What did you do to prep this week?

Before we get started with this weeks “what did you do to prep this week” segment,  I would like to thank Peter W, Sherry S, Spyder R, Vanessa M,  Charles P and Angela M for their generous donations via Paypal this week. Thank you for your support of this blog, it is greatly appreciated. If you too want to make a donation or sign up for our voluntary $5 per month subscription service you can do that here

Since we started our discussion here about “Militia groups” a lot of readers have sent emails asking for my personal opinion on the subject, so instead of answering each and everyone of those one-hundred or so emails, I’m going to answer that question here today…

It’s my opinion that when it comes to defending the U.S. Constitution from being eroded by the federal government that the “Militia groups” like  that we have been talking about here, are pretty much useless. But if done right they can have a positive effect on on their community and do some good.

Groups should be geared more toward helping their community, at a county level and members should all preferably, live in the county, for example instead of the what ever state Militia, it should be lets say; the “Fentress TN County Militia”  and they should work to help within their county, where they can actually make a difference.

For instance, they could go out and check on the elderly and see if they need any help, maybe even pitch in and mow their yard or repair a leaky roof, they could haul in food, generators and other needed items to people that are in need after an emergency, they could help clear roadways after a tornado or hurricane. They could act as a community watch. Or even pick up and clean up trash from illegal dump sites and from the roadsides.

They should do anything and everything to help within their county and community – and yes the county “Militia” could help defend the county and its resources, from thieves and refuges if needed after a disaster. For example: the Arizona Militia that was on the recent video that I posted are helping their county and local area by patrolling the border.

Have a purpose, and preferably stay at the county level and actually do something good, instead of just showing off your cammies and face paint while shouting don’t thread on me.

You’ll do more good and get more results defending the Constitution by joining the NRA, the Tea Party or other political groups and being active in those. Or better yet form or join a county “Militia” and get to work helping your neighbors, plus join the  the NRAthe Tea Party  or both.

And that’s my opinion, but yours might be different and that’s great – I fully support your right to believe how and what you want…

Okay, now let’s see what did I do to prep this week?

Fenced my garden area - I still have a little work to do, like building a gate.

Fenced my garden area – I still have a little work to do, like building a gate.


Planted grapes - well they will be in a couple of years...

Planted grapes – well they will be in a couple of years…

Planted a bunch of Blackberry plants.

Planted a bunch of Blackberry plants.

Well folks that’s it for me this week… what about you? What did you do to prep this week?

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  1. Really disappointed in my garden this week. The ice storm we had got about 50% of my onion sets! I didn’t know onions would get bit by the cold but I guess with 2 inches of ice its a different animal.
    My wife found a miniature hurricane lamp at a garage sale and I got us some lamp oil at the local True Value hardware. I couldn’t find it at our Walmart.
    Have been continuing with the real estate courses at the local community college. 3 down 3 to go then I can get fingerprinted and take the state test.
    On a positive note in the garden we do have potatoes coming up! I just hope they do good on this red clay dirt. I’ve added compost and will mulch them as they grow.
    Been selling a few things on eBay and that’s always nice. Every little bit helps with the prepping budget. Bought our first Auguson Farms 30-day pail. going to try and get three of these. Two to keep and one to sample to see how we like the food. Made dinner out of our beaqns and canned “Dak” hams with rice this past week. As usual, I put a little to much hot in the beans.
    Other than that not much on the prepping front.
    Gong to refinish my Yugo M57 today and put a video together about it.

  2. Momma Mc says:

    What did I dooooo to prep this week? I will never be able to do this post again without singing that tune.

    DH & I are getting things ready to garden again. We are going to try the rain gutter grow system this year. We’ve been growing in buckets for about 8 years now and keep adding more things every year. Trying this to cut down on the time it takes to water everything. We had three 10′ sections of gutter that were in the shop when we bought the house, so that was the start. We picked up 2 more sections at menard’s today and the 2x4s to support them. Also 10 more buckets. I ordered and received from Amazon, 50 net pots, the 2-7/8 hole saw, and 5 float valves. Next week I’ll pick up the tubing and fittings that we can’t scrounge up to daisy chain them all.

    DH planted 50 sweet onion sets in a raised bed and a bag of seed potatoes in two trash cans. This will be our first attempt at potatoes, keep your fingers crossed for us. He also picked up and planted 6 of those hanging strawberry things this week.

    I picked up 4 grape vines, 4 blackberry vines, and 2 blueberry bushes for DS’s birthday this week. He has a real green thumb for those types of things and loves nurturing them.

    Now, just need to get it all done.

    Prayers going out to those who are sick and those that love and take care of them.

    • Urbancitygirl says:

      Good luck on your potatoes, trying something similar myself. I love my rain catchment, mostly cause it’s free water. My city water bill is $100/ month for 2 of us. Sewer, taxes, etc are added to the bill.

  3. Urbancitygirl says:

    Question: I am looking for a solar powered spotlight. I’ve bought 2 so far and the light is so poor it’s laughable. I want to put them on the back of my shed near the (soon to be installed) chicken coop. I have spotlights that are motion detected and quite powerful but would like to switch to solar if I can find a good one.

  4. Did some work this week on one of our pastures on a property we bought a few years ago to clear away brush from one fence line so we can repair it. We plan on adding one cross fence and repairing another fence line in preparation to begin raising some cattle.
    Still need to repair the electric service after copper thieves stole all of the wires from the pole to the ground and beyond. They even pulled the pump from the well and stole that wire as well! I’ve designed a replacement service and pulled a permit this week to begin replacement and repair of the electrical system.
    We still have a lot to do to prepare for the animals but were looking forward to it finally.
    M.D. Thanks for keeping the blog going, even with the folks who have ruffled feathers.

    • Hiplains says:

      Slow week here. Shoveled more snow. Picked up a couple #10 of dry milk, 25# rice, 10# sugar. Collected the stuff to make another couple dozen fire starters with dryer lint. Did get a rain barrel made for my Mom – she wanted one for her 86th birthday, today! Happy spring everyone!

  5. Week 4-
    Returned all equipment to cable company
    Received “31 Days to Survival” (self assessment was tough)
    Started binder
    Built solar oven and a solar “still” for water purification
    Decluttered bedroom and started organization system under bed
    Added 6 more cases of water (35 bottles each)
    Had a cast iron hibachi – decided to make part of prep – so 5 bags of charcoal in utility room
    Thrift store finds-6 tall pillar candles @25 cents ea, 2 mini muffin tins and 2 merino wool sweaters (which I will pull to get the yarn to knit)
    Gander mountain – scored two cast iron loaf pans for $9 each and a Rome waffle iron for same price
    Lots of food preps gonna try some shelf stable meals for taste; another case of fruit and another of asst veggies, gravy mixes, olive oil, crisco, sugar etc
    Hit the flea markets and picked up a book A man acan aplan- looked like some interesting recipes
    Worked at preparing garden but supposed to get more snow Tues
    Used a gift card at BN to get Dr. Bradley’s “The Disaster Preparedness Handbook”

    • themem,

      Congrats on unplugging. My dh and I turned in our box almost a year ago. We still watch our favorite TV shows–just without the commercials. And we spend our time more productively now.

      • BAM BAM- I have lived w/o tv before- stationed overseas and by choice few times hard part is internet but got this smart phone pay as you go – $100 LESS per month. Now I just need to get back to a less “convenient” lifestyle, feeling good about it all though. Thanks to the pack for the help and info-take care.

  6. We just got back from a camp out with a friend at a beach park on the North Shore of Oahu. Went up Sunday, back Saturday. Part of the fun is in checking out prep supplies for after a hurricane or other disaster.

    We had two of the foil packs of Mountain House Lasagna for dinner one night, and two of the Mexican Style Chicken With Rice on another. Two packs for three people seemed about right, and both were good. They would have benefitted from a can of CostCo chicken or beef, but that would just have been frosting as they were fine as they were.

    We realized that we should have battery adapters for our Rayovac 7 Hour Power Chargers. We were using a Kindle, an iPad, and two iPhones which chewed up all of our AA batteries, while we had a lot of AAA unused. So I ordered some adapters.

    We also had being prepared reinforced by locking both sets of keys in the truck. I have a spare in my wallet, but when getting ready to go to another location for a beach walk I managed to lock both my key ring and my wallet…and my phone…in the truck, and my DW had not brought her spare key for the truck.

    Fortunately she had her phone, and had loaded all our AAA info into it, so she called AAA and 45 minutes later the guy arrived. Took less than 60 seconds to pop the door. He inserted a flat rubber sleeve between the top of the door and the frame, inflated it with a bulb like on a blood pressure cuff, and that flexed the door enough to insert a rod with a noose on the end to grab the door lock button. Presto. So much for security.

    I felt like an idiot for locking both sets of keys in the truck, but finally decided to be pleased that we were at least prepared even for that by having a AAA membership.

    • Penrod,

      Don’t feel stupid. The AAA guy was a locksmith, or at least knew how to be one. Your car didn’t get damaged.

      As far as security goes, a thief would have just broken your window… or worse.

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      Penrod, the other day we went to the movies and the same thing happened. I had both sets in the car, locked. We called AAA who came right away. I felt very old when he informed me that my driver’s side door does not lock with keys in the ignition. Didn’t need him after all!

    • Is anyone else jealous of the fact that Penrod can just go camping on the north shore anytime he wants? Lol! Would love to able to visit Hawaii…

  7. I forgot that my dwarf orange tree started blooming. Since it is inside I took a small paintbrush and used that to pollinate the flowers. I hope to get some oranges this year. 🙂

    One other thing while my DH was digging post holes for the new gate going into the goat area he found a spring! We are going to check it out to see if we can get a well there. It would be great if we can especially since it is right next to the house! I would love to be able to get off of county water. Our county has many springs here. The local town and the county water comes from spring water.

  8. I haven’t seen anything that should get anyone upset enough to leave, but maybe that’s just me. Everyone has their own opinions and the right to have them but we all need to be adults and allow others to have theirs and sometimes we have to agree to disagree.
    Thanks MD for allowing us to have a place to learn and grow.

    It’s been a busy week but I feel like I didn’t get much done, mostly it was going places with the parents. I did go to a job fair on Friday and got a couple of leads there. My car now legally belongs to my parents as it has been refinanced through the credit union they use to get the monthly payment down with less interest (their credit score is way better than mine). It will save about $50 a month, though costing more in the long run as sales tax was added again (arrrrghhh).

    As for real prepping, Dad & I started on putting up a gutter to catch rainwater (when & if it rains) for the garden. This house has a metal roof, metal studs and the porch supports are also metal. Not easy to work with but we are making progress.

    My yellow tomato seeds have sprouted and even a couple of the Arkansas Traveler tomatoes have sprouted, they were so slow. No bell peppers yet but a couple of the jalapenos are sprouted. The 4 elderberry bushes have green leaves coming up out of the dirt too.

    I got 1 pkg of aquamira (I ordered 2) so I am waiting to hear back from the supplier as to what happened or when the other will come. This is for treating the water in the 55 gallon drums, it’s what the military uses according to a friend of mine, and is good for 20 years of storage.

    I have one raised bed ready for planting and the other will get done as soon as the gutter is in place. I should be able to plant at the end of the month.

  9. axelsteve says:

    Penrod. I remember in my youth my best friend lost his key at the beach. It started to get dark and we had no luck finding the key. I told my friend. I bet your dad has a hide a key on this somewhere. I told him you have 5 blonde sisters and your dad plans ahead since he worked on a merchant ship. We found the hide a key in less then a minute.

    • Very good.The spare in my wallet has saved me a few times, but this time I had put my wallet in my shoulder pack for the walk, and put the key ring on the seat, and a bag of suntan lotion on top. Dummies deserve what they get. I plead guilty.

      I did replace all the batteries we used this week on the way home. And as I said, ordered AAA to AA and AA to D adapters from Amazon this afternoon. They ought to show up on our Dear Host’s Amazon report this week.

  10. sw't tater says:

    Slow week, haven’t posted in a couple of weeks..
    .it’s still slow going here, steady as she goes… dehydrate ing frozen veggies… packed those together..and checked seals. ..packed a months supply of oats in freezer for de-bugging, bought 10 lbs white rice and 5 lbs of Jasmine.bought different canned foods to which I/we are not accustomed…glad I only bought two cans of one products but the store had a free 2lb bag of rice with two cans…I can add water and other stuff and make them an acceptable extendo meal..recieved packages with suppliments that were ordered last week…. medical supplies are a month ahead..of need. our forsynthia is blooming and the daffodyls are blooming…anxiously awaiting the hawthorne and the leaves.for their properties,..and the sweetgum leaves of spring. for some more tami-flu generic… Take care pack! keep on Keeping on!

    • Encourager says:

      Whaaaaaaaaaa!!! I am gonna be a whiner! Daffodils blooming already?? Mine are still under about a foot of crystallized snow…sigh. South side of property pretty clear but the north side? Still buried!

  11. I canned 11 pints of corned beef and 5 qts of chicken. Got a big order of seeds sent in (we just had more snow today and another storm is coming next week so I don’t think I’m too far behind this year) and received 2 bean poles I ordered. DH and I both read “One Second After”.

  12. added 2 bottles of hydrogen peroxide and a few snacks to the pile
    added some old school papers to my BOB for a fire
    arranged my prepping stuff in the limited spaced cabinet so I can add more things. I added some salt and sugar packets to the pile from restaurants.
    I was going through coupons with my moms boyfriend and we were talking about me using them to prep and buy food for my dorm once im in college and whether or not im taking my preps with me. I said it depends on if my family will actually leave the stuff alone or just use it whenever. I might use my prepping supplies in college if I cant afford my own groceries before I ask my parents to buy me some. I really wish I started this years ago now that I think about it. most of the food I have saved is stuff that I got for free that I would just let my family eat because I wouldn’t unless I`d have to. to me, being a college student is a legit reason to eat and drink stockpiled food and water if theres nothing else in the pantry.

    • Happy Camper says:

      Great work Madison. 🙂
      I love the packets of salt, pepper, sugar, coffee, tea, wipes, sauce etc you get from restaurants. I’m sure the Mcdonalds staff have been onto me before, it’s kind of obvious when I buy a coffee and take 30 sugars. Ha.

      • haha. right now I`m only getting salt and sugar packets. I should branch out to other things. I also got a couple packets of pepper in the salt they had. the best part is its free!

        • I’ve gotten a few salt, pepper, honey, etc. from restaurants, but have also used this Instructable to make my own spice packets. It can be tricky filling the straws if you don’t have a small funnel, and the longer M&M tubes are hard to find lately. I’ve also found some fat, milkshake straws at a dollar store that would work nice for storing various things…spices, ointments, etc.


          • I should have added this link also. One end of the straw is melted closed instead of taped.


            I also just saw a version, where the maker made the straws shorter and stored them in an Altoids tin.

          • JeffintheWest says:

            Those long M&M tubes also make a great storage tube for quarters for laundry machines. You can carry about 20$ worth of quarters in the big ones. I’m always looking for more of them so I can stockpile quarters for the RV, but they’d have been perfect back in my college days! 😉

        • axelsteve says:

          Madison. I hope things go well in college My mom used to teach nursing.I do not think thatit is such a great field now the irs runs it.

        • axelsteve says:

          Free preps are good preps Madison! Don`t forget to ask for matches at the gas station. They normally will give you a free book or 2.

        • Hey Madison, if you have a Chick fil A near, they often have hot sauce and honey packets and single use wet wipes.

          My daughter is in college and currently lives in a dorm. If possjble, find out about the kitchen you will have access to before yoh move in. Last year, my DD’s room was across the hall from the kitchen. This year she is one floor up. But her room came equipped with a microwave and mini fridge. always try to keep some easy to heat and eat like Progresso soups, mac and cheese cups, etc. Also DD may have a small crock pot or hot pot or coffee pot, but nothingwith an exposed element.

          Keep in mind if the school closes due to weather, on-campus food service Is closed also.

    • Madison,

      I know this is not the thing to say to a woman, but it is the thing to say to a SANE person.

      CALM DOWN, take a breath, assess your situation. Make a plan, then make a back-up plan.

      From what I read in your post is that you are getting ready to go to college. Your parents aren’t that on board with your prepping. You are worried about leaving your preps behind.

      The way I see it; you are having to un-ass one situation and get yourself into another. Sometimes un-assing means you have to leave things behind. If there is one person who is a member of this blog who has never had to start over from the beginning, at least once. I challenge them to make themselves known.

      For a further challenge, if there is anyone on this blog who has never had to start over from the beginning at least twice, I challenge you to make yourself known.

      Madison, you are so right minded to be prepared, but don’t let “PREPPING” rule you. If all of your supplies are stored in your dorm room, and SHTF at a fraternity/sorority party, what are you gonna do? Work on your knowledge and your skills. Do your F’n homework too. Don’t fail those classes.

      Trust me, they will be three times as expensive when you have to take them again when you go back.

      I’ll say this again, you’re one of the good ones.

      • Petnumber1 says:

        Amen to everything said already! Another few things (from the mom of two former students:

        1. Try not to go anywhere alone. I know it’s unavoidable sometimes, but if you can possibly get someone to go with you (even in broad daylight), do so. There’s a lot of truth in the “there’s safety in numbers” cliche.
        2. Get into the habit of carrying a backpack everywhere you go. Make yourself a small first aid kit, keep a lifestraw and some bottle or pouched water, a few granola bars and some trail mix. Also, a pocketknife and a paper street map (in a zip-loc bag) of the city or town where your college is. Only you know your resources and situations there, but think about if you were out and about (either on campus or off) and something happened, what are the most portable and useful things you could use?
        3. Don’t trust the boys! LOL 🙂 Seriously, always have a wingman (wing woman?) when going out, especially when alcohol is involved. There have been too many reports of date rape drugs lately – travel in a crowd, and make a commitment that you will all watch each other’s back.
        4. Trust your intuition….always. If you get that weird creepy-crawly sensation, or your hair stands up on end, or you just have a gut feeling that something isn’t right, get the heck out of wherever you are. Don’t worry about missing a class or a good time, don’t tell yourself you’re being silly, and don’t be embarrassed. Just get out of there. You might be wrong, but you might be right, and that intuition just may save your life.

        • Can I repeat #1? Don’t go anywhere alone, ever!

          #3 is a must – from what I hear, the boys are worse now than ever.

          #4 should be part of what I call auto-pilot actions. It should be a part of who you are at all times.

          • Encourager says:

            “from what I hear, the boys are worse now than ever.”

            A young man, who will not be identified ;), told me he overheard a few other young men talking while they watched freshman girls as they came out the dorm:
            “Yeah….fresh meat!”

            That pretty much sums up their attitude, of at least many of them. The young man that overheard was disgusted.

        • Lots of good advice here. ALWAYS listen to your intuition or inner voice, once I did not listen and was deeply embarrassed by a situation but it could have been worse.

          Here in GA in Atlanta several women on campus have been raped. I hope that we are not scaring you too much, just be very aware of your surroundings.

    • Urbancitygirl says:

      Madison, you are doing real good. Since you are going to college, I recommend that you spend time getting extremely knowledgeable about the layout of the dorm/apt, also the student lounges/hangout areas, classroom bldgs, etc. Pay special attention to access and exits. Practice being observant to everyone and everything around you now so that you are able to identify possible threats.

      I had a son who was attacked at campus and jaw broken, and a girl was grabbed right outside of the gym where my daughter attends college, and where she works out each evening.

      Being observant, knowing how to assess a possible threat and identifying ways to retreat are so important, along with prepping.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        Amen — and speaking as a father myself, as a single girl on campus, you need to remember to try and avoid routine movements, especially after dark, as much as possible. Always take a different route from the one you used last time, and if possible take a different route when you leave a place than the one you used to get there in the first place. Don’t always park in the same slot. Also, if you’re doing something routine like working out at the gym, break up the times — don’t always go the same time of day or night. If you run in the park, pick different paths every single day, and vary the time of day you do your running in. In fact, don’t go there every day, just pick a random day to go to the gym instead — that sort of thing. Don’t establish habits that make you easily predictable. I know it sounds sort of ridiculous, but being predictable is the worst mistake anyone can make, and remember when you need the police there in seconds, they’re minutes away. Protecting yourself is your absolute, rock-bottom, number one priority. Once you get in the habit of doing stuff like this (and you’d be surprised how quickly it can become second nature), you won’t even have to think about it.

        Other than that, just start noticing things — what’s out of place here right now? is always a good question to ask yourself. Before you step outside, take a second to scope out the area for anything weird. And trust your instincts. If something says you might not want to walk down that path, then DON’T. Because your mind picks up tons of information that you don’t even realize it’s collecting, and it synthesizes that information as a “hunch” or a “feeling.” So trust yourself and not what someone else says.

        Okay. Fatherly lecture over…. 😉

        • Excellent fatherly lecture. I will add that most college campuses will allow you to carry either mace or pepper spray. The youngest DD is used to handling a gun, so we got her the spray made by Kimber that looks a little like a gun. It’s kinda cool – http://www.amazon.com/Kimber-Pepperblaster-Red-One-Size/dp/B003L75SSI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395686491&sr=8-1&keywords=kimber+pepper+blaster.

          • Tactical G-Ma says:

            GA Red
            In archives is a recipe for pepper spray by Jarhead. You can make it and carry it in a spritzer bottle and non the wiser but wasp spray is still the best!

        • “And trust your instincts. ”

          Absolutely! If you meet a guy who seems a little off, trust your instinct and don’t go anywhere alone with him. There is a reason he seems off. He may be OK, but trusting a stranger to be friendly is always a danger, because the dangerous ones work at seeming OK until they have you alone. Just ask Jeff Dahmer’s dinner companions. Oh…wait…

          Such people aren’t all that common, but they are looking for the unwary.

        • Encourager says:

          Madison, I can add this: ALWAYS lock your doors. Always.

          • Madison,

            When you go to a party or out with friends, NEVER PUT YOUR DRINK DOWN! I don’t care if you’re drinking alcohol or not. If you put your drink down you’re running the risk of it being doped.

            If you forget and put it down or just can’t avoid it, simply just get another drink. Ketamine is a date rape drug and it’s liquid and from what I hear tasteless. That and it doesn’t take much to knock out a human. Extacy tabs can be ground up and dumped in a drink. GBL is another liquid date rape drug. It has kind of an antiseptic smell to it but could easily be masked by cola or whatever you’re drinking.

        • I love the tips! thanks. im surprised my dad hasn’t talked to me about this yet.
          this is why I want to get my concealed gun license so I can carry. I went on a tour to SFA where I want to go, and they have these emergency or non-emergency call things everywhere. if its dark and you don’t want to walk by yourself, you can use it to call for an officer to walk you to your dorm. I might get some pepper spray and I`ll ask someone from the colleges if I can have it on me.

          • madison,
            While I don’t know how old you are, you appear to be a high school senior ready for college, making you 17 or 18. On the concealed handgun, keep in mind that you may not own a handgun or get a license to carry until you are 21.
            Although you can join the military and fight and die for your country and legally vote at 18, the rules on firearm ownership and possession are still archaic.
            In any case, you sound like you’re rather squared away for your age, and I suspect you’ll do OK. When it comes to prepping or personal safety, a good bit of the task is knowing you have the need and having the mental preparation.

          • Depending on your state, there’s a good chance that even with a CCW, you wouldn’t be able to carry it on campus. Make sure you check out the school’s definition of a weapon. Pepper spray might even be outlawed. When all else fails, carry a big purse with a can of wasp spray.

  13. Good evening M.D. & Pack,
    A couple of weeks of ups & downs. For the second time in two weeks, dehydrating bananas were an epic fail. Came out tasting spoiled and brown. I used pineapple juice instead of lemon juice, so I’ve still got some experimenting to do before I get the hang of it. I may try. A couple of apples this week and see if it goes better.

    Seeds I started a couple of weeks ago are sprouted and I picked up some sweet 100’s, banana pepper and blueberry plants that will go into pots this coming week. Was really hoping for some rain today. It was dark all day but the sky never let go. I do feel like God is judging us. I have really appreciated the comments earlier this week about mulching and drip/soaker watering. I’m going to have to be very diligent about keeping the plants watered with this drought if i want anything to live this year. on the up side, the blue bonnets are blooming and that never fails to cheer me. I do love Spring in Texas!

    A family member nearby is also prepping and I so enjoy sharing with them what I’m doing and getting their advice and ideas. Today they presented me with one of those fancy MOLLE type BOB backpacks. Wow! What a nice gift! And it is huge! I better start working out more so I can carry it with all the stuff it will hold.LOL! I am so blessed!

    My prayers for the pack that have illness and troubles. God bless.

    • Country Vet says:

      I may have mentioned this previously, but shredded paper is the ultimate mulch, especially for tomatoes and peppers.
      Walmart has been carrying a flat black soaker hose that we REALLY like. While I have not found commercial repair splicers for them, the appropriate sized tubing insinde held with a small hose clamp works great. Get them fast though, when I asked here locally when they were going to get in some more (since I bought the majority of what they had) I was told NO MORE till next year. I felt a little bad for taking that many but not bad enought to put any back. I want to be sure that I have PLENTY of these instock. They are FAR superior to anything that we have used and seem to holld up well. WE cover them muclh in beds that is possible, but some have been “in sun” for 2 years and still performing reasonabaly well. Yesterday was a bummer- I just KNEW it had to rain as humid as it was and overcast. The good news it made it a lot easier to get a lot done yesterday in the garden.

      • Country Vet says:

        Sorry- left out that the shredded paper is also amazing wtih all vine crops such as squash, cukes, sweet potatoes. We also use it around the fruit trees and grapevines. Areas in the garden area not under cultivation are covered in cardboard and shredded paper.

        • Thanks CV! I’ve got plenty of shredded paper so I’ll give it a try. And I’m heading to WM this afternoon so I’ll check for the hoses.

    • TexGal
      1) What type of dehydrator are you using?
      2) Are you mixing water in the lemon or pineapple juice?
      3) Are the bananas fresh from the store, not brown and looking like they were beat up?
      4) Are you putting lemon/pineapple juice in a metal container?
      5)Is the knife you are using stainless steel?
      6) Are you using a plastic cutting mat?
      7) The spoon you are using to remove the bananas plastic or metal?
      Let me know which of these apply and we can go from there, had the same thing happen to me. So you are not alone out there. 🙂

    • TexGal,
      I’ve been reading this blog for a couple months but haven’t done much, if any posting.
      I do a lot of dehydrating and I love the banana chips I make.I do not dip or treat mine with anything. They are usually darker than when I start them, but not ugly dark when they are dry. Don’t use bananas that are too green or too ripe. They should be that perfect yellow and firm. It took me a while to get the thickness right. Better to make the slices thin to begin with. Then you end up with a very crunchy/crisp chip. I also over dehydrate. If it says 12 hours, I go 13. You have to test that yourself. Also the humidity in your home will make a difference too. I have to be careful in the summer when it’s so humid. I prefer to do my drying in the fall and winter. When the drying time is up, let your dryer cool down and your product cool down before you store. I don’t ever store in plastic zip bags. They are not air tight. I like to use glass canning jars or seal in a Food Saver. Be careful of sharp edges on your fruits and veggies though, they can poke holes in the bags. Sometimes you have to double bag.
      I wish you luck. You just have to keep trying different things till you find the right way that works for you.

  14. Keep an eye those black berry plants! Those things will take over quick. We have tons of them here. Keeping them under control is a constant battle. Boy that black berry jam sure is good though!!!!!

  15. I should mention one benefit of the growth rate of blackberries is they make good fences. Hedge rows with thorns. Nobody is going to walk through a black berry bush!

  16. k. fields says:

    Ah, blackberries – I wish M.D. that you could come here and take a bunch, I have to constantly battle just to keep the d**n things under some sort of control. Your place is really looking good though, can’t wait to try the Wolf Pack wine once you start bottling.

    So what’s been happening here? Got the new 4,000 gallon water storage tank I spoke of earlier completed and backfilled this morning – I still need to disassemble the internal roof support forms and it still needs to be plumbed but that will be easy even if the rains that are scheduled for Tuesday come ashore early. Just glad I won’t have to be working in a big mud hole to finish it up. Although the February rains certainly helped, water is still going to be short come August here in CA.

    Local news this week focused on the Deputy Sheriff getting killed by some guy on the run from Oregon. Sad for the whole community as Ricky had been working and living on the coast for over 20 years. Unlike other parts of the country I guess, local law enforcement here is still appreciated and respected. I’m sure his memorial next week will be heavily attended. He will be missed.

    • k. fields:

      I sure hope you guys don’t get caught up in that “the rain water is ours” movement. I think it was in CO, but telling people they can’t use the water that falls on their property is so ridiculous that it makes me shudder.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        JP and K — that “rain water belongs to the state” thing is true of quite a few western states — goes back to the big cattle ranching days when they did that so farmers (“sod busters”) couldn’t divert water from cattle for crops. CO is about the worst, but NM, NV, AZ, UT and maybe ID all have similar rules still on the books. I think in CO they can actually arrest you over it, though it’s a stiff fine in the others at least. It’s particularly stupid in that people nowadays can do so much more to use water efficiently and instead it all runs off because of some law put in place in the 1880s.

    • axelsteve says:

      K I have heard talk about that in my area also. I live a county east of them. It is sad.

      • k.fields& axelsteve;
        If you have an opportunity listen to 1460 KCNR(from Redding CA) radio program from 3/23/2014. The water program they are going to push on us via Jerry Brown’s water [czar]will take a hold of the ground water including the water that comes out of your personal well along with the surface water. It will be on page 14 according the man who was being interviewed. You can listen to the archives for the Sunday program thru the 24hr patriots site. Good luck, we are all going to need it. Control the water you control the people, control the food, control the people, control the all money, control the people.
        P. S. Diana Feinstiens husband is buying up all the farms that are going bell up for the Chinese government……no bs.. truth. She will not budge on her saving the delta smelt or some other stupid fish or bird or what ever…..but she knows better than us.

  17. Carolina Blue says:

    It’s been a while since I posted here, but wanted to share some good things. We finally got around to purchasing a 5′ x 8′ utility trailer as we really couldn’t get an 8′ 2″ x 4″ in our Jeep. We picked up a load of lumber for the second raised bed garden, picnic table and some other projects. Also, planted our new fruit trees – 2 plums and 2 apples.

    We started our seedlings for tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers and Brussels sprouts a couple of weeks ago and they’re doing just fine. Should be able to get them planted near the end of April/first of May. Peas and other early garden veggies should be going in real soon. Unfortunately, Tuesday’s forecast is calling for snow and freezing rain – it’s been a long winter.

    Be safe out there. . .


  18. Had a good shopping week. Picked up a cast iron frying pan, pressure canner, some more canning jars and lids, and finally got myself a grain mill. Also, I’ve been decluttering, going through old papers and shredding everything… fun fun! Got some more bananas dehydrated, too.

    I, too, make my own laundry detergent. My skin is so sensitive to detergents and the homemade one doesn’t bother me at all. My dh and I figured the cost of Tide vs homemade for over 1 1/2 years saved us well over $100. I’d definitely count that as a prep!

    And where can I sign up for double stuffed chocolate bacon oreos?

    Thanks to everyone for all your great info!

  19. I discovered the trick to dehydrating bananas is to use them before they reach that ripe with spotty skins stage. Maybe just when the stems are still a bit green and the fruit is still firm, slice them just under a 1/4″, lay them out and dehydrate. DD has been my guinea pig on this, and we figured it out when she was about 12. She loved the banana chips at the store until she found out they were fried. I don’t even have to treat them with lemon juice or citric acid. They dry up within a few hours. I jar them up, vacuum seal, and plop them in the freezer for a week or two to pasteurize them. Put them on the shelf and you’re done. I’ve got a jar that’s been in the pantry for a year now, no sign of mold, or discoloration. Was going to use them to make banana bread. Been reading a lot of labels lately, and prepackaged mixes for muffins etc use dried fruit and other stuff that I don’t want like preservatives. I seem to recall someone was having issues with bananas in their dehydrator.

  20. I love reading this post each week and have implemented so many of the things people post. My husband and I are in the process of turning up a big back yard into a garden spot. Bought a nice tiller, had a big pile of compost delivered, and started to work. Never worked so hard in my life! Couldn’t raise my arms for a couple of days. I put out 700 lbs of manure on Saturday. Our goal is to have a large producing garden by the end of summer and maintain the spot for years to come. Next time I go to a Farmer’s Market I am paying whatever price they ask and giving them a big hug. I have a whole new respect for farmers!

  21. Bought a 1 # bag of penne noodles that were imported from Italy to try. Also made 2 quarts of edlerberry tincture. The plan is to shake each quart jar once a day for two weeks then strain out the pulp then store and use as needed. Been real busy with house repairs so not much other prepping done this week.

    • MM,

      Yep, that’s how to make the tincture. I am drinking Earl Gray Tea with some elderberry tincture right now. Yum.

  22. Due to an unexpected addition to our family I haven’t been posting so much lately but have been trying to keep up with the blog.

    Nice work on the header, I think it is a fabulous addition.

    I choose not to weigh in on the drama taking place on the blog in the last few weeks because I just don’t feel I have an educated or informative opinion that would make a difference either way.

    Back to the prepping at hand… We have acquired a new 6 month old German shepherd pup only because she was headed to the pound by a person who had no business taking her in the first place. I lost my furry baby of 17 years back in November and was not looking for another but as fate would have it, she needed me and I couldn’t let her be put down. Unfortunately she needs a lot of “deprogramming” and re-training as she spent the first 6 months of her life locked in a small one bedroom apartment and only was let out once a day. This event of course has opened up a whole new avenue that needs prepping for us. I have been signing up for every pet promotion I can find and have already received a number of free samples that I have added to preps for her and went to the crazy huge pet store and bought two 22lb bags of puppy food to store in her newly appointed food bin. I plan on looking into some training instruction for the home defense part of raising her but I want her to be a family pet as well. Any suggestions would be great! Having a dog for 17 years, I forgot how it was to have a puppy so lots of adjustments for us all.
    I also found a local Health food store that offers an organic herb bar. I had never seen such a thing and I have already been stocking on some of the herbs we use most both medicinal and culinary. I will be growing herbs this spring but needed to get some in stock for immediate use.
    The Treeman also helped move a friend from his home of 30+ years into a small apartment. He gave us a number of items that he didn’t need, have room for or didn’t want. A ton of gardening tools and planter boxes. He also decided he didn’t want to keep a small stash of Ammo and gave us about 1000 rounds of various kinds along with a BB gun and some spare parts.
    I have been picking up extra items on my weekly grocery runs canned goods, Great northern beans, pinto beans and a “small town size” container of Tang I had a coupon for. I just ordered some Mylar bags and O2 absorbers from Amazon. Treeman also found these little plastic whistles with compass and thermometer for .88 and free shipping on some promotional thing so we ordered two. We will see how great they are when they arrive.
    So many terrible things going on in the world, trying to stay focused on what needs to be done but as I have learned as I took on this venture you can never be too prepared. I can’t help but feel we are somehow running out of time and that elevates the stress level. Stay safe pack and many prayers to all of you that are feeling under the weather or have family in need.

    • Country Vet says:

      The best family protection dog is a well trained family member that “know it is a dog.” Start basic training now- sit, come, etc. Keep her with you in and out of the house. If she is stuck in the yard, she can not defend you in the house when she is an adult. ALWAY feed AFTER the family has eaten. Allow the dog in the room while having meals but DO NOT pay any attention to her while you are eating. Save just a few bites from the table, especially from the children’s plates, have her sit, then allow her to eat it. Do not allow her on the bed. Take her for walks with YOU as the leader. Talk to her and explain things around her jsut as you would a child. (I know that most people do not think that she would comprehend, but I STRONGLY disagree on how much they get out of this type of approach. ) I do not know how much of her “innate” GSD inatelligence has been compromised by her early abuse, but you will be amazed at how much she does “get.” Socialize her! kids, adults, etc. – You can take her to Tractor Supply and walk thru- have people give her treats! Do NOT allow her to eat a treat that has been dropped on the floor and give her treats with a closed hand to teach her not to “grab” treats. I know that you are probalby concerned that a dog this social will not defend, but you could not be more wrong. This dog will be able to discern a threat from a “friendly stranger” or a new addition to your group. Under threat she WILL

      • Country Vet says:

        🙂 sorry – computer decided that I was thru before I was…..
        —-defend her family. I have raised and shown GSD’s for MANY years. My dogs follow me every step I make. They are safe with children but allow no threat to me or mine.
        A GSD needs a good “pack leader” and a “job” to do.

        • mindful patriot says:

          Wow, what a world of information right here!
          Not eating a treat that has been on the floor. . . that helps me in training with my big Cat.
          I am interested in GSDs but not until I can get moved.
          Agree, too, they comprehend much more than some give them credit for.
          Thank you for the good info!

        • Encourager says:

          I must add ~~ train your new puppy never to walk through a door before you, never to go down a hallway before you, to sit calmly and wait for permission to eat from food bowl, and most important, to wait at the top/bottom of the stairs until you are down/up. Teach pup it is part of the pack (your family) but NOT the alpha. YOU are the alpha.

          With giving treats, use a closed hand and “take it nice”. They will get it – dogs are incredibly smart. As for talking and explaining stuff to dogs – yep, CV was right. It got to the point where we had to spell words instead of saying them (just like for kids) but now she figures out the spelling. Our dog even knows a lot of American Sign Language. It is easy to teach once YOU know the signs. You say it and sign at same time. Pretty soon, signing alone will work.

          Teach pup to “leave it” about dropped/found treats on ground/floor, other dog’s poop (yeah, they do eat it), shoes, slippers, etc.

          A lot of work, but very important. Nothing is worse than an uncontrollable dog. That is why the pound is full. It is not the dog’s fault but the owner’s.

          • Yes! And if they get out of hand, while playing, flip them on their backs and rub their tummy!

        • Country Vet,
          Thank you sooooo much! Like I said it has been awhile since I had a puppy and never a GSD. She seems to be relatively smart ( I know everyone believes their dog is smart) We have already got sit and “down” for lay down but having a problem with housebreaking since she had a rough 1st 6months in an apartment. the closed hand treat approach is something I never thought off what a great improvement it has been in just one day! Thank you everyone for your help. Just still yet another reason this is such a wonderful blog. Thanks again everyone!

        • Urbancitygirl says:

          Country Vet, my GSD is 1yr old. You mention that they will protect and it’s really my concern because, though she will bark once it’s brought to her attn, she doesn’t seem particularly attentive to noticing strangers. My small dog is much more alert. We have been looking for training but I haven’t found what I’m going for (pet, but will be alert to threats).

      • I love my GSD. I order pet food and supplies online from China Mart–free shipping (on orders over $50) and the prices tend to be better than the pet stores.

      • JeffintheWest says:

        One thing that I found helped with the larger dogs — put a cage or carry box (depending on what you would use to transport the dog) in a corner someplace and cover it with some blankets or old curtains or something to make it nice and dark inside. Then put in the animal’s bedding and maybe a few favorite toys and encourage the animal to think of it as it’s own personal space. Then, when the dog is feeling scared or upset or just tired or not quite the thing, it has a place it can go where it feels like it can be completely safe. I never intruded on that space, and if my dog was sick and sleeping in there, I’d have her move to the entrance so I could feed her or pat her or give her medicine so that no part of my body ever intruded on her space. It really worked surprisingly well. In many ways, dogs are just like people if you think about it….

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      One of the best things I did with my dog was to put an old pillow on the floor and teach her that this was “place.” If someone came in the house or she had muddy paws or she got too rambunctious, etc, we would just say “place” and she would go there. It also became her bed and her comfort place. I put an old pillowcase over it and washed it as needed. She is now staying with friends while I am in town and this pillow went with her giving her comfort in a strange place.
      I only tear up when I think about her, but we will be together again when Mom leaves me.

  23. Not really much this week, been a long work week.
    Made a qucik trip to Harbor Freight so I wouldn’t feel like a total loser:
    Large Hunting Knife
    17″ mini shovel
    100 Nitrlie gloves
    5’6 x 7’6 tarp
    roll of generic duct tape

    And yes, I know what it looks like…

  24. Morning Pack 🙂

    Found a box of 1930-50’s cartoons/comedy including Betty Boop, Mighty Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Popeye, Three Stooges and Woody Woodpecker, at a garage sale. Total costs 10 bucks!

    My goal is to have a portable entertainment system that can play DVDs, VHS tapes, music CDs, old cassette tapes, etc., and a TV/projector/speakers that can connect with a backup variable fuel source generator. Still learning what will work, and am looking at RV equipment. Any ideas the pack can share about that, would be greatly appreciated.

    This way, we can have Friday Night Movies – with or without electricity!

    • Hunker-Down says:

      You may be able to sell those on eBay for a zillion bucks!

    • Nancy,

      You can get just about any movie, TV show or music online. A laptop with a solar recharger would do the job.

  25. axelsteve says:

    Md Creekmore. Your property is going to be really really nice when the trees and etc get established. You are doing a good job with it.

    • axelsteve,

      It’s been a lot of work to get it to this point. I had it all done at my previous location, but decided to buy this one because of the location and 3 and a half more acres, so I had to start over again.

  26. Well, I’m late this week posting because we went plinking yesterday. Spent about three hours practicing with a five target set-up. Got comfortable with the gun and got progressively better at hitting the targets. Aside from that, just bought some replacements for the rotation and will be headed to Kroger shortly for some more. Now it’s time to read the 350 or so other comments that were made before I got here this week. Stay safe all. Prayers for all.

  27. Urbancitygirl says:

    DH is moving my pantry area this weekend to a larger and less conspicuous one in the basement (swapping with his tool/work area). I have these really nice shelving systems from SAMs club, they are super strong. And I’m setting up the pantry to have aisles, so that it’s easier to add newer items to the back and take from the front. I like it better than lining up against the wall.

    In the past year alone we’ve had 3 water/sewer technicians, a gas line tech to move dryer to a more convenient location, block window installers, and 3 kids moving in and out of the home in transition from college to after college digs (and the moving help). Each time there have been questions as they walk by my current area.

    When the pantry wasn’t so full, it was easier to pass it off as coupon shopping and help feeding college kids. But, add in water filtration, buckets of long term storage, a freezer, several back up cooking stoves, oil lamps, several large boxes of medical supplies, a bookcase of “interesting” books, etc., and yikes. Didn’t really think that one thru.

    Did not find good meat prices yet for a big stock up. But still need to read today’s circulars.

    My milk jug greenhouses have been outside for a few days, frozen solid to the patio table. Ice, ice baby! Gonna be an interesting or a flop experiment. Meanwhile, I started a couple of seeds of tomatoes and peppers on my kitchen window sill above my sink.

    My lawn is solid ice and dangerous to walk on. I am craving nice weather so bad that a couple days ago I took a chair outside and sat on the side of my house when the sun was beating down on a heat wave 37degree day. But it’s back to low 20s again (as a high.) hoping the next couple weeks bring a little bit warmer weather.

  28. JeffintheWest says:

    Another fun week. Spent a couple of days (so far) working on the poor, neglected trees in our “orchard” pruning off dead wood and fireblight, and trying to make sure they have at least some chance of surviving this summer and maybe even starting to grow properly again. Two more trees to go.

    Other than that, our leach field line got blocked and the past four days have been a major construction effort in the back yard area, laying a new leach field, and, perforce, re-landscaping large portions of the back yard with a backhoe as we create terraces and stuff to avoid engineering fees for a retaining wall to prevent a recurrence of the problem. The good news is that by the time all of this is done, we should have plenty of firewood for next winter! And a really nice back yard area for relaxation and some gardening (not near the leach field, naturally). All years in advance of our actual plans given that we were forced into all of this by a sewage emergency. Sheesh. I suppose if it ever comes down to selling the place, all of this should significantly increase the value of the property…. So it’s an ill wind, and all that.

  29. Well I got the Yugo M57 refinished with Duracoat in Combat Black. It came out nice and I am pleased with my first attempt at refinishing a weapon. I picked this gun up dirt cheap at a gun show last year and have made a couple of improvements to it including removing the aftermarket safety and putting 1911 style grips on it. I’m looking forward to using this as an everyday carry weapon. I have my CHL and currently carry a Walther PPK knock-off (another eastern-bloc gun). The Yugo is much more powerful being chambered in 7.62×25 Tokarev than my current 9×18 Makarov. Its thin and hold 9+1. Fits in the small-of-the-back well. I made a video of it and am currently putting it up on YouTube. If anyone knows anything about how to change videos to a more compressed file for loading to YouTube, let me know. It takes forever to load them.

  30. Surviving in Ky says:

    Michele, You will be missed. You have a great deal of knowledge that has helped many here. I hope your new business does well and you and your husband have a happy and prosperous future. I will miss your knowledge and big heart. God Bless and take care. And as Rider would say, “Keep stacking it high”!

  31. Curley Bull says:

    Howdy Pack,

    As most of you know, things around here have been in somewhat of turmoil the past three weeks. Did piddle around with an idea though. Took 5 empty cigarette packs (box), filled with dryer lint and a baby bic. Took 5 more and filled with Coleman fire starter (1/2 inch square), cut to length and placed 6 in each pack along with 6 strike anywhere matches and 6 storm proof matches. Used small piece of tape to hold box shut and applied thin coat of paraffin to waterproof. Thought I might hand them out to some folks to get them started thinking.

    Now ya’ll know it’ll take a week for Bc to come down off the arterial clogging high from the deep fired, battered, bacon wrapped Oreo’s and speaks properly again.

    Got the same idea as Bc on the camper shell for my truck. After pricing new, decided to build my own using wood, but was afraid it might be too heavy, so am looking for used one with side openings. May end up building it to get it the way I want it. Got it pictured in my head, and once I get that picture, I can build almost anything.

    May everyone have a blessed week upcoming,


    PS: Gonna miss Michele. Hopefully she’ll mosey back someday.

    • Hobbitt of the Shire says:

      keep an eye out at the local cable companies they usually auction off older equipment every few years and they have some nice shells , at least around here………

      • Curley Bull says:

        Oh, forgot! Put new rubber on the ole truck. The Lord was with me big time! One of my old tires almost blew out as it was being removed. He also helped me get a real bargin on the tires. Gave $400 for takeoffs that would retail for $1,000. Isn’t God a great fella!!!!


  32. Very busy….got the auto all serviced and repaired, way too much of my funds went that way. Canned corned beef brisket. Pressed out my tinctures that were ready, and got some more going. I was very pleased with the press I bought online from Canada for this.
    Signed up for the online herbal studies that have been talked about here.
    I am less than a year from retirement and am trying to prepare as much as possible. The medical care, or lack there of has prompted me to study non-western medicine in earnest. I have purchased over 10 different herbal books, and growing/hunting such along with the course I signed up for.
    I have many other skills to barter, but this will help me and mine with medical issues and allow me to be of more value when SHTF.
    Prayers go out to all those in need.

  33. I am sick at heart. The two baby goats that we just got Saturday have disappeared! 🙁 I am work, but DH, DS and sil have walked all over the woods behind our home and drove around all of the nearby streets but no luck. The doe was so gentle, she loved to be petted. I spent some time with her this morning when I fed them. Lots of acreage with no one living on them.

    • My DH just called me! Those two found their way back to their previous owner. They are OK and DH is reinforcing the fence!

  34. Survivor says:

    Got the sawmill all but finished now. A couple of welds and two things to bolt on and we’re cutting timber.

    Transferred my heirloom tomatoes and watermelons from the seeding bed to potting soil. I’ll start herdening them to plant outdoors in a couple of weeks. I have a bunch more veggies that are coming up so I’ll be busy taking care of them.

    We bought 2 .177 cal air rifles over the weekend. I intend to do a side by side comparison and report in case someone might be interested. They were different models, same make (Gamo). We have several different types of ammo, as well. Both these will definitely take out small game easily. So far one of the rifles has taken out an armadillo and a cat, among other critters. Don’t nobody get up in arms over the cat. It was an evil thing that killed for fun.

  35. Just a quick heads up for those of you who have the Aldi grocery chain in your area. Once per year they have some special purchases. They have had this particular item every year for the last 8-10, right around this time of year (March April) and it is a good deal. What I’m talking about is a heavy duty adjustable wire shelf system. It has five 36 by 18 inch shelves, each capable of holding 350 pounds, which connect to 6 foot poles with about 1-inch incremental spacing, for $40.00, which is a great price. Similar shelves from Home Depot or Lowes are 48 inches wide instead of 36; but, cost $80-90 each. BTW, the screw-in caster wheels to make these racks mobile are available at Home Depot, Lowes, and other hardware and big box stores. We just purchased the last 5 from our local Aldi, and put the last 5 at the Aldi in another town, on hold until tomorrow. Between the 48 inch and this 36 inch shelve; we have about 16 already in use. Here’s the information and a photo:
    These things sell out quickly, and are sold out when gone, and then unavailable until next year.

    • Thanks for the link, OP. How do those shelves hold up to weight? Is there any problem with individual shelves slipping? Hope you don’t mind the questions, but I’m stuck between trying to find shelves that are really heavy-duty or building my own. I currently have a Muscle Rack which is supposed to hold 1,000 lbs. per shelf, but it wasn’t even close. A few cases of water had the chintzy shelf ‘boards’ sagging and cracking. I had to replace each shelf with 3/4-inch plywood.

      • NANN,
        We’ve been using these shelfs for years from both Home Depot and Aldi with no trouble holding hundreds of pounds on each shelf. As for slipping, the pieces that hold the shelf are wedge shaped and wedge in harder as you ad weight, so no issue there either.
        No problem on questions, so ask away.