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. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!
I’ve been keeping the home fires burning, this past week. With the help of our eldest daughter, I packed a few Elk Creek Company orders. And I’ve been trying to catch up on getting our incoming gun inventory cataloged. In addition to my usual blog writing, I’ve had a few consulting calls. Those are always fun and interesting. And I’ve also been doing a bit more hedging into full capacity magazines, in anticipation of Federal legislation. The only thing more frightening than congress being in session is a Monopoly of Power situation where one party controls both houses of congress and the presidency. That is where we were in October of 1984, when the Assualt Weapons Ban and Magazine Ban was enacted.
My sincere thanks to the many readers who bought SurvivalBog Ten Cent Challenge subscriptions, in response to my recent post about quitting Amazon and Amazon Associates. I really appreciate your support! That will really help make up the lost revenue from Amazon Associates. I’ve also been motivated to add more companies to our roster of Affiliate Advertisers. For example, we just added:
(A precious metals company in Canada. I’ve done some business with them personally, by mail. I found them to be very reliable, and their prices are competitive. In doing some research for a consulting client, they were the only coin company that I could find that would accept Bitcoin directly from a personal crypto wallet, in payment.
They make tractor attachments, fitness equipment, ATV-ramps and outdoor products like grill pits — all made in USA. Check them out.
Next week, I have a couple of specific barnyard projects planned. But this past week, it was just the usual manure hauling, livestock feeding, and firewood chores. Now, over to Lily:
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week the weather has been mostly cold and cloudy and mostly below freezing, perfect conditions for forming lake ice.
I’ve been interested in honing my ice-fishing skills. Several times this week, I have driven to a few of our local lakes to check their ice depth. By the end of the week, they were ready for humans to walk on: four inches thick.
In preparation for ice fishing, I cleaned up our fishing rods and reels and got two of them in working order. I loaded two other reels with fishing line, by hand. I have to say that the reels with the flip bar have been a frustrating challenge for me to figure out how to use, and maintain without line exploding from the reel and/or the reel locking up. But now, I think I have them figured out.
I packed up everything that I want for fishing in our SUV: a toboggan sled, hand ice drill, hatchet, fishing rods, garden kneeling pad, camp fold-up seat, tackle box, ski pants, backpack with my wallet, neoprene water-proof lined gloves, mittens, water bottle, snacks, binoculars, book, etc.
Then one morning this week for about three hours, I fished at one of our lakes. I was the only one out at this end of the lake. The sun was shining and temps were in the high twenties. I didn’t catch anything. But, as I panned the shoreline with my binocs, I saw a couple of otters playing near a creek that enters into the lake. They were about a quarter-mile away. I think these otters were the same otter family that I encountered last summer while canoeing. I watched them off and on all morning. I could only see them walk on the ice and then disappear then come back up. I don’t know if they were eating or just playing, it was too far away for details.
At one point while I was sitting on the ice having just finished tying a new lure onto my fish line and then, was about to tie two line ends together after cutting out a small fishing line snarl, when I heard a rumble coming toward me. At first, I thought it was a vehicle on the nearby road, but it got louder and louder, closer and closer, so loud, and close, that, I felt an urgency to get away. I quickly looked all around me, wondering what on earth is that? Where is it? I looked north, south, east, and west, all around the lake and the shorelines. There was nothing out of the ordinary to be seen. Suddenly, the roar was upon me. The ice undulated under me twice, two waves in quick succession, lifting the ice up and me on the ice, about three inches, I would guess…At that very moment, I thought the ice was going to break up, under me. A huge air bubble exploded out of my ice fishing hole, from the trough of the double wave, the trough between the waves caused a sucking sound of air being pulled under the ice and then the second wave of water slapped the underside of the ice again. Then it was over just like that. Just two waves. Then lake water bobbed up and down in my ice hole… not much if any water splashed out.
My immediate thoughts: “Whoa, what in the world was that? Thank God the ice was fairly newly formed and still “elastic”, not brittle. What caused that? An earthquake? We do have some small fault lines running near us. An underwater explosion from a spring? There are lots of streams and springs in this lake. Volcanic? We’re not exactly in a volcanic area, per se, but we are along the Rocky Mountains that do have hot springs within a hundred mile radius north and south of us. God only knows what is under this lake? What was it? The earth is alive!”
After this event, the water gently lapped in my hole for about another minute, then went back to normal, like nothing had happened. I just sat there wondering for a moment what I should do next. I looked around, all the ice was intact like nothing had happened… Wow…. Wasn’t that an interesting experience? It happened so fast that I didn’t have time for an adrenalin reaction, my heart wasn’t pounding…Well, as Pa Ingalls said, “All is well that ends well.” I decided to finish tying the line together and decided to go back to fishing for about another twenty minutes. I had to try out the new lure. After twenty or so minutes, I received the call of nature and decided to pack it up and head home. I was very excited to tell Jim what had happened. As soon as I got home, I told Jim the story. He said that he thought that that was a wild experience. I also checked USGS to see if there had been a recorded earthquake in our region, but there was not…. Later that evening, Jim and I, talked about my undulating ice experience again, and he broke out singing, “I feel the earth move, under my feet.” 😉
Another day this week, on the spur of the moment, I decided to practice my fire-building skills using only some dryer lint in a toilet paper roll, ferro-rod and steel striker, and initially, only the wood from the trees around the campfire area. I picked lots of dead tinder-sized spruce branches from the lower trunks of the trees where it is the driest, and lots of larger branches of pine, cedar, and more spruce branches from off of the ground and some dead pine and spruce saplings for wood. I soon got a roaring fire going.
I then decided that we were going to cook dinner outside and eat it outside around that fire. Therefore, I went back to the house to get food and to inform everybody that I was cooking dinner over the open campfire and that we would be eating outside around said campfire, and will have a family reading out there after dinner. I told them to dress appropriately, and to bring drinking water, a fork, and camp chairs, because we were going to eat the food out of the pan, all together. It was snowing lightly. I proceeded to grab a tarp and my garden kneel pad, and brought them outside and dropped them off near the campfire. Then I went to the woodshed and grabbed some more wood and brought that to the campfire. (Small stove-length rounds.) Then I returned to the house and quickly chopped some onion and potatoes, grabbed some frozen spinach and frozen cubes of butternut squash put them in my cast iron pan, poured in some olive oil and sprinkled some Italian herb mix over them. I then took some already thawed ground venison and mixed some homemade relish into it and put it in the pan. I grabbed a wooden spatula, and took it out to the campfire. I stoked the ebbing fire back up with some pine cones and kindling from the house. I placed two large logs on either side of the fire and used them as my base for the cast iron pan and began cooking our food.
As I cooked, Miss Violet showed up with her water, fork and chair. Then Miss Eloise, came with the Bible and and the Patrick McManus book, “The Night The Bear Ate Goombaw”. And finally, Jim came out. When he arrived, we had a nice chat altogether while the food finished cooking. We were talking of course, about what is coming upon our country in the probably near future and how we need to trust the Lord God for our well-being. When the food was ready, we spread out the tarp and the the girls and Jim sat on the tarp and I sat on my garden knee pad opposite them, and we all ate from the pan and had a cozy meal.
It wasn’t the best campfire cooked meal we’ve ever eaten. The potatoes were cooking too slowly, the other ingredients were drying out, so I poured in water for it to boil to cook the potatoes more and that made the food, a bit watery tasting, but nourishing. Next time, I will cook the potatoes first and then add, the other veggies and meat. I was just trying for a one-pot meal without carrying out other dishes. I should have, also brought out a lid. After we finished eating, Jim and the girls moved to their camp chairs around the campfire. Miss Eloise and I, put the tarp over us to protect the books from the few snowflakes. Then Miss Eloise read some scripture to us and then read two chapters from Patrick McManus. We had some good laughs. Miss Eloise loves to read to us aloud. It was very pleasant to be outside together for a couple of hours. When we had finished, we put out the fire, brought everything back into the house, and went and warmed up for a few minutes by the fire in our woodstove. I just want to say that the whole time we were outside, I kept thinking about what it would be like if we no longer had our home to return to — if we had to live outside… We discussed the fact that you cannot completely hide a campfire and talked about other stealth camping stuff… Frankly, with today’s technology, unless the Lord himself hides us under His wings, there is no place to hide. We are very thankful that we do still have our home to return to. Miss Eloise was verbally thankful to be able to return to our warm house and to be able to stand next to our blazing hot wood stove… I, seriously, feel that we must prepare for a time when we might not…
One of these coming nights we will cook outside again and sleep out.
I just want to mention that the kittens have gained their outdoor freedom and love it very, very much. They think it’s the best place to play in the whole world. They are only allowed outside during the daylight hours. But they beg with pitiful cries to go out with the older cats when it’s still dark, but we don’t let them. There’s still the possibility of predators roaming through the ranch at that early hour.
The kittens play so hard outside in the morning that they are super glad to come back inside in the afternoon. to greet us, When they come in, seriously they insist on being picked up and hugged almost as soon as they come in. They then immediately, drink, eat and then come over to me for more snuggles, hugs, and kisses. Then they take long afternoon naps.
Something that is so heartwarming to me, is that I’ve noticed that our two older cats tend to chaperone the kittens when they wander farther away from the house. Recently, after doing the big animal chores, I headed up our long driveway for a bit of a walk, suddenly, I saw both kittens come out of the woods on the far side of the driveway. I was surprised to see them that far over here. A moment later, the two mature cats followed out of the woods behind them. I laughed and thanked them for keeping an eye on those teenager kitties. Since then, I’ve also seen the older cats chaperoning the kittens in other areas of the ranch, the hay barn, the south woods, etc.
May you all have a very blessed and safe week.
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.