Editors’ Prepping Progress

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

Jim Reports:

This week I cut more firewood. This poke of wood was very well-seasoned, from a two-year old log pile that I had kept tarped. I also did some more ATV repairs. That necessitated three time-consuming trips into town. I also replaced two of our aging Simmons frost-free valve yard hydrants. Those seem to last 12 to 20 years, depending on how much use each particular valve gets. As my father would say:  “They definitely work, but they can’t be expected to work indefinitely.”  (Barring any unforeseen truck/tractor/ATV collisions–yes, it happens, sometimes even with a stout cedar log post carefully positioned next to each of them for both quick visual recognition and impact resistance.) Therefore, I recommend buying one rebuild kit per valve, and one complete hydrant assembly for every 3 or 4 hydrants in your water system. Thankfully, a lot of the repairs and all of the adjustments can be done from “topside”. But occasionally, I need to dig one up. We bury our water pipes 5 feet deep, so replacing those two hydrants took a lot of digging.

I’m still receiving an average two orders per day for my part-time mailorder business, Elk Creek Company.  On Friday I received orders for four guns. As I’ve mentioned before, those antique guns are now consistently selling faster than they are coming into my inventory. So, if you want any of them, then jump on this dwindling supply, soon!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Another week flew by. This week, I spent hours harvesting raspberries. I dehydrated most of this batch of raspberries.  I also made Raspberry jelly from steam-juicing some.

I spent an evening and most of a morning harvesting all of the potatoes from the Shed garden: Adirondack purples, another purple, Yukon Golds, red fingerlings, and another Red: Chieftain?.  Definitely, there is not as many as last year.  I did harvest them about three or four weeks earlier than in previous years.  The cows, That Heifer “A” in particular, has developed a penchant for the taste of potato greens, and has been breaking into the Shed garden and eating them.  She can lift the Cattle Panel welded wire between the stakes and squeeze under the panel. “Durn Cow!”,  as Almanzo Wilder once said in “Farmer Boy”.   😉  I think he said that when his oxen, who were hauling logs, went off the snow-packed road to give way for an older set of oxen when his oxen actually had the right of way.

So I decided to get the potatoes while the getting was good.  Though, I discovered that a good portion of these were already beginning to yellow. Next year the potatoes will be grown in the Annex garden which is within the orchard’s more sturdy fencing.

In the main garden, I have a row of volunteer potatoes from the over-wintering experiment done two years ago.  Those, I will harvest in a few weeks.  Miss Eloise has a row of potatoes in her garden area, too. So, then, we still have another possible chance to get enough potatoes to last us through the next year.  Because  I planted the main potato patch in a brand new area, I did not have many scab issues at all on the harvested potatoes and was able to put aside a large amount of them for seed potatoes for next year. This was another reason why we had fewer potatoes for eating than I would like.  But, I am not going to get caught with not enough seed potatoes for next year’s garden — just in case we have major upheavel in our nation by then.  If we run out of eating potatoes, then we’ll just have to wait until next harvest to eat them, again. I have ordered potatoes from a company that we order some produce from, additionally, if they come…

I weeded the French green beans, picked them, and froze two gallons worth.

I harvested a large number of our onions, but have left two rows to continue growing.

I harvested and froze zucchini, and am in the process of dehydrating a batch.

I dehydrated another batch of broccoli.

The broody hen’s eggs did not hatch by Day 22. She had only four left under her.  She must’ve eaten the other ones, because they were infertile.  Right after, I removed her last four eggs, I slipped the four day old baby meat chicks under her wings.  She accepted them right away and they accepted her.  You should have seen them look at her in the eyes and she looking back at them! It was so sweet and heart-warming. She loves them and is being a super good mom to them.  I love hearing her low cluck when she is communicating with them.  It was a real relief for me that she took them on.  Now, I don’t have to worry about the chicks and Momma Chicken. They really needed each other.   Momma chicken has been rewarded for her 25 plus days of sitting. What a happy outcome for all of them.

I mowed the Main Garden paths.

Number Two Son came home to do some projects with Jim.  He and I had a great conversation concerning the current events and our Biblical views on where they are leading.  He said that about five months ago, I had given him a real earful, and he had been a bit skeptical about what I had told him.  But, since then, he did a lot of his own research, watched the news, and talked with friends. He came back to me on this visit and said that I was right and he now agrees with me.  That was a super nice feeling and relief to know that he is on the same page as us.  I should mention that he is our family’s computer whiz.  He fixed several issues I was having with my new computer, downloaded e-Sword KJV+,  so I can do in-depth Bible studies and LibreOffice. I intend to use Libre Office’s  “Impress Presentation” (very similar to PowerPoint) to help me with the Bible Studies. In return for his time on my computer, I set up a box of spices and seasonings for him. He has been getting into cooking for himself lately, and was interested in acquiring them.  So I washed a case of 8-ounce Mason jelly jars and set to work filling them with oregano, basil, cumin, cilantro, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, chili powder, and curry.   While doing this, I refilled some of my spice and seasoning jars that had been nearly depleted.

Miss Violet cooked two dinners for us this week.  Both girls helped me a lot in the kitchen and with making meals and desserts.  And they have been stacking wood for Jim.

We had a human error issue with our propane freezer, where we keep most of our meat in.  I admit it. I was the guilty party.  Hanging my head in shame.  It was overfilled with a package of beef slipping down and blocking the door.  I had hastily shut it and ran off to do another chore. The next day, I went to get some meat and found the door slightly ajar, with the top two rows nearly thawed out.  We rearranged the meat and closed the door but then had issues with the temperature dropping back down.

I took my error as a dire warning and a kick in the tuchus to get going from the Lord God to get serious about preserving our meat in other ways other than in relying on electricity, or in this case — propane.  I spent two full days pressure canning 75% of our ground beef and roasts supply.  The roasts were cut up into stew cubes. There is still more meat in that freezer that I need to process this coming week.  After that, I will defrost it and clean it properly.  And as for some of the meat still left in the freezer, I intend to dehydrate that.

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. The last week was probably one of the most important in my prepping life. I had an offer accepted on a remote place in northern new hampshire. my wife and i will move there next summer. The north woods redoubt! taxes are very low there as far as NH goes. i already have mapped out a place to shoot up to 400 yards. i am blessed.

  2. Had to drive 2-1/2 hours (1 way) for a specialist appointment in the big city. Got into the building and Noah’s rain unleashed for several hours. Had planned to do other things in the city, but the place was getting flooded so I high-tailed it home, where we only got a good soaking for an hour. But, we did get more thunder storms and rain later in the week, so all is good.

    Got a small harvest of elderberries; the birds love these berries! Got some reflective tape to put on the big elderberry bushes and some netting for the smaller ones and the blueberries; hopefully that will help next year’s harvest.

    Received an additional order from Johnny’s seeds, in record time. Planted a few fall seeds in the greenhouse and broadcasted some winter rye in the small meadow. Summer garden almost gone.

    This summer I’ve been concentrating on canning or dehydrating the fresh harvest from the gardens; however, the Ice Age Farmer podcast regarding states quietly / secretly buying and storing canned goods by the millions of pallets got me asking … What do all the state governments (both blue and red) know that the average person doesn’t know? These are the same states which begged for money and supplies a few months ago. We best get very busy folks!!

    Felt much stronger early in the week so went to the back 40 to practice with the new scope. Happy to say this old lady can still hit a 3 inch target at 100 yards, albeit with a scope.

    However, this same old lady fell off her crocs while going down 2 stairs to put away groceries (I think I stubbed my foot on the transition between door and stairs). Bruised both knees, tore tendons in both legs, sprained one ankle and both feet are swollen; plus legs are black and blue. When I finally got myself up, put cold packs all over to reduce swelling. After resting for a while, tried to get up and could barely move. Had to find my mother’s cane to even try to shuffle around. Last night I sprayed oil of magnesium on my legs and feet to help reduce pain, took turmeric capsules for inflammation and continued cold packs. With all this damage, only broke one toe; praise our Lord for His mercy! It hurts a lot and I’ll be hobbling around for a few days; note to self: Crocs are comfortable but dangerous.

    Fortunately, before I fell off my crocs, I went to pick up high-use canned goods, ten pds of ($.39/pd) chicken quarters, more chuck roasts on special, ten pds of 90/10% hamburger and ten pds of Brussel Sprouts (on sale). My sense of urgency will keep me busy all next week; in between cold packing my damaged limbs and preserving above items.

    May your week be safe (please watch your footing) and productive.

    1. Oh ouch OUCH! I am so sorry. Take good care of yourself and I second Ani’s suggestion of arnica–both topical gel and oral tablets. I also swear by the special magnets you can apply to the skin to improve blood flow and greatly speed the healing time for bruises (because of the iron atom in hemoglobin). Sounds like in your case you might need an entire pair of pants made of them! 🙁

    2. Animal House! So concerned… Keeping you in prayer for quick and total healing. Gosh, just so scary. Those are serious injuries. Please take good care!

    3. How do you know when to harvest the elderberries? My shrub is several years old, but this is the first year it is loaded with ripening berries. They have swelled a bit (still very small), and most are purple. So, is it time? I am concerned about unripe berries being poisonous (heard that somewhere). The birds haven’t discovered them yet, at least not as of Wednesday.

      1. Pick those purple berries before they fall off the stem. Just toss out the green ones.

        Drying them seems to be the least labor-intensive way of preservation.

        Carry on in grace

      2. PLC, This year I harvested mine about 1 week early, due to the birds feasting on them. I cut the entire head off on the stem and leave them in the buckets until I’m ready to work on them. Mine are almost black with a few green mixed in. I lay them out on a table on the porch for a day or so and the green ones usually ripen during that time. I always dry my berries and use them for medicinal purposes.

    4. !!! Praying you heal quickly! It’s never a good time on the farmstead to have an injury or an illness is it?
      Those crocs are dangerous, I won’t wear them any more after I slipped on the only patch of snow in the yard and broke my ankle and my leg in two places 7 years ago.
      Hope you feel better very soon.

    5. I am with RKRGRL68. I can almost feel your pain. Oh man, a simple fall can bring such complications. You are smart to use cold packs and turmeric. Gentle movement is critical for accelerating recovery and maintaining strength. Even when you are sitting, moving legs gently will help regain mobility.

      Praying for you, friend.

      Carry on in grace

    6. Animal House, Oh, no! I’m so sorry about your fall. Hope your recovery time ends up being a blessing in disguise for something unknown. Prayers for you as resting is not your norm! Krissy

    7. So sorry to hear about your fall. More than a decade ago, I heard that many people were having accidents when wearing crocs. I love my crocs, but they are my gardening shoes. I have had them for 16 years and have worn the tread off the bottom, and have had to sew buttons to keep the straps on. I am a person who takes off my shoes at the door. We never wear shoes in my house. Going barefoot in the house, especially in the summer feels good to me.

  3. This week went super fast. Picking lots of veggies and trying hard to preserve them in some fashion, mostly freezing and some drying. Did a bunch of car dehydrating of summer squash, zukes and cherry tomatoes. Trying it on blueberries now. Picked a lot of blueberries “on shares” for a local grower; froze most and am dehydrating the rest. Using my electric dehydrator on some of them but I hate it; takes forever……. Made fermented pickles. Am out of freezer space and I’ve given up for now on trying to acquire another; was #125 on a list for another chest freezer and they guessed maybe 3-4 months at best for an upright. Going to have to learn to use my limited freezer space(5 cf) and dry/can the rest. A friend who’s 25 miles away has extra freezer space though and has offered me the use of that space so I’m taking advantage of that and paying him “rent” with fresh veggies.

    I’m continuing my car solar experimenting; figure that this uses no extra energy inputs plus, in a grid-down situation, we will all likley have access to cars, even if they aren’t running. If the electricity failed in winter, I could always put the freezer outside. If it failed in warmer months of the year I could use the car to dehydrate some of its contents. Prepping for “what ifs”……

    Did 2 gun classes this week and loved them. Got to shoot a variety of guns(handguns of different calibers, rifles, shotguns). I want an AR 15 that shoots .223 ; really liked that one. Am thinking maybe I’ll try to build one. Ammo continues to be in really short supply, pricey and limited to 1 box if you can even find it here.

    A couple of big trees(maple and cherry) are going to be taken down for me by the power company(yay!) as they are in rough shape and endangering the power lines. Have ordered a manual wood splitter to assist with processing them into firewood. Am hoping my son will help with this too. I have some splitting mauls but I tend to sort of just bounce off of the log when I try to use them(other than just kindling) so a hydraulic wood splitter is my only recourse for doing it myself.

    1. Ani, I would suggest an AR that is chambered for 5.56. It will safely shoot 5.56 AND .223, but not so the other way around.

      I have built several ARs, and it is a fun project and useful to undestand how the gun functions and build the confidence to do upgrades or repairs. However, if you are building only one, it may not be cost effective after you aquire the necessary tools, like the vice block and AR wrench. A set of tools like Wheeler offers make the job much easier and you will be less likely to mar and scratch the receiver or spend the afternoon cursing in frustration.

  4. Restored a saw vise by getting the rust off it and painting it. Should have Japanned it but I thought about it too late. Spent some time in the basement cleaning and organizing. It was just too hot And humid to work outside Early this week. The prep room needed some attention anyway. Got the egg incubator in the mail on Tuesday and put fresh eggs straight from the coop into the incubator on Friday morning. Used the rain water from the 1500 gallon tank to water the garden this week (it hasn’t rained for over a week), it works but I don’t have the pressure I thought I would have considering the elevations. Then it dawned on me I didn’t account for the friction loss in 100’ of hose which is about 7 psi. Starting thinking and looking at equipment to add a DC pump to boost the pressure back up. Like I said it works but it takes me a really long time to get the watering done. I finished putting in the drain under the faucet from the tank too. Wife is collecting some very nice tomatoes out of the garden. We also took out our first head of cabbage. Ran the rototiller down the rows again and pulled the weeds that were close to our plants. Sold 4 dozen eggs this week. My wife is mad since I am selling them for $3 a dozen – she says that is too high- thoughts??? My thought are that is slightly more than what you would pay in a store but these are free range and no antibiotics and are very healthy. If people are paying the $3 I don’t think it is too high. I also asked her if she cared to see our expenses (coop, food, equipment?) we got a long way to go to break even, but I like the idea of having this side hustle which will be extremely useful after TEOTWAWKI.

    Equipment and supplies purchases this week included some DC electrical connectors, an adz (needs a new handle), a grub hoe, a set of 2 oil lamps that use a round wick (like an Aladdin) made of brass with a brass reflector. The are designed to hang on the wall and were made in Holland ($5 for the set- I love flea markets). One of my friends came over and shared some of his flea market finds, square nuts and replacement ends for various zippers. He also gave me a bag of metal buckles since he knows I make stuff with leather. I ordered and received a new cover for our 4 tier green house (already getting ready for next spring) The Salvation Army was good this week with bringing home a Nesco Model FD27 food dehydrator ($5) that was like new. If anyone has any experience with this model please let me know if you have any insights (good or bad). Also got 2 new in the packaging 6’x8’ decorative fish nets. For 99 cents each I thought of a few ways I could use them like to make my own camo net, trap, etc. I also got 25 feet of UHF/VHF antenna wire.

    1. 3ADscout, IMO, I think $3.00 is giving buyers a bargain. Proof is in the side by side egg yolk test, no? I have done that in the past and there is no comparison. A three year old can pick out which egg is healthier. They are definitely worth three dollars.
      However, is .25 or .50 a dozen worth your wife’s anger? Seems like a cheap price to pay for peace, lol. Good luck, smile. Krissy

  5. On Monday, I did my monthly shopping run. I picked up about a cart and a half of groceries. It is getting harder to find room on the shelves for everything so I will need to do a major organizational overhaul soon.

    Canned up a bunch of sweet pickle relish with cucumbers a friend dropped off.

    Continued to work on the infrastructure of our new fenced in garden.

    Had an outdoor dinner with 3 friends. We had quite a discussion on the state of our world.

    Hubby turned 74 yesterday. Our 6th grandchild was born on his 70th birthday. All the kids and grands were here last night (15 of us) and we had a wonderful celebration for the birthday ‘kids’. One of our son’s side gigs is professional photographer. He got some pictures of the whole group.

    I paired up the big grands with the littles and sent them off into the woods on a scavenger hunt. They did very well. I thank God for this group of characters. They make me laugh and keep me young at heart.

    Animal House, praying for a quick recovery.

    1. Wormlady! From your post: ” It is getting harder to find room on the shelves for everything so I will need to do a major organizational overhaul soon.”

      I can understand this experience completely… I read your post and nodded my head knowingly. As we are preparing for a very long haul, we are storing a substantial amount of food (across a broad time horizon — some intended for short term consumption, much for intermediate or much longer term consumption). This involves some serious logistics related to storage and rotation.

      All this to say… I get this experience, and find myself in a similar situation!

      1. I start off with great intentions. I am old school so I have a notebook with pages for freezer storage, long term, basement pantry, kitchen pantry. I put a circle after each item. For example: Canned peaches oooooooooooo. As I take a quart off the shelf, I fill in the circle. This system works great – as long as I remember to fill in the circle. Lol.

        And then sometimes the grands help stock the shelves.

        Just like we never really arrive at the perfect garden, I guess we need to accept the fact that our (my) pantry will never be perfect. Doesn’t stop me from trying! Do you have a favorite method of organizing?

        1. Wormlady! I do love your idea for a notebook with the circles, and also understand how helpers who may or may not actively use the same system may unintentionally confound the effort — all while busy being helpers which — of course — we do love, don’t we?!

          I’ve come to organize by “subject matter”, and we’ve been in the process of developing an entire room area for grocery organization (something akin to our own pantry-style grocery store).

          But! This is a work in progress. When the pandemic hit, and we super charged our stores, it was like a landslide event. Supplies were tucked into every available nook and cranny.

          We are just now getting things more closely inventoried (something we do periodically) and categorized — frozen, canned and shelved, or bucketed. Is that a word? Stay tuned! More news to follow for sure.

          Next week will bring much more of the same activity, and we will also be securing a substantial butcher shop order shortly for this fall and winter.

          I have often reflected on the food preservation work that was necessary for survival in earlier times without the benefit of all the conveniences we have today. People in those times truly worked against time and as many hours as the day could hold. We may yet face those conditions again in human history.

          Thanks so much for sharing your experience, and the wonderful idea!

    2. Wormlady, I teared up at your family gathering of generations and getting photos. What joy… I must say, you are one cool grandma. The grands will remember the scavenger hunt fun for the rest of their lives. You are awesome, Krissy

  6. Woodruff hydrants will last much longer than a Simmons. Thay cost $120 but I have installed 30 or more with no call back . I have at least 10 for my own use. A 4×4 post will keep them tight and only use compression fittings with brass components! I do keep one extra on hand and they are rebuildable .

  7. I started milking my goat for the first time ever!!! I have spent a month getting her used to me and my touch so she is doing well. I am only getting 2 cups a day instead of 2 quarts but it’s me, not her. I am working on finding the right position for me.

    Every day this week I have picked a GALLON of blackberries from our thornless bushes! We will be enjoying them both now and later.

    The garden is flourishing and the harvest is good. We’ve been canning and dehydrating.

    We received our order from the hatchery of 25 Cornish Rocks. Sold 3 New Zealand rabbits and bred a red doe for babies later next month.

    Our #2DS and DIL who recently moved onto our property are becoming more involved in the events of running our small farm. As we age we realize how blessed we are to have them here.

    Praying for our country. Stay focused, stay diligent!

    1. How many blackberry plants do you have to get a gallon picking? We are going to put in some of the thornless blackberries so I was curious.
      Yes, you are so blessed to have a son and dil who are interested in living on and helping with your farmstead. All three of our daughters have moved to cities and we never see them or their families. They think we’re crazy for living out here.

  8. Where is the productive zone between blind panic and normalcy bias/blinders? I’d love to live there full time, where I can SEE, but alas have had trouble finding it this week. Spent most of a day alternating between rage and in-bed paralysis before FINALLY realizing, oh hey! it is the anniversary of the day we said goodbye to our daughter. I hadn’t consciously thought of it at first, but recognizing grief for what it is helped to work through it. I ate more chocolate, prayed more, and got moving again.

    Nonetheless, some things did get done. Had the AC serviced, gunk cleaned out and a stronger UV bulb installed higher up in the cabinet to be more effective. Electrician came (one week early! Hooray for cancellation list!) to replace those breakers, look at a few other things, and is working me up a quote for installing a transfer switch for the generator, another power outlet in the kitchen, and another dedicated circuit for the freeze dryer we have just placed on layaway with Harvest Right! These may be simple things, but I will leave electrical work (beyond replacing light fixtures, fans, etc) to the professionals for the time being.

    Ordered oxygen absorbers to package up the rice. Received and begun reading several books that were recommended here! All of them are quite instructive. Received and unrolled the kids’ new mattresses. New sheets are still en route. New frame is here also but the assembly instructions (yes I read them; I’m female 😛 ) state that it will take two adults 45 minutes. We added in all the “help” from kids and cats and reckoned 4.5 HOURS, haha, so that hasn’t been started yet. Maybe tonight, while three of the older kids are sleeping over at the grandparents!

    Most significantly, we are in talks with the listing agent for some acreage in Boondocks, Podunkville about ten hours from here. It will need tons of work but has many features that would work for us (and our extended families, should they come someday!). The agent asked me again where we lived, and was incredulous: “And you want to move from there to Podunkville?” I non-committally said we were just in the dreaming stage, wanted a quieter place to raise our kids, etc. She tried again: “Did either of you grow up around here?” LOL. The place ranks very low on a lot of those Official Lists, like quality of education…..yeah my children receive an excellent education at our dining room table (and the rest of life!) TYVM, and I’m told the place has a strong homeschool group and laws very favorable to it. Yes please!!

    My husband has become pretty gung-ho because he has caught the whiff of a vision of QUITTING HIS OFFICE JOB (work from home though it is) and living on just our land and his VA disability. That would be amazing. I have cautioned that he might not want to do that RIGHT away, given the improvements we would wish to make, and the relative purchasing power of his salary HERE vs. lower cost of living THERE. Plus their state sales tax is nearly half! They do have state income tax and we do not, but VA disability doesn’t count for it. I could gut my retirement accounts and put half down on the properties, and save his (much smaller) retirement accounts for any unforeseen expenses. Without doing too much number crunching I think we could get at least $100k more for our current home than they are asking for that one, so once it sold we could build our cushions back up and finish improvements. Nonetheless a HUGE DECISION. TONS to consider, with the littles bouncing off our knees. We are praying hard for God’s leading and have asked friends to, also. Ten hours from the grandparents makes me want to cry. That’s why we have told neither them nor kids that we are considering this. God is good, all the time, and has a perfect plan!! We just have to seek it.

    1. Bear! A quick note for now… More thoughts to help will follow. I wanted to share with you that traumatic anniversaries affect people more deeply than many know. You are so wise to recognize and acknowledge this, and to work through that as an individual and alongside your husband and other kids too. Please forgive me… You may have shared the story of your daughter in an earlier post, and it’s entirely possible I missed that sharing. Just do be sure to give yourself time, and be a little extra cautious about big decisions surrounding the time of such an anniversary. You want to be on truly solid ground throughout any important decision making process. I know you know, and want really to share that others are “out here” listening and caring too.

      1. Thank you Telesilla. Yes, they say “the body keeps the score” (IIRC, that is even the title of a book by a doctor whose name escapes me but he has tons of experience with PTSD, starting with Vietnam vets) and even if we don’t consciously recognize it, it’s in there. Good point about the caution. I had heard another family in our shoes say they’d committed to one another that they wouldn’t make any big changes or decisions for a year after their child’s transition out of their home, to give them all time to heal and adjust. I only thought of them again after we’d started discussing seriously, and thought how uncanny that timing was. But you’re right – solid ground is vital! Thank you for listening and caring!
        In any case, I’ve heard back again from the listing agent that the property is under contract. That’s okay. It did get our wheels turning, and kickstarted discussions. If God wants us to move, then He has the perfect place already planned.

    2. Bear, I loved your opening statement: “Where is the productive zone between blind panic and normalcy bias/blinders?” I wish I knew! I know your sorrow of loosing loved ones but I choose to live with the happy memories, the kind that spread a smile on your face and every now and then, out-right laughter from wonderful experiences. Keep them close!

      Ever since taking the “red pill” my eyes and brain have observed way too much tragedy and evil in this world. Now I spend more time with God’s word to let His Peace wash over me.

      As far as Podunkville is concerned, just remember it is a lot of hard physical work starting over and some out-there communities are not as welcoming to new-comers. But, it can be very rewarding when it all comes together. Blessings to you and yours.

      1. Thanks for the reminder, Animal House! God must be our peace. There is no other true peace in this universe. In our case, there are very few happy memories; the experience began in trauma and continued for four-plus years. She never wanted me, and sometimes tolerated her father, and constantly showed it. BUT I take solace in knowing we saved her life; she will not die alone in an orphanage or on the streets, but will grow up safe with her loving forever family for whom I will always be grateful. We turned out to be just a bridge. As Christians I firmly believe we aren’t only to sit on our cozy pew cushions and sing pretty songs (though of course worship is important!!). We are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, charging the very gates of Hell on a rescue mission. We paid a heavy, heavy cost, but lives are priceless, right? I feel bad that I couldn’t shield my other children from more than I did, but by God’s grace the new family stepped up and things were resolved before her threats and attacks led to ALL of the children both adopted and bio being involuntarily removed from us (my biggest fear). And the others have healed, and from all accounts, she is doing great now! God still has a plan. I said all along that this was His crazy idea, so He was going to have to sort it out because we were in WAY over our heads, and BOY did He ever! We never could have dreamed of such a perfect new family for her, but He provided!

    3. Bear,

      I really like reading about your adventures! The good, the bad, the ugly. I feel like I’m reading your diary the way you describe everyday life. You have a writing style that I enjoy.

      Rooting for your happiness!!

      Have a Rockin great day!

    4. Bear,

      If only we lived in the same area…

      Several times I have been triggered when reading your post, and I have so much to share, I can’t share anything at all, just think and pray for you for days. As I cry, I am forcing myself to type.

      I’m so sorry for the pain you went through and then loss of your daughter.

      As a child, I went through the trauma of my foster brother being taken away. I can’t even imagine your pain as a mother.

      May the God who sees your heart, hold you close with comfort. Krissy

      1. Aww Krissy, I am so sorry this was painful and triggering for you to read. I wish I could give you the biggest softest hug. <3 God holds our broken hearts in His gentle hands and even catches all our tears in His bottle (Psalm 56). I am always here to listen any time you feel like sharing [maybe the editors could connect our email addresses if you wanted someday?], but please don't ever feel pressured to! I'm so sorry for your losing your foster brother. I can't even imagine a child going through that, that way.
        We are so blessed that our other children really seemed to accept and understand that this painful decision was what God had led us to, for everyone's good. They saw that she didn't want to be here, that she didn't have any freedoms left (for her own safety!), and they'd heard her threats to them and seen her dangerous behaviors. They rejoiced with us when word came that she actually ate and drank voluntarily for her new family, and so her feeding tube was removed. I'm grateful they were so young, and have seemed to heal so much easier than us.

        May God hold you close as well, and bring you His perfect peace which passes all understanding, until the day we also receive perfect and complete healing with Him!

  9. We get 3 dollars a dozen for our chicken eggs. They are none GMO fed. I buy my most of my spices bulk. I place them in canning jars, vacuum pack them and keep them in our basement. They last for years. I take out what I need and place it in the old rectangular Tupperware spice containers. I severely sprained my ankle years ago. I placed a magnetic strip over the ankle. It was white under it while all the rest of my ankle was black and blue. Might be good to have therapeutic magnets on hand. I try to have enough canning jars and lids to can up my meat from the freezers, just in case. I’m interested in how your mommy hen will handle her fast growing babies. I got an incubator and tried to run it but we open our windows at night and run a fan to cool down the place. Our house got too cold and I almost burned up the motor. So I’m trying to figure out how to run the incubator without burning up the motor.

    1. Oh Sis,

      We also open up the house at night to cool it down, and the incubator is in the living room. I never thought that the cooling down of the house at night would wear out the incubator motor. Though, I do remember the incubator instructions say to put incubator in a room that doesn’t have major temperature fluctuations. Hmm, I will rethink this.

      We are currently incubating another batch of meat chickens, again.

      1. I wonder if you could place the incubator in a styrofoam box/cooler! In a sense you are just insulating the incubator. Might need an air hole or two and of course a thermometer to see what the temp is inside. Just thinking out loud,

        1. I just put it in Miss violet’s bathroom, AKA the Greenhouse bathroom. I will tell her to keep the door closed. The only issue with them being in there is “Out of sight, out of mind”. I will have to put a note somewhere to tell me to turn the eggs three times a day. “Remember the Eggs” 😉

  10. It’s been quite a number of years since I last made bread but successfully made three batches this week while temperatures have been cooler. Each batch makes 4 smaller loaves which were wrapped and frozen for use in the coming month. Picked green beans, canned most of them and froze a gallon. Picked more raspberries. The shadows are growing here, our growing season ends about Labor day due to shade. Getting worried that tomatoes won’t be nearly ready to harvest. Harvested, roasted and froze lots of Anaheim peppers. Did a major refrigerator cleaning and a pantry cleaning. Drying LOTS of fresh herbs in dehydrator plus dried beet chips, spicy zucchini chips, peaches, blueberries, and carrots. Suppose to be quite hot in next few days, bracing ourselves for that. Had some much needed bible study with a friend. Had a lovely lunch with a fellow believer. Having friends for dinner and croquet this evening, also believers.

    We are assessing what needs done by when and money. Like brakes for one of our trucks, and repairs on our the electrical board of furnace. My husband returns to teaching next week. We have some trepidation about how his district is operating but know it is in the Lord’s hands. Planning and prepping for our annual week long elk camp in mid September. A collection of family and friends. Camp is more than an hour from nearest store or supplies so it’s quite the ordeal to bring all food and supplies for 8 to 10 people. And, planning for all weather, heat, rain and gumbo roads, snow. Gear for all those events plus tools and equipment for every contingency. It is an annual, real life experience in living off grid, emergency preparedness and having what’s needed for survival. Good practice with lots of carryover to our everyday lives.

    It is inspiring to read what others are doing during this relative quiet time. Praying for our country, praying that our household is keeping on straight and narrow and that the Lord guides our footsteps.

  11. Off topic here, but about the California magazine ban case before the 9th Circuit that JWR mentioned, the stay issued in the case by the trial court remains in place. This is normal.

    His nose bloodied twice now, the Attorney General is supposed to be determining what he will do now. He can ask for an en banc review by the 9th Circuit, or he can appeal the case to the Supreme Court.

    The Supreme Court rejects far more cases than it accepts. It refused to hear five gun cases this year.

    While it is frustrating that the stay is still in place, this 9th Circuit decision was a big victory. Stay tuned.

  12. Tom asked a great question earlier in the week about the gaps we discovered in our preps as a result of the pandemic, and this is hopefully a good time in the course of the SB week and progress reports to share those… In fact, I gave a lot of thought to how best to describe or inventory the gaps such that these would have some greater and more universal application for others. There’s a lot of ground to cover, and so many lessons learned for us surrounding self-sufficiency and food production. Among the items we have had to shore up have been replacement parts and repair kits for low tech greenhouse systems including our evaporative cooling system (a misting system for temperature control that requires tiny nozzles), sustantial supplies of raw materials such that we can mix our own plant food and make our own plant starter mixes, and ways to sustain pollinators despite changing weather conditions which may include extreme winters coming. We were also mid-project in developing back-up temperature control features, and had not yet installed a rain water collection system for gravity-based water feed when the pandemic hit. Although we have work-arounds, our alternative solutions are much more labor intensive and should be further improved. We would encourage other SB readers and preppers to think “low tech”, “sustainable”, “renewable” and “very long term”. Begin with questions like these… What happens when there is an ALL STOP? …and NO ONE IS COMING TO HELP.

    No question about it. More to follow to help other readers in every way we can!

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. ToA, good reminder to go “low tech” on as much as possible. This past spring was another good wake-up call when the China supply line crashed. The realization that almost every day items and replacement parts which Americans use are made in China. Fortunately, in Jan/Feb Tunnel Rabbit started reminding folks about critical items which were all made in China and I took his advice: oxygen concentrators and tubing, tool batteries, replacement parts, just a few examples. Commercial freeze-dried foods, freezers, disposable gloves, face masks etc., most of which have doubled in price and some which are still unavailable. I saw those cheap disposable face-masks in Aldi for $30 for a box of 25! Last time I got some of those they were $1.50 / box. Try to find a good sewing machine, zippers, elastic or other sewing supplies… Do what you can folks before the next disaster or riot or civil war is upon us.

      1. Excellent reminders, Animal House! Very much enjoyed reading through your thoughts. …and you are right that Tunnel Rabbit was encouraging everyone to go low-tech very early on in the unfolding of the current crisis. It’s true. When the supply lines started to crash, our national dependence on China was made truly and undeniably evident. We worked through categories, and managed to secure lots of important supplies, but now we’re looking to a much longer time horizon. We are, like you, also concerned about what might happen in a subsequent disaster. The pandemic may turn out to have been — from the standpoint of a future date coming — a loud siren, sounding the alarm so all could hear. Hopefully everyone takes action to try to shore up supplies, learn additional skills, develop new survival strategies, and more.

  13. Canning season is upon us.The Flathead cherries are tasty as usual. The growers say that the overall crop yield is down so prices are up a little.We canned 30 pints from a 25 lb. box.
    One jar broke and the cook ate bunch but overall it was a good day

    Last week we found a sorta ok price on cabbage.The heads were perfect and the yield was
    28 quarts.
    The next two days will be potatoes and then tomatoes.Carrots and green beans next week.
    We are looking to buy 50lb. of turnips in the Flathead Valley area if anyone can help.

    There have been three unusually strong wind storms in the past year that have caused a lot
    of damages to homes. We have been lucky so far but decide to take down the hazard trees
    that might put a hole in the roof.

    1. Vickie,

      My brother is going to do the same with his trees. He has 11 of them on his property and the storm on Monday really damaged quite a few of them. He was so lucky that none of them went through the roof or ripped down the brand new gutters he just had installed two weeks ago.

      Take care and Rock on

  14. Bear, we have had similar experiences this week. We are looking at property out of state and looking at options to purchase it. It wools give us much more land to accommodate family if needed. Right now I don’t trust the markets and think gutting my retirement account to purchase property might be a smart idea. We have lots to learn though. Can you shelter the funds to avoid income taxes? Right now we are an hour from our grandkids and moving would put us a day’s drive away. We don’t like the state we are in nor the governor that runs it so we are praying for guidance as well.

    Someone a few weeks ago mentioned the need to Keep up on the maintenance of your property. Well we should have paid more attention! Yesterday we found our septic tank backed up and overflowing. Called for an emergency pumping but we don’t think that is the problem. So….we started digging up ground looking for the junction box that flows into the leech field. The moral of this story is mark your box. Right now it looks like either a mole on steroids or a mine field happened and we still haven’t found the box. We stopped to see if the guys coming out on Monday can use a probe with a camera or listening device.

    Canned and dehydrated lots of veggies this week. I’ll dig the last of my potatoes today but haven’t gotten the amounts I’d hoped for. I’ve been supplementing my garden with produce and fruit from the farmer’s market and while this is available I’ll keep doing it. I fear we will get another shutdown and this won’t be available so I can as much as possible each day. I found canning jars this week as well so i keep adding to my supplies.

    1. Cal, you can request a copy of your septic permit from the county health department. If it was installed within the past 40 years or so (varies by state), it should include a sketch of the system with meaurements. If it was built within the last 10 years, it might even have GPS coordinates. Good luck!

    2. Heard there are exemptions from the early-withdrawal penalties this year, due to the covid. Not clear on all the details yet, but in our case, we already get a full return (and would be eligible for more if we’d paid more) due to this many kiddos and supposedly “low” income.

      Good luck on your land search!!

  15. I had a wasted week.

    I was feeling under the weather and laid in bed for 3 days! Probably not the Rona, as I don’t go many places, but who knows. I did do lots of internet reading. And I watched The Patriot. I felt really mad about the state of America after watching it.

    I’m feeling better, so today I can get cracking on my fall garden. It’s so so so HOT right now too. Miserable hot.

    Hubby has been working hard on building a bigger and better chicken coop to make room for our new flock. It is turning out to be awesome. It’s his first building to build from scratch.

    The kids have had a long summer break and we finally start back homeschool Monday.

    My oldest will be moving up to the youth at church and I feel like I need to tell her ALL the things! She is homeschooled so she isn’t exposed to pop culture and other worldly things at all. We do have talks but now I’m feeling panicked. The adults who lead the youth have proven to be, well, moronic when it comes to their Facebook posts and the state of the world right now. I’m not sure what they might talk about with a room full of teens. I can’t shelter my kid forever, so I need to have meaningful conversations and teach her how to think critically and on her own. Ugh! It’s hard though because she is still very young and very impressionable. This is also part of prepping! Preparing our children for the future state of the world, both biblically and secular, without sound like a lunatic.

    1. Texas Gal! So thankful for the news that you are feeling better! …also understand your thoughts about youth groups of any kind and social media. Growing up in the modern age is tough in many ways — and dangerous. You are wise to be exceedingly cautious about the matter of social media. Honestly, it’s a wicked thing indeed. Many prayers for you and your family!

    2. We do not feel like Youth Groups are truly God fearing and Youth friendly. We did not send our girls to them because too much of the world is represented in them. They were not edifying and they concentrated on the problems of youth instead of the Word. What’s the point?

      Instead, we preferred to do fun activities with a very small group of close friends and have serious bible studies at home.

      You need to ask who is going to influence who? If your kids are the more grounded of all of them, are they going to be a positive influence? But is it worth it for their own well-being? Could all of the other kids problems drag them down and influence their happiness? It depressed my kids to hear it and see other “Christian” kids dating and talking about naughty things that as Christians they shouldn’t be doing. Peer pressure in the Youth groups is as bad as the schools.

      We did AWANA until the girls reached high school level. Then I was able to peruse the read brand new rewritten/updated books for high schoolers and I did not like the new style or the topics discussed. I found out later the the new texts were written by the same people that have the Rick Warren Purpose Driven Agenda. Therefore that further confirmed that my decision to take the girls out of AWANA was also ordained of God. Purpose Driven philosophy is designed to lead the church into the Beast System. It is not Biblical!

      If you feel that the leaders have “moronic” ideas then why are you going to put your daughter under their tutelage?? Don’t do it. Stand up against the system and develop your own friends and do things at home. You owe church systems nothing! In this late hour, your allegiance should be to Christ alone and to your immediate family.

      Just our humble opinion.



      1. Our church in sandpoint dropped awana for very same reasons about 3 or 4 years ago. The youth group is thriving on serious scripture studies. Most teens and young adults are able to really engage in serious biblical discussions and can quickly reference bible passages, much quicker and more powerfully stated than adults. Gives me peace and reassurance at how the Lord is raising up His flock, the strength of remnant, their unwavering conviction.

      2. Comments noted and agreed.
        I know what Voddie Bauchman would say.

        I should have said foolish instead of moronic. I was feeling frustrated at the time and was mean. But foolish, yes.

  16. If you read the decision on magazines in California the stay on sales of magazines remains in effect. It’s sort of a technical victory but as a practical matter it seems the sales ban remains in effect. Not sure what the USPS or private carriers will be doing in regards to magazines shipped via their services. Seems in person transfers would be the safest. Just stack em deep folks – come January you can expect a complete ban – magazines, parts, online ammo sales.

  17. Hello friends. We’re still friends, right? LOL. It’s been a while since I have made a comment, but I still check in everyday to see how you all are doing. Sounds like you all are getting it done. I on the other hand, I have not. Didn’t do much last week and the same for this week. I think I have given up, or better yet, quit. Not looking for a pity party, it’s just a comment on my reality.

    Insert quote from D.H. Lawrence here:

    “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”

    Troubling news about my employment last week has got me thinking. What to do now, I just don’t know. For the time being, getting things in order in case the “For Sale” sign has to be put up.

    Hopefully things turn around. If they do, it has to be now. Take care of yourself and each other. Oh yeah and thanks for listening. Sometimes it’s nice to talk to people you don’t even know! LOL.

    1. Hello Burt Gummer Too! Prayers for you — that God will see to the stabilization of your employment, or that if He has a different plan for your path, that He will light the way and you will land comfortably on your feet in promising new place or direction. Hoping your spirits are lifted, and that you will not have given up! Please do not give up.

    2. Burt Gummer too!

      Please keep coming here for fellowship and friendship. We all here are encouraging to each other and want To help you get through these tough times that we are all facing. I too myself feel some days that the whole world has gone mad and that there is nothing to look forward to. Then I started interacting here with my friends and when I describe something that is tough for me, the folks here have given me the encouragement to move forward.
      Please let us know how you are doing from time to time. We care about you!!

      Rock on

    3. Burt Gummer Too!, Oh my gosh. I gasped when I read your quote. That is a special connection quote between my youngest son and I. (he’s 29). He can do voices, and says it so well. We get each other…

      All is not lost!

      So you haven’t done much. It’s okay. You’re not dead.

      It is completely normal to feel low and bummed without work and job security. My oldest son only has one week of work left and then is moving to the Redoubt to join his wife and three little ones. Like you, he will start looking for work.

      Did you ever watch, “Chariots of Fire,” movie? In one scene, the Olympic runner can’t believe he looked back during his race.

      “It’s fundamental. You never look back.”

      We too, are encouraged to keep going forward. I hope it’s okay that I share a few verses with you that encourage me.

      “No, dear. brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing:
      Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead”. Philippians 3:13

      “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12: 1-2

      I struggle, and I’m pretty sure everyone on this blog does too. You are not alone. While those verses are referring to living life as a Christian and not prepping, prepping ones soul for heaven could be written as item #1.

      As far as beans, bullets and bandaids, make a stop at the Dollar store, buy a $1 box of 300 matches and you made some progress. No matter how small, progress is still progress.

      Okay, I’m done preaching. But I know depression and hopelessness, and I would not like to see you suffer as I have. RKRGRL68 is spot on; “Keep coming here!”

      Talk to God about stuff. He loves you. Krissy

      1. “But I know depression and hopelessness, and I would not like to see you suffer as I have. RKRGRL68 is spot on; “Keep coming here!”

        Talk to God about stuff. He loves you.”

        Burt Gummer, listen to wise Krissy and the other ladies too. She said it all, right here!!

  18. Just some odds and ends. State’s stockpiling food ,started two years ago ,,has affected my stores getting stock ,in some cases by as much as 80% gov has first call on products ,active talk in management about what stores to close if stock becomes unavailable ,projection is for problems starting in late fall ,early winter
    Roits and your food store ,,,close them to protect employees ,down load inventory to minimize loss ,(there is no insurance to cover loss due to civil unrest or war ) most closers are / will be in iner city and close suburbs
    The prepping effect,,prepping now is causing problems that will be long lasting and devastate the supply chain ,over buying is causing shortages ,sending shockwaves down the entire system ,your crashing things down to the grower ,the packed,the broker,the retail sector ,
    The years reserves ,what’s going to be needed in the spring and summer next year will be used by the first quarter next year
    Best buy dates ,,,the long out dates you are starting to see are the result of products not being stored for use in the future ,,the warehouse is empty,,,,,,,,in some cases products come off the inbound truck straight to the out bound truck and the store ,

    Virus update,,,,today it’s been 5 months for us DW is still having reminders ,Im just starting to come back a little,by little,took me 5 days to do 19 tons of hay this last week ,most often after 2 or 3 hours I need to stop and rest ,but strength is startling to come back ,use to pickup 100+ lbs
    Hay bales after vires unable to do more than 20lbs ,yesterday for first time since did 50lbs

    Storing anmmal feed long term,,,,,,has been my experience,,,,,,uncracked grain kept truly dry keeps almost forever ,once run through a mill only good a very short time and then only if stored properly ,airtight,dryer than dry,and then if it’s been ground to mash or pellet no longer than 6weeks ,
    I once lost 16,000 chickens to micro toxen in feed ,birds died in less than 2hrs ,was fresh load of feed from the mill but it was a blend of some old feed ,,,,,and no I was just out the loss of revenue,and 5weeks work ,
    If your plan is to store feed for SHTF you might want to rethink things ,
    If your going to try whole grain you need to aquire a grinder ,for birds especially ,you don’t need to grind to flour just crack it open ,birds will need more grit

    Need to do things,

    1. Oldhomesteader! So happy to hear news that you are recovering — slowly — but recovering nevertheless. Many prayers are being answered, Oldhomesteader. We are so thankful. Also — great tip on the feed!

        1. Oldhomesteader! Your years of experience are very, very much appreciated. I have a question — if it’s appropriate and reasonable and safe for you to answer — about how long you think it will take to recover the food supply lines? Do you think this is a function of the growing season, regulatory obstacles associated with farm production, problems including COVID related to processing plants, or something else? Thank you so much for any insights you are comfortable sharing!

  19. Avalanche Lily! What a great recovery with the freezer meat by way of pressure canning… Sounds like you managed to recover most of the supplies, or maybe all! What a blessing that you are an experienced canner, and you were ready to make this adjustment. You had the skills, and you had the tools and other canning supplies. I know how stressful an event like this can be… Wanted you to know that in reading this story, I saw a huge victory through and through!

  20. Texas Gal – we left our church over how the youth were being cultivated. In some ways I believe the youth pastor needs to be at least as strong as the church’s senior leadership. I try not to be too critical of them as I know their job is very hard but there are limits. See Wranglerstar’s comments on today’s church leadership in his latest video about defunding the church – very timely and he will get hundreds of thiusands of views on that one video alone.

    As for prepping – we are still clearing out our freezers and canning lots of meats. We’re still going through our ground beef stockpile and will resume stews and stew meat as soon as possible. Right now we have 18 pints in the canner with the weight chattering away outside.

    Daughter #1 is off to college this weekend and we are prepping her emergency bag and medical kit, plus discussing creative ideas to store a box of emergency food in her room or car. I have contemplated getting her a small storage unit. She is 5.5 hours away by car.

    Son #2 is now actively searching for a job. He graduated Ford Factory Training. He is a little timid about this and I forget that I have 30 years of work experience and get a little impatient. He is 6’6” and very strong, smart and solid Christian values. I think employers will like him once they meet him. He is focusing on Montana and Idaho but will take anything to get some experience as long as it pays a living wage. I am sorry we no longer live in the Redoubt – he would be great to have on a farm or rural property as a part time worker in exchange for living space. We are connecting with old friends in that area.

    We are still working on the generator purchase. I do not want to into debt so we are carefully saving for a good quality model.

    Ammo is nonexistent at reasonable prices for pistols but I was able to get a few boxes of 5.56 and .308. Now mags are starting to disappear. I will be stopping at a few stores along the way to MO tomorrow, and then a few more on the way back. No rush – we’ve learned some lessons over the years on stocking up when demand is low.

    We are still praying about what location God wants us to move to. Wherever we end up, we are hoping to meet some like minded people and new friends for my wife, along with a solid church. I’ve mentioned this in past posts and sincerely appreciate your prayers.

    Some of you are struggling with health stuff – sprains, bruising, chronic illnesses. I am making a list and praying for you. I will use your screen names but God knows exactly who you are. It’s gonne be kind of funny when I ask God to heal someone with a screen name like “Energizer Bunny Prepper” so I am happy you all kept your screen names clean. I may laugh a little as I go but I’m sure God will understand.

      1. PJGT!

        I was thinking about you this week and prayed for you. I almost sent you an e-mail, but was worried that that would be intrusive. I was wondering what was happening with you! I will be praying for you. The Lord God heal and strengthen you!

        Much love, peace, healing and blessings to you!!


      2. PJGT

        Thinking of you! Hoping that you start feeling better soon. I myself had been wondering why we haven’t heard from you.
        Stay strong and know that we are all thinking of you

        Rock on

      3. Son# 2 should check out Butte, right now I know Murdoch’s sporting good is looking for a tech and often seems like I see ads for many of the dealerships. Prices for mountainous land around here is still reasonable not crazy like Bozeman or Kalispell. Let us know if we can help.
        Take care.

  21. Work has slowed down some, so we did some reorganizing. We’ve been stacking pretty deep lately, so the shelves needed to be rearranged. Being able to see what you’ve got, and realize how much you have, is a really great feeling!

    The grandgirls have quickly outgrown their first bow, so a new bow and more arrows found their way home. They spent much of last week making empty .22 cases and covering my driveway with them, and those were picked up to use later on for swaging bullets.

    Speaking of which, I visited the local shops again, and nothing has changed. Most have very little ammo to speak of, and the most popular guns are out of stock. Some ARs have made it back on the shelves, and some of the defensive handguns, but nowhere near what they were. Reloading supplies, especially primers, are difficult to find. I have standing orders with a couple of the stores for primers, and alerts with all of the online vendors. Prices on everything have gone up, but I still recommend getting what you can now. November will get here before we know it, and things are gonna get worse before they get better.

  22. Good afternoon everyone,

    This week was very hard & sad. The biopsy done on my kitty BeeBoo ended up being a very aggressive malignant cancer and I had to make the heartbreaking decision to have him put to sleep this morning. In one week this cancer ravaged my little buddy and I couldn’t stand to see him so sick and helpless. He will be greatly missed.

    We also had a very destructive Storm come through on Monday. There were fourteen reports of Tornadoes in northern Illinois alone. We were very lucky and only had branches & leaves all over. My brother & his neighbors had a lot of damage to trees, cars. Thankfully no damage to his house and they all pitched in together to get everything chainsawed & cleaned up. Saw reports of entire corn crops completely destroyed. So sad to see this as it was looking like a good harvest this year. Last year’s harvest was a disaster due to the devastating floods. Our weather sure is changing right before our eyes. This storm alone started in the Dakotas and traveled more than 1000 miles !!

    Some thousands of people are reported to still have no power almost a week into this.

    Working on getting items ready for a town wide garage sale next week

    Thinking of you all, stay safe

    Have a Rockin great day

    1. 🙁


      I’m so sad with you that you had to put down your beloved BeeBoo. I’m so sorry! I know how much you loved your kitty and will miss him!

      May your family physically give you all of the hugs of condolences on behalf of all of us in the SB community, that we send to you virtually, today!



      1. Lily and Telesilla of Argos,

        Thank you both so much for your kind words. Coming here and posting with friends really does brighten my day, especially today.

        Take care

    2. If the Lion and the Lamb get to lay next to each other in heaven, I’m hoping BeeBoo gets to lay down with them too.

      I’m so sorry for your loss. Rip BeeBoo. Krissy

    3. Oh no! I am so so so sorry!!! Have been thinking of and praying for you and BeeBoo this week and I am crying with you that it happened this way. It is never easy. Like Animal House said to me, the solace comes from all of the happy memories, even while it hurts SO badly to lose them. And since God loves all He has made, and Jesus said (Matthew 10) that not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from our Father, I firmly believe we will see all our beloved furry friends again.
      Take good care of yourself! <3

  23. This year has had quite a few surprises and setbacks for me, but some notable progress as well. I have been sharing garden space with my boss and his wife for the past two years so the harvest is a three way split between me and both of them. Currently we have been harvesting lots of sweet corn for the past few weeks. One day they processed and froze 59 quarts of sweet corn and there is probably five times that amount still in the garden. We have been having fresh corn on the cob nearly every day for dinner. The boss commented that it was the best corn he has ever had. Part of the reason (other than a good variety) is that I’ve been working with the soil chemistry for the past two years. The soils here are severely deficient in copper and very low in manganese. It would take over $900 per Acre to correct the soil manganese deficiency or about $1574 per Acre for all needed elements (including copper, manganese, boron, cobalt, iron, zinc, etc…). That would total a little over $1.5 million for the whole farm. A big chunk of change! So, with a limited budget I have only been able to work with the garden plots on correcting the mineral imbalances. It has paid off though. The gardens are not perfect as they still have a ways to go, but they are much improved from what they were when I started.
    Since the cost and amount needed is so high for the manganese, I’ve been doing mostly foliar applications during the growing season which has $aved a lot of money, although it has taken more time. The “squash patch” as I call it, is in the middle of the garden between the corn and is doing much better than last year. It was planted much earlier (on time) and with the foliar feeding it looks like we will have more squash than what I anticipated, which given the current economic situation is a welcome “problem” to have. “Two is one and one is none”. Another way of looking at it is that I will have some extra winter squash to give to friends and then hint to them that they could grow some themselves if they wanted. I’ve noticed this year a lot of people are growing gardens that were not growing anything the year before. Some people ARE waking up, but not enough. Sigh…

    Next year the three way “garden split” is going to change as I’m working up a new piece of ground for my own garden for next year. The plot is about 95 x 125 feet which should give me enough “elbow room” to grow what I want to grow AND how I want to grow it. I had to all-caps the “AND” in that last sentence because there is a big gap between myself and the boss on how things should be grown. He has a degree in agriculture so he has always done things the “university way” which is basically common everyday commercial agriculture with all it’s problems. Poor quality. Chemicals. Low yields. Insect pests. Due to his poor financial condition and the poor nature of the soils here he will have second best or third best, if that much at all. You get the picture… This past summer he has rather timidly hinted that he is interested in what I do for the gardens and was curious if I could do the same things for his farm as I do for just the gardens. I told him that it was possible. It would have been good if he had asked that same question 5 years ago when he was in better financial shape.

    Since my summer has been so busy I have not had the chance to make as many comments here on SB as I would have liked to so I’m playing a little bit of “catch up” today on my day off work. Some comments to specific people are:
    @Avalanche Lily
    Glad to read about your potato crop that you are setting “aside a large amount of them for seed potatoes for next year.” Far too often people don’t look and plan far enough ahead to think of the next year and saving seed back for next years crop. Seed potatoes in my neck of the woods were very sparse this year. The local hardware store had NONE this spring. Garden seeds? Yes. Potatoes? No! Scab on potatoes can be eliminated if the soil chemistry / biology is just right. The same is true regarding potato bugs. This year in “our” garden there were lots of potato bugs on the very few potatoes that I planted. This was VERY frustrating for me because in years past when I was at another location there were no potato bugs ever, even though all the neighbors had some bug problems. The difference is that at the previous location I was able to do an Albrecht soil test and soil amendments. I also did foliar nutrient sprays. No insecticides, fungicides, herbicides or toxic chemicals, just soil / plant nutrition. At the current location where I’m at the “boss” is too tight (and short-sighted) to do a soil test so I’m guessing on the garden plot. Since he already used manure on the garden plots I can’t put on Cal-Phos (a type of soft rock phosphate) without running the risk of getting the phosphorus too high. In my own garden plot for next year I will be using Cal-Phos which is far superior to manure in the overall nutrient balance. Limestone will also be added along with iron, manganese, zinc, copper, boron, cobalt, molybdenum and after this has been incorporated into the soil I’ll give it a dusting of Azomite. At some point in time gypsum and kelp will be added as well.

    Regarding your chickens and egg hatching: I’m assuming your chickens are free ranged as much as possible during the spring, summer and fall. But what about the winter? Do you feed them corn during the winter? There are two (sometimes more) potential problems with modern corn. Both problems are due to to defective agricultural practices used in modern agricultural production. One of them is BT corn where it has been genetically altered to express traits from the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis, hence the term “BT corn”. Some information on that at the following link:
    Bt-Corn: What It Is and How It Works

    The BT toxin in corn and other products can imbalance the body chemistry of animals and humans. Some more information about this at the following link:
    Possible health impacts of Bt toxins and residues from spraying with complementary herbicides in genetically engineered soybeans and risk assessment as performed by the European Food Safety Authority EFSA

    Another problem with modern corn is of course the Roundup Ready issue which I’ve mentioned before and the chelating effect it has on manganese (and other elements). If a soil was once sprayed with Roundup there is most likely residual effects left over from its use many years after it has been discontinued. It can be certified organic and still have the negative carryover issues many years afterwards.
    Glyphosate Effects on Plant Mineral Nutrition, Crop Rhizosphere Microbiota, and Plant Disease in Glyphosate-Resistant Crops

    An article written by Dr. Don Huber:

    … and a very long speech by Dr. Don Huber (duration = 1:15:48)
    Don Huber – Glyphosate – Dangers and Soil Remediation

    Another possible issue with your chickens is a possible lack of calcium in the feed. I remember reading about how Dr. William Albrecht did experiments on rabbits and could make them infertile by diet and then make them fertile again by putting them on a minerally balance diet.

    @Animal House
    Keep stocking up on those seeds, ’cause the supply issue is going to head south pretty soon. I used to work in the seed industry and saw problems decades ago. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Like I noted to Avalanche Lily (above) about the seed potatoes being hard to get. I asked someone at the store if they only had a short supply and if they sold out early and he informed me “we never got any in”. Zero seed potatoes this spring at the local supply store. I’m glad I keep my own seed.

    Shooting an AR-15 For The 1st Time – Teens & Grandmas! (ages 13-79)
    You will enjoy watching this! The title says it all!

    I need to get my water system installed for next years garden. I assure you I will do it right the first time. I will be using a rain catchment system as well. There is a hydrant within 75 feet of the garden, but I’m thinking ahead a few years when we will be “off the grid” either by our choice or by Big Brothers choice.

    I wish more people would think about fencing their gardens BEFORE problems occur. They also need to use sturdy metal fencing not the nylon mesh type that my boss bought and I put up for him and then the deer ripped holes in it because they could not see it and were running into it (actually through it = ouch!). Do I sound a bit frustrated? Yes, I’ll answer my own question. He is always trying to save money and almost always it ends up COSTING more money to do it right the second time around. Grrr!

    Podunkville will be much better than Crimeville in a few years time – it actually already is. Hope you are able to make the move and get everything in place will there is still time. Good luck.

    @Love Montana
    I remember once when I had planted a lot of tomatoes in my garden (several decades ago) and I sprayed the last row I planted with fish emulsion and kelp. At the end of the year when killing frost came the first row, without any extra nutrition sustained about 90% frost damage or basically the plants were almost dead and not able to ripen any more tomatoes. The second row that had the fish emulsion and kelp only had about 10% frost damage and it was restricted to the upper leaves and the edges of the plants and they recovered and continued to ripen the tomatoes that were on the plant. Next garden season I plan on doing an experiment and see if I can get 0% frost damage. That will be with light frosts of course and not hard killing freezes.

    @Telesilla of Argos
    Very important point. Yes, we all need to stand back and ask the question: “Where are there holes in my preps?” I’ll tell you where there are holes in my bosses preps. In his deer fence. Lots of them. Pardon the bad joke. As I noted previously in another comment above he is always trying to $ave money and it usually bites him the end and costs way more to do it right the second time. I plan to chronicle some of my past garden / prepping successes and failures and at some point share them with the rest of the SB readers.

    @Texas Gal
    The home schooled children are the ones that win the spelling bees.

    [since my farm work has kept me so far behind I’m going to “sneak” back a week or two in the comments]

    Regarding your use of zucchini in making “‘not pumpkin’ pie”: Have you ever tried using butternut squash in a pumpkin pie? I have found them to be superior to pumpkin for making pies and a number of my friends have as well. Buttercup and hubbard squash do not come out the same in pies like butternut does. Just thought I’d throw that tip out there. Also is the fact that butternuts tend to be more bug resistant than most other squashes and pumpkins.

    @Tunnel Rabbit
    See my comment to Love Montana, above, about the tomato and the fish emulsion and kelp experiment. The bottom line is nutrient dense plants have more cold weather tolerance. More insect and disease resistance too. I wish you well.

    Could I recommend you shift from garden magazines to garden books as the magazines focus on repeat subscriptions whereas the books have to rely on more quality content and good reviews to keep the revenue coming in. I’ve been noticing this for many years now and it’s not just a one time occurrence. Yes, I have read Mother Earth News before and have enjoyed it. I’ve even done business with them when I was a general manager in a garden seed related operation. My experience is that most books from Acres USA tend to be good books. The following title might be of interest to you:
    How To Grow World Record Tomatoes
    The information in the book also applies to other types of vegetables as well, not just tomatoes.

    “This is my first garden in about 20 years…” keep a good set of notes on what you did right and what areas still need improvement and you will be glad you did. A lot of us “well-seasoned gardeners” are still perfecting skills and techniques so don’t be afraid of the learning curve.

    1. @ David n Goliath

      Thanks for the link to the video(women shooting AR-15). That looked like a fun group as was mine. It’s interesting as when I told several women I know that I had shot an AR-15 in my class and now I want one they were horrified. Their immediate response was “isn’t that some sort of military rifle? Why would you want one of THOSE?” We have been so indoctrinated by MSM and our politicians that probably wouldn’t know an AR-15 if they stumbled over one yet they “know” they’re bad. I just need to find an affordable way to acquire/build one now……..

    2. David ‘n’ Goliath, I really appreciate your sharing your experience and thoughts with us! I definitely need guidance from someone who really knows what he’s doing! Thanks.

  24. Today it’s very hot, so lots of water for everything including my second corn crop. If all goes well, I’ll be able to harvest in early October.

    Like Texas Gal, I watched The Patriot last night. I’ll finish it tonight. And Texas Gal, have some confidence in your daughter. If you and your husband raised her right, she’s unlikely to fall for the foolishness of other youth. If she makes a mistake, try to be accepting; if you unload on her, you’ll alienate her.

    I’m also preparing for next week’s yard sale to get rid of clutter and raise a little cash. I’m speaking to recruiters who might be able to set me up with a job out of the California Soviet Socialist Republic and away from Comrade Newsom and the other Comrades on the CSSR Politburo.

    I need to figure out where I will fit in. Unlike others who are relocating after retirement, I still need to have a job. So I can’t move to any small town. Furthermore, I’m an anomaly: in a time where one of the splits is secular/liberal versus religious/conservative, I’m a secular conservative. I have no problem with the Anglo-Protestant culture that was baked in by the Founders, but I am not religious and I won’t live in an area where everyone thinks I’m going to hell. I am a conservative in the sense that national defense should be strong, not everyone should be let in, and that the government should provide infrastructure and basic law and order without nagging and suffocating everyone to death.

    And once I get established, the next step will be to find some sweet and lovely lady to share my homestead with. Someone I can do all the projects mentioned by many readers with.

    1. “I’m an anomaly”

      “but I am not religious and I won’t live in an area where everyone thinks I’m going to hell…”

      So funny… I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t want to either, and won’t.

      I don’t consider myself religious, but I know God loves me and I love Him back. I believe in personal relationships with Jesus and the Bible. Like you, I am an anomaly and don’t fit in because many think I am going to hell because I left my abusive husband. Not only that, I left my denomination that shunned me and does not support women in abusive marriages and let’s the abuser keep being a deacon… Rant over.

      I look forward to seeing where our journeys lead us. So glad you shared, keep posting more, please! Krissy

      1. Krissy…
        I am sad for what you must have endured, and at the same time thankful for your sharing that the end of an abusive marriage (and loss of your church relationship too) was not the end of your relationship with God. In fact and in some ways, it may have been just the beginning. My prayer is that your relationship with God is deeper than ever before, and that God is hard at work healing those wounds. We know God loves the celebration of marriage, but it must be a Godly marriage, and this requires the commitment and participation of both the husband and the wife. We also know that God is the final arbiter, and we — as mere mortals — are not. What matters is what God says, and what God says is not always (and sometimes not often) what human beings say He says. What we know with certainty is God’s love for every one of His children — and that would include you!

        1. T of A, The Lord hid his word in my heart in my teen and college years to prepare me for what was to come. The Lord wants us to be like Him, and the pruning away of self is not a journey without pain. Alas, so much of self and so little of Him…

          As the Lord of the heavens was with Shadrack, Meshack and Abednego in the fiery furnace, so He was with me. For me, it was the direst times that were also the sweetest because I could feel Him there.

          Yes, I believe as you do that God loves marriage, and that He is the final arbiter. Hence, my favorite name for God is, El Roi; the God who sees.

          Thank you for your kind words. Blessings to you and your family this week! Krissy

  25. I enjoy reading what everyone has or is doing. I especially enjoy the attitude of the people here. Y’all are so loving, helpful, and encouraging to everyone. It’s a tonic for the soul, especially during this time in our history with so much ugliness going on.
    I read here every day but I haven’t wrote anything for a couple of weeks. We have just been so busy. My new garden beds have been a disappointment, but that wasn’t unexpected. It takes 2-3 years for them to start producing decently. The raspberries are finished. I’m waiting to see if I’ll have much of a green bean crop. I have green tomatoes and I’m sure the heat coming this week will move them along. This is the hardest country to get a tomato to ripen before the frost. We’ve been cutting, splitting, and stacking firewood. Hopefully we’ll be done with that in two weeks.
    We’ve had three mornings that were in the 40’s and the slant of the morning sun is reminding me fall is around the corner.
    Do what you can and leave the rest to the Lord.
    Peace and Blessings

    1. The comment I made to Love Montana, above, could very well apply to your tomatoes as well. Additionally, I should have mentioned that I once grew a type of winter squash from Australia that was listed as being 100 days to maturity. With heavy foliar feeding I was able to mature it on only 85 days, which is fairly significant in a northern climate. (The place where this occurred was west-central Minnesota – USDA zone 4A and I’m now in 3B) I believe that if I could go back in time and plant it as a sprout or young plant, as I do now, instead of as a seed, that the days to maturity could have been shortened even more. This experiment was done about 20 years ago, before I knew much about the mineral balance in the soil, so I think it’s possible to have such a squash mature in 65 – 75 days. I’ve been wanting to redo this experiment and hopefully, next year, with my own garden space I can redo this test side-by-side with various methods and see which one does the best and how fast a squash can be matured in a northern climate.

      Regarding your new garden beds being less than you expected: As I’ve mentioned several times before on this blog the aspect of soil chemistry and mineral balance can and does play a very large part in the success or failure of all crops. This year our (in my bosses garden) sweet corn was earlier than ever before, even ahead of the commercial corn planted by the “professionals”. Most of this can be attributed to the work with the soil I’ve been doing the past two years. After I get done with harvest season I will be writing a series of garden articles, one of them on soil mineral balancing and this will address a lot of the issues people have with bugs, diseases, storage problems, poor taste, etc.

      1. David N Goliath,

        I for one can’t wait for your articles on soil conditions, Ect!! I can use all the help I can get and you truly sound like a wealth of knowledge in this area

        Take care and Rock on

        1. Thank you! I must give credit where credit is due. If I were an evolutionist and / or if I were trained by them in a pagan university I would not know half or a fourth of what I know now. The greatest soil scientist that ever lived was a proponent of the study of nature as God made it and not trying to play God in a biology lab. That was none other than Dr. William Albrecht as I mentioned above in a previous post today. About a year ago I was talking with a good friend and asked him the following question: “Did Dr. Albrecht believe in God?” My friends response was immediate with “Well in his writings he once mentioned ‘the breath of life’”. My thoughts were “Aha! He was a creationist!” Yes, it does make a world of difference. Things don’t always land in my lap as it were. I studied soil science on my own with my own funding from my own back pocket for several years before I made a phenominal discovery in what I dub “the soil effeciency percentage”. Yes, it’s a bit technical and about 10 – 15 people at most have heard of it. I have not bothered to publish it in a book. It would not be welcome at all by the pharmaceutical monstrosity (or is that monopoly?) . Somethings I’ve researched have only been elucidated after a decade of research. It does take time.

          Just in case you need a laugh: I got an “F” in history in college. I dropped the class. The next year I retook the same class and got a “D-”. I dropped the class again and my third and final year of college (it should be called a “mad waste of time”) I retook it and got another “D-”. Don’t vote for me for President of the United States! You will be sorry if you do. LOL

          1. David ‘n’ Goliath…i totally agree with you on books versus magazines. If one can find an author who is able to convey information they have mastered in a concise and understandable manner, more of that information is available in a book.

            Dr William Albrecht seems to have a small library of papers published in book form. He also seemed to have been breaking ground with his approach to soil, crops and the interconnectedness of nutrition in both. Was able to order “Enter Without Knocking” yesterday and look forward to the particulars of the soil efficiency percentage you spoke of and his experience with nourishing the soil so the plant is not only able to grow well but also BE nourishing to whomever or whatever eats it…rather like dominoes. Nourishment, the gift that keeps on giving!

            Yes!!! As others mentioned,,,do put pen to paper to share MORE and relate your own experiences! You REALLY got us interested in the many effects of nourishing the soil!

            (My search for space saving methods of growing potatoes had been done with an online search. It was after searching through YouTube videos and several other online articles that I found the MotherEarth posting. i had grown potatoes under straw before with success, but in conventional rows. This year I wanted to try planting in a denser configuration. My two foot stack of library books on various gardening techniques/subjects, as well as my own books, did not contain what I sought. (Dear husband is SURE i need no more books. But then, i am sure HE needs no more tools…he’s a Tool and Die Maker/Machinist by trade though so you know where that discussion ends up, haha!)

            Thank you for pointing us in the direction of Albrecht and his papers on soil nutrition! It was not an accident in my case…i have been taking baby steps down this path and your posts in reply to us Saturday, have given me just the nudge i needed to pursue this more.)

            Since the “Hurricane in the Heartland” had me sidetracked with no power for a week, I am over a week behind here on S.B. posts. (BOY, the stars were SO bright and WONDERFUL without all the garbage light! But the generator cacophony was not.) It was truly a strong indicator of holes in my preparations for disasters! The largest thing affecting EVERYONE was the mental/emotional struggle. It has been a daily grind to deal with the physical debris, cutting and moving the mountains of wood and brush left behind. Add to that the not normal noise, hazards and heartache of loss most felt from damaged homes, vehicles and CROPS laid flat…the view from satellite images is no longer green but brown, as the crops die and decay across a massive area. The loss is huge.

            Life DOES go on in disasters but it is EXHAUSTING! (My older body was assisted by generous doses of ibuprofen.) Having a sack lunch was a real moral booster, hot food even more so, and this was having an expectation of returning to “normal” life in a few weeks.

            i lived and learned a lot! Dress rehearsals are essential…try one.

      2. Thank you D ‘n’ G for your insights into soil nutrients. I actually thought that your comment to Love Montana could be applied in my situation as well. I just did a fish emulsion foliar feeding a couple of days ago. The instructions on the bottle said to repeat every 3 weeks, would you recommend that schedule?
        I knew my new raised beds were deficient in nutrients, it’s takes some intense amending to get them up to par. It just takes time.
        I’m interested in your theory about the foliar feedings/accelerated maturity, I might give that experiment a go next year. After reading what you have to say on the matter, of course.

        1. First off there are a lot of different brands and formulations of fish emulsions and technically a fish hydrolysate is superior to an emulsion as it includes all of the fish including the fish oil which adds additional plant growth energy. A hydrolysate is made by enzymatic digestion of the fish whereas an emulsion has typically been done by a cooking process. Most fish products by themselves tend to have a lot of nitrogen and very little phosphorus and potassium relatively speaking. Something with a nearly equal balance between all three nutrients is almost always better than just a high nitrogen source all by itself. The fish product I currently have on hand is a 5-1-1 by itself so I like to mix it with a bit of Moorbloom (a brand name) that is a 0-10-10. So for a good balance of these two I would use two parts of the fish product and one part of the Moorbloom which tends to equal out the NPK at 10-12-12. If you can find a fertilizer that has some micronutrients in it along with the NPK that would be ideal. Things like Miracle Gro, Jack’s Classic, Expert Gardener are what I’m refering to here and I have used all of them before with good results. One of them for tomatoes is a 18-18-21 by Miracle Gro, which happens to be fairly NPK balanced and has micronutrients as well.

          As far as the frequency of foliar applications go some of it depends on the temperature, humidity and plant maturity. If it is warm and the plants are very actively growing they can be feed more often than if it is very cool. Under very high humidity or during the rainy season (if you have one) fish products have sometimes caused mildew issues if the leaves are continually moist. Very low light conditions during extended periods of cloudy weather can also be problematic in regards to humidity issues. During sunny weather the leaves dry off faster and there is less of a chance of mildew.

          If the plants have a lot of fruit on them that are almost mature at the end of the season it would be good to not overdo the nitrogen. I usually try to foliar feed once a week – sometimes every five days. Quite often I “break the rules” as I have my own rules and protocols I go by, but if your tomatoes are healthy and the weather is fairly good once a week would be what I would try to maintain as a schedule for foliar feeding. (I have on hand individual nutrients, like manganese sulfate, copper sulfate, etc. so I quite often make up my own recipe and customize it to what I need and don’t rely on any commercial products at all. I realize this is not an option for most gardeners, though. The cost of doing this custom blend for myself is usually between 10 to 20 times cheaper than buying a brand name product. A 50# bag may cost me $20 and a pound of a brand name product may cost me $7.)

          If you have other questions or comments, just let me know. I don’t have Internet at home so I might take a while getting back to you. Sorry about that.

          1. Hello David ‘n Goliath!
            Thanks so much for the sharing of your insights about the health and well being of soil. Wondering if you ever mix your own plant food supplements?

            We’re also believers in foliar feeding. It really does work, and the reduction in the growing time you mentioned creates a game changer, particularly for anyone in a northern climate, and a limited window of garden time!

          2. Thank you so much D ‘n’ G! I appreciate the advice. May I ask, where do you get your 50# bags of supplements? The feed store, garden centers, etc.? I’m a typical farmsteader as in budget, budget, budget. : ). Do you send your soil samples off or do you use the kits you can buy?
            No worries about getting back soon, during the week most of the time, but especially this time of year,I’m too busy to be whiling away the time on the Internet.

          3. @Telesilla of Argos
            Yes, I do mix my own plant food supplements. I’ve been doing it for about 10 years or so as it does save a lot of money and I can get very exact and precise amounts of different nutrients for different situations.

            Several years ago I heard an agricultural consultant from southern California criticize foliar feeding. He was promoting Dr. Albrecht’s soil concepts, which are correct, but he was recommending a soil testing lab that did NOT use Dr. Albrecht’s methods. His credibility with me went “down the drain” when I heard him say that. There are a growing number of farmers and horticulturists that have discovered foliar feeding as a solution to the high cost of the more traditional methods. Some companies have built an entire business on this one method alone. Yes, it does work and if done with a reliable Albrecht soil test as a guide it works VERY well.

            I can relate to your statement regarding “I’m a typical farmsteader as in budget, budget, budget.” Been there. Done that. I get 50# bags of supplements at the local farm fertilizer supply place here in town. Some feed stores do have such things on hand. Garden centers usually do not carry anything like that as they have just home gardeners as a customer base so the biggest size that they carry are mostly 1# and 5# sizes, but not 50#. Around here (farming country on all sides of me in all directions for 100 miles) the farm fertilizer supply places commonly have things in bulk. Bulk means by the ton or truckload which might be 10 – 20 tons. Some of the things that I can get in 50# bags that I use are: ammonium sulfate, iron sulfate, manganese sulfate, zinc sulfate, copper sulfate and boron. I do NOT use potassium chloride in large amounts as it is toxic to soil microbial life. Potassium chloride is in some of the foliar things I use and I wish it was potassium sulfate instead. That is why I strongly prefer to custom blend everything I apply in the gardens or fields as I know exactly what is in everything. Just look in your phone book under “AGRICULTURAL SUPPLY” or “FARM SUPPLY” or “FARMERS FEED STORE” or check the Internet in your ZIP code or county area. Ask them if they have it and if not ask them if they know where you can get it. They are usually pretty good at sending you on to another place that has what you need if they don’t have it themselves.

            Regarding soil testing: I would never recommend to anyone to use the soil test kits that you can do yourself because they are far too inaccurate, incomplete and unreliable. Sorry, but it’s true. I have never used them so how do I know that? Experience in a chemistry lab that’s how. An analytical chemistry lab that is. Cheap soil testing labs have a hard time giving consistent results. I’ve “tested” the soil testing labs results and the cheap ones are not worth it. Most university labs have some problem(s) and I rarely even look at them anymore. There are only three soil testing labs that I work with out of all them that are available. One of them takes 2 – 3 months to get results back from (unless you are a soil consultant), one of them has no recommendations included so it’s not of use to most people (unless you are a soil consultant / researcher) and the last one does not take into consideration the CEC level of the soil (which is useless in an Albrecht system, unless you are doing either research or just computing foliar fertility).

    2. “I enjoy reading what everyone has or is doing. I especially enjoy the attitude of the people here. Y’all are so loving, helpful, and encouraging to everyone. It’s a tonic for the soul, especially during this time in our history with so much ugliness going on.”

      Hear hear!! Absolutely, this is a special place and we are blessed by everyone who contributes.

      Last week I was so discouraged and overwhelmed, and then I read someone’s comment here and I could have cried with relief. I just regret that a child called me away and the browser window got closed before I could reply directly to it and thank them!

  26. I forgot to ask everyone a question. Has anyone here canned trout? If so, does it really stink up the house when you can it? Also, any tips I should be aware of that might help? Thanks.

  27. To any of the SB family… we vacuum seal rice and dry beans… presently these are kept in tote containers in an upstairs bedroom… we are needing more storage space … here is my question… can these be stored in or garage ???… the garage is not air conditioned nor heated… we keep 2 box fans running during summer with garage doors closed…summer temps 85-95 … by late August / early September our temps should be more 80-87 and getting cooler… ANY advice / guidance will be greatly appreciated…TY

    1. Hello RCB5472TN!
      Our strategy is to oven dry can our dried beans — and we have read that these should store safely for many years. Some items — including brown rice — do not fare so well due to the presence of natural oils (and the same would apply to nuts). Our goal was to try to create safe dry storage for the long haul at a more affordable price than commercially prepared freeze dried foods (although we hope to freeze dry our own foods in the very near future). This approach does require canning jars, but we can stack them a couple 2-3 levels high as a space saver. Your bag style storage may be even more efficient for space — this is a good question!

      As to temperature — we try to keep ours in a relatively dry environment and as cool as possible — and so keep the jars inside in an enclosed pantry room. In fact, we enclosed a small (and formerly covered but open) front porch for this purpose. Ideally we would try to keep the temperature as close to 70 as possible, but in the summer, we’re looking at temperatures inside closer to 70-80 degrees during the heat of the day.

      From what we understand, the higher the temperature, the lesser the time that the food will keep. Exactly how to calculate this — unfortunately I don’t know! But — you’re asking a very good couple of questions, and it’s worth exploring this further. I will also be looking for information alongside you and other SB readers!

    2. Heat will definitely shorten the storage life of any food and reduce nutritional value. It may be acceptable if you are aggressively rotating these supplies into your normal household meals but it sounds like you have more stores than you can consume in such a manner. Getting creative might be better.

      Can you store some in flat totes designed to slip under a bed? How about lining the floor or back wall of a closet? Got any space above your cabinets?

      I have a tool storage room built onto the back of our rental home that gets very hot and humid inside during the spring and summer time. I added a small window air conditioner and it stays cool and dry now. My electric bill went up by about $25 for 6 months but I am happy to pay it to keep my tools and auto testing equipment dry and corrosion free. This room can be used to store sealed foods if needed.

      A shed with insulation between the studs and in the cieling and a small a/c unit might meet your needs. This is the way we will be going if we get a house with less storage space than we need. In our climate keeping cool is a priority. I have friends with small shops insulated well enough to keep cool and dry with minimal expense so this is not just an idea, it most certainly can be done.

      You might also look at renting a small climate controlled storage unit. If it’s too much, consider splitting the cost with a trusted family member or friend.

  28. Regarding egg prices….my daughter has an egg and vegetable stand. We did the math and decided it was costing us close to $3 per dozen and that was her selling price. We raised price to $4 per dozen for a small profit and are still selling all we get

  29. Congrats to everyone accomplishments this week.

    The week started out on packing up my daughter’s SUV for her trip back to Texas. Her husband wanted her stay here thought it was best for the kids as they had so much more freedom on the farm but they missed him. Her school district let them decide if for the first 9 weeks of school if they wanted to remote learn from home which is what they decided to do. Couple of neighbors with children the same age decided to do the same and now they are planning to have recess and PE together as the mothers are stay at home and just one of the fathers isn’t working from home. The 2 pre-school twins can already read McGuffey’s 1st reader and the third grader reads 6 grade level so I don’t think they are missing anything from not being at school. Any way her SUV was packed with canned goods, meat, eggs, and fresh vegies from the garden. I had more for her to take but no room.

    Was able to get 5 food grade 55 gallon barrels with screw on lids at $5 each. Didn’t know there was a small bottling company in this area.

    At the grocery store things are getting restocked was even able to get a jar of yeast not that I was out. There were jars for canning but no boxes of just lids, so I’m thinking it’s just people who haven’t canned years getting back in?

    Schools opened up here this week. Picked up 2 gkids from school on Thursday and the health district the school is in requires the kids to wear facemask in groups, walking though the school, etc. The school was able to separate the desks 6 feet apart so they don’t have to wear them in class and lunch is brought to the classroom. Watching to kids I don’t see how the mask are really working, kids are touching them all the time, they don’t off or on correctly and then when they leave just stick them in their bookbag. Other gson goes to a different school 15 miles away but in a different health district doesn’t have to wear a facemask and rides a bus packed full of kids and he gets to eat in the lunchroom but 4 to a table.

    As for prepping peaches I ordered arrived, been busy canning but I also been noting how many peaches and weight it takes to do the 9 pint jars I can put in the canner, how long it takes the canner to come to boiling point, etc. It’s was 12-13 peaches and about 7 pounds. So the 20 pound box will give me about 27 pints.

    @Avalanche Lily
    My potatoes too are about half as they were last year, believe it to be the 2 weeks of wind and hot weather we had. Planted some Red Pontiac in June interested to see how they do. Check with local green houses on seed potatoes as the one here had some when everyone else was out and they were locally raised. As for the potato beetle I plant a marigold plant on the end of each other row, I walked my patch every morning and maybe picked off 20 beetles this year.

    @PL C
    I picked about 10 pounds of elderberries this week. I just pick the cluster whos berries are all red, the same bush may have some that have cluster that all green they don’t all ripe at the same time. I still have bushes who’s berries are all green.

    My niece who works at a fitness center had to perform CPR on 60 year old man that had a heart attack, he didn’t survive, she had to be the one to call his wife that he been taken to the hospital. My niece is pretty upset. So anyway, if there is heart problems in your family, get a stress test or a heart and vascular screening. 4 of my sibs have had heart attacks 3 should be dead. 2 had them ten years ago, I went that year and had a stress test which you just walk on a treadmill for twenty minutes and then they do a echo of heart. I have a pretty good heart just needed to lose 50 pounds which I did, doc said I would never see him again. Last year 2 more sibs had heart attacks and then my sister husband did. Yes he’s alive too. So finally last sister had a stress test and failed, she’s on meds now. There’s more out there then COVID.

    Stay safe and I look forward to reading about everyone next week.

    1. Red elderberries are supposedly poison according to everything I’ve read about them. Are you sure you are not talking about the purple ones? The red ones grow wild here where I live, but not the purple ones. Just thought I’d ask.

      Sorry to hear about your neice’s unfortunate experience. I also worked at a fitness center in a very small town before it closed up.

  30. We’ve been tossing around idea of burying a 55 gallon drum or similar size water barrel to conceal guns in a SHTF scenario. Filling with descicant. Interested to hear what others have done, ideas, etc. Thanks in advance

  31. Weekly Updates:
    Strength Training, Ran 4, Rucked 5.

    Added to food stores.

    Annual rotation of 20 gallons of gas.

    Installed SB Tactical adjustable brace on 8” AR.

    Got a 20 pack of 2032 batteries and multicam neck gaiter,

    Attended Trump boat parade and handed out stickers and flyers.

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