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 very quiet week helping an elderly relative, so I’ll be leaving most of this week’s Editors’ Prepping Progress column up to my lovely wife, Avalanche Lily.

Other than some gardening work and exercising (mainly bicycling) on most mornings, I didn’t do much that was preparedness-related. But I did succeed in finding eight antique guns for my inventory at Elk Creek Company. These include: A couple of very early Marlin pump action 12 gauge shotguns, a .38 S&W top-break revolver, two Stevens top break .22 single-shot pistols, another 1895-dated Swedish Mauser sporter, a Colt Model 1878 Double Action Frontier revolver in .44-40, and a Winchester Model 1890 pump action rifle chambered in .22 Short.  I should have all of those listed by the third week of July.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week has been gorgeously sunny and warm, finally, just the way summer should be.  This fine weather really chirks my spirits.  We have been having lots of fun getting our work done and visiting with a friend.

There are quite a few things to report: First off, when the grandsons were here this past weekend, we candled our incubating chicken eggs and found blood vessels running throughout the eggs, proving that we have viable life in those eggs.  That was really exciting for all of us!  Babies are coming!!!

Next, I think I mentioned that a few weeks ago that we had shucked the dried Mandan/Painted corn that I grew last year.  The amount of corn that I grew in a very small area came to a gallon and a half. Also while Son and Daughter in Law were here, we took out the fan and winnowed the corn to get rid of any chaff and silk left in the corn. Then we ran out of time with them here.  But a few days later, I ground about three cups worth of the corn and made Matza corn tortillas.  They were yummy and crispy and sweet a real corn tasting much much better than the store-bought corn chips we have been buying of late. What a great feeling to grow one’s own corn, dry it, winnow it, grind it, and make one’s own “bread.”

So, I made the corn tortillas by mixing the ground corn with a teaspoon of salt, a third cup of oil, a little bit of white flour to add a little bit of stickiness, and about two cups of water. I mixed and kneaded it then rolled out with my rolling pin, put oil on the skillet, and “fried” the tortillas.

I have been weeding and planting more seeds in the garden.  I had to re-plant some of the green beans and yellow wax beans. Additionally, I planted another row with both of them.  I planted spinach, more kale, spaghetti squash seeds, and pumpkin seeds in the Extension Garden.

We’ve already had to get the water sprinklers into the gardens, so I have been rotating them around on a regular basis.

The greenhouse is going gangbusters.  We already have some baby tomatoes forming.  I have started broccoli and cabbage seeds in pots for fall crop seedlings that I will plant outside, later this summer.

The farrier came this week and worked on the horses’ hooves.

Horsey Friend came and worked the horses with Miss Eloise.

We girls joined a friend and her daughter for an afternoon hike this week to a spot in the National Forest that is very beautiful and very isolated, true wilderness with mountain views like you wouldn’t believe, lots of elk, moose and deer tracks, wolf and moose scat, too.  We went to a large crystal clear mountain creek rushing down from the very high snowy peaks nearby, and sat on its edge for a while.  We saw lots of wild meadow flowers that I delighted in identifying such as: Bunchberry, Queen Cup which is the western version of the Blue Bead Lily for you Easterners, Three spotted Mariposa Lily, Tall White Bog Orchid, Yellow Beardtongue, Blue Beardtongue (these are Penstemons), Twisted Stalk, Yarrow, Strawberry, Foam Flower/Miterwort, Pipissewa, Kinnikinnick, Wild Rose, Orange and Yellow Hawkweed, Daisy, and Arnica.  We just loved it out there.

Jim: We need to go backpacking and camping when you get home!!!! Please?  Yes, Yes!!!  😉

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 used to be huge proponent of the weekly sharing of progress in preparedness however with the growing “gimmie that” and “you owe me” crowd I’m suggesting OPSEC because as we saw in Brazil even your toilet paper can make you a target from not only those around you but the forces in power at the moment.
    We saw again recently in the virus how TP became a hot topic.
    Now it’s ammunition and it’s scarcity. I even have my own boss hitting me up. It wasn’t a money issue because trips to Jamaica and Kolorado are always in order for him and his family.
    I experienced verbal issues directed at myself for having N95s and not giving them to medical staff by my medical staff even though we are literally standing side by side dealing with the same issues at work. I thwarted a comment in a grocery store as well which is something you will have to deal with in having supplies while others do not. Early on it was hard to be the “greyman” but once we got the cloth coverings it became harder for them to tell what we were wearing.
    I’m significantly worried about food OPSEC with rising cost and seeing how scarce it became and how fast early this year. Those with cattle and other livestock will see an increase in rustling and field slaughter.
    So hopefully you are preparing weekly but at some point in the very near future even sharing on this forum will become way to risky with the current attitude of The People or at least the ones being vocal, in power and/or being coddled with sympathy right now.

    1. I agree with Matt. My recent experiences have been much like his.

      The global elites needed one more black swan. They got it. TEOTWAWKI has happened. We are beyond that now. TWAWKI is gone. Like Matt suggests, Accept and Adapt.

      1. Montana Guy, I am glad to see you still in the game.

        As is so often true, I agree with you: The global elites needed one more black swan. They got it. TEOTWAWKI has happened. We are beyond that now. TWAWKI is gone. Like Matt suggests, Accept and Adapt.

        We have big time work to do.

        Carry on in grace

    2. I share your concerns. As an example, I left a few non-controversial comments on a conservative blog a couple of months ago. The blog was hacked and my email and password was obtained.

      I have since received two threatening emails including a statement that they had my information. Because of this, I would advise readers to be very careful with OPSEC and be darn sure to avoid blogs and websites that are not secure.

      I believe the Survivalblog is a safe place to be and I’ve reached the point to camp only here.

      1. TominAlaska… That’s just terrible! So sorry to hear about the threatening email messages. It’s quite something, this world we live in. Stay safe.

  2. I feel as if we are just in a lull right now and more violence and disasters are on the way. This week I kept two pressure canners, two crockpots and two dehydrators going. I’ve gotten into a habit of putting meat in the crockpots on low at night, running the dehydrators at night and then doing the canning operation during the day. I have a large 5-burner propane stove, but no room to add the larger water bath canner at the same time so I switch to a narrower stew pot and used a collapsible silicone canning rack in the bottom to water bath pickled vegetables and jams. With all that going on, the kitchen is really hot so I had to bring in some fans.

    In our location, beef, pork and chicken are available but prices change frequently. The chuck roasts that were $9/pd last week, were on sale this week for $5/pd. Hamburger (80/20%) was down, while 90/10% stayed the same price. Pork was stable but chicken prices were up a tad. I always try to shop small stores, family-owned stores first in the closest small town. I do drive to the city every so often to the warehouse stores to stock up with bulk items. It takes me several days to get everything repackaged and stowed away.

    Our barn-yard-mix chicks and our silky chicks are hatching now so there’s a lot of peeping going on. We had to move a hen and 2 chicks into a cage in another area as these chicks are so small they slip right through the fencing. The RI Reds we got in March are getting large now so we may have to build another coop for just for them.

    I got the old shark steamer out and did the areas which haven’t been done in a while as all my time is spent in the garden or putting up food or teaching others how to be more prepared in these difficult times. I normally don’t discuss preparedness other than gardening, but if I am asked I will teach. A neighbor down the road wanted to know about water storage. I told her where to get used food grade 55-gal drums and 300 gal totes but by the time she got around to it, they were sold out.

    It is depressing to see the destruction going on in our country while politicians do not uphold the law or interpret and change laws to fit their needs. Our state seems to be doing ok except for one metro area where community organizers were bused in to cause trouble. Our governor and police stopped it immediately and arrested some of the leaders and agitators. But I realize it will not end here; those crazies will not stop. God’s laws do not change so I choose to follow His laws. I’ve increased my scripture study and meditation time to stay strong in this time of adversity.

    May your week be healthy and productive.

  3. Harvested radishes, herbs, and rhubarb. Froze a gallon of peas for this winter’s stir fries.

    Planted more beans. Dehydrated corn from the freezer to make room for other things in the freezer.

    The peach truck is coming to town this morning, so I will get in line with scores of other people to pick up Georgia peaches and pecans and Michigan blueberries. We can’t grow peaches here in zone 3. I’m planning to buy as much as I can; they haven’t limited quantities in the past – but we are not living in the past anymore.The canner and dehydrator will get a workout this week. Unfortunately, the temperatures will be in the mid to upper 80’s.

    We had a wonderful Father’s Day celebration with our middle and youngest sons and families. It was also my now 10 year old granddaughter’s birthday. It broke my heart that she had to ask me if it was okay if she gave me a hug. I said yes. The four year old granddaughter threw herself at me (I’m her ‘best fwiend’). The one year old eyed me suspiciously because we haven’t seen much of them, but she’ll warm up.

    Hubby is almost done painting the interior of our garage. Everyone I mention this too asks, ‘Why?’, but I have to say – it looks a lot nicer. It is just particle board but the soft cocoa color he chose (because it was what we had on hand) looks so nicer. I imagine, after spending most of the week on cleaning and reorganizing it, we will keep it much neater.

    Love hearing what all of you have been up to!

  4. Love hearing what everyone is working on. Same here, garden, garden, garden!
    1st crop of Green beans about done, will plant a second in late summer for fall harvest. Watering daily, pests becoming a problem. Trying an inflatable owl out near the corn, see what that does. Can’t solve all those issues with 40 grains…
    I too worry about what I see happening. Not as much as I used to, though!
    1- can’t affect it, no sense worrying about what I can’t change?
    2- ain’t gonna bother me all the way out here!
    3- what will be, will be. If you prefer to think of it ‘in God’s hands’, good, but whatever it is thats coming, its coming.
    Focus on what you czn control, and take the time now to do dhat you can,see who you can, but don’t fret over the future, its not here yet. There will be time.

  5. re:
    corn in the diet

    Thousands of years ago, cooks discovered corn is far more digestible if the corn is soaked in an alkaline solution.
    For meso-Americans such as Aztecs and Mayans, cooks used limestone to soften the kernals while boiling or near-boiling, then soaking for part of a day..
    Preparing a corn-based meal generally started the day before!

    In addition to aiding digestion, the softened kernals gelatinize while breaking down the tough husk.
    After grinding, the gelatinized corn spreads easier, and holds together better for thin batters used in tortillas.

    Packaged traditional tortillas and chips include “a touch of lime” in the ingredient list.

  6. We had someone ask to borrow a pressure canner. I’ve never had that before, and I am going to meet their needs, but not loan them a canner. They can come here and I will help them do it. We also ordered another pressure canner a few weeks back, but it is supposedly going to come by September. The company said we got in under the threshold, and we will get ours sooner than most. Canning jars and lids and rings of all sizes are sold out everywhere.

    1. From your post: The company said we got in under the threshold, and we will get ours sooner than most. Canning jars and lids and rings of all sizes are sold out everywhere.”

      People are becoming increasingly concerned, and understandably so. It’s no surprise that canning supplies are in high demand.

      Your thoughts about helping the person, but not turning over your pressure canner was wise — although we also pray they do not bring SARS-COV-2 into your home. Stay safe and well.

      Your sharing of the timing of your pressure canner order, and the time delay projected for those who were late to their purchases, is also a reminder that conditions can change quickly. Our society has become so accustomed to having everything available on demand (or “just in time”), but the reliability of this is an illusion.

    2. Hi Anon, I had a friend saying that people were trying to return large amounts of toilet paper to their store. Since this seems to be the average American mindset, seeing only two months ahead, I’m expecting to be able to pick up some extra like-new pressure canners and jars at yard sales and flea markets in a year or two for pennies on the dollar. I can always do with extras. “Two is one and one is none.” Can’t wait!

    3. I have been wanting another pressure canner for several years now. I presently have 4, including an AA 941, so I can process 40 quarts or 58 pints at once right now. But I have kept them in constant use for several weeks now, so I can’t really be down a canner. Yes, I am also looking forward to a bunch of used pressure canners. Can’t have too many of them.

  7. No harvesting in my small garden, not yet, but it is coming. One garden didn’t work as it has too much shade for what was planted. Already drawn up some raised beds for the fall planting. In the meantime, weeding the garden and feeding the birds. I do see the dehydrator being used starting next week.

    1. Yes, yes! Avalanche Lily… We seek your guidance on those corn tortilla recipe! They sounded so good. Do you ever use store bought Masa Harina?

      …and a follow up. We might try making sopapillas for the first time, and think we’ll try to make some of the rhubarb vanilla syrup to drizzle over those. Just the thought of this is mouth watering. If anyone has made sopapillas, and has special tips for success to share, that would be wonderful!

      From your post: “We went to a large crystal clear mountain creek rushing down from the very high snowy peaks nearby, and sat on its edge for a while.” The description of this place reminds me of a hike I enjoyed during one year’s summer camp in the PNW as a youngster. Absolutely gorgeous place. The memory of the place and the experience remains with me today.

      1. “If anyone has made sopaipillas, and has special tips for success to share, that would be wonderful!”

        Hey T of A, I know them as tortas fritas which translates to fried cakes. I used to make them every week when I lived in South America and ate them every morning for breakfast and as snacks in the afternoon.

        I would just take a basic bread recipe and use that for the dough. Most recipes call for using baking powder instead of yeast, but the yeast ones IMO are by far the best. Let it raise once like you do for bread, then punch it down, roll it out so it is ½-inch to ¾-inch thick, then cut it into squares or rectangles. Some of the edge pieces will have a rounded side so the shape isn’t important. There’s no need to go to all the trouble of working each individual piece of dough into a round shape, but it’s an option. (A cookie cutter would work too but then you have to re-roll all the scraps of dough out.) Don’t let it raise again, immediately fry it. I had a large round tin (~10″ diameter, 3″ high) which which came from the deli. They got all kinds of foods in them, and when they were empty they’d gladly give you the tins for free. I cooked the tortas fritas in lard and would store it in that tin, then take the tin out and cook the tortas fritas right in the tin on top of the stove so I got a lot of mileage out of the lard. But they can be deep fried in oil as well. Tortas fritas are very addictive with coffee so be careful! 🙂

      2. i second St. Funogas’s suggestion of yeast in making Sopapillas! (Without kids at home, it’s been far too long since making them!) We rolled the dough out and barely trimmed the edges straight with a pizza cutter. Then the dough was cut into diamonds or squares to fry. Instead of re-rolling the edge pieces, we fried as is and they were dipped in honey as sticks…hope you enjoy!

    2. It was about three cups of corn before being ground.

      Umm, I’m not sure there is much more to share about it. I didn’t use lime or alkanized it. I just wanted to be as simple and natural as possible. Since it didn’t have any “glue” to the corn flour I added regular white flour, but probably only a total of about a 1/3 cup. That also dried it enough to be able to roll it out without it sticking to the roller.

      Hey, though, I was wondering, does soaking the corn in wood ash have the same effect? And does the wood ash have to be from a particulaar kind of wood? I seem to remember something from the “Little House on the Prairie” series of Laura’s Mom, soaking corn kernals in ash water, to remove the skin and then making some kind of corn pudding? Does this ring a bell for anyone? I guess, I will look it up, myself, too. 😉

      1. Great question about the wood ash, and will be researching this question as well. We can learn so much from the people of the historic past. “Little House on the Prairie” was an excellent reference!

  8. Finished the shed for fuel storage, moved all fuel and equipment like generators, power washer, chain saws, my Briggs and Stratton WMD kick start engine. Decided to store my chainsaw accessories and all my funnels and gas spouts inside this shed too so I put up some peg board and shelves inside the shed. Had 3 tri-axle loads of bank gravel delivered. Moved one load to behind the barn to set the 1500 gallon water tank on. Tank is supposed to be delivered on Monday. Set up a temporary drain pipe onto the gutter so it wouldn’t washout the gravel I just put down.

    Replaced a handle on an axe that my son has no idea how it just broke splitting kindling. And then later on in the week he broke another one. So I gave him the 5 pound splitting maul to use to split kindling. What can I say – the NCO came out in me.

    Put up fencing around the raised beds.
    Put up a spool rack in the barn workshop to hold spools of wire and tubing.
    Started to put back all the tools from the chicken coop and shed builds. They were all over the place.

    Spent time in the orchard weeding and putting some additional dirt around some of the trees. Weeded the raised beds too. The potato plants popped up through the dirt early this week. I was concerned about them since I haven’t had luck in the past.

    Picked up 60 rounds of .223 ammo and 25 rounds of 00 Buck. Found a brand new still in the box with instructions apple corer, peeler and slicer from the pampered chef for $1.50 and a newer model coffee grinder for $1.99 at Salvation Army.

    Going out this morning to look for some stainless steel rods for spits.

  9. Good morning everyone. I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s updates each week (and been a lot impressed and a little envious, truth be told!) and each week nearly posted but didn’t, because I’m just a “baby prepper.” But I do know that it is a mindset, and baby steps are better than no steps, and every person has had to start SOMEwhere. So. No more dithering. 🙂

    This week we spoke with our financial advisor, and separately made arrangements to begin purchasing silver, and separately from that, completed our tax filing. It was interesting to speak with the advisor because much of the conversation was about food prices and pressure canning! So it’s reassuring to know that he’s looking out for the big picture and not only the markets, which he agrees will crash but not tomorrow.

    Also got the kids in the pool again to continue focus on water safety (for all) and swimming (for those physically capable). Discussed with occupational therapist an appropriate life jacket for son with special needs.

    Found ground beef (80/20) for $3/lb at the local restaurant store. Bought as much as freezer/budget allowed, and some bulk other things. Purchased garbanzo beans and tahini to begin making our own hummus. Nutritious and the kids wolf it down…but expensive at stores.

    Obtained some compost from the pile in my parents’ backyard (that I started probably 25 years ago!) until our own is ready. (I’ve been “composting” here in the overgrowth for years but not really gathering it for collection) Already have the vermiculite and the peat moss and the other things to assemble a box as per Mel Bartholomew in Square Foot Gardening. That’s about our speed right now with so much “help” from the young ones. I dream of huge plots but one thing at a time.

    Continued 6yo’s study of the Constitution, and relating the language (3/5 clauses etc) to current and historical issues. And how we have to look at the big picture and not paint historical people all good or all bad. He said he is confused and sad about the monuments coming down. We continue to pray to God to heal our land, and continue to seek His will alone.

    Had a gentleman out to give assessment/quote for a whole-house solar setup. It doesn’t look feasible due to shade, but we need to speak with him more.

    The kiddos enjoyed making pine cone bird feeders (I’m still soaking the peanut butter from my shirt!) with their Bible School lesson about God’s gift of seeds, and planting leaf lettuce in decorated cups.

    Most importantly, there were some late-night conversations with husband, without little ears, and many things cleared up. Seems we had been closer to the same page than we thought, but each felt un-heard by the other (all married folks can relate at one time or another, right?), and had stopped talking and stewed in our own frustrations, doing what we could individually to prep. Now that we are going to work together, I have a lot more hope for our family’s preparedness!

    1. Congratulations, Bear! Your progress sounds excellent, and it’s so good that you and your husband had the opportunity to share thoughts, ideas and concerns — and that you’re on the same page with one another. You’ll no doubt discover that the sum is greater than the individual parts, and having come to this shared place in your thinking, your prepping progress will gain momentum. Welcome to the journey, and know this — we all begin at the beginning! Every effort is a worthy effort and helps to build the foundation for the next steps.

    2. Bear,

      Good to know that I’m not the only one who felt like I wasn’t on the same page as husband. We kinda had it out this morning but we were able to get out our frustrations about what is going on (We too were not speaking much and it built up). Now we realized that we need to talk to each other when we’re feeling frustrated instead of just being silent and angry inside.

      Thanks for sharing

      Rock on

      1. Bear and RKRGRL68…good to hear that parties are on same page… the enemy / Satan knows that attacking relationships is fertile ground… he attacked relationship Eve had with God and then relationship between Adam / Eve…this attack upon relationships is found all throughout Scripture… when my wife and I find ourselves in the position of being attacked we immediately stop and tell Satan he has no place in our relationship and that he must go…Scripture teaches” Submit to God, resist the devil, and he will flee from you” …this is where we place our trust… this has been the successful path for us… may The Lord bless each and everyone of the SB family

        1. Beautifully said and wonderful words of scriptural wisdom. God is all about relationships — ours with Him, and ours with one another through Him. …and this makes relationships especially appealing as targets to the devil himself.

    3. Bear the key is to communicate. Wife and I just had this conversation while looking inside our half empty chest freezer-
      Me- “we should fill up with some more meat“
      Her- “we have plenty of meat”
      Me- “yes but it is probably going to get more expense and less available as Covid cases spike even higher than before.
      Her- “I knew you were going to say that, you always want to stock up.”
      Me- “ahhh isn’t that the point of having a chest freezer?”

      We are heading to Sam’s in a few minutes.

      1. Her- “I knew you were going to say that, you always want to stock up.”
        Me- “ahhh isn’t that the point of having a chest freezer?”

        Oh, my gosh. I laughed so hard.
        Loved your whole conversation, especially her last line, and your punch line.

        Am praising God that you always want to stock up, and you take care of your family!!!

        Can’t believe you found a brand new Pampered Chef apple, peeler, corer, slicer for $1,50. Way to go! Great find. I still have mine that I paid full price for decades ago. Good quality.

      2. If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. If daddy ain’t happy…don’t nobody care. 🙂

        Joking aside, ever since my Lady came fully on board, rather than just tolerating my “paranoia”, we have become much more effective. Having a supportive helpmate is truly a blessing.

    4. Bear,

      Yes my sweet spouse and I continue to have difficult conversations. Rough sledding sometimes.

      Addressing other parts of your post…

      When you buy silver, make sure you have the physical silver in your hands.

      Compost: I have been teaching composting for many years. Happy to consult with you. Long and short, get as much carbon based material as you can, then get it wet.

      Solar: Look for other places on your property where you get adequate sun.

      Carry on in grace

  10. Didn’t get a whole lot done this week due to helping a friend get moved into her new place after escaping the Big City. Now if I can get her to start storing some food and other essentials. I brought her cat some of my home-grown catnip so I have a new best friend. If you’ve never seen a stoned cat, it’s quite entertaining.

    I rigged up a contraption for melting beeswax in my solar dryer to separate all the wax from the non-wax. It worked like a charm and pure beeswax flowed through the paper towels while all the other stuff stayed on top. It also worked when I did a small test run on the dashboard of my truck with all the windows rolled up. For drying herbs, I often dry them in my SUV with all the windows just barely cracked, the plants hanging from bailing twine. The solar dryer gets up to 165° and even if I point it directly away from the sun, it still gets too hot for herbs.

    I got a very late start planting my turmeric but it’s finally throwing up shoots this week. That would be a huge plus to be able to produce a lot of it. I’d hate to think of a curry-less TEOTWAWKI. That WOULD be the end of the world. Some ginkgo seeds I planted also finally sprouted. I’m going to plant some in the woods as well so that when I’m dead and gone some future landowner will be scratching their head wondering what the heck kind of tree this is. When I built my house I also hid all kinds of things in the walls: coins and other relics, all the things kids wish they could find when they come across an abandoned, falling down house.

    The blackberries are just starting to turn red so it’s not too much longer until harvest time. The new hedge I planted is also finally going to have enough to pick and make jam and pies with. The sweet potatoes are growing like weeds and since the ones in the window are still producing a ton of slips, I’m going to plant some late ones as well.

    I need to move a bunch of compost and go to the sawmill to get some composted sawdust mulch before the beans get much taller, but the old truck isn’t running. I spent all day Friday working on that. I sure miss carburetors. I did a jury rig on the tube leading up to the EGR valve, which all the websites say can’t be fixed, but I always love a challenge. And saving $200 is a big plus as well so we’ll see what happens after I seal it with high-temperature epoxy.

    I got the last of the tomato plants planted. Now I am going to direct sow some seeds. A few years ago I had blossom end rot in a certain variety. I threw the tomatoes over the fence for the chickens where they went splat on some dirt piles that were waiting to get moved. Within a few days the seeds germinated and late in the season I had a beautiful crop of large green tomatoes. The tomatoes never ripened but I got 16 quarts of the most wonderful green tomato/apple chutney you can imagine. And of course, lots of fried green tomatoes.

    Hoping everyone has a wonderful week coming up! 🙂

    1. St. Funogas!
      Such a fun report… Congratulations to your friend who has escaped the big city!

      We’re so looking forward to the news of your turmeric! We are hoping to try our hands at growing this too. Right now we’re dreaming of ginger, but turmeric is also on our dream list!

      Tomato/apple chutney! A delightful treat. Great idea for those tomatoes!

      1. Hey T of A, the chutney recipe was straight out of the Ball canning book. I’ve yet to be disappointed with any of the recipes in the book and would even rate all the ones I’ve tried as pretty high on the yummy scale.

        From what I gather, growing turmeric is about the same as ginger, they’re both in the ginger family, and they both need 8-10 months to mature. I planted mine in a 1′ x 2′ planter since I don’t have my greenhouse up and running yet, but when cold weather gets here I’ll move the planter to a 12″ wide kitchen window sill I have. The guy I bought it from said to plant the whole root, but I broke the rhizome up anyway so I can have this year as the multiplying year and have more roots to plant for 2021.

  11. The garden continues to be a source of frustration. I know a lot of it is due to this being a new location for me, starting very late and the weather but still…… it’s starting to feel like the plagues of Egypt here! The weather has been insane. Between snow into mid-May, then a heatwave, frost in early June followed by a heatwave and nearly no rain in a month it’s been hard. Every single predicted thunderstorm doesn’t happen; we got some showers the other day and that was the first rain in about 3 weeks! I’m not set up for that level of irrigation with just a hose and a watering can and a well that I have no history with! I have never in my life had to water potatoes, onions etc but I am now! My farm had a soil organic matter content of aprox 10% so it held water nicely; this place doesn’t have anywhere near that for sure. I’ll work on it but it will take time.

    The only crop I’ve harvested so far is some mesclun. The spinach succumbed to the heatwave and critters. The beets and carrots get eaten as soon as they are big enough for a critter to eat! But the eggplants are in bloom, some tomatoes have fruit on them, crucifeous veggies look great including the sole remaining cabbage plant that the bear left me. There are baby zukes and summer squash fruits coming and also cukes. Winter squash looks good. Lost 2/3 of the strawberry planting due to a combination of the deer, heatwave, massive mega anthill and drought. I used to be a strawberry grower too……… getting to eat some humble pie this year.

    The bear is continuing to be a problem. Wonder what will happen when the wild raspberries here start bearing; he’ll move in for sure!

    Have been very busy working on people’s gardens but my hours have just dropped precipitously as most have been paying me with stimulus check money and they have used it up. So I’ll have a lot more time to work on stuff here(which has been lacking) but my earnings are going to be really low until I can muster up some new business.

    I noticed that a farm/garden supply store got in a bunch of canning jars so I think I’ll add some more to my small stash. I keep trying to weigh the need to keep prepping versus income/savings. Although if the dollar becomes devalued by inflation it would be better to have a store of useful stuff.

    Have fun hiking and camping JWR and AL! “If mama ain’t happy ain’t nobody happy”! 😉

    1. Ani,

      I’m sorry about your gardening and weather woes. Of course you’ll just have to stick it out and keep working to improve the soil, and structures. We are in Biblical days, no doubt and it’s only going to get worse. Keep preparing yourself. May you be blessed.

      I just found slugs in my garden this morning. I guess I’ll go and buy some beer this week and put it around my garden in shallow lids to drown them. I hate it when they get into my cabbages. They found my strawberries last night. Thankfully, I’ve only seen two thus far. Since the warmer weather hit us, my broccoli is really beginning to put out little heads that I am harvesting. It is important to stock up on whatever you can, because soon the dollar will be gone and we’ll be in a digital cashless system. It is the Mark of the Beast < the Internet of things is the Beast System, and Christians and Jewish people who truly love the God of the Bible cannot take it/ participate in this system. Therefore we need to be ready to live outside of that system, growing food for ourselves, having items to barter with, taking care of our own medical needs and preparing our hearts to be persecuted for trusting God rather than the Satanic NWO system. Get ready! Lily

        1. @ St F

          That’s hilarious. I always just filled up empty milk jugs with whatever was left in returned kegs. Sometimes i got lucky and found unused beer in cans along the road; never figured out why full unopened cans were ditched but just stashed them away to use as slug bait! My slugs weren’t picky 😉

      1. Slugs-Get some ammonia from the hardware store. Mix 1 cup ammonia with 9 cups water. I have a little 1 gallon sprayer I use. Spray the slugs, plants under and over everything. The ammonia will not hurt your plants and will kill the slugs. Spray in the dirt around plants, too, it will kill the eggs. The first year I did this, I went outside 4 times a day, this year I hardly see slugs in my garden. I let them live if they are out in the yard. There is a lot of satisfaction in getting rid of slugs.

      2. @ Lily

        I’ve used Sluggo with a lot of success on slugs and their kin. Also beer works- but get the left over dregs from a keg that has been returned- works best.

    2. Ani, I don’t know if it will work in your area but I plant hot peppers in between the smaller plants. Before I got my fencing up the critters came every morning for breakfast; so I got some habenaro peppers from a friend and put them with the most popular breakfast items. The deer and possums did not like the smell and left them alone. Coons however, just plucked off the veges and carried them away. Now, even though I have fenced in the garden, I still plant hot peppers and garlic in with popular plants and it helps keep some of the bugs away.

      1. Animal House

        That’s interesting but to grow hot peppers outside here would take all season and then some; I’ve only been able to grow them in a greenhouse. The veggies I wanted to protect would be long gone…… But it could work for someone not trying to grow in Siberia!

    3. Ani,
      I feel your pain- we had snow in mid-May too, may who had already planted lost some plants. Only reason I didn’t was I was running behind due to working 12+ hour shifts. And as you say June was HOT, it seemed like we were breaking, tying or near record high temps. Ditto for the rain too. One day I watched a storm come in only to stay to our south, 2 days later a storm missed us by about a mile. We did get plenty of rain this week.

      Have you thought about offering private consulting or lessons on gardening to fill the current income void? Patreon channel??

      1. @ 3AD Scout

        Yep, the rain just seems to go around us. You can see the storm clouds, smell the rain, the wind picks up, the leaves do their thing and then it clears and the sun comes out with no rain having fallen here. Even when radar shows a storm directly to our west it seems to skip this area! Grrrrrr. Was supposed to get rain today but just got this little sprinkle(tinkle) of rain that spattered a few drops!

        Trying to get in-person garden consulting going but only have one where I wasn’t physically doing the work too and they have a minimal amount to spend on this due to having had to close their business for good. But yes, it would make a lot more sense to figure out how to do this rather than doing hour after hour of physical labor that others can’t(or won’t) do themselves. Would make better use of my experience and beat up my body less!

    4. Ani! We are wishing you a good garden recovery, and know you’re working hard! Your struggles this year are a reminder to all of us… There can be difficult times, even in established gardens, and even with experienced growers. Challenges confront us now and again. It’s true. We’ve been through these struggles ourselves, and we understand completely the frustration. So hoping you start to see signs that things are turning around. We’ll be keeping you in our prayers, and watching for word!

  12. Started picking a few tomatoes and lots of peppers. Turnips are ready. Getting more eggs than i can give away or store. Starting to enlarge chicken house and chicken yard. Need to harvest all onions. Watching news reminds me that we have to depend on Gods guidance as satan thinks he is in control. We cant give up or give in. Would love to hear more from people in my area as I’m always seeking to learn. GOD BLESS.

  13. Over here in Texas, the Governor, local mayors and judges are losing their minds over Covid and mandatory masks in all surrounding counties. We went to the grocery store before the rule takes effect.
    I must add that the big hospitals in my area have said they are fine, have plenty of space and the media is hyping it up.

    It has been raining for days. The grass is tall and the ground is squishy.

    Found some ground beef on sale! The prices of it have been increasing here.

    I have lots of tomatoes growing. Not enough to can, but enough for salsa, salad and snacks.

    I am about to put some homegrown cucumbers in jars to make refrigerator pickles.

    Picking okra daily.

    A shotgun and new gun cabinet havr been added to the collection. Found both easy peasy. And ammo.

    My husband has a particular teaching job that he is able to do via internet. He has not been allowed back on campus since March. And he may not even get to go back to his office in the fall! Classes are offered online but it’s just crazy weird.

    I already homeschool, so nothing has changed for me. BUT a curriculum company posted that they will be increasing their prices by 25% in July because of the increase in demand. I took note to order now, before this happens.

    We will be refilling the propane tank and getting the septic pumped soon….better to do it now before we can’t.

    My retired mother has filled her time with learning the ins and outs of extreme couponing. It is all digital apps now. She is stocking up on toiletries and cleaning supplies for almost free. Most couponing is done at Wags and CVS. She lives in the city so she can swing into these places quickly. I focus on stockpiling food and she does the toiletries. If we ever have to barter, we could make our own little drug store.

    I’ve been thinking about and researching things to prep in case the power goes out for an extended amount of time….like months…..someone posted a comment on here recently that mentioned a planned power outage. I’m usually skeptical on this topic, but these days who knows what could happen.

    And lastly, I have spent my time this rainy week playing Lego. Ok, not playing but reassembling sets. My kids don’t really play with them anymore, so I made sure all the sets and instructions were packed together and took them to a local brick store. They will buy the sets from you and resell in their store. I made a quick $400 in cash!! Lego has an awesome resell value.

    1. Back in March I read several articles like this:


      Many power companies were planning to have their essential (to keeping the power on) employees live on site and all other personnel work remotely to limit/eliminate COVID exposure. These folks are highly trained and not easily replaced, temporarily or permanently.

      Now that we are 3+ months into this, I wonder how those plans are working out? Can you keep essential personnel living onsite for months?

      It is always wise to have a backup plan for power. Ours is still a work in progress.

      1. So with the drought we are in here and my total lack of preparation for a drought as rain has always been in abundance in VT, I started pondering what I would do re: the garden if there was a prolonged power failure and a drought. I have no idea at this time. There’s surface water sources nearby which would work for drinking and cooking but no way could I haul enough water to water a garden.

        1. Need to buy a large plastic water tank 300 gallons and fill it up and use it as gravity feed to your beds. Out here, they cost about $350. Then you have a back-up water supply. Also could set up rain barrels.

          1. I get mine used from a trading store; $60 for 300 gal reinforced tote from coke/pepsi plants and $20 for margarine drums with locking lids. I have bought $20 jalapeno drums which I use for feed storage; keeps the insects and critters away.

            If you can’t find a used one, try feed stores; they almost always have drums, totes and large water storage containers.

        2. Ani, You can set up a rain catchment system for very little cost. At my garden, I have only rain to water with. So catching rain water was a necessity. Your system can be a simple as an IBC tote and an adapter to hook up a garden hose.

          Here is a link to IBC’s in VT: https://vermont.craigslist.org/grd/d/orleans-organic-ibc-tote-tanks-barrels/7133886449.html
          I don’t know the seller, but Craigslist is how I found the ones in my system. I paid 125.00 each and 50.00 for delivery.

          Here is a link to the adapter: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=ibc+tote+fittings&crid=34MBTMDIEC1AH&sprefix=IBC%2Caps%2C144&ref=nb_sb_ss_i_1_3

          Hope this helps.

          1. @ AL and SH

            Yes, rain barrels and such will work IF there is rain. I set up the garden downhill from the house so a gravity feed system would do it but there has to be rain to fill the barrels. What I started pondering as I was watering due to the near total lack of rain for close to a month now was what if the power was out for a prolonged period of time AND there was a prolonged drought such as now? My planning has not accounted for a drought such as this as generally rain is quite dependable in the growing season here.

        3. Ani, I only have rain to water with. My system has 3, IBC’s and 1 55 gallon drum. I have only run out of water once. When it happened I put an IBC on a trailer and filled it off site. Then refilled the other containers with it. It took several trips.
          If you have a well, you have lots of alternatives. Solar pump or a hand pump. Depending on your budget. Scott at Practical Preppers is a good source of information and equipment.
          Here is a link to his site: https://practicalpreppers.com
          His youtube channel is: https://www.youtube.com/user/engineer775
          I have never done business with him. He seems to be a sharp guy.

    2. get an EMP shield for house and vehicles. see links on this blog. stock fuels. and cleaning supplies for hygiene etc solar power kits and chargers. batteries etc
      new has a lot of predicitive programming regarding emp and china. i wouldnt put it past Deep state to launch an emp or cyber attack on grid to further disrupt usa with more asymetrical attacks

  14. I have been working hard to finish a bathroom remodel that seems like it is taking much longer than I estimated. I finished the backer board, sealed it and began to lay out the tile. I start laying the tile this morning Company comes next Friday so my deadline is looming (never mind the fact that I tore apart this bathroom almost a year ago). Procrastination won the day!

    The last of my strawberries has been followed by the beginning of raspberries. I picked my first pint two days ago. Blackberries are just starting to turn pink so they won’t be too far behind.

    I put up some picked veggies (carrots, radishes, kohlrabi) out of my garden this week and want to try cowboy candied jalapenos when peppers come on in late July.

    The weather has turned hot so there is lots of watering needed. Right now I spend about two hours a day watering. I need to set up a drip system but have not put it at the top of my priority list (bathroom first :-)))

  15. I am raccoon free!!! Thank you so much David ‘n’Goliath and Krissy for your suggestions. I played the boom box (with mega bass on) next to the wall they were in for 6 1/2 hours on Tuesday. I played it every time I heard them moving on Wednesday and again just before dark. At 12:39 Wednesday night (well actually Thursday morning) I got up to use the bathroom and heard scratching on wire sounds at the vent I had covered with hardware cloth. Got the Luci Light and went out to look. Mom jumped into the rose bush and there were three kits clinging to the stucco wall not sure how to get down. I took the handle of the pond skimmer and knocked them off the wall. They are gone and I hope they don’t return. They have 60,000 acres of almond orchards to roam. I had left the hardware cloth loose at the bottom but nailed the top in. Mom raccoon ripped it and the nails out to get out. Guess she was back in the attic//or wall by 4:00 in the morning when I put it up. I had been hearing her come in at dawn and assumed she would still be out at 4:00 A.M. It all worked out because she got the kits out and they would have died in the wall. They were much bigger than I expected. Again I can’t thank you enough for the loud music suggestion. Nobody had to die.
    Have a 4×10 foot bed of butternut sqaush up and growing well. I am dehydrating summer squash. Yard long beans from Baker Creek are up and going and the luffas are germinating. Have lots of cucumber plants up and growing as all my earlier attempts at plants and seeds failed this year. Have an entire table of oregano dried and at least one more to go. Am so glad to be eating tomatoes again. Got all the stuff that was moved out of the attic off the driveway and either into the outbuilding (I’m saving all the boxes to move) or into the garage or to the Goodwill. I moved all the olive trees and thornless blackberries from a separate area over to where I have apples, figs and citrus ready to move so I only have one area to water. Got the area cleaned up and everything lined up in like sized container rows so I can walk between them. It looks so much better. Moved garbage cans full of potting soil, vermiculite, perlite, and peat moss over to the one nursery stock area so my driveway area looks a lot better. Still have some smaller pots and one misting bed to move. Its been 100 degrees and over for days now.

    1. I’m very glad to read of your success with the coon problem. Just a word of caution though, they LOVE sweet corn as do skunks. I’m in the process of getting up a rabbit / coon / deer fence. 420 feet of it all totaled up, but I’m tired of the rabbits using my beans as a “salad bar”. The sweet corn will most likely get nailed again this year as last year if I don’t hurry up and get the rest of the fence up. (Last year I did not get the electric fence up due to various problems that were not garden related.) I’m half way done now and the rest of it will most likely get done on Monday. It is a combination of fine mesh nylon (not my choice, but the landowners’) with electric fence going on the outside of that. In years past the electric was enough to protect the sweet corn, but I want it “rabbit proof” as well.

      I love butternut squash – all winter squash actually and have quite an assortment of varieties growing this year. One from Australia called Triamble. One from Spain called Valenciano. One from Guatemala. One from South Africa … well you get the picture. Yes, I’m a squash nut as I became interested in that crop at age 3.

      I had some friends in Modoc County, California (borders Oregon and Nevada) at 4,100 foot elevation and they had a large family garden. Nights were cool there due to the elevation and frosts were a problem for them. You mention “Have lots of cucumber plants up and growing as all my earlier attempts at plants and seeds failed this year.” Was this frost? Bugs? Just curious.

      1. We get very little frost. Just a few mornings maybe on the shortest days of the year. I think several problems mostly not enough water, snails and doves. Most of the snails have now been fed to the box turtles and chickens. I got one small batch of strawberries in the freezer. Snails damaged a lot but the turtles got those so not a total waste.Water situation is much better now that the micro- sprinkler system up and running again. I don’t have rabbits. Imagine I will at the new homestead. Haven;t planted corn yet but am planning on doing that tomorrow. I harvested a five gallon pail of garlic ( that included some stocks) and I harvested all of the elephant garlic. That space is going into corn. Hopefully the rock and roll experience was enough so that the raccoon family won’t return. Again I can’t thank you enough for solving my problem.

  16. I had to travel this week and ended up passing through three cities where there were protests in past weeks. All was quiet. I stayed out of the inner city areas.

    Found a few items for our emergency bags in second hand stores and a really nice antique Craftsman toolbox with drawers for $10. I brought it home and examined it side by side with one of their modern toolboxes and the old one has one less drawer but is much heavier and very well built. I have a bit of a tool addiction and whenever I see a toolbox for a good price I buy it.

    I am very concerned about the economy in Q3 and Q4. If earnings reports are terrible there will be significant pressure to begin layoffs. So far we’ve heard how well some companies are doing but if you look at their core business most are direct beneficiaries of COVID spending or discretionary consumer spending of stimulus money. The reports from companies not in that space are pretty abysmal.

    We have plenty of wide mouth lids at Walmart so I have been buying 3-4 boxes a week. This morning I am heading to two of their stores to buy them out. Sometimes it is better to hit your goal of X items on hand all in one fell swoop so that you can just knock it off your list. Walmart has not raised prices on lids and they are cheaper than most mail order supply stores.

    My local supply store had Camp Chef stoves on sale so we finally got one for canning – didn’t have to drive 2+ hours as planned. After a few weeks of delays our first round of pressure canning meat will commence this weekend. I am a huge fan of beef stew so that is definitely on the agenda. My goal is to have 60 quarts of stews canned but only after we test recipes to find what we like best. Anything has got to be better than store bought canned stews! I’ll report back next week on how we did.

    One of you recommended the Rebel Canners group on facebook and they have tons of great ideas. Who knew you could can cream cheese? I’ll make it through the apocalypse if I have cream cheese.

    The 5.56 and 9mm supply has dried up around here as but there is plenty of .40, .22, .45 and most rifle calibers. There is also boxes of .357, .38 and .44 which we sometimes buy for future barter.


    1. I am going to tattler lids. Their website had a short little video a customer had done on how to use them. She set the jar on the counter and tightened the ring until the jar started to spin. She did not hold the jar with her other hand . Then when they come out of the canner you then tighten the lid. I haven’t done a batch with them yet but will be soon. Another gal said she had been using the same lids and rubber seal for 16 years. Get on the tattler e-mail list and they send you sale information. A week or so ago they had 15 percent off. Don’t know if it still in effect. I bought my lids on sale. October for regulars and just before Black Friday for wide mouths. You can keep those bands/rings from rusting with a very thin rubbing of vegetable oil. I then store them in a mesh onion bag.

      1. Chris,,,,,,the HARVEST GUARD lids linked on SB are what we us ,much the same as tattler. But nicer people to work with ,and think SB gets some support too .

    2. @ Chris

      Yes, we’re seeing recent layoffs here even in companies that had previously been doing well such as Darn Tough socks(50 workers), National Life(50 workers) etc. Stores such as JC Penney are closing for good here. And some are relocating(Magic Hat Brewery to NY). So in a small state, along with all of the layoffs we’ve already had and the businesses gone for good we are continuing to add to the pain. I’ve not seen any response to this from our local government though which mostly seems to be engaged in pandering to BLM protesters by painting BLM on the street in front of the statehouse etc. Fiddling while Rome burns………

      1. Ani – it is heart breaking to see how families are impacted during layoffs. The time of extra money in unemployment checks will eventually end. I have been let go a couple of times in my career from good jobs during changing business conditions and we were not well prepared. Today we are very grateful for God’s providence and a steady job but we are also much better positioned in case anything happens. Saving in small increments over the years adds up.

        For anyone reading this, one of the best decisions I’ve made over the past few years is to change career paths into something that is almost recession proof and I am now tasked with saving my company money. If I were still in my old career path I’d be at risk right now. It takes a year or two to transition to a new role, but please pray about it and consider it. Doing something like this might mean the difference in remaining employed down the road.

        We have had a few of our town’s bigger companies announce layoffs and three local facilities are shutting down operations altogether. Others are hiring – for lower wage jobs that others have vacated. I suspect that once unemployment benefits go back to the norm those lower wage jobs will get filled quickly.

        There is still a hot market for people willing to do side jobs. When I was a kid I made a significant amount of money taking on odd jobs. I handed out flyers to my neighbors. I had no problem throwing a rake or snow shovel over my shoulder and knocking on doors to ask for work. It’s been 25+ years since I’ve seen a kid doing that and I wouldn’t hesitate to hire him/her for a pay-by-the-job agreement.

        1. @ Chris

          What I’m also seeing here is that so many are now out of work that they are deciding to offer their services to do garden jobs, mow lawns, cut down trees etc and they are offering their services at cut-rate prices. Some of them don’t actually know what they’re doing but some do to some extent. An experienced gardener related how someone she knows who decided she too could work on gardens has been desperately sending her texts of pics of plants that she needs to know quickly if it’s a weed or something good she should leave!

          So those of us who do this sort of work are now competing against people willing to work for very low wages. And a number of clients/prospective clients have decided to hire those folks rather than me, even though I’m working for far less than I should be. So it becomes this vicious circle with people desperate for work willing now to work for low pay and driving down the pay of others doing this work already. I fear that with more and more businesses closing and/or laying off workers here this will only get worse. So yes, I probably need to find some sort of work that is not only recession proof but isn’t something that laid off workers will latch onto as their new line of work.

          1. “An experienced gardener related how someone she knows who decided she too could work on gardens has been desperately sending her texts of pics of plants that she needs to know quickly if it’s a weed or something good she should leave!”

            LOLROTF. ;). This really made me laugh. I can just picture it! Funny!

  17. Montana had huge food giveaway program due to the lock down. Those have now ended. Fortunately I was able to back up the truck at the end and took what no one else wanted. They were going to dump it. It was a truck load. The compost pile received a hefty portion of it. Some will be dried and some will be canned, some will keep, and some has already been given away to friends.

    We should be concerned about what people know about us as many do feel entitled and will demand that you give them your stuff. Even if one is poor, they will still will want it. My small potato crop is essentially a seed potato crop for next year. I certainly do not need more potatoes. It is still not too late to put in more potatoes to produce seed for next year that can be given out for others to grow. Anyone can grow potatoes. I only have three friend who has a garden. No one else bothered. If the country falls apart after the election, and famine is in the land, I can provide seed to a few as I did this year, and they can attempt to grow it.

    If you are new to gardening and do not know what to grow, after reading every page at Seed for Security, https://survivalblog.com/marketplace/modules/tracker/go.php?id=24,
    I believe the seeds in the link could be a sensible package for the novice gardener like myself. We want a good selection, and we want to avoid cross breeding, and the selection does that for us. The packaging allows us to freeze the seeds for long term storage. Order more seed than needed as germination rates fall over time. This year 9 year old kale seed produced, but only because there was excess sowed to compensate for the low germination rate. Buy more than you think you need for the extended family. BTW, although my tomato plants are not doing well in general, the Giant Swiss Chard from last year is now over 6 feet tall. If I only had potatoes and Swiss chard, I might survive. Unfortunately I found that kale and Swiss Chard can easily cross breed, so the kale will have to go if it flowers at the same time as the Swiss Chard. Same with the peas. Learning tons in the garden this year.

    1. Tunnel Rabbit,

      Just a quick note here about Kale and Swiss Chard. Kale is in the Cabbage plant family (called Brassicaceae in botanical nomenclature) Mustard is in the same family. Swiss Chard is in the same plant family as common Beets (called Chenopodioideae in botanical nomenclature) so they will not cross, ever. Sorry to disagree with you, but I had to point that out as other gardeners may want to grow both of them together and save seed from both crops which they can if they are only growing one of each kind of vegetable. I just took a look at the Seed for Security website and there is a statement about Beets and Swiss Chard crossing and the way it was worded could make it sound like they cross with Cabbages. However the statement was: “So will beets and swiss chard.” They should have specifically said “Beets will cross with Swiss Chard” which is more obvious that the crossing only happens between THOSE two plants and not the whole Cabbage family.

      Peas are generally self-pollinating so they rarely cross, but on occasion it can happen with other varieties of peas. Beans mostly self-pollinate, but thrips (a type of small insect) can cross a small percentage of them.

      As I’ve mentioned before the book titled Seed to Seed by Suzanne Ashworth is and excellent book to have for gardeners wanting to me more self-sufficient. It’s on JWR’s list as well.

      I do agree with everything else that you posted. Best wishes for your garden and all those that you will help in the future by your efforts.


      1. Hello David’n’ Goliath,

        I say good catch and thank you. I am such a newbie that I am discovering a flood of new information. This is why the Seed for Security seed collection is more a selection than a random collection. Total idiots, persons like myself, can appreciate it, but only if they knew about the details and problem of cross pollination. I’m glad to know that I can grow kale and swiss chard together.

    2. Tunnel Rabbit we live outside the city on rural property that typically is 80 acres sections or more. One would think that folks out here would all have gardens. Unfortunately it is rare to see them anymore. Our valley used to be all row crops. Now it it grass seed and filbert trees.

      A young couple moved in down the way from us and it has been refreshing to see them fixing up the old place. Among the improvement has been new siding for the house, fencing for the cow they added and raised beds. Perhaps they will put pressure on others to add garden beds..

  18. Splitting and stacking my oak firewood. I live in the middle of a large pine forest and usually burn pine. Pitchy, burns too quick and causes too much soot and creosote. But luck found us staying in the valley 100 plus miles West of us last winter where I found a wood lot with too much wood and no takers Bought two pickup loads cheap ($200/cord), and since I drove back over the mountains once a week to check on the house it was no extra cost to bring it home. It was just cut, rough split, piled in the rain soaking wet and the owner was happy to sell it. At about a ton per half cord it took two trips but it was worth it. Our hot dry climate has dried/cured it and it is a treasure compared to the even more expensive pine for sale here.

  19. Morning y’all.
    A.L. Per your question about ashes being used for corn masa I’m not exactly sure, but I think it would be worth the effort to research and experiment.
    I have a recipe for hominy that you use lye in, but I bet wood ashes were originally used. I will have to dig that recipe out on a day I don’t have so much going on.
    Today it’s bread baking, sourdough and regular.

    It’s also garden, garden, garden here. The strawberries are starting to put on berries so I got them netted to keep out the birds, I’m not sure if the chipmunks can get up into the raised beds, they’re slick. I haven’t seen any in them but I know those wee beasties can jump! At least the ground squirrels can’t get up in

    We had someone at our gate lower on the mountain shoot up our no trespassing/parking sign at the gate, they took their brass even though they used a .22. They dropped a round and didn’t catch it. I mentioned this because I think sometimes we get complacent living out in the boonies thinking we’re totally safe from the turmoil. Yes we are, to a degree. But someone had been up here shooting before at a time previous to us actually living on our property, I think, and they drove a bit to get here to go shooting for entertainment (Because entertainment is what most people live for these days) and then were upset they couldn’t get into the property (at least in a vehicle). While we’ve owned our property for 25+ years we’ve lived on it almost 4 and the locals know us and that we live here. Keep vigilant someone always is the first victim before area residents figure out they have to work together to protect everyone.

      1. Cameras would be great–if you are sure of not being hacked. Then they’re only great for the people that want to know what you have, and your patterns of living. I’d love to have a few–too close to a big city–but terrified that it will only bring hackers out to my place. Thoughts?

        1. There are all kinds of cameras. Trail cameras, wired (no chance to hack) cameras, still or video and of course wifi cameras that could be hacked. In my opinion if the camera isn’t looking at something personal like your home or car or something identifiable I could care less if it is hacked.

          Buy a small dash cam and power it with 12 volts and put the largest SD card it will hold and turn it on during the time period you want to watch something. The time period will depend on your camera and the capacity of the SD card. Pretty good for watching who approaches your home while you are at work but not good for the 1-2 week vacation.

          There are of course more expensive camera and hard drive combinations that would work well. I can tell you from experience that the biggest problem with video cameras and recorders is that it is time consuming to scan them everyday. You could chose to only scan then when something is harmed or stolen but I have actually caught crimes when I was unaware that anything happened.

          1. Thanks so much for the information. I never thought about something that was wired. Most of the ones I’ve been finding are all wifi–which I really don’t want. Mainly just want something to look down the driveway to make sure that no one is trying to get into the house nor the garage. Is it true tho, that there are no American companies that make/service these cameras? Read many times that everything is made in China–hence the hacking.

    1. Regarding the shooter… I had been thinking that I need to be even more “rural” than I already am, although our valley in the mountains is perfectly situated to close off the two main roads to all intruders. However, I realized that being/living near people who are like minded is critical for me. Everyone carries, and is alert, everyone helps everyone else. As we enter tourist season, I’m sure we’re all watching for signs of the terrorists casing our little town. Antifa and BLM have both said they are planning to go into the rural areas and kill people. After what I’ve seen the past few weeks, I don’t doubt they meant it.

  20. Help! Needing chicken advice please.
    This week all our chickens were slaughtered by a predator that ripped through the wire mesh to access the hen house. Have raised Barred Rocks and Buff Orp’s with the latter too heat sensitive to survive well in our area of Arkansas despite shade and plenty of water. Plus our chickens were too picky always wanting fancy store feed, grain, etc, or they shut off laying eggs. Our chickens have to be content living in a run and not free ranging due to predators, at least for the present.
    Advice requested: Could anyone please suggest a breed of heat tolerant, brown egg laying chicken that can get along living primarily on comfrey (has high protein content), vegetables, and kitchen scraps? In hard times, buying feed may be difficult.
    Grateful thanks in advance for any helpful advice. : )

    1. Oh no. Sounds like my racoon experience; it did the same thing. Not sure what to advise you re: breeds as I’m mostly intent on finding cold tolerant breeds. But you will likely find what you’re looking for in some of the old-time breeds that have been widely used on homesteads and small farms such as the Barred Rocks and RI Reds(which are also very cold tolerant as well).

    2. KB: I am in a similar weather pattern as your state. We have about 45 hens and 2 roos that eat everything in sight. They are free range within a fenced area about 1/2 to 3/4 acre. We have been experimenting with various breeds for egg production, meat and climate adjustment. This year I invested in 20 Rhode Island Reds. They are about 5 months now, very self-sufficient and not picky about what they eat. During the summer we let them forage for protein, throw out some scratch along with some frogs, squirrels, all the bugs they can catch and left overs from the kitchen. During the winter we supplement with protein pellets when small critters are hiding from us. We use a non-GMO all species generic pellet which all of our animals will eat. That way we don’t have to stock 5 different types of feed.

      1. Hi, Animal House! Thank you for your input. Rhode Island Reds sounded good to me until I read that they don’t tolerate hot weather well? Last summer’s heat killed all but 3 of our junior Buff Orp’s and they are supposed to like heat more that Rhode Island Reds, at least according to one site. I sure wish that we could free range like you, but dare not with the predators here.
        Any other folks with hot weather experience with Rhode Island Reds?
        Any other breeds nominated for our particular needs regarding heat and

        1. KB, we’ve had Reds, along with a few other breeds, since we moved to SC a few years ago. Summers usually see highs in the high 90s-low 100s, with exceptional humidity as well (although not this year). They’ve been steady layers for us, and we’ve also had a couple go broody, helping us enlarge our flock. As long as they have some shade, a ventilated coop, and plenty of water, my experience has been that do fine.

    3. I can’t suggest a breed but I do know that stucco wire is a lot sturdier than the chicken wire that is available now. We made our chicken run out of stock panels covered with stucco wire. We put in three T-posts per panel and wired the stock panels to them. I prefer three wires to those fence clips you can buy. The wire goes on very quickly and makes the run easy to move if necessary . Then we put the stucco wire all the way over it. We wired that on too. Where the wire meets across the top we wire the bands of wire together at intervals. You can also “sew” the strips of stucco wire together with the electric fence wire we use. I think it was 19 gauge electric fence wire to attach the stucco wire. I think it was 17 gauge electric fence wire we used to attach the the stock panels to the T-posts. I am not positive about the gauges. Seems to be effective against the predators once we got all the holes filled (we built on a slope).

    4. KB, You might try the Black Australorps. They are a really hardy, self sufficient breed. I also have RIR, Barred Rock, and Silver Laced Wyandottes, but I like the BA the best. They are a heavy bird, they lay great, and they go broody.

    5. Hi KB!
      We used wire cloth for our hen house, and it has worked well. Our wire cloth is 1/2″ and it’s extraordinarily sturdy. None of the usual wild hunters have even attempted to access the birds there (not even the bears). But… We do have problems with forest predators who will catch a chicken at every opportunity when they are free-ranging. When we get any signal of active hunting, we pen the birds up for a number of days until the hunter seeks dinner game elsewhere.

      You might try calling on one of the larger hatcheries like Murray McMurray for a recommendation about a good variety of bird for your area. Another thought would be the extension service, or even a local feed store. We’re along the northern part of growing zone 7, and so it’s warm here — but maybe not as warm as the temperatures you’re experiencing in your location.

      If your birds have plenty of water (used for temperature control), you’re probably right that the next search direction will be the variety of birds best suited to your area.

      Sure hope this helps, and looking forward to news of success for you!

  21. About 3 tons of good wood has been split and stacked, thanks to a local person for hire. The property has been cleaned up. I am so blessed.

    Mostly, this past week, I’ve been ticking off things on a long list of “must do” now, according to my own inner sense of urgency. It feels good to be ready for winter ahead of schedule. We’ve had crazy weather in June: cold temps, hail, thunder storms, then hot, cold again in a couple of days.

    I purchased a number of family games, some books and toys, and craft supplies, since I am done with the food thing. Although I added “kid friendly” foods to my storage. I let my mind wander through what 24 hours would look like if all my children and grandchildren came to stay for the duration of TEOTWAWKI. Enlightening exercise and spurred some additional purchases.

    I received a beef order from a local rancher. Another neighbor did a large pork order.
    We plan on swapping beef and pork. While finding meat on sale is a great way to stock up, I decided paying for the higher priced local food was worth more than gold relationship-wise.

    Since Lily is such a bird watcher (inspiring!), I’ve been trying to identify the birds on my property. I have a couple small Meadowlarks (I think) that love to hop on the railing of my deck every morning early and sing/twitter away. It makes me smile. There are twin fawns with their momma who traverse through my yard early too.
    Keep the Faith.

  22. My buying a gun for my nephew finally paid off with a thank you from his dad. Riots in Madtown got a little too close for comfort for him and he changed his mind about having a gun in the house. When they stopped up, they just came from the gun shop where my nephew picked up a used Glock19. He was able to get a box of FMJ ammo for buying the gun, but there was none out for sale. I gave him a box of JHP out of my stock, so he would at least have defensive rounds.

    I’ve held off on pistol purchases for the bunker, but thanks to my nephew, My mind is made up. Now it’s a debate between the 19 or the 26. Leaning to the 26 for better CC. 19 and 26 mags are compatible, if I remember right, so only one mag type is needed for stocking. Have plenty of ammo, as I have a Taurus, M11, and UZI.

    Finished and filled the last raised bed in the garden. Had just enough compost for all the beds. Now I have to finish weeding and leveling the ground level beds. Progress has been slow due to the rains. Screening all that soil needs drier conditions, but it does get a lot of the weed roots out. The out of control hybrid raspberries are going to produce a bumper crop this year, and then I can wipe them out. The heirloom raspberries that still exist are doing exceptionally well too. We get two crops off those a year. They’re our keepers! Bought two currant bushes only to find they were the black and not the red. But the garden is exploding this year. In the last week everything has doubled or tripled in size. Makes me think of the Egyptian famine and Joseph. Seven years of plenty followed by seven of famine. Start stocking!

    The wild ducks are doing better this year. We have a group of 3, 4, two of 5, and one of 19. Have not seen a better hatch since 2014. Looks like the effects of the 2015 Avian Flu are almost over. Also saw Ghost again this year. (cream colored hen) She was a duckling back in 2014.

    Bad news is the Broadway tours are not going to remount until September of next year. So no work for a year!

    1. I do not have big hands, but I found the Glock 26 to be uncomfortably short and difficult to grip effectively. Sadly, it spends most of its time in my safe.

      The Glock 19 is a far better choice and can conceal just fine with a good holster. If you really want a smaller Glock, look at the 43 instead of the 26. And yes, the Glock 17 mags will fit in the 19 and 26, but not the 43.

      1. Thanks Pickled! Test fired both at a range last night, and I liked the 19 better. Now, have to deal with the flag at state level for buying more than 2 at a time (want 11 total), but with the security clearance I have, that shouldn’t be much of a problem.

  23. Overall a fairly quiet week here. The garden is doing well, and the squash seems to be responding to the Neem oil treatment for powdery mildew. Tomatoes, green beans, and blackberries continue to come in, though I think the blackberries will fizzle out in the next couple of weeks. On the other hand, the okra is starting to put out and the second group of corn I planted has sprouted as well. In addition, the persimmon trees are starting to put out fruit, and the muscadines and scuppernongs are coming along very nicely.

    Another of our hens has gone broody, so hopefully in a few weeks we’ll have some more chicks. I’m considering harvesting any additional roosters in the fall, which may be a good thing as we are definitely starting to see some meat shortages. Although our butcher still has a decent amount of product, he was unable to sell us half cow as we’d hoped. I’ve already started stretching things out a bit.

    We did receive some good news this week. My father had been experiencing some forgetfulness, and went in for some tests. We feared Alzheimer’s, partly because we dealt with the slow decline of my grandmother…a strong woman from the depression generation with whom I was extremely close…from that dread disease. Fortunately, Dad, a strong and Godly man who provided an amazing example for me growing up, only has a mild case of dementia, that can be treated. I’ll grant it’s unusual for a diagnosis of dementia to be considered good news, but under the circumstances, my mother and I were quite relieved. In addition, we were able to finally successfully plant some seeds in my mother’s mind about coming to stay with us in the event things start to get hairy in their area.

    I agree with many of you that we’re in a lull, and I expect things to get extremely “interesting” this fall, so we’re going to use this summer to redouble our prepping, including continuing to carefully build relationships with likeminded folks in our community.

  24. Hi everyone 🙂

    It’s been really hot and dry here, but we finally got some much needed rain Friday. Finally received my Freeze Dryer so my husband is making me a rack for it. It’s about 200 lbs so he’s got some extra metro shelving to use for it.

    Gave dad a haircut Thursday. Their friends around the corner invited them out Friday, they had a great time and got to spend time with people their own age instead of just seeing me all the time.

    On Tuesday I was going to my brothers house and I saw a turtle out of the corner of my eye so I turned around to go rescue him so he wouldn’t go in the road and get hit by a car. His shell was bigger than a Dinner plate. I went to pick him up gently to turn him away from the road and when I put him down he ran away so fast down the hill back to the creek. I was stunned by how fast he ran away! I didn’t know turtles could run! I felt great though as the week before I had pulled over to rescue a different turtle and when I got out of the car to go get him a pickup truck roared by and crushed the turtle 🙁 I was so upset that I was crying.

    My little garden is doing well so far, I have flowers on my squash and tomatoes, cucumbers, beans and okra are doing well also.

    I planted lavender and lemon balm from seed and they are starting to sprout.

    We finally laid down the mulch I had ordered a month or so ago.
    Got some supplies to try and make my own bird suet. Anyone have any ideas on making your own? I’m trying to save some money on this plus I think it would be fun to make myself.

    Ordered and received my aero garden farm XL (large hydroponic system). I have two of the Bounty Elite Models that I grow lettuce and smaller stuff in but the new Farm model will enable me to grow things like tomatoes, peppers, beans and other taller items during the winter indoors. This will be a big deal not having to rely on crappy store bought produce.

    Still waiting for the small freezer that I ordered in April. Good thing it’s an extra one! Refrigerator should be here next week (thank god too because the one we have is on it’s last legs). I will put the old one in the garage to hold waters, juice, pop, Ect

    I hope everyone is doing well, have been thinking and praying for all of you.

    Have a Rockin great day 🙂

    1. We also have a turtle rescue and relocation program, and understand! We let the snappers pass on by, but the little box turtles can easily be moved away from roadways. We have great forest spots for these creatures.

    2. Once your lemon balm gets going you can make wonderful iced tea. I mix lemon balm , mint (I use Kentucky Colonel ) and dried hibiscus. I just put it in cold water and brew it in the refrigerator. Even just lemon balm makes a very refreshing tea.

    3. Re turtle: it’s possible the jerk in the truck did that deliberately. I recall a study that involved placing fake turtles off to the side of a road, and the researchers observed what would happen. A disturbing number of drivers would deliberately drive off the road to hit the fake turtle. To me, anybody who would do that is a waste of protoplasm and will be doing the world a favor when they depart from it.

  25. KB

    I live in South Carolina, where it is definitely hot and humid in the summer months, and have tried many different breeds of chickens over the years. Rhode Island Reds, White Rocks and Black Australorps are egg laying machines and do well in the summer months. However I’ve found that just about any breed will quit laying in long stretches of 95+ degree temps. It has been my experience that Australorps are the best layers throughout the winter months without supplemental lighting. I have found all to do well free ranging. Hope this helps.

    1. We’ve been skirting 100 degrees for several weeks. Was 107 degrees yesterday. Hens quit laying. Have been augmenting their wheat and corn with a little cat food and the eggs have started coming again. I think any extra protein source would help. Meat scraps work . My silkies didn’t lay any eggs last summer. By adding cat food I am getting eggs this year. They are the same birds and and even older.

      1. Hi, Chris. Our BRs and Orps stopped laying in good weather even when fed high protein comfrey which is supposed to be a perfect protein percentage
        for chickens. They seemed to require grain or lots of meat scraps which may be hard to come by in severe circumstances. We’ll need to go with birds that
        aren’t so fussy. Hadn’t thought about cat food. Thanks!

  26. RE: KB and chickens. We have used only Golden Comet chickens for the last 12 years or so. They can be sexed at birth, they lay large brown eggs, they lay almost daily for about 3 years. Put a light with a timer in your coop to give them 14 hours or so of light and they will lay all year round. Pretty solid chickens, we rarely loose one to disease. We use Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon MO, they will mail chicks across the country. As long as they have water, we have never lost one to heat. Our coop is under an oak tree, so it is shaded.


  27. KB: They are a medium size chicken, but lay large eggs. They are not picky eaters, today I fed them watermelon rind, zucchini peels, melon seeds & pulp, crushed egg shells, potato peels, old onion, etc. They head to the compost tire every time they are out. They are good foragers for ticks and other insects. Give them a space (assuming you let them out to forage) to have bare dirt to ‘dust themselves’, otherwise they will create a space, probably not where your spouse would like them to! I think they will be a good match for you!

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