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:

My sprained ankle has much improved, so I’m now back to doing most of my regular chores around the ranch.

I’m continuing the carpentry work, adding partitions and shelves to our workshop. And adding the insulation panels is quite time-consuming. Those projects will surely occupy much of my spare time for most of the winter.

The rush of holiday orders has begun for my sideline mailorder business, Elk Creek Company. The large number of orders that I’m getting for pocketknives suggests that folks are already shopping for Christmas and Hanukkah gifts.

We received our first snow this week. The two quite useful weather sites that I check the most often the WeatherStreet Jet Stream Map, and the Forecast Models at TropicalTidBits.

Lily will fill you in on our local weather.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
Yep, weather wise we are receiving rain and snow showers.  As of the writing of this column, it is constantly snowing but we only have snow accumulating on cold surfaces, not on the ground, yet.  The forecasts say that very cold weather is approaching, beginning Saturday night and going into next week.  We will be feeling temperatures during the night down into the single digits.  I am not looking forward to that.  This is three weeks earlier than our yearly average for snow and for such deep temperature dips.  We are in a strong La Niña year for sure…If the jet stream continues over our region when the temperatures drop we will be receiving a huge dump of snow this winter. As I understand, in 2008 our region received thirty feet of snow in some valleys.  Jim said that in that winter, they got 20+ feet that packed down to seven feet — so much that their sheep would walk on the snowpack right out of the corrals. The top rail is over 6 feet high! The most snow I have seen, here, by the end of the snow season before melt, was four feet, right at the top of our wire fence line.  The chances of us receiving twenty to thirty feet this year, appear to be quite high.  Time will show us…

This week, I dehydrated four trays worth (five pounds wet weight) worth of pears. I chopped and froze a quarts worth of Hungarian peppers. I cooked only one meal on the wood cookstove, it was a Borsht soup. I also baked a baby Hubbard squash. I was able to get the temperature in the wood cook stove oven up to 425  degrees Fahrenheit.

I cleaned out the hen house, twice this week.  We are caring for our neighbor’s little more than a half a dozen pullet hens for the winter, in addition to my own fifty or so, while the neighbors, must be down south intermittently, for the winter. Their birds are now in their fifth month and have begun laying their tiny “trainer” eggs.  They are so cute.  I took pictures of the little eggs and sent them to the family for their little children to see.  They were delighted to see them.  My own chicks have another two to three months before they will be laying.

Miss Violet and I chopped wood and kindling together.

Miss Violet’s real name, the redeemed meaning of her first and middle name, means, “I am comforted by the covenant of my God”.  Her career choice that she is working towards reflects the actions of and is a fullfillment of the meaning of her name, that in her being comforted by God and His covenant, she will be a comforter to others and help to bring life into the world. Her career choice requires many skills in the areas of giving comfort, through information/teaching, proclaiming God’s word, and easing pain and anxiety, through knowledge, understanding, touch, and herbals.  Her personality is very quiet, sweet, loving, and comforting which makes her the perfect person for this career.  This week, I continued to spend a lot of time helping Miss Violet work and study towards her career goal.  She is being mentored in her chosen field and meets weekly with her mentor.  Once her mentor feels that she knows the material and skills well enough, she will take a course in this field, for certification.

After two months of serious study, she was ready to invest some of her savings into her equipment and supplies, this week. So we spent a long time researching and ordering.  She cannot wait until they arrive.  We will be her test subjects.  Her career choice, equipment, and supplies greatly enhance another aspect if our medical repertoire while she continues to live with us.  It’s very exciting for her.

A brief horse story:

Since Miss H. our female dog came into our lives, she has caused a certain amount of disruption in the equilibrium of the lives of our animals.  She wants to be a help and she thinks that chasing and corralling the animals is what I want.  Every now and then, if a horse tries to follow me into the hay barn while I am getting it to feed them and the cows and sheep, thus leaving the gate open for quick entries and exits with arms full of hay, I will yell at it, to go back out. But H. Thinks that that yelling at the horse is her cue to bark at it and try to chase it away.  Also often if she goes outside and sees the horses in the near meadow she has to go run out to them and harass them.  The horses understand that she is the ranch dog and they play with her a bit.  When they get irritated enough they do kick at her. Thankfully, they have missed every time, and/or they are just threatening her and are exercising restraint. She obeys when I call her.  All this to say that sometimes, when I am doing chores and don’t want to deal with her “help”, I keep her in the house.

This week on Friday, while it was snowing nonstop, after taking a long walk and throwing the Frisbee for H.  I noticed the horses coming towards us. Our dominant horse put on a playful display before us that was an invitation for me to chase her, but H.  wanted to get too involved in the game., Therefore, I decided that she was done for the outside time and brought her back into the house.  I went right back outside to play with the horses.  I haven’t played with them for quite a while, because of H. is always with me and because most of the summer they were far out in the meadows near the Unnamed River. The cold invigorating weather brought out their friskiness this day.  I ran up to S. and gave her a pet, chin rub, and kiss on the nose.  Then I looked her in the eye and jumped with my hands in the air.  She jump and spun and took a loop around the meadow with me running after her.  Then she stopped and looked at me all alert with her ears up.  I jumped up again and ran after her and she took another loop and snorted and did the horse huff sound while running another loop.  She came up to me, I jumped one more time and she whirled around and kicked up her heels and did another loop, snorting and huffing.  She stopped and I walked up to her and pet her and talked to her.

Our other horse came up to the two of us.  S. kept looking towards the south pasture area like something was over there.  I think it is a fawn that was born this summer that lost its mother, and is living within our ranch’s perimeter fenceline.  It is actually quite safe in here. I decided to go walk over there to investigate. I started across the meadow and called the horses to come with me.  They did.  We walked companionably to the small treeline along the fence until we reached the south pasture gate and went through it into the south pasture and walked all the way over to the south boundary fence and then along the fence line to the east until we reached the open meadow.  There the horses stopped following me in order to get a grass snack. It was so nice to walk with them and to be together peacefully.  It doesn’t happen much anymore unless H. is in the house.  The same goes for the cats.  In the past, before H. and I went for a walk the cats would come with me following me all over the ranch.  I would often sit down in the grass and they would come and sit on my lap while we would just enjoy being God’s creation together.

Things continue to worsen out in the world, but we know that God is with us and many of you our readers are of God’s remnant.  The Lord will guide and protect us until He returns, and Jesus said that He would be with us always right to the very end. of the age  We can take comfort in those words of His. Be strong in His spirit, keep in His Word and in prayer and continue to prepare and stock up!  Jim and I were talking this week and he reminded me that he is continually praying for God’s remnant that are among our blog readers. Me too. And we thank you all who are praying for us!

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.