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:

All is well at the Rawles Ranch. We now feel ready for winter.  This week I didn’t accomplish much outdoors other than tarping the open end of our hay barn, to protect our stacked hay from any upcoming rain that gets blown sideways. So I’ll leave most of the commentary for this past week up to my lovely wife…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear SurvivalBlog readers,

This week was a very quiet beautiful late Fall week. We had guests over the weekend, whom we toured around to all of the local sites.  On Monday, I took them for a paddle down our river.  It was a gloriously sunny fall day with just spectacular fall foliage colors.

Monday afternoon was spent in the school books with the kids.  Tuesday morning and afternoon, were all about school, house cleaning and preparing to can Salsa with some friends on Wednesday.

However, on Tuesday afternoon, I had a mild adventure.  It was also a beautiful day and according to the weather forecast, it might be the last really sunny warmish day of the season.  For the past few years, I had been really wanting to explore a section of our river that I had not yet ever paddled before because of rumors of terrible snag trees and lots of rapids.  But, I wanted to see for myself what it was really like.  So in the afternoon, since this time of year the water is very low, I asked Jim If I could canoe it and scope it out, alone.   He said yes, and off I went embarking from our property. The plan was that Jim would wait for a half hour and then would drive down to the agreed upon rendezvous point and work on his computer while awaiting for me. I thought that it should only take an hour to an hour and a half to paddle that section.

The air temperature was about 56 degrees.  In the sunshine it felt lovely warm.  In the shade it was quite cool.  The water temperature is probably about 33 degrees. There was ice along the shoreline the day before on Monday morning. I wore shorts, a Long John shirt and T-shirt, lifejacket and water sandals.  I brought my camera, an extra wool sweater, barn shoes and socks, a large towel, and an apple. I suspected that I would be portaging my 13 foot, 33 pound canoe over gravel bars a few times and thus didn’t want a lot of extra stuff with me.  Also, since this section of the river was always within a half mile of the road, I wasn’t too concerned about getting out quick and going for help if I had a mild problem.

I started off down the river and within ten minutes hit the first shallow rapids, not bad, not too fast.  A little further down, I was in the “wilderness” and realized, I had forgotten my Glock. Oops! I prayed immediately for protection from the water, snags and from wildlife.  I’m not really worried about humans here.  We have very few up in here, and this time of the year only locals would show up if they were out and about. My biggest concerns would be grizzly bears or mountain lions.  These animals are here, but we haven’t had, and we haven’t ever heard of any of our neighbors, having a negative encounter with them up to this point.

I hit a shallow area and had to get out and drag the canoe through the riffles.  Up ahead, I saw what had been the biggest snag that some local friends had encountered in the early summer high water flow a few years back and had very nearly had a couple of tragedies.  The tree had been moved to the side of the river by the high spring flows since then, thankfully. I had to again get out and drag my canoe through the shallows by that tree.

The section I paddled turned out to have at least a 20 foot elevation  drop over a mile and a half.  I was very cautious always looking way ahead to ascertain what was coming.

Further on another tree was parallel with the bank and because of a huge gravel pile the river narrowed and flowed fast beside it.  The width of the water from the gravel bank to the tree was about four feet and from the tree to the bank on the other side, another two to three feet.  The depth of the water flowing around and under the tree and gravel bank was about four to six feet deep.   I decided to try to paddle next to the tree since the gravel bank was so steep for portaging or dragging the canoe in the water.   The river curved a little into the tree and then straightened out.  I flowed into the tree so fast, it scared me, I prayed aloud “Lord Jesus” as I pushed the paddle against the tree and worried that the flow could tip me over, but it didn’t.  Once the canoe was parallel with the tree we (the canoe and I) kinda sat there in the flow for a moment.  It held us.  Then I paddled past the tree and the river widened out.  In all, I encountered about six trees crossing most of the river if not all of it, that I had to portage around. These trees may or may not be down deep during high flow, or they probably would float to the surface.  The water depth was down at least six to eight feet from its high level spring flow. Therefore they are a great danger to canoeists/kayakers during spring runoff and higher water.

There were numerous areas too shallow to canoe where I also had to carry the canoe or pull it through the water to keep the bottom from becoming too scratched. The water was very cold. Within seconds of entering the water, my feet would ache, so I moved along in it at a rapid pace.   The longest sections I had to portage was about 30 yards over a dry gravel bed, and about 40 feet in the water dragging the canoe through a very shallow section.  I did often get stuck between larger rocks and had to get out and lift the canoe over them.  I was in the water much more than I wanted to be.  My feet actually began to itch at one point.

The end of this section of river was mostly a straightaway averaging about two feet deep.  However along the whole length of the section the depth was constantly changing being anywhere from two inches to 18 feet deep.   The section had only one deep clear hole of about 15-18 feet deep with two very large trout in residence which were about 18-22 inches long.  I went over the hole quite fast, so wasn’t able to observe if there were other smaller trout. For bird life during my paddle, I saw a large number of Water Oozles, one Common Snipe, and a few ducks. Thankfully, I didn’t see any large predatory mammals.

It was a very active canoe trip, with not much time for photography or lollygagging on the water.  My towel, and extra wool sweater became quite wet from my frequent in and outs of the canoe and my apple became very banged up from all of the portaging. I should have brought one of our dry bags.

I arrived safely to my rendezvous point with Jim.  The verdict is, that this section of our river is not safe to paddle during spring run off and it needs to be done with great caution with experienced paddlers in mid summer.  Fall paddling this section is not enjoyable unless you don’t mind portaging across gravel bars and dragging the canoe through the shallows.  This is not a section for children or inexperienced paddlers.  But it was beautiful, and you could tell the wildlife wasn’t expecting human company in this stretch of the river.

In the future, I will carry my Glock .45, wool sweater, camera, First Aid Kit/Emergency kit and warmer clothes in a small dry bag that is easy to swing onto ones back and get off. Afterwards, I had that great feeling of adventure/accomplishment, that one gets after some strenuous exercise/mildly exciting adventures.  It was very good for my soul!  I very much enjoy safe adventures that challenge a body and end well.  I now want to do the next section below this one.  If we get another warm sunny day, before the snow flies and I’m not otherwise occupied, I may have a go of it.  Many people do this next section during the summer.  I haven’t ever heard reports of problems with it.  So I’d like to give it a go, sometime.

On Wednesday, two very good friends of ours came to visit to help me to put up 22 pints of cold-packed Salsa with most of the last of the tomatoes. They also spent time teaching the girls how to crochet, knit,, and sew. Plus a bit of lecture on health care and First Aid.  These are all things that I have a basic knowledge of, but am not so motivated with to teach the kids.  Besides, it’s far more fun and motivating to have friends come over and do them with us and to share their expertise with us.

I’m not as craft motivated as some.  I far more prefer, either being very active out in the garden or with the animals, doing outside work, or having outside adventures: canoeing, hiking, biking, skiing, etc., or when inside, researching, cooking, organizing, cleaning, and academics.  Now that the weather is beginning to close in on us and we’ll be inside more often, our friends want to come regularly to help us in these other areas. For that, we’re thankful and happy to have their help, skills and added motivation.

Not much else happened the rest of the week except for school, regular chores and cooking.

I hope you all had a blessed and productive week and that this coming week will also be blessed and productive.

HJL

Winter preparations are finally coming to a close. The wood is cut and stacked, the animal facilities are winterized. Every last vestige of Summer has been wound down and prepared for season. Yesterday, I started the first of the winter projects. Maneuverability in the garage is down to paths, so a deep cleaning is due there. This week will be spent shuffling, repackaging, and generally inspecting every box. It’s a fairly large project and the progress will be determined by how much space there is in the trash dumpster. During the spring and summer, broken things tend to get pushed aside and stored until now. As I go through the items, making a determination on whether it can be saved (making another project for later) or just tossing it keeps me busy for a couple of weeks. I’ve noticed that I tend more towards tossing it lately.

There is one more outside project that awaits this week as well. We need to till up the garden before the ground freezes hard and the last remaining root vegetables must come out before that. It so disappointing to till the garden plot and find the remnants of a few carrots we missed.

Mrs Latimer’s attention now turns towards house cleaning as well. There are a number of small jobs left to finish in the kitchen remodel as well as a general deep cleaning of the house.

o o o

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




20 Comments

  1. JWR, you have some literary competition! I really enjoyed reading about Avalache’s adventure.
    I felt like I was reading one of your books. You are a family of talented writers and I hope it doesn’t skip a generation.
    HJL, yup throw it out. I have saved “stuff” for many years. We are planning to use this winter to get into that attic. We still have papers that need to be shredded and family pictures that need to be organized.
    Oh yea, prepping.
    We moved winter over plants to the greenhouse, put up another load of firewood for next winter, and worked to nurse our GSD back to health after paw surgery.

  2. Glad your are safe. Remember most accidents happen within a mile radius of your house, be safe and carry a firearm next time, I have a old 30-30 that gets tied in my canoe for any outings most people never know I have it with me. But it’s there if I need it.

  3. Here in the northeast, it is mandatory to not only have the life vest with you but to actually wear it after Nov. 1st till April 1st. As an avid 75 yo kayaker, my advice is to NEVER canoe / kayak alone …. things happen. Well, let me correct that, on an open smallish lake I often have kayaked even in lake being partially frozen – picture seeing two bald eagles on a big pine while it is snowing and listening to ” How Great Thy Art ” on my iPod. But, on a stream with sweeps such as you described – Jim loves you too much for that.

    1. Dear Ron,

      I never ever go out onto water without wearing my life jacket, ever! Most of that section of river was too shallow. We’ve been in a severe drought since mid July. It was a risk. But life is a risk. Safe adventures and exploring once in awhile, are good for the soul. I’ll probably never go in that section, again. Most of our river is very placid. I often go out alone on it. Well, I’m not exactly alone, my Lord Jesus is always with me and He is my main defense, especially when I call on His Name. I count more on Him than Gaston Glock, who is usually with me, because, I don’t ever, EVER want to use Gaston’s services if I can help it. Paddling alone is my recharge time, as I think from your comment above, you understand well. Thank You for your concern, though.

      Sincerely,

      Avalanche Lily

  4. It rained 3 days this week so that limited our out door work. We moved the sensitive plants into the back porch or garage near windows. The more hardy plants are still outside for a while as the weather fluctuates. We continue to cut trimmed tree branches to size for the wood stove; we have at least two more weeks of work on that project.

    I dug up a few of the peanut plants to see if they were ready to harvest and decided to give them another week or so. Just have to get them out of the ground before it is saturated with rain. The collard greens are starting to slow down now but if we get a few days of sunny weather they will keep producing.

    I plan a major stock up next week to ensure we have what we need for a couple of months in case the political situation gets worse. I hate to go to the city due to so many emotional people running a muck, but it is the only bulk buying available, We also will lay in a double supply of feed for the small livestock.

    Have a good week!

  5. Greeting’s from Camp Doubt: Where the high desert meets the pine forest in SW Idaho
    We too are almost ready for winter here as well, yesterday brought some rain so I started a fire at the brush pile and eliminated a lot of that (still burning this morning) While removing leaves and debris from the roof this past week and inspecting/cleaning the chimney I discovered some flashing issues around the chimney and cap, so I repaired those items; can rest assured no water leaks into house or possible flue fires this winter. The canning is all done, freezer is full, now the next project. After cleaning out the garage from this busy summer and making some room in there I have a project vehicle to work on, I have had my eye on it for some time and this summer I saw the gentleman out on his place so I stopped in to inquire about what his plans were with it. He was getting on in years so now I am the new owner of it. We are calling it our EMP rig. 4WD jeep pick up truck what makes this rig so good is no electronics went into the manufacture of it. Like all old things I will go thru it this winter and see to it that all gear boxes are in working order and that the brakes and steering (the only 2 real safety items on a vehicle) are working well too. Oh and one last item, have returned to playing the banjo again and after meeting others in the area we get together at least monthly of more and have a great evening of jamming and bluegrass and fiddle tunes! Blessings………

    1. Camp Doubt,
      Wrenching on a vintage Jeep and pickin out some old tyme bluegrass tunes sounds like heaven on earth. Close as we are gonna get until we transition to the real thing.
      We have a masonry chimney that was wicking water into the attic.
      A few years ago I discovered that if I sealed the brick and mortar with the product they use to seal bathroom tile grout the leak stopped. You need a couple of dry days to get the best results.
      I give it a coat every year.

      Blessings back at you.

  6. So after 5 years of hauling potable water from a neighbor, used seasonal creek water for the livestock, we drilled a well. The average well depth in our area is 250 – 300 ft with some going 500 and over. And we know of a few dry holes as well, that’s all part of the hesitation. So as we’ve lived with the land, watched it , let it tell us it’s secrets it revealed to us the most likely place for a well. I was convinced that we would get water at 100 ft or less. The well driller reminded us of the average but agreed on the spot. Low and behold that afternoon at 80 ft we had water, he drilled another 20 ft for reserve. An hour after the rig and crew left water started running over the top of the well head. The drill owner was on his way to cap the well when we called him to tell him. As it turns out its an artesian! So we get 3 gallons a minute with the cap and a hose bib attached just running out of the well, no pump needed! Not enough to go uphill to far or provide enough pressure for the cabin, so we’ll put a pump in anyway. But nice to know if we need it, just unhook it from the pressure tank and we have water — no electricity, generator or hand pump required.

  7. This week, I’ve been scavenging some fencing from a friend of ours. She wanted some dog pens taken down. It is mostly chain link fencing. A couple weeks ago, I got some free trampoline frames, and so I’m going to make a moveable pen for my peacocks. The round part of the trampoline frames will make a top and bottom, and I will put pipe between it. Then stretch the chain link fence around them. It sure does save lots of work scooping poop, and it does the pastures good.

    1. Rose, I used to have a pair of wild peacocks that stayed on my property in Florida. They were gentle and fun to watch but were very noisy! I used to pick up the feathers and use them in crafts and jewelry. Fun memory!

      1. @Animal House, That’s an awesome nickname, haha. Sounds like your house is/was about like ours. We have so many critters around here. I doubt that the peacocks will add that much noise. We have geese, guineas, chickens, etc. The peafowl are still quite small. But I want to get them established in their pen now so they will know to go there. Is that best? Are they similar to guineas in their habits, or they harder to get used to the habits?

  8. Finally got the brush pile burned, sad watching another pine tree go up in smoke 🙁 hoses have been drained and stowed, extension cords run to the chicken coop and heat lamps readied in the dog kennel. Cleaned the chicken coops and spread some DE around on the floor. Then I had to deal with 6.0L scare of missing coolant…turned out to be a busted overflow fitting that I JB Welded back onto the radiator.

    The big accomplishment was closing on our new ‘investment’ property that was funded by our IRA’s. This was a year in the making with several ups and downs, but in the end we were able to find a property that consisted of three parcels, one was a house on acreage, the other two were agriculture/trees. We split off the house parcel and paid for it ourselves and funded the major part with our IRA’s.

  9. Bits and pieces are finally getting done…Finished much of the brush clearing. Just a small bit left to add to the pile for chipping this spring. Got a berry patch prepared for spring tilling. Laid more rock pathways.

    It has been incredibly wet this fall, so we found a wood holder that suits us and have it set up next to the stove. My dear husband is planning to build a wood shed. Step by step all things will be completed.

  10. We have new “neighbors” (1/2 mile away) that are frustrated they can’t get more done on their property. My mantra to them is “you can’t get everything done the first year” which they have latched on to. Has taken us seven years to get most of fencing and outbuildings up. I’m going to try to over-winter carrots by mulching. Got all piping blown out. Have a small pvc greenhouse to put over my herb box. We’re in SW Idaho so hoping for a winter like last year and not the snowmagedon year before that. That year was digging trails to chicken coop, cow feeder and water trough, not to mention each workshop and well house. I hope a safe winter for everyone-no slips, bumps, leaks or casualties.

  11. Lily,can I suggest a 3-4mm 3/4 wetsuit(bib overall) in water that cold. I have a small sailboat that is very”wet”(no freeboard,will capsize in a instant)in the spring it can be taken out just after ice out(32-40 deg) with proper gear but would be hypothermic suicide otherwise. I got mine second hand cheap,added neoprene socks and gloves and added months of enjoyment.
    Look for seasonal warehouse cleanout of canned goods(33 cents a can for veggies-stock up time!)

  12. Dear Avalanche Lily, I think your canoe trip sounds fabulous! You sound a little like Sakajawea! Love reading your posts. Hoping y’all are enjoying a beautiful fall like we are blessed with here in Montana!

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