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:

I had a trip to town this week, where I received a golden crown. Shunning any titles of nobility, I won’t call myself a Prince or King. Nay, I am from the common folk. But upon examining the bill from the dentist, I wished that I had been granted an annual royal stipend.

This week I did some ATV cleaning and repair.  I also filled some gas cans, cut some firewood, did some weed trimming for Lily, down in the Annex Garden on the part that we left fallow this year.   A few weeks ago, our neighbor brought manure down to that section, that Lily is going to spread and rototill under and plant Winter wheat this fall. An aside: For weed-whacking, I prefer to use our Cub Cadet string trimmer that uses the fat .155″ monofilament.  That machine is a real brute that can cut down 2-foot tall weeds–even Bull thistle with stout stalks–without bogging down. I always enjoy work when I have the proper tools.

I shipped a few more orders this week. Despite my best efforts, my inventory for Elk Creek Company is dwindling. I did manage to find a few old big-bore S&W top-break revolvers and a Winchester M1873 Saddle Ring Carbine chambered in .44-40, from an estate. I should be able to add those to the catalog, this coming week. Other than a few guns that are currently off for Cerakoting, I won’t have much else to add to the catalog in the next few weeks. Speaking of which: If any blog readers have any pre-1899 cartridge guns or barreled actions that they’d like to sell, then please drop me a line. I can either pay you cash, or sell them for you on consignment. See our Want List, for details.

UPDATE (Saturday P.M.): Success! just left a gun show, where I bought or traded for seven pre-1899 antique cartridge guns to add to my inventory: A refinished Winchester Model 1894 Saddle Ring Carbine in .30-30 that was made in 1896, a first-year-of-production Winchester Model 1894 takedown rifle chambered in .38-55, a Remington-Smoot .38 revolver with elephant ivory grips, a Model 1896 S&W .32 S&W (this was their their very first swing-out cylinder design), a Marlin. 38 spur trigger revolver, an Adams (British) revolver in .455 Eley (Webley), and a Chilean contract Ludwig Loewe Model 1894 Mauser 7×57 Saddle Ring Carbine.

This coming week, I hope to finish up the wood cutting to be ready for the coming winter. Since I have some travel planned for September, the last of the splitting and stacking might not be done until October.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
As I sit down to write this column and think back on the week, it seems to have just absolutely flown by.  I barely remember all that we did. Sunday, the beginning of our week, seems so long ago.

It was a hot week until the end of the week when a cold front came through with a good soaking rain.

In the beginning of the week the girls and I spent a lot of time cleaning a big item (OPSEC) that would result in much fun and recreation, later.

The rest of the week was a week of continuing to preserve our garden produce.

I harvested five cabbage, blanched and froze them. I harvested French Green beans, blanched and froze those.  The plan is that since we really prefer to eat fresh veggies, and if not fresh then frozen, we will freeze a gallon or two, of most produce and then the rest will be canned or dehydrated, since we don’t want too much in our freezers if there is a long power outage.

I’ve harvested a boatload of Zucchini.  I will be freezing and dehydrating them and possibly making zucchini relish and other Zuch. foods.

I harvested more than 22 pounds of Raspberries: golden, red, and black.  There are still many, many more where those came from. The goldens were put through the steam juicer and made into seedless jelly and then those pint jars were water bathed canned. The blacks were frozen, and the reds were frozen for whatever we want to use them for in the future. Oh, and a large quantity of them were also juiced at the very end of the week.

Miss Violet and I made and canned a dozen jars of sweet relish from our own cucumbers and onions that I harvested. I have harvested some of my own peppers, but I preferred to use my already chopped and frozen store-bought mixed sweet peppers in that recipe.

I harvested the last of the tart cherries.  Miss Eloise made us a Cherry pie that was “Oh so Yummy!”  I also froze about a half gallon of the cherries that Miss Violet washed and pitted.

I have been experimenting with dehydrating broccoli.  The varieties I grow are Calabrese and DiCoccio.  A long story short: Two weeks ago, I dehydrated unblanched broccoli and put it in a jar, not labeled.  A few days later, I blanched some broccoli and then dehydrated it and put it in a jar.  I didn’t label it. I didn’t try it or taste it.  I mentioned it in the blog this past weekend. A fellow preparedness blogger e-mailed me to ask about my success with the dehydrated broccoli.  Hands-down, broccoli is her most favorite veggie and very sadly for her, she hasn’t had a lot of success growing it at her location, or dehydrating it. Aphids, and it not turning out nice with both freezing it and dehydrating it, have been her problems.

So then when I received her e-mail, I ran to the kitchen to taste them.  As I said earlier, they were not labeled.  One was light green and very yummy to me, while the other was very dark green almost black and not so yummy.  Dilemma: Which was which? I couldn’t remember. (I will be more diligent about labeling in the future.)  So I picked another batch of broccoli from the garden, blanched it and dehydrated it overnight.  It turned out to be the very dark green not so tasty broccoli.

But just to be really sure, I picked more broccoli, rinsed it and popped it right back into the dehydrator. I dehydrate my veggies at the higher veggie temperature of 145-155 degrees Fahrenheit for 12 hours.  The next morning I checked on it.  Bingo!  The slightly lighter green Unblanched broccoli, to my taste buds, is the more tasty broccoli.  This broccoli is one that if I were to add a little bit of salt before dehydrating, I could happily eat it as a snack all day long. It’s that yummy to me.

So, in conclusion, the better looking and tasting dehydrated broccoli, in my opinion, is broccoli that was not blanched before being dehydrated. But I have yet to try it rehydrated.

I wish success to my fellow blogger in her future broccoli growing and preserving endeavors.   And also to all of you, dear Readers.

Speaking of dehydrating foods in cars,  I have obtained permission from Miss Eloise to use her car to experimentally dehydrate some foods.  I will try mint and zucchini this coming week and see how they turn out. I will blanch the Zucchini, first.

I weeded two of the beds/cleaned them in the greenhouse.  As I cleaned, I collected seeds from the lettuces, beets, celery, and dill that I had intentionally let go to seed.  I put manure and Azomite in one of the beds. I am thinking about planting another batch of lettuces, kale, beets for winter greens, among some other not yet thought of veggies, in those beds. In one of the beds there are still tomatoes, peppers and eggplant on it’s edges.  In the other bed, there is still celery, peppers, and a tomato or two scattered around that bed.

I am planning to wash all of the seed trays and planter pots, etc. from this spring.  That will be a huge job to do.  The trays and pots are all staged and waiting for us to get to them.

Only five meat chicks survived the incubation and hatching process. One chick died while in the shell after having cracked a hole, while the other was put down by Jim, as it was found to be seriously deformed.  The others just died sometime during their development in the shell.  I wonder if it was because there was a strong odor of bleach in the incubator during the first two weeks.  Or, maybe there was too much of a temperature fluctuation in our living room between the daytime and nighttime? We open all windows at night to cool the house down after very hot summer days.  We don’t have an air conditioner and our nighttime temperatures drop an average of thirty degrees every night. This cools the house down for most of the next day until late afternoon, when the heat builds to it’s height inside, again.

Since our friend brought me the eggs, I don’t know how he stored them after collecting them.  He also said that his rooster was not always hanging out with his females, but that he would remedy that. I did candle test the eggs and all seemed to be dark….Viable. We are going to try again.  I put in seven of my own eggs and they didn’t hatch either…Soo… Maybe the humidity was too high.  The last seven or so days it was around 70%…

On my side, I decided to not bleach the incubator this time.  I just scrubbed it with soap and water and am putting it outside in the hot sun to sanitize it.  I plan to put it outside every day for a week before we start another batch.  I also think that I am going put them into a bathroom where the temperature shouldn’t fluctuate so drastically between day and night.

This week, I read that a female chicken can hold the sperm to not fertilize an egg or can even dump it, if she doesn’t like the rooster. I also read that a hen can hold sperm and fertilize eggs up to three weeks after having been removed from a rooster. And also, it takes fifteen days for the sperm to move up into her oviducts, so after introducing a female chicken to a rooster it will take up to three weeks before her eggs will be fertile.  I had never heard this information about chickens, before.  They are very interesting birds. So there are so many variables, playing into the viability and success of a hatch.  Does anyone else out there know any other interesting facts/secret lore about chickens and egg incubation that you’d like to share with us?

Also this weekend, my hen who has been sitting on eleven eggs should be hatching some of them out, if all went well.  Hopefully!

Jim cut some more wood, and the girls stacked that firewood in the woodshed.  The girls and I rode bikes around the ranch several times, and we all, Jim, too, went swimming three times this week. I’ve been swimming laps and using my kickboard, kicking for a half hour. Kicking with the kickboard on a sunny warm day on a calm body of water. That is a lovely form of exercise.

The kittens, named “M&M” (They both have “M” names) are growing fast and are so much fun to watch and play with.  We are so glad to have been given two of them so they have each other to play with.  The games they invent and the trouble they get themselves into is hilariously funny to all of us.

The Lord God has been very good to us.  He has given us a very full interesting and satisfying life here on the ranch and with the Blog and all of your wonderful Readers. Thank you for all of your kind words to us this week and for joining with us on this preparedness journey.  We love you all!  😉

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.




99 Comments

  1. Congratulations Jim, on your coronation! I remember the bill being indeed the most painful part. Yikes. Lily, you are a gardening/preserving dynamo! No wonder your week seems to have flown by. It sounds like you all barely had time to catch your breath. Glad you were able to fit some family fun in there too. 🙂 This will sound crazy but a few nights ago, I dreamt that I was a student again and doing some sort of exchange program at your ranch, and Miss Violet and Miss Eloise and I were repairing and cleaning windows! All of you were delightful to get to know, of course. Then we all played chess with a Marine friend, home on leave, who had been the chess champion of her ROTC. Isn’t that funny? (Not least because I am definitely not their age.) But most of the time I don’t recall my dreams, and when I do they are utter nightmares, so it was so nice to have a sweet one for once!

    Anyway, y’all, just call me a total and abject failure as a prepper, ’cause this week I RAN OUT of the most important supply in the house. Nope, not even chocolate—crunchy cat treats! They are kept on top of the fridge, and I thought we had another container, but I am too short to see to the back. LOL. The poor feline would have had to make do for a whole 24 hours with only (in addition to her regular food) her milk replacement, two different gravy supplements, and her coveted provolone cheese…had not Grammy swooped to the rescue with a packet of crunchies from her own stash. What are Grammies for, if not spoiling them? HRH was very grateful to Grammy, set upon the treats as though I never feed her, and then promptly begged for cheese. LOL. At 20, she gets what she wants and we cherish any remaining days.

    This week is tax free week for the school supplies, with some really good sales, so I stocked up on those. Fifteen cents for a folder, fifty cents for a composition book, and so forth. I will keep a stash in the bottom drawers of the new-to-me desk that a neighbor was getting rid of…a gorgeous antique fold-down top, with the letter dividers inside. It had been sitting in their garage for a year, and since husband is moving his office into the sitting-room half of the bedroom (continuing to work from home) and taking my current desk, the timing was perfect. I also began going through files, shredding things, and trying to consolidate.

    Froze ten lbs of ground beef, from the restaurant supply store at $2.19/lb. Began to remove the big containers of solid ice chunks to make room for food, since the expected hurricane was a non-event. Purchased more dry goods, toiletries, and household sundries. I cringe to feel like we’ve gone on a spending binge this week, but really they are purchases we have considered for a long time. Hooray, tax return. Some glass canisters, to replace the endless flock of ziplock baggies that swarm seemingly everyplace. Five books I’ve wanted for a long time, that I learnt about here on SB. (Stayed up WAY WAY too late one night reading the first preview chapters of E.B. Sledge’s memoir “With the Old Breed,” bought it for my FiL’s birthday present, and totally plan to borrow it back once he’s read it!)

    Had delivered two twin mattresses with frames and covers for two kiddos—one grown out of her current bed and one sleeping on a mattress that was hand-me-down when I got it ten years ago. Having an absolutely terrible time finding cotton sheets that are not made in China! There is a company in Alabama that grows the cotton and processes it onsite and finally hand-sews the sheets. It seems to be a family business, whom I’d love to support—but not at $144 per sheet set! The old sheets are getting kind of holey and threadbare, and I plan to cut them up into re-usable cleaning/sanitizing wipes, with an alcohol solution.

    Scheduled upcoming work on the AC, and finally also the electrician. They are very busy. Finished Phase One of the bathroom project—the sink is in, and there is cold running water. There are also still gaps in the wall and cardboard spacers holding up the (nonmatching) tiles, but hey. Babysteps. And a little one celebrated a birthday this week and she was thrilled to receive a kid tool set. (No loud drill like Mama’s though. Darn…I really REALLY wanted more noisy toys in this house….) Another kid lost a tooth, and this time the Tooth Fairy’s message telling him where to find his dollar was in Morse Code. Last time it was a simple replacement cypher. NEXT time it is Daddy’s turn to be the Fairy and we’ll see what he comes up with!

    Beyond that, it was tiny details. Re-did the daily medication tracker sheet and the daily routine sheet, which are posted in the kitchen and dry-erased daily. I am trying to carefully examine all of the little places my mental energy gets wasted each day (such as skipping over listed tasks or meds no longer applicable—or chasing down small items kept in places far removed from where they’re actually used) and streamline where possible. Virtual school for Eldest starts in two weeks, plus his ongoing physical, occupational and speech therapies, and I just feel like my brain is way behind the power curve. Homeschool for the younger ones has taken a bit of an unscheduled break the past two weeks, due to house projects and storm prep, and we need to get back in the swing of that also. Finally, this sounds small but it is HUGE to me: I went one entire day wearing glasses only! I really do prefer contacts, but I am trying to get away from them due to the cost and the difficulty of storing them long term.

    Peace be with you, everyone! Stay safe and do not let your hearts be troubled!

    1. That was a very interesting and fun dream, Bear. 😉

      Hmm, interestingly, we do have a few window screens that need to be fixed or replaced. The frames have bent ever so slightly, enough to allow a space just large enough for a number of sneaky mosquitoes to squeeze through. Enough to torture our sleep when they find their ways into the bedrooms.

      But now, thankfully, the mosquito season has waned, we are sleeping peacefully, so the screens are not as urgent of a priority at this time.

      We have played a lot of Chess in the past. We are probably a bit rusty at it now. Jim and Miss Eloise have talked about ROTC in the past six months…

      But for OPSEC, of course, we don’t offer internships, here. 😉

      Very interesting dream. Not crazy at all.

      Many Blessings to you and peace,

      Lily

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Lily! (I admit I am envious that your mosquito season actually wanes…here it feels like we get a seventeen-nanosecond reprieve, every other year, if the moon is in the correct phase, and the wind blows juuuust so. 😉 ) Best wishes to Miss Eloise, whichever path she chooses!

        1. Well, the mosquitoes haven’t waned, yet, in the garden. I think they live on my raspberries, sucking their sweet juices. If one is out in the garden at dusk, they’ll still get eaten alive. But… they are no longer swarming our screens at night.

          During the day, they are still bad in the garden, in particular, because of all of the lush foliage and the regular waterings the garden receives, but are not bad in the front of the house, in the meadow or in the parking lot. It has become very desert like in those areas. We’ve been having night temperatures down in the low fifties again these past few days and those temperatures definitely slow them down. This week, while I was harvesting raspberries, I had to beat the bushes first and then swing my bug zapper numerous times to reduce their population. There is nothing more satisfying then the smell of fried mozzies! 😉 In another two weeks the population should be even further reduced by colder temperatures and really still very dry conditions. So the mosquitoes are waning, but not yet gone for the season.

          Blessings!

    2. Hey Bear, that’s really cool that you used codes for the kids, I bet they had a total blast with that. Here’s a really fun code a friend and I used extensively when I was a kid that your kids may enjoy. It only takes two minutes to learn and you can write out entire pages quickly, almost as fast as real letters once you get the hang of it.

      https://dangordonspyclub.com/2009/06/21/cracking-codes-part-iv/

      Anagrams are another fun thing with kids. Here’s an anagram generator where you type in any word and it tells you all the anagrams. Type in their full names and see all the funny phrases that come out. New Mexico is the only state that allows anonymous LLC’s so if you put your name into an anagram generator and use that as your LLC name, then if you ever have to prove it’s really you, you just have to show them it’s an anagram of your name. Some names work better than others.

      James Wesley Rawles = Walleys Jam Sewers, Sesame Slaw Jewelry, etc.
      Avalanche Lily = Lilac Navel Hay, Call Heavy Nail, Each Anvil Ally

      1. St. Funogas,

        Out of curiosity, (I’ve seen Anagrams, of course, but never spent too much time with them), I found an anagram generator and typed in Avalanche Lily Rawles. Wow, the generator generated over 10,000 anagrams, but stopped at the ten thousand mark. I have skimmed through about a fourth of them. Wow very interesting. In those three words of my moniker, I found a group of names that are in both of our family backgrounds and many other interesting words.

        I used this generator:

        https://ingesanagram.appspot.com/

        You all who are interested should check it out! It’s fun! 😉

        1. Hey Lily, as I said, some names work much better than others. One of my granddaughter’s name came up with so many, I was able to write her a humorous 52-line poem for her birthday, each line had only an anagram of her name, no extra words! I’m now working on making an illustrated version with some of my goofy drawings which I’ll bind into a book and give her when she gets older. 🙂

      2. Thanks St. Funogas! That code is really neat, and you’re right, it looks simple to learn. And the anagram generator promises much entertainment as well! I chuckled at some of your examples. Perhaps someday we will see a children’s book written by Sesame Slaw, Jewelry… 😉

  2. The canner and dehydrater have been busy at our house too this week. Beans, onions, peppers, corn and peas have been frozen. Pickles have been made. Juices and herbs are put up. And still there are bowls of produce on the kitchen counter. A friend stopped by yesterday with more cucumbers, peas and beans for us. I’m so thankful for all this bounty. I can’t fit one more thing into our freezer.

    Like you, Lily, I like to have a gallon or two of certain things in the freezer. For us it is : peppers, celery, onions, corn, beans, peas… It is my form of ‘fast food’ . Using various combinations of these things I can quickly pull together stews, soups, stir fries, quiches, frittatas, omelets even pizzas. After I hit the two gallon number for each the rest of the produce will be canned or dehydrated.

    Although I am not on social media, I became aware of an Instagram challenge called #everybitcountschallenge. The idea is to preserve something every day in the month of August. I was able to access some of the more than 1,000 pictures. It appears that a broad spectrum of folks are participating – young, old, hippies (self-proclaimed), conservatives etc. it was encouraging and inspiring to see. People seem to be feeling a sense of urgency to prepare.

    I feel this urgency too. Even if I had no idea of what was going on in the world, what I observe on my daily morning walks warns me that summer is waning. The ferns in the ditches on the side of the road are yellowing. There are trees here and there that have a branch or two of brilliant red leaves. The squirrels are dropping branches from the oak trees and harvesting green acorns. Fall approaches here in the Northwoods.

    A mayor of a large city in our neighboring state announced that anyone entering her city from our state would face a mandatory 14 day quarantine (enforced how???). That prompted a mass exit of our tourist friends from that city before the order went into effect. Buh-bye! It is a bit quieter now in our little town.

    Our most exciting news is that our fencing was installed this week! A 7 foot privacy fence that *should* keep the deer out. It gives us 700 sq. ft. of gardening space. We also had a gutter installed on the back of the house and will be hooking up a rain barrel to that.

    Did y’all see the news story that L.A.’s mayor is threatening to turn off the power and water to houses hosting COVID parties. I found this to be very ominous news. I think it is foolish to throw COVID parties – but to get people to comply by shutting off utilities?

    Hang on friends.

    We have a deliciously rumbly thunderstorm moving through right now. Time for a cup of tea, some time in the Word followed by some blueberry sourdough pancakes. Have a great Saturday all! Love to hear your stories!

    1. @ wormlady

      Blueberry sourdough pancakes sounds so yummy. Haven’t had pancakes since I don’t know when but always loved buckwheat ones; I bet sourdough pancakes would taste great too.

    2. Wormlady, You had me with sourdough blueberry pancakes! I also have never done social media but have been having same feelings even without knowing the challenge.

      I share your enthusiasm for your new deer fence! Once, someone hear on the blog said, “deer are just large varmints meant to be eaten,” or something close to that. It made me laugh, and I agree whole heartedly. While beautiful, they are a bane to gardeners. Many blessings to you and your hubby this week, Krissy

  3. One year when I had such a glut of zucchini a neighbor recommended pureeing it and freezing – I suppose it could be canned. I didn’t peel it but did remove seeds from the largest. I used the puree to make bread, muffins, pancakes, and even a ‘not pumpkin’ pie, and to thicken soups and stews. In the past I had made zucchini bread and muffins and froze them – this puree was much easier to store and fresh baked is always better than defrosted.

    1. Bellen, I am shredding and freezing my abundance. I had the bright idea to plant 6 zucchini plants that year and have zucchini coming out my ears! I’ve chunked it for stir fries, shredded it for all sort of future baking projects and now I am about to cook some down for a soup base. I’ve got enough relish and pickles so I am looking for other ideas to preserve it.

  4. Last two weeks week were a total zero as I spent time recovering from medical issue. Even though I am sufficiently stocked, I could not stop thinking about what still needs to be done. Ice Age Farmer podcast from 8/6/20 connecting the dots to all the fires and bombs happening around the world, sent chills down my spine. Now President Trump seems to be under extreme protection so the bad guys won’t try again to take him out. Did you notice that he gave his speech in front of a wall of clearly labeled washing machines?

    I was able to get out for the first time in over a month so I drove an hour to the city to the Nail Shop and got my toes done! How’s that for priority! HaHaHa! Anyway, I had just enough strength to get chuck roasts on special at $2.99/pd and found some 90/10% hamburger at a reasonable price. (This is the best ratio to use when pressure canning hamburger.) Normally I would just grind down the chuck, but I have to be picky right now how I spend my energy.

    We started some seeds in the greenhouse and next week my son will till under the small garden (weather permitting) to get ready for the fall planting. Placed an additional order for spring seeds (lots on sale now). Still looking for a local source for nut trees; the last ones I ordered via internet died 6 months after planting and even though I asked for free replacement or refund, major company ignored my request.

    My son cleared off the roof of the pole barn which was full of twigs, acorns and leaves, then sprayed it down. We have a water catchment system which uses that metal roof so it needs to be free of blockage. The big old barn really needs it but I won’t let him up there. Way too dangerous for him. We had a friend fall of a ladder and doctor said he crushed his foot into pieces; may have to amputate.

    Friday, I PC’d mushrooms and put the chuck roasts in the slow cooker; will PC them today. Have two beautiful pumpkins waiting their turn, but those are a job that takes a lot of time and energy.

    May your week be safe and productive.

    1. Animal House, I always marvel at how much you accomplish in a week. I’m sorry you had a medical issue that has affected your energy. Praying it returns soon.

      Glad you got your pedicure! I’ve only had one in my life – it was a gift. But my feet are SO ticklish, it was more like torture, lol.

      Hope your friend doesn’t lose his foot!

      1. Wot lady,

        That’s so funny because I don’t get pedicures either because my feeties are so ticklish also! I start screeching when they even come near me 🙂

        Have a Rockin great day!

    2. Animal House! You do so much… Hoping you are enjoying rest this weekend! I completely understand the sense of urgency too. We have experienced that here as well. My husband and I believe this is widespread among those who are paying attention to deteriorating conditions all around us. We are also watching news surrounding the President very carefully, and pray for his safety and security. Like you, we believe he is in extreme danger.

      Praying also for your friend who suffered such a serious fall and injury to his foot. Please Lord… Heal this foot as only You can.

      If you have a moment, and thoughts about canning your pumpkins, I would so love to hear more. We have pumpkins ready and are trying to decide whether to can or to freeze. What are your thoughts about preservation — from both a safety standpoint and from a quality control standpoint?

    3. TOA, pumpkins are a labor of love for me otherwise I would not spend so much time with them. When I first started out I cut in half, pealed, seeded and blanched pumpkin chunks; this was about 2-3 hours for 2 average size pumpkins or 5/6 small pumpkins.

      As I have gotten older my tactics have changed. Now I cut and seed and put strips of pumpkin in the oven for about 30 minutes at 350. I lightly oil the outside of the skin and put the strips in a roasting pan with about an inch of water. Then cut the meat into cubes no larger than 1”, jar and PC for 90 minutes for quarts, 60 minutes for pints. I process them without spice as I get more options for use when it is plain. Pumpkin meat is very dense so need to sure chunks are small enough to be thoroughly processed.

      I save the outer skins which have been softened by the oil and steam and give them to the pigs and chickens; the rabbits don’t like pumpkins. I clean, spice and roast the seeds for humans, or store them plain to use in chicken feed. Just takes a lot of time.

      1. Thank you, Animal House! I was starting to wind my way back over to freezing the processed pumpkin, but your notes have me reinspired with regard to pressure canning those tasty little tidbits. We love pumpkins, and understand the idea of this as a labor of love — a bit work intensive, but really such a nice addition to the pantry. Your thoughts are generously shared, and very much appreciated!

      2. Thanks for your pumpkin canning advice Animal House…I have always frozen it. Still need to figure out what to use jars for since i don’t have that very many, at least as many as I feel would be good to have.

        Hope this coming week is better for you than the past couple. Not feeling good can really slow one down. I am always amazed at not only WHAT you get done but that you would still be encouraging and fun to keep company with while doing it!

    4. I am so grateful for your recovery, Animal House, and I empathize with the frustration at feeling like there has been time wasted. Hang in there, continue resting and be gentle with yourself. Your toes look absolutely mahhhvelous, dahhhling. 😉

  5. Put away the 20 pounds of macaroni and beans I got last week into Mylar bags and buckets. Put away a few packages of miscellaneous medical supplies that I bought a while back too. Spent more time re-organizing hardware, starting to think it was never “organized”. There’s a new Prepper axiom “just because your stuff is in an organizer, doesn’t make it organized”. Hooked up the back-hoe and that was sitting by 1500 gallon water tank. I needed to move it so I could continue to put gravel by the tank. I also dug a spot to put a drain under the outlet so when I drain the tank in the fall the water won’t erode away the gravel. After I post this I’ll be running to my favorite small-town hardware store for some parts (plus I want to see if they have any ammo).

    Monday night I received a phone from one of the area’s local volunteer fire departments informing me I had won a meat and freezer raffle that I bought 2 tickets for. Talk about a timely Blessing!!! (If your fire protection is provided by a volunteer fire department many are hurting financially since their normal fundraising events have been canceled due to Covid19 so consider helping them out) So it is about 85 pounds of meat and a gift card for Lowe’s that covers the cost of a freezer.

    It rained most of time from Saturday through Wednesday morning so I didn’t get as much done as I wanted to this week. Had the septic tank pumped out this week. When I dug up the cover it was cracked so I had to go get a new one. Worked on cleaning up and taking rust off tools (hatchets, pruners) and putting a coat of Fluidfilm on them. Sharpened a few hatchets. Took apart a large saw vise (for 2 man saws blades) and started soaking the parts in vinegar to get the rust off. If you have never tried vinegar to remove rust I would suggest it. I buy gallons of the stuff (generic to keep price down) and it is very effective and inexpensive. Takes a few days but it is worth it. When I take things out of the vinegar I can usually wipe what rust is left off with a rag. The wife harvested a bunch of cilantro and basil. Will be using the cilantro in our Salsa. Gave the neighbors some basil too since they did not grow any. starting to sell eggs this week as our ladies are producing nicely.

    Equipment and supplies this week included 15 feet of utility chain with a 305 pound safe working load. I purchased a hay rake that is ground drive by chain. Neighbor said that if I cut, Tedder and rake he will bale, so I’m trying to get equipment that I can use with my Kubota 2650. For that reason I am going with a sickle bar mower. Picked up a new 3600 lumen flood light for my tractor. Ordered an egg candler and a small incubator. I received the egg candler and the incubator should be here this coming week. Hope to get a dozen birds hatched before it gets too cold. Picked up 2, 1 gallon and 2, 5 gallon nylon paint filters/strainers. These are handy to have around and not just for paint. Got a replacement spark plug for the rototiller, 2 Mag-Lite LED replacement bulb kits – one for 2 D cell and one for a 3-4 D cell mag-lite. I find old mag lites that have the old incandescent bulbs for $1, the LED kits are about $4. I like to hang mag-lites up all over the place so the are easy to grab when needed. Got two more plastic buckets so I can pack away some rice. Picked up a boys ax replacement handle since we seem to be going through those around here regularly. Found two very nice welding rod storage cases and a wind up brass alarm clock at the Salvation Army store.

    1. “just because your stuff is in an organizer, doesn’t make it organized”

      BRILLIANT!
      I read this to my husband also, and he shook his head and chuckled sheepishly. Then stuck his tongue out at me, haha. Afraid this describes the garage WAYYY too well…

  6. Hi, your homestead writing have been inspirational to me lately. We are truly blessed to have this time to practice our skills we accumulated over a lifetime. I read this Blog every day, the first thing I go to. My wife and son don’t have the insight I do to working on the family homestead as a prepper. Just this morning I was thinking, you haven’t been abandoned by the creator.

  7. We are also finishing up our wood cutting and splitting this week. If we can get the family together today we should almost get it done. Sharpened the brush hog blades and mowed the property. Purchased a VPN for security. Still working on placing the radios with there tuners and power supplies on the counter in the basement.
    High anxiety as we drilled the 2 1/2 ” hole through the wall for the antenna coax wires. PVC with angles installed and calking applied. Plenty of steel wool to stuff into the pipe to prevent creatures from taking up residence. Nicely done and we are still talking to each other! We have a loop and a verticle but will be building a windom this weekend for added options. This should allow us to operate CW and SSB on 80, 40, 20, and maybe 2 meters. Waiting for the Gordon West “Extra” class study book that I ordered.
    Ordered some Japanese beetle bags to have on hand. Going through Fedco catalog and already planning for next spring. We now have a “fenced” 50X50 garden. Plenty of room to plant the sides with berries, grapes, etc. We plan to start a fruit tree nursery in there to keep them safe from deer and other bark eating critters. Did some fall planting of bush beans, beets, peas, spinach, sorrel, broccoli. Most plants are coming back since we completed the fence.
    Studying various freeze-dried companies. Is anyone familiar with ‘Thrive’? We are also working on, and adding to a list of items to purchase such as thread, elastic, underware, durable jeans, canning lids, things we had a hard time finding, and purchasing some every other week or each month.
    Thank you Jim for the video of John McArthur: Man Must Obey God Rather Than Man. We are a follower of his preaching. Folks, this should be our number 1 prep. If you do not know Christ as your personal friend and savior all that you are doing is for nothing. It’s free. You don’t have to order it on Amazon and have to wait 3-4 weeks for it to arrive or worse, find out that it has been discontinued. He is real and offers much more than what the world has to offer.
    Have a blessed week everyone.

    1. We bought Thrive in the past from a fellow prepper friend and we liked their products. We got to taste things first as she always shared at our local meetings. Very good stuff. Haven’t bought anything in a few years though. They used to have monthly specials but with demand they probably aren’t doing that any longer.

      1. Great tip on Thrive! We’ve purchased these products in the past, and they’ve been great.

        A question for SB preppers on the subject of long-term shelf stable foods (such as the Thrive products)… In your planning, how much time are you trying to cover with long term freeze dried food products — Thrive, Mountain House, etc?

        I ask because we assess and reassess our food resources… We look at our renewables (via the garden and greenhouse), our bucket stored staples (white rice, dried beans+), our shelf-stable commercially canned goods (usually with a 1-2 year shelf life, sometimes longer and occasionally 3+ years), our freezer supplies, our home canned goods, and most recently the super long shelf-stable product lines (Thrive, Mountain House+).

        We also do a lot of thought experiments in the form of “what if” scenarios. Our goal is to try to be as sure as we can be that we’re about as covered as is possible — that we can sustain our own household and a couple of likely close family arrivals, that we will have some items for barter, and that we will have the capacity to share charitably.

        The question about which we wonder is this… For what period of time should we be preparing ourselves. Our goal is to be able to do so indefinitely — even as we try to contemplate a more fixed time horizon presently.

        The thoughts of other readers would be helpful and interesting!

        1. TOA, I think each family has to determine what their needs are and then apply your level of optimism or pessimism, plus apply what ever your belief system is. In the Old Testament Joseph prepared Egypt for 7 years of famine; is that too much? Reading the stories from the Balkan wars and from Venezuela seems like 4+ years would be nice to have; if you can keep it from the bad guys.

          I also factor in weather; will it be swept away in a flood or carried away in a tornado? Will I have to evacuate due to wild fire? Do you have a way to store water to rehydrate freeze dried or dehydrated foods? Can you grow and preserve veges and fruits to supplement the stored food and do you keep small livestock growing? These factors will help you determine how much to store; but remember, all this takes up a lot of space.

          1. Hello Animal House!
            Great to see your post. Excellent ways of thinking through the question of food supplies and for how many years? …and you are right. Food storage does require a lot of space! Most people probably don’t think about the physical space required to store even a year’s worth of food for a single person let alone a family — although we should all be doing this!

            7 years has come to my thoughts many times, and as a Christian Believer, consider the story of Joseph closely. Sometimes I think about as many as 10 years. It sounds extraordinary for many of the different kinds of emergency scenarios we might face, but my husband and I are looking very seriously at the coming Grand Solar Minimum alongside the risk of a micronova or other EMP event — solar or otherwise). Of course these thoughts are in addition to or alongside risks of economic collapse and political upheaval caused by any number of factors.

            If renewable food supplies such as greenhouse production remain unaffected, we would be able to find a way forward — almost indefinitely since we have a fresh supply of surface water and a well with a hand pump.

            If renewable food supplies are impacted by a cold sun — this is quite a different scenario. Significant adjustments would be required for literal survival (as contrasted with comfortable survival). This thinking was a substantial consideration in the development of our greenhouse built significantly in-ground for the benefits of geo-thermal exchange.

            Generally speaking, from a gardening perspective, we think in terms of 4-5x production in one growing season for a full year’s garden-sourced supply. It’s a challenge to keep up during the growing season, but we believe the calculation is sound.

            In addition to all the usual super market supplies on the pantry shelf, we took up dry oven canning for long term storage of dried beans years ago. We also use food buckets with oxygen absorbers+ Dehydrating is in our near future with the purchase of a larger system (our existing dehydrator is very functional but much more modest in terms of capacity). Our next step may be freeze-drying at home — and may invest in a Harvest Right system. We are also looking now at commercially prepared freeze dried meals (Thrive, Mountain House). These are expensive, but may be worthwhile as a bridge from where we are to the next steps including freeze-drying at home.

            Thanks so much for the sharing of your thoughts. There is lots to consider. Alongside other SB readers we continue to evaluate and reevaluate, adjust plans and take more forward steps!

  8. Second the motion on the Cub Cadet string trimmer/mower. I have one here and I call it “the beast”. It can do anything I ask of it except make coffee I suppose. My land is rough and hilly(maybe 1 sq ft of flat land in the driveway). It’s a bit of an aerobic workout of course, pushing it uphill, but it balks at nothing. I used a different make of the same thing back on my farm and used it to mow the blueberry planting, orchard etc. It can even “hay”; have used it to cut the tall grass and then I rake it up and use it for mulch. I mow “the lawn” with it too; sort of looks like a 4 year old got a hold of a pair of scissors and gave themselves a haircut when I’m done but I don’t really care!

    Got some really needed rain and lots of it from the tropical storm that hit the east coast. Garden is still going strong. Harvesting broccoli, sugar snaps(at the end), some tomatoes(most are still green), eggplants, cukes, zukes, green beans, summer squash, chard. Need to harvest some green peppers. The winter squash looks amazing. Have some nice looking melons too; hope they survive the bear, etc. as they have to be harvested full-slip.

    Stopped by an interesting “yard sale”- picked up a scuffle hoe, 2 splitting mauls and an apple peeler/corer really cheap. Picked up some more plastic buckets with lids from my favorite awesome grocery store bakery woman.

    Have been experimenting with using my car as a solar dehydrator this week. Broccoli was a failure and it stunk up the car. Summer squash and zucchini worked well. Best result came from steam blanched summer squash sliced thin; nice color and yummy! Nicer than the electric dehydrator even. Have a small batch of cherry tomatoes drying in the car now and the next round of summer squash; steam blanched and thinly sliced. Dried some lemon balm too.

    Mornings have been really cool lately; realized how fast summer is going. Wish it would last longer than it does; love this season the most.

  9. Lily have you considered using agricultural grade hydrogen peroxide for sanitizing the incubator and plant trays? Its a higher concentrate than the stuff in your medicine cabinet and a very safe and effective disinfectant (as long as you keep it off your skin). We use it to clean garden tools, planters, chicken swag, and much more. It seems to work great for eliminating disease and pathogens. Also it doesnt leave a soapy film or chemical odor. Spray it on, let it sit out, rinse it off, done.

  10. We put 36 eggs in our incubator. 5 died while hatching, 1 was deformed and 15 were hatched normal chicks. The incubator has the automatic humidity control and egg turner. Usually I just use a broody hen but none of the ladies seem to be interested this year. All our birds are multi-colored because they are mixed breeds. We have not bought chicks for…I can’r remember how long…15 years maybe. There are always two roosters for the 10 hens (one is none, two is one). We let the chickens free range all day but I lock them up at night. Our grasshopper patrol.

    1. Our best chick hatching experience was overseen by a couple of broody hens… The chicks were healthy, most hatched, and they were all very calm little birds.

      When we tried this most recently, a predator managed to tear into the small hatching house — and resulted in the heartbreaking loss of the two mothers and all the eggs. This was a terrible, terrible loss for us. Although our primary hen house is so strong it would probably survive the direct impact of a large asteroid, the little hatching house was not as strong. Since that time we built a hatching and grow out shelter inside the larger sturdy house.

      Our “jump start” for repopulating our flock will come with purchased chicks, but we are so looking forward to hatching a new group. We’ll probably use the incubator, but may see if any of the ladies are interested in helping out!

  11. I love hearing what you and others have done. I especially liked hearing about your dehydrating the broccoli. Years ago I tried it and after a few months it all turned black and I had to throw it out. I have had great success in using zucchini to make sweet and dill relish. I can’t taste the zucchini in it and since last year I had an abundance of zucchini it was a good way to use it. I have been deyhdrating marked down mushrooms. I slice them them then and store them vacuum packed in canning jars. It’s easier than canning them. It’s not hard to make your own vinegar and can be used for household purposes. I buy vinegar for canning as I don’t currently have a way to test the acidity of my homemade kind. I would suggest making sure you are well stocked with baggies of all sizes. Yes you can live without them but they are extremely useful and can be used to share your extra stuff to give away. They can often be washed and reused. I too feel a gentle urgency to make sure we have what we need on hand. The future is uncertain but God is faithful. We only need to do our part.

    1. @ Sis

      Yes, and summer squash also makes good relish. Used to make some for sale at the market when I had extra summer squash for sale. Just not something I’d eat much of other than maybe putting it in mayo to make tartar sauce.

  12. Spent the week organizing and getting done the projects I’ve been procrastinating the longest like getting that electrical outlet installed in the bottom of the pegboard at my workbench, enlarging the table top of the tiny table by my recliner, replacing the concrete weight in the bottom of a floor lamp. I finally finished sorting all the nuts and bolts and screws, put them into tall skinny molasses jars and built a “spice rack” to hold them all. Now I don’t have any loose screws, at least in the shop anyway!

    Got more of the blackberries tied up, old canes removed, and some cane tips buried in #10 cans of soil to I’ll have plants to sell next spring. Gave away some blackberry jam to various friends and neighbors. With the family reunion cancelled, I have more than I can handle.

    Bambi finally figured out, after five years, how to get into the garden. I wasn’t sure if he was pole vaulting or what. The morning he cleaned off the tops of all my sweet potatoes, I caught him in the act. When he saw me, he went through the deer fence like it wasn’t there, jumping between wires spaced a 18″ apart hardly touching a thing. Wow. Time to add some vertical wires. All those missing leaves will definitely decrease the sweet potato harvest. The buckwheat is doing great as are the beans and peanuts and everything else. The bees have all been relaxing on their veranda all day, not many flowers blooming right now.

    My elderberry rooting experiment was a total flop…or so I thought. Even though I only left two trimmed leaves on each cutting, within a week, everything was black and shriveled. Three weeks later I grabbed one of the pots to plant an avocado pit and when I pulled out the elderberry cutting, arrgghhh!, it had a large shoot just about to break through the soil. All the roots were sheared off when I yanked it out. I looked more closely at the rest and 4 of the 8 had shoots above the soil. The woody cuttings survived and rooted, the green ones did not. So you CAN take cuttings this time of year.

    I actually got a friend to start storing food. I’ve never felt the urgency to get more stuff into storage but I am really feeling the urgency now. I noticed several people mentioned urgency in their posts. Sunflower Ammo had .30-06, .45 and 22’s available so stocked up on more of those.

    Took the first hot shower from my new solar water heater…wonderful! If I could get some sunny days instead of partly cloudy, I can figure out what the maximum capability is. I was getting 122°F in the 15-gallon water-bin test on partly cloudy days so on sunny days, that should be attainable in my 30-gallon water heater no problem. Now I’m working on a more expensive version as well as revamping my original solar water heater of a third design.

    The idiot light I wired for my well to let me know when it’s on was a failure. Well, the light worked great but the idiot portion didn’t. Next I’ll try having it play some Hank Williams so I have an audible reminder it’s on. I’m deaf in one ear and can’t hear out of the other so not sure if it will work. I thought of trying a red light but that might attract some unsavory men.

    It looks like it’s snowing outside right now but it’s just all the black walnut trees shedding leaflets to conserve water. The sycamores have dropped so many I need to rake them up. We could sure use a good rain.

    I found a cute little baby bluejay near the compost pile one morning, slightly larger than a week-old chicken. He squawked like heck when I picked him up but calmed down once he was sitting on my finger. I thought he fell out of the nest but when I put him on the compost pile fence, I saw his sibling already sitting there so they must have been getting their first flying lessons. Mama was in the trees above making a racket every time I got near them the rest of the day. The tree frog tadpoles in the rain barrel have finally sprouted some legs. The adults sing me to sleep every night so I’m always glad to have more.

    Everyone have a great week!

    1. Thank You St. Funogas for your wonderful update. I just loved hearing about the young Blue Jays getting flying lessons and Tree Frog Tadpoles sprouting legs in your rain barrel. New life is wonderful and always hopeful and puts smiles on our faces and joy in our hearts. 😉

    2. Always enjoy your updates St. Funogas! Should learn by now not to be sipping coffee, lest it spew out my nose at some of your turns of phrase…

      So would a Hank Williams well alarm play “My Bucket’s Got a Hole in It?”

      1. Hey Bear, I was thinking of having it alternate between Singing Waterfall to let me know the tank is running over and Move It On Over to remind me to move the breaker switch to the right. I’ll add yours and it can be a medly. 🙂

  13. A busy week here at our home in the Foothills of Appalachia with many of fun garden activities our SB friends are also enjoying across the country (and around the world). We’re harvesting lots and lots of squash (and I do mean lots — smiles), tomatoes, all kinds of peppers, eggplants, wax beans, and more. Soon we’ll be clearing out our summer beds, and gearing up for late summer and early fall planting. It just doesn’t seem possible that the time has gone so quickly, but it has — and here we are!

    We’ll continue to can and freeze, and soon we’ll be working with a larger dehydrator. Our existing dehydrator is very modest, and has worked well for beef jerky, but we’ve decided to expand and accelerate these efforts — and are awaiting arrival of the new one. We’re quite excited, and Avalanche Lily’s story of the broccoli was especially inspiring!

    Lumber has arrived for expansion of our raised beds. We’ll plan to build those as the temperatures cool and the air dries just a little bit. Hoping the local feed store will have more compost available for bulk purchase. It seemed they were a little low when we passed by the store last week, but this should be remedied shortly! Our plan for an expansion of an additional 5 beds is now a plan for 7 — and I am sure other SB readers understand exactly how projects like this grow (and grow and grow — laughin’).

    With JWR’s recommendation and the reviews of SB readers too, we have ordered a copy of Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills. Looking forward to this, and to having it as part of our print copy library of resources!

    Tortas fritas research is well underway with St. Funogas’ recommendations about the yeast versions of these recipes. A couple of fun links follow, and we look forward to any thoughts or feedback about these!

    https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/other-dessert/tortas-fritas-fried-sweet-dough.html

    https://www.thespruceeats.com/tortas-fritas-argentinian-uruguayan-fry-bread-3029704

    https://fromargentinawithlove.typepad.com/from_argentina_with_love/2010/10/tortas-fritas-fried-bread.html

    The next recipe link leads to a delightful banana coffee cake recipe. Absolutely delicious, and easy to make. We’re using bananas stored in the freezer, and they work extremely well. Rather than using the “slices” in the batter, we used a mixer and processed them to “small chunk” or “tidbit” stage. Next up will be to experiment with this recipe using fresh apples and apple pie filling.

    https://www.justapinch.com/recipes/dessert/dessert-cake/impossibly-easy-banana-bread-coffee-cake.html

    We continue as well to replenish supplies of all kinds thanks to mail order delivery options and very, very rare no-contact curbside pick-up. We remain concerned about possible disruptions to various supply chains, and are trying to be as prepared as we can be in light of this. COVID cases are also increasing in our area, and this just as the CDC has decided that follow up testing will no longer be required for release from ‘active infection status’.

    Perseverance is a focus for all of us here. As the days have turned into weeks and now months, we know that the road may yet be longer and more difficult going forward. Certainly a concern is all the evidence before us that too many people are too quickly ready to give-up or give-in to the current circumstances. We must remember that adversity is filled with inconvenience and discomfort, and that if this is all we suffer as a consequence, we should count ourselves wholly protected. Our struggles thus far are hardly those of an epic story, but the inspiration of Sir Ernest Shackleton is actively in our thoughts…

    http://www.ernestshackleton.net/#about

    Chicks will arrive in the next several weeks by mail order, and we’ll look forward to increasing our flock of egg-laying hens! Having lost some to predators along the way, it’s time to improve our numbers once more. Once those chicks arrive, we’ll start a round of our own eggs in the incubator here at home.

    I was thinking about Avalanche Lily’s sharing of her work to hatch meat chickens, and think HP’s suggestion of ag-grade hydrogen peroxide is a very good idea.

    Here’s a link to the incubator we’re using… It’s the GQF Genesis Hova-Bator , and has worked really well for us! Hopefully it’s a product that JWR can link up for possible sales benefit through the SB for other readers who might want to make the purchase.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GWF7HGG?pf_rd_r=WMS0FHMYTR72MDYGJBDY&pf_rd_p=edaba0ee-c2fe-4124-9f5d-b31d6b1bfbee

    …and this is a link for the egg turner!

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B004XNMGXE/ref=dp_cerb_1

    Protection of the integrity of our November elections remains a great concern, and news of the confiscation of 20,000 face US driver’s licenses caught my attention. Election interference (and other criminal intent) is written all over this.

    https://www.lifezette.com/2020/08/shipment-of-nearly-20-thousand-fake-u-s-drivers-licenses-from-china-were-just-confiscated-at-chicago-airport/

    Meanwhile, Ben Davidson at Suspicious0bservers is suffering from social media censorship — what we understand is a permament “T” ban, and suppression of his posts on “FB”. Much of Ben’s work is related to solar influences on our weather, and the coming Grand Solar Minimum. Because he does not tow the line related to “manmade climate change”, he is suffering the consequences. You can help to support him with visits to his site. We also highly recommend the 3rd edition of his book titled Weatherman’s Guide to the Sun — on sale this weekend. It is remarkably educational and a great read.

    https://suspicious0bservers.org/

    https://www.spaceweathernews.com/publications

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. “and I am sure other SB readers understand exactly how projects like this grow (and grow and grow — laughin’)”

      The “heyyyy, while we’re at it….” effect! 🙂

      Sounds like a great week, and those links look yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  14. I have been working a lot of hours so not much time to do prepper related stuff. Son #2 finished his Ford Factory training (after a couple of years of automotive gas/diesel training) and is home looking for a job. Daughter #2 is praying about deferring her junior year after being told the college can test students for COVID19 anytime they want, plus all on campus students must stay in small dorm rooms when they aren’t in classes. Their food is delivered to their door as the cafeteria will remain closed. Starting to sound a little like prison. Her excitement to attend this college – which has a stellar reputation for excellence – has all but disappeared.

    On the prepping side we’ve been dehydrating. Our $10 dehydrator from Goodwill is working fine although we found it is best to periodically rotate during each batch. Amazing how 3 large bunches of celery cut up into pieces can end up fitting in a pint jar with plenty of room to spare. We also dried cherries and this weekend it’s apples. I am buying a Nesco next weekend to increase our production. I’d like to try blueberries.

    Our barely used Sedona was a complete waste of money as it only funtioned for a few production runs before losing it’s ability to provide heat. It is out of warranty. We won’t be buying another one.

    Ammo and pistols remain in extremely short supply in our area. I usually shop at my favorite store. They have one lonely M&P .40 sitting in their display case and have to call their main wholesale supplier every morning, find out what firearms are in stock and make their order on the spot. Stock sells out as soon as it’s delivered. Some online sources seem to have stuff available.

    Daughter #2 texts me when the farm/tool supply store she works at puts 9mm or .45 on the shelf but they often sell it before I get there (I’m 10 minutes away). I’m in no rush to buy more. Stocking up slowly over time when demand was low helps to eliminate panic buying at higher prices.

    I’m also noticing a local shortage of 10 round AR-15 mags. Probably election driven demand. I bought the last few I could find but it’s probably a good idea to stock up on these. I may place a bulk order. If Loopy Joe is elected (makes me grind my teeth even mentioning it) then an outright ban on AR’s is unlikely for the first year or two but standard capacity mags will most likely be outlawed. 10 round mags will be a hot item for a while.

    I usually comment on gold and silver. Not so much today as you can see what’s going on. Pullbacks are typical and expose true demand. I don’t think this run is over. Far from it, especially as the full impact of Covid round one shutdowns continues to filter into our economy.

    Canning jars seem to be coming back. Lids are still in short supply.

    1. Daughter #2 would be very wise not to return to school. It is a prison and Marxist indoctrination center. She ought to get the text books of the subjects she is interested in and study them on her own. And since she already has a job that sounds very interesting, I’d say that she is very well occupied. And why bother with such a steep schooling bill? Just my humble opinion.

      Many Blessings to you and your family, Chris in Arkansas!

      Lily

    2. The journey of life is oft filled with strange, even unexpected, twists and turns. Praying that blessings flow forth from what may be a new direction, or even a momentary pause, for your Daughter #2!

      1. Darn. It’s actially daughter #1 praying about returning to school. I mistyped. I can’t keep birthdays straight either. Anyway, the school daughter #1 is going to is a conservative Christian college. She has a scholarship and work/study program that pays the tuition, and we pay room and board. I am impressed with the school and their leadership but do not agree with their approach to these restrictions. They’re also shutting down weekly chapels. I suspect some of this is being driven by county or state heath officials. She will have to make a choice for this year as she is an adult. She is a dedicated young Christian woman and I am pleased to see her fasting and praying over this decision.

        1. Worry for not even a moment… Our Good Lord knows we’re all praying for the decision making path of Daughter #1. He understands that sometimes we make typos! It’s ALL GOOD.

    3. Animal House, I’m reading this blog in bits and pieces as I’m busy putting food up. I cut my pumpkin into strips, 2-3 inches wide maybe 8-10 inches long
      I then peel them with a potato peeler. Then I cut the peeled pieces into 1 inch or smaller pieces. I then put them into canning jars, add water and process the amount recommend in the ball canning book. After they are canned they are easy to mush up, either with a fork or I usually use my blender, adding any other ingredients I need for my recipe. I find this much easier than pre cooking. I’ve done this for years and have never had any problems. By having some space between the chunks you can insure it’s been properly processed.

  15. The early part of the week we spent preserving goodies from the garden. We have found we love collards, so I cooked up a large pot but by the time I was ready to can them my family had helped themselves to a large quantity so froze the rest rather than canning.

    We spent the remainder of the week camping with the kids and grand kids. It was my BD this week and I couldn’t imagine a better present than swimming and camping with my family at the lake. The trip was peaceful and it was nice to take a week off, ignore the world and celebrate family.

    Now reality has set it. I have a garden that must be picked. I am planning to can green beans, collards and zucchini soup base today, cole slaw (saw a great recipe on line for a vinegar coleslaw), banana peppers and cowboy candy tomorrow and trying to plan out the rest of the weeks activities. On top of that we have a mountain of wash to do and the usual after camping clean up of camp items.

    I feel truly blessed to have had such a wonderful week and feel renewed for tackling the chores for the next several weeks.

    Best to all!

  16. I would also like to receive a crown and may be willing to relinquish some antique rifles for the purpose.

    It has over all been a cooler summer, and may prove to be colder than expected, as another cold snap may be underway. As a novice gardener experiencing a steep learning curve growing tomatoes, is certainly challenged by the weather and restricted to less than ideal soil, success is yet in sight. However, the tomatoes are emerging later in the season. Most of the tomatoes will be produced by an early bush type, in this case, a 60 day beafsteak variety. Fortunately most the plants consist of this non hybrid. Although this tomato planet had a very late start as compared to the indeterminate tomatoes that had a head start, the 60 day indeterminate non hybrid beefsteaks is already producing. Next year, F1 Early Girl will be added.

    Once again, planting mostly short season crops is proving to be a good idea as we are entering a deep solar minimum. The potato experiment is also yielding valuable results. One type of potato densely planted in a 2’x2′ potato tower is producing like crazy as compared to the other test samples. The idea is to determine the best technique for a compact garden, or efficient use of space and limit good soil. The potato tower is using saw dust as a medium, therefore reducing the need for a loose soil in my area that is most heavy clay. Adding a limited amount of saw dust to the compost pile is producing a light rich compost that might have a small amount of heavy rich clay mixed in.

    1. Hey Tunnel Rabbit, if you’re adding sawdust, don’t forget to add some urine “direct deposits” to your compost pile if you want to speed things up considerably. It helps greatly even with the hardwood sawdust I get from a cabinetmaker friend. If the sawdust hasn’t composted sufficiently by the time it’s added to the garden, it will steal notrogen from the plants. Just my dos centavos. 🙂

      1. St. Fun-O (is a) gas,

        Thanks for the cautionary note. It is well received. I recall your excellent educational and entertaining article on the topic, and saved a copy. I have also developed a proprietary method of collection that delivers the product, that is a substitution for ‘green’ nitrogen compost materials, directly to the compost pile. Estimated production should be in excess of 40 gallons per annum with proper hydration techniques. Over saturation of liquids in compost is a consideration, therefore evaporation may be encouraged with more frequent turnings of the pile, and direct exposure to the sun, and by prevention of infiltrating rain water during appropriate seasons. Additional time will also be used to ensure complete degradation of the extreme high carbon content of saw dust that is also devoid of most nutrients, including, but not limited to the essential NPK, but also the second tier nutrients, calcium, sulfur, and magnesium. Regular addition of chicken manure from 30 chicken that is concentrated with ample amounts of NPK should also accelerate the process that expected to completed by next spring. If the compost pile is not stinking, we’ll make sure the fuel is added to the fire. Fortunately the ‘pile’ is strategically, and conveniently located between the house and the chicken house, providing a useful stop along the way.

        1. Hey Tunnel R-Abbot & Costello, you had me laughing good with your comment:

          ” I have also developed a proprietary method of collection that delivers the product, that is a substitution for ‘green’ nitrogen compost materials, directly to the compost pile. Estimated production should be in excess of 40 gallons per annum with proper hydration techniques.”

          Let us know when you’re submitting photos for the patent application so we can see what it looks like. I’ve come up with an idea of my own for those 3 AM wake up calls when I’m sleeping in the loft, but I lack the oomph to dig 200 feet of trench to run the drain line to the compost pile.

          If you’re only generating 40 gallons per annum, my urologist would tell you to drink lots more liquids! lol 🙂

    2. More on sawdust.

      Free sawdust from a friends mill is proving to be useful in many ways. It can be used as a medium for growing potatoes and as a mulch, and to reduce weeds on the floor of a raised garden. But wait, there is more. Fine sawdust was likely a big factor in the successful raising of 30 chicks. Not one was lost. A thick layer of more than 4 inches deep was turned daily to keep the floor clean by bring fresh saw dust to the surface with a hoe where it quickly encapsulates manure after it is produced. After the thick layer becomes saturated, a fresh new layer of sawdust is added. Sawdust makes for a quick and easy way to keep the floor cleaner. It also absorbs water and sequesters spills in the lowest layer, so the the top layer remains dry. Moisture would otherwise promote the formation of bacteria. In the hen house it also provide a similar function and a thick layer of insulation. Once removed from the hen house and replaced with fresh, the old saw dust laden with gold nuggets of manure is screened, just like one would screen soils to remove debris and small stones.

    3. Tunnel Rabit/St Funogas… I always learn from Saturday’s posts. Especially like these on tomatoes, potatoes and compost/sawdust, Thanks!

      With my limited garden space, trying to cram as much in as I can has always been my downfall. For tomatoes, I almost always train them up a fence and mulch heavily after the soil warms. (I DO mulch lightly when planted to keep dirt from splashing up on the leaves when it rains.)

      For the potatoes this year, I planted them too close together to hill up. The plants are in a grid, fourteen inches apart on all sides. This was prompted by a Mother Earth News article about using grass clippings around the plants in place of hilling with dirt. The plant are still growing well though they have leaned over a bit. Will report back with the results when I harvest. If this works well, more plants can be grown in a limited space AND the grass clippings have a good use!

      The 2×2′ potato tower sounds like a good idea…I assume wood boards is the barrier to keep the sawdust in a pile. What did you augment the soil for nutrients? How many plants and how much in your harvest?

      Concerning these crowns…being in possession of more than I care to claim, (chewed crushed ice constantly during four pregnancies not knowing I was cracking my teeth,) it was more than bothersome when I experienced a failure in a couple. No one involved with helping me into these costly “fixes” ever told me they would NOT last as long as I would. Not until the first one failed did any dentist tell me they were a “temporary” solution. Extraction and a bridge/ implant/plate/gap was the final solution. So be aware and ask your practitioner just how long your root canal/crown should last so you aren’t surprised.

      After significant pain in my mouth this past May, and being refered to an oral surgeon when my dentist could not find the cause, I was wanting to avoid any more temporary bling in my mouth. Putting off the call, much research followed. Since I was finding relief using my water flosser with Himalayan pink salt solution, I continued with that. Then in reading, found the weed plantain, (it’s root, wide OR narrow leaf,) is effective for tooth pain. Since the pain was now reduced to mainly the severe cold sensitivity I have had for years, I started tucking a plantain leaf, in three pieces, inside my lower lip, and on each side of my upper molars after brushing my teeth, (and waterflossing,) in the evening then leaving till breakfast the next morning. The past three months my cold sensitivity has noticeably improved bit by bit. I don’t know how to explain the improvement but will not discount it. We’ll see what they say at my dental exam next week. Is this improvised treatment going to fix an abscessed tooth? I doubt it. (I DID try the best essential oils available for over a month to keep the crown that sat over that abscesses tooth that failed.) But, having been working at my issues as naturally as possible now, I know there are possibilities not explored out there I will keep looking for.

      Each comment others make on their sense of urgency pushes me forward. It’s doesn’t take much to see changes coming. The humor used to relate your week’s accomplishments is much needed levity for me, THANK YOU ALL!!!

      Oh…I scrolled to the bottom of the blog page and was reviewing the credentials and limited bios on those responsible for making this such a special place. Have you updated/changed it from a few months back JWR? Or did I just not scroll down as far as it goes….enjoyed the information that was given in spite OPSEC! Found one of the mailing addresses for book review is JUST fifteen minutes down the road. This was encouraging oddly…there are “neighbors” from this neighborhood closer than I would have thought! God IS doing so many good things and laying a foundation for what is coming for His bride, to see the way the He is moving in the little sphere I live! Keep going everyone…

  17. We had a very busy week here a lot of it was cash out lay for items needed but that was OK as it all went for preps. Had the propane tanks filled (summer rates for the gas) topped off the diesel and petrol fuel storage tanks, got the last delivery of firewood rounds for a total of 8 cords, now waiting for cooler weather to start up the wood splitter.
    Took delivery on a new freezer which meant cleaning and re-organizing of the garage to accept the new item. Starting to enjoy the fruits of all the hard labor that has been put into the garden fresh veggies yum!
    On top of all things that happened around the ranch this week i want to share what transpired in our community this week too.
    As you enter into our town from either end there is a sign board like you see in most smaller towns in the USA and ours read “We love our country, our family’s, and our community” That was really evident to me this week as a lot of things had happened here in these last 2 weeks. First of which was one of our sheriffs deputies, a 28 yo with a wife and two young kids was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, very sad news for our town. it just so happens that last weekend was the end of our county fair, one of our local ranchers donated a steer for auction to help support the family, by the time all the bidding was completed it netted the family $82,000.00! then last Sunday a diner in town held a fundraiser with 100% of the proceeds to go towards the family and that brought in over $4,000.00 On this past Thursday the sheriffs office held a yard sale where we used the court house lawn and by that evening had raised $10,000.00 the sale will be going on over the weekend! One last item, when we relocated to this wonderful place here in the redoubt we both wanted to get involved in our community, first to meet people and then to give back to our town. One of the things i had done was to join the volunteer fire dept. and boy have we been busy this week too. Of course it’s summer and it’s been hot and dry, called out on 4 fires this past week, 3 of which involved farmers and there harvesting of crops sad to see the loss of equipment and product.
    But the fire we went to on Thursday night was different, a hay pile ignited by spontaneous combustion which was spread by high winds. Our dept. was overwhelmed by the fire, and the call went out for more support and within a short period of time we had response from 7 agency’s that came from as far away as 50 miles, all from volunteer departments.
    When we got the fire under control and we started to cut loose the other depts. that showed up i stayed behind with 6 others to do mop up and control hot spots, on Fri. morning we met one of the citizens who’s abode we were not able to save and by all appearances of seeing where he lived he didn’t have much to begin with but now he had absolutely nothing including the 2 cats that he so desperately wanted to look for.
    Our chief was able to put him in contact with our local Love INC. and of course the community stepped up again as did my wife. the family now has temporary housing as well as some cash to help in getting clothing and all other items needed to start over again.
    It brings me back to the sign at the entrance to our little town and to how we value that statement.

    1. Oh, I am so sorry to hear about that man’s loss of his home and cats. I hope they were found alive and well! Years ago after a house fire, one of my parents’ cats panicked and escaped the firemen, and God was so gracious enough to allow my mother to find him nearly a month later, lurking in some brush a block away.
      Yours sounds like a wonderful, caring community where the people really take to heart the “love your neighbor” bit!

  18. Lilly,

    A few years ago, more like 40 or so, my squad was issued the first of the dehydrated military rations (LRRP) rations. In them was a “cracker” of mixed fruit that was about the size of one playing card. I of course being the astute young soldier ate with relish those little “crackers”. Then I paid a trip to the hospital because those “crackers” absorbed a lot of the liquids in my digestive system and caused me great pain and misery.

    The moral of the story is be careful eating dehydrated foods as they can cause you digestive problems. They will re-hydrate somewhere, preferably not in your system … just thought I’d pass this on dear lady.

    Be safe, and may God richly bless you and your family.

    1. Hmmm, Okay, Lt. Mike. Thank you for the reminder. Those are very true words, of which, I had not thought too much about, before. I do tend to drink a lot of water when eating any food, but I will be doubly sure to when eating dehydrated foods in the future.

      Blessings,

      Lily

    2. Lt Mike

      In the British Army we also had those sort of ‘crackers’ but more of a ‘Garibaldi’ biscuit and another called ‘Biscuit Brown’, definitely put in ration packs to bung you up!

  19. This week at Pt Alpha, our retreat on small mtn 1 mi. from Tennessee River, we burned big pile of brush, so we can pile up the new piles of brush to burn. Today, mow lawns & start on pasture.

    Need pasture mowed in order to fire rifles & pistols + adjust sights. Now is the time, but it is hot.

    Wolf & Tink also this week completed project to add (3) 12VDC receptacles to dinette area of Fury, Dynamax Freightliner Columbia Grand Sport GT, our motorcoach. These 12VDC points power our 12VDC/120VAC Fridges, a 48L Aspenora & a 20L Alpicool.

    If anyone is interested, I guess Wolf could write an article about large truck based turbo-diesel motorcoach or small dual voltage refrigerator/freezer.

    Leaving now for Pt Alpha & a hot afternoon of operating equipment.

    Everyone try to stay safe. A weekend without a trip to ER is a success.

    Let’s Roll !

    Wolf

    1. “A weekend without a trip to ER is a success.”

      Hey Wolf, I think I will steal this as our new family motto! All my kids seem to lead with their heads. (Just like Daddy…) 😉

  20. Dear Jim and Lily:

    So glad to hear that Jim survived his “coronation” ceremony. I can relate. About six years ago, I was eating a popcorn type of snack and bit into something hard. You guessed it — my tooth split wide open.

    I went to the dentist hoping he could repair it with fillings, but he said it would require a crown. Well… $1200+ dollars later, I had a beautiful porcelain crown that has served me well. When I remarked about the high price of the crown, the doctor grinned and said something like: “Yeah, I know… this is how we dentists put our kids through college.” (BTW, at today’s price of precious metals, I can’t imagine what a gold crown would cost.)

    Speaking of crowns, I recently discovered a beautiful rendition of the beloved hymn: “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” Here is the link:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=INo42lyvszY

    This is just one of many beautiful music videos produced by Fountainview Academy, a Christian high school based near Lillooet, British Columbia. If you go to the “Fountainview Productions” You Tube channel, you will find many other amazing music videos they have produced. Most of these are based on classic Christian hymns and are filmed in majestic nature settings around the world.
    Except for a few acapella renditions, most of their videos are accompanied by very talented musicians from their high school.

    I don’t have any connection to Fountainview Productions, but have really enjoyed watching their videos in the evenings. With all the craziness going on in Oregon these days (especially in downtown Portland) it really helps me stay spiritually focused to watch edifying music videos on-line.

    Blessings to all of the Survivalblog “family”. I hope each of you have a great week ahead!

    Cliff (in Oregon)

    P.S. I really appreciated today’s Scripture reading (Psalm 61) on SB. Keep up the great work!

  21. This week we did our monthly Costco run. Out of sardines, seaweed, and tuna as I’ve been enjoying the fruits of our new raised beds. Had Covid Sushi just about every day this week. (cracker, seaweed, sardines, cucumber, cherry tomato, carrot, soy sauce) Using up the pickles and using the brine for cucumber slices.

    In the garden, the cherry tomatoes broke their wire supports and are outgrowing the beds. Almost the same with the tomatoes, they have lots of fruit, but so far, nothing has come ripe. The cucumbers are still flowering and overtaking everything. Squash are also overgrowing. Peppers are starting to produce. The raspberries are starting to bud for the September crop. Peas are done. Broccoli are almost there. Lettuce is doing good, and I’ll have to be eating salad for next week or two. I’m starting to think I prayed too hard for the garden! But what can I say except thank you Lord for answering my prayer!

    Found that Costco had ammo can 2 packs in black. Needed some more black cans, as I picked up 20 boxes of strike anywhere matches. I’ll be vacuum packing the boxes and canning them tonight. Also need the black cans for my order of smoke grenades. I use the various color cans for types of material stored. Tan is ready ammo on strippers, green for storage ammo in boxes, and black for pyrotechnics. On the ammo front, I stored up a can of 12 ga #2 steel duck loads. While I don’t hunt much anymore, the heavy bird loads will still deter rioters.

  22. Well, I made it through the primary. Good news is that of the 4 of us competing for votes, I came in 2d not 3rd.

    The incumbent only got 47% of the vote on his quest for a 6th term in the House. He is a rampant, deeply embedded socialist who votes for tax increases, anti-gun laws, sex ed for kids and high schoolers to teach LBGTQ, decriminalization of felony acts, catch and release, ‘sanctuary’ state, and more. God will be working hard with me to restore His governance.

    Voles are decimating every crop in our garden. Now they have severed every 6 foot tall stalk of our patch of Tutankamen peas at the ground level. We had sustained winds of 30 to 35mph which leveled our 7 foot tall patch of Jerusalem artichokes this week.

    We’ll be ordering cases of canned food from the store this year.

    Last and most significant, our 11 month old granddaughter just got placed in Seattle Children’s Hospital in the night, evidently with Neutropenia. Our daughter is with her and it looks like a long stay is ahead. All prayers welcome. We have her 5 year old sister staying with us now.

    Our Bible study this morning was on Isaiah 63 this morning. Dire words for dark times.

    Praise Him in all things. God Bless.

    1. Wheatley Fisher… We are praying for your granddaughter, and will watch for news that she is doing well in the care of a medical team whose hands and hearts and souls are guided by Him who is Our Healer in Heaven and on earth. Our heartf felt prayers will continue in earnest for all of you. These can be such stressful times for families. We sincerely do understand. Our Good and Loving Lord hears us, and He will answer.

      Congratulations are in order related to your primary, and advancement to the next step in the election process. Good for you, and keep fighting the good fight!

      1. Amen!! God is holding the sweet little one in the palm of His hand, and He is the miracle worker. Praying also for PEACE and a hot cuppa and 90seconds breathing room in which to wash her face for her mama, exhausted but also on constant alert, on that crinkly uncomfortable hospital room couch. And a medical team who LISTENS to the mama. Dear Lord, hold them both close. And may each 3 minutes of sleep mama gets feel as refreshing as an entire night.

  23. Just a note. I use relish when making tuna sandwiches. But I also found that dill relish is wonderful with smoked salmon. I canned a lot of pike so figure it’ll work well with it too. Also, we like potato salad and although I usually use sweet relish it also tastes good with dill. When using our canned meat I feel relish will be a good addition.

  24. Avalanche Lily, Loved your stories and lessons about your week.

    Several years ago, between moving from a rental house to the house I was buying, I needed short term storage of my prepping food at my parents’ house. At that time, one bedroom and their dining room floor to ceiling were stacked with food boxes. Mind you, they do not prep like I do… My dad walked over to a box not taped shut, and in an anticipatory voice, with much enthusiasm said, “What have we here?”

    Then, in a raised voice of incredulous disbelief, he cried out, “Broccoli?”

    He was so deflated he just walked away.

    I almost died laughing so hard and so long.

    I said mom had told me broccoli can be hard to grow, so when it went on sale, I bought freeze dried broccoli because I love it soooo much; steamed w/butter & salt or raw w/ranch or broccoli and cheese soup.

    Since my family doesn’t prep with me, the one benefit is I get to buy what my taste buds like…

    ++++++++

    This week I had the privilege of helping pack a uhaul trailer in the scorching heat for my kids and grandkids to move to the Redoubt. My son will work one more month here and then join them. He will need a new job there. They have land and are renting a home while they build this coming year. Praise God for so many blessings. The Lord provided an all cash buyer within a few days for their expensive home! They plan on building without debt accept for the land payments. Also, their small acreage is excellent farm soil.

    My son and his wife have not been preppers, and do not even know what the, “Redoubt,” is. Yet, they felt the Lords’ leading and followed. Literally, gave up amazing job and amazing home and move without a job to go to. The Lord is so good to us. I feel so blessed to have them in a safer state. Also, they have started recently to come around to prepping, and I can talk freely with them now. PTL!

    I helped my dad this week on a new-to-him house, getting it ready to rent. I weed wacked, did power blowing and pressure washing the house exterior and extensive sidewalks. It was exhausting, dirty and exhilarating all at the same time. It felt so good to be spending time with my dad, and of course helping him.

    For those interested, I used, “Milwaukee,” brand weed wacker and power blower with lithium batteries that my daughter and son-in-law gifted to me. I mention this, because men always want to try them out, they fall in love with them, and then go purchase the same ones.

    I got an email this week that my All American pressure canner should come in September, not November like I was expecting, in case anyone else was thinking of ordering but didn’t want to wait.

    John Stauhl here on blog had recommended Sam’s Club for Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. Not only have I received my first gallon but order 2 lbs of Fleishmann’s yeast with every order, as the limit is one. Was also able to find similar yeast at Costco business store, which was an amazing find since the regular Costcos’ are not carrying yeast in store anymore, per a manager when I inquired.

    Needed a day of rest in between helping family because, “the mind is willing but the body is week.” My thumb knuckles have arthritis from over use. Who knew you could wear out your thumbs? lol.

    The Chinese found me… I’m so annoyed. Really? I don’t even use PayPal and only have one credit card. Okay, maybe two, but I don’t use Macy’s anymore.
    I received an email this morning that one of my many Sam’s club orders had been delivered. Seems Sam club ships order items separately, and this particular order was my first yeast order. I went to the porch, found 2 small packages from amazon prime and thought, “hmm, that’s strange they ship via amazon.” Hello, Krissy! It was the Chinese sending me a small box of 4 plastic parts, the size of 2 lbs of yeast no less. What are the odds? Ugh. I washed and disconnected my hands and knife immediately. I have not opened the second larger box from the Chinese that says, “lithium batteries inside.” Any advice?

    I went back out to the porch, and on the opposite side, found my Sam’s club box with my yeast. PTL. The box was marked, “Sam’s,” all over it.

    I picked up vintage blue half pint jars I ordered through TrueValue because I gave my others to a daughter-in-law who was making raspberry jam.

    Oh, I forgot to mention, picked black berries with my dad, which warms my heart just thinking about it.

    Thank you to everyone who posts because you encourage me. Krissy

    1. Krissy!
      WHOA… We get it. The Chinese found us also and mailed us some of those mystery seeds. They must be busy because they also managed to ship fake driver’s licenses (in an election year which may be related to voter fraud). Thankfully these were discovered in Chicago by authorities. But… How many packages like this got through for the one that was uncovered?

      https://www.foxnews.com/us/fake-drivers-licenses-flooding-into-us-from-china-other-countries-us-says

      You might consider checking in with the local postmaster, and you might also consider contacting your state’s Attorney General. They may be aware of ongoing investigations related to the mystery packages. Seems there are quite a few mystery mailers coming from China (or appearing so). Some think this is “brushing”, but I am not so sure about that — and tend to think something else is going on.

    2. Krissy, I laughed so hard picturing your father’s disappointment because I can see my own doing exactly that same thing! “What is this stinkin’ green veggie???” To be fair he’s usually a good sport, and my Mom is a great cook, but he sure has been stretched out of his small-town Midwest menu comfort zone. LOL. Chickpeas and avocado and arugula, OH MY! I was making chocolate hummus last week when they came over, but luckily all of the garbanzos had been pureed already and only the vanilla, cocoa, etc was sitting out. He asked me what I was making and I said “a new kind of chocolate pudding” with a straight face. Didn’t occur to him to wonder why I needed a high-powered grinding appliance to make pudding and my Mom was trying not to laugh. LOL. He did try it, and like it, and I did admit to my nefariousness. Poor guy. We do mess with his head sometimes. 🙂

      Congratulations to your son and family on their move! That is so exciting (and a relief for you)! And your Dad too, on his house. Glad you got your yeast!

      We received a package from China also, but it wasn’t seeds. It was a small (plastic) beaded bracelet, which was one of the things specifically mentioned in the article I read about brushing. I do think there is a lot of that going on, simultaneously with and/or as a cover for more scary things. The driver’s licenses and the seeds are certainly NOT an “innocent” product ratings scam…

      1. Hey, Bear, You had me laughing at your chocolate pudding!
        Also, thank you for rejoicing with me that my son’s family has moved to the Redoubt. It gives me great relief to know my daughter-in-law and three precious little granddaughters are out of this state with such a retched and impotent governor. (WA)

        Oh, my gosh. So sorry the Chinese found you too. Good grief…

        Much joy to your day and week, Bear. Krissy

  25. Good afternoon all,

    Kinda quiet week. Husband out of town this week for more work training. (I’m ever thankful that he is an essential worker and no stop in income).
    I picked more cucumbers, beans squash, tomatoes. Yum!!
    It was much cooler here this week until today.
    I myself also feel like a squirrel trying to make sure we are always fully stocked for the challenging times ahead for all of us.
    Busy trying to organize big freezer and take the fruit and vegetables out of that one to put in the new freezer. Then I will fill up the big freezer with more meat, poultry, pork.

    Took BeeBoo kitty for his Biopsy. Dr. Said it mostly looked like fatty tumors but we will see what the pathology report says.

    Hubby was finally able to set up my new Freeze Dryer on a steel rack for me!! (I couldn’t do it by myself as the machine weighs about 200 lbs) I’m really excited to gather items together to start learning how to use the machine. Also received a large order of Mylar Bags & oxygen absorbers . I found a great company on Amazon called Pleasant Grove Farm that sells the nice 7mill thickness Mylar. These bags come in sizes ranging from 1 pint up to 5 gallons. (The quality reminds me of the bags that Mountain House uses for their freeze dry products). I’m thinking that by Freeze Drying our own meals rather than buying them (if you can even get your hands on them) will put our long term food storage in a really great position. I like Lily believe that if there is ever a long term power outage, having this freeze dried food will be very beneficial to us as well as allow us to help those in need.

    Took delivery of two Mint Direct tubes of Silver Eagles I had purchased before Silver shot up. Yahoo! I’m assuming that I should leave them sealed? Does the value of them go down if you open the seal on the tube?

    Hope everyone has a great weekend and as always I am thinking of you all

    Have a Rockin great day!! 🙂

  26. I feel like I found a pot o’ gold at the end of a rainbow…
    1) I finally got a small chest freezer, after six months of looking
    2) I vacuum sealed 30# of ground beef, 40# of chicken, and a dozen ribeye steaks- to test the new freezer… will continue to load it up as we harvest our garden.
    3) I loaded up another 70# of flour and 65# of sugar in 5gal buckets…
    4) I found a local farm store in town that had ammo cans on a dusty shelf. Each one held 820 rnds of M855 5.56mm. $400 each, but I had to grab two for my ammo safe. I haven’t seen any 5.56mm at any stores for a while, and online is hit or miss also.
    5) I also found a bunch of Hornady Critical Defense 12ga 00Buck at a small shop.
    6) Most importantly, my wife has taken to carrying her 9mm whenever she is out and about. She will not be a victim and will never let harm come to our kids.

    So, what a great week for my Clan. We won’t let the self-destructing world around us take over our lives, and when we truly need something, G-d provides!

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