April 20, 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:

The snow is receding and our pastures are quite soggy. I did some “Spring Cleaning” around the house and shop even though it is still officially winter. It certainly feels like spring.  We have another cold spell in the forecast, but I don’t expect that we’ll get any more snow that sticks.

Since our little cattle herd has grown larger, I will have to go and buy a few more tons of hay, in March.  At the rate that the snow is now melting, I should have no trouble getting our hay trailer out of the corner of the horse arena.

I’ve had a bit of success at recent auctions, buying antique guns for my Elk Creek Company inventory.  The recent auction buys include these “no paperwork required” guns:

  • Winchester 12 Gauge Model 1887 lever-action shotgun
  • Stainless Steel Ruger Old Army .44 Percussion Revolver
  • Pietta 1858 New Model Army .44 Percussion Revolver with 8-inch barrel
  • Pietta 1858 New Model Army Buffalo (12-inch barrel) .44 Percussion Revolver
  • Smith & Wesson Top Break Double Action .38 S&W revolver
  • A Ludwig Loewe Chilean Mauser M1895 Short Rifle, 7×57, in original configuration
  • A factory-engraved Purdey 12 gauge double barrel hammer shotgun made in 1871, but sleeved and re-proofed in Birmingham in 1979!

I haven’t yet put these in my online catalog.  For now, I’m just happy to tuck these in the vault. I consider them better than money in the bank, especially with the ATF’s planned redefinition of “Engaged in the Business.” If that absurd redefinition ruling is not overturned, then I expect that will create substantial inflation in the market prices of pre-1899 guns and replica “antiques”. Why? Because, with very few exceptions, Federally-exempt “antique” guns will become the only guns that folks will be able to buy without Form 4473 paperwork and FBI background checks.  A Hint: If you live in any of the 26 remaining “private party sales” states, then I suggest that you round out your lifetime collection with purchases at gun shows, soon, before the new ATF rule goes into effect!

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week we had more sun than clouds, Thank You, Father God!! Temperatures were in the thirties.  It snowed at night early in the week and then again on Thursday with just a trace of accumulation.

We went swimming twice this week.

I spent time doing the usual housekeeping chores of cleaning, dishes, cooking, and laundry.

Specifically, I spent time reorganizing our chest freezer.  I took out some foods that had been in there more than three years that we hadn’t been eating and gave them to the chickens. This created more room to put some very inexpensive ground beef and chicken that we bought for feeding the dog and cats. I also reorganized our propane freezer where we keep the majority of our meat.

I spent time cleaning the house, specifically scrubbing our tile floor. This week we bought a very stiff bristled brush on a stick that is larger than a hand brush. I thought would be easier to use than a scrub brush on my hands and knees.  It helped the job to go faster.  It is a big job.

I am thinking about crafting a leather quiver for my arrows.  I have the leather pieces cut and a round wooden block for the base and want to use nice hemp twine for lacing and decoration.  We bought decorative tacks to nail the leather to the round wood block.  Now, for me to measure where the holes will be in the leather and to decide how I want to lace it. I’ve been researching methods of lacing.  I am rather undecided at this point on how to proceed….I want to be a more crafty person. I don’t want to ruin it. I want it to look nice. I’ve never done it before. I don’t want it to be a too involved process. And I don’t have the patience for learning how to lace, if I were to use a leather needle and leather strips, where to punch the holes? Grrr! There is a learning curve….I like it when crafts are straightforward and decided and can be finished in a reasonable amount of time, a few hours versus days or weeks. I am going to do more research, watch some more lacing videos, and think about the project some more…

After aligning the nocks correctly on the arrows and not wearing finger gloves, ouch! I toughed it out. I went out in the sun on Tuesday, and had some archery shooting sessions.  This time, I was nailing the target the majority of the time even getting hits regularly within the bullseye circle, but not a full bullseye, yet. Yes! I love that thwack sound of the arrow hitting the target!  Success!  My strength and accuracy are improving.  Fun.  Miss Violet joined me a bit later and was doing fairly well.  On that day it was sunny, in the low thirties, and  not much wind. I wore short pants to receive sunlight on my legs, and went barefoot, in the grass just for a bit, standing in the path between the house and the greenhouse.  It felt good, but cold.  There are four to six inches of snow on either side of the path.  When retrieving arrows in the snow, I slipped my Slogger shoes back on. They had snow fall into them and I walked around with a bunch of snow under the arch of my foot until I could kick them off and empty the snow out.  Brrr!!! I suffered from a bit of numbness for a few moments. 😉 I lost only one errant arrow during that practice session. (I’ll find that when the snow melts.) I went out again on Friday and practiced some more.

I read chapter three of my Astronomy book, titled, “Cycle of the Month” and is all about the moon.  I learned officially, I was familiar with them, the phases of the Moon: New Moon, waxing crescent, first quarter  waxing gibbous, Full moon, waning gibbous, second quarter, waning crescent, New moon.  But I did not know why and how we get the phases of the moon. The text explained but I needed a better visual so I found this video that demonstrates how it works.  It’s the best!  Nor I did I know why we see the Moon during the day and at night.  I learned that the moon has its own orbit around the Earth and its own rising and setting times.  Like the sun it comes up in the east and sets in the west.  But depending on its phase, the New moon rises forty-eight minutes after the sun on its first day of the month. Then it rises about 48 minutes later than the previous day and continues adding about an extra 48 minutes each day until it is arising mid-day and later, as the month proceeds.  There is more to this, as I understand that will be explained later in the text.

So after learning this, thankfully we had two clear days and nights in which I could watch the moon rise.  I also learned the degrees of elevation as to where it was sitting above the horizon.

I found this TimeAndDate.com web page that has the times of the Moon rising and setting each day, and have been studying it. You can put your zip code in the search bar and get the times of the moon rise and its elevation in real-time.  It is so cool!

One of the evenings between 5:30PM-7:30pm as the daylight was fading through Civil, Nautical, and Astronomical twilights I turned off the lights and lay on the floor, my head propped against a chair looking out our large picture window that is located just at the ceiling of our great room watching the crescent Moon transit through the tops of a spruce tree and a pine tree on the fence line of our south pasture. Once it transited across the window, I was up and about doing things and then looking out another window to track its progress. Jupiter was in conjunction with the Moon during the transit. So cool. The next night the Moon was located at a much higher elevation at those same hours and no longer could be seen through our window.

Further, I have been studying The Miller’s Planisphere Latitude 40 degrees North of the stars and constellations and stepping outside to look at the stars on those few clear nights this week, between 7:00-930 PM. We have an amazingly dark and beautiful night sky here — with no light pollution!  The stars just pop!  My Planisphere has the degrees of altitude from the horizon to the top of the dome which is at Polaris and is at 90 Degrees.  I began to note with my observations at what degrees and the cardinal direction the stars and constellations were located. I also noted (using the link in the previous paragraph) what degrees the sun is at on the horizon when it finally comes over our mountains in the morning.  Since we live in a canyon, the sun comes over our mountains about 19 degrees and about two hours after sunrise. The mountains also interfere with seeing constellations that are on the horizion.  But, If we were to go spend the night on top of one of our mountains this coming summer…

It has been so interesting.  I feel like I am finally truly beginning to understand the workings of our night sky!!!

I did some weight lifting and thirty-five push-ups, forty situps a few times this week with the two swims and some walking around the ranch. On Friday, we had gorgeous Bluebird skies with temperatures in the low thirties.  I checked the meadows to see if the ice was thick enough to skate, it was not.  So we three, and H our pup, went for a hike on a trail very close to our home in the adjoining National Forest.  We hiked approximately three and half miles on hard-crusted snow..  Part way through the hike we found a southern exposed hill with no snow.  So we sat down and had a snack and sunned ourselves for about a half hour before returning back to hiking. Our dog  H. wanted to play fetch, for all of that half hour!

I have been studying Ezekiel 34-38 this week.  Ezekiel 34 talks about the restoration of Israel.  I’m not sure as to when this pertained to or will pertain to.

The Restoration of Israel

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.