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!
Here at the Rawles Ranch we had some wonderful atypical sunny days this week which cheers us all up. We’re happy that the days are starting to perceptibly lengthen, but we will be very happy when the Grip Of Winter is released.
Aside from my usual writing, I did some organizing and inventorying. I concentrated on making certain that I have all of the parts needed to complete my few remaining planned M4gery and AR-10 builds. It would be embarrassing to be a few parts short. You see, ARs have a nasty habit of not functioning unless all of the requisite parts are present, sober, and ready for duty. There are a few exceptions–such as the ejection port cover parts and sling swivels–but as for most of the rest: They have to be there, or the Poodle Shooter doesn’t go “bang” reliably or accurately in a serial fashion, as it should.
Avalanche Lily Reports
To conclude the discussion of backpacking gear and food, that I began last week:
I spent more time in YouTube listening to videos of Through Hikers planning their meals, preparing and organizing their foods in boxes and sending it. I wanted to know what their food choices were. What I found were that many of these hikers live on highly processed foods: candy, freeze dried meals, nutrition bars all of which are full of additives: corn syrup, soy, MSG, salts, other flavorings, dyes, preservatives, dried milk, blueberries, bananas, nutritional yeast, maltodextrin, aspartame and other fake sugars, et cetera. Those are all things that I refuse to eat, or am intolerant to. I have food sensitivities (the big ones are yeast, mushrooms, cane sugar, blueberries, bananas, milk and milk products, eggs, crustaceans, mollusks, and whole wheat. (Gluten is not an issue). If any foods contain these items, I would prefer to fast that meal than to eat it, and feel lousy, later.
For the most part, our family eats an all natural, very loose kind of Paleo-Keto diet, which is dairy free and mostly wheat and yeast free. We eat very little packaged processed food, mainly canned tuna, salmon, Kirkland plain potato and corn chips, some Premium Saltine crackers, dark chocolate, canned organic tomato sauce, paste, diced; Lara Bars, peanut and almond butters, organic ketchup, and relish. Most everything else we buy is bought in it’s pure, single state form, or we buy fresh, or grow it ourselves, or raise it ourselves.
I am not currently milking cows, because we are mostly dairy free. Our cows are now being raised for beef. But one of them can be milked if we had long term guests who need milk. For instance if our son, his wife and the grandchildren came home, they would want milk and eggs. A similar situation has arose with the chickens: sensitivities to eggs, thus we raise them for meat and give most of the eggs away.
Well, so what do we eat? We eat lots of beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, salmon, cod, nuts and seeds of all kinds: almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios, peanuts, pumpkin and sunflower seeds; rice, sweet and white potatoes, squash, oats, barley, some honey and maple syrup, and lots of fresh, frozen and dried fruit, veggies, olive and coconut oils and milk, and only a little bit of pure dark chocolate. We eat very little dairy, wheat, pastas, yeast, sugars, desserts, jams. The kids do sometimes eat cheddar cheese melted on corn chips. I will eat white flour (non yeast or dairy) homemade biscuits or flatbread once in a while, but cannot make a habit of it. I make lots of soups, chili’s, stir fries, roasts; meat, potato/rice vegetable meals, of which, I will now be sharing those recipes with you in the coming weeks.
Obviously, many of these foods are not self-sustainable in the American Redoubt, which is why we say stock up. We wish to stay as healthy as possible as long as possible, and when these unsustainable foods are gone, they’re gone and we’ll make do with what is left.
Healthy Trail Foods
Thus, needing more ideas for healthy eating on the trails, I got back onto YouTube and looked up the words “Thru Hikers Keto” and a large number of videos showed up of people with special diets doing Thru hikes mostly on the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and their food choices. I watched many of them and gleaned many more ideas of what to eat and how to prepare our own dehydrated meals.
Thus this past week, I cooked up and then dehydrated (in our trusty Excalibur dehydrator) some of our frozen ground beef, and veggies: Zuchinni, carrots, sweet peppers to make some meals for hiking/bugging out. Nearly all of those foods were grown or raised right here at the ranch, but not the peppers. We’re having a tough time getting them to grow, here. I harvested only about 30 peppers this past fall. The dehydrated hamburger was delicious to me. I couldn’t stop snacking on it.
We do have much Freeze Dried individual foods in storage, but most of them are in bulk-sized packages (read: #10 Cans) and I do not want to get into them, until we have to. We also have freeze dried meals and MREs I will not eat these because of the chemicals/preservatives and dyes. At least I won’t until they’re the only thing left on the shelf. Then, God help me!
We also ordered dehydrated coconut milk and some beef bone broth powder to try, and to nutritionally boost our smoothies and hiking cereals. They arrived this week and I will be trying them out this coming week.
Now for the jump from Ultra-light hiking to Survivalism. Now that I know more about dehydrating our own foods for meals. I’m going to be dehydrating more foods to create our own dehydrated meals for hiking and bugging out. We will test them out here at the ranch and during some hiking and skiing trips in the coming weeks. I, also will be putting them into our bug out bags in case we ever have to flee our ranch. This is our bug out location, I hope to never have to leave, but you never know what could happen… We must be prepared for all scenarios. In the future, I will tell you which meals work the best and how to make them.
Because we are of the survivalist bent and are looking at long-term survival in the forest and the practicability of available long term fuel, I have a tiny folding wood burning stove for cooking meals that burns twigs and small pieces of wood, instead of a gas/propane hiker stove. We will be testing that out with these dehydrated foods in the coming weeks.
Snow Conditions, Skis, and Skiing Skills
Three weeks ago, I discovered that if the snow is soggy wet, then my waxless cross-country skis do well on that type of snow, also as well as, the powdery snow if the temperature is below 32* F. The problem is a damp snow layer on top of powder as the temperature transitions from above freezing to below freezing. This is when the snow crystals freeze to the bottom of the skis causing the skis to lose their gliding capabilities.
What I’d like to do this winter, and what we are doing, is getting everyone in shape and up to speed on their cross country skiing skills, so that we can go for an overnight winter cross country skiing trip. Violet came skiing with me three times this week. She needs to get the kick and glide movements smoother and continue to build her strength and endurance.
As you all know, up to this point, we are living year-round at–and have been developing–our intended Bugout location. (Our idea of Bugging Out is Bugging in, since we already live here.) We haven’t really spent too many nights sleeping outside or camping. We aren’t really planning on leaving here, but if we had to, we need to be ready to go, to be in shape, and to be accustomed to being out in the elements in all situations.
As a wrap up, this coming week, the plan is to test sleeping out in my Wiggy’s sleeping bag in the tent, to try to ski around our land or hike the driveway and road for an hour every day, to order polypropylene long underwear for a good base layer, to do some research into sleds to pull gear in while cross country skiing, to dehydrate more foods and start planning meals and testing them out on our little tiny wood camp stove, and to start composing an article on the comparison of ultralight hiking gear versus a bugout backpack.
May you all have a very blessed week! – Jim and Avalanche Lily Rawles
This week at the Latimer homestead the preparations for Spring gardens have begun! The ground thawed enough where the tractor was able to till the ground. It was a team effort. Two young men shoveling the foot of chicken poo out of the chicken pen into a wheelbarrow, then onto the main garden plot to spread it. The winter’s ashes from the wood stove was also spread throughout the garden and then everything, including last years plant cover (sans any seeds) was tilled under. We’ll now let that settle for the next six weeks or so and then till again just after the spring grasses have started to shoot up. It’s funny, no matter how hard you try to find all of the carrots and onions, you always find you missed some when you till.
In the meantime, the house repairs continue at a normal pace. Every outlet in the house has to be replaced because the old outlets have lost their grip. It doesn’t help that whoever wired the house before never bothered to connect the ground wires. At least they didn’t cut them off so it’s just a matter of wiring them properly as I replace the outlets.
Strangely enough, we have one light switch in the kitchen that doesn’t seem to control anything. There is power to it and it has its own breaker, but I can’t find any load connected to it. I suspect that it was a light switch that was orphaned during one of the many remodels the previous owners performed. The microwave sits right next to it so I’m thinking of replacing the switch with an outlet for the microwave. I’d feel a lot better about that if I could just locate where the rest of the wire vanishes to. My fear is that it is just an open end somewhere in the wall or roof. Any ideas on tracing that mystery wire out would certainly be appreciated.
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.