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!
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:
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
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.