May 28, 2024

To be prepared for a crisis, every Prepper must establish goals and make both 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 your e-mailed letters. We post many of those –or excerpts thereof — in the Odds ‘n Sods Column or in the Snippets column. Let’s keep busy and be ready!

Jim Reports:

We had a fairly nice view of the northern lights here at the ranch on Thursday night, despite partial cloud cover.

This past week we took advantage of the fact that there was still snow on the ground to gather up manure in our barnyard, and haul it by sled-loads out to the orchard. To control weeds, we only haul cow manure to our vegetable and berry gardens, but we do haul some horse manure to our far-separated orchard, where we can more easily mow down weeds.

With the help of my #2 Son, I got a lot of carpentry work done on the room partition remodeling, in our workshop. I’m not the world’s fastest carpenter, so this project is taking me longer than I had originally anticipated.  At least the afternoon highs are now in the 40s and low-50s, so my teeth are no longer chattering, while I’m working.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers:
Spring is officially here!  I am so excited and motivated to do all the spring activities. I’ve been a very, very busy girl this week with a flurry of activities.

This week I heard Flickers and Red Wing Blackbirds. On Thursday night there was a G3 level solar storm. At it’s height it was a 7.67 on the KP Index. For the first time both of us have been here, we actually saw faint white and slightly greenish curtains of Auroras, white flashes around the spotty cloud cover, and a greenish glow to our northeast and northwest. Fun!

While we were outside observing the auroras, I heard a common snipe.  This was the earliest I have ever heard them.  Usually, I don’t hear them until June.  So now I know they can be here much earlier than June. I also heard a Great Horned owl.

During the first half of the week, we had a lot of sunshine with highs in the low 50s, no wind, and low humidity.  Therefore in the afternoons, I was able to work outside comfortably in shorts and a tank top for a few hours to maximize my vitamin D absorption. The end of the week the weather returned to wintry conditions with temperatures in the high thirties, low forties with snow showers.

This week, I planted more trays of kale, lettuce, chard, purslane, and alpine strawberries for the grow room.

Additionally, out in the greenhouse, I planted in many trays and pots, seeds for purple carrots, purple broccolini, spinach, chard, red kale, scallions, lettuces, Mache, pac choi, claytonia, and beets. We shall see when they come up.  The temperature in the greenhouse at night still is going below freezing.  But these seeds/plants are cold hardy crops, so we shall see what comes up?

I cleaned ashes out of our wood heating stove and put them in the soil of various pots and trays in the greenhouse.

Crazy girl that I am, I assisted the speed of the snow melt in the Main garden this week by running the sprinkler and moving it around the garden.  We have about eighteen inches of compact icy snowpack.  I started with the sprinkler on the compost pile, even after running it overnight there is still snow on it, but less is better than the amount there was. I continued moving it around the garden.  Last year in the month of March we had very little snow in the garden…

I also shoveled down to the ground a path, next to the ice path already there, to the greenhouse, that the sun continued to melt and thaw the ground, so that I can run to the greenhouse barefoot and get some grounding.  It felt so good for my feet to feel the grass and dirt again, although where the snow had just come off it was very wet, cold with ice crystals for a few hours until they melted.  ?

Just outside the garden door of the house just in front of the stairs, the snow is three feet high where it came off from the roof. It is iced over so I was not able to shovel that yet, so the first eight feet from out the garden door I am walking on snow and ice, barefoot, until it melts!!  It is crazy, I know, but it is so freeing to not have to put shoes on when I am constantly running in and out of the house to the greenhouse at this time of the year.

I further melted and shoveled snow the next day and created a spot of grass just outside the garden door in order to have a place in the yard to do stuff in.  It turns out that our washing machine that we bought last summer experienced infant mortality with its control panel.  So I have had to do a couple of loads of laundry with our manual James Washer. I put it in the newly-cleared area in the Main garden.

M our male kitty is doing just fine since his scare three weeks ago in getting caught in the garage door. Thank You, Father God. The cows, horses, sheep, chickens, other cats, and our dog are all doing well, as well.

I cleaned the hen house, mixed up another batch of feed for them at the very end of the week.  This time the mix had whole oats, cracked corn, Quinoa, ground white navy beans, ground whole peas, not as much as in the previous mixes, and Sunflower seeds.  We need to buy more millet and flax.

I prepared for brooding our soon-to-be hatching chickies.  I brought into the house our small short, shallow galvanized tank from outside, washed it and put it in our master bathroom tub on top of a large towel, so as not to scratch the tub and to stabilize the tank, it has a bowed-out bottom. We seldomly use the tub.  Then I retrieved the brooder light, attached it to the tank, retrieved a short extension cord from the shop and attached it to the light, plugged it in to make sure the bulb worked. Then I went out to the barn to get an armful of hay and brought that carefully into the house and through our bedroom to the bathroom and put it in the tank.  I managed to drop only a few pieces of grass in the bathroom. Yes, no clean up required this time. Then I retrieved a chicken waterer and a small shallow clear glass serving plate that has a short lip that we use to feed small baby chicks.

I mixed up a special feed for them.  The feed had a scoop of the adult mix that has wheat germ, (I forgot to mention wheat germ last week in my recipe mix) millet,  cracked corn, sunflower seeds, flax, whole oats, etc.  I added more quinoa and grounded whole field peas, added ground hulled sunflower seeds, ground wheat berries, a bit more kelp and garlic powder.  I had Jim pick up some parakeet grit and will sprinkle some of that over their feed when I give it to them. In a one-gallon waterer, I put in electrolyte powder, a tablespoon of cane sugar, and a splash of apple cider vinegar.

Chickies ought to begin hatching during this upcoming week.  They will be hatching over a seven day time period, because I put them in the incubator during a full week, since I could only get a few a day and was worried about getting an early start in the season on incubation. I am incubating 21 eggs.  I already know that at least two are not viable. But I am waiting a few more days before I toss them out, just to make sure. The next batch I do will be started at the same time.

I let the sheep and lambs out into their fenced in yard this week.  The lambs are so small, that I am worried about them being taken and had to keep checking on them to make sure no birds of prey or other predators were nearby.  Each time I heard the crows, I would go out to check on them.  In the summer I can see their fenced-in area from the open garage door, but currently there is a five-foot snow pile blocking the view.

H. our dog is right by my side all day long while I work around the ranch.  Once when I went out the garage door and heard a crow close by, I looked at H. and said to her, “Go to the sheep.” and I threw my arm out in the direction of the sheep shed.  I had never told her to do this before, on purpose, and not ever before from the garage.  She does help me do chores in the morning and waits for me to get their hay and runs, excitedly in front of me to their pen,  To my pleasant surprise, she immediately ran across the parking area to the sheep pen and ran around the sheep shed and pen.  She knows the word “sheep”. I walked out after her.  She was running around the pen in the loop that she created and barked at the sheep “scaring” them inside their back door. I opened the front door and counted heads.  All were accounted for. I praised her for being such a good girl and for being so helpful. I went out a couple of more times during the day, until it was time to put them in for the night. I will be in the future sending her out to the pen more often when the lambs are out.  Just her frequent presence will help deter the predators.

I trimmed off the Primocane heads of my red and yellow raspberries that produced fruit in the fall

I shoveled out our orchard’s very large swinging gate and managed to squeeze through to get inside to clear enough snow to open it up wide enough to bring in sleds of manure.  I then pruned some of the apple trees.  I have more pruning to do.  I just don’t want to over-prune because I want as much fruit a possible this summer.  I have the tension of really wanting to shape the trees for the future, but also wanting the fruit that many more branches will produce in the short term. I am really working on a few trees, that are still very young and are not producing much yet, anyway.  But I have three older trees that just really started to produce fruit in the past year that should have been pruned years ago, and I don’t want to lessen their production for this coming year. I think we are really going to need it. Anyhow…

I finally emptied the propane freezer and somewhat thawed it out, only the top two shelves on the back have some ice on them.  Jim didn’t want to turn the pilot off since we had problems with it a while ago, so we just left the door open and I applied warm washcloths to the back wall to thaw most of the ice layer that was there.  Then I washed it out and repacked our beef, store-bought lamb, our butchered whole chickens, and some elk from a friend, from the electric freezer into the propane freezer.  I also reorganized the electric freezer.  It now just has our fish and the dog’s bones, dog’s meats, butter, cheese, etc., in it.

You must listen to this week’s Catherine Austin Fitt’s Solari Report an interview with a Dutch journalist who formally worked at three banks discussing CBDCs.

I continued with my calisthenics and added bike riding in our now snowless parking area.

I have been listening to the book of Ezekiel.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles