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 can be summed up with one word: chainsawing! I was busy for three days, cutting wood to stove length, and stacking it in our main wood shed. (The kids did most of the final stacking.) I also had to split a few of the larger rounds. But a quite satisfying number of the rounds were in the “just right” diameter range of 5″ to 7″, to fit through the door of our woodstove. Most of the wood in this latest batch of deadfall and deadstanding was Tamarack (aka Western Larch.) That is one of my favorite varieties for the wood stove.
And, as I noted last week, I had to do a few fence repairs, after the ravages of our bull. The problem with fencing here at the Rawles Ranch is that we keep both horses and cattle in the same pastures. With horses this means using no barbed wire whatsoever, to prevent injuries. So, with only smooth wire (mainly woven wire mesh and some welded heavy gauge wire cattle panels), the critters feel that they have carte blanche to constantly test our fences. For the horses, that means leaning over them, and with the cattle, that means nosing under them. If I had an unlimited budget, then I’d use all heavy gauge welded cattle panels and heavy duty T-posts at very close intervals –say four feet apart. That would be truly “Bull Strong.” But, alas, my budget for fencing supplies won’t cover doing that for our perimeter fence or cross fences.
I’ve also been busy shipping out orders for my sideline mail order biz, Elk Creek Company. Miss Eloise has done an admirable job of padding and packing the boxes for me. Orders have been quite brisk, since our Pandemic Hiatus ended. I’ve been scrambling to re-stock, but the guns are selling and shipping out faster than they are coming in. So it is a good thing that I will be shutting down sales again for the month of June, so that I can travel to gather more inventory. If you want to place an order, then please do so before Friday, May 29th. Thanks!
The big sellers for the past two weeks have been Trapdoor Springfields, pre-1899 Winchesters, pre-1899 Colts, pre-1899 Krags, and pre-1899 Mosin Nagant rifles. Something tells me that the next rush of orders will be for pre-1899 revolvers. I still have about 25 nice ones in inventory — mostly chambered in .44 S&W Russian and in .44-40 Winchester. I also have a few Webley double action revolvers that have been converted to .45 ACP.
Now, on to my wife Lily’s adventures…
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week started our beautifully sunny and in the 60s and then changed to cooler temperatures and rain for the rest of the week.
On two occasions, this week, I, helped the girls stack wood in the wood shed. Jim wants to get in our winter wood supply ASAP this year. So we are all working hard on it.
In the greenhouse, I transplanted into a bed some red and Jalapeño peppers and eggplant that I had started in the Indoor Bathroom green house. I also covered them with tall clear totes to keep them much warmer.
I also started, another four trays of various tomato seeds of the kinds that I lost when I put them outside too early and lost them to frosty nights. I started some more Amish paste, Pole Romas, German Greens and some sweet yellows. I still have many others that are growing in trays, that will be transplanted outdoors in about two weeks. They’ve become very leggy, which was my bad. But I think they’ll do fine and spring to vigorous life once transplanted outside.
I planted eight celery plants in the garden, grown in the indoor greenhouse from the seeds that I harvested last fall. I have still more celery plants to plant outside, but, I want them to grow larger first.
I’ve been regularly harvesting lettuce, spinach, kale, spinach and beet greens for salads and smoothies.
I filled a dark green plastic tote bin with some sandy composted soil from the garden and brought it into the green house to use as a growing container for sweet potatoes/yams. I had been growing sweet potato/yam slips on my kitchen windowsill, three of them I transplanted into the green tote and then for extra warmth and protection put one of my clear totes over the top of the green tote. Hopefully this year I will have much better success in growing sweet potatoes in the greenhouse. I have six purple sweet potatoes sprouting on the kitchen windowsill as well as still another five regular Sweet potatoes.
This week Miss Violet wrapped up much of her homeschooling for the year! Thank God! 😉 She needed much input from me this week.
I know that song birds don’t have much to do with survival, except that they are a beautiful Creation of God, and bring much joy to one’s heart of which promotes health and well-being and improves one’s mental state in a world that is fading away. ..Therefore, I wish to continue talking about them for a while longer…
Right now is the height of the return of our summer migratory song birds, and other birds. Earlier this week almost at dark, I finally heard the Wilson’s Snipe doing it’s call at dusk as it flies hunting for insects. I also saw our first little bats. On a very cold rainy morning a pair of Evening Grosbeaks stopped underneath our Hummingbird feeders for a rest. I happened to look at the window at that moment and spotted them. Miss. Violet, again, got to hold another little hummer this week for a few moments. She loves holding them.
Every year, I spend some hours working on identifying bird calls. Every year I learn and relearn the calls of the birds that are harder to identify, such as the warblers, some wrens, finches, sparrows and other lesser known birds. With confidence, I can now say, that I have now heard, the Veery, the Red-eyed Vireo, the Cooper’s Hawk, Wilson’s Snipe, Western Tanager, and many others on our ranch.
This week on a beautiful warm sunny gorgeous morning, our whole family went on one of our very rare family outings to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho to ride our bikes around it’s five mile loop and to bird watch. We had a wonderful family ride together. It was so beautifully warm and sunny with intense blue skies with fluffy white cumulus clouds building. The Refuge is located in the valley called the Purcell Trench which is surrounded by the still snowy peaks of the Purcell, the Selkirk and the Cabinet mountains. It was a beautiful bike ride and we saw and heard many birds. Among the ones that we saw, I saw for the first time ever, for me, Yellow headed Blackbirds. We also saw Turkey Vultures, Canadian Geese, Mallards, Cinnamon Teals, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Kill Deer, Rufus Humming bird. We heard Wilson’s Snipe and a Sora. We heard many other birds too, but I’m still working on their identification, and I won’t bore you with the usual common birds that we hear all of the time. The picture included in this week’s Editor’s Preps is one that I took looking north up the Purcell Trench towards Creston, Canada.
That day after returning home, it was so beautiful outside, still, I felt that I hadn’t gotten enough biking or bird watching in for the day. Really, honestly, I wasn’t ready to get back to work, was more like it. 😉 So, I hopped back onto my bike and rode up the road to another part of our flooded meadows to see what kind of water fowl were swimming in there. I saw several pairs of Cinnamon Teal, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, Canadian Geese, Mallards, Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows, and another Osprey.
Another joy, that I experience living out here in the wilderness are the exquisite forest smells. We live in a coniferous mixed forest: spruce, firs, larch, pines, cottonwood, birches. Currently the trees are flowering and giving off their pollen, but along with the pollen they are giving off the most incredible sweet piny and spruce flower scent in the whole world. I love that smell. Whenever I go outside I breathe in deep to smell the air. When the cats come in from outside, I love to scoop them up to give them a hug and to smell their fur because it has that intense flowery smell on them. They smell so good!
Friday morning, I brought sugar cane syrup to my Working girls’ hives and looked around the orchard to see how many buds were about to bloom on my eighteen fruit trees. As I was leaving the orchard and closing, it’s gate, I heard a massive sound of wings taking flight from the eighteen summer resident geese that had been in our meadow close to the house, eating grass. I walked out of the orchard to see what may have set them off. I thought that the sound of me closing the squeaky gate of the orchard gate may have been the cause, but as I walked around a clump of trees to watch them honking and circling around, I saw them land in the south meadow, and look towards the river. I looked across the river and saw a coyote walking along the other side. Just then, the Coyote looked up and saw me. We stared at each other for a few moments. The river was between us, so I wasn’t, worried. But, I thought, “Darn, I wish I had my Binocs. to see it more clearly. We looked steadily at each other for another moment, then it continued walking into the trees and disappeared. At that moment I looked over to the geese. All 18 of them had their necks craned towards the trees across the river, where the coyote had disappeared, straining to see it. I laughed, thinking it was quite a comical sight. Then I went back up to the house.
Preparing note: Each time we are going through towns, we are stopping at stores to buy the allowed amount of beef and chicken with cash to stock our freezers. We are hoping our heifer will give birth to a bull this spring, she is due sometime within the next month. We’ll turn him into a steer and will fatten him up over the next two years or so. In the meantime we’re still stocking up as much as we can.
We suggest you also continue buying food and tangibles for your own use and for bartering, because we will not be participating in the new economic cashless system when it comes on line. If you have any debt, then try to pay it off. Try to get yourself into the position of not needing to rely on stores, or medical system. As much as you can, get into physical shape. Pray that we all may escape all things that are coming upon the earth. Pray Psalm 91. Ask the Lord to hide you from those bent on evil. Pray that He will use you to bring His salvation to those who are lost before it’s too late. Pray for people’s hearts to be ready to hear the Word of the Lord.
This coming week, I plan to plant the beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash outside, Lord-willing. I hope and pray that we don’t have any more serious cold fronts come through. I also hope to spend some time hiking and fishing in our local lakes.
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.