Editor’s Prepping Progress Saturday September 12, 2020

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

Jim Reports:

I’m still out of state, helping an elderly relative. I’ve also been helping another relative move to a high elevation retreat property. This travel has given me sufficient time for blog writing, editing, hunting for additional antique gun inventory, writing gun descriptions for my Elk Creek Company online catalog, and plenty of exercise. But I’ll be very happy to get home to the Rawles Ranch.  I plan to resume taking orders for Elk Creek Company on October 2nd. Thanks for your patience!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week has been a week of divine intervention, care and protection in the midst of some destruction. All I can do is worship God through His son, Jesus Christ from Nazareth, for His mercies and care for us despite a moment of negligence on my part when I was so tired and distracted.  I praise Him and thank Him and in the midst of it, laugh for joy at His absolute love and care for us. Multiple miracles occurred.  I just stand in awe of Him. Through this peril, I know that He loves us and is watching out for us and that He will continue to do so in the future.

Additionally, this week we had power outages for two and a half days from that wicked windstorm, no rain fell, here, only a few sprinkles, that blew through on the western edge of that huge snowstorm that ripped through the Rocky Mountains down into Colorado and further south. That was the reason for silence from me in the beginning of the week.  Jim had to take over the posting of the comments. No power. No Internet.  I did not suffer withdrawal symptoms this time from the lack of internet.  The girls and I really enjoyed the silence in the house (no refrigerator or washer and dryer sounds in the background, etc.)  and the time of really talking together.

If we had been without power another day, I would have lost two freezers full of frozen fruits and veggies.  It was a close call.  As it was, I had to empty out the kitchen freezer of items.  Thankfully the Propane freezer was able to take them.  I must do something different with all of those frozen veggies.  But not the fruit.  I do not like some dehydrated fruit, nor canned.  Canned fruit is really too much sugar for me.

Following the windstorm, we had three nights in a row of severe frosts that killed the garden.  Thankfully, I know my region’s weather patterns and mistrusted NOAA’s forecast for their claimed above-freezing temperatures and pulled in all baby and grown Zuchs and half of the tomatoes. I covered the other half, and green beans, etc. I pulled the French beans marked for seeds and covered the rest.  Everything cold sensitive, not pulled, or covered got frosted and died. On the day after the first frost, I pulled in all of my sweet corn, which didn’t seem to grow to full maturity.  Supposedly it was 75-day corn. Also, I pulled in all of our pumpkins, Buttercup squash and Acorn Squash.  My large planter pots of Acorn Squash did very poorly.  None reaching full maturity.  They only produced two worth keeping.   I did not have as good of a squash harvest as last year by a long shot. I think the Primo cane gold and red raspberries survived the frost and will keep producing for the next two weeks or so.

I continued working on pruning the last section of my very large red raspberry patch.  I’m still not finished.  I’m still pulling in the corn stalks of my sweet corn in the Main garden. I started to dig up the sweet potatoes that had leaves damaged by the frost.  I didn’t cover those.  Actually too much was happening that day, too, and we had visitors so I was only able to cover some things and didn’t get to the others.  But, as I was pulling the damaged plants I noticed live leaves underneath, so decided to leave them in the ground during this next two weeks of forecasted warmer weather.

The cows seem to have been bred in the past week.  I will keep the bull (“SH”) with them another full cycle, just to be sure.  Then he may be off to the butchers…

I spent some time reading Dumitru Duduman‘s , “Dreams and Visions from God”  These words are the main theme that I am picking up at this time.

“The Lord Jesus wants us to set ourselves apart, to be Holy and pure.  Be Holy as I am Holy.  Examine yourselves and repent and beg God to help you keep your mind Holy and pure.  He is coming for a spotless bride.  The Lord wants us to be Holy and prepared for His return so that he might save us.”

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. While the talking heads and govt agencies are saying 2 months of chaos after the election, I think 6 months of violence and 3 years of continued attempted over throw of the United States government is more realistic. We know a lot of truckers and they have said they will NOT go to any city which is allowing any protests, whether “mostly peaceful” or not, or any city which has defunded the police. Trucking cargo crime is going up every month and violence toward drivers is also increasing. This unfortunate news makes it all the more real that supplies may not be coming to our stores.

    This week has been all about canned goods and dry goods. Found some canned salmon at a reasonable price, picked up more clams, oysters and albacore tuna for humans and more cheap tuna and sardines for the pets. I did get some frozen fish which I’m going to can. I’m trying to focus on putting up more fish over the next month. Picked up an order at Sam’s, some of which had to be mailed from warehouses. Many staple items out of stock; blue dawn, which is essential on the farm, is unavailable except in contractor 1.5 gal size, so I will just transfer it to the smaller containers for convenience.

    Lowe’s is delivering a new freezer today; I was surprised when it came before the two-week date they gave me at the store. Next month I take delivery of the beef from a local rancher plus, now I have a little breathing room. Fortunately, they are all on the standby generator in case power goes out for any time past a few days.

    Received an order of vegetable seeds and alfalfa mix for the upper meadow; also another order of micro greens. One of my orders for cover crop is back ordered and another one they can’t stock. Received an order of clear containers to organize our garden seeds; really like them. The large seed bags won’t fit of course, but the ¼ pd bags and packets fit perfectly in the 4×6 organizers. But, have not yet got seeds into the organizers; maybe that is a rainy day project. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GLQX3CO/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o05_s01?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    PC’d a couple of chuck roasts, baby bella mushrooms and kale. Thought I was done with pears but my son climbed the ladder and harvested another bucket full from the very top of the largest tree; so put up more pear juice and cinnamon pear sauce.

    Went by the new $ Tree store in town and picked up a few organization type items, paper lunch bags to use in vac sealing flour and I found 1 pd bags of lentils and black beans, which sell in the grocery store for $1.79. I also got some Knorr soup and rice mixes that I just saw at kroger for $2.99 ea!

    Put my 28 year old Chevy truck in for a tune up, oil and filter change and tire rotation; now runs smooth as a clear stream of water.

    Repackaged 25 pds of sugar and vac sealed 25 pds of bread flour into smaller amounts and put them in a storage container for weekly use. Put another 75 pds of sugar and 125 pds of flour into mylar bags in buckets with gamma lids and got those stowed away.

    Went by Trader’s Place and got ten 5-gal food grade buckets for $2/ea; a 55-gal food grade jalapeno barrel with locking lid for $15, and some 1000 round metal, double-locking ammo cans (rubber seals just like new) for $15/ea.

    My prayers for those of you in the path of the fires on the west coast. I’ve been hearing news reports that many of those fires were due to arson and some of the the ANTIFA arsonists have been arrested. I have never seen such huge and terrible fires in my life time; many talking heads are saying it is part of the grand solar minimum effect, some say la nina, but tribulations are upon us.

    May your week be safe and productive.

    1. If there is a restaurant supply store in your area, you might check there for the blue dawn. I buy mine by the gallon there (use it to make laundry detergent also) and it comes with a retractable super-sized pump top for filling smaller containers.

      As usual I’m tired just reading about your week! 😉 How’s the leg feeling now?

      1. Hey Bear, The blue dawn I got is the same as the restaurant supply; big old gallon jug with a huge pump on it. Just a little too large to sit on the kitchen counter by the sink – but the pump is great for outside use.

        Mostly recovered from my belly flop on to the garage floor; right ankle still swollen so I keep it wrapped. I have to elevate the feet every now and again to keep it from puffing up.

        Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

    2. Animal House,
      You got your freezer in just two weeks??? What size is it? Mine was supposed to be in May 1, but every month they put it off until the next month. I’ve still got about two weeks before they tell me it’s been delayed again. (Hopefully not this time, though!)

      1. Wendy, The one I wanted they did not have so I asked what was available in the warehouse. This freezer is a whirlpool, upright, energy star and I think it is 19cuft. It will hold about 600 pds of beef.

        If you have been waiting since May, chances are that freezer is made in China and there are problems getting it. Try asking what is available in their US warehouse.

    3. Hey Animal House and other seed savers, I used to use plastic storage containers with a snap-on lid but weevils, moths and other critters still found their way in. I switched to Ziplock gasketed storage boxes and I haven’t had any more problems. The have a gasket and four buckles so the lid snaps down tight against the gasket. They’re expensive on Amazon but Home Depot has them at a very good price in the 6-pack and if you visit the store, you can get them as singles as well. The 16-quart size is just the right length to fit in the lower cabinets in my kitchen.

      I made some simple 3/16th plywood dividers but cardboard would work just as well.


    4. Animal House…
      This is an important and telling insight. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. We continue to prepare in earnest, and will continue to refocus our efforts with news of the entirely understandable position the truckers are taking in mind. We wonder if rural areas will be affected by this if there reliance on regional warehouse systems for distribution. If you have a moment to shed light on your understanding of this, we’re listening closely!

      1. ToA, You ask a good question about whether supplies can/will be delivered to rural small towns when things get nasty. One of my sons is a trucker, several of our neighbors are long-haul truckers, and several good friends are logistical managers for major food companies and trucking companies. Drivers who are trucking company employees have a choice if they will drive into a city, meaning they can refuse the load. Independent truckers own their own rigs and pay their own bills by carrying loads and these folks are not going to risk their $250,000 rig, their lives or the $100,000+ load to deliver to a city offering no protection from protesters. From what I am told, regarding deliveries, it will all come down to location and not all locations are equal.

        Take a company like Walmart which has one of the most sophisticated distribution organizations on the planet. They have multiple types of regional distribution centers (food, general merchandise, etc.) state distribution centers, large metro area distribution centers and they have warehouses which serve cities where there are multiple Walmart and Sam’s Clubs. Lowe’s, Kroger Food Stores, Home Depot, etc., while not as large as Walmart, they have similar systems.

        Drivers will deliver to the outer distribution centers because they are normally way out of the city. Other drivers who are local day haulers may or may not pickup loads and deliver them into contested cities. It is just not worth it to them. So, if a driver can pick up a load at a distro center outside the big city and deliver it to the rural store; we are getting the goodies. Other wise, we may have empty shelves.

        1. Animal House-
          Whether or not a driver is willing to make the run is only one variable. As we have seen over the years these huge mega-corporations with their international investors have opening tried to push social engineering and PC down our throats. If there are issues after the election, will Walmart allow deliveries to rural areas that for the most part don’t share the Walmart board of directors political thoughts. Look at their decision NOT to sell certain types of ammo anymore, etc. history proves that FOOD IS THE ULTIMATE WEAPON.

          1. “… history proves that FOOD IS THE ULTIMATE WEAPON.” Yes. Indeed. It is also true that most people (not just Americans) can not produce enough of it themselves to feed themselves if their life depended on it.

          2. Also, Wal Mart is still selling ammo, but they have moved pistol calibers & some rifle calibers (.223/5.56) to a less public area. It can still be purchased if you ask for it at most stores. The hunting and shotgun rounds are available in most locations, in the usual cases of the Sporting Goods sections. At least that’s been my experience. YMMV

          3. My Walmart hasn’t sold pistol ammo or calibers such as 223/5.56 for a good year now. They only sell 22 LR, shotgun and some other kinds of rifle cartridges usually used for hunting plus a few odd calibers that I’ve never heard of. I feel SOOOOO much safer now! 😉

          4. Ani, I haven’t checked in the last 6 months because of China CoV, and because I laid in a ‘good supply’ in previous years. You might ask for the Wal Mart store manager, and see if they are keeping pistol calibers and some select rifle ammo ‘in the back’. Several stores in one of our areas were doing that before China CoV and you had to ask for it. Now, it could be out because of the ammo shortage. If that doesn’t work, you might check some of the online ammo suppliers. Obviously, there is less OPSEC than going to a LGS, show, or big box store (cash sales, USPS), but the selection and options might be greater. I get email blasts from several ammo suppliers on a regular (daily or weekly) basis. Best of luck in your search.

          5. @ Seymour

            No, I’ve already checked with the employee who handles that dept; all of those calibers ceased being stocked a good year ago there. We have private gun/ammo shops.

    5. Animal House

      I’m STILL waiting for a refrigerator I ordered in May!! They have pushed off delivery 3 different times. Now it’s not supposed to be here OCTOBER 16th!
      When I called to see if I could get a different model sooner, they told me they are super backlogged on everything because of the fires on the west coast?!! Really?!. I’m so aggravated with them. I really want to cancel & get one somewhere else but I already paid it off (only reason I put it on the store card was I got a couple hundred $ in savings for doing it that way)
      Now they tell me I wouldn’t get my refund if I cancel for like 45-60 days. It’s my own fault, but lesson learned.

      Rock on

      1. RKRGRL68!
        When we purchased an additional freezer earlier this year it did arrive on time, but it took some time… The owner of the shop was also our delivery person, and we had a brief conversation at some distance due to COVID-19. He shared that it might take a year for the manufacturers to catch up with demand — and this may be what you’re encountering. So hoping you get your freezer — and soon!

      2. RKRGRL68, I’m sorry to hear you are really tucked into a corner with that order. Don’t know the location or store where you bought the frig but maybe you should kick it up a notch or two and talk directly with the store manager. Find out what they have in stock and negotiate with them. As long as it is a similar price and they are not loosing money they should be open to that. If it is a chain store, move up to the corporate office and complain. Remember, that annoying squeaky wheel….

    6. I always wonder when I read a statement like this: I’ve been hearing news reports that many of those fires were due to arson and some of the the ANTIFA arsonists have been arrested.

      It is easy to accuse the “bad guys” for arson. Anybody can start a fire, including false flag actors looking to stoke mistrust and encourage civil war. Arresting people is an old trick to distract us from the culprits. A short time later, charges are dropped, arrestees quietly released, and the public remembers only that certain people were arrested and therefore must be guilty.

      I join you, Animal House, in praying for those who have seen such loss due to the fires.

      Carry on in grace

  2. I think I’m going to pull the pin on a Harvest Right medium freeze drier with oil less pump and can sealer with cans. Finally received some sample packs from another freeze dry vendor, and was not happy with the peas. They’re like canned peas which I can’t stand, and not like the peas that Mountain House used to have. So I think I may just make my own from fresh frozen peas I do like. I’m looking at a can sealer that can handle #1 through #3 cans. The smaller cans I think are better, as I don’t like opening a full #10 when I only need a quarter of it.

    In the garden, the tomatoes are still coming in, and meals are focused on using them. Carrots are starting to come in, as well as, the beets. The squash are almost ready. Now that things are getting cool again, I’ll have to finish the landscaping around the garden and get the grass seed planted. Have to get 2 yards of black dirt delivered. I’m also going to have to thin the squirrels again, as they’re digging up the beds to hide nuts. I’ve had enough problems with trees that they’ve planted.

    Bought some new steel shelving for the basement. It will help to organize the non-food preps like oil lamps, stoves, gun cleaning/parts, and household/personal cleaning supplies.

    1. Capt Nemo… Sending prayers and good wishes for every success in your purchase and use of the Harvest Right freeze dryer! We are also considering this seriously, although we can’t seem to land on a decision re: the “oil less” feature. Look forward to your thoughts and news of your experiences. Making your own should be much more cost effective over the long run (once you’ve recovered your initial investment), and the quality should be great too!

    1. yep, 3AD Scout – saw that as well, surprised to see those type of winds in ID. Keeps one humble to realize there is always more to be done before one has the understanding of absolute security. Can I get a witness !

  3. Picked up eight 2x12x10 rough cut pieces of hemlock at the local Amish saw mill and made two 10×5 and one 5×5 raised beds. Continued to reload 9mm. I bid and won some lots on an on-line auction. Picked up 2 Yamaha kodiak ATV’s (one of the ATV’s cake with a plow) an egg incubator, an a lot consisting of many soaker hoses and garden hoses. At the flea market I picked up a scale, a small saw vise for hand saw sharpening, a scythe sharpening stone, a set of hog ring pliers, a gimlet and a nice set of binoculars. I got a set of flip up sites for an AR, 2 Glock mags and and two single point sling that I ordered in the mail. Picked up 100 rounds of .223. While at Lowe’s picking up stuff for a bathroom remodel I picked up 10 pounds of exterior construction screws.

    Wife and I canned some tomato/spaghetti sauce
    Had a tri-axle truck full of log poles delivered for fire wood. Working on getting new pole barn cleaned up to get the extra mini-van and wife’s vehicle inside for the winter. I was showing a friend my Saint Pistol and how it will be my “truck gun” this Fall. He said he really liked it and wanted to get one. When picking up my ammo I saw they had one in stock and texted him to let him know. He called the owner (it’s nice to know and to have your local gun shop owners cell phone number) and is picking it up this morning. Called another contractor who is going to come out next week to give me a quote for putting metal roof and siding on old barn and a few other projects, hopefully before the snow flies.

  4. Last week an we had one night with a cold snap down to 28 degrees that destroyed entire gardens in my area, including my own. Huge lesson learned. Next year, the garden will be set up for this kind of thing. Growing tomatoes into September is risky business. Still have lots of huge green tomatoes that may ripen up. Although we currently have days into the 80’s and nights into the mid 40’s, late season gardens would only be advisable with frost resistant plants. Gotta get an earlier start with tomatoes next year and will only grow fast maturing plants such as F1 Early Girl, and other determinate bush varieties that can be moved into a green house if they mature late. The Solar Minimum probably has something to do with this unusual weather.

    1. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, if you have the Ball canning book, they have a great recipe for green tomato and apply chutney that is excellent. I canned 8 quarts a few years back and it’s excellent as a salsa-type dip and goes great on a lot of foods.

    2. Tunnel Rabbit if you have any warning or even suspicion of a freeze coming try ugly blankets. Last night we had a potential freeze warning so I pulled out a couple of my yard sale-thrift shop ugly blankets and covered my sweet potatoes. I’ve saved sweet potatoes even with visible frost on the blankets for a few more weeks of growth, sometimes even covered every evening.

      My favorite ugly blankets are those velour ratty blankets that thrift stores throw in to recycle as no one will buy them. Light and very insulating. Easy dry over the clothes line for next use.

    3. If the green tomatoes on your plants have not been physically damaged by the frost then they may continue to ripen a little. If only the leaves on the plants were frosted you may be in luck, but if it was 28 like you mention then I am a little hesitant to be overly optimistic. If you can see two shades of green on the tomatoes this may be an indication that they were actually frozen. This darker shade of green or frozen area will be on the top side of the tomatoes and / or to the outside of the plant where there is the least protection from the foliage against the cold.

      Growing Early Girl tomato would be better than some of the full season varieties, but you might also want to consider some of the non-hybrid tomatoes like Fireworks and Forest Fire that are also very early and are bush types. You can save the seeds from both of these tomatoes. I’ve grown both of them before.

      As mentioned in a previous SB post I had a late spring frost and an early fall frost so it shortened my growing season quite a bit. The bit of advice that Michael just gave (above) is good advice. Blankets are more efficient than tarps or plastic sheeting at holding in the warmth in for the plants. Unfortunately I do not have any blankets at my disposal – only tarps at this point in time.

    4. I’m not a fan of Early Girl. I’d suggest a few other hybrids that produce well and early such as Mountain Magic and Sun Gold cherry. For OP, I’d look at Moskvich and Prudens Purple. All of these produce in less than 70 days, some far less, and do well for me, plus have good flavor. There’s an improved Early Girl type out there called New Girl but I haven’t grown it; supposed to have better flavor and disease resistance. Mountain Magic is late blight resistant btw.

  5. Yes, God holds us in the palm of His hand and shelters us under His mighty wings. Such a relief to hear that you and the girls are okay, and the power outage sounds so peaceful!! (I feel the same way about them actually! When we lose power, the only thing I feel bad about is that the children can get uncomfortable, with temps in the 80s or 90s and humidity above a gazillion percent.)

    This week we received a few more ordered items, such as another collapsible drying rack, and the bakery did actually give me buckets after all. I still need to wash them again. A family member has made a “long-term loan” of a dehydrator, new in the box that she never got round to using. So far I’ve made teriyaki beef jerky and apple chips, with more apples queued up. I’m figuring this out as I go because the little booklet that came with it gives one set of drying times…and the excellent cookbook (recommended here on SB) that I purchased gives another set….and very clearly neither author has lived down here!! Humidity above a kajillion percent. The machine must be shut down after nineteen hours, so I am finishing in a slow oven and looking forward to December/January…..and rethinking the freeze dryer we’ve placed on layaway. Perhaps there are wiser places to spend the money.

    Electricians will come at the end of the month to put in the generator’s transfer switch at the main panel, another circuit in the kitchen, and etc. Still working out a few adaptive equipment things with Eldest. Further discussions with husband about next priorities. (Communication with family members without cell phones!!) Ordered more storage staples. The big box store claims to have bleach wipes in stock, so we’ll see if they come. Eldest’s school was asking for them. I don’t use very many (haven’t purchased any since February, and haven’t run out yet), but they’ll be nice to have.

    On Tuesday we had to say goodbye to our beloved 20-year-old kitty. She broke her leg (I think either landing wrong jumping off the couch, or stumbling trying to favor the other arthritic leg) and the vet also found a tumor. I am so heartbroken, and also exhausted from having to explain to all of the littles and walk them through their own processing. When our last cat died, they were too young to notice/remember/understand very much. It is important life lessons for them, and I think they are taking it very well. I am so SO grateful to have had all the years with her, and grateful to God for nudging me so that part of the night before I slept on the ground beside her. It is very hard to get up in the morning and go into the kitchen, without her cruising my ankles for treats. It is hard to be in the living room in the evenings, without her furry self on the couch. My brain is still filling in her presence everywhere, sights and sounds. Husband is busy scheming how he can put storage shelves in the coat closet that formerly housed the litterbox (his way of coping). Probably wise but…I am not there yet. I’ve donated all her food and supplies and it has freed up quite a bit of space in the kitchen. It hurts so much to lose them, but it’s worth it every time to have gotten to love them!

    1. Hey Bear, so sorry to hear you lost your kitty! The three G’s (goodbye, gratitude, and Grandpa) always get me blubbering so I felt your pain while reading about her passing. I’ve never tried Prozac but it can’t be as good as a cat or dog. My little mouser keeps me laughing from the time I first open my eyes in the morning (as he’s pawing my face) until I go to bed at night. Watching all the antics he goes through during the day as I’m scurrying about working on various projects, trying to get my attention so I’ll scratch him all over, is always a hoot. He asks so little and gives back so much.

      Your humidity is only a gazillion percent? That’s considered dry in my neck of the woods where it usually runs a bazillion percent squared times four to the seventh power. While splitting wood this week I was so drenched I finally just took off my shirt and put on my swimming trunks so I could deal with all the water. If I’d have kept going all day I would have been standing in a mud puddle so I finally gave up and went inside to do some reading. I hope for both our sakes the humidity gets back down in the 80’s soon. 🙂

      1. “…I was so drenched I finally just took off my shirt and put on my swimming trunks so I could deal with all the water.”

        Forget to check the well pump again, did we? 😛

        Thanks for the condolences and the kitty tales. This is the first time in nearly 30 years there hasn’t been at least one cat in my home, and I’m a little lost…

    2. Bear,

      I’m so sorry to hear about your kitty.. My heart is broken for you as I just went through the same thing with our beloved kitty 4 weeks ago. Truly heartbreaking, I’m still grieving, especially in the morning at feeding time as our BeeBoo was the most vocal about getting his breakfast first. I miss him so and have said a prayer for you.


    3. Bear, so sorry for the loss of your sweet “elder” kitty. Our 19 year old is just waiting on GOD. I know I will miss her when she is gone. Prayers for you are yours in this strange new world.

      1. Mountain Medic…
        From your post: “…waiting on God.”

        Just so beautifully said. Thank you for sharing this with us. Our prayers for you and for your 19 year old kitty companion.

    4. Bear!
      We were so sorry to read the heartbreaking news of the loss of your kitty. We understand the very real pain of this, and know that while time will heal the hurt, you will miss your furry companion every day. You’re in our prayers now and always!

    5. Hello Bear, sorry to hear of your cat moving on. living on a small farm, having our furry friends move on is always a tuff chore. You made me think about our young Charlie as a kitten. He always liked to play a little rough,– and maybe I did tease him a little bit. On one of my annual trips to the doctor he noticed some pretty good cuts and scratches on my arms. I had to assure him that the problem wasn’t psychological, just a mean, but great little cat.–An animal on our place doesn’t move on, that I don’t recall a story my father-in law told me years ago. He said that his dad called him one day, and insisted that he needed a ride to see an old friend. B,s dad was in his late eighties, along with the old friend he wanted to visit. On the way over, B asked why he needed to see his friend, but his dad wouldn’t say. When they got to the old friends place, Ab told his friend that he wanted to buy his old work horse team back. ( Ab was well known for his well trained horse team. Some life circumstances caused Ab to have to sell his horse team to this friend)—The old friend,-confused, looked at B, then back at Ab, then told him that he was sure sorry Ab, but those horses passed on years ago.–B, for just a moment, thought the old man had lost his mind, but Ab replied, I Know they are gone, But I have come to believe, that heaven couldn’t really be heaven if we couldn’t be with our animal friends again.,–I want to buy my horses back. For the price of a dollar each, and a handshake, Ab had his horses back.—On the way home, B asked his dad , why didn’t you just tell me why you wanted to go to your friends house?–At my age, would you have taken me if I told you I needed to see a man about some horses?

      1. Old Welder!
        What a wonderful story… Loved it, and teared up for the thought of this man reunited with his horses in Heaven. God sees to all of this and so much more because He loves us so very much.

      2. Awww, wow Old Welder, what a story!! Thanks for sharing.
        We have been talking with the kids about how our kitty probably already made friends with all of the others who have gone before her, and they have showed her where the very best catnip patches are….and my sister chimed in that if Revelation says there is no longer any night, does that mean sunbaths 24/7? 🙂

  6. You can can fruit in water, pineapple juice or just adjust the sugar to the level you want in the syrup. I can my peaches in an extra light syrup to keep the peach flavor prominent. It doesn’t seem to affect the storage life.

  7. As I begin there day – continuance of past few days – I start out a little less energetic to bring my hoop houses to completion. Though, I know I must.
    Being prompted to finalize my hoops before next spring I am on a mission. Have two ( one 12 x 28 , one 12 x 245 ) where I originally had my garden plot. Need to provide absolute protection from late /early frosts, critters big and small. Had to excavate my original garden soil, bring in shale base, then crushed stone for leveling, and begin the construct. Made raised beds out of concrete block, filled with Hugenculture ? non bottom, then soil, then soil amendments, then dehydrated cow manure, then more soil mixed w/ potting soil. Whew ! Hoops in place and now to complete the ends – most likely cover w/ plastic when spring begins. Feeling very confident – but not smug ! Brought in the last of the spaghetti squash and cherry tomatoes.

    Balancing act was in producing those things from the garden while constructing the hoops at the same time !

    Balancing act for the garden – actually harder than choosing life over death, light over darkness, truth over deceitfulness, joy over wrath. We DO have choices, don’t we ?

    Have a blessed new week

  8. A frost! So sorry to hear that A.L. That’s always a bummer cause we’re never really done gardening when it happens. That was a big part of why I really considered moving much further south(plus less home heating expense). The growing season up north is just so short. I know that here we had frost in early June, and just above freezing on June 15(although some in my town did frost then as well).

    My land is new to me so I’m still figuring the weather out here. Last night I was pretty sure we’d be ok so I only covered a few much more tender things such as basil, green beans and melons. I’m not so sure about a few days from now so I’m going to rustle up a lot of big tarps to try to cover the tomatoes which are still loaded with green fruit.

    I’ve harvested all the peppers(still green) and eggplants. Also the delicata and acorn squash. If the butternut and buttercup are ready I’m going to harvest those too this weekend. Cukes are done. I think I might be ready(although they’re not) for the zukes and summer squash to be done! 😉

    I decided to invest in a better dehydrator and got that deal for an Excalibur on Woot that was talked about here. OMG. I’m in love. I’ve been using a Nesco but the 9-tray Excalibur is so amazing! I’ve been dehydrating peppers, cherry tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, zukes and yellow squash. My small freezer is full and as you well know, in any sort of prolonged power failure(other than in the winter) I’d lose the contents so I’m trying to work on dehydrating more. My son’s small community garden plot has been going gangbusters so I’m drying and canning his harvest as well now.

    Canned some tomato sauce this week and will do more tomorrow. We had a heatwave so I tried to hold off on canning or dehydrating til the extra heat and humidity would be welcome.

    Got to do some gun practice(22 LR and pistol) with a few people which was good. Really wish I had a safe way to set up a range here at home but I’m not sure that I do given the proximity of other homes and land. Found a place to buy some more ammo that I didn’t know about and was able to score some, doled out in 50 and 75 round packages. Other than 22 LR or shotgun, everything else is pretty much out around here and that’s even with 1 small box/day limits.

    I’m doing this delicate balance of trying to conserve funds while trying to buy useful stuff while I still can find them. I’m figuring that if it’s equipment that I will use in the garden, kitchen, for firewood etc that I’m making an investment that’s perhaps more valuable than money in the bank. When I can I try to buy used of course but some people here try to get crazy amounts of money for used stuff such that buying new is a better deal. Did score some good used winter pants and jackets though for an excellent price so some bargains do arise.

  9. I too like certain foods frozen better than canned or dehydrated. We currently can run off solar or regular electricity. Because we lived off grid completely for 13 years, we don’t consume a lot of electricity except for our freezers. I would suggest you have a generator available to plug your freezers into for just those instances when the power is out for over 12 hours. Then if it looks like it’s going to be long term start canning like crazy. I try to keep on hand enough jars and lids to can up the most important items in my freezers as we can’t run more than one long term. We don’t know just what the future holds but it’s going to be a challenge. Fortunately those who trust in God can believe that He does know and will wisely direct our paths. We just need to be aware and obedient.

  10. I carved my first wooden spoon this week. The one I use for canning is very heavy duty with a really long handle, like something you’d see a witch stirring her brew with in the big cauldron or like my mom use to spank me with. I was such a perfect little angel, I’m not sure why she thought I needed any discipline. The store-bought spoons are too wimpy so I made a stout short-handled one for everyday use. It turned out so well I’m going to make some as gifts for family members. I have a bunch of exotic woods I’ve been saving for making spoons some day and the day finally arrived. When I’m cutting firewood and I find a very colorful piece, I save it for making things. Honeylocust is beautiful, and I also have things like sassafras, cherry, hickory, and black walnut which should all make good spoons. I even have some very large wild grape vines I can make spoons out of.

    While splitting red oak this week, I was wondering how many splitting mauls one needs post-TEOTWAWKI. I can’t even imagine how you’d split that stuff without a maul. Auctions are starting up here again on a very limited basis (one next weekend) and this time around, I’ll be looking for a lot more tools and kitchen items I want to double, triple, and quadruple up on for good measure. Last year I also started buying brand-new garden tools with fiberglass handles. I go to my local hardware store and tell them I need their absolute best good-old-boy price and they always give me a great deal.

    My turmeric is still going gangbusters. If there’s no curry post-TEOTWAWKI, I don’t want to live. I can hardly wait to dig them up just before it freezes to see how much the roots grew. I’ll only dry and powder a small sample this fall and leave everything else for increasing the planting next spring as well as try to locate some more roots for purchase.

    The buckwheat is putting on a nice crop of seed so I should be able to get enough to grind for flour as well as for planting. It was dirt cheap at the farm store ($1.05/lb) but I wasn’t sure how it had been treated so didn’t want to grind any for flour. Now I can with my own home-grown seed. I’ve been collecting seed from various herbs, beans, cucurbits, and ornamentals. I ran out of mustard seed while making chutney so when I get some more, I’ll plant some of the seeds so I can have enough for the year without having to buy it.

    I’ve started doing a lot of garden prep for next spring. I got off to such a bad start this year when I was kidney stoned for 8 weeks so I need to get way ahead of the curve this time. I should have some turnips and bets planted this coming week as well. I have to rework one of my bean trellises and strengthen the blackberry trellis which was straining under the weight of so many blackberries and vegetative growth this year.

    I just found out my uncle, a lifelong Republican, will be voting Democrat this fall. This never would have happened if he were still alive!

    Everyone have a great week!

    1. “I just found out my uncle, a lifelong Republican, will be voting Democrat this fall. This never would have happened if he were still alive!”

      DARN YOU, PUN-O-GAS. Cleaning my spit coffee off of…well, lots of things. Just glad it didn’t come out my nose. I guess I should know better by now. You often slip them in at the end of your posts, after we’re lulled by the garden details into taking another sip. “Fool me once…”

    2. That’s exactly why I made sure my father was no longer on the roles! Though our county really stays on top of things, and already had him removed as soon as the death certificate was signed.

    3. St Funogas,

      Good to hear your auctions are starting back. I’m already thinking of next spring’s garden too. I made 3 more raised beds and I want to expand the garden plot area too. This was the biggest garden we had out here so far but I don’t think it was our very best effort nor did the weather cooperate. It’s hard to start seeds when your working 12+ hours and when you come home you eat, sleep and repeat. Hope that won’t be the case after the election but I suspect more 12+ hour shifts are going to happen after the election. Don’t forget the hardware that go along with those tools!!

      1. “It’s hard to start seeds when your working 12+ hours and when you come home you eat, sleep and repeat.”

        Thanks for throwing that in there, 3ADscout. I have been mentally beating myself up for not getting any of the things planted YET, and you reminded me that I’m not the only one and day-to-day life does take up time!

    4. “If there’s no curry post-TEOTWAWKI, I don’t want to live.”

      “I just found out my uncle, a lifelong Republican, will be voting Democrat this fall. This never would have happened if he were still alive!”

      Oh, Saint. I wish you could have seen me burst out laughing. I wasn’t drinking, so I didn’t do a, “Bear,” response, but had I been, I’m sure it would have sprayed across the entire room.

      The laughter makes me feel like I had taken pain meds, and they finally kicked in.

      Blessings to you, Krissy

    5. I finally have something to share! ha ha

      St. Funogas, have you tried freezing your turmeric root to add one more way of preserving it for the future? I clean it, lay it out to dry, then put the roots in a freezer ziplock bag. When needed, it cuts or grates beautifully. I like to zest it into my morning coffee along with ginger root that was frozen the same way. So easy and so good for us.

  11. I must admit that I am surprised that you do not have reliable electrical power back up on your ranch. With a recent grid down power outage for 2 days we were quite surprised that the new refrigerator would not run on the modified sine wave inverters. My surmise is that with all it’s electronics it is just to sensitive to the wave form. I will be installing a true sine wave inverter as well as looking for an older used refrigerator without all the bells and whistles for back up. Shame on me for not trying out the fridge, a lesson learned with a minimum of grief. Although we got very tired of listening to the small diesel generator running 20 hrs. a day. A couple of pieces of advice for those of you that are thinking of buying a generator. 1. Buy a diesel unit, as life span, fuel storage and economy of operation are a big concern when long term use is expected. The small 3.5 kw unit that I used burned 5 gallons in 40 hours of operation. 2. Do not think that the bigger the better is necessarily good. Size your generators for the expected use. I have 2 sizes a 3.5 kw unit (Kubota powered) and a 6.5 kw unit for running a welder and other high demand equipment, also Kubota powered. They share a few common parts, ie. fuel injectors, fuel lines, and starters. 3. If you buy cheap units buy lots of them. 4. Test every thing you may want to run to see if it will work on your gensets. 5. A further consideration is noise reduction for obvious reasons. We moved and I no longer have my concrete block power building to muffle the noise. Another must do project.

  12. This last week our focus has been on the fires burning here in Oregon. The destruction has been biblical. So many have lost everything and so much of our beautiful land has been turned to cinders. At the beginning of the week we thought we would have to evacuate so we began to pack up to be ready. Many folks are still at this point. We have not had to leave but the experience has been sobering and prompted our need to be much more organized than we are. We will be redoing an emergency evacuation plan and renewing our diligence in keeping a GOOD bag up to date. Life happens and you shift your focus from one task to the next then all of a sudden you may need to leave your property. The lesson we learned is to be more disciplined with what and where we store items. Stage items to grab quickly if needed. Put things away in there intended places! I can’t stress this enough. It will save you time. Have discussions in advance to agree on the most important items and make sure you run your ideas by at least one other person to ensure you have thought of as many things as possible. We were blessed not to have the devastation so many are experiencing right now and we are praying for all those who have lost everything. We are also taking this as a wake up call.

    The air outside is in the hazardous range and has been that way since Tuesday. My garden is just sitting there and we limit our time outside picking to just a few minutes. Once we realized we would not be leaving we went back to trying to prep. We have an infestation of tiny bug like creatures that look kind of like fruit flies. They are everywhere outside and have gotten into our outbuilding that houses our freezers. The upright freezer is old and the bugs got inside letting me know the seals aren’t good. I’ve emptied the freezer and will get rid of it. I’ve been trying to move things out anyway in case we have prolonged outages. I guess this is another warning.

    Wishing everyone a safe week and praying for all who have lost property or loved ones in the fires.

  13. Finished the new chicken coop.

    Made another Costco run.

    Made a fire escape plan with family.

    Changing seasonal clothing in BOBs.

    These domestic terrorist fires in the west are really concerning. We are cleaning brush around property and preparing the area as we lead into the election.

    1. Texas Gal,
      A couple weeks ago you posted about a concerning, disruptive vehicle in your neighborhood. You mentioned planning to speak with your neighbors to learn more. Would you feel comfortable sharing anything else you found out, that may help the rest of us? Thank you for telling us about that incident. It prompted a discussion in my house about how to approach our own neighbors regarding joint security efforts.

      1. Bear,

        I posted on Nextdoor about the incident and NOT one person responded or saw and heard what I did. I posted in there to stay alert.

        So then I asked the people on my street. (5 houses on my street, with acres between). Not one person was awakened. One neighbor said she heard her dog going bananas but didn’t know why.

        We have a neighborhood meeting in October, unless they decide Covid should cancel it. If we have that meeting, then I will again tell my story.

        People have posted from my neighborhood that their Trump flags have gone missing.

        I guess there aren’t as many of us who are aware of our surroundings as I thought.

        Now I’m concerned about fires in our forest like neighborhood.

        I have not seen those two cars again. But I am 100-percent convinced they were some young people playing Antifa with their megaphones.

        Our Nextdoor site is very active. I’m going to ask if anyone does Ham radio. I don’t, but I am thinking of getting a cheap one just to tune in/listen. I read just today the people in Oregon and California are communicating by Ham and listening to police scanners constantly because of the evacuations. And apparently arsonists are being arrested left and right.

        1. Texas Gal…
          A few thoughts to add to the conversation. Please be sure you have redoubled your security efforts including motion sensor lights and cameras (get cameras that record will both in the daylight and at night). You might check into REOLINK. They sell wireless cameras which are battery operated, and can be charged with a small solar panel also sold by REOLINK.

          So glad you were aware of your surroundings, and considered how the neighbor’s barking dog was sharing in that awareness! Sometimes people believe that because they are in a rural area, they’re at lesser risk. In some ways, this is reasonable and true. In other ways, not so much. The most important thing we can do is reduce risk and remain attendant — and it was so good to read your update, and to know that you’re doing all of this.

          Regarding life in a forest. Consider having an electric chainsaw and an axe in your vehicle at all times. A fire extinguisher is a great idea as well. If a tree falls across a roadway, this can be a real problem. We also live in a forested area, and suffered fires some years ago (rare in our area — thank goodness — but worrisome when it happened).

          Great thought on the HAM radio connection too. Also a police scanner.

          Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well!

        2. Oh man. I can imagine it’s disconcerting to come to this realization about your neighbors. Better now than later, I guess! Hopefully you can make connections at your meeting and on the site too.

          I am going to bake some bread and take it next door(s) and carefully feel them out in conversation. One neighbor works in the home security industry so I know surely he has been having some thoughts… Thanks again for the nudge.

  14. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday mornings (9-9 to 9-11) there were killing frosts so the gardens are shut down for another year. This is about two weeks earlier than normal. I did have the gardens covered with plastic tarps the first two nights, but the third night I did not cover them as the weather forecast was for warmer weather. Grr! I was wrong in believing the weather forecast and should have relied of my gut feeling and left everything covered another night.

    This past spring there was a frost on 5-27 which is a late spring frost so this growing season was cut short on both ends. Even with these two unexpected weather lows there will be more garden produce than the previous year. The squash harvest will be at least double (perhaps triple) of last years crop. It’s still not as much as I would like to have OR WILL NEED TO HAVE in a TEOTWAWKI situation. I notice that a lot of other gardeners have had the same situation with frost.

    Next year I plan on having better and more tarps to deal with cold temperatures. Now I just need to get my storage location ready for all the squash. I’m leaving the squash on the vines for now even though the leaves are dead the vines will continue to supply a little bit of life to them. I generally let them cure on the vines in the garden as there is always a little bit of Indian summer (which I will not be able to fully take advantage of this year) at the end of the gardening season.

    I’ve also made a lot of mental notes to myself as to what needs to be improved / changed for next year. More variety of garden veggies is needed as I did not get to plant any carrots this year. Ditto for rutabagas and dry beans. There will probably be less sweet corn planted next year and in its place I plan on having some flour corn as it can be stored without reliance on electricity. Frozen sweet corn takes electricity and when the power goes out there is the potential of loosing it if the power does not come back on in a fairly short amount of time. My plan is to gradually and systematically replace some of the “luxury” (read “not completely necessary for survival type situations”) garden crops with those that (1) produce a lot of food in a small amount of space and (2) that require minimal energy inputs to store them. Potatoes fit that description and although I did have some this year they are not for eating purposes as there were so few of them planted, but by next fall there should be enough to have for eating. An herb patch is also in the planning – I just need to find a separate little location for it so it is out of the way of all the regular cultivating that needs to be done and still handy enough that I can give it regular attention when it needs it.

    1. @David ‘n’ Goliath

      Don’t shut down the garden… now is the time to get your winter crops in… lettuces, kale, swiss chard, cabbage, spinach. There are a huge number of things you can get going right now that will be ready in a month, and you can hoop them if a really cold frost comes. We had kale all winter long, and just covered it when it got down below 15 degrees. Then this spring we let it go and it reseeded and we have a carpet of kale seedlings growing.

      1. First of all thanks for the comment. I appreciate the “can do” attitude and I’m sure the rest of the SB readers do as well. “Where there is a will there is a way” as they say. For me in my situation I lack the hoop structure to cover them and right now and I also lack the time to set one up, but it is on my “to do” list. I should also note that I garden in northern Minnesota where winters can be anywhere from -30F to -40F so most garden veggies would not survive the cold here. Parsnips will survive any winter weather that nature can throw at them. I do have Swiss chard growing now that was planted earlier this spring and it is still doing absolutely fantastic. It will no doubt still be producing for at least another month, perhaps longer if I manage to get a suitable cover built for it.

  15. The 2020 LABOR DAY Storm:

    This has been a very traumatic week here in the Willamette Valley, and elsewhere in Oregon. On Monday afternoon, I was finishing up an oil change on a car when the winds really started kicking up. I hurriedly gathered up my tools and ran in the house. We lost power on Monday evening, all the while hearing lots of cracking and crashing from the large trees on the property.

    On Tuesday morning, I went outside and was greeted by a huge mess in the front yard. A large tree had broken off and was covering the upper driveway. Just as I was getting ready to take a picture and gather needed tools to tackle the job, “an angel” showed up. My new neighbor from across the road came over (large Husky chainsaw in hand) and asked if he could help — what a blessing! I was not shy about accepting his help. Within an hour, he had most of the large logs cut up and I was well underway in hauling off the logs, limbs and debris. The driveway is now clear — PTL!.

    Later on Tuesday, I heard reports of a large forest/brush fire that had started on the mountain at the outskirts of our town. Scores of firefighters worked through the night to control the blaze involving hundreds (probably thousands) of acres. The Oregon Dept. of Forestry flew in an aerial water tanker and they were able to drop water on the hard to reach areas of the hillside. While some of my friends on the mountain were under mandatory evacuation orders, fortunately it wasn’t necessary to evacuate our town.

    By Wednesday morning, there was a very dark smoke covering our area. It was quite surreal. Even in the late morning, it looked more like early morning due to the heavy smoke and darkness covering the area.

    Starting Thursday morning, we were seeing ash covering the ground, vegetation and any vehicles parked outside. There is still a very strong smell of smoke in the air that permeates even indoors. Locals on Facebook are complaining of eyes itching, sinus problems and headaches. Still, our area is doing much better than other regions.

    In watching the Portland TV stations last night, it is heart breaking to see what has happened. The small towns of Mill City and Detroit (along the Santiam River) are totally devastated — as is the town of Phoenix in Southern Oregon. The Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem has been set up as a Red Cross center to receive evacuees and their animals. A number of county fairgrounds in Oregon have also been deployed to receive evacuees and their farm animals and pets.

    According to last night’s news reports, here are some key statistics for Oregon:

    * 35 fires remain burning across the state.
    * Nearly 900,000 acres have burned.
    * 500,000 persons are under some sort of evacuation notice, including:
    — Level 1 (get ready)
    — Level 2 (get set)
    — Level 3 (Go)
    * Dozens of persons remain missing or unaccounted for.

    Thankfully, some areas (such as Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast) will have their evacuation orders rescinded once power is restored to the area. Also, we are forecast to get some rain by Monday or Tuesday of next week, so that should really help.

    One of the bright spots in all of this is that we are seeing Oregonians really pulling together and helping their neighbors, friends and even people that they have never met before. I’ve also heard it said that times like these really cause people to focus on what is most important in life. Let us pray that the devastation occurring in Oregon (and neighboring states) will somehow result in a Spiritual revival and a healing to the divisions that have been so prevalent in our beautiful state. It is so desperately needed.

    I pray that you are all staying safe and that you are able to encourage yourself and others in the Lord. Best wishes for a blessed week ahead!

    Under His wings,

        1. Thank you so much, Krissy, Animal House and Telesilla… Your kind thoughts, prayers and additional info are greatly appreciated. The ash is still falling today (Sunday) but there is fog mixed with the smoke, so the smell is not as bad. There should be further improvement by late tomorrow as we get some much needed rain — or at least showers.

          1. CDM! So thankful for the news of many prayers answered — and the rain that will help put out those fires. Everyone in our home has been so concerned for all in the PNW. In fact, my husband and I grew up in Oregon. We remember that rain! For all the jokes about wet weather, we’re just grateful for every drop of rain in the forecast coming! Please take good care and STAY SAFE.

  16. Although most of the summer harvest is done, the persimmons are continuing to come in good. I’m hopeful that I’ll get another couple of cups of pulp, which would exceed our usual harvest (it normally takes a pound and a half of fruit to produce a single cup of pulp). We used a variant of the marinara recipe GritsinMontana provided (thank you ma’am) to prepare and can our own sauce, which was my Lady’s first experience in canning. I think she may be catching the bug.
    I ordered wine making supplies to try my fist foray into winemaking with the muscadines and scuppernongs. I have mixed feelings on this. While I’m not a teetotaler, I rarely drink any alcohol. However, most of the recipes I’ve seen look like they’re a fairly low proof, so I think I can try this with a clean conscience. I may look for some Kosher recipes, since my understanding is that they tend to be fairly low proof.
    I spent part of this week on the road and saw another disturbing indicator of potential problems. 2 different gas stations, in 2 different states, were showing fuel shortages. This could of course be a coincidence. Or, more troubling, could be another indicator of supply chain disruptions. Has anyone else seen something similar?

    1. Francis Marion, Hmm… Funny that you mention the gas stations. I thought it odd that a gas station was closed but I do not know why. I will keep my eyes open and enquire when possible.

      Thank you for mentioning it, Krissy

  17. Francis Marion…
    From your post: “I spent part of this week on the road and saw another disturbing indicator of potential problems. 2 different gas stations, in 2 different states, were showing fuel shortages. This could of course be a coincidence. Or, more troubling, could be another indicator of supply chain disruptions. Has anyone else seen something similar?”

    We haven’t seen shortages in our area — yet — but remember some years ago when gas could not be purchased at any price. Gas supplies simply did not exist. Hurricane damage to processing and delivery systems were the culprits in that case. People weren’t sure where or how far they could drive and still get safely home. It was quite the stressful time, and so — not knowing when this might happen again for any reason — we encourage everyone to top off their tanks, and to keep extra gas on hand (safely stored, of course).

    1. TOA-
      This is always a tough time of the year for refiners since it is time to switch blends (thank you EPA) and it almost always has an issue. Throw in a wildfire, hurricane or some other calamity and you have real problems. From reading and watch CNBC oil is down, stockpiles are up.

      1. Scout, I’d forgotten about the blend adjustments, good point. I’m actually less worried about stockpiles, though, than I am about transportation disruptions. Still, it was only 2 stations, and as the old adage goes, “Once is happenstance, twice is coincidence, three time is enemy action.”. So at this point, I guess it’s just a coincidence. At this point.

  18. This week, I made our monthly run to Sam’s Club and in addition to plenty of groceries for short-term consumption, we added two big jars of peanut butter, a six-pack of canned chicken, and a 10-pack of taco seasoning to our prepping pantry. We find the canned chicken is an excellent choice for prepper food and has a shelf life that far exceeds whatever they stamp on the can. Plus, the Sam’s Club brand has nothing in it except chicken and salt.

    Having tapped into our last case of 10W-30 motor oil I also added a new one to the cart.

    One evening a number I didn’t recognize showed up on the phone. I took a gamble and answered it. It was the driver delivering our new burn barrel. After the last one had finally rusted out, I got a recycled barrel with both the top and bottom removed and the oxygen holes professionally drilled. The lack of bottom should also make it easier to remove the ashes. The barrel had been used to hold soybean oil and was still a little greasy. I expect that will burn off right quick! It was a good buy, even with delivery. Some local entrepreneur has himself a pretty good small business.

    Never thought I would be excited about a burn barrel, but I have to admit that I am looking forward to using it this coming week.

    Finally, we collected and inventoried all our unused canning jars and new lids, just because all the talk about the current shortage had us a bit concerned. We have six cases of quart jars, four-and-a-half cases of pints, and a random assortment of fancy jelly jars, half pints, and other miscellaneous jars that have accumulated on a shelf. Most importantly, we have 30 unopened boxes of Ball regular lids and 36 of the wide-mouth lids. I felt like I had lifted up a couch cushion and found an envelope stuffed with money. Sometime we prep so much, we forget exactly what we have stored.

    1. Pete, Your paragraph about “Finally, we collected and inventoried all our unused canning jars and new lids” reminded me, we also recently did an inventory of our used & unused canning supplies. We realized we had 8 boxes of unused regular & wide mouth lids, in pint & quart sizes and a few unused jars with lids that were 9 years old (marked on box), squirreled away in the back of a shelf. When I called Ball (Jardin, now Newell) they said they have a shelf life of 5 years. I know many things have a shelf life longer than those stamped on the product but they put a date on the product for liability purposes. They’ve been stored in a cool dry area since they were purchased. If they’re too old, I can always use them for vacuum sealing, but wondered about using them for canning (water bath or pressure).

      Does anyone have any first hand knowledge about longevity of new, unused canning jar lids?

      1. Hey Seymour, I’d be very surprised if they didn’t work. It’s easy enough to test. Put slightly more than a pint of water in a pan, put a lid in, then boil the water. That will simulate preparing the lid for canning. Then, pour the boiled water into a pint jar leaving half an inch of space at the top, screw the lid on as you normally do, and wait for the water to cool to see if it seals.

        I reuse my canning lids and some of them are at least 10 years old. I have some commercial salsa and pickle jars that are 10 years old and still sealing with the original lids.

      2. I don’t know for sure, but I expect we have used canning lids far older than that. You could certainly try one or two on your next cannign run and see if you get good seal. If so, use them up before they get any older.

        Maybe inspect them first and make sure the rubbery ring is not dry or cracked.

  19. Most of the week was spent dealing with the abundance of harvest from the garden. I thought we were nearing the end of the tomatoes and peppers but they keep coming. I am thrilled!

    But the greatest monetary blessing was when a friend texted me and said to contact another friend who had canning jars she was giving away. I did as instructed and she said I could have all of them… there were 8 DOZEN jars (mostly pints and quarts). But wait! There’s more. She had over 400 LIDS for me also! She had purchased them in long sleeves from Lehmans’s Hardware. I offered to pay for them but she just wanted them gone. Praise God!!! Lids are no where to be found where I live, and I was running low.

    I have felt really pressed to maintain my daily Bible reading and to pray for our country. There are dark times and storm clouds brewing in our future and we need to be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually as prepared as one can be for these uncertain, and unprecedented times.

    Stay focused. Stay the course!

  20. We are in Day 5 of Smoke. Worst so far is today with measuring in the extreme Hazardous category.

    With hyperdevaluation of FRN accelerating, we are making LT investments in furniture from US makers. New sofa coming soon.

    I listened to a food industry exec give his second talk on looming food shortages due to scarce and non-existent packing materials this, projected to last 18 to 24 months (with many more large food plants to go bankrupt):

    aluminum for cans, wrap, food containers
    metal cans, especially retail size
    food-safe can lining
    Styrofoam panels (trays)
    plastic lids-particularly the 37-39mm

    For those of us who purchase cases and cans of food or condiments and dressings or peanut butter in plastic,etc, etc.., he urged stocking up on those now to prepare for an 18 to 24 month shortage period.

    Grains and rice shouldn’t be short but regionally we should plan for various reductions in availability of other items.

    When companies are short on product and their costs go up they prioritize high-paying stores to supply rather than the bargain and bulk stores where we SB customers go.

    Google the Consumer Price Index now and then this year. Things are happening.

    The cold day here from no water clouds but huge ash cloudlayer certainly feels like winter. Visibility less than a mile. We have 4 air cleaners at work in our home.

    On the garden front I’m pleased to announce vole no. 8 trapped. Only 792 to go.

    1. Wheatley Fisher…
      Thank you for these important alerts and reminders. We had also been hearing about shortages in the supply lines for packaging materials, and we’re concerned about this as well. We hope everyone is listening and taking action to shore up in the best ways possible for the coming couple of years.

      There had also been a news report recently about the reopening of shipping lanes between the US and China, and we have wondered if this might be related to the need to restock some kinds of supplies (even as we look to the question of US based manufacturing). We haven’t heard anymore on this subject, and look forward to any insights you might have gathered — and other SB readers as well.

      All our efforts must continue in earnest!

    2. Thank you Wheatley. Was this talk by any chance recorded, and could you share a link here that we could use to help inform our friends and family?

      P.S. How is your little granddaughter doing, for whom we’ve been praying?

  21. Along with food preps and canning supplies people should consider acquiring a Water Filtration System. The advertisers on SurvivalBlog have good ones. Many readers of SurvivalBlog most likely already have some type of Water Filtration System. Make sure a ‘travel size’ system is also available. +Consider giving a gift of clean water to family members.

    China~Creepy Joe is obviously a doddering senile, old man. There are videos of Crazy-Crooked Hillary acting mentally peculiar, when she ran for President in 2016. She would also physically collapse sometimes. [Hillary still has problems.]

    This is complete >conjecture. =
    Creepy Joe just might have a ~new type of Mad Cow Disease. He seems to have the symptoms. +Crazy Hillary too. It’s peculiar that the nominees for the Democrats in 2016 and now in 2020, >both display the symptoms for Mad Cow Disease.

    The people in Portland Oregon are absolutely nuts. They riot, throw gasoline bombs and smash things at night, go home for rest and then come back again the next night. … It’s not just Portland; many big democrat controlled cities are having similar ~>crazy problems. … There is NO conventional effort to control and stop crazy crimes.

    There just might be a diabolical group of people ‘spiking’ the drinking water in big urban areas with something causing craziness like ~Mad Cow Disease. The politicians in such areas are NOT trying very hard to end the rioting and crime.

    The craziness in the left-wingers, Hollywood and the Fake News could be caused by people spiritually dancing with the Devil. Unfortunately, people spiritually dancing with the Devil will follow where the Devil leads.

    There needs to be a political bumper sticker that says, “Creepy Joe has Mad Cow Disease!”

    1. GGHD… Wow. That was a powerful statement about the spiritual dance of the radical leftists with the devil. You are right… They will go where the devil leads. The very thought of this should give us all great pause.

      1. Telesilla, thank you for the reply. … I’m sure I heard, a Minister warn against ‘dancing with the Devil’ during a church sermon, more than fifty years ago. The phrase must have been rattling around inside my head ever since then.

    2. “people should consider acquiring a Water Filtration System.”

      GGHD, You are spot on with this advice. Last year I bought extras hoping to share with whoever makes it to my, yet to be, location. Blessings, Krissy

      1. GGHD and Krissy…
        We use a couple of water filtration systems in series. The first in line is a whole house water fiiltration system that back-flushes in the middle of the night. It has a UV light feature (added after the initial installation) as an added measure for water safety (even though we never had any issue prior to the addition of the UV light). Inside our home we also have a charcoal cartridge filter that picks up any sediment that manages to get past the whole house system. …and of course we also use filters in our fridge and freezer systems as well. Among our preps is the purchase of spare filters — always good to have these on hand!

    3. “Unfortunately, people spiritually dancing with the Devil will follow where the Devil leads.”

      Yup. Pretty sure you’ve nailed it. ‘Cause Jesus said (Matthew chapter 7):

      “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

      And that’s pretty clear but Paul even expanded on the good vs. bad fruits in Galatians chapter 5:

      “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

      That fleshly list seems copied straight off the daily headlines, doesn’t it? Yikes.

  22. Thanks for the heads up Wheatley Fisher. I have heard rumors since the beginning of Covid that packaging materials were going to be in short supply but you are the first one to list some of the shortages. I grew up with someone that is a manager for Coke and I heard from a mutual friend that he has said Coke is almost out of aluminum cans. I have no idea if this is regional or nationwide, but I figure if they are almost out, that there must be a lot of other companies facing this shortage.

    I received in an email from a garden supply company that I occasionally visit, they are having a preorder for something called Agribon frost protection fabric. The Agribon Ag-30 is suppose to protect plants to 26-28 degrees, and AG-50 is suppose to protect plants to 24 degrees. I thought with those of you having these issues you might want to see if this is an option for you to use in the future. Here in the south we usually face these issues in the spring rather the fall. We have been blessed with bumper crops this year. I fear that with the GSM we all are in for temp. extremes. All summer when I grow weary of preserving, I remind myself that next year we might not have crops this good.

    1. sewNurse… Another important insight re: the question of aluminum can shortages and Coke. If Coke can’t get the materials, it’s difficult to imagine which other companies would be able to do so. Thank you for sharing this with all of us here at the SB forum.

      1. The shortage of aluminum cans is real, but it is becuase more beverages are being consumed in homes instead of in restaurants and bars. So fewer fountain beverages and beers on tap means more 12-ounce cans are used. My understanding is that it is a manufacturing capacity limitation rather than a raw materials one. I expect they could just make more sodas in PET bottles.

        A works for a glass plant that makes bottles and jars, among other things. he was worried they would be shut down, but they were considered essential because they made products used by the food industry.

        1. A good insight, Pete the Pickled Prepper! Supply chain mechanics are multi-faceted. It’s good to consider all the possibilities — and to understand that — in so far as industry is able, it will adjust and adapt to changes.

    2. Yes, Agribon row cover works well. I currently use Agribon 19 which is my usual work-horse row cover that handles several degrees of frost plus I finally got the insect-grade light one which has been out of stock all season. I’ve been considering investing in the heavier grades once again; they are expensive. If you get them, pay close attention to their width as if you plan on using them at the end of the season or to overwinter, the crops will be quite a bit larger than they were early on, so covering up fully grown squash plants takes a fairly wide piece of row cover. The heavy row covers also work well to cover strawberries for overwintering in cold climates; I used huge lengths and widths of this when I had my farm. If you’re careful with them and store them well(and away from rodents) you can get several years use out of them.


    Can you drop us a short line and let us know you have still escaped the ongoing fires?

    I did see yesterday’s post of yours, Large Marge, but am daily concerned.

    Praying for each of you, your loved ones and homes, Krissy

  24. Thank you all for sharing. This weekly rundown is my favorite section on Survival Blog.

    While I don’t get to read every Saturday nor every reply, I’ve not seen anyone comment on indoor container gardening – in the house, not in a greenhouse.

    I am starting an indoor container gardening project for the winter. Purchased some seeds from Baker Creek just yesterday. Brought a metal rack in to start on and am looking at grow lights and Smart Pots on Amazon. A friends is giving me an Aerogarden.

    If anyone has suggestions, I’d love to receive them – especially for reasonably priced grow lights. Our prep focus has largely been on getting out of debt. I’ve not gardened in years, but am excited about the prospect of getting some dirt under my fingernails.

    1. Hey Michelle, thanks for the turmeric tip, I’ll give that one a shot. I’ve got one plant in the window I’ll try to get through the winter. The rest are all in a long planter that holds about ten gallons of soil so hard to bring that one in. I hope you’ll post in the future about how your indoor gardening works out.

      “Our prep focus has largely been on getting out of debt.”

      It’s a wonderful feeling of freedom to finally get out of debt. Hopefully you still have some food set aside for the post-election uncertainties? I’m in the middle of composing a letter to family members about getting at least a 5-gallon bucket each of beans and rice. My main emphasis I’m telling them is to spend money now that they will be spending in the next year anyway, and stock up on non-perishables as well as food.

      Best regards and good luck!

      1. St. Funogas, thank you for mentioning this. “Hopefully you still have some food set aside for the post-election uncertainties?”

        Yes, I have been working on stocking up a minimum of a 2 month supply of all regular staples our family eats/uses and on filling the freezer for winter. This month, I am going to work on getting that supply to at least 3 months.

        I thought I had the freezer full last month, but after fitting everything in there like a jigsaw puzzle, I created a good bit more space. I’ll work on getting that filled this month too, leaving room for 3 local-raised turkeys I’ll be receiving in October.

        We live in Alaska. Supply chain issues are going to hit us hard here in the Far North, and the sourdoughs predict we are in for a hard winter. I own a small wholesale grocery business and have seen supply chain issues since mid-March. Prices are also going up. My business’ focus is organic produce and household staples. This keeps us eating well and has helped me stock up, but the random things that are not available during summer have me concerned. This is why I want to start the indoor garden.

        I’ve been encouraging my family in the Lower 48 to stock up on food and supplies for the winter. I suspect they laughed when they got off the phone the first time I said something. Mid-summer they told me they were working on it.

        It’s good advice for us all.

        Best regards to you St. Funogas and all readers. You all inspire me to grow and to find a way even when time, energy, and funds appear maxed. Thank you.

          1. Yes, Avalanche Lily. I think you are right, and I will continue to stock up as much as possible.

            We knew we were taking a risk by focusing our money on paying off debt and putting prepping aside. Unfortunately, we now find ourselves in this new world situation – and in Alaska to boot.

            We have wanted to relocate back to the Lower 48 but put it on hold, also for financial reasons. My husband can retire in 5 years and receive lifetime health insurance coverage for both of us (with a small monthly premium) when he does.

            How to weigh out the two sides of this situation?

            – Lifetime health insurance coverage after 5 more years of employment. (What will life be like in 5 years?)
            – Stable employment and good income for my husband
            – Our son is in the military and stationed close to where we live
            – Excellent homeschool support and community for our younger child (grade 7)
            – Fantastic primary care functional medicine medical provider
            – While we aren’t in a tight circle of friends/preppers, we are in good standing with many in our community.
            – Moving from Alaska would mean getting rid of many preps to lighten the load. For this reason, we’ve been keeping things light, as we know we will leave eventually.
            – Hard, long, dark, deeply cold winters.
            – Easily broken supply chain.

            Lower 48 (preferably central or northern Idaho):
            – Closer to my aging Daddy and other family
            – Great improvement on location to go through a PEW situation (our family’s WTSHTF acronym – Preparing for the End of the World as we know it)
            – Lighter winters reduce a long list of risks
            – Away from the “island” supply chain
            – The uncertainties in the job market due to Covid are a concern, as are the lower wages and lesser benefits – especially in Idaho – for my husband’s field.
            – Growing a community takes time, but is something we’d have to do no matter when we move.
            – Would be able to acquire more sizeable preps after moving.
            – We aren’t getting any younger.

            If anyone has thoughts on this, I’d love to hear them. My husband and I talk about it regularly. Back and forth…

            Lord, guide us one and all.

          2. Michelle,

            It’s really late in prophetic time. It doesn’t appear to me that you are in a hurry to leave Alaska. I believe the window for relocating is fast coming to a close. If you are now debt free, congratulations!

            If you were serious about moving back to the lower 48, I think you should already be in the process of doing it. Now, since you are not and winter is approaching, I would seriously stock up on food, clothes and shoes for the youngest (for next six years), meds. and First Aid and get ready to be without electrical power and a food supply chain. I would especially do so if you are a Christian because the Mark/Vaccine and it’s certificate are fast approaching and you will not be able to participate in the new economy without it. As a Christian you cannot take it. You will need to be ready with food to survive.

            Blessings and saying some prayers for you all,


          3. Lily, thank you for sharing your wisdom and thoughts. I value them and will share them with my husband and give them prayerful consideration. I see the window for relocation closing also. My husband doesn’t seem to see it. He set up SB as a browser home page today. My hope is that it will spur interest, discussions, improved unity, and hopefully forward momentum on this huge aspect of our future and lives.

            We are still in Dave Ramsey’s Baby Step 2, paying off debt. Have a ways to go yet. I have been redirecting some of the extra debt payoff $ to stocking up the last 6 months.

            Your prayers are much appreciated. May the Lord bless you and keep you also.

    2. @Michelle

      What sort of seeds? If it’s mostly greens you can just buy basic 4’ LED shop lights. Around here they go for $15. If you want to raise plants that need to flower and then produce fruit, theoretically you need more of the spectrum than this(red and blue) although my tomato seedlings did flower and set fruit under these shop lights while waiting extra weeks to be planted due to late frosts .

      1. Thank you for your reply, Ani.

        I purchased a variety of greens, but I also purchased seeds for tomatoes, peppers, and snap peas that do well in containers. I live in Alaska, so at the winter equinox we’ll get around 4 hours of muted daylight. We have great windows in our home, but they won’t be of any help. I think I’ll need to go with the full-spectrum lights.

  25. We are 31 days of smoke and counting. Blessing was that it lowered the temperature which was awful. Garden is extremely weedy but still producing. Picked more tomatoes to can yesterday. I will do that tomorrow. Took another load to the new place. Took chickens and a pig. We now have 2 sows and one boar there, all non-related. Got out of the heat at the new place (only really hot days they have had this year) by going to the river 2 days and the ocean one day. 20 degree difference in less than a ten minute drive to both spots. Picked up the building permit for the steel storage building. Met with the person putting in the septic. We have to start all over with a site evaluation since the septic permit I’ve been renewing since I bought the new place had the leach field at the complete opposite end of the property from where we were told it was going and from where we are building. All the rock for the drain field is also on the area of the property where we were told it was going. Building plans that were submitted by the previous owner had the leach lines at the opposite end of the 20 acres than where the actual site evaluation was done back in 2002. A site evaluator is coming tomorrow thanks to a neighbor who will be putting in the system. More expense. Applied for power hook-up for a third time. I am crossing my fingers since I’ve was told we must have a building permit with the county to get power. Got a permit. Now they tell me a storage building doesn’t qualify for power (their rules not the county) it has to be a single family residence permit which we are not ready to build. County says power in storage buildings and barns are done all the time. I included it all on the site plan and drew wiring schematics on the plans, County helped me change the building designation to workshop not storage building and I am hoping that works. Can get power for a well but then power company charges big engineering fees and limits your power. Single family residence is $75 to hook-up. Trying to deep soak citrus trees with a very slow drizzle. Everything is so dry. Picking up my first order from Azure Standard this week. Looks like a great place to get organic groceries.

  26. Just posted and forgot to comment on others’s comments. I have used canning lids many years old and they have sealed. We prefer Ball to Kerr though I’ve heard they are made by the same company. If anything doesn’t seal its usually a Kerr lid. I’ve had two Kerr jars break this summer but just twice so I guess just a coincidence. When I can fruit I put in very minimal sugar. Maybe 2 teaspoons per quart. I have canned with straight water but a tiny bit of sugar helps keep the color. Called our Costco late one afternoon and inquired if they had Jim’s book. They checked by author and title and said they didn’t. I went to Costco the next day as soon as they opened for seniors and low and behold they did have it! Bought one.

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