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!
We’ve had a very busy week here at the Rawles Ranch. Both Lily and #1 Daughter did a lot of refurbishing work on one last saddle and some left over tack. The standing joke in the American Redoubt is that the most popular “perfumes” used by eligible young ladies to attract future husbands are not Diptyque Vetyverio or Chanel #5. Rather, they are Leather Milk  and Hoppe’s #9 . Speaking of horse tack repair, I stopped by a nearby farm and ranch store (55 miles away) and bought some replacement bull snaps and brass “finger” lead rope clamps . With those, I’ll be able to repair several lead ropes that had their snaps broken by our Problem Child horse. This is a knot-headed 10-year-old that is notorious for breaking tack. That horse has broken more tack than all of our other horses, combined!
BTW, I prefer the Weaver brand 1″ bull snaps . These are imported from Taiwan (Free China). I’d prefer to find some that are American made, but at least these aren’t made in some Mainland China prison factory. The Weaver bull snaps are quite sturdy and don’t seem to break as easily as the alleged “heavy duty” snaps that come on the ready-made horse leads.
On that same trip, I bought a lawn mower for Lily. We don’t have a “lawn” here per se, but we do need something to mow down the weeds between the raised beds in our gardens, and to mow around the fruit trees in our orchard. With a proper shrouded gas mower, there will be less risk of killing a sapling. (All it takes is a moment of inattention, and you can “ring” a small tree with a weed eater. That is a costly mistake!) Yes, Jim, Lily here, commenting on Jim’s section of the preps; Our weedwhacker gave up it’s ghost this spring, and I had accidentally ringed an apple sapling, with it, last summer, oops! It survived, though.)
I also stopped by our local Les Schwab tire center, and had the studded snow tires on our pickup truck switched out for the summer rubber. (We keep both sets mounted on rims.) That pickup rarely leaves the ranch, but to do summer hauling, we need regular all-season tires, to stay legal on paved public roads in the summer.
We’ve also been doing a lot of Spring Cleaning around the place. But Lily can fill you in on that.
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week has been gorgeously sunny and fairly warm in the 60s and 70s here in our part of the American Redoubt. I decided that since the extended forecast looks as though we may be past the risk of nightly frosts, (we could have a frost during any month of the year, anyway.) that I’d partially end the “Hurry-up-and-wait” game and start planting some of the warmer weather crops.
In the Main garden, I planted seeds of Contender beans, a mystery bean that I harvested and threshed last fall, of which I think are Yellow wax, the red and green cabbage seedlings, Zucchini seedlings and seeds.
In the greenhouse beds, I planted six tiny Beefsteak tomato seedlings. (I have about 18 more of them that I’ll plant outside under hoops in another two weeks or so.) I’m kinda curious to see if they will grow faster in the greenhouse bed or in their small pots which are also in the greenhouse. I also planted Yellow Zucchini seedlings and seeds, and lettuce and a fast growing Raab broccoli.
I took seeds from my onion flowers that bloomed last summer and I had dried in a paper lunch sack bag and put them in trays of soil to germinate to grow my own onion bulbs this summer for onion bulbs for for next summer’s garden. I also replanted some of last summer’s harvested onions that have sprouted their stems to get more flowers and seeds for next summer. Growing onions from your own seeds is a two to three year process. I have not had too much luck in the past of growing onions from seed, but I’m going to try again, because, soon we may not have access to buying onion bulbs.
The girls and I pulled the weeds in the Walking onions/garlic bed and spread straw mulch between all of the plants and in between the beds on the paths. We spread straw between all rows of the planted garden: the carrots, potatoes, zucchini, onions, beans, etc. The straw will hold in the moisture, keep down the weeds and help fertilize the garden for next year. This year, I think that I won’t be using black layment for mulch, because it lessens the available earth in which to plant crops. I’m trying to maximize growth space this coming year and the layment didn’t allow for planting between plants. I also think that it made the soil underneath too hot for the plants. I think straw will probably do a better job.
I helped Jim replace some old rotted cedar posts from one side of our garden fencing with metal 10-foot heavy duty T-posts. This spring we will be replacing many of the cedar posts with T-posts all around the Main Garden and will be fencing in the Extension garden, too, soon.
Miss Violet and I picked up the rocks in the Extension garden, and stacked, in a large burn pile, the branches from the trees that both Jim and I, had dropped and limbed. Next week, I hope Jim will disc it. Then the girls and I will collect more of the rocks that will be unearthed. I’ll have Jim disc it again, we’ll collect rocks again, then I will lay down manure, and the kitchen compost pile, and rototill. We’ll have to see how the soil looks once we do those things. If the soil looks pretty good, I’ll plant it. Otherwise, we’ll have to leave it for a year and keep adding compost to it to build it up and plant it next summer.
I measured our garden areas. All of them combined–Main garden, Annex, Herb, Orchard and the currently-being-developed Extension gardens–are over 8,000 square feet. And, I still do not think we have enough garden space, yet, to be completely self-sufficient. I’m working on it, though.
The Farrier came this week to do the (almost) monthly hoof trimming. Both “lame” horses have now recovered from their leg and hoof ailments. Thank you, Lord! Now to get back to exercising and riding them, soon. I’m currently focused on the garden. Life is just like that.
I mowed the pathways around the garden beds. I do the mowing, because I enjoy doing it. I also mowed the orchard. That will have to be mowed once a week, this year.
I just have a short comment about words. With a few short words I write what we have accomplished this week. These words just don’t seem to do justice/don’t seem to convey, the large amount of work that was done. 🙁
I didn’t do any “sporty” exercise this week, gardening, rototilling and mowing were the exercise of the week. But I wanna hike! The wildflowers are blooming in the woods and I want to see them! Next week, I’ll make the time to do so.
I rototilled the chicken-manured patch of garden for a 5th time (the manure chunks are getting smaller and smaller more mixed into the soil each time I rototill. The chicken-manured area will become the tomato patch in a few weeks. I also rototilled another area of the garden for a second time.
The girls are doing a bit of school in the mornings. Miss Violet is getting a preview of Pre-Algebra, so that she’ll be familiar with the concepts for her class this coming fall. Miss Eloise is studying and reviewing everything from her school years in order to take the ACT, soon. In the afternoons we are tackling different jobs. One of the jobs we tackled this week, was the girls’ bedroom. We emptied their closet and sorted through all of the clothes, culled out the things that doesn’t fit or they don’t like, and made a list of what they need to acquire to round out their wardrobes. We went through their collections of other STUFF and culled out some things from that, and sorted through books, movies on DVD, etc. It’s so bad how we become such pack rats of things that just clutter space and frustrate us when we have to reorganize and find places to keep them. What a waste of time. I respect our kids’ sentimentality for many objects. But we try to see what we can peacefully cull. Actually, on occasion, I’m the one with the sentimental feelings for certain objects of their possessions and don’t want them to part with them. Some help I am at times, huh?
Well, furthermore, there is such a fine line between having what you need and a little extra for the future and for needy others who may come during a SHTF scenario, and outright hoarding. It is a never-ending battle.
Speaking of deep cleaning, Jim, finally, cleaned off his desk. He uses for his desk an old wooden door resting on two filing cabinets for his workspace, computer and monitor. It was piled high with papers, notes, office supplies, and the flotsam and jetsam of ranch life, etc. I walked into the office one afternoon this week, to talk to him. My eyes dropped to the desk. I looked at it. It took a moment to register what I was seeing. I exclaimed, “Whoa, Jim, Whaddaya do in here?” I was absolutely floored by it’s transformation, shocked, I tell you, I almost needed CPR. 🙂 Just kidding. Jim’s desk is usually the only spot in his jurisdiction that ever gets overly cluttered. But he clears and organizes it about four times a year.
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.