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:

I’m back on the road, for the full month of June.  I will reactivate ordering at Elk Creek Company on or about July 1st.

I heard from Lily that shortly after I left on my trip that our Bad Boy Bull disassembled one of our tube gates. That goes to prove one of my long-standing assertions: Bulls are only well-behaved in the chest freezer.

I’ve settled into my out-of-state travel routine. The only really good things I can mention are that I get a lot exercise, I get a lot of writing/editing done, and I get to hear some family history. Otherwise, there is just a lot of monotonous routine. But I feel obligated to be here, caring for an ailing elderly family member. That is how I was raised. I hope that someday my children or grandchildren will do the same, for me.

Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week was hot and beautiful! But with the heat, the mosquitoes returned with a vengeance! Since I am recovering from a cold, I was basically bedridden for two days with a fever, but took high doses of liposomal C — 6,000 MG for two days — zinc, and selenium, magnesium, and potassium with veggie smoothies, and I specifically laid out in the sun for a couple of hours each day every day this week (for Vitamin D), so I recovered fairly quickly from the worse of it. But I still have a slight cough and an icky nose. Plus, dealing with heat and mosquitoes, not as much was accomplished as I would like. But this is what I was able to do:

I have mowed the Main garden grass paths twice with the little non-motorized push mower. I have been rotating our water sprinklers around the beds.

I rototilled two beds in the Main garden and laid out black underlayment fabric in one of them to plant tomatoes in.

I laid out my rows in the rest of the garden wide enough to run the rototiller through, to help with the weeding and thus rototilled between all of the rows in the Main garden.

I prepared mounds for and planted a row of celery seedlings and two rows of Delicata squash.

I rototilled Miss Violet’s soon-to-be Edible Flower Garden, now that almost all of the rocks have been removed. There are still two or three rocks to remove that are in the corner of the house of which the rototiller cannot reach. Hopefully this coming week we can get it composted and planted with flower seeds.

In the large pots lining the house in the Main garden, I planted three with Acorn squash, and one with leftover cucumber seedlings, most of which were planted in the Greenhouse last week. I can’t remember if I mentioned that last week? I have more pots to plant, but have to decide: With what?

I rototilled between the rows in the Left Annex garden and rototilled the middle section that the girls and I had been spreading manure in during the past two weeks.

In the greenhouse, I planted more trays of Mesculin lettuce and broccoli.

At the end of the week, we went to town to pick up a vehicle from the shop as well as the gas engine lawn mower that was in for repair. We did some serious food shopping, meat: ground beef, liver, lamb, chicken and salmon, and fresh veggies. I also bought some more pasture grass seed to plant in a few areas of the ranch.

Also, this week, the day after Jim left, our on-demand water heater died for good! We are having trouble finding someone to come and fix it, so we get to practice boiling water for sponge bathing and dishes for a while. Fun! Fun! Fun! At least we have running water!!!

Our neighbor came over with his Kubota tractor for three hours, and dug out some more stumps for us, moved some slate from one spot to another for an upcoming project when Jim returns home, and spread out some piled up gravel from my snowplowing winter exploits. He also moved some sandy clay to another spot for me to fill in an area that needed some smoothing out.

About that Bull! The grass Is greener on the other side! The cows and horses were corralled separately in our corrals that are divided by tube panels that were closed with bungie cords. The bull lifted the divider tube gate with his head and slipped out into the horses’ corral. The cows were not able to follow since the gate went back to its original condition after the bull passed through. From there, a while later, he lifted the chained tube gate off its hinges — the one that goes out into the house yard and meadow. The horses went out with him.

When Jim returns, I’ll ask him to re-hang that gate, using his trick of pointing one hinge pin up and pointing the other one down, to make it very difficult for the critters to force their way through the gate.

The bull is best buds with S. our dominant female horse. The two of them enjoy the occasional gentle head butt games and some chase and herding games in the cooling evening hours. Sometimes to two of them both leap and kick and tear after each other at top speed. It’s fun to watch them play together.

So they all broke into the main pasture meadow. So, okay, never mind. I have to fix the gate and if I lock him back up in anything other than our small super-stout bullpen, he will just ruin it more. He isn’t harming anything being loose in the meadows with the horses. His girls are locked up so he won’t be wandering far off without them. The cows will remain corralled because at this point two of them are due to calve sometime this month or early next month, and we were giving our pastures a chance to grow. Then will rotate the cows through them, later on, this summer. The far meadow is now flooded but only slightly, so the horses and bull only have the house meadow to graze in. The south pasture is closed off, to grow. It is also usually, a nursery area for the local deer to give birth in. But I haven’t seen any deer on our ranch since Jim put up the hot wire…  UPDATE: I just saw a doe with two fawns on the ranch.

All this leads up to a critter story: While the neighbor was here and we were working on projects, the bull (Sh.) laid down in the sunlight near our work area. The temperatures were quite warm. I still was not feeling too well and wanted a break. I went over and sat down next to him curious to see how he would react to me sitting near him. I have never sat down near him before, I have always stood when near him, on guard. But this day, being hot and tired, I sat down near him in front of his head about four feet away. He didn’t move, I then inched up to his head and began scratching him all over his head, behind his ears, on his chin, and his neck. Then I rubbed his throat. He loved having his throat scratched and stretched up his head as far as he could to show that he was enjoying that rub and wanted more.  Then I stopped and laid back and closed my eyes in the sun. I wondered how he would react to that behavior of mine? Sh. almost immediately stood up. I opened my eyes and watched him. He looked at me and then turned and walked away a little bit and began to graze while watching me. Okay, he saw that I was done scratching him, so he decided that it was time to go back to grazing. I rested for a few more moments and then returned to work.

o o o

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.