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:

This past week has been all about firewood, here at The Rawles Ranch. We have plenty of dead-standing larch and fir trees on the ranch, so there is no worry about having well-seasoned wood. It is just a matter of time to get them felled, cut up, hauled, split, and stacked. To complicate things, the weather has been roaring hot recently, so on most mornings I start working around 6 AM, and knock off at around 10:30 AM. Then, during the heat of the day, I’m in my office: writing, editing, researching, cataloging guns for Elk Creek Company, and packing orders. By the way, I recently added a half-dozen rifles in practical calibers that might be of interest.

Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Yep, the weather is hot!  Miss Eloise mentioned,  “I never thought that I would ever say this, but, I’m looking forward to winter.” Hah!  I qualified it with, “Well, I’m looking forward to Fall.” Miss Eloise also added: “It is easier to stay warm when it’s cold, then to get cool when it’s hot.”

This week,  I did a little of this and a little of that. One of the blessings of living on our ranch is that I am pretty much given free rein to decide what I want and need to do and when I want to do it. Jim, very rarely tells me to do anything, nor do I tell him what to do.  We do our own work, unless one of us needs help and asks the other.  Sometimes, I do all my own work and sometimes I join Jim with his work. Once in a great while Jim does some of my housework.  Basically, Jim is in charge of the blog and the gun business and the big stuff around the ranch, like getting hay and the wood in, fence repairs, etc.  And I take care of the house, cooking, cleaning, laundry, garden, animals, canning, etc. I like it.  I work hard on what I want to and rest when I want to. Sometimes, I have great motivation and other times, I don’t. Of course there are always the animal chores and the watering that must be done daily.  Once in awhile, I enlist Jim or the girls to take care of the animal chores for me when I feel too tired. 😉

This week,  Miss Violet and I finally planted her edible flower garden.  We planted borage, flax, horehound, Nasturtiams, Valerian, Blue Hyssop, Lavender, Evening Primrose, so far…  Without realizing it, I see that we’ve mostly planted pink and blue/purple flowers.  These are some of my favorite colors. We shall see what they look like in a few weeks and the space around them and maybe plant some others, if there is room…

Along our driveway, around the bull pen, near the cow corrals and into the woods near our guest cabin, I pulled Knapweed and Daisies.  We just have too many of them and it’s time to cull them. Additionally, I pulled Knapweed and daisies from an area in front of the Main garden and picked up a lot of the rocks that I have tossed over the fence during the past two summers in that area and dumped them in a low area where we dump rocks, as fill.

I’ve spent a lot of time watering the various gardens, planters, greenhouse around the ranch and certain areas around the house.

I have been harvesting black raspberries.  They are not doing as well this year and there are a lot less fruiting canes than in past years.  I also noticed that there are far fewer new canes growing for next summer.  This has me quite concerned. I will be sure to fertilize and add more compost to their beds after the fruiting season, this summer to help them put our more canes for next summer.

However, I have a huge boatload of Red and Golden raspberries this summer.  I’ve already harvested three gallons at the end of this week and have begun dehydrating them and will make jam on Sunday.

I did a further re-organization of the spice cupboard and another cupboard.  I re-orged my book corner in our bedroom.  I had piles of books on the floor and got them back up onto shelves.  I went through my clothes armoire and culled a few items from there and refolded clothes, etc.

I went through the chest freezer and pulled out three, two-gallon bags of frozen tomatoes from last summer’s garden, boiled them down for tomato sauce, and canned it.

One morning we woke up early and I went out to feed the cows and my chickens and to move hoses around.  As I walked by Miss Violet’s chicken run, I saw myriads of feathers and a dead chicken, at the door of the run.  Oh man!  Another predator had gotten into the coop.  But, I didn’t know just how. I thought that we had secured it super well from the last attack.  I walked around the coop, looking at the ground and kicking the fence trying to see if there were any gaps big enough for a skunk or raccoon to get in. No. There was not.  So I then began to look up at the space between the roof fencing and the walls.  No, not really. Then I looked at the roof fencing and the tarp and saw a huge hole in the tarp and underneath it, a gap and some loose fencing where the roof fence is not secured to the framework, it was hanging down enough for an animal to drop down through it.  That sneaky persistent critter.

I left the chicken run to finish the chores and was thinking about getting Miss Violet to help me fix it later in the morning, since she was still sleeping.  About two hours later, the girls came to me with one of our chickens still alive but with a huge gash in it’s shoulder. The predator had returned during daylight hours and took another one of our hens.  The girls going out to do their chores must have scared it away as they approached the run.  Bummer! Jim had to put the hen down.  Immediately, Miss Eloise brought me the wire and diagonal wire cutters and I set to work securing all of the loose ceiling fencing all around the whole run.  I also added a crisscross of wire between the side panels and roof panels just in case the animal was small enough to fit through gap.  The girls went back inside to do other chores.  I think that I have finally thwarted this animal with this upgraded run!

I spent an afternoon reviewing my wild edible plant books.  I like to also gather seeds from wild edible plants and scatter them around the ranch for future food use.  I ordered a few items such as more Burdock root and Sunchokes to plant.  I already have some growing, but would like to have more about the place. I would like to add, that after reading through several of the books, that I want to say that we have been so brainwashed to what we think of what is considered food and what is not and to be afraid of other wild foods.  It is ridiculous.  Some of these wild foods have far more dense nutrients than commercial foods that we buy at the stores or even grow in our garden. I am definitely, slowly incorporating wild foods into our diet. And I am planting more of them about the ranch.

In the kitchen, I have been experimenting with making raw vegetable dishes.  This week, I tried for the first time Raw Zucchini pasta.  I spiralized raw zucchini and made a type of pesto dressing from Olive oil, avocado, garlic, pumpkin and sunflower seeds, basil, oregano, lemon, and salt.  It was quite yummy to me and Jim and the girls liked it well enough. I also made a raw tomato soup, by blending, tomatoes, red peppers, basil, oregano, garlic, onion, paprika, and celery. But it had too much onion and garlic in it.  But it was fairly tasty.  Next time I will put less or none at all of the garlic or onion.

We all have continued our daily workout and fun swims in our very local swimming hole.  I additionally have done a fair amount of bike riding in the mornings.

This past week I have read Psalms 64 to 68 in Hebrew.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

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.