To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make long-term and short-term plans. In this column, the SurvivalBlog editors review their week’s prep activities and planned prep activities for the coming week. These range from healthcare and gear purchases to gardening, ranch improvements, bug out bag fine-tuning, 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 past week was typical for our summers: busy!
In addition to my regular writing tasks and ranch chore and projects, I helped a neighbor repair a piece of his haying machinery. As is typical in this country where it is a long drive to the nearest hardware store, this turned into a multi-day project. Life in the country does have its own set of frustrations. But overall, it is a joy, and I wouldn’t trade it for any other sort of life.
Lily will describe how our new heifer is getting settled in. Other than doing the driving (with our horse trailer in tow), I was only peripherally involved in that little rodeo.
This weekend I’m attending a gun show, so my input to this column is brief. Prepping for the gun show took just a few hours.
Now, over to Lily…
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week consisted of three trips off the ranch which took big chunks of time. One of those trips was to pick up a heifer that we bought from a friend, and also to collect some beef in little white packages. Our new freezer is now 1/2 full. Hopefully we’ll finish filling it with venison this fall. I’m very happy to now have our 3 and a half freezers full of produce and meats. Some of these meats, I will be canning and dehydrating in the fairly near future. I’m feeling very strongly that it will be very important to have most of our stored foods canned or dehydrated. I very much prefer to eat fresh, but sometime in the very near future that might not be possible. It’s just a gut feeling I have/Holy spirit prompted intuition.
The time in-between the trips was occupied with picking berries, berries, berries and more berries, raspberries that is, and zucchinis, mint, and green beans. The berries were frozen and dehydrated. The same for the zucchinis. I did two more batches of green beans with pressure canning. Miss Eloise and Miss Violet helped me with the picking, washing, snapping, and they observed the rest of the process as I did it.
I tend to pick the berries alone. Nobody else wants to brave the thorns, mosquitoes, spiders, horse flies and wasps. We recently purchased a “Zap It” tennis racket-like bug zapper. I bring that outside with me. When I disturb the berry foliage, the Mozzies, who are resting under the leaves, get all excited and come in for the attack. I grab the zapper and swing it all around me, and wave it up and down and zap all of those mozzies before they have a chance to come at me. Let me tell you it is a very satisfying feeling to see and hear the electric sparks as the racket makes contact with those blood sucking terrorists, and to smell the burning of their carcasses, just knowing that there are a few less in the world to torture me and suck my blood. Once I’ve cleared the area of the Mozzies, I resume picking. Every new berry section requires a repeat of the action before I can pick. Unfortunately for us, the mosquitoes will not go away until the first frost. Hopefully, we won’t get a frost until September or October.
I also bought 8 more cases of canning jars of various sizes, half gallons, quarts, and pints to add to my already large supply of jars. I was also replacing the half gallons that were used this week, see below. Half gallon jars are so handy. One can never ever have enough jars.
We bought a very large amount of spices about a month and a half ago. This week all of the spices were transferred into half gallon and quart jars, labeled, and vacuum sealed. Additionally, the berries, mint, and zucchinis that were dehydrated were put in quart jars and were vacuumed sealed.
For the Fall garden in the greenhouse, I planted seeds of spinach, broccoli, various lettuces, beets, chard, and kale. The kale seeds were from the seeds that I harvested a few weeks ago and dried.
I still need to plant carrots and turnips and maybe more broccoli in the main garden.
This week, I attempted hoof trimming two of our horses, S and C. S’s hooves are terrible: splaying out in the front and sides and cracked. Her hooves don’t do well in our climate. And it is worse this time of the year because it is the hooves growing season. C’s and Ch’s hooves do, do well here, and just look a wee bit long. Only one hoof of C’s has a crack in it, and it’s small enough that I can file it out.
While trimming, I tired out fairly quickly and the inside of my right knee is a little bruised from the pressure and weight of the hooves. I need chaps. Oh, I just remembered that Miss Eloise has a pair. I will use them next time. Smile. My hands are not the strongest. I did three of the hooves on each horse, before tiring out. I clipped the hooves and filed the bottoms and the front. I did each horse on a different day. I was going to finish them up on Friday, but I needed to rest. I will give them another go on Sunday. The three hooves on each horse look much better than before. Both of their fourth hoof is a back hoof. I also need to get another tool to shave away at the inside of the hoof around the frog, not the frog itself. I also need to watch a few more videos. I think, I need to use on of those hand squeezers to work my hand muscles to strengthen them so that clipping the hard nail will be easier. Thankfully, I can work on the horses a little at a time and every day to get the hooves where they should be, and this also will allow me to build up the strength in the muscles that I need to develop to do this job over a period of time.
Our horses were fairly cooperative with me. Our last farrier had a very quiet and peaceful demeanor that the horses really respected, so I am emulating him, and am also being very calm and peaceful and consistent with them. They know that I am serious and will make them give their hooves until I am finished. When I get tired, I drop their hoof and spend the next few minutes hugging, talking to them, rubbing their bug bitten bellies, and throats and kissing them. They like that attention. Then pick up their hoof again to continue the job.
This week I wormed all of our cows and horses. I put the worm medicine in wet COB in the rubber animal feed dishes and give it to each animal to eat so they get the right amount of medicine for their weight.
Then I gave the 8-way shot to our new heifer, and the booster to our other cattle. Last year we lost a heifer to a hemolytic bacteria. Up until that incident, we had had seven years with no problems and never vaccinated our cattle. But now, we have to, since clearly something is in our soil. Typically, we now use UltraBac8, and Bovi-Shield Gold.
Our new heifer (“A”) was put into a corral. Jim had to unload her by himself, because we had picked up another vehicle that had been worked on at the shop, while on our way back home, and do some grocery shopping. We both arrived home at different times. While Jim was closing the gate some of the horses and cows ran into the corral to meet the newcomer. This was fine. A few hours later, they came out and we kept the heifer “isolated” for two days, until we acquired the vaccines and worm medicines. We then let the other cows come back into the corral with “A”. Then by turns, I did the worming and vaccinating. Now, I am keeping the cows and bull all together in the corral to bond for a few more days. Once they have all bonded and A. knows that she is a member of the herd, and we, humans have spent some quality time with her, I will let her out to run the ranch with them. I know that she will stay with them and that they will “show her the ropes” and help keep her safe.
I have a huge list of things that I need to be doing in the next few weeks. Hopefully, I will be accomplishing them and telling you about them in the coming weeks.
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.