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:

Out in our parts, deer and elk hunting season will soon be opening. But this year I’m actually half-hoping that I don’t get an elk. There just isn’t enough room available in our chest freezers. They are presently stuffed full of beef from our ranch, poultry that we raised and butchered.ourselves, and copious garden produce.  So if I do indeed bag an elk, then it will mostly go to charity.

I was glad to see that our neighbor on one side has begun thinning his woods.  He owns close to 300 acres, and the portion that adjoins our ranch is heavily wooded. By thinning trees, “parking” (trimming off lower limbs), clearing underbrush, and picking up deadfallen trees and limbs to roughly match what I’ve gradually done, he’s made both of our properties less susceptible to wildfires. Thanks, neighbor!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

We had a most Glorious fall week here in the American Redoubt.  Sunny and warm temperatures in the afternoon of the 60s with some frosty nights.

This weather has been very conducive to a full gardening week. In the main garden, I pulled the last of the Zuchinnis that I had been nursing along under the plastic. Too many 29 degree nights in a row did them in.  Too bad, since beginning this past Wednesday night into the next week or so the temps will be in the 60s and no frosty nights.  I should have put a blanket on top of the plastic. I rototilled, again, in two sections of the garden to further mulch in the manure we put on them last week.

I am very excited to report that in one of those sections I planted:  kale and carrot seeds (kale seeds from allowing the kale to go to seed and carrot seeds from the two year old carrot flowers that I collected earlier this fall), garlic, walking onions and potatoes: White, red and purple and fingerling.  I planted these as an experiment to see how well they do over the winter.  The reasoning is that we always have so many volunteers in the summer that I thought: why not be deliberate and plant a few beds in the fall? So, I planted the potatoes down about six inches, mulched them with straw and we will see what happens in the spring?  It was interesting (and novel) feeling to be preparing beds in the fall and planting them.  I really enjoyed it and when finished mentally ran through my mind whether or not I could plant something else.  Another thing I noticed was that it wasn’t so exhausting as in it is the spring, because I am in much better shape at the end of the summer versus at the end of the winter. I was barefoot and the soil was really cold, but it still felt really good, since had been quite a while since the last time I was barefoot in freshly tilled soil.  I love the country life!

In the Greenhouse, the colder temperatures have slowed the growth of the tomatoes, Butternut squash and cucumbers.  I harvested and pulled them.  I still had some onions drying out in the greenhouse.  I got them all cleaned up and brought them into the house.  There was a lot of old pulled vegetation on the floor of the greenhouse, so I spent time picking that up. There were lots of little leaves, onion skins, onion stems, some weeds growing, bean leaves, and dried flowers from squashes, tomatoes, etc.

Every Bean Counts:  There were bean bushes that were drying out, in the greenhouse. I brought them to a cement pad and took some driftwood sticks and began to flail them with the sticks very much like the colonial people did before threshing machines were invented. The kids and I all took turns flailing the beans.  After we finished flailing, we sifted through the chaff picking up every single bean and putting it in a big bowl.  We needed to pick up every bean from out of the chaff one by one, because we seldom have a strong breeze come through our valley, which if we did, I could have thrown the mix into the air and the chaff would blow away with the wind.  It was painstakingly slow work. We collected about four pounds of various kinds of beans:  green, yellow, purple, cranberry, and others.  I will be sorting through them and putting aside each kind for planting next summer.  Some, however,  we will eat.  Up until this point, I had not given dried beans much of a thought, to grow, dry and harvest–until this experience with flailing them and seeing how nice they look.  You know, usually, I had harvested the beans when they were young and tender and froze them.  But since I see how they grow and mature very well here, next summer we’ll definitely put in a very large section of cooking beans. I will say that it took about six hours to flail and sort all of our beans during a three day period of time.  The slow part was picking them up and shelling by hand the ones that didn’t shatter. It is nice knowing that with our heirloom beans we don’t have to depend on commercially grown seed.

The Annex Garden: Oh, yes, I just remembered, we took the advice of one of our readers and brought a bunch of roosters (we need to butcher these boys, sometime soon, but for now, they have a job to do) down into the Annex garden.  There are many reasons why we hadn’t done it sooner. We have had a chicken tractor in the past, but two winters of heavy snow damaged it, and it was too big anyway for just one person to move it around. We are all really busy with our set jobs so it was an interruption to get everybody together to all go out and move the tractor.   We liked the birds to have a fair amount of room to roam in so we didn’t rebuild a smaller one after it was destroyed. The other reasons are predators and not wanting the roosters to eat growing produce. I will never allow them to be in my Main garden–since I have things growing in there year round.

We set up some roost poles for them to have some protection at night. If we lose a couple in the next few weeks, it will be okay, but if we lose a few more than a couple, they’ll have to go back to the coop.  We bring in water and some grain, but their job is to eat whatever seeds, bugs and vegetation they can find.  They’ve been in the Annex Garden for three nights, so far.   Each night just after dark, I walk to the Annex garden to count beaks and to make sure everyone is up off the ground.  In the morning I bring them some grain and water and count beaks again.  As of Friday morning all are still accounted for, so far so good.  The weather pattern is supposed to change by the middle of next week.  I will probably bring them back to the coop, then.

What Else Did We Do?
I put up (froze) four more quart bags of tomatoes sauce and three quarts of diced tomatoes.  There are still a bunch ripening in the hallway. And I harvested the sunflowers and they are drying in the greenhouse. I collected seeds from Summer Crookneck squash to grow next summer. I saved seeds from many of the different kinds of tomatoes that were grown here.

I finally pruned my very large patch of red raspberries and put manure all around the canes.

Oh, did I mention that I am a homeschool Mom, too????  Ummm, yeah!  As I said in an earlier blog post, it’s really difficult to do all things on the ranch well. Some weeks we concentrate on school and other weeks we concentrate on the ranch.  So this week for me and Youngest Daughter, there wasn’t as much book work as other weeks.  We concentrated on Bible, math, literature, foreign language, and piano, and then she helped me with most of the projects listed above. They are an education in themselves, too.  Older Daughter had to do her online school work. We accommodated her by doing a Chemistry lab in the evening all together as a family.  That was a lot of fun! Fire!!! Burning compounds to see what elements may be present.  Also, since she loves to read her history aloud to us, it helps her remember facts and we can discuss the events while she reads, she read to us while we worked outside with the beans and while younger daughter and I were planting the overwintering beds.  We all enjoy listening to her read to us.

Of course all this also includes all of the meals cooked (the kids took more of an active role in this job this week than usual), laundry, and cleaning that takes place every week. A clean, organized home is a happy home.  Well, Mom is happier which of course makes everyone else happier, too.

This has been a very productive and satisfying week.  We are however, very much looking forward to our Sabbath rest this weekend. May you all have a blessed restful weekend and a very productive week.



This week, the Latimer’s will be working on some fencing and general maintenance before the winter weather hits. Cold fall weather has hit quickly. We got much of our weatherizing done on pipes and such last week, but there are a few more small projects that need to take place. In the garden, we also have some final root vegetables to pull out of the garden before we till it under and some seed collection to do. We have a bountiful crop of late carrots and celery to process for storage. If time allows, we might do some juicing too.

o o o

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


  1. Very productive week on the prepper front.
    Went to an auction and picked up a box full of military gun parts. I gave some to a good friend to help him re-build his heirloom 1911. I am having two extra M-1 Carbine bolts put together (might come in handy if I ever have to shoot the steel case SHTF ammo).
    I also got a very small gasoline blow torch and a new Ax handle at the auction.

    Picked up and shoveled 4 truck loads of gravel into the BOL driveway where construction has messed it up. Will probably have to do several more loads.

    Was at tractor supply this morning and picked up a battery operated timer for watering. Will be using that on the Rain Barrel/drip irrigation system system. Regularly $14, got it for $1.49!!!

    Had to go to Lowes for grass seed, again to repair lawn where it was damaged due to construction. Picked up an assortment of stainless steel hardware for the “collection”.

    Also picked up another 2’x8′ packing crate for use in the barn.

  2. If you do not have enough wind to blow chaff out I use a fan. A floor drying type works best. Point it in the direction you want the chaff to go and then dump the contents from one 5 gal bucket to another in the air stream. After a couple of passes the chaff is gone.

  3. Great picture of the deer and hunter.

    Many years ago I went hunting early season rifle up in a wilderness area. My friend and I climbed a bunch of very steep terrain, maneuvering through thick brush. A lot of it was where you are on all fours and it is steep enough to where you are not far from upright. We finally got to this 6000 foot high ridge which we worked sighting downhill. Saw a little sign but no deer. Then headed back down the 3500 feet on the main trail that we avoided on the way up. When we got back down to where we had parked, our vehicle was surrounded by fresh tracks and a hiker told us they had seen numerous deer in the parking area when they drove up.

  4. Last week we had 10 large trees trimmed and two cut down so this week it has been cutting wood to size and burning the unusable parts. We will be doing this for at least two more weeks. We now have six cords of wood and I expect another two. We will leave the remainder stacked in the woods for the future.

    We also pulled 5 more 55 gal drums out of service for emptying and cleaning. It’s not hard, just had to get a long handled scrub brush to wash inside and out. The weather channel said zero change of rain so we left the drums open-side up to dry in the sun; then it rained. Two of the drums were cached supplies which were sealed in 2014. When opened all the contents were dry with no bugs. The food items were vacuum sealed and placed in kitchen size trash bags. The clothing items smelled a bit but were dry with no bug holes. Even the emergency bottled water was holding well. This has inspired me to cache more items and place them around the woods.

  5. Well we were out of power for 6 and a half days but we finally got it back. It was a great training opportunity for us, we figured out what worked and talked about how to make it better, we found out what didn’t work and developed a plan for fixing it and now we’re just left with cleaning up the mess.
    I happy to say most of our planning actually worked, we lost no food, all the livestock made it through just fine. We did have a tree go down on a fence for the goat pen but my “emergency fence repair bucket” had it patched up during a lull in the storm and I did a permanent repair over the weekend.
    One thing we failed to plan for was air circulation in the house. We were cycling backup power to conserve fuel which meant not running it at night. It got really uncomfortable for several nights were looking at an inverter to run a fan and also to keep the satellite link up for our phones and internet, we only had comms while we were on backup power.
    Overall we felt pretty good about our outcome, we did well enough to be able to help our neighbors without it causing us a problem.

    As a side note if a widespread grid down situation last more than about 7 days correctional institutions are in serious trouble, if you are located near one be sure to keep that information in your plans. Without the ability to resupply most institutions will be out of fuel, food, and security personal in a week, there will be some very hard decisions to be made and none of the choices are good.

    1. Outlaw; how far inland are you located? Did the hurricane cause any river flooding? Also, on your electric power, are you within city limits or in county coverage?

      1. I’m inland about 30 miles and border a river one the west side of the property. The river saw a rise of about 18′ as the storm came in, in part from storm surge at the mouth and complicated by the dam 20 miles up river opening flood gates to keep the reservoir lake in check. It never endangered the homesite and the river is one that is quite susceptible to big rises, it is a very high banked river. No one was surprised by the amount of rise we were however a bit surprised by the rapidity of the rise and subsequent fall, the day after the storm it had already dropped 11 feet and the dam was still spilling two of its four gates. Our power is from an electric cooperative we are very, very rural. The one thing that does help us is our feed comes from a substation located next to the dam(it’s hydroelectric) and we are a sideline off off of a feeder that goes to the small town 30 miles from here, it seems to make us a bit more of a priority than if it were just our tiny community.

    2. Outlaw,

      To keep our internet up while generator is not running we have a small UPS (uninterrupted power supply). Last able 4-6 depending on use. I recommend everyone have at least one Good UPS system in their home. Good as in with a built in power conditioner and alarm mode when on. If you power coming into your home is not “clean” it will turn on and alarm to protect what ever it is plugged into it. The alarm mode allows you to then decide if you want to shut down other items to protect them. Also consider adding a small battery bank that you can recharge when generator is running (or can be charged by solar) the you can buy 12 volt DC fans. Running an inverter uses more energy and produces additional heat.

  6. I took a few days off work in preparation for our deer season that opened today in Georgia. I did not go by the way. I like to save my hunting time for cooler days and today it has been in the mid-70s all day. Earlier this week I checked the zero on several rifles. My main deer rifle, a .270 built on a Mauser 98 action, a Ruger American Predator in .308, a Ruger American Ranch rifle in .300 Blackout, and a Marlin 30-30 that I picked up last year at a gun show for $300.00 were shooting just fine and on target at 100 yards. The 300 Blackout was suppressed and I was testing the new Hornady Subsonic Ammo that uses their new Sub-X bullets. I was really impressed at how well these shot and grouped. In the bolt action Ranch Rifle the muzzle report sounds like and air rifle and I still can’t believe how quite it actually is. I did shoot my Thompson Center Encore Pro Hunter in .308 and as expected it would not group. I had dropped the gun last year and I thought I had damaged the scope which still may be the case, but when pulling it off I found that the Talley single piece mount had a broken screw and this is the likely culprit for the grouping issue. I also shot a Ruger PC9, original version, and I could not get this to group very well at 55 yards. I changed the scope on it and tried again and it still has a grouping issue. I’ll have to look further into this and make a determination on what to do. I also shot my FN 509 pistol at some steel and was very pleased with it. I later took it to an indoor range where I ran 150 rounds through it. I shot the first 35 rounds at 25 feet and literally keep every shot within the 10 ring on theB-29 (Paper) Silhouette Target. I am really pleased with this pistol purchase. From the range and into the store I purchased an Anderson AR upper for $50 and a BCG for $70.00 in order to finish out a AR build that I’m working on which is made up of spare parts. After that purchase I went down the road to a gun smith for a couple of things, one being the broken screw in the TC Encore barrel. I don’t have an E-Z out so I figured I’d let him do it. The other is a Long Range rifle I’ve put together needed some machining work done to it. I want the barrel threaded for a muzzle break and while there I also wanted the action changed from a glossy finish to a mat black finish. The last part and again while there was to have a professional free float and glass bedding job done. One of the last things I’ve did this week was more limb trimming on the roads. This is a never ending job it seems. I did check all the planting I’ve done and everything is up and growing. I am going to have more turnips than I know what to do with if I can keep the wild hogs from completely destroying the area. They’ve already hit a couple of spots with their signature rooting that leaves bare ruts all in the planted areas. If I’m lucky this year I’ll get to harvest a couple of these on the hoof pork chops as payment for their destruction of my planted areas.

  7. Not seasonal prepping related, but about how readers best recognize Viggo Mortensen … I bet a fair number of us are Lord of the Rings fans, so … Aragorn, of course.

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