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 past week was fairly quiet at the Rawles Ranch. As expected, rain transitioned to snow showers. I went ahead and attached our Western brand snow plow to our pickup, as usual. Also per my seasonal SOP, I loaded 350 pounds of sand (in long cylindrical bags) into the back of the pickup bed, to provide counterbalance and some extra traction, for plowing. To keep those tube sand bags from shifting, I use a 2×10 plank that is cut to the width of the pickup bed. The plank sits at an angle, braced up against the back of the protruding wheel wells. With the sand bags in place, that plank doesn’t budge and the sand bags all stay back near the tailgate, where they belong. Courtesy of the good folks at the local Les Schwab tire store, the pickup is already wearing studded snow tires. (I keep a complete set, on rims, for the seasonal swap.)
It feels good to be ready to plow snow. I’ve only been faked out a couple of years out of the past 12 here at the ranch. In those two years the snows were so light that I didn’t have to plow at all. But such years are the exception rather than the rule.
Such is life, north of the 45th Parallel.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,
This week, we saw our first accumulating snow. About two inches fell. This year I have very mixed feelings about it. Usually, I’m happy about snow, but not so much this year….Hmmm, It seems that only a short time ago, it had just melted… Never mind. I have to live with it! Life/time seems to go faster with each passing year.
This week, I treaded out all of my kale seeds pods, like one would tread grapes. The dry pod branches were in five feed sacks. I laid the sacks on the floor, and jumped on them for about five minutes crushing the pods. When done, I shook the seeds down to the bottom of the sacks, took out the branches and large pieces of chaff, consolidated the contents of the five bags into a mason quart jar filled with kale seeds, chaff and dirt. I then retrieved our fan from storage and tried the chaff winnowing method on my Kale seeds. I poured them into a very large stainless steel bowl. I scooped up handfuls of the mixture and dropped it from my hands past the air flowing from the fan. The chaff immediately blew out from the seeds as they dropped into the bowl. I was very, very impressed. I scooped up and dropped the mixture past the fan about twenty times. When I was finished, I put the seeds back into the jar and found that I had harvested two full cups of kale seeds. During the winnowing process, I lost only a few seeds to the porch. Most of those, I suspect, were not going to be viable anyway. And if they are, we’ll find out in the spring, since they were swept off our porch onto the ground.
There is something very deeply satisfying about seed-saving……. Such amazing little treasures of potential life.
This week we (the whole family) went for an exploratory nighttime hike around the perimeter of our land with flashlights. We turned them off frequently to look around and feel the dark, and adjust our eyes to the landscape. It is seriously dark here at night, if there isn’t a moon and it’s cloudy. We could barely see anything, only a few stars above. It’d be very dangerous to be out in these woods on a cloudy night without a flashlight. One cannot see anything. After our walk, we returned to the house and retrieved Jim’s new “keeper” SIG thermal scope 
to test it out. (He also bought several others, to re-sell.) We could clearly see our horses, cat, and each other.
We continued working on our knitting and crocheting skills and then on some home health care skills. We’ve also begun a unit in making knots with various kinds of rope for varying purposes. My mother gifted the children, two years ago, this little set “The Handy Box of Knots” by Randy Penn 
. We’re just getting into it now. The package contains nylon ropes, a book on the history and uses of knots and a detailed instructional guide on how to make them, as well as dozens of games and exercises for honing our new skills. We highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning knots.
We butchered a turkey and three chickens this week. We froze the three chickens and some of the best meat from the turkey and boiled down the bones to get the rest of the meat and to make some soup broth. We have so much else to do that it is easier for us to just do a few birds at a time. Also to be really honest with you, neither Jim nor I like the job very much. We like the meat, of course, but not the job. It is a cold outside job. It’s icky and sad and very time consuming. We tend to be quite grumpy with each other on butcher day until the job is nearly completed. Once we can see the end of the job approaching, when we look at the work of our hands, the abundance of our own home raised meat, we feel quite rewarded, and the atmosphere between us becomes noticeably more cheerful once again.
I cleaned the chicken coop.
In the kitchen, I seriously reorganized, reassessed all of our cookware and food storage containers, culled some, put some away for later use, and generally reorganized much of the kitchen cupboards and drawers. Let’s just say that I am a Prepper and a Minimalist. Therefore I am always assessing, what is needed and used and what we need for the future. It is a tough road for balance. Many would say that I’m not a true Minimalist. But we’re definitely not hoarders, either. 🙂 It’s an on-going battle. Balance is the key word!
We hope you all have a very Blessed, productive and safe week,
This week we started the big push to clean up the house. In a way, it was somewhat disheartening for me as I watched box after box of “stuff” hauled into my recently cleaned and organized shop. Oh well. I guess I know what I’ll be doing for the next week now.
The gardening is done, the property is winterized and now the winter projects begin. One of those projects actually relates to the recent house cleaning as well. Our world has become more digital and very seldom do we even print the pictures that we take with a camera anymore. The important ones get printed and hung on the wal, but where we used to carry wallet size photos around, it’s all digital. It’s just too easy to whip out that smart phone and flip through thousands of photos.
Mrs Latimer is somewhat of the family historian and the extended family has dumped their old family photos on her for years. This winter, one of my projects will be to digitize the boxes of these photos and reclaim the storage space that they take up. Hard drive space is cheap.
o o o
As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.