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:

With the recent warm weather, there has been a lot of snow melt in the high country.  The Unnamed River (TUR) has swollen out of its banks and flooded half of our pastures.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,

This week we have had exceptionally warm weather, sunny with temperatures in the low to mid-eighties, very summer-like.  It was very pleasant to be so warm outside. But because of the heat it was a bit hard to get some work done.  Now, at the end of the week, we are getting some very much-needed rain. The warm weather enabled us to be super busy around the ranch.  Someone this week mentioned this: I will paraphrase it in regards to the Redoubt region, “That is is a good thing that the “Redoubt has hard winters otherwise, its hardworking inhabitants would never get a rest.”

Yes, the river has flooded its banks causing our meadows to flood, giving us “lakefront property”.  Every year, I have to take advantage of our “lakefront property” and go canoeing on our seasonal lake.  I did so again with H. our pup.  She enjoys going for canoe paddles with me.

She has become such a water dog.  She loves chasing her frisbee through the shallows of the flooded meadow.

One other dog story that I think is funny:  All winter long whenever I did animal chores, whenever I went into our open-sided barn to get hay for our beasties, Miss H. would always race up to the top of our hay bales about twenty-five feet high and thirty to forty feet back to see what might be lurking up there at the top and back. Sometimes our cats would be up there.  Well here it is spring and the small square hay bales have dwindled down to about four bales wide and three bales high/ only about five feet high and she still races to the top of that pile in two bounds to see what is there. That is so funny and silly to me that she still does that. I mean she can see the top of it from the floor and see that nothing is up on it.  Shaking my head, smiling, at my silly dog’s antics.

This week, Jim, Miss Violet, and I finished moving well-composted manure from the edges of the bullpen where our friend’s tractor bucket couldn’t reach and put it in the remaining section of the main gardens that needed it.  We also scraped manure from the opening of the back door of the milking parlor — also an area that is unreachable by the tractor.  Now the main garden is properly fertilized and can be planted next week.  I have hesitated to plant most stuff this week, because we do have cold weather expected and I’m a bit nervous about putting out my seedlings.

I harvested and dehydrated chives.

I transplanted my cucumber seedlings into larger pots in the greenhouse.  They already have baby cucumbers growing on them and needed more space and nutrients.

Also in the greenhouse, I planted more pepper and tomato seeds into planter trays.  The squash seeds I planted last week are now coming up.

I received and planted three Sweet Heart Apricot trees in the main garden, and a Mulberry bush and three Hawthorn trees in the orchard.

Jim plowed the manure into the meadow some more this week so that I could then broadcast the pasture grass seed and rake it over.  We use a shoulder-slung hand-crank broadcaster that Jim has owned for 35 years.  The crank handle is slightly mouse-chewed. But otherwise it almost as good as new. Now the rains have begun.  May our pasture grass grow abundantly!

We had let the cows and sheep be out to run the ranch with the horses for two weeks after the death of our Matriarch cow.  But we did not have enough grass for them to forage and so were supplementing them with the fast dwindling hay from last summer’s harvest.  As usual, as the days progressed the garden grass paths in the fenced-in main garden turned greener and greener.  The bull couldn’t resist and kept lifting the fence and going under it and into the garden to nibble the grass.  He even nibbled some of the broccoli, I had planted last week and the asparagus, I planted last summer.  GRRR!  Therefore, Jim bought two pallets of compressed hay bales this week and we put all of the animals back into the corrals for the next few weeks.

The flooding in our meadows also causes our grass availability to drop for a few weeks because the water out there gets to be anywhere from three inches to five feet deep.  So now, with the near meadows (they don’t flood) fertilized and reseeded, the rains coming and the cattle and sheep back in their corrals, the horses are in too this time, this will allow for our pastures to have a chance to grow thick for their grazing needs in a few weeks and will protect our gardens.

I incubated a second batch of fertilized eggs during the past three weeks, again only two hatched thus far out of thirty-six eggs.  I don’t know what is going on. Why I am having such a low hatch rate? Everything concerning the temperature and humidity is normal and steady…I am not letting the eggs get chilled or overheated before incubating. I will try a third batch shortly. Is anyone else having a poor hatch rate/high infertility this spring?

Jim plowed the Main garden beds for me this week.  He has been working so hard for me this week taking on the heavier jobs for me that I usually do. I am so thankful and relieved actually to not have to do some of that heavy work.  Jim is a real blessing to me.

I have been studying my edible wild plant books and have taken up nibbling on Dandelion flowers.  They are pleasantly pleasing to me to taste.  Believe it or not, I have never ever tasted one before this spring.   Since I have been studying wild edibles seriously for the past few years, I now feel quite confident in identifying them and since I feel as though I have my health back/stomach/digestion/food sensitivities under control, I am willing to try more wild foods that I have not eaten in the past.

I re-read “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George this week, partially for a refresher idea on the wild edible foods that her main character ate and to review it again because I am thinking about reading it aloud to the grandsons when they come for Camp Rawles for our evening campfire reading.  What a wonderful book that is!

Miss Violet and I repacked her hiking/bugout bag this week.

Jim and I slept out one night in our tent on the edge of the meadow.

I went on a mail run to our numerous post offices this week.

I spent time doing word searches on: health, heal, healing, healed, and believed. There are many scriptures with these verses in them that one needs to memorize and declare aloud and believe for healing through our Lord Jesus Christ.  It is His business to heal us when we trust and declare His Word.

Please pray for our daughter Miss Eloise. During the past two years she has been suffering from one cold after another. She is traveling this weekend to visit our relatives and is hoping for some R and R during her visit. She thankfully did not take the recently-recommended clot shot.  She needs to break this cycle of sickness. She needs to build up her immunity/nutrition. Please pray for safe travels, that she will make the right choices concerning food, supplements, sun, exercise, proper rest, her spiritual health, faith, and trust in God.  You know how these young people can be about these things. Thank you!

I also listened to Psalms 118-150 and First and Second Peter all the way to Jude on our CD player while driving to run errands.

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.