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 now fully into woodcutting mode. We burn 3 to 4 cords of wood each winter, so replenishing that is always a late spring/early summer task for us. I usually concentrate on the green wood first, and then dead-standing and dead-fallen trees. That way, the greenest wood ends up in the back end of the main woodshed and hence has the longest time to season, before it is burned. The green wood all comes non-marketable trees: Broken-crowns, cripples, leaners, and any that look diseased in any way. We only had two large fir trees blow down this past winter. The rest of what I’ll be cutting will mainly be small deadfallen tamaracks (western larch). It seems that nearly half of my woodcutting time is spent hauling limbs to slash piles, to burn months later. Oh well, it is all good exercise.

We have made some progress in building up our endurance, with alternating steep hikes and fairly level hikes, into the adjoining National Forest.  Lily will have more about that.

To get ready for lambing season, I replaced the heavy netting on our homemade sheep “chair” or “cradle”.  It looks like a traditional ladder, six feet tall, with a couple of rungs missing in the middle. In that 40″ gap is very loosely stretched a rectangle of heavy-duty fish netting. This, by the way, is the same netting that I use as the base layer for my ghillie capes and ponchos. Ewes can be flipped onto their backs into the cradle, and they naturally go semi-limp. Then we slide the top of the cradle handles up to lean on the wall of the barn at about a 35-degree angle, to begin crutching. The ewes only rarely struggle, when they are put in that position. We use that cradle for sheep shearing, crutching, and hoof trimming. This time, we just needed the cradle for a light crutching and hoof trims. Flystrike is not much of a risk in our region, but we don’t want to risk having a young lamb suckling on a dangling lock of wool, rather than a teat!  Cructhing takes just a few minutes, even with handshears. The hoof trimming is even faster.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week the weather was cool again, with a day or two of rain.  I wish it would warm up.

The three of us went on three hikes this week.  This year is finally the time for us to explore our region much more fully.  We’re catching up on our ranch chores, we’re not home schooling anymore, we’re making time to hike. We live in a beautiful area with lots of hiking opportunities for both trail and bushwhacking hikes that lead to tops of mountains, streams, waterfalls and lakes. The wildflowers are coming out. I love hiking and exploring and wish we had done more of it during the kids’ school years…regrets.

After our first hike of the week took us back up the mountain that we hiked last week.  This time our goal was to hike up for an hour with less rests, it’s really steep, a three thousand foot elevation gain in 2.2 miles, and get as far as we can in the hour and then turn around and go back down. We are getting in shape slowly.  We did go up much further than the other day and rested less frequently.  Miss Violet is getting used to her hiking legs.  This mountain is where we saw the featured yellow flower, the Glacier Lily.  Additionally we saw Mountain Blue bells, Concord grape flowers and a few others.

Our next hike was on a forest service road, very close to home, that we didn’t really realize was there, was confused about whether it was on private property or not within walking distance of our home.  I kept seeing it on maps but it overlapped the town road and appeared to go through private property. Anyhow on our way back home from the mountain hike we took a gambol and drove up one of the tracks, saw a forest road number sign and followed it to it’s end where it dropped back out onto the town road.  Then a bit further up we saw another section of it with a another forest service number inside the first fifty feet of the track and took that back down to where it dumped out near our home.  Wow to think we’ve lived her for so many years and never really saw this road… The next day, we hiked it for more than five miles.  I wanted to see where the two roads connected.  There was a maze of old logging roads branching off of it.

At one point I left Jim and Miss Violet, took H. and went up a few slopes to see where the roads might connect.  I ended up climbing a few benches and up a rock escarpment.  H. had a bit of trouble climbing up the rock face but did it.  I walked around the bench and then headed back. We went down a slope into a small canyon where their were remnants of another logging road.  Here I saw the bones and skull of a huge moose kill from about a few years back.  Jim had the Glock so, H. and I decided to hurry back to where we had left Jim and Miss Violet.  We had been gone from them about fifteen minutes. We returned to them and walked home.  It was a lovely longer distance hike.

I have been studying the maps of our area very carefully.  I am searching out where all of the streams are that run off the unnamed mountain into our unnamed river for various reasons. There was a stream that is quite isolated that caught my interest.  I mentioned it to Jim and he said we could bushwhack into it’s canyon. So two days later, we did so.  On that hike there was a small hill, that I scrambled up with H.  This literally was like going up a ladder.  We followed bear tracks all the way up it, literally stepping in it’s tracks to the summit.  I had the Glock on me that day.  I summited the hill, looked around and then carefully made my way back down to where I had left Jim and Miss Violet. Then we followed the stream a little bit, then bushwhacked cross country, skirting the said hill in a northerly direction.  At one point I saw fresh tracks that looked like they were from a canine.  Immediately H. started sniffing the ground, became excited and began to range in circles away from me, quickly. Her ruff was up a bit.  I called her to me immediately.  And she came to me, Thank God. We continued on until we came out into a meadow that had been logged over and was covered with stumps.  In the meadow we stopped to have a snack.

As we were finishing our snack, H. suddenly barked, ruffed up the fur on her hackles and ran towards a stump and did the very aggressive hops that dogs do when they are warning something to stay away.  I looked in the direction that she was looking and shouted, a very nervous adrenalin rushed, “Hey, Hey” and saw something move out of the corner of my eye near a root ball of a fallen tree on the edge of the  forest.  Immediately, I called H. back to me.  She ran right back, to me, I shouted “Hey, Hey” again and put her on the leash.  Jim also shouted “Hey” took my Glock and walked over to the stump and found a den hole right behind it. (He wasn’t carrying a pistol that day.)We don’t know what it was that H. was barking at.  Maybe she was barking only at the stump?  LOL. My first reaction when she goes of defense like that, its to call her to me and shout, to scare whatever may be nearby to leave. We praised H. for being such a good girl defending us AND coming right back to me when I called her.  She is a very good girl. We cleaned up our snack and put everything away and hiked out to our vehicle.

I love these hikes with Jim and Miss Violet.  I love exploring and getting into shape.

After these three hikes, I spent time reassessing my day pack and all that I wish to carry in it.  My day pack needs to be a little bit bigger, so Jim and I did some research and ordered a Mystery Ranch women’s day pack/overnight pack.

Pruned fruit trees.

I read Proverbs 1 this week. This verse stood out to me.

Proverbs 1:33: “But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from evil”

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.