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!


A week of relatively good weather gave me the chance to complete some barnyard tasks.  In addition to the usual super-duper-pooper-scoopering, I also drained, scrubbed, relocated, and filled two stock tanks very close to reliable frost-free hydrants. Both tanks are adjacent to grounded power outlets. Why? It is now that stock tank heater time of year!

Our large livestock has grown their winter coats, and they are doing well. We still have just a few roosters and turkeys to butcher, but that will probably wait until just before Christmas. (With the exact butcher date depending on the weather.)

I did some hay re-stacking, to make room for the last of our ATVs to fit in the barn. That is perhaps my final “pre-snow” barnyard organizational task for the year.

Just two weeks until the Winter solstice. Then we can watch the daylight hours lengthen. I do enjoy our winters here. But the days near the solstice are insanely short, at our latitude. And winter always seem to last about a month too long!

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Survival Readers,
This week was quite quiet just doing the regular:  school and the usual chores.  However the earthquake in Alaska on Friday spurred us on to double check our earthquake preparedness.  Those of us living in the portion of American Redoubt west of the Rockies are living on the edge of the North American Craton. This is an area of recently increased seismic activity.  Therefore, the flow of force from the Alaskan quake could very well travel south along the Craton edge into our area, causing earthquakes in our region. If one were to look at the USGS Earthquake map, one would see distinct areas of small quakes striking along the fault zones in California through to Washington, along the coast and also along the Craton from Mexico through Yellowstone National Park through Montana, and into Canada.  This means that any region between these areas could receive strong earthquakes. The Dutchsinse web site goes into some interesting detail on this subject.

Scripturally speaking, the Bible says that in the Last Days there will be earthquakes in various and “unusual”  places.  Therefore you folks on the east coast all the way up to northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine or those near the New Madrid fault zone should also be prepared. We know that earthquakes have been increasing in frequency and in intensity thusfar in 2018. Therefore we must also be ready for them. With that in mind, I looked around the house and made sure that anything up high on shelves or hanging on the wall was either reinforced or taken down.  I also made sure that we had changes of clothes and winter outer clothing out of the house and in our RV and in our primary vehicle.  We recently had mechanical work done on both vehicles and therefore had removed almost everything pilferable in them, and had yet to move them back. We are putting those vehicles back in winter preparedness mode–and now earthquake preparedness mode.  We also had yet another talk with the girls about what to do during and after an earthquake, if in the house:  stay away from the windows, bookshelves, hanging cabinets, get under solid objects and protect your head.  If able to, go to our hallway, grab shoes, and so on.  If the house becomes uninhabitable, we have an RV, tents, sleeping bags, and food located in other places on our property.  Please have an earthquake plan.

May God Bless and Protect You!

– Jim & Avalanche Lily, Rawles


The replacement radio for the Icom IC-7000 that I have for sale in the SurvivalBlog Classifieds has arrived this week. The radio is an Elecraft K3s and I’m excited about it. Right now, it’s sitting on my workbench, still boxed up and I’m practicing delayed gratification. I know that when I open it up and start assembling it, my day (possibly days) will be basically shot as I will be enthralled with it. After assembling it I certainly want to get on the air with it as well. Ohh, the anticipation!

In the meantime, the Latimer household continues their normal early winter activities. The shop is looking much better after several weeks of cleaning and the house is shaping up as well. This next week, we will be turning what use to be our eldest son’s room into a guest room. Out comes the last remaining pieces furniture and removal of the old carpet. We don’t have a queen sized bed yet to put in, but a nice inflatable mattress  with a memory foam topper will do in the short term. We are hoping to find a few yard sales in the next few weeks to locate a dresser. Mrs Latimer is also making noises about a fresh coat of paint as well.

o o o

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


  1. We have found that resale stores (ie. Habitat or similar) are very good places to find bedding.

    It is cold and snowy here at the cabin. Although expected back west, it’s a bit soon for here. Unfortunately, the one Snowmobile we have here is just not working, so I have contacted our neighbors to see if their mechanic friend is interested in a side job. I do love to send business to locals if possible.

    We continue to fill the new and quite large wood box. This winter we are prepared to not run out of wood. I am amazed at our ancestors and how they managed to settle on raw land and survive. It has been difficult for us to build our camp from ground up, and we have electricity!

    What are we doing at the cabin right now other than getting the wood split and stacked that should have been already finished? I am dehydrating apples and taking stock of the pantry. I’m also searching out suppliers for a summer business I’d like to start as a plan for a post economic crash side business. Getting a new-to-me sewing machine at the cabin and starting on the massive pile of mending and some other sewing projects, and I am starting a Classics reading project where I will acquire the hardcopy texts, read them and take notes in a journal. I expect this will take a decade or more and anticipate finishing about the time I have grandchildren to instruct. I already am a teacher and a historian, and my son and future son-in-law are in engineering. Looking to cover a serious curriculum in the future.

    Speaking of my son, finals and projects/presentations have arrived, so he is very busy. I’ve learned quite a bit about diesel engine fuel systems! He has one more semester to complete has associates in diesel engineering technology and is looking to finish his undergraduate in Russian history (a favorite subject from his college prep HS days). This seems to be a smart combination for his officer training. The Air Force is mighty happy to have him and his practical background.

    We have a large stainless steel water tank that has been filled to the top from our spring. We keep it from freezing using a (new!) stock tank heater. The system works well. I also can positively recommend a large heated dog water bowl for those who, like us, have limited indoor room and large dogs. Best twenty-five dollars I’ve spent recently.

    We also have our school/travel car just back from the body shop after that deer encounter and I need to put everything back in it. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. On Thanksgiving I strained my back so I have spent most of the week using ice, heat and some bed rest to numb the pain. Finally gave in and went to the doctor for a steroid shot and pills so Friday was the first day moving without constant pain. Had our internet upgraded to Hughes Gen 5 for a family Christmas present; I surely hope it improves our connectivity; those of you living way out in the country know what I mean.

    Weather channel says three days of rain (I’m happy it’s not ice) so I split my time between the heating pad and the kitchen to make some bread and a large chicken pot pie casserole to take us through the weekend. My son harvested the lemon tree for me so I’ll be freeze-drying them soon.

    This year there have been so many recalls on vegetables, poultry and meat we have decided to increase our family production next year. I ordered the new hoop house (using a holiday coupon) and purchased the cement blocks to get a level foundation built. I found a team of young men to come and do the heavy work, so just waiting now for the kit to arrive.

    I read where US chicken packaging plants have to decontaminate poultry with bleach. I normally butcher our barnyard mix roosters and older hens to supplement our poultry intake, but I never use bleach on the chickens; just to clean the tools and kitchen areas. I’m thinking about ordering some additional meat chicks this spring.

    Felt better today so I repackaged three 50-pound bags of bread flour, coarsely ground 9-grain mix and a finely milled 7-grain flour into mylar bags in 5-gallon buckets with gamma lids. I got the grains and flour using a holiday discount coupon from Honeyville.

    Have a safe week!

  3. “Just two weeks until the Winter solstice. Then we can watch the daylight hours lengthen. I do enjoy our winters here. But the days near the solstice are insanely short, at our latitude. And winter always seem to last about a month too long!” sun up just about 1/2″ above southern horizon at 10:30 AM … sun set at southern horizon around 2:30 PM … if its overcast or snowing then its civil twilight, if its heavy overcast then its dark .. if its clear then its a beautiful but short sunny day. As for earthquakes, we often feel tremors, but the ones we had yesterday almost 400 miles north of the Anchorage epicenter really rocked us. Two large aircraft were in the hanger, my chair was moving in my office as I sat at the computer writing up a report and the aircraft were shaking and trembling.

    My wife and I did some shopping last night because with the damage from the quakes supplies will start to dry up as transportation is going to be delayed. By wednesday the shelves will start to run ut and if it impacts harder its going to be even harder. We also keep our motorhome stocked and ready for emergency housing. But this is life up here, I hope that you folks are warm, and safe.

    1. Fond remembrances of my days in Fairbanks ( Ft. Wainwright ) . Stationed there in 1964 when the Good Friday quake hit. Quite an experience. Occurred as I had just finished either noon or evening meal … I went outside and began to see the telephone poles moving and swaying relative to more distant objects. Thought at first a consequence of the meal – but then went inside the hospital ( where I worked ) and saw the pictures swaying on the walls. My first experience with a quake of that magnitude.
      Bottom line – it was encouraging ( when I think back on it ) how prepared the military was to assist the civilian population at that time. My role brought me to Valdez, Anchorage, and numerous places in-between.
      ” Just saying “

  4. Down here in SW Idaho we had a busy week as well,after enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner at friends house we had to BBQ another turkey for ourselves, soup, meals, etc.
    Finally getting some long needed rain which is trying to turn to snow; Have been waiting for the rain to soften up the ground in one area of the ranch so i could do some dirt work and then remove the rototiller attachment on the tractor and install the snow blade.Serviced the tractor this week, changed the oil and air filter, greased all the points that needed grease and checked all fluid levels it’s now ready for another winter of plowing and the occasional pulling out of the mail woman when called on!
    Last nite was a fun nite in the community, Santa Claus was ushered into town with fireworks by the local volunteer fire department after the town parade, as a member of our county search and rescue it is nice to ride in the parade and throw candy to the children and see in their eyes the excitement building for that big coming day, Christmas, what a joy to know that hope has come into this world!

    1. Sounds like you live near a community with a name starting with an “M”. Last night we went into a town in SW Idaho near you to see Christmas lights and an ice skating rink. Last year it was 25 degrees there. This year was a balmy 38.

      1. I think i know the town that you are referring too, we were there for the parade last year as well, do remember it was quite cold.
        As for us you would have to go further west and then invert the letter “M”,
        much smaller population base lots of open space and like minded folks!

        1. Actually I do live in a town named with that inverted M and can see Russia (OR) from my house. Yesterday driving down the highway that runs through town there were posters on the telephone poles about the Party of Socialism and Liberation recruiting people, condemning capitalism, degrading the U.S., pics of Che and Fidel. The mayors office said it was the Trans Dept’s problem and they said it was the city’s problem. Same posters were in a town just east of there-name of town color blue mixed with yellow and the things that hang on trees. At least their town took the posters down after I called, ours are still up….UNTIL tomorrow after I get through talking a stroll down the highway.

  5. Consider using Military Surplus Immersion Heaters for de-icing when power isn’t available. They utilize a simple drip fire and have been used not only to de-ice water but also to boil off water from oil in open drums. If during a SHTF scenario and fuels are short, There are other resources for burnable liquids to power them.

      1. Another way might be if you had a large fresnel lens on a direct-able mount and could possibly boil the water too. You can recover fresnel lenses from the old large TV’s If you can find one, most folks are happy if you’ll haul it off for them….I have the aforementioned immersion heater and they can also run on biofuels. You can always stretch out diesel fuel by adding filtered waste motor oils. Or transmission and or hydraulic fluid. I used to own a 1986 M1008 and because todays diesel isn’t good for the older engines in that there’s little lubricants, it always helped to add the other fluids which is how I learned about stretching fuels. There are of course different ratios for different seasons. Like adding more filtered oil/fluids in the summer vs less for winter.

  6. I guess worse case scenario, one could always dig in a wood stove or outdoor fireplace with heavy stones or brick to use as a heat sink under the water tank. The negative would be having to feed the fires.

  7. Today I finished my retake of CERT training, the 24 hour Basic course and got my notice of assignment the County Team for my area. Amazon deals arrived today at the house: siphon hose for taking gas from container to vehicle,


    a new propane hose, with adaptor, to connect to a standard propane camping stove


    and my Friday Of Color special: mag six pack for 308

    God Bless,

  8. We installed a livestock hydrant when the water supply to the barn was installed (www.dpwaterer.com). It provides year around fresh well water and is not subject to freezing up during our cold NE Michigan winter. Brad Piper, who owns the company is a great guy to deal with. Great system with very little maintenance required.

  9. Update from Alaska: the railroad is out of commission for a few weeks while repairs can be made to the road bed damage. Several miles of track are ruined and numerous rock slides . The main highway into the interior is damaged but passable in one lane. The Anchorage airport eggt is back up and able to take flights in and out. The port is open but operations are not going to resume for a few days until any further etr damage can be determined.
    Things will slow down, but it could have been much worse. Thank God no loss of life and a few injuries reported. Our guard unit is activated for the recovery and many other units are already on site.

    The just in time supply chain doesn’t bode well for anyone … America bless God …. and God bless all of you reading this.

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