Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

This has been a busy week, and my back is sore!  We started out with just two tons, the first day. The “crew” was just two of us–Lily and myself–picking up grass hay bales in the field, one by one, using our pickup truck and gooseneck trailer. Lily did the driving. I did the lifting and stacking. Back at the ranch each day, we’ve been unloading and re-stacking the bales in the barn. I prefer to do this part in the cool of the evening. Transporting each ton of hay requires lifting and stacking the bales twice. Thus, one ton = two tons moved.  We peaked at hauling and stacking 6 tons in a day — at 27 bales to the ton. This was on a day when we had two paid hay hands, to help us. They provided a trailer of their own to speed up the hauling.

My goal is to have 25 tons of hay stacked safe and dry in the barn by August 1st. Then I’ll feel a sense of relief. But my back is already sore, and thusfar I’ve lost four pounds of body weight. Soon, I can get back to cutting and splitting firewood. Oh, and I have a frost-free garden valve to dig up and replace. This is just another typical summer haying season or us. We are very busy, but happy.  We thank God for his providence and travel mercies.

On Thursday, I took a break from hay hauling and drove a seven-hour round trip to meet on-site with two consulting clients for six hours of meetings.  I do most of my consulting by phone or Skype. It is just once in a while that schedules mesh and travel is viable so that I can meet clients face to face. Those sessions are always the most enjoyable.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Yes it was a very busy week.  My dear husband worked super hard to get the hay in for our horses and cows.  Bucking hay is very strenuously hard, hot, and scratchy work and of course it cuts into the time needed to work on the Blog and the Elk Creek Company business. We girls are super thankful for Jim’s willingness to sacrifice some of his time and energy to work so hard for our animals.

Obviously, we spent a lot of time away from our computers, so sometimes it was a while before we posted the comments.  Our apologies to you all.  Each time I checked the comments, I found 16-to-27 of them to read and post at any given time.  Wow!

We had a wonderful week.

We added a pair of new six-week-old barn cat mouser kittens to the ranch this week.

Our other cats are reaching “retirement age” and have kind of become house cats. Though they are still quite good at mousing.

Oh those babies are sooo adorable and funny to watch and play with.  All four of us love kittens.  We just want to “eat ’em up”.  😉   Did I ever tell you that when I was in college, my two housemates and I bought a kitten during a Fall semester.  I have to admit that I often was playing with that kitten when I should have been studying. Two of my six classes reflected that lack of study time with below average grades, but four classes were A’s…  So I guess it wasn’t too bad… Sad to report, but the next summer that kitty died from Kitty Cat Leukemia/Fading Kitten Syndrome.  At that stage of my life, I had never heard of that cat disease and we had not thought to bring her to the vet to be immunized for it.  Anyhow, I cannot afford to “waste” too much time with them at this time, but in the evenings, before bed, I visit with them.  🙂

One of our older cats, a little female Kitty named “S” was so miffed at these little waifs invading her space that she disappeared for a whole twenty-four hours and ignored my repeated calling for her. (We do have two other adult cats that she gets along with.) This is not her normal behavior.  I worried about her because we do have predators around here who would like a kitty snack, though S.  is a very wise and seasoned kitty and usually stays close to the house and barns.  In time, she will get used to the kittens and become friendly with them, too..

I called her my “Beloved Twit” when she showed up, thankfully, early the next morning. This kitty literally hugs me most mornings when we greet each other. She and one of our other cats, walk with me when I go out in the dark or during the day and walk around the ranch.  They stand guard over me until I return to the house. I call them my  “Two Sentinels.”

Gardening update:  The girls helped me weed the tomatoes and carrots, though they still need some more attention this coming week. I have picked the last of the strawberries.  Only a few will ripen in the next week or so.

The raspberries are coming in on full bore.  This weekend I am planning on making raspberry juice with my yet untested Victorio Stainless Steel Steam Juicer, and also make raspberry syrup, since we have more than enough raspberry jam from last summer. I am not too fond of raspberry seeds in my smoothies, so frozen berries are used in pies.  I did dehydrate raspberries last summer, but I have not used them yet.  I keep meaning to try the dehydrated berries in teas.

I’ve been harvesting spinach. I blanched and froze a batch of it.  I am planning on dehydrating the next harvest and blending it into spinach powder, this coming week, along with beet and kale greens.

I harvested the first cucumbers this week, as well as the Black raspberries.  Black Raspberries are my most “favoritest” berry on the whole planet earth!  Yum!  Sadly this year, though, I don’t think I will have as large of a harvest as last year, because some canes became damaged over the winter and I hurt a few during my raspberry patch clean up last fall and this spring.  They were just too entangled to untangle safely and got broken.  But there is always next year. We are enjoying snacking on the berries at this time.  I do plan to make another batch of jam with them, too.

I harvested broccoli and dehydrated it.

I started preparing the Herb Garden.  I rototilled it many, many times, yet again, and chucked even more of the rocks that kept coming up, then I covered it with eight inches of manure and rototilled that deeply into the bed.  I have yet to plant the herbs.

I mowed the Main garden paths.

The horses are being ridden now.  It’s taken a few weeks to break them in safely.  In a few more weeks we’ll probably ride them up in the National Forest.

Miss Violet and I, are studying to identify the wild edible plants of North America, together. We are looking at pictures of plants and then I have been quizzing her.  We are enjoying this time together. Dandelion leaves and Lamb’s Quarter leaves are making regular appearances in my daily smoothies, this week.

Herbal Medicine

This week, I developed an inflamed taut lymph line in my arm from the elbow up to my armpit, that is slightly red, in only three inches on my bicep, due to, most likely, a spider or mosquito bite. Whatever bit me in the inside of the elbow, “blew” a small blood vessel.  I had a slight “blood blister” pencil eraser-sized, under the skin and it itched like crazy for about twenty minutes, but never opened up like a spider bite, would.  The lymph node in the armpit is only slightly swollen. Side note: A few years back, I was bit by a spider that totally inflamed the lymph line and lymph node and it grew to golf ball size, the lymph line was fiery red from the bite all the way to the armpit.  I didn’t have a bacterial infection. I know, because I had the blood cultured, twice.  But I had a high fever for three days.  The exotic disease specialist doctor that I saw said that my body had taken a big hit from the venom but had dealt with it on its own. However, it took months for the lymph node in my armpit to go back to normal size.

So then, since I know that lymph is a defense mechanism of the body and I have not developed a fever that it is probably not as bad as the previous spider bite and that the lymph is doing its job.  But to help it along, I have been eating and drinking super well, eating a lot of extra oranges, and fruits and veggies, resting and treating it with the Self-Heal Tincture that a friend made for us last fall, and also applying Oregano essential oil.  I am spraying it onto my arm along the lymph line and in my armpit.  I also made a tea of Self Heal leaves that I that picked out in the orchard and drank some of that.  I think I was okay with drinking it, since it is in the mint family and isn’t one of my sensitive foods. We’ll see how quickly I heal up.

I do not wish to go to the doctors, so I will see how well I do over the next few days. It’s already been about four or five days since being bitten–without a fever or really adverse reactions, other than the lymph line being taut and just three inches slightly pink. If it gets bad, then we’ll go.

Do any of you readers have testimonies of using wild herbs for self-healing, rather than using conventional medicine? We’d love to hear your stories.


I spent a full morning this week sorting and reorganizing all of our Medical items, Supplements, First Aid, and Toiletries stored in our bathroom. I replenished and added to our Kitchen’s First Aid Kit. I also went through the cabinet with all of the herbal tinctures, and essential oils .

Comet Neowise

Jim and I slept out in the tent out in our meadow three times this past week to watch the comet Neowise. It was beautiful.  It is located just below the cup of the Big Dipper/Ursa Major. It became visible with full darkness, which here is around 11:30 pm.  It can be seen with the naked eye, but is also fun to look at with binoculars.

Well, Dear Readers, please continue to prepare yourselves physically, spiritually, and mentally for what is coming.  It is not going to get better from here on out. It sadly, is only going to get worse.

Continue reading God’s Word and praying for yourselves and others, and spend lots of time with your loved ones.

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. An old family medicinal plant trick is to use common mallow and make it like you would a tea. Then soak the infected spot in the “tea” at as warm of a temperature as you can stand. My grandad once had blood poisoning from a wound in his hand that had gotten nearly to his shoulder. He soaked it in this stuff and it drew the blood poisoning out so quickly that you could watch it happen. Hope it heals soon for you!

  2. I was recently telling my son-in-law, as we loaded a few bales in his horse trailer about how when I was a teenager back in Missourah that I hauled hay almost every day all summer. Worked for three different crews, each crew consisted of a driver, two buckers, and a stacker, and we each made 2 cents a bale from field to barn and hauled anywhere from 600 to a 1000 bales almost everyday, and they were always around 70 to 80 lb. bales. That was when they started making big bales because they couldn’t find many boys that were willing to do that hard work, cause they was all cruising around in their fancy cars that their dad’s bought them. So I realize how hard the job was for You and Lily, hate to say it but I know ain’t either one of you kids no more, so don’t over work them thar backs. Trekker Out

    1. The good ol days. Bailed hay, wow, what a luxury. When I was a kid my dad and the neighbor had a pull behind iron wheeled sickle and pull behind iron wheeled rake both of which a second person rode on and operated. After cutting the hay the rake was pulled back and forth across the field and the tines lifted at precise points to form rows. Then it was a flat bed farm trailer and pitch forks to load the hay. It was then back to the barn area to unload, again with pitch forks to form a stack. My only pay for this was I got to drive the tractor which was a thrill. In the future these methods may be required again.

    2. I’m in SWMO myself, my grandfather often joked that the big round baler was the beginning of the downfall of America as the vast majority of boys of hay-stacking age quickly forgot the meaning of hard work and the value of a dollar.

    3. Missouri boy here too. In high school I worked summer’s on a crew and we hauled around 20000 bales a season. Really I didn’t think it was as hard work as cutting loading cord wood for the charcoal plant. That last row of green 4 ft oak on a 2 ton truck was a work out.

      I haul around 250 bales a year now for our horses and I know what you mean about not being a kid any more. Hauling square bales is becoming a lost art. I got one of the local high school football players to help me this year and he wasn’t able to take the heat a dust in the loft and this 60 year old had to step in for him. You can use momentum to make throwing and stacking much easier something this kid never could seem to understand.

  3. Our cucumber crop is going to be outrageous this year. Already harvested five, and we still have flowers everywhere. Raspberries are done for us. What blueberries we did get came in. Have new blueberry sprouts emerging from roots of the supposedly dead plants. Peas are getting a second crop. First bean crop is done, and the second and third are jumping out of the raised beds, and are flowering heavily. Tomatoes are all at 5′ and heavily fruited. Broccoli just started forming heads. Carrots are at 3″. (one pulled up with a thistle)

    Just nuked the weed patch on the west and south sides of the garden to prepare for leveling and new grass.

    My sister came up for a few days, and was floored at the new garden I built. The next day, we went up to Lake Superior, and I taught her to pan the beach for gold. I also let her learn about leaveright by giving her a 5 gallon bucket for picking pretty beach stones. There are lots of pretty stones up there, but too many are leaveright, as in leave er right there! Carrying that bucket up to the parking area is a real chore! After that, we went down the road a little way to where they logged everything off and picked blueberries before having dinner and heading home. Gold for the trip was about 30 100 mesh specks, which is about right for the amount we panned. Lost a nice 20 mesh chunk to a wave. That’s a picker for that location! I didn’t expect to find that much there, as I had mined the spot in previous years, so it’s fresh material.

    Also found that all the Wise Foods pouched fruits were no good! Everything was spongy inside. I’ve had the same problem with Alpine Aire pouches. Both use thinner pouches than Mountain House, which I’ve never had a problem with. Not happy that I lost 8 pouches of food when freeze dried food is hard to get. Also Wise is neglecting to put O2 absorbers in the pouches. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of problems with them.

    Should have done a complete buyout of that pawn shop’s silver when I had the chance. But, then who would have guessed that CCP would have moved so fast. But of what I did get (50%), I’m already at 10% profit.

    1. We love to go up to Lake Superior and rock pick. When the boys were little we would sit on the beach and paint and watch the ‘ocean’. Swimming in it usually takes your breath away, unless you are there late in the season.

  4. How I sympathize with Jim and Lily on hay hauling aches and pains! It will test the most fit bodies and even the strongest backs! I’m past the age of lifting bails and every year it seems my ability to lift heavy objects decreases. Spider bites; yuck! We get one or two poisonous bites every year. They are usually black widow or brown recluse spiders. I use an epson salt compress as soon as possible, then drawing salve, aloe leaf gel right from the plant and take turmeric and oil of oregano for a couple of days.

    Seems like I didn’t get much done in the canning side, did some chicken and meatloaf but had to freeze some until I can get to it. Also canned some vegetable broth. Kept both dehydrators going at night with bananas, kale, spinach, hot peppers and herbs.

    Found some hunting supplies that were reasonable by today’s standards; this may be the last of available bulk buys. Ordered some replacement parts for various rifles to keep on hand. Got a new scope to try out; it is just a cheapy, but it was highly recommended. We went to the back 40 to zero it in using one of the rifles and on first shot out of the box it was accurate to around 60 yards. Need to spend more time tweaking it at longer distances.

    Got garden supplies on sale (hose repair items, washers, brass quick release, brass faucet separators) and organized our stock of hose and sprinkler repair items into a clear storage box with latching lid.

    Pulled and sanitized all our chick starter feeders, waters, warming lights, etc. and stowed them in a large clear storage container.

    Started cleaning the junk drawer and organizing like items into ziplock bags but stopped due to more pressing activities. This may take a while!

    Took the time to set up a new email account on protonmail.com. It is end-to-end encryption and no adds so I will use it for family and close friends and keep the others for other purposes. I’ll see how it works.

    May your week be healthy and productive.

    1. Animal House-
      This is a great time of the year to stock up on hose accessories. Having supplies on hand to help move water around or to barter with other who need to move water around is a wise investment.
      Unfortunately I think with many more people gardening this year what will be left for clearance will be slim. I am also noticing that our Walmart’s are NOT putting much on clearance at all.

  5. Hauling, moving and stacking hay is a big sweaty dirty job! I’m sort of not missing having any hay eating critters to do this for anymore!

    Wow Lily, your spider bite sounds awful. I got several yellow jacket stings recently from disturbing a ground nest on a client’s property. I’m actually allergic to venomous insect stings but after 3 years of anti-venom treatment, I’m doing much better with it. Was able to just take some Benadryl and didn’t have an anaphylactic reaction; just badly swollen, sore and hot for a few days. Totally put me out of work the next day. Hope you heal soon. And re: natural treatments, yes, when my son was in high school he was diagnosed with ITP; his platelet count was direly low. The hematologists had nothing good to offer in their conventional arsenal so we worked with a really good naturopath. She had a good working relationship with this doctor and kept her appraised of his treatments and they shared his blood test results the whole time. He thankfully recovered fully. So yes, I’m a big believer in the use of natural methods of healing and also Chinese Trad Medicine when warranted but for anything serious I think it’s a good idea to have a practitioner to consult. In my area we have lots of so-called herbalists around, some really know their stuff like Rosemary Gladstar, and others, not so much. And then there are some excellent licensed naturopaths. Maybe look around and see what you’ve got in your region?

    On the home front my garden is going gangbusters. Now that we’re getting rain plus some serious warmth, the plants are really taking off. I love this time of year! Harvesting peas, sugar snaps, broccoli, eggplant, cukes, zukes, summer squash, green beans and cherry tomatoes. Froze some green beans. Will freeze some broccoli soon. Doing a lot of cooking of veggie dishes! Yum!

    My son’s first garden is doing really good and it turns out he loves it! We froze most of the spinach he grew. Now he’s thinking that maybe he wants to farm! This is sort of bittersweet as I sold the farm partly as he wanted nothing to do with farming. How to afford some land now is a problem as prices here have skyrocketed since I bought my original land for the farm. I now only have enough open land that can be cultivated for a large garden or two. Dunno.Gonna have to think about this. My neighbors who have seen my garden are urging me to find a piece of land to grow on and open up a farm stand in the area.

    Went shooting at the range twice this week with my new shotgun. It went ok; I can pretty much hit what I aim at! Signed up to take a couple of classes soon for handgun and rifle/shotgun. Ammo is in very short supply here; buy a small box when I find it!

    it’s almost August; where did the summer go!

  6. Jim, you need to get your self a hay hauler. They can be had “used” for a reasonable price. You need to understand that you are getting older and can get hurt a lot easier as one ages. I can tell you when you reach 70 you do start to go down hill. I am almost 81 and can tell you it no fun to farm like I did a few years back.
    Here in Utah we are in a drought. My pasture is down to only half with any green. Today is water day as we get it from the river. I have a well but still have to get my electric hooked up. It is a pain to get a permit for a well. Utah state feels that they have all ownership of water and control it like a bunch of jack booted thugs.
    All the best .
    The Gman

    1. 70??!?! 80?!??!?!

      Good Sir, 35 was my first sign of old age, 40 was a brick wall, at 45 I found my first grey chest hair.
      At this rate I figger I’ll be gardening in my 4×4 tracked wheelchair at 55!
      Good for you, and congrats on taking good care of your mortal coil!

  7. Lily,
    I think you are going to love your juicer. It is so easy. I think you can do vegetables also, but I’ve never tried that. Should make great smoothies. Reading your blog was like a blast from the past for me. We had a cat on the farm that someone had off loaded to us. She would sit on my shoulder while I fed the calves their formula. It must have been a sight to see. I was the tractor driver for loading the hay bales. Use to make my brother mad when I let the clutch out too fast and he would lurch around. They were the rectangle bales back then. Once when I was a young woman, I came home from school and my Dad was trying to get up some hay with the truck. I was running to get the bales so he would not have chest pains as he was prone to have by this time. Thought I would have a heart attack instead. Those kinds of things on the farm are brutal. Be safe.

    This week I canned peach jam, a red pepper spread, and tomato pepper onion mix.
    The new tomato slips that I had been babying as an experiment got tasted by deer. Ughhhhh!

    1. A juicer has a place in the kitchen.

      I recommend limiting your juiced produce.
      Juicing has a couple issues:
      * a) it concentrates the sugars.
      Concentrated sugars work your liver harder.
      Sugars at any level initiate an insulin dump.
      Some sugars destroy healthy gut bacteria.

      * b) it eliminates fiber.
      Fiber is required for a healthy gut.
      Fiber helps move digesting foods so nutrients can be absorbed.
      Fiber feeds gut bacteria, building and maintaining a healthy biome.

  8. Here in Texas we use pop-up loaders that are chained to the side of the trailer. If your not familiar with one ,they are ground driven loaders that pickup the bale and bring it up to the man stacking. It will make one man in to 3, no more walking or throwing the bales up on the stack. They can be found at farm sales for under $500. Worth the investment especially if you are the one stacking . trust me I know

  9. My SO was bitten by a copperhead on the right foot, directly behind the great toe in May. Lesson: don’t wear flip flops outside, ever. I did I drive her to the nearest ER (35 miles), since during this virus, had to drop her at the front door and leave. They monitored her coagulation and swelling and gave her pain meds. No anti-venom. She came home the next morning. Her foot was severely swollen.
    I read about the possible after affect of the bite. I visited my local herbalist (what a blessing to have her live nearby!) she sold me dried plantain leaf. I made a strong tea each day and strained Out the leaves. I used a new tea towel, soaked in the tea and wrapped her foot and leg up to the knee three times a day for one hour. I also applied fresh aloe, directly from a split leaf to her foot each day.
    By day 8, her swelling was completely gone, no pain, no skin sloughing. She was even able to put on a shoe.
    Good thing, there is too much work to do around here for one person!
    Love hearing about your life! I am fairly new to herbal medicine, I have a couple books and keep learning more.

    1. Thankful for the news of recovery following the copperhead bite! Thank you for sharing this experience — a good reminder to all of us, especially in the heat of the summer when snakes are most active.

      It’s just such an innocent thing to be in the yard in flip-flops, but also true that snakes can be anywhere. In addition to protective footwear, you might also want a snake hook — and maybe you have one already! These can be used to reach into an area before using a hand — checking it out for venomous visitors. We’re sensitive to snake danger because we have a number of especially dangerous snakes in our area too — copperheads being the usual culprits when it comes to snake bites!

      Another safety note about flip-flops to help! The very common Jones’ fracture of the foot is also often called the “flip flop fracture” for a good reason. It’s tough to heal, can require a long period of zero weight bearing time. These can also necessitate surgery — best avoided when possible, and especially in these times of COVID-19.

    2. Homestreadergal,
      I have printed out your story to put into my first aid medical book. I hope it is never needed, but I thank you for sharing what worked. What a scary experience for you and your SO. She was blessed to have you as such a great nurse! I’m so relieved there was a happy ending to your story.
      Blessings on your week, Krissy

      1. Hi Krissy, here’s another one to print out. Since emergency room cost is so outrageous, I wanted to be prepared in case of copperhead, brown recluse and black widow bites so I wasn’t freaking out at the moment they happen. My conclusion on all three was the same: I’m not going to do anything except stay at home and observe. That’s mostly what the emergency room is going to do, so I can save that $2,000+ by observing it myself. If anything gets serious, then I can always go to the emergency room, or better yet, my local doctor.

        According to this study in Texas by two doctors, based on 142 cases, 88 of which were copperheads, antivenom is no longer used. Only 1 of the 88 had some issues. The key quote is at the end in their conclusion section: “…a bite by copperhead rarely requires any intervention other than observation. The unnecessary use of antivenom should be discouraged.”

        I copied and pasted the pertinent info from this article so I could print it on a single sheet and keep it posted on my fridge where I can review it from time to time. The studies on brown recluse reach the same basic conclusion, just observe. The one time I was bitten by a brown recluse, while it was very painful, the only result was a welt the size of a mosquito bite which quickly went away. Since I was prepared with knowledge, I didn’t freak out and saved a lot of money.


    3. Homesteadergal; you and your SO were lucky the copperhead only nicked the toe. My son was bit on the hand and he had 6 vials of anti-venom and a hospital stay of 18 hours; the bill was $48,000.

  10. Health issues have kept us from posting since March so some of this is an update.
    Finished 3 walls in basement: drywall, tape, primed & painted. Working on Diesel truck: welding new rocker panels and doing away with rust. Bought and restored a tractor. Ordered new belt for riding mower. Trying to restore an old generator for a backup. Woodpile is almost full. It’s an ongoing project. This week we finally, finally put up our garden fence. The garden is big enough to start a small nursery of fruit trees and also plant grapes, berries, and climbing plants. We will add extra raised beds as well. Several months ago we stopped on a highway near us where the county was trimming trees. They dropped two large truck loads off the side of our driveway. Had two windows put in our loft for better vision of driveway. Ordered ammo, first aid items. We are also stocking up on canned goods, toilet tissue, laundry soap, and items that we use that stores were short on during the co19 episode and is still short. Pantry is starting to swell. Just installed our counter and overhead cabinets for our radios and communications. Antennas will be a thoughtful project. Ready to get back into amrron very soon. Reading God’s word every morning and evening. Listening to reliable info on internet, and also radiofreeredoubt each week, and of course SB. Had a nice day in town yesterday getting supplies and stopped in for a fish fry. Glad you and Jim got your hay in. Hope you take some time to allow the sore muscles to relax. Have a blessed and safe week everyone.

  11. Strength Training, Ran 2 miles, Rucked 7.

    Got 240 rounds of 5.56.

    Got third wireless motion alarm sensor to add to system.

    Ordered 1,250 Trump related stickers.

    We are 100 days till the election.

  12. We had a wonderful time with the kids and grands this past weekend. I just love watching my 7 grands interact with each other. As the ones who live farthest away drove off, I found myself wondering when I would see them again. Cases in our state are rising and we set 3 new highs this week.

    My sister was tested for COVID. Thankfully she was negative. 6 people she works with have had it – one died.

    I put up a 25 lb box of peaches and saved the peels in the freezer for vinegar, juice (for smoothies) and jelly. Dehydrated a dehydrater full of celery leaves and chopped up and froze the stalks. Also froze 5 lbs. of blueberries.

    Our peas are putting out a second crop. Hopefully by this time next week we will be eating our own cherry tomatoes.

    Oiled my sewing machine and cleaned all 3 filters in my vacuum. Both our vehicles have had regular maintenance appointments recently.

    Looking forward to hearing what the rest of you are up to!

    1. Hello Wormlady!
      Really thankful for the news of the negative test for your sister (thank you for sharing this good news), and so sorry for the others who were positive — and most especially for the individual whose earthly life was lost. This is a darn tough disease, and the consequences of it are likely to be with those affected for a very long time.

  13. Mainly worked on various projects this week. One was improving one solar water heater and building a new one using a different technique. I got a 40° rise in temperature on 15 gallons of water in three hours on a partly cloudy day with $12 worth of parts, so this new one will be a goodie. It will circulate and heat water from my regular water heater when all hooked up.

    The bees were really working the oregano and basil this week. This strain of bees is called Italian bees, so that explained it. I just hope I don’t open the hives and find out they’ve made lasagna instead of honey.

    I planted a 16 x 20 patch of buckwheat on Wednesday morning and by Friday afternoon it was already sprouting. The seed was only $1.05/lb at the farm store so that was a great price. That will give the bees something to work in mid September and give me more than enough seed to use for next time. It’s a great green manure as well.

    I should have pared the pear tree better last winter when pruning. The largest limb with the most pears on it blew down in a storm this week so that was a bummer. Two raccoons were seen mourning the loss later that night.

    Everyone have a great week!

        1. Thank you so much I have been researching and thinking about solar hot water heating specifically for an outdoor shower and wash sink. Plan is to use off of 1/2 of the barn roof. Not sure of container to use to hold the rain water. I thought of using 1 or 2 blue plastic 55 gallon drums but I was also considering an ICB tote (I think those are 300 gallons) but I have never had good luck with that type of plastic in the sun and winter. Was hoping to get around to it this year but that doesn’t look very likely at this point. Will look for your article!

        2. St Funogas–could you give us a recipe of parts for solar water heater considering possible supply chain issues? Thanks in advance.

          1. Hey In the hills of TN, it’s been a long hard day so let me put something together tomorrow if you want to check back. Don’t know if we all lost email notifications or just me?

    1. “This strain of bees is called Italian bees, so that explained it. I just hope I don’t open the hives and find out they’ve made lasagna instead of honey.”

      LOL! Seriously, my chuckles almost woke up the baby…

  14. Went to my favorite local small town Hardware and Sporting goods store on Saturday morning. Found the Japanese Beetle traps I was looking for. Asked for a 1/2” sheet of ply-wood and the owner responded that they were out and he didn’t think they would be carrying it anymore since his replacement costs is more than he was selling it for. I did manage to pick up 100 rounds of Frontier .223 55FMJ for $9 a box of 20 rounds. I ended up getting a replacement adz handle (I gave my spare to my friend who helped me connect my downspout to our 1500 gallon tank.), a spare Presto pressure relief valve for the pressure canners, caps for my black powder revolver,

    After the hardware store I stopped I at the used shop at the end of the block. They had a basket of small (size of a dime) compasses that were made in Japan- 5 for 25 cents – stupid me I only got 10.

    On the way back home from the hardware store, I stopped off at one of the local Mennonite bulk foods stores and got 3 pounds of a whole bean coffee that we tried and really liked and for $5.99 a pound I wanted to stock up since we are working from home we are using more.

    Saturday night and Sunday we took care of the neighbors steers, chickens, pigs and one milk cow. He told us to keep the eggs and milk. We milked Saturday night, Sunday morning and night and didn’t know what to do with it all! Luckily we called some friends who helped take it off our hands- we tried getting the cream off the top but there wasn’t very much and with a ladle we were getting milk. It was an experience especially since we had to do the chores in a Thunder storm on Sunday night. The neighbor offers me money each time but I think the experience and education is payment enough.

    I took some vacation this week. Monday I went to a local Livestock auction to get some corn and see what types of livestock came in and what the prices were like. Last week the local livestock report had whole and cracked corn at $12 a bag. At this sale they had none and less than 100 small bales of hay. When I went in to register for the auction the clerk was an old acquaintance that worked on helping design the building where I work. We caught up and she told me that they had been getting semi truck loads of pigs including dozens of piglets from out west but none this week. I saw a bunch of rabbits go for up to $2.50 and bunnies for 75 cents. Chickens for $7!! I might just take my chickens to auction when they are done laying for that price. They had 3 young turkeys go for $21 each. Seemed the the average costs for cows was around 70 cents a pound. Bull calves were about $175 each. I left the auction without buying anything but again got to see this company’s operation and the auctioneer’s nuances. Knowing the “battle rhythm” of an auctioneer is vital to a wining bid without going over your price or losing it to a quick “sold”. The wife and I stopped in to a Christmas Tree store and they had Heirloom seeds 90% off so I picked up 50 packs. Most were squash, melons and cabbage. I got the impression that these didn’t sell since they tend to take up more ground space and since the store was on the outskirts of a city of 280,000 I think smaller foot print plants sold better. But for the price and effort I think the squash melons and cabbage will provide many more pounds of food and hence more calories.

    On Thursday I made a trip to the local Farmers Co-Op and picked up a bunch of stuff related to animal husbandry and gardening. Picked up 150 pounds of cracked corn for $18. I found 2 suturing kits for $6 each so those had to go home with me. On the way back home I stopped off at a family run market and I was really impressed. Good selection and tons of home butchering supplies. They were even selling number ten cans of food. They had a spice collection that was out of this world with what I thought was very competitive if not very good prices. I got 14.4 oz of Alum for $5.99. After hitting that market I hit the nearby hardware store. Family run but not as nice as my favorite which is in the opposite direction from the house. I picked up an assortment of hose/fuel line clamps, small stainless steel filtering screens, a bunch of 1/2 pvc fittings for a frame for bird netting to put over our berries, 2 lids with rubber gasket for 5 gallon buckets, silicone canning jar seals , and a bunch of other hardware. I went up to the check out counter and fell prey to product placement marketing and threw a Nebo 180 lumen flashlight onto the pile, used it that night and it is a great little light which will be my EDC now.

    On Friday I picked up another 220 rounds of 223 ammo. Found a pair of tactical camo pants with integrated knee pads and a Number 2 Universal meat grinder at the Salvation Army. I stockpile meat grinders for post-TEOTWAWKI barter since I think they will be a better investment than good or silver.

    I put all the new 223 ammo into stripper clips and bandoliers. I organized the barn loft with my son – I store extra building materials up there. The other major project was cleaning out and organizing the new barn from all the stuff that was just dumped in there after the move. I updated the inventory as well. Two of my current stockpile initiatives are putting back good butchering knives and having a cache of extra Binoculars for security (one for each post) some spares and some for barter. I pick them up used for around $5-$7 a pair. Some are very high quality – at least compared to the stuff coming out of China these days. Cleaned out the nesting boxes and put down some pine shavings and then hay on top of them. Our chickens are starting to lay. We bit the bullet and replaced our old fuel oil furnace with a new 95% fuel efficient propane furnace and added central air. I’ve also been clearing out under the barn overhang where I had extra building materials stored so I can park my tractor and store implements under it. At this time under the over hang is just gravel. The barn floor is cemented. Any thoughts on if it is worth cementing under the overhang?

    1. Oh man. I was ever so happy when I had my pad poured next to the garage.
      Working on anything at all became almost fun again. No more lost time looking for that dropped nut or washer in the gravel.

      Then I had my driveway/parking area asphalted. About 100×50. All I wanted to do was drive away so I could drive home. Sometimes I would just stare at those seemingly minor improvements and lament that I hadn’t done it much, much sooner.

      If you can afford it, do it. I seriously don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

      Nature sightings: The robins, 3 babies, all flew the away the same morning. Our cat was seriously bummed. Mom and dad robin made a fuss for a couple of hours till the babies were gone. Guess I’ll move the motion camera back to watch the deer.
      My trail cams continue to monitor the local deer. The largest of the bucks ate peacefully this morning as I watched from 20 feet away, sipping my coffee.
      Spotted another piebald buck. Got a few pictures of him before he disappeared.

      Garden is in full swing. Good grief. Just keeping up with the weeds is very time consuming.

        1. I agree with Tom, if you can afford it do it. After some debating we decided to cement the area under the overhang during the build of outdoor barn/shed. Never regretted it.

  15. We canned potatoes, carrots and greens this week. Thank you for the suggestions on canning collards. They turned out great. I’m going to do a couple more batches this week as well. Our raspberries and blackberries are riping now and I need to make jam this week. My daughter and I did more organizing of our food storage so that we can see what we have more readily and rotate through it. Sadly we had to pitch some things as they were either too old, had rusted cans or lids or had lids that were no longer sealed. I hate to see anything go to waste.

    On Saturdays we have been going to the farmers market to add to what we are growing. This week I’m hoping to put up peaches and make raspberry jam. I also need to can more vegetables. I read an article this week about how much to store per person for both long term and short term storage. Figuring we could need to feed at least six means we still need a great deal more set aside. I showed my husband my calculations and he said we had better head to the market and farms as we cannot produce enough onsite. This led us to try and buy five areas directly behind our property from one of the local farmers. There is 160 acres directly behind us being farmed in grass seed. Unfortunately the farmer was not interested in selling off any of his land. We left our name and number just in case he changes his mind. Told my husband it is in Gods hands.

    Be well this week.

  16. We have been pressure canning. So far we’ve done two batches of beef stew (I’m calling our own recipe “Fully Loaded Beef Stew” ). Our All American canner will handle 7 quarts at a time. I’m suposed to have 12 quarts on the shelf after testing one from each batch but my family keeps vrabbing them and eating them so I am down to eight. We had to have a talk about that. Our goal is 60 quarts of beef stew on the shelf and how are we supposed to get there when everyone keeps raiding the supply? Also 16 pints of chicken stew, 12 pints of ground beef, and this weekend we are canning 30 lbs of ground beef we got on sale for $2.99 lb. I expect to yield about 36 pints in that production run. My dear wife is on the war path to can about 200 lbs of meat out of the freezer in case of a power failure, plus it’s a great way to supplement our other food storage. It also makes us work together since the ingredients prep takes up the most time. Our next goal is to roast a medium turkey and can turkey stew. If successful we’ll do a larger batch run along with stock.

    Canners are hard to come by these days. I see them often – usually Presto or Mirro brand – in Goodwill shops. Last weekend I bought a Presto with weight and botton plate for $25. We ordered a new segmented weight and gasket so we will try it out this weekend. It should be fine as the bottom was completely flat (no bowing) and the top fit perfectly with no play. If all goes well we can increase our canning capacity substantially. We also picked up a L’equip dehydrator for $10. We tested it and it is fully functional and looks to have been barely used. Included the tray liners, too.

    Gold and silver really took off over the past two weeks. I’m waiting for a pull back to buy more but supply is really tight. I’m starting to see private sales of coins and bars as owners want to sell off, but caution is in order. Most of the stuff hitting the local market is not from larger mints and it can be hard to verify authenticity on generic rounds and bars. In these cases I highly prefer pre-1964 dimes, quarters and half dollars rolls. In our area it’s tough to find anything. After living in several states across the US, I’ve found that interest in precious metals varies by region.

    Our only other planned purchases/activities through end of summer are buying a generator, building an antenna array for our ham setup, doing a fall planting (we use large feed buckets), adding medical kits to our bags, and getting rid of more unneeded stuff as we prepare to move.

    One hint – if you have a medical FSA at work most will cover things like first aid kits, sole inserts for shoes and boots, knee and back braces, some OTC meds, etc. Some are now covering face masks. We are working to identify top quality IFAK kits, and as long as the receipt reads first aid kit, we will get the cost reimbursed. We need six of them for our packs. This is assuming the money isn’t used for other medical expenses by year end. Check with your plan and get their response in writing before a larger purchase though.

    Son #1 graduates this August with a technical degree from a well recognized aviation university. He’ll have airframe and powerplant certificates as well as the ability to work on radio and navigation systems. Son #2 graduates from Ford Factory training next week (he finished up his auto gas and diesel program a few months ago) and is hoping to land a job as an automotive technician. He really enjoys the diagnostics work and is already showing great repair skills. Ultimately both want to end up back in the Inland Pacific Northwest but they’ll go nearly anywhere for a good job. I am very thankful they chose to go into the trades rather than a four year degree. They can always pursue academics later.

    Daughter #1 is off to college next month and daughter #2 starts her second fall semester here in town at the local college. She just landed a job at a chain farm store that gets us good discounts on items we need.

    Our town’s job situation is difficult. One of my realtor friends is estimating 40-50 nicer homes will hit the market before end of summer. A few of his clients are selling at $50k-$100k less than what they could have last year and will accept low offers. I mentioned in past posts that two larger employers had closed their doors, eliminating good paying jobs. Now we are starting to see smaller businesses close including restuarants and retail shops with dozens more jobs lost. Nationally, I can’t help but think most of this could have been avoided. The markets are doing ok, but the economy has taken a tremendous blow and someday the markets will stumble as well.

    I’ve mentioned we are looking to move. I’m waiting on options from my company and I should know more in a month or two. Originally it was anywhere in the middle US states, now they’re talking about the southeast US. We rent here with no lease in force so departing should be relatively pain free. I humbly ask for your prayers on this. I know it’s hard to pray for some anonymous family on a website, but I believe God hears us in these matters. Specifically that God makes it abundantly clear where he wants us and prepares a pathway to get there. We want to move rural or to a smaller town with likeminded people, but God has surprised us before and the best we can ask for is to be in His will and favor.

    1. Chris in Arkansas,

      Good for your son’s learning trades. One of my son’s was an airplane mechanic before he got the medic bug to become a firefighter paramedic. As far as your comment,

      “I know it’s hard to pray for some anonymous family on a website, but I believe God hears us in these matters.”

      Not at all. You are regularly prayed for!

      This past week I had two definite, “no’s” from the Lord. The first one was property I found that I thought was, “just right.” However, at bedtime I couldn’t sleep because was inundated with, “Don’t go there, that’s not for you,” over and over. Finally, I cried out loud, “Okay! I won’t go there,” and then I was at peace and fell fast asleep.

      The second incident, this past week, I found a wonderful home to rent in the Redoubt.
      I was first in line to apply, was approved, and then received a shocking, “No,” from the Lord. I canceled with the realtor and am being, “still,’ waiting on the Lord. I only want to go where He wants me.

      All of this to say, the Lord has different plans for each of us. If it was up to me, I would have you and your family move to the western Redoubt in hopes of knowing you in the future!

      I have to go, but do know many are praying for your family!!!
      Blessings on your week, Krissy

      1. Thank you for that encouragement, Krissy! We once made the mistake of going against God’s will on purchasing a property in NE Washington state. Beautiful land, gardens, house, workshop, town, people. Very peaceful and quiet. We really should have listened to that small still voice we were both hearing saying, “Beautiful home and location, but it’s not the one I have set aside for you”. We were impatient and once we came around God provided a buyer plus a job with a great company, schools for my kids and time to reflect. Now we are being careful but we are both being told to be ready to go this fall. Where? I don’t know.

        1. We are praying that God shines a light so clearly on the path He has for you that when the time and place are to be revealed to you, there is no question — and that you will know it is His guidance and plan!

    2. “I humbly ask for your prayers on this. I know it’s hard to pray for some anonymous family on a website, but I believe God hears us in these matters. Specifically that God makes it abundantly clear where he wants us and prepares a pathway to get there. We want to move rural or to a smaller town with likeminded people, but God has surprised us before and the best we can ask for is to be in His will and favor.”

      Absolutely! I’m praying for you right now. We are seeking the same kind of answers right now, and praying for what we semi-seriously call “the 2×4” — as in, when the Spirit makes it so abundantly clear even in our human blindness that it feels like being smacked upside the head with a 2×4.

      1. Tellasilla of Argos – Thank you!

        Bear – I will humbly accept the Almighty’s smack of the 2×4 in this case. Sometimes I can be stubbornly focused on my own goals, so I may need two smacks.

    3. We will definitely pray for you and the Lord’s leading for you and your family. Your renting situation puts you in a great advantage of others who may have to sell first.

  17. Honey. I used it on a boil that bloomed following a surgery during which I was laid out on my back for over an hour. I suspect I picked up some pathogen from the gurney.

    And a 90 year old relative had a wound that was not healing until the visiting nurse started using MediHoney on it. It started healing rapidly after that. Even the wound nurse was surprised at its efficacy!

  18. DearCommunity– I need some help/advice. Two areas that I have holes in my preps. First, comms. I have minimal knowledge with ham radio but I know I need a 100W ham radio base to reach like-minded folks in different directions up to 50 miles as the crow flies. I’m in the hills and they’re all lower. Also need antenna and whatever attachments. Sister and son are looking to take the class and test. So recommendations on models/names/parts greatly appreciated. I’m at the beginning of this, so I will not be insulted if you dumb this down. Thanks! want to get supplies before supply chain issues happen. Second, root cellar. House is on hill on rocks, hill is south/southeast facing, flatter land and pasture area further distance from the house, so I’d like to keep it closer to the house if I can. Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.

    1. Root cellars… An interesting question, and we wonder if you might be able to build your cellar into the hillside near your home for convenient access? We live in the foothills of Appalachia, and are familiar with this kind of landscape!

      Spotted this article link:

      Some good tips to consider with regard to cellars, and hope this helps!

        1. In the hills of TN… Hope the link turns out to be helpful! Our greenhouse is significantly in-ground. I’m not sure out experience would translate to construction of your root cellar, but if there is anything we can share to assist, we’re happy to help!

  19. SB Reader Alert… This happened to us!


    The strange thing was that we had ordered other seeds from other companies, but it really spooked us because the package was very small and indicated that it contained a single stud (as in an earring). We threw it away, and never planted these. Wish we had seen this report earlier because we would have made an official report.

    Be on the lookout!

    1. Telesilla of Argos

      That’s so scary!! What I’m wondering is where did they get people’s names and addresses from? Was this envelope addressed to you in your name or was it one of those “to resident at blah blah blah “ junk mail things?

      Thanks for the heads up 🙂

      Rock on

      1. Hello RKRGRL68!
        Here’s the really scary part… It was addressed to us. …and there Chinese characters on the labeling. For OPSEC, we are not listing the city in China from which the package originated — at least per the label. Since the pandemic, we have ordered in lots of items, so it wasn’t unusual for us to receive packages generally speaking. We have no idea how they got our address — quite disturbing.

        Here’s another seed story link:

        My husband spoke with one of our neighbors, and shared this experience. The neighbor said he received a package from China with 3 face masks in it — masks that had never been ordered. These arrived at the neighbors primary residence in another state.

        Now we are wondering why this is happening? Is China loading shipping containers with all kinds of unordered goods so that they can overwhelm intake assessments at our ports? Given the news accounts of other scary confiscations, we wonder — and we are increasingly concerned.

        Here’s a news report from Customs officials:

        It’s probably something much less damning, but then again — maybe not. We remain very concerned.

  20. Good morning everyone,

    It’s finally not as hot everyday, kinda back and forth but at least we’re getting some rain storms about every third day.
    Picked my first ever green beans that I grew. I got about a dozen so I sautéed them in a little butter and they were spectacular!! More are almost ready on the vine!
    Got ONE spaghetti squash, maybe a couple others that look promising but my tomatoes are doing horrible! I’ve got about 5 Roma & 4-5 Cherokee Purple, but they are all small & green and the plants themselves stopped growing and putting out flowers. I’m not sure what is going on. I have spoken to them , but they don’t answer me. I think they are mocking my amateur gardening! I will of course try again. I wonder if I had to many in the raised beds or it might be that my bagged soil just wasn’t right.

    My indoor lettuce garden however is doing fantastic! Yummy salads are in our near future!

    Took our one kitty BeeBoo to the Vets, I had found a rather large mass on his back left side. They drained out a large amount of bloody stuff but also said that there are several hard lumps in the area. Poor thing could hardly walk. I have to bring him back next week to see what happens next. This kitty is my favorite one, he lets me hold him like a baby, but him and his brother bitchy, (we thought he was a girl) are about 15 years old and I know they won’t live forever. The other kitty that I captured from outside (her name is Chicken), seems to be about two years old so we got her checked out and all appropriate shots, Ect. She’s already been fixed so we don’t have to do that. (She was part of the trap and spay/neuter release program).

    Starting a new project. Was able to get 2 dozen laser cut on layered plywood American flag boards. I have started painting these with some different colors of Varathane weathered wood stain . I will then go in and hand paint them and put some nice framing on them. I also am tinkering with the wood burning tools I have, putting some inspirational messages on wood that I am painting. Who knows, maybe I’ll set up a stand and see if anyone is interested in them? I like doing these because they keep my mind on a more positive path and I feel better this week not obsessing over all of the bad news.

    Mom received an inheritance from when Grandma passed away last fall. She told me that she wants me to have most of it after I complete a couple of small projects at her house. I’m so thankful and so lucky! I believe that this will be the key (along with lots of prayers) to obtaining the farm/homestead that Me and husband are looking for. I have noticed that properties that I was looking at around here (just a bit farther out ) are all on “Contingent “ status so it looks like people are fleeing Chicago in droves. Who can blame them?
    I’m hoping that we will be ready next spring to put our house on the market and find the one we really want. I like my small town (Population 800), But we really want to find a place that is more of a ranch house, as we are getting older and climbing these 3 flights of stairs to get anywhere in our house is starting to wear on us. Plus I really want a bigger parcel of land.

    That extra freezer that I ordered in March is finally getting delivered today!! Woohoo!! New refrigerator is coming next week, good thing too as our current one is screaming that it’s time to retire 🙂
    Will finally be able to get the rack together for our new Freeze Dryer! I’m itching to get going on processing our own freeze dried meals.

    I threw a Prime Rib into the crockpot this week, only adding some water and a package of Ajus seasoning. It turned out great! My brother sent me a great message begging me to “make that one again “! Along with my famous Noodle Salad & more hot wings.

    Husband is really lucky, he’s able to get about 15 extra hours at time and a half this week. With so many struggling, we are very thankful for this extra money.

    Lily, praying that you heal quickly. My sister was bit by they think a Brown Recluse! It started out like nothing, but blew up into a massive bone infection that put her on IV antibiotics, a hospital stay, almost dying from it and massive skin and bone grafting. It was the weirdest thing. She luckily came out of it OK.

    Okay, freezer is here, so I gotta go.
    Thinking of you all

    Have a Rockin great day

    1. Dear Rkrgrl,
      Your tomatoes are not laughing at you. They simply mistook you for a Southerner and thought they were doing you a favor!! Quick- RUN to your garden and harvest those green tomatoes! Slice them roughly 1/2 inch thick, dip in egg wash, dredge through a flour/cornmeal mix, then fry until the outside is crispy on each side. Place them over a bit of salad greens, and top with a beautiful homemade slightly spicy remoulade sauce (you DO make remoulade sauce, don’t you?) and (totally optional) finish off with a few cooked Cajun style shrimps or delicate crab meat. Now, serve these little green gems of goodness to your favorite people. They will love you AND your green tomatoes very much. 🙂

      1. GritsInMontana! This is a story of true Southern love…

        “Now, serve these little green gems of goodness to your favorite people.”

        Wonderful! Loved it.

    2. Tomato help is on the way, RKRGRL68!

      A couple of tips about tomatoes, asking only for your forgiveness if you have any of this information already!

      * If your climate is very warm, your tomatoes may drop flowers at temperatures at or above 85 degrees. Some reports suggest lower temperatures, but the 85 degree bench mark has been a good indicator in our zone (we’re between 6 and 7a).
      * There may also be a nutrient deficiency. Initially I am thinking your phosphorous (supports flowering), or maybe nitrogen. Related to this, do check the soil pH. The pH level is important because the right pH will help your plants absorb more nutrients.
      * Watering is another key component, so do check on this too. Raised beds are excellent, but may necessitate more regulation with regard to watering.

      Here are a couple of links to help:
      The first one is a good read on common problems associated with tomatoes and remedies to help. It’s very informative and offers good coverage of the subject.


      The second is a video from MI Gardner who has lots of good tips to help as well. This one addresses tomatoes that don’t ripen, but he has several on the subject of tomatoes, and they’re worth watching. If you go to YouTube, and type in MI Gardner tomatoes, you’ll have lots of choices!


      Also, from personal experience (although our tomatoes are grown in the greenhouse). We’re growing cherry-like tomatoes like crazy in the greenhouse (and keep them going year round). We grow these along an arched cattle panel secured between two raised self-wicking beds. If you have an opportunity to try something like this, you might really enjoy it — and have great success!

      Hope all of this helps!

    3. Re: tomatoes. Not all bagged soil is created equal! I found this out this year too. I got a bag of Happy Frog potting mix, but it’s expensive and I had a lot of containers to fill. So I got this stuff labeled topsoil from the local farm store. Where I used Happy Frog, everything is doing great. Where I mixed it with the topsoil, everything is doing ok. Where I just used the topsoil, everything is struggling. My guess is that the alleged topsoil is really some poorly composted mulch, and it really needs a hot fertilizer to get it broken down properly. Try using some high nitrogen fertilizer on your tomatoes and see if they don’t come around. Then in the fall, add as much compostable material as will fit, and add urea (or the free stuff) to heat it up. Turn it a few times, if you get a chance. It should be better next spring.

      And gardening is always a learning experience. I’ve been at it over 25 years and I am still learning. Don’t give up!

  21. This week was all about the garden, again. : )
    Picked the last of the strawberries, the raspberries started producing as did the peas. Shucked and froze peas. Weeded and watered the garden. Put down wood chips between boxes for weed control. Thinned the carrots. Green beans are starting to blossom. Got my two pressure cookers out and made sure they are ready for canning.
    Built 3 more garden boxes. One that is 4’x12’ is slotted for an asparagus bed.I will get it all ready to be planted next spring. The other two will get a planting of oats for green manure and later some steer manure. Have one batch of new chicks here and another batch coming in a week and a half. The pigs are growing and thriving.
    Working like crazy, hating the heat but knowing we have to have it to have the garden. Also knowing the snow will be here before you know it.
    Blessings to All

  22. Wonderful progress, everyone! I’ve been feeling anxious still but it is so reassuring and interesting to read all of your steps, large and small. So thank you for sharing them here 🙂

    Felt like a slow week again here, but baby steps are better than no steps! The sink/vanity replacement project is well underway. Did the demo last night (while the kids drove their father nuts at the dinner table because they wanted to come watch instead of eat!) and have the box fan in there now, drying out the coat of Kilz I slapped on the wall just before lunch. It sure ain’t pretty, but around here we go for FUNCTIONAL.

    Made appt for next week with the gentleman who did the solar estimate, to discuss that, conduct an energy efficiency survey, and also take care of the remaining items from the lightning strike.

    Assembled the boards together for the frame of the first 4’x4′ square foot garden. Took a humiliatingly long time to sink eight screws, but, I had LOTS AND LOTS of little “help,” some of whom periodically had to be chased back. I was laughing about this to a friend, who asked me, “Do you ever get to do ONLY ONE task at a time?” ….hmmm….welllll, now that you mention it…nope! No I sure don’t. 😉

    Continued looking at properties and discussing with husband. Praying for certain knowledge of God’s specific will for our family. I do not want to move out of blind fear (“the wicked flee when no one pursues,” Proverbs 28) if we are meant to stay put, nor do I want to stay put out of laziness or inertia (“…but the simple go on, and suffer for it,” Proverbs 27) if we are meant to move. I want to do the right thing with the right motivation. He will lead us if we listen. I’ve told husband that no matter what we do, the first steps look much the same: declutter, tidy, organize, and repair things that have been long neglected in the struggle to survive special needs parenting. He agrees.

  23. We are a redoubt couple who have transferred into the path of hurricane Douglas. We should be fine. Asking for prayers! Long time SB reader. Thanks jf

  24. I HAD A “BUZZY” DAY…

    Did you ever have one of those days that went differently than planned?

    Yesterday I was working in the front yard among some rhodies, and encountered a very aggressive bunch of yellow jackets. I may have stepped on one of their underground nests — though I haven’t gone back yet to look. Before I hardly knew what hit me, I got stung four times on the right arm & hand, and twice on the left leg & foot. I ran around to the back side of the house to escape them, but the swarm followed me clear back there.

    Sensing that I had some of these critters crawling up inside my clothing, I ran into the house to strip off everything. The yellow jackets even followed me into the house. Before it was all over, I discovered around 20 of these buggers inside the house flying around. (I killed and photographed 16 of them, and I know there were more.) The pain, redness and swelling from these stings was quite evident for a couple of hours, but has now mostly subsided. It may have helped that I took a large dose of Vitamin C — a tip that my dad gave me many years ago. I also put baking soda paste on my arm and leg, and that likely helped.

    I now know that (by God’s grace) I can survive up to six “bee stings” at once… although a yellow jacket is not really a bee. Previously, I had been stung once on two different occasions, one of which was a bee who left the stinger in my ear. Whereas honey bees can only sting you once and then they die, yellow jackets can sting multiple times. I guess you call it: “the gift that keeps on giving.”

    On a positive note, I went with extended family to the central Oregon coast on Tuesday. We first stopped at Roads End, north of Lincoln City, but it was extremely windy. We decided to drive up to Neskowin and had a really delightful day. After some initial fog, it turned out absolutely beautiful — and there was virtually no wind. It was almost like being in Hawaii again, except that you don’t have to worry about cutting your feet on the coral when wading in the ocean. OK… the water is colder in Oregon, but it wasn’t too bad.

    I hope you all have a great week. The weather here in the Willamette Valley is forecast to get very hot over the next several days. I hope you can stay safe and comfortable!

    Blessings to all of you!
    Cliff (in Oregon)

    P.S. It was great to hear that Jim and Lily (as well as possibly others, such as Telesilla) were able to get a good look at Comet Neowise. Here in Western Oregon, I was not able to see it with my naked eye. Even so, it was awesome to observe it through binoculars. Also, an amateur photographer in my church got an amazing photo in Central Oregon. I can’t help but stand in awe of our Creator who placed all these amazing celestial bodies and galaxies in the universe!

    1. Hi CDM, I hope you don’t mind me laughing but your wasp story was a hoot! I had the same thing happen a week or so ago and broke the 4-minute mile trying to get away and still ended up with four stings, so I can relate to your story. I generally only get one or two wasp stings a year and you’re right, it’s the gift that just keeps giving. I opened up a toolbox that hadn’t been opened in a while and wham, out they came before I even had the lid all the way up. One sting was so bad it was bleeding. They were pretty wasps, red body with black wings, I don’t know the name but I can tell you what I was calling them at the time! lol. A couple of days prior to that I got a very cool series of close-up photos of a red wasp chopping up and carrying a small caterpillar away. It must have been one of the ones nesting in the toolbox that was right there. In one of the photos, you can see it using its “hands” to hold a small ball of caterpillar while it got a good grip with its mandibles before flying off.

      Thanks again for the laugh! I hope you’ve recovered. 🙂

      1. Hi St. Funogas:

        I’m so glad you enjoyed my wasp story and got a few laughs out of it. You are so right… I didn’t realize I could run that fast until I had a whole nest of yellow jackets chasing me — LOL.

        There’s an old saying: “Misery loves company.” I guess it’s really comforting to know that other persons have had this experience and lived to tell about it. I’ve recovered pretty well, and am feeling much better than yesterday. I have just a very slight sensation of itching in a couple of places, but am pretty much back to normal today.

        That’s great that you got some really cool “closeups” of a wasp gorging itself on a caterpillar. Despite the fact that wasps can give nasty stings, they are pretty amazing creatures.

        Have a great weekend! 🙂

    2. CDM! Yes… Neowise. What an amazing view, and we so hope everyone who wanted to see it was able to do so. It was barely visible to us with the naked eye, but nicely seen with binoculars, and we enjoyed an even more spectacular view through the telescope. What a wonderful once-in-a-lifetime experience! Really fun to hear that others were able to enjoy this celestial event too!

      1. Telesilla of Argos,

        I’m taking a quick water break and am checking comments. I kinda don’t think Neowise is going to “a-once-in-a-lifetime Event”. As I understand it, Neowise showed up unexpectedly. I think we are going to have many more “Unexpected” Celestial/Astronomical wonders pop up in the next eight years. We are, as I know you know, living in the Last Days. I don’t think we’ve seen the half of what we’re going to see in the future. It’s getting very exciting. We are living in “Interesting Days!” 😉



        1. Hello Avalanche Lily!
          Yes… I do think you’re right. The sky may become both interesting and terrifying in the coming years. Even as Neowise is traveling away from us, other objects are incoming. We study closely ideas of the electric universe, the interaction of our solar system with the galactic sheet, the question of a possible solar micronova, and the consequences of a cold sun. We may also yet see Oort cloud objects entering our solar system as a result. There are lots of conversations in our home about what required in order to survive the events that will likely be triggered, and the conditions to follow. There are many signs of the Last Days all around us right here on earth… We may also be receiving signs from the Heavens of God’s Magnificent Universe too.

          Good thoughts, and a great conversation. Thank you!

          1. Telesilla,

            Who have you listened to teach on the electric universe? A few years back, I was reading up on someone on the internet, who talked about it non-stop, then, I was a little bit skeptical. I cannot remember his name, but he had a blue back ground and lots of yellow lettering. Does that ring a bell for you? Sorry I’m being so vague. I just don’t remember his name.

            As far as what to do to survive these events…Trust in God and really stand on Psalm 91. I heard the earth is heating up from the inside, therefore, those who go deep into the earth to hide from what is coming from outer space, will be roasting in the earth. What fun!! 🙁 The only place to hide is in God’s hands. I too, am enjoying these conversations. Many Blessings to you and all yours,


        2. Hello Avalanche Lily!
          Spotted your inquiry re: the electric universe, but no “reply” button on that one, so sending this note your way from a prior posting.

          There are a couple of great resources. We think the best among these is Ben Davidson’s Suspicious Observers. He has a play list of “movies” in addition to his daily updates.

          The “movies” are informative and information packed. There is a lot to digest in these… The daily updates are great to monitor for solar activity and for warnings.

          Ben also has a book available: The Weatherman’s Guide to the Sun

          With regard to Ben’s thoughts about the use of tunnels for the purpose of surviving a recurrent solar micronova, we’re not so sure about this. Sometimes you’ll hear him reference, as an example, old mine shafts in addition to tunnels. We believe this is a very dangerous idea because of the gasses present in many of these, the risk of flooding, and the dangers of unstable (or even rotting) infrastructure often left behind long ago.

          Plasma Cosmology: This is education with regard to how the universe works, and is a good background for the next couple of videos.


          Cosmic Disaster: This one talks about the recurrent solar micronova which many voices seem to think is a recurring event that happens about every 12,000 to 13,000 years. Interestingly, there is evidence now that recurrent events may also be taking place in other parts of our universe. The trigger appears to be plasma energy sheets that ripple out from the center of the galaxy. Evidence of this can be seen as the effects act upon stars other than our own between the galactic center and our system (Alpha Centauri is the prominent example).


          Climate Forcing: This video describes what happens to the earth after the recurrent micronova event. The earth has been in an interglacial period for some time, but this is about to change once again. The earth will enter another ice age in its cycle. The producer, Ben Davidson, seems to believe that this could happen reasonably soon. When it does, it may happen with relative speed. Think “frozen wooly mammoths with undigested food in their stomachs”.


          All that having been said… Some kind of in-ground sheltering may be helpful related to protection from a cosmic radiation burst as well as any extraordinary weather events that might result. This is a subject we explore routinely as we try to sort out how best to survive such an event, and what we can do to try to prepare for it. We consider everything from how deep to what kinds of protective layers might be required. Most recently we have been studying kiln bricking material as an insulator.

          Hope this helps! God Bless and Keep you and all the Rawles’ family, and everyone in the SB community.

          1. Thank you Telesilla,

            I will be checking them out. I am familiar with Ben Davidson and his Suspicious Observers, but not the others.



  25. Merrily canning away lately, 23 quarts of vegetable beef soup, 16 quarts of taco soup. Next up is white bean chicken chili, and also potatoes. I was scouting this morning, as we don’t need any, but there is not a quart jar, pint jar, or a lid in our county. I also looked at some seed websites and migardener in particular was shocking at all the “SOLD OUT” notations. I think getting next year’s seeds in hand now is paramount. Even tools like hoes are sold out so grab one if you see one to share or have a spare. We received an order for a 5-lb. bag of raw cashews and fortunately they are good. Surprisingly, batteries were on sale so I grabbed some for only 98 cents a pack – a huge savings. Getting odd things too like a new watch band, extra tweezers, more scissors and Scotch tape, Neem oil, deer repellent, whatever I use I’ll stop and order another one. Appliances are almost impossible to buy here and also bicycles. There are so many little things we use every day and take from granted. We are trying to get backups for them all.
    Prayers and God’s mercy for all of us.

    1. Yes, the shortages are pretty crazy. I had a devil of a time finding a replacement handle for a splitting maul. Ditto for a metal wedge to use it with; finally found both in 2 different hardware stores. Can’t find a bike helmet anywhere. My son is fixing up a freebie bike for me to use. Noticed that there are none at places like Walmart(which has stopped even the pretense of looking like they have lots of stuff as they have huge open shelving areas now). Was looking for a blender and my options were basically expensive or really cheap- going with really cheap. Interesting as there were none at all to buy on the shelves at Walmart but I’ve ordered one to pick up and supposedly it’s waiting for me. Still looking for a watch band to replace the one that’s breaking. I think we’ve gotten so used to just finding what we want all the time as we have been overloaded with retail stores plus online shopping but that is changing rapidly. I’d suspect many more stores will close for good and our choices in what we purchase will shrink rapidly. I prefer to buy used(or free) whenever I can of course but that’s mostly not an option near me and I have to drive a good 25 miles to find any good yard sales or free piles. Near me, people just seem to keep everything they have and the only stuff they put outside to get rid of are old tires, old car seats and bulky plastic baby items like walkers. When they sell something they want a lot for money for it too.

      1. Ani-
        I stopped in at Walmart on Saturday morning and the bike section was empty. Canning section had jars but not a lot of lids. Anything to do with gardening has been hit hard. I noticed the camping section was also bare in spots tents, cooler, sleeping bags and stoves

  26. To those of you that have an interest in plant medicine I just checked and you can still Google ” The dispensatory of the United States of america” 20 edition and you will find a pdf available. I know most people want a hard copy but in this case it might be better to get the pdf and cut and paste the plants that interest you since the entire thing is over 1500 pages long. If anything it is a great read and is amazing how many plants were used for medicine

  27. Lilly,
    “I harvested broccoli and dehydrated it.” would you be willing to recommend a dehydrator? I bought the book “The Ultimate Dehydrator Cookbook” by Tammy Grangeloff and plan to invest in a quality unit. I know I can buy vegetables and fruits in quantity from Safeway produce department, or even drive the 560 miles to farms in the Mantanuska Valley to buy some, but I’d like to do some as a form of food storage and to increase our diets variety year around.

    For now I am investing in as much food buckets and adding to our planned goal of 7 years supply for two people … we’re getting closer to that goal.

    Thank you for the post, may God richly bless all of you.

  28. Avalanche Lily! Prayers lifted up for quick and total recovery from that bite… Please update us along the way, and know that you will be in the thoughts and continued prayers of many among us!

  29. I am sooo jealous of all you folks who have successful gardens. I planted a variety of seeds plus seed potatoes and strawberry starts. I had about 3 dozen potato pants that were doing wonderfully, some gourds, zucchini, yellow crook necked squash, melons, cucumbers, onions, garlic, peas, and 3 gladiolas that were about 8″ tall. Just in time for Memorial Day, the grasshoppers arrived and had a picnic. I sprayed everything with a solution of water and garlic because the literature says grasshoppers don’t like garlic. Aparently, these are Italian grasshoppers because, not only did they continue to eat my potato plants but they ate all my onion and garlic plants, too. I sprinkled everything with Diatomaceous Earth and they ate whatever was left. In 2 1/2 days, they ate my entire garden down to the ground except for two potato plants that were hiding under the hay mulch. By the end of the week, they found those 2 potatoes and ate them, too. I went ahead and bought Cyonara bug spray because it has been recommended by several local folks for vegetable gardens. Well, if you spray it directly on a grasshopper, it will slow him down enough that you can step on him but I did not see any evidence of it killing the evil creatures.

    The grasshoppers ate all the leaves off our new fruit trees – 3 apple trees and 2 peach trees. So, DH found a nuclear-strength pesticide that does seem to work. Since we knew we wouldn’t be getting any kind of harvest from the new orchard this year, IF any of the trees survived, he went ahead and sprayed them all which helped to save them. When the grasshoppers had finished eating all the leaves, they proceeded to strip the bark off the branches. Once he sprayed the trees, they moved out to the fencing around each tree and ate the green vinyl coating off the wire that attached the fencing to some fence posts that hold the fence in place. Now, they have eaten the leaves off the mesquite trees both near the garden and orchard and half a mile away, toward the house. We planted 2 live oaks near the house and 2 pecan trees in the front field and the grasshoppers have ignored them. However, the deer got after one of the pecan trees. That one might not make it, but the others seem to be doing alright. DH has been watering all the trees daily, about 5 gallons per tree per day, and except for one peach tree that appears to have succumbed, they are recovering from their trauma well.

    Anyway, 7 weeks ago, we decided to resort to the “nuclear option.” We bought 9 Guinea keets (babies) from a woman north of here who raises Guinea fowl, pea fowl, chickens and turkeys. They are ready to move into a house of their own and their new house is almost ready for them. We still have to get the ceiling up but we got the dividing wall and door almost done today. We just need to put a plywood kickplate on the door. Yay, that means we can get them out of the master bathroom of the mobile home that is my greenhouse/studio/office and extra pantry. They are definitely ready to leave the “nest.” We also put a temporary roof over the outer pen that will give them an outside place to hang out while we train them to go out in the morning and go back inside at night, using an automatic chicken door. Eventually, they will fly and roost in trees during the day, as well as eat bugs all around the garden and orchard. At least, that is the plan.

    As for the garden, well… Some would say I am stubborn, I prefer to think of myself as optimistic and persistent. So, I bought some organic potatoes at the grocery store, let them sprout and they are currently scarring over so I can plant them and try again. I also bought a bag of sweet potatoes, cut a few and put them into jars of water. Two are growing slips and two others have roots growing, so I will plant them also. And as soon as the weather cools off a tad, I will plant some radish and turnip seeds for a fall harvest, hopefully, if the Guineas do their job and eat the evil grasshoppers. We have had temperatures over 100 degrees for the past 3 weeks so now is not a good time to try to plant too many things outside but I did plant some lettuces and herbs in pots inside the double-wide/greenhouse the other day. I am hoping they will do as well as the 2 cabbage plants that are growing in there and that need to get moved outside as soon as the Guineas start to free range near the garden.

    Strangely enough, I have a plant in the “corn garden” that I thought might be a pumpkin coming up since it is growing in the lower corner where I planted some pumpkin seeds. This plant is huge, has stems a good inch and a quarter in diameter but is not a vine. However, it has some sort of fruit on it, down near the ground, not where the blossoms are. DH did a search through an app on his phone today and it came back as some sort of musk melon. We also have a bunch of the same sort of plant growing in the horses’ pasture and outside the main garden. I will be interested to see if we end up with an edible “volunteer.” Meanwhile, the weeds and grasses are growing well in the garden but, since nothing else is growing there, pulling them has been on the back burner while we have been getting the bird house ready, trying to keep the orchard and the yards mowed and my own pet project, trying to find the time to paint the tack room walls and floor and rebuild the door. I finally got the tack room emptied out and hosed down which makes feeding the horses difficult, so I am planning to get it painted next week and then get the feed cans and tack back in there.

    We are hoping for some more reasonable temperatures around here, but we have been getting a few gentle showers every few days so that has been nice. I hope everyone else continues to stay safe and healthy and your gardens continue to grow well.

    1. @ Sabel

      Holy cow. That sounds awful. Like the grasshopper swarms pictured today on SB. I won’t complain anymore about our drought(which has lifted). Or my deer, bear and small furry varmint problems. I was able to save much of what I grew. I’m thinking that using wire hoops and insect grade row covers would protect anything that would fit under them next time. Also a greenhouse/hoophouse structure. You’d probably have to screen all of your ventilation openings and use shade cloth on top. But the fruit trees? No idea. Maybe the guineas will help?

      Does this happen often? When I was farming and got hit with a freak frost, hailstorm, flood etc, I always thought about the people who lived on that land hundreds of years before and what would have been their recourse should this have happened to them. Losing the whole apple crop would be a really big problem if you couldn’t just go to the store and buy more. I had to plant very late this year due to snow and frost plus lost pretty much all of the early crops I put in due to critter problems and drought. Was thinking how if I had been depending on this for food in a SHTF situation, unless I had ample supplies stored up, we’d have been eating dandelions for many many weeks!

      1. Ani, thank you for the empathy. With our nearest neighbor being 3 miles away, I tell people we invented “social distancing” around here.

        We had the same problem last year except they arrived earlier last year. And they were bigger! They call them “Jumbos” here but they are also known as “Lubbers.” This year, we have normal sized ‘hoppers with just a few Jumbos thrown into the mix for variety.

        Last year, I built a raised keyhole garden as an experiment with a wide variety of seeds planted. As soon as something sprouted, within an hour, they would find it and eat it. I put insect screen over top of the garden’s walls but they got in between the blocks and ate up everything anyway. Last fall, we cleared some ground, began fencing in with cattle panels and T-posts, putting down compost from the disassembled keyhole garden and mulching it all with old hay so I was ready to go as soon as the weather warmed up enough to plant seeds. It was still experimental and I kept adding improvements all along like replacing a hose from the house up the hill with PVC piping and spigots spaced all along the back fence, soaker hoses, timers, chicken wire at the bottom of the fencing to keep the little bunnies out and edging and weed barrier (the next step) around the outside of the garden. Things are just about where I want them now, if I can just get rid of the evil bugs and keep the good guys.

        Baby steps….

    2. Sabel! We were so sorry to hear that this had happened to you. This is a devastating report… We wonder if your grasshopper experience is a prelude to a coming and widely spread problem with locusts. Without compromising your OPSEC, can you say roughly where you’re located? We’re between growing zones 6 and 7a-ish — and we’re on the lookout.

      1. T of A,

        Thank you for your thoughts. Fortunately, we are still able to get groceries and fresh produce in town. Oddly enough, there are no farm stands or farmer’s markets around here. But our local grocery store and Walmart are both keeping fairly well stocked, overall.

        We are located between USDA Zones 7a & 7b, on the edge of the Texas Panhandle. We are far from any hurricanes, although we had a storm a couple of weeks ago with gale force winds and heavy enough rain to create a temporary pond between the gardens where we have not seen standing water in the 7 years we have owned this place. We get some serious hail sometimes but not as often nor as heavy as we used to get in the Colorado mountains. We get snow a few times a winter but it rarely lasts more than a day or two but we do get cold temperatures in the winter. And so far, tornadoes have ignored us, although some of those wind storms have had us worried

        This was to be an experimental year for the garden, just to see if it was in a good spot. Judging by what I had starting to grow, I think we will be okay if we can get the bug situation under control.

        The Guineas were moved into their new house a few hours ago. We will spend the next few days training them to go out the automatic door into their fenced in pen and to come back in for dinner, probably two or three birds at a time. Then we will progress to free ranging around their house and coming in for dinner, again two or three birds at a time. They like to stick together so you can’t let them all out at once until they learn the proper routine. Not the sharpest tools in the shed, if you get my drift…

        This is my first experience with birds so we are reading all we can find online about them. They are not the same as chickens but, supposedly, you can teach them to live fairly peacefully with chickens, so that may be the next step. And their eggs are supposed to be very rich and quite tasty.

        Life is always an adventure around here…..

        1. Good news on the Guineas, Sabel! Will be watching for updates along the way… We have chickens, but no Guineas yet. We have been thinking about adding them to the flock, and understand that they’re great for insect control, and that they are excellent for early warning signals. Currently our crows help in that department! Sounds like your growing zone is very close to ours… We’ll definitely be on the lookout for any signs of increasing grasshoppers. Our cicadas seemed a little late this year, but have finally filled the forest with their nightly serenades. By next year we should have 17 year cidadas, and that’s quite an experience. They fill the forest with a sound something like the Star Trek phasers — and this goes on for some time.

  30. Greetings from Kentucky! It has been a busy week at work, lots of news coming in. I did manage to get some more stock in, some basil processed to freeze, and today after church I will be canning two boxes of tomatoes. Hopefully later I will be getting some more chickens, and a new coop as our old one is too small.

    One natural healing product I have used with obvious and great success is Stoneroot extract. Also known aa Collinsonia canadensis, commonly called richweed, is a perennial herb in the mint family. After having my son and being in an extremely sedentery job I developed hemorrhoids. Stoneroot takes care of those after only a few small droppers full. It tastes terrible, but I put it in a bit of juice and toss it back. It also treats

    Gastrointestinal disorders
    Bladder infections
    Kidney stones
    Water retention

    I just get a dropper bottle at the “hippy dippy” store or on Amazon and keep it in a cool, dark place. I have also had good luck with peppermint oil on the temples for headaches, but not migraines. DoTerra’s “Breathe” really clears the sinuses during sinus infections and colds. Dr. Teal’s bubble bath and epsom salt soak with eucalyptus both seem to help my joints as well as sinuses, it even seems to help with some Lupus symptoms.

    When the boy was a wee bairn, we used dark Karo syrup – just a bit – when he was constipated. We used the light for diarrhea. This was at the advice of our family doctor, who has more sense than 10 pediatricians put together. It always worked well.

    The not-yet-ready-for-prime-time militia known as NFAC was in Louisville this weekend — a little over an hour north of us. While it remained relatively peaceful this time, had they wanted to go on a spree it would have proved far too easy, I’m afraid. Watching them (and others) closely as a group.

    Checking on my elderly mother next weekend; will try to “score” more ammo along the way. Also planning to pick up some antique candle molds at her house (1800s) for practice and use when/if needed. We have a corn sheller, hoping to get a good amount of dried corn to keep for meal later in the season.

  31. Brown recluse bite treated quite successfully for our family
    Activated charcoal powder – you can get powder or buy capsules containing powder – make a paste with water or oil, put on a damp paper towel and cover bite. Cover paper towel with plastic to keep from drying out so fast and tape in place. I alternated with French green clay paste.
    My son woke up with a bite on the bottom of his foot and red streak running up his leg as far as his knee.
    I didn’t treat anything but the bite area. The line didn’t continue moving upward and slowly started descending.
    Activated charcoal can be used by itself according to wonderful book – Home Remedies by Dr Agatha Thrash and Dr Calvin Thrash. She was a pathologist and he was an internist. It also talks about why things work and has a lot of hydrotherapy in it.
    Wish we had known this when a park ranger we knew was bitten and had a big chunk cut out of his leg and later had his wife tell me nasty stuff just kind of bubbles up from time to time. Moved so I don’t know long term story.
    That bullseye is so obvious on these bites.
    Charcoal is stronger but clay is easier to make Into a paste. and charcoal will cause tattooing if you put it on an open sore.
    For something quick just put some paste on a bandaid. So a charcoal capsule and bandaids and your water bottle and you’re set for bee stings etc.

    Apricots are just coming on but not too many as it was cold and wet this spring. We planted LOTS of potatoes and are still trying to catch up on garden after some other things (“life”) happened.

    This part of Inland Northwest is seeing property going like hot cakes. One real estate agent I know is taking a new purchase to closing office everyday and a man told me they put house on the market and had two full offers first two days. And we’re seeing a lot of very large cash transactions, so probably out of the area buyers.

    And if there’s no hill or mountain in the way can see the comet from this area – looks like a contrail just starting to spread. With binoculars can see the head.

  32. As a bee keeper that is allergic to bee stings I recommend- Benadryl (diphenhydramine). It is a brand-name, over-the-counter medication that’s classified as an antihistamine. Very helpfull for getting the swelling, itching and pain down in about 20 minutes. I am not very sensitive to wasp venom, but have used it when I have been stung multiple times by wasps. Only drawback-it makes me very sleepy. I usually take 2 pills to start and then 1 as needed, up to the maximum allowed for 24 hrs. usually the worst is over for me in 24-36 hrs with bee stings. Try to get the stingers out asap as they continue pumping venom from the sac attatched to the stinger. As well you can get a nasty little infection from the stinger if left in. (personal experience)

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