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:

I’m still recovering from bronchitis, but now nearly back to normal. On Tuesday, I made a one-day 480 mile round trip drive to go pick up ten antique guns for my Elk Creek Company inventory. Even with the substantial expense for fuel, it was still much less expensive than paying for UPS shipping for ten guns. And of course there were no worries about them getting stolen in transit. I also took the opportunity to stop by a Costco warehouse, on my drive home.

My energy level for heavy outdoor chores is still low. But on Thursday I did help Lily shift some lumber in the greenhouse, and I helped her with filling some of the  greenhouse thermal mass water barrels.  (These were formerly olive shipping barrels, that we bought as surplus, from Eagle Peak Containers, in Athol, Idaho.)

Between my blog writing and the task related to cataloging and photographing the antique guns for my mailorder biz, I kept very busy this past week.

I’m hoping to be fully back to normal this coming week, but recovering from this illness has taken longer than usual. The only good news is that it has left my immune system at a high state of readiness.

And now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This week we had three days of beautiful sunshine and temperatures in the high 30s and low 40s.  It felt like spring. I was out in it, doing many chores.

This week for preps, I went out to the greenhouse and topped off our row of 50-gallon barrels with water.  The barrels are being used as heat reservoirs for the greenhouse. During the past two years they had lost between a quarter and a third of their volume, therefore needed to be replenished.  I also placed black plastic around the barrels to absorb more heat from the sun.

I went to town and bought rolls of row cover to cover my garden seedlings this coming summer to give them more warmth for growth.  Many of my plants will benefit from the heat retained from the day through the night, since our nights are typically quite cool here in the summer.

I also bought some very large clear deep totes to use as a third layer in the greenhouse. I will plant my seeds in trays, place the large tote over the tray and put it into the hooped bed in the greenhouse.  The hooped bed has hot manure under the soil which should add some extra warmth, as it decomposes.

The lettuce seedlings I planted two weeks ago, were put under the totes in the greenhouse this week to see how they will fare….

Last fall, I planted Arugula, beets, and spinach in one bed of the greenhouse and had placed hooped plastic over it.  These plants are doing well at this time.  There aren’t very many of them, so I only harvest them once in a while.  But, this is an important reminder that if you want greens throughout the winter, the key is to plant a lot of them in the early fall (beginning of September).  Once they have grown and are established, if protected from the main brunt of the cold, (ours are only protected by two layers) then they will continue to produce, albeit very slowly throughout the winter.  So plant a lot in the fall to carry you through.

Jim made another trip to Costco for more bleach, laundry detergent, gallon freezer bags, TP, Paper Towels, spinach, power greens, avos, berries, red grapes, and red grapefruit.  I dehydrated another two large packages of spinach, powdered it and added it to my stash of dried greens for smoothies.  I squeezed and froze the last bag of lemons that we had bought from the previous trip to Costco and another batch of avos.  I still have to wait for the latest batch of Avos to ripen before I can  slice and freeze them.

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. COVID-19

    Rumor is that some one who was quarantined for 2 weeks (14 days) was released, and returned home to Lincoln County Montana. Recently, the virus was discovered to have an incubation period as long as 24 days. I believe one of many of the reasons the numbers are so low in the U.S., Japan, and elsewhere, is due to the stealthy nature of the virus. It might spread unnoticed with nondescript flu and cold like symptoms that might subside, and in some cases, carriers will not exhibit symptoms for up to 24 days, and possibly longer.

    There is so much unknown about the virus, and therefore it is unpredictable. Until science has an opportunity study it empirically, we must operate upon educated guess. From scant information available, my guess is that it is spreading rapidly and quietly. There is a ‘silent outbreak’ in progress. And even if one can survive the first infection, they may be reinfected, and may not recover. This is in no way an ordinary flu bug. It damages not only the lungs and kidney’s, but also the blood vessels and arteries, and the interior of the heart.

    My immune system is so weak, a quick trip into town to deliver got me sick. Self quarantine is the best prevention along with strengthening the immune system if that is possible. According to Med Cram, plenty of sleep is a proven way to keep the immune system strong, and it costs nothing.

    Here’s news from Natural News:

    U.S. military activates pandemic preparedness response as outbreak goes global


      1. With respect 3AD Scout, except for the BBC ( and I take them with a grain of salt) I completely disregard anything from the media in the U K. Over the last few years that I have been studying them, they have declined into a NY Times/TMZ approach to sensationalism that makes me totally discount them.

        1. We know all the different governments are treating the COVID-19//Wuhan, China Flu, as though it might become a very dangerous pandemic.

          Time will reveal whether it will spread extensively throughout the USA. We also know the Dictator of China is >NOT walking the streets of the infected cities; giving assurances to his minions, that the Wuhan China Flu is just an ordinary seasonal flu.

          The power of all the money shifted from the USA to China, during the last few decades might be the >actual reason, this Flu is now called COVID-19, rather than the Wuhan China Flu.

          The JBH comment below has some insightful observation. TunnelRabbit along with Rawles are very correct as to >Be Ready to isolate yourself, and take the necessary precautions to any pandemic possibility.

      2. This situation should be our primary focus. Anyone who is not stocked up and ready to self isolate, should be hard at it, as the window of opportunity to get it done, is fast closing. This is looking more and more like The Black Swan Event, that can cause a worst case scenario on a global scale.

        Just in case there isn’t enough analysis to numb the brain, new information is out daily about the virus, indicates that it is potentially a much more difficult bug to track, isolate, and cure. It appears to have a unique set of characteristics that make it uniquely dangerous. This is no ordinary flu bug. I hope that sinks in. Whatever this thing is, it is not the typical flu bug that will go away once the ‘season ‘ is over. The R0 has been calculated by one source to be as high 4.5 to 6.7. This is frighteningly contagious given it’s CFR (case fatality rate) has recently been revised upward to 15 to 17% of those hospitalized. If the rate of infection were slower, hospitals might be able to keep up with demand. In more densely populated areas, the hospitals are likely to be overwhelmed. With out the advantages of hospital care, oxygen, and ventilators, the CFR would be much higher. 30 to 40% of the hospital staff in China is also infected. Eventually the number could be higher, and medical staff could become exhausted. Other life threatening illness will also compete with hospital resources. And much of the life saving medicines, equipment and supplies, have their origins in China, that is no longer producing for export, but consuming that which we will be needing. There are no warehouse stores available. There is no longer in this country the civil defense planning , medical supplies, and food stores in place as there was during the Cold War.

        The R0 (the rate of infection) is based upon conditions typical of a crowded city. In rural areas, the rate of infection will be much slower, yet given these recent and high numbers, it is now less likely to be under 1. Given the revised, and now longer incubation period of 2 to 24 days, it can persist in a community longer that estimated previously. And it appears to be able to remain viable on some surfaces for up to 10 days. These two characteristics gives the virus the ability to linger within a community longer than common virus. And it will mutate and burn through a population a second time with perhaps deadlier results.

        What we knew about the virus just a few days ago, is now obsolete information. This is a fast moving and dynamic threat. All the news from the main stream media is designed to down play the threat, and is ‘low information’, and the normalcy bias is easily maintained. The economic ramifications are also very much worth considering here, and so is the geo-political. Is self quarantine truly possible? Maybe not. This cannot be compared to the familiar virus. N95 masks are not adequate in my estimation, and that is why I recommended a gas mask, yet that is not a solution for those who must be in regular contact with the public. And the decontamination process is also hazardous. Therefore I would plan on on taking care of several persons.

    1. Conona virus:

      In the spirit of Dr. Alton’s mission to educate and enable survivalists, Dr. Seheult’s video list at https://www.medcram.com has many easy to understand basics about COVID-19. Should one anticipate that they might be the last resort caregiver, or medic, Medcram is the best source. The video below discusses the primary mechanism by which COVID-19 kills, ARDS. We will not have a ventilator, yet we can assist with oxygen. An understanding of why oxygen is key in beating this virus in the worst examples is helpful. Prednisone, or perhaps an anti-inflammatory OTC drug might be helpful.
      I will continue to “cram” all the medical knowledge into my pea brain I can while the internet is available. Unfortunately, I will probably be someone’s last resort for their care. Time is precious. Having early warning of a threat provides time to respond, when otherwise we might be defenseless.


      1. Thank you for that kind thought. I’ll be fine, because I will not be exposed as will most will be. I am already a recluse. Life will not change that much for myself as it will for 99.9%. I would be concerned most for those in the big city, and not simply because of the virus. Mike Pento agrees with my projection (LOL), but who wouldn’t. Looks like China’s attempt to restart their factories may fail, and this would put us into a recession/depression quickly, and the Fed will go to ZIRP almost immediately. Hyper inflation is on the table, and will test just how much they can twist reality, and maintain confidence in the system. The dollar may be the best alternative, and lots of it will be keeping the markets irrationally high and intoxicated. Yet, who knows how long they can keep the con game going once they start dropping the helicopter money. So far they proven they pump 60 to 90 billion nightly into the repo market and no once cares, but dumping raw money that is not sequestered, might be another story. Here is the video put out late tonight:

        Mike Pento on Greg Hunter

    2. Tunnel Rabbit, praying for your immune system. I can relate. Mine is shot due to past chemo for stage III cancer. I do everything in my power to help it, but my white count remains low. On top of this, I have an inherited renal disease. Hoping we’ll start making pharmaceuticals here in USA soon due to my unfortunate dependence on them. Know I’ll be praying for you, my friend.

      1. Hi Deb,
        I see my earilier reply from hours ago didn’t make it yet, so here is another one. Component for most of the medication originate in China, and might be made into the various drugs predominately in India. There is still time to visit the doctor who might understand the threat and increase you prescription in some way. Alternatives might be used as well.

        China understands it’s nation security depends upon it’s manufacturing base, and is attempting to restart it’s economic engine, yet the process is probably hampered by the low number that can return to work, and it will vary by region. A modern system needs all it’s parts to be in good working order. It will be a long and difficult process with limited early success. Who knows when China will be back in full operation, thus spotty availability is likely for some time.

        BTW, I’ve said a prayer for you…. Thank you for yours. For persons such as ourselves, self isolation is the best prevention. COVID-19 can damage the kidneys as well as hearts. During 7 serious heart attacks, the Lord did protect my heart. It is relatively undamaged to Doctor’s surprise.
        It should have been 50% or more damaged, but is only 5%. The Lord works in mysterious and miraculous ways. I seen it first hand, and many times. If it is not our time, it is not our time.

    3. Tunnel Rabbit,
      Hope you start feeling better,SOON! I’m just wondering if you’ve heard any more on the “rumor” from Lincoln County,MT?? That’s just a little (well A LOT) too close for comfort! I’m guessing it’s time to stay out of town….

      1. Thank you. Yes, I was able to kick it before it got too bad. Sleep is the best medicine along with copious amounts of vitamin C.
        As for the *rumor*, it is only rumor, but it could be a true and highlights how this disease can spread to even remote little towns. Calgary has a population comprising of 8% of Chinese, and 12% of other Asian groups, some of whom likely travel back and forth from Asia. As you well know, we are a popular destination point in the summer. We are not off the beaten path if the border remains open. I suspect that by summer time, large populations center might have outbreaks of this disease. I may do business at a distance in the next month, yet that is a rare occasion, but after that, I will be totally isolated. When I go to program radios tomorrow, I will meet outside and maintain a distance of 10 meters, and wear protection. I phoned them and they are okay with that. Most folks in town already know about the virus. Most do not understand how dangerous it is….
        It takes practice to get this right and stay safe. Starting immediately, while the risk low, one can afford to make mistakes in their safety procedure. Frankly, the money has to be worth the risk. They are getting a first class product. Fortunately I need very little of it. I would stock up now and avoid the stores come summer time. I have no need to go there any longer.

        1. Glad to hear you’re feeling better…….we sure are a “popular summer destination”…oh,for the old days,before the roads were fixed!! LOL.We’ll be hunkering down soon,still would like a bit more animal feed…….and a couple of other things.Soon will be gardening…..and I’m just to busy to head into town anyways!! Thanks so much for the answer & stay safe!

          1. BTW, if you do not already have a radio or scanner that can tune into the 5 MURS channels, and the local Ham repeaters, you’ll be missing out on a lot of local information. There are literally hundreds of radios in the area that can talk to each other on the license free MURS radio frequencies. It could turn out to be a short range party line for the area. With a good antenna and radio, 20 miles is possible.

        2. Ha! I wish!! Our comms aren’t very good,wish they were much better,however,family situations needed urgent help most of last year,so not much got done in the “radio dept” Trucks got c.b.’s and a couple of Baofeng UV 5R’s to talk between houses if needed…..other than that just an old scanner…..although,I do there’s a couple of Hams within 3 miles.Like I said,not much……but the best we’ve been able to piece together with everything happening…….

  2. Did a quick inventory to confirm to myself that I have what I think will be needed for extended 6 to 8 month self-quarantine; especially heavy use items like TP, coffee and blue dawn dish soap; IMHO we can never have too much of those. Got additional vitamins, herbs, OTCs, hygiene items and first-aide materials. Stocked more baking soda, vinegar and epson salts which are frequent usage items on the farm. From my quarterly list, got baby wipes, hand sanitizer, disposable lighters and wood matches. Ordered more (animal) antibiotics and while I was making my selections, the prices went up 10%; it was crazy to watch the screen update and change all the prices. But at least I have sufficient for our needs.

    I realize that the jury is still out on face masks, some say they are useful, some say they are useless, but I feel safer from others’ coughs and sneezes. Since my immune system is still a little weak from a recent illness, I’ve been wearing a N95 mask when shopping at grocery stores, warehouse stores, etc. The masks I wear fit tightly on my face, so much I get a deep impression on my skin that takes a couple of hours to fade after removing the mask. I also wear eye protection and disposable gloves. While no one else was sporting a mask, no one asked me why I was wearing it. I think the govt and MSM are making a huge mistake by not being honest with the people. A Natural News article said the military has activated their Pandemic Plan and a CDC spokes person is said to be expecting a sustained outbreak.

    Went to building supply warehouse to pick up some 2x4s, plywood, aluminum roofing panels, screws to have on hand in case. While there I looked to see if they had face masks/respirators, which they did. Price was a little higher than usual but not extreme like amazon third-party suppliers, so if any of you are still wanting to get them try your hardware/building supply stores.

    Dandelions are up in sunny areas so we planted more near the hoop house. Dead nettle coming up so will transplant some of those in a specific area. When the chickweed and plantain start up, will transplant some to my designated edible weed area. Since they are prolific, don’t want them actually in the garden. Picked up some bagged soil for the raised beds, additional fertilizer, and seed starter. I have not been able to get the carrots to sprout so I found a new type of coated seed which I just planted in-doors. I’ll see if that works any better.

    Made another batch of roo (chicken), rice and vege dog food. Made a crock pot of pork and 15 bean soup and cornbread; yummy on cold windy days! Started squeezing lemons and limes (thanks Lily) for juice and pulp to freeze. Did the first batch by hand to see how many lemons it would take to fill an ice cube tray and found 6 lemons will fill 14 cubes; but took more limes to fill a tray.

    Have a safe and productive week.

    1. Animal House,,

      I love that you have an edible weed area. When I don’t have room, I plant them in large coffee type containers in the garden so they cannot spread, but I like your idea of a separate garden.

  3. Busy week and spent two days out of town for work. I did manage to pick up some abrasive cutting disk in various diameters and thicknesses that were on clearance at Tractor Supply. While sitting in the hotel room while out of town I sketched out my rain water catchment system and started a list of shark bite fittings that I am going to needed. I am going to use PEX but the UV rating for PEX is only 6 months. I was thinking of spraying the pex with flex seal to protect it from the UV. Anyone have any thoughts?

      1. HP-
        Thanks for the tip. I was thinking about that but with the PEX I don’t really have to worry about the line freezing if I don’t get all the water out of them.

        1. Good point- would be good to include multiple drain ports for blowing out the lines regardless of pipe used. Maybe wrap the exposed PEX in armaflex? PVC could be an option, but you’d probably want to paint it. My rain barrel system uses the black poly pipe, but its not done yet so I have no failures to report.

    1. 3ad scout…

      Wrap the PEX line with insulation . Any solid insulation will block UV rays. Gorilla tape or gaffers tape will block UV rays as well.

      You could also route portions of it through cheap anywhere available PVC pipes.

      For that matter you could run it through electrical “bx” in the right diameter.

    2. I don’t know how it would work for your application but everyone I know who has used Flex Seal for anything has been disappointed. Peals off after a relatively brief time. That said I have never used it.

      1. I’ll second that about flexseal. For me, the only thing it’s worked for is dipping things like pliers to make the handles a bit more comfortable.
        Otherwise, I’ve had zero success using it for any kind of water barrier.

    3. Thanks everyone for the input. I have at least 100’ of 1” corrugated tube that I scavenge from the dumpster at work. I think I might just spilt it and fit it over the 3/4” PEX. Was thinking that spraying it with Flex seal would be easier but it sounds like that will only be temporary.

  4. Another whirlwind week has passed with a lot accomplished. One of our freezers has been icing up along the door and on the bottom. A faulty worn out door seal to blame. Hubby has one ordered on Amazon but it was necessary to take everything out and defrost the freezer. This was the lamb freezer and also had a very large bag of beef bones. Everything found a spot in the other freezers but the bones. So I have been making beef broth. One or two more batches started today ought to finish that up. The bone broth is very thick and gelatinous when cooled.

    We had one sunny day this week and more rain. Out of 45 days this year, we have had 24 days of rain and a total of 16 inches of rain. I am very thankful for the deep mulch around the feed shed. So far no falls in the mud this winter. Yesterday was 47 degrees and sunny, it felt so nice. I staked out 25 square feet of garden space to make my planting rows and due to the irregular shape of the garden had a little triangle area near one of the gates that I started planting my onion transplants. I raked back the deep mulch and found many earth worms underneath. After I planted two short rows it was getting late so I carefully placed mulch around the onions and covered with a row cover.

    During a break in the rain my husband was able to finish splitting logs from a storm felled tree from a year ago. Very nicely aged oak has refilled our wood stacks with some semi rotten pieces stacked near our fire pit for family visits.

    I also received our orchard spray supplies. (Neem, liquid fish, liquid kelp and Mother micro cultures) We are following Michael Phillips recommendations for a Holistic Orchard this year and hope to have much healthier fruit trees. Plus I have replaced some of our trees with better disease resistant varieties.

    We also had a visit with the colon surgeon and he believes the CT scan has discovered a GIST tumor in the stomach wall. Tuesday my husband will have an ultrasound endoscopy to confirm and to biopsy the tumor. Also another colonoscopy to tattoo the colon cancer and in preparation for the colon resection. The dr. told us both cancers were curable. We have an army of prayer warriors praying for healing and strength. God is faithful. All the bone broth will come in handy during the bowel prep and post operatively to provide nutrition and facilitate healing.

    God bless all of you.

    1. News suggests that tests for COVID-19 will be underway for symptomatic patients who are negative for the flu otherwise anticipated… There may be a steeper rise in positive test results here in the U.S. in the near future. We do also see that there is more coverage of the virus in the mainstream news feeds. We hope everyone will continue to prepare as they’re able to do so.

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    2. Avalanche Lily,
      Thanks for posting the link to the Ice Age Farmer Video. I watched it and something caught my eye. It was like Déjà vu – been there – done that. What Christian said and the information he presented was by far the best I’ve seen in a long while. The only “disagreement” I have with anything he said was at 12:06 (minutes:seconds in the video) ” … transhumanist fake food …” which should have been ” … GMO fake food …”. Yes, experiments have been done with both technologies, but Roundup Ready crops are really transgenic not transhumanist. GMO corn and soybean crops surround me where I’m at here as this is farming country. The video reminds me of the one called “The World According to Monsanto” at the following link:
      The video is almost two hours long. There are some parts of the documentary that are probably not suitable for young children as they are a bit graphic / gross / discussing. As someone who used to work in a “lab”, it’s a bit hard for me to watch something like this as I know where some of this stuff originates. I originally watched it on DVD, then gave the DVD away to a friend. What most people see (even if they see it on YouTube, DVD, TV, wherever) is really just the tip of the iceberg. “Truth is stranger than fiction”, as the saying goes.

      Also, an article a few days ago here on SurvivalBlog by ShepherdFarmerGeek, titled “Letter on the Wuhan Virus”, February 10, 2020, mentioned Selenium as a nutritional supplement. A good source of Selenium is garlic as long as it does not come from China, which is the case with an increasing amount of “fresh” produce. Onions also have Selenium, although smaller amounts. Washington produces a fairly large amount of onions as well as some other states so domestic sources are more readily available than for garlic. Unless we all grow our own and then the backyard is the source.

      Cancer Chemoprevention by Garlic and Garlic-Containing Sulfur and Selenium Compounds
      At the following link:

      It’s good to know that Jim is making progress. I was kind of hoping to hear that he had finally kicked the bug in the butt. Wherever that is? Might need an electron microscope for that I guess.

      Have a great week!

  5. Lots of rain here too, with a 6-inch snow thrown in for good measure last Saturday. It was gone by Sunday. Bought more pots and rollers for the decks, as well as soil. In case we are confined, we can grow many things right near the house. Lowes big supply of masks were gone except for a few down the paint aisle. We pick up a few each time out. The hardware store had plenty. Trying to squeeze in all doctor, dental and car maintenance appts in. We bought more coffee, canned items, candy treats to vacuum seal, beans, boots, extra running shoes, potting soil, fertilizer, seeds, plants, new flannel sheets. We go down our list of lists and get one or two more of everything when we are out. Besides the virus, supply chain disruptions could become a major issue for things like mops, sponges, even rags. Financial collapse could be the final blow. Hopefully the house will be paid off by May and the car/truck are paid for. This could be a long-term event with a slow start and then, boom.
    Prayers for all. The Lord is in control.

  6. Lily, I grew up with large black plastic water filled containers on our glassed-in front porch. They made a bit of difference, but never as much as I thought they should have. I’ve always wanted to have the time to see if there was a way to improve their passive energy holding ability. I’ll be interested to keep up with your innovative progress.

    This week we focused on medical issues. I continue to travel for the final medical treatments and my son (who was cut from the ROTC program at college in December and returned home to finish online) just had back surgery for a couple ruptured disks. He hadn’t done anything out of the ordinary, so we were not surprised to find that he has degeneration in his spine. He is ecstatic at the results and I am so happy to have him pain free and up and walking after 2.5 weeks of lying in bed. So thankful to have this done while it is still safe here and there are still proper drugs for surgery. He was in so much pain it was debilitating.

    This week we committed some money to buying things that we use…stocking up on TP, dog food, coffee, basic foods supplies, and an order of vitamins and elderberry supplements. Now I will properly prepare them for storage and will have to rearrange the storage area to make it all fit. We are bursting at the seams and that is a good thing. I also found a sale on fabric and added some flannel pieces.

    Good news! I have convinced my husband to buy me a greenhouse. We plan on moving to land, so it cannot be permanently attached here. I’m a Cornell Master Gardener and have taught HS in a greenhouse (both hydroponics and regular) so he realizes that not being able to garden here is frustrating for me. I’d never sell him on needing the ability to be able to grow food in the future, but he understands my need to grow food. I’m the only one in the family who believes that world wide famine is on the horizon. I plug along quietly. At least I don’t have to be concerned with the neighbors knowing our supplies and my plans as I keep things quiet and stealthy here. My husband thinks I’m overdoing things, but he goes along when I point out the rate of return on our purchases that we’ll buy anyway. A good hedge against inflation as long as we will use the supplies. Prices are rising so fast.

    We always have the option of the cabin on family land back east that is fully stocked and on farmable land as a backup. And, should we travel, it is a safe place to stay when visiting family and friends.

    Keep safe. Blessings.

    1. Could I ask a favor? I bought a commenter recommended Lee reloader kit and was reading up on the supplies needed to get it up and running. I’d love a list from an experienced operator and any supply links. If anyone has the time to put things into simple list. I’m (hopefully!) not going to be the person operating this, so no worries. I just wish I had paid more attention while growing up.

      1. PJGT,

        First I would purchase at least one reloading manual, there are many out there so look for something that has good coverage for the caliber(s) you are planning to reload. I have ones from Lee, Hornady and Lyman and they all have the steps and material needed for safe reloading practices.

        I don’t have a local shop that carries reloading supplies in the quantities that I use, so I use online suppliers. The suppliers I use most are: Graf & Sons and Powder Valley, however there are other companies out there so check for best prices. Be careful of the hazmat charges!

      2. Hey PJGT, congrats on getting into reloading! I loaded my first 700 rounds with a Lee single stage press and the hands-on learning proved very valuable when I moved on to a progressive press. Here is what I recommend:

        Get a set of check weights and verify that your balance beam scale is accurate. Repeated this test every few reloading sessions. I learned this the hard way when a load that was supposed to be 5.3 grains of Universal Clays was closer to 5.9 due to unsuspected scale creep over a period of months and it blew the extractor clear out of my Glock. Gun was OK, hand stung, pride hurt. Worse, it took forever to pull the heads out of 100+ bullets and re-reload them with the correct powder charge.

        If the kit did not include one, you might want to consider getting a kinetic bullet puller. Very useful if you want to double check a loaded round.

        Probably the best early purchase I made was a plastic tray that held 50 pieces of brass. This allowed me to work on a batch of 50 pieces of brass at a time and kept things organized and prevented cases from falling over. They are only $7.49 on Amazon.com if one did not come with the kit.

        While each major powder company sells complete reloading books, I bought some that were specific to each cartridge I wanted to load, like .38 Spl, .40 S&W and .308. I found them very useful and cheaper than buying multiple copies of the big books.

        My recommendation is to start with a straight-walled pistol cartridge before moving up to a cartridge with a shoulder. Start 10% below the max load and work up from there. So if it takes 5 grains of powder, load 10 rounds each of 4.5, 4.6 and 4.7 rounds. (IMHO, loading to the max can be foolish.) Then try them out to make sure your gun functions with them and see which one is the most accurate. Once you find the best load, then you can reload 50 or more.

        I’ve always had good luck Midway as a supplier. If you need powder and primers, go to a local store or gun show and you won’t have to pay the hazardous materials fee online seller charge to ship them.

        Good luck, be careful, and never keep more than one can of powder on the loading bench at the same time.

    2. Dear PJGT,

      Congratulations on the coming greenhouse. That is exciting news!! Concerning the water barrels, I haven’t noticed a huge difference in long term heat retention, either, but I think every little bit will help.

      An interesting side note/observations. Last fall, from turnip seed fronds that I was drying out to save turnip seeds, a large amount of seeds fell into the greenhouse graveled floor. I couldn’t retrieve them. They germinated through the gravel. I have watered them only a little bit, on purpose, and by accident, but not regularly, and I have not protected them from the cold in any way. They have survived until now, and even started growing during the heat that the sun generated this week (80 degrees plus). I am impressed with their hardiness to the cold! They are only two inches high, if that. So then, it seems that the temperatures right at the floor are warm enough to not freeze the ground solid in the winter, even with two inches of gravel. So the plants still live, but do not actively grow until the day temperatures are above 50 and the night temperatures, do not go below freezing. However, if the skies are cloudy and day and night temperatures (air temperatures) are in the 20’s – 40’s then they do not grow. Currently it is cloudy and snowing. The outside air temperature from our porch thermometer is 34 degrees. The soil temperature in the hot bed, under a fabric and a plastic layer hoop was 46 degrees. The green house air temperature was 32 degrees. That reading was taken from a shelf located two feet above the water barrels. Thus proving that they are not giving off much heat.

      So I would say that this time of the year with temperatures in this mild range, IF the sun was shining for a few hours most days, and warmed the greenhouse, then I could actively grow greens in the green housethis time of the year.
      But, the reality of the matter is that the sun is a rare visitor here until the third week of April. IF my greenhouse was made from glass, it could very easily retain much heat and grow many more veggies in the winter? But a glass green house is way out of our budget. Burning the wood stove 24/7 in the greenhouse, also is not in our time, energy and wood budget. Putting the grow light out there is also not expedient for us, unless it is put into a box, which we probably will not do at this time.

      There are just so MANY variables to growing food in the winter in the north! 😉 But, we’ll keep plugging away at it.

      We’re glad to hear that this week was your last week that you had to get treatment for your illness. May you continue to heal and recover quickly. May your son heal quickly, too.

      Many Blessings,


      1. Lily,

        Thank you for your good wishes. The good Lord seems to have us finishing medical issues just in time.

        We live high in the Rockies so I’m expecting that I won’t be able to grow anything – especially in winter – without lots of supplemental support. However, this is where we are, so I’m on it!

        I’m a bit concerned with the potential pollution of the water supply. Will my black Berkeys be able to handle cleaning enough water sufficiently? At lease your sealed barrels will provide usable water should you need it.

        Enjoying your gardening experiments and efforts.


        1. Dear PJGT,

          If you are worried about your water supply, before running it through the Berkey, I would pre-filter it through a few layers of cotton, and then run it through the Berkey. Berkeys do filter out some chemicals. Jim says to always pre-filter, if the water is from an open-source. Regarding the difference between a Black Berkey and a white Berkey, we don’t feel qualified to comment on them.



      2. Hey Lily, I don’t know what your county recycle center is like but I got more than enough free glass at mine to build a greenhouse. I have ten pieces of double-paned glass from sliding patio doors, plus three more I got at an auction for $1.70 each. Those are nice big pieces of glass to let lots of light in. I also have a lot of smaller recycled windows to use for ends and the north side of the greenhouse. They had so much glass I left a lot behind. If you google “greenhouses from used windows,” you get lots of interesting ideas. One more place I got some free glass was from my local hardware store. They did a job and ended up with five large pieces of used glass when it was done, which they were glad to have me take off their hands.


        Also, on your water barrels, if it’s possible to paint the barrels black (at least the side facing the sun) it will be a little more efficient in gathering heat from the sun as opposed to wrapping them in plastic. In the winter, every degree counts. I don’t know what your barrels are made of but I’ve used just el-cheapo flat black spray paint on several of my solar projects and had it hold up just fine.

        1. Dear St. Funogas,

          Thank you for the ideas. Not to be difficult, but, recently, I checked out our local Habitat for Humanity store for glass windows to put on my raised beds in the green house. At the time I was there, they had a lot of windows, but they were all very large and heavy with modern plastic frames. I don’t like lifting very heavy objects that could break. My idea was to buy four by three foot wooden framed glass windows. Therefore, I decided to forgo them at this time. I will probably return to look for the wooden framed windows at another time.

          Concerning painting the water barrels, black, I don’t trust the chemicals in the spray paint which is why we didn’t paint them. I also can just envision the paint eventually chipping off the barrels from sun decay. I don’t want paint chips on the floor of my green house, nor do I want to expose ourselves to the VOC”s while spraying it on. Sheepish smile! 🙂

          As I mentioned below, I’d like to do an underground earth berm type greenhouse sometime in the near future. We are looking around to find the best spot for it on our property.



          1. We have a local “junk” 2nd hand store dealer who always has wood framed windows on hand. Might try some place like that. I’ve seen them at yard sales, too, although this isn’t yard sale season yet. Or try craigslist in your area.

    3. Our greenhouse includes soil based raised beds and hydroponics.

      An idea to add to the mix re: the black/opaque containers for the heating of water… We are working on a passive solar hot water heating system that will heat water along metal piping outside, and by way of convection, send the hot water into barrels placed inside the greenhouse. The water will heat substantially through the day, and then exhaust that heat after the sun goes down and temperatures cool. This same system has the option of a motorized pump as well, but can rely on solar power.

      Having worked extensively on both winter heating and summer cooling of our greenhouse, we are always working on ways to improve our results. In building our greenhouse, we placed it into the side of a slope to accomplish thermal exchange, built raised beds outside along the walls to provide an additional earthen blanket, used siding with a cellular structure, built self-wicking beds which increase thermal mass, and installed an emergency electric heater.

      You may already be looking at all these ideas, but just in case not, we hope they help!

      1. Growing up we had an inground pool and that is how my parents heated the pool water…except they used black plastic piping. Worked. Covering the pool at night stopped the biggest heat loss.

  7. Very busy week. Got Mom and Dad in for checkups at doctors.
    Received orders of antibiotics (animal), colloidal Silver (the packaging was outstanding & I even got a handwritten note from them thanking me for my order & some free goodies)
    Stocked up on more gloves, hand sanitizer, TP, paper towels, Ect.
    Found a great stash of N95 masks at local Rural store so I got 10 boxes of 20 each to add to my mountain of these. Checkout girl asked why I was buying so many & briefly told her that they are MUCH more expensive on amazon & she says to me , so are you going to sell them online and make a ton of money?
    I politely told her that I do not take advantage of people that way & that I use them around our house due to allergy issues & projects like restoring furniture, ect!
    People DO NOT seem to be taking this virus seriously so I will continue to stock up & pray.
    Also received my order of the Alton’s books & my set of Little House on the Prairie series.
    Special thank you to Tunnel Rabbit for the excellent daily updates about this virus , your information is invaluable!
    Saw a piece on Fox Business with Gordon Chang regarding this virus. He seems rather frightened about this.
    Hope you all have a good productive week. Thinking and praying for all of you

    1. Dr. Alton’s books are really very good… Hope these make a great addition to your resource library.

      We are seeing the same thing… People really not engaging the news of this virus and it’s dangerous potential. We’ve also seen at least some of Gordon Chang’s recent interviews, and he does sound very concerned.

      In some ways it feels like early 2008. Something was wrong, and we knew it, but most were in a great state of denial. Even after the big crash impact, there were people all around us who believed that somehow this was not going to affect them — others, but not them. This feels strangely similar.

      If it passes and turns out to be “no big deal”, we will all breathe a deep sigh of relief. …but we’re simply not taking that chance. Behavioral signals tell us that this is far more serious than what officials are — for the most part — admitting to the public.

  8. It’s been very cold in the Midwest; -5 last night, might have been the coldest we’ve had. Working on insulating the home and restocking the pantry. Looking to sell this city home in the spring and move to a smaller more conservative town. I’m starting a new job that is outdoors so all the prepping has been about staying warm.

  9. PeakProsperity dot com also has an excellent (ongoing) series of articles about the coronavirus. Chris Martenson’s formal education is in an epidemiological medicine field. He is also a prepper.

    With the onset of this solar minimum, severe food shortages are expected. Throw in the locust plague overseas (now in Kenya) that is eating >50% of their crops, food growing and preservation has been bumped up in my importance list.

    What scares me the most, though, is the fact that there is the coronavirus, new outbreaks of bird flu, and the ongoing outbreak of swine flu all happening concurrently in China. I would be willing to bet that somewhere in that unsanitary petri dish of a country, several of these outbreaks will overlap and will mutate.

  10. COVID 19

    Information is limited and who knows how accurate. But from what I have read I have made a couple observations.

    The virus is spreading out of China but so far it is not thriving out of China. Perhaps this is just a time issue but I wonder if there is another reason. I have known a number of people who have travelled in China and in the developed areas they report that the air pollution is well beyond anything we have ever dealt with in the US. And general sanitation is aweful. China is filthy. I also wonder about the general health of the people living in the affected areas? Are the Chinese beaten down physically somehow due to poor environment or poor food or worse water than we know?

    Another observation is that the Chinese government is locking the country down. Is this out of true fear of the virus or are they not letting a good crisis go to waste? Or some combination. Or is this just their natural reflexive reaction? I think it is possible their reaction may be largely fueled by a desire or maybe even need to control more than the virus.

    Another observation. I have seen lots of people sick more than usual this year. I friend of mine recently flew to Vegas for a retirement party for his sister. He came back hacking and coughing like I have never seen him do for over 20 years of knowing him. He went to the doctor but they did not test him for anything. Just gave him sinus medication. He then passed the gift to me. It has been very mild, just sniffles but lingering. My friends flight went through a major hub that services China. How do I know that he did not have COVID 19 but because he is in overall excellent health, breaths good air, drinks clean water and generally has a life far superior to those in China the virus was little more than a nuisance to his body?

    My conclusion is I don’t know but I think it very possible the best defense against this virus might end up being to take steps to keep ones immune system up with good food, moderate exercise, adequate sleep and stress reduction. If your immune system is compromised already, other steps will likely be necessary but I think overall good health practices may be the best defense.

    In short, while I am watching this carefully, I do not think this is the big pandemic that we someday might face. I do think it underscores the value of good health practices. Time will tell.

    1. I am attending a community college working on my pre-nursing AA. I have to take science courses with labs, so do not have the option of staying home and doing online studies. In addition, I learn best in a classroom setting. With that said, I am continually exposed to the coughs, sneezes of others and community germs on desks and keyboards in a germ laden environment. While I wash my hands and use hand sanitizer frequently, inevitably I caught a cold. I checked my temperature regularly and watched for signs of beginning chest infection. Good news, never any fever and it was nothing but a serious 11 day cold. (I thank God for the chemist who made Sudafed!)
      One of the beginning symptoms of the COVID-19 is a fever. I check my temperature regularly because my campus has several hundred international Asian students who returned for Winter quarter the beginning of January and some were wearing face masks before the rest of us knew of COVID-19. I do have concerns about unknown exposure, so I have stayed away from my sweet 1, 1, 2, and 4 year old grandchildren just to be on the safe side. As for myself, I am trying to be faithful to the Lord’s calling, and will continue my studies until He shows me otherwise. I love this quote: “God does not call the enabled, He enables the called.” Many of you understand my belief that I am in His hands, and that is the safest place for me to be.

      I will share with you all briefly, something I experienced last week. While driving home from school in Lakewood, WA, I was delayed for an hour because traffic was completely stopped by a blocking, parked train carrying military people moving vehicles. (I think they were multiple types of Strykers.) The thing that concerned me, was seeing all the military Red Cross type medic vehicles on the train. It is common to see military convoys on the freeway around here, however in fifty years, I have never seen medic units before and they were being delivered by train; i.e., from far away. The train was so long, trying to go around it produced no results. After sitting for 45 min, I texted Seattle KIRO news traffic asking if they knew about this and had any information on how long this might last. I kid you not, 10-15 min later as KIRO radio announced a brief road delay in Lakewood, the train miraculously began moving.

      To quote Admiral Greer from, A Hunt for Red October,
      “the data doesn’t support any conclusions.”

      With that said, tuck it away and continue to pray and prepare.

    2. JBH – respectfully, that’s a lot of speculation and not knowing details. I guess that’s fair given that any useful information is trickling out at a snail’s pace. The statement “this is not the pandemic we all fear” may be one that we look back on with regret. Pandemics that decimated populations all started small and then gained momentum over 1-2 years. In the case of the Spanish Flu some speculate the second wave was far worse than the first. I would rather prepare ahead of time across a few fronts including financial, medical, travel lockdowns and opportunities to help neighbors than assume this is a minor event.

      1. Of it is all speculation except for my comment to take steps to protect your health at all times.

        Regarding historical pandemics, most are preceded by events which weaken the population. Black Death was preceded by global cooling and accompanying crop failure. There was a horrible plague accompanied the Peloponnesion War as Athens hunkered down to wait out Sparta. Even the Spanish Flu was accompanied by World War 1.

        But as said, it is all speculation.

    3. JBH: I used to travel a lot before retirement; my last trip to China was in 2007. All of the Chinese land and water ways are 100% polluted thus anything that is grown there is also poisonous. Only the middle and lower economic class folks eat Chinese grown veges, meat, whatever. Foreigners, rich and Communist party leaders all have their food flown in from Macao, Indonesia or Australia. The people who are sick and dying are most likely those eating locally grown food. Never knowingly eat anything grown in China; if the product does not say grown in or made in USA, Mexico, Canada or other reliable country, do NOT buy it. A lot of products come from China and say “Packaged in the USA” or “Product of USA and China”. Don’t touch it.

      Unfortunately, most of American medications are made in China and I don’t know how to get around that.

    1. Hey Lt. Mike, let me send you some of my “White Icicle” radish seed and “Iceberg” lettuce, sounds like you’ve got just the right weather for sowing those…

  11. Got our oxygen accumulator ordered and have our big antibiotics order to tuck away.

    The plumbers completed the upgrade to our water system, and completed installation of the long-desired hand pump on our well which can pressurize the whole house system. Yay!

    Had the third and final surgery I needed, so won’t worry about future need to be in a possibly overwhelmed hospital later on.

    Blessings to all.

  12. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=lIzWgBWF3SQ

    Watch this you tube video for heating greenhouses. I saw this and have talked my husband into trying this for this year. I received a big bonus at work at year end and have set the money aside to build a 3-4 season greenhouse that can withstand western New York winters. Our local town is happy to dump truckloads of leaves on our property. I figure we I’ll need it if the solar minimum continues and now with this conronavirsus we not be able to get to the grocery store in the near future. I am hoping this will really work as we can’t afford to run a woodstove in our greenhouse either.

    1. Dear wnycountrygirl,

      Thank you for sending the video. I watched it. Leaves are an excellent insulator, however, we don’t get too many leaves in the fall, since our forest is mostly coniferous. 🙁

      What I’d like to do, is build ANOTHER Greenhouse that is dug down into the earth and has an earth berm. Jim and I have been batting around the idea for a few years. The problem is where to put it and our water table. We have a very high water table. Jim is also concerned that it would collect water from rain and snow melt. I think we just need to do some more research. 🙂



      We have talked about putting straw bales on the north side of the existing greenhouse.

  13. Where is the best place to buy colloidal silver ? It’s hard to tell the really good from the bad. I am also trying to stock up, but funds are tight right now since I am out of work for medical reasons. I have found N-95 masks ,goggles, and N-100 respirators at Harbor Freight ,and gloves and various other useful items for stock up. Stay safe everyone, God is in control.

    1. Some people make their own. Jewelry stores might have something called “jewelers wire” which is pure silver. It looks like stainless steel piano wire or aluminum welding wire (if you’re a welder like me). I’m sure you can find it online as well. I’ve made it myself in the past and I have a friend who makes it for his horses as it is much cheaper and more effective than the vet stuff.

  14. Not a lot of progress in getting things prepped this week. My wife is getting more foods dehydrated, and we have decided to put our twin granddaughters in jiujitsu. They received their first bow and arrow set, too. Also, I was hired to provide personal security for a lady who is traveling for business a couple days a week. More work is always good!

  15. LOCUST PLAGUE | The most under reported Global Calamity
    (YouTube Video)
    Yanasa Ama Ventures
    Feb 10, 2020
    Duration – 18:07

    “The African Locust Plague is a serious global situation that media has failed to cover properly. What are these locusts? Where did they come from? How do we combat them? and How much damage are they causing.”

  16. Beverly,
    They have been in business since 1962.
    Check it out
    (I have no affiliation with them, I just trust the products they have)
    Good Luck

  17. Every time I watch Ice Age Farmer, or Oppenheimer Ranch, or some of the other youtubers on the GSM, the virus, food shortages, etc., I have to control myself because I want to buy another 50 lbs of this, and 50 lbs of that. It’s also important to be financially sound and not get crazy. Our greenhouse has been producing delicious lettuces and radishes, but not much else. We figured that’s pretty good for our first try at winter growing in Zone 5 and experimenting with 4-6 ft of snow outside. I’m in process of ordering beekeeping equipment. I’ve studied the subject for too long, and now I just need to do it. Over wintering bees in our climate will be a bit of a challenge, but I’m seeing those in Canada, and Wisconsin, Michigan, and other places that have a similar climate do it successfully. I’m going to join the local beekeeping club and give it all I’ve got. A number of years ago, I weaned myself off of sugar (and all processed foods), so a little bit of honey here and there is helpful.

  18. I’ve been working to build the silver supply lately. One pawn shop has junk silver at about 5% over spot for dimes, quarters and halves, but too high on dollars. They did get a bunch of oriental marked silver bars, but I’m leery of touching those. Traded my placer gold for two 30 gram combi bars. (can be broken down to 1 gram increments)

  19. MLC,
    More is more better, but what you got will work. The scanner is an important tool. This is very short list for your scanner. It will cover 80% of the traffic you might hear in your area. It includes local 2 meter repeaters in your area. You can use one of the MURS frequencies as these are license free. Just press the orange VFO button on the Baofeng, and punch in the frequency on all your Baofengs. The using masking tape or better, record that and once other MURS frequencies on the back or front of the radio for future reference. I would also look up frequencies for FRS and GMRS, and all the CB channels. I can program your radios with this and much more if you’d like, and you can use your Baofengs as scanners, yet you can do just fine with your scanner and two MURS frequencies in your Baofengs.

    MURS 1-5

    2 meter repeaters and national calling frequency in your area.

    Frequency Name Location
    146.520000 CALL National Calling Frequency, not a repeater
    147.340000 PINK34 Pinkham Mountain
    145.390000 ERK 39 Black Butte (100 watts, most powerful)
    145.430000 ERK 43 Sam’s Hill
    147.320000 ERK 32 Virgina Hill
    147.280000 ERK 28 Don’s Hill
    146.580000 ERK 58
    146.620000 YAAK00 Pinkham Mountain

    146.940000 Cranbrook, Canada
    147.260000 Werner Peak
    145.270000 Big Mountain
    145.310000 Happy’s Inn

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