Tips & Basics

We’ve gone back to frequent rotation of the electric stock tank heaters.

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 fairly quiet week here at the ranch. Because we are in the midst of mailing out orders for USB archive sticks, I had to make two extra trips to town. Since the Rawles Ranch is so remote, trips to town consume almost half a workday. Oh well, at least it is a scenic drive, with lots of opportunities to see wildlife.

The weather had been nice for a couple of weeks, with occasional sunshine, and temperatures often above freezing. But on Friday night a cold front came in and we got five inches of snow.

With cold weather, we’ve gone back to more frequent rotation of the electric stock tank heaters. Our stock tanks are positioned in pairs. During cold spells, if we don’t shift the heaters between tanks “morning-and-night” then we have to sledgehammer the ice off the top of the colder tank, to make the switch.

Now, Lily’s report…

Avalanche Lily Reports:

Dear Readers,
This week our temperatures were in the thirties again with mostly cloudy skies and a few moments of sun.

I cleaned the Hen House twice and put their manure around the golden raspberry bed.  I also began to clean up the horse manure in the loafing area.  There is a lot.  I have already made five sled runs to the red raspberry beds with it and have a lot more to still clean up after this cold spell ends next week.

I don’t know if you’ve heard about all that is happening at Tractor Supply? Several things are happening, among them is the promotion of immorality. But the main thing is that their feed companies (a Purina brand) for their chicken feed seems to be eliminating protein and some key nutrients needed for egg production and customers are noting an actual cessation of egg production among their hens, not just the usual winter lag…Though I didn’t think we have a Tractor Supply in our area, I did a web search and found there are Tractor Supply stores located in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho and Walla Walla, Washington, and in several other cities in the Redoubt. We usually buy layer pellets for our birds from what we believe is a trusted source. I am being more serious about making our own feed for our birds.  From time to time, I have made my own feed, but let’s face it, it is much easier to buy layer pellets. All this to say, this week I have been supplementing their feed with our oldest stored rice, lentils, and sunflower seeds.  They love it!  I am also trying to sprout seeds for them to eat.  We ordered more sprouting seeds this week in addition to what we already have. Jim also ordered another six stainless steel screen-top Mason Jar Sprouting lids.  And I ordered through Azure, more animal feed-designated grains and legumes, so we don’t use up our human supply.

I also plan to grow more foods for the birds this coming summer such as corn, oats, sunflowers, etc…

I sorted through my seeds in the three seed totes to get ready for starting seedlings.

I filled four planter trays with soil from the greenhouse, and planted four types of onion seeds and celery seeds this week, and put them in the guest bedroom under grow lights. Later, I took already soil-filled bussing trays and clear plastic shallow totes and planted Swiss Chard, Italian lettuce, other lettuces, parsley, and kale seeds for our salad-eating pleasure in a month or so.

I started six more jars of sprouts this week for both people and bird use: cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, alfalfa (2), kale, sunflower seeds, and four of these types of seeds in microgreen trays.

The new calf. M., is doing very well.  What a cutie she is!

One late afternoon after they had nearly finished eating and I was working in the loafing yard, one of our first freshened heifers began chasing our other first freshened heifer and the chase went on and on. Then they stopped and head-butted each other in a not-so-friendly way. Then the aggressive heifer chased this same heifer again for a while and then they head butted again and then this heifer chased after another one of our cows, A.. Our Matriarch cow, L., the new mama, bawled her head off as she watched the goings-on. Baby Calf, M., also ran around behind the other cows for a little bit. The five-month-old calves followed behind the chaser and the bull kicked up his heels a few times and also bawled while staring at me, as if to say, “What are you going to do about this?”  I said, “Holy cows!”  “What is going on with you all?  It is not a full moon, nor is it springtime, nor are there predators about.  What is causing this frenzied activity?”  I was a little bit worried that something was not right with the heifer that was doing the chasing.  But a few minutes later, she paused to eat some more hay, normally, and then started in again…I watched them for about fifteen minutes and then went into the house.  Later, I looked out and it seemed that they were at peace once again.  The next day, at breakfast, all were calm.  But later in the day, I noticed similar behavior, though not as aggressive.  Has anyone else noticed their cows acting a bit crazy lately? Our dog H. and the cats also appear to be more demanding of attention lately…

My chickens also have appeared more frenzied than usual while I’ve been in their house doing chores….flying by me, squawking, chasing each other, extra loud, etc.  We do have a lot of roosters, from the two batches of eggs that I incubated this summer that are ready to be go to freezer camp.  😉  So maybe they don’t count in this instance?

I spent time studying our numerous herbal medicine books and ordered a few more seeds of medicinal herbs that I don’t already have stored.

Miss Violet and I did some review of First Aid from the course we took recently.

My mother and I got on the phone and went through our Bug Out bags together.  Actually, Jim and I made up this Bug Out bag for her years ago and brought it to her on one of our visits.  As she went through it,  we talked about what is in it and what else she needed to add to it and I told her some of the new things I had in mine, etc.  She now has a list of things she is going to get — mostly food items, a tarp, and a few other things.

We had our new neighbors and our daughter Miss Eloise join the three of us for dinner one night this week.  The neighbors and I were supposed to go skiing together again this week, on an easier trail, and then join us for dinner, afterward. But, early in the morning while I was collecting a roast to cook them for dinner, a one-pound frozen soup bone took a three foot dive out of the freezer, and landed hard upon the top of the arch of my bare foot and bruised the tendon. I thought I could shake off the pain, but I couldn’t. Oh, that hurt!  And it hurt to move my foot around and to go up onto the ball of my foot and to wear any of my boots.  So I had to cancel the skiing part of our time together, and continued preparing the meal for us all.

It was a lovely time together.  A few days later, my foot still hurts slightly, but it is now much better. These neighbors had to go back south this week to continue with their life down there. They are slowly transitioning to live up here in the coming months. For now, they still need to make a living in the south.  I’ll miss them and cannot wait for their return.

I lifted weights and did sit-ups and worked out with the elastic bands this week and hiked across the meadows on top of hard crusty snow with H., a couple of days later when my foot was feeling better.

The “word” on the Internet, is that we are going to go digital by July of this year.  People in Europe and San Francisco are testing out a new method of paying for goods just with scanning the palm of their hand or their face.  In my personal opinion, this is part of the beast system spoken of in Revelation 13, 14, and a few other chapters. It may not yet be “The Mark” and yet, it could be a precursor.  How subtle and deceptive the enemy of our souls is.  All in the name of convenience… “High tech, isn’t this so cool?”  I can pay with my hand or my face! It is an absolute loss of privacy, and control. And it is a form of slavery of oneself.

The war drums are beating louder and louder in Europe and other parts of the world.  War may even come to our shores very quickly.

It isn’t looking good out there!  Keep prepping, praying, and reading the Word of God!

May you all have a very blessed and safe week.

– Avalanche Lily, Rawles

o o o

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.

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