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:

We had a fairly quiet and snowy week, here at the Rawles Ranch. I had to plow out our road and barnyard  area several times. It seems that the ever-fickle Jet Stream has decided to “bless” abundantly those of us in the northern portion of The American Redoubt, this winter.  Getting ready for the launch of pre-orders for the waterproof SurvivalBlog Archive USBs stick took up some of my time, as did developing the web page for my pre-1899 guns mailorder business. I’m still hoping for a February 1st launch, if all goes well. A lot of pieces need to be put into place, to make that happen. Now, most notably, activation by a credit card processor. I opted for Blue Dog, because they treat firearms-related retailers just like any other merchants. (Other credit card firms label firearms-related retailers as “high risk”, and therefore demand a higher percentage–putting gun merchants on a par with p*rn peddlers and “head’ shops.)

My lovely wife, as usual, has a lot more to report than I do. She always keeps herself very busy, and she is remarkably cheery about it. This ranch would fall into shambles, without her!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Well, dear readers, my cheery meter has rocketed much higher since Jim has returned home and the advent of this this beautiful winter weather.  We have received about three feet of snow in the past week. Finally!  The spruce, fir, pine, and tamarack trees are draped in puffy whiteness and the meadows are gleaming.  It is so incredibly gorgeous here.  I love the crisp air and crunch of the snow under my feet as I do chores. I love the feeling of being bundled up warm and comfortable in my winter clothes and playing in the snow.  I just love snow!  I am a real northern girl.  Give me snow!  Please Lord, no more rain until March 21st! Please!!!

This week I have spent much time out with the cows and horses.  I feed them twice a day, morning and night. At night I, invite the cows into the stalls with their hay which they eat while in the stalls. We close up the cows  in the stalls at night to protect the calf and to keep her warm.  There is at least a twenty degree difference in the mornings between the stalls and the outside air when I open the door to let them out for the day.  Putting them in at night has entailed a lot of manure clean up, for me.  Manure is my black gold for the gardens.  Thus, I am really happy to see the pile growing for next summer.  I don’t mind shoveling manure at all.  It does take a lot of effort to pull a sled full of it over the snow to the pile, but that builds muscles and heart strength.

A few observations.  I saw F., the baby calf, eat hay at four days old.  They start early. At 20 days, I saw her head buried in her own pile of hay, eating it!  I’ve seen this early eating behavior before, but it always surprises me.  Of course, she gets most of her nutrition from her mom, but through her beginning to eat hay now is preparing her body to take nutrition from the hay.  I think it’s God’s back up plan in case something happens to the mom, the calf could still survive with the herd on hay and grass.  Of course the ideal is to nurse for at least six months.  I don’t know what the real statistics are on this.  It’s just my own guessing.  I have seen adult cows and bulls/steers still nursing off lactating cows not related to them…

A little story:

We have a Wild female turkey who chooses to live with us during the winter.  She has been named Fl. This is the third winter we’ve had a turkey about the place. We’re not sure if it’s the same turkey year after year, since last year we had two females and a baby.  The baby and one female turkey disappeared by March. During the day, Fl, is out and about with the cows and horses.  At dusk she flies up into some our trees and roosts there for the night.  Most days, out of the kindness of my heart, I toss her a bit of grain after feeding the chickens. (Our Welfare turkey).

A few mornings ago on a dark cloudy day, I was cleaning out the manure and emptying it out onto the pile.  While heading back to the barn, I heard a distinct knocking sound on something.  I looked around to see what was making the noise and didn’t see anything.  Since the knocking continued, I walked toward the sound.  I stepped into the stalls, on the back wall we have a high window.  It is very dirty.  Note to self: You should wash that window. Through the window, I could see the turkey staring at the window, her reflection, and pecking at it, thus making the knocking sound. She was standing on the wooden post of the corral fence which ends right under the stall window. I approached the window, from inside the stall, thinking that she would see my movement through the window and fly off, but she didn’t.  It was also very dark inside the stalls, thus making a nearly perfect mirror on her side of the window.  She pecked the window again, and I knocked back at her.  She was only a little bit startled, and didn’t leave.  She pecked at the window, again and each time she paused, I knocked the window back. We had a knocking contest for a few minutes. As I watched her, I could see she was trying to figure out what was going on. After a few more minutes of this, she decided to leave.  During that time, I was less than three inches from her. She never saw me, if she had she would have left immediately, and I was able to study her in close proximity.  She is a beautiful bird.

I shoveled snow to keep our trails open to the woodshed, greenhouse, and other outbuildings.  I have also spent time shoveling snow off of the barn roof.

I skied only once, because of needing to do the other chores, which expended a lot of my energy.  Plus the skiing was really breaking trails, which is hard work in three feet of fresh fluffy snow.

Last weekend I camped out in my tent during a heavy wet snow storm.  I will be writing a separate article about that.

We had a very productive school week.

The girls and I have been watching three video series from YouTube that you might be interested in watching.

Fowler’s Makery and Mischief,  “30 Day Survival Challenge in the Canadian Rockies”

Fowler is a Christian.  It is very refreshing and encouraging to hear him say grace for his trout and wild greens, and end his prayer, “In Jesus’ name”

Fowler’s Survival Challenge partner, and Survivalist Instructor, Greg Ovens, also has a YouTube Channel.

Noemi’s Simple Living in a Scandish home

She is a minimalist and her family has food sensitivities.  She talks about cleaning, organizing, recipes, decorating, etc.  I like many of her ideas and sentiments of being as natural and simple as possible.

Though we are not minimalists ourselves, (impossible when gardening, canning, livestock, camping, hiking, skiing, canoeing, skating, horses and tack, hunting, shooting, homeschooling, love of books, and family heirlooms and all the accessories that go with all of those activities). I try to be simple, keep things clean by using natural cleansers, and organized, especially, in our main living space, and eating very healthily.  I especially like it when our girls watch these videos to also glean ideas on how to conduct themselves in their future homes.

I sorted through my onion harvest, separating out the sprouting onions and the rotting ones.  I am saving the sprouting ones to replant in the spring, for seeds, and composting the rotting onions.  The soft onions, I will need to chop up and freeze this coming week, or dehydrate.  I still have six spaghetti squash left from the harvest and a lot of Acorn squash.

I need to go through my seed tote and organize them and plan the gardens, start writing down some plans.

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. Here in Northern Idaho heavy snow, about 2 1/2′, precluded much outdoors, other than shoveling and plowing, every day. I used my snow blower to open trails to the wood pile and to the chicken coops, made my wife quite happy! Lots of reading and puzzles for indoor activities. I have to agree with Lily about the beauty of the snow on the trees and landscape, looks like something off a Currier and Ives calendar.

    On Friday, returning from shopping, we passed an estate sale sign. It was early afternoon, and we figured things would be pretty well picked over, but we love these sales. Most of the items I liked were way over priced, but my wife found a couple of things, and she asked if I had seen the survival food in the basement, which sent me running. She wasn’t kidding! There were about 100 cases, CASES, of assorted name brand foods in #10 cans stacked against a wall. All relatively new, 2012 or so dates, everything in great shape. The cases were marked $10.00 each, the only other person checking the foods out said the seller was taking $5.00 per CASE! I checked and confirmed, and put together 7 cases of assorted foods. I would have taken more, but space in my car,at my house and in my pocketbook precluded taking more. I was happy!

    I called a friend, who is of like mind, he and his wife went to the sale and scored 12 cases at the same price! I mentioned that I was thinking about returning to the sale on Saturday, he said the stash had been discovered and was being “savaged” by the masses! What a great way to end the week!

  2. I “may” have finally found a house to buy; have an accepted offer and am just going through the house inspection/radon test stuff at this point. If it all checks out reasonably well(at my price point it’s just a question of how many things need to be fixed/replaced and for how much$$) I’ll finally have my own place again with just under 2 acres! It’s in the far north and buried in snow. I should know within a week if this is going to happen, barring any unforeseen title glitches.

    I ordered fruit trees, blueberries, raspberries etc to take advantage of the early-season order discount. If the house sale falls through I’ll have to cancel but hoping all goes well. It will be so fine to have my very own garden and orchard again(home and not farm- scale this time around). I’ve been busy drooling over the seed catalogues(mostly Fedco and Johnny’s). If the house sale falls through I’ll still do a garden this year but smaller sized and in a community garden instead of my own. It’s still so many months away from garden season up here though.

    Re; minimalism. It’s funny as I’m definitely a minimalist sort but yes, it’s hard to be a minimalist when also running a homestead, farming and a believer in preparedness. I think that my way of looking at it is to only have around what is useful or meaningful to me and to keep what I have in good condition, under cover and well organized. So yes, I store extra fence posts, chicken wire, lumber etc for example as I’m always needing these materials but as long as I keep what I own in a place that keeps them out of “the elements”, where I can find and access them and so I know what I have, I think that’s still within the spirit of minimalism, “homestead style”!

  3. This week and last week too though I didn’t have time to share it then, I have been prepping a new garden area. I received 17 loads of wood chips from the road clearing crew and I had them dump and spread 3 loads in the barn yard. I did need to rake and smooth it out to roughly a 22′ by 42′ area.
    Now that we no longer have sheep I decide to use that area for a chicken garden. The talk about the solar minimum has motivated me to think about depending on feed from the feed store. I love our fresh eggs and also the work the chicken do to keep the bugs down in the orchard. So I did some research on what I could feed them and help reduce some of their feed cost. We have had some difficulty getting feed this winter and I have had to be very creative to augment what we had until the feed store received a shipment. I used some online tools to see what size area I needed to grow my old garden and new garden. https://morningchores.com/vegetable-garden-size/ and also what yields I should expect. https://www.lsuagcenter.com/topics/lawn_garden/home_gardening/vegetables/expected-vegetable-garden-yields. I am planning the largest garden I have ever had for this year with early spring, spring and late summer plantings. I have become concerned about food shortages and erratic weather. We have had a lot of rain that has hindered outdoor projects.
    With all the wood mulch I also had some dumped behind the barn and I have spread most of it and have loaded up the trusty garden cart and also spread some around the old chicken coop (now the feed shed ) this has made that area a much safer area to walk around without the slick mud. It’s so much nicer looking with the wood chips then covered in mud. I did fall as I was stepping over the wagon tongue and did a complete face plant in the mulch. Thankfully I wasn’t seriously injured but now I am more aware of my footing.
    I received my garden seed order and have ordered onions, seed potatoes, sweet potato slips, 5 blueberry bushes, 10 raspberry bushes, 4 apple trees and 2 plum trees. I just hope I can get the ground prepared soon. I keep praying for strength to get the work done and I feel God is blessing the preparations because I don’t know how I could have accomplished so much without His help.

    Blessing to all of you!

  4. This week my son has been here repairing and replacing items damaged during last week’s tornado. Two out-building roofs were repaired and new hurricane straps put on the joists and rafters and plywood window shutters were added to cover the glass and hardware cloth windows. Hundreds of twigs were cleaned up and added to the wood pile for fire-starter. The trees which were damaged or broken off were back on the edge of our forest, so we’ll get to those later, but we are watching to widow-makers which are leaning against other trees. During the storm our generator came on for an hour before our electricity was restored but it took 3 days for our neighbors in the next county to get their power back. We supplied a couple of neighbors with water as their wells have electric pumps. When our elderly neighbors were loaned a generator my son took some gas, oil and funnel over to them and showed them how to run it.

    Received an order of herbs and spices from Bulkfoods.com; they had a $5.00 shipping special running so I did a large order; now I’m repackaging into more convenient sized containers. Ordered some hemp powder and CBD capsules for two of my dogs suffering from old age arthritis and cataracts. The CBD is more powerful but it is very expensive so as soon as the dogs improved I replaced it with hemp supplements, which are maintaining better than I expected. The dogs are doing much better.

    We are on rabbit baby watch, I brought a small 3 pd rabbit inside to deliver so the babies would be warmer. There is nothing so cute as baby rabbits! I insulated the outdoor cages for the meat rabbits and lined the birthing boxes with rags, shredded paper and straw, then the does pull their fur out which really keeps the babies warm. We have two does due each week for the next four weeks. Weather cooperating, we should end up with around 20 meat rabbits and 12-14 small pet-size rabbits.

    We found a drum of pig corn that had gone bad, so we dumped it down in the woods near the meadow. The wild critters can pick out what they want. The other pig food stored in barrels is fine but we need to figure out what happened to the corn so we can fix that problem; maybe some water leaked in?

    Watching Virginia very closely. I know of several red states that have blue legislatures. Conservatives slept and the liberal crazies got into state legislatures so now we are all paying the price.

    Have a safe and productive week!

    1. Glad your tornado damage was manageable! And thanks for the mention about CBD for old dogs — we’ve been trying to decide what to use for our beloved beagle who is 11. About the pig corn, I recall Joel Salatin, the grass farmer, saying in one of his books he would throw corn into the straw under his beef calves every day during the winter, then when he let them into pasture in the spring, he put the hogs in to “compost” the straw. Turns out they LOVED the fermented corn. Not sure what type of “fermenting” yours had, but might be worth double checking to see it would have been salvageable (in case of future issues).

  5. Hung up 3 additional fire extinguishers throughout the house and 2 additional smoke detectors. Hung up 2 flashlights in mud room so they could be quickly accessed when needed. Took advantage of near 60 degree weather to place some dirt around apple trees where water was starting to pool. Hung up a parts bin organizer in barn workshop. Started to put away supplies that were purchased last week. Added a few pages in my “Dad’s Book of Apocalyptic knowledge”.

    Picked up 4 additional head lamps (2 150-lumen and 2 200-lumen), an assortment of cotter pins and hitch pins, carriage bolts and a spare circuit tester.

  6. Jim,
    Your age is showing! I can’t remember the last time I heard them refered to as “Head Shops” lol. Down in my part of Georgia, you see nothing but “Vaping” and “CBD” shops. I am forever referring to the latter as “Charlie Daniels Band” As for snow, we are more than happy to let you have some of this rain we are constantly receiving, for one day of Snow. Although, as you know, an inch of snow brings the South to a fender-Bending halt ,faster then W.T. Sherman. Good luck on your new business. I am forever grateful that the Almighty left a dog-eared,but Serviceable copy of “Patriots” on the shelf of a local Goodwill Store for me to find and be “Woke”, as the hipster crowd likes to say. Take Care.

    1. @Mark, I laughed when I read your post! So funny! Yes, I thought the same thing about “head shops”. My age is showing too!

      It seems as if there is a new claim every week regarding the purported curative powers of CBD. I am waiting to hear that CBD cures ugly. At that point, maybe I’ll consider getting some for myself. 😉

  7. “All things bright and beautiful,
    All creatures great and small,
    All things wise and wonderful,
    The Lord God made them all.”

    “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

  8. More range time for us retirees again. Doing so always gives a sense of accomplishment. We are awake to current events but not driven by them.

    Being kind of term-limited out of the physical fight I still fight for truth. Yea I’m stretching ‘prepping progress’. But I’m an old coot and get a pass. Actually I’ve found being older than dirt to be a force multiplier of sorts. I’m one of a shrinking pool of Americans who remember what we lost. ha ha. KYPD

  9. Hey Montana Guy :

    I know what you’re talking about.
    I remember, starting at age 12, walking through my neighborhoods (Conn. & Mass.) with a .22 or 12 gauge over my shoulder, and the neighbors would say “Good Hunting”.
    It’s a completely different country today, sadly to witness.

    1. EndoftheRoad:The happy memories of days gone by always bring a smile.My first gun was
      purchased at the Western Auto Hardware Store when I was 12 years old.There were no questions asked.
      On the way home I stopped by the barber shop to show my uncle.All of the men were impressed and I was one happy kid.
      How did we ever get to where we are now.

  10. I don’t recall a middle of the winter case lot sale before.I suspect the grocers know that there is something bad coming our way.
    We hauled out the Meal Saver and bagged up chicken breast and pasta.I relocated most of the home canned foods into the house and out of the freezing temps.
    With the current economic,financial,monetary,and political poop storm that is swirling around us I spent considerable time doing my own due diligence and fact checking.
    What I found is not doom and gloom. It is the new reality.Nothing new or surprising at all.

  11. This week we have been helping our church with repairs. It’s going to take a while. Also, helping a few neighbors out with their heating and other problems.
    Planning the garden for spring, trying to germinate some older seeds to make sure we can use them. Looking through the seed catalogs. Watching the weather and loaded up the wood box last night. It is now snowing at a pretty good clip and temps are in the teens and going to single digits tonight. Got a pot of split pea soup with ham on the stove. Internet is still on. Everyone is home and safe. Thank you Lord for Your provision and care. Have a safe week everyone. NM

  12. JWR – I am looking forward to your new website. I’ve been searching for antique shooters. If there is an opportunity to buy “restored” rifles for your inventory please consider doing so. Some of us aren’t collectors, and personally I have no problem buying a Pre-1898 rifle with a reblued barrel, receiver and hardware if it was nicely done and the firearm is in operating condition.

    1. Yes, I will definitely have a lot of altered/restored/reblued/sporterized guns, as well many guns still in original condition. You can look for an announcement on February 1st.

  13. Miz Lilly, maybe instead of getting up on the roof to shovel, you could think about a long extendable snow rake? You may even be able to “hillbilly” one up from odds and end of PVC.

    1. Dear TJMO,

      The roof is mostly flat, only slightly sloped. A pole wouldn’t do a good job unless one was up on a ladder. I like the challenge and adventure of climbing up the chicken run and getting up on the roof. It adds some spice to life. 😉 I feel it is safer, to shovel snow on the mostly flat roof, once I’m up there, than standing on a ladder pulling snow off of the roof. I pray for safety when I climb the fence and jump back down and am extra careful about it.



  14. Lily, I too am a winter loving snow girl. When I lived in Texas, the Keys and Hawaii it was snow and cold that I missed most. Now we live in the snowy mountains and it makes my heart sing!

    I bought quite a bit if canned chicken as we do not yet have animals and it seems to be a hole in the pantry. I also stocked up on another gallon of oil on the advice of one of my favorite frugal bloggers. (https://theprudenthomemaker.com/) She knows her stuff for stocking up and eating out of her pantry as they had to for years. Quite a story.

    Realized the value of labeling as I pulled a bag of something from the freezer and will have to wait till it thaws to know what it is. We also received a jar of green jelly from a neighbor that I can only assume is mint until it is opened and tasted. I think I’ll grab a few more black permanent markers next shopping trip.

    We are finally looking at land to buy. Much as we’d love to buy a house and barn complete, the prices are just too high. Once we get land, I can get started on the gardens. It’s looking like 5-6 acres is all we can afford. We have a place back home in upstate NY, but just cannot live there anymore with the political climate. I do miss the farming, but will enjoy carving out a zone 3 space. Praying for the time to do so.

    Finally was able to buy the Lee reloading kit. Now we’ll work on purchasing the supplies. One step at a time.


  15. GritsInMontana

    I have been pleasantly surprised by the effects of CBD, Helps my wife’s and daughters anxiety. Wife stopped crocheting a few years ago due to wrist pain/arthritis, started using a CBD salve and now is able to crochet again. She has used it for other aches and pains and reports success as well as my MIL. I tried it and didn’t feel anything, but I don’t really respond to drugs like most. A shot of Rum cures my ails usually. Might need to stock up on some in our preps as a barter item or for personal use

  16. I would suggest planting an onion that has not sprouted or started to go soft. I select for the ones that stay hard and don’t sprout for the longest time for my seed stock.

  17. I’ve been putting off insulating that last little section of my well house where it’s up against my shop because I didn’t want to buy a full 5-batt package of insulation. Come to find out my local hardware store will sell just single batts. I bought one this week and finally got those last three little 28″ pieces under the workbench installed. I may make it through the whole winter without the well house heater coming on more than just a few nights now.

    I started doing a “Swedish death cleaning” in my wood shop this week. All those “someday” projects headed for the kindling pile. I need the room to finish overhauling my redesigned solar water heater before the spring thaw arrives, and room to get more beehives and swarm traps made well in advance of the swarming season.

    The days are getting noticeably longer and that’s always a good sign. I started in on the honeylocust firewood this week. It’s such a beautiful dark orange and yellow it’s almost a crime to burn it. The cat can’t figure out why I stand there looking at each piece for a minute before I toss it into the wood stove. I hope everyone is staying warm and toasty! I’m pretty warm blooded but just reading JM’s “Cold Weather Considerations” made me brew up extra coffee this week.

  18. Unpacked, repacked and repacked again my IFAC. Going to do the same with the BOBs and rotate out some of the stored calories. Also inventory and prioritize more storage food purchases. Anticipating a move in the next several months so balancing how much I want/need and how much I want to move.

  19. Hi everyone
    Wish we could move out of super corrupt Illinois but for right now my full time job is taking care of my 82 year old dad & 79 year old mom.
    They both have Alzheimer’s & mom also has dementia so we make the best of it. At least we’re in a rural town of only 800, 100 miles west of awful Chicago. Our goal in the next two years is to at least get a few acres even if we have to stay in this state! Busy working on the new indoor greenhouse my husband got me for Christmas. Trying to at least grow some tomatoes & a couple different kinds of lettuce
    Repacked BOB’s with some new items that we got each other for Christmas (compact potty paper, chewable toothpaste tabs, etc) but there is never enough room for all the things you think of to put in the bags without them weighing a ton! I’m only 110 lbs ,& 52 years old so it’s pretty heavy for me .I’ve degenerative disk disease & a bunch of crazy disk and bad arthritis problems so I’m trying to get through this winter so I can have spinal fusion surgery by summer. I don’t want to wait too long as these problems keep getting worse.
    I at least get to see my mom and dad all the time so I’m extremely thankful for that
    Gonna go plow the driveway right now before everything freezes up tonight
    The head shop thing made me laugh too!!
    Haven’t heard that in a long time!
    Take care everyone and have a safe week

    1. RKRGRL68, Get out,as a new Hoosier it is a great relief(just watch the crazy lesbian who took over Chicago and the whale in Springfield). Iowa doesn’t sound too far away.
      Got some great deals replacing destroyed items from fire;4000 lumen flashlight ,thermos,medical items,jerry cans,scissors,tools.
      Replaced radiator hoses/heater hoses,new antifreeze in truck,shocks next.

  20. This past week was good and productive for us .We had enough snow to get used to the new snowblower and clear some driveway down. Did some framing and wiring on some basement walls, home canned some chicken breasts, organized our home canned foods to help project for our 2020 garden plantings and hauled more firewood from the woodshed to the house.
    This time of the year we focus on inside chores because of the weather. We love to look at the snowy weather, from the wood stove in the living room. We are still enjoying Butternut squash from last years garden.
    I have used CBD salve for arthritis and joint pain. A cousin and a neighbor uses it as well.I am pleased with it’s use.
    Blessings to all.

  21. Avalanche Lilly, our experimental tomato garden has been producing tomatoes now for 204 days … we keep picking the fruit off the vines, and they are replaced by new growth. I enjoy these little guys in my salads and sometimes eat a handful just for the sweetness of their taste. The are the size of large table grapes and are prolific in their growth. From bud to eatable fruit is about 10 to 12 days depending on the timing of the ultraviolet lamps we keep on. Growth lights up here in the arctic are mandatory due to the extreme long nights and lack of direct sunlight.

    We are going to set up another garden and start lettuce and herbs in that one. Originally we had five tomato plants but have since reduced the number to only two due to the size of the plants and the quantity of fruit. I have decided on a larger floor base system for the upgrade and hope to have several different types of lettuce, and the herbs my wife loves to cook with. I will also be buying a second larger system for strawberries and see how well they will produce fruit full season like the tomatoes have been doing.
    The system requires 120Vac for the lights and data computer, however I have determined the full step down load and will modify the system to operate fully off the battery bank I have built. The bank will be backed up by solar, and live voltage power; that in turn can be supplemented by our generator.

    In a full out grid down TEOTWAWKI situation this system would be a weak link in the survival chain, but then living up here where we are located would be a serious problem for us so migrating south below the arctic circle and into the southeast would be mandatory. Muktuk is not my prefered meal … though in freezing climates its a life saver.

    Love to read your posts and see how well you are doing on the ranch. I have a wonderfully large bull moose sleeping in my backyard this morning; its -25 degrees below zero having warmed up from 47 below. Our normal snow is here, and thankfully not much ice. Keep warm, may God richly bless you, Jim, and the family.

    1. Ooh Lt. Mike,

      A Bull Moose in your yard. How special is that? We have moose around, here, but I haven’t seen one in about three years. I think?? And that moose wasn’t even here, at the ranch in our wilderness, it was in one of the local Redoubt city, running through a park.

      Hmm -25 degrees, is downright balmy, huh? 😉 As much as I love the snow and crisp air, those temperatures are a little too much for me. I’m okay with single digits, but don’t care for it much colder than that. When I am working hard outside, 32 degrees feels hot to me in the winter, and I can de-layer down to a t-shirt, as long as I keep working.

      I’m a tad jealous of your tomato plants. Congrats on your success with them. I need to think more about our indoor growing situation. Miss Eloise has taken over the guest bedroom. The pantry hallway could be utilized, but the moisture would be a problem with our food storage. Soo,…. I just thought of something….. Need to talk to Jim. May you have a blessed week,


      1. Was startled this afternoon out snowshoeing. I was chatting on the phone and looking down when I realized there was a moose just off the trail. Fortunately the dogs listened, the moose skedaddled and I moved along quickly. We give moose a wide berth around here.

        1. Dear PJGT,

          How wonderful!

          Once I was hiking, alone, very quietly, in the fall, deep in thought and prayer, up a mountain trail, in New England, years ago. I stepped on a twig, it made a sharp cracking sound, I jumped, and something to my left jumped/startled, made a thud sound, loudly. I jumped, again, from the sound of that animal jumping. With my heart pounding, I looked into the trees off the trail and there was a bull moose, about 20 yards from me, looking at me. We stared at each other for about twenty seconds. It took a few steps forward and melted into the tree stand. I was amazed to see it so close. Neither of us was expecting to see the other. I was further amazed how quickly it disappeared into the trees. I think that that was the closest I have ever been to a moose. They are funny looking animals. 🙂



  22. Prepping is good. Nice story above on the rabbits. New Zealand whites are very resillient, cold hardy, exc. meat.
    I wonder how many preppers here realize that when things go down, such as the grid going out, the best thing we can do is make sure it stays out. I think it’ll happen, just not sure how.
    I am praying for the ultimate solar flare to destroy man’s Tower of Babel.

  23. It’s always inspiring to hear about progress for all in the making… We’re working this week in earnest on the restocking of our pantry which was created from the space that was once a covered porch, and is now permanently enclosed and climate controlled. It also houses our spare freezer which turns out to be very helpful as well. The conversion of this space (completed now a long time ago) was one of the best projects we have completed. The covered open air porch was lovely, but this is so much more practical — and a well stocked pantry is a solid source of peace of mind. We also continue to add back to stores of wood as we use those (and even during the winter), and other fuels including propane tanks, and more.

  24. Ani…I concur on being a minimalist and a prepper …try owning a business that works with stuff that is new and back to 40 years old …do we keep parts that are used but ok ? or scrap them….The minimalist thing sounds great as long as you dont want to do anything or you are a millenial & will rent things….hard to do as a boomer lol .

  25. We’ve had off-and-on snow with a week of high winds and freezing temps making it very uncomfortable to spend much time outside. We finally cut the cable TV cord. My spouse has been watching youtube via our antennae and I got him to watch a show with James W. Rawles. I’ve been trying to get him on the preparing bandwagon for years. He’s been wishy-washy on it. He’s now hooked and is listening to One Second After, wants to go to the dollar store, can things, etc. I told him I’ve already got all that handled. He’s inventoried his guns and ammo and wants to look into solar for our well. I am so glad it all started with hi saying he was sick of paying for channels we don’t watch and so many commercials.

    1. Ohh, S.Lynn, I’m sooo happy for you and your husband to be like minded. PTL. You must be over the moon… (I loved, “One Second After,” too, and do not have tv either.) Am smiling at your blessing, Krissy

  26. Great comments all of you. It’s a stormy night here in west Michigan along the lakeshore, we’ve got very severe erosion problems with the extreme high water and winds, much property damage. Reading SB is my relaxation before hitting the sack, blessings to you all.

  27. Made some good finds recently in local pawn shops. Within 2 weeks, I was able to bag 4 Leatherman Wave+’s and a somewhat fire damaged Supertool 200. The Wave+ were all in out of the package condition, and the shop thought they might have been shoplifted. Average price was $40. The Supertool was burnt and tempered blue on the pliers, but the blades were in almost new condition. Got it for $22. At another shop, I bagged a UV-5R for $25, and 1 roll of silver quarters and 2 of dimes at 10% above spot. Also received and tested items from Emergency Essentials. Their Italian meatballs go great with the Mountain House spaghetti and meat sauce. Will be placing a larger order for storage and for my prospecting trip to Alaska. Finally got around to processing the ten buckets of black sand I had, and bottled another gram of flour gold. Also packed another 4500 rounds of 5.56 on strippers for 5 cans of 900. Along with that, I packed a can of 21 15 min road flares, and a can of hurricane matches, and strike anywheres. I vacuum pack the strike anywhere matches to snuff them quickly if I get ignition. I’m not too worried about ignition in an ammo can, as I’ve tried to get a full box ignition as a kid, and the best I could do is about 1/8th of a box on one side before the O2 is gone and it goes out. And tonight, I got to meet my nephew’s girlfriend. SHE’S A PREPPER TOO!!!

  28. Living the life in the flint hills of Kansas. A little ice storm this week caused us to lose power for a couple hours. I thought about not using the generator but it was time to give it some exercise. We have a woodstove that heats our house so no electricity is not a problem. We have a solar water well that provides our animals and us, if need be, with water. If you like rolling hills, wide open spaces, plenty of wild game, a decent growing season, and friendly people, central Kansas is a good place to live.

  29. Sorry to get here late, work has been pretty steady, so I try to get on it when I can.

    After our mistakes with dehydrating bananas, my wife decided to try making beef jerky. That went much better, and the finished product was better than most of the pre-packaged stuff on the market. It didn’t last long though, the two oldest children came by and took all they could carry off. Definitely a hit!

    This morning my wife and I were discussing the garden, and came to the realization that we may have to increase the size yet again. It’s either that, or prep another area. We rotated our gas storage, and refilled all the cans with ethanol-free premium, then added Sta-Bil to all of them. It cost a bit more, but I feel better about having them stored up for a longer period of time. She is also introducing one of our granddaughters to crocheting. I see more yarn in my future!

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