March 2, 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 some very cold weather, last weekend.  On the night of January 12th it was -18 Fahrenheit, here at the ranch. That is the coldest I’ve seen it, in nearly two decades here. In the wake of that Deep Freeze, I had to set up an electric space heater in our house’s crawlspace, to thaw out some frozen pipes. For five days we had flowing tap water in only one half of the house, and no available hot water anywhere in the house. But I’m glad to report that there were no leaks when the pipes thawed out.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

We had seriously cold weather and another snowstorm in which we were forecast to get up to two feet, but turned out to only gain another eight inches.  At the end of the week, the temperatures moderated for highs up into the high teens with Friday afternoon reaching into the low twenties. We had a couple of days of lovely sunshine.

During this seriously cold spell, the cats and our dog had serious cabin fever.  The cats would ask to go out.  One of us would let them out.  Five minutes later they would be back at the door fur all fluffed up holding up one paw asking to be let back in again.  Then they would sit on the cabinet and just meow at us.  Bored. Male “M”, in particular, didn’t know what to do with himself. They kept getting into a ton of trouble. “M” and “M” the male and female three-year-old kitties would follow us around the house and sneak into our bedroom every time we opened the door.  They are not allowed in there and they know it!!  This would entail a chase and scoop up and an unceremonious dump out the door. Each time I would open a cupboard door they would try to go into the cupboard (clean pots and pans).  Grr!  Every time I would sit down on the living room rug to work on the computer or watch a video, one of them would try to climb on top of me (okay as long as they don’t block my view of the screen).  H. our “pup”  was bored too.  She had many games with M and M or would just harass them because she had nothing better to do.  She would also chase after them in an abrupt, fast charge at them, yet at contact would gently nose them all over, until Nosed cat would swat at her or hiss and swat, or just get away. Our elderly cat would hiss, spit, and swat at her.  I always called “H” off of my older girl when I realized it was she, that H was harassing.  The other two can fend for themselves. Once while doing dishes, standing against the sink, H. chased Male “M” around the kitchen and he ran between my legs and hid behind them against the wall of the sink cabinet.  I laughed.  He was seeking protection from behind my legs. So I spread my legs just a bit more to give him more cover from H.  while I worked on the dishes, until he chose to leave.  Those animals!!!  😉

It was so cold that I would go out for enough time to either do chores or go for a cross-country ski.  I would always take H out with me for both of these outings.  She loved them. I skied about four times in the past week with an insulated face mask that I had bought back when I was just out of college working/teaching at a Cross Country ski center. I never liked those hats that you put over your face with the three holes in it for your eyes and nose.

This week I cleaned up the kitchen, scrubbed the oven, sinks, microwave, trash can, and floor under the trash can. I vacuumed and scrubbed the floors.

I went on errands, on Tuesday before the next big snowstorm hit the Inland Northwest. The forecast was for two feet of snow by Thursday night.  I am writing this section Wednesday afternoon.

On Tuesday, I went to the Post Office and went to a feed store to pick up cracked corn, field peas, sunflower seeds, and barley for our chickens and more Elenbass layer pellets. I went to three grocery stores to stock up on salmon, salad greens, oranges, cheese, coconut milk, avocados, sweet potatoes, carrots, and organic seeds for snacking.  I bought some more vegetable seeds.  I tend to buy seeds almost every time I go to town. I also bought bar dish soap a few weeks ago.  I really liked it so this week I bought another bar dish soap to stock up.  I think I will be buying a few more in the future. It is organic and a cleaner soap with less ingredients than liquid soaps.  I still use liquid soaps from time to time, but not as often.

I have been making green smoothies once again, because I began to struggle with a health issue that had had not bothered me during the summer but had returned during December.  I have realized that I needed extra magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D.  I don’t like taking supplements but… I had to do something since the food I was eating wasn’t getting the job done, not enough greens in salads each day, not enough nuts for Magnesium, and no dairy for calcium, not enough sun for D.  Therefore, in my smoothie I am putting in two capsules of Magnesium Glycinate and store-bought orange juice with supplemented Calcium and D.

I was taking cod liver oil, but I am pretty sure it doesn’t agree with my body and was adding to my issue, and the taste wasn’t the issue for me.  Instead, I am eating lots of sardines and salmon.  Each can of sardines has 3.2 mg of D.  We need about 10 mg per day, and it has calcium. So I have been eating about two cans a day. Additionally, I am adding dried Lamb’s quarters, which the grandsons and I picked and dehydrated last summer during Camp Rawles, a small pinch of seaweed, frozen cherries, half a container of mixed spring greens, half a 13 ounce can of coconut milk, an apple, and avocado, currently.  These ingredients are subject to change.  Sometimes I add carrots, beets, cabbage, pac choi, raspberries, and any other fruit. We are also eating beef liver once a week. Since starting this regimen a week ago, my problem seems to have gone away during the past four days.  I am so glad, because it was starting to get to me.

With the hot water heater pipes frozen, we had no running hot water for about six days. (On Wednesday, the hot water began flowing through the pipes again). That doesn’t bother me too much.  As long as we have running water in the house, we can keep water warm on the wood stove for all of our needs. We all know how to sponge bath with warm water from a bucket.  It is also easy to heat water on the stove to do dishes.

I have not cleaned out the beasties domiciles these past two weeks since the cold weather hit, because all of their stuff is frozen to the floors or ground. It is building up.  But because it is frozen there is no odor. However next week we’re supposed to have a huge warm-up, and sadly, there is rain in the forecast.  That is a nasty four-letter word in the winter after such lovely snow has fallen!  Then I will be able to clean them out again.

I watched more videos from the natural skills course I am taking.

Hey, I had no idea that I was a trendsetter.  Apparently going furniture-less and sleeping on the floor is a YouTube trendy thing for more movement, flexibility, and overall health. I saw these videos for the first time ever this week. We own furniture and will not get rid of it. But, I naturally gravitate to the floor or sit on our stone fire hearth (beneath our wood heating stove) and very rarely sit on our furniture.  I also prefer to sit on our wool rug.  We have a futon bed that is elevated on a hard surface. I may incorporate more of these movement/flexibility props featured in the video around our house, though.

As I mentioned earlier, I did a lot of cross-country skiing this week and some calisthenics.

Miss Violet and I listened to First and Second Corinthians during our trip into town. I spent some time in Psalms, specifically, Psalm 23 and Psalm 26 this week.  In our Shabbat Bible Study, we recently studied Romans and are now is studying Hebrews.

A video of note: Top reasons for Home Church-ing.

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

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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.