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:

Since returning the Rawles Ranch, I have plunged into my chores and projects.  At the top of my list was burning slash piles. There were seven piles, most of them small. Only one of them could be called “medium-size.” It was 15 feet long, eight feet wide, and seven feet tall. Since these piles included only a couple of 18″ diameter stumps, the burning project only took two days.

Next, with the help of our daughters, I removed the tarp covers from the tops of our chicken tractors. That will hopefully keep the tractors from collapsing under snow, this winter. Next on the “Honey Do” list was draining, coiling, and stowing more than 800 feet of garden hoses. Then it was back to the summer firewood project. After 2.5 hours and four refills of mixed gas, I had the last of the year’s firewood all cut to length. The girls are stacking the last of that, as I’m writing this. There are a few rounds that need to be split, but now we’ll have all the firewood under cover. It feels so good to be ready for winter!  Having that sense of self-sufficient  contentment is almost indescribable.

While I was helping the girls get started stacking stove-length rounds, I saw M. — one of our younger barn cats — chasing our resident wild turkey hen across the barnyard. What a naughty cat! I shouted at him, but he just looked over his shoulder in my direction, but then kept on chasing until that hen took flight. Someday that big hen may turn around teach him a lesson. She’s at least twice the weight of that teenager cat.

I’ve also been busy packing and mailing out orders for our home-based mailorder biz, Elk Creek Company. Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This past week we had gorgeous sunny weather, all week.  At the end of the week we had very hard frosts at night.  But the cold-hardy plants in the gardens were fine as well as the gray zuchs, one tomato plant, peppers, cukes, lettuces, and greens in the greenhouse.

This week I canned tomato sauce from some of my slowly ripening tomatoes in the garage.  I have a lot more to do, this coming week.

Jim brought home a huge box of apples from his Mom’s apple trees.  I quickly processed them into apple sauce.

I harvested another seventy pounds of apples from our own: Honey crisp, Gravenstein, and Macintosh. Those, I put into our “cold cellar” closet.

I picked and ate the last of our golden and red raspberries that were growing on next year’s canes, called Primocanes. Yum.

I harvested the rest of the sweet peppers in the greenhouse, and Miss Violet chopped them and froze them for me, a gallon’s worth.

At the end of the week, we received our order of the replacement Excalibur Dehydrator.  I’m amazed at how quickly it arrived. This coming week, I will dehydrate some tomatoes and apples and maybe some plums that are in the refrigerator.

I harvested and dehydrated a large amount of mint on our dehydrator trays, out in the greenhouse.

I finished filling compost into two troughs in the greenhouse that I had begun filling in the late summer.  I put in Azomite trace minerals and an Azomite general vegetable fertilizer and mixed them up  They are now ready to plant.  I had wanted to plant herbs in them.  It might be too late in the season, since most herbs like warmer temperatures to germinate and grow.  I’m thinking particularly of basil… Additionally, I filled up yet another bussing tray with composted soil, fertilized it with the trace minerals and general fertilizer mentioned above  and planted more beet greens.

Our New Pups

Miss Violet picked up her puppy, H. — a little female of the same breed as Miss Eloise’s from the same breeder this week.  She is an adorable little puppy.  She is much smaller than K., Miss Eloise’s pup, was at the same age. They have the same father, but different mothers.  H.’s mother is much smaller than K’s mother. So we expect that she will be a much smaller dog.  K. really likes her, though he will have to wait a few weeks for her to grow to a good size to be a proper playmate. He is too rough with her at this point, so they cannot be alone with each other at all, yet.  So we now have two dogs at home, appropriately named: “H. & K.”

Our poor cats!  Especially, my mature female kitty, S.  She has taken to hiding out in the woods during the day and sleeping in our room at night.  In the past, our cats were never allowed in our room per my wishes.  Fleas always find me.  But now, I have conceded my preference, temporarily.  (By the end of the week, I had washed my bedsheets three times and our comforters twice because a flea found me at the end of the week. Earlier in the week, S. had a nervous accident, and before that it was just time to wash them.  As of today, the cats are not allowed in here, for the foreseeable future.) Regardless, the nickname of our older female kitty is Miss Fi-Fi, She won’t come home, if she isn’t feeling safe somewhere in the house. I hate it when she is out at night.  I worry for her a lot.  I made a special box bed for her in our pantry hallway, of which the pups do not have access to, because of a child gate, that she is now enjoying. M. and M. are okay enough with the dogs as long as they can get some height above them. They are even willing to sleep in the same room with them when the pups are in their crates.  We allow the cats to get up on the piano and some shelves and chairs, but not the table or counters.

Our chickens are doing well.  We might have reached the end of this year’s Skunk Chronicles.  Thank God! Next week, the plan is to butcher out about twelve of our roosters and a few hens.

I have been riding my bike often and often getting up in the morning while it’s still dark and hiking around the ranch for exercise.  I’m finding that early morning exercise sets a great tone for the day.

During the past two weeks, I have begun listening, once again, to the whole Bible, starting in Genesis.  It is amazing the new thoughts and information one picks up each time one listens to the Biblical stories.

A Mountain Idyll

This week, on the day, I harvested my apples, I also harvested the few Elderberries (storebought trees) and wild rosehips that I have growing in my orchard.  These, I cleaned up and froze. Before freezing the rosehips, I pitted them and then later planted its seeds along the south fence line of our orchard. I wanted more rose hips and elderberries, so that afternoon, I alone, took a drive on some local mountain roads to look for them.  Jim is writing and working on his ranch projects like crazy, before he has to go back to California. Sadly, his relative has not much longer to be in this world.  And the girls are occupied with puppies.

As I was driving the Forest Service roads, I searched constantly for the rose hips, but did not see any.  I stopped from time to time to observe hiking trails. I drove across a bridge of the upper reaches of our river.  I got out of the car to see if there were any rose hips near the bridge. I then walked up onto the bridge and watched the crystal clear river rush under it, beautiful!  While walking back to the car a Kingfisher flew overhead and screamed at me.  As I drove up a mountain I saw lots of Fireweed going to seed, so I stopped and gathered the fluffy seeds to spread around our ranch.  Their shoots and flowers are edible.  We have a few Fireweed plants growing on the ranch, but not enough to harvest. I drove up a mountain that has a hiking trail at the end of the road at about five thousand feet elevation.  Recently it was burned at the top of the road at the parking lot trailhead, which opened up the view of some awesome mountain ranges.  The day was beautifully sunny and it was 63 degrees up there.

The colors of the trees: aspens, mountain ash, mountain maples, tamaracks, alders, evergreens and huckleberry leaves were stunning.  There were a lot of yellows, browns, reds (the huckleberry bushes and a few ash), and light yellowish-greens from the tamaracks beginning their color change.  I got out of the car and sat on a rock facing the sun.  There was nobody up there, but me.  The sun was so warm, the sky so blue, and it was so quiet up there. I looked at all of the mountains and tried to name them.  They all do have names.  I keep forgetting to bring the map with me so that I can positively identify them. Sigh. I watched a golden eagle soaring up from the valley floor on the warm updrafts. I prayed and then “napped” for a while.  I observed chipmunks and squirrels gathering seeds.  I saw the fireweed fluffs blowing up the mountain towards me from down below.  At one point I watched a large mountain cricket walk over the rock I was sitting on and pausing in the gravelly areas to stick her ovipositor into the ground to deposit her eggs. She was very, very busy. She covered a lot of ground very quickly. As I watched her, I thought about how she was instinctively laying her eggs, the next generation, that will overwinter and hatch, Lord willing, next spring. I watched grasshoppers and other insects doing their things. A few little birds called out.  I didn’t know what they were.

I also contemplated how remote this area is and was wondering if it would be “untouched” by the evil that is to come.

There were a lot of Yarrow plants that had their flowers dried out with many seeds, so I picked a lot of those to also spread about our ranch. Yarrow is another edible wild plant with medicinal value.

I picked a few very bright red huckleberry plants to put in a vase as a fall decoration for our dining room table.

I did not find elderberries or rose hips anywhere.  Because of the drought this summer in our area, I don’t think that they did well. So I will have to do with the few that I harvested on our ranch.

On the way back down the mountain, I picked up some beautiful yellow aspen leaves. I watched a very pretty dark Spruce grouse walking along the road just in front of my car. It was a lovely little afternoon trip.

This week, my parents, who live in a New England state,  reported to me that, as of the end of this month, they will not be able to go and work out at their local sports center without proof of “Vaccination.”  What was it, now, that Revelation 13, said?  “Cannot buy or sell without it, the Mark of the Beast”?  By extension, cannot participate in society, travel, get medical care, go to theaters, bars, sport centers. Soon, grocery stores, etc.?? Hmmm…? Government “is not” enforcing it, but private businesses are… Thankfully, YHWH provided an alternative for them. My mom talked with a friend who is on our same page of beliefs who has invited them to use their personal home’s indoor pool, soon. It is amazing how YHWH provides for those who love him and are honoring Him.  When society removes something from YHWH’s children, He will provide an alternative for them or something even better to bless them and to bolster their faith.  This is especially a sweet faith-building blessing for my stepfather’s faith. Praise Our Lord God for His loving-kindnesses. Trust in Him!! His mercies endureth forever.

Keep reading God’s Word, praying that you would escape all things and preparing! Trust God, not man and his systems.!

Be Strong and Be strengthened this coming week!

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.