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:
This week I was busy in our woodlot. We had heavy snowfall this winter. This resulted in a large number of downed trees. These were most small Tamaracks, and few of other species–mostly firs. (we have a half dozen types of fir on the ranch.) In another week or two I should have all the rounds hauled to our woodshed. Some of the small diameter logs were cut 4.5′ long. That pile still needs to be crosscut to nominal 19″ lengths that will fit our wood stove’s firebox. I like to split everything over 6″ in diameter in advance of stacking it inside the wood shed. Anything under 6″ in diameter gets burned as full rounds.
I also rented some tractor time from my neighbor this week. I had few stumps and one large project saved up that required a back hoe. His larger machine with back hoe handled all of it, quite quickly. As my paternal grandfather was fond of saying: “There is nothing like power tools!”
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week, for me, was all about weeding the gardens. The children and I spent a good twenty hours weeding the main garden and another five hours in the Annex garden. While weeding the main garden, we found that the beets had a very poor germination rate, and I’ll be replanting those and also a carrot bed from which I took seeds from carrot flowers and tried to see if they were viable. They weren’t. I’ll have to pay better attention to when I harvest the carrot seed flowers from a two year old patch of carrots, this growing season.
This coming week, I expect it will take another twenty hours to finish weeding the whole Annex garden. The Annex garden is full of bull thistle, which I pull by hand wearing heavy duty gloves. We refuse to use chemicals. I’m hoping that with dedication and perseverance in weed pulling this year, and next, that we should eradicate most of them.
In the Annex garden, I discovered that we lost about 40% of red potatoes that I planted in the first four rows (this area had not received as much manure when we had spread it last fall. So, after weeding the mounds, we replanted the areas where we didn’t have germination. Oh, also, I suspect we lost them because some of them, I had sliced before planting and had left only one eye on them. Probably it wasn’t enough. We’re always experimenting to see how we can multiply, etc. Obviously, the whole potato is best unless it’s huge with many eyes.
I also weeded the cucumber and pepper bed in the greenhouse.
I also weed-whacked the main garden’s paths and a path through the orchard, and the paths around the Annex garden. A few years back when we established the orchard, we planted grasses and three types of clover as ground cover, and as a potential grazing area, (we’ve now nixed that idea, for the most part, unless, the Equine and Bovine Delinquents grazing, are under strict human supervision while in there. We’ve caught them nibbling the fruit tree’s leave and that behavior will just not do! Naughty!!!). As, I am noticing fewer honey bees around, I decided to not mow the clover since it is going into flower and I wish to help the bees as much as possible. Currently, we have clover nearing two feet in height all around the orchard. Later, when most of the flowering has finished, I’ll weed-whack the whole orchard once again.
I harvested our first strawberries today and our first Yellow Zuchinni! Earlier this week I harvested our first-meal’s- worth of French green beans which were started in the greenhouse bedroom and then moved to the greenhouse. Yay! Yum! We are looking forward to the abundance that is yet to come.
This week, I took five beef soup bones, put them in a very large pot of water with a half of a cup of apple cider vinegar, garlic, green onions, carrots, celery, Himalayan salt, and simmered it for three days for beef broth. At the end of three days, I strained the broth and jarred up six quarts and froze it. With the rest of the broth, meat and carrots, I added sweet potatoes, zuchinni, white beans, diced tomatoes, cumin, oregano, basil and made a hearty soup. It was also yummy!
Blessings, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles
The Latimer’s have their hands full with weed management after rains. This is important, too, as we will begin the first stage of our fencing project now that the land along one side had been cleared and smoothed. I’m always happy to get another tool and the thought of digging that many fence post holes was daunting. I initially considered pounding the posts into the ground, but eventually decided against it. Several neighbors have taken this approach and the fence just doesn’t look well after a couple of years as the posts begin to lean. Instead, we purchased an auger attachment for our tractor. While the purchase price was a bit painful, the fact that a hole can be dug in about 30 seconds sure is nice.
The garden is beginning to produce well and there are some harvests of radishes, beans, herbs, and potatoes coming in.
o o o
As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.