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:

With snow now on the ground and the high temperatures in the 20s, I’ve been concentrating on indoor work. Now that the wall insulation is completed, I’ve mostly been paneling the inside of the workshop with Oriented Strand Board (OSB). It is a sort of low-budget substitute for plywood with a random pattern that looks like it was designed by a drunken Salvador Dali. It is stronger than particle board, but uglier and less expensive than plywood. It works fine for my needs, because most of it will be covered by Masonite pegboard and my license plate collection. And after all, it is just a utility building, not a beauty contest. My Inner Scotsman has urged me to use up a lot of short pieces of scrap lumber — from 2″ to 6″ widths — for most of the “nailer” backing boards behind the OSB. And my Inner Scotsman also dictates working in the shop without a heater running. The temperature usually hovers around a brisk 30 degrees. I just wear a heavy coat, insulated boots, and a watch ca — and I press on. My kind of fun, in 3- to 5-hour sessions. When the interior of the shop gets down to around 20 Fahrenheit, then I might consider turning on a small space heater.

Outdoors, I made adjustments to a stock tank heater and a heat tape. I also did some cursory snowplowing.   The plowing won’t begin in earnest until after the next big storm.  But at least I’ve confirmed that our Western brand plow is working properly.

Now, over to Lily…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

The weather this week, in the beginning of the week was cloudy and snowy.  We received four inches of snow between Sunday and Monday night.  Then the temperatures dropped like a rock into the single digits.  Brrr. Unbelievable weather so early in November.

Prepping-wise, I brought into the house seven trays of greens from the greenhouse to the spare bedroom to protect them from the intense cold that arrived this week.  I brought in Winter lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, Beans, and two trays of seeds that are just barely sprouting: Water Cress and Thyme.

Also out in the greenhouse, I covered a lot of trays with deep clear plastic totes and then put hoops and plastic over the hoops in an effort to protect the plants from the intense cold.  They have three layers of plastic around them.  As I understand from reading Eliot Coleman’s book Four Season Harvest that each layer brings you up one zone warmer than your current zone. Perhaps they won’t die but will continue to grow a little bit throughout the winter and will pick up their growth in late February and provide us with early greens.

A few days after the cold weather hit, I went out and looked at everything in the greenhouse.  The cold weather hardy greens are all frozen and slightly droopy, even under all of those layers.  But they are still alive just in a more dormant state.  Whereas the few squashes and peppers, and potatoes, I left out there are literally dead!  I will be cleaning them out of the greenhouse soon.  I also plan on filling up a lot of planter seedling pots soon, in preparation for spring planting.

I’m being very optimistic and perhaps silly, but, I planted three Mango seeds, turmeric, and ginger roots in small pots and put them up on our kitchen windowsill. If they grow this winter in our warm Great Room, I will put them out in the greenhouse next summer and then the next winter they will come back into the house.  I will just keep them pruned to a manageable size. I also started to root-in-water a couple of Avocado seeds.

I cleaned the Hen house.

I froze the last of my tomatoes that ripened in the house.  I also saved seeds from several different types of the tomatoes.

I put seeds that I had been drying out in envelopes: spaghetti squash, Hubbard squash, Delicata Squash, Butternut Squash red and yellow onion, more Hungarian pepper, red sweet pepper, and Paste, Krim/Cherokee and A red tomato.

Miss Violet received her career medical supplies this week.  We have been going through them and discussing their uses and applications together.

I made one meal on the wood cook stove this week, another Borsht soup.  Also for the first time in a very long time, I made a white bread for the family and baked it in a cast iron pan in the oven of the wood cook stove.  It baked wonderfully and was very tasty by all reports.  I am not eating bread these days, but I did take a little taste to check its quality and to make sure, folks were giving me an honest report.  It was yummy.

I tried to Cross Country ski right after the snowstorm, but the snow was too wet still and caked up on my skis. Grrr!  We had a cold front come through in the middle of the week. It was so cold and dry that it powdered up the snow creating perfect conditions for Cross Country skiing, so I took some loops around the ranch. Nice! At the end of the week, I skied again, a loop off the ranch through the national forest and back into the meadows  of our neighbor’s to home with H., our year-old pup.  She loved it. It was a gorgeous cold but sunny day.

Miss Violet and I have been quite disciplined during the past three weeks about lifting weights, doing push-ups, sit-ups and stretching.  I recently learned about using stretch bands for working out and purchased two sets of them.  I like using them very much and am already noticing an increase in muscle strength.

Now that the weather is winter-like, life has slowed down, I am getting back into deeper scripture study and am trying to work my way through the book of Isaiah in Hebrew.

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.