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:

For half of the past week, I was still down with a cold.  But now I’m back to a nearly normal pace of activity. The snow is quickly melting, and our pastures are starting to green up. (Quite late, this year!)

I’ve been making just a bit of progress on remodeling our workshop.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week started with snow showers, rain, and very chilly, then a day of sun and clouds, but it ended with a another day of showers and then some warmer temperatures.

Jim is feeling much better! What is amazing to me, is that it appears that whatever he had, bypassed me and Miss Violet.  Interesting!  Praise the Lord.

This week I started another batch of eggs in the incubator. They should hatch around May First.

Since our electric washing machine suffered from infant mortality, I have been washing our clothes in the James washer.

On a very rainy day with a huge amount of whites, I used the James washer and sent three loads of the laundry through one tub of bleach, soap, and water in the house.  It was a mistake.  I chlorinated myself out.  I ended up after running the clothes through the roller, which spilled water all over the laundry room floor, rinsing them outside with other tubs and the hose. I will never do a bleach load inside the house in the James washer again.  It will be done outside.

Let me tell you about the James Washer and what I like and don’t like about it.  It is rather small and very short. The top opening has a lip that goes around the inside of the washer.  The metal is very thin, so If one reaches into the washer to help scrub the load, one can hit their hands on the inside edge of the washer on the metal lip and though it’s rounded metal, it hurts.  Two, the drain hole is quite small. So if one fills the washer with water it takes quite a while to drain back out.  That is a pain when someone is in a hurry.  I don’t stand around well, watching things drain. I do like the handled agitator.  And I somewhat like the rollers that squeeze out the water from the clothes.

On the day that I washed the whites, I decided to wash a dark load and a light load, these two loads I washed inour deep laundry sink and I really enjoyed this experience much better.

The laundry sink is much higher up. With it, I also have quick access to hot and cold water.  It fills and drains very quickly. I can agitate the clothes with my hands.  I can see certain extra dirty items and give them extra attention.  Because it fills and drains quickly, I can do extra rinsing and really get the clothes rinsed out. I can wring them out quite well with my hands and then I can hang them on clothing racks on our porch to drip off the excess water. I then put them in the dryer if I want them back sooner than the spring damp air can do. The only problem with the laundry sink is that there is a cupboard above it and when I really get into thrashing the clothes around with my hands and arms and try to get right over the clothes, I can bump my head on the bottom of the cupboard. So, note to self, try not to practically get in the sink with the clothes, and mind your head.

Overall, my laundry sink is a better solution to the James Washer at this time, in my opinion.  I also noticed that after doing all of the extra rinsings that our clothes smelled really good and were so soft after being dried. I think I rinsed out all of the soap build-up that had been occurring for months from the regular washing machine.

Because I think most washing machines made in this day and age are cheap and conserve water too much. They keep breaking down. I’d almost rather not get another, but would prefer just to wash all clothes by hand.  It’s just a bit time-consuming.  But it will also teach us to be more conservative with what we are wearing, so we don’t have to do so many loads anymore.  The only drawback is blankets and sheets.

During the summer, I have four used plastic tubs from Lixit cattle supplement tubs that we bought for our beasties mineral pleasures. I can use those outside with the hose in the summertime that will be able to do four loads all at once which will be much faster than the James Washer.  I will load all four up, with laundry and water and soap agitate and let sit to soak and then go to each one for rinsing, etc. I’ll keep it and use it sometimes.

We had our broken electric washer looked at by the fix-it man this week.  He has to do some research to see if he can get the parts we think we need and fix it.  He will get back to us.  We might have to buy another.  ?

On Sunday, I rototilled a section of the extension garden and another section of the Main garden.  I transplanted my Rhubarb into the extension garden and knocked the rottend cedar two-by-sixes off the Black Raspberry beds.  I want to move the Black Raspberries down to the orchard.  I also am moving the strawberry beds down there, too.  I want the area of those raised beds to be turned into a regular garden area.  I need more garden room in the main garden.

We (Jim and I, Miss Violet and Number Two Son), traveled to some hot springs late in the week to celebrate a family birthday. We also were able to visit with Miss Eloise, since her trade school was fairly close by.

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.