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:

The unseasonably warm weather is continuing, with high temperatures of 38 to 40 degrees F., most days. The lows have been right around freezing. Unless there is a change in the weather pattern, it doesn’t look like I’ll be doing much plowing, this winter. It has been so warm that Lily had me carry some bussing trays of sprouted greens out to the greenhouse.  We’ll see how those fare.  I may need to light a fire in the greenhouse woodstove if there is a very cold night in the weather forecast. If low temperatures persist, then those gardening trays may have to be brought back into the house.

I decanted five gallons of olive oil that we recently bought in bulk into six one-gallon glass repurposed cider jugs.  This little project required six jugs because I only filled the straight-walled portions of the jugs, to prevent them cracking, when frozen. These all went directly into one of our chest freezers.  I should mention that we’ve had great success with freezing olive oil, to preserve it. Most of that was purchased in plastic 1-liter bottles that we had bought, back when we were Costco members. We’ve found that the plastic bottles have sufficient room for expansion, as the oil freezes. In all these years, we’ve only had one bottle go rancid, after thawing out.

We’ve been busy this week, preparing for a family gathering this weekend. Lily can tell you more about that. Now, Lily’s part of the report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
Yes, we’re having a “warmer” winter thus far, though very little sun.  I need more sun! Only five more days until the solstice and the darkest day of the year.  Then we start getting more hours of daylight again!!!!!! Yay!

This week was very quiet until the end of the week.  Jim and I take turns feeding and watering the livestock.  I did clean them all out once this week. Feeding the animals out in the House meadow was a great idea.  That meadow hasn’t been this fertilized in years….Partly because some of it is considered lawn, but we’re not feeding them close to the house, mostly only beyond our redneck pool.  I always had cleaned up around the immediate vicinity of the house any manure dropped by the animals and down in the meadow.  But we are not doing any manure-forking in the meadow, this year.  We need healthy, strong, green grass.

I did some house cleaning at the beginning of the week.  The house is quite organized and clean this time of the year, in part because there isn’t a whole lot else to do.

I finally got all of the photos categorized. Now to decide the order to go into the albums.  I cleaned them all up from the living room rug in order to have a presentable sitting space for the upcoming family get-together.

We are having two sons and their wives come for a “Second Thanksgiving” dinner this weekend.  We don’t celebrate Christmas, for many reasons. Our youngest son was tied up with other commitments at the Thanksgiving gathering and this weekend was the best time that he could come.

On Thursday and Friday, we began the baking marathon, all baked from scratch: Pumpkin and Pecan pies, sugar cookies, decorated only with butter frosting, mint frosting, and chocolate frosting.  No dyes. We sprinkled white sanding sugar on some of them and put chocolate chips on others.  Most were in the shape of circles, trees, moons, flowers, a bear, and snowmen, I had forgotten that we gave all of our cookie cutters to the grandsons a while back…  I also made cranberry sauce: cranberries, cane sugar, and freshly squeezed oranges. I baked Buttercup squash, plum/apple pudding, peeled potatoes for mashing, made dough for homemade baking rolls and bread for stuffing, etc.  Other foods will be salad, green beans, and sweet potatoes. Our eldest son is bringing cider that they had pressed from apples that they picked. Jim always preps and roasts the turkeys on our winter feast days.

We went grocery shopping this week to pick up items we didn’t have on hand for the feast: oranges, grapes, avocados, fresh blueberries, cucumbers, red peppers, butter to stock up more, milk, heavy cream, Martinelli’s carbonated juices, etc. I also bought some greens. (A Side Note: I am not growing enough of them for the whole family, shame on me. Actually, earlier in the week, I harvested about three cups worth and ate it.  Not enough was growing to harvest for the big get-together.) Not very much, stuff to buy, really.  It’s really nice to be fairly self-sufficient and prepared with bulk supplies and thus have most food items on hand.

I am out of frozen pumpkin for pie filling, but I substituted Acorn squash, instead.  We are looking forward to seeing how it tastes.  I don’t store store-bought canned pumpkin, because we eat so little pumpkin pie.  The last time we bought a case of canned pumpkin was about twelve years ago and we had it way past date and threw it out because the integrity of the cans became suspect. I had frozen pumpkin that I grew a couple of years ago.  But we finished that off at this year’s first Thanksgiving feast. I didn’t grow pumpkin this year, but I plan to grow more, this coming summer.

I walked and did calisthenics and did some prayer walking.

I really struggle with the darkness of this time of the year.  I am in a spiritual slump and neither read nor listened to any Bible this week. It is the honest truth.  I am human.  I admit it. I did read a bit from some prophecy websites, but not much.  Also, I am not always an Energizer Bunny, So, there!!!

Hopefully, I’ll get back on it this coming week. The visits with family and the grandsons always put a light in my step.  I’m looking forward to the get-together.

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.