an otherwise unused glade that next year will be a picnic space and shaded gazebo site.

    I’m taking off the front loader and attaching the PTO-powered, front-facing commercial snow blower tomorrow. Bring on the white stuff!

    Lordy how I love my tractor!

  12. Y’all sure do work hard and encourage me to keep going. I have been busy, too, of taking stock of what we have and what we’re close to out of – Brillo pads, pectin, paper goods (on sale only as they are getting very expensive), shampoo, chocolate chips, etc. I am consolidating pasta in gallon jars and vacuum sealing them. Ordered more essential oils. My goodness, they make mainstream medicine look so phony. Still dehydrating and then powdering kale. It takes up no space and I am worried about a lack of greens. I keep talking about watching the BBC Series on YouTube,Wartime Farm, but I think it’s very important for realizing the long-term duration of some events like war or anything else, like years, yes, years! It is really unimaginable. Everything is so easy now. Tangible things are way more valuable than money. We can always use it up and things will only be getting way more expensive soon.
    Much-needed rain. Thank you, Lord.

  13. Lily & James,
    Thanks again for providing this terrific information. I look forward to it every Saturday Morning after morning chores and after breakfast!

    One suggestion: if it doesn’t jeopardize your OPSEC, would it be possible to include the occasional picture of things like the “greenhouse within a greenhouse”, French drain, etc so we readers have a perspective on how things relate to the weekly activities described?

    Thanks again for all you both do, and the continuing source of inspiration and motivation!

    1. Dear Seymour Liberty,

      Please forgive us, but photos would jeopardize our OPSEC. Sorry, but we do not ever intend to post a photo of our home, ranch, animals, or immediate area in which we live.

      My greenhouse is a normal greenhouse with beds of which I put hoops over the beds and have plastic over them.

      The French drain was just a long narrow pit, in which we threw rocks, covered with straw, then refilled with dirt and leveled out. That’s it.

      Furthermore, not to chase any of you away, because we too need all of your encouragement. You also spur us on. You dear readers also need to use Opsec and be careful of what you choose to tell us in this forum. There are other eyes watching… I’m at the point that it doesn’t matter anymore what I say. I will witness the Lord Jesus, here, and stand for our biblical principles. We’re probably already marked for slaughter, and unless God hides us, we’ll be martyrs. But until that day, we’ll continue speaking out and we’ll protect our OPSEC.
      Again, we apologize.


      1. …yes, QUITE a quandary we have here. As many others have mentioned, this Saturday post from James/A.Lily are my sunshine at the end of the cloudy, sometimes long week! It DOES sustain, encourage, provoke, prod and help keep one focused on finishing the race. (THANK YOU ALL…commenters also !!!)

        However, in the past almost year of following this blog and getting to “know” the regulars, i have mostly lurked in the shadows. Not only because of my lack of knowledge, but also for the VERY reason Lily won’t post those photos that would be so helpful/lovely to see. It has often made me cringe to see the information many have put out there in MANY categories, though these bits and pieces are a large part of my interest, learning AND feeling like many of you would be WONDERFUL friends and neighbors. Lily’s admonition to perhaps be more mindful of your comments comes with the cost of those positives i fear. But wanting the greater good and safety for you all is higher in her mind, to her credit.

        As the time rushes by, the spirit has prompted many in their individual lives as to details that need addressed. Many of you have shared these prompts and i thank YOU for your thoughtfulness to pass them on to the rest of us. Sometimes it doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it is to many of us. The continuity of believers is made more solid and encourages us all to listen and look for that still, small, (sometimes NOT so small,) voice.

        Stop to rest but don’t quit…

  14. Like most everyone else, shutting things down, getting ready for winter. The first cord of firewood has been moved to the garage for easy retrieval. The rest is nicely dried and protected from the elements. We finished canning applesauce and pasta sauce. The rest of the garden produce has been frozen or canned.

    Picked up another Lockhart Firewood Gripper https://www.amazon.com/Lockharts-Firewood-Gripper-15-Logs/dp/B005FQ0UOK at a local fair from the maker himself. Save your back and some time by getting one if not more than one. (Disclaimer: I do have several of the Grippers and have met the owner of the company twice, but do not receive any compensation for recommending them).

    I finished getting the snow removal equipment ready to go, got plenty of fuel on hand.

    Enjoying the fall colors while they last.

  15. I have to say that I live in the area that Patriots was written about, Bovill, Deary, Troy. OPSEC is rather pointless in this area .. Thanks Jim ;-).. That said, he actually did us a service.. The good lord help anyone who attempts to do this area harm..lol… This would be considered ground Zero.. That said, come by for a visit, we have great little communities. Deary has taken off with the pie safe, and the brush creek creamery.. wonderful christian based folks.. Come by and enjoy some quality food and like minded individuals…

  16. Avalanche Lily, please continue to share what the Lord puts on your heart. I, too, pray, have daily Bible time and listen for His voice and desire His wisdom. Thank you. And thank you all for sharing your progress! I love this blog!

  17. Lilly, good call on OPSEC,was just a story out of Japan where a obsessed fan tracked someone by reading the reflection in her eyes from a post.
    Do not be afraid of pressure canning, I started by reading multiple University and state websites on canning,mainly get up to pressure and keep it there as long as neccessary. I started with chicken,beef and ham. Use one of the ring tighteners to consistently tighten rings,when cooled remove and dry rings and reinstall 1/4 turn loose to protect lids and allow stacking.

  18. Harvested pole beans and pod peas for seed and have them drying by the woodstove. Signs pointed to a long wet winter here, and we’ve had heavy frosts three weeks before normal. Geese and ducks common to our land have been absent for many weeks. The black and brown woolly caterpillers portending winter are again common.

    I laid in another 2 cords of firewood and got them tarped because woodshed is full.

    As soon as leaves fall off our young fruit trees I will be ready to use dormant oil on the twig and apical tips. That’s where many pests overwinter their microscopic larvae and the oil suffocates them (as with liquid casteel oil-based soap).

    Community preps: Our county participated in the Shakeout on October 17th. We are in the Cascadia Subduction Zone impact area.

    Following the Shakepout evacuation exercise, all 18 county CERT teams conducted their individual phone tree call-up. Next was a radio alert and call-in on the pre-planned channels with the FRS and GMRS radios among squads and teams. This first time exercise got very interesting with hundreds of people using the same two channels!!!

    Following that, the County ARES ham radio operators were called by the ham radio operators attached/assigned to each Team, after being prepositioned around the county at key points and facilities, primarily based at Emergency Operation Centers and Fire Stations.

    Each Team Ham calling would give approximate physical location called from, to start development of a map showing communication capability correlated to geography/facility location. This test is going to be one basis for establishing FOB sites for emergencies when we will rely on our individual power sources at each location. We have prepositioned, at individual expense or donation, five shipping containers in the county measuring 100 X 40 miles, with hopes to get 20 or more over the years.

    Yes this exercise has FEMA and State involvement, but our county is conducting it’s independent network establishment and operation. It is really encouraging to see it start coming together under the local elected official auspice.

  19. Lily & JWR, you are loved and remembered in prayer so very much more than you know! Please continue to post what you can without compromising OPSEC. I’m like you, I have always been pretty open about my beliefs, I’m probably on all the lists as well…but if we never meet here, I’ll see you on the other side. God bless you – indeed, us all.

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