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 was a flurry of activity, as I prepared for more out-of-state travel: Chicken slaying, firewood cutting, hay hauling, slash piling, building a new chicken tractor, erecting a sun shade for the bull pen, a post office visit, various errands, and packing for my trip. My hands are still sore–several days later–after slaughtering, skinning, and butchering 8 young roosters, and then 10 more, two days later. I should reiterate that we have never been “plucker” types. Since we only rarely eat  chicken skin, it makes more sense to skin our chickens. We then either freeze them whole, or immediately boil them and save the broth and bone out all of the meat. This was the first batch that we’ve cooked, de-boned and then immediately pressure-canned.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This was an amazingly jam-packed full week of activities and happenings on the Rawles Ranch.

First off, I would like to wish our Jewish Readers and those who understand and celebrate Shavuot/Pentecost: A Chag Sameach Shavuot! The first Shavuot occurred when Moses received the two tablets, of the Ten Commandments from God the Father on Mount Sinai after the Exodus. It is also the time that the Holy Spirit, the Counselor was given to the Believers in Yeshua in Jerusalem.  May the Lord fill you all with His Holy spirit and give you his clear guidance and comfort in these momentous days ahead.

On Sunday this week, I woke up early and started working on putting more veggies in the Main garden.  I rototilled two sections of it and transplanted ten black Zucchini plants that were started in the bathroom greenhouse at the beginning of March, and planted five mounds with zuch seeds that I harvested from my zuchs. last summer.  I planted in the Main garden one-hundred and twenty tomato  plants:  Orange cherry, Glacier, Rutgers, Willamette, Purples, Black Krim, Yellow Sweets.  I planted fifty-two cucumbers: Space masters and Early Fortune, Thirty-six Middle Eastern Zuchs., four 12 foot rows of French Green beans, Thirty-seven Spaghetti squash and twenty-three yellow zuchs.

In the greenhouse, I transplanted the rest of the mixed peppers (fifteen) into bussing trays and planted nine more tomatoes of various types in beds in there.  I also planted seven more bunches of celery outside.

Miss Violet helped me plant many of the tomatoes and also helped me lay straw around the broccoli, Zuchs, and tomatoes. All the while that we were planting, every rock I came across got chucked over the fence.  I am constantly chucking rocks.  This was a very busy day!

Miss Eloise asked for a garden section of her own this year and is very serious about it, unlike previous years.  Therefore, I gave her a sizable plot in the Extension garden.  I gave her the portion that did not get manure placed on it, when our neighbor was laying down manure on a section of that garden.  So she is essentially starting from scratch and can have all of the learning experience.  She spent time in there working on building the soil.

Miss Eloise also provided strict supervision to the horses while they grazed in the orchard for an hour or so.

All four of us spent some time working on bringing in the firewood. Jim sawed, I tossed the wood into the wood shed, while both girls stacked.  That took about an hour of the day.

Rant Alert:

Before I get a comment from someone, again, this week saying “Isn’t that a lot for one family to plant”, or something in that vein.  Let me report that two weeks ago, I noticed people writing in and commenting on how much I was planting.  I made a comment in the blog of which I wish to expand on more, but here is the comment. This was a general comment not addressed to anyone in particular. It was:

“Do some of you people understand just how much food we would need to grow in a year to supply all of our calories for a Year? It’s a lot more than many people are thinking, a whole lot more. It scares me, very much to know how much we eat in a year, and how often we go to the grocery store to buy fresh. Can we actually grow enough to survive, once all of our dry stored goods are consumed? We buy such a huge variety at the stores, but can only grow limited varieties. How are we going to fare when the food selection becomes so narrow? Do people realize that a biblical famine is coming? It’s not just been brought on politically, but is already in the works from the Grand Solar Minimum. Many on this blog are awake, but I fear that many others are still in their normalcy bias. Time is running out!”

Now I’d like to expand on this:

Dear Readers: The food scarcity and food price inflation that is coming, along with famine that is coming is going to shock you!  You folks need to put in huge gardens to sustain yourselves for what is coming.  If you don’t already have a deep larder, you had better keep stocking up and had better grow as much food as you can in whatever container and soil you can get your hands on.  I’m telling you that little gardens are not going to do the job for you!  You need to think about how much corn, beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, salad, potatoes,that you eat and start growing accordingly. We are approaching serious food shortages, world-wide.  People must wake up and get serious or they will suffer terribly.

On Monday we woke up early again, and did animal chores, and cleaned the kitchen to prepare for butchering and canning chickens.  I washed a case of pint jars, did dishes, and cleared the sink area, prepared two large pots for Jim, one to hold the skinned and gutted birds and one for very warm water — to rinse his hands.  I prepared two other large pots to boil the chickens down and put them on the stove.  I sharpened some knives.  Then I went out to the chicken coop to divide the birds that we wanted to keep from the ones we wanted to butcher.  Jim killed, skinned, and gutted eight birds before his hands gave out.  The skin was too tight on the flesh of the birds. I cleaned all eight birds.  Seven of them went into the pots to be boiled down, while one went to the freezer.  I scrubbed and bleached the counter and sink. The birds boiled for a few hours and then were cooled and put in the fridge to can the next day.

Then I vacuumed the whole house, and did four loads of laundry. Miss Violet and I, laid more straw down around the tomatoes, cucumbers and zucchinis. I watered everything in the green house,  weeded the newest strawberry bed (It has weeds other than grass in it, that I do not want to take over the bed) and I pulled long grass from the black raspberry beds and brought it, some very large armfuls, to the bull in his pen and to the cows in their pen.  They loved the fresh grass treats.  I planted the trays of Marigolds and Nasturtiums which were started in the bathroom green house all around the garden.  Then I made dinner, we ate, and  I, “hit the wall”. Jim and I watched a movie together.

On Tuesday, I was quite tired from all of the work from the previous two days. I pretty much crashed after the morning chores and a spending time outside praying, reading the Word and observing wildlife on the edge of the meadow.  I heard the Cooper’s Hawk, once again, Wilson’s snipe, Red-winged Black birds,  Crows, Gold Finches, and many other birds, and saw a Great Blue Heron, Mallards and a Bald Eagle.  I spent the day on the Internet and in the afternoon, on the phone talking with two different friends.  During one conversation, Jim went out to feed the cows and bull their evening meal, he came right back in and interrupted the phone conversation to say that a calf was born to our heifer, A. during the afternoon.

Yes! It was her first calf birthing, and she handled it well on her own. That is exactly what we want from our cows. The calf was already dry and walking around by the time we saw it.  During the phone call, I took out my binocs and went onto the porch and looked 60 yards away to the corrals. I could see the calf standing next to her mom.  It was fun reporting this excitement to our friend.  Preliminary reports from Miss Eloise, who ran out to greet the newcomer, indicated that she may be a heifer. Later I went out to make sure she was nursing well.  She was.

Later still, I went back out to check up on mom and baby. As I had approached the corrals, I saw a Bald Eagle lift off into flight from the corral.  I thought, “Whoa, what was that bird doing in the corrals?”  I really wasn’t too concerned about the calf, but…?  I walked into the corral and immediately looked around for the calf. She was between her Momma, and my matriarch cow, L. and F her now five month old heifer calf was also right there.  Baby was fine.  Then I walked around looking for any trace of the placenta that I may had missed earlier in the evening when I had gone out to check for the first time.  It was not seen by me the first time I had gone out to see the calf. Since I hadn’t seen it then, I thought that it had already been dealt with by the mom.  I didn’t see any trace, where I was standing, so I walked over to two pine trees in the corral looking at the ground. I saw some white feathers…  I looked around some more and saw more white feathers, they were floating around the trees.  I looked up into one of the trees and there was a mass of white feathers floating down from several branches way up high.  So then, I surmised that the Bald eagle had caught a male Common Merganser and carried it up into that tree to eat his meal. Wild Kingdom!

On Wednesday, I woke up early again, and went right outside to feed the cows and chickens and to check up on the baby calf.  I was able to confirm that Baby was indeed a heifer and she was doing well. Then I went right to the kitchen to de-bone and can the chickens that we had butchered and boiled two days before.  While I prepared the jars and de-boned the chicken, strained the broth, and prepared the Pressure Canner, Jim went out to finish butchering the last ten roosters that we had wanted to do.  Miss Eloise helped to clean the birds while, I worked on the canning. Those last ten birds were also boiled and canned, though three quarts of them were frozen.  Miss Violet vacuumed and practiced piano, while we worked.

By the end of the day I had pressure canned 23 pints of chicken, in broth.  Also overnight, we boiled down the carcass bones to make broth — also to can.

In the evening I went out to check on the calf and mom, A. and to feed them their dinner.  After bringing all cows their hay, I stood nearby watching them eat.   Baby is fearless.  She came right up to me and sniffed me.  She let me pet her.  I watched Momma to see her reaction to me.  She was watching, but was not nervous at all. She never mooed at me or shook her head at me, or warned me off.  As I watched, the calf ran off and began running slightly wobbily, crazy loops around the corral.  She was so cute.  At this time I moved right up between the two cows and kneeled down between them, to get a closer look at A.’s udder.  It looked very packed/full of colostrum and milk.  Poor mom. That is so uncomfortable. First time Fresheners tend to develop really packed udders for the first few days until the baby gets the knack of nursing from all four quarters.  Therefore, I decided that I needed to relieve some of her pressure and milk her out.  I decided that I would do it right after my own dinner.  Just then baby came right up to me.  Momma was less than two feet away from me.  She didn’t make a sound at me as baby sniffed me and bumped into me and I pet her.  You know what? That calm accepting behavior of Momma towards me is amazing!  She totally trusts me.  Even my Matriarch cow will warn me away from her newborns for the first two week or so, but not A. Wow. That makes me feel very privileged.

I left them to go eat my dinner and let her eat hers.  I prepared the bowl (I milk into a bowl and pour it into the milk bucket.  Therefore, if I spill some or it gets contaminated, not all is lost.), milk bucket, bucket of warm water with commercial udder wash, washcloths and paper towels.  I went out and grabbed a bucket put the wet COB in it. I set up the milking parlor.  I tried to chase A. into the barn, but she wasn’t going in.  She kept running past the open door. So I retrieved the bucket of COB and enticed her a little, but no, she still wouldn’t go in.  So I blocked her sneak by route with an empty water tank, the extra one, and ran her around the loop again.  Each time I chased her, her calf was right by her side, sticking really tight next to Momma. So cute.  They finally went into the  milking parlor and I was able to close her into the crush stall.  Baby was all over me, next to me, bumping into me, going between my legs, and peeking her nose through the “window” sniffing her mom, through which I milk.  Silly baby.

I washed A’s teats with warm water and udder wash and washcloth.  She didn’t even flinch. Mind you now, this is the first time any person has ever touched her udder and teats. Her udder is beautifully formed.  She has nice large teats, not too huge, nor too narrow, nor too short, nor too long.  She had two quarters that were quite packed but the other two were fairly supple.  She kicked slightly, twice, as I worked around her four quarters.  It  had been a a very long time since the last time I had milked.  I enjoyed doing it.  I kept chuckling inside at how sweet, trusting, and compliant A. was with me.  I just wasn’t expecting such good behavior from her and was quite surprised. I didn’t strip her out. I just relieved the pressure.  She is an easy milker.  She is a keeper. I was able to get an easy half gallon from her.   It was mostly colostrum, so I froze it, just in case we would ever need it for another newborn calf, in the future.

A Family Excursion

On Thursday, we took the day off and went to Beaver Bay in Farragut State Park on Lake Pend Orielle near Bay View, Idaho to picnic and visit with our #1 Son, his wife, and our grandchildren. We all hiked a loop trail near the lake.  We had a great time talking with each other, and looking at and identifying insects, birds, flowers, trees, and birds with the grandkids.  I gave the two older ones lessons on how to use my binocs while looking at sailboats on the lake and flowers on the hillside.  It was a very sweet family time. This week’s header is a picture that one of us took of Beaver Bay looking northeast at the eastern side of the bay at the southern Cabinet Mountains.

Friday was another crazy busy day.  I had been slowly simmering a large amount of chicken bones in a large pot for broth since Wednesday evening.  So, as soon as I went out to the kitchen,first thing in the morning, I prepared canning jars and my Pressure Canner to can the broth.  I canned nine quarts and one pint of Chicken broth.

Jim, Miss Violet and I, built a chicken tractor out of 8 by 4 foot Hog panels, chicken mesh, baling wire and zip ties.  We put a hog panel over the top which covered half of it and a tarp over the second half to give them shade.  I put four dowel sticks in the corners for roosts and a 8-gallon glavanized trash can on its side–as a nesting box. (We’ll see if the hens will accept it as a nesting box.) I scrubbed and bleached their rubber bucket feed containers and refilled them with water and grain, and we moved them in to their new home for the summer.  We will be moving their chicken tractor-home once or twice a day for the duration of the summer.  I, then went and began to clean out their chicken coop.  It still needs to be scraped washed and bleached.  It’s a very dirty place.  I managed to get all dirty straw out but I will finish cleaning it next week.

I began to mow the orchard.  The horses are not keeping the grass down enough in there. I will also finish that chore next week.  We are now rotating sprinklers around the gardens, in between rain storms.

Sh., the bull bawls when he can’t see his girls.  They can go to another area of the corrals where he cannot see them from his pen.  He is so “Rone-ry” (lonely).  Jim and I keep visiting him and rubbing his ears, nose and neck.  He is so happy to see us and for us to spend time with him.  I feel so bad for him. 🙁  He is such a good boy.

Dear Readers there is so much to do here right now, this coming week, I have to mow the garden paths in the Main garden,  We have to get the beans and corn and last of the squash planted.  We need to finish cleaning out the chicken coop, and the corrals and stalls need a very good cleaning…

In the news: Contact tracing. You don’t want this to be happening. This smacks of the Stasi state!

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. I don’t think a garden can ever be big enough! I love reading your garden updates. My garden is at least 2,000-3,000 square feet (maybe I should do some measuring and figure out exactly how much space I am growing) not including the orchard or berries and it’s never big enough. I’m always shoving plants in buckets and random spots.

  2. Well, dear Avalanche Lily, now just what did you do in all your free time?! 🙂 Seriously, I feel a little bit exhausted just *reading* about your week. The picture you posted of that lake is just gorgeous!!

    My efforts pale in comparison: Three days this week I managed to get some time in the garden after I finished my work day. I weeded the raspberry beds, the currant beds, and planted 4 cherry tomatoes and 4 artichokes. I have worked with the new cattle enough that they will now eat treats from my hand. The steer will even lean against me as I brush him with a curry comb!

    A family member had surgery this week, and, thanks to many prayers, the outcome has been far better than we hoped. I shopped for fruits and veggies, cooked up some food in advance, and can now ensure I have healthy meals to give to this family member during rehabilitation and recovery.

    The dogs got brushed and I think there was enough fur that I could knit blankets for a small Caribbean island nation! The refrigerators were organized and cleaned, glassware was polished to get rid of the hard water stains, the rugs in the house all got washed, and the bird bath was kept filled with water for my winged guests. On Memorial Day we got to enjoy some beautiful displays of patriotism that touched our hearts.

    I also worked some long days this week at my day job. For the first time in months, I felt more super-focused and I really plowed through the work. That is always a great feeling.

    I look forward to reading about everyone’s week! Keep on keepin’ on!

    1. Grits, I felt the same as you when reading about Avalanche Lily. I wanted to reach out and touch the hem of her garment and have some of her energy and will power fill me up. smile. You are right there with her!
      I love your story of the steer leaning into you as you brushed with the curry comb. That warmed my heart and made me smile.
      Am happy for you that your family member is doing better than expected. PTL.

      1. LOL! I did work that hard, but I had two crash days in between. That hike around the lake trail was not far at all. So it was a restful day. 😉

        1. Lily, Yes, I hear you, and you earned those crash days! So happy for you that you got to spend time with family. Going exploring with family? Priceless.


  3. Still devouring hours of gardening video each night, and learning tons as quickly as possible, as there is no better time to learn and do than now. Garden by day and hit the books on gardening at night. The effort will strengthen one of many, and my weakest skill set. It is not simply about sowing a simple garden, but getting the most out of the space and soil available to at least supplement food storage. A smaller garden can be manageable, and a good training ground for a much larger garden latter. I also believe scarcity will drive prices high, and in about 6 months, general price inflation will drive all prices even higher yet.

    My larder was already deep, but the good Lord provided even more. I have lots to can up, and to put away, and summer has not begun. And now today another surprise, a hit and miss engine and transmission/gear box that can operate a Smart pump (hand pump). This motor can also provide power to other machines such as a Country Living Mill with a slow maximum recommended rpm of only 60 rpm, or less. There will be lots of grain to grind. It could also turn a tread mill motor to produce direct current that can be regulated by a PV charge controller( Use 15 amp diodes). These engines can be operated on old gasoline with a very low octane rating of 55 octane, and perhaps lower. And these are fuel efficient as they use torque instead of horsepower to do work, just like a diesel engine. The torque to horsepower is extremely high, so high the engine only has to fire once every so often. It was gifted to me by someone I do occasional work for who has a huge collection of these restored antiques. It is much like this one as seen in this video. This is an additional alternative (back up) pump to my primary that is solar powered. No water, no garden. The Lord works in mysterious ways. I did not expect this.

    Hit and Miss Engine pumping water.

    1. Tunnel Rabbit,

      Fantastic! I’m also gardening by day and studying at night.
      What a wonderful gift from the person you have done work for. Maybe this person is awakening to you and realizing that you and your lifestyle provide a great deal of knowledge for others to learn from

      Have a Rockin great day!

      1. Yes, it is a amazing, and more I did not share. This person is indeed a treasure and he is waking up. He has many functioning antique farming machines that would be very useful. It is his passion collect and restore these machines. Not only do they function well, but they are beautiful to look at. Some of them are operated by hand. For example, one of them removes the corn off the cob with a crank of the handle.

        He has been slowly teaching me about Hit and Miss engines. He has no one to leave his collection to who will appreciate them. If anyone might purchase one to experiment with, get one that is in top mechanical shape. Often the ones displayed are able to run at reduced speeds only, and for demonstration purposes, but are not up to handling working loads they were designed for. One must be mechanically inclined to operate and service these as well.

        Modern gasoline engines from the 1950’s and latter are easier to handle. These are high speed and can also be adapted to turn alternators and air compressors, but not suitable for Country Living Mills without gear reduction boxes that are now rare. Belt pullies can be used to reduce the rpm of these motors instead. This engine type is also getting harder to find. If one finds this kind of thing, grab it.

        1. There are some older guys here in VT who like to collect, tinker with and display some of these. When they have passed on I have no idea if anyone else will rescue their collection, maintain it and know what to do with it.

          1. Hi Ani,
            That is part of the reason I mentioned this. There are thousands of collectors and hobbyists of these kinds of antiques. Rather than leave their priceless collections to family that have no interest, they would sell them at a relatively low price simply to have one of their machines put into caring hands. My friend knows that I will actually use this one, and take good care of it. Preppers can find publications that always have a section where these collectors trade. They will travel across states to acquire what they are after.
            It is not really about money, so you are likely to pay a fair price. I would pay extra for one that was fully restored mechanically. I could easily rebuild one, but machinists are now as hard to find as are original spare parts in good condition. Here are a few advertised on the internet.


          2. If you’re looking into antique machinery and motors, it would be worth going and spending several days at Threshers Reunion, if we ever start having them again. Walk around and talk to the folks who have engines and machines set up and working, not just the ones with shiny tractors and engines just sitting there. You might find some good deals, and will probably make some friends and learn valuable information along the way.

            I always display some of my machines like corn shellers, burr mills, water pumps, engines, cordwood saws, etc at a thresher’s reunion for a week in the summer, and I almost always learn something from the older folks who point out something about my setup. Not a lot of folks in my age range (early 30’s) know about these machines, so it helps to have someone share their knowledge. It’s a great way to meat salt–of-the-earth type folks. Also, every year I usually get some fantastic deals on gardening tools, oil lamps, and other items like that.

    2. Rabbit tunnel,,,,,a resource ,ANTIQUE POWER magazine. 800 767 5828 ,,and WESTERN ANTIQUE IRON TRADER @gmail,
      Lots of classified adds in both ,

  4. Such a busy week you all had!

    We helped our kids move (they are now only 45 minutes from us), planted the rest of the seedlings out and put in 3 fruit trees.

    Hubby went to the hardware store for a few things, a friend who works there told him that they are no longer receiving full shipments of their orders. One day’s order was 70%, the next order was 60% and the last one was 50%. This is a national chain.

    I was at the thrift store and the owner was telling me of his ‘supply chain’ problems as well. There have been no garage sales and that is where he gets most of his inventory.

    After these two reports, I have been compiling a list of what we need – and will begin sourcing and purchasing as funds are available. I’ve also been keeping up on my mending.

    I feel we need to take good care of what we have because it could be a while before we can replace it. I’m also being very vigilant about managing our food scraps and leftovers. Waste not, want not. For example, I save the pickling juice whenever we finish up a jar of pickles. I use this when I make our homemade salad dressings.

    My sister lives in the Minneapolis area. Although she lives several miles from where the worst of the riots were the other night, the ripple effect resulted in the closing of her pharmacy. She will run out of insulin on Monday, but is confident she can get it somewhere else. I’m praying so.

    Our pastor will be announcing tonight our plans for resuming church. I’m looking forward to that. We have been praying for wisdom for our pastor and elders as well as they seek God’s direction.

    I saw a video of a woman screaming at people for wearing masks. I’ve seen other videos of people harassing folks who did not have masks on. We are limiting our exposure to public places not only due to the virus but due to incivility.

    We are not living in fear, but asking God to help us walk in wisdom.

    1. We are following a similar path as you. We have been so spoiled with running to the store for any need we may have. We now save both our pickle and our sauerkraut juice and use it either to drink or ferment new veggies.

      1. CAL
        I’m so glad you mentioned drinking the pickle juice. I just absolutely love it! Have ever since I can remember! I was thinking of it when you guys mentioned it.

        Thanks for bringing it up (I thought I was the only person who does this).

        Rock on

    2. Sblog friends, please join me today, tomorrow and Monday, in praying that Wormlady’s sister gets her needed insulin on Monday. Thank you!

      Also, thank you, Wormlady, for giving us a heads up on the dire situation of the supply chain for the national hardware store.

    3. Wormlady… We are joining others in the SB community in lifting up prayers for all, and most especially your sister for the insulin she will need on Monday!

    4. I am a truck driver and usually deliver to all of the major chain hardware stores. When the Covid crisis started I was so busy I couldn’t keep up but then it started slowing down. Now it’s stopped. I haven’t turned a wheel since May 20. This is just just starting in my opinion. As Lily stated keep stocking up everything you can get your hands on or can afford.

      1. Thank you, Stu, for sharing the insights from the perspective of a truck driver’s experience. Often the fissures are seen first by the people on the front lines… It’s not until much later when the general public becomes aware that the dam — or in this case, the supply chain — has fractured.

    5. Hi, Wormlady! I hope there is good news that your sister procured some insulin, and is safe from riots. Is their church still safe? Peace to you, Krissy

      1. Yes, thank you, she has insulin! Many pharmacies were closed or damaged – scary for many folks.

        The church was not damaged. There was a strong presence of the National Guard in the area.

        Thank you for your prayers and concern. So thankful for answered prayer! Praise God! We continue to pray – so much devastation.

  5. I am so happy to read Ms Lily’s garden exploits this morning! She and her family have a huge garden and I endorse their efforts to prepare for a coming famine. I know not every person or family can do this because they are working outside the home or don’t have the space, but anything you can do to raise or grow even part of your own food will be a blessing to you in the future.

    We have switched to summer work hours; outdoor chores before 9:30 am and indoor work in the afternoons. Our weather early in the week has been hot with thunderstorms in the late afternoon; then the last few days it went back to spring; which is fine by me ’cause I’m doing succession planting of cool weather plants.

    Dehydrated more basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, and common mint. Dried spinach, celery and mushrooms. I’m experimenting with ways to preserve my beautiful and abundant romaine and red bib lettuce but so far can only keep it for about 9 days in the frig. Found a method from HGTV that said to wash and dry lettuce leaves and vacuum seal for freezing so I’m going to try it this coming week.

    I had to smile about harvesting the chickens; I do this every year when the barnyard roosters are about 6 months. I also skin my chickens rather than pluck them but I put them in the pressure canner first for 20 minutes; the meat just falls off the bones. I put the meat in the frig while I put all the bones together in one canner with water and a little vinegar and process for for bone broth. Then I go back to the meat and separate it for canning chunks and the rest for making dog/cat food.

    Meat rabbits produced more females this time which is what I needed. My son built another rabbit condo for me but he made it for his height. Now I have to stand on a wide container to feed and change the water. What ever works; we don’t have time for perfection right now.

    Processed more chicken breasts, beef roasts and meatballs. I have beef strips in the frig marinating for jerky. I packed filled jars and mylar bags into clear storage containers, labeled the containers and my son did the heavy lifting to stow away the containers. I am running out of climate controlled space and have to figure out where to put future items. While one of my storage sheds is insulated very well there is no power to keep it climate controlled.

    We are in snake weather now so we are trying a hillbilly system recommended to us by old timers. We’re using moth balls in a small amount of water inside 2-liter bottles. I cut triangle shaped air holes above the water line and placed the bottles every 6-8 feet where we usually find them serpents. Supposedly snakes don’t like the smell but they smell with their tongues so we’ll see if it works or not.

    I found out that my elderly neighbor’s wife has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. It was apparent to me when I last took her into to town so she could runs some errands. My MIL had Alzheimers and it is so sad to watch someone you love deteriorate in front of you.

    May your coming week be healthy and safe.

    1. Hello Animal House! Loved the stories of your meat processing projects… What an excellent resource and stash of supplies you are building for your family!

      Please be careful with the moth balls. In our experience, these did not work to deter snakes, but they did trigger an adverse neurological response in our kitty when he was exposed to them.

      Our best success in the “snake deterrent department” has been the presence of our chickens. They will catch and gulp-down small snakes, keeping the population in check.

      You might also try having a snake hook handy. It’s a good idea to ruffle around with one of these (and to know if any slithering creatures are hiding) before reaching into a garden bed to retrieve any produce.

      A few thoughts to try to help!

      1. TOA, three years ago a black snake got into the transition coop where we had about 14 ten week old chickens. It ate so many it could not get back out of the coop! So I put it in a bucket and took him further out in the middle of no where and turned it loose.

        Two years ago my son was bit by a copperhead; he spent 16 hours in the hospital and got a $43,000 bill. This year my rotty/shepherd mix 85 pd dog was bit by a copperhead, and he lived thru that.

        While I am not afraid of snakes, they cost me too much money so my solution for any snake now is a 9mm loaded with shot shell followed by a machete chop to the head.

        1. Animal House! So thankful your son survived the copperhead bite, but devastated for the hospital bill he received. Also so sorry for the news of the loss of those little chickens. We haven’t had snakes in the hen house, but we have had other wild hunters — they can be a real problem.

          We have copperheads here too, and at least one variety of rattlesnake. For a short while, and although they’re not truly native to our area (we’re way too far north), we did have a problem with water moccasins (the cottonmouth snake). We wonder if these came in with bags of mulch!

          In fact, we had quite an experience with one of these on our property. My husband and I were clearing fallen branches from the creek one day. When he bent over to reach down for one of these, a water moccasin — having nested in the side of the creek bank — shot out over his back like a rocket, and landed on the ground before taking off. I shudder to think what might have happened had he stood back up at that very moment.

          By the time this happened, we had already dispatched a number of them from our pond where they must have gone fishing.

          The first discovery of one of these snakes was the most surprising experience to be sure. We were working in the yard, my husband lifted a bag of mulch — and there it was — ready to strike, mouth wide open, and bright white. This one was quickly dispatched with a sharp end of a shovel.

          We think we have eradicated the population, but we are always watchful. One just never knows for sure. Better safe than sorry!

    2. Hi Animal House, thanks for the well wishes, it meant a lot. 🙂 As for the snakes, they can actually be fun! I’ve identified 14 so far on my 20 acres and most of those have been on the three acres where I have pasture, lawn, and garden. When you know which ones are poisonous (I only have one here, copperheads) then the rest are not so scary when you can identify them. I’ve yet to see a snake that didn’t try to get away from me so it’s true that for the most part, they’re more afraid of us than we are of them. The more we know about them, the less scary they are. The est thing about them, the eat tons of mice and pack rats every year, my two biggest pests. And Telesilla of Argos is correct, chickens are a big help.

      I hope you let us now in a future post how the lettuce preservation experiments turn out. Good luck with those!

    3. I recommend a .410 revolver for dealing with snakes. While I understand most are relatively harmless, we have 5 species of venomous snakes in my area. In addition, many larger constrictors, like black snakes, will go after chickens, and especially chicks and eggs, so we treat them like any other predator. We hope that by denying them habitat and food sources around the house and outbuildings, we can deter their presence. If not, well …000 buck does a number on old Jake.

  6. I love baby calves. It was my job to feed the babies and teach them to drink from buckets on our dairy farm growing up. Don’t you just love their wooly coats they have for just a short time? It was my experience that all mothers react differently, but I think a lot depends on how much we as humans interact with them. Can’t say I have ever been chased as lots of readers report on this site. That being said, if there were trouble makers, I am sure they got culled and sold at market.
    Today, I will harvest my first yellow squash from my wicking tubs. I am SO excited.

  7. I was the one that made the comment that prompted your statement on how big our gardens need to be. I know it wasn’t directed at me, but I’d still like to answer. Yes, I do know how much food will be needed. That is actually why I made the original comment. I was considering your (Lilly’s, etc) climate, which is evidently very, very cold. It sounds like you spend a lot of time growing in your greenhouses, because your growing season is so short. I have another friend who lives in very cold climate in a different part of the country. I was just trying to think through what one would do in that case. Of course, I realize that you can’t grow enough JUST on some pots on rollers that you move in and out of a garage. But it is better than growing nothing. If you live in the city (which I don’t) in a very cold climate (which I don’t), it would be better to find some random little pots and grow a few herbs and tomatoes than to sit on your hands and grow nothing. Why not grow something edible instead of a (relatively) useless house plant? Everyone has to start somewhere. I grew up in the city on a tiny little lot, and I know what it feels like to be overwhelmed with trying to grow stuff. No one starts out producing ALL their food. It isn’t possible. We start small and build up to it. We have to. It’s human nature. If we start big, we will likely fail. This coming from someone who DOES produce almost all our food, single handedly.

    I have said all this because I really want to encourage people to at LEAST grow SOMETHING. Start with one tomato plant, get the soil right, learn to use the produce. Then add some more. Maybe keep it in your house/apartment next to your patio window. Maybe get a couple banty hens instead of a parrot. Maybe a rabbit in a pen instead of a farret. When you are able, move to a larger acreage.

    Start canning. Learn these skills now. Learn to recognize when a source is available for less money than usual. Most today do not recognize when resources are available. Start learning. Knowledge and wisdom is what will save you.

    If you have the space, DO get a milk cow (I have 4), start hatching chickens (I am hatching hundreds this year), can the roosters (I am fixing to start in on canning the good meat for us and the undesirable meat for the dogs), sell the extra pullets, get some rabbits and breed them. I need to make some more rabbit tractors and chicken tractors. It makes it easy to spread the manure on the pasture. I am not into scooping poop. I have been using these moveable pens for several years now and am quite pleased with the design. I actually have/had rabbits, chickens, guineas, and ducks in moveable pens. I also use some stationary pens. The moveable pens work well for us because we live in a very wet climate, where the footprint gets soggy really fast. It also works well for turbulent times when I would wish to move them out of sight.

  8. I had to comment on the “size of the garden” discussion. I have been gardening in Ohio since 2003. I have always started my own plants from open-pollinated, heirloom seeds. Over the years some co-workers and neighbors have commented about my gardening efforts with respect to their (incorrect) perception of food self-sufficiency. My comment has always been, “if I had to rely 100% on what I could produce myself from the garden, laying hens, etc. I would starve only slightly slower than everybody else.” It has never been my experience that everything in the garden does well in a single year. Some years certain plants do better than others. I suspect that I’ll never have “the garden of my dreams” this side of Heaven. So, I can’t agree more that folks grow and preserve as much as possible.

    Best Regards,


    1. @Tim Smith, Because I was hungry at times growing up, I’ve always erred on the safe side in the amount of stuff I plant in the garden. Thus, if I think I might need 2 rows of okra, I plant 8. If I think I might need 1 row of tomatoes, I plant 4, knowing that some will die and some won’t produce well, depending on the weather, bugs, etc. I am not a great gardener, actually. I would rather deal with the animals and let someone else deal with the garden. But I love to eat lots of garden produce fresh. And I am pretty good at canning it up. Very often, each year has a different focus, and even though we usually plant a garden every year, it isn’t always the focus, and so we get varied amounts of veggies different years. So I usually can up enough of whatever I am canning to last several years. It’s a matter of practicality. This year, my SO is handling the garden and I am focusing on the animals. That will work well for me.

  9. Since Mr. Rawles mentioned pressure canning chicken I feel I could ask this question that I’ve had for a few weeks. I am new to pressure canning. Everything I pressure can has siphoning; sometimes a full third of the way down the jar is missing the liquid. I understand if I raw pack ham not a lot of juices but it happens even on chicken stock. Ive tried everything I have read up but it always happens. Can anyone give me tips? Ut is really frustrating. Also, I rarely hear the jars popping to seal but the seals are almost always good. Anyone know a reason for that? The pop really is good for mental comfort that Im doing a good job but Im rarely rewarded with it! Thanks for any advice. I appreciate all of you!

    1. @LSM, Maybe the ring on the jar is too tight or too loose or doesn’t fit well. Or you are leaving the weight off the pressure canner too long and letting it vent too long. The official recommendations say to let it vent for 10 minutes, but I seldom let it vent at all. I don’t usually remove the jars from the pressure canner before they cool. I let them cool in the pressure canner, usually overnight. That also helps with the liquid not being sucked out of the jar. But I also don’t hear the seal pop when it seals, because they seal in the pressure canner overnight.

      1. I have tried to both tighten the rings and leave them looser than I was doing. I will take your thoughts on not allowing any venting at all. I do time the vent but maybe just starting with the weight will help my issue. thank you!

        1. Fwiw, I tend to get siphoning when I try to hurry taking the pressure off. I’m below 1000′ elevation, and suspect that higher amplitudes may have more issues with siphoning. Maybe give your canner more time to cool off before removing the canner lid. Rings should only be around finger-tight, if we’re talking about metal flat lids with rings. If they are much tighter, the lids can buckle. Let us know how things work for you!

    2. LSM,
      Great question about that “pop”.
      Anon’s experience is much like what happens with us.
      We nearly always get the pop when we water bath jam and pickles.
      Sitting in the living room and hearing that pop is reassuring.

      The pressure canner is different. We learned the hard way not to over tighten the rings.
      We had some lids actually distort (bend) as a result. The lids still sealed but we did use those jars first.
      We do not always get the pop with the pressure canner. We have yet to have a jar not seal.
      We often process several batches in a day so we do not have the luxury of cooling overnight. We do follow the instructions that came with our All American canner and so far so good.
      We have yet to try canning meat so we cannot comment on that.

      Hang in there, don’t get in a hurry, keep the water level right between batches and enjoy the journey.

      God Bless

    3. I noticed that many of the canning jars I bought this year, that come with a ring and lid, were problematic. The lids buckled and I didn’t over tighten the rings. So now, I save those lids for storing things in glass jars that don’t require canning or sealing. The lids are plain gold with no markings on them (Ball lids are marked). Somewhere in the manufacturing chain there are defective lids. I buy lids in bulk, but now use the name brand lids only. I purchased the tattler lids, but I haven’t tried them yet.

      1. I had one batch of jars that I bought that did that this spring. I think they were Golden Harvest brand. They weren’t Ball or Anchor Hocking. All of the lids that I have bought on their own have done exactly what they should. I haven’t tried the Tattler lids, but I have had good luck with the Harvest Guard lids once I got used to using them.

        As far as the lids not popping- A few weeks ago, I canned two canners full of raccoon meat and goat bone broth, and out of all of those jars, only one or two popped, but they all sealed well. They were a mixture of Ball, Anchor Hocking, and Mainstays lids.

      2. You know, I noticed one of the lids bent weird on one of my batches but chalked it up to my inexperience with canning. Hmm. Thank you for commenting. I sure appreciate everyones help!

    4. Hi, LSM, Pressure canning is something I have not done yet, so I have been watching how to videos by, Jamie, of Guildbrook farm. I like her teaching style and voice. Here is a link:

      I remember her saying when the top part of the canning jar does not have liquid covering the chicken, it is still perfectly good.

      On a different note, I have still been praying for you and your husband to find jobs.
      Blessings on your family! Krissy

      1. Krissy,

        Thank you for the link. I will use that when I am able to spend a bit of time learning. I sure appreciate you sharing it!

        also, Thank you for praying for us. We both found jobs, still at a third of what he was making (as I was a stay at home mama) but God is providing thus far, and I know will continue to do so. We are without any health, etc insurance. Our life insurance policy happened to come due last month so now no life insurance as well. We had a 20 year policy; the timing stinks but what are we going to do? The new rate was going to be$150 a month when we were paying $22 a month for the both of us. Life is so funny sometimes. God is in control I know this. I sure hope He has blessings coming the rest of the year, not only for us but for a lot of people who are hurting. Thank you again. I still covet prayers, more hours to work or a better paying job. $9 a hour doesn’t go far at all.

  10. My aching body empathizes with your aching bodies! At this time of year most of my paid work is outdoors and very physical and then I’m doing all of the work here getting my new place up to speed, the garden, stacking wood etc so mostly I just hurt all the time!

    The weather here has been insanely hot and dry, with no rain for weeks. We flipped from snow and cold to hot and dry with nothing in between. We finally got some rain last night. Temps will be dropping sharply and lows scarily close to freezing a couple of nights. I’ve delayed putting out any of the tender veggies and even the brassicas. Crazy weather.

    Re; how much food we’d need to grow. I have never even done the calcs to figure out what I’d need to grow. I know it’s not enough and I’m not growing any grain. I think that for many gardeners though it’s not just a lack of understanding as to how much food it takes to feed them but also an understanding of just how much can go wrong when one is gardening. How even the hardest working best gardener/farmer can be wiped out by a freak hail storm, early/late frost, marauding deer etc. I know some beginning gardeners who won’t take decisive action to deal with the woodchucks decimating their plants(cute furry animals). Who are blown away and disillusioned when the cucumber beetles descend and devour their carefully tended transplants. As long as there is still food to buy in the stores and people have money to buy it I don’t think most are going to get it.

    Congrats on the new calf; the mother definitely trusts you.

    Chag Sameach.

    1. I would also add that it is really only in recent years that we have seen so many single-person or single parent households. This situation is pretty untenable I think in the advent of the need to produce whatever a household needs to eat and all of the rest. I know that when I farmed as a single-mom plus canned, dried, froze food, milked goats and made cheese, etc plus worked off-farm to earn extra needed money I worked all day every day and was totally exhausted. This is why I don’t farm anymore and sold my place. To realistically be able to provide for ones needs it takes more than one physically able person to do this imho. Also, different people have different skills. I keep wishing Tunnel Rabbit lived near me; I’d grow food for your household and you could handle all the communications/engine/mechanical stuff I stink at!

  11. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming [Redoubt Region] has a short article about how cities are using Birds of Prey to control problem bird flocks.
    “Abatement, the Working Raptor” February 5, 2018. [They don’t use Bald Eagles]

    “Raptors worldwide regularly dine on a wide variety of prey. In the wild we can thank raptors such as Red-tailed Hawks and Rough-legged Hawks for killing thousands of pests including mice, rats, and voles. Many urban areas can give credit to peregrine falcons for helping out with their pigeon and starling problems. Across the globe, humans spend billions of dollars to kill or deter pest animals from their farms and fields. Although chemicals are the most common way to fight this battle, there is an alternative and it’s becoming more and more popular – “abatement.” Abatement is a process that uses trained raptors to chase other animals from an area.”

    “Humans have taken advantage of the natural behavior of raptors, working with them for over 4,000 years through the sport of falconry. Falconry uses trained hawks, eagles, and falcons for the purpose of hunting. Now, abatement has developed from the sport of falconry to become a great alternative to those chemical pesticides. Many farms, vineyards, parks, landfills, industries, airports, and cities are employing professionals with specially trained falcons or hawks to deter or chase away undesired birds. Often just the presence of a raptor is enough to scare off problem birds. Nuisance species may include Starlings, pigeons, doves, gulls, crows, berry eating birds such as robins, and waterfowl such as Canada geese. Many species of raptors are used in abatement. A few species are aplomado falcons, peregrines, Harris’ hawks, prairie falcons, and even hybrids. Bird abatement services require a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Falconry Abatement permit for all handlers. These services are one of the safest and most highly effective techniques, which also has a low environmental impact.”

    My town hired a man with a trained Bird of Prey. … All he has to do is walk down Main Street with his Bird of Prey. It’s sort of like, when a Texas Ranger shows up, all the villains quickly head for the hills. … [In my town, it’s the crows and city pigeons that leave or become very wary (ultimately deciding to fly away). The song birds stop singing too.]

    The ~local news for a city will cover a story about Prey Birds, if the area or city uses them. [Birds of Prey are used all over the USA]
    As a note, Cormorants are usually NOT a problem bird. …. My town has thousands of crows, that fly into town at night to sleep. At daybreak, the crows usually leave to forage the farmlands, and The City Dump. … At night, they Roost in the City downtown trees, and ‘paint’ the sidewalks white. [It’s an unhealthy and unsightly mess.]
    The West Nile Virus decimated the flocks of crows. But, the crows have recovered in numbers sufficiently, for the city to hire ONE, Bird of Prey. [Literally, like an old time Texas Ranger riding into town.]

    1. @GGHD

      I adore raptors and have had the pleasure of doing some work with many kinds. I really had been wanting to start a business doing deterrent work with raptors which can be useful for everything from airports to landfills as well as public parks, etc. Just have never had the chance to do this plus the licensing part takes a long time. Still, it’s very cool. Maybe someday…..

        1. I hadn’t seen that article. Pretty cool. And the need for cross-border cooperation and education is key as birds don’t “respect” borders! Working to reduce poisonings is critical; nearly half of the Griffon vultures of the Golan were wiped out last year when someone poisoned meat, likely in an attempt to poison predator animals they thought were attacking their cattle. Griffon Vultures are so amazing and gorgeous; kind of look like bald eagles really.

          1. I saw that news about the Griffon Vultures last year. That was really sad to hear. I actually saw the vultures flying when we visited in Israel at Gamla a few years back. They are beautiful birds. (Neshurim). 😉

      1. Birds of prey are my favorite bird. I’ve been known to climb mountains just to get a peek into an eagle’s nest.
        I got my falconry license at 16 and raised my first bird, a North American Kestrel, or sparrow hawk. She was wonderful.

  12. Rototilled a new garden plot for potatoes. Using a tractor mounted rototiller is some nicer than using a walk behind. With my vestibular condition the vibration and jerking with the walk behind is a safety issue. Wondering if I should sell the walk behind now.
    Started cleaning up area where we will be putting our Bee Hives.
    Bought 39 pounds of galvanized nails, numerous sizes of set screws and 10, 24TPI hacksaw blades all on clearance.
    Picked up a mess kit, oil lamp base and an American made Westclox wind up clock with very bright luminous dials and numbers all at the Salvation Army.

    I got my second shot of the shingles vaccine so the pain slowed me down some this week. The shingles vaccine is notorious for being the most pain vaccine out there.

    Well I’m heading off to the nursery now to get some plants. I really need to replace the 3 apple trees that didn’t make it last year.

    1. 3ADScout, I love reading your Saturday updates, especially the little treasures that you found somewhere. Love the wind up clock, as I think they will become valuable in the future. Real bummer about your shingles vaccine pain. Lastly, I hope you find some great apple trees. Krissy

      1. Thanks Krissy,

        Came home and started to plant all the vegetables. Will be planting the 3 new apple trues Sunday, plus I picked up a Peach tree. Came in and ate and took a shower and now the City I just moved out of last year is having a riot. It’s a mad mad mad world.

    2. 3AD Scout, I completely understand about the rototiller. I’m still using a Sears & Roebuck front tine tiller with a 3.5 Briggs from in the ‘70’s. I keep hoping it will quit running so I can get a new one but it won’t quit. As far as the potatoes, I’m trying To grow them this year in tires. I’ve heard about it for years so we’ll see. I found all the tires I could ever use just driving around in the country and picking them up.

  13. Too big garden(s)? No such thing. If you are planning to preserve for year round use, you need to look at the quantity needed to can or freeze each pint or quart. Add a margin for a certain percentage of the seals to fail. Then add another margin for growing loss due to varmints, pests or disease. It is better to have a bounty to share with others if you meet your needs than to not have enough. When I was in 4-H (youth groups similar to scouting but with rural oriented projects), the ultimate food preservation project was 100 quarts – the estimated needs for one adult to supplement fresh. It was light on meat. I think because it was expected you either had livestock to butcher in the winter or you had it in your freezer. We butchered one hog and 100 chickens each year. Caught fish in the farm pond. So beef was our only town purchase for meat. My grandmothers were young brides during the depression. One grandmother was in her early 90s when we finally made her stop canning since she couldn’t see well enough. She always said she couldn’t rest until she had all her jars full before winter hit.

    1. Thank you for sharing this, MamaLark! From your post: “She always said she couldn’t rest until she had all her jars full before winter hit.”

      This is terribly familiar. Most of my own ancestral family is from the Great Plains, and I was born in that part of the country myself. Every one among us shares the sentiment of your grandmother! We cannot rest until we have prepared for winter, and I experience this every year myself even now when I live in a place with much milder winters than the prior generations. We do have true winters in my current home state, but nothing like those of the Great Plains to be sure!

  14. I finally made it back from Kidney Stone Zombie Land. After passing four at home in April, a marble-sized one dropped into each ureter in early May blocking all urine flow so I had to head to the emergency room. They ended up rushing me into surgery to run some bailing wire between my kidneys and bladder (I think they call those stents in more prosperous parts of the country) to prevent my kidneys from blowing out. Then last week they had to go in with the C4 and rocket launchers to blow those into sand particles, plus a few others. I wasn’t able to get up to my loft where my computer is for a couple of weeks but was able to at least read SurvivalBlog on my little phone.

    I basically lost the last two months at the busiest time of the year around the homestead. My place usually looks like a showcase property but it now looks abandoned and no chance of making the June cover of Better Homes and Survival Retreats. I ended up losing 20 pounds and I wasn’t overweight to begin with.

    About two days after last week’s surgery, I was still feeling pretty weak and light headed but had to go check my bee swarm traps. If the swarm is in there too long, they start building comb where they shouldn’t and wasting wax that should be used to build up the new hive. As luck would have it, the trap on the west edge of my property in the wild cherry tree had a swarm in it. I thought, “Man, this is really bad timing. There’s no way in my weakened condition I can climb up a ladder tonight and get that trap down.”

    That night climbing up the ladder to get the trap down, I thought to myself, “I’m getting too old for this stuff!” I got to the top of the ladder and closed the little door on the trap to keep the bees in. I hooked a rope to the top and then unfastened the ratchet strap that was holding the trap to the tree. As soon as I swung it off the limb, I realized it was way heavier than I was expecting. It was either a really huge swarm or each bee had packed an extra carry-on. I started sweating and wished I had used a bigger rope. As I started lowering the trap down out of the tree, it was almost to the bottom when the ratchet strap caught on the barbed-wire fence at the base of the tree. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get it free. I was already weak enough, light headed, and if I ended up dropping the trap, there were going to be tens of thousands of very upset bees to deal with. I couldn’t go up, couldn’t drop it down, and was just stuck there. I finally closed my eyes and yelled out as loud as I could, “MR. WIZA-A-A-RD!” When I opened my eyes, I was on my 1,000-acre ranch in the American Redoubt with a trout stream running through the back yard, in my small off-grid cabin. I could smell fresh-baked pecan pie and I was sitting at the kitchen table with my pistol packin’ mama drinking some late-night coffee playing scrabble. I had just played “Zanjeros” for a triple triple bingo with the “J” landing on the double letter score for 329 points. NOT! When I opened my eyes I was still hanging off that ladder in the dark of night, my arm about to explode with a heavy swarm trap dangling below me, hung up on that miserable barbed wire fence. I decided to try one more position: left butt cheek clenched, right eye squinted, tongue slightly protruding from the left side of my mouth. I gave a Tarzan yell and pulled on that rope as hard as I could. The trap came up just high enough to swing free of the barbed wire and land flat on the ground. I was pretty shaky when I got to the bottom of the ladder. I patted the swarm trap, “Good job girls,” then walked back home on wobbly legs, collapsed in my recliner and didn’t wake up until morning. Two days later I got them installed in their new hive. It turned out to be a very huge swarm.

    Yesterday I went to the urologist and got the bailing wire removed and there’s just one more little stone in there that needs to pass. When I got home, I did a quick check of the swarm trap in my back yard that’s 30 feet from the house. There had been a few bees around the entrance the day before but I couldn’t tell if they were scout bees or if a swarm had moved in. There were still only a few bees so they were most likely just scout bees checking out the digs. Just as I got almost back to the house, I heard a sound like an electric motor which I stopped to listed to since there weren’t any motors like that in the house. While standing there trying to figure out what it was, it grew into a very loud buzz and I looked up to see a bazillion bees swirling overhead. Those little darlings headed straight for my swarm trap and pretty soon the front was completely covered with bees and a “beard” of bees was hanging down from the front about a eight inches or so. I’ve never seen one of my traps at the moment a swarm arrived so it was a very exciting new experience for me. I like to think of them as 30,000 new friends welcoming me back from my misadventures in Kidney Stone Zombie Land. Things are looking up already. 🙂

    1. St Funogas,

      Oh my gosh!! I was wondering where you were! I’m so thankful that you are okay!
      You are one of the strongest persons I have ever known!

      So glad to hear that you are doing much better

      Have a Rockin great day!

    2. Great story. Welcome back!

      Moral of the story: never give up, and give it all you got.
      Getting old is no fun, but it ain’t over until it is over. 5 years ago I was in real bad shape, barely able to move. But each year I get stronger, even as I get older.

      1. Hey TR, thanks for the well wishes. Glad to hear you made it back from Zombie Land too. One thing’s for certain, I’m not ready to give up the ghost until we get the Tunnel Rabbit Punk Pinger® ballistic bell in production and have made our first million dollars! lol 🙂

    3. Saint, First I was gasping in dismay, and then you had me laughing and laughing.
      I’m so thankful you saved your kidneys… and your bees. What a story! I found myself reading faster and faster to find out the end.
      If it’s not too much trouble, please provide us with another chapter, “in the life of Saint,” next week. Hope you will let yourself rest so you can fully recover. Krissy

      1. Hey Krissy, I’m glad you enjoyed the story. I write mostly to entertain myself and sometimes I share the stories with others. I always enjoy your posts too. I felt so wonderful today there was no hope of getting any rest, I’m so far behind around the homestead I spent 14 hours getting things done. I should sleep like a baby tonight…as soon as I get that last swarm of bees down out of that tree. 🙂

    4. St. Funogas! So thankful for the news that you are on the other side of the worst of this, and that you are on the mend. We’ve missed you here at the SB posting pages. It’s a blessing to all of us that you’re back!

  15. Made some progress on the garden shed I’m building- was able to get all of the lumber free as leftovers from a job. Started harvesting strawberries and asparagus this week- wow how I’ve missed the taste of real food! Our hybrid berry hoop house is really paying off- all of the berry plants look better than ever- looking forward to some serious yields! This year our garden is the biggest and farthest along it’s ever been yet, as Lily points out, we are no where near the food production needed to last all year. Hopefully we’ll be able to start some permaculture projects this year- mostly wanting to do large scale grain plantings. Finally visited the doctor this week to get a knee injury examined. It was an old patella tendon injury that I re-injured a few months ago and It’s severely limited my movement abilities. Looking like 12 weeks of physical therapy and steroid injections to hopefully avoid surgery.

    1. HP, am adding you and your knee to prayer list. Please keep us posted how you do going to PT. Do you actually live north in permafrost area? I just read last week that some permafrost areas are thawing. Your produce sounds delicious. Blessings on your week, Krissy

  16. Things really coming apart in the u.s.a. God is in control and we need to seek his guidance. In Oklahoma its alresdy hot but work has to continue. Chickens to process, eggs to gather and i need info from my prepoer brother s and sisters on best way to preserve eggs. I have more than i can give away. Garden doing good and am about ready to plant more. G bless all of us who are trying to do things right.

    1. Lennis,
      I haven’t tried it yet, but I am planning on trying the mineral oil method of preserving eggs. I bought the oil, but haven’t had a chance to give it a go. If you plan to try this, you can get mineral oil by the gallon in the veterinary sections of farm and feed stores. A gallon should do a LOT of eggs. You can also use sodium silicate, aka water glass. The sodium silicate method has been around for a long time. Both methods are easy to find instructions for.
      I hope this helps!

      1. We did the mineral oil technique for a while. We found that it was not nearly as effective in preserving eggs as was simply leaving the bloom intact. (On clean eggs of course).

    2. My mom used to freeze excess eggs. We then used them for breakfast after the communion service I attended each Wednesday morning before school in high school. We scrambled them. She froze them without shells in a plastic bag. There is a you tube video by Homestead Heart that details how she freezes eggs in muffin tins using silicon liners. I am going to try it in muffin tins with no liners since I am not convinced the silicon is safe. Will oil the tins a little and dip in hot water momentarily to get them out if necessary.
      Picked up the third kune kune pig this week. She is so tiny and a real sweetie. It hit 105 degrees this week so I have her in one of the bathrooms for now. Its going to be 74 degrees today. Good bonding time. The other two are at the new homestead so its much cooler.
      One daughter and I pressure canned grape leaves this week. It will be a nice way to fancy up stored rice. All the recipes she found said to hot water bath them because you add lemon juice but I felt they fell into the vegetable category so we pressure canned. Does anyone have experience with grape leaf canning ? They are a great source of food since they grow so prolifically.
      Have a few chicks hatching today to replace some of the losses at the new homestead and the ones I gave to my great-granddaughters.. Also had 7 quail hatch this week. I’ve basically just kept up with the watering this week because of the heat. So glad it is cooler. My sister has really stepped upper gardening activities. She lives in a big city environment. She is trying lots of new things and varieties to see what does best. One daughter who also lives in a city is trying lots of new things in a small backyard she share with three other tenants . Now a second tenant has put in a garden bed. This is so good to see. Does anyone have any ideas about whether property prices in northern California might drop as the impact of the virus shut-down gets more intense ? Daughter and fiancé are starting to search for property in Sonoma, Napa, and Mendocino and possibly Lake counties. They want to start a farm to table business and have very little money to get started.

      1. I’ve thought of using muscadine and scuppernong leaves to make some stuffed grape leaves, but never thought of canning them. I spent a bit of time in Northern California, pretty country and a very different mindset than LA.

    3. I also have tried the mineral oil to preserve eggs and it works best with the Styrofoam egg cartons. The oil soaks into the cardboard cartons and the eggs don’t last as long. I have them last about 4 months. HOWEVER I watched a video on water glossing eggs…. using pickling lime and water. It is supposed to work better than mineral oil. I will try this next time I have extra eggs.

      1. I haven’t actually tried the mineral oil method, but I bought a gallon of oil and thought I’d try it one day soon. And I have plenty of styrofoam egg cartons.
        I need to look into water glassing with pickling lime, I’d be up for trying that as well. I do usually leave the bloom intact and the eggs last for a surprising amount of time when brought inside and kept in a cool room.

  17. Congratulations Lily!! Love your stories!

    Whoooosh went the week. So sore, thought I pulled my shoulder out of joint but after lots of prayer and rest, my shoulder is better. Too old for this stuff. LOL. Helped plant fruit trees on the family farm, worked in the greenhouse, we successfully opened our farm store so I was baking, baking, baking, and sewing, transferring honey into pint sized jars, etc. My new little wood stove with a cook top (small Jotul) will be installed this week. I cleaned the guest rooms that have been closed off all winter. I cleaned, filled, and sealed a dozen food grade buckets with beans, peas, rice, wheat berries, flour. While I generally like to purchase organic flour or organic wheat berries, in these times, flour is flour, so I purchased 50 lbs of all purpose flour from Costco (25 lb bags, limited to 1 bag per order) for about $16. All available space is being utilized without it looking like it. LOL. I like things neat and clean, no clutter, so it’s taking quite a bit of work. Cases of canning jars fit under the beds. Scored another used freezer. Met a local gal who is raising meat chickens – we are either going to barter or pay each other, whichever works.

    Someone on this forum suggested pure ammonia to deter the yellow jackets. I’m so excited that I can control them around my deck now. If I sit on the deck, I keep a spray bottle of ammonia nearby. If I see them building nests on the railing, I spray the tiny nest thoroughly and later blast it off with the hose. Thank you, whoever you are!!

    Finally warmed up enough to start planting outside the greenhouse! Potato plants are coming up and tomorrow I will be (hopefully) planting out all the containers for the deck garden.

    Regarding growing enough food – it’s very difficult. Even though I’m growing potatoes, I just purchased a 20lb bag to can up. I’ll be putting up twice as many tomatoes and potatoes this year as last.

    Praying for all those caught in the crosshairs of the riots. I’m thankful my adult children can shoot straight and maintain situational awareness.

    Blessings to all.

    1. Hi, SaraSue, Yeah for your new wood stove coming! I love the vision you baking this last week. I, too, love to bake. So glad your shoulder is better. Do you know what name of fruit trees and root stock were used? I’m curious what works in your cold climate zone.
      Also, I’m wondering if Costco delivered to you way out there, or if you drove to Costco for supplies. I’m still looking for land in the Redoubt, that’s why I’m asking.
      Your progress in storing foods in buckets inspires me. I have only purchased them when they were 50%-60% off or more. For me, sometimes that worked out to be cheaper. However, I do want to do it your way as well. There is just so little time and never enough money, hahaha. I feel like I’m trying to cram getting a Prepper, BS, MA and Ph.D all in the first four years required for a BS. It is what it is, and every bit of progress is wonderful.

      I totally understand your predicament with space. However, while you have yours undetected, mine are EVERYWHERE: Five feet high lining the the entire length of hallway, half of den, one full bedroom floor to ceiling, half of another bedroom, pantry, garage, and now about 1500+ canning jars in the middle of the family room, with more needed. I never planned on acquiring this much at this location but if I wait until I have a retreat, I believe it will be too late to get items. So, I count it a blessing I will have the trouble of moving it all.
      I am concerned about there being a shortage of canning jars, or the lack of supply chain to get them. I would love for my concern to be wrong!
      I’m so upset at that murderous, evil policeman, I can’t even talk about it. I was praying an imprecatory prayer against him, realized sometimes the Lord saves reallyyy evil people, and then I had my Jonah moment. He was a Ninevite and I did not want him to get saved… Oops.
      Told the Lord all about it and left it in His hands…
      That said, I pray your week will be wonderful, SaraSue. Blessings, Krissy

      1. Yes, Costco delivers via UPS. UPS and Fedex trucks zoom around our valley all the time, even in the winter. 2- day delivery though is almost never 2 days as weather can always interfere – it can be a week or two. No fresh food can be delivered, but anything that can be shipped normally is. Fresh food, is available at a large grocery chain in the next town over, but winters being harsh, it can be tough to get to (for me). Which is where canning and freezing comes in handy. I actually consider it a fun challenge to not have to go to a grocery store all winter, with the exception of fresh milk that I can get at a dollar store in my little town. It is a different way of eating – eating with the seasons. I rely on soups and stews and casserole type meals during winter, but I have a freezer full of beef, chicken, pork so not everything comes out of a can.

        Regarding the trees (mostly cherry and apple). Check out Stark Brothers online, but also check out your local nursery or local Costco because they generally will carry what does well in your growing zone. In Spring, Costco has so many plants, bushes, trees at bargain prices. When we drive to our Costco it takes about 2.5-3 hours. Some people go to Costco no matter the weather in their big trucks with snow tires. I’m not that brave. I like to snuggle in during the winter with something simmering on the stove. Winters are so beautiful here, so quiet, so peaceful, so restful if you don’t have to fight the weather for a commute. For me to say that winters are blessed is huge because I was born and raised in Southern California where it’s 72 degrees most of the year, shorts, tank tops, and barefoot. LOL. Now it’s boots, jackets, gloves, and scarves. But, I’m loving it.

        I made some decisions about where to live in the “Redoubt” based on a number of important (to me) factors. I had family here. I’m not strong enough to do a lot of things by myself, while I try!! There is a little town of about 500 people near me. There is a post office, a dollar store, a fire station, and a couple small diners. I need to see a doctor or two or three at least once a year to keep tabs on my cancer, so while there aren’t any specialists near by, there is a hospital in the next town over and I’m pretty much directing my own care at this point and can set up appointments with specialists that I would have to travel to see. I shoveled a lot of snow this past winter and it was a killer, but I can get someone to plow me out all winter because I’m near a town. So, Family, Health needs, other Services were my priorities. When I was a younger woman and very healthy, I dreamed of living off grid waaaay out in the boonies! That is not possible for me now, so I had to compromise. It’s definitely something to think about. I hope you find something wonderful!!

        P.S. My main living area is full of empty boxes and trash from all my efforts and they need to be cut down and taken to the recycling center/dumps… Having things delivered has a down side! I make lists for myself: What do I WANT to do, what MUST I do, and what SHOULD I do because my energy is limited. And if I’m feeling grumpy about all the SHOULDs, I just pick something from my WANT list and I feel better. I just finished canning up Rhubarb Strawberry jam just because I WANTED to. You’re doing fine!!

  18. A number of years ago I was trying to figure out how much food to grow for a year for one man and one woman. I put together a excel spreadsheet using the USDA recommendations from the 1960 farm and garden pamphlet ( back then they recommended more fruits and veg). I used this as a template then made the spreadsheet so you could input numbers to the diet you follow. Just off of their recommendations you would need to produce for just two people
    Citrus/tomatoes 260 lbs
    Green/yellow vegetables 78 lbs
    Potatoes 156 lbs
    Other fruit/ vegetables 676 lbs
    Grain 260 lbs
    Dry beans/peas 19.5 lbs
    Eggs 676 eggs
    Meat /poultry 468 lbs
    I know, no one eats this diet but it does give you an idea of what you need to produce and how much you need to store depending on your climate. Hope this helps you get a rough idea of what is needed.

    1. That’s pretty interesting. Rather scary too. I’ve seen some estimates through various sites such as the basic food storage requirements that the LDS puts out. It’s always hard for me to figure out as I don’t eat meat/poultry. I guess maybe I’d just have to significantly ramp up the dried beans/peas. Fish doesn’t show up either nor does dairy and I eat both. The egg numbers seem crazy high. Still, an interesting starting place and glad to see it’s heavy on fruit/veggies.

      1. Hey Ani,
        That’s what happens when I try to do something in a hurry. I don’t have dairy animal’s so I left them out and we don’t eat much fish, but they were in the recommendations. I think that is why it is hard to figure out what to grow because of various diets and preferences. I like the way they split up the fruit and vegetables it made me realize I was growing way to many of some and not enough of others. What’s really fun is trying to prioritize what gets planted and when in the garden.

      2. The Provident Living Guide to Family Preparedness (Mormon) Food Storage Calculator, is on the Internet. (Anyone can use it. The Mormons encourage everyone to prepare for hard-times.)
        Here’s the link: providentliving(dot)com/preparedness/food-storage/foodcalc/

        Look at this one too. = The Most Frequently Asked Questions about Home Production and Storage. Link: churchofjesuschrist(dot)org/study/ensign/1977/08/the-most-frequently-asked-questions-about-home-production-and-storage?lang=eng

        Also this: It’s possible to download the Latter-Day Saints (LDS) Preparedness Manual in a PDF file. [Different places on the Internet] The long ‘book’ is also apparently sold on Amazon. [It might be possible to get the SurvivalBlog discount too]

        The first item to buy with the Economic Impact Payment is a good Water Filtration System. The advertisers on >Survivalblog sell good ones. The moment the System arrives in the delivery truck, get it going filtering the drinking water. [Water suppliers somewhere on their site are required to publish (certain) dangerous chemicals found in the supplied water.]

        …………. In my town, there was a long list of farm chemicals NOT deemed dangerous. My town stopped publishing all the chemicals. The town just tells us about the ones the Federal Government has decided are dangerous. [At one time there was a long list of common farm and household chemicals on the Water-Site. Presumably, the chemicals are still in the tap water.]

        People need all of the necessary intake calories, along with minerals and vitamins. There’s a lot of information available; see the Mormon FAQ information. …. Somethings can’t be stored, easily. +Clean water is essential for health.

        I’m NOT a Mormon; the LDS Church puts out good information.

        1. GGDH, Thank you for the very useful links.

          Also, I didn’t know about, “farm chemicals not deemed dangerous,” being in drinking water. Unbelievable.
          However, the Lord always goes before me, and He provided amazing sales last Black Friday on water filter systems, so I purchased five systems and enough extra filters for 35,000 gallons. Whoever ends up using these will know that God is into the details, and even cares about their having clean drinking water.

          Your posts are always appreciated, Krissy

    2. This kind of a list is eye opening for people trying to wrap their minds around how much food is required for a year. We encourage everyone to store as much shelf-stable food as they can, to create renewable food sources in so far as this is possible (think gardens, hens, etc), and then to add the super long term food storage products as that is an option.

      Even those among us who have deep larders can improve these. For anyone just beginning, the most important part of the journey is getting started. Every step forward is a step forward.

    3. Uff da, I would rather eat this diet than the fly larvae and fake meat the NWO wants us to eat. This is a wonderful reference list. Thank you for posting it, Krissy

  19. Having lived this”homesteading” lifestyle a long time now I’m impressed at all you’ve done. Concerning the canning jars losing liquid, another possibility is the pressure changed radically from high to low and back. As long as it sealed don’t worry about it. Just make sure you keep in continuously at the proper pressure during the processing time. If it drops very much below restart the timing process. It’s Very important to run the canner at the right pressure the entire time. I usually run mine at a slightly higher pressure to ensure this. Concerning processing chickens. Layer type chickens that are older are definitely harder to skin. After skinning and gutting our chickens we put them in well cleaned 5 gallon buckets that we keep cold water in until the killing is done. Then we bring them in the house and cut them up, thighs, drumsticks, wings, back, neck and breasts. I take the back and neck and pressure can the meat off. This also creates our bone broth and is much quicker than simmering for hours. Then I clean out the icky stuff keeping good meat pieces. Next I strain the liquid. I then can the meat pieces and the broth. To break all this work up I usually freeze the necks and backs and process them a bit later. I have an American canner that will accept quarts double decked. It can hold a Lot of meat to be cooked down . I totally agree we’re headed into hard times. You can’t print all this empty money without devaluing the dollar which then causes things to cost more. Then add the effects of the solar minimum and the restrictions of the covid crises and you have the “perfect storm”. Anything you can grow will help. We consume a Lot of food over the year and very few folks realize just how much they eat in a year.

    1. Good morning Sis,

      Just a quick comment on pressure levels in the Pressure Canner. Last year I had such a difficult time maintaining the pressure at 13, that I felt like a failure with the whole canning process and even to this day haven’t yet opened those cans. I need to throw them out, but just haven’t gotten to it. After I was told by one of you intrepid Pressure canning Readers last year, that old canners only had designations of 5, 10, 15, 20, that I decided that I would just keep the pressure at 15 the entire time, since that is the level that it naturally sat at continuously when my propane stove burner flame was burning at “high”.

      While canning, this week, whenever I checked on it,the pressure measured a steady 15-16. So I just left it there. It makes the canning process so much easier and reassuring just to leave it at the higher pressure where it wants to stay. 🙂

      Anyhow, I am much more interested in canning meats and soups this coming summer, now that I’ve worked out that issue.

      Thank you for your great comments. May you have a blessed and sweet week.


  20. We have enjoyed a 95% successful hatch rate this spring on our Bresse chicken eggs. We use a Grumbach 160 Incubator and a GQF Sportsman as the hatcher. We are at 7,000 feet altitude, which necessitates a lower humidity and higher air flow rate to counter the thinner air. Our breeding flock consists of 25 Bresse hens and two roosters. The Bresse come from France, where it is called the “Queen of Poultry… The Poultry of Kings” because of it’s legendary taste. The Bresse is a slow growing bird, but the harvest size is significantly larger than even the Cornish Cross.

    After fattening the birds for a couple weeks on raw milk, wheat and oats, we harvest them either for the freezer or for immediate roasting, canning and the making of broth with the carcass. (Including that delicious, fatty skin). We grind the raw feet, neck, head, heart, liver and gizzards into a food supplement for our dogs… they love it and thrive on it.

    The destruction taking place in our cities and to our Constitution by lawless thugs makes me ever more thankful that we live where we do. The primary responsibility of our government is the protection of the rights of WE, THE PEOPLE. The government has no authority to tolerate behavior that endangers our lives or property… even on the alter of diversity and equality.

  21. Lily, your comments about the size of our gardens have really made us evaluate where we are at right now. Having cleared our previous ground of raised beds, put down new weed barrier (thank you SaraSue!) and constructed new raised beds, we finally started planting. I have always canned so I am familiar with various preservation options, but we normally offset what we grow with many visits to local farms. While this is still an option I don’t want to be obligated to have to purchase to offset our food supply, and we don’t know for how long this may be an option. The stark reality for me this morning is I need to plant far more that we have. Thank you for pointing out just what it takes! We are off to the farmer’s market to buy more starts as I don’t have time to start more myself.

  22. Although I appreciate the admonishment to grow a substantial amount of food to address the actual voracious needs of people during tough times, the thing that caught my eye (with a twinkle 😉 was… Jim’s “chicken tractor”!!

    This raises so many questions! Where does one find these; at a dealership or special order? How easy are they to find parts and repair, or is it like working on a watch? And do the chickens need to be licensed and if so, can you recommend a good online tutorial program geared to their, um, specific needs? Do all states recognize these licenses or must an application be made in each state before the chicken crosses the border (presumably to get to the other side)? I looked online but can only scratch the surface.

    1. Geoguy, the hardest part of this whole “chicken tractor” concept is actually teaching the chickens to drive. Some of them get the hang of it pretty quickly, but others really struggle learning how to use a stick-shift.
      You have to help them stay calm and not get their feathers ruffled. It can take hours in the blazing hot sun, so I typically put little straw hats on my chickens to shade their eyes. Another little “chicken nugget” of wisdom: don’t leave the tractor key out where they can reach it. You don’t want chick delinquents taking off for a joy ride…. Best of luck. 😉

        1. I cannot stop laughing!!
          You guys are awesome!!

          It’s a good mental break from listening and watching about all of the rioting and looting going on!!

          Rock on!

        1. Well, the real joke is still on me because I have no actual idea what a Chicken Tractor truly is (just in case that ignorance doesn’t shine through). I even chatted briefly with an acquaintance later that very day about her chicken coop (more a hobby for her than much else) and she was equally clueless. So, some help?…

          1. GeoGuy, a Chicken Tractor is a moveable pen for chickens. The idea is that they work the ground and fertilize it for you, so you can come behind and plant a garden. There are many designs of chicken tractors. I have tried many of them and rejected most of them. I utilize them because we live in a very wet region, especially in the wintertime, and a moveable pen makes it easy to move them out of the muck. I also have/had ducks, guineas and rabbits in moveable pens. My chicken tractors are usually at least 10 ft long, 3 ft wide and around 30 inches tall. They are made from 3/4″ X 1″ lumber, with lots of 45 degree braces in all the corners. I build nests in them, and places for feed and water. They have roosts in them. I often put several side by side with little doors between them, if I want a bigger space. Some of them, I open the door during the day to let them free range.

          2. Thank you, Anon. I wanted to respond promptly but things has been a bit busy in the country lately. Your extensive and very helpful answer reopened a whole important chapter in my thoughts going forward on prepping.

            For those of us ready to upgrade our game from storage to sustenance, and are currently stuck with small outdoor spaces; what can we realistically grow? For apartment dwellers, small backyards or limited garden allotments, what sort of livestock (chickens, rabbits, fish…) and veggies can one grow in compact structures & containers appropriate to rental and similar temporary situations? Of course, much of that is answered throughout SurvivalBlog, but (without looking) I’m guessing there’s no one grand overview. done recently with the latest good ideas. Unfortunately since it can’t be my immediate task, I encourage anyone to tackle such a summary! A whole lot of folks would benefit from guidance on setting up a well-rounded system of supplemental nutrition scaled to small, mobile living.

            Yup, ya got me thinking! But I still need some referrals for a good Chicken Driving School…

          3. GeoGuy, For growing a garden outside in compact spaces, there are lots of factors of what to grow, including your soil type, yearly rainfall, temperature and length of growing season. In some parts of the country, potatoes do well and they are easy to grow, so I’m told. If you are in a cold climate, broccoli or collards would be a good option. Squash is incredibly easy to grow if you have a moderate to long growing season. I am growing some in planters, with a cone of fencing for it grow up. They are probably my favorite. Tomatoes are good. Some varieties are compact, so you could even grow them in a pot in the house. You could also grow some peppers in pots in the house, though they may have pollination problems. You could definitely grow herbs in pots, such as parsley, basil, or chives. I like to use hanging pots for lots of stuff. I’ve grown cucumbers in them several years. You can use manure, but if it is a plant that doesn’t like too much nitrogen, you need to add some lime or ashes.

            Animals for apartment dwellers: You might consider a couple of banty hens or a rabbit(s). If you have a tiny bit of patio or backyard, those would be even more of a consideration. If you are in town with a good sized backyard, I would consider a couple of Nigerian Dwarf goats. They are milk goats, but their feed needs are relatively small. I hadn’t done much thinking on fish in small spaces. As far as reproducing these animals, the chickens would be hard because it’s hard to hide a rooster. But if you could manage it somehow, it is possible to incubate an egg in your pocket or bra. Of course, banties are notorious for going broody, so you might not have to worry about that. Rabbits are famous for being the city dweller’s meat source. They are very quiet. And you can keep them in fairly small pens. I happen to like them in rabbit tractors.

            As far as how to “drive” these chicken and rabbit tractors, y’all are hilarious in how you come up with jokes about it. My “tractors” are “driven” by picking up the edge of the pen and dragging it over. They are super simple in their design.

          4. Thank you again, Anon. Awesome answer and a good start to the deep look I obviously need into “restricted space” food production. You should seriously consider an expanded version of your remarks for a SB article!! Best wishes

  23. More bush beans, carrots, and green onions planted this week. Put in some extra on the suggestion from a friend for one of the local food banks. This is one way I can give since I don’t have finances to spare but a few seeds, a little dirt and time I do.
    Regarding how much food to last a year- I don’t know, but I do believe there is a huge disconnect for most people who aren’t awake and are used to going to the grocery store in the dead of winter and getting tomatoes. Three feet of snow outside and wall to wall lettuce in the produce aisles. That is a reflection of a highly complex, integrated system that they/we are counting on to be there to feed us. The less I rely on anyone else for anything the better I feel. Perhaps a response to growing up fast and slim pickings
    but it’s served me nigh on six decades.

  24. Every year I plant few tomatoes in pots, determinate, bush variety. Simply not enough room in greenhouse or garden. But the front of our house is south facing. The deck has a roof. We’ve had excellent production of tomatoes and peppers in this location. My experiment this year is to move a few indoors in September and try to maintain throughout the winter using grow lights. I haven’t had the grow lights before and anxious to try this out. If we could harvest a tomato or two a week all winter, what a delicious treat this would be.

    This year has been such a challenge! And offers a cautionary tale. On March 21 I slipped and slid down a small slope at our local golf course, breaking leg in 3 places with some bone chipping. Received excellent care at Bonners ferry ER and a terrific orthopedic surgeon in Sandpoint. A real blessing to find expertise and care without the travel to CDA, Spokane, or Kalispell. I had 6 weeks of zero weight bearing. Upon OK to begin weight bearing, discovered I still couldn’t walk due to excessive tendon and connective tissue damage. It’s been 12 weeks and still need crutches. Needless to say, the garden is not completely in, I’m usually 100 percent done by May 15. Thanking God for an amazing husband who has stepped in and done much of essential garden work. With a smile on his face and joyful heart even though he dislikes the whole gardening task.

    All of this to hone my thinking of what if I had no one else to help? I would certainly need longer food stores to get through a later harvest season and possibly less quantity than needed for a year. Also learned to not take mobility for granted. The power of friends nearby who are Christians that lovingly pitched in to help with garden tasks. I felt very vulnerable for first 3 weeks which really brought home to Trust in the Lord in all things. He is a loving provider and saw to all our needs. I know without our faith and trust in Christ that this entire experience would have very scary and intolerable. This also reiterated the absolute need that we marry Christians who understand the trials God sends our way to sharpen and hone us when we are at our lowest point. Many blessings to all

    1. @ Love Montana

      I was contemplating this very thing this week as I was stacking wood hour after hour. What if I couldn’t do this? Would my son do it? Probably. But still, what about everything that has to get done. The myth of “self-sufficiency” is really a myth. We need each other and at any point our lives may depend on family, friends, neighbors and community. May you have a speedy healing.

    2. LoveMontana! Really thankful for the news of the excellent care you received following those fractures… I winced as I read your account of the accident, and understand exactly how fast these happen and in such unexpected ways! Your loving and dedicated husband is a blessing, and you’ll be back up and gardening sooner than it may seem!

  25. Avalanche Lily and JWR,

    I am tired from just reading about your preps this week, I am both inspired and shamed.

    I agree with your comment, that it requires MUCH more food to be truly self-sufficient, and this has always been one of my fears. I’ve read various recommendations on what and how much to grow, but I’ve yet to find one tailored to our N. Idaho climate. While my wife and and I have done well with our livestock, our gardening has had mixed results.

    If it wouldn’t compromise your OPSEC, could you please provide a total square footage of your gardens and summary of the quantity and types of produce. We too live in the Redoubt, so our growing season and soil is probably similar to yours. If you decided to write a book or E-book with detailed instructions and illustrations, I would be an eager customer, but unfortunately time may be too short for that.


    1. Honestly, we ourselves are working on self-sufficiency and are not there yet ourselves, which is why I said I am scared about it. Let me tell you what we were self-sufficient in this past year. We had enough potatoes, zucchini, onions, chives, and raspberries that lasted through the winter and will overlap into the summer and the next harvests. I can’t think if we have anything else that has lasted this long, just now. Everything else ran out eventually and we’ve made numerous runs to the grocery store to buy, or ordered that which we like, Avos, grape juice, apples, citrus, rice, nuts, oats, flour, beans, sugar, meat, etc. We have bought many staples over the years and are fairly comfortable. All of this to say, that this year the gardens are larger than ever and I hope to be able to grow and can enough this year to be more self-sufficient. We shall see. I will be posting more about this topic as the summer wears on. Up to this point gardening has been, an ever expanding learning experiment for me, but now I am multiplying everything I have ever grown and hope I will grow enough to can and dry to have it last through two more years. Now is the time to plant.



      1. Thank you for your reply. I did not mean to ignore your reply, some “life circumstances” prevented me from checking back.

        Many thanks for the information and inspiration you and JWR provide!

        BTW, the reason we moved from the Deep South to the Redoubt is because of JWR’s How to Survive TEOWAWKI book.


    2. J and M, no matter how much we grow, always wish we had more. We live N Idaho /Montana. Our zone on our property is actually a 3 to 4, depending on month of year. Things we didn’t think they when buying property was being on east base of small mountain. This means on June 21st, longest day, we lose direct sunlight by 640 pm due to mountain. This gives us a cold pocket. We have 9 raised beds 6 ft x 12 ft. Plus 4 boxes 3ft x 4ft. A greenhouse that is 12 x 20 with a box that is 4 x 16. Our plan is for a second box but currently fill with large pots that hold about 1 cu.ft dirt. We have 20 this size, plus another 40 that are somewhat smaller and are great for growing individual pepper plants, Bush tomatoes and Bush pickler cucumbers. Within the fenced area is a section that is 30ft x 50ft that is being developed. We’ve added a new asparagus bed to this area and a new compost bin. This year we are suppressing weeds in this section called the lower garden. No matter how big garden is, always run out of room. This year an elderly neighbor offered to our house and another neighbor friend her garden area. We’ve planted 3 30ft rod of spuds. Hoping for a 400 pound yield. Some to share with elderly couple. The rest to divide between us. We also planted a portion in corn for grinding into cornmeal about 12 x 20. This will not be enough for 2 households for a year, especially if we were totally reliant on this for grain. Another section about 6 x 12 of lentils. Lentils are new experiment this year.

      We are a household of 2. We grow in our garden, greenhouse and pots 60 tomatoes, 40 peppers, 15 to 20 large cabbage, enough green beans to can about 50 quarts and also some frozen for quick addition to soup, about 50 pounds carrots depending on the year, a gallon bag or 2 of radishes, 250 onions, beets which are either pickled or plain, 20 heads of broccoli, few kohlrabi, 20 pickling cucumber, sage, thyme, oregano, parsley, Basil, rosemary, chives, lavage, 4 types of mint, 40 gallons of raspberries at least, 3 gallons of strawberries, 2 or 3 zucchini. We’ve learned we don’t have sufficient length of day or heat to grow hard squashes so I plant those at a friends house, typically 3 butternut, 6 acorn. We found that cherry tomatoes dehydrated are delicious snack or chopped into salads and soups. We also like spicy dehydrated zucchini chips in place of potato chips, plus shredded and diced dehydrated for baking. We dehydrate herbs all summer. We find small jars and containers to give as herb assortment for Christmas gifts. We dry our hot peppers and crumble into red pepper flakes on Asian or Italian food. Anahiems are roasted, peeled and frozen. Bell peppers are either dehydrated or frozen. Raspberries are turned into fruit leather or flash frozen for making syrup, jams, smoothies, baked goods. Apples are mostly dehydrated. We have 10 apple trees. Pole beans are dried and dried beans saved for soup. We also grow 3 plantings of sugar snap peas to eat June thru October, fresh.. ..our personal preference is we don’t really like frozen or dehydrated. We do succession plant broccoli and cabbage and kohlrabi, green onions and radishes in addition to sugar snaps so we have fresh produce as long as possible

      This fall I’m planning to move pots of basil, parsley, rosemary. Several pepper pots and tomatoes in pots to our indoor greenhouse with grow lights in hopes we can extend fresh produce as long as possible. I grow all of our greens and spinach, arugula and kale in pots on deck on east side of house so they get plenty of cool and shade during heat of summer. Spinach and kale are planted fresh in February. Spinach can tolerate down into upper teens. Really only December and January are greens lacking but will also move 2 indoors in October with grow lights.

      I’ve been gardening for 40 years, no two years are ever the same! I’ve found keeping an extensive garden log with maps and dates plant, germinated, harvest, brand of seed and variety, temperatures, bugs and problems has been my most valuable tool. And, talking with and listening to other gardens, their successes and failures. And not being afraid to call for advice. Local extension offices and master gardener clubs in the Co-Op quarterly newspaper have many helpful classes like laying out garden, how to figure how much you need, etc. Also moose valley has offered courses on various topics in past. Not sure if they are still doing this.

      1. @Anonymous

        Just a couple of quick comments: If you like squash, like I do, you might want to try some buttercup or smaller kabocha varieties instead of or in addition to the butternut as this species (Cucurbita moschata is the botanical name) usually requires more heat to mature well. Last year I grew Winter Sweet hybrid (Cucurbita maxima is the botanical name of this species) from Johnny’s Selected Seeds and it did very well despite a late planting in the third week of June. This year I have them planted already and the seeds have germinated. Just as a FYI I’m in Northcentral Minnesota and my USDA zone is very similar to yours, but I’m sure that my nighttime temperatures are probably a lot warmer than yours. As a result I can grow just about any kind of squash here and have them mature before fall frosts, including the old Blue Hubbards. The butternut variety Burpee’s Butterbush is reported to be fairly fast maturing, but I personally have found Casius hybrid (from J. W. Jung in Wisconsin) to be faster. They say it is the fastest maturing butternut around and based on first hand experience I tend to believe it is true. I have saved seeds from this hybrid and replanted them and they did remarkably well the next year although there was a little variation in fruit size, but not much in fruit type. Ponca Butternut was a fast maturing squash, but it is no longer on the market and I have never grown them side-by-side, but I do remember that I liked the flavor of Ponca better than most butternuts. They were nice and sweet with a rich flavor. Yum.

        Like you, I like to keep notes, maps, records, etc. of what I do and when I do it for future reference. In the past I have also volunteered my time as a master gardener and really enjoyed helping other gardeners. You have a lot of diversity in what you have planted and that is good. I am trying to do more of that myself this year.

      2. Anonymous,

        Thank you for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I did not mean to be rude by not responding, some life circumstances prevented me from checking back sooner.

        You provided us with some terrific info and resources. Moose Valley is in our AOR, so we will be checking with them also. My wife and I appreciate very much your response.

        GOD Bless,

  26. Avalanche Lily! Great fun garden updates, and so happy for the news that your daughter is now experimenting with her own patch. It’s so heartwarming to see our kids grow into adulthood, and to gain experience and skill in areas so important as to be able to grow some portion of their own produce — and maybe all of it! Our #1 son is growing a large garden of his own, and we beam with loving parental pride every time we receive a progress report.

    We will also be praying for JWR’s safe travels coming, and look forward to news that he is safely home having enjoyed every success!

    Our efforts here have been dedicated to expanding the garden. The conversation about how much food people actually need to survive is tremendously important. Anyone who has ever tried out the LDS food calculator will likely find themselves surprised by the number of supplies, and amounts of each that will be needed. If (or when) we should find ourselves having to provide for our sustenance entirely, we will be working against every possible challenge from the growing season to the weather to our own physical exhaustion — just to survive.

    We were really pleased to plant a 2nd corn crop, to add more sweet peppers, and to plant a variety of beans to the garden. The squash plants are growing so nicely — we’re really pleased. We have also replanted our greenhouse tomatoes for a fresh run with those. Cucumbers are forming quickly and we are already enjoying our first spring greens in salads. In the greenhouse we have a tiny banana tree (an exotic experiment for us), and it has sprouted its 2nd new leaf post-planting. We are terribly excited about this! The bay leaf tree is settling in too. Our hope is that we can radically increase our fruit production, and raspberries are among our goals. We have also decided on space for 5 additional raised beds, and will tackle those as soon as possible.

    What a contrast it was today to watch the space launch after watching so many cities burn during the riots of last night. We are convinced that these are efforts to destabilize America, and involve thugs-for-hire who sell their services as agitators. We do not believe the violence within these protests is in any way organic. The space launch was, then, an even greater joy for us on the heels of the news of so much destruction.

    Thanks so everyone for sharing your stories. We are inspired by each and all of you. We are wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead, filled with every good wish and prayer come true!

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. Hey T of A, thanks for the well wishes. 🙂

      I’m glad to hear your son is taking to gardening. I sent a huge package of seeds and instructions to one of my granddaughters this spring and she sent me back a very nice letter. She’s all excited to have her own special section of the garden much bigger than the rest of the kids since she has really taken to gardening. So I can share the feelings of “parental pride” you feel hearing about your son’s progress stories.

      Keep us posted on your bay tree, I’m a big fan of bay and tend to use 5x more than the recipe calls for. If I serve spaghetti to family when they visit and every single person isn’t fishing a bay leaf out of their plate, well I obviously didn’t add enough bay!

  27. Good afternoon everyone,

    Had a busy week. Tended to my own little garden. I have green beans, green peppers, cherry tomatoes, Roma tomatoes & I’m trying Cherokee tomatoes this year. Also cucumbers, squash garlic and shallots.

    Took some time to get some new blinds for the windows on the main floor of our house. Normally husband would do this but I went myself after measuring each window & purchased the blinds (2” faux wood), then I had them all cut (they do it for free). Then I brought them all home and decided I was going to install them myself. After many tries, and installing the hardware upside down, I FINALLY figured it out on my own and got half of them in myself!! I’m not used to using a drill so this was a great accomplishment for me personally!

    I also took Mom to the eye doctor this week (She has not been out of the house since late January). She was amazed by all of the changes and seeing EVERYONE wearing masks.

    Also ordered and already received a load of rock that we are using in areas of our yard where there is a tremendous amount of erosion over the last couple years. Our backyard is a big hill and the erosion of parts of it are draining into our driveway and flooding out in front of the garage. This is from the tremendous amounts of rain over the last couple years. Hopefully this will help keep this in check and it also looks nice along with the hostas we got from a neighbor.

    I also FINALLY ordered a new refrigerator that will replace our main refrigerator in the kitchen. The one we have is on it’s last legs and doesn’t keep the food cold enough anymore. It came with the house so I can’t complain as it’s from the 80’s but it is time to get a new, more reliable one. I really got a great deal on it as it appears that most people want the gigantic fancy new fangled ones that do everything under the sun for you! No thanks, I myself prefer the old school model with the freezer on top!
    I got one a little bit bigger so I’m excited to have extra space. It will come in handy for holding all the food that I make for Mom & Dad every week. It will also be nice to not have some of the things I get fresh from the store go bad a few days after I get it. How aggravating!!! Yahoo! New fridge!! I’m going to use the one I’m replacing in the basement or garage to hold water and cold drinks. Lemonade anyone?!!

    I’m also Patiently awaiting the arrival of my new Freeze Dryer in the next week or so! I’m really glad I ordered it in March even though it was a large purchase from our budget. I feel that this will be a game changer for me in packing my own long term food storage and I also think that it will pay for itself in the long run.

    Spent some time last night listening to the scanner radio app I have on my phone. Things are getting salty EVERYWHERE in the country in the major metropolitan areas with widespread looting and rioting.
    I thank god that we are not anywhere near a large metropolitan area!

    Also still studying up on chicks and what kinds of materials I need to get going. A special THANK YOU to all of you who have so generously shared advice and encouragement to help me, I so appreciate you all!!

    Okay, I’m going to go fix dinner, Chicken & Dumplings!

    Hope you all have a Rockin great day!
    Thinking of you all

    1. Hey RKRGRL68, thanks for the well wishes! That’s awesome that you hung all the blinds yourself. Is that a great feeling of accomplishment of what? I’d hate to even put into print some of the mistakes I made when I was a young married buck trying to do things on a poor man’s budget. I remember sawing something with a serrated steak knife once because I didn’t even have a saw. lol. I used to just dream about having nice tools and the experience to know how to work miracles with them. It sounds like you’re on your way!! 🙂

  28. I’m on call this weekend so we don’t have much time. The phone frequently. Fueling station stuff – gotta keep the gas flowing.

    Tortellini – it’s one of my favorite meals with a good sauce. It all but diappeared here and is just now coming back into stock. So I bought a ton of it and we are dry canning it in half gallon jars. Each jar holds three bags, and each bag is 3-4 good size servings. So up to 3 family meals per jar or 12 servings. Add in a boatload of Newman’s Own Sockarooni sauce and it’s a great addition to the pantry. Sometimes I do a lot better just stocking up on one meal at a time… kinda funny when your goal is a year supply of a specific kind of food that you’ll eat once a week. When you think about it how much variety donwe actually eat when cooling at home? For us, it’s maybe 15-20 different meals.

    Also working on the truck we bought. I didn’t know how it was going to turn out because it was in ugly cosmetic condition. Turns out that was just a lot of tree mold and it polished up beautifully. Looks like a 5 year old truck but it took 20 hours of clay bar, compound, polish and wax. We feel like it was a blessing from God so we will take care of it like it is. Now I’m on to the interior and mechanical. It runs and rides great but does need some minor repair. Then new tires.

    Hate how Bison Prepper targeted James Rawles today. The guy has no class – and I’ve stopped reading his stuff. No place for such writing in a Christian’s free time anyway.

    1. Love your tortellini story. It makes me think to ask family members what their favorite pasta is, and store it. Granted, they may not make it to my future retreat, but if they do, their favorite pasta will be waiting.

      Yes, to the dry canning. I’ve watched several video’s which inspired me to buy every !/2 gallon jar I can find online or in person (@normal price, not robbery price.)

      (Here’s an, “atta boy,” to Wheatley Fisher for telling me about Winco. They have the lowest prices on canning jars and lids.)

      I like your idea of getting one meal done for the year. I like to cross things off a list, and I would enjoy knowing that meal was finished.

      Your truck story from the Lord has been such an encouragement to me. I am trusting Him to provide me with the right truck when I move to the Redoubt. Ugly is fine as long as it runs dependably. Your truck story makes me smile. God is awesome.

    2. Chris in Arkansas,

      Sounds like you may have the same sort of essential job like my husband. Making sure all the fuel keeps flowing at his group of fuel stations.

      Thank you for going out there everyday and making sure we all have fuel, just like my husband does. You are appreciated!!

      Rock on

      1. Yes – 500 stores across 12 states in my area alone. We see the real world impacts of Covid and societal unrest. Fuel is a key resource. Hopefully recession/depression proof.

  29. Gardened in the rain. Set up a row tunnel over the sweet corn. Transplanted zucchini starts.

    And now I’m watching the pillaging and burning in Seattle on live TV.

    Reports say Interstate 5 was shut down by crowns, both north and south.

    I’m watching Molotov cocktails get thrown on police cars.

    Mayor issued 5pm curfew. Ignored.

    Governor-Emperor has reportedly activated the National Guard.

    People getting more violent.

    Just another day in Socialist paradise.

  30. Dear Prayer Warriors,

    I just got a call from my sister in Minneapolis. They got word that the rioters were going to be targeting churches in Minneapolis. She and my brother in law were on their way to church with plywood to board up the windows of their church and remove things of value. Several church members were to join them.

    She called me at 7, it is now 7:42, curfew is 8:00.

    I appreciate your prayers not only for my sis, but for our brothers and sisters in Christ in Minneapolis.

    1. I will add you to my list. I used to work in St. Paul at the University way back in the late 90’s and stayed in a very clean and safe (relative to other places in town) suburb.

      Any old books and Bibles would be the first items that I would remove from the Church then on to any other items of value.



  31. Just thinking – if you had an hour to get things of value out of your church, what would you get?
    The cross, the Bibles, Pastor’s library, musical instruments, sound equipment, computers?

        1. The update is greatly appreciated, and the news of safe arrival home is confirmation of so many prayers answered. What is happening in Minneapolis, and across the country, is heartbreaking. In the last 24 hours the riots have spread to many, many cities.

  32. This week saw a lot of rain in our area, so we didn’t get much done outside. On the other hand, work kept me fairly busy, so I certainly wasn’t bored. The garden is doing fairly well, though I’m concerned we may have gotten too much rain and not enough sun, particularly for my squash. Tomatoes are doing well, and if we can get some sun to help them ripen, I may actually be able to start harvesting in a couple of weeks. I have been getting some peas for the first time since we moved here, and have quickly learned that I need to leave them on the vine a bit longer than I thought.

    My Lady and I attended a local estate sale, where we were able to pick up a couple of pieces of cast iron cookery and some glass storage jars. Overall, though, pickings were fairly slim, but we did get some decent deals, and it was good to get out for a bit. Pretty much everyone was wearing some type of masks, at least while inside the house.

    Things are getting interesting in many of the cities across the country. Even liberal mayors are acknowledging that many of these “protesters” are imports, demonstrating that this is less about “justice”…particularly since the perpetrators have already been fired and one charged…than about pushing an agenda. One hopes that this becomes an awakening. Despite the gross injustice committed by those disgraces to their badge in Minneapolis…and I say this as a former LEO myself…these riots are inexcusable and simply re-emphasize the thin veneer of civility, greed, and divisions across our nation. In the end, the only cure for this is that given in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

    1. Looked at a map of the protests on the NYT and figured that this was a good map of where I DON’T want to live! Of course my state had to jump into it as well, in 2 of the most liberal virtue signalling cities, with a profanity laced threat filled protest at the police dept in one of them. I dunno. I think that if a bunch of white right-wing 2A folks came to town and pulled such a stunt, threatening to burn the police station down and pouring “blood” all over the place, I can’t imagine they’d not have been arrested. It doesn’t bode well. Was wondering what would be the spark to start all of this. It’s really not about George Floyd anymore. Not sure that tolerating anarchy is a good idea.

      1. Very true, Miss Ani. This morning at church I mentioned to our pastor and one of the other members of our safety team that I was glad we are way out in the country. I can’t imagine what some of our sister churches, not to mention synagogues, in metropolitan areas must be dealing with today. Before we moved down here, we would have been just on the outskirts of some of these things. Over the last several months, my family and I have been ever more grateful that our Lord moved us down here.

        Shalom aleichem, ma’am.

  33. Don’t know what’s going on but I just went on to my scanner radio app and it has been completely disabled….and it wasn’t me who disabled it


    1. What do you think happened? Is it possible that the scanners have been shut down as a measure of protection for law enforcement?

      1. Telesilla of Argos,

        Yes, I actually do think they shut them down to protect the police. They stated on Fox News coverage that the “protestors “ have two way radios.

        This is a crazy world we live in
        Stay safe everyone and Rock on

      2. Telesilla of Argos,

        As of 6 AM, Scanner Radio is back up and going nuts again. Riots all over our country.
        I am wondering if this shutdown coincided with curfews that were put in place

        You can get this app. I’ve had it for years and I don’t listen all the time but I have alerts set up for all over the country and the last two days have been the busiest it’s ever been!

        Rock on

        1. Sounds like a good app. What’s it called exactly?
          In Israel I had an app that provided warnings of incoming rocket attacks; you could set it for specific communities.

          1. Hi Ani!

            The App is – Scanner Radio. I have an Apple phone but I’m sure they have it on all platforms. I just have the free version but you can get the upgrades if you so desire. I took a few hours a couple years back to set up alerts for areas all around the country. You can set up alerts for number of people listening, and all kinds of stuff. I even set up alerts for the Yellowstone area in conjunction with the alerts I get from USGS in case there is ever a large earthquake or volcanic eruption. Sometimes it’s kinda fun to listen to the back & forth between Police or Firefighters on a Friday or Saturday night (Especially in Chicago where there is always activity, especially if it’s hot out).
            Hope this helps!

            The App you had in Israel sounds both interesting & scary at the same time.

            Have a Rockin great day!

  34. Hey Jim and Avalanche Lily, I want to know how many pounds of FOOD your family ate last week to provide all the energy to get all that work done and do those fun activities! Wow, my hat’s off to you. It would be fun to see your typical week’s menu. 🙂

    1. Hmm,

      That would be interesting. Generally, people wouldn’t think we are big eaters and we’re not, though two of us are quite thin and under weight and could stand to gain five pounds, and two of us are just a little overweight, and could lose three to five pounds. Our dietary habits are as follows, we eat lots of meals of beef Stir Fries, build your own Burritos, fish/chicken, veggies and potatoes, Tuna Noodle salad, baked chicken or roasts with potatoes and carrots, hamburgers french fried potatoes, smoothies, fresh fruit, etc. For breakfast some of us eat oatmeal or cold cereal and milk or leftover dinner. The oatmeal is also used to make muffins frequently for snacking.

      So then for food this week, we went through a gallon jar’s worth of oatmeal, two cans of coconut milk, half pint of Maple syrup, a whole chicken, a salmon filet, a Cod filet and about eight pounds of ground beef, six small onions, a pound of noodles, eight cups of dry rice, a gallon of frozen zucchini, half a gallon of raspberries, a dozen oranges, a dozen apples, five grapefruit, four cans of diced tomatoes, four cans of tuna, three cucumber, three stalks of celery, two cups of frozen chopped sweet peppers, four sweet potatoes, two pounds of salad greens, half gallon of frozen yellow beans, a can of refried beans, a package of tortillas, a gallon of ice cream, the equivalent of two avocados in a smoothie, a frozen one pound packet of Mangoes, a quart of frozen spinach, a pound of cheese, a treat of a package of Double Stuff Oreos for Jim and the kids. I ate about six Cashew Cookie Lara Bars in the past three days. This is about it. The ice cream and Oreos were a very rare treat, the result of going through town on our Family Excursion to Beaver Bay on Lake Pend Oreille. Does this seem like a lot of food for a family of four to eat in one week, or not very much? When we’re hungry we eat a meal. Sometimes we eat four meals a day. Our snacking is on fruit and nuts, or muffins, or oatmeal with coconut cream and lots of Maple syrup, (me) for the kids and Jim lots of cheese quesedillas (sp) or cheese and corn chips when available. Meals do vary from week to week, depending on energy and planning. Lately it has been a lot of stir fry because that is easy and filling and healthy.



      1. There’s a fascinating book out there called “What The World Eats” which depicts in photos what an average family the world over eats in one week.

      2. Hi Lily, thanks for sharing. I’m going to write down everything I eat this week since I don’t think I could even make much of a wild guess at quantities. I definitely like your diet more than my own! 🙂 I keep it simple. Frozen banana smoothies in the afternoon to get through the summer without air conditioning, oatmeal in the morning, rice/quinoa stir fries with eggs, lots of chili, bean burritos, cottage cheese, celery with peanut butter, wheat sprouts, and I’ve never outgrown PBJ’s so eat those too. I grow lots of sweet potatoes and I grate those into lots of things like chili and pasta sauce as “extenders” and they make good hash browns too. My butternut squash keep well so I grow a lot of those, slice them lengthwise into quarters and microwave them, then eat them with butter. I freeze the seeds in a bag and then once all the butternuts are eaten, I clean all the seeds and salt and bake them for a nice treat. I think I’m going to do like you do and freeze most of my blackberries and raspberries this year instead of making them into jam and syrup.

  35. “every rock I came across got chucked over the fence”

    I can imagine some archeologists somewhere wondering why there are piles of rocks near some dwelling from long ago, yet no rocks in another area. Now I know why.

  36. Just got through a week of suffering myself! Besides the sore muscles from rebuilding the garden into raised beds, I suffered from a blocked saliva gland that really puffed up my face. Add to that a possible bout of shingles in a bad spot. It broke out in a 1″ patch on each side of my backside, and with the sweat, burned even worse! If that is anything like what happens to those with the mark in the first bowl judgement, you REALLY don’t want that mark!!! But, stupidity should be painful!

    But through it, I got the first of six beds built and filled. Now have to wait for the ground to dry after 3 1/2″ of rain and weeding to get done before the next gets built. My transplanted wild blueberries have all survived, and the one I thought was dead leafed out today. The larger bushes have all flowered. The taming process for the wild ducks has begun. Have 2 pairs of wood ducks, a dozen mallard drakes, and 2 hens hanging out and coming up to the food dish. Have seen two other hens with 4 and 8 young in tow. Hopefully, the hazing of the geese has driven them down to the park to stay. Have to get more BB’s just in case they come back. Getting pretty good with artillery shooting with the Red Rider, and can lob a BB accurately to 150 yards.

  37. Having trouble with survival blog being blocked on Google and duck duck go ,started on Saturday ,,,
    Well folks the war has started from the looks of things , was gong to post about Warren Buffett’s comments at the stockholders meeting ,how about a thumbnail for now ,Buffett’s actions and explainations indicate that he believes the worst is yet to come , “times are about to change ” “don’t rely on anyone except your self ” “don’t rely on banks ,investors ,or the FED ” Buffett dosent believe 135 billion IN CASH is all that much when considering the worst case scenario of things to come ,,,he has sold off all airline and cruise line stock and bank stock back in January,
    pay heed ,,,

    Don’t have time for more,,and need a break from the downbeat

    1. Thank you, Oldhomesteader for the information and warning.
      I am confused why 135 billion in cash doesn’t seem a comfort to Mr. Buffett. (assuming he already has safe places to live, with security, and more food than he could ever eat.)

      Blessings to you and your family, Krissy

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