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:

Tomorrow, I’m heading home to the Rawles Ranch. Hopefully, the drive will take me only two days. But it could possibly be longer, depending on the road conditions. There is some snow in the weather forecasts for much of my route. I thank the Lord for studded snow tires and four wheel drive! Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
I want to thank many of your folks that commented on my recent article, A Cowgirl’s Night Out.  We appreciated all of the ideas and suggestions that you wrote in the comments section concerning clothing and light discipline for others to learn from.  For me, I mostly enjoyed my night out with the animals observing them and acclimating myself to being outside alone at night on our ranch.  It was also a fun article to write.  As the Lord God gives me more adventures, I will be sure to share them with you.

However, I feel like I need to clarify a few things in my article concerning clothes and Light Discipline.  It appears that I there was a little bit of flak/misunderstanding from a few folks who seem to think, that if I am the wife of James Wesley, Rawles that I should have all of the same wisdom, knowledge and experience as he has.

But, I don’t. I wasn’t ever in the military…

Another thing, is that we only have a small cattle operation and our cows are of a small gentle breed, which are perfect for small families and homesteading operations. They are my friends and almost members of our family, but I am under no illusions that they could never hurt me.  I have been kicked, butted and stepped on and it hurts–and these were actions done by accident or in play…

At our peak, our large animals included 4 horses, 8 cattle, and 8 goats all at one time.  We live in the wilderness and as I say there is a very fine line between maintaining a wilderness home and a beautiful property with farming and the raising of livestock.  Livestock can be very destructive to the vegetation and we wish for a balance and harmony between the two.  Hence, we no longer own goats, and this is why we keep our large animal population fairly low. We do not want to over-graze!

There was a purposeful reason why I didn’t dress more properly for the night out, which I should have stated in the article…

The reason why I dressed so poorly, is that I purposely didn’t want to be too comfortable. I did not want to actually sleep out under the stars without any kind of shelter from wildlife or cows and horses moving around.  I was worried about predators and possibly being trampled. If I was too comfortable and warm, eventually, I would have fallen asleep, maybe…  I do not fall asleep easily if something is not “right”.

Therefore, I purposely wore only one pair of socks and Slogger garden shoes, to ensure that I would develop cold damp feet, which would add to my discomfort and help keep me awake.  😉  This was in the back of my mind as I selected the shoes.

I also purposely only brought out my old sleeping bag, in case it got dirty, because, it is easier to wash than one of the huge beautiful Wiggy’s sleep system bags that we have. Yes, I knew that it wouldn’t keep me as warm.  But I wanted to test just how warm that old bag could keep me outside in the winter.

Later, when I realized how much I was enjoying my time out there, I did decide that I would sleep out, but that I’d do so inside my tent for some protection. As you will note, I, also put the tent out in the open parking lot where it was easily seen by all of the large livestock, and by my girls who were sleeping in the house, if they chose to look out the window..

So now you have the truth of the matter! 🙂

I do know how to dress properly and we do have super nice Wiggy’s sleeping bags. I do have some awesome warm ski pants, long johns, socks, winter boots, etc.

I do know a little bit about night vision techniques. But, I was quite nervous in the beginning and not entirely sure how all of the animals would react to me being out there with them which is why I turned the light on and off to see where they all were and what they were doing, and thus didn’t achieve good night vision until the clouds moved away.  This was not a tactical exercise.  We do have night vision equipment, but frankly, I don’t know where it presently is in the JASBORR stash.  Furthermore, I’m not interested in searching for it. If Jim had been home, then I might have asked for it. If I did have it and broke it out there, I would have felt very badly.

We’ve been married nearly ten years, but we have been extremely busy, with the writing of the blog and books, raising kids, homeschooling, gardening, etc.  So Jim hasn’t given me much training in military tactics and light discipline, but we have played around with starlight and FLIR  scopes on a couple of occasions.

I want to say one more thing: I am a minimalist when it comes to equipment and survival gadgets.  My thinking is… You know you could have all of the best and first rate equipment to keep you warm, help you see, keep you fed, keep you sheltered. But could you carry it all in a fleeing situation? What if you lose it, or it gets stolen from you?  Can you function without it?  This is why, here at the ranch, we are not high tech Preppers.  Equipment breaks, fuel runs out, batteries eventually die, Photovoltaic panels can break.  If you relied entirely on these things and didn’t have many of the real basics, then could you survive?

This is why we never use our backup generator during power outages. I would rather use our low tech lanterns and candles for light and our wood stove to cook and heat the house. In a long term grid down situation, the stored liquid fuel will eventually run out.  This is why we are moving away from using the refrigerator/changing our diet to reflect not needing to refrigerate food items or left overs, etc.

Wouldn’t be better to test your mettle while being very close to home??

So, my perceived “stupidity” of dressing poorly and having poor light discipline, DID garner some good discussion, here, but, I want you to know it was done on purpose, to keep me uncomfortable.  To be honest with you all, when I chose to wear those clothes and chose to tell you what I wore, I just knew I would hear from someone about how it was a poor choice of clothing and I wouldn’t be warm enough.  I just knew it.  😉

Now I do have a question for you ladies out there:  How many of you would dare to spend the night outside, in the wilderness, during the winter, by yourselves/alone, with proper gear?  How many of you ladies have actually done so? Really, truly, I haven’t, yet.  If I went off of our property up into the national forest and spent the night by myself, then I would claim it, but, I have only slept out in a tent on our own land, which is completely fenced, so that doesn’t count, even though we have national forest on several sides of us.  I don’t know if I have the guts to do so.

This week, I mostly worked with the animals and writing these articles.

I did check to see if those lettuce seeds that I had planted in the greenhouse had germinated yet, and no they haven’t….

I have begun to move manure to the Annex Garden to continue building up that garden.  I feel that the Extension garden has enough on it, for now.

I have begun to read and translate the Book of Job in Hebrew.

Now concerning, Iran and Trump’s assassination of General Soleimani, are you ready for a possible WWIII scenario?  It would affect us greatly, here in the USA.  Keep praying for our leaders to make the right decisions.  Keep prepping and wrapping it up, while we still can do so.  2020, according to many prophetic words, is going to be many times worse than 2019 in terms of cascading events taking place.. Get your physical and spiritual houses in order, repent, stock up, stand up straight and lift up your head, do not fear, because our Lord is returning soon.

Daniel 7:9-14 reads:

I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

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. I think you are spot on A L. We are doing exactly the same with livestock as you are minus the horses. Went through the same issues and have been doing this for over 40 years. Keep up the writing, the Mrs and I enjoy the articles.

  2. When I was younger I would camp out in the woods year round. Now I enjoy my cozy bed inside. I’m still at home in the woods though. The woods are amazingly noisy at night…maybe less so in snowy conditions.

    This week we enjoyed quite a bit of snow. It made walking interesting and staying on the trails necessary. I’ll be using the snowshoes and cross country skis now. It’s about time.

    Stocked up on cases of canned goods and baking supplies. I also put away more dried veggies, fruits and nuts. Bought batteries as our supply is finally being used up. I wanted to use the older batteries up before resupplying to keep things fresh.

    Thinking about the summer garden already, and decided not to start onions and leeks this year because of space constraints.

    Glad to have the quiet of January to reflect and renew. Blessings.

  3. Share as God leads you. Your account of spending the night was very well written and precious! God’s peace is a blessed thing and you had His peace and assurance through those night hours. Grace and peace now in the reflection of the past week. Persevere!

  4. I’m with you when it comes to not relying too much on high-tech gear and gadgetry. My farm was totally off-grid(small PV and wind system) and it was helpful in that power failures never affected me. Still, in the event of something like an EMP it would have been toast(and no, I sure couldn’t afford to stash back-up equipment). In the event of a long-term grid-down situation I would have eventually have needed to replace batteries and other parts and would have had no source for them. In my current hunt for a home I’m not prioritizing off-grid over grid-tied as long term I don’t see a difference. I think my ability to keep warm with wood heat(a good wood stove is a must), grow food and preserve it for off-season use are way more important than lots of gadgets that I can’t afford and may well break. I’m much more interested in continuing to learn old-time homesteader skills than obtaining the latest gear.

    Jim; I’m curious about your preps for being that far from home. How have you prepared in terms of being able to get home if for some reason you couldn’t drive home or things fell apart that quickly? I’ve been thinking about this a lot as I’m on the road so much now. I’m about 200 miles now away from my “home base”; was thinking about what it would really be like to have to walk back there(in the winter in New England) as I drove here. I try to keep the gas tank on my car no less than 3/4 full when I’m away(that would get me back to VT) but that of course presumes my car would be able to be driven and the roads are drive-able.

  5. Thanks for sharing. I always enjoy reading of the trials in this adventure called Life.
    Rainy season here, some much needed down time, and a chance to get caught up on the burn piles.
    Hoping to try raising some hogs and add a large garden outdoors in 2020. Time will tell. Thanks for all you do. Keep fighting the good fight!

  6. Lily, while I have never camped out with my animals, when I was your age, my husband and I ran the church-sponsored Boy Scout troop (back when boys were boys). We always did at least one deep freeze camping trip each winter. As I remember them, the temps were below freezing but above zero and they were usually 3 days. Cold but but worth the effort. Now days, I wouldn’t volunteer to stay outside for the night.

    I have not gotten my strength back after pneumonia so haven’t done much physical work. Trying to walk down the farm road for exercise, weather permitting. Began a cleansing diet to get rid of meds and holiday toxins. Spending part of my recovery down time reading and pondering the scriptures.

    Made a large dutch oven of black-eyed peas and jalapeno corn bread for my family and neighbors. Yummy! These are southern good-luck foods for the new year. We need some symbolic encouragement when we are staring down socialism.

    My kids helped me set up a gardening seed starting area using one of those 3’x6′ shelving units. We added grow lights, seedling heat pads and put in some cold weather seeds to try out. Repackaged some bulk buys and canned fresh high-protein vegetables. Rendered some pork fat into quart jars.

    Received orders of wheat, oats, barley, and storage containers. My evac container lids were damaged so I got two heavy duty containers on wheels with pull handles. They are twice the size I thought I ordered but are much stronger and will take the beating of bouncing around in the truck. Now I have to update and repack the evac containers.

    Have a safe and productive week!

    1. Dear Animal House,

      Praying for your strength to return quickly. Drink lots of water. 😉 We need to have the Word deep in our souls to withstand the evil that is coming. Keep studying, the enemy would have us to not be studying God’s Word.



    2. Animal House, I’ve had pneumonia twice and severe chest infections years ago. The coughing was once bad enough that I cracked ribs and tore muscles. I remember thinking that a lung infection has got to be a bad way to go as you can feel like you are drowning. I also remember feeling weak for 3-4 weeks after battling back from those infections. I seemed to be able to break the cycle of these annual illnesses every year by changing my diet and taking certain supplements. On the diet side I have cut my consumption of fast food and highly processed food by at least 75% (no more soft drinks), cut about the same amount of refined sugar, avoid high fructose corn syrup whenever possible and have cut most products with gluten out of my diet. I am not sensitive to any of these foods but by doing these things I am healthier at 50 than I was in my 30’s. I also started taking high quality vitamins and other supplements with heavier doses of D3, K2, C and magnesium/zinc. I still travel frequently as part of my job, but now the most I get is a case of the sniffles that lasts for no more than a day. Haven’t been sick in over four years. I can only tell you what has worked for me, but I’ve seen plenty of people in all age groups change their health and risk of chronic illness through diet, good quality supplements, good sleep and exercise. I hope you feel better soon and maybe you can look at changing up a few things to boost your immune system.

  7. Daniel 7:9-14

    I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire.

    A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened.

    I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame.

    As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time.

    I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him.

    And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

  8. I grew-up on a farm.
    My four grandparents lived next door.
    Every weekend was a family re-union with aunts and uncles and a dozen cousins.
    Born in Ireland in about 1870, my granpa Jack raised and trained mules.
    Born in 1899, my uncle Jesse (middle name’ James’) was an engineer, building dams in south America and bridges across Afrika.

    I was raised right.

    I think I was around eight-years old, after finishing my chores, the first time I loaded some grub with a bed-roll on a mule, left a note on the kitchen table telling my route and destination and day I would return, and headed out for a few nights alone in the forest.

    At that time, with this family, this was normal.
    I was always comfortable at night, alone, in a forest or desert or on a beach.

    In a civilized city, among civilized people, not so much.


    6.5CM is working out just fine as an alternative for us.
    5.56 and .22 is great for the neighborhood kids to practice… and for geezers with an increasing aversion to recoil.
    My days of .300WM and .338-378 Weatherby are long-gone, my trophies yellowed and dusty.
    And yet, somehow, I plan to maintain my standard 2″ group at 600 yards for my 68th birthday in a few weeks.
    I hope my buddy Bulldozer Bill brings his .408CheyTac so we can ring steel across the canyon. 24″ at 2400 yards.

    Civilized people, not so much.

  9. Spent sometime discussing the drone strike on the Iranian General. Don’t think for a moment this was a knee jerk reaction. The wheels for this strike were set in motion several months ago when the United States listed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard as a terrorist organization. Regardless of what Iran says, they can NOT take the US on head to head. They could not even decisively defeat Iraq back in the 1980’s. I Iran will confine it’s use of unconventional warfare tactics and it denial of any attacks as it has done for years. I suspect that we will see some mines pop up in the Straits of Hormuz. As for Sleeper cells in the US, why would Iran go to the expense to have them here when the US already believed they were here? The power in those sleeper cells is that they would make American politicians think twice about attacking Iran in fear of having said sleeper cells activated. Also recently there was a man tried and convicted in NYC of performing reconnaissance of potential “targets” for Hezbollah. If there were sleeper cells in the US already why send this guy? Why wouldn’t the recons have been done a long time ago? Now granted if they were going “operational” another recon would be done to see if there were any changes since the original recon but that did not appear to be the case here.

    There was a lot of talk about Iran using cyber attacks on the US. I think if Iran could shut down our water, lights, etc they would have done it already, and then of course denied it. I suspect that the US will respond by deploy the new cruise missile that is basically a small EMP generator that fries stuff as it flies overhead. It is made by Boeing and there is a video of it on YouTube.

    Lots of purchases this week including:
    a gallon of oil for the generators,
    3 extra spark plugs for each generator.
    2 gas mask carrying bags (M17 bags)
    50 feet of three-quarter inch plastic pipe hanger strap
    A 38 ounce aluminum scoop
    Snap fasteners
    Various size hog rings
    Various sizes and quantities of stainless steal screen
    Various styles/sizes of compression hose clamps
    A Nine cabinet drawer (need some place to organize and store this stuff)
    3 3/16 inch hitch ring and screw by sets
    A mini battery tester Bulb
    1 pack of fuel line filters for a small engines
    7 various blades for a Sawz-all
    2 gated snap hooks
    1 Drum faucet
    2 20 amp charging clips for a battery
    50 foot roll of 10 gauge wire
    600 peak jump start battery pack
    1 sledge Hammer handle
    120 rounds of 55 grain FMJ 5.56mm

    I Modified three Midwest fastener Corporation storage drawers that I got at an auction so that I could place my parts organizers inside of them. This entailed cutting out a plastic piece in the middle of each drawer that acted as a stop for the original parts organizers (they did not come with the units).

    Wanted to put my ammo into stripper clips and bandoleers like I do with all my .223/5.56mm but I couldn’t find my supply of [stripper] clips and bandoleers. I think that I shoved them inside a container when we moved. So that will be a scavenger hunt that I continue this coming week.

    Discussed a project with my neighbor pertaining to diesel glow plugs. He is a diesel mechanic so wanted his opinion and thoughts on my projects

  10. Lily, I shared your awesome article with all the cowgirls I know.

    This week I finished organizing our precious metals; no, not silver or gold. And being a quiet week I was able to watch two Bible studies archived online by Montana Liberty Pastor Chuck Baldwin. (Libertyfellowshipmt.com)

    Lastly I found an awesome local indoor gun range. I never zeroed an AR as quick and easily as I could do here. My wife known as Annie Oakley to her Montana friends was out of town for the holidays. She will love this range especially in the winter.

      1. NormiChuck, it was a different range which must remain unnamed due to privacy concerns. Sorry. But we have gone to Northwest Shooter many times. Great range and friendly folks. However as I recall they only allow handguns and .22 cal. rifles.

  11. I just want to thank you for being willing to share your life experiences with us. They’re helpful , informative and thought provoking. I too think it’s important to be able to make do with the minimum if necessary. I pray you’ll have a blessed New Year.

  12. Loved reading of your account outside at night. I so envy all of you who do not fear the dark. I enjoyed 7 years of sleeping outside as I and my family of two children sailed around the world. I loved the night, so relaxing. After returning home I developed a brain tumor that has taken half my balance system; therefore, any dim light scenario has me falling over. I need light in my eyes to keep me upright. I too am surrounded by national forest and have hiked through and into it with my husband during the daytime. I am proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished in tenacity being able to stumble through the terrain of the mountains here. I have wondered about the scenarios listed regarding having to leave your home and I’ve given up the ghost, I’m scared at the thought due to my disability. I have relied upon the Lord and will do so when and if that scenario plays out. He is the light that shines in my path. Keep writing Lily as I love reading about how you fare in all your responsibilities. I homeschooled before it was ‘kosher’, now my daughter homeschools and being a military wife I know the hardships she has and continues to go through. With the escalating world events one can only remember this is God’s hand in all of it. Relax, be watchful, read Revelation, the prophets of OT, Mathew 24, etc. to become aware of what we will be hearing about, experiencing ourselves and always remember God will keep his flock safe. If you are not part of the family, may I suggest you repent, call upon the Lord and finally admit He is in charge and you want Him in your life. Look up, for your redemption draws near.

  13. Lily, thank you so much for sharing your adventure. I hope you will consider making this a regular high point in your “prepping progress” posts.
    Organizing our laundry/sewing room this week. Reading up on canning with low or no sugar. Drove through a white-out storm for the first time. It was actually a good experience. Most of the week was spent on some emergency maintenance on our church.
    Watching the world and taking notes. Studying The Word.
    Good job holding the fort down Lily. Safe travel for you Jim.
    Blessings to all.

  14. I spent my 20’s and 30’s as a river and back packing guide. I taught women and young kids how to enjoy the outdoors. I was one of very few women guides at that time. I loved my time in the woods and loved teaching kids how to be comfortable and appreciate the quiet and beauty nature gives us. I must admit though that this was before cell phones and constant connectivity. Yes, I have spent time alone at night. Some adventures more planned than others. I have always found that women, if given an opportunity, have an inner strength they can tap into and can do amazing things. I still enjoy being out there.

    Had a load of wood delivered (we are not on property with wood possibilities) and got it stacked before the rain hit. Still need a few more cords in order to run our wood stove rather than our electric heat most of the time. Right now we light it at night but don’t use it with the intent of daytime use or cooking on it.

    I ordered my seed this week as well. My intention is to rebuild my raised beds before spring and continue putting in edible perennials and fruit trees. Also on the To Do list is to build a greenhouse to extend my growing.

    Lily, keep writing about your adventures. Many of us love reading about them!

  15. This week was reloading experiments in .223 and .357 mag. Couple aspects of it.

    I have shifted my brass cleaning to a 7L Frankford Arsenal wet media tumbler. I separate the media with Frankford Arsenal media separate which does an incredible job IMO. I have then started drying it in a Lyman Cyclone Brass Case Dryer.

    I invested in some of these things and asked for them for birthday presents for a couple reasons. The first is I am a free brass junky. When I take walks in the woods, I specifically check out places where I know people shoot and I pick up there brass and at the range I go to, if the Range Officer of the day is willing I raid the brass buckets. In both cases, if I score, I am like a kid in a candy store.

    I have a lot of brass and my goal is to eventually fill it all. I shoot a lot of it repeatedly, especially .45 but some of it could potentially and up in storage for a long time. I don’t know if powder residue affect long term storage but the wet media tumbling method gets the brass almost factory clean and for long term storage that is what I want. Also the stuff from the woods is often muddy, full of very small twigs, etc.

    This is a hobby with purpose for me. With free brass I can reload rifle calibers for probably half to a third of commercial price. For pistol calibers I usually end up with more savings. And depending on what I want to do I can load premium ammo for commercial plinking price or less or plinking ammo for dirt cheap.

    My current goal is to duplicate milspec round velocities with better than milspec ball projectiles. I have done that with 230 grain .45 hollow points that duplicate milspec ball. I have what I think works with 7.62x54r. Polymer tips that duplicate old milsurp fmj, have about the same ballistics and shoot tighter groups. In both cases, I should be able to shoot milsurp/milspec alternately with my reloads with no change in POI or energy at decent range with the same weapon.

    I am now working on 5.56 M193 but that will take a bit of effort because it appears the military took the pressures to the limit to achieve the desired velocities. So far I have been able to achieve my goals with mid-range loads but I am migrating into the higher end ot the spectrum with this little project. I may just settle for a little lower velocity and move on to M855 and check it out. M193 is not my primary goal anyway.

    When I find the loads I want, I want to punch out a whole bunch with all the brass I have collected and package it for long term storage. With the bulk of my ammunition I want to pull any of it out at random, whether milspec/milsurp, commercial or reloads and have it all shoot the about the same out of my weapons.

    Fun winter project.

  16. Absolutely love the outdoors. No fear of the night. So enjoyed Lily’s article, and thought the posts that followed could be good opportunities for lots of preparedness conversation among the experienced, and learning opportunities for those who are new. Surviving cold and wet conditions is an especially timely topic given the coming Grand Solar Minimum (GSM), the possibilities of grid interruption that might come before with the next solar cycle (and changes in the earth’s magnetic field), or even the possibility of grid interruption that might arise from an act of war (cyber attack, detonated EMP). From clothing to weather wear to low tech home heating and more, there is a tremendous amount of ground to cover!

    1. Telesilla: Great note, and a great deal to be learned about surviving the cold. Right you are about the coming GSM. Here’s a great video about the topic if you have the chance to watch… about an hour from Suspicious Observers titled Climate Forcing…. been talking about this for years, and the evidence seems to be strong that it’s on it’s way… https://youtu.be/rEWoPzaDmOA

  17. Enjoyed your article Av Lil… You still stayed reasonably comfortable with the gear you used…
    Preps include: cast .200 grain SWC’s, 120 gr.9mm, reloaded 500 rounds .45. Looking for more .223 brass; Putting together parts for a toy…ahem…

    Picked up some MRE’s, whey protein, sunflower oil capsules….
    Added additional compost to raised garden and will be updating the raised beds with larger rough cedar lumber.
    Also trying to write a copy of my King James Bible. Just finished thru Ezekiel and started Daniel. Started in August 2018 and hope to complete by this August.
    Been so blessed by the Lord! Y’all take care…

  18. Jim, drive safe. Lily, I think most of us understood why you were “underdressed.” When I’m driving and tired, I have to roll the windows down and keep myself cold because coffee doesn’t keep me awake no matter how much I drink.

    Sounds like Ani and I have the same philosophy, “I’m much more interested in continuing to learn old-time homesteader skills than obtaining the latest gear.” One of my 2020 goals is to go fridge-less like the old-timers did. I did a lot of experimenting last year with some interesting results.

    Most months my electricity is down below 100 kWh and most of that is the fridge. Tomorrow’s project is to get those 32 lbs of blackberries out of the freezer and make jam so I can unplug the fridge by the end of the week. (I normally make jam in August as soon as the vines are done but I had some insurmountable issues this year.) This time of year the well house hovers around 40°F so that should make a good fridge. One of my resolutions for 2020 is cut the grid-tie for my solar panels.

    My truck was idling too fast and not shifting. This week I got the throttle body cleaned up and two sensors replaced so I now I can get all that firewood I cut and split last month over to the woodpile for next winter. With my OFA problems (I’m Old and Falling Apart) it’s harder to work with them itty bitty nuts and bolts and screws. A 6″ magnet helps find ’em after I drop ’em.

    A few days ago I watched a doe browsing for ten minutes in the yard right below the balcony my office door opens onto. It will be fun in the spring to see all the fawns again. Don’t see a lot of ducks in these parts but saw two on the neighbor’s pond this week. Life is good. 🙂

  19. Readers may enjoy this publication: https://www.lowtechmagazine.com/ (no affiliation) Our first introduction to it came from an article on historic orchard walls which were used to protect fruit trees from cold via thermal exchange (also certainly a wind-break as well). Given the conversation about minimalism and sustainable low-tech solutions, we thought this might be of interest!

    Prayers for SAFE TRAVELS home to the ranch for Jim.

  20. I was given a medium size Alice pack that had a couple small tears and some straps that were coming unsewn. A needle and thread took care of it in about an hour. Overall it’s in really good shape and despite my aversion to “free stuff” because it’s often an albatross around the neck, this was great. Plus I knew the man who carried in the service, so there’s that too.

  21. Avalanche Lily,

    Thank you for that well written AAR. I am guilty of one huge thing that you pointed out: my wife is not totally ready and as a retired Army officer and former member of SF / Ranger there is no excuse for this gaping hole in our preps. Yes she is capable and in many ways ready, but in anything tactical operations she is woefully deficient. And this is my fault entirely for not improving her skills such that should I be taken out she can go on, or in a tactical situation she can be a teammate.

    My only excuse is that I have not taken the time to give her the training and attention she needs. We have for over 25 years always relied only on our woodstove, alladin lamps, etc. when needed; this has been our first line of fall back when the power is out and up here it is a given that it will be out, sometimes for weeks due to ice, wind, snow and extreme cold.

    We have enough tactical gear to operate safely and in conjunction with our group defend ourselves and our fellow members, but in building, training and organizing this group I failed as a husband to get my wife ready. This year we are going to correct this failure on my part. We have planned together training for the following items:
    Soldier skill levels 1,2,3,4 and to include field training events out starting with day time operations in tactical gear. We do snowshoe, and will advance to ros country skiing as well as more rifle skill training in the deep cold. Next month we will be doing a 2 day camp out, the temps have been deep below zero and this years snow load is high so it will test both of us; but we won’t need to worry about bears:)

    There is no “spring time” here as you know it, but there is break up and a time when the challenge of our door activities is dictated by raging rivers, snow loads melting very fast, and increasing daylight so again the fast changes are there to present different challenges for operating in the bush.

    This next summer our plan is to sell the motorhome, use the Jeep for primary back country bush travel and get back to real camping the way we used to do it when we lived outside. (Outside means lower 48 up here) I hated the motorhome anyways so selling it and investing in more NVG and other gear really has us excited to get started.

    My wife, after 26 years of marriage, has finally gotten “on board” fully with prepping due to the current world situation and possible events that may happen this year and the near future. She has always been supportive, but not with full appreciation of the need to go beyond just basic idealism. Your article gave her a great motivation to fill the gaps; when she asked me for better training and support it an answer to prayers; I pray God has given me enough knowledge and experience to sufficiently meet her needs. Our group is very supportive of this and I am going to learn new skills too, like bee keeping … up here in the arctic that is a real challenge.

    Again, thank you for that great report you gave, I needed a kick in the head and you hit the spot dead on. Prayers for Jim’s trip home, its good to see his talk of 4 wheel drive and studded tires, up here its not mandatory but it is very useful year round. May God keep you all safe, bless you richly, and may HE bring a period of peace and prosperity to all who call upon His name.

  22. I thoroughly enjoyed your article. You included all the little details that made it a learning experience for you.

    Don’t be worried about knowing everything your husband knows. I’m in a similar situation; Hubby thinks and knows military. I think and know academic. Between the two of us, I often tell him, we know everything. There are situations where his military/security knowledge is critically important, and other occasions when my academic knowledge is useful. Okay, I admit we haven’t had to use Chaucer’s Middle English yet. But a time travel machine may be the next big thing.

    I had a wise professor in college, back when college was really college, who told us there were three ways to get information. The first is to look it up. Back then it was books; now it may be Youtube. The second is to ask an expert. I once did a seminar presentation on academic freedom and couldn’t remember the name of a Russian scientist, much favored by Stalin, who insisted that acquired traits are inherited. I promptly called a university with a good Russian department and explained my dilemma. I don’t know who I was talking to, but they instantly said “Lysenko”. The third way to find out something is to experiment. This can be in a fancy laboratory or in the back yard. With these three methods you can be reasonably sure of getting the correct answer.

    Good luck with the Hebrew. I learned it long ago when one of my great professors said I knew plenty of Indo-European languages and now needed one from another linguistic family. I went to classes at a local shul and learned so much about Hebrew, Judaism, and even a few words of Yiddish. It was a great experience.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  23. Avalanch Lily, I put in an order to send you Eating on The Wild Side by Jo Robinson. It should reach the PO Box in a week or two.

    I think you’ll really enjoy it.

    A few years ago we got copies for both our daughters and they have appreciated it thoroughly.

    It focuses on maximizing the healthy nutritional levels in your diet through careful food preparation and varietal selection, and eliminating harmful varietals like Golden Delicious apples from your diet. Her book took ten years of evaluation of over 9,000 scientific studies, to develop her recommendations.

    Using the Amazon link here, anyone else can get good used copies for less than 6 bucks.


    I apologize for being privately amused at the dozens of suggestions/critiques people posted here on your overnight experience. It’s just the price you pay for being popular!!! People care.

    ‘Make this a Blessed Day”.

  24. Oh goodness, I was impressed that you spent the night outdoors and thought it displayed a great love of adventure! I have absolutely *never* spent an entire evening outdoors, not even on our fenced land, with our big livestock guardian dogs next to me! When we have calf issues I do go outside many times throughout the night to check on baby and momma, though. It’s sort of like having a sick child… I just don’t sleep well until I know everyone is ok.

    Proverbs 27:23 “Know well the condition of your flocks, and give attention to your herds.”

    Kindness to animals is clearly an important value to God. It was because of the kindness Rebekah displayed not only to strangers, but also to their camels, that she was selected as the matriarch of the Jewish nation.

    1. Dear Grits In Montana,

      I do love adventures, but safe adventures with just a very small dose of danger, but not every day. 😉 And I don’t wish to over-tax my angels, either, or tempt the Lord in any way. Adventures from time to time are the spice of life. 🙂



  25. Dear Avalanche Lily, Although you have not been in the military, I am sure that you have much experience that even James does not have. And it is fortunate for us readers that you choose to freely share your experiences and the details of your various projects with us. Thank you for the time you spend educating all of us.

  26. Loved your article on your night out. BTW, are you still looking for suggestions in the ” Name the new calf” contest? If so here are a few:Snow, Starlight, Curious, Noel.

  27. Started constructing my high tunnel for upcoming spring. Got a late start, ground is semi frozen but not too deep. Been a somewhat mild winter here in northeast. Next few days looks like I can get the corners squared and secured for aligning topsail tubing at 4 ft. intervals. I don’t mind the cold – find it invigorating as long as I ” know ” I have a dependable heat source nearby if / when I need it.
    Getting kerosene delivery tomorrow for spot heating if / when it is needed. Normal preps – feel secure with several heat sources.
    I’m curious, why convert Daniel into Hebrew ?

    1. Hi Ron,

      I am translating from Hebrew into English, the book of Job, because I am learning both Biblical and Modern Hebrew. The more I read and translate, the more Hebrew words I learn. It’s a lifelong passion of mine to be able to read and understand the bible in it’s original language, fluently. I’m pretty good at it. Some passages I have to look up nearly 90% of the word’s meanings and in other passages only 10%. It just depends on the topics and my familiarity with the vocabulary of a topic. Someday, I hope to be fluent with writing, reading, hearing and speaking the Hebrew language. 🙂 I am making progress but still have a very long way to go. 🙂



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