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:
We’ve had a very busy week at the Rawles Ranch. I did some more woodcutting and slash hauling. We also took a full day at mid-week to do some cattle hauling. Thankfully there was no obstinate livestock rodeo drama. No muss, no fuss.
I also continued my earthwork project.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
It has been very hot here in our part of the American Redoubt. Thankfully this past week we had a small thundershower that drenched everything very nicely, at least for a day. I like small thunderstorms with no to little lightening and lots of rain, because we don’t want them starting forest fires.
Our guests departed this week. Before they left I took them site seeing and berry picking high up in our surrounding mountains. We picked about three cups worth of Thimbleberries, some Huckleberries and over a gallon’s worth of Elderberry. I have made jam with the Thimbles and the guests took the Hucks with them. I still have to process the Elderberries and freeze them. I will make syrup with them at a later date.
In the garden and greenhouse, I have been harvesting seeds from the Kale I planted in the greenhouse last fall, and from volunteer Kale in the garden. I’m cutting the flowered seed fronds and put them loosely into open used grain sacks and put them in a safe dry area to finish drying. Later, when they are dried, I’ll beat them until they drop their seeds into the grain sack, then bag them up for next summer. There are so many seeds that I’ll have a great supply for both plants and sprouting. It is very important to let a portion of your non-hybrid “greens” go to seed for subsequent years.
Also, the bed from where the kale was located will be turned over and more manure brought in and I’ll plant more seeds for the fall garden during this coming week.
I have harvested two small rows of yellow onions, and plan to harvest a few more rows and turn that area into some winter beds with hoops. I will develop the plan and tell you more about it later.
May you all have a very blessed and productive week
Many Blessings to All, – Jim Rawles and Avalanche Lily, Rawles
The Latimers will be working on some garden modifications as well as beginning our peach harvest this week. The peaches have been covered and tied up numerous times to protect them from late freezes, floods, wind, and hail. In spite of all of this, it looks like we should have a decent harvest. Just today, we had our first delicious peach off of the tree. There were only a few at peak ripeness today but within the week we anticipate bushels. Also, our experiment with red plastic under our tomatoes has been unquestionably a failure. The tomatoes grown outside the plastic are much healthier, larger, and producing more tomatoes than those in the plastic. We find that the plastic is too thin to block sunlight or prevent weeds from growing underneath it and the holes we made to transplant the tomatoes are not large enough to allow us to adequately fertilize the plants and their roots. Some of the plants in the plastic have died and been replaced with plants from the original germination pots. Now those replacements are relatively small and sickly in comparison. We can only speculate that it may be because of our high desert heat and light intensity that the tomatoes have done poorly in the red plastic, but we will be removing all of the red plastic, weeding around all of the tomato plants, and fertilizing them this week. It’s our hope that the tomato plants will recover and be able to thrive once they have a weed-free, fertilized area within which to grow.
Drip System Woes
We also discovered an issue with the drip system. Our well pumps a bit of sand and since the drip system can’t handle any sand in it, there are numerous filters. Coming right off the main supply line, the feeds to the various garden areas have a fine filter. This filter typically plugs up once or twice during the year and is easy to clean out. You just shut the water pressure off, remove the cleanout cover and turn the water on. They self flush. However, after the water passes through the electric valves (for the timer), each feed then has another screen filter where the feed hose attaches directly to the drip system. This filter has been plugging up nearly every other day. To clean this filter, the connection has to be broken, the screen removed and flushed and then everything put back together again. It shouldn’t be catching stuff. It’s just there as a “just-in-case” sort of thing.
It appears that the black rubber hose between the valve and the filter has something growing in it. It looks like a grey colored slime of some sorts. When I discovered this, I broke the connections apart and turned the water full on, flushing the hoses out. Full water pressure will push about 25 gallons per minute and is quite forceful when coming from a 5/8 inch hose. Hopefully that took care of it, but I’ve not seen this sort of thing before. If it continues, I’ll have to remove the hoses and flush them with bleach water to kill whatever is growing there.
o o o
As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.