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!
This week I went to a cedar mill and bought some rough-cut cedar planks. I plan to use these to construct some more raised beds in the expanded portion of our main garden. That cedar mill is less than 50 miles away. By local standards, that is considered “practically next door.” By buying rough cut “seconds” directly at the mill, I pay only about 20% of the retail price that is charged for S4S cedar at retail lumberyards.
I was finally able to get busy with one of my Stihl gas chainsaws, and both limb and cut up a few of the trees that Lily had dropped, just before I was traveling. Then I felled a larger one–about 16″ at the butt. I plan to finish up that one next week. This too, was in furtherance of our planned garden expansion.
As part of our normal storage food rotation, I helped Lily re-fill six 7-gallon super pails with rolled oats that we had mail-ordered. And as, usual we labeled the buckets with the contents and date-of-pack. All five of these buckets were already equipped with Gamma Seal lids, so access to those oats will be quick and easy. Because rolled oats are so light (at least compared to beans, grain, or honey), those buckets of oats are destined for the top of the bucket stacks, in JASBORR.
I was also busy this week Internet-ordering a few odds and ends to complete “systemizing” some of my recent AR builds. I don’t consider a rifle or carbine “fully mission capable” until they have 10 magazines each, a full set of both iron sights and optics, a sling, a cleaning kit, a set of web gear (with at least enough magazine pouches to hold 6 magazines), a canteen, an IFAK pouch, and a padded carry case of some sort. Of course there is also the requisite test-firing and zeroing with both irons and glass. And finally a thorough cleaning and lube. Then, and only then, do I feel that they are ready to tuck away.
While I was traveling, a mated pair of Cooper’s Hawks began nesting up in a fir tree at the far end of the Close Pasture. We enjoy seeing them here at the ranch, because they are giftedly death on mice. But I don’t like it when they screech at us. And this morning they made a couple of half-hearted dives at Lily, when she stepped out from the back porch. Those little hawks are very feisty and territorial! But I’m confident that they’ll soon figure out that we are no threat to them, and that our movements are merely routine.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week seems to have just flown by. We’ve had nice weather in the 50s and 60s with three frosts, two of them very hard frosts, at night. I did bring in all of the sensitive seedlings (12 large trays) from the greenhouse for three nights in a row. Actually, I just brought them in and left them in the living room for three days. The squash seeds enjoyed the heat and took advantage of it by sprouting the rest in the pots where they hadn’t sprouted yet. After bringing them back out to the greenhouse, I filled eight more trays with soil and planted more broccoli, pumpkin, Hubbard squash, Acorn squash, parsley and a few others I can’t think of just now. I now have about 30 trays of seedlings.
Remember, last fall when I told you all, that I was planting, outside in the main garden, kale, garlic, walking onions and carrots from my second year carrot flowers? Well, they are all sprouting. That experiment to overwinter carrot and kale seeds in the ground really does work. (We already knew that garlic and walking onions over-winters). I also planted five rows of potatoes in this same area, last fall. Whether or not that experiment worked or not, still remains to be seen.
Part of what has excited me, is that I had germination success with raising my own carrot seeds from their flowers. The wonder of it all! Therefore, this week I prepared another two beds in the main garden and planted the carrot seeds from my carrot flowers. The flowers are all dried out, so I just rubbed them over the bed to disperse their seeds, then raked the soil gently over them.
I roto-tilled a section of the main garden for a third time to mix in chicken manure.
I’m still in the “hurry up and wait” stage for the weather, for planting outside the cold sensitive crops. I’ve looked over the Annex garden area. I need to get in there with the rototiller and bring in more old rotted manure. I bring manure in, usually, with the wheel barrel. It takes time. We are still building up that soil. Seriously folks, it takes several years to get good fertile soil in gardens. It is a joke to think that a “prepper” who has never gardened before would think that they can just turn over some soil, throw seeds in the ground, and grow enough food to survive. I’ve been building up our main garden now for seven years and finally we have deep rich soil in it. Just thinking about the Annex garden, that we’re still building it’s soil, and we still have a long way to go… Not to mention the new Extension garden that we will be just starting from the beginning to build up, starting this summer.
I did some deep cleaning of two cupboards, and the house, de-cluttering surfaces and cupboards.
I finally got into the Horse Trailer tack room to clean it out. (I had already had taken out and cleaned, saddles, halters, ropes and blankets.) I finished taking out all of the other tack and emptied it. I vacuumed, and washed the carpet and all walls, and the loft deck. I sorted through the rest of the tack and culled out unneeded and broken tack: bridles, halters, ropes, etc. I reorganized and put everything back in. Whew, that was a job. I hadn’t realized how much horsy-related stuff we had collected over the past seven years. I left a pile of broken tack by our bedroom door for Jim to repair. 🙂 Some other pieces were just beyond repair–such as some lead ropes that had already been shortened a few times. We’ll just save some of the steel and brass hardware from that, to re-use.
We also hiked two days in a row for a total of four hours (eight miles) up in the adjoining National Forest.
May you all have a very blessed and safe week.
– Avalanche Lily, Rawles
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As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.