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’ve been trying to wrap up our annual firewood cutting, here at the ranch, but other projects keep popping up.  Perhaps next week…

The insulation and reorganization project for our workshop is continuing.

Our #1 Son found a great deal on eight sets of used original Rivetier brand heavy-duty utility shelves, in Spokane. He bought the last “odds and ends” shelf units from a warehouse that was being cleaned out, for repurposing. He got the full trailer load for $500. Those shelf units were a mix of 4-, 6-, and 8-foot lengths. Most of those shelf units had 7-foot tall corner posts. So now, I just need to find a few more shelves, and we’ll then have all the storage that we need. This reminds me of one of the key points in serious WTSHTF preparedness: It takes both a lot of shelf space and some truly meticulous organization, with labels, numbered boxes, and inventory lists. It is one thing to have everything that you need, but it is another to know exactly where to find it, quickly!

I did a final hunt of the year for Russian Thistles, here at the ranch.  It is important to dig them up or at least chop them off and safely haul the stalks away before their seed pods burst. It is too late in the year for safe burning, so these went to the dump in black plastic trash bags.  Since we don’t like to spray any herbicides here at the ranch, weed hunting takes up several days of our time, each year. It is amazing how the seeds come in on the winds, or arrive with purchased hay. We still have them in other places that we will have to get at as time permits.

Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

We had three of our grandsons come to visit, last weekend. Camp Rawles! That was great fun.  Miss Violet and I took them out for a one-hour canoe paddle, on The Unnamed River. We went fishing. With both the canoeing and fishing, we saw quite a number of trout, (Bull Trout, Brookies, and Cutties) but didn’t catch any.  We went “swimming”.  The water was a bit colder this past week, so they spent the majority of their time chasing and catching a whole mess of baby frogs lining the banks. They also helped us pick raspberries. The two youngers ate theirs, while the oldest saved his and took them home along with all of the ones that I picked for them. The two older boys discovered my Country Living Mill grain grinder and insisted on grinding (we have a hand grinder, it’s not motorized) three cups of wheat. I let them have at it!…They stuck with the grinding until it was finished, two passes through the mill for extra fine flour. They impressed me with their determination to complete the job! I made pancakes for them from the flour they ground the next morning.  They loved playing with our new chicks…I was able to candle the new batch of eggs that were being incubated in our incubator that were about four days into the process.  The boys were able to see the veins and arteries of the chick embryo beginning to grow in the shell.  Very exciting! We had a campfire and cooked S’mores.

At the end of the week, I spoke with our son — their dad. He said the boys were still talking about all the things we did together last weekend, here.  So they had fun with us!  Yes! This session of Camp Rawles was another success! I’m hoping that in September we can have another camp session, with them and their parents also, because we haven’t really had a chance to visit with them yet this summer.

There was a big sale on Alaskan Sockeye Salmon fillets at a grocery store 50 miles away, where we often shop.  We bought a 16-pound case, and Jim vacuum-packed the fillets individually in bags cut to length, with our trusty old FoodSaver.

I weed-whacked the orchard, finally. That job took two days.

I deep cleaned the Hen house, also finally, washed it’s floor and walls, and then set up for the chicks to move out there. We hung up the heat lamp and then moved the chicks in their galvanized stock tank out there.

Since we released the cows, bull, and horses from the meadows to have free range of the whole ranch, after we butchered the steers, we are now locking our birds and sheep in their houses to protect them from the cows and horses breaking in to get their grain (chickens), and releasing them, (sheep).  Literally, our horses can turn the handles and open the doors…Equine Delinquents!  Then the cows join it to partake of the grain.  Additionally, we are locking them to keep “other” potential “two-legged” predators out.

I am still watering everything by hand this summer.  It takes a lot of time.

I am still picking and freezing raspberries.

I have harvested Yellow Zuchs, and broccoli heads,  but not enough yet to preserve, we’re eating them fresh!

I am continuing to pick my onions and beets as I want and need them.

Update:  I harvested all of the onions at the end of the week.  They are currently spread out in the Main garden, curing in the sun.

I also harvested a very large bunch of Lamb’s Quarter that was growing in my Annex garden, that was going to seed.  These I laid out on a sheet and plan to dry them and use the seeds as additional feed for the chickens this winter.  I may try them out on us, too.

I transplanted some more of the herbs out in the Perennial garden.

While weed whacking the Orchard I came across two grape plants growing.  So I dug those up and transplanted them into very large pots and put them in the greenhouse.  In early summer, I had taken up their mates because they looked dead and grow so slowly down there, that after three years, of barely any growth, I decided they were not worth the space.  These two that came up surprised me because I thought I had pulled them all.  Anyhow, maybe I can get them to do well in the Greenhouse?

Our local farrier passed through and gave both of our horses a hoof trim.

Our two new calves love each other.  I am so glad they were born so close together.  It is so much fun to watch them gamboling about their parents in the Near Meadow.  I saw them head-butting each other the other morning.

Our yearling pup, H. loves to chase the cows.  We of course discourage it, but it still happens from time to time. The mama cows will have none of it.  They will bellow and butt at H.  If the bull, SH, is not with the herd, he likes to hang with the horses, he will head to the cows when he hears them bellow, to rescue them and the calves from H.’s playful chasing  It is so cool to watch his protective behavior towards his family.  Actually, when he sees it’s H., he will usually go up to her and play with her to distract her from bothering his family…Our animals know who each other are and have respect for one another.

Please keep praying for Miss Eloise, she has some housing changes coming up soon and sent back home her male cat M, the brother of our female cat, M.  We are so happy to have him back at home!  He is the best cat, ever.  I love all of my cats, but M is super special in so many unique ways.

I’ve been doing some bike riding.

Keep prepping every day!  We’re all going to need anything and everything we’ve got stored in the very near future…Keep reading God’s word and praying…Stand on the promises of Jesus.  He is the only one who will keep us sane as the evil increases beyond that we would never ever want to imagine in these last days of the Age of Grace!  Remember Ephesians 6:10-18

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.
Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;
And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace;
Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:
Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…”
I will add that when one is in heavy intercession, it is incredibly important to proclaim God’s Word aloud to the heavenlies.  Declare it!!  Believe it!!!

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.