Editors’ Prepping Progress

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

Jim Reports:

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:

Silver Gold Bull

(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.


Titan Fitness /Titan Great Outdoors.

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:

Dear Readers,
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

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.


  1. Ms Lily, I appreciate hearing your practice stories; you are wise to train your children in these things. They will pull these memories and lessons later and it will save their lives. I am curious about what happened on the lake; I have read that sometimes gas bubbles are emitted from underground that do not register on any recording device. Maybe your lake burped?

    We lived thru another week; but it sure seemed long and I know it is going to get more painful. Biden canceled all the big pharma price roll-backs Trump put in, so now medication is going to skyrocket. I read that insulin prices will go up by 35%; many of my neighbors and friends are on various types of insulin, so it will be hard for them. For the last several years I have made every effort to get off any medications by using herbs, vitamins and mighty prayer for the Lord’s blessings. I know not every medication is bad and not everyone can do this but I have been successful in getting down to two pills (from 7) and I’ve cut those dosages in half. I feel better using natural medicine than being pumped full of big phara meds. I think as long as there is no air-burst EMP I’ll be good!

    The forage turnips we planted last fall are ready to harvest and the animals love them. We just broadcasted them in two trial areas and left them. They are a elongated white turnip designed specifically for animal forage. This year we will broadcast them in two of the new grazing areas so the animals can root them up.

    Found a few quart and pint jars at a local thrift shop. This year I’ll have to do more dehydrating and FDing if I can’t find more jars.

    Dehydrated broccoli and cauliflower and PC’d about 6 pds of mushrooms. Received orders of healthful herbs. Can anyone share their best herbs for arthritis pain?

    I saw a video of a man who lost his job due to one of Biden’s E O ‘s and he was in tears for not being able to support his family, having to sell his car and eventually move out of his house. It just broke my heart. I pray that he finds a better job than he lost.

    I just keep on praying, prepping and staying out of the city as much as possible.

    May your week be safe, healthy and productive.

    1. For arthritis, my parents like a blend of turmeric, frankincense and ginger root. The herbalist blends them into capsules with some black pepper also. Dosage varies per what each person needs/tolerates, and one takes it only every couple of days because of some side effects (gall bladder irritation maybe? sorry, I don’t remember) at high doses.

      1. Bear, thank you for your suggestion. I already take turmeric, ginger, and thyme as well as an OTC glucosamine HCL combo. I get a pepper combo from cajin seasoning I use in cooking. The combination reduces the inflammation, but doesn’t reduce the pain. I can always take 650-800 mg of APCs or plain aspirin but that does a job on my stomach after 2 days.

        1. God bless you Animal House. That pain thing is tough to deal with. I think I was on at least a dozen different types of pills (narcotics and others). I’m down to 2 (Alleve for pain and Benadryl for allergies). Since the pain thing is not going to go away for me, I alternate activities throughout the day so as not to stress any one part of my body for too long. I have to rest during the day frequently, in a lounge chair with pillows and my feet up to control the swelling and pain. I take 2 Alleve at night because I hurt so bad at the end of the day that sleep can escape me. I wish I could do without it, but I need that sleep in order to function the next day. Also, I practice managing the pain from a mental/spiritual point of view. I still shovel snow, I lug firewood, I clean house, sew, work on house projects, and garden, not to mention training the two German Shepherds. In other words, I keep going. But, the pain is the pain and can be very exhausting, which means I opt out of a lot of activities and there are many things I can’t do due to weakness. I use herbs and teas as well as nutritional foods to reduce inflammation. I feel “guilty” for taking my 2 Alleve and at the same time I thank God that I have a small way to get relief. I do stock up on many OTC drugs, just for general purposes. CBD oil is supposedly not legal in Idaho, but it’s in widespread use anyway. It’s sort of the best kept secret, because pain is pain.

          1. And God bless you too SaraSue. Your pain is much, much worse than mine. In my location we can get full spectrum CBD in pill, liquid or oil. I give pills to my very old dogs and it helps them, but I’ve never used it for myself as I always want to save the strong stuff for “when it gets bad”. Ha,,I ended up having a natural child birth with that reasoning!!

            Recently I took some 650 OTC tylenol at nite so I could sleep but like you, I push thru the day with chores. However, it did a job on my gut so I have to figure out an alternative. Meditation and deep pondering of scripturs does help if I can stay focused. Prayers and hugs to you!

          2. I’ve got arthritis pain as well, though not as bad as you have. They thought they would have to replace my knees and hips some years back — it was so bad that I couldn’t even walk down our stairs — but then I took some personal training with my son’s gymnastics coach who had a physical therapy background and it took two years, but I got a lot more mobility with a lot less pain. It still hurts in cold or wet weather, and I still have to watch what I eat (no inflammatory foods) and still can’t kick much higher than my waist, but that rehabilitative therapy to strengthen the muscles around the weak joints sure made a massive difference.

            THIS website has the most rudimentary basics targeting the largest problem areas. Once you figure out which areas need work, there are then literally hundreds of oddball tiny exercise movements to strengthen each joint. Physical therapy long-term is pretty expensive, but if your insurance covers it, you might want to go in for an evaluation and an exercise list.


    2. Two tablespoons of dried stinging nettle in a quart jar. Add boiling water and steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Add lemon and honey to taste. Sip this throughout the day. The lady who gave me this recipe swears by it and does it every day. Stinging nettle is also a good source of protein, if tshtf. Pick it with gloves on. Dry it for the tea. Freeze it for food. Use like cooked spinach. I have been harvesting my seeds because I can’t use the stuff that grows on the farm. Too much chicken poop dust on it. So, I’m going to cultivate it. Pick the whole plant and let it lay for 24 hours for animal fodder.

        1. Sorry AH, I’m not sure about dead nettle. I found this:

          What is purple dead nettle good for?
          Although it’s an invasive species, in some parts of Europe purple deadnettle is used in the treatment of allergies. “A natural source of flavonoids including quercetin Purple Dead-nettle can improve immune system performance while reducing sensitivity to allergens and inhibiting inflammation.

          Magical Herbs – Purple Dead Nettle

  2. The movement of the ice was likely caused by the big bubble. Methane gas bubble from decaying vegetation? My grandfather would tell me stories of when he would drill a small hole in the ice and set the escaping gas on fire. Never actually saw it myself but if grandpa said it, it was true. He passed away when I was 7…67 years ago. Btw, he was an early settler and trapper in your area. 118 years ago. Our family goes a long way back there. Many antiques in a local museum came from their homes.

    1. I recently saw a video online of a father and son doing that on a lake . . . . it burned for about 10 seconds before all of the methane gas was exhausted. Fire and ice . . . pretty neat

    2. It can also be caused by a pressure ridge forming. We live on the Bago and we get our house rattled a few times each winter by ice quakes when the pressure ridges rupture.

      Just had one while writing this, have to go check how the lake changed!

  3. For anyone still ordering seeds, here’s a link to a small Christian heritage seed company who’d no doubt love to have some of your business. I’ve bought from in the past because their prices are so much cheaper than the rest ($2.25 – $2.75). They’re called White Harvest Seeds from the scripture “The field is white already to harvest.” I met them at a trade show in 2017 and they’re great people and very knowledegable. I’ve emailed them with questions and they’ve always gotten right back to me.

    They’re still in the early stages so their selection isn’t as huge as the other heritage seed companies but worth a look to see what they have. I like supporting the little guys and have been pleased with everything I’ve bought from them.

    II just got an email with a coupon code for 10% off. Type in WHSC10. It says for subscribers but may work for anyone. It it doesn’t, sign up as a subscriber and try again?

    I also compared their prices with my 2017 – 2019 seed catalogs and they haven’t raised their prices. They’d probably love to have some of your business. I have no connection with this company.


    1. We also use White Harvest Seed company. We met them through a prepper group where Mike spoke. They have been helpful to us in the past, even if I was looking for a seed they didn’t carry. Mike even went so far as to send me links of other companies that carried the seeds he didn’t carry. That is customer service. They truly want to help people.

    2. Thanks for the tip! I just went to their website and was pleased to see some hard-to-find seeds for several Asian cabbages, daikon radish, and herbs, so put in an order.

  4. Forgive me for quibbling but the Assault Rifle Ban was passed in 1994, not 1984. Reagan would probably have vetoed it in 1984. 1992-1994 was one of the recent periods when the Democrats had control of the House, Senate and White House.

    As Bernie Sanders admitted in a recent email

    “The people want action, not excuses.

    And let me be very clear. I have zero doubt that unless we significantly improve the lives of the American people this year, Democrats will get wiped out in the 2022 midterm elections. That is what happened when Democrats had the House, the Senate and the presidency under Bill Clinton in 1994 and that is what happened under Barack Obama in 2010.”

    1. Ronald Reagan was no friend of the firearms/freedom community. He banned an entire class of firearms from future manufacture after signing the Hughes Amendment in 1986 which prohibited the manufacture of ‘machine guns’. He also banned a entire type of ammunition classified loosely as “cop killer bullets’.

  5. I would just like to tell everyone on here I have enjoyed the info for years lurking from the shadows being the “Gray Man” but never commenting, after reading JWR’s recent call for the ten cent challenge and dropping Amazon I would just like to say there’s myself and many more hanging out in the shadows I suspect, I would like to urge them to help where they can as a decent moral site like this has to survive and be supported by like minded people, we are living in some unprecedented times and for myself my daily dose of SB and the comment section has more than once been a positive daily booster, I wish all like minded folks to stay positive and keep the faith

    1. I, too, was a quiet lurker until very recently. Now that I’ve deleted Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and refuse to watch a YouTube video unless there’s a dire need to learn something (such as how to repair something), I find I’m enjoying a return to the “slow blog” where you can read, digest the information, make a comment, and you don’t get piled on with comments (both positive and negative). That’s what’s wrong with social media … too much “on all the time” and not enough time for reflection.

  6. Slowly working on more magazines, but the money is tight right now, and getting this newly diagnosed PTSD thing better has the priority. I also plan on dehydrating some more meat and frozen veggies for the buckets over the next couple of weeks. Does anyone know where to buy some 30 round magazine springs? I need to replace several and have some extra on hand. TIA.

    1. Dan,
      You are very wise to put mental health as a top priority. Nearly everything else hinges on it, in my experience. I’m so sorry to read you’re dealing with PTSD, but it is good to have a diagnosis so you know what you’re dealing with. It can be a relief to know that you’re not alone, that you really are experiencing a problem and it’s not just all in your head (even when it is IN your head, but you know what I mean). Something that helped me was reading advice to be patient with my own self, even when I felt frustrated with my symptoms or perceived too-slow healing, because there just isn’t any use getting mad at someone for being injured! Especially if it’s you, because you can make it worse by beating yourself up over it. You are not weak or crazy or any of those negative perceptions that might try to creep in; you have been wounded, in the psyche and the brain (yes there are physical brain differences) and the soul. Always remember to reach out when you need to. There are many of us who have been in that hole and will willingly jump right down in beside you and help find the way out.

      Peace and HEALING be with you.

      1. Dan, I second the wonderful comments Bear has made! In addition, in case it might help, my doctor had me on “Propanolol,” off label for several years, for my PTSD nightmares. (It is normally for high blood pressure.). I was willing to try anything. There are no perfect answers, but things do improve.

        As Bear said, Peace and Healing be with you, Krissy

      2. Thank you for the kind words Bear. I am building a strong team relationships with men from my Church. This diagnosis has helped to bring many things into clarity on what has been going on. Some days are better than others, but I have a drive and desire to get better.

  7. Dems are after firearm ownership (again). SB readers should look up H.R.127 (sponsored by Sheila Jackson Lee) and it’s proposed gun registration, then tell your congresscritters to vote “no”.

  8. I spent part of the week working up pig fat and bones that a friend gave me. Someone offers me something I can use, I take it and say thank you. 18 pints of lard canned and 8 quarts, 1 pint of bone broth. That was only half the bones. She also gave me about 10 pounds of liver, both beef and pig. Right now it’s in the freezer while I research what I can do with it. It may end up in homemade dog food, or given to the chickens. We’re not big fans of liver. I feel pretty good about working on skills that could be useful in the future and getting some more shelf stable stuff put back. FYI: The USDA says there is no safe way to home can lard. It’s the USDA, so…

    1. CJ, well rendered fat of any type doesn’t need to be canned. Well rendered means it has been cooked until all tissues are separated and the water has evaporated out of it. As for liver, remove tough connecting tissue and grind with medium blade. freeze in .25 to .5 pound packages. I mix .25 pound with 1pound hamburger, cook the burger/liver mix as you would any recipe. You can’t taste it and get the nutrition of the liver. The tough parts of the liver can go to the chickens, I freeze it up and wait until mid winter to feed it to them as they have not had bugs for a while with the ground frozen or snow cover. There are lots of sites on the web that give details about rendering lard, I always check 3-4 because I have seen people post when they really have no idea what they are doing.

      1. Thank you for the tips. I just followed the direction a friend had given me on the lard, but will investigate further before I try it again. Not canning would have saved me some work. My friend raised this beef/pork herself, so I know it was healthy and not full of junk. She uses natural sources for the health of her animals. I’ll give the liver/burger a try. If I’m gonna try it, this would be the time. Thank you again.

    2. Small anecdote: When I was a kid, maybe 8 or 9 (maybe 1959 or 1960), my mother fixed liver and onions one night for dinner. Now, I’ve never liked the taste or the smell of liver, at all, it made me sick to my stomach. My Mom and Dad were trying to force me to eat that liver. I promised them that if I ate the liver I’d upchuck right there at the table. Well being parents, and not likely to abide my intolerance for liver, they made me eat said liver. Let’s just say my warning proved to be accurate, and if I do say so myself, plentiful. They never forced me to eat liver again.

      To this day, I still don’t eat liver.

      1. As a young kid I flicked the fried strips of liver behind the old style radiator that was near my chair. Took my mom a while to figure it out – our little kitchen table area smelled like liver for days or weeks. She never made me eat liver after that.

    3. I’ve been refining my lard-extraction skills for several years now. I usually end up with three lard-products out of each batch. The first is “cool rendered” which are the first few pourings of lard that is simmered at a very low temperature. This is the best for longer-term storage … I pour it in a glass jar, leave the lid off overnight while it cools and the last of the water evaporates out, and then store it in the garage fridge. Cool-rendered lard is excellent for biscuits and pie crusts and I’ve been able to use it up to four months (never went longer than four months before using it, so have no idea how long it really lasts).

      The second batch is once the fat starts to turn a bit yellow in the pan. I pour that into a different jar marked “saute lard” and use that up more quickly. It’s great for sauteing onions, vegetables, and as a substitute for oil to rub meat before broiling.

      The third batch are the “grebles,” little tasty bits. I continue sauteing them until all the yellow-lard has been extracted, and then keep sauteing the collagen and bits until they are brown and crispy. Add a bit of salt and let the kids snarf them down … or use them as a bacon-bits substitute on salad.

      Poultry fat (schmaltz) has a soft texture that makes it great to baste meat or nonstick pans. I find poultry fat goes rancid quicker than pork fat, so try to use it up within a couple of months.

      Free bonus snacks – throw your pig skin, turkey skin, or chicken skin on a baking rack above a drip-pan and roast until brown and crispy. Salt, and eat as a low-carb chip substitute. Pork skin is best in thin, McDonald’s French Fry sized strips, while poultry skin is best cut into Dorito’s sized triangles. The kids usually snarf them down immediately, but I’ve had good luck storing salted pork chiccharones in a glass jar up to a week.

      As for the LIVER …. somebody gave me half a cow-liver once and no matter how small a quantity that I tried to mix into my hamburgers and meatloaf, the kids could taste it and rejected it, so make sure you experiment with it to find your family’s taste-tolerance before you make up any large batches of anything. Anything more than .25 lb per 1.25 pound of beef liver got rejected. On the other hand, hearts and kidneys got mixed in without complaint.

      1. Anna, Great ideas! I like your jar labeling system; I just use the lard color system by animal type. I also bake the skin and always disappears fast. I can’t even cook liver in the house; I and my cats are the only ones that like it.

  9. Hey Lily, thanks for the reminder that there’s no such thing as ice fishing in my area! 🙂 That was a totally wild story about the ice, it sounds like an interesting internet research project.

    After reading PJGT’s article on wood stoves, I decided it was finally time to quit procrastinating and MacGyver an idiot light for the flue damper on my wood stove. I’ve left it open too many times and not only does all the heat go up the chimney but it can also exceed the 700°F safe level and cause a fire. The new idiot light is working like a charm. I wish I could say the same for the idiot.

    My yeast from 2013 was lacking ooomph so I wondered if the little guys just needed a shot of Geritol or if they had gone on to their reward in bakery heaven. I did a side-by-side test with some unopened yeast. It was no contest so I dumped the old stuff in the compost pile and switched to the new bag. The kicker is, both bags of yeast were the same brand, bought at the same time, January 2013, so the vacuum seal makes a huge difference. It also had a manufacture date of August 2010 so 11 years later it’s still working like new.

    A mysterious box turned up on my back porch last Monday…a box of 12 DIY peppermint patties, no doubt left by a rogue Keebler Elf who got tired of corporate baking and now works solo out of his in-tree kitchen and reads the SB Prepping Progress page every Saturday. Between that and my major LOMR incident last week finally starting to be funny now, I decided to share it this week.

    My truck luck has been in the zero zone lately so I’m pretty sure I was predisposed for disaster, resulting in the LOMR incident. It all began when I needed my pickup for a project. I turned the key in the ignition and… nothing, no noise whatsoever other than the fuel pump turning on. There are only about three things that could be causing the problem but the whole day was checkered with cerebral flatulence episodes so it was a terrible day to be playing shade-tree mechanic. I checked the battery, that was okay. Next I tied to jump the solenoid (I guess they call it the starter relay these days) across the two larger bolts but there were four to the seventh power wires coming off it, unlike the good old days when there were just three. I skipped that, thinking I might short something out the way my luck was going. The ignition fuse was good. My cat lacks an opposable claw so he couldn’t turn the key while I checked various things under the hood with an electrical tester. The most likely culprit was the solenoid that had 250,000 miles on it. I ordered one, waited eight days for it to show up, another two days for it to stop raining, then went out to install it. As soon as I popped the hood and looked at the old solenoid I said, “You bonehead!” When I checked against the firewall, yup, it was still laying there: the DIY starter button I made seven years ago. “You dingledorf!” (I was actually using other helper words but this is a family blog so I’ve inserted appropriate substitutes.) Somehow I had egregiously LOMRed it and forgot to test the most obvious, easiest thing to test: was the solenoid getting juice when the ignition key was turned? The DIY starter button or even a short piece of wire from the + terminal of the battery would have told me in a heartbeat. When I removed the wires and tested it before installing the new one, the solenoid clicked indicating it was perfectly functional, unlike my brain. “You idiot!” This didn’t bode well for the new solenoid solving the problem. I couldn’t return it so I installed it, then turned the key. No noise whatsoever. I looked under the hood again and it was immediately obvious I was still drowning in the depths of LOMR so I said to myself, “Hey Dummy, let’s try it this time with the battery cables connected!” I reconnected the battery, turned the key…nothing. With nothing left to try, I decided I should just drop a match in the gas tank and dive for cover. Or maybe, that mouse nest in the glove box meant a roving rodent had chewed through one of the ignition wires. As I was looking at the ignition wondering how to tear it apart, I let out a very loud “Argghhhhhh!!” and before the sound waves had even reached the neighbor’s house a quarter mile away, I firmly crossed the Stage 4 LOMR line doing about Mach 7, and using face as a braking mechanism, skidded to a stop somewhere around LOMR Stage 4.6. That’s when I noticed the *&%$#!! gear shift lever was in Reverse! “You gotta be s—-ing me!” I put it in Park, turned the key, and it started right up. About the time the truck was roaring to life, the white van showed up and the two guys in white jackets got out. The neighbors must have called it in. “Wow,” I said, “you guys got here a lot quicker this time!” At least they let me bring my cat along for once, something about a new therapy technique. At this rate I’ll be at Stage 5 and beyond by Memorial Day.

    I pulled out my Sharpie and right next to the new solenoid I wrote, “Check gearshift lever.” If anyone repeats this story I will deny everything.

    Everyone have a great week!

    1. Looks like I’ll be in good company at the funny farm. Our daughter’s car’s horn stopped working a couple years ago. We finally had her take it up a mechanic and were ready for the big bill. A $10 fuse was out. Duh! Duh! Duh!

      Thanks for the laugh this morning. I have been realizing how heavy my heart has been recently.

    2. Glad to see they didn’t keep you. Thanks for the story and the laughs. Good thing your cat didn’t help you. It probably would have laid down on you or waited until you had your head under the hood to honk the horn in an attempt to give you a fear induced heart attack.

    3. Oh no! Hahahaha! But I have done that too. Late for work one afternoon after school, I failed to put my car in park as I ran into the store. 8+ hours later, dead on my feet and equally brain-dead, I headed home and couldn’t get the car to start. No dome light with the T-tops, so I didn’t even see what gear it was in. I trudged defeatedly home (luckily we lived VERY close, and I usually walked to save gas) and relayed the sad tale. He reluctantly stopped playing video games with his friends and went to go take a look at it. After checking a bunch of things (in consultation with a stranger who had wandered out of a bar in that same parking lot), he went to put it in neutral to begin pushing it across the street…and discovered it still in gear. I didn’t live that down for awhile.

  10. here in Idaho just saw on the news Garden Valley mobile home park sold out from under seniors, older woman in tears, she and daughter and daughters 3 kids all living in older mobile home, now have to either move the home or abandon it by March, guess what there are ZERO parks accepting older homes and no affordable housing at all available, even if the lady could afford the several thousand dollars it costs to move the unit. So likely scenario is they will all be homeless until older lady can qualify for any unit in section 8, while children go into foster care with Dan the pervert and Alice his wife who likes to burn children with cigarettes, and the lady’s daughter lives in her car until despair drives her off the cliff (literally). If you have a place to live, be Very Thankful.

  11. We did one curbside grocery pick up and a stop at the dump in one trip. It’s good to get out.
    We laugh when city dwellers are shocked that some places don’t have garbage pick up.
    We’ve been keeping an eye on the goings on at the Montana Legislature which is thankfully
    under conservative Republican control. I haven’t seen any sign of Rinoitis.

    I don’t know what to think or say about the stock market this week. We tried watching just for yucks but the up and down volatility caused motion sickness. They don’t have a penny
    of our money and never will.

    This is day six since our Pfizer Covid vaccination. Feeling fine and no reactions so far.
    This is not a recommendation or an endorsement. It is just our experience.

    1. Over half of the the nurses and doctors in my hospital who have taken both the first and second doses of the Pfizer vaccine are reporting bad side effects for 1-2 days following the second dose. It seems the first dose is lighter in the viral load and “primes” your body for the second, heavier dose.

      Several nurses have reported lighter symptoms from the second dose by pre-medicating with Tylenol, Vitamin D3, and Zinc/Immune preparations. This makes sense to me, and I am recommending the same for my patients.

  12. This has been a difficult week. Nothing particularly bad happened, but my autoimmune issues have been screaming. My house is in real need of a total cleaning, but I’m having to learn to not be picky. It’s a little dusty and such, but it’s warm and comfortable so it’s a blessed mess.

    I was able to get some garden planning done and am shopping around for seeds that we still need. As we just bought our tiny homestead, I’ve been looking for the best prices on fruit trees. I really wish there were some that produced at least a little this first year. The canning guru I admire so has begun a tiny seed company. I always Jackie Clay’s canning advice. Here is the link for their non-GMO offerings: https://seedtreasures.com/.

    Hubby is meeting with the realtor today to sell our other house. Despite the gloomy forecasts, the real estate market in the city we left is really booming. I’d like to sell the property before people open their eyes to what’s happening (if they ever do).

    While unpacking our numerous books, I came across several valuable books including a field guide to edibles and several old Ball Blue Books. I’m currently rearranging my shelves more thematically so those can be found more easily. I’ve been using Audible a lot lately, currently listening to one by someone we all know and respect, JWR! I read the hard copies when I read them years ago, and decided to refresh my memory with the audio versions. I’m really enjoying hearing it again, but the narrator imparts a strong Illinois accent.

    I have junk silver and 1oz rounds for the crunch, but I’m considering converting the rounds and keeping strictly pre ’65 junk coins. I wonder what JWR thinks about that plan…I will be making a tiny profit as I bought them many years ago, but my thinking is that the junk will be more useable.

    Our new neighbors brought us a lovely basket with baked goods, candy, and home canned items as a welcome gift. One jar has pickled okra. We’re not okra fans (don’t tell — they might take our “proud southerner” cards away), but will certainly give it a try if only to reuse the jar.

    I don’t always comment, but I so enjoy the articles and commentary here. It’s the highlight of my Saturday.

    1. Kim of KY – after living in a lot of different states, spending lots of time in others and also traveling internationally I’ve learned that one needs to be careful on what communities find valuable in barter transactions. I think world and local events will also drive how families view what’s valuable.

      I’ve lived in the rural Inland Pacific Northwest where my sons would routinely get paid in constitutional money for farm work (pre-1965 quarters and half dollars, or silver eagles and Maples). There were plenty of coin dealers willing to deal in buying/selling, so what you had was liquid enough to convert to cash when needed.

      Where I live now hardly anyone recognizes junk silver as valuable. I’ve been to some countries where I couldn’t trade a 1/10 oz gold eagle for a good quality pocket knife, and others where that same little coin would get you a couple nights of lodging and good food once converted to cash.

      So before doing anything take a look at your local community and see what is most valuable to them. Here, in a crisis ammo will reign supreme. Silver dimes, quarters and half dollars may come into play but that is only if the dollar becomes worthless. That has it’s good side too as we sometimes pick up silver or even $20 gold pieces at spot.

      As for silver I personally believe you want to store highly recognizable brands or types. Generic rounds can be tough to move, but silver eagles, maples and pre-1965 junk silver catches significantly more attention.

      As for general wealth preservation I think precious metals are great no matter where you live.

    2. kim in KY: Congrats on your new homestead! I resemble your remark about a blessed mess! I don’t care for canned okra either, but you can put on some disposable gloves to avoid the slime, rinse the okra with cold water, pat dry and fry it. You can use a flour, cornmeal and egg dredge or just fry it plain with lots of spices.

    3. Kim of KY –
      Re: fruit trees. I ordered and received some fruit trees from http://www.fastgrowingtrees.com this past year. They are not cheap but are also not outrageously expensive considering the sizes of the trees. Their website is fairly informative and user-friendly, too. The trees are NOT bare root twigs. They have real root systems and are shipped in pots, very well packed with leaves on them. Their descriptions for some of the trees claim you can get a small harvest in the first year or two. We haven’t had ours in the ground long enough for that to happen but we are hoping that the trees we planted last summer and fall will survive the damage that the grasshoppers and deer did. We were diligent about watering them daily until the weather finally cooled off and they went dormant for the winter, and we have put fencing around them but the deer have been determined to get to the branch ends. I have been toying with fencing solutions using cattle panels instead of field fencing. We will see how it goes.
      As for seeds, I was trying to find a specific type of potato and happened upon PrairieBlossomNursery.com located in El Dorado, Kansas. I called them up when I tried to place an order and the website told me “in-store pick up only.” I told them I was 3 states away and just couldn’t justify the drive to pick up a $30 order in person. They haven’t figured out how to get the website to calculate shipping charges yet so if you put a note in the “comment” section of the on-line order form, they will send you an email with the shipping charges and a link to pay for shipping in advance, basically as a second order. The seeds I ordered showed up yesterday, the seed potatoes should be coming around the middle of February, after they get them in. The seeds I ordered from Monticello also showed up yesterday, 3 days after i placed the order! Let’s hope they germinate and grow just as fast… BTW, the prices for the potatoes were very reasonable, about $0.89 per pound, with a 1pound minimum. Some other places I looked required a minimum purchase if 50 pounds!!!
      So far, I have had good luck getting seeds. Walmart has Ferry-Morse and Burpee seeds in. And Tractor Supply had onion sets in stock when we were there on Thursday. Plus, they were well stocked on potting mix. Now, so am I. They also had berry plants, potatoes and asparagus in but seed packets have not arrived yet.

      I am very optimistic that this year we will have a better handle on keeping the grasshoppers at bay. We have a new incubator and a brooder for Guinea Fowl eggs and keets and have our order in with our local breeder. I am looking forward to watching the Guineas get fat on grasshoppers or whatever else with 6 legs happens to appear.

    4. kim of ky, Consider holding on to any silver, and also your chair. We just might see fireworks in the ‘silver’ market soon. (Anyone should watch and see if a Market Squeeze in Silver takes place.)

      Rawles is a good guy; good advice has been given about Silver Coins over the years.

      This is a column by Zero Hedge, which is a must read for anyone with Silver in possession (or held by contract).
      “Reddit Preparing To Unleash “World’s Biggest Short Squeeze” In Silver”
      ZeroHedge(dot)Com SATURDAY, JAN 30, 2021 – 15:30.

      On Thursday, we asked “Is The Reddit Rebellion About To Descend On The Precious Metals Market?” … One WallStreetBets user (jjalj30) posted the following last night:

      Silver Bullion Market is one of the most manipulated on earth. Any short squeeze in silver paper shorts would be EPIC. We know billion banks are manipulating gold and silver to cover real inflation.

      Both the industrial case and monetary case, debt printing has never been more favorable for the No. 1 inflation hedge Silver.

      Inflation adjusted Silver should be at 1000$ instead of 25$. Link to post removed by mods.

      Why not squeeze $SLV to real physical price.

      Think about the Gainz. If you don’t care about the gains, think about the banks like JP MORGAN you’d be destroying along the way.

      This way the SLV purchase creates a groundswell into silver immediately that then rockets through a gamma squeeze as SLV approaches $35.

      Price target of $75 for SLV by end of April if the short squeeze happens.
      (More at Zero Hedge)
      (GGHD-Me = There’s a lot of information and charts. ~A must read column.~ The reddit people are angry at the banks and manipulators too. …. ~Don’t get rid of any silver in the near future.~ Rawles has recommended ~holding silver for a while now.
      A person could say, “Rawles has been long on Silver since the beginning, when it detached from Gold. There’s always ~was a closer price relationship between Gold and Silver. Silver has been manipulated.
      ~ As was said by the Texan on TV long ago, “Hi YO, Silver” ~ ‘Out of Lead ~ Can always use silver!’ The Texan was a practical prepper.

      Be sure to read the entire Zero Hedge Column.

        1. kim of ky, we all wish you much success.

          Who knows the future but God? … This could a long term situation, or else a Reddit group is playing the markets like the big money people. … =
          From: =

          NXTmine(dot)com 1/31/2021
          “Everyone Is Afraid Ahead Of The Open” –> Reddit-Raiders Spark Nationwide Physical Silver Shortage =

          For some background on just how unprecedented this weekend’s action in silver markets is, Tyler Wall, the CEO of SD Bullion writes the following (emphasis ours):

          In the 24 hours proceeding Friday market close, SD Bullion sold nearly 10x the number of silver ounces that we normally would sell in an entire weekend leading to Sunday market open.

          In a normal market, we normally can find at least one supplier/source willing to sell some ounces over the weekend if we exceed our long position (the number of ounces we predict we will sell over the weekend).

          However, everyone we talk to is afraid of a gap up at Sunday night market open.

          This is about ready to get really interesting as there was very little inventory left from suppliers/mints going into Friday close.

          Our direct AP supplier informed us after close on Friday that the “US Mint will be on allocation for the remainder of Type 1” (Current Silver Eagle Design).

          Our sales for the month of January exceeded any one month last year during the heart of the pandemic. It was an all-time record month in our company history.

          And, perhaps most importantly, as QTR tweets so succinctly, “this is a red pill moment for many, and it’s beautiful.”

          The thing is that no matter what happens with #SilverSqueeze, a lot of younger people are for the first time informing themselves that metals are the only true real money. That realization sticks for life, even when squeezes end. This is a red pill moment for many & its beautiful

          — Quoth the Raven (@QTRResearch) January 31, 2021

          Update (1030ET): It would appear the run on silver has begun. With the market closed, traders have rushed to secure some exposure to silver ahead of what WSB suggests could be “the world’s biggest short squeeze” and that has left bullion dealers

          As we noted below, the premium for physical silver had soared late Friday and into Saturday (after the massive flows into SLV), but as Sunday rolled around, bullion dealers are now facing massive shortages of physical coins.

          Source: APMEX
          (Me GGHD) = The big money people can work transactions after the markets close. … They can easily trade in the overseas ‘stock markets’ too. … Monday morning will show a giant increase in the value of Silver = (GGHD’s guess).

          1. SurvivalBlog recommends TANGIBLE (Real items in possession of the owner) investments at this time.

            Some factoids: (Chosen by me~GGHD about our possible future)

            1. The average American family has $40,000 in liquid savings, across savings and checking accounts, according to data from the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances. [BusinessInsider(dot)com August 8, 2020]
            The article explains, that it’s an average. Some people have a lot of money and others NOT so much.

            (Some people might move some of their money into Silver, if they see their ‘paper money’ going down in value quickly. They might invest in other things too!”

            2. The US MINT produces real silver dollars. = “Prices are based on the market price of silver, plus a small premium to cover minting and distribution costs. Affordability. Credibility. Beauty. They’re the qualities that have made American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins the world’s best-selling silver coins, with more than 130 million sold since 1986.” (US MINT.)
            ……….. How much Silver is currently available to the US Mint?

            In the near future Slowpoke Joe might be riding a bucking horse named inflation. People might start becoming ‘Woke’ to the fact their paper dollars are just ‘paper’ ~ Especially, when compared to Silver and Gold.

            Slowpoke Joe doesn’t seem capable of making many difficult decisions. Old Joe seems to rely on advice from his Stock Market and Banker friends. …. Is there enough real Silver in the world to calm the Bucking Horse carrying Slowpoke Joe?

            The good advice for readers of SurvivalBlog is the advice to secure the needed preps and invest in Tangibles. … There are recommendations here at SurvivalBlog.
            [How long a period Silver rises in value is a gamble of sorts. …. The experts in our government might know of ways to ‘flatten’ the value of Silver. ……. Surely one way open to Slowpoke Joe is to intentionally start the slow down and destruction of the American Economy. … War is always an option too, with an emergency prohibition on trading in precious metals.]

            We shall all hopefully see the future. But buying Silver right now seems like a wise thing to do.

  13. All week I have been trying to get a last shipment, or five, in and use all my Audible credits before cutting spending money with Bezos/Amazon permanently. It’s not as easy as I assumed/thought it would be. From med supplies to audiobooks for the daily 2hr round-trip to/from work, it’s tough.
    I thought getting out of debt is hard. Trying and often getting better pricing with ‘free shipping’ and replacing wasted music listening time with some knowledge or classics filling the space between my ears is difficult to walkaway from. I debate daily if I can really leave Audible. At the beginning of building our debt snowball, I paused my Audible for the allowed 3 months and listened again to numerous books, numerous times. To do it indefinitely, not sure if I can… :/

    1. It’s true it takes time, and about 21 days “they say” to form new habits! Stay the course. You can succeed in this endeavor. It’s true… There are challenges that come with any change. But! There are also tremendous opportunities.

    2. Have you checked to see if your local public library has an audiobook program? Most libraries use either Overdrive or Hoopla to “loan” you an audiobook for one or two weeks. The LIBRARIAN decides what books to include in the collection for your local library, so if they don’t have books you want to read, there us usually a form to request that book be included in that library’s collection. Most libraries operate under a shared “network” of surrounding towns, so if one library doesn’t have it, often they can “borrow” it from a neighboring library. They may also have books on actual, physical CD, but most have phased that out for a digital library.

      Ditto for a lot of movies.

      My husband has a 2.5-hour commute every day, so he burns through audiobooks. And he doesn’t pay a PENNY for any of them, not even a subscription.

      Audible is NOT the only game in town.

  14. Worked more hours than expected this week and little time for anything else.

    Found a beautiful property in north central TN we are trying to set an appointment to see. My wife is searching through the N Arkansas and MO Ozarks too. Once we nail down specific locations we’ll find a solid agent to work with.

    Glen Tate and Shelby Gallagher’s Prepping 2-0 show this week had a great guest interview on relocating and he mentioned TN, AR and MO along with inland pacific northwest states but no specific towns or counties were shared.

    My sons have been watching the Robinhood/Gamestop fiasco with a great deal of interest. We had a long conversation about connecting the dots on how events like this expose market controls and impact investor confidence. They want to put some of their savings in gold and silver so we are trying to find a shop across the border in TX that sells at decent prices. There is no sales tax on bullion in TX. The conversation also came up about buying at low points so this is a good opportunity to talk about premiums and why drops in the spot price don’t always equate to instantly lower prices at the counter. We are all in agreement that cryptos have offered a viable alternative and are absorbing some of the demand for stores of value. Ot is my firm option the financial cartels (banks and central banks) will not allow cryptos to stand unless they control them. It will come in the form of legislation and bans.

    This weekend and the coming week we’re continuing our focus on preparing to move. Getting rid of stuff. Cleaning. Praying. Searching.

    Magazines around here are plentiful if you are looking for standard AK and AR stuff. I’ve been focusing on other brands like Ruger, Springfield Armory (rifles) and Glock 17/19/19x/20/21 along with some subcompact versions. G17 mags seem hard to find. I don’t buy them in stacks. Maybe 3-4 a month.

    Still studying for the ham test.

    1. On doing some initial research, I settled on southern Missouri. Specifically Howell and Shannon counties. Based on some recommendations from folks here, I am taking a look at Tennessee again. We’ll see which pans out the best.

      1. I live in Missouri. Just FYI: 26 counties out of the 114 in Missouri use Dominion voting machines. There was a statewide medicaid expansion that passed last August. Most people I know were very surprised. It only passed in 4 counties. 3 of the 4 used Dominion. Only mentioning this because most areas lean conservative and are great places to live, but I don’t want you to be surprised if you should decide to settle here. Unfortunately, St. Louis, KC, Columbia and Springfield areas out vote the rest on state wide issues. Probably most states have this issue, but it is aggravating.

  15. the noise you heard was a good sound and is usually only heard when new ice is being made. It was just a pressure ridge being released. Only happens in the early winter and new ice. You will not hear it in the spring.

  16. Here’s an article worth reading…


    It’s thoughtful and well written. In the latter portion, the author includes a quote from George Washington: “The time is now near at hand which must properly determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves: whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to pillaged and destroyed; and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness.”

    For me this is a reminder that many of the challenges we face have been confronted throughout history. We are not the first. We will not be the last. We are simply writing the current chapter in the history of human civilization.

    Our greatest arguments in favor of liberty and life come in the arena of ideas. In that place, we have great support. …and we must find a pathway to translate those ideas into actual people holding positions of actual authority and throughout government at all levels. This is also the reason that the Communist Left seeks to censor speech. They know they cannot compete in the arena of ideas. They cannot politically survive an honest debate.

    There was also a great interview this morning on Steve Bannon’s program at America’s Voice. If you can get it, listen to his conversation with Scott Presler. He has developed outstanding recommendations for state legislatures, and a strategy that will help us make excellent forward progress by 2022 and again in 2024. If you can get the interview, I’d recommend it. I’ll also include a link below to help anyone who wants to connect with him.


    My disgust for establishment Republicans is deep. My hopes for an alternative party are not high. I am investing myself in the pursuit of real options going forward that will advance the cause of true liberty for all people. I also realize that America is not just a voice for America. Her voice is heard around the world. The pro-Trump rallies in places far and wide speak to the hopes of people everywhere for the same.

    Remain civil. Be not quick to anger. Be proactive. Do not give up.

    1. T of A, you speak wisely:

      Remain civil. Be not quick to anger. Be proactive. Do not give up.

      I was moved to read deeply about Thomas Paine this morning. So to accompany Washington’s words, I offer something from Brother Paine. Does it seem Marxist to you? What are to make of his opinions?

      His last pamphlet, Agrarian Justice, published in the winter of 1795, opposed agrarian law and agrarian monopoly and further developed his ideas in the Rights of Man about how land ownership separated the majority of people from their rightful, natural inheritance and means of independent survival. The U.S. Social Security Administration recognizes Agrarian Justice as the first American proposal for an old-age pension and basic income or citizen’s dividend. Per Agrarian Justice:

      In advocating the case of the persons thus dispossessed, it is a right, and not a charity … [Government must] create a national fund, out of which there shall be paid to every person, when arrived at the age of twenty-one years, the sum of fifteen pounds sterling, as a compensation in part, for the loss of his or her natural inheritance, by the introduction of the system of landed property. And also, the sum of ten pounds per annum, during life, to every person now living, of the age of fifty years, and to all others as they shall arrive at that age.

      In 2011, £10 and £15 would be worth about £800 and £1,200 ($1,200 and $2,000) when adjusted for inflation.[109]

      Carry on

    2. Great post!! Wonderful article! I copied/pasted a quote from Solzhenitsyn who experienced the horrors of socialism personally:
      “And how we burned in the camps later, thinking: What would things have been like if every Security operative, when he went out at night to make an arrest, had been uncertain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his family? Or if, during periods of mass arrests, as for example in Leningrad, when they arrested a quarter of the entire city, people had not simply sat there in their lairs, paling with terror at every bang of the downstairs door and at every step on the staircase, but had understood they had nothing left to lose and had boldly set up in the downstairs hall an ambush of half a dozen people with axes, hammers, pokers, or whatever else was at hand?… The Organs would very quickly have suffered a shortage of officers and transport and, notwithstanding all of Stalin’s thirst, the cursed machine would have ground to a halt! If…if…We didn’t love freedom enough. And even more – we had no awareness of the real situation…. We purely and simply deserved everything that happened afterward.”
      Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn , The Gulag Archipelago 1918–1956

  17. I wanted to send a “happy shout out” to everyone who shares experiences that lead to learning. In fact, it was Avalanche Lily’s story of ice fishing that triggered the thoughts expressed in this post.

    Although we do not have ice fishing opportunities in our part of the country, there is much that can be learned from any experience, and applied to many others — in our present circumstances, and in the paths we may travel in the future. All this to say — it’s important to expose ourselves to information that helps us expand our understanding of the world around us, whether or not we think any particular scenario is specific to our individual life journeys. This exposure teaches us to think critically, to thoughtfully extrapolate, to discern, and much more.

  18. Spent most of the week building the secret space. The electrical went good, but had to buy a second double gang box due to the knockouts being the wrong size for the NM connectors needed. Used the new Lever Nuts instead of conventional wire nuts. With those, give them a double wrap of electrical tape after locking in the wires, as it’s somewhat easy to unlock them. The first strip of the old Romex, I nailed the hot wire, but was able to repair the nick with some tape. Like the new stuff better, as it’s way easier to strip. The good part is nothing made the “pahooie” and let the magic smoke out!

    The next part was putting up the pegboard without a table saw. The hardboard saws into brown powder that gets everywhere. With my table saw, I had dust collection, but the saw is in the shop getting fixed. Had to use the trim saw instead. Everything has to be cut down to fit through the hole, so lots of splices in the panels. And then, carpeting! I laid down trade show carpeting that I get for free. It’s not the greatest stuff, but it’s free! We carpet huge tents with that stuff, and the expo company dumps it due to possibly getting wet. Makes good basement carpet, cause if it gets wet, you can throw it out, and the only thing lost is your time and effort to install it.

    Then comes the fun of trying to figure out where to put things. AK’s on this wall, Saiga’s over here, AR’s over there, and flare launchers???

    Wish I had a camera ready for the foxes as the full moon rose! They came out together, and then sat together for a good 5 minutes watching the full moon rising before running off. That would have made an awesome shot! You can never be truly ready for anything as the unexpected always happens!

    Last night I shot off a Email to my rep on HR127. The dems ARE trying to start a war! What’s next? Yellow “R” armbands for Republicans?

    The only way they can constitutionally impeach Trump is to call him back, and swear him in as president! Then when they fail, Trump is still president!

  19. Jim’s comment on Titan implements is a great link. I have several Titan implements for my tractor and have been extremely happy with them. Very ruggedly built and no issues with any of them.

  20. Lilly, after twenty five years of running dog teams on lakes and rivers in MN and AK my guess is that the sound and movement of lake ice you experienced was pressure ridges moving as the result of temperature change. I have no experience with moving gas bubbles but I’m open to learning something new.

    In my years of running dogs I have gone through the ice three times, and two or three other times of having the tails of the runners cutting through thin ice as we moved along as quickly as possible. As a caution I’d suggest making 4″ of ice the minimum you would venture out on. Please accept my caution as opposed to following my example.

    Two suggestions: when venturing out on questionable ice it would be a good idea to include a long pole or 2″ x 4″, of at least 10′ or longer, in your basic gear. Also, if you are going to be any distance from your vehicle or warm home, pack a water tight bag with a complete change of dry clothes and bath towel. Change immediately if you go through the ice.

    Fun drill for a cold day: chop a 2′ x 3′ hole in the ice, lay a board or log over the hole and one at a time, lower yourself through the hole and completely submerge. Upon coming out of the water, strip down completely, dry off completely, and dress in dry clothes. This drill, which we call a “quick dip”, builds confidence that you can survive in a bad situation. Note: if you have any doubt about getting out of the water, tie a safety rope around the one going in the water.

    1. I was exceptionally cautious, and took other safety measures, but for our OPSEC didn’t go into further details in my post, neither will I here…

      I also didn’t go out far at all from shore which is probably the reason why I didn’t catch anything.

      I sure wish we could have some ten below zero temperatures for a few nights….

      I did think about having dry clothes stashed away in the vehicle, but didn’t bring them. My bad. I will definitely have dry warm clothes in the vehicle next time. I had thought we had a sleeping bag in the car, but when I checked, I saw that it needs to be put back in.

      No, I’m not going to do the “quick dip”, on purpose. No how! 😉 I know what it’s like.

      One sunny windy early spring day when the temperatures were about 58 degrees, I was paddling around in our flooded meadow. In a moment of non-attentiveness, the wind pushed the canoe up against our pasture fence. As I tried to paddle away from it, I reached out too far and paddled too hard, lost my balance and dumped my self into the two foot deep snow melt water. I was wearing shorts and a long-sleeved Pima-cotton t-shirt. It was freezing! I stood up lickety split and grabbed the canoe and ran through the water to the shore, dragged the canoe up, and ran for the house. It was super cold.

      I like to watch Apetor a very crazy Norwegian guy who loves to ice skate into lakes and ocean bays and swim around, and do other crazy ice water stunts. I kind of envy his ice swimming abilities. But, I’m not going to do it. I just like to watch him.

      I do not condone his drinking or other disgusting behavior, I actually have a very hard time with it, and look away if I suspect it’s coming, but do like seeing his other crazy adventures. You can learn a lot from him concerning ice swimming survival skills. He is a crazy nut having fun in a few ways that I like!

    2. YIKES, you and I have verrrrry different definitions of the word “fun!” When I read about your drill, I literally crawled under a woobie and pulled it up to my chin. And it’s a balmy seventy-five degrees in here, with the breeze wafting through the windows…..

    3. J.P., I would add for the drill, to keep feet from freezing to the ice and peeling off skin, wear a pair of socks.

      And Lily, what a great video. I wonder if what he was drinking was actually water instead of vodka and he was, like jumping in COLD water, looking for shock value.

      Carry on

      1. Sadly, I don’t think so. Apetor opens brand new bottles of his vodka and beer and other drinks in other videos and starts chugging it down. 🙁

        Two years ago, he had some of his colon removed because of cancer and has a black port to evacuate his stool. But once he was cancer free, he continued his stunts, albeit a bit more carefully.

        I love his childlike play, skating, hiking, swimming, and his love of nature, etc. He takes his viewers to beautiful locations of Norway.

        When I was a kid, my father would take us driving out on the ice of some large lakes and spin out with us. It was rather fun. The ice was over a foot thick. So, I can relate to Apetor’s driving out on the ice, though, I, myself, have never driven out, done donuts, on the ice of a lake. I have driven around, done donuts, in very icy parking lots. I’ve done a lot of ice skating in various places, and have spent a lot of time playing with thin ice on large puddles, and swimming pools, as a kid and adult, thus understanding the nature of ice and what thickness will hold my weight, etc. I love the sound thin ice when someone skates over it, or one throws a rock across it. 😉 Ice is a very neat substance to study and play with, with all safety measures in place, of course. 😉

        Please join me in praying for Apetor’s salvation.

        1. Lily,

          May our brother Apetor know Divine Love, the true Spirit that he is seeking through liquid spirits.

          Oh, and I adore this, too: “I love the sound thin ice when someone skates over it, or one throws a rock across it. ” The ice remains thin enough for a short time, and when I’ve missed it, I sigh sadly.

          Carry on in grace

  21. JWR, I actually got emotional when I saw you had cut ties with Amazon, especially given the substantial income it provided your household. THANK YOU — and Lily — for being an example of making hard choices, and sacrifices, to uphold the values you profess. May I make a suggestion regarding affiliate advertisers? Etsy has been a godsend for many home-based “cottagers,” and I have often gone to them when I needed something I couldn’t find from a local small business. But of late, they have gone Loonie Left, and so I cannot in good conscience buy from their vendors anymore. So … is there an opportunity for “small” sellers of basic goods to advertise with YOU? I am not suggesting a full Etsy alternative, maybe even just rotating small advertisers or some such. Right now I need socks, and powder puffs and some clothing … for example. I know whatever you do will be welcomed by seller and buyer alike. 🙂

    1. If you’re on the social media platform Gab, they have a Business Group where vendors put a brief link to their websites or goods. It takes a while to scroll through the posts, but I’ve found a few nifty items there (including a Made-in-USA cane with a handle that pulls out to expose a 15″ knife). Andrew Torba is considering creating a “Gab Marketplace” (similar to Facebook Marketplace) so America First patriots can find local businesses, so if you’re on Gab, fire off a post to @a telling him this is something you want.

  22. If I’m not mistaken, Titan is that same as Titan shown on RFD TV’s program “Larrys Country Diner”, one of their advertisers, and they do make quality Ag stuff. Congrats JWR to adding them to you advertisers.
    If I remember right Goodyear, (before they swallowed the “woke” pills and declared any conservative clothing worn on their premises being offensive but as long as it was woke & supported Antifa/blm it’s OK), had an Ag tire brand named “Titan”. They apparently sold that division to Firestone and now comes under the Firestone family. The founder of which was a lifelong farmer. If you are in need of Ag tires perhaps check them out as well.

    And Yes Ms. Lily 2014 was a bad fire year. In Okanogan Co. fires burned over 400 sq. miles. As well as fires in other counties too numerous to mention, I can’t remember them all. I worked out of state at the time and was not allowed home, Instead I was holed up in a hotel watching fires flare up on surrounding hillsides in a 360 deg circle.

  23. We had a good week of getting chores done around the place. We went to a nearby town and picked up supplies . We bought some burger and beef roast then canned burger, meat balls and chunked the roast into stew meat and canned a couple of trial quarts of beef stew w/carrots ,onions and potatoes. We tried the stew and it was pretty good.The Mrs. baked some rolls and bread loaves too.
    We kept busy splitting and stacking firewood, did some inside carpentry and painting on a spare bedroom, Bought a backup portable generator and test ran it for an hour on an electric woodsplitter . All in all a good week.
    I applaud you for your stand on Amazon. We support local businesses when we can.

  24. Lily!!!!! You remind me of a younger me!

    We had a couple of storm systems come through and dump a couple of feet of fresh snow. The dogs (notice I’m not calling them puppies any more!) love, love, love fresh snow and it’s great for them to expend their energy chasing one another. The German Shepherd “puppies” are HUGE now and take a lot of time at 6 & 7 months old. I think the older one is around 65 lbs and the younger one around 35lbs. They are really tuned into me now and get the message by my tone of voice and movements. Adorable, rambunctious, very destructive if not closely watched, eager to please, need belly rubs, need exercise, need tons of food, stubborn/sweet/beautiful. LOL. STILL glad I have them.

    I received my very last order from Amazon this week. I have been an Amazon Prime member since 1998/9. Slowly over time, Amazon became the company I purchased just about everything from. When they started out, I thought Bezos was brilliant. Now, I believe he’s part of the problem. I am making sure all my books are downloaded, and I need receipts for some things from last year for tax purposes, then I’ll click the delete button. I spent time sending links to other online businesses that I have experience with and can recommend to JWR, and I’ll continue with a list of other suppliers that I can purchase direct from. It’s with sadness that I let Amazon go. I felt the same way when I changed by political affiliation from Republican to no association, which I did after the Republicans showed themselves (for the umpteenth time) to also be part of the problem. I have been a registered Republican for over 40 years and now all I can say is “Who is John Galt?”

    Other than that… I got an estimate for having my carpeting/tile/linoleum mishmash replaced with a “luxury vinyl plank” type flooring. Outrageous quote from the local flooring place. Things on the quote: $150 to move the toilet, $145 fuel fee (they are located 9 miles from my house), quote doesn’t include removing the existing tile, it might take a few weeks to get it done, and on and on and on. I live a several hours drive from a major city. The good news is I’m out in the boonies. The bad news is, I can’t get services out here easily. I *want* to support local business, but not at 3x the normal price. At any rate, I decided to go with tile instead and have an independent local guy coming to give me a quote, and I’ll purchase supplies from Home Depot and pay to have it delivered. My comment for local businesses: if you’re the only game in town, don’t price gouge. I ran a local retail business for many years and I was very careful to put my customers before my desire to get rich. And of course, I didn’t get rich, but my customers were happy and returned.

    I connected with 2 survivalblog readers/posters this week in regards to researching TN as my new “redoubt” area. I received some wonderful information and appreciate this community!!

    1. Holy cow that quote is absolutely ridiculous. Grrr. I laid the vinyl planks in my girls’ bedroom a couple years back. Taped a couple of prefold diapers to my jeans as kneepads, grabbed a roll of duct tape in lieu of the mallet I couldn’t find, used a scrap piece of floor (fitted to the good plank) to hammer on so I didn’t bend the tongue of the good plank, and went to town, a couple rows at a session in between taking care of kid stuffs. The hardest part was lining up both ends and the middle of the 8′ section at once, and keeping it all lined up while I locked one part at a time, but the little sneakers I borrowed out of the closet were the perfect height to prop the planks at a good angle. Adapt and overcome!! My husband and father, bless their hearts, had spent most of the first day after I tore the carpet out “laying” the floor, but they hadn’t locked any of the planks in to each other so it was all a wobbly mess! I had to wait til one went home and the other went to church until I could start to seat it all properly LOL! And I made a Gary Puckett parody about “Baby girl power, it’s now or never, give your floors to me…” which I don’t remember the rest of now, but I hummed it to Littlest (who was still onboard at the time but not big enough to drag my belly on the floor yet LOL) as she and I worked…

      I wish I lived nearby you so your dogs could wear out my kids while I could help with your floors!! 😉

      1. Oh yeah and an extra $70 to “move furniture”. I have one small sofa, 1 lounge chair, and a small table and chairs!! I thought, gee whiz! I’ll shove that furniture from one side to the other myself!

        I’ve laid floors before!!! I actually thought about trying to do it myself, then remembered that I had an open can of paint in one of the bedrooms and only 1 wall painted. lol. So…. no. This old gal ain’t what she used to be! I figured if i can save on getting flooring, I’ll hire a Painter!

        Thank you for the nice note!

    2. SaraSue,

      If you choose to share any information on TN, I am more than willing to listen. I have a job in public safety. My wife is a teacher. We are choosing not to get the covid vaccines. As of this moment, they are not mandatory for our employment, yet. I would not be surprised if this became the case. Due to this fact, we are starting to look at potential other states to move to in the future. TN would be our first choice. Finding churches that are open, like minded folks, etc is the goal.


      1. A family member is scouting out some areas in the spring. One thing I noticed is that “everyone” seems to want to move to TN! Real estate prices are going up up up, just like they did in Idaho. There are a couple of survivalblog readers who are also looking in that state and have offered to share what they find. I’ll ask, when I hear feedback, if it can be shared on the blog (always maintaining OPSEC). The best advice I have at the moment is to plan a trip for a week or two just to explore. The top 3 destinations seem to be Florida, Texas, and Tennessee. I’d suggest also looking in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and try to avoid the super popular areas.

        Re: the vaccine – my opinion is that if enough people flat out refuse on religious or health grounds, then they likely cannot enforce a mandatory vaccine. I have family in public safety and education as well and they have the same concerns.

  25. There is no place to hide except in the Lord. There was an al qaeda leader some years ago who wore custom glasses with his name written on the frame arm. Digital imagery was able to read that and verify identity and he is no more. That comes from a reliable source. Psalm 19, Proverbs 18:10, Psalm 32:7, Psalm 17:8-9
    Praying for all!

  26. I spent most of this week on the road for work, so not a lot got done around the house…at least by me. My Lady took the opportunity to reorganize several rooms in the house, decluttering and getting rid of some items. One thing that was very noticeable was a rise in gas prices… around 20% in the last 2 weeks. I can’t imagine why.

    Back on the farm, our hens have started laying again after apparently going on strike after we culled several roosters a couple weeks ago. I was starting to fear I might actually have to buy eggs.

    In our local area, we are seeing some canning supplies back on the shelves, but amounts and selection are limited. Ammunition remains almost non-existent. I checked a local sporting goods shop, and they had less than a dozen boxes, all oddball calibers.

    On another note, we are looking at some potential income issues later this year. It’s entirely possible I’ll become unemployed in August. I’ll know more certainly this spring.
    Thee Lord has already taken some steps to help offset, with my Lady being offered a temporary job with a former employer. If I do lose my job, it is almost certain I’ll have to take a pay cut for another. That being said, the matter is firmly in the hands of our Lord. And considering the current environment, He’s the only one with any idea of what’s coming next. Stay safe, folks.

      1. Um….ma’am, I know ladies generally expect us to read their minds, but…

        However, based on what I’ve gleaned from your previous posts, I’m gonna guess that you were offering for your prayers for our situation…for which I’d bed quite grateful,

  27. To,Chris in Arkansas..you dont have to go to Texas to avoid sales tax on PMs. I live in northern Arkansas and could not believe our state started charging sales tax on Gods money,,that is like going to the bank with a hundred dollar bill and asking for all fives and they charge you tax ..which in my county is 9.125 %. Anyways..Golden Eagle in Maryland will sell and ship you PMs with zero tax or freight. But most internet dealers will not.

    1. Thank you! I will look into them. We found a 1904-s Double Eagle at our local gun and pawn today. Those guys treat me well and they sold it to me for just above spot with no sales tax. I offered to let my son have first dibs so he bought his first gold coin today. Surprised me! I thought he was going to say no.

  28. I have done business with Silver Gold Bull twice now, both buying and selling, and have had excellent service both times. Since I live in Alberta, they are and will be.my first stop when needing bullion type services. Highly recommended.

  29. This week was more of a “sitting at the computer, doing research” kind of week. Over the last couple of weeks I’ve created a .xlsx spreadsheet with basic relocation data on all 50 states. So THIS week I performed the tedious task of researching which states my professional license, as well as my daughter’s cosmetology license, would transfer to, and it was an eye-popping experience.

    We’re now down to West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Missouri and Arizona; and our nearest timeline for moving is another entire year for my daughter so she can log another 600 hours of in-school hours even though she is eligible to get licensed right now in our home state. -I- am going to have a lot of difficulties transferring my professional license … I need to get re-certified … a grueling, time-consuming, and expensive process.

    Good to know these things BEFORE we waste time, looking for properties, eh? Next up will be visiting these states and looking at properties to see how we like them, which won’t occur before summer as the kids are in school. But I feel better now because all this research has really helped “this is what your new life will look like” ideas coalesce.

  30. We had a busy week. Pantry purchases included some shelf-stable egg powder and butter powder, and a small grocery order. Husband made a new recipe yesterday, and as we sat to eat it, he was analyzing aloud which of the components we could further make ourselves from the pantry (like tortillas) or grow (tomatoes, lettuce)…heh heh heh. He’s catching the mindset in the DETAILS now. Thanks for praying, y’all. 😀

    I bought new or additional copies of several books, including The Anti-Federalist Papers, The Art of War, and several copies of Live Not By Lies (which I passed out to family members and church friends, along with copies of Solzhenitsyn’s essay tucked inside). I think my husband ordered some books as well. Small orders were placed with three different seed companies—two recommended here on SB, so thank you!–and despite all of the disclaimers and warnings about delays, two have already been shipped. It was hard to know what to purchase because I don’t know how long we will be here vs. at the retreat…

    I bought more packets of clotting powder, some for us and some for family members’ homes. Eldest’s new supinator straps for wrist support came in finally too. And at his neurologist appointment, there was a prescription renewal and we were SO blessed that it was sent and filled right away, so we now have two weeks’ buffer! A couple months ago, despite my having slowly built up extra doses, he actually ran out and skipped one dose due to a perfect storm of factors, so I am especially grateful it’s been restocked so soon.

    My jungle boots came, and I have begun to break them in slowly. The first day I wore them to make dinner, just because that was the next task at hand. My husband laughed at my dismay at the resulting black scuff marks all over the kitchen floor (which normally remains PRISTINE at ALL TIMES, and if you’ll buy that then I have a bridge for sale too) and said, “Why do you think we were always waxing the floors?” THEN he laughed at my outfit (ruffly pink blouse, skirt…and jungle boots) and threatened to take a photo for distribution to family members. Heh, whatever. Rarely have I gone for looks over utility and I’m not about to start now!

    One night a fire was made in the fireplace, using sticks and logs from the trees in our yard. I am glad the children are old enough now that we do not have to keep the fireplace blocked off. The logs were dry-ish but had not been split, so they didn’t really catch well. Husband went straight for the computer and began shopping for pre-formed recycled artificial “fire logs.” I suggested we purchase an ax and maul instead. He later mentioned that if we get our (heavily wooded in some places) property, he would like to invest in a log splitter. I suggested we purchase a wood stove, first… Something about carts and horses in the correct order… Gonna go back and print out the recent postings about fire starting.

    We worked as a family (which naturally means triple the work for me, with laundry and baths!) one morning on continuing to clear the brush from the backyard. Eldest got QUITE a workout as he is very unused to off-roading in his walker. He probably needs some bigger wheels on it for that. I was glad to see that the aloe I thought had died was just buried in the underbrush, so I cleared around it and made a small area around it with some repurposed border stones so it won’t get stepped on. The pineapple plants are looking perkier too, now that the vines aren’t climbing all over them. Firstborn was busy gathering a big pile of sticks for kindling, and we taught some of them how to look for dry wood vs wet wood. Miraculously no one got dirt in their eyes or whacked in the head with flailing sticks or swarmed with fire ants or any other insurmountable owies.

    Finally, the property negotiations are finally looking up. Too much drama under the bridge to go into, but the seller finally called my realtor and we’re all on the same page now. I don’t have patience or energy for drama. The seller herself is a straight shooter (her realtor, not so much, but that’s a LONG story), and this deal might actually happen! Only God knows, and I’m leaving it all in His hands.

  31. This week we harvested and dried some herbs, and being pretty far south, also planted our first seeds of the year. We had fun in the kitchen experimenting with recipes based entirely on shelf-stable ingredients. I’ve gained an appreciation for lentils as a result!

    We were able to explore some potential homestead sites in the area. The wife and I keep going back and forth on where the right intersection of quality land, price, and distance from population centers is. I’ve been surprised that my farm-raised wife wants to be closer to the city than my suburb-raised self wants to be! No decision made yet, but a lot of good notes.

    Here’s to a good week ahead!

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