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:

I had a fairly quiet week, traveling out of state. Here,  I’m helping an elderly relative, and gathering antique gun inventory.  This week, I was able to procure only two antique revolvers. The pickings are slim. Watching some recent auctions, it is almost frightening to see prices escalate. The law of supply and demand is inescapable. The supply of pre-1899 guns is frozen (and in fact declining, with wear and tear), yet there are constantly more new collectors and shooters who reach the age of majority. Thus, demand is increasing. My new inventory will be listed at Elk Creek Company around July 1st, to coincide with my return to the Rawles Ranch, and re-opening my biz. Note that ordering with the Shopping Cart system will be turned off until July 1st, but you can still add guns to your wish list, or e-mail me to reserve any particular gun, in your name.

I finished my SUV bumper re-painting project.  It was time-consuming, but satisfying to see the end result.

I’ve found the time for plenty of exercise. Apart from my regular Bible reading, I’ve been delving into the biographical book Revolver — on the life of Samuel Colt.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week started out very cold and rainy and a tad gloomy.  The end of the week, chirked up for us quite nicely. While Jim was experiencing 90 degree temperatures, we here at the ranch were experiencing daytime temperatures in the high forties, in the beginning of the week. I built two fires in our wood stove to take the cold edge off in the house.  The girls caught colds this week from interacting with some small children last week, not COVID so therefore, it has been a very quiet isolated week with very little human interaction, outside of talking with the girls and phoning Jim, and writing a couple of e-mails.

I had a couple of wildlife observing moments this week of which I will tell you about.

First of all, for preparedness, I boiled down chicken bones that I had frozen two weeks ago, for chicken broth and pressure canned it.  I had a eight pound frozen log of ground turkey that I thawed, fried and pressure canned, and also eight pounds of ground beef.  I want to can the meats that I cannot fit into our propane freezer, because I am very worried about an orchestrated planned or unplanned long term power outage. Dear Readers you should also be worried about this and be planning accordingly.

I deep cleaned, culled and reorganized our cereal/snack cupboard, a rotary cupboard, and my canning supply cupboard.

I organized and culled some items from my armoire. There, I keep nearly all of my clothes: jeans, dress pants, skirts, shorts, t-shirts, sweaters, sleepwear, socks, scarfs, unders, bathing suit, etc;  boots: hiking, rubber, winter, skiing, dress shoes; jackets, winter gear: ski pants, jacket, my hats and mittens, snowshoes, ice skates; additionally, my Life Jacket, and Camo clothes, and body armor plate carrier armor.   I keep my belongings down to a minimum. If these items don’t fit in there, it’s time to cull something. I have two Bug Out bags, one with the absolute essentials, if going by foot, and one with other essentials and wants, if going out by vehicle. These are kept next to the armoire.  Anyhow, Bug Out bags and Armoire are now organized for the season.

I put a fifty pound bag of flour in a couple of our new plastic food grade buckets with Gamma-Seal lids.

I planted the Mandan/Painted/Montana corn in the Annex garden.

I began incubating about 18 chicken eggs.  Some years I have had success and others I haven’t.  We shall see how it goes this time.

Miss Eloise helped me dehorn the baby heifer by pinning her to the ground while I applied the Base Paste on her horn buds and and duct taped them.  We removed the duct tape the next day. She is still unnamed.  Would you all like to suggest names?  Give us two or three names each, so we can tell that someone that we picked a name that they suggested but just not which name it was.  This is for for our OPSEC.

I carved a large spoon for the first time ever from Tamarack wood.  Tamarack is a wood that splits easily therefore is an inferior wood, but I did it. I just need to sand it. However, Jim took all of our supply of sandpaper with him to work on that bumper. But he ordered more for us which should be arriving soon.  I am now going to dry some pine and carve some more wooden spoons.  Move over, (just a bit) Sean James of My Self Reliance and you girls from Gridlessness. Avalanche Lily has joined your ranks in the wood crafts, now!  😉 These two families are my favorite Survival vlog channels and have inspired me to try other activities that I had not yet gotten to. I really enjoy watching Sean James do his wood crafts and I have learned a lot from him.

In the Main Garden, it is looking like I am going to have a boat load of strawberries in another week or so to pick and preserve.  I have been harvesting and munching on little broccoli heads. This broccoli, grows a central head and then many offshoots. Currently the broccoli is still quite small, but I anticipate them growing much larger when the air warms up and producing many many broccoli sprouts throughout the summer.  My potatoes are all coming up nicely in the potato patch.  The French beans are coming up.

Story Time: I had a couple of wildlife experiences this week that you may enjoy reading.

In the bird department, I saw a number of black and white birds with a white strip on the tip of their tails sitting on one of our fences.  I looked at them through the Binocs and I “swore” they were Eastern Kingbirds, but “I didn’t think they existed west of the Rockies.”  I  said to myself,  “So how can it be, they must be something else.” But just to be sure, I looked them up and looked at their distribution map, and lo and behold, they do exist out here.  Yay, I’m glad.

While planting the Mandan Corn, I heard a Bald Eagle calling out every minute or so.  Finally, I stopped working and looked across the river.  I saw the eagle sitting at the very top of a Spruce tree with two crows circling it and attacking it.  Every time the crows got too close the eagle would reach it’s beak out toward the crow that was too close and would screech at it and try to bite it. But the eagle wasn’t that agitated by them, only annoyed. A few minutes later, the crows, tired of their eagle harassment antics, flew off.

I went canoeing/fishing at a local lake during an intermittent showery evening this past week.  I didn’t catch any fish.  I was the only person out on the lake –I had it all to myself  🙂   I was paddling very quietly and slowly along the shoreline. Not to toot my own horn, but I am a very good canoeist, starting with canoeing lessons at Girl Scout Camp, when I was 12.  I have always canoed and practiced my skills whenever I had the chance and have excellent control of it and am very capable of canoeing swiftly, and if need be, very quietly. This end of the lake is undeveloped wilderness shoreline. I had been paddling very quietly and slowly.  I turned the canoe away from the shore and back toward a boat launch dock and spied through a heavy downpour which briefly obscured my view and distance and size judgment something swimming between me and the boat launch dock.  I stared and saw another, something.  They looked large…brown… Bears?  Nah, not that big. I quickly dismissed that possibility.  I had my binocs with me, since there are a lot of birds around the lake, that I like to look at.  I peered at them through the binocs and realized that they were otters!  Otters!

Can you believe it? I have never seen them in the wild, only at Natural History museums that feature animals indigenous to the region. I quietly watched them. They were diving underwater, getting something, and coming to the surface chomping on what I assume were some kind of fish, little fish, because I couldn’t see what it was. After a bit, I saw that there were actually three of them. It was so awesome to see them feeding, playing, diving and interacting with each other.  I watched them for a good ten minutes.  Several times, the canoe turned away from them and I very quietly and slowly righted myself to them to watch them. I decided to paddle very slowly and quietly towards them.  Suddenly they saw me. All three of them faced me and got high out of the water to get a better look at me.  Then they came closer, making a huffing sound, a little bit like a dog does when it is swimming. They are called Water Dogs in some quarters. They kept coming closer and closer to me, huffing and lifting themselves out of the water and continuing forward.  I began to become nervous.  They were getting quite close to me. Suddenly, I had visions of them attacking me in the canoe. Headline: “Mrs. Avalanche Lily, Rawles — Dead From Otter Attack!” flashed through my mind.

So I spoke to them, quietly, “Hello, there”  is all that I said.  I moved the paddle and canoed just a little bit toward them.  They stopped.  It turns out that they had also reached their comfort distance, about thirty feet away, and they turned a little and swam around me. They kept huffing and turning their heads toward me as they swam around me. I was kind of near their escape route out of the lake, up a stream/willow swampy area. I watched them until they had disappeared into the willows.  I was surprised, really, that they stayed on the surface of the water the whole time.  I would have thought that they would have dived underwater and would have swam away from me in that way, but they didn’t. They wanted to keep an eye on me the whole time, it seemed.  It was about a fifteen minute encounter.  It was a real gift of God to me.  They were so beautiful.  I felt like I had invaded their privacy and their world.  It kind of reminded me of C.S. Lewis’s book “Out of the Silent Planet”, when Ransom came upon the creatures on the planet Malacandra called the Hrossa. Go read that book and you’ll understand what I was feeling.

Politics: Take a couple of minutes to watch this:  Trump’s re-reading of Al Wilson’s Snake Poem.  It is more than about the border.  It is about the True Church, Evangelical Church. Listen again to this while you observe the nascent Bolshevik Revolution takeover of our country. Pray for Discernment, as the Deception is great.  Pray that you may escape all things. This is all about them attempting to get rid of anything that represents Christ.  Persecution comes to us.  Are we ready to reject the vaccines, and the Mark of the Beast Quantum Dot Bio-Certificate? You won’t be able to buy or sell or work, travel, get medical care, buy groceries without The Mark.  Are you ready to not compromise your Faith in Jesus, for a bowl of lentils? Are you ready die for the Testimony of Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach)?  Listen to Trump’s reading, again.  Don’t Worship Trump.

If you feel convicted to do so, then watch this 2.5-hour video, from Dr. June Knight.

It is time to Repent of your personal sins and to join in with other believers to repent corporately for the sins our nation has committed against God.  It is time to ask God for great wisdom, discernment, understanding, revelation, and courage to stand against the evil that has come upon our nation.  It’s time to empty ourselves of all that is in the world that distracts us from seeking the Lord God with all of our hearts, minds and strength.   All who call on the Name of The Lord Jesus will be saved from His wrath when He returns to this earth. May you hear the Voice of the Lord.  May He guide you all in all things for His glory.

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. We are in full summer mode now, up at 4 am and working by 5 am. I feel like a bomb is ticking; I can’t defuse it and all I can do is prepare for the destruction. While we don’t have fires in our area, we are in thunder storm/tornado season and states further south are starting hurricane season. I wonder which tribulation is next ,,, famine, earthquake, more pestilence, another plague?? I pray Psalm 91 every day.

    My son did a major overhaul on my 54” lawn tractor. I ordered the parts and he did the maintenance and upgrades, including changing the old standard blades to HD saw-tooth blades, changed out the spindles and changed the belt. The new HD blades cut 3 fenced around the house in record time. We always dump the clippings in the 3 chicken yards so the birds are very happy. He also cut one of the meadows with the bushog and marked off the new spring that surfaced last week.

    The birds are doing a lot of damage to our berry bushes this year. I don’t mind sharing but my two large black elderberry have lost at least 50% of the flowers turned berries due to birds. The blue blueberry bushes, raspberries, and strawberries are also being eaten up. I put bird netting over them but it didn’t help that much. Next year I’ll cut them back, put posts up and then place the netting on the posts above the bushes. I’ve tried to avoid doing that because I don’t want the birds tangled in the netting; but they are destroying my harvest. If anyone has another way to reduce the damage, please share it.

    Took one of the dogs to the vet to identify lump on her butt. Had hoped it was a cyst but vet said 85% sure it is some form of cancer. We discussed options and vet recommended waiting. Dog also had an ear infection; vet said to tweeze the hair out of inside of her ear which he said would help. She is not happy; nobody wants people pulling hair any where on the body! Came home and did some research on natural cancer remedies and decided to change dog’s diet to all natural, fresh meat, vegetable and lots of healthy herbs mix. Had almost all ingredients on hand so made up 11 days of hamburger-sized patties of fresh mix. Adjusted the recipe so next time it will be a full 2-week supply. Dog loves her new diet, hopefully she will so spoiled she won’t want to eat other dogs’ kibble. So now we pray, watch and wait.

    My little house is full of quart and pint jars of PC’d meat, poultry and pork. Put two chuck roasts in the crockpot and when they were half done, PC’d them. Cooked a 2nd crockpot of chicken quarters and froze them to use for dog’s new cancer diet. Put chicken thighs in another crockpot and then PC’d them. So far I have 12 qts of stock and broth. I have one more batch of chicken to do and these carcasses will be chicken bone broth.

    Dried Brussels Sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, mint, oregano, thyme, kale and collards. The kale and collards I used in the dog’s cancer diet. Made peach and strawberry preserves and syrup. Just started a batch of pickles brought in last night.

    Saw on Ice Age Farmer podcast that antifa was planning on busing terrorists into rural areas in Illinois, with orders to attack farms and animals. Heard on Tucker Carlson these groups were going to try to take over areas in other cities. Don’t know if any of that has actually occurred, but one way for them to meet the Lord for judgment is for antifa to show up in our mostly red state (we have one blue city). Everyone open carries here, rifles in pickup trucks and hand guns on hips; plus every farmer/rancher has safes full of ‘meet and greet’ welcome baskets. From what I’ve read these cowards get back in their buses when met by citizens’ show of force.

    Love reading everyone’s activities and thank you all for the helpful hints you have shared over the years. Have a healthy and productive week!

    1. Try using “flash tape” aka “bird scare tape” over your berry bushes. Install as soon as the berries start coloring up but not before; don’t want to get the birds too accustomed to it.

      1. One thing that I’ve used is hanging up obsolete computer CD-ROMs, with monofiliament line. They flash nicely. That worked well when I lived in a windy region.

        1. Great Idea! I bought an Owl with solar batteries that would turn its head every few minutes that looks fairly realistic and put it in the apple tree. The bird visits may have reduced. They are the culprits that damage the apples pecking a little at a good share of fruit. The squirrels will pull a whole apple down and eat the whole thing right nest to my pseudo predator. I cant shoot the vermin thou since I’m in city limits. Might get away with a wrist sling shot. I wouldn’t mind if they ate the fruit on the ground.

      2. My sister in Arizona had several 3 foot sections of garden hose in her yard. I asked what they were for and she said they scared away birds who thought they were snakes.

        1. I went to a Dollar Store and bought a bunch of rubber snakes. Just wire tied them to the trees. However, nothing worked in the cherry trees.

      3. Teach the birds not to eat the berries by the school of hard rocks! Paint a bunch of strawberry sized rocks red and then put them in around the strawberries before they become ripe. The birds go for the rocks and finding them inedible, they don’t come back and eat the ripe fruit.

    2. Animal House do you have a recipe for your new dog food mixture? We just got a five year old German Shepherd and we want to make sure she has a good diet. The breeder just uses dried food. Our last dog developed cancer and I am sure it was from the dried food.

      1. Dog food recipe to slow cancer growth (low to no carbs/sugar)
        Makes about 12 patties.

        4 cups cooked chicken or beef, ground in food processor
        ½ to 1 cup coconut oil or olive oil
        2 TBS turmeric powder
        2 TBS chaga (mushroom) powder
        2 TBS minced garlic
        1 TBS salt
        4 TBS hemp powder
        3 TBS chopped Double E immune booster leaves (from bulk herbs)
        ½ to 1 cup chopped broccoli, asparagus or collards
        ½ to 1 cup chopped nettle leaf (it grows wild in my back yard)

        Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl or mixer. Blend well with coconut oil.
        Add ground chicken/beef a little at a time to bowl of blended ingredients; mix well.
        Place mixture on parchment paper and flatten to hamburger patty size, or according to your dog’s size. Add additional oil if necessary. Form into patties and place in individual freezer bags. Remove from freezer night before and let thaw in the frig.

      2. We’ve used a natural diet for years with our dogs, and have found it’s more cost effective, and better for them. We prepare rice or oatmeal, often including stock, then add shredded meat and some frozen or fresh veggies. When we buy a half cow, we take the scraps from that and cook that down for them. Otherwise they usually get stewed chicken thigh meat, which also provides some stock. Our GSD is 14, and our Maligator is 10, and both are happy, healthy, and highly active.

  2. We spent a lot of this week getting ready for a yard sale this Friday/Saturday. We’ve been pulling stuff out of storage and closets. The stuff people will buy is crazy, but then we have to remind ourselves that we bought it all over the years as well. I have a few preparedness/prepper related items out but so far no takers. We have two unused army alice packs (also known as probably THE most uncomfortable pack ever designed for mankind unless you set them up correctly), two inexpensive but comfortable boy scout frame packs and a couple of lanterns, one of which is a like new dual fuel. All of these are offered at really good prices but no takers yesterday. Had we offered these items when we lived in eastern WA they would have been gone in the first hour. Different mindsets. We’re getting rid of unneeded stuff in preparation for an upcoming move – which we are still praying about. God has not revealed the destination but we will be ready to go. Our weather has been unseasonably cool and that has been a blessing.

    Avalanche Lily, we really need to get on the pressure canning as well. We live in a rental home with a glass top stove so I do not want to risk damaging it with a heavy canner. My trip up to Bass Pro to get a propane stove capable of handling the weight has been postponed twice. We are concerned that our sons will need to come home after school is finished and so we are rethinking food storage. The good news is that we will have both certified mechanic and an electronics/radio/nav repair guys in the household while they are here.

    Locally we are still seeing mild shortages on beef, canned vegetables and soup. Ground beef and stew meat is running about $5.50-$6.00 a pound. We’ve also seen shortages of 5.56/.223 and AK ammo, 9mm, good boots, denim jeans and more affordable Dickey’s work clothing. I am going to pick up a couple extra pairs of their work jeans just to store away. I’ll pick up some hot weather cargos from Duluth trading to wear in the summer heat. An extra pair of work boots and hikers are in order as well. SB readers, keep your eyes on the news cycle. If the virus resurges and lockdowns are enforced (we are still in the first wave) you can expect another buying frenzy.

    On the financial front we have found a couple of less expensive sources for gold and silver where premiums are more reasonable. I expect the recent spike up in the markets to reverse and if the fall is steep enough then margin calls may force metals lower at least temporarily. Premiums remain high but eventually they will fall as well unless the dollar crisis escalates. There is a lot of talk about a second round of stimulus. It’s not just the US. Globally, most countries are in trouble but unlike the US many are actively adding to gold reserves.

    Keep preparing. To me it is very suspicious how we have experienced the double challenges associated with a pandemic and social unrest just before an election. I don’t typically make judgement calls without hard evidence but this “feels” planned. A hard hit to the dollar and a market crash seem to be in the works. Now is not the time to sit back and rest.

    1. Chris in Arkansas…having not been aware of the “difficulties” of canning on a glass cooktop, we just purchased one recently. (frustrated/sad face!) While reading through posts on the (closed) FB group Rebel Canners, i kept seeing references to an electric smart canner by Nesco. It limits one to 4 quart jars, 5 pints, or 16 jelly jars at a time when pressure canning. However, it is digitally controlled and much raved about…so much so that dear husband took me to purchase one after explaining it’s values to him! (Have not yet used it since we are busy with the outside stuff and i need to figure it out. Not real techy here.) The meat that has been filling up my freezers to the fullest they have EVER been will be the first to process, as well as the last of the rhubarb…yummy! (It also operates as a programmable slow/pressure cooker and can sear as well! It has 10/15 pound weights included. The biggest drawback is that it is not large enough to waterbath quarts but i can do those in small batches on the glasstop stove if need be.)

      You might check this out if the pros outweigh the cons of smaller volume. Also the FB group has been a literal God-send to me with recipes, advice, information but most of all, SUPPORT!!! Good old fashioned mentoring of people who care and want you to succeed, big smile!!! (i am NOT an endorser of FB usually…this is by far the best thing on it, except the family stuff i watch.)

      While i am here, i need to thank A.Lily, J.W.R., and the community here for the posts and informative, encouraging post/comments AND especially the admonishments in our physical/spiritual preparations. (Have been keeping a “cast of characters” log so as to keep you all straight and have a list to pray for when our community is not able to “gather” as we do now…this site is truly a God Send for me!

      Blessings on your weekends, Good Sabbath…

      1. Rebel Canners is such a wealth of information. I dry canned potatoes, carrots, canned milk then did some cream. So many helpful people on the site and no question is a stupid question. There’s also a search bar on their front page to look up whatever you want to can.

      2. Joyce – I am going to check out Rebel Canners. Thank you! We are also buying the Nesco or Carey just to keep up on canning while we are doing other things on wekends. 4 quarts per cycle will add up over time. I’m still getting the Camp Chef stove for using our traditional pressure canners – we’ll use it in the carport or on the back deck.

        Also, for others – we decided against canning on the glass top range because this home does not belong to us. We lease it (which turned out to be the right thing as the market has soured). While there is normal wear and tear to be expected we try to keep the home in nice condition. I don’t want to have to replace the stove via unexpected damage.

        1. Chris in Arkansas…I know, it ALL adds up was my thought too!

          Was also told of 2 groups specifically for the Nesco last night. Carey/Chard/Nesco and Carey pressure canner…i am looking forward to getting this underway!

          Best to YOU in this endeavor!

    2. From your post: “To me it is very suspicious how we have experienced the double challenges associated with a pandemic and social unrest just before an election. I don’t typically make judgement calls without hard evidence but this “feels” planned.”

      We have the same sense of this, my husband and I. None of this is organic in nature. …and we don’t tend to believe in conspiracies simply because these are difficult to accomplish for a whole host of reasons. We tend toward the idea that a relatively small number of well funded individuals are responsible, having taken advantage of the stresses surrounding SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19, and the terrible circumstances surrounding the death of George Floyd.

      We had the same sense of the rash of police shootings some years ago now including the tragic loss of multiple officers in Dallas. This just seemed to erupt and then suddenly resolve. It did not have the characteristics of organic activity.

      There is some conversation that what we’re seeing here now is eerily similar to relatively events in South America as well. We haven’t looked closely at this comparison, but it’s probably worth exploring for a deeper understanding.

      We believe you are right. “Now is not the time to sit back and rest.” Agreed.

    3. To Chris in Arkansas. I also have a glass top stove that I love but the canner is too heavy. I’ve read it may work but will probably break down the line. Its not worth the risk. I just use a hot plate that I used in my classroom to cook with the kids. It is a double but I only use one side. On high it keeps my American canner at a steady 10 pounds pressure.

    4. Hi Chris. I also follow Rebel Canners that Joyce mentioned. One solution I see mentioned as a solution for canning without breaking the glass range top is to use a hot plate. Most of the ones you find in the various box stores are too small, both physically and in terms of power output. However, Amazon carries several that are 1300 watts and higher for a single burner. I personally use a cuisinart sb1300 that runs less than $50 on Amazon and it works just fine for my Presto 21 qt pressure canner. There are some others that are 1500 watts that would heat up faster. Maybe one of these would solve your canning problem. Happy canning!

    5. I don’t know if you already have a camp stove in mind, but I bought a Camp Chef Explorer on the recommendation of a friend and an uncle who both can with theirs, and I have been completely satisfied with it. It is a great stove for canning, and for pretty much everything else. The big griddle that goes with it will cook a lot of food in a hurry as well.
      Just don’t let the rubber gas hose touch the shield around the burner, I found that out the hard way!

  3. On Monday, the high was 90. On Wednesday we received 3″ of rain. Last night there was a frost advisory, thankfully we only go down to 35. Weather whiplash.

    We got a water barrel.

    I helped make 200 masks for church as we are opening this weekend. My 45 year old Kenmore sewing machine is still chugging along – love that machine.

    Hubby painted the wheel covers on my SUV and refurbished our rusty grill. We are trying to keep on top of maintaining what we have. We are deep cleaning and organizing the garage.

    I’ll be putting up rhubarb preserves today.

    Saw my first fawn of the season. So cute, until they start eating the garden.

  4. Greetings everyone, just letting you know our experiment with beto bucket’s growing tomatoes was a very interesting learning curve. I planted 8 CHERRY tomato plants indoors during January then transplanted them into the buckets when they were bigger. They grew to almost 10 feet!! Just so ya know, those plants vines grow everywhere. So the next time I’ll plant only 1CHERRY plant and the others will be like beef stake. The problem, was the vines got too big and heavy. The string we had hung in the greenhouse along with the clips you can buy simply could not hold the vines and they snapped. The roots clogged up the drain of the nutrients and even followed them into the main reservoir and was hanging down from the main drain into the nutrients. I should of had them on a timer. The beto buckets really are too small for tomatoes to grow from. The next time I’ll use 5 gallon buckets. We used perlite to fill the beto buckets for material in the beto buckets. We also tried the “rail” system for growing bell peppers. Well, again, they grew too tall and broke off at the base because the nutrients were too concentrated and finally broke. The rail system is really best for butter crunch lettuce. Having said all that timing is everything. In the greenhouse lettuce struggle during the hottest of the summer so I will be growing lettuce outside during the short summer days in the mountains. Dirt is still king in my book for most things. After all of this growing my own stuff in the greenhouse and outside, I have come to the conclusion that our food is the cheapest things we have to buy, but then the food is also filled with almost no nutritional value/taste because of all the processes it goes thru. I promise this, you won’t get fat from working or eating your harvest. You will be most grateful for all you do harvest. Happy trails, Gaddygirl

    1. Hello Gaddygirl!
      An idea just in case this might work for you… We grow in a greenhouse (traditional soil-based, self-wicking beds, and hydroponically) in addition to growing in an open air outdoor garden. For lettuces late into the spring, we are having good success growing these in a PVC pipe-style hydroponics system affixed to a raised bed and under our arched cucumber trellis. The cukes are giving the lettuces just enough shade and cooler temperatures that they’re doing quite well. We don’t know how long this will work into the heat of the summer, but so far so good!

  5. I finally got the last of the beans planted and a few other things planted as well. The blackberry vines are loaded and the berries progressing nicely.

    I finally took a first peek in on my AA beehive. That’s the swarm I caught which took a lot of gymnastic gyrations on a ladder in the dark of night in order to get the swarm trap down out of the tree. Many of you are probably thinking I named it that because I swore off drink and started attending AA meetings after my life was spared. But, since I don’t drink, AA stands for Arboreal Acrobatics. I mentioned that the swarm was way larger than normal, and I wasn’t sure they were all going to fit into the hive. It normally takes about four weeks before they have built enough comb to fill out both sides of all 10 frames in the hive. When I checked the AA hive on day 11, “WOW!” was all I could say. They already had all 10 frames filled with comb and had also stored a lot of honey as well. Lots of brood was on the way so that hive is off to a wonderful start. I added another super on top with 10 more frames to make sure they had lots of room for expansion. And here you thought there was no such thing as a two-story double-wide!

    My #4 hive was one I split off from #1 this spring and it didn’t have a queen. I took a frame from another hive which had some freshly laid eggs in the comb, then moved it over to hive #4. The queenless bees in hive #4 worked their magic and took two of those eggs and turned them into queen cells. They were already capped last Sunday when I looked so tomorrow when I check they should have “hatched out” and one of them should be mating with drones soon and get the hive growing. Whoo-hoo, this is really exciting stuff!

    I’ve been worried about what the bees were collecting for nectar since the wildflowers seem a little sparse this year. Silly me. When I lifted the top section off hive #3 it was so heavy I think I fused three vertebrae in my back. I bet it has 50 lbs of honey in it. Three other hives were heavy as well. It’s going to be a good honey harvest this year and should easily double what I got last year.

    Mama Wren was holding up progress on the new beehives I was trying to build on Monday. I should probably rename my place the Happy Wren Homestead since they always seem to get their way. A new wren has built a nest in a small 4 x 6 x 6 container of nails on my nail shelf in my shop. I thought it was a packrat nest until I pulled the box down and saw 5 tiny little eggs inside their “igloo” nest. That was two weeks ago and a few days ago when I peeked in, there were five little mouths wide open. The box is six feet high on a shelf so I can pull it down and look inside to get a good close-up look, which I’ve only done twice due to social distancing…not! I don’t like to disturb them since wrens tend to re-nest in the same spot. I want to be sure Mama Wren comes back next year. At any rate, on Monday I could only work on the beehives for so long, then had to leave so Mama and Papa Wren could come back with some food for the kids. It took me two days to get the beehive boxes finished.

    On the front porch, a phoebe has returned to the nest there under the eaves. If I’m standing at the window, Phoebe, as I’ve named her (am I creative or what?!), is only about four feet away. It’s fun to be able to watch her that close. The nest is small and her tail sticks out to the south as she’s watching me watch her. The eggs must have finally hatched yesterday because she is now sitting slightly higher and more up on the rim. She seems to be saying, “Hey, check out my babies!” but apparently the accommodations are just shrinking with the new arrivals. When I checked this morning at first light, there was Papa Phoebe, the first time I’ve seen him this year, so the eggs have definitely hatched. Phoebe left and Papa flew up and gave the kids some breakfast in bed.

    I finally have a lot of peaches this year. The first variety was almost ripe so I had been sampling them every day and was planning on making the first harvest on Tuesday for drying. Sunday night about midnight I heard this insane racket outside like a squealing fan belt. Rioting raccoons? It wasn’t until morning that I could see there were only a few peaches left on the trees of that variety. I’m a live and let live kind of guy, especially when it comes to the critters, but I swore the next time they stole a big portion of my food like this, I was going to find out what barbecued raccoon tastes like. So, I’m now doing a search for Oregon Bill’s “The Protein All Around Us” article from last month. Looking forward to those barbecued pulled raccoon sandwiches on homemade rolls. Next year, electric fence for the last week or sleeping under the peach trees with a .22.

    I finally saw Grandpa this year, a 4′ blacksnake that hangs around helping the cat clean up the mice. His lower jaw is white and reminds me of a beard so I call him Grandpa. Walking between the blackberry hedge and the garden fence where I forgot to mow, I stepped on a rock that shouldn’t have been there. I reached into the tall grass to pick it up and it was…a box turtle. They’re always fun to see, very welcome around the homestead, and a good reminder for me to take it slower this time of year.

    I hope everyone has a great week coming up! 🙂

    1. Great fun sharing, St. Funogas! Enjoyed the news of the bean planting, the generous supply of blackberries in the making, the early success of your peaches, and the honey bees. I do love honey bees… I am now thinking seriously about the idea of the swarm trap! …but first, I think we will prepare a top bar hive. We always learn so much from your stories. Thank you!

      1. Hey T of A, I mentioned I’ll be submitting an article later in the year on how to get into beekeeping very inexpensively and the article includes plans on how to build a very inexpensive swarm trap. In case you want to get your swarm traps built before I get the article submitted, here’s a link to the best plans I’ve found and the ones I used to make mine. I modified them and made a few improvements so they are easier to get in and out of the tree, and added something that holds the frames steady, as well as how to make them a lot more cheaply.


  6. Good gravy! I read that list twice…how big is that Armoire?! I have basically the same stuff barely fit into 3 closets.
    I have also had some encounters with wild Otters. I never expected to see them so close to civilization, they were in a BMP in the City of Williamsburg in VA.
    God bless you all and hope the girls feel better soon.

    1. Otters were riding around in a Russian armored vehicle? Bears I could understand, but otters? I don’t remember Williamsburg being that wild…

  7. Started work on the new shed that will be used to store our gasoline, lamp oil, kerosene and propane as well as generators, power washer and other items with fuel in them.

    Picked up more plants at an Amish and another Mennonite greenhouse and planted them (squash, cabbage, pumpkins, broccoli, musk melon, pumpkin, peas, and sweet potatoes).

    Had gutters installed on the pole barn and the down spouts run to facilitate the rain going into a 1500 gallon tank that we ordered. This water will be used primarily for watering the garden. Plan on having a stainless steel sink and an outdoor shower but that might have to wait til next year we’ll see.

    Busy watering all the newly planted plants- it finally rained Wednesday night so we didn’t water and they were fine last night since our high temperature Friday was 69 degrees.

    Neighbor baled the hay and left me a few. Sold the fuel tank I bought at the auction but decided against using. Roosters are trying to crow so 2 of them will be on a spit on the 4th of July.

    Something was chewing on our broccoli plants so I went out and purchased rabbit fencing for around all the raised beds.

    1. If it is indeed a rabbit I’ve found that spraying fish emulsion works at keeping them from being chewed on. If it rains you will have to reapply before you get the fencing up. However it could be an insect like HP has suggested so this “solution” may not be 100% effective. Just a thought as I used it to keep some critter (either deer or a rabbit) from chewing on our small sweet corn plants last week.

  8. AL,

    “because I am very worried about an orchestrated planned or unplanned long term power outage. Dear Readers you should also be worried about this and be planning accordingly.”

    Now I have questions. This is the first I’ve heard so of you have any info or links, I would appreciate them.

    1. That same thought occurred to me when all the rioting started and that certain group was mentioned as being behind it all. A buddy of mine took out the electricity on our whole street once with a bicycle chain when he tossed it up into the air. Since our power grid is so fragile, it wouldn’t be that hard to do a lot more damage than that. Since so many of the large components take a long time to make and aren’t sitting around in a warehouse somewhere, it could cause long-term problems. I can think of lots of ways to take out the power in a given area for extended periods, which I won’t mention, without even getting near substations, so if anyone wanted to, they could create some real problems in a hurry. It’s something I foresee happening too.

    2. Texas Gal…agree! Information i am missing NEEDED from the posters here i trust. THEN, i go from there with understanding and action in the spiritual, physical and physiological realms. (For those of us without training, that last is the hardest for me and most likely to catch me “flat-footed” in quick decision/action scenarios!)
      Thank you, those who CAN share links or information passed on to them from trusted sources!

    1. Dennisleestonehocker… i have found not all glass stove tops are the same. The original 40 year old Amana Cookcenter i used to pressure can on was fine. However, the new one doesn’t hold it’s temperature nearly as steady and doesn’t recommend using it with the heavy equipment…i didn’t realize it might be problematic before we purchased. One MIGHT be able to use it but they don’t make new ones like the old ones i fear.

  9. Waiting for other shoe to drop on pandemic. B.L.M. is protesting in town 4 miles away today. Will be watching. Starting new chicken house and enlarging chicken pasture. Got first ripe tomatoes yesterday. Been very hot. Watered every day. Lots of time praying and seeking his guidance..

  10. ALL my tomatoes this year have all been beset by Curly Top Virus, all the leaves shrunk and deformed into little curls, so disappointing. Couldn’t see any leafhoppers on them but have read it only takes one bite to infect the nightshade plant family, kinda like ebola for plants I guess. Has anyone else had this problem? Glad I don’t depend on them for food or selling them, as I woulda been skunked for sure.

    1. Several questions I have are: What is the manganese level of the soil? What is the pH of your soil? And if you can possibly reveal what state or region you garden in without giving out too much information. The reason I ask those questions are that about 5 years ago I was working with potatoes and noted in an experiment with Potato Virus Y (PVY)
      that foliar applications of manganese seemed to cure the problem of PVY in potatoes. The pH question is about nutrient availability as the element manganese is more plant available at lower soil pH. In some places of the USA where soils are very acidic the availability of manganese is at toxic levels due to the low pH. On neutral pH soils with the same total manganese levels there would be no toxicity. Many, but not all, plant nutrients are more available at lower soil pH such as iron, copper and zinc.
      The following four open pollinated tomato cultivars have been reported to be resistant to BCTV:
      Columbian, Roza, Salad Master, and Row Pac.

      Additionally, a balanced soil will grow plants that are not as attractive to insects so they will be naturally less likely to suffer from insect transmitted diseases or other problems for that matter.

  11. It’s so enjoyable and encouraging to read about everyone’s task completion, preparedness and idiosyncrasies of local areas. We’ve been busy as well. I’m finally able to sort of walk without cane or crutches after leg break and surgery. It’s a slow walk and not very pretty but it’s a real emotional boost to motor around on my own, carry items from here to there and negotiate stairs. I will never take walking for granted again! We had an encouraging Bible teaching Sunday on Jeremiah 5 and Hebrews 10. 8-12. A good study with our couples group and two other Bible studies with friends, one is chronological study, the other a study by chapter of relating daily life to God’s commands. This week was John 15 with Jesus teaching about the vinedresser, abiding in Him, command to love another. Such richness in John 15.

    Finished putting in garden this week. This is the latest it’s been finished in 18 years, trusting it all to God for good harvest. The greenhouse is filled with 40 tomato plants, 20 peppers and several cucumbers for pickling. In the main garden, onions are recovered from shock of planting, garlic is prolific, lots and lots of green beans sprouting as well as pole beans. Broccoli have heads about 3 inch in diameter and cabbage are growing rapidly. They’ve been loving our cool temps and rain for past couple of weeks. Sugar snap peas are about 18 inches tall. Harvested a lot of radishes with double that amount still to come. Carrots and beets are up. Potatoes have sprouted. Cherry tomatoes and peppers in main garden seem happy as well. Planted tomatoes and peppers in most of large, decorative flower containers on front deck, it’s southern exposure and is pretty hot in the summer.

    We broke down and cleaned up what we call the deck greenhouse which is intermediary between indoor greenhouse and plants going to garden or big greenhouse. The deck has a roof and the southern exposure make it comfortable for new plants in late March and April when frost is frequent. It’s 8ft x 12ft. We mowed, again! Had a load of gravel delivered to use as a dry base in wood shed and for repairing potholes on driveway.

    Strawberries are coming on strong as are raspberries. Apple trees have lots of new apples as long as we can keep the bears at bay. Spinach and greens have overtaken our ability to keep up, all growing nicely in pots on east side of house. Started on first big batch of oregano to the dehydrator. Sage is next then will move to thyme, rosemary, parsley, basil and mint. We use a portion for Christmas package variety packs for loved ones. It takes a lot of fresh herbs to fill containers! We also worked on covering lower garden in plastic to choke out quack grass and cover with a thick mulch. We’re about two-thirds completed with that project.

    This next week will be a firewood getting week, more items to dehydrator and finalizing and prepping for how we want to preserve the strawberry supply. Also need to complete spreading of worm castings into last of vegetable pots. We have a small area of exterior of house needing trim so will get supplies ordered in hopes of completing that task. Now that garden is growing, I can turn some of my intention to deep cleaning inside of house and reorganizing in the event things take a turn for the worse and we are isolated at home with possibility of one or more adult children, spouse and grandkids joining us to escape the current craziness that is Seattle.

    Blessings and peace to you in the coming week. Love Montana

  12. This was a busy week with ongoing work to resupply shelf stable food, and an additional focus on cleaning supplies. It was interesting to discover “limits” on some soap and detergent purchases. Throughout the year, we try to choose specialty areas alongside our broader preparations — first aid and cleaning supplies are a couple good examples we attend periodically.

    To go along with work on cleaning supplies, we also engaged late spring deep cleaning of our home. It’s an ongoing project to be sure! Home chores are this way.

    Zucchinis and cucumbers are super producing, and we’re so happy for the garden bounty of spring. It’s especially reassuring this year as it’s the first garden in the time of pandemic conditions all around us. We have some Delicata squash starts, and are looking forward to those. Our rhubarb is doing very well also, and we’re thinking about making the rhubarb vanilla syrup — so we can enjoy it over waffles! The pumpkin plants are growing nicely, and we are hopeful for a wonderful fall harvest coming.

    Our current challenges… Eggplants are faring much better in the greenhouse than in the garden this year. Leaf cutting insects love those eggplant leaves in the outdoor raised beds. Meanwhile, the eggplants inside the greenhouse seem to be just fine and the leaves are all healthy. Deer did visit our corn, and snacked the tops off some of our stalks! “Deer Be Gone” to the rescue. We have also seen the crows eyeing our sugar snap pea and bean starts. Netting has been installed. News and updates to follow along the way!

    We really enjoyed Avalanche Lily’s story of the otters — what a joy! We could relate to Animal House’s sense of the time-bomb ticking. We have been feeling that way too.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. Telesilla, I’ve made three batches of the vanilla rhubarb syrup and settled on 1 and 1/4 cups of sugar per 4 cups of rhubarb. It is just the right sweetness for our family.


  13. Had an epic wildlife encounter just yesterday. Driving along and see a flash of white.
    For the second time in over 40 years of very active times out in the woods, I see a Piebald deer! Made my day/week/month!
    Got a few quick snapshots. I’ll send a couple to the general email for SurvivalBlog to share.
    I’m guessing a yearling doe. Most of the male black tail deer around here have antlers already an this one is just a propeller head.

    [Editor: Here is a link to the best of those photos.]

  14. Harvested broccoli, collard greens, and more radishes this week. Lettuce is growing really slow this year and not sure why. Beans, carrots, and scallions doing good.
    Had a couple days of good exercise after having to take it easy for a couple of months. Old leg and back injuries haunt me and recovery is much slower this side of the double nickels.
    As to the political issues I believe we have passed the point of no return. I have family members who are drinking the kool aid as fast as they can make it and these are individuals who have heard and know the truth. The deceiver is a clever fellow and is tireless in his efforts. Thankfully the Lord Jesus is much more capable in all things, especially when we’ve come to the end of our strength He is there!!!

  15. Thanks for the article, Avalanche. I appreciated your wildlife stories and your call to be vigilant in prayer and discernment. I’m not trying to start a debate or anything and I haven’t studied end times as much as I would like, but my understanding is that believers will go with Christ before the major challenges of the tribulation period present themselves (being forced to take the mark to buy anything).

    I suppose there are those that are pre-trib, mid-trib and post-trib believers. But I hear you on being prayerful….

    Psalms 27:14 NLT

    Wait patiently for the Lord . Be brave and courageous. Yes, wait patiently for the Lord .

    1. Injured Runner,

      Please reread Daniel 7:1-15, then read Daniel 7:16-to the end of the chapter. Daniel 7:16- the end of the chapter is the interpretation of the vision by the angel. Notice verses 21-23. We are raptured when Christ returns in the clouds of heaven.

      Now read Matthew 24:4-9. Pay special attention to verse 9. Keep on reading 9-26. Pay particular attention to verses 27=31. Verse 31 talks about the angel gathering the elect from the four winds of heaven. This is the Rapture. Notice the Chronology of all of the events. It is in order of time.

      Verses 32-35 he talks about the reestablishment of the Modern Country of Israel. The Fig tree represents Israel. See Hosea 9:10 and Isaiah 66:7-9. The generation that sees Israel reborn is the generation that will not pass away until the Lord Jesus returns in the clouds. Israel will be 80 years old in 2028. A generation is 70 years and 80 if there be strength.

      Now read 1 Thessalonians 3:13-17 speaks of the Rapture

      But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

      For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

      For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.

      For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

      Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

      2 Thessalonians 2:2-17 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

      Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

      Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

      Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

      And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

      For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

      And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

      Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
      And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, (Jesus) that they might be saved.

      And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

      That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

      But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

      Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

      Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

      Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

      1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

      But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

      For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

      For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

      But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

      Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

      Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

      For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

      But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

      For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

      Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

      Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

      The wrath of God is different from the Tribulation. The Tribulation is Satan’s Wrath against God’s Creation.

      The Wrath of God is against all who have taken Satan’s Mark and have rejected the Truth of Salvation through Jesus Christ. They chose the lie instead of the truth of the Word of God. the Seventh Trump is all about God’s Wrath being poured out on all who took the Mark of the Beast See Revelation 13, 19 and 20.

      We can talk more on this if you want. But read the scriptures and ask God to give you discernment, understanding and revelation. God doesn’t want us to be ignorant at all. He has told us in HIS WORD what will be and IT is Happening NOW! We will see Tribulation and persecution and the Mark of the Beast and the Anti-Christ before He returns. We are Raptured at His return. He comes only once, then He pours out His wrath. We who are saved by the testimony of His word and by His shed Blood are not destined for His Wrath. Darby and Schofield, research their origins, were evil infiltrators of the church and lead us away from the simple truth of the Word of God. They are part of the Deception of the Last days. READ THE WORD. All of the prophets speak of the same events of the last days. Hebrew thought is Cyclical, so in some of the prophecies they tell of a series of events in one way and then circle back and repeat the same telling of the same events with more detail or looking at them from another angle. But it’s the same future events. Revelation is in Chronological order through chapter seven, and then repeats the Sixth and Seventh Trumps/seals two more times. One view is from heaven and another view is from the earth. Beg God for Discernment!

      The Sixth Trump is the Return of Christ and the Seventh Trump/Bowl Judgments is the Wrath of God being poured out.

      Blessings and Much love for all,


      1. Avalanche Lily! A wonderful exposition… Thoughtful, insightful, well organized, and beautifully instructive.

        From the closing of your post: “One view is from heaven and another view is from the earth.” So perfectly stated!

      2. Dear Avalanche Lily, I really enjoyed your stories. I felt I was there with you watching the otters, basking in the Lord’s beautiful creation. It was this response to Injured Runner, however, that for some reason, had tears running down from the corner of my eyes.

        I think I just felt blessed by your sharing the Word of God.
        That said, thank you for taking the time to share.

        May our Lord bless you in abundance as you help others, Krissy

    2. Dear Injured Runner,
      Just a few comments from the Bible about your statement regarding the tribulation. I would like to recommend that you read Matthew chapter 24. Here are a few verses and some comments of mine on some of its chapters:

      Matthew 24:8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. [This verse shows that the followers of Christ will experience sorrow, first hand and go through a “tribulation” period.]

      Matthew 24:13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. [The word “endure” here is the significant word as it shows that we will experience a time of testing, which had been previously described in verse 8 above.]

      Matthew 24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: [There will be a time when the Righteous will have to flee.]

      Matthew 24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. [This is the second time the word “tribulation’ is used in Matthew, the first time in Matthew 13:21.]

      Matthew 24:27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. [No “secret rapture” as this is describing Christ’s second coming for the faithful saints that have gone through the tribulation. Please note that the word “tribulation” is used 22 times in the New Testament, but the word “rapture” is not found anywhere in the entire Bible.]

      Matthew 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: [Even after the tribulation there will be significant world wide events happening here.]

      I hope this short list helps you out a bit. Additionally, the book of Revelation is largely about end-time events. About twenty years ago I decided to read the entire Bible for myself and I’m glad that I did it, but regret that I had not done it many years sooner.

      Blessings to you,

  16. We feel that food acquisition is our #1 priority at this time. If you have a SUPER 1 store in the area they have a sale on boneless/skinless chicken breast,dry past,and past sauce.
    Half of the chicken went to meal saver bags for the freezer and the rest will be canned.

    Stopped watching the national news broadcasts.We watch Dr.Martinson for pandemic info
    and advice.

    1. Yes! We agree… Chris Martenson does a very good job with data analysis, and what he calls the Honey Badger virus. We enjoy his presentations, and try to listen regularly.

      Also a thought about food acquisition… We are resupplying via mail order at this time (with fresh veggies coming from the garden, eggs from the hen house, and fresh baked bread from our home oven). It will be a little while before we can resupply cheese again (due to the heat of the summer), but we’ll get from here to there! Something we’ve discovered is that with a little bit of resource research, we have been able to fill-in most of what we could otherwise purchase via in-store shopping. Some items are notably missing, but there is nothing we can’t live with out — since LIVING to see the other side of this is foremost in our survival planning. Most of the time (not always) we can get free shipping, and we can easily quarantine the boxes on arrival.

      BTW. We were able to reorder our usual TP brand and product. This is new since the start of the pandemic. We have restocked for the long haul. Also… We spotted one store with Lysol in stock, but only for in-store purchases (not yet available for deliveries to be shipped). We wonder if these are early signs that some manufacturers are ramping up production to meet higher levels of demand (at least for now, and before the early fall which may be much more difficult).

      Now to imagine a future in which we make our own cheese! We haven’t done this yet, but we are giving this a lot of thought.

      1. @ T of A

        I saw a huge display of gallon jugs of hand sanitizer at a store recently so I’m guessing that production is being ramped up on some stuff. Still a lot of ordinary foodstuff is missing(or doubled in price). Making cheese is fun. I never made hard cheese as I was using goats milk and I don’t like aged goat cheeses; made all kinds of soft cheese. If I had cows milk to work with I’d definitely try to make some hard cheeses as well.

        1. Hello Ani!
          Good insights about what you’re seeing at the stores in your area. I am going to be on the look-out for some of the products that have been in short supply recently — or impossible to find. We may have a window of opportunity to restock our supplies. Recent events have given us all an opportunity to identify those items we might like to add back, or even items we hadn’t earlier considered.

          Something I’ve thought a lot about is this — many of the scenarios we prepare for include the ability to gather with others (even if in small numbers) for trade and exchange, or mutual aid and security. But… A virus, by its very nature, separates us. It’s different in some important ways. My hope is that in thinking about this in great detail, we will be able to strengthen further our preparedness for whatever comes next.

          Fun to hear about the soft cheeses! I am feeling inspired for sure… Unfortunately no dairy cow here at our family farm either! Oh just darn it. If you can think of any tips or suggestions or guidance for a beginning soft-cheese maker, I am all ears!

          Thanks so much for your note!

          1. @ T of A

            If you’ve got goats milk to work with(not sure if you do) and it’s fresh and very clean(important), start with fromage blanc and chevre; both really easy soft cheeses. Look at this website for ideas and materials;


            You need minimal equipment to get started- thermometer, large pot, etc- you likely have these. Order the rennet and cultures and you can get started making cheese in one day. It’s really fun and tasty!

            After you master these then you can move on to cheeses such as feta and mozerella.

  17. We have had nothing but rain for what seems like forever. It’s warm and weeds, grass and veggies are all growing like crazy. Our strawberries are coming on strong and we have been busy freeze drying and making jam. Rhubarb harvest was the best we have had in a long time. Cherries are coming on now and it is a race to see who will get them first, the birds or us! Raspberries and blackberries are coming along but surprisingly our apple trees have very few apples on them this year.

    Chris, we agree with you. It seems far to suspicious that all of this is hitting at the same time. We are down a main freeway from the big activity in our state and the neighboring state but also not that far away. I got up yesterday and decided I needed to reach out to relatives in the Seattle area to make sure they were doing ok. All is well so far but who knows how are this will go. Prayer and guidance is much needed across our land.

  18. Careful of the otters. Several years ago a friend was snorkeling past a beaver den that had, unbeknownst to us, been taken over by otters. Before he could react, one of the otters started to circle him in the water, faster than a snake. He tried to get away, up onto shore, but before he got himself out of the water, the otter bit and lacerated him from stem to stern. It followed him out of the water where he had to beat it off him with a stick. We witnessed it from the opposite shore, and boated over to save him. He was a bleeding, nasty mess.

    He ended up with over 22 bites and lacerations, one that took over nine months to heal. He had to have a round of rabies injections in every one of the bite areas, as well as continued rounds of antibiotics. They are cute but dangerous. They are not to be trifled with.

    1. Yeah, which is why, I got nervous when they came near me. I’ve heard stories, too. They bite an artery in the leg….

      I didn’t trifle with them at all. Just watched them! I had my bang bang with me, but never even thought about it.



  19. There will not be another lockdown even if the virus has a second wave. The stimulus program that was set up for the small businesses affected by the lockdown is based on loans. If the economy is locked down again then all the businesses that got the loans from the stimulus program and have now opened up to do business will not be able to pay back their loans. There will be many more small businesses closing down and more permanent unemployment number increases. That is my premise as to not seeing another lockdown. I could be wrong. My opinion is that the government should have used some sort of grant program for the small businesses to help them in this crisis.

  20. The garden is probably the worst I’ve ever had so far. Hard to believe I used to earn my living doing this and fed so many people with what I grew! I suspect it’s a combo of land new to me in a tough spot, a very late start and weird weather. May had all sorts of snow and record heat and cold. Early June had light frost. Now it’s been dry for weeks; a small amount of rain the other day and that’s it. Today it’s cold; maybe high 30’s tonight. Then supposed to hit near 90 next week. I just don’t get it. Neither do the plants! A high tunnel to grow a lot of stuff in once again has moved towards the top of my want list! The postal carrier saw me in town the other day and said “that’s a mighty big garden for a little gal like you!”. Heh heh. Gonna need a mighty big gun too I expect!

    Supply lines and shortages are a problem. Can’t for the life of me source any thin “insect grade” row cover fabric. Ordered from several places but turns out they were all out of stock!

    I’m feeling pretty concerned about what is happening nationally. It seems to me that in my state so many are falling all over themselves with contrition for stuff they never did. I just don’t understand their headset. Today they’re painting “Black Lives Matter” on the street in front of the statehouse! I too am waiting for the “other shoe to drop”.

    I’m torn between the need to conserve funds versus continue stocking up. I also need to do something re my lack of any weaponry. I waited until I had a permanent address as I figured it was going to be hard to buy anything without one. Also I was traveling out-of-state so much and didn’t think I could take a gun with me. Now the supply of guns and ammo has been sorely depleted. I’m trying to figure out what the single best sort of gun to get would be if I can only afford one? And by “afford” I’m not talking about $900! Suggestions? And one that could be used by a righty or lefty would be ideal.

    1. You might consider a used Ithaca Model 37 riotgun. Those are very left-hander friendly, since they have bottom ejection. Lever action rifles are also very left-hander friendly.

      1. 12 versus 20 gauge? I’ve been told I can likely only handle a 20 gauge but I don’t know. Only gun I’ve ever fired was a 20 gauge shotgun.

        1. If you stand less that 5’8″, then I’d recommend 20 gauge. The recoil is lighter. But the shells generally cost a bit more than 12 gauge.

          1. Yep. 20 gauge it is then!

            A primer on guns and ammo for those of us who know next to nothing would be awesome btw; “Guns and ammo 101”. Is there something in the archives that would fill this need? Most of the articles written here on guns and ammo go right over my head as I haven’t a clue what most of the terms even mean! Must be others equally clueless I’d assume.

    2. Ani, For the row covers have you tried online walmart? They have small garden supplies and still have covers advertised. Also for larger gardens, Farmtek sells row covers, but now they have tripled in price since I got mine (before CV19 and new cold war with China).

      1. Yeah, prices have really climbed. Still not finding it though. What Farmtek calls “lightweight” has 4 degrees of frost protection and what I’m looking for is pretty much just insect protection(plus deer deterrent); stuff I can use on brassicas, leafy greens etc that won’t overheat them but protect from flea beetles etc. The link below is for Johnny’s- out of stock. But that’s what I’m looking for. I’m using probably 60′ lengths for row cover. It’s really weird to have stuff like this completely out of stock. Walmart doesn’t carry this. Thx though. At least I have the heavy row cover that I use!


    3. Shalom Ani,

      I’m sorry to hear about your garden. 🙁 It is rough getting a new garden started. The weather is terrible here, too. My own garden is coming along very slowly because of the cold, cloudy and rainy weather that we are having here. We have only a little bit of sun here and there and once in a while temps up in the 70’s, mostly the temps have been in the fifty/sixty range during the day. I will pray for your area to receive rain. It should, soon, since historically New England is the main station for all weather fronts of the USA to travel through. So strange. Grand Solar Minimums disrupt all usual weather patterns.

      Many Blessings to you,


  21. Reader replies are very interesting, useful and entertaining. But it would be nice if folks could include a general location where they are living. I am currently researching Redoubt properties and location would be helpful to prospective buyers as we sort out the good and (not-so-good) qualities of a specific area. Especially as they apply to gardening and homesteading. Thank you for considering this request!

    1. Readers are warned: Be vague in your mention of where you live! It is safe to say something like “in the Moscow, Idaho region”. But it is NOT safe to say “A few miles northeast of Moscow”, or “on a hilltop where we can see the lights of Moscow, to the northwest.”

      Think: OPSEC, OPSEC, OPSEC!

    2. Tom, You have mentioned an aspect of property hunting that a lot of people overlook. Your phrase “Especially as they apply to gardening and homesteading.” hits the nail squarely on the head. People must ask this question: If I buy this piece of land can I grow food on it? Back when I grew up the three necessities were food, shelter and clothing and I believe that far too many people ignore the first one or think of it after they have sunk large amounts of money into a property. If a piece of land is “perfectly located”, but only has an inch of topsoil or is at such a high elevation that frosts occur at intervals that preclude the growing of anything outside then I would not buy that property. The only exception to that would be that if it had a suitable growing season and topsoil could be hauled into the property, but that would be rather expensive too so I would probably not opt for that either. There is a resource from the USDA called Web Soil Survey at the following link:
      It can be used to determine what the soil physical properties are before a land purchase. It tells the thickness (or depth) of the physical layers of the soil. It is naturally not as accurate as being at a particular piece of land and sampling the soil with a probe yourself, but it is way better than just guessing or having no information at all.

      Before anyone uses this online tool they should think: OPSEC as always. I use it, but generally do NOT put in any address information, just a town or county and then use the zoom functions to navigate to where I need to go. There is context sensitive help for this program, just hit the round “?” icon on where you need help. This program does not work on mobile devices due to the complexity of the program.

      Just a real fast intro on how to use it would be:
      On the left side of the screen click on “Address” right under the “Quick Navigation” option. Enter a general search area then click “view”. Next use the zoom and pan functions on the map at the right side to get where you need to be. Click one of the AOI icons on the top of this map. AOI means “area of interest”. Highlight on the map by clicking and dragging the pointer over the section of land you want to view. It should now be highlighted in light blue crosshatch and show the acres on the left side of the screen. Now click the yellow “Soil Map” tab at the top left side of the screen which will display the different soil types. Click the soil type name on the left side of the screen to see information about that particular soil type. Click the “X” icon on this popup to return the the other menu. Click the yellow “Soil Data Explorer” tab on the top of the screen and then the yellow “Soil Properties and Qualities” tab under the previous tabbed menu. Click “Soil Chemical Properties” on the left side of the screen. Click on “Cation-Exchange Capacity (CEC-7)” then scroll down to where it says “Top Depth” (under “advanced options”) and enter 0 (a zero, not an O as in Oscar) and then enter 17 in the “Bottom Depth” and hit the Enter key on the keyboard. (This is just the metric equivalent for 6 inches in a plow layer, which is faster than always switching to “Inches” instead of “Centimeter” each time it is used) You can use the last few steps to view the pH of the soil as well. (Not all areas are mapped with all information so you may find some “blanks” for some areas and functions.) If you want to save the report in a PDF file click the yellow “Shopping Cart (Free)” tab at the top right of the screen. Select the options you want on the left side of the screen and then hit “Check Out” in the upper right side and then click “OK”. There are other functions, but this is just a quick “breeze” through this program.

      CEC or Cation Exchange Capacity is probably a new term for most people, but in plain English it relates to a soils nutrient holding capacity with higher numbers meaning more holding capacity. Sandy soils may be 5-10 and heavier soils like silts, clays, etc can be 20-50. I would probably not want a soil with a number lower than 5 and 15-20 would be my personal pick for a fairly easy to amend soil that has long term production potential. Think TEOTWAKI.

  22. When I sneak a treat to our dogs, (and the veterinarian has said they need to lose weight), my husband looks at me like “What are you doing?!!” Before he can say anything, I shrug my shoulders and say “The dogs told me they neeeeeeeeeded it.”

    So when I found that Winco now sells benne wafers in their bulk area, I bought about 20 and said to my husband “I neeeeeeded it.” Winco calls their product “sesame snaps” – but Southerners know them benne wafers. They are just teensy-crispy-delicate wafers of sesame-seed-yumminess held together with honey or cane syrup. Check it out for your preps. Because, hey, you neeeeeeeded it! 🙂

    On a more serious note, it occurs to me: What a blessing to be alive during these troubling times! These challenges present wonderful opportunities for soul growth and deepening of our faith. None of us got the “get out of pain free” card when we were born, and it appears we may have more far more serious trials to come. Our Faith doesn’t promise us an easy path, only a glorious destination.

    1. Beautifully said and a wonderful perspective, GritsInMontana!

      From your post: “What a blessing to be alive during these troubling times! These challenges present wonderful opportunities for soul growth and deepening of our faith.”

  23. Busy busy, still topping off supplies. It has been difficult to monitor the heat and humidity in our greenhouse, even with large cooling fans installed at each end. The weather has been like a yo-yo. It was in the high 80’s then chilly. Today it hailed mightily, but the hail was fine, almost like snow. Technically, in my growing zone, our last frost date is sometime in June, but I wonder if we’ll zoom by the normal date with colder than normal weather. It’s looking like it.

    I had the pleasure of visiting a neighbor’s garden and they’ve converted it to raised beds, garden trails, berry bushes, fruit trees, and many native plants (we live at 4,000+ft elevation in Zone 5, in a forest, so it’s quite a feat!) It has inspired me to do more work around my home in what I thought was impossible growing conditions. The only plants I have going (not in the greenhouse) are almost 20 potato plants.

    I lit the fire today and put on a large pot of soup. I’ve been “breaking in” my new cast iron stove. I love it!! Nothing like a real fire crackling away, home baked bread, and chicken soup in JUNE!! LOL.

    Bible reading: I’m in Jeremiah. Whew. Read chapter 23 about what God has in store for false prophets. I have been really bothered lately by people who call themselves, not “prophets”, but “prophetic”. Platforms like YouTube makes it really easy to garner a following and request money for “the ministry”. I’m not criticizing anyone in particular, but I decided, for myself, not to listen to any of them. And instead, just take the time to read through the scriptures and pray for discernment. I read through Revelations, parts of Daniel, and somehow ended up in Jeremiah – maybe from a cross-reference. I have a great study Bible I’ve had for 40 years that is well referenced, making it easier for me to jump around and get some context. But, mostly, I find just reading through a book is helpful. It keeps me focused on God’s word and not other’s words. There is so much deceit and manipulation out there, even in churches that purport to follow Christ. It’s disheartening to me, so for myself, I decided to let prayer and the Word be my guide. To each his own.

    Our farm store is doing so well. It’s become the hub of our little town where people meet to discuss their various planting issues, barter or buy what they don’t have. Even with limited hours, we are finding it difficult to tend the land, mind the store, bake, etc. Definitely an undertaking, but definitely rewarding.

    May the Lord bless and keep you all. I love your stories!

    1. SaraSue! Congratulations on the success of your farm store, and how delightful it was to hear that it has become a meeting place for locals.

      A thought about greenhouse cooling… In addition to fans, we are using a shade cloth and a misting system for evaporative cooling. We do have the added advantage of some geothermal exchange since the greenhouse is significantly below ground, but the other features make a substantial difference. You might try the shade cloth and evaporative cooling ideas to see if these will help!

      1. Yes, here as well. Making chili!
        The ups and downs on temps are crazy! I’m sad the broccoli I planted bolted.

        Been feeling something “off” as well. I agree the prepping needs to continue. Thinking, once again, a wood stove for heat may be necessary. I just don’t want to spend the money, as we want to save to move to the redoubt. But with all going on, we may need to add one. Our Mr. Heater will only do so much!

    2. After considerable prayer and reading, I was led to the same conclusion regarding youtubers, especially those requesting money for their “ministry”. Based on Scripture, I know that with earnest prayer on my part, asking for wisdom, He will hear my prayers. I trust He will impress upon my heart and mind what I am to do and know. I cannot verify if those who claim to have “word from God” are truthful and legitimate, but I know God is truthful and legitimate! I am going straight to Him for my guidance. (Jeremiah 29:12-13, John 16:24, 1 John 5:15, 1 Peter 3:12).

  24. Last week someone brought up the topic of dandelions being edible and today doing a little more checking on the subject I came across some YouTube videos on the topic which I’ll list here:

    Dandelion Root Coffee
    (Shows how to dig, dry and process the roots to make a coffee substitute. [ I have had a commercial dandelion coffee substitute, via a friend, and really liked it.])
    Duration 14:56

    Backyard Foraging For Wild Edibles with Sergei Boutenko
    (A bit long in duration, but still has useful information about various wild plants. He also shows how to harvest thistles for the tender central stalk. I have eaten the whole leaf before.)
    Duration 37:31

    Foraging Wild Edibles: Fix your garden problem by eating the weeds
    (Shows a wide variety of wild garden “weeds” that are edible and one that is not edible.)
    Duration 12:11

  25. Sure like the topics and answers. Some times I feel crazy thinking I am the only sane people around. HAVE A BIG GARDEN, BUT BROKE MY BACK, THANK heavens for family They will help and share. That is my gift to them, full shelves. Much less worry on my part, when I know my family is prepared.

  26. The peas finally gave their last hurrah for the season. After harvesting the last pods, I pulled them up, turned over the soil, let it sit, then planted corn in those areas of the raised beds. The tomatoes are ripening and the squash is finally putting out. I was afraid we’d have to hand pollinate for a bit, but they seem to be doing well now. The blackberries are definitely coming in full force now. Combine that with what I expect from the muscadines and scuppernongs, and I anticipate a lot jelly and jam this year.

    We made a foray into “the big city” today for a few items. The butcher is running low on some items, mostly pork, which is very unusual around here. We’ll be following up on a potential half-cow purchase this week to see where they are as far as availability and price. In addition, we stopped by a big box sporting goods store (not Dick’s), and their ammo selection in common calibers was all but wiped out. I’m guessing there was a run this week due to protests in the area, as most mail order retailers still seem to have stock.

    Stay safe folks, and if you’re out and about, keep your head on a swivel.

      1. The difference in growing seasons that I see here is truly fascinating, Miss Ani. I see people talking about snow when I’m looking at temperatures in the 90s. It’s interesting to see how folks tackle those different challenges but all with a similar goal and mindset. For me, that’s true diversity.

        Shalom aleichem, ma’am.

  27. This has nothing to do with prepping, except arming yourself with knowledge. Things I find on the way to other things.

    To be GOVERNED is to be kept in sight, inspected, spied upon, directed, law-driven, numbered, enrolled, indoctrinated, preached at, controlled, estimated, valued, censured, commanded, by creatures who have neither the right, nor the wisdom, nor the virtue to do so. To be GOVERNED is to be at every operation, at every transaction, noted, registered, enrolled, taxed, stamped, measured, numbered, assessed, licensed, authorized, admonished, forbidden, reformed, corrected, punished. It is, under pretext of public utility, and in the name of the general interest, to be placed under contribution, trained, ransomed, exploited, monopolized, extorted, squeezed, mystified, robbed; then, at the slightest resistance, the first word of complaint, to be repressed, fined, despised, harassed, tracked, abused, clubbed, disarmed, choked, imprisoned, judged, condemned, shot, deported, sacrificed, sold, betrayed; and, to crown all, mocked, ridiculed, outraged, dishonored. That is government; that is its justice; that is its morality.

    – Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,
    General Idea of the Revolution in the Nineteenth Century [1851]

  28. I finally took your advice and signed on to a VPN service. Lisa Haven also recommends getting one. So, I’m in England now and invisible on the web. With Big Brother getting bigger all the time it’s time to do this.

  29. Well I had reply all typed this morning early and then it disappeared when I went to type in my name. We have river otters in the river 15 minutes from the first homestead. We were canoeing and fishing a few years ago after school just before dark. There were two otters swimming near the shore. So exciting . I was not aware of their aggressiveness.
    Have been weeding and planting more seeds. This cooler weather is so wonderful. I keep asking God to help me thoroughly enjoy it instead of being apprehensive about the rest of the summer. Haven’t used my micro- sprinkler system in the garden for two years because it lowered the pressure in the well too much. I was sure there were major leaks in the blackberry beds but its so thick in there despite them being thornless that I can’t get in there to check. I bent and wired off the tubing to the 7 rows of blackberries (14 beds). I am left with the 21 (4×10) vegetable beds and the pressure is holding at 65 pounds when I turn it on. This is going to save so much time since I have been hand watering for 2 years. I also have some olive trees in pots that are going to the new homestead. that this system waters. I still have a broken valve (handles broke off) and a second leaking valve to replace that are part of the run down from the pump. Will get replacement valves and joiners when I go to town. I keep spares but have used the things I have for this size pipe. Reinforced the baby kune kune pig pen. She’s been living in the main bathroom since she found a way out. She’s a real “pig” and I am tired of cleaning up after her. I “sewed” wire all around the bottom of the chicken wire where it is attached to the stock panels. Seems to be working. I am headed down to check on there right now. I so look forward to Saturdays when the Editors Prepping Progress is published. I learn a lot.

    1. Chris in N.C…. you have the climate to grow much we can’t in the Midwest. Enjoyable to read your post! Moringa is the specific plant i am thinking of and wonder if you grow it…it can only be grown here as an annual.

      My replys are written on a Kindle, so for me, it works best to fill in my name/email BEFORE the body of my comment. Haven’t lost my comment yet since doing it in that order. Hope this helps…

      1. Joyce, thank you for your reply. Yes I have grown moringa -supposedly a miracle food. I germinated it from seed. I set the plants up up under a mist system that was on a rose arbor. Also had a birdbath in there that I was trying to grow a moss garden in. Long story short the moringa trees all died because of too much water and the moss didn’t make it either through our horrendously hot summers. I have new seeds and also seeds for a dwarf kind (which might work for you in a greenhouse). I got the dwarf seeds from Baker Creek Seeds. Funny; I just put them in the box today as I was organizing all my seeds alphabetically with index card dividers between them. When I was in Africa a few years back visiting my daughter who was in the Peace Corps there were people on the bush taxis (we had a 7 hour ride) who talked for over an hour to their captive audience about the benefits of moringa. Then they would get off and catch a bush taxi in the other direction and sell their wares again. I am planning on starting the seeds again (they germinated well) and planting them at the new homestead. I just haven’t been home enough with all the travelling back and forth to properly care for them.

Comments are closed.