What I Did To Prep This Week – Week 20 – Nov 4th – Nov 10th 2018

Whenever we worked on preps outside this week, we did so quickly in an effort to stay warm. Winter has already arrived in Appalachia. We had no spring because of the last winter that would never end. Going straight into summer thrilled me, I like it 95 degrees in the shade even when going chores. But, this only a few days of fall nonsense, and then straight into snowflake times just stinks.

We also put the goats to work and made sure the underbrush and hanging branches were cut back to avoid fire threats near the barn. The entire area along “Oh S**t” trail you can see off in the distance in this photo will soon be bush hogged to increase our pasture area.

I was hoping we would get to that this weekend, since a homesteading pal brought back the little bush hog and Bobby now has two smaller tractors, but the ground is so soft and muddy, I am doubting it can be done at the moment. Rain and mud are about all we have had in my region for the bulk of the year – except for some glorious weeks in the summer when we got a brief reprieve.

muddy area on the homestead

I know I have mentioned the ongoing pole barn clean out several times, but I think now it is finally almost 100 percent finished for real. The 20-something tribe members are down there finishing it up now. So, without inspecting what I told them to do (complete with physically pointing it out, writing it down and leaving a note with them, AND making then repeating the instructions back to me) I cannot attest to the exact level of completeness at this very moment.

Cleaning out the pole barn where Bobby had stored supplies and materials from the two garage and basement at our old house allowed us to create a complete inventory of the items stored there – and actually unearthed some buried treasure…or at least “junque.”

Come spring, Bobby will be able to build more than half of his reloading shed and new garage (existing attached one becomes a living room with sleeper sofas and built in cabinets for enhanced storage) from materials that were left in the pole barn by the previous owner, the old barn we tore down (awesome locust support beams and posts) because we finally got the pole barn cleaned out (or ‘redded’ out, as we say here in Appalachia) and the contents recorded onto a list.

Tour of the Pole Barn

The Rusty Beauty, which is what I call the 1937 Ford (Bobby and the male tribe members call it ‘The 9 but I have no clue why and haven’t been interested enough to ask) is running as good as she looks. Thanks to the pole barn clean out, all of the tractors and most of the farm implements are under roof for the winter.

man on a rusty tractor

There was a clutch issue earlier today, but that was a quick and simple fix by one of the 20-something tribe members.

A clutch in the tractor Engine

The Rusty Beauty had not been run in at least a year and was really being sold as a parts donor, but she was apparently not ready for the junk heap yet.

up close of a tractor's engine running

Bobby is going to clear coat “The 9” instead of destroying her vintage patina with new paint.

old rusty tractor

These two new old Ford tractor additions are the only tractors on our survival homesteading retreat that came with both functional breaks and lights. Living so far up on this huge hill, breaks are a super good thing to have. I simply do not agree with Bobby that a bucket on the front of a tractor can suffice. The only downside to the tractors that I can see is that they run on gas and not diesel – and I fully plan on making our own biodiesel during a long-term disaster.

Because we have four functional tractors now, Bobby can leave frequently used attachments on each of them. In the photo below, he is getting ready to spread the last of a gravel pile. Hill maintenance is a constant chore, just like weeding the garden or getting firewood…except hill work isn’t a one or two season chore.

The empty stall we turned into a storage shed now houses the gardening supplies and the hay baler.

old stall repurposed

We also now have a huge open spot for even more round bales of hay to arrive. The 20-somethings did a great job cutting down the spindly trees, but their previous attempts at cleanup left a lot to be desired. Now though, the entire area is clear and the fencing around it tightened, so hopefully the mini donkeys and the pony cannot poke through along the hillside grade and help themselves to bites from each bale of hay along that side.

this is where the bales of hay will be stored

On the homesteading front, my weirdo Buckeye chickens are still struggling with the whole flying thing. But at least they are not making as many crash landings coming off of the old sawhorse I turned into a perch and swing.

My goat family is thriving, and pulling their own weight around our survival retreat. Rooster tries my patience and lacks some big brother skills once in a while, but all in all, the growing herd gets along well.

tara's goats have been growing

I did some homesteading crafting to keep up with my homemade Christmas present schedule during the evening hours this past week. In the photos below I am using clearance scrap material I bought for next to nothing to make baby doll clothes and turning an old bathroom cabinet that came with the house into a princess castle.

baby dresses

Because Auddie and Ariyah are both so young, I was able to use more bundles of the small scrap material to make each of them a dress to match a dress for their baby doll.

I get almost all of my sewing patterns on Craftsy. At this point, I probably have a library of a few hundred sewing patterns that I have downloaded and printed of and only had to pay for maybe three of them. Craftsy has literally hundreds and hundreds of free patterns, and even the ones that you can opt to buy, rarely ever cost more than at most, $7 each.

dress patterns

I have been using the same piece of chalk to trace patterns since I taught myself to sew three years ago. I figure it might have another 12 months in it before there is nothing left.

pink painted castle

The castle now has pink paint on the inset area on the doors inside and out. I thought the castle would look adorable all pink, but Auddie’s favorite color is purple and it will be her gift. We added another shelf inside to give her three tiers to play on with her Playmobil princess figures and the homemade Waldorf style bendy fairy dolls with wood heads that I also made. The shelves serving as floors are purple with pink little throw rugs made out of felt and the interior back of the cabinet is pink.

We also got out the manual wheat mill and ground some acorns into flour this week.

This Week’s Questions:

1. Are you making any homemade Christmas presents
2. If you had to make a Thanksgiving meal without modern conveniences, how would you do it? Fingers crossed for some awesome recipe sharing here too!
3. If you were handed $500 to build or buy a new prep, what would it be?
4. And of course, how did y’all prep this week?

64 thoughts on “What I Did To Prep This Week – Week 20 – Nov 4th – Nov 10th 2018”

    • Bam Bam,
      I’m so sorry to hear that your Mother has passed. I lost my Mom about 20 years ago, but it seems like yesterday. Even though your Mom has been sick and her passing was expected, it is still a shock and a very sad time. I’ll be praying for you and your family. God Bless.

    • Bam Bam,
      Sorry to hear that; but, unfortunately it becomes much too big a part of our lives as we age. I lost my dad in 2002, my mom in 2011, my best friend in 2015 and my kid brother in 2016. As friends an family gather together, try and remember the good times you all had, since in the end, those memories are what defines each and every one of us.

      • O.P.,

        It is weird to say this but my mother’s death was a relief. For the first 10 months after the stroke she was in pain and was frustrated that she could not communicate. After her second massive stroke she was non-responsive. I was glad she was not aware of her situation and not in pain. But it is good to know she is back with her husband, mother, father and brothers.

  1. I did my new normal grocery shopping this week. Added a little to my stash.

    As for prepping, I didn’t do a whole lot. I did lose a few more pounds and my blood sugar went down a few points, so my diet is working. That’s a prep for me.

    Cooked some bulk meals to last me a week or so. I wish my freezer was a little bigger, I’d cook more.
    I did do some prepper reading on-line, various blogs and websites, including our host’s sites. Mostly I spent time with granddaughter, reading to her and playing. She’s a smart little stinker. Her latest cute thing (to me anyway) is if you call her something other than her name, like an alligator, she says “Wait a minute.” And food is not good or yummy, its “Mmmmmm.” ?

    Mostly, I moped around about the election results. Florida is being its usual stupid self when it comes to elections. The Dems are really trying hard to steal the election for governor and US senator, and they’re not being too subtle about it. A judge already jumped hard on the Dem Supervisor of Elections in Broward County ordering her to release documents and ballot info to the Republican Party. Magical new ballots keep appearing in Broward. Arizona and Georgia are having some election fraud issues too.

    Tara’s Questions:
    1. Homemade Christmas gifts. No, not me. I’m as craft skilled as a rock.
    2. Thanksgiving without modern conveniences. Again, not me. I can cook reasonably well but… I’d just go over to #1 daughter’s house and help her with something.
    3. $500 for a new prep. Probably buy some 9mm and 5.56mm ammo.
    4. Prep this week. See above

          • Thor1,

            I read somewhere, and I can’t verify the accuracy, but supposedly Broward has like 1,100,000 registered voters (which seems high to me), but had over 1,200,000 ballots cast.

            Can you spell “fraud?”

        • Z36, I heard a poll worker was fired and filled out an affidavit that they were filling out ballots at the voting poll…..WOW busted someone is doing time…..

          • Zulu 3-6, Thor 1, & all,
            I’ve heard analysis of what’s going on and it’s rather simple.
            Conservatives think of liberals as ignorant and stupid and we try to educate them.
            Liberals OTOH think that Conservatives are Evil and stopping evil by any means necessary is considered OK.
            It also helps when you have a mindset that Planned Parenthood provides health services and a woman can choose to do anything any time, so stopping that organization infringes on some made up right, and only those evil clingers would infringe on that right.
            Morals and ethics are of course also flexible and can be modified at any time to suit your needs or wants, since those evil people need to be controlled.
            I don’t know how we got into this mess and I’m not sure how we get out of it; but, for now, I plan to prep and keep my head down and out of the fray, relying on my friends, family, and MAG.

          • Thor1,

            Evidently Broward does have 1,100,000 registered voters and that does seem high to me too. However, supposedly they only have 900,000 ballots. That is a very high ratio of ballots to registered voters for nearly any election.

      • I was offered a full time, tenure-track position in Broward County this week. I turned it down because the cost of living is just so high.

    • Zulu 3-6,

      A judge already jumped hard on the Dem Supervisor of Elections in Broward County ordering her to release documents and ballot info to the Republican Party. Magical new ballots keep appearing in Broward

      I don’t know if it will happen; but, hopefully she doesn’t turn over the documents and the contempt citation with see her prerp walked in cuffs. Just maybe, that will get her attention. I thought this would have all been resolve after the Bush V. Gore incident in 2000; but, old habits of crooks continue, unless they are actually severely punished.
      Here we ended up sending the same old Demonrat senator back who loves government regulations and tries to advance more gun control; but, we did get the right picks for governor and the republicans already here are going back to D.C. I’m lucky enough to have Jim Jordan and Rob Portman as rep & senator and we’ll be keeping them.

    • Zulu: blood sugar issues? Look into yacon (pronounced Yah!-con). I bought two six inch plants off ebay last Spring. Just had first frost & harvested – lots of tubers & crowns for next year’s crop. They must be hardened off at least 2 weeks before eating.

      Yacon also holds promise against colon cancer.

  2. Puppy has really gotten energetic with the colder weather coming in. He just wants to stay outside and run.
    He gets muddy then brings it in……uggghh I just steam cleaned the carpet 2 weeks ago……

    My Father in law is back in the hospital and the Mrs is watching her Mom.

    Bought more spam
    Bought more water
    Bought all kinds of soap and cleaners.
    Bought 1,000 rnds of .556

    Paid off the credit card again just in time for Christmas……

    Cooking up some more meat for the freeze dryer.
    Putting spaghetti in freeze dryer.

    After the way Tucker Carlson was treated, I bought more ammo.


    • 1. Are you making any homemade Christmas presents
      2. If you had to make a Thanksgiving meal without modern conveniences, how would you do it? Fingers crossed for some awesome recipe sharing here too!
      3. If you were handed $500 to build or buy a new prep, what would it be?

      1. Pickled peppers. They are red and green and look so Christmas like, and keep you warm LOL
      2. Smoking the turkey and cooking other things on the fire pit with cast iron pots.
      3. Did that last week….LOL

    • Thor1,

      Puppy has really gotten energetic with the colder weather coming in. He just wants to stay outside and run.

      Our little horse is the same way; but, the little goat just tries to stay in the barn, nested in a pile of straw or hay. I feel more like the goat with this cold weather.

      • TOP, I know, I had a fire in the fireplace last night. 33 degrees. But puppy laid in front of it like a Norman Rockwell picture. He was mesmerized by the popping of the wood….LOL

        He carried a log up for me……

        • TOP and Thor1,

          My ex-wife went up to Michigan last weekend to stay with an old friend who had surgery that keeps her from caring for herself for a few weeks. It’s been cold and snowing where she is at and her dogs are miserable. Both are short-haired breeds. She had to buy little coats for them. Snow holds no joy for them. Or for me anymore.

        • You ought to make him a set of panniers that you can put two or three logs on each side. It would be pretty straight forward. That way, he can carry the majority of the load and will feel useful.

    • While the linked article doesn’t say anything new to me, it is the unfortunate current sad fact of a mostly urban and suburban population that watches reality TV, shops at the super market and eats at the local restaurant, giving little thought to how the food got there or that there are wolves in the world who will eat them alive, given the right chance.. I would urge everyone to join the NRA for a simple reason. The left fears the NRA and its power; but, they really don’t know that it’s not the money the NRA can use against them; but, the fact that with 5+ million members, we can influence elections by shear might. If every member votes against the gun grabbers, that’s 5+ million votes; but, if each of us can influence a spouse, a child, a sibling, or colleagues at work or in other organizations, we can multiply that number in a large way and at no real monetary cost

      • O.P.,

        I would like to see you write up a research piece on the effectiveness of the NRA. I actually don’t know how effective this lobby is and how reasonable their policies are. Let me preface this by saying I have not researched the facts, but I wonder why we can’t get a grand deal–especially when Republicans were in full control of Congress, the White House and the Supreme Court. I think “gun grabbers” are right to say that mentally disturbed individuals should not own guns. The real question is who counts as “mentally disturbed” and how can these folks petition to get their rights back. I also agree with the “gun grabbers” that we should close the loop holes at gun shows and private purchases. To fix this the call that dealers have to make to sell a gun should be automated and available to private sellers. In exchange for reasonable standards of gun safety (which I think the NRA should concede), we could get universal carry permits–get one in one state, you are good in the rest. This would work like marriage license. Southern states should be required to uphold same-sex marriage licenses from other states; likewise other states should be forced to uphold concealed carry permits of other states. Get rid of the double standard.

        • Bam Bam,

          I’d like to chip in on this debate. Taking guns away from people, based on an unsubstantiated accusation, often by a hateful relative or former friend/spouse, then having to prove you’re not crazy, is a bad idea. First, it is a dangerous thing for police to enforce. Second, in my cop opinion, it is a violation of due process rights. More people will be killed over these kind of laws and that will include cops too.

          In Michigan, where I worked, it was illegal for a person adjudicated as mentally ill to own or possess a firearm of any sort. Actually, that is a federal requirement too. The key phrase is “adjudicated mentally ill.” In other words, someone accused a person of being mentally ill and a hearing was held in Probate Court on the matter. Witnesses are called, including shrinks, and the accused mentally ill person would be represented by an attorney. If the probate judge ruled the person was, indeed, mentally ill, then he had been “adjudicated” as such. Sometimes, guns were already held by the police for various reasons (often the family turned them in for safekeeping), so the police could keep them. If the judge ruled the person was not mentally ill, his attorney would almost always motion for an order to return the guns, which the judge had to issue unless there was another legal reason (such as the patient being a convicted felon).

          In most cases held before a Probate judge, the accused mentally ill person was already in a mental hospital, either self-admitted, or more often, committed by a Probate judge. Michigan had Act 339, which is very like the Baker Act here in Florida, a short-term involuntary committal. Act 339 required a Probate hearing within 72-hours of an involuntary committal, and if the shrinks felt the person needed to be kept longer, and the judge agreed, a 14-day committal could be ordered, then a 30-day, then an indefinite committal which required a status hearing every 30- or 60 days (I forget). If an adjudication hearing was requested to hold the patient long-term, then it was held.

          Gun Show Loophole: No such thing. Any gun dealer, licensed by the feds as such, must do an instant background check just like a regular gun store has to do. If necessary, the dealer would have to hold the gun until the check came back OK, or hold the gun if that state had a waiting period. Licensed gun dealers cannot do “private sales.”

          Private sales: These do not require background checks and they do take place at gun shows. This might be what the gun grabbers are calling the “Gun Show Loophole.” But private sales can take place anywhere. If I want to sell a gun to my son, or a daughter, or to my Ex (all of which I have done), I don’t want to jump through a ton of legal crap just to do that. Some states (Michigan being one of them), require a handgun purchaser to first obtain a License to Purchase from their local PD or sheriff, regardless of whether the seller is a licensed gun dealer or a private party. Long guns are exempt from the License to Purchase requirement, in Michigan anyway.

          Universal Concealed Weapons Permits: The main argument here is a 10th Amendment one. States Rights. It took years, and multiple tries, for Congress to pass legislation to allow police officers and retired police officers (including military police) to obtain a federally issued weapons permit that all states and territories had to recognize. These permits require annual requalification and the initial permit required a letter from the chief of police of the officer’s department certifying the officer was a good officer, no serious use-of-force offenses, etc. It is very unlikely a universal permit for citizens or recognition of a carry permit like a drivers license will ever be passed. Certainly not by the new Congress.

          NRA: The NRA is one of the firearm organizations at the forefront of firearms safety training. They’ve had the Eddie Eagle program for gun safety training for kids for decades. I’ll let TOP answer on this as he is a little more involved with NRA programs than I am now. I am a Life Member of the NRA.

  3. Tara,

    What happened to the feature that alerts us when replies are made to our posts. I was wondering why I haven’t been getting the alerts.

      • Daddio7,

        This site quit giving me updates years ago. ?

        I’ve generally not had problems with the site Subscribe, Comment follow-up, and New Post emails until just recently, with the last one a week ago on November 5, 2018.
        The check boxes are back; but, I’m still not getting any follow-up email; however, I suspect the transition in the middle of these threads has the website logic confused. Hopefully new topic posts will start working again.

    • Zulu 3-6,

      What happened to the feature that alerts us when replies are made to our posts. I was wondering why I haven’t been getting the alerts.

      I’ve noticed that also and sent several emails to Tara on the subject. I had to start looking at this site to see when this post happened instead of the email that normally announces the new post.
      It should simply be a Word Press setting to make those check boxes and functions come back to life and it now spears that they are back, LOL.

      • What browser do you use? I use Firefox. No sites with notify check boxes actually notify me. I’m beginning to think it is a conspiracy. I will check the boxes just to see.

  4. First time commenting on this, although I have read it every week for the past few years.

    #1 Bam Bam, sorry for your loss
    #2 Most of my prepping takes place on the weekend due to work. So far this weekend I stacked another 1/2 cord of wood. Also expanded my loading / gun bench in the shop and built some book cases to hold my reference books in the shop. Finally I will be heading into the woods this AM for Deer Hunting, as the season has arrived once again in Vermont. Goal is to fill the 2nd freezer. We shall see!

    Best to all

  5. I complete my quarterly field stripping and cleaning of my firearms. I sharpened my axes and a few hunting knives and reorganized my archery closet. I spent a couple more days hunting small game on the public lands of Michigan and scouting a few spots for the upcoming firearms deer season. The last two day I’ve been down with back pain again. Having arthritis and herniated disks make a recipe for back discomfort a few time a year. Minimal funds have limited me from increase my food and water stock this week. And my roof replacement project was completed this week so all in all it was a good week.

      • Thor1,

        November 15 is probably the day of the year that a lot of people misuse their sick time bennies. Deer gun season!

        I’ve never been a hunter. My dad did not hunt, other than for rabbits every few years, with a bow. He did frequently as a kid, but WWII took killing things out of him. He didn’t view it as sporting to kill a deer, standing still, while he was using a scoped 30.06 rifle. Like he used as a scout-sniper in the Marines. And the deer don’t shoot back if you miss. He did say if the family absolutely needed the meat, he’d be out hunting as often as necessary. But he brought in a decent living, so never had to.

        I’ve killed seriously injured animals as a police officer in order to euthanize them, but I never particularly enjoyed it. I knew too many people who needed killing more than a poor animal.

        I don’t mind if other people hunt. I understand some folks need the meat to survive, others because they like the meat. As long as the meat is not wasted, I have no objections to hunting.

        • Z36, I don’t think PF would waste the meat…..

          If it comes to civil war, I will not eat Democrats…..LOL Rancid rotten meat…….LOL

          I am now puking………

        • Zulu 3-6,

          November 15 is probably the day of the year that a lot of people misuse their sick time bennies. Deer gun season!

          Here the deer gun season starts the Monday after Thanksgiving until the next Sunday (from Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, 2018) with an added pair of days on the weekend of Dec. 15-16.
          The deer archery season runs from Sept. 29 to Feb. 3. And I know a lot of people who schedule vacation time prior to those dates.

          I’ve never been a hunter. My dad did not hunt, other than for rabbits every few years, with a bow. He did frequently as a kid, but WWII took killing things out of him. He didn’t view it as sporting to kill a deer, standing still, while he was using a scoped 30.06 rifle.

          Here we cannot use a rifle, except very recently rifles in handgun calibers like .357 magnum or muzzle loading rifles where you have to make each shot count.
          I’ve been teaching Hunter Education for more than 25 years, and hunting actually plays a real role in wildlife management. Deer will procreate as fast as 2 to 3 offspring per year, with those offspring being able to reproduce at an age of 6-12 months. Prior to humans in large numbers, the predator prey relationship kept things in balance; but, since those same predators like large cats and wolf packs will also prey on small humans, they have been mostly eradicated, leaving only the human predators to keep the population in check. Almost all humans in deer territory are hunters, even those who don’t think they are. Some of us take guns and bows into the field to bring home some meat; but, an overwhelming number of unsuspecting hunters participate in the only 24/365 season, using their vehicles. More than 1.5 million accidents per year with $3000.00+ ($4B total) in average property damages and 150 fatalities occur on average each year, nationwide.
          In addition, too many deer will strip an area of edible vegetation quickly, leaving the deer and a lot of other wildlife in the area to die due to lack of food or habitat. Sometimes the animals don’t die outright; but, are malnourished and succumb to disease. IMHO, as long as we humans are willing to take wildlife habitat and turn it into blacktop parking lots for strip malls and housing developments, we have an obligation to those displaced animals to keep their numbers in check. Doing anything else will see nature do the job in a gruesome manner.

          I’ve killed seriously injured animals as a police officer in order to euthanize them, but I never particularly enjoyed it. I knew too many people who needed killing more than a poor animal.

          I understand and one should never take joy in killing. When I’ve lined up that sight on a deer and I’m about to squeeze the trigger, I still get a lump in my throat, because I am about to take a life.
          It does depend on the life however, since I admit I get no lump when I swat a mosquito.
          For criminals, I’ve thankfully never had to seriously confront one; but, my mindset is that I think I could do what is needed, first to protect the life of me and mine; but, also, because unlike a wild animal, humans are thinking creatures who can make decisions on right and wrong, and if one decides it’s right to attack me, I have no compunction to retaliate in kind. The animal world lives by a simpler set of rules as described by the late Warner Brothers Looney Tunes animator Charles (Chuck) Martin Jones who understood that: “A lion’s work hours are only when he’s hungry; once he’s satisfied, the predator and prey live peacefully together.”
          Could it only be that simple with humans?

      • Thanks Thor1 I am looking forward to the upcoming season and we process the entire deer ourselves with very little waste. I don’t over hunt and usually one to two deer is all we need through the year. Unfortunately Michigan is a state that allows for each hunter to kill many deer throughout the season, then complain about the lack of quality and quantity of deer.

  6. We have been in shock, since Thursday with the Paridise/Chico Fires, my husbands family all lives in those areas and everyone lost their house, and we can’t do anything about it. Now we heard that the fires are heading towards Oriville, my GOD, be with them. One friend house, did not get burned but it was close the Fire department, was out looking for hot spots, when one started by their Well Pump, they quickly got it out. My Mother in law, is going NUTS and not in a good way we need to get her into a pych ward, to have her checked out she is not talking right and keeps telling her son, everyone she knows is in Surgery, or is having a baby, this was bad timing to have a fire she won’t let anyone in her place we are just praying and his Aunt has the keys, to go check on her but us being 800 miles away is so hard on us…

    I did get some stuff done made Raspberry jam, and used up bananas in a snack cake, cleaned out my freezer, and next week is the refridge. Bought the picky kitty, her food and filled up the car checking on the greenhouse weekly to keep my plants watered, I did a Winco, run bought 50 tea bags in bulk, got 12 cans of chili, and some packets of cheese sauces, and a 5 pack of Mac and Cheese, 2 cans of Spam, I had a few coupon items too nice to save even if it’s $6.00 . We’re going today for a quick trip to get away and feel normal amiss the sadness in our family, since we have Monday off for Veterns day.

    Question 1 No homemade gifts, we did it when the kids were small.
    Question 2 It’s been years since I did Thanksgiving not sure what I would do
    Question 3 $500.00 I would put it towards my building fund.

  7. Let’s never give one more inch to gun confiscation or repeal of the 2nd amendment.


    Then a 60 year old man was killed while they were trying to take his guns from his home.
    A gun discharged while the gestapo was pulling the gun from his hands so they shot and killed him.

    “We want to protect you from harm, so we will disarm and kill you”


  8. Hi Tara & all,
    First of all I had to keep looking for this column, since I’ve stopped receiving updates from TSB via email.
    Outside work here has also been a bit chilly, LOL. One of my easiest and most fun preps in the past few weeks was getting rid of some old papers and cardboard in the burn barrel, where you at least can keep off the chill.
    We have no fire threat here, since all of the wooded areas are small and rather distant (in hundreds of feet). The little wooded areas are still big enough to hunt and cut some occasional firewood.
    When you mention: cleaned out (or ‘redded’ out I have to smile. Growing up in western PA (not too far north of West (by god) Virginia, we used that phrase and others that still confuse people. I still have a button my late mother sent to me during the cleanup after the 1977 flood back home, that read: “We’re reddin’ up for Yunz”
    We are fortunate enough to have plenty of cover for all of the animals and vehicles, and with our first snow just a few days ago, it’s nice to not have to scrape the car windows in the morning.
    When you state:

    The Rusty Beauty had not been run in at least a year and was really being sold as a parts donor, but she was apparently not ready for the junk heap yet.

    That has I think to do with the age, since back then they didn’t expect them to be replaced every few years or leased and returned for new, every two years.

    Hill maintenance is a constant chore, just like weeding the garden or getting firewood…except hill work isn’t a one or two season chore.

    Around here we don’t work a lot on hills; but, a long gravel driveway that is often traversed by heavy garbage trucks (to empty the dumpster), plus other vehicles and farm equipment can take its toll, and while not as bad as yours, we also have constant maintenance. That maintenance and the control it gives you are part of the challenge and benefits of rural living. We have our own well & septic, so the municipality can’t cut off the water or raise the rates on sewage. We can heat or have backup heat with wood. We also have to do some of our own road / driveway & building maintenance; but, that’s part of the give and take.
    When you mention your chickens, ours are finally producing again, after some time off and molting back in late September. We had no eggs from Sept 25 until October 27; but, they are now eating well again and producing eggs.

    We also got out the manual wheat mill and ground some acorns into flour this week.

    That one nut I’ve cracked a few times; but, find it a lot of work for what you get in the end. We’ve found that processing the Acorns through a critter like a Squirrel is a better return on the work required.

    1. Are you making any homemade Christmas presents
    Not this year. No grand kids and with the kids anywhere from 1-15 hours away, we’ll probably just use Amazon with free Prime Delivery. In the past we did this a lot; but, the kids are now 27 through 51 and there’s not much in hand made crafty things they can use.

    2. If you had to make a Thanksgiving meal without modern conveniences, how would you do it? Fingers crossed for some awesome recipe sharing here too!
    I’m not sure what you mean by modern conveniences. Assuming we can still acquire the foods we need, we could (and I have in the past) craft an entire meal using cast iron pots & pans and a Dutch Oven, all on a bed of coals.
    Next time you might want to define your terms a little better. Is a turkey from the grocery considered a modern convenience?

    3. If you were handed $500 to build or buy a new prep, what would it be?
    I would use some of it to purchase a new All American canner, another maintenance kit or two for the generator, and hold the rest in cash for a while, since we really don’t have any needs until we finally get another gas range / oven in the spring to finish up the summer kitchen.

    4. And of course, how did y’all prep this week?

    That’s the easy one, since I keep a running tally during the week and this past week we’ did and acquired the following:
    1. With Flint Michigan having high lead levels in their municipal water system and now Newark New Jersey having the same problem. I am really glad I have my own well and septic system. We must do our own maintenance and there is some cost; but, nothing like the city folks have where some unnamed bureaucrat can simply raise your bills and you have to pay. No bills and no lead.
    2. Assembled and installed another VHF amateur radio antenna that will be dedicated along with a simple 40 year old radio for our new ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) digital network.
    3. We had a real world Generator test early Tuesday morning when the power to our area went out about 2:00 AM UNTIL 3:17 am. I was of course still up and only noticed the occurrence when all of the UPS units in the house did their perfunctory beep, after which I went to the back of the house to see (hear) if the generator was running, which it was. The unit needs service, every 2 years or 200 running hours, and since 2 years was on November 2nd, it was already scheduled for the upcoming week; but, this was a good full test and everything was/is still working correctly.
    4. We have a security light provided by the local power cooperative that is not metered and has a fixed cost of $9.75 per month. After the power failure, it did not come back on. When they send a truck to fix it, I’m hoping they will attach a pulley and rope to the pole for my use with antennas and I’ll be able to talk to someone about whole house surge protection. Even with that light which the DW insists on having, we still have enough dark areas on the property to do star gazing, weather permitting.
    5. Accrued enough points on the credit card to get another free $25.00 Home Depot gift card,
    6. Boy Scout Popcorn (and to Almost there, yes, more snacks, LOL)
    7. 2 – 500 count bottles of 500 mg acetaminophen (Wal-Mart)
    8. 2 bags dry cat food (Wal-Mart)
    9. Marie Calendar turkey pot pies (2) & 5 pack pepperoni pizza hot pockets (Wal-Mart)
    10. 24 oz peanut butter pretzels (2) (Big Lots)
    11. 32 oz caramel corn (Big Lots)
    12. Caramel Nut Danish (Aldi’s)
    13. We have some storage over the basement stairs and this storage has been piled with “stuff” for too long. We finally sorted the “stuff” and had a chance to look into the storage compartments.. Here’s what we found:
    • 2 packages of sty plant food 20:10:10
    • A new waffle maker, stashed there @ Christmas a few years ago
    • 2 canning funnels
    • A jar lifter
    • Several dozen regular and wide mouth lids and rings
    • 6 old embossed glass, square sided canning jars.
    • A few tapered pint canning jars.
    • Several embossed glass dry goods jars with pressure fit lids
    14. As a point of note: On Saturday November 10th, the low temperature was 17.8°; but, the green house was a balmy 54° by late morning, so it’s working OK.
    15. I watched an episode of “Life, Liberty, & Levin that got into the real Nitty Gritty of the Climate Change topic. Dr. Patrick J Michaels is a well known and highly qualified Climatologist and filled in a lot of gaps I thought were there; but, with details I hadn’t thought of. It’s a good watch and can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dt3478xExZM

  9. Thank you all for the condolences. We got up to visit my mom one last time before she passed. This was totally expected but still shocking. My cats have not left my side in days.

    We made it up to the meat market before receiving news about my mom. We picked up a smoked turkey, eight pounds of andouille sausage, 30 lbs. of hamburger and 40 lbs. of NY strip–all for $350.

    We had two $10 off coupons to Bed, Bath and Beyond and picked up some new sheets which we desperately needed.

    Homemade Christmas gifts. With all the jobs I haven’t had time to make any soap. Family asks for homemade soap, mango chutney and pepper relish.

  10. I forgot the best news–daughter-in-law is pregnant. We will find out the sex in December. She is due in May. Today is her birthday. We picked her up some Under Armor sweats to keep pace with her expanding belly. LOL

    Heads Up: Eddie Bauer is having a 50 percent off sale right now with an extra 10 percent off for Veterans Day. My dh wears their pocket t-shirts every single day, year-round. You can’t beat brushed cotton t-shirts for $12. I also ordered him a nice flannel shirt for Christmas. I ordered a flannel jacket with shepra lining for me.

    Now that winter has arrived in North Central Florida . . . . with temperatures hovering around 72 degrees . . . . We’ve pulled out the wool blankets.

        • Bam, I’m so happy to make you laugh, I’ve been through a lot too. Think of things that your Mom did that makes you laugh. I lost my Mom last year and a couple of things that she said I will share in an attempt to make you laugh.

          She said….no pun intended……

          Walking into a bowling alley with sunglasses on…Oh no cosmic bowling.

          Message on answering machine…. Oh no, its that lady again….

          There was a cross of contrails over the Church at her funeral, she sent me a message that she was OK via a beautiful white butterfly….

          I’m here for you Bam

      • Z36, its 80 degrees in my den right now with a fire in the fireplace….. LOL
        I’m in shorts and top less LOL there is a palm tree in here….LOL Beach party……

        Got the freeze dried food put in mylar bags with O2 absorbers and the freeze dryer is defrosting. I love that thing. Vacuum pump is draining oil. Best when hot just like a car…..

    • Bam Bam,

      Now that winter has arrived in North Central Florida . . . . with temperatures hovering around 72 degrees . . . . We’ve pulled out the wool blankets.

      We won’t see highs of 72° here for another 5-6 months and we’ve had the wool blankets in use for 2 months already. It’s nice to know that we have a big supply of propane, since we’re seeing night time temperatures in the teens; but, at least today was sunny and 39°, so we just layer up for the weather as it comes.

    • Bam Bam,

      I forgot the best news–daughter-in-law is pregnant. We will find out the sex in December. She is due in May.

      Thank you for using the correct term. Gender should be used for nouns in some languages, not for people or animals.
      The current definition of Gender has changed to mean the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity. Depending on the context, these characteristics may include biological sex, sex-based social structures, or gender identity.
      I personally think this can lead to Gender Dysphoria where someone can be anything they want instead of learning to live with and love themselves. Personally I would love to have a deep voice, be 6 inches taller, and not be follicly challenged; but, believing those things doesn’t seem to be working for me, so I have to learn to deal with reality. I think these kinds of thoughts have in some ways led us to a society who cannot deal with reality; but, will “feel” and “believe” things that are not factual, right to the point of defending the concept of “keeping your own doctor”, that we all know was a blatant falsehood.

  11. When I got up this morning the house was 56 degrees so built a fire then headed out to a 50th wedding anniversary party. It was a wonderful party for 2 people who clearly still love each other. When I got home the house was a balmy 62.
    Preps included picking up cranberries from a friend, picked up a bunch of stuff on sale.

  12. Ahhh, winter. Tonight it will be around 28. I feel sorry for the strays that come around every now and then.

    Today I shuffled worms from several bins into one and doled out cantaloup slices so they’d have something to munch on. Their heater has been going for a few days now so the garage is a pleasant 70 degrees, plus or minus a few. I need to shred more newspaper and junk mail for bedding for them.

    Found a few shelves I may be able to use for storage if I shuffle a few things around. I wanted to catch a video or two today but working on the worm class preps cut into that. Maybe tomorrow.

    Yay for Christmas! I’m getting one of those Lodge cast iron 8 qt pots with the flat lids so I can cook in the fire place if need be. I like to prep for three levels– minor inconvenience, major inconvenience, and total catastrophe. I’m no where near there, but it’s something to aim for.

  13. Men feel they have all kinds of rights to pass laws that govern women’s bodies. We women have been chattel for too damn long. I couldn’t get an $1100 car loan when I was 21 in 1975 without my brother-in-law’s signature. So, here a proposition: Let’s pass a law. Men, have a vasectomy at age 15. When you’re married and want to have a baby, have it reversed. Then have it redone if you want to have kid #2. Solves a bunch of problems. Men, unless you’re willing to put your body on the line and let federal and state legislatures dictate what you can do with it, shut the hell up. Why is it only women’s bodies that are on the line in these debates? Get over yourselves. It takes two to tango.


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