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!
It was a pleasant week at the Rawles Ranch. Between a few snow showers, we had the opportunity to do some hiking and cross country skiing. Late in the week I took a break from writing and did some snow plowing. I even had time to do some snow shoveling, reorganize the garage, and carry a few things down to Jim’s Amazing Secret Bunker of Redundant Redundancy (JASBORR). Sorry, but no photos of JASBORR–a.k.a. The Fleidermaus Grotte–are available, for OPSEC reasons.
This past week we received another batch of forwarded Snail Mail. There were several envelopes with subscription donations for the Ten Cent Challenge. It was also gratifying to see that more than 500 of the 2005-2018 SurvivalBlog Archive waterproof USB sticks were sold in just the first week of sales. I was told that the first increment of those orders were packaged and mailed out on Friday. By the way, I should mention that the family that is handling order fulfillment for us again this year operates as a home-based business. I think it is great that we can partner with folks who live the same lifestyle. Just like us, they do not want to be tied up in the corporate rat race.
To both the Ten Cent Challenge subscribers and to those who ordered USB sticks, my sincere thanks!
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week we did our regular winter home schooling, chores, skiing, hiking and writing. In addition, I watched a whole slew of videos by a young woman with the trail name Dixie. She hiked the three major hiking trails of the United States during the past four years: The Appalachian Trail, Pacific Crest Trail, and Continental Divide Trail. Her web site is called Homemade Wanderlust. In her videos she talks about her gear, food, water, itineraries, and experiences of these hikes. Her photography and advice is excellent, very professional, very authentic, and down to earth.
During my high school and college years I did do some backpacking trips. I’ve wanted to do them again, but during the past 8 years I have been helping Jim develop our homestead, gardening, harvesting and preserving our produce in the spring and summer, and schooling in the fall and winter. So I haven’t made the time to do anything more than day hikes. I milked cows for the middle six years of the first 8 years of marriage. I’m currently not milking. I’ll explain that in my column next week.
Dixie’s videos inspired me to want to do winter cross country skiing camping and summer backpacking this coming spring and summer.
Watching her videos prompted me to reassess and compare her ultralight style with my survivalist style backpack/Bugout Backpack. They are definitely two different animals but with some overlap. Perhaps I’ll write an article comparing their differences and similarities.
I went through all of my backpacking gear: sleeping bag, pack, tent, clothes, cooking utensils, boots, food, water filters, and so forth. I compared that with her gear list, where I live, and what scenarios I would be facing. I made some changes and a list of a few items that I need to acquire and have ordered them. Then I began to test my gear out starting with sleeping outside in the winter. I’m first going to work out what is best for me and then continue coaching and finish outfitting the girls. They have much of what they need, but need a few more items. I’ll then wrap it up with Jim. He did some backpacking in the Sierras as a Boy Scout and as a young man. Currently, he has to work hard on the blog and books these days and doesn’t have much free time.
On Sunday, I washed my 5 Degree Fahrenheit-rated down mummy sleeping bag, a fleece bag liner, and a Woodland camouflage mil-spec Goretex Bivouac bag that Jim gave me. The Bivvy bag had been stored in the garage, and it had a faint smell of mildew. After those had been washed and dried, I then set up my one man tent (there is room for Jim) on the covered open back porch deck. I set up the tent without the rain fly, so that I could see the sky. I put my self-inflating sleeping pad inside the tent and put my sleeping bag into the fleece bag and then put the two of them into the Bivouac bag. I then slept out in it on Sunday night while trying to watch for the Super Blood Wolf Moon through the clouds. The clouds never cleared away enough for a good view of it. The girls would come out onto the porch every few minutes to see if we’d get a glimpse. Just a little we saw. Since our porch is sometimes a throughway for skunks and raccoons. I feel much safer inside a tent, instead of cowboy camping.
The temperature dropped to a low of about 28 degrees F and it was snow showering in the early part of the night. For sleeping, I wore just some mid-weight wool long john pants and a silk long john long-sleeved shirt, cashmere sweater, a wool hat and Darn Tough hiker weight socks. I had left my boots and winter coat in the house since I was just experimenting to see how comfortable I would be sleeping outside and could run inside in two seconds, if needed. For the most part, I was warm. About 2AM, the wool hat was so itchy that it woke me up, I took it off and burrowed deeper into the Mummy bag. I fell back to sleep and woke up at 4AM, feeling damp and a tad bit chilled. I could hear Jim adding wood in the wood heating stove, in the house. I felt the call of nature, and felt very hungry, so went into the house, greeted Jim, ate something, warmed up by the stove and went back to bed in our own bed.
Conclusion: I will need a soft fleece hat for winter sleeping outside. The sleeping bag and my shirts became damp, either from me sweating, the humidity, or also maybe the bag wasn’t completely dry when I took it out of the dryer earlier that evening, or the Bivvy sac trapped the sweat inside everything. In the future I will wear either a cotton t-shirt under the cashmere or only the cashmere sweater and see how the dampness is. I will also put the fleece sleeping bag liner inside the sleeping bag and see how that feels and will ditch the Bivvy for a night.
Also, the next time I sleep out, I plan to put the tent out in the meadow on top of the snow with a footprint groundsheet between the snow and the tent. I will also have my boots, winter coat, and mittens with me.I intend to put them on as soon as I crawl out of the sleeping bag in the morning.
Next week, I’ll discuss some of the backpacking food issues that I found, as well as some current events and my new sense of urgency to re-organize our field gear.
May you all have a very safe and blessed week. – Jim & Avalanche Lily, Rawles
We made a family affair out of watching and photographing the lunar eclipse. We thought that we were going to miss it as there were fairly heavy rain clouds that obscured much of the night sky, but just as the eclipse began, the clouds began to thin out and we were treated to a spectacular sight. At the full climax, the clouds disappeared and the view was so spectacular that we actually got to see the meteor hit the lunar surface. It was so quick that we thought that it had been an error in our camera until we saw other reports of it on YouTube. What a wonderful experience that we will be talking about for quite some time.
On the prepping front, this week was a rather slow week as we needed a mini-vacation from all the activity surrounding the loss of a loved one. It became a time of introspection and Bible study as slowed our pace down and just enjoyed each others company.
Next week, we’ll be hard at it again as the weather predictions are signalling much warmer weather, some of it in the high 50s with very little wind. Now is the time to get those spring chores done before the spring winds start kicking up and the ground freezes hard.
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.