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  1. I’ve decided to stay another year here at the cabin for several reasons chief among them keeping my fantastic (for me) job. Right now is not the time to lower our income, and I will go home to the Redoubt every break. I also know I still have a lot to be done here. And, I have fantastic Healthcare that is very low cost. Though the dental insurance through work seems to cover only about 50% on procedures but 100% maintenance; I scheduled 2 major dental work appointments for us. This week I took one day and had a plethora of checkups. Yup, I’m healthy as a horse. I do know, however, that I did not get enough exercise last winter with all the ice and sleet instead of usable snow and will have to take care this spring. Especially with the heavy wood that I’m clearing.

    Reconnected with my neighbor while we were all out and about doing yard and garden things. This was probably the most important thing I accomplished this week. We keep to ourselves, but watch over each other’s places. At least I have known these neighbors and their families for a very long time.

    Moved baby trees that have self seeded on the yard part of the property in anticipation of mowing. Planted out seedlings and flowers. This year I’m going to plant some pumpkin and squash seeds and just let them grow all summer. I’ll see what happens by the time I return in late August. I do have the opportunity to get them started nicely and can have someone water them if it is a hot dry summer since I need to have someone water the newly established perennials and berry bushes and fruit trees anyway this summer.

    Still deciding on a greenhouse; we are leaning toward one built off the side of the cabin. I arranged a raised bed box I hadn’t yet setup to sit on top of the inground compost hole that has been filled before we could get the sides built-up. Yes, it will take years for the compost to rot down to nice usable dirt since we are still filling it, but it will be there and usable in the future. It’s in a nice sunny place too.

  2. I found some great bargains at various “used” stores this week including wine making equipment and supplies (corker, corks and air locks), some lead, miscellaneous hardware, scythe sharpening stone, a bunsen burner, 1lb of gulf wax, and a large baby food jar of rivets

    I got 29 more pounds of nails since I found such a great price on them, 2 spools of electric wire, a number of carriage bolts and wood screws.

    Hired somebody to do a little work on our well. The well head is currently in a pit with the wrong well cap. I am having the pipe extended and the proper cap installed. This will do 2 things for us, provide more insulation to the water line to protect it from freezing and two allow us to install a hand pump in the future.

    Did some research on Kubota tractors. I am thinking of getting either a BX or L model. Just about everyone I talk to say go with the L. The only the I really wanted on the BX that isn’t available on the L is the PTO mid under belly for a mower deck. I guess I cut just get a tow behind mower.
    Anyone have experience with either series?

    Will be leaving shortly to go look at some used Bee Keeping items and then head out to the BOL for the rest of the day. It is very wet, locals say it is the wettest spring they ever remember.

    1. We have a Kutoba L4701 and we really like it. For a medium duty tractor, it is just right for our 50 acre farm and forest. I purchased most of the implements to use for gardening, clearing land, cutting the meadows, maintaining dirt roads, pushing over trees and pulling stumps, hauling heavy items and just about any chore we have to do. My son does all the regular maintenance on the tractor and we have had no major problems with it.

  3. Are those 7 gallon buckets food grade? Is the food packaged any further within the buckets? What happens when a bucket gets down to 1/4 filled, are the contents moved to a smaller vessel?

    We once kept beans, nuts in their store bought packaging inside of food grade Gamma sealed buckets, but now we empty the bag in 1/2 gallon mason jars and as they are used up to the half-filled level transfer them to smaller containers. Of course this works for us as we have a considerably smaller stock.

    I had a rim of the Gamma seal bucket fail when too much weight was on it. The bucket that sits atop the lid puts the weight on the middle of the lid and not at the edges. If I stack them I would put a 1/4″ hardboard on top so that the weight is transferred away from the inner part of the lid to the edge.

    1. Lily, here, chiming in,

      Yes, I will also move, sometimes, smaller amounts of food from the bucket to a Mason jar. It all depends on, however, if I think of it, because we’re using a lot of that particular food item, and I’m in the mode of cleaning and organizing, consolidating foods, etc. What I mean is, it’s not always a given that we’ll transfer food to a smaller container just because it’s very low in the bucket. :).

    1. Dear KB,

      I do not like to buy potting soil. I have in the past, but I don’t trust it, anymore. It is sterile most of the time, and who knows what is truly in it? The last time I used it, about four years ago, I, at the same time, used some soil from my garden. The growth difference of the tomatoes between the store-bought pot potting soil and my garden soil was astounding. It really opened my eyes. Since then, I only use my own garden soil.

      In the fall after we have harvested the crops and have rototilled, I put some surface soil from my garden into large tree-sized planters and put it into the greenhouse to overwinter, and be available for me come spring seedling time.

      In the fall and spring, we put rotted cow and chicken manure on the soil to boost it, also, I sprinkle gypsum and Epsom salts to boost the soil’s magnesium content. This is all I do for my garden at this time. I do try to rotate where I plant my beans each year to get their nitrogen fixing abilities to each area every few years. I do need to do more research on soil amendments, too. However, I’m trying to be very careful of what is added to our soil. Going natural is best.

  4. Did the usual gardening and farm chores this week. Got most everything planted but still have melon and spinach seedlings in trays to do. My back spasms have returned so that has put the kabash on some of my plans.

    We get copperhead snakes in the summer time. I think they are attracted by the field mice that we are continually at war with, but for whatever reason, we get them. I read an article on the internet written by a vet that said most hunting size dogs can survive a copperhead bite without a vet to give antivenin at a cost of $500 to $1000 per vial. I can’t afford a $3000 vet bill so this week I set up a snake bite kit for the animals. I gathered up all the needed meds and treatment items and created a chart that listed all the dogs and the amount of Benadryl (liquid and pill form), antibiotic and pain pill amounts to use for treatment. This way we don’t have to stop and figure out who gets how much at a critical time.

    Our 5-year old video security system hard drive died this week, thus we have been unable to see what triggers the outdoor alarms. We have alarms scattered about the farm and video cameras covering the alarmed areas. The video system saves us a lot of time in checking out what triggered the alarm(s). I ordered and received a new wireless/battery operated camera system which we are setting up this today.

    Have a great week!

  5. The conversation about soil reinforces my belief that healthy, living, productive soil is a tangible asset worthy of investment. Having good soil takes time, money, and effort, but is a tangible asset that can pay significant dividends.

  6. I have a 25 lb dog that survived a copperhead bite, although I did take him to a vet for medication, you are correct that they did not use antivenin.

    It’s a tricky thing though, you never know how much venom they received, your mileage may vary.

    I usually find them out and about around midnight, I go on patrols with a flashlight and a shovel.

  7. One of my most favorite parts of Survivalblog is the weekly update on progress. I must say Lily, thou hath strength!! I spent the last month setting up a new-to-me home/cabin, but I immediately ordered seeds and started a miniature garden on the kitchen table due to the frigid outdoor temps. Having no real supplies yet, I grabbed a bag of potting soil at the Do-It Center, a package of small paper cups at the Dollar store in town, filled 64 tiny cups with soil, popped in the seeds, watered, and let the sun work it’s magic. My cabin is east facing with a wall of windows 2 stories high. The sun streams in every morning and heats the cabin to greenhouse temps no matter how cold outside. I love it that you made the living room your temporary greenhouse Lily. I did the same thing! Who says our growing season is only 90 days? LOL. I did some online bulk ordering. I’m growing fond of Nuts.com because I can get bulk organic dried fruit, nuts, baking supplies, grains, etc., delivered. I bounce between Bob’s Red Mill and Nuts.com for delivery of high quality supplies. Not as “cheap” as other sources, but in a pinch, I can stock up pretty quickly. I found a rancher in Lucille, ID that delivers grass fed beef, pork, lamb, and dairy, to a nearby drop off point, and received a delivery. Since I’ve been stocking up for a good 10 years, it was strange to be in a new place without all the supplies I was used to. Comparatively speaking, it was less expensive to move to rural Idaho without hauling everything with me, and purchase when I arrived, than it would have been if I tried to haul everything here. Before I moved, I gave the supplies to my four children and their families were happy for it. It’s about warm enough at night now to transplant the seedlings. I so want to dig in the dirt. There’s something magical about dirt and sunshine!

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