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. 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!

Jim Reports:

This week can be summed up with one word: chainsawing!  I was busy for three days, cutting wood to stove length, and stacking it in our main wood shed.  (The kids did most of the final stacking.) I also had to split a few of the larger rounds. But a quite satisfying number of the rounds were in the “just right” diameter range of 5″ to 7″, to fit through the door of our woodstove.  Most of the wood in this latest batch of deadfall and deadstanding was Tamarack (aka Western Larch.) That is one of my favorite varieties for the wood stove.

And, as I noted last week, I had to do a few fence repairs, after the ravages of our bull. The problem with fencing here at the Rawles Ranch is that we keep both horses and cattle in the same pastures. With horses this means using no barbed wire whatsoever, to prevent injuries. So, with only smooth wire (mainly woven wire mesh and some welded heavy gauge wire cattle panels), the critters feel that they have carte blanche to constantly test our fences. For the horses, that means leaning over them, and with the cattle, that means nosing under them. If I had an unlimited budget, then I’d use all heavy gauge welded cattle panels and heavy duty T-posts at very close intervals –say four feet apart.  That would be truly  “Bull Strong.” But, alas, my budget for fencing supplies won’t cover doing that for our perimeter fence or cross fences.

I’ve also been busy shipping out orders for my sideline mail order biz, Elk Creek Company. Miss Eloise has done an admirable job of padding and packing the boxes for me. Orders have been quite brisk, since our Pandemic Hiatus ended. I’ve been scrambling to re-stock, but the guns are selling and shipping out faster than they are coming in. So it is a good thing that I will be shutting down sales again for the month of June, so that I can travel to gather more inventory.  If you want to place an order, then please do so before Friday, May 29th. Thanks!

The big sellers for the past two weeks have been Trapdoor Springfields, pre-1899 Winchesters, pre-1899 Colts, pre-1899 Krags, and pre-1899 Mosin Nagant rifles. Something tells me that the next rush of orders will be for pre-1899 revolvers. I still have about 25 nice ones in inventory — mostly chambered in .44 S&W Russian and in .44-40 Winchester.  I also have a few Webley double action revolvers that have been converted to .45 ACP.

Now, on to my wife Lily’s adventures…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This week started our beautifully sunny and in the 60s and then changed to cooler temperatures and rain for the rest of the week.

On two occasions, this week, I, helped the girls stack wood in the wood shed.  Jim wants to get in our winter wood supply ASAP this year.  So we are all working hard on it.

In the greenhouse, I transplanted into a bed some red and Jalapeño peppers and eggplant that I had started in the Indoor Bathroom green house.  I also covered them with tall clear totes to keep them much warmer.

I also started, another four trays of various tomato seeds of the kinds that I lost when I put them outside too early and lost them to frosty nights. I started some more Amish paste, Pole Romas, German Greens and some sweet yellows.  I still have many others that are growing in trays, that will be transplanted outdoors in about two weeks. They’ve become very leggy, which was my bad.  But I think they’ll do fine and spring to vigorous life once transplanted outside.

I planted eight celery plants in the garden, grown in the indoor greenhouse from the seeds that I harvested last fall.  I have still more celery plants to plant outside, but, I want them to grow larger first.

I’ve been regularly harvesting lettuce, spinach, kale, spinach and beet greens for salads and smoothies.

I filled a dark green plastic tote bin with some sandy composted soil from the garden and brought it into the green house to use as a growing container for sweet potatoes/yams.  I had been growing sweet potato/yam slips on my kitchen windowsill, three of them I transplanted into the green tote and then for extra warmth and protection put one of my clear totes over the top of the green tote. Hopefully this year I will have much better success in growing sweet potatoes in the greenhouse.  I have six purple sweet potatoes sprouting on the kitchen windowsill as well as still another five regular Sweet potatoes.

This week Miss Violet wrapped up much of her homeschooling for the year!  Thank God!  😉  She needed much input from me this week.

I know that song birds don’t have much to do with survival, except that they are a beautiful Creation of God, and bring much joy to one’s heart of which promotes health and well-being and improves one’s mental state in a world that is fading away. ..Therefore, I wish to continue talking about them for a while longer…

Right now is the height of the return of our summer migratory song birds, and other birds. Earlier this week almost at dark, I finally heard the Wilson’s Snipe doing it’s call at dusk as it flies hunting for insects.  I also saw our first little bats. On a very cold rainy morning a pair of Evening Grosbeaks stopped underneath our Hummingbird feeders for a rest.  I happened to look at the window at that moment and spotted them.  Miss. Violet, again, got to hold another little hummer this week for a few moments.  She loves holding them.

Every year, I spend some hours working on identifying bird calls. Every year I learn and relearn the calls of the birds that are harder to identify, such as the warblers, some wrens, finches, sparrows and other lesser known birds.  With confidence, I can now say, that I have now heard, the Veery, the Red-eyed Vireo, the Cooper’s Hawk, Wilson’s Snipe, Western Tanager, and many others on our ranch.

This week on a beautiful warm sunny gorgeous morning, our whole family went on one of our very rare family outings to the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho to ride our bikes around it’s five mile loop and to bird watch.  We had a wonderful family ride together.  It was so beautifully warm and sunny with intense blue skies with fluffy white cumulus clouds building.  The Refuge is located in the valley called the Purcell Trench which is surrounded by the still snowy peaks of the  Purcell, the Selkirk and the Cabinet mountains. It was a beautiful bike ride and we saw and heard many birds.  Among the ones that we saw, I saw for the first time ever, for me, Yellow headed Blackbirds.  We also saw Turkey Vultures, Canadian Geese, Mallards, Cinnamon Teals,  Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, American Coot, Kill Deer, Rufus Humming bird.  We heard Wilson’s Snipe and a Sora.  We heard many other birds too, but I’m still working on their identification, and I won’t bore you with the usual common birds that we hear all of the time. The picture included in this week’s Editor’s Preps is one that I took looking north up the Purcell Trench towards Creston, Canada.

That day after returning home, it was so beautiful outside, still, I felt that I hadn’t gotten enough biking or bird watching in for the day. Really, honestly, I wasn’t ready to get back to work, was more like it.  😉 So,  I hopped back onto my bike and rode up the road to another part of our flooded meadows to see what kind of water fowl were swimming in there.  I saw several pairs of Cinnamon Teal, Buffleheads, Northern Shovelers, Wood Ducks, Canadian Geese, Mallards, Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, Barn Swallows and Tree Swallows, and another Osprey.

Another joy, that I experience living out here in the wilderness are the exquisite forest smells.  We live in a coniferous mixed forest:  spruce, firs, larch, pines, cottonwood, birches. Currently the trees are flowering and giving off their pollen, but along with the pollen they are giving off the most incredible sweet piny and spruce flower scent in the whole world.  I love that smell.  Whenever I go outside I breathe in deep to smell the air.  When the cats come in from outside, I love to scoop them up to give them a hug and to smell their fur because it has that intense flowery smell on them. They smell so good!

Friday morning, I  brought sugar cane syrup to my Working girls’ hives and looked around the orchard to see how many buds were about to bloom on my eighteen fruit trees.  As I was leaving the orchard and closing, it’s gate, I heard a massive sound of wings taking flight from the eighteen summer resident geese that had been in our meadow close to the house, eating grass.  I walked out of the orchard to see what may have set them off.  I thought that the sound of me closing the squeaky gate of the orchard gate may have been the cause, but as I walked around a clump of trees to watch them honking and circling around, I saw them land in the south meadow, and look towards the river.  I looked across the river and saw a coyote walking along the other side. Just then, the Coyote looked up and saw me.  We stared at each other for a few moments. The river was between us, so I wasn’t, worried. But, I thought, “Darn, I wish I had my Binocs. to see it more clearly.  We looked steadily at each other for another moment, then it continued walking into the trees and disappeared.  At that moment I looked over to the geese.  All 18 of them had their necks craned towards the trees across the river, where the coyote had disappeared, straining to see it. I laughed, thinking it was quite a comical sight. Then I went back up to the house.

Preparing note: Each time we are going through towns, we are stopping at stores to buy the allowed amount of beef and chicken with cash to stock our freezers.  We are hoping our heifer will give birth to a bull this spring, she is due sometime within the next month.  We’ll turn him into a steer and will fatten him up over the next two years or so.  In the meantime we’re still stocking up as much as we can.

We suggest you also continue buying food and tangibles for your own use and for bartering, because we will not be participating in the new economic cashless system when it comes on line.  If you have any debt, then try to pay it off.  Try to get yourself into the position of not needing to rely on stores, or medical system.  As much as you can, get into physical shape.  Pray that we all may escape all things that are coming upon the earth.  Pray Psalm 91.  Ask the Lord to hide you from those bent on evil.  Pray that He will use you to bring His salvation to those who are lost before it’s too late.  Pray for people’s hearts to be ready to hear the Word of the Lord.

This coming week, I plan to plant the beans, tomatoes, cucumbers and squash outside, Lord-willing.  I hope and pray that we don’t have any more serious cold fronts come through.  I also hope to spend some time hiking and fishing in our local lakes.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.




117 Comments

  1. Love your bird-watching notes and observations. Learning more bird ID has been on my “bucket-list” for some time. Haven’t seen many here as of yet. A woodpecker discovered the new woodstove pipe and spent hours determinedly hammering away on it; guess he must have been “successful” as he hasn’t returned to keep doing it(thankfully!). There’s a large beautiful pond here but it’s heavily developed with homes so I think that cuts down a lot on wildlife/birds sadly. I’d love to live in a more remote place although many would consider my place “remote” enough.

    The weather has been weird; after last weekend’s snow of maybe 8 inches we got another 5 or 6 on Tuesday! It’s pretty well all melted now. A number of hard freezes too. I had planted a bunch of small black currants that someone gave me which were all leafed out as they were from the central part of the state and they aren’t looking too good right now after a week spent here! Poor little things.

    Otherwise, continuing to keep all the seedling starts going under lights. Direct seeded some early stuff. Found someone who will drop off wood chips when he has them; need them for all of the perennial berries plus the new fruit trees. Deer have found my new fruit trees and are clearly going to be a problem! Given the meat depletion issue in the stores, I sure hope more people hunt this year as we are overloaded with deer! I need to think hard about a garden fence for keeping the deer out; the cost is daunting.

    I’m continuing to do lots of heavy garden jobs for people, most of which are in an area further south and much lower in elevation so plants are way further along(daffodils are in bloom there!). Besides an income this is getting me back in shape after the winter quickly!

    I’ve been waffling back and forth on ordering laying chicks; I really don’t eat a lot of eggs but my son does. Finally just ordered them this week; still not sure I want to get back into this. So much responsibility goes with living critters. My son has hauled lots of nice pallets here so if I do go ahead with them I’m probably going to build a coop out of pallets; only need to find some scrap roofing material and glass for a window. So weird being in a new place and not having the “stash” of materials in the barn anymore to just grab what I need!

    Re: GSM; noticed that the NY Post of all things just had an article online on how the sun has had a record low number of sunspots the past few years and what this could mean. Interesting that they ran this article as I haven’t seen much attention paid to the solar minimum in MSM.

  2. It has been a very busy week. Our local grocer had beef, pork and poultry at almost the same price as the larger warehouse stores; just not in bulk packaging. They had hamburger at 80/20% and 75/25%, but no 90/10%. My neighbor down the road went to the city to buy meat and told me the warehouse store had a limit of 1 per type of product; no hamburger at all; 2 cuts of beef roasts and 2 types of steaks; no pork at all; only frozen chicken and frozen fish. Butcher told her trucks always arrive later than scheduled and some without meat.

    This week was all about processing and preserving food. Herbs, lettuce and strawberries are being harvested now. Veges are growing in the ground after being transplanted from the hoop house. Just planted the corn rows after the last dip in temperature. Chicken and beef roasts being pressure canned; early cabbages being pickled and dehydrated for now. Will ferment others when they are ready. Dehydrated spinach, celery, cilantro and basil,

    My son trimmed and elevated a huge live oak tree with branches the size of 15′ trees. Then came the clean up, cutting the wood to stove size, stacking in the woodshed and gathering up the twigs. It is a lot of hard work.

    One of my big dogs was bitten on the paw by a copperhead. He must have killed it after it bit him because that snake was in 3 pieces by the time we got outside to see what was going on. Called the emergency vet clinic who wanted $800 per vile of anti-venom and said no guarantees. She estimated total bill would be around $2000. With as many animals as I have I simply cannot afford that expense. I cleaned up the injury, gave him Benadryl and antibiotics every 6 hours. I rubbed antibiotic ointment on the swelling leg to help with the pain. Kept him confined for 24 hours then he got up and pee’d and pooped and went back his bed in the garage. Swelling is going down now, he’s going outside and wants to be with the the pack. He is improving and will live but we are watching him closely.

    May your week be healthy and safe.

  3. This week we are visiting a rural property was are interested in. It is a rental, 30+ acres along with a well, garden area, stream and spring fed pond and fenced pasture. The home requires work but the rental fee is affordable which allows us to save more for our own property down the road. There is also an option to earn credit against the rent by completing upgrade projects.

    In our small town the first if the big layoffs are happening. We knew it might be coming. Two companies are pulling up stakes and departing, eliminating 120+ local jobs. Smaller employers are doing the same. Some of my neighbors have been furloughed and rumors are starting to fly about two more larger employers shutting down. Every time we thought about buying a house here things didn’t work out (mainly because our local market was overinflated and I refuse to overpay). Now I’m sure that God had other plans for us and mobility is a blessing.

    Like many of you we continue to stock up on meat. If you are paying attention to supply and demand comments from industry leaders then you know there is a high risk of significant price increases over the next several months.

    Also in short supply at Walmart is dry pasta, sauce (especially glass jars), canned soup, rice, beans and certain brands of canned vegetables. This stuff is available at other stores but we are now seeing limits on red meats (2 per shopper), pasta and soups in most stores. We expect this to be extended to no more than two meats of any type.

    We are fortunate that our Arkansas governor didn’t lock down the state. The voices screaming about extending the shutdown to flatten the curve have grown quieter.

    In the markets – I’m amazed at the resiliency of the stock market. All that new money had to go somewhere and I worry that the retail investors are going to get hosed. We remain in defensive mode in our 401k. Premiums on silver and gold remain high so we’re waiting for a break.

    1. Chris in Arkansas – thank you for sharing. We are so sorry for the news of the loss of those companies and the jobs they brought to your community. Our prayers are with everyone. We’re hoping that the rural rental you’re exploring turns out to be a good fit for you, but even if not, we believe and trust that God has just the right plan for you and your family, and that it is unfolding even now. When we listen closely, we can hear Him even as he whispers!

      Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  4. JWR – you may have addressed this before, and I would hazard you have your reasons for not using electric, but have you considered adding a hot wire to the top of your fence, and say offset another one 18 inches or so off the ground? You’d still have the peace of mind of your main fence and these two lines would go a long way to keeping the livestock away from it…

  5. Many local farmers use solar electric fences. They work well. My 80 acres is surrounded by Osage orange trees with Barbwire fencing. My horses stay well away from the Barbwire as the trees are dense and thorny. I keep the fencing around my house all electric. We have cattle guards on our roads. The risk is when you get a new horse or cattle. A new horse can do some pretty stupid things around the cattleguard and Barbwire fence once they’ve been around a while they eventually learn.

    1. I have worked with cattle and horses for many years. As it is a good thing not to have barbed wire for horses, wire mesh fencing works well for both cattle and horses, I like to run run two strings of hot wire, one near the top of the fence to prevent the horses from trying to reach over to the grass on the other side of the fence, and the other one about 2 – 3 feet from the ground to keep the cattle off of the fence.

  6. A.L.,
    There is nothing like the month of May here. Every morning a blessing to get up, let the chickens and cows out on pasture while listening to all the birds. We are blessed beyond measure. I am in wonderment at what the new heaven and earth will be like. Because of Jesus, the Son of the Living God, I will find out!

    1. It is glorious, isn’t it? I do look forward to the peace and purity and true love of God’s heavenly abode of which I suspect will come much, much sooner than we all expect. Come quickly, Lord Yeshua!

  7. I always enjoy reading what everyone is doing.

    We we able to get our garden spot ready. Today the fencing will be secured to the posts. We may wait for another week to plant to allow the soil to warm up a little more. Fruit trees have been purchased from a local nursery.

    When we purchased our home it had an old, flimsy wood shed. Last weekend I was able to build a new one that doubled the capacity. We plan to start filling it up this weekend.

    After a long search we have located and purchased some milking goats. It has been a few years since we have had goats. We are looking forward to the fresh milk.

    My wife has been extremely busy selling our labs. Almost all are spoken for; we are now getting ready for our next litter of pups to arrive in less than two weeks.

    Additionally, we are closely monitoring a bobcat that likes our property. Early spring turkeys were its victim. Last weekend it got into our chicken coop and took off with one of our chickens. No new incidents since then, but we know it will be back.

    Have a wonderful week.

  8. The first part of the week was cold and we had several nights where the lows were in the mid-twenties. The upcoming week looks to be beautiful though! I’ll be planting out after ?May 30th- last frost date.

    I transplanted all our tomatoes to 4″ pots yesterday – they looked a little bedraggled last night, but have since perked up. The basement garden is a poor substitute for the outdoor one, but it helps us get through our winter infested spring.

    Hubby’s lab tests came back – the cancer is still undetectable praise God. One more round of hormone therapy, which, for now, appears to be working. He is weak due to the therapy but he is still here! Stage 4 cancer =no fun.

    I was out for my daily 3 mile walk yesterday. About a mile in, my knee did not feel right. I turned around and came home. By evening I was walking like Chester (anyone know this reference?). It was quite swollen. I did the RICE thing and it is not perfect but so much better this morning.

    Our state suddenly opened up late Wednesday. So Thursday morning, I went to the store and did a BIG stock up. I got there at 6am and there were probably 20 other customers. The cashiers don’t arrive until 7, so it took me some time to do the self checkout with a cart that was full.

    Limits on meat – two packages per customer. Limits on tp – 1 package. Still no yeast. Thankfully, I am finally starting to feel confident in my sourdough starter. I started this about a month ago, but never felt like it was quite right. Now, I think it is. The starter smells sour, as it should. The dough for tonight’s pizza is already rising on the back of the stove.

    We are expanding our garden. Our fencing will be delivered today. We are hiring this work out due to hubby’s condition. Fruit trees will also be delivered any day. I went to our local gardening place and bought a bunch or annuals for instant color. Brightened my day!

    Hubby has been fishing a few times but hasn’t brought anything home yet. With the meat shortages, he is motivated to catch and keep. He is a former fishing guide, so I know it won’t be long until we have a good stash or walleye and perch (our favorites) in our freezer.

    Two of our sons are pastors so we have been getting ‘insider information’ on the process some of our area churches are going through to get back together. At least one church will be meeting outside, weather permitting. Bring your own lawn chairs, no children’s ministry, no offering plates, no meet and greet times.

    The concern is singing. Apparently singing can expel droplets farther than a cough. But being outside and socially distanced will greatly minimize that. Small groups are being encouraged to meet. I’m planning to invite my ladies’ Bible study here on Thursday to gather on lawn chairs in the front yard.

    It will be so good to gather together again.

      1. I can’t remember where I found this recipe so I can’t give credit where credit is due…
        1 C. sourdough starter (unfed discard)
        1/2 C. warm water
        2 C. flour
        1 tsp. Salt
        1/2 tsp. Yeast.

        This is rising nicely on the back of my stove right now in my cool kitchen. Last week I used a full teaspoon of yeast because I was not confident in my starter. This week I only used 1/2.

        The original recipe called for 2 1/2 C. Flour. That made too heavy of a dough, so I cut it back.

        I’ve always felt kind of intimidated to make sourdough. I have about 30 cookbooks – mostly vintage, inherited, gifted. As I researched sourdough, read through all the recipes, I realized that it is more forgiving than I thought. You don’t need a digital scale, for example.

        The one thing that is helpful is to allow for a long rise. I make my dough early in the morning but don’t bake until supper time. Hope this helps – I am a true novice at this but am learning along the way!

    1. Dear wormlady,

      I’m sure you must live not far from us – your weather reports always sound very close to ours. Last week was frustratingly cold, wasn’t it? But things are looking up, as you said.

      I also enjoy your worship-related comments. My hubby is a semi-retired pastor, and I’m the church organist. I too have worries about how hymn-singing in the church might spread the germs. I think singing while wearing face masks would make everyone start laughing. I hope it will be warmer soon so we can worship outside. It will look comical having lawn chairs set up amongst the headstones in the church cemetery, but we will do what we must. I have missed our worship services terribly since we’ve been locked down!

      1. Worship and music are such an important part of our family life. I am looking forward to the day when we can worship together – on earth, but even more in heaven!

        Regarding location – if I were to say ‘go pack’ you would know I wasn’t necessarily talking about assembling a bug out bag? ~wink, wink~

  9. JWR, tamarack is also my favorite wood to burn. I just love the smell. But mostly the snap-crackle-pop. I’m only able to get it a couple times a year when venturing to eastern Oregon.
    Trips there for just social purposes usually include the trailer, chainsaw and fuel. They most often end up with the truck and trailer loaded up with a couple of cords.

    Miss Lily, while your hubby’s writing is great, your descriptions of simple things like bird watching cause mini daydreams. So descriptive! I think I need to brush up on waterfowl identification. I’m pretty good with most birds and their songs.
    Did you know some birds have regional dialects or songs? Having travelled much, it’s just something I’ve noticed.

    Needing to do some serious fence upgrades and repairs today. The garden was just too tempting for the local deer. One jumped the existing 6’ wooden fence. He was caught red handed thanks to those cheap driveway alarms from harbor freight. (Many thanks to whoever linked those a month or so! I bought 4.)
    When he was shoo’d, he ran right through the 8’ plastic fencing that surround the other three sides! The alarm woke me at 4:30 this morning. Caught again.
    May need to spray some predator urine around the area too.

    1. 🙂 Tom in Oregon, I am working on being a more descriptive writer. The key to writing great descriptions, is familiarity and a passion for a subject and the “amount of time available to write in a relaxed fashion” about said subject. Some weeks I have the time and inclination and subject matter and other weeks, I don’t. 🙂 Thank you for your kind compliment.

      I have noticed and heard that same species of year round resident birds have “different dialects” in different areas of our country. Though, at this moment I couldn’t give you an example from my own experience. It’s been a very long time since I’ve traveled to other areas of the country to listen to the birds, other than here, to recognize a difference and to compare them. It would be an interesting exercise, to do, especially in the springtime. It would be fun, to spend a couple of weeks just listening to birds, here, and then to go back East and listen.

      Oh dear, you need to keep those dear deer out of your garden. Happy fence repairing to you, today. 😉

      May you have a blessed and sweet week,

      Lily

    2. Tom in Oregon-
      We live in an area full of deer and elk. We used to have 10′ fencing around our garden but it looked like a prison yard. About 5 years ago we discovered a cool trick to keep deer and elk out. It turns out that they will jump up, or jump out, but don’t like to do both of those at the same time. We have 4′ high wire field fencing around our veggie garden. About 2′ inside that, we put a couple of T posts and run regular old garden twine along the fence line, so that it forms a parallel line within the field fencing. About every 4′ we run a cross line of twine from the field fence to the inside perimeter twine. Since doing that we have had no issue with deer or elk. We’ve seen them standing outside of the fence looking in longingly at the veggies but they won’t jump over.

      1. Irish Eyes, thanks for the tip. Trying that idea this morning. It makes sense.
        I think I’m also going to tie a bunch of Mylar strips like the wineries around here do. It’s supposed to keep critters, especially birds, away.

  10. Avalanche Lily, I was curious how you like the Amish Paste tomatoes, and the German Greens? I have a few Amish Paste plants this year, but I have never tried them. I’m hoping they’ll be good for making my wife’s marinara sauce and spaghetti sauce. And I have tried the German Greens a few years back, but only had two plants that didn’t do well, so I only got a couple of tomatoes. They had an excellent flavor from what I remember though.
    Also, you mentioned sweet yellow tomatoes, have you ever tried Azoychka yellow tomatoes? I grow them, and while they’re small, I have been impressed with how productive they are, and with the flavor. I’d be glad to mail some seed if you would like to try them.

    It has been a busy week here as well, getting hay equipment ready to go, mowing, tedding, and raking hay, and hopefully baling it today. I only do around 15 acres, and sell what I don’t need for my animals. It’s not much hay, but it is slow going doing square bales with one or two people. Using old equipment doesn’t speed things up either, but I will say that the 1953 Farmall Super M and early 80’s new holland 472 haybine is the best mowing outfit that I’ve ever owned. AND it’s simple, durable, and easy to work on.

    1. wwes,

      Honestly, in the past, I hadn’t had too much luck with the Amish Paste or the German Greens. They grew in my greenhouse, a few of them and I included them in my sauce, but they were mixed with all kinds of other varieties. This is really the first year to really go for them.

      Someone else asked me, today, what I do with all of those tomatoes. Well the fact of the matter is, that in the past I didn’t grow enough of them to do much with, (our summer nights are always very cold and tomatoes don’t do that well with that). Therefore, in the past three years, I bought several cases of tomatoes from an Amish store to supplement my harvest and to can, freeze and dehydrate. Last year and the year before were the first times that I had enough of my own to can and freeze. Last years’, batch of my own and the store bought Amish Tomatoes, have lasted until now, I have one more can of canned tomato juice, no more diced, and about 3/4 of a gallon of frozen tomato juice left in the freezer (I still plan to make ketchup with it one of these days). Of course, I have cases of canned sauce, paste, and diced from Costco in storage, too.

      So, I definitely want to can much more this coming summer. Truly, it was only last summer that I got very serious about canning. Before then, I was just dabbling with it, because, I don’t like being in the kitchen for long hours in the summer time.

      However, much maturity and seriousness has entered my bones in the past two years, to give me the patience and motivation to stick out the job in the kitchen. ;).

      Of all of the “Survival skills” acquisitions, canning and pressure canning, has been the last on my list to master, of which, I am now well on my way.

      It’s now a matter of life or death, no joke!!

      I have not tried Azoychka yellow tomatoes. If they are not a short seasoned tomato, then it wouldn’t be worth it to send them. We need varieties that mature in 60-70 days, 80 days the longest. If they fall into that maturity range, please do send me some seeds, I am interested. If not, I do thank you for your kindness of your offer. 🙂

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. @ Lily

        I was spoiled by always having huge cold frame/tunnels to grow my heat loving crops such as tomatoes, peppers and eggplant in. Here I don’t have a tunnel(yet) so it’s going to be quite an eye opener to see what I can produce at this elevation and latitude.. The cool nights is the problem. I’m going to use row cover on the peppers and eggplants and also the tomatoes until they have to be staked. Will see. I’m going to overplant in hopes that will make up for it but a tunnel is on my wish list for next year(going to try to build one as the prices now are insane for what I need-a gothic style frame). hope you have good luck this season with the tomatoes! And Amish Paste are quite good I think- I’m doing some of those too.

        1. Ani,

          When it comes to the peppers, I have given up on growing them outside in the garden. I am only growing them in the green house, and this summer I will be covering them at night with the plastic totes. Also I will be closing the green house door at night to keep the heat in longer. Last summer I kept forgetting to close it at night and my tomatoes fruited in the green house at the same time as the ones outside in the garden. I plan on putting up tunnels again for the tomatoes out i n the garden. The problem here, is that it gets too hot in the tunnels during the day and too cold at night. It is so difficult to find the perfect temps. I am curious as to how your tomatoes will grow, too, this summer. Please keep us informed. May they grow well.

          1. @ Lily

            If it ever stops snowing and I can plant them I’ll let you know ;-(. I’m pretty nervous given the late start here plus the elevation.

            The tunnels I used were large(commercial grower sized) and I had roll-up sides plus lots of ways to open up the ends so I had plenty of ventilation. You could try using shade-cloth on top of them if summer sun/heat is a problem; this is used in Israel a lot as many crops are grown inside huge tunnels but of course the summer sun is intense. They also use fans to vent the hot air but I think with a smaller home-scale grow tunnel you could do fine with roll up sides, lots of end-windows to open and shade cloth.

          2. Ani,

            I suspect that your soil will be quite acidic where you are at. Have you tested it, yet? Are you going to put in beds or just plow a section of your land?

            In previous years, I have rolled up the plastic, or taken it off of the hoops outside. My problem is consistency. I am not very consistent all of the time. The problem is that I can get really tired by the evening, some evenings, and don’t make it back outside to cover stuff up. Also in the summer time, it doesn’t cool off, or get dark until 10 pm or 11PM, for three months, by that hour I am knackered. Excuses, I know, but I’m just telling it like it is and who I am. Hopefully, I am getting more consistent as the years go by. We are continually growing and maturing in all areas, if we strive to do so, as we age. 😉

      2. Well, Dear Avalanche Lily, I am of the strongly held belief that your attempt to grow anything other than cherry tomatoes is a testimony to both your gardening skill and your unwavering optimism!! 🙂 Oh my, how I would like to be successful with growing those big ol’ Cherokee tomatoes we had in the South, but I have been an abysmal failure with all tomatoes, except cherry tomatoes. I finally just gave up and went with the flow. Surprisingly, it turned out that my family likes marinara made from cherry tomatoes better than when I use the Roma ones. At the end of summer I cook the bounty down into a sauce with fresh marjoram, garlic, rosemary and a bit of sugar, then pop into the freezer. This year I hope to can up some of the sauce too.

        1. Hello Grits,

          Mmmm, Marinara sauce made from sweet, sweet cherry tomatoes!!! That sounds very yum, to me. When you get your Green house, I am so sure that you’ll be able to grow as many of those big ol’ Cherokee tomatoes that your sweet southern heart so desires!!! 😉 I am praying for y’all to be able to acquire that Green house ASAP! 😉

          Blessings,

          Lily

          1. We are in the deep south, where you can grow tomatoes in our long summers, in the ground. However, some years it’s so wet that we can’t get into the garden, so I very often plant some in pots of various kinds. I am curious why y’all that live further north don’t grow them in pots with a wheelie cart underneath and just wheel them inside?

          2. Well Anon,

            We are growing large amounts of tomato plants, it takes a large room to store them at night, and it takes even ground and a cart to wheel them some place. It is more infrastructure than we have or want to invest in. My green house is 14 by 44, but it grows many other things as well. If I were growing two or four plants, that would be a whole other story, but I am not.

            Blessings,

            Lily

            In general, not directed at Anon:

            Do some of you people understand just how much food we would need to grow in a year to supply all of our calories for a Year?? It’s a lot more than many people are thinking, a whole lot more. It scares me, very much to know how much we eat in a year, and how often we go to the grocery store to buy fresh. Can we actually grow enough to survive, once all of our dry stored goods are consumed? We buy such a huge variety at the stores, but can only grow limited varieties. How are we going to fare when the food selection becomes so narrow? Do people realize that a biblical famine is coming?? It’s not just been brought on politically, but is already in the works from the Grand Solar Minimum. Many on this blog are awake , but I fear, many others are still in their normalacy bias. Time is running out!!

          3. So true! Not to mention how much grain is needed, and grain takes a lot of land to grow. We are taller and more filled out than previous generations. It’s been relatively recently in human history that adventageous people have struggled to eat less rather than to get enough to eat. I am thankful that we do not need to survive on what I can produce.

        2. Miss Grits, I don’t suppose you could share that recipe? I grow Romas and a couple varieties of cherry tomatoes down here, and would love to work up a good marinara recipe.

          1. Hi! It’s my pleasure to share the recipe, though I apologize I’ve never really measured amounts so this is just my best guess…

            1 large colander full of cherry tomatoes
            1 sweet onion, chopped finely
            3-4 cloves garlic, minced
            4 long sprigs of fresh rosemary, removed from stem (or substitute dried)
            5 sprigs marjoram, removed from stem (I prefer the sweeter taste of marjoram but you can use oregano if you prefer)
            8 sprigs fresh basil, minced
            olive oil
            salt
            sugar

            In a large fry pan, saute’ garlic and onions in olive oil until onions are clear. Add cherry tomatoes and herbs and saute’ on medium until tomatoes start to pop. Then turn the heat down to low and continue cooking until sauce reduces by 1/3-1/2. Add a few teaspoonfuls of salt and taste. Add more if necessary. Then, if the sauce isn’t quite sweet enough (this really depends on the type of cherry tomato you use), add a tablespoon of sugar, and stir. Taste. If it still isn’t sweet enough for your liking, keep adding sugar. It can get too sweet in a hurry, so go slowly. Add just ONE spoonful of sugar a time, until you get it the way you like it.

            After it cools, I just pour it into a ziplock bag and lay it flat in the freezer. I can stack numerous bags of sauce in a small space this way.

            Enjoy!

      3. Lily,
        Hopefully you’ll have better luck with the amish paste and german greens this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how the amish paste perform here. Depending on what you read, Azoychka is usually listed as being anywhere from a 60-70 day tomato, so I would think it might work in your area. It was one of the first ones to bear for me, and continued bearing until frost. The tomatoes weren’t very large, but they were good, and it produced a lot of fruit for me.
        I’ll get a packet of seed in the mail this week, I hope your experience with it will be a positive one. I’d love to know how they do in Idaho.
        I hope you have a blessed day,
        Wes

  11. Good morning All,
    So this was a rather exciting week. On Monday, I broke the car. As I was leaving to go to mom and dad’s, something didn’t seem right, so I turned around to go back home and low and behold, the temperature shot up to the hot! It turns out that one of the belts snapped. At least I got it home quickly before I REALLY broke something.

    Then, on Thursday evening around 11:30 PM we had a tornado rip through our little town. I don’t think it was a big one but it uprooted very large trees all over town. The really great thing is that we had absolutely no damage to our house or garage!!! I think God was looking out for us! I truly do!!
    The reason I think this is because we have an at least 50-60 year old pine tree in the front of our house and it’s very tall (taller than the second floor where our bedroom is). Lightning struck this tree right down the middle and it DID NOT fall through our house and kill us while we were sleeping!!

    We spent the whole day chainsawing all the trees uprooted on our place (one) and the neighbors (several large trees) but the really great part was hanging out with the neighbors and helping them out with their uprooted trees. That was actually the funnest time I’ve had in a while. Hubby was on chainsaw, (I am afraid of it. I’m only 5’2 & 100lbs) so I’m not gonna touch that!
    I took a ride around town; it looked like a bomb went off! The strange thing was that this storm uprooted all of the big trees around town but by and large no ones homes were severely damaged and all of the smaller trees are shrubs seemed Ok.
    I did find several displaced birds nests all around (I gathered them up as we have a collection of birds nests) and we did rescue one small baby black bird. His mama was squawking fiercely so we scooped up baby and put him on a tree branch. Mama came over and started feeding it so that made me very happy! Our Orioles are still here! Also our Rose-breasted Grosbeaks!! I’m so thankful the storm didn’t displace them.

    Today we will be helping clean up more. The village is also coming around to gather all of the tree branches put at the end of driveways and others are coming around with trailers and loading up on bigger pieces. With all of the trees uprooted; damaged, at least those with wood stoves are able to gather as much as they want!!
    We are supposed to get more storms tonight, I hope they are not severe. One thing that I noticed is that the tornado sirens DID NOT go off.
    All in all we are OK.
    Thank you to those of you who wrote encouraging notes to me. You all have no idea how much I appreciate your support here.

    Okay, we’re going to go get started on some more chainsaw work.

    Hope everyone is safe and healthy!
    And may you all have a Rockin great day!

      1. Ani,

        Absolutely not! Isn’t life exciting!
        I do hope it starts to warm up for you! And I’m kinda jealous that you are getting some chicks. They won’t allow us to have them here (in town), but I did buy a beginners poultry kit so I can at least learn about them. I may just sneak a couple in next year after I do my research and figure out exactly what I need to do all of this. I’m extremely rebellious and I REALLY want my own chicks, party because I just love animals and partly because I want my own eggs. Oh yeah also I want them just because they say we can’t have them. That makes me want them more now.

        Take care and Rock on 🙂

        1. So maybe petition your town(with some other people as well perhaps) to allow chickens and ducks? Promise no roosters(for now). I know that in my state even in the state capitol people have chicken coops all over the place. Maybe plead food security? Educational purposes for kids? Whatever it takes. Or just do it- guerilla chicken raising! We’ll raise bail for you on “Go Fund Me”! 😉

          1. She needs to acquire them as “emotional therapy chickens” and ensure they wear little vests that read “working chicken, do not pet”. Then just dare somebody to say something!! Heck, I think I need some “therapy chickens” too.

            😉

        2. RKRGRL68, don’t give up on your desire for chickens. I’m the same way – a little rebellious. When we moved to our small town home 2 years ago, backyard chicks were verboten here. But last fall, the city council changed the ordinance, and we can now have up to 6 hens! We bought our first 4 chicks last month, and they’re almost ready to move to the backyard coop.

          Contact your city council and politely state your desire for more of your constitutionally allowed freedom. Also check with your nearest neighbors to confirm that they have no objections. Change for the better can happen. Keep praying for it!

        3. RKRGRL68
          Don’t give up on chickens. Where we lived before moving to our homestead did not allow chickens either. It was the HOA not the town that prohibited them. I got 5 chicks anyway. I build raised garden beds and covered them with mesh, I built some “berry” arbor fencing and planted raspberries on the side seen from the road and on the back had my “garden”. The closest neighbors knew but didn’t care and loved getting the occasion gift eggs plus they all made a point to say how they had chickens when young or they love to hear the little cackling sounds the hens made. I didn’t push it by having a rooster and I didn’t flaunt having them. We had them for over a year before we moved and we never heard from the HOA.
          You can try and see what happens and find homes for them if your neighbors are truly upset about them. You won’t lose anything really. We had a horizontal garden shed fixed up as a coop with a small chicken size door that opened into the pen “garden bed” and the big doors opened on the outside of the pen for me to get the eggs and clean it out. My husband also cut ventilation windows along the top that we fastened wire mesh to so they couldn’t get out and nothing could get in. This is the shed we used https://www.sportsmansguide.com/product/index/suncast-horizontal-garden-shed?a=426732
          We lived where there was heavy deer pressure so having netting around the garden beds wasn’t strange as almost everyone with a garden had some kind of deer protection.
          Sometimes it is better to ask for forgiveness then to ask for permission.

          Also make pen dog proof as dogs are the number one killer of chickens.

        4. Have you checked out if quail are allowed ? Many areas class them as pets. They aren’t noisy and produce many healthy eggs. the eggs are higher in omega fatty acids than chicken eggs. The quail can be eaten too ( I don’t so far). The eggs incubate well and its about 16 days to hatch coturnix quail. They can be raised inside but I feel they should be outside in the sunshine. Slightly Rednecked on you tube has lots of information on quail raising . I love mine and they are very easy to care for. They do drink a lot of water. I big tubs of water in with mine with bricks in them so they don’t drown. I also put marbles in the chicken waterer with the babies so they don’t drown since they are SO small when they hatch. My grandsons love deviled eggs made out of the quail eggs. About 4 quail eggs equal a chicken egg.

  12. This week has been fairly uneventful, with a couple of exceptions. We enjoyed a good visit with my folks for Mother’s Day, dropping off, half of the chicken breasts we’d picked up at the case lot sale. When I asked Mom if she wanted to go in with us on ordering another half cow, she agreed. However, our local butcher, who has never “steered” us wrong (sorry, couldn’t resist), recommended that we wait a month, as he expects local prices to drop in a month or so. I realize I’m accepting some risk here, but I also know that shortages are not consistent throughout the country, that he has a good pulse on the local producers, and that he’s also always been straight with us in the past. So we’ll see how this goes, and in the meantime, we have other mitigation measures in place.

    On a good note, I was able to pick my first blackberries of the year, and things are still looking good in the garden and vineyards. Our new chicks are healthy and growing as well. And we saw, Lord willing, the departure of the unseasonably cool weather this week with temperatures finally starting to come up to normal. Hopefully, this will help push some our slower crops along.

    On a final note, a funny animal story. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve started taking my Malinois with me when I go jogging in the afternoons after (tele)work. Yesterday, a couple of tasks came in at the last minute that required immediate action (30 minutes prior to quitting time on Friday, of course!). This resulted in me being about 15 minutes late logging off. As I was changing into my jogging clothes, I heard a scratching at the bedroom door. When I opened it, there was Mali, bouncing up and down, like “Come on, Dad, let’s go, you’re late!”.

    Have a blessed week, folks, and stay safe.

  13. It is in spring that I really miss our little cabin on the family homestead back east where I so know all the birds, critters and plants. I’m learning here, and also enjoy the heady pine scent when I walk out the front door. The weather turned rainy and rather cold half way through the week and shortened our walks. I was back in hat and gloves, but so thankful to not have it snow!!!

    I was very encouraged this week as I watched the Wartime Farm series available for free on YouTube. As a historian, anthropologist and archeologist, I loved it! This past 11 months of illness has been vastly different, but one of the blessings has been having the time and high speed internet to pursue some of my other interests.

    I fully agree with you Lily that living without debt and as self sufficiently as possible is paramount at this point. We are not there yet, but keep on toward the goal always trusting in God. We were beautifully set-up before a series of disasters occurred and that moves me to much prayer for those who are now experiencing disaster in their lives. I have learned humility and my trust in the Lord has been strengthened. There are no guarantees in this life but for Jesus.

    Trying to use my time wisely. Making some different recipes that are more time consuming. I also bought even more canning jars as most of mine are back east where I have things also setup for a grid down disaster. We definitely do not have enough jars to supply our family for the year. I grew up canning all the food for our family and realize how inadequately prepared we are for such an eventuality. I dehydrate as much as I am able as well. Have the plants (except the peas) all squirreled away in the greenhouse and am watching them grow slowly. Looking at reorganizing my storage so that the nonelectric items are easily available in case they are needed.

    I agree, tough times ahead. Thankful for this window of opportunity.

    1. Hello PJGT,

      Thank you for your uplifting comments. So we are in the same boat of learning the western species of plants and animals. I am delighting in finding new species for my knowledge bank. But, I completely understand your longing to see the familiar spring eastern species. I have noticed that many of the woodland species are located in our higher mountains, which gave me feelings of comfort when I discovered them, species such as the Tall Meadow Rue, Bunch Berry, Trillium, Twisted Stalk Solomon’s Seal, and Hermit Thrush, among many others too numerous to mention, etc. 🙂

      I’ve decided to watch the Wartime Farm Series this week, since several of you are mentioning it, lately. I’ll let you all know what I think, next week. 🙂

      May you have a very sweet week in the Lord.

      Lily

  14. Avalanche Lily,

    I enjoy your posts so much. The sunny May days are such a delight and then came the rain and cold. Like everyone else I went through my preps again (for the 30th or 40th time lately) and found a few things I’d still like to add.

    A long handled, racheting wall stretcher—especially for the work room and the pantry.

    A RONCO automatic freezer fetch tool. (It’s a little like a metal detector. Just wave it over the chest freezer and it lights up when it is directly over that package of frozen food you’re looking for so you know where to start digging.)

    A Rechargeable Electronic Junk Drawer Regret Detector. I usually prefer old-school hand tools but this thing would really be handy. Just touch the probe on the end of it to that item that you think “I’ll never use this” and its digital readout gives you the number of days, weeks or months until you really will need it. (Also handy for sheds, shops and garages.)

    A pack of four 100W LED Lighten-Up Bulbs for when I start taking myself just too seriously and forget to look up and give thanks for all my blessings.

    1. Redoubt Widow,

      Oh, my goodness, I had to read this three times before I “got it” and laughed. Honestly, sometimes when tools are mentioned, I just quickly scan and post and move on to the next post. Then I went back and read it again, and said , “Huh?”, with the “Ronco Automatic Freezer Catch”. I thought, “Now, how would that work? We would need AI technology for that! I don’t want AI Technology in our house.” Then reread it, and laughed. You are so right. We could “really use” these kind of tools. ;). I would love a “room stretcher!!” Thank you for the laugh. 😉

      Many Blessings and a sweet week to you,

      Lily

  15. Have been itching to run the chainsaw and get firewood stored up. However, a wrist fracture from 4-months ago has not fully healed. The cast is long gone, and it gets better and better every day, but still don’t have full strength and full range of motion. Injury was caused by the dumb use of a ladder and a fall of about 4-feet. Every time my wrist hurts it reminds me how disruptive even a relatively small injury can be to prepping tasks. Be careful out there everyone.

    1. A friend did the same thing about 4 months ago but broke a bone in her foot- it’s still not healed so she’s hobbling around on crutches. It is so true that in an instant anything can happen. Take care and heal up soon!

  16. I have a 12v battery charged fencer, it can run huge lengths of fence, it is low impedance so uses plastic bailing twine with fine wire spun into it. The fencer will work up to 3 months on one charged battery. I prefer it to solar as area I lived in was pretty cloudy and charging a battery is not difficult ( can charge it off solar and take it to fence charger). I train new stock in smaller area by fencing entire area, letting the stock find out that that bees (really nasty ones) live somewhere in the fence. then cross fence and put a temptation on the other side of the fence. They learn that the fence is NOT just a suggestion. The low impedance fencing can be cut with a knife or sissors and can be tied together with a square knot or a blood knot, super easy to put up or take down. It also doesn’t have to make a full circle back to the charger. I do not recomend the white tape fencing, especially for horses, yes it lets them see the fence better but they will NOT cross a white line on the road or step onto white plastic, and forget trying to make them jump fences at horse shows. I use the orange twine as few things orange for them to be cautious of out there. Sheep in wool are insulated from all electric fences, so train them shortly after shearing.

    Woodpeckers (males) drill on metal stovepipes or electric transformer boxes because the more noise he makes the more “ladies” he can attract. It amazes me how adaptable wildlife is to our technology.

    Hope all are well and at peace with God. ( Personal note: I think God allowed Trump to be elected to save our country from the brink of the cliff we were headed for, try to be patient as Trump is doing many things in the background and around the world to destroy the corruption that has festered in government. ( check out X22 Report and Prayingmedic on youtube and judge for yourselves).

    1. @VCC

      Yep- my new stovepipe is quite large and the woodpecker was likely quite pleased with his serendipitous “find”. I figure he’s exhausted himself with all of the local gals he attracted that day and so far it has been blessedly quiet! 😉

      1. 😉 We had a woodpecker that banged on our orchard gate every year for days on end. This year he only knocked on it once on only one day. :(. I wonder where he went, and if he found the love of his life really quickly and that is the reason why he left so quick. I hope so.

        1. I was wondering why one of our woodpeckers was drilling on the gutter of the house!! Scared the living daylights out of me. Now I know he’s just calling for the ladies.

          Rock on

  17. I love this community and I am so thankful that JWR continued the blog and opened it up to comments in recent years. It is a true blessing to me.

    Time flew by this week with my rescue German Shepherd mix. I’ve decided the mix is Husky. What a combo!!

    I finally dragged out the bags of wheat berries, ground about 8 cups into flour, and made honey wheat bread. WOW what a flavor!!!! Now, I understand why people do this. I like it as much as the sourdough bread. I mostly cleaned out closets, pantries, inventoried, organized, cooked up gallons of spaghetti meat sauce for the freezer, and canned 18 pints of split pea soup. Worked in our greenhouse and we’ve had more lettuce and spinach than we can eat. Last year I put up 25lbs of tomatoes and I’d say that lasted until mid winter, so I have planned to try and put up 50 lbs or as much as I can do. I buy the tomatoes from a local source who has great success with tomatoes. My tomatoes were mostly stolen by the squirrels last year – crazy.

    I finally got someone to come out to inspect my propane stove. Apparently, it’s really old and cheap and was cracked. So I’m waiting for a quote on putting in a wood burning stove and I’m excited about that. I had given up on the idea, but I just can’t let it go. Now, it’s a possibility. I have no clue what it’s going to cost.

    Moving forward one step at a time.

    1. Miss Sarasue, we had a Husky for many years, the senior dog in our pack. Beautiful animal, but stubborn! I’m sure you’ll have your hands full.

      We’ve also had an abundance of spinach, with our chickens enjoying the overflow.

      As to the wood stove, we were able to tone installed into our fireplace in January for a fairly reasonable price. This proved serendipitous, as our downstairs heater failed days later, and it was weeks before we could get it replaced. That wood stove kept our house warm through the coldest days of winter.

      Of course, now you also have that GSD/Husky mix to keep you warm!

  18. It is an absolutely gorgeous day here… the kind that makes you wonder how anyone could forget that we are very loved by God. This morning I opened the windows for fresh cool air and enjoyed the smell of our particularly fragrant apple tree in bloom. (I wish I knew what variety it is because I would get 5 more!). The coddling moth traps were hung in the tree last week and I am checking them daily.

    The morning also consisted of enjoying a cup of coffee and a bowl of stone ground grits. (I NEVER use instant grits because that’s just Southern sacrilege, y’all!!). Between sips of coffee, I traipsed around doing mini-clean-up efforts to ensure things are sparkly, tidy, and clean. That’s my idea of a perfect Saturday morning, really… doesn’t take much to make me happy.

    The garden still requires work. (I call it “work” because if anyone knew how much fun I have out there, I wouldn’t seem quite so virtuous… LOL!) Our version of “the golden horde” happens to be four legged. The stinkers walked onto the front deck a couple evenings ago and helped themselves to some irises that I had left sitting there in pots! So brazen!! Thank goodness I got the veggie starts all positioned inside the deer fence or the deer would have helped themselves to those too!

    In 2019, I streamlining my paperwork (many years of business records) and tossed out 16 boxes with the remaining documents limited to one small file cabinet. The space I saved now provides a lot more room for preps. However, there is a stack of papers on my desk again and I am committed to cleaning it up *this weekend* in order to have a clean desk by Monday. I also want to tackle washing the windows and window screens, and deep clean the laundry room.

    It has been a busy week of “horse trading” – except we were cow and bull trading, not horse trading. Also doing some fencing work and gate latch repairs.

    Reading what everyone is doing is one of my most favorite things each Saturday morning! It is a joy to hear how everyone is working hard and progressing in their self sufficiency lifestyles! May God bless each of you!

    1. Oh, my goodness! I love being in my garden – could (and sometimes do) spend all day out there. DH thinks it is the height of drudgery. The only thing better is getting to eat the produce.

  19. James,

    Not being critical, but please clean up the SOLD guns from the Elk Creek Company web site. I’d like to be able to see what is actually available and not see what is actually not available. Otherwise, it’s a terrific web site and a valuable resource. Buying antique firearms is a wise investment and being able to see just antiques makes the search a lot easier. Thanks for all you and Lily do for all of us.

    1. Sorry, my bad. I hadn’t checked today. It looks like you fulfilled my request overnight and in advance without me knowing about it. I should have checked first. Thank you.

  20. It is always small baby steps and looking forward to God’s Grace and Guidance, is it not? I am finally in a location where I was able to start my first garden in 14 years about 2 weeks ago. Only two small ones, but most everything is already coming up. I also have grape and blackberry vines planted in the back. Hopefully those get started soon. My back yard was not been worked for around 25 years, so there has been much work to clean up brush and poisonous stuff. Very thankful that all of it is finally gone, and all that is left are the small stumps to get chopped out. On the best side of news, the wife has finally had her eyes opened and agrees that we need to start preparing by setting items back for harder times. I am not going to rush out and get everything at once, as I am concerned it will scare her back. Continuing to stock the basics in 5 gallon totes and dehydrating meats and frozen veggies. Now that the markets are open in KS, I will be buying some freshly grown items for the dehydrator and our freezer. As with everyone else, I am so Thankful for you, your wonderful family, and the patient, loving examples you have set.

  21. Cooked breakfast, beans, bacon, and toast with larch this morning. I’m fixing to add to the garden today, several beds using a truck load of aged horse manure. I heard tomatoes love this stuff. I’ve also heard that tomatoes don’t do well at this high latitude after mid summer cause they get too much light because of the extra long days. I’m trying this year non hybrid varieties, fast maturing (60 day) Bush Beefsteak tomatoes, and an indeterminate Yellow Pear Cherry Tomato that matures latter (75 days). Please, any one with experience with tomatoes at this latitude, feel free to advise.

        1. @ Tunnel Rabbit

          OK, I’m pretty close to that latitude myself. No issues with day length here. Tomatoes should grow well provided they get the necessary heat and you grow shorter season ones. They do best in a greenhouse/tunnel sort of situation where it ups the heat and keeps it warmer at night(no artificial heat, just stored heat from the sun plus the impedance of heat leaving due to the plastic covering). I’ve grown lots of different varieties using a high tunnel- from cherry tomatoes like Sun Gold, paste tomatoes like Amish Paste, slicers such as Jet Star, Rutgers, etc and even heirlooms such as Brandywine, Prudence Purple, etc. All do well as long as they are relatively short season, are put out as good sized transplants and preferably get some sort of “heat boost” like a tunnel. This year is rough already due to the cold and snow and I don’t have a high tunnel set up here yet so it will impact my yields for sure.

          I use Pro-Gro fertilizer on them. They do need fertility- just make sure the N levels aren’t too high in what you use or you get gorgeous green plants and not much in the way of the fruit!

  22. @ Lilly

    This is in response to a comment you made about how much food it takes to feed people(no “replies” left to put this in that thread). I’d say that most people haven’t a clue what it takes to feed themselves. I’m working with a really sweet beginning gardener to start a few raised beds this year so she can grow food. She says she wants to move towards being self-reliant. She wants to be able to can tomatoes but she only wants one tomato plant! After a few seconds to contemplate this I had to tell her that it’s unlikely she’ll harvest enough tomatoes for her salads from just one plant let alone any to can. She was pretty disappointed. People just have no idea. We are so far removed(most of us) from farm and rural families where this was common knowledge.

      1. We’re back.

        We had yummy Oneg and our Bible Study. A lovely but intense study was had by all.

        We’re studying Romans 9, 10, and 11. Very interesting, with information background gathering forays into Genesis, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Hosea, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Psalms, Proverbs, Matthew, John, Acts, Hebrews, Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, First Peter. We’re touching on preknowledge, predestination, calling, justification by faith, The Law, sin, Salvation, Faith and Grace, Israel’s calling, Faith of Abraham and not works of the law. The blessing of the Law and the curse of the Law. Yeshua took the curse of the law for us.

        We only scratched the surface and I need to be reading a lot this week.

        Will write more on the topic of growing enough food, in awhile.

        Lily

        1. Avalanche Lily,

          I completely agree with you regarding we don’t know how much we need to grow. We build a very good sized garden, but once we began to plant we realized we need to do another garden…at least the same size.

          We are a family of six. Had salad tonight. Oh my, did we go through a lot of produce for one meal!

          Love your post on Romans 9-11. Meditating on God’s sovereignty over all thing is such balm to the soul. Blessings as you study.

    1. Good for you Ani that you are mentoring this younger gardener! I certainly hope you succeed in helping her “learn the ropes” so to speak. As you mention too many people are very far removed from farm life and the knowledge that was once part of daily life. I am “mentoring” a mid eighties man on gardening more efficiently and I’m only 53. Long story on how that happened as it is a bit reversed on how things usually happen, but it is just a symptom of how society functions (or should I say the lack thereof). He is very religious, as I am, and he does see “the handwriting on the wall” financially and knows there will be a Mark of the Beast coming sometime soon and wants to be more self-reliant in his food supply.

      Please let us know how you do with your mentoring. It will be interesting to know of your progress with this beginner. I think we all need to take this current situation as an opportunity to share ours skills in helping those that have not had the benefits of learning valuable life skills like we might have.

      1. Actually she’s probably older than I am or close to my age in any event. She just doesn’t know how to garden and has decided this is a skill that she wants and needs to learn. As part of my gardening business(now that I’m no longer farming) I’m doing some teaching of garden skills to clients who want to learn, besides those that just want me to weed their perennial beds, plant stuff or clear out the mess! I enjoy the teaching part the best. I did a barter deal of a mower that I needed for canning lessons later this summer with someone(a good gardener who has never canned but wants to learn); she’s a grandmother. I’ll teach 5 year olds or 95 year olds; all good.

        1. Ani,
          I wish I lived near you!! You teaching sounds so great! Wish I was there so I could participate in person.

          Thank you to you, Ma G & everyone else for encouraging me in my chicken journey. I’m going to go to village hall when they open back up in the next couple weeks and find out who I need to speak to about this. I am going to also ask for a paper copy of this “so called no chickens thing”, if at that time they don’t actually have an ordinance on the books I am going to proceed with my plan. I wasn’t interested in a Rooster anyway, just a few chicks to start out with..

          I’ll let you all know what happens with this. I’d really like to get started THIS year rather than wait as I feel a need to get things like this started NOW rather than later when it might not be possible.

          Have a Rockin great day
          Your friend
          RKRGRL68

          1. Hey RKRGRL68,

            When I was married to my first husband, we lived in a southern state for awhile, inside city limits, not zoned for Ag. animals. I had a very good friend who lived just outside of the city limits in an agriculturally zoned area, just four miles away. She and I, were raising our babies, between her first three (she finished up with nine) and my two, our kids were born within a couple of months of each other), gardening, and wanting to raise animals. We decided to buy chickens together. The deal was that out of a large order, I would take 12 females and raise them in my back yard, while she took 50 or more of them and raised them at her place. And if I got caught by city officials, or something came up in which I could no longer care for them, that she would take mine into her own flock. So we got the order of chicks. We raised them in the laundry room of the house. When they grew up, I built a small chicken coop and moved them outside into the yard. They were quiet. We had neighbors on both sides of us, African Americans, one whom was a recently released from prison felon, who raised rabbits in his back yard, and the other was an injured Vietnam veteran and his family. I talked with both of them and asked them to be quiet and told them that I would share my eggs with them, which I did often, and they did keep quiet.

            Within a year and a half, my first husband was diagnosed with cancer, and Miss Violet had some health issues. Life got too crazy for me, so I brought the birds over to my friend and she took them for me, keeping up her end of the deal, thankfully.

            It had been so much fun to raise chickens and to get our own eggs, for the first time in my life.

            This same friend also had pygmy goats. We picked, made, and canned strawberry jam together. She taught me how to buy food in bulk and we took day-long outings to Amish stores to buy foods in bulk: oats, flour, is what I mainly remember buying.

            We talked about homeschooling our children when they reached that age and went to Home school conventions to start planning for that day. We both bought school books that we wanted to use in the future.
            We went to Creationism meetings together. We went to a Messianic Jewish Congregation together, for awhile. We were all about bucking the systems that were in place, being our own people as much as possible.

            So then, RKRGRL, In many ways, I understand you. I too, am “rebellious” of the systems that be, and try to buck them wherever possible.

            I think this way of thinking and the friendships God brought into my life over the years has prepared me to be able to buck the new Economic system when that comes into play.

            May you have a Rockin’ afternoon,

            Blessings,

            Lily

          2. @RKRGRL68

            You go girl! I do love Grit’s suggestion though that you get them little vests and call them “emotional support chickens”! 😉 Let us know what happens. Although as a good friend of mine always says, “better to beg for forgiveness then to ask for permission”! So maybe just go do it?

    2. Avalanche Lily, I wanted to reply to that too.

      I ‘interviewed’ my 93 year old aunt recently. She is my dad’s only remaining sibling so after Dad died I realized I needed to pick her brain while I could.

      According to her recollections ( and she is very sharp) they raised most of the food for a family of 7. The children all worked too. They hunted, fished, raised poultry, pigs and had anywhere from 1-4 cows. They raised calves but those were only for market (veal for NYC restaurants). Dad never ate veal until he was an adult. He always called it Veal Farmer John (rhymes with parmesan????).

      They canned, dehydrated (solar – on top of the chicken coop), fermented, salted and froze food. They had an ice house – blocks cut from a nearby lake. The freezer wasn’t purchased for quite a while. They had a freezer before they had a fridge.

      My aunt only recalls buying coffee, flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and powder from the grocer. All the food was behind the counter and the grocer would weigh it and bag it for you. Grandma had rows and rows of canned goods in her cellar. My dad, uncle and aunts were quite a team of gardeners and preservers with Gram.

      They had very little variety in their diet, though. They only had citrus during a small window in the winter – fruit trucked up to New York from Florida. I doubt if they knew what an avocado was.

      They had lots of potatoes, corn (the best!), carrots, onions, beans. I don’t believe Gram grew lettuce but she grew a lot of swiss chard and spinach. The tomatoes I remember from my childhood were out of this world. We would devour plates full of them. My favorite meal was sweet corn, new potatoes and sliced tomatoes. Oh and cucumbers. We always visited in August – a time of abundance.

      When Dad was a kid, they would sell 100 ears of corn for $1. The NYC tourists were regular customers.

      Variety was surely lacking at the meals but in August there was plenty – as long as the whole family pitched in. Hard work and contentment made their household production a success.

        1. PJGT, I was born in the early to mid sixties, and I grew up getting an orange in the bottom of my Christmas stocking like you. I continued the tradition for my four kids, and now a couple of them have kept it going too. Your explanation of why makes complete sense. I had so much fun buying oranges and candy for my kids’ stockings. I imagine God has much fun storing up good things for us too. Blessings, Krissy

        2. Well we always put tangerines from the garden in the toe of our stockings. I’m 69 and Santa still does stockings for everyone. All my kids got tangerines and now grandkids. It isn’t being done for the great grandkids unfortunately. I have citrus all year here in Northerm California. I’m always harvesting the last lemons just as the new ones are getting ripe in December. I still have lots of tangerines on the tree but they will be gone within a month or two now. I stretch out the oranges for juice but they last a long time. Just ate my last fresh tomato 2 weeks ago and now have new ones forming on this year’s plants. I eat chard, dinosaur kale, onions and potatoes year round from the garden. Froze and canned enough tomatoes two years ago to provide for two years. I’m glad I did because last years crop only allowed for one round of freezing this year. I just had enough to eat fresh.

          1. wormlady,

            Me too! I love hearing everyone’s family stories here. I think it gives us all more of a connection with each other while still maintaining OPSEC.

            I secretly wish we could all meet each other at something like a “Survivalblog Family Picnic/Reunion.”
            Wouldn’t that be a blast!!

            Have a Rockin great day!

  23. Lily,
    We have friends that grew spectacular tomatoes in the short growing season of the Rocky Mountains. Their secret was putting a layer of black lava rock around the base of each. Tomatoes love warm nights and with the heat retention rocks they thrive. They reused the same rock each year.
    Upon returning to our home at a much lower elevation used the same method = cooked plants.

  24. getting over shoulder surgery, been tough week. went to Louisiana for a funeral. stopped at co op there and like co op’s here in Arkansas they are unable to restock vegetable seed. if you can find seed better get what you need for next year. none of the stores knew why they could not get more. and better save your own seed, also. we bought quite a bit to store. we only have raised beds this year because of my surgery

    1. Oh, man. Shoulder injuries and pain suck! I bet you’ve had a tough week. I’ve had torn rotator cuffs in each shoulder. Even though your injury is different, just remembering the pain makes me pray for you.

      My condolences on the loss of someone special…

      Lastly, thank you for the heads up to everyone about seed shortages for next year.

  25. Anyone got a good source to order wheat berries from online? I ordered some from Augason Farms- was only able to get 72 lbs but was thankful to be able to get that. Was hoping to see if they are back to filling new orders but can’t get onto their website. Local food coops here won’t do bulk orders anymore. Suggestions?

    1. Hi, Ani, Not sure if you are interested in hard white wheat, but Walmart has the
      Augason Farms pail of hard white wheat right now @ 50% off.
      I just copied this from their website just now. I can’t keep track of who does and doesn’t approve of shopping there, but thought I’d err on side of sharing. smile.

      Augason Farms Hard White Wheat Emergency Food Storage 4 Gallon Pail
      Average rating:4.7out of5stars, based on165reviews
      165 reviews
      Augason FarmsWalmart # 9257402
      $18.58$18.58WAS $36.99$36.99
      Qty:
      Add to cart
      Free 2-day delivery on $35+ orders
      Arrives by Wed, May 20

      1. Wow. That was easy. Arrives here May 26 they say. Had no idea they had any in stock! Would never have thought of buying this from Walmart! I thought everyone was out of stock. Now to see if it actually does arrive; Walmart has “sold” me a number of items in the past that never showed up. Thanks!

  26. I enjoy reading what everyone does here and more often than not I’ll be reminded of something I need to get done,lol.
    We finished storage shelves/cupboards for food storage. We’re almost done. We’re working on the last bank of shelves that will serve as a permanent place to mount the wheat grinder and have storage for wheat and whole corn.
    We also cleared more land for garden and orchard. We staked out orchard for cherries and apples. I finished my four bin compost bins and we peeled more cedar posts for fencing.

  27. Oh I forgot to mention that I agree it is a real challenge to grow tomatoes in North Idaho. I have had really good experiences with the cultivar STUPICE (stew-pech-key). It’s a potato leafed variety that I was told by a Ukrainian man came from Poland. It is a cherry tomato but it is a very large cherry tomato. What I have come to understand is potato leafed varieties are more likely to produce in colder climes. I also have come to understand that any variety of anything that comes from Eastern Europe or Russia is more cold tolerant and it seems to be true for the things I have grown. This year I have my trusted STUPICE and I’m also growing Black Krim tomatoes. I’ll let you know how the Black Kristen do.
    I’ve also had good experiences with King of the North bell peppers.
    Peace and Blessings

    1. I have grown both Stupice and Black Krim tomatoes before and I like them both, although my experience with Black Krim is that you need good soil for it to taste good. One year I grew it in soil that did not have any compost put on and it did not turn out very well for me that year regarding flavor.

      I have noticed that garden seed companies in the western US say that Stupice is better tasting than Glacier and that seed companies in the eastern US say that Glacier is better tasting than Stupice. I suspect that it may be different soils favor one variety over the other in this instance.

      The tomato called “Siberian” (not to be confused with a similar named one “Siberia”) is said to mature ripe fruit in night temperatures of only 38F. My summer nights are not that cold so I don’t have any first hand experience with that.

      1. This year, I am growing Glacier Tomatoes for the first time. I am growing Rutgers and grew them last year and really liked them. I’m growing orange Cherry tomatoes. I love those! I have grown Siberian, but I wasn’t too impressed with it. It was too small and didn’t have much taste. I am not growing it this year. Black Krim are quite nice. I am growing more of those this year. I have never heard of Stupice. I love the flavor of the sweet yellow. I did grow Beef steak in the green house last year, though, I had to pick them while still green and had to ripen them in the house. 🙂

        1. Yes, Black Krim are great- don’t have any seed for them this year alas. Am trying Moskovitz for the first time. Rutgers grows well for me and I have them again this year. And it wouldn’t be summer without my Sun Gold cherry tomatoes! In my large high tunnel I was able to grow heirlooms such as Brandywine, Cherokee and Prudence Purple- not trying that this year as I’m without a high tunnel!

      2. I grow Stupice as well. I have had the plants survive light frosts in June and still produce well by August.
        I also grow Beaverlodge (originally bred in the Canadian prairies) and Gold Nugget tomatoes. These three varieties are open-pollinated (for seed saving purposes) and do fine here at 6200 feet.

  28. This has been a very busy week for me. I rarely comment, but enjoy reading early every Saturday while the family sleeps and I sip coffee.

    I’ve worked through the entirety of the lockdown, I’m a digital producer for a news organization. It can be very depressing both from the standpoint of weeding through so much bad news as well as avoiding the stuff that I know is heavily biased for the left…or even downright false. But in my own small way, I try to help by posting truth and mixing in a bit of good news to try to lighten people’s loads. My place of employment has many liberals, but for the most part is a great mix of Christians and people willing to read and make good choices. It is where God wants me at this season of life, and I take joy in working hard and doing my best to be a good representative of my Savior.

    Physical work takes a toll of me as I have lupus and lots of other physical challenges, but today I was blessed to work with the man of the place on some landscaping in the front. It’s been too wet to set the garden, and we’ve had some late frosts that made me want to wait on that as well.

    About the lupus, I haven’t stopped rolling my eyes at the doctors wailing and weeping about Trump touting hydroxychlorquine for the virus. The fact that they are so quick to shout about horrible side effects and their great danger is not lost on me. I’ve been taking hq for years off label for lupus. Most who have it do, and I was told that side effects are incredibly rare. Now they lurk around every corner. *shaking my head*

    I’m planning a purchase from a hatchery, as chickens are hard to come by here now. Thinking about adding a few guineas for pest control. Hopefully we’ll get the garden worked up this week, and the tree company is coming to remove two huge maples crowding the house in a couple of days. We’re still looking for our retreat, but will make the best of life in our sweet little home.

    Every time I go by the grocery, I pick up as much beef as I’m allowed. We, too, are being rationed at 2 per type. Hubby or I can it during the week, and we’re getting a good stock. I’m excited for our Mennonite farm stands to get in canning tomatoes, as we eat all the fresh ones we grow. There is nothing like opening a jar of home canned tomatoes in the wintertime — the smell is intoxicating! It’s like summer in a jar.

    This week, I’m going to be making and canning teriyaki sauce. Still looking at recipes, but I figure if I put it in pints or even jelly jars, it will be easy to stack and most will be used in one meal preparation to avoid having a bunch of open jars in the fridge. I also have 50 pounds of rice to get into mylar. I need to make an order of O2 absorbers and materials as well.

    I really believe we are in the last days. The earth is groaning with the birth pangs, and I’m hoping we’ll soon meet our Savior and go to live with Him forever. In the mean time, I’m doing my best to introduce others to Him and do His will. I pray diligently for my son, who has turned from God and is the object of many sleepless nights. I pray he comes home to his Father soon. Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!

    1. Dear Kim of KY,

      Welcome aboard the comment section of the Blog. Thank you for telling us about your experience with hydroxychlorquine. This is information we needed to hear.
      We will pray that you son’s eyes will open up and that he will have a change of heart and will return to the Lord God, very soon.

      May you have a very blessed and sweet week,

      Lily

    2. Dear Kim of Ky, You are prayed for. Your son is prayed for. I understand your sorrow because my youngest, who is twenty-eight, needs to return to the Lord as well. Please continue sharing. I felt blessed reading your comments. Krissy

    3. Kim of ky,

      Welcome! It took me almost a year before I felt brave enough to comment here. Now I am so glad that I did as people here responded to me and it made me feel great! Like a whole new bunch of friends.
      Looking forward to hearing more from you.

      Rock on

  29. Avalanche Lily asks an excellent question in one of her replies: Do some of you people understand just how much food we would need to grow in a year to supply all of our calories for a Year??”

    Approaching the pandemic shelter-in-place orders, we tried to help others understand how much food they might need. We provided examples of lists, and even LDS versions of food charts and calculators adjustable for individual household head counts. Although we’re not members of the LDS church, we have a great appreciation for their preparedness recommendations. Many expressed fear and alarm as they tried to understand. It was the first time in their lives that they had considered how much food they might really need to survive a year.

    We are also resupplying to the extent this is possible and allowed given purchase limits, and we encourage everyone who can to do the same. Everyone who can garden should do this as well, and expand their capacity to produce as much food as possible. If you have the capacity to produce any source of complete protein, this will also be tremendously helpful.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. A rule of thumb I use is 2 pounds of dry staple goods per person, per day. If the food item is in a can, then half the weight is water. Of course this rule of thumb is intended to be a quick and easy, and might be too much for some persons, yet better too much, than too little. I’ve been gardening most of the day. Even if all we can manage is a small garden that is full of nutrient rich plants, this can be adequate supplementation to long term storage foods. For years, most of my meals have been made from dry staple foods, supplemented by a small garden. I lived. Eating it fresh from the garden gives us hard to get micro nutrients. This is year I am ramping up production to can up the excess. Quality is more important the quantity. Home canned veggies have much more nutrition than store bought. Most of the calories will not come from veggies, and only a small quantity of dark green leafy veggies are needed to avoid health problems. During the Great Depression, pellagra and other diseases caused by malnutrition were fairly common. That is why Popeye the Sailor Man was invented, to educated the population.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSdz5ln2rME

      1. Tunnel Rabbit, thank you! A good and easy rule of thumb 2 lbs dry weight per person per day. We will, with gratitude, share this with others as we continue to try to help teach others.

        You make a very good point related to the nutritional importance and quality of garden fresh veggies. We’re looking forward to news of your tomatoes this season, and hope that every SB reader is inspired to start a new garden, expand an existing garden, and teach others.

        We’ll also check out the video link you’ve shared!

        Remain steady. Stay well. Be safe everyone!

  30. Jim and Avalanche, good stories as always.

    My prepping progress: Still living my life as a nomad in our beautiful public lands of the West while shopping for my ideal 20+ acre remote redoubt property.

    No actionable properties yet, but my realtor team keeps telling me to be patient and not settle. This is year two.

    Life is good. Nature is beautiful and dangerous. I was camped not far from the Nevada earthquake this week. I might get a dog.

    My preps currently include my faith, my health, my training, my education, my wealth, my van and its contents, and maybe a few buried treasures. So until I buy my land, my preps will consist mainly of praying, staying fit, exercising regularly and eating healthy – not that hard for me and something I enjoy.

    As long as the country’s seams hold together enough that people from small town America continue to want to do commerce with me, I am ok.

    I don’t know of any other nomad peppers, so let me know if you are out there.

    1. @K

      I was a nomad for the past few years. Settled down again this March. Really glad I’m not trying to “nomad it” at this time. Happy to have a home that’s mine once again, starting a garden etc. I wish you all the best and hope the right piece of land comes along soon.

  31. I’ve made several trips to the new property. We got the chicken house and run set up but are still getting predators. Guessing it may be a raccoon. I took 13 hens and on rooster. Mostly beautiful Polish. We are down to 3 hens. My daughter has a parent of one of her students that she has loaned her incubator to and he is hatching eggs in exchange for some of the chicks. Not sure what breed . I am running 4 incubators here to replace birds but no purebred beautiful polish hens to gather eggs from. I do have roosters though. I have call duck, quail, chicken and peacock eggs in the incubators.
    We bought our first registered kune kune pigs. We got the boar from one farm and the gilt from another 6 hours away. My daughter just picked up the gilt yesterday . We have a third pig (gilt) that will be ready to leave mom in two weeks. I put a deposit down on her a month ago and yesterday went and picked out the one I wanted out of the litter of ten (only 4 gilts though). She is kune kune but not registered (but also a lot easier on the wallet). This is a whole new experience for my daughter and grandsons. Having to take care of animals. As I slowly move livestock to the new place they are having to care for them. We are hoping selling piglets in a year ore so will cover the property taxes . We have a renter in one of the cabins now and that is keeping the taxes covered. Two labrador retrievers are there now, what’s left of the chickens, pigs and a very large sulcata (that has to be brought in each night and a leopard tortoise. One garden cart has been delivered and assembled at the new place. We are waiting for the larger on to arrive. Two 50 foot long gothic style high tunnels will be delivered tomorrow (ordered at the beginning of the pandemic). They won’t be put up yet. I wanted to make sure I could still get them with all that is happening. Steel building comes first. I submitted a building permit for that. hat could be months down the road for that to be granted.

  32. Had a setback on the second phase of the garden rebuild. Looks like some warped wood pulled things out of square, and the measurements are off by 6″ in spots. Wish I had a laser square like what I use on stage rigging to set motor points. But, I can’t spend the $350 for something I really wouldn’t use outside of work. Mom loves the section that I built for her, and has already started planting. Almost finished screening the compost to 1/4″, so she’s got 1 1/2 yards ready for the beds. Still have to do a sand run to get another half yard and some more wild blueberries to fill the blueberry bed. Most of the other BB plants are already leafing out and only 2 seem not to have survived the transplant.

    Lakeflies have been out in force this last week. Thank the Lord that they don’t bite! Here’s something that I’ve been thinking about… Can mosquitos catch and transmit the CCP virus?

    Here’s what a bad day of lakeflies is like.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BogXZsTww8s

    Since we’re getting 3″ of rain in the next couple of days, it’s time to run some black sand I brought home to see how much gold is in it. Hope the Lord will enrich it, as I’m out of work until the theatrical tours and concerts get back online. My investments are doing fine, but the spending money is going to be tight for a while.

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