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 took a three-hour drive to purchase several ewes and a disrelated ram. These are from a fairly rare breed, so we were excited to find a breeder so close by. (By Redoubt standards, a three-hour drive is “close by.”)

I’ve been fully engaged in the last week with writing, editing, shipping out Elk Creek Company orders. There have been a lot of orders, since we are running our biggest sake if the year, until December 11th.  For example, one gent ordered four knives and a Leatherman tool. There have also been a lot of projects around the Rawles Ranch. These included tacking-up burlap flaps to the fronts of our henhouse nest boxes, beefing up some fences to make them more bull-proof, re-hanging a tube gate, and rebuilding an old sheep corral, to make it once again sheep-tight. A lot of that work was done just after we’d received four inches of fresh snow. We also did some renovation of our old small livestock shed — since it has been several years since we’ve kept any goats or sheep in it. Most recently, it had been used to house our chickens.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Yes, it’s been a very busy week.

Early in the week we had a huge wind and rain storm that knocked out power for thirty-eight hours. The power went out about eight PM and didn’t come back until about ten-thirty AM, two days later.  We emptied our on-grid refrigerator and its freezer and put the contents in two coolers and put them out on the porch.  Then I transferred my frozen veggies to the freezer in the laundry room and out to one in the garage.  Jim started up the generator and alternated it between the two electric freezers. We also have a propane freezer.

In anticipation of a possible power outage, we did collect drinking, washing, and flushing water and topped off the stock tanks. The night the power went out, we just went to bed, since we were all so tired anyway.  The next morning, we did chores and some house cleaning, and sweeping.  Then we went to town to run errands, came home, and made dinner.  Miss Violet did dishes using water that we had collected before the storm.

The next day was beautifully sunny.  Jim had to go to town to get an Internet connection to work on the blog.  The girls and I did some organizing and clean-up.  But we were hoping that the power would come back on.  We had a sink full of dishes that we avoided doing like the plague.  😉  We had run low on our clean water and I wasn’t looking forward to using slightly cloudy pond water, that I was heating up to a boil. Thankfully the power came on and then we had a lot of work to do: dishes, laundry, vacuuming, washing out the refrigerator, retrieving all of the refrigerator foods from the coolers and only some of the freezer foods from the other freezers.

Two nights later we received four inches of snow — our first significant snowfall of the season.  We have had during the past two weeks, snow showers from time to time, but not much accumulation. I really wanted to cross country ski, but we had a ton of work to do.

Jim and I and the girls, shoveled and scraped the floor on the Chicken/small livestock shed.  We took the top layer of composted manure and hay off the gravel underneath to clean it out and to remove mold that had built up in the top layer of gravel over the years and laid down a very thick layer of clay on top of it. We always have truckload-size stockpiles of clay, gravel, and sand on hand for various projects. They have come in handy on multiple occasions. We are drying out the clay with a fan and small portable heater and will be placing a thick layer of straw on top of it in a few days and will then put the very cute and adorable sheep into the shed. In the meantime, they are living in our horse trailer. I still need to scrub the walls and fence panels inside the shed before we move them in.  That won’t take too long to do after the Sabbath. We’ve been so busy during the past week, that we didn’t get to the Chicken shed clean-up until the day after picking the sheep up. Soon they will have a wonderful place to live in.

The sheep were acquired specifically for meat, since we have all recently decided that we really enjoy eating lamb, also, to eat knapweed and our other weed problems: Bull thistles! Additionally, we are interested in learning the arts of shearing, carding, spinning and knitting.  Jim and the Memsahib, his first wife, had been very into all of this before she passed away.  When we first married, I had been far more interested in working with the cows and horses, first. But now I am ready to care for and learn about sheep.  Thankfully, until I am up to speed in the knowledge department, Jim can troubleshoot most of their issues and needs. Jim has been keeping sheep off and on for thirty years.

The bull got himself in trouble on several occasions this week: breaking into the Main garden three times from two different spots: the twice at the gate and once from side of our fence-line and doing a couple of other things that we shall not reveal, for OPSEC.  What a Bovine Delinquent he has been!!  Therefore we have “Locked up” the whole herd, horses included, in our corrals for the forseeable future.

I mentioned last week that I would let you know what I thought about eating sunflower seeds and nuts that had been soaked/almost sprouted and then dehydrated in our dehydrator. The end result was that the sunflower seeds and almonds were “fluffy” and very tasty and they are definitely much easier to digest, not causing stomach issues, as the straight raw seeds and nuts cause.  I like them very much and will continue to soak and sprout nuts and seeds in the future.

I sorted out the first bay of our barn so Jim could park the Electric Quad in it for the winter.  I sorted out our mitten and hat tote and our work glove tote. I sorted out our cupboard where we keep canning paraphernalia.  I had four, two gallon sized plastic bags full of lids and screw caps that we put in a box and moved into our hallway pantry. Thus making room for other important kitchen appliances to be stored.

At the beginning of the week, Jim and I went for a hunting walk up the nearby forest service road. We saw a few deer tracks, but that is all.

Jim is hopeful that with the snow now down in the valley that we may be able to fill our tags.  We shall see. Up to this date, we have been so busy this hunting season with Jim’s Mom’s passing and getting stuff taken care of on the ranch that we’ve hardly thought about hunting. Perhaps, we shall have some luck in the next week?

I listened to the book of Leviticus this week. I’ve been praying/reciting the Lord’s prayer to myself quite frequently lately.  “Our Father, who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name.  Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven. [I emphasize these words.] Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us of our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, and lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

Keep prepping and paying attention to the news. Keep reading the Word of God and Praying…

– 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.