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 less activity last week, because a series of snow showers and rain showers curtailed our outdoor activity. The cattle apparently objected to being separated from the horses. They broke through a pasture gate, lifting it off of its hinge pins. I remedied that by installing a large lag bolt immediately above each pin.  But for the time being, the cows and horses are now pastured together. We are now working on the “reserve” hay pile. That is about three tons of Timothy/grass mix bales. The grass in our pastures should be tall enough soon that we won’t have to use more than half of those reserve bales.

I put up a couple of new light fixtures for Lily in the kitchen and dining room. Those certainly made a difference in cheering up the place, in the midst of Mud Season.

We took delivery of our new wood cookstove. We won’t have a place for it until I build a stone base, in the kitchen. So the stove may sit tarped on the deck for a couple of weeks.

Our other work this week involved our old camping/bugout trailer. Lily will explain that…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week the weather was rainy and snow-showery in the beginning of the week and then at the end of the week, we finally had warm sunshine. However this next week we, and much of the country will return to serious winter with rain and snow showers and blizzards to our east, until about April 22nd.  It is amazing that we have had nearly two months of no snow and then we’ll get it in April. Grrr! I’m shaking my head

This week we were very busy indeed with what I will call “Spring cleaning”.  It is a continuation of the basic house/ranch remodel.

Jim and I spent a lot of time cleaning out our camping trailer that had been sitting unused for about two years, and restocking it, somewhat, to give it to one of our young adult children. Two of our adult children have used it as a temporary home in the past, and now a third one wants to use it.

This entailed emptying it out our camping stuff and reorganizing it, vacuuming up mouse poop and dead flies, washing down cupboards, walls, shelves, windows, etc. and then restocking it with some food: spices, meat, baking goods, cookware, etc. It was a lot of work.

This process led us into the long needing reorganizing of our Pantry hallway.  Jim and I put in two wire rack shelving units for most of our homemade canned goods.  Wow, I now realize that I’ve been impressively busy canning and dehydrating during the past three years. Since we tend to eat fresh, the canned goods are to fall back on in emergencies. We now have a wider walkway down the hallway.  What a concept.

I’ve been candling the incubating chicken eggs and am now down to about fourteen viable eggs.  They should hatch out on Sunday.  Most of the “viables” are from my Auracanas… We shall see what we get. I will incubate another batch of eggs right after these hatch.

As part of of reorganization of the Pantry we had a lot of bagged items that we are putting in buckets and gallon-size glass jars

Doggie Stories

H. our female pup, the only one currently living at home, is Miss Violet’s nine-month-old pup. She has become my play and chore buddy.  She loves to come do the morning chores with me.  During my chores I will throw her beloved frisbee for her to go fetch.  When I throw it from inside our open barn, I don’t always see where it goes. One morning this week, I threw it and unbeknownst to me, it landed on our shed’s roof. I finished putting the bale of hay into the wheelbarrow as prep for the evening feeding chore. Being done with the chores, I went out to head to the house.  H. followed after me, I got halfway to the house and looked at H. to throw her frisbee for her and noticed that she didn’t have it.  I asked her, “H., where is your frisbee?” as I scanned the ground and then returned my gaze to her. Her ears were fully up and cocked to the side looking at me. I asked her again.  She immediately ran back to the shed and sat down right in front of it. I walked towards her, still scanning the ground.  Then when I reached the shed, I asked her, “Is your frisbee on top of the shed?  Did I throw it up there?”  I walked around to the barn side, where I could get a good view of the roof and there it was!  About a foot down from the peak of the roof, fairly close to the front end. I chuckled.  “What a smart girl you are, H.” I went and retrieved the pitchfork to see if I could reach it with that, nope.  I had to get up high.  “Now what is the quickest and safest way to get up there to retrieve it?” “The pickup truck.”

I walked back to the house to get the keys, talking to H. the whole way telling her that I needed to get the keys to the pickup to get her frisbee for her. She followed me through the house and back out to the pickup, I think she wanted to load up with me but I didn’t let her.  She is smart enough to stay out of it’s way.  She followed the truck over to the shed and watched as I climbed up on the back bed and stood up on the corners of the bed near the cab, and reached with the pitchfork and dragged down the frisbee.  She picked it up immediately after it dropped.  I returned the pickup to its normal parking place and then threw the frisbee a few more times.  What a smart pup we’ve got.

One day this week, Miss Violet cleaned out the hen house for me.  She accidentally let out a few birds.  Come evening she went out after dusk to shut the door and then let the other birds in from the run.  A couple of birds did not go back in on their own accord for the night.  She didn’t know this and didn’t see them.  Come morning, she let H. out to do her morning business. A while later, I went outside and found that H. had caught a chicken and had killed and devoured most of it.  I was not a happy momma. I have never harshly disciplined H. before, but I wanted her to get the point that chickens are off limits.  We have always said ‘No” to her when she was around them, nearly every morning, but never let her chase them or get in contact with them.

She does chase our wild turkey, but I don’t mind, because I want turkey to always be on alert. I don’t want turkey too domesticated for her own safety.  She usually flies up into the trees which is good exercise for her. She does eat a fair amount of chicken grain.

I yelled at H., told her she was a bad, bad dog.  The porch door was open. She went into the house and ran to Miss Violet’s room.

I wasn’t sure of what to do, the damage has already been done,  She has gotten a taste of chicken, and the taste of the hunt. Dang!

I had to do something. A friend has repeatedly told us to “tie the dead chicken around her neck for three days.” Uhh, no”.  I’m not going to do that.  Disgusting!  That would mean keeping her outside for three days, and it’s so gross, germy and smelly.  Nope! Nope! Nope!

So I grabbed the mostly eaten chicken and put it on the porch, marched into Miss Violet’s room and dragged H. off her dog bed, telling her she was a bad girl, jerking her collar while dragging her to the porch and over to the dead bird.  I pushed her nose down to the bird and held her head on it, while I yelled a few more times and smacked her head once.  She yelped, I released her and she ran back to Miss Violet’s room.  I felt so bad and sad to have had to discipline her in this way.  She had never seen how mad I could get, before.  She knew she was in the proverbial dog house.

H. is a sensitive girl.  In the next half hour, twice I went into the bedroom and looked at her with unapproving eyes and shook my head at her.  She put her ears back, tucked herself into a tighter ball and would look away from me. She hid under Miss Violet’s new desk.  Then I went in to just check on her with worry and concern. She stayed in there for over an hour and a half, until I couldn’t take it any more.  Her behavior was so pitiful.  I missed my friend gamboling around me while I did my work.  I’m not so sure that she would have spent the whole day in there cowering. I called to her to come and play with me and she wouldn’t come.  I went over to her and pet her and kissed her and she was so apologetic to me.  It broke my heart.  I called her again to go outside and play with me and still she wouldn’t come to me.  I gave her some cooked beef liver.  Then I got the leash and took her outside for a walk.

She was very worried about me for a few minutes.  She is worried about being on the leash anyhow, because Miss Violet has stepped on her paws a few times by accident when walking with her on the leash. The first thing I did was to walk her over to the chicken run and show her the birds and say, severely “No” to reinforce what I was trying to teach her.  Then we walked up the driveway. I stopped and loved her up.  We walked some more, stopped and I loved her up. Then I took the leash off her and loved her up some more.  I then invited her to play with me. She perked up and returned to her playful care free self. I ran with her and we played together for a few minutes, then went back to the house to get her frisbee and we spent time playing frisbee fetch. Then I loved her up again. All was restored between us.

I hope I don’t ever have to do that again with her.

Did I tell you what a smart girl, she is? One evening after all that work we’ve been doing and after an early dinner, I laid out in the sun on my sleeping pad on the Main garden porch and compared some prophecy scriptures from Isaiah 27, Malachi 4 and Daniel 11:36 to the end of the chapter… Later, I ran in the house for something.  On my way back out, I invited H. to come out with me.  The Main garden is resting this year, otherwise, I wouldn’t let the dog in it to play.  Miss H. can go under the fence, we will have to fix that soon, so she left the Main garden went around the house to get her frisbee off the back porch, and brought it back to me. I was still reading, laying down and I didn’t want to be too bothered.  I was kinda hopin’ that H. would lay down beside me, so I could keep reading.

Well, she got the frisbee and brought it to the porch.  She put it on the ground below the steps and gave a little whine.  I ignored her.  A bit later she picked up the frisbee and brought it up the few steps and pushed it against my arm dropping it onto the step just below me and whined.  I chuckled, reached for it, and threw it for her, from my reclined position.  I returned to reading.  She brought it back dropped it on the ground 10 feet from the steps.  I completely ignored it.  I was very relaxed and needed and just wanted to rest in the sunshine. She picked up the frisbee again and dropped it on the lower step, so I picked it up and threw it. We did this a few more times. I ignored her unless or until she put the frisbee on the porch steps, in reach of me.

After a few minutes of seeing her learning this behavior, I thought that it was so entertaining that I called Miss Violet –who was reading a book of her own — out from the house, to come and watch her pup.  She laughed.  A few minutes later Jim came looking for me. I had him watch Miss H. Of course by then,  I was sitting up and not coming off the porch but would throw the frisbee only if H. would place it at my feet. Sometimes, if I threw the frisbee just right and H.’s eyes followed it carefully, she could catch it mid air before it would hit the ground.  Whenever that happens she gets a big cheer from all who are watching!

I have come to really love this dog and am so glad that she is a member of our family.

Yep, the cows and horses love each other and don’t want to be separated from each other.  It is annoying, because the cows are pregnant.  I want them to get as much feed as possible. I would prefer if they would be separate from each other for the next few months. The horses are dominant and they are such pigs, bullying the cows and eating more than them. At this point I want the horses to slim down and the cows to fatten up.

A heads-up warning from Ice Age Farmer concerning the end of the line for meat production, chickens being in the spotlight, at this moment.  If you have chickens or only a few and want to reproduce them, then you need to get you’re own incubator and incubate your own eggs.  (Or develop some very broody hens.) And if you live near a migratory bird route then you will want to keep them inside to keep them from becoming infected.  Additionally, you will want to find ways to hide them from two-legged predators–those with or without badges.

Take a look at this: “PLANNED STARVATION: Grain deliveries by rail to be partially HALTED” which could cause a lack of feed for cattle that in turn would cause beef scarcity.

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.