What I Did To Prep This Week: March 7th – March 13th 2021

Hello Pack.Sorry this column was a bit late, I was not feeling well most of last week. I hope you had a productive week of prepping. The weather was nice here all weekend, so we got a lot done outside, but this week looks like we might be dealing with some more winter-like or at least chilly, weather.

We spent some time working on our beehives this weekend. We used Bobby’s new two-frame honey extractor to quickly separate the honey from the comb.

The device looks a lot like a metal version of an old-fashioned ice cream maker. It stands on legs, and has a large crank that you work to release the honey. Cleaning up inside of the extractor tub was surprisingly easy.

There was not much honey left after the bees ate on it all winter, but there was still a pint or so left when we separated it from the comb so I could render it into wax.

Before too much longer it will be time for spring foraging and I will use the rendered wax to make salves and chapsticks, and perhaps a few candles to tuck away for prepper-ish Christmas presents.

Our most exciting prep this week was garnering a new to us greenhouse. It needs all new plastic, but the 10 X 20 foot long greenhouse was free if it was taken down and moved.

The only problem now is to figure out where to put it. Sunny and level ground is at a premium here on our in the middle of the woods survival retreat.

My Bobby is on a mad hunt for more Mason jars, rings, and especially lids. He used to buy them by the sleeve each year, but there isn’t even a little box of lids to be found anywhere – either locally or online.

We have several thousand Mason jars, but adding to our stockpile each year is part of the spring preps.

I am glad that so many folks started to grow and preserve more of their own food due to the pandemic, but it sure has caused not only vastly decreased availability of both supplies and seeds, but a huge jump in prices.

In other preps this week, we worked on our compost pile and turned the process into a sustainability homeschool lesson – as we did with the honey and comb harvesting.

Our daughter’s homesite is coming along very well, our land looks a lot different after clearing a space to put in her modular home. Her tiny house cabin is going to be turned into storage for preps and to use as a medical clinic during SHTF.

This Week’s Questions:

  1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too?
  2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects?
  3. What did you do to prep this week?

49 thoughts on “What I Did To Prep This Week: March 7th – March 13th 2021”

  1. This Week’s Questions:

    1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Availability on canning supplies is spotty, but getting a little better. I just get what I can, when I can. DW says she has her seeds for the year.

    1a. Are you experiencing price increases too? I have not noticed any increase.

    2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects? We are still looking for a new place.

    3. What did you do to prep this week? Well…

    Time to finish the taxes. DW is hard at work getting that done.

    I finally got my sheath for my hatchet I ordered in July. They sent me notes every month it was on back order and when it came in asked me if I still wanted it. I may go to one on the leather workers I know and have them make me a better one.

    I actually found some primers this week. Small Magnum Pistol (good for .357 Mag and 38+P, for me).

    Supply Run: ammo; primers; canned meat; canned meals; creamy wheat cereal; .401 bullets

    Received: .429 bullets; Freyr Hand Axe Sheath; DVD’s; Walker noise cancelling ear plugs

    Reply
  2. Tara, I’m glad you’re feeling better.

    1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too?
    I haven’t looked for any yet because I have a large stockpile.
    2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects?
    Gardening, increasing the goat pasture, and adding a new chicken tractor.
    3. What did you do to prep this week?

    WE FOUND OUT THAT NEW GRANDBABY IS A GIRL! WE’RE SO EXCITED FOR ANOTHER GRANDCHILD.

    My Questions for the Group:
    1. Other than jam, jelly, and frozen berries, does anyone have any great ideas for preserving strawberries?
    2. My garden produced very well last year, and I have a lot of canned and frozen food left. I still have lots of jars and lids for canning and plenty of storage space in the basement. If you were me, would you can even more food or sell/give away this year’s bounty? (I always give away, so I’m hoping to do both. I guess I don’t know how much is too much to have stored. Is it possible to have too much home-canned food?)

    This week:
    *Animals:
    -Cleaned and stored heated buckets.

    *Garden:
    -Cleaned and organized greenhouse. Two of the grands, ages two and five, helped. We’re starting some seeds next week. I want to them to see the entire process of growing the food they eat from Grammy’s house. #1 granddaughter, age five, loves gardening and is quite a worker. She’s always up for helping anyone with anything.
    -Got asparagus patch and strawberry patch cleared. Under the leaves, the berry plants look great! I hope we get a big crop of berries this year.

    *Prepping purchases/added a little to the stockpile: waterproof bag that floats for DH’s handheld Ham radio (He can use this when he’s in the boat.), goat probiotics, animal drencher, heat bulbs, toiletries, bandages, dental tools, 2 mags,

    *Miscellaneous:
    -DH put the mobile Ham radio in his truck. (It’s the vehicle we use when we go camping.)
    -I started going to the gym this week. I’ve let myself go over the winter and need to strengthen my legs. Being less active over the winter and my knee injury from last year has caused my legs to suffer. I’m determined to get in shape so I can enjoy hiking this summer.

    It’s going to get bad very soon. Be prepared. Stay safe. He’s in charge.

    Reply
    • PG, I slice and dehydrate strawberries to add to my granola. Just a thought. Also, I would focus on adding more canned goods to your pantry before giving away the harvest. I like to have enough to cover more than 12 months before selling or giving any away.

      Reply
    • On the strawberries. Dehydrate and make into powder . Want strawberry drink or muffins it will make it easy . Now how about strawberry Pancakes .

      Reply
    • PG, I would powder the strawberries, dehydrate or freeze dry- and powder.
      ..Our friend- Old homesteader- that posted here for a while says more shortages are imminent. companies are reducing their cash outlay , putting back money- and moving.this include large grocery stores, supply of grains to feed animals will be in jeopardy because of loss of equipment needed to harvest in fires this past year. He says we need a minimum of 3 years supply.
      If we do not have food we are helpless to assist others…your neighbors that are food insecure may need it worse later.
      Okra, if you can grow it and like it, dehydrates and rehydrates well is easy. wash cut uniformly, put on dehydrator tray shrinks significantly.to less than half,.(expands when rehydrated to orig. can be soaked for 45-90 min warm water to rehydrate and fry with your favorite recipe like fresh. or thrown in a pot of boiling water as you begin making a soup or a stew,
      Condense your veggies into dehydrated and store with oxygen absorbers. You can re use used canning lids for dehydrated food…as long as they are clean and dry, also can use commercial jars with their odd lids. All veggies dehydrated for storage should be”crispy dry” ie snap when it breaks… for best storage.
      Just my thoughts. Oh Pack my computer went down and i had limited ability for about a month.. still doing what i need to do for my family…

      Reply
  3. 1 canning supplies are rare, stores dont get them in and when they do its not much. No price increase that i can see. 2 no single big project but i have many small to medium ones. 3 pruned the orchard. Walked 30 miles with dogs. Walked 14 with wheelbarrow to fill some gas cans when i was tired of asking friends for a ride. Then since all the snow melted in a 2 day 70 degree heat wave i was out sawing logs, firewood, and fence posts. Had to get gas fos saw, hence that long walk with wheelbarrow

    Reply
  4. Hi Tara,

    I hope that you are feeling better and are up to snuff now.

    Things are a bit quite in Douglasville for the moment. I did several gun and reloading sales during the week last week (made each one sweeter by adding a box of ammo for each one bought). I picked up a Browning Buckmart Camp pistol at a good price and was very happy to get it. I gave mine to DD when she was driving to California almost 6 years ago and I’m pretty sure she considers it hers now.

    I was at Walmart during the week and noticed they had Mason jars on the shelf but they were mostly pint and quart size and they had lids and seals too. I didn’t get any as we are just not going to do any canning.

    there are plenty of seeds available at good prices but they aren’t heirloom so I’ll give them a pass.

    A couple of weeks ago, on March 3rd it was the 50th anniversary of my going into the Air Force. It was also the anniversary of DW son going home to heaven. It was a maudlin day for both of us. He’s in a good place and is with all the family having a grand reunion. I’m not sorry that I spent 23 years in the Air Force but in retrospect there is so much more I could have done when I was there (like getting a lot more college, I have to associate degrees), learning more electronics and radio operations and maybe I could have avoided some of the people who tried to kill me and in turn get killed themselves. War is war but still it’s not something I’d want to do again.

    We got Hank back from the crematorium in his little wooden/plastic box and we got a nice tag to go on it and now he resides on the mantle next to Jason (DW’s son). Jason only got to see Hank for a few years but they were good friends as only a boy and his dog can be.

    I hope you all have a magnificent week. We get our 2nd Covid shot next Wednesday. Easter is coming soon too. The Machinegun Preacher will be giving his testimony at our church on the 20th so we are looking forward to that.

    73

    Reply
    • Cliff:

      20+ years ago, a customer of mine inherited a Browning Buckmark and didn’t want it. I made her an offer, but it looked to be in ugly shape. Turns out that they just never cleaned it. Probably put a couple thousand rounds through it. Once it was cleaned up it was quite a gem. They has shot it so much all the of the “burrs” were off the trigger and it is sweet now. We would go to the range and pretty soon everyone was waiting their turn to shoot is.

      Reply
      • JP,

        About 20 years ago is when I bought my first Buckmark and I loved that pistol. With the iron sights I could be on the target all the time. I gave it to my DD for her road trip since it has a 10 round magazine (good for California) and she is a dead shot and could put the hurting on someone with it if she needed to. I sent her off with 500 rounds of ammo but alas she hasn’t shot it very much since they’ve been there. I am pressure sure that one cost me about $125 new.

        This one I saw on the trader or one like it. I jumped on it but sold in less than 15 minutes of the ad going up. I did a search and found one in an old ad, took a chance and he still had it. I met him after church yesterday and the pistol was as clean as the day it came out of the factory. It originally came with one magazine and he threw in 2 more. (those are $31 or $32 each new). He had also put a tactical rail on it in case I wanted to mount a scope. As soon as I got home I took the rail off and mounted the original sights back up. I’m very happy even though the price was a little more than I wanted to pay but given the situation and availability of rifles and pistols you have to do what you have to do.

        When I sold the two rifles last week I made good money on them but still priced them below gun broker and those are sites.

        I was considering selling off my Rossi Matched Set (Trifecta), .22, .243 and 20 gauge single shots but decided I’d just keep it and mount a scope on the .243 A few years back I had a Rossi Wizard with quite a few of the different caliber barrels. I even had the 45-70 and shot it once (carbine/youth size rifle and big bullet) and never had the urge to shoot it again, but would like to get some of the calibers like 30-06, 30-30, .223 and what ever else takes my fancy.

        Have a good week and stay safe.
        73

        P.s. I finished typing this and then noticed that almost every word had a red line under it. I had looked away as the DW was talking to me and I kept typing and got completely off the home row. Getting old sucks!!!

        Reply
    • Cliff,

      July 1st will be my 50th anniversary of standing on the yellow footprints at Marine Recruit Depot San Diego. They have a large formation of yellow footprints (all at a 45-degree angle) painted on the street outside of the Receiving Barracks (so does Parris Island). Tell another Marine you stood on the yellow footprints on a certain date and he/she will know exactly what you were doing and what you were experiencing. An epiphany known as “What the hell did I do!?”

      Reply
      • Zulu,

        Air Force basic 50 years ago was close but for sure no Marine basic. Got off the plane at the San Antonio Airport and there was a guy in a Smokie the Bear hat yelling at the top of his lungs. We ran to get baggage, we ran to the bus, they drove us to Hell’s Kitchen (the receiving chow hall), yelled the whole time we were eating, then ran us to the receiving dorms. That was the first time walking in the dorm/barracks where a TI bounced me off a wall. They could hit, cuss, shove and bounce you up and down steps to their hearts content.

        All in all, it was OK, we survived. I went back to Lackland as a MSgt (E7) while I was in town (20 years later) and even some TIs were jumping out of my way. Things change. I don’t think that people come out as good as we came out back in our day. No safe places, no places to hide and no time outs.

        I wouldn’t want to do it again but I’d never want to to miss the experience.

        Reply
        • Cliff,

          We weren’t hassled too much at the San Diego Airport (too many civilians). When we got off the bus at receiving the Mr Nice Guy act disappeared. The moment we got off the bus, we were slapped upside the head hard. Got on the footprints and things got worse. The Corps liked to bring new recruits in at night (still do). By the time the receiving DIs were done for the night, they bedded us down about 0300. I slept on the floor. Reveille was at 0400 with a traditional Marine alarm clock – a GI trash can thrown down the squadbay. If someone got hit, too bad. Then they took us to chow. We were on the go all day and weren’t bedded down again until about midnight, with a fresh 0400 reveille.

          These receiving DIs were not our training DIs. Receiving duty was a break period for DIs so they didn’t go full speed 100% of the time. We were stuck in receiving for over a week, partially because of the 4th of July holiday. Not on our account. All in all, the receiving DIs were fairly gentle compared to what was to come. Pickup day, when we got our training team, is burned into my head forever. If you ever saw Full Metal Jacket, that was the most accurate USMC boot camp flick ever made. It still wasn’t fully accurate. The movie showed only one mental case screaming at and beating recruits. My platoon had four. Marching from receiving to our assigned barracks was hell (doing close order drill with a full seabag), but getting to the barracks was worse.

          The receiving DIs had taught us how to make our racks, but didn’t really enforce strict standards. Our training DIs did. They hated how we made our racks so we got to do “Rack Drill.” The only good thing is we were on the second deck and not the third deck. They made us pick up our mattresses, sheets, blankets, pillows and all, then carry them, at high speed, down the ladderway and get into formation. Then they gave us five minutes to lay topside and make our racks correctly. My platoon had 75 recruits. Imagine 75 turds trying to run up two flights of stairs at the same time carrying mattresses. We all didn’t even make it into the squadbay in five minutes. So back down we went, and got three minutes. Then again, with one minute. They had us just throw our crap on our racks and get back down to the patio (a concrete pad in front of the barracks). Then they put us into a sand pit and we got to do, pushups, squat thrusts (“Many, many repetitions”), jumping jacks, mountain climbers, and just about any other kind of exercise you could think of. Privates were passing out all over the place. We dreamed of the halcyon days of receiving barracks. 🙂

          Anyway, that first day did not improve as they added beatings to the PT and other physical stuff, like “up and on shoulders footlockers” (normally done with a rifle). Those SOBs were imaginative sadists. As Gunny Hartman said in FMJ, we were just pieces of amphibious shit to them, or as our DIs actually called us “You are the lowest form of life on earth. You are lower than whale shit and that’s at the bottom of the ocean.” Things did eventually improve, kinda, but not that first week.

          I would rather be waterboarded than repeat that first week of boot camp again. I was ready to confess to killing President Lincoln.

          At least the food in the chow hall was decent, we just couldn’t get enough of it.

          Reply
          • Zulu,

            When my draft lottery number came up 12 I was back in college but could feel the cold draft on the back of my neck. I was invited to go down for the pre-induction physical on January 2, 1970 and we had one of those freak ice storms and they had to put it off. I knew it was coming so about a week later I cut my last class and went down to the recruiters. I looked at the Marine in his office and said, oh hell no, looked at the Army and knew I didn’t want that, looked at the Navy and said “that’ll work” except he was out to lunch and the door was locked so I wandered into the Air Force. Took all the test and did really well, went the next day for a physical, came back the following day and he asked me when I wanted to leave. Told him 5 days so I was back at the induction station on March 3, 1970. Did some processing and then got on a Blue Goose (school bus) and off we went to the airport. Got on the plane and off we went. First time on a real big plane for this boy from Georgia.

            Got in late, lots of yelling and they didn’t care about scaring the civilians. We got to chow about 10 and about 11pm in to the receiving dorm. Lots of yelling and turning out of pockets and contraband check. I had gum and that cost me a lot of pushups. I got off easy compared to the guy who brought a dozen condoms with him and the guy who had naked pictures of his girlfriend and the guy with the switchblade. Blood was spilled that night. We finally got in the rack about 2am and were back up at 6am. They let us sleep in that morning. Loudspeaker yelling, thrash cans rolling down the middle of the bays and beds with people in them being turned over. We had 10 minutes to get squared away in our rainbow shirts (looked good with the madris pants I was wearing) and our reflective belt, flashlight and web belt and canteen. It never stopped that day from shots, to hair cuts to initial uniform issue to PT to quick chow and a couple of latrine breaks.

            After the first morning we got up at 0500 every morning and were in bed at 2100. We all took turns doing dorm guard and staying awake for our 2 hour shifts, studying our books and practicing saluting and facing movements.

            The time went fast and we never stopped moving. We got slapped around regularly, no particular reason other than you were the closest to them when they lashed out. We were on 3rd floor and came rushing in from PT and they were at the top of the steps throwing mattresses down. That hurt but woe be it unto you if you made it to the top step and didn’t have a mattress in your arms.

            Key thing I think, is that I never thought it was personal and never felt bad (other than it hurt) when I got slapped or kicked or whatever.

            About 3 or 4 weeks in is when they started sorting out our jobs. I had come in under electronics but they had other plans. I took a language test and didn’t do that well. They then made me a ditty-bopper or Morse Intercept Operator. Then I had to start my clearance paperwork. 398 was the number on the form and you made 5 copies using carbon paper and it listed every friend I ever had, every job I ever had, every place I ever lived and the name of all my teachers. They sent agents out to talk to all of them before I got my final clearance about the 2nd week after I got to Keesler at Biloxi, Mississippi.

            My favorite times in basic was the rifle range (I did very well) and the confidence course (no real bullets flying over our heads, just blank firing machine guys while we crawled under the barbwire). Nothing like the movie Full Metal Jacket for the Marines. It was more like a big playground. The mines going off while we were under the wire was a bit loud and smelly but it was OK.

            All in all, they worked hard to weed out the ones who couldn’t/wouldn’t make it and we were usually glad to see them pack their stuff and leave.

            I still remember the names of my TI’s and wouldn’t mind sharing a beer and old times with them. They had a job, this was a hot time in Vietnam and they had to get a lot of people through that they were sure wouldn’t cut and run.

            Thanks for giving me the opportunity to travel down the old roads in my memory. The only people who really understand what it was all about are people who have had similar experiences.

            Thanks for your service!
            I did my 23 years and then it was time to come home. After 9/11 I was on the phone asking, do you need me, do you want me? I can be on a plane this evening. Alas, they didn’t need or want me. It was time for some other young pup to stand up, salute and step out smartly.

          • Cliff,

            We did very little combat type training in boot camp, unlike these days where they do some basic stuff for a week after the rifle range. Boot camp in my day was PT, drill, PT, discipline, PT, marksmanship, PT, Marine history, PT, first aid, PT, uniforms, PT, and for a change, more drill followed by more PT when we screwed up drill. We did the combat stuff after boot camp at Infantry Training Regiment. All new Marines these days still go to something similar. Non-infantry go to four-weeks of Marine Combat Training, while infantry types do eight-weeks at Infantry Training Battalion (the first four weeks is almost identical to Marine Combat Training, while the second four weeks is called “the split” where new grunts are trained in their specific jobs (rifleman, machine gunner, mortarman, etc).

            Marines who do infantry training at Camp Pendleton, CA, have the joy of running up and down mountains with full fighting load and packs. Literally running. When I was there, it seemed to get anywhere it was always uphill. There is a mountain there that is still traditional for all training companies to run up for time (called Mount MF – supply your own words, it is very well named. It was tall, steep, and the trail was deep soft sand). Even when not training, we had to run every where. Run to the head, to chow (although during the duty week, we ran in company formation to and from the chow hall – uphill both ways of course), from one Quonset hut to another, etc. East Coast Marines train at Camp Lejuene, NC where the ground is flat (although it can be swampy and wooded in places).

            After boot camp, we had no more dealings with Drill Instructors. In my time, at ITR we had Troop Handlers, who were strict, but not to the level of a DI, and usually talked to us like we were semi-human.

          • Cliff

            Your number 12 draft number was one better (worse?) then my 13. I let nature take its course and after taking the draft physical and induction test I went home and went on with life. About a year later I got my orders to report for induction on May 23rd 1972. That happened to be the due date for my wife’s and my first child and the tale end of potato harvest on my dad’s from where I worked. I sent a letter to my congressman asking for a deferral. I did get it pushed back to mid September not for the baby but because I was helping on a farm.

            The last week of August I get a phone call at my parents home were we where eating lunch. It was a Navy recruiter telling me if I joined a special Reserve program I would be guaranteed an “A” school and after completing boot camp and the school I would return home and then attend monthly Reserve meetings and no active duty. Having suffered heat and dirt on the farm and not wanting to leave my wife and child for several years I jumped at the offer. I went to the Navy recruitment office and took their test. I was told I would be good for the Machinist Mate school. A few days later I was on a jet to Great Lakes Training Center in Chicago.

            The first few days were not much different then getting signed up for college classes, no shouting and we were treated like adults. Morning PT was just a few minutes of calisthenics before breakfast, after a summer of farm work in the Florida sun I was like I was on vacation. The second week I tried out and got on the rifle drill squad, we had our own barracks and did not do morning PT. We sat around watching TV and met our companies for breakfast. We attended classes on how to be sailors, had lunch, more classes until 3:00 then while our companies went and did more PT we on the drill team went and had several hours of marching practice and rifle drills. Like I said, a vacation compared to farm life.

            All that marching practice and we only performed once, that was at the graduation ceremony held a week before my graduation from boot camp. Then it was on to “A” which was 9 weeks of intense study on all things mechanical on ships. A perk was if you kept an A average you did not have to stand night watch duty. Guess who never stood watch duty. I did not graduate top of my class but I was offered a place in the nuclear power school. That would have meant a six year commitment with long tours on a submarine or aircraft carrier, I declined.

            I did my drills at Mayport Navel Base, we had an old WWII destroyer that we steamed around on. Engine rooms on steam powered ships are hot. In my six years I was Reserve of the year for my command twice and made E-5. I have something to talk about now but I just endured my time in service, I did not find it enjoyable.

          • Daddio,

            While my basic was a bit rough the tech school in Mississippi wasn’t bad. They had 3 or 4 school shifts and I was on A shift so we went to school from 6a – 12p Monday through Friday and that meant getting up around 5 to run out for chow and then dressed to march to work. After school there was some PT but I was a student leader and got to miss out on most of that.

            After tech school every where I got stationed was on a 4,1, 4, 1, 4 4 shift. 4 swings, 1 day off, 4 mids, 1 day off, 4 day watches and 4 days (96 hours) off. I didn’t mind shift work and enjoyed the mission. First assignment was Elmendorf AFB, Alaska and that was pretty neat duty. Then things got hot in 72 in Vietnam and I got curtailed out and sent to Clark AB, Philippines. I was a ground guy but for some reason they decided I had to do the jungle survival stuff and get really good with the firearms. After the training I would go to work and they would turn me around at the door, send me to the flight line where I’d get on a plane, land someplace in the dark, get on a helicopter and land some where out in the jungle and then join a fire base for some line of sight radio intercept. I usually set up my radios, collected what I needed and did the analysis, turned it over and got the hell out of dodge and would be back at work 2 days later just like nothing happened. I was in camp, have no clue other than a dot on the map, and we got over run. I had an M16 and one magazine and was collecting their command and control as hard a I could, when they came over the wire. My mag didn’t last long and that was one of the most terrifying things I’ve ever had to deal with and that was when a guy with an empty rifle came charging me with his bayonet and I had an empty rifle and a K-Bar. First (and last for now) knife fight. I won, he lost. I didn’t feel bad until it was over with and I had to drag his dead ass to a pit. Anyway, I refused to come back after that and spent all my time doing intercept from far away.

            I had great assignments though. After Clark I went to RAF Chicksands in England and lived off base all 3 years. Went from there to NSA and spent 5 years there and worked a full time job at a coin shop when I wasn’t working for the Air Force. Went from there to Crete, Greece and then to San Antonio for 3 years and then spent my last 6 years active in Japan. Japan was a great tour. Now I’m really glad I’m out and I work from home and have done for the last 25 years working with a Sign Language interpreting agency and just this year I went from being full time working 75 or 80 hours a week to part time working 24 hours a week.

            Life is good. I am still in touch with some of the people I served with and that is always a good thing. Alas, we are all aging out, being 70 I know that my really active years are dwindling down. It’s OK, I have no regrets.

            73

          • Cliff and Daddio7,

            I enlisted at 17 and as a result never registered for the draft.

            I started out as a motor vehicle operator in the Corps. Japan was my first duty station, then a TDY (TAD in the Corps) in Okinawa. The unit I was with in Oki was sent to Vietnam in May 1972 when things got hot there again. Due to an admin error, I was not sent back to the motor transport unit. The aviation unit was shorthanded and the CO pulled strings to keep me. By billet, I was his driver. In reality I did all sorts of other stuff except drive him. I really enjoyed my time with that outfit despite losing my bestie in a rocket attack. The CO, XO, and SgtMaj team were the best I ever served with. It was a famous unit in the Corps, VMA-211. They were known for being part of the defense of Wake Island at the beginning of WWII. Both air defense and at the end, infantry defense. One of the pilots got the Blue Max for both aviation and ground action. Chronologically, he was the first Marine to get the Medal of Honor in WWII.

            After I got back to the States, I was the Motor Transport NCO for the Navy’s Field Medical Service School (where Navy corpsmen went to be trained to serve with Marine units) at Camp Lejuene, NC. I disliked my bosses at the school (both OLD Navy) and managed to get a lateral MOS transfer into military police where I stayed for the rest of my military career (except in the Air Guard when it was security police).

          • Zulu and Daddio7,

            I have never considered myself to be a badass, just someone that can take care of what needs to be taken care of at the time. Given the 3 of us together, and given our backgrounds, I would be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder or back to back with the two of you in any situation.

            You guys make me proud to be an American and especially an American Fighting Man.

            Woe be unto him that crosses the line that we draw in the sand.

  5. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too? Jars are hard to find and twice the usual price. My wife found some on Facebook market place. A woman had 100 pint jars she use as decoration for her catering business. She had the lids and the jars were in totes.

    What are your biggest spring prepping projects? Poor health has prevented me from doing anything.

    What did you do to prep this week? Our we was spent making preparations for the care of my father in law and our grand daughter. My daughter was able to get our granddaughter enrolled in the public pre-school near her. At noon the first day they called her to come get her. My wife went and firmly requested a meeting with the staff. Surprisingly the principal agreed and Thursday seven members of the schools staff showed up. It was decided that hey are going to try again in the same class room but will have an aid available to take her to another area whenever she starts acting up.

    Today I am having a contractor out to see about remodeling the small bathroom taking out the tub and installing a handicapped accessible shower. He is also wanting to buy an electric wheelchair. His wife had a Hoveround and he liked it. They have one with over 4 inches of ground clearance. Anyone have any experience with electric wheel chairs they want to share?

    Reply
  6. (1) I haven’t purchased any canning supplies this year yet…..still working through 30 cases I bought last year. I also have 500 Tattler lids, thank goodness! I’ve ordered seeds online without much trouble.
    (2) My spring preps include continuing to incubate eggs to build my bantam flock. My latest chick hatched Saturday…..I’ve named her Laverne and she’s currently chirping up a storm in my dining room. DH thinks I’ve lost my mind. Maybe so, but I’m smiling, so who cares?! We’ve ordered the metal roofing for the remodel of my chicken coop. Waiting on that to get here to proceed. One pen will be for bantams, and the other for my laying hens.
    (3) My preps this week are named Honey and Chocolatte! LOL I bought a goat in milk and another yearling for breeding later this year. I also planted sweet potato slips, tomato plants I started from seed, and Kentucky Wonder Pole Beans. I ordered and received 50×50′ bird netting to put over the new chicken yard to help keep my crazy rooster in with his ladies. Also received in a second heat lamp as I have my final 12 eggs in the incubator and will need it in 3 weeks. Received my pink eye purple hull pea seeds this week, too. Gotta figure out where I’m going to plant them—might want to do that when DH isn’t home! HAHA

    Reply
  7. I did my grocery shopping twice again this week and will keep adding more to my food stocks. Got to keep on getting that stash deeper. This is my number one prepping priority right now.

    Took my first dose of Ozempic last Monday. Absolutely no pain. The needle is so thin and sharp I felt absolutely nothing. Having never belly stuck myself before, I felt like I was about to commit seppuku like a samurai. But no problems. I took my second dose today. It hurt a little bit, but nothing earthshattering.

    Bought some more silver. I wanted to wait for the price to drop a little lower, but it doesn’t seem to want to do that. If the price does fall, I’ll probably buy some more then. Silver stacking is more or less my second prepping priority now.

    Inflation is starting to rear its ugly head. All of these Covid “relief” bills are making things worse. Gasoline prices are up almost 70-cents since Biden’s inauguration and I’m certain they will go higher.
    #1 GD is doing well with her karate lessons. Her dad says she is very confident with her punches and arm blocks. She does OK with kicks as long as she is wearing shorts under her gi. Long pants don’t get it.
    #1 daughter came down with something nasty this past week while at her base. Went to sick call and they did a quick Kung Flu test (negative). She was sent home and passed out as soon as she laid down in her bed. Tests for strep and regular flu were negative. They suspect she might be having a reaction from the Kung flu vaccine in addition to a sinus infection. She was pretty knocked out for several days. She was able to do her civilian job from home for a few hours a day, usually with a nap in the middle. SIL and #1 GD are having some allergy issues with snotty noses and minor occasional coughs, and so am I. Elderberry syrup seems to help #1GD, but not so much for her parents.

    Weather has been nice here in Orlando. 70s and 80s and sunny. No rain though and we could use some. Pollen is an asskicker.

    My son and his womenfolk came to stay here this past weekend. The Ex hosted a birthday dinner for him on Sunday at a local restaurant. He’s hitting the big 23. We had to chat about his taxes as the company he works for is headquartered in the US Virgin Islands and he has to pay income tax there too. He’s only been there once for a couple of days (loved the place), but it’s like working in another state and they want their pound of flesh like any other state with an income tax. His job is essentially a jack of all trades, but he is learning to weld, operate heavy equipment, and drive semis. He started as a part-timer, but the owner liked his work ethic and put him on full time with benefits. He also has to go to the port in Jacksonville, FL, periodically to pickup vehicles being shipped in from the Virgin Islands. The company is shifting operations into Florida. We are also going to talk more about prepping as he is realizing what his family responsibilities are.

    My son and I had a long talk about prepping, finance, precious metals, and other similar stuff. He seems to be catching on to that stuff pretty well. Amazing what becoming a responsible father can do.

    A very good friend from my police days has just been diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer. To add to his issues, his very autistic adult daughter recently fell and broke her hip. I guess they had holy hell controlling her at the hospital. I know how that girl can get sometimes just during normal times. My Ex is good friends with the family too and she is going to make some orthopedic pants out of track suit pants and snaps (maybe Velcro). Luckily, they have two adult sons who can and will help.
    Glad you’re feeling better Tara.

    This Week’s Questions:

    1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too?

    I don’t can.

    2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects?

    Adding to my food stash.

    3. What did you do to prep this week?

    See above

    Reply
    • Zulu 3-6
      My dh psa’s were rising and they wanted to send him to a prostate doctor he said NO. I put him on Graviola a plant base natural for health issues. It appears to be working for him.

      NO-not a doctor nor pretending to be one. Just thought I share this with you, so you could pass it on to your df, letting him do his own research on it, and using any search engine other than the Big G or fancy E which will take you every where but what you are looking for on this plant.

      Am presently using it on our family dog as she has cancer under her tongue. (they have a liquid form or a capsule- I use the liquid due to dh & dogs needs)

      Reply
  8. Tara, I hope you are up and running at full blast soon. There is some crud going around Georgia now.

    With no article this weekend, I was thinking everyone had ghosted me at once, LOL!!!

    1. Canning jars and lids are scarce.
    2. Clearing brush from roads and around pond, also helping brother clear his pond of brush.
    3. I have had apple tree seeds in fridge all winter, they started to sprout so I transplanted 15 to soil. Will work a couple of days this week so can add money to special property projects fund. Also checked trees I planted last year, 7 peach trees, 5 pear trees, 5 blueberry, 1 fig, 4 sawtooth oaks are growing and putting out leaves. The Dunstin chestnut trees have not started budding, may be early for them.

    I have planted more fruit trees than I will ever need the fruit, I always give to family or friends, barter or sell but also deer love fruit and deer meat is protein.

    Have a friend who does the ammo runs at all the stores, we tell him what we need, if he finds it, he will buy it, he misunderstood the difference between we needed 300 WSM and 300 Magnum. We sent 3 texts and 4 boxes were sold in 20 minutes to friend of a friend half way across the state. World we live in. People are searching for the hard to find caliber rounds.

    Tell you a funny story, I filled up with gas, needed the receipt for expenses, had to go inside for receipt, told the cashier that I would like to thank President Biden for all he has done to raise fuel prices, she looked around store all crazy, Democrats standing behind me, I asked if I said anything wrong, she laughed and said no.

    Reply
  9. Canning jars are coming in slowly but can get 6 to 8 cases of wide mouth jars each week . Most of these I am passing on to friends . Lids are harder to come by.

    Reply
  10. I didn’t get alot done this week . I run our business and homeschool our granddaughter and some weeks it seems like that is all I can seem to get accomplished. I still haven’t finished my pantry inventory and cleaning but hope to tomorrow.
    I added to the pantry stock as I always do and ordered two seed mat for warming the soil on starters.
    My husband pruned our fig tree and started rooting some cuttings from it .
    I ordered two books that were recommended on another forum
    The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs by Joel Salatin It is about farming and homestead life based on Christian principles.
    Also I received The Coming Anarchy by Robert Kaplan
    I am looking forward to reading them both.
    Our town has some jars and supplies available the price in most places is only slightly more than last year. Several brands I have never heard of in some stores.
    Hope everyone has a safe productive week

    Reply
    • Nell, I have read most of Joel Salatin’s books and have even visited his farm in Virginia. What I found most interesting during the visit was how even Joel makes use of what materials he has available to him. Lots of primitive structures, pens and such for the critters. I got to witness his outdoor chicken processing system on a day they were harvesting birds. That was a good thing because a year or so later, my friend needed help doing the same thing and I got to eviscerate lots of chickens that day! Warm chicken guts. LOL Enjoy the reading! He’s a cool guy.

      Reply
      • Thanks! I am looking forward to it. With a name like “The Pigness of Pigs”
        I couldn’t resist.
        We do alot of that building with what we can scavenge also. Waste not want not

        Reply
  11. Tara, hope you get totally better real fast!

    1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too?
    A few canning jars and lids appear at Wally’s, and the price is up slightly. I order seeds online. Burpee’s on the rack and online have gone way up over the years. Mostly hybrid anyway. No, I don’t buy from them.

    2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects?
    Tilling the big garden. That’s done. Now for 4 days of rain. It’ll need a 2nd till with fertilizer, etc. I really need to pull the cover off the raised bed, add more compost & vermiculite & fertilizer & seeds, but really busy getting ready for company (step-D and 2 Marines). Rats, the Marines will only be here for 1-1/2 days.

    3. What did you do to prep this week?
    Did cleanup & first till of big garden. Bought 3 1# bags barley and sealed them in 1 qt jars. Received most of my seeds. Ordered balance of seed I wanted except edamame. Ordered another holster, Gulag Archipelago, and 1984 (rec’d that one).

    Reply
  12. I finished our income taxes this week. We had to pay $1,100. I pay as little as possible during the year as I don’t like to loan Uncle Sam interest-free money.

    We’ve had beautiful winter weather here in north central Florida. As I write it is 82 degrees out and sunny.

    Not many preps this week. Money is always tight this time of year. I like to get ahead with the mortgage payments because in my career summer work tends to be limited. I will use our stimulus check to pay July and August mortgage. I just feel more comfortable having the mortgage paid ahead.

    I don’t grow a vegetable garden. Our backyard is too shady to grow most vegetables. But I do support local farmers by shopping at the weekly farmer’s market.

    Reply
    • Bam Bam, Just my thoughts… it would be a good idea for you to get numbers and names of those farmers you normally purchase from and see if you can get contracted pickup. to have quantities to secure. JIC supply point is compromised. Sooner rather than later…IF it became necessary, could work out alternate location over phone.. by going to their gate or them meeting you at a common location -should the areas go back into lockdown/ scaredy contact /Illness mode..this could become necessary. From 3 months- 2 years illness and sudden deaths are projected by SOME scientists to skyrocket..would place entire system in jeopardy should that occur.

      Reply
  13. 1. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too?
    Ans. Yes hard to find and more expensive when found.

    2. What are your biggest spring prepping projects?
    Ans. Building a new chicken coop and pen for ducks. Weather has been a hold up.

    3. What did you do to prep this week?
    Ans. Setting up for seed starting.

    Reply
    • Clergylady,
      Just sayin hi, glad you are still hanging n there.. Know you have had a long winter.
      much the same here… lids nada, few new jars, seed higher.. weather holding up outside duties. we have 6-8 weeks before can plant frost tender things outside. space an issue insde and outside.. going to preplant our okra -Tomatoes, Pepper.

      Reply
  14. Tara
    Sorry to hear you have not been feeling well, and are on the mend. When the posting did not show for a few days I figured either you and one of your grandchildren were not feeling well.
    Your first question about canning jars and lids:
    In the State of Jefferson, if you see any one had better put them in their basket as they will not be on the shelf long. Same goes for canning lids in this northern part of the state. Jars and lids are like gold around here. Every place that I would normally find such items are N/A, nor do the parties which carry them can give me a date they will be back on the shelves.

    I am sure IF they are obtainable the price from cost of gas/diesel rising, will up the price on the Brick & Mordor shelving to the consumer.

    Garden Seeds: While in the True Value store picking up plumbing parts the young man told me he had filled the gardening seed display twice since they put it up. The business would have to order more seeds to fill it before spring planting truly hits this area. Price of seeds have gone up, rough estimate 30 to 70 cents per pack depending on what type of seed one was acquiring.

    Spring Prepping:
    Projects that were not finished last year. It is a long list, new fencing posts, fencing materials replaced, divesting of un-needed household items along with furniture. Hope we get farther along this year than last year.

    Reply
    • Also: I have found to be observant of the seed packages weight. All seeds of one type.. ie.. Tomato seed may not be packed in same weight..different company ‘s weight can vary significantly. Price of seed is up . If is a certain seed you desire- best get them sooner rather than later. I am getting my key seed from different suppliers- in order to increase diversity of my supply of seed to be collected as the cycle of each season ends.
      Jars have not been available, , few stores are beginning to stock. No canning lids avail on last visit..plastic lids for using jars as canisters/storage jars were available again…will check again this coming week when we go out- for monthly supply run.Our local hardware store can not order yet.

      I noticed someone asked about being particular about lids one purchases… I buy what is available. the golden ones do NOT last as long.. they often discolor on the outside during pressure canning. Also some of the wally world ones have held up very well- as long as -they are conditioned before use.
      TOP gave me that tip..to condition lids… heat the lids in enough hot water to cover well, with 1/4tsp of baking . …soda-(amount for 7 qts). I lid with jars and lids hot-most of the time

      I have some main stays i have used effectively 4 times-much depends on the storage time of the item stored inside.. the last ones i got were not as good…the coating on the outside and inside of lids is thinner..is easily damaged in opening.
      Will be adding Harvest guards to my supply shortly. There is a learning curve to successful canning with them- the process on tightening lids is different from the throw away ones. A card is sent with each order with protected information as a reminder as well.They will remain sealed up to 5 years.
      Several experienced canners have video’s on the effective use of those.. including “the Kneady Homesteader”, ( who needs viewer support-due to horrible accident.)..and the owner of Harvest guard…
      I have been working on rotating out meats and securing those for longer term.. boosting supplies of things we routinely need, including all foods and medications. Chicks hatched in Nov and Dec are doing well. Have passed some on to family member…beginning chickens. Older group of Americana should begin laying in April and a few of my older girls will go to their final retirement home.Roos that are not required will also go into early retirement.
      We purchased Production Blue’s(4 hens and 2 roo’s from batch of 6 straight run) last May. Loved the hens,They began producing eggs about 6 months and had good production thru most of winter and picked up the pace. Roos had too much RIR in them,good if need an attack roo. and nothing small that could become a victim.They did teach old JR -what “NO”means…. I have one RIR hen from our first Hens purchased. I have incubated some of her eggs. RIR mixed roos will all be harvested, will keep some pullets- for layers.They forage well and are good trainers for young hens..
      Spring plans. get out a garden as soon as temps stable, plants we intend to plant.. most of potatoes are in ground in raised bed. we have plans for another hen house for a replacement of our old one. will use salvaged materials and mostly things on hand for new building. weather has not cooperated.. Other projects still not completed..Every step is progress.

      Reply
  15. What did we do last week. I was able to find 15 boxes of canning jars, although they were the stand size jars I took what they would sell me. As for lids I had to purchase any that were available through a source by bidding or paying the asking price…O U C H!!! These items are and will be high priority item for those who can or are just starting out canning. Feel blessed that I found the jars the way I did, called the seller told them I would take all they had to offer, and sent a family member to pay for & pick them up for us. Tried to call them and let them know how much these items were appreciated but their message machine was full.
    Saving the jars which contain food for repurposing. Baby food jars(Beachnut-4oz)will hold right size amount of popping corn. Dehydrated vegetables 1 cup fresh=1/4(estimate)and the jars I use will hold 2 cups, depending on the type of vegetable one dehydrates. Then I place those jars inside of vacuum seal bags and process-one will hear the lids pop when they seal down.

    Ordered more cat food since we have been adopted by the neighbors cat. It apparently likes living here more than her home. Even though our older male cat(fixed)is territorial where she is concerned. He is a royal turd!!

    Reply
  16. Have canning supplies and seeds been hard to find in your area? Are you experiencing price increases too? I save my own seeds and reuse lids, so it’s not a huge deal. But yes, shortages and price increases when seeds or lids are available.
    What are your biggest spring prepping projects?The chicken coop has to wait until the outdoor kitchen is finished. The outdoor kitchen will have a rocket stove, with an oven in one chamber and possibly a dehydrator in the other chamber depending on temperatures after testing. It will have a cooktop over the riser. There will be a wood storage area by the stove and an area for storing pans and tools on the other side. Any ideas on other things I should put in the “kitchen” area? No electricity, no gas.
    What did you do to prep this week?A lot of digging. The kitchen area is 2 feet deep and 10 feet across. I figure I’m about half done with the digging, then I can start the last stove prototypes.

    Reply
    • Lauren,
      I am also saving some seed. Garden was scant last year because of injury to shoulder. I was able to get transplants very early from sweetpotatoes from 2019, they are in my window. for first roots(could not bring myself to destroy them). and under grow lights… in dirt..now i get to hold for another 6 weeks. before can put outside, bed is ready…
      I have been purchasing different varieties of veggies we know we like.. several varieties of string beans both bush and pole-instead of one kind. Will plant them in rotation…as there is space. Plan save some seed from each variety..if we like/tolerate. The disease resistance differs and our land conditions are different from our prior location.Our diets are pretty strict-with intolerances for many foods most people think is necessary in a spring/fall/winter grow. I have added more varieties of winter squash because of intolerances.. have found one i can use either young or old and mature.Tatume.
      Possible add on for .. outside kitchen , in stove.. a deepwell to sit a pot for hot water availability- unless you have a plan for solar hot water system. This was a feature of the earliest electric stove i can remember. since the eye dropped down in the stove the pot retained heat, provided by an insulated tube. might line it with a good quality stainless steel tube… a little bigger than the pot you would use n the well. would be a purchase that would pay for itself in protecting the well from damage by dropping a pot in it and repeating many times. Pot will need a lid that will fit tightly.would also work for water bathing high acidic foods.

      Reply
      • Thanks. Water heater is a good idea. I’ve thought of several designs that could incorporate that into the oven itself, but nothing sticks yet. I’m still working through the design ramifications.

        I have one variety of zucchini (family heirloom) that remains soft until its about 18 inches long. I tried a commercial variety a few years ago, and yuck! Hard by the time it was six inches long. No wonder people think they need to be picked when the blossom is still on!

        Reply
  17. Just as an aside, and hey from Douglasville, I went, with DW and a niece to a big estate sale on Saturday. Every thing was marked down 50% off. I got a #10 meat grinder for $4 and a couple of nice butcher knives for a dollar each. I went down in the basement and found a couple of cases of pint and quart jars (new) and didn’t brush the dust off much and took them to the cashier. I got the jars for 25 cents each. No lids but I was happy with the jars.

    I’m going to be hitting the estate sales heavy for the next couple of weeks and will see what I can come up with.

    I did take a road trip on Friday down to Fayetteville to a gun shop I haven’t visited before. I picked up a Henry single shot .223 rifle for a good price along with a Ruger 10-22 with factor mounted and sighted scope in a hard case for less than I sold my last nylon stock 10-22 weekend before last. They sold me a box of .22, .223 and a box of .243 at pre-Covid prices.

    I am off tomorrow and DW and I will be getting our 2nd Covid shot at Walgreens. We are hoping for the best. We didn’t have any ill effects, other than sore arms from the first one (Pfifer vaccine)

    73s
    Keep smiling, keep communicating.

    Reply
  18. Tara
    Are you still not feeling very well?
    If not, hope you are feeling better soon. Since Easter is close at hand maybe you could have a guest writer fill in for you enabling you to take some time off for a much needed break.
    ac

    Reply
      • Nell and Goatlover,

        I too agree. I do look forward to the weekly sessions. Everyone in the Pack is nice and has useful knowledge to pass along.

        Reply
      • Nell and Goatlover,

        I too agree. I do look forward to the weekly sessions. Everyone in the Pack is nice and has useful knowledge to pass along. I also hope Tara and family are doing well.

        Reply

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