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:

We had a busy week with slaughtering and butchering an 18-month-old steer.  Lily will fill you in with the details on that.  The photo above was taken in Cornwall – an ancestral home of the Rawles family.  Howdy, cousins!

I did some more bidding on online gun auctions, in my quest to add pre-1899 gun inventory at Elk Creek Company.  I was outbid on 95% of the lots where I put in bids. It appears that Bideniflaton is still in full force. Three years ago, I could regularly find unaltered Loewe Chilean contract Model 1895 Mausers for $275 to $425 each.  Now, they are priced at $500 to $850 each!  Similarly, I used to be able to find Ruger Old Army percussion revolvers for $475 to $725 each.  Now, they are selling at auction for $850 to $1,200 each!  This is discouraging. So I’ve had to redouble my efforts at bargain hunting. This takes a lot more of my time, but I still manage to find a few bargains.

Most recently, I’ve bought:

  • An unaltered Swiss Vetterli 1871 .41 Swiss rifle.
  • A brass frame Connecticut Valley Arms 1858 Remington .44 Army replica percussion revolver. (Made for CVA by Pietta of Italy.)
  • Two Ludwig Loewe Chilean contract Model 1895 7×57 Mausers. (I had to bid on nearly 20 rifles, to get just these two.)
  • A scarce Italian Torre M1891 Carcano 6.5mm Short rifle, dated 1897 on the receiver.
  • A Trapdoor Springfield M1884 .45-70 rifle with original Buffington rear sight.

The quest goes on…

Now, Llly’s part of the report:

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
The weather was cloudy and rainy this week with temps in the low to high forties for highs.  I think I heard a Red-winged Blackbird this week…  Our Post Mistress reported that some postal customers are reporting that they have seen Robins, already? Spring is a’comin’!

This week, Jim slaughtered and butchered one of the two yearlings that we had planned.  This was the first time for both of us in processing a cow. We did this early in the week. It was lightly snowing. I was collecting tail fur samples from three of our herd to do a genetic testing and our steer went in the stall with our heifer that I wanted to test.  So he volunteered himself to be first in line for butchering.  We ushered him into the hay barn to await his fate.  Once the specimens were collected for the testing, I took them to the house to put in the envelope and addressed it, while Jim put the steer down.  I prepared the house for butchering.  I rolled up the rug, and washed down the folding table Jim had brought into the house from the shop.  I sharpened knives and brought out the pots and cookie trays to collect meat in.  I heard the rapid-succession headshots. I waited a while, then went out to make sure Jim was fine and everything was as it should be.

Jim had already slit the steer’s throat and had the steer’s head in the gut bucket to bleed out.  He asked me to get a bucket of hot water and bring out the knife sharpener and some paper towels.  While I did that, Jim set up the gambrel over a beam in our hay barn.  The gambrel has a six-to-one pulley system. Jim had originally bought this rig for elk.  It was just about the right size for this steer. He hooked the gambrel’s two prongs into the steer’s hind legs.  When I returned he asked me to help him hoist up the steer.  Even with a six-to-one mechanical advantage, it still felt heavy.  But we succeeded in getting it off the ground and dripping into the bucket.  Miss Violet came out to watch.

Jim began to skin it.  I helped later in the process.  Skinning, gutting taking the head off, alone, took us three hours. Then we cut the back strap out. I immediately took that to the house, cut it up into steaks, wrapped it, and froze it. Then I went back outside. Jim then cut down the center of the pelvis and backbone with his grandfather’s meat saw.  Toward the end, I took a turn sawing to give Jim a breather. Once we had split the carcass, Jim removed the front quarters and then took it off the gambrel and laid the two sides with attached rear quarters on the floor, on a tarp.

Jim finished quartering it and we brought the four quarters into the house.  We left the rib cages under the tarps out in the hay barn.  We cut up one hind quarter into roasts and some other meat cuts that I would deal with later.  At that point were were exhausted. It was about 7:30 PM. So we brought all of the meat into our garage and put it on top of the chest freezer, until the next day.   It was a huge job!  It took a lot longer than I had expected.  The guts were super heavy and took quite a while to detach and lift it out.  We put the liver, heart, kidneys, and lungs in a large stew pot.  Later that night we decided to cut the liver and cook it up for us.  As I cut into it, it didn’t look like the livers we get from the store, it had a lot of black lines throughout, coagulated capillaries? And almost microscopic white balls but not really any spots except for some black spots that could have been coagulated blood.  But anyhow, just in case it was suspect, we decided to cook it up super well and set it aside exclusively for the dog.

I want to confess that I am no wild Amazon woman.  I am going to be really honest with you, and tell you that this day stressed me out nearly to the max.  The job was a lot bigger than I thought it would be.  I don’t like killing any animal.  I don’t like looking at dead things.  I’m not happy about seeing red blood!  I don’t mind so much seeing the skinned legs, but the rib cage disturbed me… All day, I had a detached feeling, for my sanity, but coupled with that feeling of aversion and tension, wishing to hurry it up and get it done and outta my sight, also with the realization that this was not going to be a quick project and would require stamina and a stick-to-it-ness. Furthermore, I hardly ate anything all day long.  Who can eat when one is stressed and in aversion? That was a stupid move, for me not to eat.  By mid-afternoon, I didn’t feel too well.  I checked my blood pressure which is normally quite low and it was 165/98.  Yep,  I was dumb.  I ate an avocado and some sardines and called two different friends to talk, while finishing up to distract me from the stress of the work and the now high blood pressure. That helped me relax a bit for about two hours.  Then after finishing the cleanup at 7:30 PM, I cooked up some salmon for all of us and ate it. Then I crashed!  I thank God that Jim and I did it together.  I thank the Lord God for his strength and knowledge of the process — from processing so many deer and elk in the past.  I could never have done it alone.

On Monday morning, I felt that our home was in major disorder.  It is very unsettling to me to have our living room all torn up.  So, before we continued with the butchering,  I moved the butchering table out of the livingroom section and washed the floor and returned the rug and chairs back to their place.  The butchering table was moved to a different part of the great room between the Wood cook stove and the dining room table. I ate a good breakfast. I washed the dishes, did laundry, and put everything in order. Jim did the morning animal chores for me. With our home back in relative order, I could in, peace, continue cutting up the last three quarters.  I was more relaxed with this work. I didn’t have a blood pressure spike.  The meat was now lighter pink in color and looked like regular store-bought meat.  So I could handle it better emotionally. We cut many roasts and some stew meat.  I also cut a lot of meat in quarter-inch-thick strips to dehydrate for Pemmican that we started right away in the dehydrator.  We did about two and a half gallons worth. It is quite yummy.  Jim and I have been frequently snacking on it during the past few days.

On the third day, I cut all of the Brisket or rib meat.  We had saved scrap meat from the day before.  Jim brought out his heavy-duty meat grinder.  It ground up many of the less sinewed pieces of meat, but when we tried to grind brisket meat, it gummed up really fast.  I had to take apart the machine every three minutes and wash the parts. After about a half hour of that, I threw up my hands and said, “I’m done.  We are just wrapping this, and throwing it into the freezer, saving it for our “carnivore pets”.  So we did that.  We saved all the good meat for us to eat and all the more questionable meat that we couldn’t grind for our animals.  We have a lot of food for them now.

Looking back, I am glad for this experience.  I learned a lot. After the first stressful day, I actually began to enjoy the process of cutting up the meat into the pieces that we wanted to use and the idea of stocking up our freezers with our own meat that we processed ourselves.  It was very satisfying in the end.  I would do it again, but would enjoy it even more if we had a few more people around to help with the process.

After we did this first one, we decided to hire a local butcher to do our second yearling.   They had an opening this week and already took it and are in the process of butchering it.  We will pick up the meat at the beginning of next week.  Then I plan to be cutting much of it into thin slices to dehydrate for Pemmican, and I want to make Biltong. We saved the hides to tan.  We will tell you more about that when we get to it.  I will also be getting the fat from the second yearling, so sometime in the next weeks, I will be, Lord willing, rendering it and making pemmican, soap, and maybe some tallow candles?

My Mom was under the weather this week with a bit of a medical crisis that evolved from years of not eating the right diet.  I had this same crisis about nine years ago and was able to reverse the problem through my diet change.  Therefore, I spent a lot of hours on the phone with her encouraging her and counseling her on what to eat and how, how she should be taking care of herself after all these years of taking care of everyone else.  She could take prescription drugs, but in our eyes, they are Pharmakeiea which is witchcraft and sorcery and poison, according to Revelation 18:23.  My Mom saw immediate improvements in just two days on the diet, of low carb, no dairy, no gluten, no sugar.  She is eating avocados, eggs, butter, some potatoes and squash, lots of smoothies with beet greens and beet root, cabbage, spring greens, carrots, one apple, celery, flax seeds, pac choi,, Sardines, chicken, Apple cider vinegar with honey and cayenne pepper in it, some supplements like magnesium and Vitamin D.  But it will take some months to have consistent results, to reverse the years of not eating right. Furthermore, a lot of the foods Americans are eating have been adulterated with chemicals that destroy our stomach linings, cause gradual poisoning, and lead to allergic reactions to foods. We are both also watching a lot of videos concerning Insulin resistance and how to reverse it and looking up food sources for potassium, magnesium, Zinc, D, etc…  When I see good information, I call her and make her write it down.  She will do fine. She is serious now about getting her body back in health.

After two weeks of not doing so, I finally cleaned the sheep shed and hen house. They were happy animals.

I filled twelve, 18-3″ pot rectangular seedling trays full of soil. I’ve planted, thusfar: seeds of strawberries, and Brassicas: green and red cabbage, Batavia, Calabrese, and Di ciccio broccoli, purple Cauliflower, and white Cauliflower.

At the end of the week, I took out a hose and a sprinkler and put them on a patch of snow in the Main garden to melt it — just to to hurry the process.  Parts of the Main garden are already bare of snow.  I’m pushing it.  Grin! wW may get snow storms in March, but I figure that if the base layer is gone then the next snowfall accumulations will melt sooner because the sun angle is so much higher and the temperatures are naturally warming up.

I read chapter four in the Astronomy book which was about the sun and the constellations on the Ecliptic.

I did not practice archery, nor work out, no swimming, no calisthenics.  My back, arms, and chest muscles really hurt from shooting, working out last week, and slicing and dicing meat,  until Thursday this week.  So I gave them a break. Enough snow melted this week, however, for me to find four of the five lost arrows.  I just need to find one more and I will have my full set of 24 arrows. I will get back to archery and working out next week.

This week I read a lot of prophecy websites, instead of reading scriptures.  My bad.  We really need to be getting the Word into our heart and minds.  Some day we might not have access to it.  This is a reminder to myself.

Keep prepping, learning and practicing new skills that lead you to better self-reliance.  We are going to need them in the very near future.

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.