The Editors’ Preps for the Week

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 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!  This week’s focus is on a drowning tragedy in north Idaho.


Dear SurvivalBlog Readers,

This week at the Rawles Ranch we’ve been under a heavy smokey haze from regional forest fires. Our prayers are for you who are near the fires, that your homes will be safe and that the rains will come soon to put them out.  Prayers also for everyone out working on the fire lines.

We’ve been making some preparations for our planned eclipse viewing trip.  OBTW, today is probably the last day that you can safely order some  solar eclipse glasses with a fair certainty of having them before the eclipse.  Important Safety Note: If you use the welding goggles/hood option then be advised that you need to use #14 (or darker) arc welding glass.  The lighter shades (made for gas welding) are insufficient and you’ll be at risk of getting permanent retinal burns!

A Drowning Tragedy

A name in an Idaho news story jumped out at us this week: Teen dies days after brother drowned trying to save him. The Grasser family of north Idaho lost their two sons in a river swimming accident, last week. I checked, and sure enough, they are close relatives of the Grasser family that were Jim’s neighbors near Orofino, Idaho, back in the early 1990s. We send our sincere condolences to the entire Grasser family for their tragic loss. Isaac and Michael were truly God-fearing homeschooled young men whose lives are a clear testimony of their Godly upbringing from their parents.

We pray that through their passing, many people who hear of it, will get serious and get right with Jesus the Son of God, the Savior of the World.  People need to repent of their sins, because our lives can be much shorter than we assume. We also believe that their sudden passing is a wake up call for All Believers to get serious with carefully listening to the Lord’s promptings to pray for all things. We must be instant in prayer for one another when He brings thoughts and warnings to our minds. Prayer is God’s weapon of choice to thwart the wiles of The Enemy of our souls. Pray Always with all prayers and supplications. Pray for your friends, their children, your spouse, your children, your President, and even for leaders of other countries! Listen to God. He will give you special assignments if you’re willing to take the burden. The days coming that will require the ability to hear God’s voice. Get serious, now! Getting Right with God is the most important prep of all!

Please pray for the Grasser Family. By the way, a GoFundMe account has been set up for the family.

In The Garden and Barn

This week was busy with entertaining beloved relatives visiting from afar. But we’ve managed to harvest thus far, a gallon of yellow beans and get them frozen, two more gallons of Zucchinis, four quarts of red Raspberries and a couple of quarts of Black Raspberries. We’ve harvested our first tomatoes for eating and have continued to harvest cucumbers, onions and volunteer potatoes. ( I’m leaving our main potato crops alone until harvest time. We have lots of volunteers all over the garden from previous years’ patches. We rotate the patch to a new destination in the garden each year). I once again, weed whacked the garden, and older daughter and I cleaned out the cattle stalls.

Black Raspberries

Our Black Raspberries are just about finished producing for the year. They are by far my favorite berry. The exquisite taste of Black Raspberries and swimming in silky cool still lakes on hot sultry days are the essence of summer for me (Lily). This week, as we eat the last berries from each fruiting bramble, I’m pruning the finished fruiting brambles, put them on the burn piles, and will be, yet, pulling weeds and grass from around next year’s fruiting canes and putting a large amount of compost in their beds. I’ve been watering the beds by hand so as not to continually get their leaves and stalks wet. If you remember, this past spring, our Raspberries appeared to have been damaged by a fungus. So far, the fruiting canes for next summer appear to be clear of the disease.

We are still harvesting our red raspberries and will continue until the first hard frost. This year, despite the fungus attack, we’re getting in quite a large harvest. Two summers ago, I doubled and a half the size of our patch and this summer the brambles are fruiting heavily. When they’ve completed their fruiting, I’ll also be pruning their spent fruiting canes and heavily composting them.

Jim’s Projects

Jim (“JWR”) has been busy, as is usual for him every August.  He has started splitting this year’s firewood that we cut from our on-ranch woodlot. That project will likely continue (sporadically) through August and most of September.

He also installed one more replacement hand well pump. (We have two shallow backup wells, for the event that a pump mechanical failure or an extended power failure takes our domestic well pump offline.)

Lastly, he also finished clearing a field of rocks.  In all, he moved nearly 3,000 pounds of rocks this summer using our Utility ATV.  Hauling rocks is great exercise.

That is all for this week.  We’ll be touring relatives around the Northern Redoubt this coming week.  So, not many prepping activities will be occurring.  May you all have a safe and blessed week – Avalanche Lily Rawles


The Latimer Homestead is in full harvest swing. We are spending a bulk of our days harvesting and processing fruits and vegetables. Our arms and hands are often aching from picking, snapping, cutting, chopping, peeling, and so forth. It’s not just the storing of the food but the preparation of them that is work. However, when we take a taste of our garden ripe, organic fruits and vegetables we know it is worth the effort, especially when we enjoy them all year long!


The mornings are spent outdoors gathering while the afternoons and some evenings are spent preparing and processing. Then, it’s to bed and we begin again. The berries, melons, and fruit trees are finally producing so we are grateful for the extra sweet rewards during the day’s work.

On top of all of this, we hope to find a little time to plant some fall produce, such as cabbage and brussel sprouts this week. We really need to get them in the ground soon, so they’ll be ready before deep freezes come.


Also, our chicks are spreading their wings and getting more space to soar. We are trying to spend a little time with each of them every day, but it is sure a busy time so they aren’t getting a lot of cuddling. They seem to know us and respond well. Many are already running to us to be held, which is a good sign that we’ve done our job. The others aren’t too worried about us now. Even our dogs seems to be less concerning to them, as they are getting used to their home. It’s been a blessing not to lose a single one in this batch. We’ve given them good vitamins and Litsea Cubeba essential oil in their fresh water as well as kept them nice and clean.

The family is enjoying the sampling of awesome vegetable-meat stews and soups, pizzas, and sauces as well as salads, corn on the cob, pesto, along with herb breads and fruit pastries. It’s a most delicious time of year!

SurvivalBlog Readers

We would love to hear from our readers on what you are doing for your preps. Write us a comment below, even if it’s just a quick note and let us know how you are doing.


    1. Hi Dan, you can dehydrate blackberries. But you wind up with blackberry flavored seeds. The juicy part is very reduced, but the seeds stay the same. So it isn’t so great, but better than letting them go to waste. You could juice them to get out the seeds and then use the seedless mass in fruit leather. If you combine them with apples, apples will give them the needed body to set up as fruit leather

  1. I had an interesting day yesterday. I’ve had the issue with getting the five foot mower blades off. The top nut is 1 5/8 and I have the big sockets to fit this. The bottom is just rounded and flat, The nut is loose enough that everything spins so I need to hold the underside. I dropped the harrow off the tractor, attached the boom poll and lifted the mower up on its side. Because I have the common leak down issue with the three point hitch I had to leave the tractor running. This isn’t good because the exhaust comes out the back of the tractor rather than up top. While wedging the breaker bar and socket into place I tried turning the bottom side with a 14 inch pipe wrench. This thing is so tight I ended up breaking the pipe wrench. I figured that if I could not loosen it then it was not coming off while mowing either so I just broke out the angle grinder and sharpened the blades as best I could. I’m open to any ideas on how to get this nut and bolt broken. I’ve used the blaster stuff on it already with no luck. It is not rusted, just firmly in place with a lock washer. I’ve thought about taking a chisel and wedging it between the nut head and the pan it is attached to in order to keep it from spinning. I’ve also considered using a propane torch on it to heat it to see it is will loosen. Any ideas are welcome.

    After that around 10:00 last night I heard my dog raising heck about something. Not the aggressive bark of an intruder, but certainly something was bothering him. He’s a 70 pound German Short Hair and has a tendency to be strong willed. I went to check on him and he had a Copperhead pinned up. When I walked out it had struck at my dog, it struck at me and I’m trying my best to pull the dog away to get him out of harm’s way. Then his collar comes off he he’s back at the snake. After the snake strikes at him he snatches it up and does the very aggressive head shake ripping about ¼ of the tail off. He stayed focused on the tail and did not realize the rest of the snake was several feet away. That gave me time to retrieve a 22 mag revolver loaded with rat shot. I finished off the snake, got the dog put up and disposed of everything else. That’s two vipers in two weeks less than twenty feet from the back door. I guess something has been killing off the non-poisonous snakes leaving a void for it to be filled by the pit vipers. But then again, August has always been the month for snakes in this area.

      1. I don’t recall it being as such. I put these blades on a few years ago, but I can go by TSC, where I bought the bolts and nuts for it to see if they are reverse threads. Thanks.

        1. DANGER! Never trust hydraulics,they can and will fail without warning! Easy way to check is threads are opposite of rotation of blade(otherwise would spin off),that much pressure may have ovaled nut on bolt get new nut and use nut breaker to remove ,heat may change temper of bolt and cause failure at worst time

  2. Weeds weeds and more weeds. What is the answer we try not to use any chemicals and the weeds out do us. The weeds are Bermuda grass from our yard and it gets in even the elevated boxes. We pull it and it comes back thicker, any suggestions. ..

  3. Hi Dan,

    One can dehydrate almost everything, but whether or not you like the end product will be the question. Dehydrated Blackberries will be little seed packed purple balls, not too appetizing to me. Instead, to preserve blackberries, one method I would suggest, is making them into fruit leathers. Here is a recipe to get an idea from:
    Other methods of preserving blackberries is making them into jams and freezing them. Maybe, our readers would like to chime in on their methods or recipes concerning preserving blackberries.

    Blessings to you,


    1. I freeze them, make seedless jam by using my food mill and then I make preserves. Preserves leaves the fruit whole in a honey like syrup – so very good.

  4. About this drowning tragedy.

    I was reading about this tragedy of two children drowning. I feel for these people who suffer this ordeal. I understand the magnitude of this situation. I extend all my sympathy to this grieving family in morning. May they be comforted in their sorrow. As for God, he mourns with them.

  5. Was down for a couple of days with a 24-hour stomach virus so didn’t get everything done I wanted to. While struggling the virus I spent some time on family history. Still searching to find parents of an ancestor born about 1730.

    New hatchlings are doing well; some are buff orphingtons, a couple are white silkies and the rest are barn yard mix.

    Did two loads of FD meats. Made tomato sauce and pickled jalapeno peppers. Made more hot sauce and then dehydrated remaining hot cayenne and habanero peppers and sweet green peppers. Made cowboy quiche for my elderly neighbors, another for a friend who had surgery, and of course one for family.

    Started making emergency candles using paraffin and thrift store candles. Melted things down, made wicks from a string mop and poured into different size cans for molding.

    The pears are almost ready for harvesting, the young peach trees have about a dozen fruits on each tree, this is the first year the apple trees have produced any fruit so they sparse. The 3 year old grape plants produced enough fruit to make two gallons of juice and small amount of jelly.

    May your families be blessed.

  6. I really enjoy reading the Editors Preps for the week segment. Thanks for taking the time to keep it up.

    It seems the weather conditions for the Rawles Ranch are almost identical to mine in this part of western Oregon. I am not sure how that works out, but they are very close.

    A lot of the tasks you are undertaking are the same as what I am doing, but mine are on a smaller scale. But, still, hearing the insight from JWR, Avalanche Lily, and HJL I find helpful.

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