Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make both 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 the Odds ‘n Sods Column or in the Snippets column. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

After some Huckleberry picking on Sunday evening, and some chicken butchering on Monday, this week was all about hay hauling. As usual, we picked up grass hay bales in the field.  The bales averaged about 70 pounds apiece. (That equates to 29 bales per ton.) This year, we plan to buy 21 tons. Thusfar, we’ve hauled and stacked about 15 tons.

We only had 8 bales of hay left over, from last year.

With some rain in the forecast, we may not round out our 21 tons until hay from the next field’s cutting becomes available.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week we had sunny warm weather in the eighties during the day and in the mid-forties at night.

Over the weekend I picked a gallon and a half of Serviceberries.  I have seen them around in the past but never really positively identified them.  But since studying the edible plant books during the past few weeks I’ve gotten serious about identifying all edible plants in our region. They were growing at our Bible Study leader’s home and I saw them red and purple, and thus ripe, on several trees.  Knowing what they were and that they are in the rose/apple family and thus I can eat them, I jumped out of the car as soon as we parked and ran up to a short bush and picked them.  One of our Bible Study members, who is in her seventies and spent her early adult years living off the land in the Salmon River region confirmed to me what they were.  I immediately popped them into my mouth for the first time to try them. They were good, nice flavored, a bit musty and not too sweet, the seeds tasting a little bit like almond. They totally agreed with me.

With permission to pick, I returned to our Bible Study leader’s house the next day and picked over a gallon and a half. I wanted to eat some fresh and dehydrate some to make the berry cakes that the Native Americans used to make and eat. So I washed them and put a quart of them in the fridge.  Then the rest of them I mashed them up to make Serviceberry patties and dehydrated them in our dehydrator. They were yummy.  A bit sweeter once dehydrated and the seeds took on an even stronger almond flavor.  I really like them.  I can see now why they were such a staple food for our Native Americans.  I now also understand the concept of “bread fruit”.  The dehydrated berry cakes definitely can serve as a type of bread to be eaten with stews and soups, etc.  I’ve been eating the dehydrated cakes all week for breakfast and as a snack later in the day.  They really are satisfying.

I’m looking forward to picking more Serviceberries and making more berry cakes. Our Bible Study leader has invited me to keep coming back to pick his as they ripen. Also few times this week we drove around to find other sources of Serviceberries in our “neighborhood”.  I found a whole lot of them very close by in the National Forest.  They are just beginning to ripen. I found only two baby trees growing on our ranch, one of which is growing in the inside of the orchard fence line.  The other is growing between my red raspberry patch and a garden bed behind our woodshed. That one produced berries for the first time this year.  I took about thirty fresh Serviceberry pomes and planted them all over our ranch in the areas that I would love to see more Serviceberries grow.

I harvested and dehydrated a half gallon of Yarrow flowers for herbal medicinal treatments. I will be getting other medicinal wild herbs in the coming week.

Jim butchered five roosters.  A friend’s sister gave us three roosters to butcher, so two of them and three of ours were done in.  I cleaned them and froze two.  One was boiled immediately. The other two were rather small bantams, so Jim just kept their breasts.

All of our chickies are doing super well.

I’ve been rotating the sprinkler in the Main garden and weeding it.

Most of the weeds are edible but I am only eating the lamb’s quarters and am drying the cleavers and Shepherd’s purse.  The other edibles: Lady’s Thumb, Pigweed/Amaranth, and Chickweed. I have not dared to try yet, because of my food sensitivities to the pea family for the Chickweed and buckwheat family for the Amaranth. I just haven’t done enough research on the Lady’s Thumb.

I harvested our first broccoli and yellow zucchini this week. I’ve been harvesting small onions when I need them, also celery, cucumbers, herbs, and orange cherry tomatoes from the greenhouse

I’ve been watching my Black raspberries turn bright red and one beginning to turn black.  They are ripening about three weeks early this year!  I went out to eat the ripe one Thursday night and it was gone!  “Are you joking?” I thought!  I asked Miss Violet if she had eaten it, she said “No!”  I went back outside.  I was mad!  Never before this, has any wild creature eaten my Black Razzes. As I was looking at them. I saw a robin land on one of the canes!  That did it!  I chased it away and ran right into the house and collected our extra old mosquito nets and a couple of light white sheets and covered the berries with them.  I’m going to eat those berries!  It’s bad enough that Mrs. Turkey and her offspring have eaten my biggest strawberries this year.  We have now chased her out of the garden enough times this week, that I believe she knows we don’t want her in the garden anymore, that it’s not a safe place for her and her offspring…

I also picked and ate the first couple red raspberries of the year.

During three days this week, Jim picked up approximately fifteen tons of hay from off the fields. On two of those days, e did have some help from young men at a local camp. Thank you, Lord God.  I drove the pickup and the SUV in turn while Jim and the helpers loaded them.  We still need more hay and plan to get it sometime next week when they are ready for us to pick it up. It’s a good feeling to get our beasties’ winter food stocked up.

Miss Violet spent the whole Independence Day (July 4th) with our neighbors.  After we got in hay in that morning, I joined them all at the lake in the afternoon to visit with them, to paddle in my canoe, to try some  fishing. But I had no luck, since it was the wrong time of the day. I also went out on our neighbors’ motorboat with them.  I was pulled behind the boat/on a large sitting tube, with Miss Violet and their young daughter. FUN!  Jim needed to stay home and work on the blog, but joined us all for dinner that night back at their house.

Because we needed to get up early to beat the heat of the day to bring in the hay, Jim and I forgoed the Fireworks display in one of our local towns, and had an early bed. Our neighbors kindly took Miss Violet with them to see the Fireworks.

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.