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!
I’m still traveling. So most of today’s column will come from my darling wife, Avalanche Lily.
I’ve still been exercising daily. I’ve been averaging 15 miles a day on the bike. Yesterday, I logged 27 miles. That was my longest ride since I arrived here. With all of the Christmas goodies still scattered around the kitchen, it is a good thing that I’m getting so much exercise — or else I’d be gaining weight.
I’m planning to return to the ranch in the first week of January.
By the way, we are hoping that he new Archive USB Sticks will be orderable by around January 12th. Stay tuned.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
I hope you had wonderful Christmas and Hanukkah celebrations with friends and family, this past week.
You may remember that last week I had said that I had “spent way too much time on the Internet” Well, this week I received a flash notification on my computer from YouTube stating that I, with the help of Miss Violet, (she uses my computer to watch her stuff) we had spent an average of nine hours a day last week watching YouTube videos. Oy va voy! That statistic shamed my sensibilities. So, I forced myself out of my funk and away from the stupid computer (some things I’ve watched are helpful and educational, of course) and got back on the stick and have begun to accomplish prepping activities, once again.
Early in the week, through a YouTube video, I heard of folks using clear totes as small cold frames for growing greens in the winter, outside. What a great idea! So I used two long shallow under-the-bed type totes. I first planted lettuces and beet seeds in a raised bed in the greenhouse, and watered them. Then I put the inverted totes over them as a cover, and then covered those with the hooped bed plastic. So now I have a greenhouse within a green house within a greenhouse–three layers of protection. I have read that each layer brings you a climate zone warmer. Therefore we have moved to a Zone 7 or 8, maybe…, under those shallow totes. So, we will see if these seeds will germinate soon. If this works, then I will be moving most of the winter growing back outside.
Also this week, I took all of the garden containers from the indoor garden and put them outside. I put some of the soil that I had burned a few weeks ago into a bussing tray. It smelled very strongly of burnt vegetation. I don’t think I want that in my guest bedroom. I will have to rethink on this indoor gardening thing a bit more. Miss Eloise is asking to take over the guest bedroom. She currently shares a room with Miss Violet. I haven’t said “Yay or Nay” yet. Currently, I only have the tomatoes left in the temporary Bedroom Greenhouse.
Every morning, this week, I have been taking time to clean up the manure around the ranch where the animals are loafing: the corrals, arena, parking lot, some small woods near the house, the meadow, etc., and transporting it to the Extension garden. I have filled about 8 wheelbarrows full, so far. We now have a much cleaner ranch and are well on our way to a new well-fertilized garden area.
The girls and I went to a regional hot spring for a day, to swim and get some exercise, to get a different kind of airing out. It was a very pleasant time. There is just something so fun about putting on your bathing suit in the middle of winter, running outside in thirty degree temperatures, and jumping into a very warm mineral rich natural spring water pool. 🙂 It’s far better than swimming in a cooler chlorine pool inside a hotel during the winter. I’m always cold in hotel pools and feel thoroughly pickled when I get out. I think we might return to the hot springs for another visit this coming week.
I walked several times around the ranch for 45 minutes each time and also rode my bike in the parking area after some recent rains melted all of the snow, there. Jim keeps reporting to me via Skype that he is riding his bike 15+ miles a day. I’m very impressed, Jim! Way to go! I wish we could ride with you, there…
All of the rain in the past week melted nearly all of the snow. 🙁 No skiing! On Friday we received another two inches of dry, fluffy snow.
During the past few months we had received orders of nuts, peanuts, raisins and bought many other staples: sunflower seeds, beans, Jasmine rice. We have buckets of regular rice, but, I also enjoy Jasmine, and have added it to our stores. I spent time removing these items from their original packaging and putting them into jars and buckets and reorganizing our pantry area. Jim will be very pleased with me since we can now walk through the pantry hall without knocking down items or tripping on items. 😉
I reorganized a kitchen drawer filled with cooking utensils and a tote filled with Mason jar caps.
I cleaned out our junk drawer. That was full of hand tools, pens, extra refrigerator magnets, scissors, tapes of all kinds, strings, and threads of all kinds, rubber bands, batteries, lighters for fire building, super glue and other glues, nightlights not currently needed, little paper note and sticky pads, business cards, fish hooks, ceiling hooks, candle pieces, nails, shoe laces, paper clips, band aids, pieces of paracord, synthetic rope, 10 ml syringes for animal care, metal rings used to keep index cards together, screws, needle, thermometer, razors used mainly for scraping the glass window of the wood stove, a hair scrunchy, electronic do-dads, plastic bread baggie clips, a box of waterproof matches, magnifier tweezers, a few old tooth brushes to be used on the hard to reach places one wishes to clean with a small brush, marbles, a 13-cartridge Glock .45 magazine fully loaded ;-), and other odds and ends that we didn’t know where else to put them. It totally reminded me of my grandmother’s junk drawer, from when I was a child, I loved to go through hers. I loved finding those perfect miniature replica red flashlights in there, which I coveted. I would test all of the batteries in the drawer to find the battery with the most life and then would play with the flashlight and would ask, “Grandma can I have this?” It was so cute!
Jim, I found several of your small needle-nosed pliers in the junk drawer. The blue and green handled pairs! 😉 Jim was looking for them just before he headed south on his trip.
Seriously, if all you had was the stuff in your junk drawer, could what is in the drawer help you survive a grid down, TEOTWAWKI event? 🙂
I culled, washed, and organized the refrigerator.
And now, story time….
On Friday morning, I went out to feed the beasties. My Matriarch cow, L., didn’t show up as I was tossing out the hay to them. This is very unusual behavior for her. I called and called her. A little earlier, I had heard some low mooing while getting wood from the woodshed. The other cows mooed a few times. You know — they communicate with each other when separated. When she didn’t come, I started to look for her. I kinda had that dread feeling that I would find something wrong, just because of the other things that had been happening lately on Fridays… this month… I stood and called and listened for her. I heard the low moo again. I walked around the hen house and saw some movement in the direction of the woods. It was just getting light. It was her. I stared at her through the poor light. She appeared okay. I called her and she acted funny, like she wanted to come but couldn’t. I looked around a bit more. Then I saw a small dark figure in front of her. I stepped closer and saw that she had given birth to a calf!
The calf arrived a month earlier than I was expecting. We did see the “deed” done back in April, but I wasn’t sure if the calf would come in December or January. I missed her udder bagging up. But that was because that young bull, the daddy, was still nursing her when she’d let him….because we checked her udder last week and hadn’t noticed any bagging up and I looked for the tell-tale mucus that cows sometimes discharge when birth time is nearing. Our bull is not related to the mother. The mother adopted him when he came to us at four months of age. That was last fall, a year ago. When he arrived he discovered that she was still lactating and kept her in lactation up to this point. He is now 19 months old.
Back to the calf: It was on it’s feet in front of her and was wobbling around. Yahoo! The temperature was about 32 degrees and snowing lightly. The calf was mostly dry. Mama did a great job of licking that baby and drying it. I watched for a few minutes while it searched for her teats and I saw it have success.
Later in the morning, I went back out to check on the mom and her babe. I saw it, and I thought it was a bull calf. At that point, I hadn’t had a real good look yet. They were deep under some fir trees in a nice little copse area. It was nursing vigorously. The other cows and horses were very close by, keeping guard on the mother/calf pair. I love watching how all of the animals, cows and horses, interact with each other, respect each other’s space, yet protect each other in the herd. I am included and accepted in the herd, too, as long as I keep a respectful distance from the baby. I am the one that feeds them, too, most of the time, in deep winter.
I have a dilemma. I want to get mama and the baby into the barn for several reasons: I want the baby to have a warmer place to lay down and rest. I want the baby accessible to me in order to de-horn it, in a few days. Snd I am a little bit worried about predators during the night, since we have had a coyote on the property recently. I saw it’s tracks while skiing last week. S. (our super alert horse) has been on high alert a few times recently. Miss Eloise heard a stampede, two mornings ago, around five in the morning. So I suspect that some predator has been around. But sometimes they’ll run for fun, too.
Sometimes when we hear the animals running, they are running towards the house and we assume that something scared them. One summer moonlit night, older son was out by the river with his fiance (now his wife) and they saw all of the cows run across the meadow and head up towards the house. A large low to the ground animal with a long tail was chasing them. It was probably a very young Mountain Lion. When the cows headed up towards the house the animal didn’t follow but kept going straight ahead to the woods, and leapt over the fence and left our ranch. Therefore we are assuming that when we hear them run up to the house, habitation, if they are being chased, the predator will leave, not continue it’s pursuit, because it doesn’t want to get near the house. Or, the other alternative of which we have also witnessed, is that all of our animals will ban together as one body, and will chase a predator off the property. We have seen them do this with a black bear two summers ago, and with a distant neighbor’s dog who was wandering far from home and ended up on our ranch and thought it was fun to chase the big animals. When these events occur at night and we are not outside it’s hard to say exactly which of these two scenarios is happening. We have not lost any large animals to predators up to this point. We pray we never will.
All of this to say, that as of dark Friday night, I have tried twice to get mama and baby into the corrals and barn and have not succeeded. Mama is having none of it and the baby is too heavy for me to carry with mama chasing me. She could kill me if she hit me hard enough. So, in one of my tries, I was able to find out that we have a little heifer. We have not named her yet. And unfortunately for OPSEC reasons we cannot let you, our readers, name her, either. I’m sorry. Well — you could suggest names down in the Comments and we could let you know if we picked one of them, but not tell you the exact name chosen. (I’m sorry, but OPSEC dictates…)
It seems that the calf and its mother will be staying outside on Friday night. I have prayed over the area for angels to protect them and our fence lines. I have brought mama hay, wet cob and water. I also brought the baby some straw to make a nest in a tight little area between some fir saplings. It’s great protected spot. Animals are very intelligent, even the babies instinctively know where the safest spots are to rest.
I am also planning on spending some time out there tonight with a sleeping bag, a ground pad, a flashlight, and Mr. Gaston Glock, for company. I hope that all of the horses and other cows will also be staying very close by us for the added protection– that I can safely assume they will give. That has been our experience in the past. Our hoses and cattle are creatures of habit–much like humans.
The temperatures are supposed to get down to about 24 tonight, but it’s only supposed to be brief snow flurries through the night. So really the conditions will be “dry”. I hope the clouds clear off for awhile to see the stars…I will update you all in the comments on Saturday morning. I am so happy for the joy that the birth of this calf brings to us. Ch. (our recently deceased horse) would have stood guard over mama and baby if she were still with us. 🙁 Such is life on a ranch.
Just a little news update: China, Russia and Iran are having joint naval exercises on Friday until Monday in the Gulf of Oman which is just before the Straits of Hormuz. Of course 20% of the world’s oil traverses through there, on its way to market. This alliance of these nations is found in the Book of Ezekiel chapter 38-39 which talks about the Gog-Magog war. How close are we to the coming of our Lord?
We need to be very diligent with keeping our vessels filled with the Holy spirit and not be slack in our prepping as the LORD GOD so leads each one of us.
May you all have a very blessed and safe week and a blessed New Year!
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.