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:

Since my return from out-of-state travel, I’ve been quite busy.  In the past week, I’ve caught up on mail and packages, visited a local gunsmith, added several antique guns to the Elk Creek Company e-store pages, boxed and mailed out several orders, picked up an ATV from the local repair shop, dropped off a rototiller at a different repair shop, assisted a relative with transport to a medical appointment, had a dental appointment of my own, made a rubbish run to the county dumpsters, assisted Avalanche Lily with some house reorganization, hauled some topsoil, and prepped a couple of slash piles. I hope to touch off those piles next week, if we get the predicted rains. This year, just one of those piles contains a stump, so I’m hoping to be done with that project after only a couple of days of fire-tending.

Yesterday afternoon, I kicked off the Pre-Election Sale at Elk Creek Company. I expect more than half of my inventory (56 guns, at last count) to sell before the election, so order soon, while there is still a good selection available!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Yes, Jim is home.  I’m so glad he made it back safely.  We have had one busy week.

Not a lot was done in my area of prepping. I made a couple trips to town with Jim running errands. I did can one batch of tomato sauce. I bought two hundred pounds of apples from a local farmer.  I harvested a two-gallon pail of plums from our small orchard.

I rode my mountain bike a few times, because the weather was absolutely gorgeous and I just had to be out in it.  I like doing intervals on my bike.  I ride a few loops around the house to warm up.  Then after the warm-up, when,  I reach a slight upgrade, I stand up and peddle very fast until I reach the crest of the slope and then peddle normally down it.  As I warm up further, I increase the fast peddling, until, I do the whole loop at near top speed.  Then, I go off onto other loops around the ranch.  I cool down by riding loops around the parking lot or around a fenced in area.  My workouts generally average thirty-five minutes.  Other days I ride for up to an hour.  Some days when I feel particularly energetic and alert, and feel like skill building/improving my biking techniques, I take the bike on narrow paths through our forests, that are not always trails.  It’s challenging and fun.

I refilled jars and reorganized the baking cupboard. I reorganized two book shelves.

I listened to the book of Judges.

Jim was very surprised to see how much the kittens had grown in the month he was away.  He immediately called them “our teenager cats”.  One evening while we were sitting on the couches, the kittens started their wild hunt, chase, evade, and attack games while doing parkour all over the couches. The kittens are quite rough with each other. Jim watched them, highly amused, and dubbed them “The Maniacs”. He also calls them “mischief makers” and “the troublesome duo”.  But He loves them, too, and cannot resist scooping one up for a hug and an ear and chin scratch every now and then.

Question:  If you knew that you had only two more days to do your last-minute preps, what would you still need to do?

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.


  1. Quiet week here working a lot on paying jobs. Dried some more cherry tomatoes and dried melons for the first time as the ones I brought in ripened well enough inside. OMG! Dried melon is amazing!!! Not sure if I could successfully do this without an electric dehydrator here at this time of year though as they take so long to ripen that I can’t do this during the summer months when it’s warmer and the sun is hotter and a solar dehydrator would do the job. I may have to experiment with a way to use my wood-stove to dry them; anyone ever set up a way to dehydrate food using their wood-stove? (Not stringing herbs or peppers and other dry stuff above it but wet drippy stuff like slices of melon.)

    Harvested the last of what I wanted to bring in of the tomatoes; only the hardy stuff is out there still chugging away. House is full of boxes and boxes of tomatoes in various stages of ripeness; need to can more tomatoes again.

    Acquired many large bags full of softwood kindling from someone giving it away; will use this for my wood-stove to start fires. Scored a few more boxes of ammo; price goes up every time I buy it!

    Otherwise just cleaning up the garden of frost-killed plants and putting stuff away to store for the winter. Pretty quiet for now but feels like the calm before the storm.

    1. Hi, Ani!
      For information on using your wood stove for dehydrating, visit the YouTube channel of Rain Country. Heidi has been using her wood stove for many years for dehydrating as well as cooking. Her handy hubby made her a wonderful stainless steel rack so she can dehydrate several trays of goodies at once. She also has lots of good information on gardening and using herbs.

      1. @ Ma G

        Pretty cool! Gonna look at their YouTube channel some more for sure. OK- caveat is I have zero ability, tools or know-how to build something out of metal that needs to be welded etc. So I need some ideas for something that I can cobble together that doesn’t require that or can be hung maybe so it doesn’t have to be metal or?? Maybe not possible…….

        1. @ Ani
          Something I just thought of while reading your post about dehydrating. Have you considered using the insides of an old cook stove? Either electric or gas should work. I would take the inside of the stove (with the metal racks) and remove it from the rest of the stove and place it on top of a wood stove and use it as a dehydrator. It would require some dis-assembly from the old stove, but it might be doable. Just a thought. Since I do welding and all kinds of repairs it might be easier for me to do than for some. I have a tendency to custom build something if I need it as the need arises and I realize that not everyone has the same options available to them. For me those options include: a welder, acetylene torch, plasma torch, angle grinder, chop saws, etc.

          Dried melon? Hmm… Never thought about it before. Next year I’ll have to try it.

        2. Lehman’s also makes a rectangular metal box that is put on top of a wood heating stove to act as an oven. I have one and put trays of food to dry in it. Sometimes have to leave the door ajar a little. Also, you’re right – watermelon dried is fantastic! Even a tasteless one from the market is good dried

    2. I had 4 wooden squares with screen on them that hung from the ceiling above my wood heater stove. They were stacked Probably a lot easier than making something metal. Be sure not to get up against the chimney.
      And maybe just let your melon sit on a cloth for a bit before drying and then they’ll be less messy.
      Because the racks weren’t inside something else I suppose you could cover the top with net to keep bugs off if that’s a problem.

      1. Thanks for the drying rack suggestions y’all! Gonna look at them closely and see what I can come up with. Metal working skills would be useful of course but I lack that or the requisite tools!

        And the melon I’ve dried is the thinly sliced flesh of an Israeli style melon; sort of like a green fleshed cantaloupe. Comes out sort of like thin dried slices of mango or papaya taste-wise. Don’t have nearly enough stashed away of this now. OMG…….. Hmmmm; could just bribe some local metal savvy person with some of my stash of this to build me a metal drying rack for the top of my wood-stove! 😉

  2. Yes, wasn’t the weather lovely? I took our dogs on lovely wooded hikes twice this week. The quiet solitude while surrounded by God’s beauty calms my spirit. I need this so much these days. It seems the only stress relief I get is by focusing on God and His plan.

    I took a week off in canning food…the first in five months! I had precious dog hair everywhere! However, my vehicle needed a deep clean: washed, waxed, carpet and upholstery cleaned, windows washed inside and out, then rain-xed. It took the better part of a day, which I would have normally spent canning food.

    If I had only two days left to finish preps, I would make sure both freezers were filled to the brim with meat and vegetables, since canning takes such a long time. (Send the hubby to stand in line at the grocery while I continue preps) I would make sure our water barrels are filled with fresh water. I would make sure our cars and extra gasoline cans are filled with gasoline. I would make sure all bed linens and clothes are washed. If needed, I would cover our windows with the plywood we keep in the basement. I would make sure all children would return home where we can support (and feed) one another. And pray. Constantly.

  3. Good question..probably 48 hours without sleep..
    Cases of extra canned goods, medical supplies, propane, water, etc.
    Withdraw of funds from bank.
    Order items that I could not get locally or in bulk on line.
    Go through Jim’s list of lists for final purchases!!!
    Refill all diesel and gas Storage tanks.
    Ensure vehicles are prepped
    Purchase extra perimeter supplies
    Strategically plan stops at grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware stores.

    Pray and contact relatives to start journey home.

    1. Probably true… A scenario like this would probably come with little or no sleep. I learned just a few years ago now that I can go without sleep for 4 full days or 96 hours. At that point, sleep — for me — is involuntary.

  4. This week has been incredibly busy and I’m worn out. I don’t ever think I’m fully ready but I feel a little more confident in hunkering down. Don’t plan on going into any city until next February or March so made the trip to the closest city to stock up on vehicle maintenance supplies, building supplies, first aid supplies, OTC meds, hygiene supplies and some groceries. All stores were low in stock and on some items, I purchased all that was out on the shelf. But I got most everything on my list, except some grocery items. The prices on some things have doubled!

    Repackaged 10 pds of shredded cheese and put it in the freezer. Repackaged 50 pds of sugar and bread flour into bags and buckets. That is a back-killer so it took a while. Repackaged pinto beans into smaller bags and completely filled the existing half-full bucket.

    Picked up a 1200 pd order of animal feed to top off our supply. Fortunately, my son was home and emptied the truck and stowed everything away.

    Put up two cases of giardiniera (Italian pickled veges); that was really labor intensive but we love this stuff. In the summer you can add it to cold rice, cold soup or salad for a power meal and in the winter just eat it plain or added to any stew, soup or casserole.

    Just received an order of bulk herbs and spices. Most are already vac-sealed but will need to separate some out for immediate use and reseal remainder in heavier bags.

    Kitchen reorganization project still under way but it is causing delays… couldn’t find my corn meal ’cause I relocated it! Finally found it and realized I need another bag of yellow corn meal.

    Received a back-order of field peas and hulled oats for the meadow. Seed organization still in process; it is low on the list of to-do’s but maybe during the next 3-days of rain I’ll move forward on it.

    Got 40 pds of various types of potatoes to supplement our garden-grown. I don’t have a root cellar so trying a new method of storing them. Went looking for different varieties of potatoes while in the city and could not find any. Guess I’ll have to go online and try to find the seeds.

    A couple of weeks ago I got a portable dog cot at Aldi’s to see if it would work for my old dogs as they are sometimes incontinent. It works just great and it is so much easier to clean up than a washable dog bed, but of course, when I returned to get more there were no more at the Aldi I frequent. I found something similar on Chewy but it was more expensive and not as nice so I’m kicking myself for not getting a cot for each old dog.

    Several squirrels have made the mistake of entering the inter-sanctum of our compound and paid the price; but the chickens are soooo happy! Went to the back 40 shooting range for some practice with my son; we both are good shots but we were working on consecutive hits when double-tapping; spot on first shots, missed half of the second shots.

    May your week be productive and safe.

    1. I don’t know if it’ll work for your climate, but in central NC my great grandfather would always put straw down in a recently cleaned barn stall floor, put the potatoes down in a layer, dust them with powdered limestone, and cover them with canvas, and they would keep all winter.

      We always have way too many squirrels around the barn too, I don’t know where they all come from. No matter how many meet their demise, more show up. A #110 conibear on the side of a tree with a peanut butter covered marshmallow on it makes quick work of the squirrels though.

        1. I’m glad if I could help, I hope it works well for you if you try it! We do have fairly mild winters here, so I don’t know if it would work so well if you have really harsh winter temperatures. I know those were always some of the best potatoes!

  5. Cut and spilt another cord of wood. Reloaded more 223 and put them all into stripper clips and bandoliers.

    Purchases of equipment and supplies this week-
    Went to tractor supply and purchased fifty five 7’ T post, a 10 mile solar electric fence controller (it is over kill but it was the same price as the next model down), 10 smaller fence post made from 3/8 rebar, fence post insulators, several rubber gate handles, in-line strainers, a spool of fence wire, and a roll of barbed wire. The flea market is winding down for the season. There were only about half the normal vendors and not as many customers. Picked up 2 new packages of of sewing needles, 2 female and 2 male electrical plug connectors, some CR2032 batteries
    Found a new blue granite ware dish pan with handles at a local used store for $10. Picked up a pound of IMR 4198 to replace a pound I used. Ordered, received and assembled a portable shooting bench. Hope to use it this weekend.

  6. Mid-week, we participated in a community barbecue limited to operators of nearby farms.

    Although initially, everybody concealed their ‘defensive tools’ under clothes, the warm day eventually lead to most of us showing our ‘true colors’.

    One conversation topic — our enemies during and after a ‘civil war’.
    To a person, everybody acknowledged our enemies are the criminals in our neighborhood.

    Our prepping progress includes exchanging information about our enemies.

  7. I had the first of two weeks of travel for work. Stopped by several stores in small southern towns looking for odds and ends on my list including canning supplies. No lids anywhere but I was able to buy several cases of pint and quart jars along with a case of canned goods I found at a great price. I have another much larger travel loop across five states next week and will be stopping at those little out-of-the-way hardware and grocery stores again. Gun shops are always on the list. 10 round Pmags seem to be the new unobtanium in my region.

    I’ve been somewhat lazy about bringing my get home bags with me, but upon the encouragement of my dear wife have been adding one to the cargo area of my company vehicle on recent trips. I take a different size bag depending on how far away from home I will be (sling pack, 35L, 65L) Pulling those bags apart and taking inventory has revealed several deficiencies that need to be resolved, including exchanging heavier items for lighter weight stuff. Plus there is one small bag of clothing that offers a quick change into more comfortable and durable walking attire.

    On Avalanche Lily’s question about only two days left to prep? Food, fuels, and water collection would be at the top of my list. A wood stove setup would also be there as well. My wife would find no end of opportunities to remind me that we could have bought a decent night vision setup.

    Have a great week everyone!

  8. Regarding Lily’s question about only two days left to prep. We keep a printed list of “last minute” supplies to top off our preps. This way we don’t return home and realize we have forgotten something. The list was developed with a projected CME event but works for other scenarios as well. Stops include: Grocery and home improvement stores as well as topping off gasoline supplies and cash from the bank.

    We are already adding an extra layer of supplies to our pantry prior to the election as well as the other stops mentioned above.

    Praying for a conservative victory and for the Supreme Court nominee to be confirmed!

  9. It was a very busy week. As my grandpa used to say, “I’m so busy I don’t know if I found a rope or lost my horse.”

    I checked all the beehives to see who had a good supplies of honey for the winter. Two of the hives are obviously not SB readers and were low on stores. I told them two combs is one and one is none so I put some syrup in a feeder so they could get on the ball and get the larder deepened. One of the hives felt like it had 70 lbs, another 60, I could hardly lift them. The rest were pretty full as well. They’ll have honey left over for a spring harvest.

    I finally got to item #188 on the to-do list, “Clean garden shed.” It took a full day but felt good knowing it’s in good shape for the winter and ready to go in the spring. I buy old garden tools at auctions to sell at the local one-day garden festival, which of course was cancelled this year. I put linseed oil on all the handles, the rust will have to wait, and got those all organized and out of the way.

    #189 on the list was to get the shop loft organized. In the process Mrs. Pete pack rat escaped from her nest and got caught in a mouse trap before I got a chance to put her across the river to join Mr. Pete. Fortunately there weren’t any little Re-Petes running around.

    If you haven’t seen the movie Harry’s War, I highly recommend it. It’s a very low-budget movie, comedy drama, about a guy fighting the IRS after his aunt dies in IRS court while berating the judge. The funny parts will have you laughing out loud and cheering the hero on. I wonder where one could get a half-track for their preps?

    I got some seeds packaged up ready for next year’s planting. Still more to do, mostly flowers. The celosia, zinnias and marigolds are regular weeds considering how many come up in the garden all over the place. But they’re good weeds so I leave them be. I have no idea where the red and white four o’clocks came from but I should get a good seed harvest off those as well. One of my grain amaranth varieties which gets 5′ tall was growing out by the burn pile so I let that one go as well. The turmeric plants are very yellow and I’ve quit watering them hoping they’ll drop their leaves so I can dig up the tubers. The black walnut trees have already lost 90% of their leaves so winter’s on its way. I got some more of the garden cleaned up in preparation for spring.

    I got 165 welding rods at the auction last week for $2.50. I was actually buying a 50′ roll of black material to use as mulch in the pathways of the garden and the welding rods were with them. There were moans from the welders in the crowd when they realized it was a package deal. Now I all I need is a welder. Somehow I made it this far in life without knowing how to weld but a neighbor is going to show me the ropes once I get one.

    I got some 5-gallon buckets with gasketed lids for $2 each at the grocery store deli. I’ll be stocking up on more of those.

    I tried to find a belt for my vacuum cleaner but couldn’t find one. I don’t want to order one online and pay shipping that will be more than the best costs so the McGyver of the week was taking five wide rubber bands and making my own belt. So far it’s holding and should work until I can get another one. Think of all the McGyvers we’ll be doing once TEOTWAWKI gets here.

    I was talking to the local math teacher this week and he told me that 4 out of 3 people struggle with math. For some reason this is his 5th teaching position in the five years since he graduated. 🙂

    Everyone have a great week!

  10. I keep meaning to add this but please be careful if you are storing diesel fuel. The new fuel formulation thats been sold since 2006 is VERY susceptible to microbial growth if there is even a tiny amount of water present. You’re going to want to dose it liberally with fuel stabilizer and rotate often. I still see articles and books mentioning a solid 5-7 year shelf life for diesel and is likely untrue for stuff you get from gas stations. People kind of look at me funny when I tell them to check that 55 gallon drum of diesel they’ve had in the barn for a few years, but it’s worth looking into. We don’t store diesel but I work in fueling and we go through plenty of biocide even in our tanks with rapid turnover.

        1. RG, Chris,

          #2 diesel and dyed diesel are the same product. #2 has road tax applied to it’s sale. Dyed diesel is for off road use only. It has no road tax applied. Both are now Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel. The removal on the sulfur is the problem.
          For long term storage; Use an anti microbial additive and a stabilizer. I use Biobor and Pri-D. Only store fuel in metal containers.

  11. I love starting the morning off reading St Funogas! I am envious of your welding supply and weed blocking material purchase! But the 4 out of 3 people struggling with math is a keeper! Have a great day!

    1. I am partial to this one: It was a very busy week. As my grandpa used to say, “I’m so busy I don’t know if I found a rope or lost my horse.”

      And from another source: There are three kinds of people, those who can count and those who can’t.

      Carry on

  12. As to Ani s question. They make hanging solar dryers. They’re stacked trays that are surrounded by mesh that have a zipper on one side that you open to take out and put in the trays. They are light weight and each tray is lined with a mesh sheet. I have dried lots if food including jerky with one of these hanging to the side of my woodstove. If dehydrating juicy fruit I would suggest lining the bottom tray with plastic wrap to catch the juice. We try to.live a “prepared” lifestyle so I think we’re covered. But I would suggest that people take a tour of their home and observe what they use everyday, then determine how much they use on a monthly basis. Then multiply that by how many months you wish to prepare for. If you don’t have enough, go out and get it asap. I’m seeing a lot of things out of stock and the prices are going up. I don’t believe it’s going to get better in the near future. You can go “primitive” quickly but it’s a shock to your system and I don’t recommend it if you can prevent it. Please don’t forget your pets needs too. They can provide a lot of emotional support.

  13. 15+ years ago when I was a stockman on the overnights, we would sometimes have to “bomb it in” with our orders, to make up for heavy shopping periods or good sales (or holidays *shudder*). You could tell who had done that by walking past their aisles and seeing the cases piled head-height most of the way down, and you’d know that likely that was the aisle you’d be helping when you finished yours. Well, I have “bombed it in” with my grocery ordering this week, and that’s kinda what my house looks like! I have reorganized two shelves in the kitchen, unpacked the vacuum sealer, put away some unused dishes, but despite the reorganization there are still newly delivered things piled in bags in the entryway. We have stocked up the condiments per Wheatley Fischer’s suggestion last week. Even the rocking chair in my bedroom is holding 50# sacks of staples awaiting their mylar bags and plastic buckets. The kitchen counter is piled with produce for the dehydrators. (And the dirty dishes from making fudge cookies. A friend had a covid exposure at work, and thankfully tested negative, but is still very stressed because she doesn’t believe they’re taking enough precautions to protect their staff or vulnerable tiny patients. I can’t fix that, but I can take her some fudge cookies with hearts and smiley faces iced on. It’s the little things.)

    Started to make fruit leathers in the dehydrators. Easiest treat ever, if you start with store bought applesauce! The kids love it and it’s much healthier than gummy snacks (not that I buy those regularly anyway). Promptly purchased several more #10 cans of applesauce.

    Ordered and received an heirloom yogurt culture. Have been doing okay with what I’ve cultured from the store-bought stuff, but I know it isn’t indefinite and it can’t be suspended in the freezer. Also a sourdough starter (I have pound of yeast put away, but one is none, plus our environment is humid enough that I think trying to capture my own sourdough from the air would be overtaken by nasty bugs before the ones I want grew) and some stuff to make soft cheese because husband has always wanted to…

    I am struggling to find the balance between 1) completing what we’ve started before gathering the supplies for “the next thing” so that there are not half-finished (or completely unstarted) projects scattered everywhere, and 2) buying up the things that we may want to have to use in the future, even if we haven’t the time now, in case they’re unavailable later.

    Got my teeth cleaned, scheduled husband’s cleaning, and we both have had our flu shots. Still need to schedule the kids’ physicals.

    Got the pool water tested and picked up a 50# sack of baking soda. It’s very slightly more expensive than the baking boxes from the discount store, but I enjoy having fingertips so I’m not opening fifty lil cardboard boxes. The pool is our emergency water supply. I want to keep it in good shape even when we’re not swimming so that our Berkey doesn’t have to work harder than it needs to.

    Am told we have a Home Depot order to pick up – pole saw, new cabinet for the chemicals outside, who knows what else. I’m kinda scared to look, haha. Requested to take physical delivery of the silver we’ve been purchasing for the past several months.

    Had an appt with financial advisor – mostly talked about prepping, LOL. He told us about his adventures in canning and I told him about the dehydrators, which he will look into. I have the models I have because they were given to me used, but I passed along Excalibur recommendation that has been made here by Ani and others.

    I didn’t stockpile Ball jars before because I never planned to can, but now I have been thinking it would be nice to have at least a few more around for when we get the vacuum sealer’s jar attachment….tooooo late! Y’all are right – they’re unobtanium. I can get a single pint jar at the craft store for TWO dollars. Haha, nope.

    Husband’s turn to work on the bathroom remodel that won’t quit. He’s taking down the wall that I struggled to put up – apparently that was temporary – and there’s tile to be laid (last people had TWO layers, naturally) and I am hearing bad words from in there and I suspect we’ll have a parade of small people brushing their teeth in my bathroom for awhile…….

    1. Bear, I resemble your remarks about bags and boxes stacked every where!!! I also prefer to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it. Be patient, I am slowly clearing out the bags and making so head way, so it will be a huge accomplishment when it’s done.

      Regarding baking soda, I get 15 pd bags at the warehouse store cheaper than a 50# bucket; plus they are easier to handle on a daily basis. However, they take more room to store.

    2. I hear you Bear,

      I know the situation and feeling very well. 😉

      Bringing home many boxes and bags and having them stacked everywhere around the house until being able to organize it or preserve it, has been a regular occurrence in our home for the past ten years. Many of our runs to the Post office has also resembled Christmas on many of an occasion. There have been many times when we’ve wondered if we get/fit another item into our refrigerator, freezer, house, barn, or sheds.

      I praise the Lord God for the foreknowledge, understanding and financial provision to be able to prepare before calamity hits.

      We pray that our home would be a sanctuary in the storm for whomever the Lord God sends to us.

      1. Avalanche Lily…
        All good prayers are important, and this one may be especially so!

        From your post: “We pray that our home would be a sanctuary in the storm for whomever the Lord God sends to us.”

        We share in this prayer also, and are constantly at work to make provisions for those God would send to us in a time of crisis. Imagine a world in which everyone made provisions for themselves, and for others too. What a powerful and positive influence on our culture this would be.

      2. Ladies, earlier today my own Lady was complaining about some of the boxes and other items we have accumulated over the last couple of weeks as we ramped up our preparations. I pointed out your comments, and remarked, “See, it’s not just us!”. Fortunately, over the last 25+ years, she’s become used to my sense of humor…and I’m sure the bump on the back of my head will go down after a day or so.

        1. Oh dear! 😉

          I spent a few minutes this weekend looking at some videos of Prepper pantries. We actually have quite a small house and it’s not as “nice”, organized with shelves, as those Prepper videos people are seeing on YouTube. But we definitely have more stored than them in buckets, stored everywhere, buckets upon buckets upon buckets, from what I am seeing. They appear to buy tons of tinned foods, sodas and other junk that I would never buy or eat.

          The only store-bought canned food that we have at this point is tuna, fruit juices, coconut milk, almond butter, and some condiments. We buy dried foods: beans, rice, peanuts, oatmeal, quinoa, cornmeal, flour, sugar, etc., also buckets of vinegar, Olive oil, molasses, etc, and can our own fruits and veggies and meat that we grow or buy. We make a lot of our own items like peanut butter, mayonnaise, ketchup, relish, etc.

          Most of those store-bought canned foods have so many preservatives, sugars, salts and poisons in them, that they would kill me, if I ate them. I try to make most of our food from scratch or from what I have canned, frozen, or dehydrated.

          Anyhow, I thought that I would just clarify our state of Prepper-being in comparison with those super organized, shelved in the basements, super large pantries, YouTube, Preppers! 😉



          1. Ms. Lily, I tend to question how prepared most of those YouTube folks are anyway. I’m guessing they tend to show their successes, rather than failures, and they focus more on “hacks” rather than actual skills, since those tend to generate more views, which generate more income, etc. it kind of reminds me of “Homestead Rescue “, which we enjoy for entertainment value, with some educational benefit, but not as a primary source of homesteading information. Granted, I’m of a rather suspicious mindset, so maybe I’m being overly skeptical.

            I find the information here, and on a select few other sites, to be much more valuable. It’s more practical, articles and comments tend to include the whole story…warts and all…and in general the community seems more authentic.

            And on that note, I have a chicken coop to help clean out. Can’t get more practical or authentic than that.

    3. Hi Bear. Be careful with the pool water. I too have one, but would not use the water for drinking or cooking. I would flush and bathe with it. I mean we do swim in it, right? Not sure of your setup or intentions, but I have heard that you can’t filter out the chemicals that are used in them. This is why I wouldn’t take the chance of drinking or cooking with it. Please someone out there with more brain cells then me chime in if I’m wrong. I don’t want to be passing along bad info.

      PS: I checked a thing off of my bucket list this morning. I went inside my bank for the first time wearing a mask! Never thought I would be able to do that and get away with it. HA!

    4. So, Animal House and Avalanche Lily, what you are telling me is that this current chaos really IS what a “real prepper’s” house REALLY does look like! And all those super-organized folks who make instructional videos or post vlogs probably have a bunch of stuff shoved away just off of camera… Thanks to both of you for the encouragement. 😀 You’re right – tons of food to put away is a blessing, just like dirty dishes are a blessing ’cause they mean I’ve fed my family well.

      Other preps I forgot to mention earlier: ordered and received backup eyeglasses, ordered and received new undies and socks for Eldest (always a challenge to figure out what will actually work with his compression orthoses and ankle-foot orthotics), and also the set of kids’ encyclopedias were delivered! Firstborn immediately vanished for a couple of days, lol. He said he has read every entry–except for what he thought he already knew. We gotta keep discussing the difference between knowledge and wisdom…….

      1. My house is currently filled with boxes and trays of tomatoes in various stages of ripening on every flat surface including the floor, the potatoes in from the garden that need to be sorted and stored in the root cellar, contractor bags of kindling I just got from someone, a wood-splitter, metal cart that needs assembly plus all of the other stuff recently purchased,dried or canned that needs to be stashed someplace other than in the middle of the spare bedroom! Not having closet space, a garage or barn isn’t optimal! When I finally get around to assembling the bed-frame for the spare bedroom I plan on storing what will fit under the bed which should help some with the current chaos. Don’t like clutter but grateful that I have enough to work at storing now!

  14. Avalanche Lily’s question about what we would stock up on if we had two days left was an interesting one! It actually made me think about what we would regret not having accomplished from the list of our family preps if we found ourselves knowing we had only two days remaining take care of whatever could be accomplished in the remaining 48 hours. The focus on my thinking, with this in mind, was on those preps most important to absolute survival — ability to protect the supply of healthy air and water, protections from extreme elements, ability to rebuild after any acute crisis and to sustain ourselves over the long haul going forward. The truth is that this scenario could unfold before us should we be (or when we are) confronted by a solar EMP or, perhaps even more dramatically, the impact and effects of a solar excursion.

  15. For St. Funogas: When I was teaching I had a classroom printer that broke. The district was throwing out all old printers and re-placing them with new printers that only printed about one ream of paper. We didn’t get any more cartridges for the year. Our wonderful custodian knew the teachers preferred the old printers that did enough printing for the entire year. She had been stashing the old ones in her storage room and giving them to teachers when their new ones ran out of ink. She couldn’t borrow parts from those as teachers needed them but used rubber bands to keep mine running. We had to replace them a couple of times over several years but it worked!
    Took another load with trailer and suburban to the new property. My sister came up and we added new shelves to the food storage building. She re-organized it and now we have two empty shelves to store food we have de-hydrated and food we have stored after heat treating for bugs. All is stored in glass jars with the air sucked out. Next trip more food will go up. Moved two pigs to a much larger area. They were in a 16×8 pen that my daughter was having to continually move. They have a cab over camper full of hay for winter shelter now. It would have made a wonderful America’s Funniest Home Videos clip but our just turned 8 year old camera man didn’t push the record button. Four people , two boards, a rope looped around legs and over the back and a bucket of food is not the way to do this. Second and larger pig we put in a small lighter weight pen and walked her the distance to the new area. Still took four people to move the pen but definitely the way to go. Once the third pig is dewormed she will be moved inside the smaller pen also. Daughter modified a large dogaloo by widening the entrance so the large sulcata and leopard tortoise have winter quarters. Last winter they had to be brought into the kitchen each night. The sulfate is almost unliftable. Am making a batch of salsa today to can with tomatoes and tomatillos from the garden. Also canning organic chicken bone broth. Drying basil , thyme and lemon verbena.

  16. This week I got a few different things taken care of. First, I processed some of our roosters and rabbits. I actually processed 5 of the ones from our house, and worked with 3 friends who had a combined total of 10, so we did 15 altogether. I found out that my home built plucker works ok, but spins too fast, so I need to change pulleys, or get a slower engine (I run it from a 1947 briggs and stratton N) The friends didn’t want the hearts, feet, or gizzards, so I did get those.
    I didn’t have time to can the rabbits or roosters, or to make stock from the feet, so they all went into the freezer until I can have time to can everything. I did manage to get the gizzards and hearts pickled one evening.
    I also managed to spend some time repairing a rucksack and start getting it ready for a scout class that is coming up, and I repacked my “get home bag” to take care of a few deficiencies.
    It wasn’t as productive of a week as I would’ve liked, but that’s how it sometimes goes.

  17. 2 days left. I have a list of tools I want to buy even though I have family who has many of those tools I could borrow in a pinch. But, even then, if I had 2 days? Man, I’d just stop spinning and pray on my knees or on my face even. Because no matter how much we prep, it’s not possible to prep for every possibility because we can’t control anything. I think it’s wise to “be prepared” and not have your head stuck in the sand pretending things are fine. But, it’s also “faithless” to not rely on God the Father. Not preaching at anyone, ever. I am humbled and hope to remain so. For me, I just know that no matter what I do or don’t do, God is truly in charge. When I get ultra stressed about “being prepared”, I just stop and pray, then try to sing or do something that is calming and blessed. Part of training my mind to be calm.

    On the prepping front, I bought a couple dozen family sized dehydrated soup packages from Walmart – something I never thought I’d ever put in my mouth, but I figured as a “just add water” backup to my backups, extra canned dog food, extra this and that from Walmart and Costco. I got a 6 pack of king sized white flat sheets from Amazon – comes in a pack at a very reasonable price. I thought to use them for quilt backings, but also, sheets make all kinds of great things like tourniquets, bandages, or just extra bedding when the family shows up. I had previously purchased lots of extra towel sets. I go with white because you can bleach the heck out of it. Mostly though, everything from summer cleaned up, put away, windows washed, firewood stacked neatly and staged for the wood burning stove. Every time I went to town, I grabbed gallons of water – I had been putting that off. Picked up an Azure Standard order today. I crossed off the last thing on my To Do list before winter.

    Our weather has changed and winter is upon us. It’s raining cats and dogs and quite chilly. It may turn to snow this weekend, but we’ll see. I’m enjoying the little fire and feeling prepped. Blessings to all of you wonderful people!!

  18. Love the kitten stories AL. We have an ~ 8 year old cat who mostly spends his time sleeping in the sun. Once in a while he gets really rowdy and is fun to watch him play.
    As for prepping, straightened the pantry and big freezer, made a trip to the local warehouse club to stock up. Prepped the house and yard and vehicle for winter.
    48 hours for last minute preps? A trip to the store to top off frequently used items and perishables, full gas tank/cans and check,top off,increase water stores. After that a lot depends on what I was expecting. If blm/antifa riots were heading into my rural town, increasing house security and loading all defensive weapons and kept at handy locations with reloads. Other scenarios might require different preps.

  19. Hey everyone,

    Surgery has been rescheduled to October 26th!! Bahhhh, I’m so frustrated! It’s all because insurance company decided to approve everything the day AFTER I was to have it done. (Of course, right? This is typical). So I was busy having a major panic attack the day before surgery only to have the doctor call & say they need to reschedule because of that pesky insurance issue..seriously?!

    It’s okay though, it gave me more time to get stuff ready.

    As for the 48 hours question Lily posed, I would Probably just go and drag mom and dad (probably kicking and screaming) over to my house along with my dads weapons, papers and anything else of value I could get on our trailer and bring them home with me.

    The weather has been fantastic here so hubby decided to get the outside of the house washed (30 seconds outdoor cleaner is THE BEST )!!! Just spray it on, wait a bit and hose it off. Spectacular!! Now we don’t feel like goofs having the outside of the house look shabby as the across the street neighbors decided to get new siding last week and it made our house look gross!!

    I’m thinking of you all and hope you all have a Rockin great day!!

    1. Oh RKRGRL68, I’m so sorry. BTDT. Phooey on insurance red tape. May their chair legs be very slightly uneven, may their shoes squeak unpredictably, may their phone chargers and USB drives never ever fit the first try, and may their showers be always juuuust a little too hot or cold. 😉

      Hang in there – we’ll keep praying for you!

  20. Regarding Avalanche Lily’s million dollar question:

    If turning the calendar back a few months were an option I would do that, but that’s “cheating” so I can’t do that. If time travel were an option I would do that, but since I’m not that scientifically advanced I can not turn back time. So I would probably grab my Bible and reread Psalm 23 and Psalm 91 and perhaps Matthew 24 then grab my chainsaw and a few tools and head for the woods and cut firewood like a mad beaver. I would probably be thinking all the while that I should have ordered some more garden seeds while I had a chance to. By the way, another seed company that I planned on getting some rare seeds from is shut down because of Covid-19 and won’t be back online for business until December. That makes at least three seed companies that I wanted to get seed from and can’t because of various circumstances. Two of them have been closed for about a year or so and are small seed companies so most people will not even notice their demise. They had some unique veggies that were not available elsewhere. There are political reasons behind this. Unobtanium maximum. (Thanks to Chris in Arkansas for the term which I’ve slightly customized) Now would be a good time to introduce my boss to SurvivalBlog and then perhaps give him a hint that getting some extra supplies would be a good idea. (I could also use some back pay as well that he has not paid me for.) He is NOT a prepper, but he is slowly waking up so he will probably one day become a “day too late prepper”. He is very religious, but having knowledge and using knowledge are two different things. Joseph in the Old Testament saved up for a famine. We are faced with a coming famine which goes directly back to Avalanche Lily’s question.

    Some realistic goals for myself would be:
    Make an underground root cellar with natural wind powered ventilation. No electricity. Totally off grid. It would have to be cool and moist enough to store things like carrots and beets that are much harder to store than potatoes.

    Make a custom wood stove that used wood “chips” (similar to pellets) for heat and could also heat hot water and would have a baking oven compartment on top for making home-made bread etc. I’ve had this idea in the back of my head for a number of decades and need to make it become real life.

    Build a greenhouse. I’ve wanted one for a very long time and have worked at two in the past. One was for a private enterprise and the other was for the University of Minnesota in horticultural research with potatoes. I just ran across a video by Jerry Wernick who lives in Montana that has and interesting greenhouse design at the following link:
    I must admit that it is rather clever how he made a “roll up” top to serve as a winter insulator with snow on top and then when rolled off the top would let sunlight in during the summer growing season. He actually has at least three different greenhouses all different and for slightly different purposes.

    There are some other various smaller projects like making a solar oven, windmill water pump for the garden, a giant version of a mouse trap to catch skunks and other varmints that get into the garden, cold frame etc. that could be completed – if I could only turn back the clock!

    There is an old saying that “Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana” 😉

  21. Another busy work week, which limited how much work I was able to accomplish around the farm, particularly with the days becoming shorter. We did get a gallon of muscadine wine racked, and 6 pints of muscadine jelly canned. A pole saw we’d ordered finally came in after about 3 months, so we were able to take down some limbs and cut them up to season for firewood. We also collected, split, and stacked some firewood from trees we’d cut down over the summer. We also continued to build our stocks, anticipating disruption, including shortages, around the election. This week we concentrated on food and supplies for the chickens and dogs.
    In addition, now that I’m on the mend from some health issues, I was able to start working out again this week. I’m starting slow, focusing on building endurance rather than power, but should be able to build back to normal levels in a month or so.
    Stay alert, and stay safe folks. The left seems to be becoming more desperate, which only makes them more dangerous.

  22. “If you knew that you had only two more days to do your last-minute preps, what would you still need to do?”

    Preparing for what– Childbirth? Death? Bugging out? Bugging in? Power outage? The Golden Horde? Forest fire? A flood? A trucking strike?

    Until we identify the threat effectively, we can work on general, routine things, like getting the potatoes dug and the firewood in the shed, and keeping the fuel tank above half full. But we need special information to guide special preps. The trick is to get that info before everyone else is doing the same thing, and the highways are clogged, the store shelves bare, and the fuel tanks empty.

    1. “Preparing for what– Childbirth? Death? Bugging out? Bugging in? Power outage? The Golden Horde? Forest fire? A flood? A trucking strike?”

      That was my thought too! 48 hours til WHAT? A hurricane – bring in any potential projectiles, test the generator, eat all the stuff out of the fridges, and lock down the shutters at the last minute. Forest fire – get the bleep out of Dodge! Childbirth – why, scrub grout with toothbrushes, organize everyone’s sock drawers, color code my tools, and pressure wash the driveway, of course! 😉 (and any other ridiculous thing that the nesting hormones INSIST must be done, now now NOW)

      1. Exactly! Do you have 48 hours to tuck yourself in or is an evacuation necessary? How to invest that 48 hours depends greatly on “what” is coming!

        I have been imagining what kinds of crisis events would give us the 48 hour lead time… Brainstorming this would help break down different scenarios. If I had 72 hours… If I had 48 hours… If I had 24 hours… If there were no warning whatsoever!

        There are psychological exercises surrounding loss (including death) that work on these kinds of timelines, and relate to prioritization of what’s truly important (and what is not). In many ways, these exercises are similar to those that flow from the question Avalanche Lily was asking.

  23. This week was my daughter’s volleyball tournament so our time was limited. I did cut, split, and stack some firewood. My wife planted some herbs in the new greenhouse. I also got some cookbooks with recipes for “meals in a jar” as I have been wanting to can some meats, but didn’t know how.

    For the 2-day question, if the event was publicly known I may try to get some more chicken feed, but that would be the limit to my shopping. The grocery stores around here emptied in 1 day when the COVID lockdowns started in March. Getting a few more things from the store would not be worth the risk. I probably would try to get more firewood cut.

  24. Couldn’t stop thinking about the 48 hour question. I thought about the list of 3 rifles that need scopes, the canning jars that I wanted that you can’t find right now. And that I need more winter socks. Then I thought about the 3 freezers that are full, the numerous cases of canned goods, the multiple gallons of fuel we have on hand. The fact that our vehicles are in top shape, we have more firearms and lead than some gun stores. The list of ready preps goes on and on and I am thankful to our youngest son who told us we needed to put together a 72 hour bag which we asked what that was. The Survival blog community and most important to almighty God for giving us hope in a very fallen world. So this next week I’m going to finish rebuilding the fence around our property. Maybe even get those scopes ordered. Start each day in prayer, be and do all you can and thank God at the days end.

  25. Funny you should ask, Lilly. I actually keep a list online and in my phone and in the cloud of what I would buy if I knew we had 24 or 48 hours’ notice before a TEOTWAWKI situation struck. We added a few things to the list after COVID hit.

    These days, the first step would be to pack up clothes, food and gear and head off to our new house, which is our preferred survival location. We’d call family and prepper friends and suggest they join us. Sure, they have plans to do so, but I think they would debate among themselves and we’d be lucky if half of them showed up. The remainder would wait too long or decide to go it on their own. We’d also give our closest neighbor a heads up in case they needed to make a last minute shopping run, and I’d call my firewood guy and see if he could delivery another cord of wood on short notice.

    The list mostly focuses on food that could be obtained at Sam’s Club, Costco, or any grocery store and is broken into parts so we can divide it between people. If this is the type of emergency that everyone can see coming, we might need to go to different stores and supplies might be limited.

    First on the list is large quantities of fresh foods that can be stored without refrigeration but are not on hand in excessive quantities because they have limited storage lives, like eggs, onions, potatoes, cheese, summer sausage, country ham, squash, cabbage, apples, etc. Second is refrigerated and frozen food, which we would only get if we expected a situation where the power would stay on, like we saw with COVID-19. This includes a variety of meats including roasts that can feed a crowd, then items like butter, mayonnaise, salad dressings, and vegetables that will require refrigeration.

    Third is items that have a good shelf life, like dried fruits, bags of nuts, nut butters, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, baking mixes, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, vegetable oil, protein bars and meal replacement bars, candy, coffee, yeast, spaghetti sauce (we have far more pasta than sauce in storage), a few bottles of wine, and canned foods, including meats, fruits, vegetables, tomato products, chilies and soups. We have all of these items in our prepper pantry, but we can always use more.

    The last step would be to fill the gas tanks in the closest town and maybe get takeout because we’d be eating our own cooking for a good long time.

  26. This week saw me back on the streets of one county seat- our Legislative district covers most of 3 counties- campaigning again.

    This week I knocked on over 500 doors, fortunately with some help on two days. About 40 percent seem to be socialist. The residents, not my helpers. Glad that only 10 percent of the doors have furious residents answering them.

    Did one fruitless fundraiser, paid for $10,000 in radio ads, did one more debate with the incumbent-only three left to go, and on Saturday was in a candidate parade. I collapsed at 8pm in bed.

    The incumbent stated back in debate number 2 that he is against the B&O taxes all businesses must pay now. That makes it convenient for me to refer folks to the state voters guide.

    On page 14 it lists the four newest taxes, offering us a chance to repeal them. On page 18 it lists the legislators who voted for them. Yes of course I bring that point forward.

    When I can, I’m trapping voles from our orchard but I know they are not practicing proper birth control so they stay ahead of me. It is a good year for voles.

    The firewood guy dumped off three spilt cords which I just had to tarp over for now. So that makes 6 cords in our reserves. Whew. Hoping a few voles were slower than normal but they probably got away.

    Gonna be a cool,, wet and windy winter here. In LA Nina we get wet, heavy snows which make roads greasy to drive on, with ice being just a secondary issue. Lots of woolley caterpillars again this fall.

    I carried my trimming pole on the canvassing route and clipped off more wild elderberries on my way home yesterday and need to get them dehydrated and jarred.

    Suspicious Observer is an intriguing youtube series. Migrating poles, solar excursions, changing climate, and more. Ben Davidson impresses me. That, and Active Self Protection are two of my regulars.

    Two days left? Love that question but I am fighting to make it all the way to January…. when I hope the ballot counting will be somewhat resolved .

    I still see quart canning jars sets at a few farm stores. Where I, instead, am seeking vole traps.

    Is it OK to keep an opened 50 pound sack of flour in my bedroom closet within 4 feet of a gun cabinet and spare Mallory units? Asking for a friend.

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