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:

This week I did a lot of fence building, and I have some sore muscles to prove it. I invested a full day to build a new woven wire fence to extend our main garden, (around the Extension Garden) by another 48 feet by 48 feet. I used 10 foot long heavy duty T-posts, making the fence just over 8 feet tall. (That will make it deer and elk proof.) The posts were spaced at 6-foot intervals. I wired up a 7-foot long piece of cattle panel–positioned vertically–to act as the gate. The gate latches were just a couple of eye bolts and a pair of double-ended snap fasteners. (Pictured). As an aside, I should mention that I’ve found umpteen uses for those, so several years ago I bought a quart-size yogurt container full of them, when once found them deeply discounted at a ranch supply store. I still have about half of them left. For gates, I’ve often found that “Simpler is Better” — especially in snow country. Building a minimalist gate doesn’t create a horizontal surface for the snow to pile on, nor a wide base to be impeded by un-compacted snow. Yet this new welded wire gate is plenty wide to allow someone with a wheelbarrow or rototiller to pass though. Anything larger can just enter from the main portion of the garden, since I’ve already taken down a 48-foot section of fence.

At Lily’s request, I also got some unused Langstroth bee hive boxes and supers from storage in JASBORR. We have two swarms of Italian bees scheduled to arrive at our local farm and ranch store, next week. (I paid for them in advance, back in January.) I constructed a stout platform for the hives in the annex garden, where hopefully the hives will be safe from any interloping bears. The platform project took less than an hour. Rather than getting fancy with carpentry, I just made the platform out of four fir rounds that were about 15 inches in diameter and 18 inches long. I simply set those on-end, and topped them with a heavy duty wood pallet, and then a piece of scrap plywood. Again, “Simpler is Better.” Or, as we used to say in the Army:  “Better is the  enemy of Good Enough.” This platform didn’t need to be fancy, just sturdy. And as long as I’m quoting aphorisms, I should mention that my father was fond of saying:  “Ranching isn’t a beauty contest.”

Later in the week, I constructed yet another garden fence for the Shed plot. It measures just 24 feet x 48 feet. This one was built with T-posts (at 8 foot intervals) and cattle panels.  Since it already had a solar electric fence charger mounted nearby, I made this fence just 5 feet tall. The plan is to run a hot wire on top. The deer might just laugh at that, or perhaps not. We’ll see…

Now, on to Lily’s much more interesting and detailed part of the column.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
The weather is definitely turned to spring, early in the week we had about three nights of frosts. Then the weather changed and we are no longer forecast to have any frosts for the foreseeable future.  Yeah.  We also experienced our first thunderstorm of the year late in the week after dark one evening.  It was awesome!  We needed the rain to get some of the seeds we had planted sprouting. Already, I need to mow the orchard and the paths in the Main Garden.

This has been a very busy week in the garden.  First off, the girls and I, spent a lot of time bringing manure into the Main Garden to boost it for the year.  This is an ongoing project since the Main Garden is quite large, with “numerous” sections to it.  One section I rototilled a number of times to work in the manure, then I made long raised mounded rows, which I flattened out the tops and planted parsnips, colored carrots from store-bought seed (new types of carrots for us), heirloom carrot seeds harvested from the garden last fall, onion bulbs that I grew last summer and started in trays in March, onion starts that I started from onion seeds that I harvested from onion flowers last fall, 600 store-bought red and yellow onion bulbs, and German leeks that I also started in February in the Bathroom Greenhouse.  Some of the onion seedlings and red onion bulbs were planted after dark with a small solar-charged lamp.  I was on a roll that day, and didn’t want to quit.  😉 The next day, Miss Eloise planted all of the yellow onion bulbs.

In another section of the Main Garden, Miss Eloise and Miss Violet hauled umpteen wheelbarrels of manure to it, of which I spread out and rototilled in. Here, I have planted more than 125 green and red cabbages, about twenty cauliflower.  Next week, I will plant broccoli, Kholarabi, Brussel sprouts, potatoes, and peas.

Miss Eloise and I took turns rototilling the other sections of Main garden yet another time to continue mixing in the manure.

I helped Jim wire the panels to the stakes of the new Shed Garden. Jim complimented me, he is always praising me!!!  I am so blessed to be his wife.  He said I was a confident and competent and I am a studly  (insert state) wife/woman.  When he first said I was a studly woman, when we first got married, I wasn’t sure how to take it.  I am fairly feminine, just capable and willing to do a lot of hard work and some “Man” jobs.   I like doing all kinds of things in the house and outside of the house.  I do not like lifting heavy stuff, (moving large appliances, furniture, hay bales, nor will I pound fence posts, the pounder is 60 pounds, nearly half my weight) though, nope, that’s when I claim, “I’m a woman” and bail the scene of that action.  Anyhow, being called a “Studley (state) wife” is now considered a badge of much honor as a “pioneering wife.” 😉

The celery seeds that I harvested last summer from the celery that had overwintered the winter before this past winter, and grew flowers and went to seed, which I planted in the Indoor Bathroom Green House, finally, sprouted!!!!  I am so excited about it!!  Yes, I can grow my own celery seed now!!!  Victory dance!!  ;-). Now if I can juuust figure out how to get broccoil, cabbage, and the other brassicas to survive overwintering in my garden and re-sprouting in the spring and flower, then I might be able to grow my own Brassica seeds!  I do have one broccoli plant that is still in the garden that overwintered  this past winter, that I rototilled around, to see if it will sprout again this year.  So far there is not yet any sign of new growth, but it is still a bit early here…  I’m praying!!

I cleaned up the strawberry and rhubarb beds, gently raking out last year’s dead grass.

I cleaned up the old fence line between what was the Main garden and the Extension garden which entailed digging up and throwing rocks over the fence, raking dead grass and broken black raspberry brambles that had been thrown over the main garden fence to a burn pile that was located in the Extension Garden last summer.

I went rock picking in the Extension Garden and collected and dumped three wheelbarrows full! I will be rototilling it again and will be adding more manure and rototilling and rock picking still more during the next few weeks, to develop it’s soil. It is exciting to have it now a part of the Main Garden.

From the Indoor Bathroom temporary greenhouse, now, that we’re fairly sure we won’t have a very hard freeze, here….(?) I carried out to the outside greenhouse the trays with squashes, tomatoes, peppers, and herbs. Then I scrubbed that bathroom.

A dear horsey friend called me a few weeks ago, and jokingly asked if I had ruined my bathroom with my indoor bathroom greenhouse? I said then that it was fine in there.

Now that I’ve emptied it and cleaned it, I can honestly say with a slight bit of indignation, “NO-wuh!, I did not ruin that bathroom, my dear skeptic friend!”  There wasn’t hardly a bug in there, this time around. (They must have died in the soil from the cold by the time I used the soil to plant.) The wooden cabinet doors did not swell or change color. And there wasn’t any mold, at all, on the walls, just a few splattered pieces of dirt that were easily wiped off.  There was a lot of dirt on the stone tiled floor, which had been covered with large plastic trash bags. And there was soil on the toilet, the sink counter, and in the tub. (I had put boards over the bath tub to have another flat surface on which to place trays.  All of the horizontal surfaces had held trays.)  A quick vacuum and sanitizing wash of all surfaces cleaned up the bathroom beautifully.  So there you have it.  The indoor garden in our/Miss Violet’s bathroom, didn’t ruin it.  So there!  😉

For a moment of fun on a beautiful partly sunny 62 degree afternoon, with beautifully billowing white clouds and blue skies peeking in between clouds and with the grass greening up, the buds swelling on our tree’s branches, I crept down one of our hiking trails through our patch of woods to the meadow to spy on our yearly visiting Canadian Geese.  I counted 18 of them.  It was just beautiful. The meadows are finally beginning to flood.  The flooding is much later this year.  Usually it’s in March.  I’m thinking about getting my canoe out, soon, so I can paddle around.  We need to get the early gardens in ASAP because the girls are asking us to take them backpacking between the early planting and our later planting.  So we are trying to hurry.

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. Still working on our raised beds. Filled one with 1/4″classified dirt, and got the second bed about half full by dark. Have to finish the border, compost bins, and the next two beds before the stone arrives next week. Mom started her seeds today. I’ll have to grab some more lumber to cover the change Mom wanted for the raspberry, and the rhubarb beds. Lots of work restoring the garden after Mom’s knee and cataract surgeries that kept her from gardening for two years. Least I’ll get to pick the lumber this time, and hopefully, there will be some that wasn’t run through the planer backwards.

    Still waiting for the Safecastle order I placed 2 months ago for the Alaska prospecting trip.

    1. Had to cruise over to safecastle to see what they offered.
      I was kinda shocked at their prices for mountain house meals.
      Quite a bit higher than “on the shelf” retail priced items at the local store. Under 9 bucks a pouch here.

      Got the garden all done last weekend. I just need to get my deer fencing up. Rain and sun, rain and sun here in the Willamette Valley. Perfect growing weather!

      Store shelves are just about normal. (Including TP). Gas prices haven’t dropped any further. Still steady at 2.50 – 2.60 per gal. Diesel at 2.60 – 2.70.

      Side issue here: While the stores are still charging a 10 cent deposit on just about anything drinkable in a bottle or can, they will not take them back. They say we have to go to a state redemption center in Salem to get our money back. (30 miles away).
      While we are not poor, this irks me. Not to mention they are starting to pile up.
      (I know, I know… first world problems)

      My radio antenna adapters/connectors arrived yesterday, so now I can finish up that really neat Moxon antenna for my hand held radios.
      Thanks again Tunnel Rabbit for the tips.

      1. Gas prices should be much lower-rbob(wholesale gas at rack) holding around $.65/gal the rest is taxes and transport /profit. Some questions about price gouging may need to be asked,your Congresscritter may not have much to do as queen nancy is preventing most of the questionable “work” they do.

        1. Hi Tom of Oregon,
          It’s too bad you had to go so far for adapters for your radios, Hmm, I am making improvements to my shop, adding ceiling sheet rock, and moving my benches and supplies around,
          I probably have the largest supply of coaxial fittings in this part of Oregon, Just off of HWY 97. I usually listen right now on the 146.850 repeater out of Klamath Falls. All of those adapters and connectors are very heavy to move around. I usually make it to the HAM swaps, and bring huge supplies of them, I’m not sure I will make it to Rickreal for the next swap or not, but keep an eye out for the guy selling the fancy adjustable dipole, I’ll help you out if you need connectors.

      2. Tom-How are they justifying not taking them back? In my state, if they sell the product, they must take it back. I usually go to a private redemption place because they take all brands. I dump them on the counter and they do all the work. Better than going to the different stores and fighting the machines and the bees that seem to always be around those machines.

        1. I’m not sure. The machine is in a room about 10×12 and is the anteroom for the restroom entrances. So, maybe employing the 6’ spacing?
          Machines are the only way to get ones money back around these parts.
          I think I need to ask a couple of the “homeless” people where they return theirs.
          I’d like to get rid of these empties before I get an ant problem.

          1. Hi Tom:

            I too live in the Willamette Valley, and things have gotten a bit crazy around here. Apparently, there was concern about the safety of handling cans/bottles contaminated with the “Wu Flu” virus, so redemption machines at all stores were shut down. However, the Bottle Drop Redemption Centers are still operating — there are several of these in Portland, Beaverton, Tigard and Salem.

            It’s quite some distance from where I live, but I’ve used Bottle Drop in Tigard (when I happened to be driving through there), and it works pretty well. They have quite a few machines and seem to be well maintained. As for the ants, I normally just rinse out the bottles after use, so that there is no residual smell of sugar. (I rarely drink carbonated drinks, but do enjoy various fruit juices.)

            Have a great day!

          2. Maybe you could donate them to the homeless or boyscouts? That’s what we ended up doing years ago to support our son’s troop and I’ve never looked back! Most of our cans and bottles were ones picked up from the ground or rescued from the trash. Our boyscouts had built a wooden container to collect donations. My husband did have the honor of redeeming them with the scouts from time to time.

      3. Tom in Oregon,

        Our gasoline prices are not much better here, 100 miles west of Chicago. We’re still at $2.45 premium.
        All kinds of state, local taxes. Oh yeah & they always throw in a “Whiting, Indiana refinery’s down for maintenance “ scam or “summer blend “ scam in there too!!

  2. I was side-lined with some health issues this week so did not get any big projects done. Got the hummingbird feeders filled when a frequent flier got in my face complaining that the feeders were not out. They are such beautiful tiny creatures. I love to sit on the patio near their feeders and watch them.

    Made the first trip to the city warehouse store in 8 weeks. The modified online ordering system was a bear to maneuver thru. We no longer get to choose our pickup time and day, the system just puts us in the next available slot. If it is unacceptable, you must cancel and start over again. Fifteen of my usual items were out of stock, 8 other items had to be shipped from a distribution center and when I picked up my order they said the fresh meat truck did not arrive. I am still repackaging 50 pd bags of sugar and flour, plus 25 pd bags of other staples. Not hard, just time consuming.

    While in the city we hit the hardware/building supply warehouse. Got various types and sizes of lumber, plywood, roofing panels, screws and misc other supplies to keep on hand. Found a few gardening supplies to keep in stock for future use. While prices were creeping up, everything we wanted was in stock.

    Yesterday, I went to the small town grocer and picked up some fresh beef, chicken and pork items along with fresh veges. They had their usual “pick 5” specials and prices were competitive. The store was pretty well stocked and only limiting TP and PT. Today I’ll be repackaging, freezing or canning most of the meat.

    We also have been expanding garden areas, though not as many as Ms Lily. Our land has rolling hills so we either have to level it, construct some form of retaining walls or or get creative with swells to control water/rain containment or drainage. My son does all the heavy work for me while I use the UTV or tractor to move supplies.

    We are experiencing lots of rain; heavy rain, so the row crops are still not planted in the upper garden. The seeds/seedlings would get washed away or damaged so we are just going to wait another week. This is the latest we have ever planted in our location. I wonder if this is the new normal? The ditches we dug are helping to channel the excess water into the forest but it is still a mud fest.

    The bulk order of meadow grasses (rye and alfalfa), cover crop (cow peas), corn, red and yellow onions and sunflower seeds came in; it took 1 month to get the order from Johnny Seeds. These seeds will be planted in the large hidden garden along with some self-sustaining veges that don’t have to be looked after every day. On the bright side, potatoes are growing in their containers, the grapes are leafing out, strawberries sporting small berries and I’ve been harvesting lettuce, herbs and edible weeds for about 10 days. Love this time of year!

    May your week be safe and productive.

    1. Animal House,

      I so love the Hummingbirds too! We hung up our feeders last weekend but no sign of them yet . I’m also anxiously awaiting the return of the 4-5 Orioles that came here last year for about 10 days every morning. Keeping my fingers crossed!

      Hope you are feeling better now

      Have a Rockin great day!

  3. If you transplant your Brassica’s into a 5 gallon pail you can overwinter them at least here in NH’s occasionally brutal winters in the semi-heated greenhouse. Then replant after frost is done after hardening them off from their comfy wintering.

    Otherwise between the Hungry Deer, Voles and solid ice in the garden I tend to lose them.

    Also this allows me to run the chicken tractor built to fit my garden beds in the fall and spring to eat up the bug grubs in my gardens. Really reduces the bug populations.

    I find that cabbage needs a X cut into the top of the head to help the seed stalk to sprout.

    Hope this helps. I learned this overwintering trick from reading an old NH Farmers garden diary.

  4. Taught my son how to sharpen an ax with a puck sharpening stone. Went over some other stuff like styles and nomenclature of axes. I had purchased a bunch of axes, picks and sledges hammers (most without handles) at auctions last year. One double bit axe head is in real bad shape, I told my son someone might have used that for a root cutter. After we each sharpened an ax we started making kindling from slab wood for next winter.

    Cleaned up two picks and a mattock and put handles on all. Sorted a box of miscellaneous hardware. Moved some items off shelves and hung them up on hooks, things like snow shoes, wash boards, lanterns and a scale. The extra shelf space is really priceless. The wood for the large chicken coop and the petro storage shed was delivered. I purchased 2 shed kits by “2×4 Basics” so I started marking the 2×4’s with cut marks and lettered them to corresponding letters in the directions. I am making one modification and that is to the floor since I’m putting the shed up onto deck blocks. Moved the chickens out into the small coop from their water trough home. The barrel latches that came with the coop do not stay shut in the wind so each door got a hook with spring loaded locking mechanism for added security.

  5. Good luck with the bee’s!
    I’ve tried keeping them for several years in Langstroth hives. It’s quite a challenge… keeping wild animals in a box. Unlike any other hobby/livestock effort I’ve attempted. Hive Beetles and Varroa were my biggest problems.

    1. About honey bees. I watched a really neat podcast with Paul Stamets on the Joe Rogan show.
      Mr. Stamets seems to be a very knowledgeable person and is studying colony collapse disorder, CCD. Seems that some mycelium attract bees and are showing to be good at killing varroa and other parasites that kill bees.
      Here’s a link to his business.


      Here’s the snippet on CCD.


      (Oh, and the hat Mr. Stamets is wearing is made from a mushroom!)

  6. Been scratching my head on why one of my apple trees isn’t leafing and budding out. The one next to it is fine, I hope it’s not dying. Also, I’ve been fighting Coddling moth for the past 3 years. I may have to rethink my fruit tree ideas, as everything I have read points to doom after the coddling moths set in.

    1. Larry I feel your pain. I planted 8 apple trees, 4 one year and then 4 the next year. In the second four group all died but one. I’m not expert but with the rain we had last year I’m thinking root rot. The first 4 are doing fine.

      1. Larry,
        You might want to look at the trunk of your tree from the soil line up about 8 to 10 inches. Your looking for small holes ( pencils lead size) with sawdust coming out of them. In The spring the Apple bores are coming out of your trees after a nice winter of eating the cambium layer out of your trees. After about fifty years of growing fruit trees I have grown to really dislike these little buggers. And not to feel left out other trees have bores also ie. Peach. Since I use no chemicals my only recourse is to keep a vigilant eye out and spear the little buggers with a paperclip when I find them. I have also found that keeping your trees well watered and growing strong keeps the bores at bay since their job in nature is to recycle weak trees. Hope that helps

  7. It’s finally warming up and am thankful. Well decided to try our hand at Beto Bucket system growing tomatoes and it’s turning out great. Started seedlings in window under grow lights in January, then transferred them to the beto buckets. Look them up at bootstrap farmer.com. You use perlite, rinsed and build a small system with pvc and drill holes and it pretty much circulates. The nutrients we found is called masterblend and it is the best we have found . We also add epsom salt, and calcium nitrate. They are over my head even now and should have tomatoes by next week!! Tried a rail system of hydroponics and had good success growing lettuce. We have a 10 x 20 greenhouse attached to the main house and we have things growing every where. I can say there are vegetables that do great in that system, like tomatoes and lettuce. BUT, dirt is still king in my book. Potting Soil is best and I have found these utility tubs at tractor supply that holds just the right amount for kale, spinach, collard greens, small onions, garlic and asparagus . It looks like a jungle in there and smells of earth!!! Makes my heart happy. We will probably have to install a small swamp cooler as the weather warms up. We did have to add a gas heater to the greenhouse in order to keep the small plants from freezing. This is how we spent out time from January until now. Made plans to add on to the barn for our chicken and goat house. Gathering supplies now and hope to have that project finished by the end of summer. Happy Trails, Gaddygirl

  8. The snow is finally (almost) gone. We have been able to be outside the past few days doing a lot of cleanup. We had a big oak taken down this past winter and there was a lot of debris (Kindling!) left over from that.

    We live on a heavily wooded lot so gardening is minimal. But the raised beds are ready to go now. We now have a lot more sun in the back now and will be starting off with a lot of container plantings as it is mostly rock back there. Good thing we have a thriving farmer’s market and it is considered essential.

    My ferments are coming along nicely. I thought maybe my sourdough had failed but now it is looking quite bubbly. I’ll try a pizza crust with it today.

    My seedlings are doing well and it makes me so happy to tend them in the basement. Just a bit over a month until our last frost date.

    After listening to Ice Age Farmer’s most recent youtube, I am increasing my farm share order to include more locally processed meats.

    Hubby talked to a buddy of his this past week who had faster and cheaper internet than we do. Rural broadband is sometime sketchy but sufficient for my needs. Hubby spends more time on line than I do because he just doesn’t feel well enough to do a lot of physical activity.

    So, he tried to sign up. They needed to check our credit score, which we have frozen. I asked him why? He said so they can rent us a router for $10 a month. I suggested to hubby that we BUY a router. Oh no, said the company we can’t do that. Well, said hubby we don’t want to unfreeze our credit score. Is there another way? Yes, we can send a picture of his driver’s license or passport or medicare card…..

    Apparently hubby had already given them our credit card number before they started asking for all this other information. I told him I was NOT comfortable with all the info they were asking for and we could certainly live with the internet we had.

    We pulled the plug on the ‘deal’. The next day, our credit card was hacked. Coincidence?

    As we have returned to more outside work than inside, I have been thanking God for my dear old Dad’s foresight. We lost him last September and I miss him every day. One of the things I got (and my sibs didn’t want) was 60 spaghetti jars. Dad filled each of these jars with one kind of hardware or another: nuts, bolts, screws, latches, mollies, hangers…you name it. Each jar has a number which corresponds to a sheet on a clipboard with a number that tells what is in that particular jar. Any time something broke that could not be fixed anymore, Dad would deconstruct it and save the hardware. My super-organized engineer Dad is still helping me. Thank you, Dad. You have saved us countless trips to the hardware store.

    Regarding the Swedish Death cleaning St. Funogas (? I think? ) mentioned in a comment yesterday. Yes! Keep and leave your belongings in an organized fashion. Your children will rise up and call you blessed.

    A.L., I will never accomplish in a day what you do – but you inspire me!

    Enjoy the day, folks – it is a beautiful one here!

    1. Good for you on the online ordering, wormlady. I doubt the credit card hack was only coincidence.

      I’m glad your ferments are thriving. Here, too. Kombucha…so good.

      I am experimenting with putting winter squash seedlings from my basement in the ground this week. Weather is cool, so they will go slow. Better than becoming too big in the basement. And, winter squash is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables.

      Carry on in grace

      1. Kombucha, yum! I have sourdough, sauerkraut and acv going right now. I have not been able to find a SCOBY locally (reluctant to order online – see above :)). But one of my ACV batches formed SCOBYs so I may throw caution to the wind and try one.

        Thanks for the inspiration!

        1. I’ll swap you a scoby for ACV. Be right over. Just look for the bearded guy on a red bicycle. Should be there in a couple weeks. 😉

          Carry on in grace

    2. wormlady,

      I’m so sorry to hear that you were hacked.
      One of the things I worry about with my mom and dad is that one of these stupid robo callers is going to trick them. I have instructed my mom especially not to answer the phone unless it is my number on the caller ID.
      No one else bothers to call them (That’s another story for another day and I don’t want to be angry today).
      Anyway I have notes near the phone reminding them to NEVER give out any personal information. The notes also remind them that Social Security, the bank & other institutions will never call them & ask for information
      Dad is good about this as his voice alone scares people but my mom is too trusting and likes to talk to people.

      I’m smiling about your recollections of your father & realize how very lucky I am to be able to enjoy both of my parents.

      Thinking of you


  9. Got the woodpile finished up, all organized and ready for winter. There are still three downed oaks from the pasture enlargement project I need to finish cutting up but those are for the winter of ’21/’22 so they can wait until the garden is in.

    We’ve had three light frosts since the peaches came on but none hard enough to do any damage and it looks like we’re out of the woods now. One frost was severe enough to burn all the new leaves off the Chicago hardy fig trees but they should resprout soon enough.

    Got more of the garden organized in preparation for planting.

    At least one of the wren eggs has hatched in the garden shed so far. Mama and Papa Wren will have a full time job on their hands (wings?) trying to keep all them little mouths fed. While I was sitting in my recliner taking a work break drinking some lemonade, the first hummingbird of the year flew right up to my recliner, no doubt wondering why the heck I didn’t have the feeder hung yet. I keep the sliding door open a foot so the cat can come and go and some of the other critters like the idea as well.

    I split one of my beehives and while checking the other hives, realized I had a major episode of cerebral flatulence two weeks ago in my second strongest hive. So I ended up having to remove a bunch of honeycomb which unfortunately was full of brood (capped cells containing developing bees) instead of honey. Since they were going to die anyway, and never wanting to miss out on a learning opportunity, I decided to have them for dinner. I took the comb to the house and after pulling it apart, used a toothpick to pull the individual larva out. When I had about a third of a cup, I sautéed them in oil with salt and garlic. They were surprisingly good. Sweet, slightly grainy and sort of meaty. I ate about a third, then scrambled the rest with two eggs, which was tasty. My family has started up a GoFundMe account to buy me groceries but I told them the recipe came straight out of one of my beekeeping books. And when I offer fried bees with boiled dandelion greens to the roving hordes after the SHTF, it should keep them moving on to the next house. 🙂

    Hoping everyone has a great week.

  10. Experimenting with growing celery and bok choi from cuttings. Purchased both at grocery,cut about 2 inch from bottom,trim bottom to get fresh bottom,place in water,put in sunny windowsill and que Dr.Frankenstein”it’s alive!”. This seems a excellent waste preventer and shortcut to difficult to grow produce(am going to try root crops next(carrots,potatoes). Finally got frustrated with dull knives and purchased a sharpening system. Now have razor sharp knives and have started offering service to neighbors,maybe a easy side business. Am planning a spring rebuild on motorcycle.

    1. I tried celery a few years ago. I had hardly gotten back to the house and the squirrels got to it. You may want to consider some kind of netting or cage for protection. YMMV

  11. We finally found a store with freezers in stock so we are going down to buy one today. We are hearing of meat shortages and price increases on the horizon, which means people will panic and start buying up supplies before restrictions kick in. We live in an Arkansas town and people here are a little slow to react.

    We would like to do more gardening but we are in a rental. Even though we have the space I would rather buy and store a season’s worth of food than building raised beds, buying soil and ammendments, seedlings, etc and then losing that investment when we buy a house on acreage. Or worse yet, having the landlord demand that we replace the back lawn. In our case the numbers work in our favor to buy prepared foods or raw ingredients to boost our food storage. We are doing some container gardening. Seeds are being stored for now.

    At this point there has been significant job loss in our area. I feel bad for people but they have an “enhanced” unemployment lifeline to get them through the end of July. My adult son #2 had several job oportunities before he graduated from his technical school program; now there is nothing. Anyone looking for a serious mechanic? My, how quickly things change! There are very few open jobs, if any.

    I am blessed – in mid 2019 I had a very strong feeling (most likely the Holy Spirit prodding me) that I should change jobs within my company. I took on a position that is much more stable, pays well and that keeps me very busy – no employee is indispensable but the job I do now is one that is much less susceptible to recession. I am very focused on doing everything with excellence and trying to be the most valuable asset possible.

    On food storage we are learning to can meat. This is going to be an adventure. We are starting with 20 lbs each of ground beef, beef tips, and then probably turkey or chicken. I am getting the camp chef stove this weekend to help with this as our kitchen stove can’t handle the weight.

    1. Chris,

      My husband also just switched to a more stable job that is now considered essential. So thankful for the Holy Spirit’s promptings!

      Praying your son will get a job and I continue to pray for those whose lives have been seriously impacted. There but for the grace of God go I. We will feel the impact, but it will not destroy our family for years as it surely will for others. Hang in there if that is the case, we’ve just come through a decade of financial rebuilding and will need another decade to right the boat entirely.

      Sending encouragement and blessings!

      1. PJGT – thank you for your prayer for our son finding work! I have often found that if I spent half the time on my knees praying than I do worrying over something then God starts moving quickly. All He asks is that we obey and come to Him with our needs – and accept Jesus Christ as His greatest gift.

        A quick freezer report. Our local appliance store got three in this week and we got the last one (an upright). They have sold 50+ chest and upright freezers over the past 60 days with people driving from up to 2.5 hours away to pick them up. They have a long waiting list for larger chest freezers. They don’t know how many will be on the next truck but their competitors and Home Depot can’t get them right now. We are happy to have a brand new one but miss the days when you could find a decent used chest freezer for $60. Anything that can be bought – even broken units – are selling. When people are driving this far to get them I don’t think it’s the stimulus checks making it happen. Maybe word about meat shortages is getting out faster than I thought. It’s possible this is just a regional shortage.

    2. Chris,

      If your son is in need of work would he consider relocation?
      We live in S.W. ID. and there are help wanted signs posted everywhere for any number of positions & trades. We relocated here 8 years ago and one of the biggest challenges i have had is finding qualified competent help.
      In fact one of the tasks i am taking on this week is setting up and preparing for processing of my 50 chickens and my neighbors 80 birds and my other neighbors 60 birds, not a task that i am looking forward to, but our local poultry processor closed their doors and that business is up for sale right now, the place is in a great location did really good business and is listed for $160,000 if i had more get up and go i would jump on that opportunity.
      In fact if the right person came a long i would consider helping bank roll that individual until they got on their own two feet.

      We got our bees last weekend and so far they are doing good, just in time to pollinate the fruit trees, the area we are located does not support enough food source for them so we have to get new packages every year. i will have to try out St. funogas recipes so that nothing goes to waste.

      The meat birds are coming along nicely almost 1 month old, i like to butcher at around 9 weeks that puts them around 5lb. average.

      We too just let go of our PO Box in order to cut down on trips to town, so that was another project this past week digging a hole and pouring a concrete footing and then installing a oversized locking box

      Someone had mentioned earlier about retirement, i was told that is when they throw dirt over your face.

      1. Camp Doubt – yes, Son #2’s ultimate goal is Idaho. He hopes to continue his Ford factory training program if those classes reopen then land a starter job in ID. He is not only a mechanic but also loves playing guitar in church bands. His plan is to end up in mid to north ID. His older brother (son #1) is graduating from a top university program this fall with avionics and airframe/powerplant certifications and he too hopes to land in ID. Both young men are solid Christians, smart, strong and hard working. I have no doubt they’ll end up doing ok and starting families of their own.

        Daughters 1 and 2 are in college and want to go to that area as well. We lived in a beautiful area of NE Washington and everyone loved it. Unless the Liberty State movement takes hold, Idaho is the better choice. In all, we trust God to lead us in this.

        For now its Arkansas. He led us here for a reason plus I really enjoy my job so that is a big plus!

        1. Chris, Fedex is always hiring mechanics….they have openings all over the country, and world for that matter. Almost all are night shift, but pays great and in 3 years can be maxed out and with ASE Master certification bonus’s he could make a pretty penny. I have done this for 15 yrs and is one of the best jobs I have ever had in my 40 yrs of work.

    3. RE: Gardening. You may find you can grow a fair amount of produce using Kratky hydroponics. It’s a passive method that uses all sorts of containers, depending on the crop you want to grow. I’m trying soda bottles (2L), mason jars and the big plastic jugs that cheese puffs come in. You can even make some out of vinyl gutter material. Master Blend nutrients are recommended by lots of successful gardeners on YouTube. Don’t let your living arrangements deter you if you really want to grow some of your own food.

      I will be praying for your son’s job prospects. God will provide.

    4. Chris in Arkansas, a friend in your situation simply dug holes about a foot wide in the sod and planted in them. Squash and beans will give you great bounty from one plant.

      He then spread a little grass seed there when he moved out.

      This was all with the landlord’s consent, of course.

      Carry on in grace

  12. Scored a 45 pack of tp at Sam’s! Although we have enough for the moment, I was still a bit nervous with the continued shortage. Whatever is extra will go into storage in the attic in a plastic bin for future shortages. I had been en route to help load a truck for an extra load of food for our church food pantry but they ended up not needing me. I did work the pantry yesterday, our usual 100 or so families was up to well over 150, maybe close to 200. We did them all in about 2.5 hours. The line was backed up onto the road outside the church so we’re going to set up a double row next week to try to keep everyone in the lot. Even people in fancy cars are picking up food now…

  13. It’s SPRING! My biggest challenge healthwise, is to not over do it on any given day or I can’t move for a week. There’s some connection between cancer and fibromyalgia that I haven’t seen documented, but it’s a real thing. Fibromyalgia used to be scoffed at as a mental condition (I was for the longest time embarrassed to mention that I had it), but it’s a real condition having to do with how the nervous system reacts to strain. So, if I wake up and feel great and want to do a million things, and do, I end up in a ball of pain for days. Since I weaned myself off pain killers a few years ago, and refuse to go back on them, I gut it out on the bad days and nights, try not to let it affect my mental status, and use that time to read, pray, and rest. I call it saving up my “energy units”, which are finite, to do things that are really important to me. It’s tough for a former distance runner and generally super active person to “rest”. The problem with the disease, is it is *not* improved by strength training or exercise. It is exacerbated by activity, and only improved with rest. Each day is a challenge to moderate activity and keep my mental status healthy. What my mind says I can do, and what my body can tolerate are polar opposites. I try to smile frequently throughout the tough days because it lifts my mood and makes me laugh out loud at myself. My total work in the greenhouse garden probably equalled about 5 hours this past week and a few hours blanching and dehydrating greens. I share this to encourage anyone who is physically limited, to smile and enjoy what you can, while not beating yourself up for not being able to do more than you can. The thing about pain is most folks have no idea how much pain you’re in unless you tell them, and even then, they probably don’t/can’t understand it unless they’ve experienced it. I normally don’t mention the pain topic because people are sooooo judgmental. Know thyself – know what you can and can’t do and set limits for yourself, without worrying what others think of you and remember, the word “no” is a perfectly good word. You can still be a “prepper”, even under limited circumstances; you just have to go about it differently and more creatively. Thus ends my lecture for the day. lol. Happy planting!!

    1. Oh, I do understand you SaraSue. Even though it sounds like I can do a lot every single day, I cannot. I can work very hard for about three days in a row, but the fourth day, I have to crash. This week on Thursday, I was so exhausted and all muscles were totally stiff with some achyness, I get impatient and cannot focus and carry through a project and it seems to take forever/feels like too much to do, feel like whimpering… So I crashed, actually, the girls did too. None of us felt like getting out and working and we actually all took several naps that day and then went to bed early, like at 9:30PM. Jim was still doing things and would just look at me asking, are you going to do something today, or shall I be doing some of your chores? Oh, Jim, please do some of my chores, and thank you. But on Friday all of us were raring to go once again. I hate those days, but what can a body do? When it says stop and rest, you have to.



    2. Sarasue, God bless you lady; I have two dear friends struggling with fibromyalgia and others with cancer. I know it’s a daily, sometimes hourly, fight. They use deep breathing techniques to help get thru the pain each day. They tell me they do a little, rest a little; do a little, rest a little. They are the most optimistic people and are always helping others get thru their trials. My prayers for you; don’t give up!

    3. Hey SaraSue, I hear you! Sounds like we both have the same “Git ‘er done!” attitude and it’s darn difficult to adjust to the reality of not being able to do that anymore. I’m finally at the point like you where I just get done what I can and if it isn’t perfect, oh well. It occurred to me that nobody’s going to come by later with a clipboard and check me off. When I run out of energy, I go in the house and work on my writing projects and do some math/engineering stuff just to try to keep some of those neurons from getting too rusty and corroded, or I just sit and pet the kitty. My cat goes through a morning routine as I’m getting dressed that’s a total riot and starts my day off with a laugh, then friends stop by to visit, or wave as they drive past. It all gets me through the day. I wish you the best in your continued journey, hang in there! 🙂

      1. Thank you for your comment. No, I don’t take “supplements”. I rely on whole organic foods and herbal teas, and I guess you could say I’m pretty strict about it. The minute I eat processed foods, ugh, I can feel the difference. I read the article and I can see there might be some contraindications for me. We are all so individual and unique. But, thank you for your kind thoughts and the link.

    4. SaraSue,
      Thank you for what you shared about fibro. I have that, and rheumatoid arthritis, and have not revealed the fibro diagnosis to many folks, as previously, I thought of it as “whiner’s disorder”. Now, I try NOT to be a whiner. I find my ability to do physical work is very limited, and I often jump in, then live to regret my exuberance. I “feel your pain”, Sister, and appreciate what you shared. You are in my prayers for healing and patience.

  14. Quiet week with snow and a rare rainy day. The greenhouse is up (and empty at this frozen time) and seeds are sown indoors. Some are older ones and I’ll see what comes from them. Already planning on selling extra produce at the local farmer’s market this summer. We also have little full sun area, so we’ll see. Even if it just covers some of the costs and helps our neighbors, it will be worth it! I really want our neighbors to have their own gardens, and am available to help if I can.

    I’ve taken this time to review and think further on our 10 year plans. Just wondering what the next decade will bring. We are 10 – 15 years out of full “retirement,” and plan to take our sailboat out and about for half the year after an overhaul. I think we’d better have some contingency plans made as well. My parents have been blissfully retired for over 20 years, and I do wonder if we will have that option. Hmmm…

    We are still using our supplies, but have started some restocking. Prices have certainly risen and I am so glad for our deep larder. I’m also experimenting with regrowing store bought veggies. Starting with green and bulb onions.

    Glad to see some reopening in our lightly affected area. Just praying people keep safe and use their PPEs.

  15. Thank you, JWR, Avalanche Lily, and SB Readers for your posts… These are fun, inspirational, heartwarming, and educational. Thank you for sharing the stories of your journeys.

    We are enjoying sunshine today, but rain will follow through the evening here in the Appalachian Redoubt. Weather forecasts some snow (although no accumulation) in the higher elevations. We’re not anticipating any here at our homestead, but we are watching!

    Most of the last week was invested in the greenhouse and outdoor garden which are both coming along nicely.

    Our first transplants are doing well outside in raised beds, and we’re expanding our raised bed growing areas quickly. We have quite a lot of work ahead of us, and it’s worth every effort! We can’t wait for fresh zucchini and Delicata squash. …and we’re growing some of our kale for seed this year too.

    Our greenhouse continues to produce Swiss chard beautifully, although we were sure it would have passed through its own seasonal cycle by now. Tomatoes, tomatillo starts, sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, eggplants, strawberries, arugula, and cilantro are all thriving. Garlic has also been planted and is doing really well. Our raspberries are very young, but are healthy and wonderful. Our first lime tree grew like a rocket in the first year, and we just added a companion second plant which seems so tiny next to its neighbor! We’re growing in hydroponics systems as well as raised earth beds, and so there is an environment just right for all our plants.

    Most of our strategies center on growing a limited number of varieties, but growing them well and in volume. But… We also experiment some for fun. This year our garden growing adventure is likely to include a banana tree or two. Stay tuned. I have the feeling there will be stories to tell! …and of course we are “all ears” for any advice on this or any other subject really.

    We are also moving most of our mail from the PO Box, and having it re-routed to our street address for community box delivery. This will mean fewer trips to town, reduce the use of gas, and reduce further our exposure (even with extreme forms of protection) at the post office lobby.

    As it’s possible to do so, we are back filling our supplies via package delivery with mixed results. Many items are limited for the number available to any one customer, many items are sold-out, and too often we receive boxes with substantial damage to the packaging and the contents. We’re wondering… What in the world is happening to those boxes between the time they’re packed and the time they arrive? The destruction is sufficiently severe that we wonder!

    We’re holding our own in the pharmacy department. The supply chains are holding up for our youngest son who is medically fragile — so far, so good. We are thankful for this blessing (and the caring thoughts and loving prayers of our fellow SB readers and editors). We are also watching carefully because we know this can change with little or no warning.

    We also continue to track news generally, and COVID-19 case data specifically. Our concerns remain significant, and we believe we’ll be “in this” for some time to come.

    There will be much to do in the coming week! We believe and trust that it will be a good one going forward… We pray that this will be true for all.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  16. In a State Park, I was once parked at road-stop point, by a park ranger; to enable a small herd of Elk to jump over two 3ft high fences. … The Elk didn’t follow the Ranger plan. They jumped over the fences about 30 feet in front of my truck. It’s amazing to see such large animals jumping a fence without much effort.

    The SuvivalBlog riddle: “Why did the Elk herd jump the fence?”
    Because: “The Elk weren’t smart enough to shop at a SurvivalBlog advertiser, and then carry a Multi-Tool with wire cutting capabilities.
    See Palmetto State Armory linked at this site. They have a bunch of different Multi-Tools for sale.

    If the Elk had bayonets with wire-cutting capabilities mounted on their antlers, the Park Ranger wouldn’t have got out of his truck.

  17. JWR, I sure appreciate your sense of humor in this sober discussion forum. I refer to: JASBORR.

    Check it out for a chuckle, neighbors.

    Carry on in grace

  18. I’ve been making green smoothies and using romaine lettuce in them. I saw a video of using the butt ends that are placed in a jar with water to restart the growth. My romaines are growing in my kitchen window. It’s fun !. Of course I have lots of seedlings in our spare room growing. But the infusion of green plants in my kitchen window is cheerful and hopeful as we are still getting some frosts. I also deal with fatigue. Learning to listen to my body, pace myself and stop when necessary has been a challenge. But I’ve found that if I make a plan ahead of time and work more efficiently I can still get a lot done. My mantra, adjust, adapt and overcome

  19. Lily, have to ask … why more than 600 onion sets? I am wondering as I planted 50 last year, and it has been perfect for us so far. I was just happy to have gotten anything out of my own garden that would keep us for a year, lol, so I can’t help but wonder what you do with all of those onions!!

    1. Hi mrsole,

      We eat them and give some away to friends and family. We eat a lot of stir fry, onions and garlic are the base. We have maybe 40 left from last year. My onions are not the huge one pounders that you find at Costco. They are golf ball to tennis ball sized. I did plant less this year. Last year I planted 800 sets. I want to grow only my own from my own seed next year. I may not be able to buy onion sets from a big box store next year, anyway.



      1. Avalanche Lily… i had an interesting conversation about growing onions with my farmer’s market/egg lady last week. As we shared our gardening exploits of the past couple weeks with each other, she lamented not being able to find onion plants in the local greenhouse as usual. Not understanding what she meant by “plant” i suggested another local store for onion sets. She then countered with “not sets, I am looking for those bunches of little onion PLANTS.” (You know, the green topped dry rooted 3-4 inch long bundles that i NEVER have considered planting, because the sets have a much nicer start to being a big beautiful onion, right? WRONG…) She told me the sets are more for small green top early onions never getting big and the long skinny green top PLANTS are what you want to grow big bulbed onions. HUH??? How did i not know this? Next trip to town will find me looking for those bunched plants to see if i CAN grow a big lovely onion after all.

        SO…no, i haven’t checked her information out. Not even on line…but i suppose I will now. (Especially since i shared this.) Hope i don’t have to come back and say it’s wrong…but she IS a farmer’s market lady who grows stuff for her own use AND to sell. (She’s also been a farmher for decades and a dear friend!)

        1. Dear Joyce,

          Now that is interesting. I have never bought the onion plants, before, but I have had those onion bulbs grow very large in the past. Only in the last two years, they haven’t grown as large as in the past. I have been attributing the smaller growth to colder summer nights from the Grand Solar Minimum that we are in. This year, I did start my own onion seeds and planted onion shoots, so we shall see how well they grow this summer.



          1. A.L…i DID go look online to see if it was explained and found several articles to that effect. The sets are actually onions that have been interrupted in the first year of growth and stored for quick start in the spring. The plants are like transplants to grow that lovely big bulb.

            SO glad some of your abundant hard work has included those seedlings this year!

            Love how i can see the Almighty and his angels “going before” His people in the little things! (Even when we don’t know we are needing it in a particular situation!!!) Continued blessings…

  20. Finished up planting the last of 5 apple trees this week, along with 2 elderberry bushes. We await 2 pear trees to add to our mini orchard. Potatoes, rhubarb, and asparagus are in. I think we put the peas in too early, and will replant next week. We put 2 hives in on Monday, only to find them torn apart 2 days later. From the looks of the damage, including tipped over cement blocks, it looks to have been a bear. Incredibly, in both hives, the bees remained clustered around the intact queen cage and I was able to re-assemble the hives PDQ. We have put in ‘deterrents’, and will soon put in an electric fence. Time will tell if the hives will survive. Next time we need to be more proactive.

  21. I think I would have sited the beehives in the area with the fence charger, not the area with the high fence. Yogi is going to do whatever it wants, but they don’t like surprising mystery pain anymore than the next mammal.

  22. SaraSue

    I have fibromyalgia as well. I was diagnosed with it 30 yrs ago and have tried all sorts of supplements and therapy to help with the pain, with mixed success. At times the pain has been so intense that I prayed for God to call me home. A few years ago after reading about Kratom on http://www.naturalnews.com, I decided to give this a try. It is a controversial supplement, but without this I don’t know that I would have been able to keep going. It does not cure the disease, but it provides enough pain relief to live a somewhat normal life. Although I have not experienced any side effects from it, I encourage you to research it for yourself and determine if it is right for you to try. I will pray that God will give you the strength to get through each day and that you will find relief from the pain.

  23. We got our garden in last Sunday, and as of today about 90% of our lettuce is already dead. The rest is doing fine, but it is a different variety. Luckily, it’s still early enough that we can pull it up and replant, but it’s very aggravating.

    Homeschooling the twin grandgirls has been an adventure! I keep forgetting they are only 6, I want to start teaching them History and Geography, but they’re still working on the basics. Also, one of them is now reading on a second grade level, but her sister is still a little behind. However, that one is our athlete, and loves to run, ride, and exercise. #2 Son is finishing up his Junior year online, however he has Aspergers, and focusing on online studies is a challenge for him. His teachers are very good about letting us know how he is doing though, so we’re able to keep him on task.

  24. We had another freeze last week but I think we are done with the really cold nights for the season. We have had several “Severe Weather” alerts come through but, overall, the weather has been pleasant, even fairly mild, yet the wind has been pretty strong a few days. We located the garden in an area that has turned out to be wonderfully protected from the majority of the wind so while working in it, I get a nice breeze while standing up but I am able to work, either on my knees or sitting down, without getting blasted by the wind.

    I am delighted to report that on Wednesday, I noticed I had two potato plants peeking up out of the hay mulch covering the garden, 1 in the bed of Norland Reds and the other in the bed of Gold Rush potatoes that I got from Walmart. Well, today, I noticed nearly a dozen more plants poking their way through the hay, some more of the Norland Reds plus some Russet Norkotahs (also from Walmart) and some of the Kennebecs. I am very excited! 3 of the Lincoln pea plants are coming up and I transplanted 2 of the peas I had started inside that were about a foot long along with the little wax bean plant that was only about 3″ tall but had 4 new leaves on top after dropping the first 2 leaves that it had. There is still a good sized Tokiwa cucumber plant indoors that needs to get transplanted. That will get done in a day or two.

    This past week, I planted 6 varieties of tomatoes, a third type of sweet pea, some black beans and green beans, 21 strawberry roots – 10 June bearing and 11 Everbearing, Brussels Sprouts (2 varieties), leeks, peppers, celery and some nasturtiums. The onions and garlic are poking up through the hay, too.
    I am still waiting for the 3 different varieties of cucumbers and all the carrots, lettuces, cabbages, beets, turnips and parsnips to sprout and make their way through the hay. I think the hay saved everything from getting frost bitten last week. And as soon as I started to give the garden some water, the potatoes started to show up, so even with all that mulch, the Texas sun might require giving the garden some regular watering.
    We went to town today and picked up cattle panels, T-posts and a 3′ wide gate. I think I have figured out where to plant the corn so we just need to put up a fence and gate and I can get started on that. I am going to start small, probably just a 16′ x 16′ garden for the corn. I am considering using the 3 Sisters method combined with The Ruth Stout hay mulch combined with putting down cardboard first to kill the grass. The cardboard has worked well in the main garden so I will stick with it. I need to find another bale of old hay, though. I have used up most of what I got last summer and would like to keep what little is left to hill up around the potato plants as they grow up.

    If anyone is interested in the Ruth Stout method, so far, I recommend it. It takes a little longer to put in seeds because you need to pull back the hay, cut through the cardboard and then put your seeds in, carefully covering them back with a thin layer of hay so they can get some warmth from the sun, but having all that hay on top of the soil makes kneeling and sitting on the ground easier and not nearly as messy as just trying to kneel in the mud. And the dirt under the hay isn’t drying out nearly as much as it is out in the surrounding area. Plus I am being careful to document where and what gets planted, so that adds time to the process.

    People mentioning elk jumping fences reminds me about watching the elk back in Colorado, grazing and stepping over a 4′ high fence at the neighbor’s yard. They don’t waste energy by jumping; they just stroll over the fences.

    We have started planting the orchard, too. So far, we have a plum, a peach and an apple tree planted and I am faithfully giving each of them a bucketful of water every 2 or 3 days. Next on the wish list are an apricot, a crabapple (for pollination purposes), a MacIntosh apple and a pear tree. Oh, and DH showed me the wild plum thickets he found while out mowing at the north end of the ranch the other day. We are going to need to get into them with a small chain saw, weed eater and shovel and thin them out a bit, both to make them easier to harvest and to prevent any surprise encounters with rattlesnakes. I am hoping they produce lots of plums this year so I can try out the recipe I found for Chinese Plum Sauce.

    That is all the news for the moment. We have remained healthy and are enjoying the spring weather for now. Temperatures keep fluctuating between low 60s and mid 80s during the day, getting chilly at night. But the 90s and triple-digits will arrive soon enough.

  25. Continued with spring planting, putting in our first round of green beans. Our earlier plantings are doing well for the most part. We’ve had over 75% of our planted corn sprout, which is much higher than in previous years. I was also able to enjoy some spinach from our first round of planting last month. In addition, I found several other muscadine vines that are showing clusters while I was clearing out some thorn bushes from our property. I also cleaned out some scrub oak that was threatening to take over an area along one of our fences. I absolutely despise scrub oak and thorn bushes, as they tend to congest other, more useful growth. I also made some repairs to our garden fence, to continue discouraging any furry bandits. Ours is only 6’, but has so far seemed effective at keeping out the local whitetail population.

    The blackberries are looking very good, now if only we can avoid a hot dry May like the one that decimated them last year. The blueberries, on the other hand, seem to a bit a bit late in blooming after what seemed like a good start. I’m wondering if that’s a function of the abnormally cool weather we’ve seen over the last several weeks.

    After my mishap from a couple of weeks ago, my Lady and I both agreed I needed a better chainsaw. So, taking some inspiration from an article this week, along with taking advantage of a local sale, I picked up a Husqvarna 18” to supplement the Poulon 16” I already had. While the smaller one will still serve as a backup and for cutting up smaller trees, I believe the Husqvarna will be a better primary tool.

    Finally, my daughter, who has been somewhat listless since being laid off from her retail job, got some of her spirit back this week. She even started baking again, something she used to love doing, but had gotten away from recently. Hopefully, she’ll continue to get more active, and get her spirits back up.

    Stay safe and in prayer folks. I fear we still have a bumpy road ahead.

  26. Much of the snow we got last week has melted except for the piles from the plow or in the woods. We are due for another snow dump tonight though which given the elevation here will amount to a fair amount. Haven’t been able to get a garden tilled up yet due to the snow and the soil needing to dry out; will be a while I guess as after the snow it’s supposed to rain for most of the next few weeks. And then I need to wait for someone to come and do it, lacking a tiller or tractor of my own now.

    I finally got to see what the soil is like here though(bought the house last month buried in snow); it’s probably a silt loam and loaded with earth worms so I’m pleased. I’ve staked out a garden area plus a spot for the blueberries and cane fruit. I may have to dig all of the fruit area up by hand as they are in the cellar now awaiting planting and the rest I’m picking up today.

    Planted the apples, plums and elderberry trees that arrived from Fedco; all look really good. Just bummed that my hazelburt order didn’t get filled and they didn’t tell me in time to order bareroot trees elsewhere.

    Otherwise just continuing to seed more flats and pot up seedlings as they outgrow the flat. Still back and forth on if I want to get some layer chicks or not; have designed a coop in my head that will use nothing but pallets except for the roofing. I’ve even got concrete blocks here I can put it on. Will see. Every day I seem to change my mind on this.

    I’ve been able to pick up a decent number of canning jars so this is good.Someone gave me a nearly new mower that will handle rough terrain as they didn’t like it. In exchange I will teach her to can this summer. I love exchanges like this. Started her off with an extra copy of “Putting Food By” that I had and a list of the canning stuff she needed to buy ASAP.

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