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58 Comments

  1. Plans for this week are to:
    Transplant the watermelons.
    Keep our remaining cucumber plant healthy, some mysterious bug is eating them.
    Buying at least a few more days of food and water to keep expanding our stock piles. No ammo this week, not in the budget.
    Saving money and continue to improve our economical situation as we prepare for our move out of the Greatest Country in the world to the sweet pot of Honey that we are hoping the American Redoubt will be.
    Head to the Home and Garden show at the Will Rodgers Memorial Center, May 19-21.

    Inching towards the end of the rat race,
    TMB

    P.S. I might be a little biased towards Texas, as are most naturally born Texans. So if you see a Texas Flag flying proudly in the breeze on the side of the road in the American Redoubt in the next 12 months, it might be me.

  2. On our homestead in the far north (60 degrees N)… this week we are expecting a few more lambs. I plan to evict the laying hens from the high tunnel, as it is time to get things planted in there. The community garden project over at the church needs some compost and a few hours of work as well. With a 40 hr a week town job. That is about all I think I can manage this week.

  3. As I do not have my own firewood supply, I desire to have ample on hand in case ‘stuff’ happens and there is no way to transport it to my abode. Also, my bones are getting no younger and some day the Lord will see fit that am no longer able to cut, haul, and split it myself. Unfortunately I live in the NE in a communist state, but we do have hardwoods. I have been blessed to put up over 50 face cord cut at 20 inches and after learning a hard lesson, I now spray all of it for bugs as a preventative measure. I have about 12 more face cord cut waiting for my friends woods to dry out so I can deliver it. I have been blessed to have the health so far to split by hand as I enjoy the workout. Burn about 9 face a year.

    I have heard of folk growing potatoes in tires. A fellow threw out a few 5 ft. x 5 ft. raised beds in great shape. I am planting 16 seed potatoes in that area and will continue to back fill as the plants grow to 3 feet or so high and see what results.

    I also just paid a fellow $300 for a slightly used 5 ft by 450 ft vinyl covered chain link fence with 2 gates that I had to remove. Along with getting some good exercise, I have increased my ability to keep ‘critters’ out should the need arise.

    1. We tried the tires a few years ago, mainly because we could get the tires for free. Our results were poor. Out of six tire-towers, we got 1 1/2 5 gallon buckets, whereas we harvested six 5 gallon buckets from two 5 foot rows. FYI, I chalk the poor yield up to the colonies of mice (and at least one rat) that came tearing out of the tires as we unstacked them. Ick.

    2. Wow, MtH! You are doing quite well, Praise God!

      Keep it up; I know how you feel as I’m entering my seventh decade on God’s Green Earth.

      Keep moving!

  4. I have about 25 empty food grade 55 gallon drums out in my new shop that I need to fill with bulk grain for our consumption in the event that it becomes necessary. I will push them against the back wall of the shop and cover them with a workbench that has a hinged lift up top that will allow us to have access to the individual drums. This will keep them from being openly visible to prying eyes. I like bulk grains such as weat and corn as a very inexpensive food prep, in the event that extended family comes to “visit” us at our homestead in the Ozarks.

      1. Firehouse Subs (if they are in your area) and McDonald’s often sell their empty 5 gallon pickle buckets for a very nominal amount, usually a dollar or two. You’ll have to get the pickle smell out of them (try Pinter estate for ideas) and you’ll want to buy new lids for them, but they are food safe & cheap!

  5. Im a newbie to prepping. Ive been pretty serious about it since September I have a years worth of freeze dried and canned food for one year for 2 people I buy more every paycheck I have a big berkey that we are using now Just ordered a second one yesterday I have one rain barrel hooked to downspout just bought another one this weekend It rains a lot in this area so water supply will be good im pretty well stocked with medical supplies My son and I are going to our first ham radio meeting in a week to start learning what to buy and do I have a AR 15 a 9mm pistol and a couple of 12 gauge pumps and a AR 7 22 survival rifle and several hundred rounds of ammo and buy more ammo pretty often We need to train more I hear ya on that I read your blog daily Thank You so much!

  6. I like this new section, very cool. This week the wife and I will complete our move from the city to our new 3 acre Homestead in Northern Tennessee. So it will mostly be moving our things from the city house and into the (smaller) homestead house! Too late in the season for muchngardening, and much of the property is hilly and will require large raised beds, so gardening will begin next year. We are very excited to begin our journey!

    1. If you wait till the end of the summer bags of dirt at home depot and lowes should be on sale at greatly discounted rates. I got lucky one year and went to home depot where I got 5 bags of top soil for $3, the next day went back and bought the whole pallet at a dollar a bag. It was very good dirt.

      TMB

  7. I live in the Northeast region. As a retired disabled vet some things do not get done quite as quickly as I would like but every day I work towards being more prepared.Fear things are coming to a bad place.Ordered three full cords of wood,every month I buy a little more food and ammo.Living back in the woods allows the wife and I {forgot the animals) a life I hope we can preserve. Good life to all!

  8. ….my pond has a slow leak on the back of the dam…so I’m going to try and plug it this week with bectonite clay….that pond is stocked and gives fish for a protein source as well as fish for fertilizing an Indian garden(corn, beans, squash) laid out in hills rather than rows….a fish buried in each hill does wonders for the corn and the bean stalks that climb it.

  9. Here in the Northern Woods area we are starting our wood cutting for next year and finishing our wood shed this year so we don’t have to keep the stacks of firewood out in the yard covered with tarps this next winter! Also getting the garden prepped for the summer plantings and it’s time to put the spring things in now so that will be fun this next week! Dear Husband and I are both working our small business and I am contemplating starting a second one so that our income stream remains diversified … all that along with finishing schooling for the boys and our oldest coming home from college for the summer makes the next few weeks busy enough to make my head spin!

  10. We recently acquired over 100 5 gal buckets of Walton Feed storage food leftover from Y2K for very, very cheap. They were stored out side in a shed in the Texas heat. We are in the process of going through them one at a time to see what’s good and whats not good. So far we’ve gone through about 10 buckets (some have mylar bags inside) and only the white and brown rice has been bad. The peanut butter powder, dry milk, black-eyed peas, and pinto beans all look, smell and taste good. And the red hard wheat still sprouts. We can’t vouch for how nutritious the food may or may not be, but it would probably keep us alive. As we open the buckets and bags, if it looks and smells good we scoop out a sample and throw a couple 300cc oxygen absorbers in there and reseal as fast as we can. We are battling lack of storage space as it is, but as cheap as we got the stuff we couldn’t pass it up. So this weekend I’m starting to build the shed we’ve talked about and needed for too long now and the wife is going to go through more buckets. God Bless!

  11. Spent a lot of time last few weeks re-establishing an orchard. Our goats and the voles killed most of the trees I planted ten or more years ago. Now we are enclosing each tree with two 16′ cattle panels, each bent 90 deg to form 8′ square protection cages. Vole control plan is to keep weeds inside the cages down with weed-eater, and mound 3/4″ crushed stone around base of each tree. The trees are volunteer seedlings found here-and-there, some as big as my wrist. I graft them with scions of trees I spot in Fall as bearing good apples…some we know the names of, including Haralson, Red Delicious, Yellow Transparent, Wolf River We graft pears, too, onto locally available thorny wild pear rootstocks. We look at the orchard as permanent source of fresh fruit in season, canned and dried apples, fresh and canned sweet cider, vinegar, and possibly applejack for trade or distilled alcohol for tinctures and disinfectant.

    Not quite garden season yet here at 3000ft, but planning to till a new piece for a bigger corn patch Painted Mountain (early) and a locally-selected sweet corn should bloom at sufficiently different times to grow both without danger of contaminating seed.

  12. My life as a farmer doesn’t vary much from week to week. I am presently hatching lots of chicks and guineas, so I am building chicken tractors so they can be on pasture. My plan is to sell laying hens. Of course, that means putting the roosters in jars. I also need to work on some fencing for the breeding stock hens that I turn out to graze. I’m developing some paddocks, so the cows, donkeys and goats rotate, but the chickens and turkeys stay in their paddocks. I have put chicken wire over barbed wire, so I need to get the bottom tied down this week.

    I am also working on my garden. I have to get some short, long chicken tractors built to fit between the garden rows. I had been doing the deep mulch method in previous years, which worked moderately well. I’m going to try the chickens this year. I’ll probably still mulch the top of the row. I would use the rabbits except that I have found that the rabbits do best if they are in a two story rabbit tractor so they can get off the ground, so they stay in the pasture and I pull their rabbit tractor over problem weeds there.

    The rabbits cannot eat any vegetation treated with pesticides or herbicides, but my goal is to not need the chemicals. It is healthier and more sustainable. The goats eat the junk off the fences, so that will eliminate the need for spraying the fences. The chickens in the chicken tractors also do pretty well at eating down weeds. Those three animals aren’t looking so much for protein as they are greens, so they will mostly eat the weeds that the cows or donkeys won’t.

    Most days, if it isn’t raining, I will turn out 4 batches of chickens, plus a pair of turkeys, and stake out the goats somewhere to graze. I will milk the cow, and rotate the pastures. The calves can’t be in the same pasture as the lactating cow.

    I have plans to build a chicken tractor for a Banty hen, so she can set on the eggs I give her, then I can open a door into a raised pen within that moveable pen, and she can brood the chicks there. This will eliminate the need for an incubator and brooder. I have been running my cabinet incubator nonstop for months now. If the grid is down, I wont be able to raise as many chicks. And you can’t very well force a hen to go broody, but I plan to handle it as best I can when she does. The banties set much better than any large breed I’ve had. Once the chicks get bigger, they can be grazing in that pen, which will save me on feed and also fertilize the pasture. If I build a bunch of these, I should be able to do moderately well. So I plan to build another pen like that this week.

    1. @Rose, I had to buy chicks from Murray McMurray this year. For the last 8 years, we bought local stock and it was all inbred so bad that they had many, many defects. Only about 1 in 10 chicks made it to adult status without issues. Wondering how you deal with that issue?

      1. I hadn’t had issues yet. I often swap roosters around with friends. But there is also the option to cross breeds. Line breeding is very common. I hadn’t had problems with it. In hard times, I am guessing that the breeds wouldn’t stay pure and new breeds would emerge. It depends on the original genetics as to how strong the are and how they would survive. Certain species do very well with inbreeding. This is why it is good to be in circles with similar types of animals.

        1. @Hugh I have heard that the breeding stock of hatcheries is weaker than truely homegrown stock because the hatcheries are more prone to use artificial means to keep the fertility up. Homegrown chickens who have been raised on a farm for many generations are more likely to be naturally fertile and have higher production and longer lives. They will go broody easier, and have more stamina. This is probably because natural selection has been allowed to run its course. I heard from someone in the commercial industry that even though the commercial industry dislikes backyard chickens, they have actually had to come back to the backyard genetics to get new genetics to bolster their flocks. So the bio security is actually greater in small flocks. I trust myself and my operations better than outside sources, whatever they may be. I have intentionally been selective about when I hatch, so that my next generation is hardier stock. I like to hatch from old hens, since a long life is desirable to me. It seems like my chickens are stronger than even those I’ve gotten from friends. I’ve bought at 4h chicken sales, and immediately start hatching from them because how I raise them seems to create hardier stock. Part of what I do is keep them on ac vinegar from the beginning. I also give them only rain water. And I give them hot peppers often, plus table scraps. I also turn them out, unlike lots of people. I have friends who will buy only from me because mine seem to live longer. I think it is more in the raising.

  13. We have double the work we used to have. We purchased our second spread in North Idaho. Meanwhile back at our primary digs( E. Washington) We also have firewood to cut, split and stack, Eager to put my new Husqvarna to work. The wife has been busy planting in her new raised beds.I have been busy fixing the chicken coop and replacing some of the wood that didnt hold up too well during winter, And We got a few more layers to add to it.
    We are looking for a Church in the panhandle. God has blessed us with the resources and opportunity to expand there,I pray he also guides us to a church in our new area.

  14. As a beginning prepper, I am fighting three battles, time, money, and my spouse. I had to postpone a decent garden this year as we are probably buying a house, and moving. My preps are working on the three month food supply. I have two 5 gallon buckets that are just about full with longer term dry goods, and will buy a third one soon. I am still dehydrating frozen veggies and cooked meat, and should start purchasing canned food this month. The Bullets side is good, with a new scope needed for my latest acquisition. It is a struggle when your partner thinks you are crazy, but I won’t stop. Onward, through the fog….

      1. I started ‘prepping’ back in 1999. Everyone I knew, especially my husband, thought I was crazy, but they humored me. I just had a gut feeling of something bad coming. For my 25th anniversary I asked for a generator, for Christmas & birthdays I asked for grain grinder, butter churn, a pedal sewing machine, a wood burning stove, you get the picture. I started buying food storage whenever I had any extra money. I just couldn’t find a way to get through to my family and friends. Then I decided to write a book, fiction, about a collapse of the economy. It took me over a year, and before I finished I had to rewrite some parts because my make believe ideas were sadly becoming realities. So I did some rewrites and published the book, “Finding Home, A Place of Safety”. He read it, just because I wrote it, and it opened his eyes to the possibility of current events becoming a stressful reality. He was on board! We bought 90 acres of recently logged land and he started buying equipment. He has 2 bulldozers, 4 tractors, 2 sets of harrows, a backhoe/front end loader and 2 conex containers. The first book was well received so I wrote a sequel, “Fleeing Home, For Safety’s Sake” Now there are many people in our area waking up to the possibility that our ‘safe’ existence isn’t quite as safe and predictable as we all thought. Don’t give up, Dan….she’ll come around!

    1. H.D.,
      My wife was and to a small part like this. It wasn’t until January of 2016 when one of the two ships that supply us with food went down for 3 weeks for maintenance (the grocery shelves started to look bare) and then we had a little 7.1 earth quake at 02:30 that shook for about 20 seconds that helped to change her mind on food storage. While she still says do we need it I say the big one is coming and she agrees on the food my ballistic toys are different but I just need food for them now. The past 2 weeks we had a 4.1 and a 5.2 so she is looking at the grocery sales for the week. She is slowly coming around and like they say you have insurance on your Life, House and car hoping you never need it so why not food and other items.

  15. I’m working on improving the rainwater collection system and building an automatic metering system to keep the garden watered while away for extended periods.

  16. My family is relatively new to prepping but we are eager to learn and our long term goal is become more self sufficient.
    Got a good start on guns and bullets already and now working on our food preps.
    Goals this week/month
    Hurricane season is just around the corner here on the Gulf Coast
    *Stocking up a months supply of food and drinking water
    *Refilling our six – 5 gallon gas and diesel storage tanks
    *Getting our BOB’s restocked and prep for summer time weather.
    *Getting our fitness training back on track.
    Me and my wife walk/jog atleast 6-8 miles a day and we do strength exercises as well.
    Plan is to get to the gun range more with our two adult sons.
    Youngest son decided to go to college in the fall to be a RN. So we are looking forward to have some medical experience in the family in a couple of yrs.
    God bless

    1. Ugh – fitness training. It’s a shame that you have to be fit to be prepared 🙂 That is something else I need to get back on. Since rolling over the five-oh mark, fitness comes much harder. I tell my wife that I can still do everything I could do when I was 20 – I just pay a much higher price for it now.

  17. I am very excited about this new feature to the blog. I’m also enjoying the new layout! We are new-ish preppers in the Great Lakes region. We will start planting our garden after Mother’s Day – just an old wive’s tale my grandmother always went by. We were lucky to get some buckets from my place of work to try out container gardening. I’m going to plant identical plants in the buckets and ground and see how they compare.

    Our preps are severely hindered by cash flow. Our first goal is to pay off debt (student loans), then purchase a homestead (we are renting from family now), all the while doing enough to keep ourselves prepared for what may happen in the mean time. It’s a balancing act that we are constantly adjusting.

  18. I too am a disabled vet and it goes slow for me also. My goals for this week:
    Get the gardens put in. The Birch tree leaves are the size of mouse ears so the temps are safe to plant. Got to till the big garden, Shovel turn the raised bed.
    I saw a guy cut some 55 Gal. drums in half the long way and put them up on a long stand so since I have several painted black and I have access to more food grade drums (they held honey). These will replace my Rubbermaid container garden.
    Pressure wash and seal the asphalt where my container garden is beside the south side of my house.
    Gather the lumber and supplies to build a chicken coop (The city says we can only have 5 hens and NO roosters but I hear a rooster in my neighborhood sooooo?) and 5 rabbit hutches.
    And of course continue the battle of the bulge so the VA will give me new knees.

  19. I started off this week by tracking down what in my house was causing RFI to my HF antenna and took the time to make sure all my back up ham radio batteries were topped off. I’m going to rotate the water stores this week as well.
    Next week I’ll spend 4 nights down at the Bug Out Location doing some firewood work, dropping off additions to the food stores, and getting in some range time. I’ll also be drinking some beers and napping in my hammock listening to the sounds of nothing but the birds and the breeze through the trees.

  20. H.D,
    My wife was and to a small part like this. It wasn’t until January of 2016 when one of the two ships that supply us with food went down for 3 weeks for maintenance and then we had a little 7.1 earth quake at 02:30. While she still says do we need it I say the big one is coming and she agrees on the food my ballistic toys are different but I just need food for them now. The past 2 weeks we had a 4.1 and a 5.2 so she is looking at the grocery sales for the week. She is slowly coming around and like they say you have insurance on your Life, House and car hoping you never need it so why not food and other items.

  21. Love the new format and to see the post from other preppers not in the advanced category. Don’t get me wrong I love seeing the advanced remarks as well but it helps knowing others are in the same boat as I am and as prepared as we wish we were. Trying hard everyday to improve my readiness. Thanks for the wealth of knowledge on this site.

  22. I Love this new section! I would say my hubby and I are teenagers in prepping. Not newbies, nor children, but not yet fully matured. Haha! Our plans for this week are to finish securing the chicken coop from predators, some gun handgun training with our teenage children, and further research on the best in-town meeting spot depending on the type of scenario. We live 20 miles out of town and the teens are in town at high school most days, without transportation. Best wishes to you all. Remember slow growth is healthy growth!

  23. Here is south east texas, the spring planting was done last month and harvesting of first fruits is being done. Hot and green peppers are tasty. The jalapeños made nice fresh Pico. My herbs are hitting the dehydrator in mass. Tomatoes should be popping red in another week. My rabbits are still loving the winter greens of kale and brussel sprout leaves. The rabbit cages are in rehab mode with one done and two to go with button rescreening. Meanwhile the usual summer heat has yet to get serious so a mild spring is a blessing with frequent rains to keep the water barrels full.

  24. We’ve been prepping for a while now and are in good shape as far as food and defensive items are concerned. Been concentrating of medical supplies and defensive areas of the retreat. My group is putting in a hand pump on the deep well this month, very expensive, as well as a water catchment system for the garden. We’ve also stepped up our training schedule and am mixing in tactical training besides traditional skills. Next month we’re rendering fat to make soap and improving our communications abilities now that we have a retired army commo/intel guy with over 28 years of experience to handle it for us. We also built another wood stove and will be installing it by summers end.

  25. It just came to me this evening, that my latest and best prep is…..I quit smoking. After 42 years of the ghastly things I am now 64 days clean and feel very clear in my mind that I am done with them forever.

    As an added prepping bonus, I have been feeling so good about quitting that I’ve started walking. I am up to doing 1 1/2 miles every day.

  26. Hugh and Capt Rawles, I have been preparing since I was about 14 years old!! Remember the Foxfire books?? The Lord brought me to the redoubt in 1981 (So I am a newcomer here!!)He also brought me to my wife of thirty some odd years!! We farm (grass) and ranch and we have at least six seasons depending on the year; we have been having floods lately, had to move some stock to higher ground … no one died!! But it ain’t over yet as we are coming in to another bit of a warm spell and there is still a whole lot of snow in the headwaters.
    The chores are never ending … renewing a u-joint on one of the trucks and before you know it it will be hay season again!! Logged part of the property here a couple years ago which greatly increased the field of fire (one mile driveway!!) and opened up the ground for better grass/pasture. Built a root cellar w/ timber money using ICF concrete forms … ‘Smartforms’ out of Canada … worked incredibly well … 12ft x 30ft x 8ft high … over head is steel pandecking and the entire structure is encased in ‘LOTS’ of rebar and underneath four feet if earth!! … is it EMP proof?? Someday we may find out!! Also spent $$ to rebuild a mid-sixties vintage Lister genset w/a 5KW generator that has slip rings and commutator … no electronics so hopefully it will be EMP proof also. TO All, Yours in Faith and Liberty, DB.

  27. Most of the spring garden is planted and the seedlings are emerging with the recent rain. 40-50 years ago, my mother kept several varieties of field pea seed as well as other garden seed in our freezer in cotton cloth bags. Each bag was labeled with the variety. This kept them dormant. Germination remained good for years and the seed were protected from insects. Now, I use seed that I have stored in my freezer to plant each spring and buy extra seed to store. Seed are labeled with year purchased and variety. They are stored in a paper bag inside a cloth bag. I never use plastic bags to store seed.
    We never have enough manure, so I store commercial fertilizer. The local farm supply store had a great sale on 50 lb bags of 10-10-10 during April.
    It is in plastic bags which prevents it from getting hard as a rock. A two year supply is safely stored. The farm tractors are 1980’s models which should work after an EMP. Two years supply of diesel is treated and stored.

  28. Roofing the warehouse. It is just tired and poorly installed. Adding panels to the top to close the gap under the ridge cap. Adding panels between the warehouse box and the office box because there is not enough lap. cutting and replacing problem panel sections. Adding mastic tape between panels where wax paper was not removed before. No insurance applies. Guess I should find a better agent eh HJL. Hope to set my 10 m up and practice taking CW when I am too tired to climb the ladder.

  29. Ash trees are being downed here by the dozens. The city is grinding up the branches and limbs and leaving piles of the chips for the taking. But what to do with them?

  30. Love the new section. Been a Prepper since 1973. Now I am focusing on manual tools; grinder, wringer for galvanized tubs, Berkey, canners in plural, canning jars including a bunch of 4 ounce jars (with no refrigeration do not want leftovers), lids by the bulk (Lehman’s), water catchment system. Just ordered a rocket stove and plan to learn how to fabricate metal to make more of various sizes. I already know how to build one out of firebrick. Need to build a solar dehydrator this year. My Excalibur and 2 round dehydrators will do me no good without electricity.

    Need more kerosene and wicks for kerosene wall lanterns. No table type as I have cats.

    I still need a root cellar which I hope gets built before fall. Live in tornado country.

    I am constantly canning. I look for buys in produce and meat. I can only lean meat! I just finished canning 16 half pints of portobello mushrooms. With ascorbic acid, they turned out beautifully.

    1. You mentioned a solar dehydrator. Has anyone built a wood-fired dehydrator? We want to build one soon and haven’t found anything on the web about it.

  31. So I’ve often thought about what a week in the life of a prepper is like. How is it different and how is it similar to others. Well, the last couple weeks I have frankly been to busy and too broke to do much in the prepper arena. It is spring and we just got our packages of bees in, we have chicks on the way, new layers and meat birds, so we’ve been mucking out space for them. The garden needed to be expanded, well sort of tripled really. Greenhouses prepared and plants started. Preparing the kids for summers away from home, situational awareness for the younger one and pistol practice for the older one. We have our next years firewood on site but we need to spend a weekend, splitting and stacking it, that should happen as soon as the garden is in. Maybe here in a couple weeks I’ll have time to start working on putting away some additional food and supplies for an emergency.

    1. Sounds like the ultimate prepping. To me, life is about putting away a little for a time in the future when you may need it, not using up everything for now. Those pullets will lay for 2-3 years down the road, and possibly set some more eggs. The roosters will get put in a jar, maybe, for eating at a future time. The target practice will obviously be needed someday, as will the firewood. What you’re doing sounds about like my life. If nothing else, it is physical conditioning to withstand the work load, but it is also learning life skills for that time.

  32. Great hearing from you, Michelle, our Northern Neighbor! We’re just south of Ontario Province.

    Same here in Ohio–we’re 6 to 7 INCHES above our normal rainfall of 3 inches per month. It’s rained for a week day and night. Bad floods–crops in fields have had their planted seed washed away!

    Fear Not! Hope springs eternal in our hearts.

  33. I am moving to Idaho. My question is Coeur d Alene only gets 175 days of sun a year, not all that good for solar and gardening. I have collected 1000 cans of food what happens when they freeze?

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