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 a few brutally-cold days this week. Over Wednesday night, the low here at the Rawles Ranch was -16 Fahrenheit. That is approximately -26 on the Celsius scale.  The daytime highs were around zero at mid-week, but they are expected to climb back up above freezing on the 25th.

With the arrival of this cold weather, we switched to feeding our horses from our small reserve stockpile of baled alfalfa.  We normally feed them just grass hay, but in weather like this, they seem to do better when eating the more calorically-dense alfalfa. But we never feed our cows from alfalfa bales. It is considered too “hot” a feed for cattle. The cattle are getting extra bales during this deep cold.

We’ve also had another 10+ inches of snow this week, so I’ve been out using our pickup’s snowplow blade, doing my best to keep caught up. I am thankful that I can do so from inside a heated pickup cab, instead of out on a plein air tractor seat. That would be truly brutal.

Now, over to Lily.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

We are living in a beautiful Winter wonderland.  The photo at the top is exactly what it looks like here at the ranch. 😉

Yes, this week has had extremely cold temperatures!  As I write this, though, on Friday morning, the temperatures have moderated a bit and are at 1 degree F.  Throughout the day, today, the temperatures should rise up to about a balmy 18 degrees with another expected four-seven inches of snow.  We are “expecting” rain next week, which I rebuke!  Rain is not allowed at our ranch in the winter, any longer.  Rain causes melt and then immediate ice formation and causes dangerous and treacherous conditions for outdoor activities: both fun and work…

An interesting piece of trivia:  When it was -16 degrees Fahrenheit outside, I went out to check the thermometer in the greenhouse. That reading was a positive 20 degrees Fahrenheit!  Wow! I wasn’t expecting that much of a temperature difference.  It must be that warm because the wood chips we laid down last summer, must be decomposing and giving off the heat. And the foot and half of snow on the roof must be insulating/holding in the heat.  Cool beans!  I like it.  I will definitely lay in more wood chips next summer. Additionally, perhaps next time I get a bit of energy and don’t have other work to do, I may go out and shovel more snow around the walls of the greenhouse to add further insulation…

At the beginning of the week we received another ten or so inches of snow.  I shoveled the trails around the hen house, sheep shed, entrance to the barn. Also the paths to greenhouse and to the wood shed.  At the end of the week, Jim and I shoveled off the roof of one wing of our barn roof together.  It had three feet of compacted snow. On Sunday we need to shovel off the main barn roof and the other wing, before the “rain” comes. All of the weight is not good for the barn.  We’ve seen too many examples of surrounding folk’s barns collapsing under the tremendous weight of snow and rain added on top, over the years. I proclaim that it’s not going to rain at our ranch  We’re only getting snow…

I am keeping a general tally of measurable snowfall this year at our ranch since November 5th when we received our first measurable snow of 6 inches, up until now, we have had a total of 58 inches.  This is not included with what is falling right now. I will get that measurement Saturday morning, before Jim plows. The snow on the wing of the barn was over three feet. And that accounted for a lot of snow compaction.

So I have a small praise report that shows that God is listening to our prayers and answering them.  I have been curious to see just how low the sun gets on the horizon on the shortest day of the year in our valley at our location. Every single year that I have been here, twelve years, it has been super dark and cloudy on December 21st and 22nd.  This fall and the weeks leading up to the solstice, I prayed that we would have lots of snow, no rain and that we would have lots of sunshine in between storm days, at least one sunny day a week or every ten days or so and that it would be sunny on the shortest day of the year.  Well, so far my prayers are being answered.  Thank You, Lord Jesus.  We did have sunshine and bluebird skies on the 21st and 22nd and I was able to see exactly where the sun rose and set according to our ranch’s situation.  So cool.  That day, I also Iooked up the approximate position of the sun angle according to our latitude for this day and found that the sun at noon is at about 18.5 degrees above the horizon. Fun little facts. I am glad we are on the other side of the Solstice and from here on out our days are lengthening.  Yeah!

I worked very hard for our family get-together last weekend and we all had a great time.  We played a game of the combination of Charades and Pictionary with the kids and grandkids.  We used the topics on the Pictionary cards for ideas to act out. That same day, the grandkids painted rocks and acrylic suncatcher horses and we went sledding out in the National Forest. We also had a campfire out in the snow, after dinner.  We all played catch with H. and I demonstrated her new agility skills that she just learned the week before.

Of course, we stuffed ourselves with a beef roast, potatoes, gravy, carrots, squash, broccoli, pumpkin and strawberry rhubarb pies with whipped cream, homemade dinner rolls, homemade cranberry sauce, plum/apple pudding, salads, cookies, and a few chocolates. The next morning we had French toast, roasted potatoes, scrambled eggs, and lots of fruit.  A good time seemed to be had by all. I captured a great picture of Grandpa (Jim) holding the two youngest grandsons 11 months and three years old in the grandpa recliner chair after dinner with all three, snoozing a bit.  So sweet. Jim and I very much enjoy our family gatherings and wish we could have them more often.

Since I did so much shoveling multiple days in a row and so much house cleaning before and after the weekend and I cleaned the Hen house at the beginning of the week, I did not do much working out.  I just did some sit-ups and stretching and leg lifts etc.   I kinda tired myself out this past week. On Thursday, I took a couple of naps.  I don’t think I’ve had a nap in months. Therefore, I must’ve needed it. Or shall we say, I finally relaxed enough to take one…

I did not study Hebrew this week, but, Miss Violet and I listened to Matthew and Mark during a trip to town and I read some of Daniel and Revelation.

A link that I’d like to share, from out of Canada: “The Twelve Lies of Covid”  A very timely and revealing parody song.

May you all have a very blessed and safe Christmas week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

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.