Editors’ Prepping Progress

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!

Jim Reports:

We had some family travel early this week, to be at the hospital to assist a relative, in eastern Washington. Thankfully, the doctors had a good report. Praise God!

I’m coming down to the wire on my deadline for the first half of my manuscript for “The Ultimate Prepper’s Survival Guide: An Advanced Preparedness Handbook for Uncertain Times“. That is scheduled for release by Carlton Publishing of London, in mid-to late 2020. My deadline for the second half of the manuscript is September 22nd.  Needless to say, I will be very busy, in the interim.

In my “spare” time, I’ve been building slash piles, hauling wood, and splitting rounds. With the help of our kids, I should have all of the wood we’ll need for the winter stacked under cover by the middle of next week. That way, we’ll feel truly ready for winter.

I have a gun show scheduled for the weekend of 6-7-8 September, in Kalispell, Montana. Then, soon after that I’ll be traveling out of state to assist an elderly relative. Have Macbook, Will Travel. It is nice being able to take my work with me.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
The early part of the week found us at the hospital with our relative who was receiving further invasive studies on her heart issue. It turns out that either the preliminary echocardiogram had a false reading or the Lord Jesus answered all of our prayers and completely healed her! Regardless, we are so relieved and pleased and are praising and blessing the name of Lord Jesus for His lovingkindness and mercies towards us.  You have no idea how relieved we are.  This family member can now look forward to many years of a vigorous life in serving the Lord in His Kingdom.  Thank you one and all for your prayers for her.

The rest of this week has been spent on myriads of projects:

I emptied, defrosted and rearranged three of our freezers (two were not defrosted, one was spot washed, one was completely scrubbed and all were rearranged),  Most of the items were alternately moved to our new chest freezer.  Now I have most of an empty freezer to refill with fresh foods.  The incident that precipitated this long over-due attention to the freezers was that one of them had one too many items that had shifted and blocked the door from being sealed shut unbeknownst to us while we were in town.  Upon return, I found the door ever so slightly ajar with some items thawed out. Grrr!  So we had to cook up some items.  Six frozen meals in mason jars were given to the chickens, and I had to turn some thawed berries into jams — four pints of black raspberry and ten pints of red raspberry.  We still have many gallons of frozen raspberries in the chest freezer. And yes, I did use regular cane sugar.  But, we’ll be giving many of those jars away as gifts and eating them when guests visit, since we don’t want to regularly eat really sweet foods.) We really didn’t lose too much, thankfully.  I also discovered some forgotten items that were over five years old that were culled, so it worked out in the end.

I froze 10 pint bags of kale for smoothies and stir fries, two gallons worth of Middle Eastern Zucchini, another gallon of yellow wax beans, another gallon of raspberries. I canned five more quarts of sterile water for medicinal purposes. I stacked another pile of split logs in our wood shed with Miss Eloise.  Miss Eloise and I dug up another bushel of red, purple, and white potatoes from the experimental over-wintering bed.  I’m not into full potato digging mode quite yet.  I’m still debating how soon I want to pull them out of the ground since that greenery is still mostly green and growing. I put up hoops around my tomatoes in order to cover them with plastic when the nights get cooler in another week or so.  However this year I plan to pull in all of the tomatoes regardless if they’re green or not, if a hard frost is predicted.  That way they can finish ripening in the house without risk of frost damage.  I also dehydrated another two quart-size mason jars of Zucchinni

I rode my bike twice this week.  My Mum and I canoed The Unnamed River this week.  It was a very lovely paddle together!

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always, please share your own successes and hard-earned wisdom in the Comments.




18 Comments

  1. Lily, please clarify for all of us who have lost power – one way or another…is it SAFE to CAN previously frozen vegetables? I have several small batches of green beans in my freezer…but would love to ‘put ’em up’ in canning jars to free up more space. THANK YOU!

    1. I can previously frozen meat every year. I put up pint jars of corned beef that I buy around Saint Patrick’s Day on sale. No problem. I have also canned freezer burned meat if I find that something got lost in the freezer for a few years.

    2. Hoosier Gal,

      Please forgive me for the delay in responding, I am new to this canning journey, myself, and had to consult with a couple of experts.

      Yes, it is safe to can previously frozen vegetables. Use common sense, though. How long have they been in the freezer? Do they still look and smell fresh? Did it ever thaw out and refreeze? Would you want to eat it if you thawed it out?

      Remember vegetables are low-acids foods and are always canned in the Pressure Canner.

      If we lost power, I would can my frozen carrots, beans, corn, and zucchini and any other vegetable I had frozen depending on how they looked and my gut feeling about their freshness. I am an incredibly cautious person when it concerns the freshness of food. My motto is, “When in doubt, throw it out”, or give it to the chickens.

      I would turn all of my berries into jam.

      I would can all of my frozen meats.

      My Mum, who is currently visiting, mentioned that her Dad’s Mum used to can all of their meat back in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. She canned thousands of jars of meat and veggies every year to keep their very large family safely well-fed. If they could can and eat most of their foods and lived into their eighties and nineties, why are we so worried about it??? We can do it, too!

      Many blessings and successes to you in your Canning Journey, Hoosier Gal,

      Lily

  2. Thankful for your relative’s good report. Praise God!

    Lots going on this time of year. The wood pile continues to grow. There will be splitting and stacking all fall, but the logs are piling up from the national forest. Still time.

    We continue to put up produce. I’m making headway in the freezer eat-down. Enough so that I was able to get some organizing done and more food in the freezer. I’m thinking of also canning some jam to free up space if time permits. Otherwise, the berries wait frozen and ready for whatever may come…like cobbler or pie.

    Finished rearranging my sewing area so I can make more headway on mending and projects. I also sorted and organized the camping and backpacking gear. Mending a small tear in a sleeping bag before it becomes a larger problem. When putting away the gear, I kept out the winter packs and what will overwinter in the trunk of our vehicles for just-in-case.

    Keeping on daily hikes. After adding more uphill, now I’m going for speed. Continue to train the dogs as well while we are out. Using consistent daily training, I’m seeing great improvement.

  3. Thank you for mentioning sugars in the diet!

    We lost two cousins to fatty liver disease, so I am observant of sugars in all forms == fruits, grains, alcohols, and root vegetables.

    Since I switched to my version of the Paleo life-style, my ‘allergies’ are gone, the debilitating ‘arthritis’ in my hands ands wrists is gone, and the lost feeling caused by ‘brain fog’ is gone.

    Nowadays, it’s so nice to walk into a room, and remember my purpose. No more ‘what did I come in here for…’!

    Another benefit is no more foot fungus.
    My sister and I seem particularly susceptible to athlete foot, but after eliminating grains and limiting our fruits to one piece per day, athlete foot fungus completely cleared. No more wearing socks to bed.

    Madam Avalanche, thank you for all you do!

  4. Poor folks on the east coast are going to get hammered by Dorian. All their last minute emergency preparedness is sad to watch. When we lived in FL we made wood covers for the windows and doors and stored them in the shed and we kept extra shingles and a roof tarp in the garage. The only things we ever had to replenish at the beginning of each season were cash and gasoline. I’ve survived my share of hurricanes; so happy I moved to middle America!

    Canned another 10 pints of jalapeno relish, but will do more as it is very popular. Still picking habenaros and cayenne peppers so will be smoking and canning them next week. Also shucked and froze remaining ears of corn.

    Ordered 25 pds of Jasmine rice and a few cans of sale honey powder and vegetable stew mix. I did 4 trays of carrots, 4 trays of cubed sirloin tip beef in the FD and will be doing chicken next week. EE had FD beef on sale for $54 /#10 can; cube chicken for $38/#10 can. My FD paid for itself in 2 years.

    Still hatching chicks and turning them over to the broody hens to raise. We lost two of our “teenage” chicks in the free range area when they escaped through the fencing. The dogs failed to alert on the snake but we found the fat snake and dispatched it with 9mm shot-shell. Those teens remaining are getting “tough love” in cage prison for a while. Once they are too big to slip thru the fencing I’ll clip their flight feathers until they learn to stay on the ground. Flying over the fence gives the local predators a free chicken dinner.

    Have a good week!

    1. I don’t know if everyone does this but when I clip my chickens wings I only clip one side. At our house we standardize to right side. The inbalance makes flying harder than cutting both sides IMO.

  5. We acquired a chest freezer a few years ago. We found that using the square plastic milk crates or similar box shaped containers work well for organizing our freezer.
    They make it simple to reach in and lift out frozen foods organized by type and they also assist with food rotation. Not perfect but better for us.

    We canned pickles! We combined a couple of recipes. What we learned.
    Do not over tighten the lid rings. We had two lids buckle in the water bath. We learned that expansion and the release of some pressure is required to keep the lids from buckling.
    I may have been overzealous. Just hand tighten securely no need to treat them like an oil filter.

    My Wife and I continue to marvel at and give all glory to God. Praise the Lord, such great news coming from the Rawles Ranch.

  6. Curious, how do you smoke peppers?? Also , when clipping chickens wings if you only clip one side they can’t fly well . they’re off balance . We had some athletic young chickens who managed to fly with clipped wings. Since my husband started clipping only one side we haven’t had any escapes.

    1. Sis: I just wash the peppers, trim the stems off at the top and put them in the smoker at very low heat using hickory chips. I shake them about once and hour until they start smelling good.

      Our chicken enclosure is about 1/4 acre with three coops; too big to run netting over. I only clip one side of of the youngsters wings; I just don’t want them going over the fence into the forest where the predators live. Once they get to be about a 1 year old I don’t need to clip them.

  7. Found some good finds at the flea market this week including an old plumber’s furnace to melt lead that runs on gasoline. Found an Aladdin Type brass lamp, 2 sets of saw tooth straightener, and a small metal working hammer. The old guy that had the teeth straighteners gave me a good deal I think because one I knew what they were and two he knew I was going to use them. Picked up 5 rolls of 2’x10′ chicken wire for $2.50 each.

    Went to an auction Wednesday night and picked up a small manual fruit press (looks new), an old US made pipe vise mounted on a 4 foot chuck of railroad tie. It also has a small (1′) piece of railroad track mounted on the tie too. A nice big piece of leather, a pair of Bushnell Binoculars, a US military lensatic compass, and a nice felling axe

    Ordered 3 “AA” clamshell battery packs for the Baofeng UV-5r radios.

    Put fluid film on chains I had in the vinegar last week and put it on a few pulleys I had hanging around. Put away more hardware that I have gotten over the past months.

  8. Only one wing clipped of flight feathers is standard procedure at our place, not only for chickens but Muscovy ducks inside the duck pond 4′ fence (1 acre) with a large pond. Since I replaced our chicken yard fence with 6 foot tall non-climbing wire with a 1″x6″ board on top, we no longer need to clip the chicken wings. The chicken yard was also increase to 48 feet by 80 feet. They stay inside all the time. My wife rakes the clippings from the top of my bush hog and scatters it inside the yard for them to have fresh grass, seeds, and bugs. We also put the leaves we sweep from our lawn in the fall for the chickens to scratch in. It amazing how many bugs live in these leaves that the chickens find to eat.

  9. I placed an order for warm winter weather: I called a guy to deliver one more cord of high BTU firewood to add to our supply. Our woodshed is full, so will stack it outside. Today I made the base rack.

    I started reading Alton’s Antibiotics And Infectious Disease book. Great bedtime topics like infections and internal parasites. Doc actually has a great writing style.

    Av Lily: Thanks for the dehydrating zuchinni tip. I am putting them into glass jars now.

    I just read a way to rig up power in an outage that I hadn’t figured out before, to keep refrig or freezer food safe:

    Use a charged deep cycle battery, or even better multiple batteries in series. Clamp your inverter onto it. Plug on an on/off timer into it. Plug your refrig/freezer [which you should have already swathed in heavy insulating blankets while keeping the appliance motor area uncovered to allow for heat dissipation] into the timer.

    Set the timer to turn on for an hour and off for three hours for a total of four hours on out of every 24. You should get at least three days cooling this way.

    God Blessed us this week when our daughter brought another Patriot into the family. Thank God for good medical support. Both mommy and girl are home now after 5 days in hospital, and recovering well.

    Blessings to all.

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