Editors’ Prepping Progress

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. Steadily, we work on meeting our prepping goals. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities. They also often share their planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, property improvements, and food storage. This is something akin to our Retreat Owner Profiles, but written incrementally and in detail, throughout the year. We always welcome you to share your own successes and wisdom in the Comments. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

JWR

Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
The snow finally receded to point that I was able to get into the woods here at the Rawles Ranch and start cutting firewood. With the heavy snow this winter there were so many downed trees that I won’t even have to cut any of the remaining dead standing trees.

We also re-positioned a couple of our cedar plank raised beds. And then it started to rain, and rain, and rain, three days of it, thusfar. And there is more rain predicted until Tuesday. I’ve heard that on the east side of the Great Divide, the precipitation will be in the form of snow.  There could be 2+ feet of Spring Snow in parts of the Midwest and and the northeast. Welcome to the Grand Solar Minimum, folks! Call Al Gore, because we’ll need all the Global Warming we can get!

Avalanche Lily Reports: Earlier this week I did some roto-tilling in the garden in anticipation of planting some store-bought onion sets and my own indoor-sprouted broccoli seedlings. We will also be planting the seed potatoes that we saved from last year. The shady part of our garden plot still has patches of snow 3-to-8 inches deep. I got a kick out of plowing the edge of this snow under as I was making the turns. Take that, you snow! We’re going to beat you yet!

Please continue to post comments about your own preps.

Thanks, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles

HJL

This week at the Latimer Homestead, we will continue to focus on putting in more of the garden, including laying more water lines, plastic, and seeds along with organic pest control and weeding work. We are eager to see the garden growth that will inevitably arrive within the weeks ahead, as we put in the effort that is required and trust the LORD to provide the sun, nourishment, air, and pollination.

Of course, this being Spring, the fun has begun. It’s been warm enough the last week that the fruit trees have blossomed. The sight is quite incredible and is one of the reasons that Springtime is one of my favorite times. But around midnight last night, I noticed that the air was feeling kind of nippy and decided to check the forecast. Sure enough, the weather channel predicted a freeze. The family was rousted out of bed and the tarps were pulled from the shelves as we rushed to cover those precious blossoms.

My first thought as I approached the first tree was that this is the last year we will be able to tarp the trees like this. They have grown tremendously and we’ll have to come up with something else next year. For now, the blossoms are safe and we are looking forward to the fall harvest of ripe luscious fruit!

o o o

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




27 Comments

  1. We had an unforeseen freeze as well, 22f, only things blooming were the almond trees which really don’t belong in the northeast but they seemed to do ok, they’ve already survived a few nor’easters this spring, they’re in buckets I keep in the garage over winter. Didn’t know about the freeze until too late but I will keep the tarp idea in mind! Thanks!

  2. Hello to all,
    I have my seeds planted in a small greenhouse and am anticipating the planting time after frost. I have a 16’x32′ area to plant my garden. There is a lot of area in my yard but it stays wet for a number of days after a rain. So I will plant those things that are prolific in producing. There is not room for a great variety so I’ll barter my surplus for my lack.
    Along the North side of the yard I have 80′ of blackberries that produce well and my garlic in 2 16′ rows is doing well from last fall’s planting.
    Because of the wetness of most of the yard I get to plant ‘Gutter Gardens’ for shallow growing crops. Plenty of radishes, lettuce and spinach.
    I have purchased a few ricks of firewood to season for next winter. (I heat with Natural Gas)
    I’m lining up some help to build my 8’x16′ rabbit hutch and have all of the materials on hand. This will be a 1st for me with rabbits so I’m sure that there will be a lot to learn. I’m hoping that the rabbits are fast learners and good teachers….

    1. I thought of doing a few rabbits. Great bang for the buck. Have done turkeys last year. They can break your back when cleaning if you let them get to heavy. Will look over the summer to see if you post anything about your rabbits. Should be interesting.

      1. ” A big bang for the buck” Too funny. I do indeed to have an on going party for them all!
        I think that I may need a couple more cages. rabbits are quiet and easy to maintain.
        A smoke house is next on the list…. a little drink and a smoke….

  3. We have had typical Spring weather. Freeze warnings and then temps into the low 80’s yesterday. Expect temps to drop to the thirties in a couple of days. My husband finished enclosing one of the barn stalls with hardware cloth. We lost a number of newly hatched chicks last year to rats. We hope this improvement will be safe for our 13 Icelandic chicks. I’m going to keep them in the house until after the cold spell then add them to the rest of the flock.

    One of the banes of the garden, is the perimeter fence that gets over grown with thorns and honeysuckle from the other side. I tackled the job of cutting and chopping that mess down. It was a very difficult and precarious job as that side has a deep ditch where the road was cut through. This makes our fenced side higher and amounts to a nice security feature but hard to climb up to get rid of the briars and vines. Only a small section left. Only a spider bite and a few thorn wounds.

    My husband placed the traps for the wood boring bees that are already active.

    I moved electric fencing so steers and sheep would have fresh grazing. Soon it will be time to wean the lambs.

      1. The traps aren’t 100% effective but do manage to capture quite a few bees every year. You can search online on how to make your own but we purchased ours from our local feed store. They are made locally and this would be a good home business for someone with just a small amount of woodworking expertise. We don’t use pesticides on our place with the exception of a product sprayed once a year on our eaves for control of these very destructive pests. It’s called Demon. I hate using it and we are very careful when applying it because we have free roaming chickens.

  4. Far cooler than “normal”. Fruit trees are barely budding. No sign of bears yet. Have seedlings going in the greenhouse. Just a thought, we have planted seed potatoes from the previous year’s crop in the past. I have found they gradually do not do well in that they tend to “run out” of producing nice sized or numbers of spuds. We plant new “seed” each year and save enough for the next year if that need should arrive. I strongly recommend using new seed. A good rule of thumb, if the skies are clear, evening temperature 50 degrees or less there will be a frost by the following morning. Have frost covers ready. This may prove to be a tough year for gardeners in the Intermountain region. Warm weather crops like squash, cucumbers, beans, tomatoes, etc. if planted outside. If you have the space, keep them in the greenhouse but watch out for pests like aphids, white flies and spider mites.

  5. Well, we still have a foot of snow on the ground here. Tomorrow, the prediction is 11 – 17 inches more. We have not yet seen a day where the temperature reached 50°F. Our half mile driveway is still a quagmire when the temp gets above 35.

    With the exception of the bell peppers, all of our seedlings have now been transplanted to bigger pots. They include broccoli, tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, and cayennes. I was very impressed last year with some wild blackberries I had found. I pruned them, and the number and size of the berries was incredible compared to some I left alone for comparison.

    I cut down a few maples and beeches for next year’s firewood this past week. A dual purpose for that was to make room for a sunny spot for fruit trees and hazelnut bushes.

    Recent local gun shows have shown a noticeable uptick in attendance and the number of tables. I wonder what is causing that? (he said innocently)

  6. This is the end of our 5th winter in north Central Idaho between kamiah and grangeville, 3000 ft elevation. We came from s.e. of Portland Oregon, with an elevation of 400 ft. So there has been a year round learning curve. But onto preps, we bought some 10 year old blueberry plants this year so hopefully the transplant holds and with the addition of acidification to the soil, a crop this year! Also starting a container garden, slow start to the full garden. I had to work 2 more years before early retirement, and the 70 mile one way drive to lewiston, 10 hr days 6 days a week plus drive time of 3 hrs, just didn’t leave much time for much intensive projects. Could of stayed those years in oregon, but we wanted to get out and onto our property and start getting the feel of things. We both grew up on large farms, but it’s different. It’s been tough sometimes, but worth every minute of it. To everyone considering the move to your retreat, jump in and do it. We’re having the time of our lives! Thanks JWR , HJL and Pat Cascio for all you do.

  7. We Continue to improve our BOl so that we can move there permanently next summer. Lots of building projects will be starting with the first being a new Pole barn and the second being a 300′ addition onto house at BOL complete with basement. Once pole barn is done we must move equipment and some supplies to it making room in BOL home. Picked up 50 lbs of salt and 20 lbs of beans to add to preps. Dusted up on some Radiation protection knowledge given the international situation. Specifically the 7-10 rule for fallout. Also coordinated with friend and fellow Prepper offering our BOL in case things went really bad. Much easier and refreshing to invite people that have skills and preps to BOL. Plan on taking more equipment and supplies to BOL this weekend.

  8. Location sure does make a difference. Although I couldn’t get much of the corn to germinate, we’ve got beans and squash sprouting in the garden. Sick much of last week, but today started using up the old store of gas to take in fresh to be ready for bad weather this summer. We have some fuel diversity, and an enormous amount of solar power, so this is icing on the cake. Still teaching ham radio in our area every chance possible. Upgraded carry pistol to a Glock. Retirement savings are invested so as to weather whatever the Lord allows. Rest is sort in his hands! Going to try some sweet potatoes this summer, need to learn something that grows better in the summer.

  9. Still keeping the additional fruit trees in the greenhouse and occasionally running the heaters to keep it warm enough as various fronts blow through. They are all covered with blossoms and I don’t want to lose them even if the trees themselves can tough it out.

    Eventually it will be time to plant but the lumber yards stock their trees very early so you have to buy before they are really ready to plant. if you wait until it’s warm enough to plant, you have nothing to buy.

    Same for most everything else they sell. Strawberries, blueberries, grape vines, onion sets– all had to be bought early and allowed to take up space inside the house until the time is really here (like mid-May).

  10. I’m visiting my daughter for her sorority’s Mom’s weekend (last one as she graduates…and she has a job lined up!) in Ohio and it is really warm here. We still have snow at camp and that stymies what we can prepare. The place out West is moving along. Back East is not going anywhere until the snow leaves.

    That said, my parents are gifting us the final piece of land that includes a pasture. Such a blessing for our camp.

    Gardens can officially be started and such. A relief. It is always a good idea to not leave your family wondering about what is going to happen. My parents are approaching 80 next year and I am thankful that they are settling everything before they leave.

    I did buy another wok and steamer that can be used with the grill or fire place. Easy cooking and steaming if the electricity goes out.

    1. Hopefully your daughter will find a decent man and stay married for 50 years as our mothers and grandmothers have done. That was before that feminist movement came to town telling girls to go get men’s jobs. Causing such family breakups. Girls in men’s roles and not supporting a stay at home husband with children wrapped up in all that income equality. Just saying. Be careful of the public school teachings.

  11. Up here in the interior arctic we still have snow pack, but the days are growing longer, the sun is higher in the sky and the season we call break up is in full bloom. I am anxious to get started in cutting down the trees that fell over or bent over and broke due to our unusual heavy snow fall this winter, and to cut those trees into firewood for two years down the road.
    I’m going to build a huge 20’X20′ green house for our use, the need to extend our growing season is dire; the question is should I build a Quonset hut type green house, or a type that can shed snow easily and keep it from caving in from heavy snow? I am leaning towards the Quonset type, and even thinking that some form of heating would be worth the cost.
    I am also extending my HF radio antenna as I want to be able to take advantage of the HF frequencies for more CW and digital comms type capabilities. Bears are out now, going to learn beekeeping and raise chickens this year.

  12. Just starting a garden, six raised beds each 3×6 feet and 12 inches deep. Shoveling the dirt into a wheelbarrow, got half of one done today after weeding. Hard work for me alone since the SO is only 12 weeks out of chemo and has no strength in him yet.

  13. Would Christmas lights in the early bloom trees be enough heat? That worked for us on a small scale on a suburban dwarf tree, but at that time we weren’t back home in Oregon yet. We were between Oregon and Mexico where the growing is good but the people can be nuts.

  14. Considering we had 6-8 inches of heaby wet snow just 3 days ago that then turned and melted off over the next 2 days here in Monrana, i gambled and starred planting cold hardy crops and potatoes in the garden. I also started more seeds in trays indoors to expand last years garden. We also has the great fun of banding our male goat kids to turn them into wethers, they don’t care for the process but as I tell my kids this is part of having livestock. I also opened up the bee hives yesterday since it was a sunny 58 degrees to help clean out the dead and feed sugar water and pollen patties. They look good but they need spring flowers that look to be at least another 2 weeks out.

    1. Yes now my garden is still buried in snow, the rest of the yard is a mud pit..gonna take abit for things to dry out..But rain tomorrow… I didn’t get to put out anything until mid june last year. I don’t know when I will be able to this year..
      Teton County MT.

  15. Drove up from our current home in the People’s Republic of Cambridge to the house I convinced hubby we should buy in the area I am referring to as Redoubt Northeast (ME, NH, VT). He does not want to move though. Hoping to convince him eventually. We are in area near where I grew up and near family who are helping us with the place.
    Met chimney sweep who cleaned the two chimneys last week and found previous owner had probably had a fire at some time. He also found baffle on one wood stove broken. He installed chimney liner and new baffle which I had ordered. Learned a lot which I didn’t know about stoves, wood, wood burning (even though I grew up in a house heated only with wood).
    Attended Sustainability Fair for local area and met many local farmers and learned what they produce. Also met several neighbors.
    Started all tomato and pepper seeds and 1000alpine strawberry seeds to use as ground cover. I have gardened all my life so not much learning curve here.
    Attended a talk at the town hall about area wells and drought. Picked up the well test kits town provided. Filled test bottles with our well water and will deliver in afternoon to our town hall. Volunteer will take to state lab for testing. Got online information from state about our well—350 feet into bedrock, water up to 20 feet, flow 15 gal/min.
    Moved some of the fruit I canned last summer to the new house.
    Made first two loaves of sourdough bread from some local wheat. I have been nurturing the starter for three weeks.

  16. Dateline Redoubt Northeast: Still colder than average here with mix/rain forecast for most of next week. Snow slowly retreating expect to be able access woodlot by end of next week. Much work to do cleaning up after a long winter.

  17. Located in the panhandle of Texas. Recording 200 + days of no recorded moisture. Hard to get exited about a garden with no rain. And most days are 20+ MPH winds, and the associated wildfires. We need a break in the weather pattern. Of course that affects other parts of the country. I would move but just to stubborn to do that. We pray for rain, pray for our firefighters, and hope and prepare for what life gives us.

  18. Turned raised beds. Tried something new – based on less than spectacular yields last year, last fall I layered azomite, worm castings, peat moss blocks, chicken manure and straw on top of the soil in my raised beds, then I let the weather do it’s business and when I turned them this week, the results were great! Nice rich loose soil!
    Ordered a rototiller for use in larger beds – getting to hard to turn it all by hand every year and have elbow and wrist surgery coming up in 2 weeks so it needs doing sooner than usual. Planted onion sets and seed potatoes in raised beds. Started zuchinni, yellow squash, bush peas, bush beans, sunflowers, lima beans, cukes (and some flowers) indoors, tomato and peppers are about 8-10″ tall now! Started the annual gas rotation out of the cans and into the cars, that should take about a month to complete. Next step is to repair one section of garden fence and install re-engineered drip irrigation system and put up bean towers and trellises. Busy, busy, busy…

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