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!


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
Our region had nearly 140% of normal snow pack, last winter.  So now, with the warm spring weather, the Un-named River—that flows through the back end of our ranch–is at flood stage. It is now fully out of its banks and inundating our two back pastures. We now feel, ahem, “over-blessed” with water. The good news is that this regular flooding gives our property a high water table and hence sub-irrigated pastures.  None of our structures have ever been threatened by the annual flooding up until this point. It is more of an inconvenience. The Inland Sea”  certainly looks dramatic. It also fun to do some kayaking on it. The flooding has our cattle and horses more heavily grazing the other pastures, on higher ground.  I’ll be happy when we can move them back onto the pastures nearest the river.

Our #2 Son was back at the ranch this week, organizing his gear to get ready for some more overseas travel. I won’t be surprised if he eventually goes Full Expat.

I did some organizing in JASBORR. Part of this was preliminary packing for a gun show trip at the end of this month. I only rarely operate tables at gun shows, so unlike a lot of other gun show folks, this means that I don’t keep plastic bins packed and ready to go at all times. I always agonize in deciding what to keep and what to sell. I almost always bring copies of my own books. Since I buy those by the case at the “author price” from my publishers, it make sense to sell those regardless of the ups and downs in the gun market. There is a fine line between being well-prepared and full-blown redundancy. I feel comfortable selling the downright redundant items. Since the Trump Era gun market is fairly weak, I’m not in a huge hurry to sell too much. As a “buy low, sell high” adherent, I have to be choosy and pick out gear that I bought in bulk, at bargain prices. Perhaps after the mid-term elections next fall, when The Buying Frenzy returns, I can pull out a wider selection of guns, ammo, magazine, and field gear to sell.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

This week we have had a lot of rain showers which has kept me inside watching world events unfolding. In between showers, I did plant all of my broccoli and cabbage seedlings in the main outside garden.  Hopefully, we’ll be self-sufficient in broccoli, cabbage, spinach this coming year. We are self-sufficient with potatoes, onions and celery, beef, and some years we have also been with chicken, eggs, wax beans, and green beans.  I hope to increase this list a lot in this coming year.  As with many of you, I have been on a gardening learning curve for the past eight years and have slowly built up our soils and expanded our gardens.

I blanched and froze some spinach from the greenhouse. I also planted all of my butternut squash seedlings into huge pots in the greenhouse.  I have to grow butternut in the greenhouse because I’ve never had success in the regular garden. Our summer nights are too cold for them.  I reorganized one of our freezers and cut and froze some Rhubarb.  Older daughter made a rhubarb-strawberry-apple crisp. It was very yummy.

This coming week, my goal is to weed whack the orchard, plant the potatoes in the Annex garden and plant the rest of the garden patches: corn, other squashes, beans, tomatoes, etc.  The weather should be improving by Sunday.

Thanks, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles


I love this time of year. Each year, we plant the seeds in the ground and then we anxiously await the first signs of life, hoping that the miracle of life will extend yet another year from the seeds that we so judiciously gathered last season. As the first signs of life begin to show with the young tender plants peeking up through the rich soil, you might think that that anxiety would lessen, but it doesn’t. Not till we know every plant that has germinated and taken it’s proper place in the garden. Lessons learned from each year are applied once again and the garden responds to having it’s needs tended to.

This year is no exception. New this time, is the plastic mulch. Combined with the drip irrigation, it seems to be working out well. The young plants have no extra effort finding the light through the slits we cut when they were planted, yet the weeds that normally attempt to choke out the vegetables are completely absent and the pill bugs that would normally congregate under the plastic have been held at bay by the natural deterrents we used when the plastic was laid down. There will still be weeding to be done as we did not cover the entire ground with the plastic, but only the planting rows. We will still have to weed between the rows, but that is easily accomplished at this stage with a hoe.

Also gone this year is the raised row that we normally planted the seeds in. These were a holdover from the days of flood watering the garden. When we switched to drip irrigation, for some reason, we just never got rid of them. They were a pain too. As the sun heated up the drip lines, they would expand and fall off the top of the row. Even when staked down, they ended up moving away from where they needed to be. As the plants got older, it didn’t really matter as their roots would follow to where the water was, but many a young plant was lost due to lack of accurate drips putting the water where it needed to be.

This year, without the raised rows, the water line stayed put and it would appear that the only plants we lost were some onions that were delivered in pretty sad shape by Gurney’s. They made good on the order though and the replacements arrived this week.

Also on the horizon is a return to working on the shop. The frantic pace of early gardening is starting to slow down so the focus can be moved back to the shop and the finishing touches on Mrs Latimer’s kitchen. She’ll be excited to have full use of her kitchen again.

o o o

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


  1. You may laugh: we rented two chickens, a coop and everything else needed from Rent the Chicken to begin learning about chickens. So far so good. Birds settled in and we are getting two eggs every day. We will build our own coop and run for next year.
    Set out broccoli, more lettuce, hardening off tomatoes and marigolds.
    Met electric company at NH house to lay down line so tree guys could clear out under it from pole to house. Was happy to find that propane generator kicked in immediately and then turned off when power was restored.
    Stacked more wood.

  2. Ordered a new storage shed built to our standards, no extra charge, but takes 2-3 weeks to build. Finished grading the site and laid down two loads of gravel to keep the snakes and mice at bay. The delivery guy will set it up on concrete blocks and level it as needed. We have three shelving units down at the barn, but I think we will need 3 more. Also have some 55 gal food grade sealable drums which I will use for storing camping and bedding items. Will order large clear plastic totes to put other non-food supplies in. Will need another order of bay leaves to put in the containers and moth balls to scatter around the shelving.

    Put another 30 seedlings in the garden; have another 24 seedlings which need a couple more days before they go in. We are planting squash in containers this year IOT avoid bugs. Last year we burned off the garden and used DE/vinegar to kill off the bugs. This year we are planting hot peppers in last year’s squash area. Planted 20 Red peanuts as an experiment to see how they do. If they grow and harvest well they can be an additional oil source.

    Time to start dousing animals with DE; been putting eucalyptus oil in grape seed carrier on the dogs to ward off early flees. It works really well, but only for a couple of days. Summer haircuts, baths, DE plus neem and eucalyptus powered mix will hopefully give dogs relief from fleas.

    We are back to summer hours since our location has hit 90+ degree temps. Have a great week!

  3. JWR,
    Would love to meet you and possibly get an autographed book. I’m currently enjoying “Patriots” again from audible while I work assembling knives at a high end knife company here in Oregon.
    If you would announce which gunshow you will be at, I’d like to shake your hand.
    If you don’t want to announce it publicly, I’m easy to reach at the email address.

    1. Grew Tennessee Red’s last year, first time for me, was a successful harvest. They grew easily and well, though it was a long season plant. Never did roast them up, have been feeding them to our pet bird, he likes them quite fine au natural!

  4. Garden is all planted out except for the melons, which will go in shortly. Tomatoes are 2 feet high & flowering. We even have a few dime sized tomatoes underway.

    With temps in the 90’s this week, our spring garden is almost done, even with 50% shade cloth over it to control the heat. Cilantro is bolting, lettuce & spinach will get bitter soon. Going to pick it all, clean up & cover that bed.

    We planted a few more fruit trees this week – 2 paw paw trees for a “tropical” fruit. We have a perfect area where they get morning/early afternoon sun but not the brutal afternoon sun. Our two fruit orchards with 40 trees are bursting with fruit and we’ll be super busy come June & July. Fortunately we pruned the trees heavily this winter and all fruit can be hand picked without a ladder or step stool. It’s best to keep them short to prevent possible injury now or when there may be no medical assistance.

    Our three 8 foot strawberry are producing about 10 pounds PER DAY. We are sharing our bounty with family & friends, eating many of them ourselves and freezing the rest for smoothies, etc. Soon our blueberries, blackberries & tayberries will be ready and the harvest will be plentiful. Our tayberries are only one year old. The vines are 10-15 feet long and we have at least 100 large berries per plant. The most amazing producers ever. We are taking some of the rooted runners and planting them in various places around the property. Not tending them, just seeing if they will make it & become a “wild” edible for us.

    After last year’s late hard freeze that literally wiped out 95% of our fruit we feel so blessed this year. And we learned a good lesson that nothing is promised no matter how hard you work & prepare. Mother Nature gives and takes. Store plenty in good times.

  5. The annual battle with the thistle is on. Running the string trimmer a lot trying to cut it down before it goes to seed. Will be an ongoing battle as neighbors aren’t quite as diligent as we are.

  6. This week it finally turned spring … or what we call break up here in the arctic. This year I am going to build a new green house, once I cut up and get all the dead or bent & broken birch trees that the heavy snow & ice we had this last winter cleaned up … 45 in all. That’ll be a lot of firewood for year after next, but cutting and splitting is going to be a summer long chore. As for planting we plan to use large plastic tubs we have been buying and or salvaging from the transfer site for planters. We’l fill them with gravel in the bottom with drain holes, and soil for the plants. The old raised bed garden will become a flower garden and herbs that will grow …

  7. I have planted all of my cold season crops and the early warm days and nights spurred me to stsrt planting some of our warmer season crops like squash. We still have almost 3 weeks u til our official last frost in Montana so it is still to cold for peppers and tomatoes. The warmer weather has also had the bees busy collecting pollen so I spent some tiem assembling more hive boxes to expand to 5 hives this year. The family also decided to move onto our next family farm project and adopted a 17 year old arabia mare. She had training early on to be a saddle horse but from 3 to 10 she was going to be used as a brood mare, but never breed and since she has been a pasture pony. She needed a serious hoof trimming but with that done I’ll be starting building a round pen next weekend to officially start her training. So far, we already have her leading in a halter by my wife, our 14 yr old son, and myself. She has proven to be very eager to please and should work out to be a good horse for the kids. Our farrier actually asked if we planned to keep her becuase her saw the same potential we did.

    1. If the Republicans lose their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, then a raft of anti-gun legislation could be enacted.

  8. Oh I understand that part I guess I am surprised that you must be leaning in the direction that you think that will happen. Nothing I am seeing would indicate that to me . With the economic numbers, job numbers and the several world issues he seems to be impacting and the lack of impact the major news networks seem to be having I think the Blue wave is not likely. I feel as a whole the country has had enough of the past leadership and they will drain the swamp come Nov. some very well known Black people are making some very powerful comments and they seem to have made an impact with both the Black and White poor voters who now realize they have been used by Ds as pawns for years just to keep their votes and all they have gotten is empty promises.

    1. Hoping Henry Wood is right. Agree with many of his observations. Even with that outcome we are far from out of the woods. The whole interest rate and its impact on the government’s ability to service debt thing is still hanging out there. I see Trump’s apparent capitulation on the budget this last go around as his doing anything to get money for defense. Betting he pivots on that on the next go around.

  9. A very busy time of the year for us but so satisfying in that we are better positioned with the garden and pastures. We have had plenty of rain this Spring and hopefully we won’t have a drought like 2 years ago. I have been learning from my past gardening mistakes and feel like this year we may get the bounty that we haven’t had since starting a garden a few years a go.

    Each year the pests, diseases and lack of or over abundance of rain has turned the garden into a messy jungle of weeds. This year I planted further apart in the rows as well as placing rows further apart to be able to get tiller, lawn mover and hoe between the rows and plants. Amazing how quickly weeds can overtake everything. Because of the extra spacing I had to make some decisions on what to plant and what not to plant. A shorter list but hopefully more productive.

    The last two years our fruit trees have had many blossoms then lost everything because of late and hard freezes. I have observed the trees each year to see what works in our particular environment. Late freezes, Japanese Beetles and drought have really set some species of fruit trees apart from others. The winners for our homestead have been persimmons (late leaf and flower prevents freeze damage and they also are immune from pests like Japanese Beetles), figs (same reason and if some leaf damage from cold they grow back quickly), blueberry, mulberry, paw paw (late bud break, but grow very slowly no fruiting yet). Losers apples. Jury is still out on the nanking cherries (one successful season), peaches (some successful trees), plums (squirrels hit the fruiting ones really hard), pears (no fruit yet, need to get a soil sample to see if there are deficiencies that need to be addressed.

    Sold ewe lambs and steers will be going to freezer camp at the end of the month. Then we can work on pasture improvements weeding and over-seeding.

    Lost one baby Icelandic chick by rats in the barn. We have ordered hardware cloth to complete rat proofing the chicken stall. We have managed to trap several rats but those remaining have avoided the traps. We have used peanut butter, cheese and hot dogs but no luck. Next will be bacon, I heard that works well.

    Much to do before the heat and high humidly zaps are ability to work outside after noon.

  10. The snow and rains are finally gone – meaning the yard work can begin. I’m alone here as the rest of the family and dogs gave headed back to the American Redoubt. For the next month I will have a ton of work to do.

    My son moved a lot of Ragusa Rosa for a friend and tucked them in. I’m going to make an edible hedge with them.

    Praying that we have at least 3 more years as that’s how long I have till the final college graduate. Doing our best to get all our ducks in a row!

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