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 week I made preparations for another gun show road trip. I love to travel in the American Redoubt at this time of year, with the Aspen and Tamarack (Western Larch) trees in full color.
My plan is to sell off all of our extra ARs and with the proceeds buy some carefully selected pre-1899 cartridge guns. I’m hoping to have this gradual process completed by April or May of 2020. This will mean making several more gun show trips, and consistently scouring the online antique gun sales listings and auction web sites. The market for pre-1899 antiques is surprisingly thin. For example, you can’t just go out on any given day and buy half a dozen Swedish Mausers that are dated 1898. There may be a total of only three or four on the market–across more than a dozen web sites–and of those listed there might be just one or two that meets all criteria for bore condition, mechanical reliability, and in some cases, originality. (I do buy some “sporterized” and refinished guns, if they are priced accordingly.) The quest continues…
I must say that having antique guns as an investing hobby is quite fun and profitable. I do love to finding a bargain. The only drawback is that I feel a bit torn when it comes time to turn over some of that inventory. I ask myself: “Will I ever be able to find another of “X” model, in this condition?” But then I remind myself: A man should never fall in love with an investment. If you can’t bring yourself to sell it, then it isn’t an investment–it has become your precious heirloom. And you have become Gollum.
Comically, some people get attached to their “favorite” stock shares, or crypto coins. I’d sell any stock or e-coin in a heartbeat to take advantage of a market move. One share is just like any other, and can be replaced on the next trading day or even intraday. I might take pause before selling precious metals–especially any silver that I’ve earmarked for post-collapse barter. But such assets can quickly and easily be replaced, identically. But there there some guns, other tools, and books that I have to consciously re-evaluate before selling. The decision is almost always to go ahead and sell, but I do recognize that these are not fully fungible assets. For these, I look both toward to my future hindsight, and to that of my progeny. Will they ask: “What was Grandpa Rawles thinking, when he sold that?”
Avalanche Lily Reports:
This week, mid week, the weather was beautifully sunny and warmish. It was perfect weather to work on outdoor projects in the barn, corrals and gardens. I accomplished a lot on the list I told y’all about last week. Making the list and sharing it with you spurs me on to do it. I have to keep my word, ya know, to the best of my ability.
I cleaned out the hen house. It wasn’t bad at all. It helps that there were only four birds living in it during the past two or so months. Four birds do not leave a lot of mess.
The mixed baby chicks arrived! Babies! We have babies in the house, again! They are so adorable! I love hearing their contented peeping and holdin’ them. They’re so soft and light like thistle down-little bundles of life.
We order chicks every two or so years. We have also incubated batches of eggs successfully on three occasions.
When they arrived, their shallow stock tank was ready, situated near the wood stove, lined with straw, with the heat lamp attached to one end of the tank and turned on. We filled the gallon water dispenser with water and enhanced it with a teaspoon of sugar and electrolytes. We spent the first hour with them, individually taking them out of the shipping box, introducing them to their enhanced water, individually making them drink at least four sips before releasing them go to find the heat lamp and the chick starter.
Soon, all of the chicks had their first drinks and were oriented to the location of the water dish, heat lamp and chick starter plate. We continued to observe them to make sure they had learned the basics to survive and thrive. During the first hour or so, whenever, a chick became too sleepy looking, or was screaming, we’d scoop it up and make it get a few more drinks of the enhanced water.
When there are baby chicks in the house there is a lot of moments when we all take breaks from our activities to stop and observe the baby chick behavior. The instinctual behavior they are born with is amazing to observe in critters so young. They can be very funny, running suddenly from one end of the tank to the other, flapping their tiny wings, pecking their neighbor’s toes, scratching for feed and nearly losing their balance because they’re still so young, same with preening, scratching their noses. When one gets a piece of straw in their beak and shakes it all the rest come running to take a share. We have already identified a bully.
Miss Violet enjoys picking up her favorites, two lavender gray chicks, and cuddling with them on the lazyboy chair.
All arrived healthy. Not one was lost in transit, except that one appears to have a bum leg. Miss Eloise is full of compassion towards it and has adopted it, named it (M.). She makes sure M. gets water and food on a very regular basis. We have prayed for it’s healing. Already we are seeing, we think, some improvement. Miss Eloise is also on goopy bottom duty. Any chick that’s bottom goops up from poop, she washes with a wash cloth and warm water.
We only name a few chicks, never all of them, only the ones that stand out to us or we feel attached to for some reason or another.
Outside work: I was able to clean out the horse/cow stalls in shorter amount of time than I had anticipated. That manure went towards fertilizing the area of the future Expansion garden.
We, the girls and I, also began cleaning (we worked on it for three days so far) our open horse arena, the corrals, and a part of the meadow, and alternated placing the manure between the Expansion and Annex gardens. We are slowly on our way to building up these garden soils.
In the garden: Because one of you intrepid readers mentioned collecting Asparagus seeds from its little red fruit, I thought “Hmm, why did I not ever think of doing that?” Therefore, I went out and collected the last four berries remaining on the fronds and saved those few seeds. Thank you for mentioning it. I will be sure to collect the seeds much sooner next fall while most of the red berries are still present on the fronds.
The girls and I finished harvesting the red onions. I finished pulling the turnips. The very small ones and all of the greens went to the cows and horses.
I rototilled three sections of the garden. I decided not to burn any more of the weed seeds. I’ll just deal with them as they sprout next spring…. I still have another three sections to rototill and the Annex garden and maybe the Expansion… We’ll see.
We began to harvest the two over-crowded carrot beds, giving the greens and the too small carrots to the cows. The horses missed out on them, this time, because they went out to the meadows, but the cows are hanging tight near me when I’m working outside, because they have been getting lots of snacks lately, carrots, turnips, and some apples with rotten spots. Whenever I have something for them to eat, I call their names and “here cows” and they come running.
Our cows were loafing in the Expansion garden while I was laying down manure in there. It’s not yet fenced. I took a moment to visit with them. Our bull SH., was laying very contentedly in the warm sunlight, chewing his cud. He is a good boy, and is only 17 months old. He knows me as the matriarch and the hand that feeds him and makes his ears and chin feel good. I’m a member of his “herd”/family, he was raised here from four months, and he respects me thusfar… I always leave myself an out when I am near him and watch his behavior like a hawk. I never let him press his head against me. Only enough to scratch his ears, but not to play. I never show fear. I’m not afraid of him. I talk to him non stop in a kind soothing voice. If he tries to press his head against me, I back up just a little so there is no pressure from him on me and say, “No” gently and quietly, then I scratch him again. When I’m done, I just step backward, a few steps and talk to him and go on my way, watching him. He usually gives me a sleepy blink.
SH. is my handsome boy. He talks to me sometimes when I approach him. I don’t know how to describe the tone, it could be alarming to someone not understanding, but I don’t think it means anything, but that he is trying to communicate something friendly to me. It’s like he is greeting me and saying what have you got for us today? The first day that he exhibits towards me or anyone else, the slightest aggression, or the warm light in his eyes changes to a cold glitter, will be the day he is locked up in our bull pen. I hope he never does. I like him to be able to roam the ranch freely with his girls.
Anyhow, all that just to say that I approached him and gave his tail a scratch and his back a good rub and his sides a lot of pats. He just laid there enjoying all of the attention. Our cows and A. our new heifer, observed all of this loving that SH. was receiving and approached me and sniffed my hand which I then held out to her. She finally, for the first time, allowed me scratch her ears, just for a brief moment. It was a sweet interlude with the cows. I love my cows.
I have two rows yet to harvest of the experimental overwintering potatoes.
I finished pruning the red and gold raspberries. This job took more than four hours! But they look super nice and will be ready to go for next summer.
In the house: I started some San Francisco Sourdough starter that I had bought from Azure Standard, a few months back. I had stored it in the fridge until such time that I was able to attend to it properly. This week felt like it was the optimal time to get it going. We made our first loaf and it was a hit with Jim and the girls.
I decided to check Carla Emery’s book “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” this week on the subject of Sour Dough Starters and recipes. I read this comment of hers, concerning making your own sourdough from the wild yeasts floating around your home, which made me laugh. She is referring to the fact that you can catch wild yeasts from the air of your home, but whether you catch a good tasting one or not is a dicey outcome. She indicated that, “Trying to work with invisible livestock can be tricky”. (See Page 233.)
Miss Eloise and I washed and processed thirty more pounds of the tomatoes. At this time we only sent them through the Victorio food mill, boiled it down and froze the sauce with the intention of doing more with it later. We also washed the last fifty pounds the apples in preparation for making more jelly, apple sauce, and apple chips. Of that gallon of cinnamon apple chips we made last week, there is only a third of a jar left. (They were a family hit, also.)
In the bedroom greenhouse, all of the seeds are sprouting well. The girls and I did go for an exercise walk together this week in our meadows.
This coming week, I want to finish rototilling the Main garden, and lay in more manure in the weaker sections of the garden. Lay down more manure on the expansion and Annex gardens, and get them rototilled.
More warnings: Ice Age Farmer talking about the crop losses around the world and the reproductive collapse this past summer in the Arctic due to excessive snow fall last winter. Stock up. It is not hoarding when you use your own money to buy a bit at a time. Keep your OPSEC on what you buy. Use cash. Do not use those store cards. Shop at several different stores. Grow your own. Get food now, because the prices will be sky rocketing soon, and there will be scarcity.
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.