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!
While my wife (“Avalanche Lily”) has been roto-tilling, I’ve been busy chainsawing. This will continue for me intermittently, for several weeks. There are at least a dozen small dead fallen trees in our wood lot–mostly Tamaracks (Western Larch.) I’ll also be picking out a few dead-standing trees to harvest. But I will probably wait on dropping a few others that aren’t anywhere near fence lines until next summer. My #2 Son has been helping me with the slash hauling.
I re-constructed another raised garden bed for Lily. I also got a start on a fencing project: a roughly 20% expansion of our main garden to include an additional 25′ x 25′ plot. I plan to finish that fence and a new gate in it, this coming week. Later we will take down some more trees and expand it to be the length of the Main garden.
I’ve also been busy cataloging antique guns for the re-launch of Elk Creek Company, on May 4th. Part of this has been pairing-up some suitably fitting antique leather holsters for many of the revolvers. You see, I often include holsters as bonuses, for my customers. I always try to give my customers a little something extra, for their money. I look at these bonuses as one way of building customer loyalty.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week, as, reader Miss SaraSue mentioned last weekend, the winter rest is OVER.
I’ve been out in the gardens preparing them and getting them ready to plant. I love it and feel as though I am once again in my element.
By the way, after two days of being outside all day and mostly away from the computer, my thoughts dwelling on life activities and the nature around us, I had the thought, “Pandemic? What Pandemic? There’s a Pandemic?” On this line of thought, we picked up #2 son from the airport in Spokane this week, in two vehicles (one of the vehicles is Son’s), #2 son drove himself home from the airport and is in our guest (quarantine) cabin for the next fourteen days. It had been weeks since I had been to the large towns. I was expecting to see very little traffic, but no, everything appeared to be going on almost as usual, here in the Redoubt There was traffic everywhere. The Interstate had vehicles about it’s normal volume for a weekday mid-morning.
One the way home, we stopped at a McDonald’s parking lot for about ten minutes, just for their free wireless, to check on e-mails and to post comments. Micky D’s appeared to be conducting almost as much business as normal… Pandemic? What Pandemic? The only change that appeared to be visible was that the airport was very quiet. To minimize our exposure, just in case, we had decided not to stop for any shopping in towns, and just dropped son’s car off to him, and stopped in and said “Hi” to #1 son, his wife and the grandsons from a distance in their doorway, so hard to resist hugging those grandbabies, and returned right back home. Jim quipped that this was the fastest and least expensive trip to Spokane that we’ve ever made! 😉
Jim rebuilt me another raised bed for another bed of strawberries. When we first were setting up our Main garden, eight years ago, Jim built me a large number of 4′ by 12′ beds in our main garden. We had too many issues with weeds, so we dismantled three of the beds. Now, I don’t care. Strawberries can grow in the grass as far as I am concerned. They do fine. I just clean them up a bit in the spring, add manure and they’re good to go. These are the three beds that we have been reestablishing during the past two years. This last re-established bed will bring us to a total of five beds of strawberries. I will be planting my runner strawberry plants in this bed come late summer. In the meantime, I will plant a summer crop in this bed. By the way, the raised beds are within the Main garden, most of which is plowed and is about 130 feet by 60 feet.
In the Annex garden, a few weeks ago, our neighbor had come over with his tractor and had scraped the soil and laid down tons of manure. While that was being done, I had gone around the fence line and had cut down Aspen, Cottonwood, a thorn-type tree (It’s a dangerous tree that likes to stick me. 🙁 I don’t know what it is, haven’t taken the time to look it up.), sucker saplings. I had made a large pile that I was intending to burn. This week, instead of burning it, I transported that large pile out of the enclosed area to a different burn pile for burning in the fall.
This week, I have rototilled the Main garden, the new garden behind a shed (known now, as the Shed garden, 20 ft by 40ft), the Annex garden, and the new Extension garden, 25′ ft by 25′ ft. The Annex garden is about 100 feet by 75 feet. After rototilling the Annex garden, I sowed 25 pounds of Common buckwheat and 25 pounds of field peas. These will grow as a green manure until the end of May. Then I will rototill it under and plant corn and other crops in this field. These green manure crops will put a lot of nitrogen and phosphorus into our soils. Early this coming week we will begin planting, the potatoes, brassicas, onions, carrots, peas, kale, lettuce, etc.
In the green house, I harvested our first salad from the lettuces, spinach, kales, and beet greens that were planted about a month ago. I had been picking a few greens here and there that had overwintered in the green house for smoothies. But now, they are growing like gangbusters.
The Girls picked up more aged cow manure with manure forks, hauled in in wheelbarrows, and mulched it all around our 18 fruit trees for me.
I studied up on pruning fruit trees, and made some very conservative pruning cuts on my apples and plums I also separated some apple branches with sticks to train the branches to go where I want them. Wow, now that I’ve done a little bit of pruning, I think that this type of tree husbandry is a lot of fun, and wish I had studied up on it earlier. I was too afraid of hurting my trees. Never mind. My trees are still young enough to train them where I wish them to grow. Any time we learn something new, it is timely enough. 🙂
Reader Wheatley: Do you have any tips or favorite links or books for us, that you would like to share on pruning fruit trees?
I shelled my dried green, yellow wax, and several other kinds of beans that were grown last summer and dried over the winter in the green house. These beans will be planted this summer.
I am learning more about my three types of raspberry patches and how to care for them. I’ve been finishing up the cleaning of my raspberry patches. Every time I go into the patches and get close to the ground around them I learn more about them and see more that I can do to help them. I completely removed all dead canes, also those that had fallen to the ground previous years, and cleaned up the earth around them and tied the canes up that were “leaners”. I now want to spread some rotted-down cow manure around them, this coming week.
Because I want to be outside in the gardens and not working in the house, I have now charged Miss Eloise and Miss Violet with the jobs of making dinner and doing dishes, every night. That is, on the days that I am spending the day outside. It is good for them. They are quite capable young ladies. They can make whatever they want as long as it fits into my approved foods list. The meals have been wonderful.
Miss Eloise and I have spent a lot more time taming/training F. our heifer calf, who is now four months old. She now accepts carrot bits from my hand, and is, a little bit, walking beside me. She is still balking and racing away from us/pulling us around on the lead rope. But it’s much better than it used to be.
Also, this week, we corralled our two year old pregnant heifer, A. into the crush stall, to gentle her. She is rather a wild thing. But at least she didn’t try to leap over the gate as a predecessor had tried to a few years back. We pet and brushed her all over and gave her a bit of wet C-O-B and some carrot bits. After about twenty minutes she calmed down and seemed to get used to the attention.
This past week, Jim and Miss Eloise replaced a broken hasp and the two hasp retaining pins on our crush stall door, and added a second hasp. With those, we can quickly restrain our cows to safely milk and work on them again.
Miss Eloise and I are planning to get back to milking F.’s mom, “L.” Jim is interested in having her milk available, and so is one of our neighbors. We will only milk her once a day, in the morning. We will separate her from her calf at night, milk in the morning, and reunite mom and calf for the rest of the day. If she gives us enough milk, we will be making cheese. I’m not sure exactly when I’ll start. I’m kinda dreading the discipline of doing it every morning. Plus that means that I have to go out at night to separate them, every night. Honestly, sometimes I’m too tired to go out at night. But, I think Miss Eloise and I will partner in this and take turns.
The birds that I’ve seen that have returned this past week, are: the Killdeer, the woodpeckers, and the vultures. The Canadian geese are back in our pasture meadows, near The Unnamed River.
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.