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 your e-mailed letters. We post many of those –or excerpts thereof — in this column, in the Odds ‘n Sods Column, and in the Snippets column. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

We had a very busy week here at the Rawles Ranch, with some splendid weather. I hung two new livestock tube gates, assisted our eldest daughter in setting up a business venture, limbed and dragged a deadfallen fir tree, went to visit a consulting client, placed a few mail orders for resale, inventoried a few new guns for Elk Creek Company, mailed out two orders, and assisted Lily with a few chores and projects.

Yesterday I attended a gun show for just one day, and found a few bargains. But I was alarmed at the price of ammunition and primers.  Generic 9mm ball ammo was selling for $45 to $50 per box of 50, and jacketed hollowpoints were $60+ per box of 50 or higher. Primers were selling for an absurd  $175 to $225 per thousand.

Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This week we had gorgeous sunny weather.  The swallows have returned. Again, this week was mostly all about gardening.

We did a lot of garden preparation and early spring planting.

Miss Eloise has use of the Shed garden this year, as her own plot.  She has already planted potatoes, peas, broccoli, and Hard Red wheat.  She still has space and will plant warm summer vegetables later in May.

I spent the week putting manure in the Left Annex garden, rototilling it three times more, and then planting long rows of carrots, more onions, parsnips, kale, beets, Swiss Chard, turnips, oats, Buckwheat, and Einkorn wheat.

We hadn’t ever planted grains before this year, but every year we have had volunteer oats grow to seed, successfully, from oat straw being used as mulch.  So, I figured, why not really give it a try?

I still have much room in the Left Annex garden and the whole Right Annex garden to continue to add manure and prepare the beds for summer crops such as beans, cucumbers, corn, and squashes.  These we will plant in the middle of May, or late May.

In the Main garden, I planted more than seventy New Jersey Wakefield cabbage seedlings that I had started in the Indoor Bathroom Greenhouse and then later moved to the outside Greenhouse.

In the Greenhouse, I filled five giant planter pots with well-composted chicken and cow manure and planted Russet, Sweet, and a mix of Yukon yellows and Norland Red potatoes in them.

This coming week, in between rain showers, I plan to rototill the Extension garden plot a few more times and plant the potatoes there.  I also need to restart my tomato seedlings, since, I think the seeds that I planted in trays a few weeks back, were baked in the greenhouse under the totes.  I forgot to open the doors and lift off the totes on a very hot day, for the greenhouse.  Even if the air temperature outside is the the sixties and sunny, the greenhouse can reach a hundred degrees, if I don’t open the doors in addition to the passive vents that open when their parrafin “lifts” are heated. With the totes over the trays, it was super hot under them. It’s been a week since I lifted the totes off and the seeds and they have not sprouted.  Therefore I think they rotted or the heat killed them. Thankfully it’s still very early in the growing season to start more tomatoes.  Plus, I have over fifteen volunteer tomato plants already growing in the greenhouse, but I think they are mostly orange cherry tomatoes.  Time will tell.

A critter story for you all:

This week, the few chickens that a friend gave to us, killed three of Miss Violet’s baby chicks.  So that morning that we found the dead chicks, Jim repaired our Chicken run in order for me to move the chickens out of the coop that they were sharing with Miss Violet’s chicks.

We put up tarps at one end for protection from wind, sun, and rain, put up a perch bar under the tarps, put in a nesting basket for the girls to lay their eggs in. I scraped away the built up chicken manure from our previous bird flocks’ droppings and put it in the greenhouse to fill our giant planter pots. I then put some oat straw in the coop under the tarps.  We moved the chickens out there as soon as one of the panels had been replaced and they couldn’t get out and thus we were working around the Chickens as we did the last bit of work.

The cows, calves, bull, and horses had been way out in the meadows during this chicken transition and transfer.  They perceived that there was a lot of activity near their loafing area and came back up to see what was happening.

As I was approaching the Chicken run, to bring the last armful of straw to the spread, I looked up and saw the horses and all of our cows and the bull, Mrs. Wild Turkey, and three of our cats all together in close proximity to each other surrounding the chicken run gawking at the birds and greeting them.  I paused for a moment to observe their behavior. It was so funny and heart-warming to see almost all of our animals gathered to meet the chickens that they had not yet seen, but had heard in the chicken coop during the past few weeks.  I imagined that they were curious to meet them and greet them and welcome them to the Rawles Ranch, officially, now that they could see them.

We have quite a menagerie of animals. I enjoy witnessing their camaraderie with each other.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

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As always,  please share and send e-mails of your own successes and hard-earned wisdom and we will post them in the “Snippets” column this coming week.  We want to hear from you.