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. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

December 21st is of course the day of the Winter Solstice. We can now look forward to lengthening days. Spring is still a long way off, but we can be confidently hopeful. God set celestial mechanics in motion with amazing precision.

I’m still out of state, helping an elderly relative. (Several family members take turns.) I have a bicycle with me, so I also get plenty of exercise, while I’m staying here. I’ve been averaging 14 miles a day on the bike. I’ve found that whenever I’m here, I actually get a lot of writing done. Next week, I plan to wrap up the blog writing through December 31st, so that Hugh (our Managing Editor) will have a chance to create the annual blog archive early. We hope to have the waterproof archive USB sticks orderable +/- January 10th. Thanks for your patience!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Well, there isn’t to much to say about this week. It was a kind of hibernation week. Miss Eloise caught a nasty cold with a fever for three days early in the week. I felt kind of shell-shocked from the deaths of our daughter-in-law’s mom and the horse. I was very subdued and taking life very seriously, praying.  I did ski three times around the ranch for exercise. We spent a little bit of time on school and spent way too much time on the internet for fun, some learning and escaping.  We maintained the ranch with the regular daily chores and cooking, cleaning, but didn’t do anything extra towards prepping.  I washed the blankets we used to keep our horse, Ch. warm during those last hours. I am very glad to be on the other side of the solstice and am looking forward to the lengthening daylight, soon to come.  November, December and early January are rough months for us, light-wise.  Yes, we do have the special lights to brighten our days and they do help.

I wish to thank you all for you very kind and warm comments last week concerning our horse.  We are back with our son and grandsons for the weekend.  Those little boys really chirk up our hearts!  What a blessing they are to us.

We wish you all a Merry Christmas or a Happy Chanukkah, this coming 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. Froze a gallon bucket of chicken skin and meat for dog food and put up 8 qts of chicken broth. Ordered buckets of red wheat, white wheat and oats. Ordered cases of non-fat dry milk, regular flour, quick oats and potato flakes.

    We also bought feed corn from different vendors to determine what we think is best for our needs. I plan on stocking up before the price gets higher. We went by the local trader’s to pick up additional food grade 55-gal lockable-lid drums and 10 gal buckets for storage. Ten gal buckets are too heavy for me, but my kids can move them around, plus they are good for farm chores.

    Dehydrated teriyaki chicken and canned collard greens. Made collard and sausage soup, soaked some beans for soup; then I came down with walking pneumonia. I’ve been wrapped up in front of the wood stove for four days but the meds keep me awake. I feel like a walking-dead but there is so much to do!

    May your Christmas or Chanukkah celebrations bring you peace and joy!

    1. One can count on the chores ALWAYS being there but one can’t count on their health ALWAYS being ready, willing and able. Lay low, stay warm, get better first and then hit the bricks running. All of us will “PUSH” (Pray Until Something Happens) for you.

  2. I was able to sell many of the chicks I bought earlier in the Fall. They are 10 weeks old and part of my plan to raise extra funds for buying garden seeds and orchard supplies. 50 chicks sure eat a lot. Now I’m down to half and they are out and about doing some foraging so the feed bill has gone down some.

  3. I was in privacy mode with VPN so this earlier comment wasn’t posted:

    In addition to the house, holiday preparing and farm chores, we had a scare on Thursday. God is in control and it was so evident this week. My husband and I needed to pick up one of our vehicles that had warranty work done. The garage was 2 hours away so we left early. On our way back through Metro Atlanta, as I was thinking of my daughter as I was passing her work location, she called me. She was very upset and thought she was miscarrying. I was one exit away from the hospital and her doctor’s office where she was headed. I met her there and was able to stay with her for the many hours while she was waiting to be seen,treated and evaluated. She had a follow up visit with her OB doctor yesterday and she and the baby are healthy and doing fine. There remains a chance she could still lose the baby but a good outcome is expected and we are praying for a safe pregnancy. My Bible reading the next morning showed me an amazing passage and I’m so thankful for God’s comfort. I know He is in control whatever may come in this life of the next.

    We were fortunate to be able to have the powerline tree clearing crew deposit 17 loads of mulched trees and branches on our property. 2 loads were conveniently deposited close to the garden. I have made much progress loading almost one complete pile into the lawn wagon and dumping it in the garden. It is my hope to use the deep mulch method to create a better garden experience this year and grow lots of food.

    With the abundance of mulch I plan to create a chicken garden in the barnyard so I had 3 loads of mulch dumped there. The driver was able to disperse these loads more evenly so I don’t need to do quite as much raking and shoveling to spread it.

    May God Bless all of you!

    1. I am also in Ga. How did you get the mulch from the clearing crew? I am also praying for your daughter and grandchild as we have went through some similar times.
      GOD bless!!

      1. HD
        Sorry I didn’t see your reply sooner. We saw the crew clearing the trees and stopped and asked them if they could dump the mulch on our property. I gave them our address, name and phone number. It was a good deal. Also our road department has a pile of mulch that we could self load but that takes much more effort to get.
        Call your county road dept and your utility company and ask them for mulch.
        Thank you for praying for my daughter. She will be seeing a perinatologist in a week or so.

  4. These last couple of weeks we have been preparing for the celebration of our Lord’s birth. Wrapping gifts, baking cookies, and sending cards to our friends and family. Some are practicing for our church Christmas presentation. During this time of year, we allow ourselves to enjoy special treats.
    On the preparedness side, we have been practicing psk31 and other radio skills. Also, unboxing and organizing first aid, medical, and toiletry items on a tall designated shelf. I was able to acquire two blood pressure cuffs and a few stethoscopes. I measured the shelves and found those medium-sized plastic drawers at WM. I found a larger one to go on top of the shelf. They are all labeled with the contents. The overflow of bandages and bulky items will go into our long term storage. We are very pleased with the setup and is very easy to find what we need. We keep a large step ladder nearby for the top shelf.
    Reading the 8th book of A. American, Home. Language is pretty rough but the learning aspect is what I’m after.
    Our family would like to wish you all a blessed Christmas and continue to draw nearer to our God this coming year. Merry Christmas

  5. We are always prayerfully thankful for the sharing of trust in and reliance on Our Loving God. None of us is alone when we travel through life with Him beside us.

    CD’s message about the mulch was a reminder! In our area the county sends out tree trimmers periodically (generally every couple of years). They cut and mulch the cut limbs, and will leave the mulch at no charge for anyone who makes a request. There are a couple of households in the area who share in this bounty, and we were tickled to learn about this resource. This has been a great help to our garden!

    Spring isn’t far off now, even as we officially see the start of winter! We are already excited about plans to expand the garden. As with every area, ours has its own unique set of challenges, and part of the fun and adventure that surrounds much more serious and sober concerns is the learning.

    The greenhouse (which is built partially in ground for the benefits of thermal exchange) is producing well. Fresh tomatoes, bok choy, and arugula abound. More radishes are on the way, and we’re trying a new variety of lettuce.

    Surrounding the greenhouse are raised beds which add another kind of growing environment, and those are producing lots of kale and Swiss chard. We’re also able to grow cabbages, and those are coming along nicely. A couple of nights have been so very cold that we’ve had to cover our beds, but overall, we’ve been very happy with and thankful for the good results.

    Next year we hope to add more open air raised beds for spring and summer garden plants.

    We continue to explore ways to improve growing conditions and garden production with a focus on extending the growing season, diversifying our growing environments, remediating cold given the coming GSM, and learning more about cold hardy plant varieties.

    There is so much learning to do, even for those of us with experience in hand. There is also much to share with others in the community, and to teach the generations coming. We fear for the lack of information and practiced life sustaining and life saving skills among the overwhelming majority of people. We encourage others in every way we can, and are encouraged by others in this community as well.

    Wishing everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY, HEALTHY and SAFE NEW YEAR in 2020.

  6. Canned up 24 qts. of Rome apples for future baking.We tried baking a small pie in the Coleman stove top oven but it was a disaster.FYI 425 degrees is to hot and 40 minutes is to long.I relocated some of our home canned foods from the utility room to a back bedroom
    closet away from prying eyes.
    The weather is really mild so maybe I put the plow on the truck to soon.We are not using as much fire wood and that is good.
    There is pot of beef stew simmering and Granny is working on her latest knitting project.
    Bible study to night and then snuggle up warm as two bugs in a rug.
    Praise the Lord.Life is good and Merry Christmas To All!

  7. Some say by definition an old retired coot can’t take a ‘vacation’. Well my gal and I did just that. It was a wonderful get-a-way to one of God’s beautiful creations. We got back and added two items to our bucket list.

    Merry Christmas to all!

  8. We are in the midst of a drill right now since we have no water. Ran out Thursday morning and considering it was 8 degrees outside I thought I had a frozen line. We all went to work and school and I when I got home started to heat the conduit pipe that carries the electric wire and water tube to/from the well. Guess what? I don’t think it was frozen at all. So much for Occam’s Razor. No problem we had plenty of stored water but I have come to the conclusion that we did consider the challenges of winter in all aspects. Solar shower bag and outdoor showering isn’t going to happen. We have plenty of drinking water and water for flushing toilets. In a true grid down I have a water well baler made with PVC that can resupply us but now I am considering have a spare well pump – perhaps solar. One of our bucket list items is a second well with a solar and/or hand pump but that is a few years away.

    Did pick up a few items from the second hand stores I frequent, got a new but missing the chimney, oil lamp that hangs on the wall with a reflector. The one store has a horse drawn plow but they replaced the wood handles with metal tube pipe. I am thinking that it will make the job feel even rougher with the metal verses wood handles. They want a little over a $100 for it and I am think of waiting until February and giving them a low ball price.

    I’m off for the rest of the year (baring any emergencies at work) and it is supposed to be in the 40’s for most of all next week so I’m hoping to get a lot done.

  9. Thank you for sustaining these conversations. They continue to encourage, support and motivate even during the short days of winter. Ice Age Farmer and Adapt 2030 have been presenting so much compelling evidence on the GSM that your column and their information pushes me to continue working to ready for growing year round. I recently retired and have to resurrect my garden beds that I let go over the last few years. I am tearing apart old raised beds, building new ones, weeding and preparing an area to put up a green house. Yesterday I repurposed landscape brick and added a raised bed off the backside of an existing brick wall. This should allow for passive solar warmth to heat this bed for early planting. So much yet to do, but I’ve adopted the mantra of making sure I do a little bit each day.

    When the weather is at its worst I’ve been inventorying short and long term supplies. I’m moving things around for better access. We are trying to take advantage of seasonal specials to add to our food storage as well.

    Most importantly we are making time to celebrate this special time with family. We are blessed to have our grand kids near and I whole heartedly agree with you Lily. They light up our world in such a special way.

    Merry Christmas. May we all be blessed with peace and health in this new year.

  10. This last week there has been record setting levels of precipitation in our area and the consequential flooding following that. Thankfully we are not significantly affected by either the rain or flooding as the summer before last we made a herculean effort to install drainage and it has worked well, but there are some areas that have shown additional work will be necessary once the dry weather returns.
    We ordered and received a case of #10 cans of Bean Burger and added that to the pantry. I had previously thought the pantry was full, so it goes to show that one can almost always add one more case to the preps. Local grocery stores advertised sales on hams and rib roasts, so we stocked up and froze most for later. We also noted that frozen corn has been unavailable for the last six weeks, so when a shipment came in this week we stocked up. We suspect that this may be partially a result of the flooding of farmland in the Midwest this last growing season. Not too much room remaining in our two freezers…We feel we have been blessed.
    I mounted an AN/PVS-4 on a Ruger 10/22 for dealing with uninvited guest that show up for dinner in our garden. It looks a bit odd, but it will get the job done. Later today I’ll be mounting a ATN Thermal Scope on a PSA AR kit I purchased for dedicated night operations.
    Picked up a significant amount of .22 ammo on sale. Not that we need more as we have more than a significant amount, but my wife has discovered how enjoyable it is to punch holes in targets while in the company of her girlfriends…I am pleased that she is enjoying the social activity and honing her shooting skills at the same time. I’m supportive of practicing to improve one’s abilities while ammo is plentiful.
    We immensely enjoyed our last Bible Study of the year (to be continued next year) during which at one point we discussed and felt it was important for us to pray for the leadership of this country, something I struggled with as I feel the majority of Politicians had fallen far short of my expectations as to what they should be doing, until it was pointed out to me that was why we all needed to pray for them…
    Merry Christmas to all

  11. Added to the medical supplies some large gauze pads and alcohol wipes; bought an “oops” spring kit for an AR just in case I need spare parts. Trying some new recipes to make sure it’s something we’ll eat.

  12. In the midst of Christmas preparations, I did dehydrate a large bag of frozen corn and some more green peas. Keeping up with the necessities of life here in the snowy Rockies.

    Wishing all a blessed Christmas. We are ready for the celebrations and expected company. It’s been a rough couple days here with things not going well, but we continue to PTL for all the that He has blessed us with. Grace and Peace to all.

  13. Almost done canning up a buck, then will start on the veggies. Traded a small and odd collection of ammunition at the full new price for the equivalent value in antibiotics at a 50% discount. I got rid of odd ball common caliber ammo, and got high quality life saving medicine at a deep discount. I could not have afforded the cash expenditure for the antibiotics at this time, and the other party needs ammo more, and my rifles are not zeroed for this ammo. We are more likely to catch a bug than a bullet, and if we do, we’ll need antibiotics to even have a chance. We can not afford to have highly motivated survivalists be sick, or injured any longer than necessary. This exchange filled out my battery of antibiotics in the proportions I believe would necessary for the long term, given my history. It was an ideal trade.

  14. Took a long trip with my boss this week and I’m cleared to move to any of the states in the region I cover for work, and I can work from home. I’d love to work in the Inland Northwest again where we lived on a beautifuI rural property with gardens, fields and woods. This time I am limited to midwest states. We are focusing on Tennessee, Missouri and N. Arkansas. Not sure how to start the search for a location that suits our needs but we have several months to pray for guidance and figure it out. This will be a major milestone for us.

  15. Have been finishing up last minute details for Christmas. My husband and I are bringing everything over to my parents house and cooking for them. (They both have Alzheimer’s/Dementia). I am they’re full time caregiver. I want them to have a wonderful Christmas as I don’t know how many more they will have where they will recognize everyone and enjoy the holidays
    Bought PM’s for everyone this year including my children who will BOTH be home on leave from their respective USMC bases. I am so thankful for that.
    Looking into the Areo Garden XL Farm system for indoor gardening but not sure as it’s pretty expensive
    Does anyone have any experience with this? Any information would be useful
    Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to everyone!

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