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!
I had a trip to town this week, where I received a golden crown. Shunning any titles of nobility, I won’t call myself a Prince or King. Nay, I am from the common folk. But upon examining the bill from the dentist, I wished that I had been granted an annual royal stipend.
This week I did some ATV cleaning and repair. I also filled some gas cans, cut some firewood, did some weed trimming for Lily, down in the Annex Garden on the part that we left fallow this year. A few weeks ago, our neighbor brought manure down to that section, that Lily is going to spread and rototill under and plant Winter wheat this fall. An aside: For weed-whacking, I prefer to use our Cub Cadet string trimmer  that uses the fat .155″ monofilament. That machine is a real brute that can cut down 2-foot tall weeds–even Bull thistle with stout stalks–without bogging down. I always enjoy work when I have the proper tools.
I shipped a few more orders this week. Despite my best efforts, my inventory for Elk Creek Company  is dwindling. I did manage to find a few old big-bore S&W top-break revolvers and a Winchester M1873 Saddle Ring Carbine chambered in .44-40, from an estate. I should be able to add those to the catalog, this coming week. Other than a few guns that are currently off for Cerakoting, I won’t have much else to add to the catalog in the next few weeks. Speaking of which: If any blog readers have any pre-1899 cartridge guns or barreled actions that they’d like to sell, then please drop me a line. I can either pay you cash, or sell them for you on consignment. See our Want List , for details.
UPDATE (Saturday P.M.): Success! just left a gun show, where I bought or traded for seven pre-1899 antique cartridge guns to add to my inventory: A refinished Winchester Model 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine in .30-30 that was made in 1896, a first-year-of-production Winchester Model 1894 takedown rifle chambered in .38-55, a Remington-Smoot .38 revolver with elephant ivory grips, a Model 1896 S&W .32 S&W (this was their their very first swing-out cylinder design), a Marlin. 38 spur trigger revolver, an Adams (British) revolver in .455 Eley (Webley), and a Chilean contract Ludwig Loewe Model 1894 Mauser 7×57 Saddle Ring Carbine.
This coming week, I hope to finish up the wood cutting to be ready for the coming winter. Since I have some travel planned for September, the last of the splitting and stacking might not be done until October.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
As I sit down to write this column and think back on the week, it seems to have just absolutely flown by. I barely remember all that we did. Sunday, the beginning of our week, seems so long ago.
It was a hot week until the end of the week when a cold front came through with a good soaking rain.
In the beginning of the week the girls and I spent a lot of time cleaning a big item (OPSEC) that would result in much fun and recreation, later.
The rest of the week was a week of continuing to preserve our garden produce.
I harvested five cabbage, blanched and froze them. I harvested French Green beans, blanched and froze those. The plan is that since we really prefer to eat fresh veggies, and if not fresh then frozen, we will freeze a gallon or two, of most produce and then the rest will be canned or dehydrated, since we don’t want too much in our freezers if there is a long power outage.
I’ve harvested a boatload of Zucchini. I will be freezing and dehydrating them and possibly making zucchini relish and other Zuch. foods.
I harvested more than 22 pounds of Raspberries: golden, red, and black. There are still many, many more where those came from. The goldens were put through the steam juicer and made into seedless jelly and then those pint jars were water bathed canned. The blacks were frozen, and the reds were frozen for whatever we want to use them for in the future. Oh, and a large quantity of them were also juiced at the very end of the week.
Miss Violet and I made and canned a dozen jars of sweet relish from our own cucumbers and onions that I harvested. I have harvested some of my own peppers, but I preferred to use my already chopped and frozen store-bought mixed sweet peppers in that recipe.
I harvested the last of the tart cherries. Miss Eloise made us a Cherry pie that was “Oh so Yummy!” I also froze about a half gallon of the cherries that Miss Violet washed and pitted.
I have been experimenting with dehydrating broccoli. The varieties I grow are Calabrese and DiCoccio. A long story short: Two weeks ago, I dehydrated unblanched broccoli and put it in a jar, not labeled. A few days later, I blanched some broccoli and then dehydrated it and put it in a jar. I didn’t label it. I didn’t try it or taste it. I mentioned it in the blog this past weekend. A fellow preparedness blogger e-mailed me to ask about my success with the dehydrated broccoli. Hands-down, broccoli is her most favorite veggie and very sadly for her, she hasn’t had a lot of success growing it at her location, or dehydrating it. Aphids, and it not turning out nice with both freezing it and dehydrating it, have been her problems.
So then when I received her e-mail, I ran to the kitchen to taste them. As I said earlier, they were not labeled. One was light green and very yummy to me, while the other was very dark green almost black and not so yummy. Dilemma: Which was which? I couldn’t remember. (I will be more diligent about labeling in the future.) So I picked another batch of broccoli from the garden, blanched it and dehydrated it overnight. It turned out to be the very dark green not so tasty broccoli.
But just to be really sure, I picked more broccoli, rinsed it and popped it right back into the dehydrator. I dehydrate my veggies at the higher veggie temperature of 145-155 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours. The next morning I checked on it. Bingo! The slightly lighter green Unblanched broccoli, to my taste buds, is the more tasty broccoli. This broccoli is one that if I were to add a little bit of salt before dehydrating, I could happily eat it as a snack all day long. It’s that yummy to me.
So, in conclusion, the better looking and tasting dehydrated broccoli, in my opinion, is broccoli that was not blanched before being dehydrated. But I have yet to try it rehydrated.
I wish success to my fellow blogger in her future broccoli growing and preserving endeavors. And also to all of you, dear Readers.
Speaking of dehydrating foods in cars, I have obtained permission from Miss Eloise to use her car to experimentally dehydrate some foods. I will try mint and zucchini this coming week and see how they turn out. I will blanch the Zucchini, first.
I weeded two of the beds/cleaned them in the greenhouse. As I cleaned, I collected seeds from the lettuces, beets, celery, and dill that I had intentionally let go to seed. I put manure and Azomite in one of the beds. I am thinking about planting another batch of lettuces, kale, beets for winter greens, among some other not yet thought of veggies, in those beds. In one of the beds there are still tomatoes, peppers and eggplant on it’s edges. In the other bed, there is still celery, peppers, and a tomato or two scattered around that bed.
I am planning to wash all of the seed trays and planter pots, etc. from this spring. That will be a huge job to do. The trays and pots are all staged and waiting for us to get to them.
Only five meat chicks survived the incubation and hatching process. One chick died while in the shell after having cracked a hole, while the other was put down by Jim, as it was found to be seriously deformed. The others just died sometime during their development in the shell. I wonder if it was because there was a strong odor of bleach in the incubator during the first two weeks. Or, maybe there was too much of a temperature fluctuation in our living room between the daytime and nighttime? We open all windows at night to cool the house down after very hot summer days. We don’t have an air conditioner and our nighttime temperatures drop an average of thirty degrees every night. This cools the house down for most of the next day until late afternoon, when the heat builds to it’s height inside, again.
Since our friend brought me the eggs, I don’t know how he stored them after collecting them. He also said that his rooster was not always hanging out with his females, but that he would remedy that. I did candle test the eggs and all seemed to be dark….Viable. We are going to try again. I put in seven of my own eggs and they didn’t hatch either…Soo… Maybe the humidity was too high. The last seven or so days it was around 70%…
On my side, I decided to not bleach the incubator this time. I just scrubbed it with soap and water and am putting it outside in the hot sun to sanitize it. I plan to put it outside every day for a week before we start another batch. I also think that I am going put them into a bathroom where the temperature shouldn’t fluctuate so drastically between day and night.
This week, I read that a female chicken can hold the sperm to not fertilize an egg or can even dump it, if she doesn’t like the rooster. I also read that a hen can hold sperm and fertilize eggs up to three weeks after having been removed from a rooster. And also, it takes fifteen days for the sperm to move up into her oviducts, so after introducing a female chicken to a rooster it will take up to three weeks before her eggs will be fertile. I had never heard this information about chickens, before. They are very interesting birds. So there are so many variables, playing into the viability and success of a hatch. Does anyone else out there know any other interesting facts/secret lore about chickens and egg incubation that you’d like to share with us?
Also this weekend, my hen who has been sitting on eleven eggs should be hatching some of them out, if all went well. Hopefully!
Jim cut some more wood, and the girls stacked that firewood in the woodshed. The girls and I rode bikes around the ranch several times, and we all, Jim, too, went swimming three times this week. I’ve been swimming laps and using my kickboard, kicking for a half hour. Kicking with the kickboard on a sunny warm day on a calm body of water. That is a lovely form of exercise.
The kittens, named “M&M” (They both have “M” names) are growing fast and are so much fun to watch and play with. We are so glad to have been given two of them so they have each other to play with. The games they invent and the trouble they get themselves into is hilariously funny to all of us.
The Lord God has been very good to us. He has given us a very full interesting and satisfying life here on the ranch and with the Blog and all of your wonderful Readers. Thank you for all of your kind words to us this week and for joining with us on this preparedness journey. We love you all! 😉
May you all have a very blessed and safe week.
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.