May 24, 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:

I’m still down with a cold.  I hope to be back to posting the full roster of blog posts by Monday or Tuesday. Lily will fill you in on what has been going on at the Rawles Ranch.

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
The weather has been cold and snow showery and rainy all week. This week I have been moaning that it is “Soooo cold”  I’m over it, now!  I’m trying to be patient.  I don’t like the in-between season business.  If its going to be winter, be a proper winter with lots of snow so we can do stuff in it.  Now that it’s supposed to be spring, Be spring!!!

Thus far Jim’s cold illness has bypassed me…

This week for the returning migratory birds, I saw a Red-Tailed Hawk and a Vulture.

Love is in the air! I have mentioned in the past that we have a wild female turkey who likes to dwell on our ranch with us during the winters.  We have encouraged her residence by feeding her along with our chickens.  Now our section of the valley has little to no turkey flocks.  There are large flocks to our south and north. I have been praying that large flocks would become established here.  The past few springs, Mrs. Turkey has disappeared for a number of months only to reappear with a few chicks. But those were promptly eaten by the resident Bald Eagles.

In the past week, I’ve heard a male turkey gobbling all morning somewhere off the ranch.  I began to pray that he would find our Mrs. Turkey. On Thursday morning that boy was gobbling in our driveway near the chicken coop.  I saw him. He is a handsome Tom. A real specimen of a bird.

I then saw our Mrs. Turkey nearby, on the other side of the barn and corrals. I had to arrange their meeting.  I immediately went to the coop and retrieved some grain for both of them and called Mrs. Turkey in.  Mrs. Turkey, you’ve got to meet this boy!  Later I saw them eating it together.  Yes!  Maybe he will stick around and claim our Mrs. Turkey as his own and the two of them will form a flock here on the ranch. I pray that they will have success this year in rearing to adulthood a whole passel of turkey chicks.  We need them in this neck of the woods. May this be the year!

Finally, on April 4th, I heard our yearly frog chorus for the first time this season.  I believe that is the latest I’ve ever heard them, since moving here. I write down the dates I see and hear birds, frogs, animals, weather temperatures and anomalies.  Heretofore, the latest that I had written down for hearing the frogs was March 31st.

We had only three chicks hatch from this incubation.

For the next incubation period after this hatching, I had collected 55 eggs, put them in the incubator, thought the temperature had been too low on the last incubation, therefore I raised the temperature gauge up just a smidgen overnight.  The next morning the temperature was 107 degrees Fahrenheit on the thermometer in the incubator. It is only supposed to be between 98 and 101 degrees Fahrenheit.  Oops, these eggs were fried.  So I threw them in the compost and have been collecting another set since Thursday.  I should have enough eggs to start a batch on Monday at the right temperatures in the incubator.

I transplanted my tomato seedlings into bigger pots.  They were in three-inch pots to begin with. I put them in seven-inch and nine-inch pots.  It is still far too cold at night to put them out in the greenhouse.  So for at least two more weeks they will remain in the guest bedroom greenhouse under the grow lights.

I also transplanted all the pepper seedlings from one-inch pots into three-inch pots.

After transplanting, I immediately washed the pots they had been in.  I am trying very hard to keep up with every project while the project remains small, just a few pots, then to wait until the end of the season and have a mountain of starting pots and trays to wash.  I do not like long and involved jobs that take hours to do and are too repetitive.

Speaking of such, on Wednesday, I spent five hours moving horse manure build-up from their winter loafing area to a designated horse manure pile by sled, and still have a large amount to move. I have been scraping the ground down to soil with a flat shovel and dumping the manure into a smallish sled weighing in the neighborhood of a hundred pounds. I then dragged it, across the bare ground to an ice path that the horses created, covered with their manure, to the dumping area. With all of the shoveling and dragging for five hours,  I moved about twenty or more loads, literally about a ton. Wow, who would have thought that two horses could produce so much manure in one winter?  And what we’ve moved so far was only about half of it. I got a really good workout. I slept super well that night and woke up feeling great.  Miss Violet helped me for about an hour.

The both of us worked for about an hour on the manure the next day.  We are making progress. There is still much more to move, though.

I turned over the part of the compost pile that has food scraps and dumped the can that had food scraps in it from last year.  I dug up some compost and found millions of worms.  Amazing, since they were only two inches down in the soil and we are still having such cold below-freezing temperature nights!  Therefore, I threw big clumps of worm “infested” soil on top of all of the food scraps and I tossed a large pile of chicken manure hay from the past weeks of cleaning on top of it.

The south third of the Main garden still has at least seven inches of snow cover. But at the rate it is melting, now, it should be off by mid-week next week, especially if we get some warm rains this week…

Because of Jim’s cold, we had to bow out of hosting the Passover meal at our home with our Bible Study group, this past week.  Miss Violet and I did not go, even though we were well, just in case we are incubators of the illness. We celebrated with a shortened version of the Seder in our home.

Some YouTube channels that I have enjoyed watching lately are about Persian nomads in the Zagros mountains.  I have been enjoying watching about how simple their life is and how they do things.  On the Vesht channel, there is a lady named Zahra that they have been focusing on, “Zahra Hikes”.  She is hiking all over their mountains, exploring and harvesting edible and medicinal herbs.  It has been fun for me to recognize many common species that are also here in the USA, probably imported from that region of the world.  The mountain scenery is gorgeous!  And it is wonderful to see how much farther along they are in spring than we are. I also see that many of their herbs are the same that we use over here. She eats very simply, as I do.  I like seeing how little she carries on her hikes and how strong and nimble she is.  She is two years older than I, and a lot heavier than I am.

I’m still working out. Since working out I have come up about two pounds in weight thus far.  My goal is to come up another five or six pounds in weight.  Once I gain that weight and can maintain it for a while, I plan to introduce some two-day and three-day fasts, every now and then, for health purposes.  I want to be able to give my digestive system a break every now and then, but cannot and will not until I am at least five pounds heavier, on average. I’m hoping to be able to reintroduce dairy, eggs and grains into my diet at some point once my stomach is fully healed. It already is much better compared than it was three years ago. I have only done one, three-day water fast in my life back when I was in my mid-twenties.  I have done numerous twenty-four hour fasts, mostly on Yom Kippur.  Every now and then, I will do an eighteen-hour fast.

Here is a very interesting video on muscle-building.

I asked Jim to order pairs of neoprene-covered barbells for us: 10, 12, and 15 pounders. He found those on eBay. They should arrive next week.

I listened to the audio Bible of Daniel, Hosea, John.

A word from Elizabeth Marie on the coming persecution.

Happy Resurrection Day!  Jesus is alive!

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

As always,  please share and send e-mails of your own successes and hard-earned wisdom and we will post them in the “Snippets” column this coming week.  We want to hear from you.