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!
With the snow receding, I was finally able to get into part of our woods this week to clear deadfallen limbs and trees. There were also some of the usual small pines and firs that had been bent over by the snow with no real chance of growing back to normality. Just quick swipes of the chainsaw dropped all of those. This year I’m hauling quite a bit of the deadfall a longer distance than in previous years. This is because Lily plans to expand the fenced area of our main garden. Burning that and then spreading the ashes and plowing them under should help neutralize the natural acidity of our local soil. I plan to burn those piles later this spring. Typically, I burn slash twice a year: May and October. But since the goal this year is getting extra ashes for the new garden plot, I’ll try to get most of this year’s slash burned in May.
I was summoned on short notice to California to help an ailing relative, so I will be away from the ranch for a couple of weeks. At least this came at a good time: that is, Mud Season. So I’m not missing much productive time in our woods. By the time I get back home, the snow will be off the ranch entirely and I’ll be ready to clear deadfall, and get the annual firewood cutting project in high gear. My travel also came just before a California magazine law change, so the timing was propitious.
Avalanche Lily Reports
This week has flown by very fast and has been very busy. For exercise this week, I got in one “last” cross country skiing stint, on our ranch. One day later, the snow out in the meadow was melted. There are still some large snow patches around the house and in our woods, but they are not continuous, anymore. So that is the end of skiing down here in the valley. I could still ski up in the National Forest at a slightly higher elevation, but we’re in crunch time for gardening and school, so I need to stay close to home. We’ll see though, I kinda hate saying goodbye to skiing. I really, really enjoy sliding over the surface of snow. I might squeeze a few more in, on the small patches?
The young ladies and I took the horses out on lead lines into the National Forest, very close to home, for two hikes this week. We ran them on trail and off trail up some steep short hills, through the trees, over logs and embankments, through snow patches. It was really adventurous and great workouts for all. The horses loved it. Ever since those workouts, whenever, I poke my head out the door to check on everybody, the horses look at me and whinny to me, with great expectation, as if asking, “Are you coming out to bring us hiking, again?” Life is getting interesting for them, once again. The horses were wormed this week and will get another dose in two weeks–spring cleansing for them. I’ve also put Apple Cider Vinegar in their plastic drinking trough and a Tablespoon of diatomaceous earth in their daily wet C-O-B ration to help cleanse them of parasites and “unfriendlies” in their guts. We do this just for a week or two in the spring, and periodically. As far as continuing to clean the tack room: I washed two of their blankets, all of the halters, many of the leads, and saddle pads. There is still much more to do, there.
This week, I received my mail-ordered strawberries, Anne raspberries and purple asparagus this week. I immediately planted the strawberries in the snow-free strawberry bed that I had prepared last week.
The snow is still covering half of the house garden. Therefore, I had to shovel off most of the snow from the bed, I prepared last fall, for the new Asparagus bed. I hope to plant them this weekend, after the rest of the snow melts from the rain that is currently falling. The soil is already soft and workable under the snow.
I also had to shovel the top layer of snow from the area that I want to plant the Anne raspberries.
So you may ask, why did I already plant the strawberries outside if the weather may not yet cooperate with growing? Well, I am taking a gamble but, my other established strawberries are alive and dormant and the snow is now off of them. So I figure, the newly-bought strawberries are still dormant and can be put in the workable soil and will come out of dormancy around the same time as my established berries. Likewise, with both established and new, if when they come out of dormancy, and a frost is expected, I will cover both groups with coverings to protect them. Here, where we live, we can have a frost at anytime in the summer, so therefore, must watch the expected nighttime temperatures and be ready to cover things up.
However, in my nearly a decade here, I have seen that the main weather pattern has been, that around April 15th the weather is usually very compatible with getting in most of the garden during the following three weeks from that date. This spring, it appears that our weather has been generally warmer/drier than other years, more compatible with an even earlier planting than last year. We have had a long slow melt of three feet of snow since the second week in March up until this point, with very little rain.
This week, in the greenhouse, I planted broccoli and celery, in trays. (I should have planted the celery six weeks ago, in the house. Oops!) I also planted green and red cabbage, pickling cucumbers, spaghetti squash, butternut squash, honeydew melons, all types of tomatoes, yellow and regular zucchinis, and peppers.
I have spinach and kale growing in one of the beds of the greenhouse from seeds that were planted last fall. I will begin harvesting some leaves this coming week. I also planted more spinach and beet seeds in this bed.
The garlic and walking onions that I planted in the garden last fall are beginning to grow. I planted them in the area of the garden where it just so happens the snow comes off first.
This week I also ordered–from a well-known organic company–a large order of needed dry food items to continue our stocking up. We ordered a case of Apple Cider Vinegar, oats, cornmeal, nuts, spices and seasonings, and more garden seeds for storage, and many other items for immediate use.
This coming week, if it is not too soggy from the rain, and if all of the rest of the snow has melted from the garden, I plan to roto-till all of it. There, I’ll plant onions, carrots, turnips, raspberries and asparagus.
I need to get busy clearing the rocks from the section near the greenhouse where we’re expanding the main garden. From now on, until it is established, we’ll just call it the Expansion garden. I must also clean out that chicken coop, again. I will make a list of everything I wish to plant directly into the ground when the temperatures are warmer. I will be checking the orchard this week as well as the Annex garden. Maybe, I’ll be able to roto-till it, as well. Oh, and I need to wash and treat some leather bridles and cinches this coming week.
May you all have a blessed and safe week, – Jim and Avalanche Lily Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.