February 21, 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 quiet week here at the ranch.  I was busy with taking orders for USB blog archive sticks, and mailing out a few to family and friends. Just making extra trips into town to pick up mail and logging in the 5% of USB stick orders that were paid by check took a lot of my time, this week.

I’m pleased to report that the waterproof 2005-2023 Archive USB sticks are now being mailed, a full week ahead of schedule. We expect to mail out about 150 sticks each weekday.  We’ve already received more than 750 orders, and dozens of new orders are coming in daily. So it may take up to three weeks to clear the order backlog. Thanks for your patience.

It is good to see that our stock water tanks have thawed out.  But our corrals and our barnyard are now great big messy slushies. They are no fun to walk in, even in mud boots.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

Well, this week our weather has been downright warm and balmy for winter in the north.  It has been mostly cloudy and raining with our temperatures hovering between 33 degrees Fahrenheit at night up to forty-one degrees Fahrenheit in the afternoon.  We had two sunny afternoons of which were gorgeous.  I took advantage of them and bared my belly and arms to sun myself for an hour or so.

On Monday, the Henhouse was thawed enough to clean it out, so I did.  Also, I cleaned the front stall of the cow shed.  The back stall was still too frozen to move their manure.   On Wednesday, I cleaned out the back stall.  I put the chicken manure in a pile in the Main garden, and the cow/horse manure in a large pile in the middle of the corral. That placement will make it easier for our neighbor to pick it up with his tractor in the spring. Those were three fairly big jobs.

The packed eighteen inches of snow that we received during the past two weeks thawed and slid off the roof into the garden.  It left a packed four-foot wide, three and a half foot deep, eighty-foot long pile blocking my way to the greenhouse.  So I shoveled a two-foot wide path through the four-foot wide part to get to the greenhouse.  I worked on it a little bit for three days until I broke through it.

After I mentioned buying bar dish soap in last week’s Prepping Progress, I had an inquiry about which bar dish soap I had bought and where I had bought it from.  The soap’s brand name is Plantish Dish Soap Brick and is from the www.PlantishFuture.com company. The Plantish ingredients are very simple, Coconut oil, Olive oil, Husk oil, Sodium hydroxide(lye) and peppermint oil. I bought it through Winter Ridge in Sandpoint, Idaho. It was very expensive at $18 dollars per bar. But I really wanted to test it out and since I liked it, then I bought one more last week.

On Sunday, after the inquiry, I looked up the Plantish Future company and learned that it is made in Vancouver, Canada but its office is in Toronto, Canada.  I was looking to buy the bars in bulk from them but they don’t offer that choice. Since they are so expensive, I need to really get on the stick and make my own. I researched how to make Dish Bar soap recipes. I found this website from the Rebooted Mom that lists her ingredients and gives directions. She also includes several calculators for soap ingredients and for lye and essential oil fragrances. I then researched Carla Emery’s Encyclopedia of Country Living book on soap making. I now need to get a few more ingredients and a few more materials.  I need to acquire a good enamel pot and some containers for soap molds. We have a few old enamel pots but they have rust spots, so those won’t work. I had already bought lye crystals and I have Coconut, Castor, and Olive oil already, and have Essential oils, for scenting soaps. I bought arm-length gloves recently and we already have chemistry set protective goggles. The bitter cold January weather interfered with butchering our yearling cattle but we will get to it, sometime soon. It’s a big project and we need to free up a good chunk of time to do it.  We will render the fat into tallow, so I can use that to make soaps in the future.

An Inquiry:  I was wondering if those of you who have taken Herbal Medicine courses online would share your opinion on them.  We have a lot of folks who would be interested in learning more about herbal medicines. I would like to be able to recommend a few.  Please e-mail at: LilyATsurvivalblog.com (Replace the AT with @)

Confession time:  Even though we very much dislike Amazon’s policies and where its policies are leading, we temporarily signed back up with them, because Jim’s novel Land of Promise is only published and sold through Amazon and we had run out of copies of the book to give away.  So we signed up again and Jim told me to take advantage of that window of opportunity get a few things that we’ve been needing to get that are available to order through Amazon. I ordered: Cloth napkins, his and her handkerchiefs, Mason Jar accessories, more Dish Bar Soap to hold us over until I make my own, and a kitchen sink backsplash for the faucet. We also bought a twenty-five pound training bow for women and youth. We ordered two metal laundry racks for use in the Great Room because our wooden ones that we bought a couple of years ago are incredibly weak and flimsy and broke after two years of use because of the weight of the wet clothes — and because they are not strong enough to support the additional weight of eleven pound kitties using them as jungle gyms. As soon as those orders arrive, we will be canceling Amazon again.

On Thursday, we released the cows and horses from the corrals back out into the meadows.  The snow has now melted after all of this rain and high winter temperatures to about an eight-inch depth.  That is a level that they can handle walking through.  We are once again sledding their hay rations out to them in the meadow.  It is a much healthier situation for them.

I lifted weights and did calisthenics.

I have been reading Amos, Micah, Psalm 23 in Hebrew, Revelation, and parts of Daniel.

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.