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. Note that as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!
Following a week of heavy snow, we’ve had some unseasonably warm weather. The result was inevitable: It turning our barnyard into an enormous un-flavored Slurpee. Well, it is actually barnyard flavored, but I don’t wish to sound crude.
I’ve been incredibly busy, trying to get the web pages set up for my new biz. I intend to launch it on February 1st. Because there is unique descriptive text for each individual gun, and an average of seven photos per gun, this has turned into a big project! When guns are 122+ years old, there are no two that are exactly alike. So they need detailed descriptions.
I also a lot of snow shoveling and snowplowing. And I also a made a 100+ mile round-trip drive into town, running errands. A lot of this was tackling the ever-changing “Honey Do ” list.
Now, over to Lily, for her more thorough report. She has a lot to say about her recent kitchen organizing.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
I hope you are all had a happy and productive week. Weather-wise, here we are getting rain……:( Just what I didn’t want…
So what did I do towards prepping this week?
Last week, while responding to a comment from Lt. Mike in Alaska, I was indicating a bit of envy at his success in growing tomatoes indoors, and mentioning that I needed to ponder a solution for ourselves to continue growing foods here during the winter. Then suddenly I had a brilliant idea, to help solve our indoor growing issues.
Just a little bit of background of what our issues have been: space. (We had used the guest bedroom, which now has become Miss Eloise’s bedroom. There isn’t another space in the house in which to put plants and a grow light. The grow light is too powerful to look at on a regular basis in the main living area or in an occupied bedroom. We do have two other potential areas in the house in which we could grow indoors, but other problems arise with those areas, mentioned below). We have had bug issues stemming from rich garden soil: Aphids and mites. I do not wish to use any oil-based pesticide sprays to kill them. We have had moisture issues which caused mold to grow on the windowsills and if we were put plants in any other area of the house, the moisture generated would mess up wooden ceilings, or our antique gun inventory. You see, we do not own a large house.
Growing through the winter in the greenhouse has it’s own set of issues. There isn’t enough warmth for anything to grow out there in the winter except for kales and spinach and some lettuces, if they were started growing in the fall and over-wintered.
So then, my brilliant idea: As long as we have electric power, is to move the LED grow light units out into the greenhouse and to build wooden boxes over the beds and to put the lamps into the boxes. The lamps will give off a lot of heat, the wood box will retain the heat in the box. And thus, with light and warmth, it will allow the plants to grow. The boxes will be four feet in height and are 4 feet deep by 8 feet wide. We will use hinges to give us easy access to the garden beds, within. They will only be used during the winter and of course may be the best solution for now — as long as we still have grid power. (These powerful lights–which we bought from Ready Made Resources–draw a lot of current!) So the growing experiments will continue, but now in another venue. Also, It’s best to grow most things outside of the house. That way if the bugs want to come back for a time then they won’t affect our home, and the moisture won’t affect the home, etc. I wonder if the lamps will generate too much heat in the box? We’ll just have to try and find out.
Jim bought the lumber for this project on a trip to town, this week. We’ll get to the building of it this coming week.
Despite not wanting to grow a large amount of produce in the house for all of the aforementioned reasons. I did buy 50 pounds of sterilized fertilized soil and started two small trays of lettuce in a window in our pantry hallway. Those two trays will not significantly change the humidity in that room and with sterilized soil, there is less of a chance of having unwanted insect guests. We need to have some lettuces growing. I only used about ten pounds of soil from one of the bags. The rest will be available for future projects.
I also decided to get back into alfalfa and broccoli sprouting to put sprouts into our salads and smoothies.
This week, I cleaned the stalls every day and dumped manure into the manure pile. Black gold!!!!
I cleaned the hen house. Chickie brown gold!!!! 😉
In light of watching those Minimalist videos that I shared with you last week… I am not a minimalist, but I do want more space in my kitchen cupboards and more orderliness and functionality. I went though all of the kitchen drawers, cupboards and culled out any appliances. This included a juicer and waffle maker that I never use. They are earmarked to be given to our older son. There were also lots of bowls, inexpensive knives, cooking utensils, bake ware, cups, heirloom dishware, that I have not used, and will not use. Jim brought them to the thrift store.
I rearranged cupboards to be more efficient and practical. For food storage containers, I gave all of the excess Tupperware style plastic containers to Jim to store his small items related to the new business. I kept all glass bowls with lids and they are now stored nested together. I will also be using more of my quart jars for food storage/leftovers, since I have so many of them already. I have kept my stainless steel mixing bowls. And of course, I kept nearly every large bowl and all things pertaining to produce gathering and preparation for preserving, etc.
I bought a few organizer trays for our sharps drawer, a new dish drainer and washable dish drainer mat that soaks up water and is machine washable. They look so nice. In the past, I have washed most dishes with stainless steel scrubby pads. But they tend to rust and fall apart and leave pieces of stainless steel on dishes, etc. I’ve never liked plastic scrubbies, or the green monster scrubbies. I don’t like sponges, as they harbor too many bacteria. I recently saw someone in a video use a stainless steel chainmail scrubby on a pot. I thought, “What a great idea!” So I went to Amazon and looked for one. I found it and a stainless steel chain link wash cloth which has much smaller chain links. So we bought two of each. I have been using the stainless steel washcloth now for two weeks. I like it very much. It does a great job scrubbing dishes and will not rot, rust, or fall apart.
The only drawback with it, is that it is a little bit hard to grip and it takes a bit of skill to get it to open flat and be used as a scrubby wash cloth. I think if they had made it larger and put a couple of larger loops on it, like a third of the way into the washcloth to slip your fingers into it, it might be easier to use?? I’m working on my handling skill with it. Miss Eloise really likes them, but also finds them a little bit hard to hold. Miss Violet isn’t that excited about them. Frankly, I’d rather have the one expense of it’s price and have something to use for a very long time rather than using a Fuller Brush Company stainless steel scrubby that eventually falls apart and leaves pieces of steel on dishes and plates. On rare occasions little bits of them have ended up in our food. Ick! Therefore we will discontinue using them. One word of caution: The larger-mesh chain link scrubby is rough on enamelware. I scratched our large turkey-size enameled roasting pot a little bit with it. But they are great to use with Cast iron cookware and even on glass bake dishes. Those are what I mainly use for cooking and dishware.
Update: Since writing the preceding paragraph, I spent more time washing dishes and studying the chain link washcloth and holding it in different ways. The washcloth has a stainless steel tab attached to one corner with a circle link. I decided to pinch the circle link between the washcloth and the tab, between my right index finger and middle finger, closest to the palm of my hand. That did the trick. It caused the wash cloth to spread out around my hand and flop over the tips of my fingers which allowed me to have a better grip on it while washing dishes. Yeah!
Now there is a place for everything that is used on a regular basis and a cupboard for all of my food preserving accoutrements which itself still needs to be organized.
Most of my kitchen counters except for one little area are now bare, except for a crock next to the stove filled with cooking utensils and one little section next to the stove with other cooking condiments: Olive oil, honey, Himalayan salt, etc. It’s a nice feeling and my kitchen is more functional, now.
We bought a factory refurbished Vitamix blender that I can use for everything. I can use it for juicing fruits and veggies and then straining them through a nut bag for fruit and vegetable juices. I use it several days each week for my smoothies and cream soups. It can also be used to make nut milks. My old Oster blender has not been discarded. In the case of blenders, I’ll maintain the adage that “two is one and one is none.” 😉
This cleaning and culling out has also extended to our backpack/bag storage drawer. It’s a large deep drawer originally designed as a potato bin that hold our day packs, shopping bags, canvas bags, fanny packs, small travel bags, et cetera. I went through that and culled out some very used up bags, and those we didn’t need anymore. Some were thrown away, some that were owned by our “up and out” grown sons were returned to them. Some that the girls owned were in non-OPSEC girl colors. So these were washed and sewed (one of them needed a repair) and were given to a family with little girls. The drawer was vacuumed and washed out and most of the bags and day packs, fanny packs that were kept were sent through the washer and were put back inside the drawer. We cleared out about a fourth of the pile of them.
This week Miss Eloise moved to the guest bedroom. During her move, we went through the closet she had shared with Miss Violet. Therein, we culled out clothes that were not used or needed. Among the clothes were some really nice wool sweaters, that they don’t want to wear anymore, and I don’t want to send to the thrift store. Someone may come here someday and need them. So they were put in totes and placed into storage. I always like to keep extra clothes, blankets and sleeping bags around for other people, just in case. These of course are extra and beyond the ones we have for our own use. I do not feel we can have too many blankets, sleeping bags, or food.
The girls are helping Jim with his nascent Elk Creek Company antique gun business. Miss Violet is the designated gun photographer and Miss Eloise is the one who will will pack up the gun to be mailed out. Both received job instruction and practice this past week.
Some friends invited our family to the regional hot springs for a swim, soak, and a meal out this week. So we all went and had a wonderful time. I love swimming laps and did so for forty-five minutes. When I finished my workout, I spent time just playing underwater, diving constantly and floating around on my back. Water brings out the kid in me. 🙂 After I tired out, I went to the warmer pools and spent a lovely time soaking and chatting with our friends and some other patrons.
May you all have a very blessed and safe week.
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.